I can plan travel, I do it all the time, in fact, I love doing it. However, when asked to plan a trip with a couple of gal pals, I was both intrigued and a little nervous . . . . okay a lot nervous. We wanted to try something different, do something more adventurous and go where none of us have already been (but not too far away). Those were the overall criteria. In addition, I needed to include the following:
- A walking holiday
- The British Isles
- Planes, trains, boats
- Charming cities for sightseeing
- Quaint B&B’s
- A reasonable budget
No problem . . . . . right?!?!
So two weeks have been planned between Wales and Ireland. A couple of the criteria have been bent a little, but all in all I think I nailed it!
The itinerary includes a couple of nights in Llandudno along the Northern Wales coastline to recover from travel and start our sightseeing. Then the first 3-day walk takes us castle to castle between the towns of Conwy, Llanfairfechen, Bangor and Caernarfon. We then travel to Holyhead by train for the second 3-day walk along the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path. Our walking days vary between 7 and 12 miles and should be fairly “easy”. Afterwards, we return to Holyhead to catch the ferry to Dublin where we spend our last three days before flying home.
Where we pinched pennies – We are flying coach, not even premium economy! The three of us will be sharing a room and allows a bit more to be spent on a room. But it still works out to be only one bathroom for three women.
Where we splurged – We are using a company to facilitate our walks, Contours. They arrange accommodations, move our luggage each day, provide us with maps, etc. But the big splurge was getting a private driver to pick us up at the Heathrow airport and drive us to Northern Wales. Yes, I know I could have done this by train or bus and my English friends are probably rolling their eyes at this one. But after traveling for almost 24 hours the thought of navigating subways to central London, then dragging a bag to a train station and traveling another 5-6 hours (depending upon stops) was not appealing. This splurge only required a little arm-twisting!
So the plans are made and the start date is quickly approaching. Nerves are starting to take hold and words like “whose idea was this walking holiday” are running through our heads. Although I expect we will be laughing our way through this little adventure, but that is part of the fun. And I haven’t told my companions that I have all the short cuts and bus stops along our walks plotted . . . . just in case!
And everyone knows that all of my adventures includes a journal! This one is no exception. For this one I used a painted piece of canvas I had lying around, a funky button from my collection and some leather lacing. For the signatures I have tried to leave more white pages for sketching and watercolors but threw in a few printed scrapbook papers. I sewed a pocket in the back will hold a few extras such as a couple of envelopes and little ‘comment’ cards that can be added as needed and a ring of gridded papers. This ring of papers is so important to me when traveling. Each night I review the day and write down what happened. This isn’t just a listing of the itinerary, but the little things, the funny mishaps, interesting people, the feelings I had at a certain point or surprises along the way. For me, that is what makes traveling so much fun.
I promise to share my review of our trip when we return. I love the idea of a walking holiday . . . . . lets see how it actually goes.