This trip has been at least three years in the making. When I knew we were getting married, I dreamed that at the end of the big party, the big feelings, my shiny new husband and myself would be on a plane to Europe. While others get really excited for continents like Asia and South America, I pretty much only get googly eyes over the Big E.
(I don't know why. Maybe I'm secretly racist. Or maybe I was a colonizer who was afraid of planes and going too far from home, in a past life.)
In late 2012, I started to become aware of Icelandair and their stopover deals-- you can stay in Iceland for a maximum of seven nights on your onward destination to some other European country that the airline connects to. Two countries for the price of oooooone. Bicep + thumbs up emoji!
The closest North American hub to us was Seattle, and I plotted over who to bribe to drive us down to the States.
But it was not to be. School starts early in the Yukon, and so we pretty much only had two weeks for a trip after the wedding. We re-brainstormed and I put aside my Euro ideas for the moment. If you're a regular reader of this blog of mine, you know that we ultimately had a truly lovely mielmoon in Sooke and in New York.
Fast forward from 2013 to today. To the elements that made this trip happen! The reasons why I am typing to you in an airport, in full view of a 7-foot rotating turbine, with the cawing of a crow in the background (poor buddy has been making the international wing, gate D53, his home for two weeks now, airport staff say):
- Icelandair opened up Vancouver as a departure point
- Maggie and Jenkin got engaged and decided their wedding would be in London
- I begged my husband pleasepleaseplease can we go? And can we travel before the wedding?And I promised this would be one of the last big international trips we would take for a long time (Asia when we have babies, being the other).
- He begrudgingly said yes. (Begrudging because of carbon guilt; not the wedding)
- (I'm exaggerating about begging to be allowed to go to the wedding. It was really the other 4 weeks of travel outside of London that I had to negotiate.)
- We quit our teaching jobs in the Yukon and weren't constrained anymore by school starting in mid-August
- I got into my Masters program and realized that my next two summers are going to be fully dedicated to school, and this is truly the only summer for a while to do something like this
- We started a budgeting system for the first time, and saved up as much krona as we could in anticipation of all the lamb hotdogs and geothermal pools we'd frequent
I feel really lucky. Like pinch my butt lucky. I am excited and nervous and tingly that our five week adventure begins today! If you squint, you can make out that the map on the first picture above has a tentative plan from when I first imagined the itinerary a couple years ago. I love looking at it, because the countries we bounced around back then have changed a few times by now, and because it reminds me that if you eke out a vision of what you want out of life, it has the possibility of coming true.
We're no longer going to Rome or Florence or Sardinia or Corsica like in the original plan. We're not going to ride a train through the Swiss Alps, either. There have been so many different iterations of what this journey might look like, and at some point I have mourned the ghost ships that we won't be on.
BUT. B and I are pretty stoked about the final itinerary we came up with, and invite you to take a look. If you have any tips about any of our stops, please let us know!
July 22nd - July 30th ----- Reykjavik + Southeast Iceland (car camping)
July 30th - August 4th ----- Copenhagen, Denmark
August 4th - August 8th ----- Cortina D'ampezzo, Italy
(The city we will base ourselves out of for hiking the Dolomites)
August 8th - August 10th ------ Venice, Italy
August 10th - 17th ------ South of France
(Road trip through Aix-en-Provence, Lauris + Luberon valley, Marseilles)
August 17th - 25th ------ London, England