Category Archives: Before the trip

Striking out in Europe

It’s just over a year since we set off on our round-the-world trip. Our blog has been a fantastic memento of our travels, and we’ve had plenty of positive comments from friends and family. So when we were planning our holiday this year, we couldn’t resist bringing it back for a short reprise!

For this year’s trip we decided to explore a bit of Europe. We don’t have the luxury of three months – but two weeks is still plenty of time to see a few places.

So, here’s our plan…

Our trip started with our only flight, from Edinburgh to Milan (after a quick stop to see family in South Queensferry). We are now working our way back from Italy by train.

We will spend most of our time in Switzerland, somewhere neither of us has been before. Our first stop from Milan will be Lugano, just over the border and nestled on the Italian Lakes. We then go on to Lucerne, followed by Zurich.

Our last stop will be Paris, for a short stay with family in the lovely suburb of Malakoff. We will then take the Eurostar to London and on home to the North East of England.

There is also the small matter of my 40th birthday, which we will be celebrating while we are in Lugano – not long until my 30s are over!


Monday 7th – Tuesday 8th September
Newcastle to South Queensferry
The first leg of our journey took us in completely the wrong direction, heading north for our flight from Edinburgh Airport.

But there’s never a bad time to do the train journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh (well, it’s a bit nicer when it’s not raining!). The East Coast Main Line takes you out of Newcastle with fantastic views of River Tyne and the Tyne Bridge. It then hugs the Northumberland coast, offering views of Alnmouth, Holy Island and Berwick upon Tweed.


South Queensferry is a short train ride from the centre of Edinburgh, on the southern bank of the Firth of Forth, and close to Edinburgh Airport. My sister, Claire, and her family have lived there for a few years now and this was a great opportunity to see them.

We spent a lovely afternoon there. It began with picking up our niece Holly from school (which she started just a couple of weeks ago). We also had a birthday meal, and I got a great present of a T-shirt and a delicious home-made birthday cake. Our nephew Ethan (who is two) enjoyed blowing out the birthday candles, too!

On Tuesday morning we were taken to the airport by Claire and Ethan. Ethan is a big fan of aeroplanes, so I think he was more excited than us!

Sports results of the day
When walking through Edinburgh station on Monday we noticed a few people wearing Scotland football tops and kilts, followed by people in lederhosen. It could mean only one thing: Scotland against Germany in the Euro qualifiers! It sounds like Scotland put up a good fight, but eventually lost 3-2…not a bad result against the world champions, but they needed more to revive their hopes of qualification.

On the same evening, Andy Murray crashed out of the US Open, against South African Kevin Anderson. We can’t believe it is a year since we saw Murray’s quarter final against Djokovic at last year’s tournament!


The Plan

It all started with a plan. Why not take a bunch of time off work, and go travelling? We couldn’t make that happen….could we?

It didn’t take long, and the idea was beginning to become a reality. Our employers were amazing and soon agreed we could take up to three months off. We booked our flights. And we took our cork noticeboard (conveniently in the shape of a world map) and mapped out the trip.


The itinerary

A round-the-world ticket was the best way to plan our flights, and it also gives us a bit of flexibility if we want to make changes. So, this is the starting point for our journey:

We start in the USA – flying into New York, and fly out of San Francisco five and a half weeks later. We currently have about 17 plans for what we’re going to do on our journey across America!

We then have a short stay (10 days) in Sydney, Australia, and surrounding area.

After this, it’s off to New Zealand. We’re really excited about this bit, because our friends Doug and Julie live near Wellington and we haven’t seen them for ages! We fly into Wellington and out of Auckland three and a half weeks later.

Finally, on our way home, we stop off for a ten day visit to Japan, starting in Kyoto and flying out of Tokyo.

The rules of engagement

We’ve been lucky enough to do a fair bit of travelling in the past, so our trip is going to be based on what we know we enjoy….

1. We will travel by train as much as possible – we find it a relaxing and easy way to get around, and all the places we’re visiting have reasonable train networks.

2. Watch a fair bit of sport. We’re huge baseball fans (unusual in the UK!) but we’re also hoping to see other sports, including tennis at the US Open.

3. Eat lots of great food, including local specialities in the places we visit.

4. Take plenty of photos (and share them right here)

We will also share any stuff we learn about making travel easier, safer or more fun as we go on our trip.

It all started with a plan. A cork board world map and a piece of string. And the reality is now just a few weeks away.