Mrs. O goes around Europe to start 2013

First things, first.. happy New Year! I am now back from my mad Christmas-New Year trip with took me to the south of the UK, Portugal, back to England, followed by an incredible road trip to New Orleans in Louisiana and Houston, in Texas. It was tiring, but absolutely worth it! Needless to say, I ate a *little* bit too much, so caution is required over the next month or so. And where I am going will not help!

My travel plans for 2013 are very promising, and hopefully I will be doing my alter ego’s name some justice. But I am not going around the world.. I am going to be exploring Europe and quite a bit!

January

An apartment with a view

An apartment with a view

As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea”. And I totally agree. I haven’t been back to the French capital for almost 2 years, and I think it is the perfect location to kick off 2013 in style. This time around, I will not be staying at a hotel. Where am I staying? I was invited by Avenue Story to sample one of their incredible luxury apartments in the city of light.

I have never stayed at an apartment before and was very keen to experiment and report back. All apartments in their books (in Paris and London) look incredible and I believe it can be a very cost effective alternative to a 5-star hotel. You can read about my lux weekend in Paris here.

Verbier still has some time to get ready for us!

Verbier still has some time to get ready for us!

After a week’s rest, it is time to give Switzerland some loving. Invited by the Swiss Tourist Board (who has heard about my love for chocolates, lux and snow) and  the exclusive ski resort of Verbier Vallee des Bagnes, I am going to be reunited with my 2 favourite American friends in the world – the wonderful Leah and Lola.

This is going to be an emotional reunion and we have warned Switzerland! The 3 of us were together last year in California (USA), and Girona (Spain), so we are really looking forward to a fab girly long weekend. And with wonderful food, chocolates (a special type of food), accommodation, safety and incredibly punctual transportation, we think Switzerland is the perfect location for us. You can read about our trip to Verbier, right here.

Geneva and its wonderful Lake

Geneva and its wonderful Lake

After a bit of skiing (Lola is particularly looking forward to the après-skiing, and I don’t blame her), we are heading to Geneva for a bit of chocolate, food and shopping! We will be staying at a luxury apartment, courtesy of Swiss Luxury Apartments.

Seriously think I am going to like this hotel!

Seriously think I am going to like this hotel!

In Zurich, to which we will be travelling by train (I am seriously excited about this journey), we will be hosted by the wonderful Baur au Lac, one of Europe’s grand dame hotels.

February

Piazza del Duomo as seen from the rooftop

Piazza del Duomo as seen from the rooftop

The shortest month of the year, is promising to be packed with more Euro excitement! I was delighted to be invited by the organisers of the Milan International Tourism Exchange, BIT Milano, as their blogger ambassador. That means, of course, an exciting weekend in Milan, which is a city I love, and had a quick glimpse of late last year.

The Four Seasons, Milan

The Four Seasons, Milan

Milan has welcomed a series of fabulous new hotels in recent years, and I am very keen to try something new. The Four Seasons will be my home away from home in this exciting city.

The Pulitzer is one of my favourite hotels in the world

The Pulitzer is one of my favourite hotels in the world

Later in the month, I will be returning to Amsterdam, a place I have not been to in almost 8 years. Have great memories from our last trip and looking forward to catching up with friends who live here. We will be staying at the Pulitzer, and a classic and where we stayed last time we visited, and also the Sofitel, which I am very keen to discover.

Sofitel The Grand, Amsterdam

Sofitel The Grand, Amsterdam

March

Roasted Chestnuts in Chiado, just outside Hermés - why not?

Roasted Chestnuts in Chiado, Lisbon, just outside Hermés – why not?

March is also looking exciting! I will start the month in Lisbon, to celebrate my mother’s birthday. I will also try to get there before then, if possible. I would like to get to Lisbon once a month, but sadly, not always possible. I need a little Lisbon love in my life – and see my family and friends. This time, I will be staying at the Sofitel – it is funny as I used to work next door to it when I lived in Lisbon.

The Sofitel in Lisbon

The Sofitel in Lisbon

I will be going to Berlin, which will be my third time in Germany – a country which decidedly deserves some more love from Mrs. O. I went to Frankfurt on business trips previously (and quite liked it!), and am very excited about visiting Berlin.

Can't wait to get to Berlin

Can’t wait to get to Berlin

I am going to attend ITB travel exhibition, which will mean a fair bit of walking, but planning to enjoy the weekend in this incredible place. The Westin Berlin and the Sofitel Berlin will be my homes in this city, and I am looking forward to spending some time here.

Lastly, time for the last skiing trip of the season – which in late March, means it would be sunny! As usual, we will head with our friends to Val Thorens, in the French Alps, for a bit of skiing, eating and resting.

View from the top - Le Caron - Val Thorens (by Jim Newton)

View from the top – Le Caron – Val Thorens (by Jim Newton)

I think this is a great way to start the year – don’t you think? A bit of old, new and firm favourites – lots to discover around the Old Continent. Obviously, I am plotting other great trips for the rest of the year – it will be time for a bit of sun too! Interestingly enough, none of these destinations were on my list to Santa. Amazing how things and travel plans change!

So, any recommendations for Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam or Berlin? Would love to hear about your favourite places in town.

And here is to an amazing 2013!

Happy Travels

xo

Mrs O