There’s something about the summer road trip that beats going on a normal holiday. The emphasis is more on adventure, exploration and, of course, the unknown. That’s why with our children we wanted to give them the same experience, the same feeling of adventure this summer. And to keep the expense down, we stayed in Europe, to introduce our children to some of our neighbouring countries.
We all had input into the trip, and even the children helped us plan it by circling different places they wanted to see. Some of the places we all agreed we wanted to go were Ireland, Spain and Germany. Plus, my husband really wanted to experience what European shopping had to offer and, since our car had plenty of room in the boot, it wasn’t a problem.
Ireland was one of our first stops; it’s the closest to us and we were really keen to explore Dublin. There’s so much culture and history there and in summer the city really comes alive. From the music to the food, we couldn’t wait to experience its famously warm hospitality first hand. We also planned a stop at Kildare Village, which is easily accessible fromDublin, where there are plenty of fun things happening this summer.
I’m a complete foodie, so I was particularly keen to sample some of the incredible cuisine on offer from Good Food Ireland, on hand in the Village throughout the summer to showcase artisan foods from the area. And, of course, there was the shopping: with so much on offer we managed to contain ourselves to just Desigual and Ralph Lauren, but with up to 60% off the recommended retail price we had more money left for the rest of the road trip!
Next on the agenda was a trip to Spain, for sun and relaxation. First challenge – remembering to drive on the other side of the road. We wanted to see some of the most famous sights of the country, so our first stop was Madrid. The children loved staying out late, eating tapas with us – it made them feel very grown up. We also saw some of the amazing museums there, including the Prado and Reina Sofía, which gave us a break from all of that sun! Of course there was more shopping on the agenda – and with Las Rozas Village just round the corner. The Village is open until late, especially for summer, so it’s the perfect place to go after dinner.
Travelling between different countries, watching the changing scenery and experiencing new cultures, has really made this trip an adventure. We still have a lot to explore, but there’s always room for more purchases, which is good, because our next stop is located between Cologne and Brussels – Maasmechelen Village, where they have a host of exciting events planned in parallel with Manifesta 9, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art.
We planned our trip using the brilliant Avis’ Great Drives guide, which has some great travel ideas and suggestions. Car hire is a great way, of having a cheaper summer break and getting all that shopping in.