Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Witches European Broomstick Tour – 2016

This bi-annual trip started in 2014 after the original 5 witches held tentative discussions where dreams where ultimately turned into promises to tour Europe together. The intention being to take in the sights, immerse themselves in each country’s culture, and to buy tokens as proof of passage through the 100’s of Christmas markets that spring up throughout the European Union. They called this x-Europe rampage the "Broomstick Tour", got shirts made, and thoroughly enjoyed the inaugural experience.

Credit for the Broomstick Tours must go to the J-clan globe-trotters (with a special nod to T-Witch). Her in-depth research, creative use of transport (planes/ships/trains/subways/limousine services), ability to seek out unconventional accommodation and oversee the kitties. None of these activities are taken for granted.

T-Witch made a huge effort to ensure everyone had an initial say when choosing destinations on the 2016 Tour and continually modified the itinerary to ensure the progression was workable. She even included a few Easter eggs to keep us entertained and to make sure each country we visited was memorable. In all we'll cram 12 cities/towns into 23 days while visiting Netherlands, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and United Kingdom - nobody better blink.
I’ll remain forever grateful for her dedication and patience as she shepherded the 6 of us (4 veterans and 2 virgins) through a quagmire of connecting flights, weird ticketing requirements, map deciphering, tracking down hidden accommodation locations and drew on her magical previous travel experiences to ensure we didn’t fall into the many tourist traps along the way.

Why I was invited is beyond me. As the lone male member, (partner to one of the witches), I didn’t fit the criteria. Also a daily battle with IBS, recently diagnosed and by no means understood or under control, made the decision to go along quite daunting. But, tired of being controlled by the illness, I chose to risk it.

The brief for this tour was for each person to carry a 45 litre backpack, (to suit carry-on size restrictions), with several extra bags shared between the group as check-in luggage as purchases mounted up.

We exchange NZ dollars for 300 Euro’s before we left. This later proves a laughably pitiful amount that needs topping up several times. Apparently we have expensive tastes and thirsts.

Due to time zone changes some estimates quoted may not calculate correctly. I have taken the liberty of rounding off and applying real time when indicating hours for travel.

Broomstick Tour - Day 1

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