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As a young 23 year old in 1987, I stood on a bridge in the heat of a hot European summer in the middle of Rome, closed my eyes and promised myself, that I would once again, return to those places in which I only got a minimal glimpse of but left a little piece of my heart behind and have yearned to go back for many years, this time, to stay a little longer and see a little more of both Italy and France…

Now, 30 years


half a lifetime later,

I get to plan

it all


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In just over 600 days, I will be eligible for my Long Service Leave which in Australia is a very generous reward for working with the same employer for 10 years and your reward is 13 weeks leave at full pay.   I actually have not stayed that long with any other employer as in our early marriage we moved around as an army family so its only the last decade in working at various universities I finally will be eligible in 2018. Not many generations following us stay this long in jobs so I am glad I will have made it to use especially for my trips. I know this time will fly by and be here soon enough which is why I love to plan early and spend precious time before a large trip to really work out exactly what I want and how I want to do it.


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Lately, I have been busy asking lots of questions in my spare time on Fodor’s Travel talk forums which is a wealth of information by locals who spend their time helping travellers like me navigate around their countries and plan trips of lifetimes. I have so many great tips and advice from these fellow travellers and cannot thank them enough for writing reviews and posting to questions I have asked. You can virtually find anything you want or need just at the end of your laptop.  It makes me wonder how we all got along before internet days!  I still remember sitting in a Glenroy travel agency with virtually no input into my first European trip other than selecting a Contiki tour with suitable dates, not even caring where it went or did not go. Travelling now is so much easier to navigate all the details yourself with a little help from travel agents if you still need them for advice.

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I have, through the help of those strangers above decided upon what I think will be our route and it gets me all excited just thinking about it, our travels will be across 6 weeks or so living in and crossing to and from, mainly by train:

Amalfi Coast
Lake Como
Switzerland / Austria
Amsterdam / Bruges

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So this particular post is to begin making this dream come alive by sharing it with you and also to share some wonderful sites I have stumbled across while researching my trip. I am sure to find many more before I am done, but for anyone else who is thinking of a trip to Europe and want some great advice, travel tips and tricks, here’s a peek at what I have found most helpful on my ‘information quest’ so far on what, where and how?  Please share your own stories and tips on any of the towns I am intending on visiting, its always great to hear from those who have travelled before me on what is great and not so great to do, and if you are travelling, I wish you only safe and wonderful memories which I know will hold dear for you.  Thankfully I wont have to wait another 30 years after this trip to spread my wings again, I have more plans in the next few years to go back to the US and Canada to do the West side next :).

How about you ?

where will your next trip be,

start saving now-

we were not meant to just live a small piece of our life

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