Since my previous "web log beg" worked so well, here's another. Because this is my first trip to Europe, and could well be my last for a long time, I'd like to do a bit of travel in September to have a look around (I get kicked out of the college on 3 September to make way for the regular students, so I either become an itinerant or fly straight home). It will just be for a couple of weeks or maybe a bit longer, since I'll be running out of both time and money by then. So where to go?
I've just confirmed that the Hamburg conference is actually on; that starts on 5 September (6, really) and finishes on 7. So I may as well make my way straight there. After that I'll have about 10 days, give or take -- I'm due to fly back (from Heathrow) on 17 September but I can change that. What can I fit in in that time? What should I see and do? Some parameters: I'll have a medium-sized suitcase with me, probably partially-stuffed with books, so backpacking is out. I won't be driving, and it's years since I've ridden a bike so I don't see myself doing that. So I'm already limiting myself to places which are good for walking, public transport or (if all else fails) touristy coach trips. I'm not too old for hostels (I think!), but would probably prefer hotels if I can afford it -- which I probably can't, but anyway I can worry about that later.
As for what I'd like to see: well, British history-type stuff obviously. Military history, planes, all that good stuff -- yes of course. But I can get a lot of that in and around London. I love museums and the like; picturesque country landscapes are nice but we have some of that here, so that's less of a priority. And since I'm from a young country, where the built environment dates to no earlier than the 19th century (with one exception), I have a hunger to see really old things. Early modern, medieval would be great; even earlier would be better. I'm a sucker for anything Roman, so Rome is an obvious choice. I don't have any Italian but they've been fleecing tourists for over two thousand years, so I'm sure I'd manage. I'd like to visit the Western Front battlefields in Flanders, particularly Pozières, but I figure I can probably do that earlier in the summer as a day or overnight trip. I also want to visit Cornwall: my patrilineal ancestors came from there, there's Tintagel and other fun pseudo-Arthurian connections, it's got that almost-Celtic-fringe thing happening, and it looks pretty in the pics. What about Scotland? I hear Edinburgh is nice. South is Hadrian's Wall, north the Highlands -- all good. Is there anywhere else I should be thinking about? How long does take to "do" these places, particularly in the absence of a car? 10 days is presumably only enough for two (plus Hamburg) once travel is factored in.
As you can see, I'm pretty clueless about the whole thing, so any and all clues would be most helpful! I don't have to decide everything right now, but there is a time factor: as part of my ticket to the UK, I get a free BA "internal" flight, which could be to Rome or Edinburgh (is it even sensible to fly from London to Edinburgh? it's such an itty bitty distance, or seems that way to an Australian), but apparently not to Hamburg (I'll have to double-check that though). Which is fantastic, but I basically have to decide where by Friday! Arghh, pressure.