Plea for a 40th Birthday Trip

Feb 29th, 2008, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,125
I think I'd consider Sydney Australia. Especially since you are flying from the west coast. Maybe I have Australia on the brain (because I'm hoping to go in 2008), but I would think it would a great place to travel solo. No language issue, so you can communicate with the locals. lots of different types of things you can do..scenery, history, beaches, art. And I'm sure you can hook up with a short tour, if you wanted to spend part of the time with other tourists.
china_cat is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,755
Easy..Thailand and Laos. A few days in Bangkok Then to the Golden Triangle (stay in the Anantara Golden triangle). A slow boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang then home.
travelbunny is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 06:31 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
Magellan...I'll be turning 40 in June, so I understand you perfectly !!
I also want to celebrate it and do a trip but due to my disability I don't want to make it solo, so I'm on duty to engage a friend who turned 40 in December to share it.

As I'm in Spain...I don't want to stay here, but really it will fit your plans if you stay away from the islands (plenty of honeymooners and party people).
kenderina is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,113
In the year or so before my 40th birthday (4 years ago), I decided to take up something I'd always wanted to do, but never had devoted enough time to, and that was horseback riding (English style). So I took lessons, which led to my 40th-birthday trip to a week-long "tour" at a horseback riding place in southern Tuscany (it wasn't solo, though. DH came with, though he spent his days drinking wine while I rode). It was very different from the kind of moving-around trips that we usually take.

So, along similar lines that have already been suggested, is there something that you've always thought about doing that you could combine with your trip? Bike riding, or studing painting or art, or a language? Or horseback riding?

And as for Provence, that sounds great, especially if you've never been to that part of France. A lot of history and culture (and great food), but not too couple-oriented or remote.

Whatever you do - enjoy!
Lexma90 is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,302
Hi Magellan,

Thanks. This is mostly off the Europe target, but I found my bit of research. I started a couple of years ago looking for something to do that both our DD's and their DH's would enjoy. One is an animal scientist who likes staying in one place and the other wanted a safari. We still haven't gotten around to doing any of them yet.

1. This company offers all kinds of vacations and trips, from adventure to volunteer. I really don't know anthing about them, but have been looking at their stuff for a couple of years.

Elephant conservation in Thailand.
Turtle survey program.

2. Volunteer work camps, internationally, everything from teaching English to repairing water systems.

3. This is about Englishtown in Spain. It was started by a guy named Richard Vaughan, who went to Spain to teach English several years ago and ended up staying and starting this.
If you do not speak Spanish and are willing to speak English for a week to someone trying to learn English,
it should be an interesting experience. I've spoken with some people who did this and they loved it. Many go back again. Room and board is provided. You just need airfare. Nice to combine with some sight seeing time in Spain.
One of those things on my list to do.
Sassafrass is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 202
Ubud - Bali, Bali,Bali. It was a life alterng experience for me at 42. Nothing in my life before that ever made me rethink LIFE like watching the rice grow there. I took my now husband back there in 2002 and he felt the same. Try it. I promise you - you won't regret it. Just BE!!!
cmenoni is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 03:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 34
You could go to the north of France - visiting Verdun ( war), Metz the “City of Light” due to its magnificent illuminations, which highlight the stunning architecture of the ancient buildings and churches or Nancy with
Cordeliers church, 18th century cathedral, and the 17th century Notre Dame de Bon Secours.
And the place to stay would be the castle : Hattonchatel Chateau owned by
Slot is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 03:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 34
Some of you mentioned Scandinavia or Denmark.

I have been to Skrøbelev Gods - The Estate is in the middle of what Hans Christian Andersen called “Denmarks garden”.

It was built in 1669 and originated in an extravagant and aristocratic period, Fune and Langeland is still a favourite retreat for visiting holiday makers...
Slot is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 05:31 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,711
Ubud is a wonderful idea! A magical place! I may even take back my suggestion of Bangkok (although Bangkok/Luang Prabang would also be terrific).
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 06:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 959

Have you read "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert? It is really a great story about a woman finding peace with herself after a nasty divorce. She took a solo trip to Italy (to eat), India (to pray) and Indonesia (to love). I realize you are celebrating a big birthday (and yes, I say "celebrating!" - I am a few weeks away from my "celebration!!") and not recovering from a traumatic experience, but I think her story would be inspirational all the same. It made me want to hop on a plane and visit all three places immediately!

