With 2012 behind us it’s time to look forward to exciting travel plans for 2013 – doesn’t everyone like to have something to look forward to? I want to share with you where I’ll be heading this spring and if you’ve visited these destinations and have any tips for me I’d love to hear from you.
January – A charity visit to Andhra Pradesh, India
What’s it all about? Through my local church I have connections with a rural parish near Kurnool, India and am trustee of a charity to support the education of children and other community projects there. My last visit to India for this charity was a few years ago when I spent a few days in a rural Indian village, meeting sponsored children, visiting a school and orphanage and visiting the stone quarries where many of the local people work, and I’m expecting that this visit will be very similar. Read about my experience Meeting my Indian sponsor child on my last visit.
What my travel plans? I’ll be flying in and out of Hyderabad where my hotel at Mercure Abids has been kindly provided by AsiaRooms.com, before driving up to Kurnool where I’ll be based while visiting the local villages where different families, schools and community projects are being supported. I’ll be travelling with another couple who are involved with the charity and we’ll return from Kurnool to Hyderabad by train which I’m expecting will be an experience in itself.
What am I hoping for? A bit of shopping for fun jewellery (I love my dangly earings) and cool Indian clothes, maybe some textiles or gifts in Hyderabad; Meeting the young girl and her family that I personally sponsor; Staying a night in the village with an Indian family to feel what it’s like to live on £1 a day; Seeing how the goats, mango trees, wells and community centres that our charity has helped support are helping the community.
January – A Country House Hotel break on Dartmoor, Devon
What’s it all about? My husband absolutely loves Dartmoor and we were there in August with my teenage son and some of his friends. On our walks across Dartmoor we spotted the Prince Hall Hotel that is within the Dartmoor National Park and I’ll be spending a weekend there with my husband. Read about our last Wild and Wet adventure weekend on Dartmoor.
What are my travel plans? It’s an easy drive down from Bristol to Dartmoor for the weekend and we hope to meet up with some friends who live locally as well as enjoying some walking and other activities on Dartmoor.
What am I hoping for? Good local food, roaring log fires, time to relax with my husband, bracing walks on the moor and adding a few Tors to our collection. We’ve arranged to do a bit of Nordic walking on Dartmoor which I’m hoping will leave us both feeling fit and healthy after the Christmas season.
February – a long weekend in Budapest
What’s it all about? I visited Budapest with my family in 2010 as part of a week’s holiday and loved the city which has both wide 19th century boulevards and medieval cobbled streets. As my niece is currently working in Budapest it seemed a great opportunity to pay a return visit with my parents to explore a bit more of the city. Listen to our Hungary holiday podcast, covering Budapest and Laka Balaton.
What are my travel plans? I’ll be there for a long weekend, hosted by Avios (previously Airmiles) where you can use points collected when you shop to fund flights, hotels and other travel services. We’ll be flying British Airways from London Heathrow and staying at the Intercontinental Hotel Budapest, an elegant, 5 star hotel overlooking the Danube. We’ll be exploring some of the sights on both sides of the river and discovering any local haunts that my niece can lead us to.
What am I hoping for? An interesting dynamic from spending time with different generations of my family, a visit to one of the famous Hungarian baths which I didn’t have time for on my previous visit, to find the restaurants where the locals rather than the tourist go that my niece can recommend, perhaps to learn a bit of Hungarian dancing (I hear it’s a rather cool thing to do these days).
April – Pretending I’m a surf chick in Morocco
What’s it all about? As my children are now old enough to travel independently and would rather be with their friends than their parents, I have to be a little devious when it comes to family holidays. My oldest son has taken to surfing in a big way, since he went to university in Wales, so when I heard that Taghazout in Morocco is a mecca for surfers, I decided it would be the perfect place for us to go for a family break over Easter.
What are my travel plans? We fly to Agadir and pick up a hire car, then drive up the coast to Taghazout where we’ll be renting an apartment by the beach. I’m not optimistic that I’ll be any good at the surfing, so I may stick to the yoga, but I’ve heard that there are a few interesting things to see nearby such as Paradise Valley where there are waterfalls and pools to swim in.
What am I hoping for? A laid back Moroccan vibe and youthful atmosphere that my teenage kids will enjoy, to get up on a surf board at least once in the trip, to try out some yoga and flex out those muscles that are stiff from sitting over a computer, to enjoy some delicious local Moroccan food and eat out every night without spending a fortune.
May – A European River cruise with my husband on the Rhine
What’s it all about? My husband has been telling me he’d like to try a river cruise and as his wish is my command, I’ve arranged for us to join a cruise on the Rhine with Lüftner Cruises. A few years ago I’d have mentally marked this as the kind of trip that my parents would enjoy and that I’d find rather tame, but as time passes I’m finding the idea of seeing a lot of interesting places in comfort rather attractive.
What are my travel plans? We fly to Basel in Switzerland where we join our ship, the Amadeus Princess and over the next few days will stop at Strasbourg with excursions to visit the Alsace wine region, Speyer, Mannheim, Ruedesheim, Koblenz, Cochem and will disembark in Cologne to fly back to the UK.
What am I hoping for? An introduction to the whole river cruising experience, beautiful views of the castles and towns along the banks of the Rhine, great food and wine both on board and as part of some of the excursions, interesting sightseeing in the towns and cities that we visit on the cruise, to see a lot of different places while only having to unpack once and the chance to relax with my husband.
I’m really excited about all of my travel plans and am expecting that each of them will bring a different kind of enjoyment and experience. I hope you’ll follow along with me as I share these travel experiences on the blog, through videos and podcasts to bring you the sights and sounds of my experience and on my Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels.
If you have visited any of the places I’ve mentioned, please do leave me any tips that you have in the comments, I’m waiting to hear from you …..
Disclosure: Some but by no means all elements of the trips I have planned are being hosted by the companies mentioned in this article.
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