Blog post written by Dawn Jackson, August 2012

The Jackson’s European Holiday

Jackson Family from Cape Town

On the 17th June, the Jacksons left on a trip of a lifetime. Mom and Dad in their early 50’s accompanied by two sons in their early 20’s. What a challenge … a trip that will meet everybody’s expectations and needs??? Julie and Scott Womack helped enormously in the agonising phases of choosing and planning. They helped with research and booking; visa  and travel requirements. This trip would not have happened without their invaluable input.

The adventure started in Venice in Northern Italy. A perfect start in a magnificent, unique city. Driving through Italy and into Croatia, ….. on the wrong side of the road …. added huge ‘stress, hysteria, the unexpected and a great sense of achievement’ to our adventure. From Split, we boarded a Sail Croatia Cruise for 8 days. A glorious way to see the islands of the Dalmatian coast. Magnificent blue waters, good company, quaint historic towns, good food and lots of much needed rest!

If you’re not the big, fancy, cruise ship type, this is a perfect experience. All ages gave the ‘ 20 somethings’ great social opportunities.

After a disastrous choice at a petrol station in Split, where the difference between benzine and diesel was not obvious to Davin, loss of a day and a great deal of precious  kuna and euros, we set off for the Plitvicke National Park waterfalls in central Croatia. Stunning natural phenomena, the most unbelievable turquoise blue lakes we’ve ever seen. A great day of hiking in an amazingly beautiful environment and surrounding rustic villages. The capital of Croatia, Zagreb, was a special experience, as we were able to connect with two Croatians that we had met on the Cruise. The ‘insiders view’ of any foreign city is always special.

Our adventure took us over the following 2 weeks into Hungary, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and back into Northern Italy. Highlights that all of us agree need a second visit were Budapest, a magical welcoming city with unique historical monuments and …  Lake Como. The quaint town of Gravedona on the shores framed by the majestic awe inspiring Alps, is one of the sights that we will never forget. The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, surprisingly to me …. was also a  highlight.

The boys really got into basics of languages, food and beer and more beer wherever we went. This added many moments of surprise, disappointment, hilarity and learning. I watched my waistline expand purely on Gelato all on its own. So little time … so many flavours … offered in so many countries!!

After nearly 5 weeks, tired but so …  so inspired we headed back to SA. Most of our accommodation was pre booked and the general planning was perfect. All the risks were worth it.

Got to start saving for the next trip!