Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Was wir bergen in den Särgen ist das Erdenkleid
Was wir lieben ist geblieben bleibt in Ewigkeit

What we hold in the coffin is the earthly garment
What we love has stayed, stays in eternity

Hansestadt Hamburg

Monday, July 21, 2014

Old photos - Cheongna memories

I can’t believe it’s been a year and a month since we left

Herbertstraße, Hamburg

"Access for youths under 18 and women forbidden"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More travel planning

I think things are falling into place a little more now for the Europe part of this trip. Starting the mainland leg in Switzerland makes a lot more sense than Poland, and if I have a set date to fly in I think it would make a work exchange a lot easier. It would also get both of the most expensive countries I plan to go to out of the way in the beginning (although it looks like flights from London to Basel are only £20, which is nice). I also won’t feel in a hurry to get to Austria, and I won’t have a problem finding somewhere for California to stay (if he joins by this point…I’m hoping we can just meet in Prague) while I’m with old friends. Going from Poland to Croatia seems a little roundabout, but eastern Europe is a little easier on the budget so taking that time doesn’t bother me as long as I make it out of the Schengen area on time.

Now the only question is exactly what’s happening after Europe. The main issue here is visas. If we (or just me) felt like going to Turkey via Greece or Bulgaria, I know there are $20 visas on arrival. If we flew to India, I’m pretty sure those have to be arranged in advance and are on the expensive side. If I convince anyone to go to Morocco with me, I would probably take a Ryanair flight back to London and then fly from there. I also looked at flights from India to Tanzania and was surprised at how cheap they were (from Mumbai anyways) so that’s always an option if I’m not burnt out by then. I think I could get a visa on arrival in Tanzania, major airports are usually good for that, but I need to double check.

Weather is also a factor- I remember it being really nice in Austria/Slovakia/Czech Republic/Slovenia all the way through October and maybe the beginning of November. Rome and Athens were definitely warm during late December and January. Istanbul was cold and rainy during February but it’s also on the Black Sea not the Mediterranean. I think as long as I stick to the southern coast during December it’ll be okay (but I’ll miss the Christkindlmärkte and Glühwein in German-speaking countries!). I’m a little concerned about Poland in November though, and how hot it’ll start to get everywhere else in the spring.

An unmentioned concern also plaguing me is how to do the trip to Portland I want to make after my contract is up. Apparently rental cars cost $450 to drop off in another city, on top of the daily rate. My former partner offered to let me use his car, but he’ll be working in Capitol Reef National Park. Somehow I have to get from Flagstaff to CPNP, make the trip (my friend and I want to go up along the 1 in Big Sur, and it looks like we’d be going back through Idaho), drop the car back off with him, and get to a major airport (which seems to be SLC, and is 3 hours away). There has to be an easier way to do this.

Florence, January 2011

the Duomo, 2011

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Trying to visualize a route here, kind of. Friend (let’s call him California, because he’s overwhelmingly a hippie Cali boy) with whom I briefly plotted wants to go to Prague, but Prague’s so out of the way if I leave Poland via Krakow. And ugh, Switzerland. Beautiful but expensive, and also distinctly out there if I want to get out of the Schengen area by way of Croatia. Also, the only reason I have Montenegro as the endpoint is because it stuck in my mind while browsing Ryanair flights back to London (and onwards to Morocco). 
I’ve been thinking about India, and I think if I go there I’d have to skip southern Africa. But it also seems so inconvenient to backtrack to Morocco and then fly to India from there. Should I try overlanding it all the way to Turkey, and then take the train and fulfill my current Iran dreams, then fly to India? But what about Africa? If I make it to India I might as well keep going to Nepal and then back to the parts of Southeast Asia I missed. And after that, maybe just settle down in New Zealand on a working holiday visa… Now I’m getting ahead of myself. But skipping southern Africa would save me trying to get a yellow fever vaccine for cheap (why didn’t I just get it for free in Colombia…oh, because I was busy sightseeing with Luxembourg, yes).
If I weren’t interested in doing a work exchange in Switzerland or Austria, something that would require scheduling and timely arrival, I would just buy my ticket and say fuck it, we’ll see how it goes. Unless I fly from London into Switzerland, do the work exchange first, visit my friends in Austria, and then head up to Prague and wander around Poland and eastern Europe at my leisure with California? We could make some kind of big funky loop, or just do Zakopane and Krakow and skip Gdansk, although I am a terribly sucker for cities by the sea. Hmm. Much to ponder. The season also is an issue, because I want to be in the Steiermark to drink as much Sturm (apparently it’s called Federweißer/roter in Germany?) as possible…oh my gods what I if I could find a job in the Sturm production business?! It’s only around from late September to mid-October…that would be perfect. I shall do some research and see if this is meant to be. Clothes are also a consideration- no one likes hauling around winter clothes with a backpacker’s luggage restrictions. I was rather hoping to be somewhere warm in the south by the time I need a ski jacket.
Oh, how plans change. When (almost) the whole world’s an option, it’s hard to make up one’s mind.

Trying to visualize a route here, kind of. Friend (let’s call him California, because he’s overwhelmingly a hippie Cali boy) with whom I briefly plotted wants to go to Prague, but Prague’s so out of the way if I leave Poland via Krakow. And ugh, Switzerland. Beautiful but expensive, and also distinctly out there if I want to get out of the Schengen area by way of Croatia. Also, the only reason I have Montenegro as the endpoint is because it stuck in my mind while browsing Ryanair flights back to London (and onwards to Morocco).

I’ve been thinking about India, and I think if I go there I’d have to skip southern Africa. But it also seems so inconvenient to backtrack to Morocco and then fly to India from there. Should I try overlanding it all the way to Turkey, and then take the train and fulfill my current Iran dreams, then fly to India? But what about Africa? If I make it to India I might as well keep going to Nepal and then back to the parts of Southeast Asia I missed. And after that, maybe just settle down in New Zealand on a working holiday visa… Now I’m getting ahead of myself. But skipping southern Africa would save me trying to get a yellow fever vaccine for cheap (why didn’t I just get it for free in Colombia…oh, because I was busy sightseeing with Luxembourg, yes).

If I weren’t interested in doing a work exchange in Switzerland or Austria, something that would require scheduling and timely arrival, I would just buy my ticket and say fuck it, we’ll see how it goes. Unless I fly from London into Switzerland, do the work exchange first, visit my friends in Austria, and then head up to Prague and wander around Poland and eastern Europe at my leisure with California? We could make some kind of big funky loop, or just do Zakopane and Krakow and skip Gdansk, although I am a terribly sucker for cities by the sea. Hmm. Much to ponder. The season also is an issue, because I want to be in the Steiermark to drink as much Sturm (apparently it’s called Federweißer/roter in Germany?) as possible…oh my gods what I if I could find a job in the Sturm production business?! It’s only around from late September to mid-October…that would be perfect. I shall do some research and see if this is meant to be. Clothes are also a consideration- no one likes hauling around winter clothes with a backpacker’s luggage restrictions. I was rather hoping to be somewhere warm in the south by the time I need a ski jacket.

Oh, how plans change. When (almost) the whole world’s an option, it’s hard to make up one’s mind.