Good luck and Happy "39 and holding. . . "


Attnymom is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 273
Definitely the South of France. The respect and attention shown by French men to all women NOT JUST the under 25 set will make you feel young, feel sexy, act young and look young. It's a great feeling. You will come home feeling renewed and those furrows will probably have disappeared.

While the above therapy alone should convince you to take the trip the South of France has the added benefits of spectacular scenery, good weather in May, great sightseeing opportunities...and so much more depending on where you stay.
lemidi is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
Yes, dear Magellan, I would say you need to get acquainted with Germany and Munich in particular. This would be a good time to do so, as 2008 is Munich's 850th anniversary. Here are some sights/activities you might enjoy:

Architecture Week is held every other year, and begins on Jun 1--numerous events, guided tours and exhibitions begin with the opening day at the Residence, historic center of power for Bavaria (130 rooms and worth seeing on its own). One of the castles I most enjoy in Germany is the peaceful Nymphenburg Palace, summer home to the Wittelsbachs (Bavarian monarchs). There are other buildings on the grounds behind the palace, and lovely gardens. The long waterway through the park to the palace has benches where you can rest or reflect and watch the swans--what a pleasant retreat from the big city! But then, that's one thing I've always most appreciated about Munich--it doesn't seem to know it's a big city! People are friendly, it's not unusual to see Bavarians out shopping in traditional dress (kind of like "country come to town" in an adorable way) and everyone seems to have a good time, not just those bending an elbow in the Hofbrauhaus (which, BTW, you should avoid).

This year is also the 200th anniversary of Munich's Academy of Fine Arts. Haus der Kunst will have an extensive exhibition with many works of its teachers and their pupils who have become famous, such as Wilhelm Leibl, Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, pioneers of modern art, along with later avantgarde students such as Paul Klee.

On May 31st, Munich will hold a "Long Night of Music" from 8 pm to 3 am; live rock, pop, classical, jazz, and church music in a major event occurring throughout the city. A shuttle bus service will carry visitors from one venue to another.

The Bavarian State Orchestra has concerts (symphonies and chamber music) throughout the year, with guest conductors including Zubin Mehta in 2007. The Bavarian State Opera and Ballet will perform The Corsair, Swan Lake and Madame Butterfly (among others) during May.

More to follow.
FlaAnn is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
Part 2
As far as museums, The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest and most important galleries in the world, with more than 800 masterpieces by European artists such as Titian and Frans Hals. The Rubens collection is one of the largest in the world. They also have
Dürer's self-portrait from 1500 and his "Four Apostles." The Outstanding works of European art and sculpture from the Neue Pinakothek has works from the late 18th-early 20th centuries: Gainsborough, Goya, Monet, Manet, Degas, Pissaro, Renoir,Cézanne, Gauguin and van Gogh.

The Deutsches Museum is devoted to scientific/technical exhibits: windmills to models of atoms, industrial robots, automobiles and planes, pipe organs, boats and ships-all man's discoveries/advances. It's interesting and fun, too--machines hum, lightning flashes through the air, telescopes zoom in on star formations. And the BMW Museum! How could you miss that, in the home of the ultimate German driving machine?

Of course the churches of the city skyline are famous: the double onion domes of the Frauenkirche, with its Gothic nave from the 15th century, and interior works of art spanning 5 centuries, and pointy-steepled Alter Peter church, which is the oldest parish church in Munich and has an ornate interior decorated with old masters from 6 centuries. Alter Peter is best known to tourists for its tower, one of best viewpoints of the city (but 306 steps!). My favorite church is the little hidden Asam Kirche, on a side street downtown. It was built by the brothers Asam, pioneering artists of the Rococo period, as you can quickly see! There was a christening just ending the last time I quietly poked my nose in.

The glockenspiel on the face of the city square town hall is justifiably famous and you should plan on watching/listening once. Just around the corner is the famous Viktualienmarkt (victuals market) where you can sit under a shade tree around the maypole and have a nice lunch or just people-watch with a beer. Of course you will be drinking beer, it's impossible to avoid in a town where it's completely acceptable to have beer with breakfast. But only the tourists are getting rowdy in the Hofbrauhaus. To me, much better beer halls for a sample of living like a local are the Altes Hackerhaus (Hacker-Pschorr beer), Paulaner Brauhaus, or Augustiner Braustuben. Deafening on occasion, but gotta be there once. The long tables under the chestnut trees in parks such as Viktualienmarkt or at the Englischer Garden are also good for singles to mingle, if you wish.

