My 2017 travel itinerary…so far! (updated June 2017)

My 2017 travel itinerary…so far! (updated June 2017)

Ok, so I’ve got plenty planned for 2017. Too much some might say! Here’s a quick preview of where and why I’ve made the bookings. I’ll add to it if I find any more money from somewhere.

It will be intriguing to see if the new destinations live up to the high expectations I have. And if the old Txiki favourites remain so, or even add a new dimension of pleasure.

January – Hamburg, Germany

This will be my first trip in about 15 months with Mr G, my best friend from my university days. We’ve had a number of wonderful Txiki voyages over the years. We’ve discovered a number of places together that we still return to today. And we’ve been to Sofia in Bulgaria!!

Hailing from Merseyside originally, I’m fascinated by places with a strong maritime tradition. I’m hoping that Hamburg will be a vibrant melting-pot of design and life itself. Having said that, I’m also expecting to need the thermals from the back of the wardrobe given the climate!

We do like the odd beer or two and I’d be interested to hear any personal recommendations. I’m looking forward to the ‘edginess’ of the Reeperbahn but under strict instructions from Mrs L to stay on the right side of ‘seedy’, if you know what I mean.

So what was Hamburg like – here’s my thoughts: Hamburg rocks!

February – Aviles and Gijon, Spain

Mrs L and I fell in love with the simplicity and easy going way of life in Asturias. And it’s incredibly cheap. You can actually do three cities in one weekend – you can read about that via my blog on the ‘Asturian Triangle.’

This time we are going to centre our visit on Aviles once more, pound-for-pound possibly the greatest small city I have come across so far. The Old Town is small but perfectly formed and the variety of complimentary tapas to accompany your lubrication is quite splendid.

The alluring Aviles Old Town

We’re going to spend a little more time in Gijon (pronounced he-hon!) on this occasion. Oviedo might be cleaner and more beautiful but this coastal city has great character to it, and as usual, an abundance of great bars!

Gijon seafront

Here are my blogs on the Carnival and a stroll around Gijon

March – Gdansk, Poland

You can’t beat Poland for it’s gorgeous Hanseatic architecture and inexpensive food and drink. I’ve been to Wroclaw twice, Poznan and most recently Warsaw. The tale of my Warsaw trip with my oldest school friend Mr T can be viewed here.

The dramatic Palace of Culture in Warsaw

Whilst in Warsaw, Mrs L and Mrs T took it upon themselves to book a visit for the four of us to Gdansk. We have travelled together quite regularly. All of us having a very similar outlook on life, these trips start quite relaxed and progress via a spiral in all directions through a haze of enjoyment.

I’m quite looking forward to exploring the historical side of Gdansk, particularly in relation to the Solidarity movement and the break from Communism.

[UK based cultural references coming up – this is a warning!]

In the words of Louis Walsh, Lech Walesa reminds me of a little Ricky Tomlinson….’my arse!’

Blog on Gdansk coming soon!

April – Dubai, UAE

After a few trips where the chances of frostbite are a distinct possibility, it’s time for some sun and heat.

It may be brash but I can’t get enough of Dubai. People say that it’s too expensive. Granted, the post Brexit-vote devaluation hasn’t helped but you can still get decent value for money. I’ve stayed at Atlantis before in the summer months when even that was very affordable.

View from the Burj Khalifa

At Easter it’s a different story though and accommodation can be outrageously expensive. And if you eat in a licensed hotel, the bar bill might be as hefty and inflated as the food prices.

But we’re not bothered about staying at the fanciest beach resorts and prefer to explore the city using the metro and other public transport. We’ll also eat at family-friendly and local restaurants. And we’ll even pop into Waitrose if we are passing for a quick 50p chicken samosa for lunch. At a local outlet it’s even cheaper than that. We also managed to get flights with Emirates that were no more expensive than traveling at any other time of year. All in all, I’m not sure there are many places with guaranteed heat that I could have got much cheaper directly in the Easter fortnight.

Waterpark fun

Now that my ticker is no longer malfunctioning, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Wild Wadi waterpark compares to Aquaventure on the Palm and Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi. Again the entrance fee is quite expensive but I’ve managed to get around that one.

Yas Waterworld takes some beating

By signing up for the Jumeirah Sirius loyalty programme I managed to get 3 nights for the price of two at the end of our stay at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel near the airport. We’ve gone for a Club Room which is still very affordable and in addition to the free snacks during the day and free cocktails and canapes in the evening, we also receive unlimited transport and access to the waterpark.

Never listen to people who advise you that a place is too expensive or out of reach. They will just shatter your dreams. Yes some places are more expensive than others, but there is always a way to get value if you hunt around and are prepared for a little compromise.

My blog on an affordable family break to Dubai is coming in early June.

May – Bilbao, Basque, Country – CANCELLED

What can I say. This is the first of my two regular annual trips to ‘Billy.’ This time we are going with Mr and Mrs F – it will be their second visit to the Basque beauty with us. If you want to know why we visit so frequently take a look at My Perfect 24 hours in Bilbao.

Blibao from Mount Artxanda

Due to a change in flight times we have had to cancel the Bilbao trip. But fear not, we are now going to…

May – Zagreb, Croatia

As disappointed as we were to see Bilbao disappear over the horizon, it has given us the chance to look at a new destination. As soon as the email arrived announcing 6 hour changes to both flights the quest for a new experience began. Shortly afterwards I received a text from Mrs L. Mrs F had found reasonable flights to Zagreb for the same weekend. I’ve not been to Zagreb or Croatia so that was a tick in the box. In fact I’ve not actually been to any of the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia which I must rectify! And being a fan of cities that more under the radar, Zagreb seemed an ideal choice.

