Many people think that all the travelling I do is very exotic and must be fun. It is and it isn't - I always miss my family a lot and that is why I often take one of my children with me. Travelling with two is more fun but also much more expensive especially as my kids are at that eat a horse stage. I always have a little two man tent stored in Europe.This time I am taking Ynez as I also need her luggage allowance for the quilts ( we take two changes of clothes and a coat-as it will still be wintery in Syria and good walking shoes- but otherwise all the lugagge is devoted to quilts). At the Australian end they have gotten very ferocious about the weight of your carry on luggage and as those cabin roller suitcases weigh about 2kg without anything in them, I will be taking a lightweight backpack instead!
The last couple of days I have spent on logistics- the airline tickets are booked and paid but there is much more to travel than that! I have finally organised our hotel in Syria- it's called the Sultan Hotel and is very close to the Souq, and as far as hotels go in Syria is very reasonable. It is clean and serviceable and the people who run it a delight- we stayed there last time and feeling a little at home with the people is important as we will be there 24 days. Then there is getting from the airport to the hotel- that's organised. Then there is finding the Arabic dictionary which i put in a safe place and trying to remember all the polite words so at least I may seem foolish but a polite fool.Ok return to Dubai is organised - have to have an overnight stay there- we were looking at a hotel ( which are reasonable for two nights but expensive for one night) however one of Collin's old uni friends now works there, and will be there at the time and so we have a bed for the night! Then onto Paris. I think/hope??? that we will be picked up at the airport ( Christine Moulin if you read this I can't seem to get an email to you- have been trying for weeks!).
Then car hire for the rest of the European trip- my one and only luxury. I tried to do it with public transport once and with a very heavy suitcase it was a nightmare- so I hire a Renault Clio ( the cheapest diesel Renault) from Eurodrive- by far the best deal if hiring for more than 4 weeks and each time you get a brand new car. Ok it's all booked but still has to be paid and I need to extend for a week as we decided to stay for five days longer in France. Then my eldest daughter is coming over and now Collin too ( so have to work out their airfares and times and they will have a stopover in Dubai on the way back to catch up with his friend)- we want to go to Catalonia for 2 weeks- I have promised Ynez some time in Spain as her name is Spanish- so we have managed to find a little holiday flat in a small village not far from Girona that seems affordable, and camping wouldn't be that much cheaper - it's inland as ones near the coast are too expensive- it has one bedroom but will sleep four and is in a village so I hope Robas has at least one little restaurant where we might have the occasional meal.However during that time I need to go to England to teach - so will have to organise a Ryan Air flight from Girona to Stanstead ( lucky I am teaching about an hour or so away) Collin and the girls will stay in Spain and see all the sights in Barcelona ( I hope to get there for at least a day but we will see)
About this time I start my lists- of things I need to take and add to it as I think of things- but in terms of personal things like clothes etc we travel with the bare minimum- things like toothpaste etc can be bought once we are in Syria and there is no use it cluttering up luggage.I am an expert at minimal packing- however a journal always goes with me and I think this time a small water colour set as the hotel in Syria has no tv so we will have to find things to occupy ourselves.I am under orders to buy some falafel makers and a few other things like Syrian engagement rings.
And the picture is of some of the jewellery i bought in Egypt and Syria last time- it looks lovely on my Gilgamesh rug which is making progress- but what a lot of sewing!