Europe 2014: Less Than 2 Months Away!
It has been weeks since I’ve done an update on our trip planning, and I am having a hard time believing that we are less than two months out! Needless to say, we have gotten a lot of stuff done. The last time I posted about this, we had just booked our tickets to see the Alhambra and had all our hotels and the transatlantic flights booked. Here is where we are now:
1. Trains and Buses. We have all of our trains booked except for one and that is only because it is not available for purchase on the Spanish rail website yet. I am checking every few days so that we can book it as soon as it becomes available. We also have two long distance buses that still need to be booked but those are not available yet, either. I think one of them doesn’t become available until about 10 days beforehand, so we will be purchasing that within days before we leave.
2. Sightseeing and Itineraries. I am currently researching all our options for each location. This includes museums, churches and cathedrals, tours, experiences, shows (flamenco, fado, etc.), etc. As I go through each city, I am putting together a tentative itinerary and I have been posting them to the appropriate forums on Tripadvisor to get first-hand advice. So far, I have a pretty decent itinerary for Lisbon and Seville. I am working on Tarifa right now, and this also includes the several day trips we are taking from Tarifa, since it is mostly serving as a place from which to take these day trips. After that, all that is left is Granada.
3. Travel Equipment. We have purchased a fold-up lightweight backpack to take with us this time. I thought it would be nice to have something to put picnic food and snacks in, or even to store souvenirs if we buy some along the way. It is very small and doesn’t take up much room. We also purchased a small double stroller and have been trying it out with the kids. The handle is a little close and it feels like I am going to run into the wheels as I push it, so Eric is working on rigging it up so that we can stand a little further away from it and push it. Thank God for the internet! We’ve also been getting some summer clothes for the kids that we will also be able to use for Europe. I have been on the lookout for jeans and some new walking shoes for myself as well. I have a pair of Skechers I plan to tak but also wanted to bring something a little dressier but something that would still be good for walking. We recently got the two Rick Steves guidebooks we need so that we can take them with us when we go.
4. The Little Details. There are several things we like to do before leaving for Europe, so we have been working on checking them off the list. Just the other night, my husband registered our trip with the state department. We do this whenever we leave the country so that our country is aware of where we are. This might sound weird to some, but if something catastrophic were to happen, there would be a record of our being in a certain country and they would know to look for us there. Also, if there is information we need to know, they know where to find us. We have also started looking into ordering some euros beforehand so that we have a little before we get there. We plan to call our credit cards in the next few weeks (we have already called one) to let them know we will be out of the country. Sometimes it helps to call beforehand so that any purchases made in the countries you are visiting aren’t blocked.
5. “Missions.” Apparently, Anya would like to have “missions” to complete while we are on vacation (just like Dora!). I am working on coming up with some fun games and projects she can work on on trains and planes and in the stroller. We gave her one of our old cameras and I plan to come up with a list of things for her to take pictures of on our walking tours. We have also found several free apps for our phones and the Ipad that we plan to introduce when she is bored on a bus or train.
So this is where are at this point. I’m still finishing up the itineraries and will book the remaining transportation legs when possible. And we are always on the search for things we need for the trip!