A Post-Vacation Vacation

After my four-week tour in South America this November, staying in fourteen different places and flying twelve separate legs, I expect I will return home exhausted and in need of a vacation.

Luckily, I work for a company that closes our office for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Last year I went to San Francisco for the week and had a great time, but this year I decided to look for a relaxing getaway where it will be warm and quiet.

I decided to look for somewhere in Mexico. My criteria were that it had to be relatively easy to get to and it had to be a place that wouldn't be overrun with tourists (especially American tourists).

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New Luggage, Part Two

Okay, my trip is still more than seven months away, and I'm obsessing about luggage. I think it's because it's a tour, and I don't have any other plans to make. Still, I'm pretty sure I've taken it too far.

I returned the bag I got from eBags. I decided it was too big.

And I've bought three new bags, one of which will definitely go on the trip with me.

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New Luggage

I will never forget the huge suitcase I brought along on my first trip to Europe, a ten-day tour in the middle of the summer to Austria, Germany, and Hungary.

Gradually in my travels I have reduced the size of my luggage, and on my four independent Europe trips (Italy in 2009, Nordic countries in 2012, Balkans in 2014, and Beltherway in 2016), I brought only carry-on luggage.

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San Francisco Holiday

The last time I was in San Francisco, I was in my mid-20s, and I stayed with my sister and her boyfriend at the time, who were living there at the time. My sister took me around to the typical tourist spots. Her boyfriend took me on a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Tiburon, up in Marin County. I remember very little of what I saw and I don't think I got much of a feel for the city.

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Itinerary Advice

I don't think I've ever planned a trip without someone, either on a forum or in real life, suggesting alternatives to my itinerary. When I went to the Balkans, I heard from people who said I needed more time in Dubrovnik and others who said I needed less time in Dubrovnik. And no where did I get more varied opinions than when asking about Belgium. There are four major tourist destinations in Belgium (in addition to countless smaller places that are undoubtedly worth seeing): Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp. There are 24 different ways of prioritizing those four cities, and I have no doubt you could get 24 different opinions if you asked 24 different people on a travel forum.

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Weather vane and troll hill

One of the lessons that's hard for me to learn when traveling is to pace myself. As one loyal blog reader pointed out, I may have set a record for museum visits, and yet all I can think about is the museums I didn't have time for.

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I'm overloaded on sun. After the gloom and grey skies in Oslo, I've enjoyed the last few days, but it's also taking a toll. Being out in the sun all day, now three days in a row,  has me worn down. Unlike the first two weeks of the trip,  there have been no museums.  It's all been time spent outdoors.

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