For the past year Soy and I have been planning a trip to Europe. We first became serious about itineraries when Soy was sick in October last year - I gave him my laptop and said 'if you're going to be stuck in bed for a week I want you to work out where we're spending three weeks in July 2012'.
That was when July 2012 seemed like a long way away. Now it's only a few weeks away and we are starting to get seriously excited. All of the accommodation is booked, itineraries are sorted, we have been printing out public transport maps for the cities we are visiting, bought Oyster cards for London and forced the kids to start reading the pack of Paris Walking Tour cards we purchased. I am making lists of rooms in the Louvre, cafes in the Tuilleries and places to hire bikes near Loire chateaux.
It's been six years since we last took the kids to Europe. While that was a wonderful trip that time, we were travelling with toddlers. We are in such a golden period with the kids at the moment - they are old enough to behave properly in public, young enough to be enthusiastic about everything. And they still think we are cool and fun. So this time we are not just planning how to see the things we want to see, in spite of the children, but how to see things that they will love as much as we do. We are shamelessly plugging castles and pastries. And I am looking forward to eating in cafes without tables being knocked over this time.