24 Feb 2018

My 2018 mini break wish list

One of the most instagrammable buildings in Paris - La Maison Rose

Over the past few years I've become such an advocate for mini-breaks, city-breaks and short haul last minute getaways.  There's just so much that appeals to me about being able to get away even just for a long weekend - it's the perfect way to recharge and get a break from the every day grind, plus with several mini breaks rather than just one longer holiday in the year, I have lots more to look forward to and it's easier to beat the post holiday blues!

Villa Borghese Gardens, Rome

There are still lots of amazing long-haul destinations I want to try, and places I've been before that I want to re-visit, and of course I love a lazing by the beach holiday as much as the next person, but funds and time off work don't always allow for those kinds of holidays all the time, and actually, I don't feel cheated at all by planning shorter, cheaper, mini holidays closer to home instead.  

Dan and I have had some of the best times on breaks that were only two or three nights, exploring the streets on foot, finding amazing places to eat and generally being all touristy and taking in the sights.  When we first went to Rome we only stayed for two nights but we packed so much in, walked the equivalent of an actual marathon on our Fitbits, and developed major gelato addictions.  So much so that we went back the following year to see all the things we had missed, and of course to eat more gelato and take more dreamy photos of the Trevi Fountain, which has become one of my all time favourite places.  I threw a coin into the fountain on my first trip, returned a little over a year later and flipped a couple of cents in again, so here's hoping I'll be back in Rome again some day soon!  

The Moulin Rouge, Paris

Seeing how much we've come to enjoy city breaks in particular, it's nuts that we'd never been to Paris until last year.  I was always put off a little by our inability to speak any French, and lots of people say the French can be very unfriendly to tourists who don't attempt to speak to local language.  We plucked up the courage to give it a try last year, and went in June for our anniversary for three nights.  I'd learnt some of the basic words and phrases, and although I was pretty sure my pronunciation was awful, and I was certain I was getting the grammar all wrong, we got by.  Sure enough a little Bonjour madame and je voudrais this and that, followed by a si vous plait was all that we needed to raise a smile from most shop keepers and to have them gladly helping us in English - and telling us how to improve our French! We ended up falling in love with Paris, the sights, the food, the quaint streets, everything really, and we'll definitely be going back another time.

View of Paris from atop the Arc de Triomphe

This year's mini break wish list starts with something we've actually booked already - a UK break to a log cabin.  It's the third time we've done something like this in the late winter and it's becoming quite the tradition for us.  The first year we stayed in Norfolk, last year The Cotswolds and soon we'll be off to Cornwall.  We have a lovely little log cabin in the woods and it comes with a private hot tub too.  I think there'll be lots of Netflix, woodland walks and lazy pub lunches.  Perfect! 

Outside the UK, this year I'd really like us to get to Amsterdam.  I love anywhere that's set by water - river, lake, sea whatever and I'm happy.  Amsterdam also seems like such a fun city, easy to get around and perfect for just a couple of days.  Also Eurostar is set to start running direct to Amsterdam this year, so it'll be much easier to reach.  Budapest is also pretty high up on my wish list, and has been for a year or two since I watched some vlogs.  It's a relatively cheap destination both in terms of accommodation and eating out, and it seems like such a beautiful place.  Again a lot of the city is alongside the river, which I love.

Amazing authentic gelato in front of my favourite iconic monument - the Trevi Fountain, Rome

We won't be going back to Rome this year, but that Italian vibe and particularly the food has really captured our hearts, so a trip to Venice could well be on the cards.  An Italian friend of mine has suggested that Verona is actually a better place to stay - cheaper, less crowded and less touristy, and you can still visit Venice from there, so that may well be what we end up doing.  I'm unsure as to how many breaks we'll have the time or money for, but I there's one more destination I've been avidly researching - to me that's half the fun of a mini-break - going in deep on Pinterest and making myself a google map!  I watched a few vlogs of Lisbon last year and it just looks beautiful - the weather's good until fairly late in the year, you're near to the coast and there seemed to be a pretty buzzy street food scene going on which really appeals to me too.  

Just the idea and the planning of going away makes me feel so happy and less anxious about every day stresses.  I think I'll probably spend the rest of the day browsing last minute deals from Holiday Gems and seeing what I can find - I'm wondering if I could squeeze in a little trip before Easter!

Where do you feel like going for your next mini-break?  


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