Tuesday, September 10, 2013
RTW Trip - Round and Round...
I want to travel everywhere. All over the world. Every continent. As many countries as I can. I want to see all the old and new wonders of the world. I want to go places with such natural beauty that I feel that I'm on a different planet.
Within a week of deciding I was going to do this trip, I came to a crossroads. I had to actually choose a finite itinerary in order to continue planning. At that point, I almost resorted to dropping slips of paper into a bowl with country names on them and just picking at random.
Eventually, I came up with my first "firm" itinerary. I was going to go from January to March: Puerto Rico, Columbia, Peru, New Zealand, Bali, and Vietnam. I discovered this was going to be more costly than anticipated, and the weather situation wasn't good for half of the countries. So, I decided to divide my trip into two parts.
My second "firm" itinerary was 1) Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma/Myanmar and Southern India in October and November; and 2) Barcelona, Morocco, Istanbul, and Greece in April and May.
And then, my friend Kelly decided that Thailand would be a good place to celebrate her big Five-Oh. Of course, I totally agree. So, I changed the dates of my first trip to December and January, and still planned on making the European trip in Spring 2014.
I then read a comment on a travel blog about the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian train trips. The first brings you from Western Europe to Moscow. The second from Moscow to Beijing.
I love to travel by train. I took a lot of trains in Europe in 1991, and then a lot more in India in 2006. Also, I'm a weirdo who thinks the Oakland to Sacramento Amtrak is fun just to ride, forth and back.
More research ensued. Taking these trains would mean two additional Visas - Russia and China. China is like Vietnam. Paperwork and money, and trips to the Consulates. Russia, on the other hand, requires a letter of "invitation" before you even get to the rest of the paperwork and the Consulate. They all cost $100. Ugh. So, should I or shouldn't I?
Then, I realized I'd have to get a Visa for Belarus -- unless I went through Scandinavia. Hmmm...
I am seriously considering one trip, about 10 weeks, that looks something like this: Stockholm to St. Petersburg, Russia via St. Peterline cruiseline; St. Petersburg to Moscow, Russia via Trans-Siberian train; Moscow to Beijing, China via Trans-Mongolian train; Beijing to Taipei (Dharma Drum Mountain school/monastery); Taipei to Bangkok, Thailand (Happy Birthday, Kelly!); Thailand (not sure from where yet) to Hanoi, Vietnam; Vietnam (not sure from where yet) to the good ole' USA.
I'd be happy to hear from anyone reading what they think; if they've been to any of these places and what I shouldn't miss - or should miss!