On this ridiculously popular blog, people constantly ask me, completely mesmerized, “Jarett, what is your secret? How can you travel so often and so much?” I reply that one must simply fall in love with another of a distant land. The challenge doesn’t stop there of course, but therein lies the answer! I’ve never been asked that, by the way. I conjured up this artificial question inspired by my itinerary in the last quarter of 2015. Check it:
Trip 1, October 26-29: Quito — Mexico City — Madrid — Paris — Vienna — Klagenfurt
Trip 2, November 10-12: Klagenfurt, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, England
Trip 3, November 25-27: Stansted, UK — Madrid — Mexico City — LA — Albuquerque. (That was a nice one: 54 hours of travel. I felt my body actually separate from my brain.)
At the end of October, Lizzie and I flew from Quito to Austria to help her family pack up and move back to England – after almost ten years in Austria! The packing scene was intense but efficient, and as always with Lizzie’s family, loads of fun. Upon packing up nearly 100 boxes, Paul and Kathy treated us to a two day retreat to the volcanic rock warmed baths of Bad Blumau, Austria. I’m convinced this luxurious mini holiday nowhere near equated our efforts in packing up a few boxes, but I wasn’t about to complain!
I’ll give you one word for Bad Blumau: phenomenal. Two words for Bad Blumau? Phenomenal excess. Between four of us, over 20 apples went, wonderful lengthy and lazy soaks in lava water, two of the most delicious and massive buffets I’ve ever seen, which included truly out-of-this-world cherry-chocolate mousse, and an absolutely delightful morning walk where we were joined by thousands of autumn leaves falling from the trees. What’s that? Would I go back? My, is the pope a catholic??
After the removals company packed up the rest of the house, we got Oscar the Cat in the car, and then cleaned the house as best we could.
We then commenced our easy three-day road trip to England. Woot woot! Road trips are wicked! Maybe because I was raised going on lengthy road trips in the US where I would love watching the landscape roll by, having snack and stretching and toilet breaks, arriving in the dark at the end destination, getting up early for another day of the same… They mean another type of adventure altogether for me. In any case, I love road trips!
I was excited about the prospects of adding a whole three new countries to my meaningless list, but most of all I was excited for the ferry ride across the English channel from France! But, first things first! Our first stop was just across the border into Germany, Diedersheim, where convenience would have it Lizzie’s youngest brother and his girlfriend were living. They offered their spare bed to Lizzie and me which was really kind, seeing as how they are both incredibly busy. Paul and Kathy got an easy room at a guesthouse just down the street. But Matt didn’t just offer up their spare bed, he made the most delicious meal one could have after a day of being on the road.
After yet another scrumptious meal from Matt the next morning, we got an early start to what would be the longest of the three days. For day 2 we drove through most of Germany, lots of the Netherlands, and finally ended the day at a delightful hotel in the tip of Belgium — Oostkamp, to be exact. After this day, boy, I can almost tell you just how big Germany is. We also saw this trippy sight:
We had a very fancy dinner at our hotel in Oostkamp which was a luxurious treat! And, believe it or not, we sat two tables from the king and queen of Oostkamp at dinner. Luckily for you we managed to snap a sneaky photo of the moment.
The last day was from Belgium through the tip of France (Dunkirk seaport=ferry stamp on my passport! Beat that Jason Derulo), into the Port of Dover, through southeast England, and finally into our destination: Ickleton! Photos, please:
Not alas, we made it at last! And can you think of a better way to end the journey than with a massive, hot feast prepared for you, complete with drinks and desserts and all the works? That’s right, you can’t. But some good friends of Kathy did just that! What a welcome treat, Helen and Mike. Thank you very much.
We had a terrific trip all in all, but I do believe the gladdest of us all…was kitty cat! (Don’t talk about this sensitive matter to Oscar, but he was born and raised in Austria. So one could easily understand the intense culture shock from his perspective. And indeed, it took him a few months to assimilate into this new and exciting world!)
Lizzie and I stayed on at Crossways for another couple weeks, just to make the journey north worth our while. This meant that we could help find a new place for all we had previously packed up. This is the process of unpacking. It was rather fun to hear about the few items that left England ten years previous only to be brought back to their old home never being used in Austria. Haha! Ooh, also! Lizzie’s sister managed to get leave for a few days and flew in from Dubai. Cue the Rachie selfie:
Her arrival was conveniently timed to catch a Sunday morning brunch at the village pub, and then later that evening, a knock-up meal to which some Warren Wilson family friends were invited. Absolutely wonderful! Monday morning, however, Lizzie and I cut into Rachel’s visit by running off on a two-day a surprise adventure for Lizzie’s birthday. Where to? Well, stay tuned and you might get an answer in another few weeks or months, if you’re lucky. 😉
For now beloved and loyal readers, I bid thee well. Peace and love.
Epilogue: Jarett left for the US a day before Lizzie’s birthday — unlucky but cheap! He remained there for 92 days before again returning to Europe (Vienna, specifically), where he find himself in this moment. That’s all.