Clockwise from top left: Colmar, France; London; Glasgow; Bacharach, Germany; Loch Ness, Scotland.
One of the things we enjoy most about doing a long stay in a particular place is that it gives us the time to to make shorter side trips to other nearby places we want to see without all the hassle of repacking our big bags, etc. We stayed in Florence for a month in 2018, and did an overnight getaway to the Cinque Terre and a day trip to Sienna. During our three month stay in Blockley in 2018 we did three-day getaways to Bath, London, and Edinburgh.
We learned a lot from those trips about how to plan and use time efficiently as well as how to save. We rode trains on all those earlier trips, but this next go round we will be using buses for some of our side trips. While not quite at fast as a train they cost much less and are big, comfortable, and come with WiFi and other amenities. We also booked Airbnb rentals for our stays before; this time we’ll be looking more closely at B&Bs and hotels and employing other strategies to save on dining out.
We’ve come up with some ideas for side trips and getaways we’d like to do during our stays in Strasbourg, Oxford, and Edinburgh. Our finances will be the ultimate decision maker on whether they happen or not, but all can be adjusted according to our situations at the time
- Strasbourg: Because we’ll be located so close to the German border and the Rhine River, at the top of our list is a two or three day trip of day cruises on the Rhine to see the castles. We’ll definitely be making a day trip to Baden-Baden and visiting the Black Forest, but we’re also planning rent a car for a couple of days and driving the Alsatian wine route or at least part of it, and visiting Colmar, located to the south of Strasbourg.
- Oxford: While the city of Oxford itself will most likely keep us plenty occupied during our time there, we want to go back to London for four or five days, and also spend a couple of nights back in the Cotswolds if possible, either in or near Blockley. The Oxford-Heathrow bus is an affordable way of getting to London, but the train isn’t all that much extra. We’d probably rent a private room in someone’s home versus springing for a hotel or private Airbnb lodging. We did this when we traveled through New Zealand and enjoyed the experience and the people we met along the way, and saved quite a bit as well.
- Edinburgh: We hope we can pull off a “big” 4-day side trip to Inverness and Skye while we’re in Edinburgh, taking the train both ways as the trips are said to be among the most scenic in Scotland. We’d spend two days in Inverness then to Kyle of Lochalsh and pick up a rental car to cross over to and explore the island of Skye for a couple of days. We also plan to spend a couple of days exploring in Glasgow, and if we have the energy and funds, head up to Aberdeen as well.
One of our favorite things to do whenever we first visit any city is start with a walking tour, a free one if possible, so we’re already researching those. Besides teaching us about the city and its history, the tours help ground us, and guides always have great tips about other places to visit as well as good, affordable places to eat.
For now, we’re at a “we’ll see what happens” for each of these places we’re staying, and decided once we’re there if these side trips are financially feasible. We’re not contemplating any side trips while we’re in Japan. It’s too far out for now time-wise, and in our opinion will be too cold for sightseeing when we’re there. We’ll enjoy being with family and happy exploring the neighborhood where we live.