Happy New Year to all.
The first week of the year seems as good a time as any to look ahead, maybe make a few predictions and also consider a few of the places I might be travelling to this year.
I will be leading two tours to Ireland (one in March, the second in April) and could not be happier. Quite apart from being able to tour with good friends from Rhode Island (hello Sue and Pam) there are few finer countries in Europe to spend a week in. The Emerald Isle tour has changed a little in recent years and is now an even better trip, having become a circular tour in and out of Dublin. Galway is such a great city, my feelings about County Kerry have been mentioned before and Cork is always vibrant and fun. Really couldn’t hope for better.
Premier Inn Hotel, Wembley, May 25th 2013
Wembley stadium is hosting the Final of the Champions League this year. Arsenal are into the last 16 and, as recent tradition (founded in the glory charge to ultimate failure in 2006) dictates, my spring tours will see me don the ‘lucky’ (except in Barcelona and Milan, apparently) scarf. I won’t be making any reservations too soon.
The Night Ferry
I have crossed many times between Italy and Greece on a night ferry but, this February, I will cross from Italy (Civitavecchia) to Spain (Barcelona) for the first time. Quite exciting. I have always enjoyed seeing places come into view from the water, read a lot of Conrad as a teenager I guess. There is so much to be said for arriving at a destination by train, seeing the city build up around you and the movement as you ease into a central station. However, arriving by boat gives that overview which is always unique, even if you’ve been before. I intend to enjoy it so much that I shall be back doing it on another tour in November.
I often get asked which my favourite city to work in is and Paris is never the answer, although it probably should be. I will be there again in a couple of weeks and will get to enjoy Paris in the cold, subsequently through the heat of summer and back to the cold of November. The thing is, for me, the conditions really don’t matter too much, the city always has something different to offer and that’s what I enjoy. There’s also the small matter that trips to Paris for me are often for EF Training Tours and this means working with the entertaining Patrick Long – can’t think of many Tour Directors I would rather spend time with (in case you’re wondering, the answer is usually Florence, sometimes Prague but London is making a comeback).
There is an outside chance that I might get to go here in the summer and what a fabulous country it is. As a family we spent three fantastic weeks in Tromsø a few years back (having house swapped with a local family). Bergen is a terrific city and the capital, Oslo, has charm, friendliness and is somewhere I am so keen to get back to. In fairness, Norway is not one of our top sellers but it is a wonderful place to visit. Plus, on the tour I hope to be doing we will arrive in Oslo via night ferry from Copenhagen – excellent.
I am sure many other destinations will crop up during the year, that’s the nature of the game for us Tour Directors. I am also sure that there will be great stories to tell come December for all of us travelling with EF this year. Have a good trip, wherever it takes you.