Denisa and I have wanted to go over to Europe for Christmas for quite a long time. The problem has always (of course) been funding for the trip. This year, with her teaching a class at the university, that problem was taken care of, and so I’m very excited to say that we bought our tickets yesterday. The whole fam is headed to Slovakia, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic for the holidays this year!
Christmas itself will be spent with Denisa’s family. She was thinking it over, and she’s pretty sure it’s been at least 16 years since she last had Christmas at home. I can’t imagine what that would be like, since “Christmas at home” in this case means “the traditional Christmas she grew up with.” In many ways, she’s adapted to the American Christmas we have here. And while that’s really admirable, and we’ve gotten some of our own traditions going that incorporate Slovak festivities as much as American ones, I’m still super excited that we get to head over there and be there for Christmas.
I’ve also been wanting to go back to Germany ever since I left the country (November 1999). This year, a friend was crazy enough to move his entire family there for a year and a half. He gave a standing invite to anyone of his friends crazy enough to come visit. I called him on his bluff. Having a home base to catch your breath (or at least, knowing the home base is there if you need to) can make an international trip much more manageable.
It also helped that Aer Lingus has a great deal going right now on European fares. We flew them about five years ago when we went to Dublin and Slovakia, and we were very happy with the flight. (Even better? They give a discount on tickets for children age 2-11–that can make a real difference.) We had budgeted $4,000 for air fare, and we managed to get it down to $3,155–and that’s just heading over with one stop in Dublin. No airplane acrobatics this time!
We’ll head over before Christmas, do a tour through southern Germany and Austria (so excited to be going back to Salzburg–and at Christmas time!), then going on to Slovakia, staying a while, then heading north through Czech Republic to East Germany (my old mission stomping grounds), then turning west to explore central Germany before we head back.
For a guy who professes to hate flying, I know I do an awful lot of it. And the low-level stress has already begun: I have no idea where we’ll be staying, when we’ll be where, what we’ll see and do. There’s a ton of logistics to get done for a trip of this scope. Good thing I’ve got lots of practice.
If perchance you’re over in Europe and would like to see the Bryce Clan, send me an email or message on Facebook. If you’re also going to be over there this Christmas and would like to meet up somewhere, let us know. We’ll have a car and will be very mobile. Last time we went, we toured through Vienna with some of Denisa’s friends and had a blast. If you need tips on deals for flying, etc–I’m up for those, too.
Three months and counting!