Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Travel thoughts - are our holidays real holidays?

A motorway stop in France - a playground on the theme of mushrooms!
Michela is the little elf with the yellow T-shirt and orange shorts

My blog carries a list of my most popular posts and the top spot is taken by part I of my "epic" car journey from England to Italy. We did this twice in our small red Toyota. My daughter was aged one and two, so you can well imagine how much stuff we had to carry with us! 

For us, getaways don't feel like proper holidays - we like to visit our families so there is not much scope for variety: every year we go to Italy and to Staffordshire to the same locations. That's why the car journey was such a marvellous idea - we chose different stops and were able to visit a different city or town for half a day before moving on. This worked really well with compact cities and small towns - it would be quite stressful if we chose a metropolis like Paris. If you want to read our travelogue, click the link in the first sentence, that post also has a link to our first journey, which offers some tips on travelling with a young toddler. 

We have not caved in and bought a DVD player for the car, we have other aces up our sleeves, such as snacks, nursery rhymes, silly car games and plenty of stops (French motorway stops are fab as they often have a playground).

So what about this year? Well, we will do our trip up north at some point and then go to Italy in August. This is when there is a festival (or shall I say festa) in my village, so there are free (and paid) concerts, food, an amusement park and a bit of life (it's a sleepy village most of the time).

In the past years we have been flying and hiring a car but this year the Olympics frenzy has made flying a really expensive business. I'm hoping my partner will feel like driving as I'd love to go to Italy through another route (Germany, Switzerland???). We have always used the Eurostar as much swifter than the ferry but if we don't go through France there are other options... French motorways are quite expensive too but they do save time. I wonder about other countries, would motorways be even pricier? The good thing is that paid motorways are quiet compared to the ones we use to drive up north and the stops are really good. Boring as it may sound I will have to research motorways in other European countries!

A beach in northern France, our first stop

Another "epic" car journey would really make me feel that we are going on holiday not just visiting relatives. So let's see what happens, fingers crossed my partner wants to be behind the wheel!

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