Brett and I play to travel frugally during the Big Adventure. We plan to take free walking tours in the cities we visit, take advantage of free concerts, eat many of our meals in our Airbnb lodgings, and refrain from buying souvenirs (mainly due to luggage weight limits). We’re looking forward to shopping in local markets and checking out what the neighborhoods we’re staying in have to offer.
However, we are planning to splurge once in a while and take part in several special activities along the way. Some of these have been planned for a while, but recently we’ve found some others we’ve added to our itinerary:
- Culinary tour in Buenos Aires:This tour includes a visit to an outdoor market, empanada demonstration and tasting, and a four-course lunch with Argentinian wine pairings.
- Cheese tasting in Paris: I am mad about cheese, and Airbnb has several tours available that we can book when we make our rental reservation – we just need to choose one!
- Wine tour (or two) in Bordeaux: We’ve seen two we like. One is a visit to wine shops in the city of Bordeaux, another takes us out to some chateaus in the region (there’s also one that’s done on electric bikes through the vineyards, which is also intriguing).
- Wine tour in the Alsace region: We’re still researching this. Apparently it’s easy to rent a car for the day and do your own wine tour through the area, so that’s one option.
- Overnight visit to Baden-Baden and the Black Forest: Located just a short distance from Strasbourg, this will allow us a quick glimpse of Germany.
- Two day visit to Gimmelwald, Switzerland: Interlaken, Switzerland is a short train ride away from Strasbourg, and from there we can easily get up into the Alps for a couple of days.
- Make-your-own pizza class in Florence: This is another affordable, fun Airbnb offering. We’ll each make an individual pizza and enjoy it with a glass of wine.
- Personal guided tour in Siena: This is one place where we want some “depth” and feel that a personal guided tour will be the way to get it. There’s just too much to see and appreciate in Siena to do in a group in one day.
- A Tuscany wine tour or two: We’re still researching this. Whether we do one or two will depend on the cost.
- Three day, two-night visit to the Cinque Terre: Visiting the Cinque Terre has been on my bucket list for like, forever. We’re planning to take the train up to the furthest of the five villages, Monterosso, and then hike down to Vernazza for the first night’s stay in a B&B. From there we’ll hike to Manarola for our second night’s stay, with a stop along the way in Corniglia. On the third morning we’ll hike down to Riomaggiore and catch the train back to Florence.
- High tea at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong: Previous trips to Hong Kong have always been about shopping, but our visit this time is all about the food. Our hotel is located right next door to the Peninsula, and their fabulous high tea is on our bucket list. We’re also hoping to go to the Peninsula for their equally fabulous brunch one morning.
- Visit Hong Kong Disneyland: Because we’re seniors, the cost for us to visit the park for a day is just $13 each. We figured at that price we have to go check it out.
- Sydney seafood market tour and barbecue: Another fun activity from Airbnb, this outing includes a tour of Sydney’s giant seafood market where we’ll choose our own seafood, then walk it over to a nearby park where our guide will barbecue it for us, and serve with sides and Australian wine.
- Take a boat tour of Sydney Harbor: We’re still researching this, but it’s something we’d like to do.
- Eight-day visit to Hiroshima and Kyoto: Brett has never been to Hiroshima, so we’ll head down there first for three days, and then ride the shinkansen (bullet train) back up to Kyoto for another five days before returning to Tokyo. We’re planning to buy two-week Japan Rail passes before we go – the cost for the pass is a considerable savings over a regular round-trip ticket on the shinkansen, plus we can use them around Tokyo until they expire.
- Two days at Tokyo Disneyland: We were planning to take our grandson here for his birthday, but our son suggested we do an overnight stay so we can visit both parks (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea). We’re going to do this when Meiling is visiting – she loves Disney!
We may or may not add some more activities, depending on time and cost, but the ones above give us lots to look forward to, and we’ve been having fun researching them as well as other things that might be interesting to do.
Here’s where my readers come in though – any other suggestions of things we should do outside of regular sightseeing? We’re open to just about any experience, short of extreme sports or skydiving. We don’t mind walking (although I have trouble walking down hills or down lots of stairs, which is going to make our Cinque Terre visit interesting).