In the last season, our intrepid heroine’s plans in Europe involved doing "stuff" in Europe, where "stuff" involved quintessential holiday-in-Europe things like thinking ‘hmmm, Prague sounds nice, I wonder when the train leaves’, and ‘goodness, when I went to sleep everyone was speaking French, but now they’re all speaking German!’
Unfortunately, various constraints have subsequently emerged, the most important of which is that Andrew would like to spend a lot of quiet time with an Internet connection during our stay. I originally considered a longer working holiday, but eventually decided to stick with our touristy plans with longer stays at a few places with Internet connections rather than a nomadic existence. Alas, such is the nature of compromise. Unfortunately it turns out that the combination of "Internet" and "major city in Europe" pushes your accommodation right into the 100 euro a night range, which is well outside my budget. Or at least so it appears from my attempts to find accommodation online. At the moment I have a phone call to make to Spain regarding a bed and breakfast, and another to Austria about a little studio in the mountains. I’m a little attached to this mountain idea, I hope they didn’t leave a zero off the price.
Now, for a rough itinerary, pending some interesting travel agent manipulations which I’ll return to soon:
- San Francisco/Stanford
- Arriving Fri 20th August, leaving Friday 27th August
- Boston/New York/Washington
- Arriving Boston Friday 27th August (I may try to move this back a few days), leaving Washington Monday 6th September. The exact split of this trip down the coast I haven’t worked out yet.
- United Kingdom and France
- Arriving London Tuesday 7th September. Andrew will spend the rest of September based in London, I will likely roam more widely. I will visit France, the north of England and possibly Scotland or Wales during this time.
- Assuming that accommodation works out (as best I can tell from looking for cheap accommodation in or near Barcelona and Madrid is that it exists only in myths dating from 1970), we will be in Spain in the first three weeks of October.
- Austria or the Czech Republic
- Again, depending on accommodation and proximity to our old friend the ‘net, we’ll be spending three weeks in Austria from about the 23rd of October, alternatively I’ll look for something nearer Prague.
- Hanoi or… err… Bangkok
- This is where real travel agent magic begins, but we’ll be somewhere in south east Asia from about the 13th November on.
- My present bookings have me in Sydney on the 30th November.
The magic needed revolves around trying to visit Hanoi rather than Bangkok. Our round the world ticket includes up to 26 000 miles of travel, including, unfortunately, overland trips. We were hoping to fly from Frankfurt to Hanoi, but the best route the agent has been able to find involves flying via Bangkok. That and the fact that the distance is counted from our last landing (London), bring the trip total to twenty six thousand and sixty miles. That’s right. sixty miles over the limit, pushing the total price up by five hundred dollars.
The agent is going to try and get their product manager, which is apparently a title equivalent to "high ranking wizard," to reroute the trip. At present the cleanest solution involves subtracting either Boston or Hanoi from the stops but that would leave miles to spare, not to mention making me unhappy. I want to see them bring it in at twenty five thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine.
My apologies to everyone in Washington hanging on until I pull some precise dates out of the air. The next round should get it.