Back in Japan, Ben and I worked for IBM, and I put in around 60-70 hours a week and Ben up to 98 hours and something like 19 weekends in a row. It wasn't much of a life, but one thing was almost guaranteed: we had two weeks of holiday when we could go to pretty much anywhere in the world, within a reasonable but pretty forgiving budget. So we had plans about Rome and Barcelona and Lisbon and New York and San Francisco and even Africa.
We've lived in Nelson for over 12 years now, and life is cruisy; my life is like a holiday every day, and Ben works only a few weekends. The only thing we didn't count on was not to have much of disposable income, particularly since I started the art thing. And because we live away from both our families, we have to go home every once in a while.
The net result is, we can't go home as often as we'd like, and other holidays are very few and far in between. In the last 14 years we had 9 days in Tonga, and six weeks in Scotland and Ireland. I had imagined, by 51, I might have visited continental Europe several times, and US a few times a decade, but we've only been to Amsterdam for one and a half days and my last time in continental US was 1987. And the situation isn't likely to change any time soon.
So today, I bought a map of Europe. It goes as far east as Istanbul. I thought I'd start preparing in the event we can go, and mark places on the map. If you know of lovely textile-related places of interest anywhere in Europe, please let me know, so I can start putting big red circles.