Hamdeok from the Olle Trail (and you wonder why we like hiking here?)
Unfortunately, today starts with some bad news. Our friends Randy and Ness were going to join us for 2 weeks of our Europe trip but I got an email from them that they had to cancel. They had excellent reasons why but it naturally still makes both Vicky and I very sad. I was really looking forward to the time with them.
Fortunately there's a silver lining at the end of every rainbow (wait ... what?). In the process of looking at what effect their loss would have on our schedule, I discovered a way to fly to Europe for $100 less than expected AND we get to have a 3 day layover in Istanbul, Turkey. So we're saving money and adding another cool city to our tour. Not too shabby :)
Our full (but tentative) schedule now looks like this:
Istanbul, Turkey - 3 days
Munich, Germany - 3 days
Switzerland - 3 days
Budapest, Hungary - 2 days
Vienna, Austria - 2 days
Krakow, Poland - 3 days
Prague, Czech Republic - 5 days (We may have somewhere free to stay here)
Salzburg, Austria - 2 days
Venice, Italy - 2 days
Rome, Italy - 2 days
Florence, Italy - 2 days
Paris, France - 3 days
Barcelona, Spain - 2 days
Lisbon, Portugal - 2 days
Amsterdam, Netherlands - 3 days
Brussels, Belgium - 3 days (we have friends to stay with here for free)
Luxembourg - 1 day
London, England - 3 days
Dublin, Ireland - 2 days (we might have a friend living here to guide us around)
Total length - about 7 weeks
Of course until we buy the plane tickets, this schedule is open to change but this is what our plan is right now. It's not as long as I'd like in some places (Rome, Switzerland) but it's enough time to see each place and get a feel for it without moving at a breakneck pace. It's also built around smart, low cost transportation options (nearly all of our connections between cities are less than $60, some quite a bit less).
A preview of happiness to come :)
I'll fill in more details as we solidify things but I'm sure you can see why we're so excited! I've been to about half of these places (and loved all of them which is why we're going back to them) and Vicky has been to only a couple of them so most of this is new to her. For us it's a trip of a lifetime (though not THE trip of a lifetime since we plan to take more like it) and we can hardly wait for it to arrive!
Oh and in case you thought I was joking last time about how Koreans dress for hiking, here's a picture from our latest trip out. They were kind enough to pose with Vicky (and even asked me to email them copies of the picture). Notice the clothes, the hats, even the mountain climbing sticks.
This is what a toned-down group of Korean hikers looks like.
And in the "randomly adorable stories" category, we have 2 of my second grade girls trying to explain why one girl has her head on her desk. They pointed to her and another girl, then drew a heart on the board, then drew a jagged line down the middle and a second drawing of a heart split in two. Given they're both 2nd graders (and thus will probably have made up long before I teach them again) this was easily the cutest way i've ever seen of explaining two friends having a fight.
The soft glow of sunset over Hamdeok
PS. If we get good luck with the weather, we'll be heading out for more hiking this weekend. And now that Vicky's early birthday present for me has arrived, an extremely light but steady tripod, we might even try to take some quality pictures together. If we do get to try this, I'll post the results next time. TTFN.