Last weekend, while we were having our breakfast at Ikea, we were thinking about how fantastic my sister and brother-in-law’s decision was to take a gap year and travel. They only have rough plans where they want to go and have not booked that far in the future so they have some flexibility. We were thinking we could also do the same thing and take a year off in the future but we’ll have to vote where to go – 3 months for each of us in our chosen location. For Joel of course, if he had only one choice, it would be Japan, for kuya my eldest, he picked Vietnam as he has a good friend from there and her teacher just recently visited Vietnam and had lots of exciting stories. For me, it’s South America – could be Bolivia or Ecuador and Julia has no preference yet so we said, how about Tanzania as we have never been to Africa yet. Hmmnn but it seems difficult especially with kids. However, today, at lunch, I’ve learned a colleague has actually been to Tanzania, and only slept in tents in the Serengeti where at one point, a hyena was actually outside their tent smelling them..Well, his stories are definitely enough for me to again entertain the thought of someday going to Tanzania. But for now, we can only afford short breaks and we found its cheaper when we combine several countries close to each other and travel by train for instance. Like 3 years ago, also around autumn, we traveled by train from Munich to Innsbruck and to Venice. We chose this time of the year and flew in to Munich for the Octoberfest.
The Octoberfest was a huge festival. While Joel was busy drinking beer inside one of the tents, I was keeping an eye on the kids in the carnival rides. There were I think, as many carnival rides as beer tents to keep both kids and adults entertained.
After a few days in Munich, we took the train to Innsbruck. Innsbruck was a like a small village with the Tyrolean alps as a backdrop. There’s a lot to do in Innsbruck, like going to the Swarovski museum, but the highlight is of course the alps. It’s breathtaking to be there on the top with the clouds beneath you. It’s almost like a dream. No wonder mountaineers keep climbing the summit despite the dangers.
The last stop in the trip was Venice. It was a shock – I have always thought that Venice would have waterways but should still have some sidewalks were you can have the option to walk to go from one place to the other. So it wasn’t like that – their streets are literally submerged but they have efficient water transport system so it wasn’t an issue. What I thought though was that Venice was built with children in mind. It is like a giant maze – you can actually get lost in its small piazzas. It was also fun for the kids to ride the gondolas and they were fascinated by the stories of the gondoliers.
It was an interesting combination – we have not yet gotten over being stunned by the majesty of the Tyrolean alps when we were confronted with the water world that is Venice. This is why we love visiting new places – always grander than what you have imagined it to be. So looking forward when we can have longer breaks and maybe even a gap year when we can finally afford it. Yup, having 1 euro breakfasts at Ikea is a step in the right direction.