As a student, I was fortunate enough to spend many of my summers in Europe. First we travelled with my parents, then I was at boarding school, then my sister went to university in London. Every other year or so, my best friend and I would fly out to London (sans parents by the time we hit 18) to stay at my family's Sloane Square flat for six weeks and, with my sister, gallivant to one European city courtesy of the airline's free stopover policy.
We toured Italy this way, stopping at Rome, Pisa, Florence and Venice. Two years later, we visited Austria (Vienna and Salzburg). Then we all settled down to our jobs, married and had kids, and the group trips stopped.
Now, we three travel with our own families, but I look back fondly on the days we spent in Europe together. Perhaps one day, when the children are big enough and we can be spared for two weeks, we can do a repeat trip.
Shortly after I met Big A, we visited Paris and London together. He flew to Europe to see a friend matriculate from graduate school (and drive from Paris to Spain and back again), while I visited my sister in her last year of London uni and we spent a weekend in Paris.
Big A was joined in Paris, then London, and since then we've not gone anywhere outside of Asia together. Until this year.
Our ninth wedding anniversary coincided with the annual Spring Trade Fairs in Frankfurt and Birmingham. As I was attending this year in place of my mum, Big A came along and we added another city to the itinerary.
Prague had long been on my visit wish list, and it was a delight. Pretty, historic, and without any of the hustle and bustle of a business city, it was well worth the two day visit. We saw all the main tourist spots, took in a concert, and enjoyed some delicious meals.
Frankfurt was drab and businesslike as expected, but London, my favourite city in the world, was thrilling as always. It was our second time there together, Big A and I, but we went to very different areas than we had the first time round, excepting Covent Garden, and did many different things. We discovered neighborhoods that had changed greatly since I last saw them, and saw many more signs of change to come.
It was wonderful to travel, despite the freezing weather, and we hope to do it again in another two years, budget allowing. Still feeling the wanderlust, Big A wanted to book another, Asian, trip as soon as we got back. And so he did. In April, we're going to Tokyo!