This evening I opened the first page of my Western Europe Lonely Planet Guide to reveal 'the map' -- a colour physical map of the region in question with arrows and descriptive boxes pointing to selected highlights. And suddenly a bubble of excitement percolated up inside me and I've spent the past few hours feverishly turning the pages.
But how to decide where to go? The one place I know I'm going is Bonn (Germany) for the family Christmas celebration. But as I have long-service leave due in September, this represents the first opportunity for some good old fashioned travelling in a very long time. My plan is to go for about 10 weeks (if I can afford it!). The rest of Europe awaits!
One place I'm fairly certain will be included in my itinerary is the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. This place has been calling to me for many years, not least because of Guy Gavriel Kay's wonderful novel, The Lions of Al-Rassan.