End of November, mum and I met up in Paris for our (almost) annual mother-daughter weekend. I mean, a Christmas weekend in Paris? What could be better? We were both looking forward to it. Making travel plans in the current climate is a bit risky, so when booking, I ensured that all could be cancelled until the week before. Just to be safe. But, against all odds (with Covid cases on the up again, we were a little worried until the last minute) we made it to Paris. And it does seem it was last minute, as travel restrictions were tightened again in the UK whilst we were on our Christmas weekend in Paris.
591 days. This is how long it has been since I last boarded an aircraft. Little did I know, when waiting in the British Airways lounge at JFK that the flight back from New York would be my last flight in a very long time.
Five hundred and ninety-one days! As someone, who would average 80 to 90 flights a year and who’s record still stands at six flights in seven days, this is almost beyond belief.
We finally made it. After a very long 15 months, we managed to travel to Germany and see the family. Hooray. But quite a few things had changed since we last went over in summer 2020. Travel restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, Brexit coming into full effect, as well as taking a dog over to mainland Europe for the first time. Even as a seasoned traveller, I found it super confusing to work out what paperwork we would need. So, I thought I’d give you a little run down of everything we needed to travel to Germany and back to the UK at these uncertain times. But please don’t take this as a check list for your own travels. If you are planning on travelling, I would urge you to check the respective government websites yourself. Travel restrictions and requirements change all the time, and I wouldn’t want you to get stuck somewhere along the way because you had the wrong documents (or were missing a test).
Back in 2019, Mr T embarked on his first ever cycle touring adventure. A three-day tour from Cambridge to Norfolk. And since he enjoyed it, he vowed this wouldn’t have been the last time he’d do a cycle tour. Two years on and he finally got to do it all again. Not quite as long this time, instead he would cycle the Avenue Verte in one day. Or at least the English part of it, from London to the coast, not crossing over to France (as if that was an option at the moment… sadly not).
Last weekend, we went down to the Isle of Wight for a long weekend. And you know what? This was the first time, we had been anywhere since our short trip up North, back in September. And it was actually the first time our puppy Frank spent a night away from home.
It has been well over two years since we had last been down to the island. And as some of you might remember, it didn’t quite go to plan for me. My weekend on the Isle of Wight was cut a little short, thanks to getting stuck in Paris for an extra day (something Mr T frequently keeps reminding me of).
Did you know that Budapest has no less than nine thermal baths and a staggering 123 thermal springs? When planning our mother-daughter-weekend in Budapest, visiting one of those thermal baths was top of our itinerary. And with so much choice, we decided on a visit to the Szechenyi Baths. But is this the best thermal bath in Budapest? Or should we have gone to one of the others? Well, let me tell you all about our afternoon at the Szechenyi Baths and you can decide for yourself.
When it comes to mother-daughter-weekends, our usual time slot for years was the August bank holiday weekend (ok, with the exception of visiting the Vienna Christmas markets obviously, not many of those around in August). But when it came to planning our Budapest weekend, we also decided we’d rather not go in August. As visiting a thermal bath in Budapest (or anywhere really) in the height of summer didn’t sound much fun. Much more appealing when it is cold outside (maybe even with a little snow on the ground?). Therefore, we settled for a weekend in November instead.
2020 is finally coming to an end, just a few more hours to go. Is it just me, or did it feel like 2020 went on for about three years at least? I mean, can you even remember what happened back in January?
Usually, I would use these last few hours of the year to reflect on my travels of the last 12 months, total up the number of flights I’ve taken, the countries I’ve visited. And generally dwell in travel memories and highlights of the year.
Have you ever visited the Beamish Living Museum of the North? No? Have you even heard of it? OK, I’ll be absolutely honest with you. Neither had I, until I started putting together the itinerary for our trip up North. It is a museum (this much you can gather from the name I guess), but what is so special about it? And is the Beamish Museum worth a visit (I pretend) I hear you say? Glad you asked. Let me tell you all about our visit to the Beamish Living Museum of the North and whether we thought the Beamish Museum was worth the visit or not.
In the current situation, travel options are a tad limited. So, when thinking about destinations for our late summer holiday, it was clear that it would be within the UK. No way would I risk having to quarantine for a fortnight. It was just the question of where to go. One favourite was Cornwall, as we originally planned to go there in July, then had to cancel for family reasons. Alternatively, maybe another trip to the Isle of Wight? After all, it’s been a year and a half again, since we last went (and as some of you might remember, thanks to me getting stuck in Paris, that weekend was a little shorter than planned). But in the end, we decided to head up north and stay in Sunderland for four nights. We’ve never actually been there, but for sure there’d be plenty of things to do in Tyne and Wear?
Up until March, heading into London was a normal thing to do. After all, I might not live there anymore, but I still work in London. Whether it was my daily commute into the office, meeting up with friends, shopping or simply exploring town, London was only ever a 45-minute train ride away. Occasionally a little longer, if train services were disrupted. But never ever could I imagine not being able to actually get to London for weeks on end. But then, it happened. The whole world came to a brief stop, the UK (and many other countries) went into lockdown. Although we are now gradually getting back to some form of normality, the new normal feels a million miles away from the old normal.
And the same goes for trips to London.