Ever eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant in a grocery store? Try Dallmayr's, a deservedly famous downtown shop/caterer with fabulous coffees, a delicatessan and a restaurant which holds a coveted Michelin one-star rating. There are two other Michelin-starred restaurants within the Munich inside ring, Schuhbecks Stuben and Mark's.

FlaAnn is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96
Last Page (Part 3)
That's just a taste of Munich. And yes, I would definitely go into the mountains just for the scenery, if not to see a couple of Ludwig's castles. They really are remarkable. For scenery alone, I'd go to Berchtesgaden (Konigssee, Ramsau, Eagles Nest, pastures of wildflowers). But that's a longer trip from Munich than the area around Garmisch, which has the Zugspitze (Germany's highest mountain), the crystal-clear and deep blue Eibsee, and both Neuschwanstein and Linderhof castles. I also enjoy the Ettal Monastery, just down the hill from Oberammergau. O'gau is worth a drive thru and some window shopping at least, but if I was going to stay above Garmisch for an overnight, it'd be at the Blaue Gams gasthaus in Ettal, which sits in a meadow just above the monastery. Those monks make a great liqueur, too! Linderhof is just down the road, and Neuschwanstein would then be a second side trip. German language ability is not required for any of these travels!

I know Americans are often accused of believing all Germans are Bavarians, and I know just concentrating on this city/area means that, at the end of the day, you still don't know much of anything about Germany. I’m sure many other posters, some local, can chime in on great things to see/do in Munich. And obviously Berlin, for example, has the same things you're looking for in a city. But I just don't think you can beat the beautiful south of Germany for an introduction, at least. It's safe, it's clean, it's beautiful and it's interesting. I also guarantee it will be memorable. Good travels!
FlaAnn is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 09:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 362
Holy mackerel! I can't believe how many of you have responded to my post with great suggestions - thanks so much.

yk - I really liked your ideas about Berlin and Vienna - they are on my list, most definitely.

kenderina - thank you for your sympathy - I'm glad other people understand my plight LOL!

FlaAnn - wow, you have great suggestions for Germany - when I do go to this region, I'll be armed to the teeth with the best itinerary on the planet. Thanks!

Sassafras - I can't thank you enough for providing those web sites! It was very kind of you to go to the trouble, and I'm fascinated by the possibilities. This will open up a whole new way of travel, and I'm really excited - thank you so much.
Magellan_5 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,033
Magellan_5 -

I picked up an interest in art a few years ago, and I've been trying to cross off the major art museums from my list. (Mainly old masters paintings thought I also like modern art.) For me, I feel that I should visit them before I have children, cuz once there's a child, it's really hard to enjoy an art museum.

Even though I now have been to both Berlin and Vienna within the last few years, I will jump at the chance to return again because they have so much to offer. I spent about 5 days in each city and felt that I barely scratched the surface.

Anyway, wherever you decide to go, I'm sure you'll have a great time!
yk is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,405
OK Magellan,

I have to agree with those who suggest places other than Europe. Think bigger. Egypt, Africa, China, Machu Picchu, India, Petra etc. My sister has traveled solo and to these more exotic places she goes with a group of about 14 people. I think it is "adventure Travel", but I'm not sure. If that is not your thing then Greece or Provence.

yipper is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,769
Berlin is a great place to visit, but for a such a milestone I'd go for something a bit more exotic. Safari in Africa is definitely high in the list, though not meeting the urban criteria. Have not yet made it to Peru, though have heard raves from others. What about Istanbul? It is definitely urban, offers lots to see and do with an incredible history, and you can get there from the West coast with only one connection.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
African safaris are wonderful for solo travelers, but 12 days is kinda short and three months in advance it's hard to get space, so...if you're interested in that, head on over to the Africa board soon. I've been on two safaris and plan to go on many, many more.

Also, Ive been to So. France solo and it was great--I based in Arles but most here wouldn't. However, if I were to do something like that again, I'd go to the Perigord and wrap up with a few final days in Paris. A friend and I did that last April. Fantastic!

I remember seeing your description of yourself as "early to mid 30s" before (your Prague report?), and it made me smile. Remember Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Hedwig describes himself as "early mid 20s," I think. Great line!

ekscrunchy, I'd be interested to hear what you think about Vietnam in late fall.
Leely is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,507
I think 40 is the beginning of the best part of your life.

If I could celebrate my 40th again, I'd go pony trekking in Iceland, with a stop in Copenhagen on the way to or from.
enzian is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:19 AM.