Well, condo. It’s all packed up, and we passed the keys on yesterday. I am now officially living out of a pack. 6 days to go!
I took my cats to my parents, who will babysit for the next few months (thanks mom and dad!!). They seem to be doing better this time – I’ve taken them for visits a couple of times before to try and reduce the shock. Other than some growling and hissing, there has been a lot of exploration, and hopefully with the number of stairs in the house, they might actually lose some weight!
The rest of the week will be spent doing last minute things (updating addresses and insurance, making sure bank accounts are all set up and accessible, etc), and resting up and reading up on our destinations.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m excited!
Well, most of the preparations necessary for this trip are well underway. We’ve jumped through bureaucratic hoops and optained our Syrian visa…the only visa we can’t obtain on the road.
On other fronts, I’ve picked up some foreign cash, though my Egyptian pounds had to be ordered in, and haven’t arrived yet. And we’ve started packing up Kathy’s house. Hardly my favourite task, but one that needs to be done, and a hundred times better than painting.
And I’ve given notice at work…4 more days and I’m free and clear. It’s getting close now.
Today we actually booked the flights to Cairo. It was a bit of a decision to make, as the original plan taking us through Copenhagen is no longer an option (go figure). So we had to decide on direct from London, which wasn’t our first choice, because we want to relax and shake off the jetlag before we arrive in Cairo (and London being so expensive, we didn’t want to layover there); or layovers in France (Paris or Marseille), Athens, or Malta. Malta was the more expensive of the layover options, but also the most appealing. We will hit Athens, and hopefully Paris (which both of us have been to before anyway), on the way back.
Malta! It’s such a beautiful place!
So much has happened in a week, I’m having trouble keeping up! Next on the list of things to do, booking a room in both Malta (Valletta), and Cairo, and purchasing the insurance. We’re leaning toward this place in Cairo called the Canadian Hostel. The clichéd name is what originally caught my attention, but after seeing what it offered, and reading a very generous review, we’ve decided to go with it.
I think the next month is going to fly.
So we bought our first leg’s tickets yesterday. Round trip Edmonton to London. And, wow, were they ever expensive. I’m glad I budgetted more than I expected to spend for the transatlantic leg, because we almost spent it.
So we depart Tuesday, April 4 at 11:20 AM, have a quick stopover in Toronto, and then on to London, where we arrive at 6:35 AM, April 5. The return is booked for November 7, but it’s easily changeable (flat fee of $50), so we’ll see what the trip brings.
Kathy is looking over a couple of insurance options…worldnomads, or the travelcuts insurance. And then we’ll buy that. We should also arrange our flights to Cairo soon.
So much to do, so little time.
We have an offer, a deposit, and condition removal date is Friday. If all goes well, possession is March 31, and we should be on a plane!!
Thank you to everyone for all the support and encouragement, and I’m sure more than a few crossed fingers.
This is really it!
I just haven’t sold the condo yet. This place is really targetted for a specific market, and I just haven’t tapped it yet.
We’re practically ready to go, otherwise. We have all the shots, most of the gear, most of the paperwork (just need the Syrian visa, which we’ll get as soon as we have tickets and a known departure date)…
Everyone keep their fingers and toes crossed for us, say a little prayer, whatever you can do to send us luck so we can be on our way!
I guess this blog is looking suspiciously dead. It is not. It is simply waiting for departure. I have all my funds together, but Kathy’s plan is to sell her condo, so we have it listed, but not yet sold. As soon as we have a buyer and a possession date agreed to, we’ll buy tickets and things will kick into high gear. For now, all that can be done is wait.
For a while, I’ve been hoping to take an adventure travelling through an interesting part of the world, and as I’ve researched various destinations, I’ve become more and more interested in the Middle East as a destination. When I left the engineering program behing in January of 2005, and got a real job, it became a realistic possibility.
So, the plan is now for me and my girlfriend, Kathy, to leave in February or March of 2006 and take 6 months to travel from Cairo, Egypt, to Budapest, Hungary. Kathy is really wanting to go back to Salzburg, Austria, one of the highlights of her only previous overseas trip, so if we’ve still got some money at that point we might continue on. In fact, if money holds out, we might even make it overland all the way back to London, but I’m not planning on it.
So the plan is:
- Egypt – 4 weeks
All the basic sites – Valley of the Kings, Karnak, and the Pyramids of course, but we’ll probably also take a boat trip on the nile, head out to at least on of the western oases, and hopefully spend a day or two in Alexandria.
- Jordan – 3 weeks
The highlights of Jordan that I’m looking forward to are a camel trip through Wadi Rum, seeing Petra, and travelling up the King’s Highway
- Syria – 3 weeks
I think Syria is the country I’m most looking forward to. I don’t know too much of what to expect, though everyone who’s been reports how wonderfully friendly and hospitable everyone was. The research I’ve done on Syria just utterly fascinates me, and I don’t think there’s any one site I’m looking forward to nearly as much as just being in a place as ancient and unique.
- Turkey – 4 weeks
Aside from the basics of Istanbul, Cappadocia and the less visited Sanliurfa (aka Urfa), I don’t really know what else I want to see in the country, but with a month, I’m sure I’ll find lots of cool things to do. It was Turkey that originally piqued my interest in the middle east.
- Greece – 2 weeks
Returning to the more expensive parts of the world, we’ll be in Greece briefly, hopefully travel through to a couple of islands. There’s no particular sites that I’m looking forward to in Greece, but it should be fun.
- Bulgaria – 3 weeks
Prior to trip planning, I knew nothing about Bulgaria. I still feel like I don’t know a lot, but that’s kind of the point of going, isn’t it. There’s mountains and monasteries and apparently the cyrillic alphabet (used in Russian and as far away as Mongolia) originated here.
- Romania – 3 weeks
Romania brings up images of Dracula, of course. Another country where I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m sure it’ll be great.
- Hungary – 2 weeks
Finishing the official and budgetted for plan in Budapest, which is a city that everyone really raves about. Still a little unsure as to what we’ll do while we’re there, but the fun is in the finding out.
Obviously I’ve put a lot more thought into the middle eastern portion of the trip than I have the eastern european portion, but regardless, I’m committed to not sticking to a plan. For the whole distance, we’re trying to keep our options as open as possible, to stay longer if we like, or leave sooner if we get tired of a place.