As you may remember our next trip is a long stay in Europe starting next month. We thought it was pretty well planned, but our plans have been changing daily. It seems that sometimes what you think is certain is not. First we learned that Americans can only stay in the EU for 90 days out of every six months without a special visa. To get the visa we would have to make an appointment with the San Francisco French consulate and fly down there to complete the process. England and Ireland do not count, so with some reconfiguration of our itinerary we decided to eliminate Spain and Portugal in the fall and come home after 90 days in France.
Our plan was to fly into London and return from Paris. However, when we tried to get return tickets with our frequent flyer miles we learned that it would take twice as many miles to return from Paris than it would from London. Itinerary change – we’ll go from Paris to London to get back home.
Last fall we reserved our first place to stay in London just to be safe. We didn’t want to wait until spring because we know how popular London is. This week we received a message from the place we rented saying that the unit was no longer available and we could have a refund or rent another place for more money. Needless to say we hit the panic button, questioned their ethics, etc. They told us the apartment had been sold and the new owners would not honor our contract. We got the refund and started looking for new options in London. Self-catering apartments were no longer available, so we ended up booking a B&B for more money.
Due to having to return to London to come home we decided to stay in Great Britain a while in October. It doesn’t count on the visa issue, we have fond memories of our honeymoon there, and it gives us a chance to see our friend Carrie in Wales. Therefore, we will be spending a couple of weeks there at the end of our journey.
The itinerary as of today: London in late May, Ireland in June, Paris in July and August, rural France in September, and Great Britain in October. Of course this all could change with another message from Europe tomorrow. We’ve learned that when planning such a long trip the best asset is flexibility.
Soon comes the hardest part – deciding what to take and getting it packed. It will be a relief to get there and start blogging our adventures. Stay tuned!