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Trip Planning: 20th Anniversary

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Sep 13th, 2015, 07:03 AM
  #1
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Trip Planning: 20th Anniversary

As my husband and I celebrate 19th years of marriage today (he's making the pancakes and I'm doing some pre-trip planning research), we're wondering where to go next year for our 20th? (Trip planning is our favorite rainy Sunday morning activity and we've been denied the pleasure all summer!)

We're looking for the "wow" factor! What makes us go "wow?" Well, amazing -- but unpretentious -- food. A spectacular view wouldn't hurt either.

For us, San Sebastian Spain probably tops our list. Great food, amazing beach, and a walkable small city. I'd also put Seville on that list. We've enjoyed major cities (Rome, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Venice, Florence, Madrid), but want to stick with smaller cities and a more relaxed pace for this special trip.

Part of me thinks, heck, let's go back to Spain! We love the food, the people, the relaxed pace. But there's so much to do and see in Europe that we want to experience. Some thoughts we've had are:

*Driving through Burgundy, Alsace, and up to Normandy (The D-Day Beaches are high on our list for personal reasons and we've previously traveled to Provence.)
*The UK and or Ireland (We've never been.)
*The Dalmatian coast. (We just got a taste of it on our recent "Mom cruise" and found it stunningly beautiful.)
*Splitting our 3-week trip into two separate trips and making a shorter mid-summer trip to Iceland again and taking a week out of the September anniversary trip.
*Our original plan was to rent a house in Italy for a few weeks, but we just traveled a bit in Italy with Mom and feel we need to start branching out more.
*Switzerland?

And, of course, even on this special trip the budget matters... We hope to mix up the 200-300E hotels with some somewhat cheaper AirBnB rentals, depending on where we end up and how much traveling we do.

Thoughts? Ideas? Narrowing down the location is the hardest part of trip planning!
Thanks in advance.
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Sep 13th, 2015, 08:09 AM
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Switzerland would be your most expensive destination, Croatia the least expensive.

With three weeks, you can do Normandy and the D-Day beaches for a week or so, great seafood, some of the best oysters we've had. Then hop a train and head down the coast to Donostia-San Sebastián. From Donostia you can spend time visiting the French Basque region and most of the País Vasco, enjoying the food and wine.
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Sep 13th, 2015, 08:20 AM
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After 30 trips to Europe---mostly southern Europe including 17 to Italy and 5 to Spain---the one venue that exceeded my expectations was Sicily. Here are some areasons why:

http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=3828
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Sep 13th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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Thanks, Robert2533- We've also considered the French side of the Basque region. Since our original trip to the areas was really made spectacular by the amazing weather, we're a little nervous about a September trip to that region... (Our one day of rain really changed the town and the beach scene, of course.)

Bobthenavigator - We hadn't even considered Sicily. You're photos are just stunning. We'll definitely put this on our wish list!
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Sep 13th, 2015, 09:59 AM
  #5
 
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"We're looking for the 'wow' factor! What makes us go 'wow?' Well, amazing -- but unpretentious -- food. A spectacular view wouldn't hurt either... want to stick with smaller cities and a more relaxed pace for this special trip."

Spend a night or two at Auf Schoenburg Castle/Hotel in Oberwesel. I'd book during a September wine fest if possible.

Oberwesel w/ castle: http://s1.germany.travel/media/conte...T_1024x768.jpg

Hotel site: http://www.hotel-schoenburg.com/index.html

Breakfast overlooking Pfalzgrafenstein Castle (island castle in the middle of the Rhine) - http://www.hotel-schoenburg.com/rhin...falz-view.html

Oberwesel town center, wine fest: http://www.mittelrhein-lichter.de/pi...est-600_01.jpg

O'wesel wine fest: http://www.oberwesel.de/uploads/pics/P1060485.JPG

"WOW" castles you can tour nearby:
Burg Eltz: http://de.best-wallpaper.net/wallpap..._1920x1200.jpg
Marksburg: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...ubach_2012.jpg
Rheinfels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-c...FF80wORNQ#t=32
Reichsburg Castle in Cochem: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam...xlarge-169.jpg
Cochem: http://www.der-takt.de/typo3temp/_pr...087e83a8d1.jpg
Simple, tasty traditional German food in places like this (the Zum Goldenen Schlüssel in Braubach) - https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4143/4...d7071291_b.jpg

Small cities nearby:
Mainz...
http://georg-dahlhoff.de/blog/wp-con...1104020978.jpg
http://familyadventureproject.org/wp...0/IMG_4192.jpg

Others: http://www.romantic-cities.com/Cities.5616.0.html
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Sep 13th, 2015, 10:19 AM
  #6
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Wow! is right, Fussagaenger! They are all amazing... We have been thinking that if we're in the Alsace region that we'd skip over to German for a day trip -- but now we have to think more about Germany...
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Sep 13th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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If you go to the Rhine/Mosel area for several days, understand that there's almost nothing as pricey as Auf Schoenburg. A couple of additional nights in Cochem in a place like this would be well below your budget limits:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...alatinate.html
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Sep 13th, 2015, 03:15 PM
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You haven't been to London and the UK ? That's where you should go !
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