The least impressive dilemma in the world ever.

I feel like I should start this post with some evidence of how hard my life actually is.

For example, last night I was in the back garden calling the cat to come inside and I called, “Come on, gorgeous”. 

“Pardon?” replied Flea’s deputy headmaster, who lives next door, and was standing three feet away, in his garden.

I suffered a thousand deaths in less than two seconds.

There’s more. 

Today, I finally had to throw away my favourite Man Jumper. Women will understand this one.

You know when you steal a really good sweatshirt from a man and it’s perfect because the sleeves are too long, and it’s big enough to tuck your knees inside on cold nights? And you wear it until it gets all soft and fluffy and perfect?

And then you wear it for almost 10 years and one day, there are so many holes in the sleeve that the cuff falls off and you have to throw it away and then find a new man just so you can steal his sweater?

Yep. It’s been a tough old week.

[pause for sympathy]

And now, on top of the cat-related humiliation and sweater grief, I have a major dilemma: I’ve been invited to take part in a fun travel project, trying out flights and hotels and writing about it. I get to choose one trip, to pretty much anywhere I’d like to go in the next few weeks.

And I can’t decide where to go. I’ve spent far too long this week on flight and travel websites and I’m officially CLUELESS.

Option A is to go a bit long-haul on a trip to Vancouver. Long flight, and I’d have to kick in some funds because the project budget wouldn’t cover two long-haul flights. We have good friends there, and it’s one of my favourite cities ever. But it’s a long flight for Flea, and finding direct flights is tricky, it turns out.

Option B is to go for somewhere incredibly snowy and wintery – Iceland was an option for a time, but there are NO direct flights, and going via Stockholm makes for a really long journey. I’ve been to Finland. I’m not in any great rush to go back (sorry, Finland).

Option C is mainland Europe, but I always associate France and Italy with summer, and we went to Germany last Christmas. So, I don’t know – Copenhagen? Prague?

Oh, and there’s always New York – we have friends there and it’s GREAT fun in the run-up to Christmas, but we’ve been there a lot – Flea’s been four times already – maybe we’re New Yorked out, and that’s not even mentioning the storms and damage from Sandy…

 

So, here’s where I need your help, readers. If you could take a short break anywhere, where would it be?

It needs to be Flea-friendly, have plenty to do so we’re occupied, have decent airports with regular flights, and as it’s a short break, nowhere TOO far-flung.. can you help with a suggestion? Been anywhere great lately?

Best suggestion wins a gift of Flea’s choice from the airport…

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the HIBS100, Foodies100 and Tots100 - an online community of more than 15,000 UK bloggers. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest eight year old.

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54 Comments

  1. says

    Hi Sally, I’d vote for Vancouver every time. I recently took my 6-yr old and the flight wasn’t too long for him (in fact he loved it cos we let him watch the in-flight tv nearly the whole way – waaaaay more tv than he watches at home). The only downside is that the flights were from Heathrow, which I know is a long way from you.

    Other than that – how about Berlin? A cool city, quite a lot of history if you want, plus likely to be Xmasy.

    Of course failing that, I’d happily take the opportunity off your hands.
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    • says

      I know. In my heart, I’d LOVE to make it work. Might see if I can work a bit of magic with the PR and see if they can help me make sense of flight options.

  2. says

    I have to fly the flag for Prague. We went there a while back and absolutely loved it! The city is beautiful, there’s plenty to do and the public transport was good. It was cold though. So cold I had to buy myself a ridiculous-looking hat! But it was worth it. It was also cheap as chips when we went – we got 2 meals and 2 huge glasses of beer for under £10! I also love Bergen in Norway but it is seriously expensive.
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    • says

      I’ve never been to Prague or Bergen – what’s it like in Norway? I do fancy Scandinavia, I’ve not been there too much aside from Finland, which was a bit cold and bleak for my liking. Although I spent my time in Finland in the back seat of an ancient Volvo with a mountain dog and a window that wouldn’t close. Don’t ask.

    • says

      I do love Barcelona, but I’ve been there a lot. I sort of fancy somewhere new if we stay in Europe. Although there is great food and architecture… tempting.

  3. says

    How long is the short break? If it is at least a week then could you bear to go as far as Mexico? What a fabulous lace for all sorts of reasons…or Berlin for a long weekend – what a great city!

    • says

      Never been to Mexico. I guess the break could be as long or short as we need, but with work coming up, I don’t think we could be away for more than 4 or 5 days. I do love Berlin but remember it as rather bleak and cold.

  4. says

    What about Boston? Similar flight time to NY so not too bad, and loads of good things for kids to do. Nice friendly place, easy to go on a day trip to more rural New England, which is beautiful at this time of year.

    Prague is lovely but I wouldn’t have said it was very family friendly.

    • says

      Oh, I do love Boston and New Hampshire – I love the White Mountains, and oh, Cape Cod, and Vermont, and my problem is when we go there, I go for weeks at a time (our last trip there was 5 weeks for our honeymoon, and we went all around the region). I think you could do a weekend in Boston, mind – and it IS very pretty to walk around…

    • says

      I’ve always done Barcelona in the summer months, I think – it is lots of fun, but I’ve been there a lot, and always with one particular person so there’s that weird memory thing associated with it, too. But it is lovely, I agree.

  5. says

    If you want Christmassy, what about Salzburg? If it was me, I’d probably go Boston..
    “*ahem* Candlelit windows in Georgian brick homes; trees festooned with lights; carol singers on every corner: a Christmas shopping break in Boston is much more than just ticking off gifts on a list.

