I’ve done some amazing international trips recently, and I’m looking forward to more.
This page is a work in progress, I’ve worked on it a few days as a draft, but want to share what I have so far.
Pending UK/Ireland trips(s)
We’ve kept pretty isolated since my husband started working from home in early March 2020. Since then, I’ve watched hours and hours of shows like Rick Steves’ Europe, Footloose, Walks with My Dog, Walks Around Britian, and Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands (all available on Amazon Video, unfortunately Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands is no longer included with Prime but many clips of the Paul Murton show can be found on YouTube). I’ve also been inspired by works of fiction both on TV (Netflix and Prime) and in literature– Outlander, Poldark, Derry Girls, Sherlock, the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R King, and Hinterland.
I believe it will take months to see and do all the things I want to in this part of the world, particularly because of my interest in long-distance trails such as the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way.
Hong Kong 2022
I will be going to Hong Kong in November 2022 to participate in Gay Games 11. As in prior years, there are road races of 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon distances, but new for 2022 there will also be trail races of 10K and marathon. It’s a lot to do in a 7 or 8 day span, so I need to consider which races I really want to do, probably no marathons but I really hope they have a half marathon the same day as the trail marathon. I haven’t put much consideration in what else to do besides running, partly because the parties and cultural events associated with Gay Games haven’t been announced yet. I’ll include more info on Gay Games in my Paris 2018 post farther down this page. We also have to decide if we should pull our daughter out of school for the experience.
Pending Canada Trip (2021…)
We had plans to do this in the summer of 2020 but of course it is being deferred. Hopefully by late July 2021 we can cross the border for non-essential travel. If you read the section above, you’ve already got the idea that I watch a lot of TV. I watched Republic of Doyle about a year ago. It’s fairly cheesy but I fell in love with St. John’s, Newfoundland and started talking about a trip to Canada. Our daughter started researching things to do in Canada and came up wanting to go to a securie (sugar shack) in Quebec. Anne of Green Gables and Anne with an E lover that I am, of course Prince Edward Island will be on the route. We watched a bunch of YouTube videos about Canadian tourism, particularly a channel called Must Do Canada, in which a charming couple take a 150-day road trip to celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada.
Amsterdam and Scotland 2019
I will start at the beginning, so bear along with this… My bestie and her husband were planning a trip that would end with them going to a metal (music) festival in Germany. They were throwing around Spain or Greece as a destination. My husband (Steve) went to Spain in 2005 when we had just started dating and we want to go there together, so when she mentioned Spain, I said if they picked Spain, I should talk Steve into going along. Then I found out they were talking about Minorca and Ibeza and we realized that wasn’t the part of Spain we wanted to focus on and her husband didn’t want us along for nude beaches. Eventually she said after Spain, they were going to Amsterdam for a few days before Germany and we all agreed to do that together. Obviously Steve and I wanted to spend more time over there than just a few days in Amsterdam. I was full into my Outlander-inspired Scotland obsession and Steve wanted to return to Prague after having been there for a brief business trip. I asked him if he’d rather go to Scotland or Prague after Amsterdam and he chose Scotland. We took two weeks and over a hundred photos so I’m dividing them up by day below and linking accommodations, restaurants when I can think of them, and other attractions.
Day 1/2 – Fri, July 26/Sat, July 27
We started out of SeaTac on Norwegian Airlines Friday, July 26. We arrived at the airport 3 hours in advance, as recommended for international flights. While we sat at the gate, a flight delay notification came through. Our initial plan was to fly to London Gatwick and take a Eurostar train from St. Pancras Station in downtown London to Amsterdam. We had four hours from scheduled flight arrival to train departure instead of a 12 hour layover had we continued by air. With the delay, we weren’t sure we could make the connection in London. I started by looking for a later train, but they were sold out. Flights were much later and hundreds of dollars each. A point to point car rental would be $1300. I found news articles calling it “the busiest travel weekend in Europe.” I tried to calm myself and wait to see what time we would actually arrive. Thankfully it was earlier than predicted. We claimed our bags, went through passport control, bought tickets for the Thameslink to downtown and caught the next train. The Eurostar requires a minimum of 30 minute advance check in and we scanned our tickets within 5 minutes of the deadline! All’s well that ends well.
We arrived at the Centraal Station in Amsterdam and decided to walk to our AirBnB, which took almost half an hour. It was around 80 degrees and we had to drag our rolling bags across a lot of cobblestone. Fortunately reviews of our AirBnB warned of the difficulty getting large suitcases up the ladder-like stairs into the apartment and we only had small suitcases. Our host no longer lists the apartment so the link above is just a map location. The pictures to the right illustrate our low-ceiling bathroom and rooftop deck.
Our friends didn’t arrive til later so we ate dinner on our own at P. King and grabbed a drink before heading back to the apartment.
Day 3 – Sunday, July 28
One of the main things my friend wanted to make sure we did in Amsterdam was to visit the botanical gardens. It has separate buildings climate controlled for different types of plants; one is a butterfly house.
In the evening Steve and I took a canal cruise, which we had booked because of a word-of-mouth recommendation, but also turned out to be one of AirBnB’s most popular experiences worldwide. It’s a much smaller, more personal tour than the river and canal cruises you can take in many cities.
Day 4 – Monday, July 29
Day 5 – Tuesday, July 30
Today we checked out of our AirBnB and checked our bags into a locker at Centraal Station. We took a train for about 40 minutes to den Haag (The Hague). We did a bit of walking, saw the