TRAVELS

THUNDER : PARISFeels odd to think I'll be heading out on the road again soon. Like, all of a sudden I'll be in Europe. It's only March, but I'm out of town a bit next month, and then May will be here so I probably need to get a few things booked. My rough plan, for the moment, is a week in London with all of my favourites, a very happy wedding at the English seaside, then up to Copenhagen and Stockholm to see my old friend Leonard, a few days in Berlin (because I can't believe I've never been), a maybe stop-over in Budapest (because THE BATHS), a few days in Paris (because, always) and hopefully down to Plum Village for a week of mindfulness in the South of France.

It will be a mix of hotels, air b'n'bs, and staying with friends. It's such a dream to research, imagining myself in London terraces again, sparse Berlin lofts and design hotels in Copenhagen (yep, hoping to book that gem this week). Last time I was in Paris I stayed near Monmartre at the lovely Hotel Amour drinking pots of tea and kir royales in their courtyard, but am looking at studios in the Marais or the Bastille for this visit, easily the best part of town. The picture above is from 2011 or so, at a cafe I found in Paris that made good coffee and  served homemade blueberry and banana butter with their baguette so I went back two days in a row, with my ever-faithful Fieldguided tote. Five years later and my There Is Thunder In Our Hearts is getting a little grubby, so I was thinking about investing in a new one - I have a pretty sweet spot for Blame It On My Wild Heart (of course).

But Europe. Oh! And my old hometown of London! So much goodness. I can't wait for the TATE and another glimpse of my all time, favourite ever painting. It was my first stop the first day I landed there last and will likely be again. It comes alive as you take it in, glowing with dusk and firelight and the joy of being a little girl in a white dress, playing in the garden. I can't wait for the TATE and St Pauls and the murky Thames. All of it really, I want to be inside hundreds-of-years-old architecture and ride trains with strangers. I'm going to buy gifts at Liberty in London, and Merci in Paris and Lotta's in Stockholm. I'll eat little else but bread and cheese and apples for breakfast and carafes of cheap wine in the afternoon.

Any hot-tips for me? I'd love to know your favourites…