England, France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Japan.
*Staying in a house in Painswick that dates back to the 15th century. Byfield House has an intriguing attic, is full of interesting, eclectic and quirky art, and has two of the most wonderful hosts you will ever find in accommodation anywhere!
*Wandering around London, the Lake District and the Cotswolds, exploring narrow, winding lanes and woodland streams, and admiring dry rock walls. Even the weeds in England are beautiful.
*Cruising along the Rhine/Main/Danube rivers in a floating hotel. Watching the sun rise and set behind castle ruins called for champagne, but I was too busy taking 1800 photos!
*Watching the lights of Budapest from the Danube by night, while listening to classical music that made my blood sing.
*Meeting so many interesting people, all with great stories to tell. They say that travel broadens the mind, and I know these people have contributed to my cultural awareness, knowledge and understanding of the human condition.
*In my case, travel also definitely broadens the beam. I very much enjoyed trying so many new dishes and flavours. However, I seem to be taking up more space in my computer chair now!
*Having my new iPad (3) as a means of contacting the world, reading electronic books, and playing word games. Its portability made it extra useful in airports and planes. Look for iPad articles and educational app reviews here at The Book Chook soon.
*Trying to find a dentist in the UK on Bank Holiday weekend. Thank you, Dr Lucy!
*Dodging doggie doo in the streets of some European cities. Thank you to the many responsible dog owners, and boo to the rest.
*Inhaling lungfuls of other people's cigarette smoke in restaurants, shops, other public places. Thank you legislators for improving this situation slowly.
And thank YOU, The Book Chook readers, for allowing me to share a potted version of my holiday. I know you enjoyed the guest posts from Dee White, Kelly Burstow, Sue Stirling, Zoe Toft and Emma Perry while I was away. The Book Chook will now return to publishing articles about many matters educational and creative on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.