Hello World!

As is customary, and also since I can’t think of anything better – here is my first post, entitled with the familiar, “Hello World”. Actually, I’ve been blogging for a while now but this one is a big departure from my usual subject, chess, and is specifically about my upcoming 2-month trip to Europe. It’s a way to keep friends and family in touch, but hopefully also to entertain.

Just a few weeks ago the New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler” completed a “grand tour” of Europe during which the blogger, Matt Gross, journeyed through some sixteen countries over 13 weeks with a daily budget of 100 Euros a day.  I thought to myself, I should do that!

I don’t, however, have 13 weeks. The entire trip will be about 60 days and, thanks to the Aussie dollar’s recent loss in value against all major currencies, my budget will be much lower than a hundred Euros per day! Europe on that money is hardly frugal anyway. Financials aside and all this recent talk of recessions and bailouts, I’ll aim not to worry too much about any of that even if it breaks my own bank account!

That said, then, I’ve packed, waved goodbye to my desk in the office and ready to go.

My desk in the office

My desk in the office

If all goes well my itinerary should be the following: London, Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona; then onto Rome for a few days followed by Florence and finally, Milan. From Milan I take an Air Berlin flight to the German capital, where I’ll celebrate a birthday, and finish Germany in Dresden. My only international crossing via rail will be a short hop from Dresden to Prague, an eastward detour that might have been missed on this occasion had it not been for the persuasive albeit somewhat semi-inebriated sales speech by a colleague. I must visit Prague, he said, and a little town called Český Krumlov.  By pure coincidence – the Australian Financial Review’s Life & Leisure insert carried a special mention of Prague’s fast improving pub scene, with new beers and new food. That was all I need to get me going.

At last, of course, and as they say, all good things must come to an end. How else to end the trip but to spend a week in none other than Paris! Actually, it is only the penultimate city as I’ll head off back to London before, sadly, returning home to Sydney.

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