Whenever I’m a week out from a trip I start playing the “A week from now I’ll be…” game with myself. I can’t believe it – the past month has flown by – but I’m now able to do that in anticipation of my DTour!
Well, a week from now I’ll be in Costa Brava, Spain – flying over Emporda, sipping Spanish reds, scuba diving, seeing the area that inspired Dalí and soaking up the beauty of the Spanish Riviera.
Jealous? When I look over my itinerary for my DTour I can scarcely believe that I am the one who gets to experience all of this! My itinerary is a great mix of a couple of my favorite European cities and several new destinations and experiences. My hosts have been amazing already and have offered to help me organize a truly amazing three weeks in Spain, Turkey, The Netherlands, Ireland and England.
I’ve been to Spain but never this specific area of the country. During my semester abroad I visited Costa del Sol and Barcelona, which is about 100km from Costa Brava. The hotel has suggested enough activities to keep me busy for a month and it was difficult to whittle down the list to what could be accomplished in 2 and a half days. This visit is sure to be filled with delicious food, gorgeous vistas, complete with generous doses of adventure, culture and history.
Turkey has been on my shortlist for a while and I’m so excited that I get to experience the country as a DTourist! The closest I’ve come to visiting Turkey was was flying through the airport 3 years ago en route to Kenya. There was a gorgeous sunset from above the clouds but as soon as we touched down I was quickly ushered through security in order to make my connecting flight. On this visit I’ll experience a different kind of view from the sky – from a hot air balloon ride in Cappadoccia! I’m also looking forward to experiencing a Turkish bath, visiting the famed Blue Mosque, the spice market, Hagia Sophia, bazaar and other iconic stops in Istanbul. Friends who have been to Turkey have all commented on how much I’ll love it and I’m sure they’re right!
The Netherlands – DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam
Once again, my only experience with Amsterdam has been in the airport! Like with Istanbul, I flew through en route to Kenya – though on this stop I at least had time to sit and enjoy a little breakfast. Still, I’m so excited to really experience Amsterdam like a local – by bike! It seems only appropriate that since a bike tour started this whole journey for me that I should spend as much time touring on bike as possible! The hotel has generously offered me a bike to use for my visit and I can’t wait to cycle to the markets, peddle around the city and pop in at a couple of museums – especially since the Van Gogh Museum will have a brand new piece on display!
I visited Ireland very briefly when I interned for a summer in London. Like most college-aged travelers I stayed in a hostel in Dublin and did my best to see the city on a tight budget and limited time. There was SO much that I didn’t get to see! I remember Ireland being a very warm and welcoming country and I look forward to getting to know local Dubliners on my return. I will also be attending TBEX while in Dublin and will be able to take advantage of tours and experiences with the conference. Though, ever since my first sip of Jameson 9 years ago it’s been my favorite and I’m excited to visit the Jameson Distillery on this return visit!
A Google Image search for Chester, England is enough to get anyone excited to visit this adorable town. I love that I have the chance to see a different part of England and am so excited to stay in the old Manor House that is now the hotel – just gorgeous! As I mentioned, I lived as an intern for a summer in London in 2004. I jump at any chance to get back to that city as there is enough to keep even return visitors busy! This will be my third visit to London and I am looking forward to experiencing a different side of this city including an East End Street Art tour, Borough Market and visits with old friends.