Bitching Brew

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Travels

I have a bunch of hand-written stuff to upload to the blog - I hope to get lots of it up over the next week. A flood of e-mails has upset my balance recently. Between work, the commute and house-hunting, I've had little time to devote to replies and blog posts.

One of Europe's finest advantages over North America is the lengthy vacation time. I have between five and seven weeks to spend wisely this year. I've already promised to pop over to Edinburgh during the festival. (Coincidentally, I'm also going there on a business trip in April.) I plan to take a long weekend in London during the spring. It's my local metropolis, and I have a few friends there. Beyond those certain trips...?

Although I spent over a year in Canada, I never saw the Northern Lights. I'd like to rectify that in the coming autumn or winter. My destination of choice: Tromsø, Norway. Tromsø is one of the world's northernmost settlements, located at 69°40' N. (For the sake of my photography, it might be smart to visit before or after daylight goes AWOL for two months.) It's not excessively difficult or expensive to reach, is set in a stunning landscape, and offers the chance of a nocturnal marvel.

Tromsø, for all its glory, will be small fry compared to my major adventure this year: Fun in the Balkans (TM). Why go somewhere safe when there's a simmering cauldron of ethnic conflict to sip from? Ahem. In late August, I'll fly into Budapest, Hungary. After an overnight train journey south, the (coach class) adventure will follow this route:

  • Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Kotor, Montenegro
  • Podgorica, Montenegro (If I time it right, I'll catch the Ireland-Montenegro football match.)
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Novi Sad, Serbia
After Novi Sad, I'll head for either Budapest (again) or Bucharest, Romania, to escape back to the West. Here's hoping the Kosovo furore has cooled down in six months, and that I can play the Irish card in Serbia. I'd rather not be mistaken for an American or Briton there...

I'll still have several vacation days to play around with, but those are the major projects so far. Exciting stuff!

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