Hands down, the best aspect of being an expat in Europe is the proximity. Asia and Africa are a quarter of a world away, as compared to the States.  And the other European countries read like North Eastern states on a map, as opposed to sovereign nations.

In just a few hours, you can be in a completely different place: complete with differing landscapes, weather, food and sensibilities. And in Europe you get the added benefit of changing languages, cultures and histories. Some of which will feel familiar to a little American girl like me–while others are delightfully different.

The Plan

Almost a year to the day last year, I planned a trip to London to attend a Christmas concert at Oxford University.  But unfortunately, I had to cancel it at the last minute. I would be lying if I said that it was devastating. However, this year, I’m doing it again. And by the time you read this, I’ll already be on my third set of tea and crumpets. Pass me the clotted cream please!

Despite last year’s London snafu, my holiday vacation wasn’t a total loss. I spent Christmas in the extraordinarily elegant city of Vienna. Enjoyed Kwanzaa in the bohemian epicenter of Prague. And rang in the New Year in Edinburgh during the Scottish celebration of Hogmanay. It was an extraordinary experience.

This year, I’m doing one better.  I’ll be enjoying Christmas Eve in London, Christmas Day in Salzburg, Kwanzaa in Munich and post New Year’s Eve in Milan. As a teacher, I am granted over two weeks of vacation and so I tried to pack in as many places as possible to visit.

The Planning

I had such a great time in Austria last year, that I decided to do it again. Germany and Austria are famous for their Christmas markets, and truly they cannot be missed.  Christmas is not particularly big holiday here in Spain.  So, Austria feels like the perfect remedy to the lackluster holiday spirit.

But Munich and Milan were somewhat arbitrary choices.  Taking a page out of my book fro last year, after booking my Airbnb in Salzburg, I looked for major cities nearby.  Munich was an obvious choice as it is only an hour and a half away from Salzburg by train.

I’ve never been to Germany, so I am really excited to go. I was a huge fan of fairy tales growing up, and Bavaria seems to be right out of the pages in those books.

Making up for Lost Time

I also wanted to try to visit Italy again.  I spent time as a teenager traveling to Rome, Florence, Vienna and Verona.  But fashion capital Milan was completely passed over.  So, come New Year’s day, I’ll be making up for lost time and eating all the pasta that I possibly can!

While I had a great time during Christmas last year, I didn’t travel throughout the year as much as I wanted to.  And I couldn’t help but be jealous of all the amazing trips my friends were taking without me.  But 2017 will be the beginning of me turning over a new leaf. And I’ll happily be taking you with as I move along.

Are you with me? ‘Cause here we go!