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It’s almost a month since we got back from Tanzania now, so what have I been doing with myself since then?

For the first few days after arriving back in the UK, I had a strange sense of dislocation; everything at home was much as I had left it and yet it all felt slightly strange. I can only assume that I had changed; something about my perception was different; because nothing was different in the things I was seeing, although I’m hard-pressed to define what the change might be.

Commuters at Canada Water, London

photo: Matt Buck

Now though, after a few weeks in the familiar routine, I’ve pretty much settled back into my life at home. Maybe I dislike the herd of commuters at the train station each morning a little bit more than I ever did before, but maybe that’s just a perfectly normal progression with time. Who knows!?

One thing is for sure, the trip to Kilimanjaro – and the return to ‘normal’ life – has reinforced my desire to travel.

I am recently back from a short work trip to Madrid and, while I didn’t get lots of time to explore the city, the time I did spend around town left me with some strong impressions, so I’ll write-up a post about that shortly.

I’ve also been planning more trips!

Vienna's Wienerchristkindlmarkt Christmas Market

(photo: Oswald Hicker)

The run-up to Christmas is usually a really hectic time in our house as both Brett and I are normally singing with the LGMC in the Christmas concerts, which involves lots of rehearsal time in November and December. This year, neither of us are performing, so we’re taking advantage of all the extra free time and planning to visit some of Europe’s best Christmas markets.

It all starts at the end of November when I take a train from London to Brussels and on to Cologne. They have no less than four* Christmas Markets in Cologne, so I’m spending three days there before taking a sleeper across The Alps to Vienna in Austria, where Brett flies in to join me and we explore the one-time capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I’m expecting it to be a week of mulled-wine and gingerbread men, Christmas trees and sparkling ornaments, with lots to see and do!

But that isn’t all. After Vienna, we come back to London and the following weekend we’ll be visiting two of London’s own Christmas markets with family and friends. Then on December 14th we fly to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia on the Baltic Sea, to visit their market. I have heard great things about Tallinn’s Christmas Market, so I’m hoping this will be the cherry on the top of our Christmas preparations.

I will of course be blogging it all as I go, so watch this space! In the meantime, if you have any recommendations for things to see and do in any of the places I’ve mentioned, please do pass them on in the comments section below!

*Or eight, depending on which guide you read!