    The city is more compact than New York, and according to the Post Office survey offers even better prices, and is easily explored on foot. It’s also only a seven-hour flight from Britain and, best of all, sales tax is lower than in the Big Apple, so your dollars go further.”

    • says

      Oh yes, I’ve been to Salzburg and it’s beautiful – I also love the idea of Boston. I completely agree, it’s all incredibly pretty and Charles St is probably really really cute in the winter months.

      Maybe that’s a winner. I’ll have to check out the flights.

  6. Katie says

    Vienna is beautiful – loads to do for kids – Haus der Musik is fab. Plus the Christmas markets outside the Rathaus. You could also take a train out to some more Alpine type villages.

      • says

        yep. vienna is lovely. and if you want to go somewhere COMPACt, try slovenia-you can do most touristy stuf in under a week and than do stuff that’s just lovely. besides, venice is 2 hrs drive, vienna is 4 hrs, salzburg also.
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        • says

          Honestly, I can’t remember if I’ve been to Vienna. I don’t think so, though. We’ve done Vienna and Salzburg before so I’m not sure we fancy that. Is Vienna quite modern, or more artsy?

  7. says

    Hi Sally – I recommend a trip to Salzburg – if you love old towns with nice christmas markets. If you love to be in the snow it would be nice to be in Switzerland – fly to Zurich and with 1/2 hour by train you get to nices places in the mountains you can imagine. Another tip for a beautiful town with a nice christmas market is Strassburg. And of cours my hometown Munich. Christmas markets, history and the technical museum which is really great. Need more info? Just call. Regards Petra

    • says

      I do love Salzburg, have had some great trips there, it’s really very beautiful isn’t it? Munich is also interesting – we did Christmas markets last December in Cologne, though, so we want something a bit different this year, ideally. Salzburg might be worth a look – thanks!

  8. Lucy says

    I COMPLETELY understand what you mean about the man jumper! I had similar man jumper woes recently, and had to consign it to the bin!

  9. says

    Have done both Barcelona and Rome in winter, they were both lovely, with some sun and enough warmth to ditch coats. In addition, when we went to Barcelona, we got Eurostar to Paris and spent a day there, before getting the sleeper which landed us in Barcelona first thing in the morning, right in the city centre, no airport hassle.
    Rome is my favourite though, just lovely.
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    • says

      Rome is fun, I agree – and actually, Flea’s studying the romans at school this term and really enjoying it, so I might be able to tie it in with her studies. Hmmm.

    • says

      Oh, Vegas is fun. Not child friendly though. And not enough daylight from what I remember of trips there – I used to go every year for a big technology conference that happens there. GREAT hotels, though.

  10. thepricklypinecone says

    I would have to highly recommend Bulgaria. I long to go back some day and if you avoid the tourist areas you will both have a great time. I have to admit though we went in the summer, not sure how it would be in the colder months.

    • says

      Really? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything that amazing about Bulgaria – not to say it isn’t very scenic, but is it suited to short breaks?

  11. says

    Well, of course you need to go to PRAGUE and I am saying that not only because I am Czech and absolutely love the city, but could give you quite a few tips on where to go and what to see ;)))
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  12. says

    Yup, I love Barcelona. Valencia is also nice and has a nice mix of sea, city and things for kids to do (city of arts and sciences has an aquarium, a science museum and an IMAX style cinema that made me feel sick when we went there whilst I was pregnant with my son.

    Also, I’m a huge fan of The Killing and would go to Copenhagen in a heartbeat. I’d also go to Ystad in Sweden, but that might not be for you if you are not a Wallander fan. I’d love to see most of Sweden and Norway actually, so any of the major cities.

    And in case you do want to go back to Germany, apparently there are even more Christmas markets in Munich than in Cologne!
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  13. says

    Sounds a bit naff, but how about Venice? Having had a bit of a buying book obssession about the place for a while I went there on honeymoon in 1999 just as it was warming up for the tourist season (yuk), and I have longed to go there in the depths of winter. It’s just so OLD. I don’t know anywhere else in the world which looks just like it did 500 years ago. So do go so I can dribble with envy.

    And sorry about your jumper.

  14. Lora W. says

    We love Washington, DC- lots to do (most things are free), excellent shopping, pretty decorations, and not too terribly cold.

  15. says

    Wow… This is a great question… but hello… Cape Town, glorious summer, over night flight, tons to do: beaches, mountains, city life, shopping… totally different animals to visit, fabulous food, heaps of interesting outings… Here’s our guide: http://www.se7en.org.za/2011/12/13/saturday-spot-se7ens-essential-guide-to-cape-town%E2%80%A6 Go on… take a look, it may not be what you had in mind – but it is a spot you guys will love!!!
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  16. Jess says

    i think you absolutely have to come to AUSTRIA then – more precisely: Tyrol!!!
    this is a province in the western part of austria, in the middle of the mountains -just perfect for a trip!
    only 2 hours DIRECT flight from london-gatwick to the capital city Innsbruck – fantastic mountains (with cable cars to take you up there) and amazing views from their top, a really beautiful (not too big) old-town with lots to see and do (great museums and lots of shops), an “alpine zoo” for the little ones – which is really special and features all kinds of animals from the region (brown bear, puma, otter, wolves, eagle and many more), great restaurants, beautiful landscapes and much more :)
    xx

  17. says

    I love Germany, and had some fab trips in and around Berlin. Not so sure about the child friendliness of it though. Love Boston, but if you’ve been before, perhaps that’s not the right place. How about Tuscany? Great food and wine, warmer than here, flea might even get a splash around in the pool.
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