After getting confirmation from easyJet that they would cancel the booking and give a full refund, we immediately booked our new flights with Monarch. After reading some of the excellent blogs of Andrea Pisac on her Zagreb Honestly site I’m convinced we’re going to have a Txiki tale to tell after this adventure.

And you can read about it here

July – Nuremburg, Germany

After returning from Zagreb, the thought of three months without a break was just too much. We’ll be taking young Tom to Nuremburg to give his forthcoming history GCSE studies some more perspective.

And I’m sure the Bavarian beer and sausage will feature on the agenda at some point.

August – Budapest and Bratislava, Hungary and Slovakia

What do you do when you are looking for an inexpensive break over your anniversary and it is in peak holiday season? Be a little creative.

You know the score. You are scouring the budget airline websites and you find a great deal going out only to find that the return flight is hideously expensive.

Hold on a minute, is there alternative way of sorting something? How about if we find a couple of cities that we can easily travel between by train? Budapest and Bratislava sounds good. And at less than £90 return per person it is excellent value for money over a bank holiday weekend.

Budapest has long been on my short list of places to visit. For some reason, we’ve always ended up doing something else or going somewhere else. Now it is finally booked and paid for I’m already salivating at the thought, in spite of all the other trips in the meantime. I suppose if I had been making this trip 150 years ago, it would be another 3 cities in one weekend, what with Buda and Pest both cities in their own right prior to unification. Too many buildings are described as iconic these days but I would put the Parliament building firmly in that classification and I’m looking forward to seeing it face to face.

So Bratislava is a bit of a bonus. I know people who have been and thoroughly enjoyed their time there. Mr G (of the Hamburg trip) advised me that it was nice but not that big on A-list sights…but it has some quality places to eat and drink. Just the recommendation likely to make Bratislava another city of choice for Mrs L and myself.

October – Bilbao, Basque Country – CANCELLED

Three months later and we are back in Bilbao again, this time accompanied for the first time (on this or any other trip) by Miss S and Mr D. Day two of the trip is Saturday and it also happens to be my birthday. I have a feeling that I’m going to have to rely on the assistance of photographs to document that particular day with any degree of accuracy!

Or maybe not, easyjet changed the schedule again and so we are now all off to…

October – Krakow, Poland

Miss S and Mr D left it up to us to choose a replacement destination. Krakow worked on a number of levels and will be a new experience for all four of us.

I’ve heard so much about Krakow from friends who have already succumbed to it’s charms. It will be my third Polish city in under 12 months so how will it compare with Gdansk and Warsaw?

November – Bilbao, Basque Country???

Mrs L and I have booked a cheeky one from Stansted in the middle of November. The thought of 2017 without a Bilbao excursion was making me sick to the pit of my stomach.

So please easyJet, leave this one alone…

And now I’ve just booked another Bilbao excursion with old school friend Mr C for the middle of September. We are taking on the late night Manchester flights and have a nocturnal break!

Anything else planned?

Unless I’m in receipt of a major bonus, a lottery win or they start paying for organ donation, this will probably be it for 2017.

I say that now but I’m sure that I’ll fit something else in at some point and say damn to the bank balance. After being fairly ill over the last 18 months I’ve finally got a clean bill of health. You can’t take money with you when you are gone and I appreciate now that there will come a time when the body won’t let me travel to the same extent that it does today.

So we’ll keep exploring while we can and telling our Txiki tales. Safe traveling everyone.

PS Mrs L has got a side trip to Nice booked for March with Mrs F. Who thinks she should write a guest blog?

Please share this Txiki Tale!

4 Replies to “My 2017 travel itinerary…so far! (updated June 2017)”

  1. Hi.
    One great suggestion is Portugal- a country in the North Atlantic winth fantastic temperature, Portuguese traditional food, wine with several prizes, etc… Above all, it’s a safe country. Porto, Douro, Lisbon, Alentejo and Algarve are the names to not forget.
    So, If you need a private tour guide to here we are! QUICKTUR – We are accredited by Turismo de Portugal, check us at http:quicktur.eu/ .
    Cheers. Alexandra & Rui

    1. Thanks Alexandra & Rui,

      I visited Lisbon for the first time in 2015 and Portugal is definitely on the ‘return to’ list. I think Porto might be our next stop – just need to get some time in the diary!

      Thanks again

      Stuart

  2. Love love love Basque Country! Been to Bilbao a few times and San Sebastian on their own and then walked the Northern Camino de Santiago so got to experience all of the beautiful region at a slow pace. I feel quite connected to Basque Country as my grandmother is part Basque and my partner’s grandmother was Basque as well (though from the French side). The culture of the region (as you know!) is just amazing and the landscape is gorgeous. Plotting another trip there sometime this spring!!

    And Budapest – one of my favorite cities ever. The other half of my family is Hungarian so I’ve been quite a few times. It seems to be zooming into popularity in the past couple years! Enjoy!!

    1. Thanks so much. I’m glad our passion for the region came through on the blog.

      We’ve had to cancel our May trip to Bilbao but at least we are back there in October.

      I’ve wanted to go to Budapest for some time – I’ve got the feeling it is going to be my kind of place!

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