Merry Christmas! It’s 40 degrees outside (that’s a lazy 100 in old school temperatures), the aircon is set to “arctic” but is struggling as much as you are, but Christmas dinner must go on. So it must be time to fire up the “Barbie”.
Beers and grilled meat, sweat and swimming, that’s an Aussie Christmas.
I think most Aussies have dreamed of a “White Christmas” at some stage but it seems there is always a reason it can’t be done. Grandparents laying on a guilt trip about you stealing their family time if you try to escape the heat with kids in tow, a spouse that just can’t imagine not sharing the season with her siblings (yes, I’m talking to you wifey), there was always something.
But this year is going to be different. I needed something special to celebrate what may be the last Christmas I get to share with my wife and daughter for a few years, with junior planning to set off on a multi-year voyage of discovery when she turns 18 in January, and so we figured this would be the perfect chance to have that elusive Christmas without the threat of sunburn.
The deal was sealed when Dana (daughter) signed on to take a grad trip at the end of High School this November and reported it was to Europe. My planning brain cells went in to overdrive and I convinced my better half we should meet her in Europe at the end of her trip and extend to include Christmas in colder climes.
She finally gave in to my pleading and then I set to work on convincing her to extend the trip. “Hey, we could add a couple of extra days and have New Year in Paris”, a little arm twisting later and we had extended.
“How about we leave a week or two earlier and then we can have your birthday (end of November) over there as well?”, a lot more begging and sad puppy face and the trip had grown to five glorious weeks. Merry Christmas to me!
The planning has now been going on since April and I feel like I’ve got the main structure in place. I am always open to suggestions so please feel free to send them my way. Based on past experience I have pre-booked some of the accommodation, especially dates or places that I need to be assured of the right place to stay, and also left some freewheeling nights to go as we please.
Here is the way it looks so far…
- 28th November – land in Paris, pick up our car and drive to Reims for the night
- 29th November – the birthday. Drive to Heidelberg for a couple of nights with birthday dinner at the Schnitzelbank.
- 1st December to 11th December – no fixed dates but looking to visit Regensburg, Cesky Krumlov and Prague, then head north to Berlin and across to Amsterdam.
- 12th December – meet junior in Brussels at the end of her tour.
- 14th December to 22nd December – drive through German Christmas markets, especially Rothenburg ob der Tauber, before heading to Austria.
- 23rd December to 26th December – Christmas in Salzberg including a Christmas Day horse drawn sleigh ride.
- 27th December to 30th December – on the way to Paris with a few days around Colmar and the stunning Alsace wine region before heading to Paris.
- 30th December to 2nd January – New Year in Paris, staying in an apartment with an awesome view at Montmartre this time.
It is then time for the fun to end as the grown ups head back to work to fund the next adventure while Miss Junior heads deeper in to France to visit some wonderful family friends for an extra week or so, before she flies home just in time for her 18th birthday. What a life she has!
I hope you join my updates as this trip unfolds and would love your thoughts and suggestions.