If there’s one thing people should know about me by now it’s that I have a hard time sitting still. I’m one of those people who starts planning the next adventure while the one I’m on is still happening, or maybe hasn’t even started yet (going to Europe for a month and a half? But how about hiking the Appalachian Trail when you get back?). If it’s a problem, it’s the kind I don’t really mind having.
I can’t help it if the last adventure seems so far away. Some of you who know me, or get inundated with my travel photos on Instagram, may also know that I was in Italy for 10 days back in April – but that was 4 months ago and this is now. So now I’ve planned a lengthy trip to some new and some familiar places, because 10 days is only really enough to make you wish you’d stayed longer.
After a few months of aggressive saving and creative budgeting I felt ready to plan for takeoff. This trip is the longest I will ever be abroad! I’m excited, nervous from the anticipation, and spontaneously gripped with panic about forgetting something important even though I haven’t left yet. For now, though, I’ve reached the willfully optimistic “everything is fine” stage. It’s a pretty solid place to be. Just don’t ask me to look at my bank account.
The first stage of my big adventure is a stop in Edinburgh to experience the Fringe, Europe’s largest arts and entertainment festival. I’d heard of Festival Fringe before, having been to Scotland and being obsessed with festivals in general. This Fringe will be special since I will be there to meet a new friend (and comedian) who is performing her very own show! I’ll be enjoying the last week of the festival while helping out where I can. As a result I’ve learned that over one third of the Fringe is comprised of comedy acts – even the members of Monty Python gave student performances here in the 60’s. So I’m fully expecting to be delighted with a healthy dose of traditional UK satire. Or, at least in the case of my friend, a girl wearing a giant brain. For anyone trying to conjure a mental image, don’t worry, photos will probably be posted.
After Fringe we go west, to the beautiful Scottish coast and the isles of Skye, Lewis, and Harris before heading back east to highland capital of Inverness. Though don’t quote me on that, my plans are known to be pretty flexible. Being spontaneous when it comes to travel has always paid off for me in the past.
After I part ways with my professionally humorous travel partner I cross the sea to uncharted territory … Well, at least to me. I’ll be hopping a painfully early flight to Amsterdam where I will make my best attempt at a Villanelle inspired fashion statement.
Time is short in Amsterdam, though, with only a day and a half before I depart for idyllic and supposedly underrated Luxembourg. This is going to be a long bus ride, but I have faith in my uncanny ability to nap anywhere, anytime. After a night staring at fairy tale Luxembourg lit up with twinkling lights I head off to Metz, France. Besides Metz being a gorgeous city with a rich history, it happens to also be my mother’s maiden name. Does this mean I should be given the key to the city? Probably. Or at least free bus fare, right? If I buy a postcard in one place, it’ll be here.
From Metz it is on to my splurge of the trip, a stay at Abbaye Des Prémontrés. As a budget traveler, I normally don’t indulge in hotels – and by normally I mean never. But this one happened to be just as cheap as a hostel in Metz so bring on the tiny soaps.
After leaving Pont-à-Mousson and it’s Moselle River views, I head back to Luxembourg. This is where things are a bit up in the air. My tentative plans are to hike route 2 of the Mullerthal Trail in Luxembourg’s “Little Switzerland”. It’s basically a magical dark forest riddled with canyons, caves, and babbling brooks, occasionally interrupted by tiny picture perfect towns that often have their own castles. If I don’t make it to the Black Forest during my time in Germany, I think I will be pretty satisfied having spent my time here.
I’m also planning to make a quick trip over the border to Trier, Germany. What’s something I didn’t expect to find in a German city? Roman architecture dating to 170 AD. But apparently it exists, and it’s amazing.
After another night in Luxembourg City I catch the train to Roermond, in the Netherlands, where my two lovely house sitting hosts will be picking me up and showing me the ropes before they take off on a 3 week vacation. That’s three weeks wandering the peaceful Schwalm-Nette Nature Park with Jaap, a loveable golden retriever and my designated best friend while I’m staying in the village of Venekoten near the German-Dutch border. I’ve also been entrusted with a bike, courtesy of my generous hosts. It has a basket. I’m pretty excited about it. Do I remember how to ride a bike? I guess we’ll find out.
What will I get up to for nearly a month in a tiny German border village? Who knows, but I’m going to write about it right here if you’re interested. If not, you’ll probably still be forced to see my pictures on Instagram. Some things just can’t be avoided.
After my low key house sit, it’s back on the road. I take a bus to Brussels, where the first thing I’m going to do is eat a waffle. And chocolate. And maybe Brussels sprouts. When in Rome, right? I have a few days here, so I think a day trip is in order. Bruges and Ghent are both in the running.
I take off from Brussels to arrive in my final destination, which is just me returning to my first love – Ireland. I didn’t mean to start and end this trip with two of my favorite places, but I’m happy it worked out that way. I have two and a half days in Dublin, and I’m definitely planning to get out of the city for one of them. As of right now I’m convinced there’s nowhere more magical than the Irish countryside. Though if my German hosts are to be believed I might spot a fairy during my stay, which would probably take the cake. In any case, I’ll be on the lookout for mystical spirits wherever I go, as per usual.
And that’s the plan, folks. I’ll be home just in time for fall, which means binge watching Hallmark movies with my mom until Christmas, going to the pumpkin patch, drinking apple cider, silently judging children on the quality and creativeness of their Halloween costumes, and generally enjoying the time of year where the whole world embraces their inner basic white girl and it’s perfectly okay.
Looking forward to it.