How’s your weekend going? After a morning working and an evening of report writing ahead, I’m in the mood to plan for the next couple of hours! This usually makes my extraordinarily patient husband wince just slightly when he sees I’m up to things and dreaming big…… but he’s good ‘un and it’ll be interesting to see if he can relate to any of the destination below. I’d certainly like him to come on my journeys and perhaps the kids too. Well, I say kids but my youngest turns 18 next weekend….yikes!
The other day, I shared with you my favourite 10 places I’ve gone to outside of the UK and I’ll do the same next week about my favourite places in the UK. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been all over England over the past 12 months, from the Lake District to Somerset, from Northumberland to Norfolk. I’ve had a blast going on some amazing road trips. But today, I thought I’d share with you the 10 new countries I’d like to explore before I turn 50. This is one of the challenges on my bucket list
Morocco really appeals. As I mentioned the other day, you can take a day trip to Morocco if you’re staying near Gibraltar and in fact I have a photo taken from Spain many years ago with both Gilbraltar and the African country of Morocco in the far distance. For me, I guess Morocco means colour, busy markets, bartering (not that I’d be brave enough to barter but it’d be fun to watch), warmth and just a very different vibe to my normal day! You can also head out on a camel ride into the desert 🙂 I’m not sure that I’d necessarily like to stay in Morocco but definitely as a day trip whilst perhaps exploring Portugal and Spain.
Now, this links to driving very near to Liechtenstein and a how a ‘slight’ detour could have meant ticking off another country! Yes, I am the kind of person who would add another 2 hours to a journey just to go over the border and shout out loud ‘TICK’!!! Liechenstein is situated between Austria and Switzerland and is known for its medieval towns and alpine villages. I’m a sucker for anything Alpine-like and snow-topped mountains! Perhaps natives of Liechenstein might disagree but I think it’s a country to pass through and take in, rather than necessarily stay in. I told you that I’ve a tick-box traveller!
We were meant to go to Italy a long time ago. We set out, with passports in hand, petrol to take us through France, Germany and Switzerland and then onward to the Swiss border. We had a car boot full of things to keep the children occupied on a very long car journey and they must have been about 9 and 6 at the time….. and then disaster! FLOODS!! As we neared a tunnel that would have taken us from Switzerland into Italy, we were stopped by a policeman as the tunnel was flooded. Up to this point, it hadn’t even rained so this left us perplexed. So, we asked ‘OK, where do we need to go’, expecting him to say ‘Yep, go down the road, take the 2nd left, the next right, etc.). Instead, he told us of a detour taking us through Germany!!!! I mean, on seeing the GB plate on our car, was this part of some revenge plan against all things British?!!! There really was no option but to turn around and start on this new journey. However, as we then drove parallel to rivers, we could see crowds of people watching what was being hastily taken down stream: tree trunks, alpine bridges that had come away, etc. Right, there really was a major problem!! Then the rain started. This was in the days before cars having sat nav so we were working off the back of maps that didn’t give us the level of detail we needed. We spent 3 hours trapped in a Germany town at one point. Yes, I say trapped as every time we found our way out of the town and onto the motorway, we were faced with diversion signs (because of the flooding) that brought us back into the town. The light was beginning to go and we were tired (and actually thinking that this unknown German town would be our resting place!!!!). Thank goodness a lovely lady at a petrol station phoned some friends that owned a beautiful alpine B&B and found us a suite! The other saving grace was having a portable DVD player for the boys who, despite the incredibly long day, were kept amused by films. So, we never made it to Italy! Instead, we spent a week in Innsbruck, Austria.
Where would I like to go to in Italy? Venice, yes, just because it’s Venice. Rome, yes. I love the idea of seeing going to the Colliseum. But I fancy Naples most. I love the sea but it’s also the coolest city in Italy which could be perfect for some in my family and I love the colour of the buildings! Perhaps a road trip to go all over Italy.
Croatia seems to be a country that’s benefited from a huge surge in popularity, perhaps partly due to some of Game of Thrones being filmed there! The terracotta roofs of the houses, the temperature and the beautiful sea makes is a very attractive place. And everyone I’ve spoken to who’s been there has come back enthralled. I’ve been thinking for a while about going on a European road trip and Croatia would be the furthest point and which point I’d head back a different way taking in some new countries.
5. Czech Republic
Prague has been on my list for a little while after hearing people talk about it being a beautiful city. Gothic churches, baroque buildings, etc. all make it a fantastic capital city of Bohemia.
6-10. Out of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Latvia and Estonia
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a HUGE cruise convert! Wow, holidays done the easy way. P&O offers a couple of 14 night cruises from Southampton that explore Scandinavia and Russian:
Option A: Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Kiel (Germany), Skagen (Denmark) and back to Southampton.
Option B: Kristiansand (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), St. Petersburg (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia), Stockholm (Sweden), Warnemunde (Germany)
Gosh, which one to pick! Now, I’ve been to Norway but hubby hasn’t and I could imagine him wanting to go there. Option A includes 5 new countries to explore whereas Option B has 4. But both sound brilliant, don’t they! Years ago, we were going to Copenhagen for a holiday and pop over to Malmo in Sweden for lunch one day as they’re linked by the Øresund Bridge. In fact, did you watch the stunning TV drama ‘The Bridge’ in 2011? This is where it was based, leading to an investigation being conducted by police forces from different countries. Ah, guess what (hubby….you know what’s coming!!!)? You could do cruise option A and catch a bus over to Malmo whilst there to add Sweden to the list! Tick, another country. Yep, THIS sounds like a plan! THIS sounds like me!
Where would you like to go to? What’s at the top of your list?
Happy bank weekend, everyone ♥ xx