As per usual, the coming year's travel goals remain loosely defined and I need to come up with some concrete plans in the near future.
In the spring, I head to Paris to visit family. I will be there for at least a week, guiding my brother and sister-in-law around the city. I’m really looking forward to it because, having lived there off and on in the 1990s, and visiting family from time to time, it’s rare that I simply play tourist and it will be interesting to see the city through those eyes again. As part of that trip, I’ve decided to cross the pond a week early to experience more of a “vacation” somewhere else in Europe. I really want to go to Istanbul, but don’t know if I’m up for that on my own. However, if anyone has recommendations for a place to stay, that might help seal the deal. Italy is another option I’m considering, since I’ve been working on an Italian textbook for the past year and would like to see more of the country beyond my one visit to Tuscany years ago.
|Joshua Tree National Park, November 2009|
My other big trip of the year will involve national parks. For Christmas, my extremely generous sister (who, like me, enjoys hiking in the parks) has offered me a trip with her to any park in the lower forty-eight. The only question is which one? To date, I have visited Joshua Tree, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Big Bend, Yellowstone, Glacier, Carlsbad Caverns, The Petrified Forest, and Saguaro (although my memory of the last three is dim at best since they were visited on a family trip in sixth grade). Right now I’m leaning towards Grand Teton, which I always regret not visiting when my father and I were in Jackson Hole after a visit to Yellowstone, and Crater Lake, which I’ve been hoping to visit since moving out West. Again, I welcome suggestions.
|Yosemite Valley and Half Dome, April 2009|
Otherwise, this year I hope to further explore California. I've seen quite a bit since moving here, but there is so much more to see and do, including the remaining national parks on my list (Channel Islands, Death Valley, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood), but also Napa Valley, the northern coast (especially Mendocino), and Gold Country.
Happy New Year and safe travels everyone!