Our six years of retirement have been the best days of my life. A large contributing factor to our enjoyment has been our fantastic retirement trips. When we took early retirement in 2011, we had trips to New Zealand and St Lucia planned, but apart from that, we had no set agenda, except a general consensus that most years would include one or two trips. Edinburgh is a lovely city, but it is a bit cold, wet and windy from October to April, so we like to head away somewhere warmer when we can.
We have reached the stage where we don’t need ‘things’, so we are building our experiences instead. So that if / when we get old and infirm, we will have many happy memories to look back on!
So where have we gone, and what have the trips been like? A few I have documented in more detail with their own blog entry, but this gives you the overall flavour of our trips.
November 2011 – New Zealand. Our first real retirement trip – 3 weeks in New Zealand. Our son emigrated there in 2007, as soon as he graduated. While he had come home twice in the interim, we hadn’t gone out to see him. But by 2011 he was settled in Christchurch, he and his then girlfriend had a home together, and a wedding was planned for April 2012. So we wanted to go out and meet his girlfriend’s family, see where he was living, and also take the time to see some of his adopted country. This was the first of 4 trips over the next 6 years. The scenery is out of this world. Everywhere you turn, there is another glorious view. This one is of Mt Ngaurhoe, which was used as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings….
We also had a few days in Singapore on the way home. I was amazed by the sight of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in the background. So much so that I son stopped off there for a couple of nights on his honeymoon. The views from the infinity pool are amazing!
December 2011 – St Lucia – We came across this resort when our lives were manic in 2005. Our trip to South America had fallen through, and we just took something at short notice. The best thing we did. No internet, no newspapers, no TV. It was such a chill-out, that we kept going back. 9 times so far, I think. It was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries after our busy lives. Arguably now we were retired we didn’t need the recharging, but hey! (We used air-miles, which cut the cost down.) It is just such an idyllic place.
April 2012 – New Zealand again – this time for my younger son’s wedding. Lots of family came across. Our older son and his girlfriend (later wife – another trip!) came across. My husband’s brother and sister also came from the UK. His sister’s son and family who now live in Wellington also came. It was great to have everyone together. We had a week in Christchurch for the wedding but then wound our way north up to Auckland and went home from there.
December 2012 – St Lucia (again). We couldn’t resist getting away from a cold and damp Edinburgh.
March 2013 – Kuala Lumpur This trip came about because I wanted to use my KLM airmiles before they ran out. So we booked it by where KLM flew…. Kuala Lumpur was stunning. We were just there 1 week, but I loved it. (It might become one of my slow travel places…) We got a fantastic deal at teh Hilton, and because I also had a Hilton platinum card (which was also about to run out…) we got a room upgrade, and access to the exec lounge (free food & drink…) The pool was lovely and very welcome after the heat and humidity of the city.
December 2013 / January 2014- India My older son got married in Delhi, and then we had a 1 week trip of the ‘Golden Triangle’. This has to go down as our most memorable trip. A full week of wedding celebrations, where we were very much part of a family. While my son’s in-laws live in Liverpool, they both came from Delhi, so they wanted a family Hindu wedding in Delhi. (The civil ceremony took place in Edinburgh) I could put a thousand pictures up, but I’ll settle for a couple. The bride’s sari and jewellery were just amazing. Again a big family gathering, even on our side, my son and his wife from New Zealand, my cousin and his wife from Northern Ireland, my husband’s brother and family from England, his sister from Wales and some friends from Scotland. It was great.
My cousin and wife and my husband and I then had a week travelling around Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. We went by mini bus, car, train and plane… Here’s the classic view of the Taj Mahal. The posh photographs don’t have crowds of visitors in them…
December 2014 – New Zealand (again!) Our third trip, was as interesting as the ones before. We really go to see my son and daughter-in-law, but we always have a trip somewhere else too. This time was to Queenstown with ‘the kids’. The highlight was a helicopter trip over the glacier. The weather closed in, so we couldn’t land on the glacier, but we landed elsewhere in the mountain. A great experience.
November 2015 – St Lucia (again)
What can I say, I booked this in February using the last of our BA airmiles. We had no New Zealand trip planned, so we thought we would treat ourselves. At least that is our excuse!
December 2016 / January 2017 – New Zealand (again)
This trip we had a few days ourselves down the West Coast, and then had a week with ‘the kids’ up in the Bay of Islands. Yet another lovely trip, and after a total of 11 weeks in New Zealand over 5 years, we know that we have hardly touched the surface. This has to be the strangest tree I have ever seen!
We have also travelled to weddings in Aberdeen, Armagh, Belfast, Dundee, Dunbar, Leicester, Lisburn and Southampton. August 2018 will see us in Amsterdam for yet another wedding. We have made separate trips to visit friends and family in Belfast, Ballymena, Cambridge, Donegal, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Monmouth, Portrush, Southampton.
Our window cleaner was here the other day. His comment was – “I’m surprised to see you here, I thought you would have headed somewhere warm…” The temperature has indeed really dropped here over the last couple of weeks, so I confess that I have again been looking at travel sites, but I have no idea where our travels will take us next – yet!
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