I mentioned very briefly in my last post that I had started planning a trip, well the last month I have spent all my laptop time planning and booking things and even a little online shopping. So I have plenty of material to fill up a few blog posts, I just have to write them.
It's a long story...
My grandmother was born in the UK (in 1936) and emigrated to Australia as a teenager with her two sisters (one older, one younger) and parents. She's never been back.
Actually, now I think of it, she has, they emigrated twice in the same year (my great grandmother changed her mind and then changed it back) but that's another story...
So in 2010, my great-aunts both ventured back to the UK (with my great-uncle) but were unable to convince my nanna to go with them. She's afraid of flying and has enough medical problems that the idea scared her too much. On that trip, the sisters visited the village where they grew up, met the people living on their old farm (their father was a dairy farmer/milkman) and caught up with a lot of distant relatives. Nanna claimed she didn't mind that she missed out, she prefers photos to flying.
Late last year, the same trio began planning another trip for this May, once again inviting Nan but she refused. At the time of my recent visit to Brisbane, my great-uncle had been doing his best to convince Nanna to go, sharing with her emails from those in the UK who wished they'd had the chance to meet her.
My mum and I visited Nan before I flew back to Melbourne and discussed the trip with her. Nanna read the emails aloud to us, sounding like she was more keen on the idea. Then her partner expressed his interest, suggesting he'd retire so he could come along. Nanna still wasn't that convinced...until my mother suggested maybe she should come along too and that the trip involve Paris and Rome as well as the UK.
Well, once that was said, Nanna was basically going. Mum had small doubts then, knowing she didn't want to triple share a room with the two of them but also couldn't afford her own double room. She decided that she would have to convince my youngest sister (MissC) to go along as well.
MissC is 21 and has never been to Europe before and my first thought on this was that she wouldn't get to do as much burdened with the 'oldies'. And my mother is too paranoid to let her run around on her own (you know you are mum!). So I offhandedly suggested that I should go along too, just so MissC had someone to do the 'run around' bits of Europe with.
And that was it. Once I'd put the idea in my own head it was pretty hard to let go of it. I initially found it hard to justify spending some of my 'house deposit' savings on the trip but while SJ is out of work, we're not going to be buying a house anytime soon anyway. And I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see where my Nanna grew up.
It took a little while to work out the details (my mother and MissC both work on contracts so had set dates for when they could leave) but now the trip is planned and mostly booked (and my credit card is looking a bit worse for wear).
So, here's the plan...
May 18 - My great-aunts and uncle head to the UK (seeing various areas)
June 12 - Nanna and her partner make their way over.
June 28 - Mum and I leave for the UK, see Edinburgh and then we have a few days in the village where Nanna grew up before heading to London.
July 6 - The original trio head back to Australia
July 8 - MissC heads to London (she misses the village part)
Then for about a week, we all head to Paris, Rome and Florence.
After that Nanna heads back to Australia and Mum, MissC and I spend three weeks circling back to London. We'll be making stops in (draws in a huge breath)...
Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Isle of Capri, Bologna, Venice, Verona, Innsbruck, Mittenwald, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Brno, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels.
So there you go, that's why I've been so absent, I've been planning a six week/nine country European holiday for which I leave in 83 days. I've booked 9 different flight legs and 20 hotels and put together a mammoth spreadsheet. I apologise in advance for my future blog posts, they're likely to include things I've bought for the trip, things I plan to do on the the trip, clothes I'll be wearing on the trip...
Well you get the idea :-D