When you plan your travels, sometimes you want to go somewhere you’ve never been. And sometimes you want to make a return visit. We each have only one lifetime, and the world is crammed with places to experience. So how do you decide whether to include a return visit in your itinerary? I hope by sharing some thoughts on this that I can help inspire you when you’re planning your travels!
Whenever you choose to visit one place, you automatically choose not to visit others. This is something I wrestle with and put a lot of research into. I live in the U.S., so when I fly “across the pond” to Europe, distance comes into play, as well as modes of transportation. Last year I finally made it to Bastogne, Belgium and Flossenburg, Germany (where my Dad served in World War II). These are some of the most meaningful, moving places I’ve ever visited. But because they are both inaccessible by train, I’d put off visiting for years. I’m so glad we rented cars and finally got there. (Hello, German Autobahn and driving 180 kilometers an hour!). So lots of planning goes into all my trips. Decisions, decisions.
So how do you decide whether you want to return to somewhere you’ve already been? Here are a couple of the places I hope to return to, along with a couple that I’ve included in more than one trip, along with my reasons for this.
The reason I would love to return here is that Budapest provides a visitor the perfect mix of the beautiful, the historic, the quirky, and the real-life neighborhoods. I felt more alive here than in some of the pristine, cleaned up cities I’ve been to. I loved the overgrown vines on the old apartment buildings. A literal “iron curtain” outside the Museum of Terror sits in the middle of the main boulevard.
Architecture of note includes Fisherman’s Bastion. Built by the Fisherman’s Guild to guard this section of the city, it can be explored today, with its hallways and arches and staircases. And from the top you can take in lovely views of the Danube.
And there is actually a Hospital in the Rock built into a cave underground. The tour in English takes you through the hospital wards used in World War II by the Red Cross. The last part of the tour focuses on the hospital as a bunker during the Cold War in case of nuclear attack. The tour becomes a lecture stopping just short of accusing the Allies of how evil it was to drop the bombs that ended the war. I found this all fascinating.
Normandy and the D-Day Beaches
The history of World War II on these 5 beaches in France is one of my special interests. To stand in these places where great battles were fought is beyond description. By visiting, we can pay tribute to all those who lost their lives or were injured here. This year is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and so I have scheduled a return visit this summer. While I’ve been to Omaha Beach and Utah Beach and plan to go back, I haven’t yet visited Sword, Juno, and Gold. My return trip will be a time of honoring those affected by the battles on these beaches that are now serene and peaceful.
This is a lovely Belgium town that I visited. The reason I would like to return is that during that visit, we ventured outside the town and saw barely any of it. We toured Flanders Fields and went to neighboring Ypres. We rode bikes along the canal outside the town and found windmills and farmland. We ran out of time to see Bruges, though. Oops! So we plan to return and spend time in Bruges itself. Good idea, right?! You can see we certainly found Belgium a beautiful place to explore, though.
You may have guessed this one! Paris is on my list for a return visit, even though I’ve been 5 times — more than any other European city for me. My reasons?
Architectural beauty. The stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle alone is worth going back to see again. And Paris has its very own Pantheon.
So much history. You can find layer on layer of history here. For example, I had been to Paris a few times before I discovered the Conciergerie. This is a historic palace as well as a prison where Marie Antoinette spent her last days. It’s open to tour. Also, around the city you’ll find tributes to those who gave their lives fighting in the resistance in World War II. These are on individual doorways, and here is a long wall of them, where fighting took place in the center of Paris.
Original art on display. There’s the famous Louvre, of course. And there’s so much more. The Orangerie and the Musee D’Orsay in the elegant former train station feature impressionists — Monet in particular.
How about you? Have you been to a place you want to return to? What’s calling you back? Whether it’s the vibe of a city or the feeling that there’s so much more to explore, there can be many reasons to return to a place you’ve loved.