Here We Go Again!

17 Jan

How is your trip planning going for 2014? Maybe you’re already on your way? Love to hear about your travels.

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks researching and booking three overseas trip itineraries for this year. As regular readers know, we don’t believe in putting off things to some future date. Our shared mantra is ‘Do what you love while you can’. You’re a long time dead….

Stuart is in pretty good shape, apart from his left knee cartilage which will get a much needed spring clean next week, so it’s full steam ahead for some excellent adventures from early February. This is what’s planned:

TRIP ONE: SPAIN, ITALY, SWITZERLAND, INDIA (February-April)
Granada, Spain – two weeks studying Spanish and Flamenco dance at Escuela Carmen de las Cuevas and maybe skiing in the Sierra Nevadas on the weekend.

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Jerez de la Frontera, Spain – two weeks at the annual International Flamenco Festival for master classes with Mercedes Ruiz, Olga Pericet, Leonor Leal and Angel Muñoz and nights full of fabulous flamenco performances.

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These are some of last year’s featured artists.
Italy and Switzerland – two weeks skiing. We’re trying some different mountains this year.

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Goa, India – one week of yoga practice at Little Cove Yoga Retreat for me while Stuart is at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens World Championship with mates.

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TRIP TWO: PERU, CHILE, ARGENTINA, URUGUAY (June-July)
Northern Peru Motorcycle Adventure – a two week loop from Lima to Cajamarca. The realisation of a dream for Stuart.

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Machu Piccu, Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley – a return for me but the first time for Stu.
Santiago and the wine country of Colchagua Valley, Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile.

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Mendoza, Argentina for more wine tasting, historical Cordoba and Buenos Aires for some tango lessons and as much live tango as we can squeeze in.

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Colonia, Uruguay for a romantic weekend.
Auckland, New Zealand for more wine tasting on the way home.

TRIP THREE: ENGLAND, FRANCE, SARDINIA, SPAIN (August-September)
Our nephew Justin marries Rachel in late August so the clan will gather in Devon to witness their marriage and enjoy a week of English country cottage life together.
If Stuart’s knees are willing we’ll walk a section of the Coast to Coast trail in the Yorkshire hills over the course of a week.

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It’s back to Brixham in early September to board the Provident for another week sailing to Brittany so Stuart can see why I had so much fun on her last year.

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September usually has perfect sailing conditions in Sardinia so we’ll fly down to Olbia, Sardinia and charter a small yacht to cruise the Costa Smeralda for a week.

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Back to Seville, Spain for a week of the Flamenco Bienal for me while Stuart and Alastair zip round the Swiss Alps.

We look forward to catching up with friends and family in our travels. Please let us know if our paths look like they might cross. Nothing better than seeing familiar faces in strange places!

Travel tools and services I found especially useful this time plus a couple of cautions:

– Tripit Pro – worth the $49 annual fee for the convenience of auto building and sharing itineraries and their alert system.
wikitravel.org provides detailed local advice.
– Edreams and Expedia for cheap tickets. I tried to use Flight Centre but too damn slow and they don’t use all the low cost airlines. Just be aware that most times the edreams fare quoted is for a return ticket even if you only want one way. Confused me at first. LAN chile is hopeless to deal with directly and much more expensive than booking online.
booking.com is still the best for a reliable hotel and apartment booking service for value accommodation. I like being able to use all the filters to make my selection and have my bookings easily accessible in website. If you use them a lot you achieve ‘genius’ status that gets you even more discounts.
– The Indian tourist visa is a gruelling online application process that’s been outsourced to an agency. The web pages need an overhaul but if you take care and save edits as you go it lessens the pain. If you make a mistake, like putting down the wrong city for processing (easy to do as Brisbane does not appear in the drop down menu), you will have to start all over again or pay the agent $22 to redo it on the spot for you. Processing from the time of lodging in person at the Brisbane office took seven working days.

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Under sail on Provident. Can’t wait to be on board again!

4 Responses to “Here We Go Again!”

  1. Linda January 17, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Sharon. We could meet up in or near Richmond in Aug/Sept, only about an hour away from us.
    Let us know if this works out and we will put it on the calendar.
    Linda

    • Sharon Tickle January 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Great idea Linda. Let’s make it happen!

      Be in touch by email.

      Sxx

  2. Michelle Noble January 17, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    WOW!!! You both have so much energy and tolerance (the latter for booking stuff on line!!). We would love to see you both at some point. We also have some tentative plans – including cycling from Nice to Biarritz but better get some more time on the saddle first.

    I would love to come over to Spain at some point to meet you and find out what all this flamenco is about…I love guitar music too. Do let me have your exact dates for Spain and I’ll try and work it in 🙂
    Love from us both in the mountains. M&B xx

    • Sharon Tickle January 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      Hi Michelle,

      Would be great to meet up in Andalusia. I’ll email you the options.

      I’d love to see you do that ride. Get on your bike girl!

      Sxx

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