About Me

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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On My Way Again

You know how you get one of those tunes running ceaselessly through your brain sometimes and you can't get rid of it? It happens to me every time I head off again on one of my odysseys. It's Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again". Yeah, I know, you can't leave Australia by road, but it gets in my head on the way to the airport and takes ages to fade out again.

I'm on my way again.

This trip is only 6 ½ weeks, but it is by far the most highly organised trip I've planned. I'm not quite sure why that happened, because I usually only plan the critical nodes and prefer spontaneity in between them. But not this time.

One thing led to another. It all started when I received an email alert (I think it was from Travelzoo but I can't be certain now) last October with some incredibly low fares on AirasiaX from Coolangatta to London via Kuala Lumpur. I couldn't resist the round trip for less than $1000. A quick look at the time envelope for the tickets led me to select a May departure and a late June return.

When I discovered I could do a side trip to Kerala, India and still stay under that price I added that in as well. I enjoyed North India in 2008 and I always wanted to visit the Spice Coast, so this looked like a good opportunity.

Allowing a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur and four in Kerala, that was a week accounted for. What to do with the other 4 ½? I decided I wanted to spend a few days in two of my favourite cities, London and Paris. I also wanted to see some friends and relatives in the Oxbridge region of the UK. Then I looked to add places I had not seen but always wanted to; St Petersburg is top of that list and Croatia and the Dalmatian coast is next.

Add a love of long-distance rail travel since my boyhood to the mix, and also a fond memory of my cruise down the Nile (the only good part of my Egyptian fiasco) and you will start to see the way my mind was working.

I spent a lot of time over the next few months reading and researching air, rail and boat trips to allow me to include all of those. The result is hectic on the surface, until you realise how much of the time I will actually spend sitting in trains and boats watching the world pass slowly by. Well, not so slowly on the TGV Lyria but fairly slowly on the others.

But, I have to admit, it still looks pretty tight:

Fly from Coolangatta to Kuala Lumpur (8 hours), stay two nights.

Fly to Kerala, India (4 hours), hire car and driver to see Cochin and Munnar over four days, fly back.

Stay overnight Kuala Lumpur, fly to Stansted UK (14 hours), stay overnight.

Rail (Stansted Express and Eurostar) to Paris, stay 3 nights.

Rail (TGV Lyria and Swiss Rail) to Zermatt, stay 2 nights.

Glacier Express to Chur. Stay overnight.

Bernina Express and Trenitalia to Milan. Stay overnight.

Trenitalia to Venice, spend the afternoon and evening, then night train to Zagreb.

Stay overnight Zagreb, fly to Dubrovnik, stay 3 nights.

Bus to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stay the night then train to Sarajevo, stay two nights.

Fly to St Petersburg, transiting for one night in Budapest, stay one night in a hotel before joining the ship to Moscow over 7 nights.

Fly to London (4 hours), stay 4 nights.

Rent a car and wander the midlands for a week.

Return home via Stansted and Kuala Lumpur.

It grew from small beginnings. As it grew I made bookings for train reservations, flights, and hotels. As always I searched for the best value for money without sacrificing the pleasure of the trip. Slowly there were fewer and fewer un-booked nights, flights, boats and cars. Then I booked or arranged other things, such as visas for India and Russia and arrangements with friends and relatives. And suddenly I found that it was all booked, something I've never done before.

It remains to be seen whether it will all work out. I have already started. I am writing this by pecking away with two fingers on the net-book as I fight off the mosquitoes in beautiful Munnar. It seems Google Blogger is down so I am not sure when this will actually be posted. Kuala Lumpur was hot, sticky and very, very impressive. So far Kerala is not quite as hot and sticky; it is the same in many ways as Northern India but very different in others. I'll write about both places shortly.

On the road again...

Hey - Blogger just started working again so I'll post this while I can.

Cheers, Alan, Australia

1 comment:

  1. A note on a fascinating journey... Is not new places it is! Travelling too, there's always a great thing and also annoying at the same time, but enjoy and through it with a happy heart! Traveling is wonderful!

    The pictures are very nice I was amazed at all! I also write about travel... :)