It has been awhile. I have not posted recently because I do not really want to bore y’all. I’m in the states, just finishing senior year, chugging along. I graduate in the first week of June then fly to Europe the day after the ceremony; when I get going, I get going. For this reason, I thought it would be beneficial to share what I have arranged so far.
In less than two months, I will be in Ireland, starting my summer in Europe off with (what I believe to be) my family’s last official vacation. I will have graduated high school too! And come August, I will be in BC (British Columbia) for Jump Start: orientation for international and aboriginal students at UBC Vancouver.
I already have my study permit, a “plan” for my future banking and finances, and will apply for health care when I get to Canada. It turns out there is a grace period when I actually do have health insurance during the first months of arrival. Yippee!
Besides a few phone calls with UBC people in May and registering for classes in June (while I am somewhere in Europe I suppose), I am all ready for university! I just want to know my housing, but that information will come in time. Will I get a roommate, a single with a shared bathroom, or a suite? Ai yah!
Backpacking-wise, I have it almost completely together. I just need to book train and bus tickets from Berlin to Prague and Prague to Liberec, respectively.
I have my contacts arranged in France and the Czech Republic for my accommodations and the rest of my transportation payed for in advance. Some fares go way up after March. Do not try booking any air travel to Dubrovnik past mid-April for the summer; trust me. Overall, I cannot wait to fly, train hop, and shuttle bus it all over Western and Central Europe!
I do not know exactly what my group (a total of four teenagers) will do in each destination, but seeing that thousands of youngsters backpack through Europe every summer and are increasingly doing so, I assume there is more than enough to see and enjoy.
Backpacking is nothing revolutionary for youth (I am much less a “pioneer” than a tourist), but my jaded teenage realism will not stop me from having a good time. It never has before … I also am aware of some acquaintances who are going to be in Europe at the same time as myself; hopefully, I won’t see them. I am not just being rude; I have my reasons.
It is not that I do not want to see people I already know/ have seen every day for an extended period of time (well, not entirely), but I want this trip to be about the future and meeting new people and experiencing new occurrences: serendipity and spontaneity! Is that a cliché?
I have been reading travel blog after travel blog pertaining to travel in Europe, and I have realized that I am so late to this continent. But, I have not seen too much information about the Balkans, so I am thrilled to be able to explore them for myself. I have read a little about Croatia (especially Dubrovnik where my friend’s family lives who is welcoming me into their home) and cannot wait for some coastal relaxation after hard labor on the farm. Do not get me wrong; I am buzzy with joy for WWOOFing, but reclining on the beach after being in the mountains for a month will feel just splendid.
Overall, this is the run down for the trip (post-Ireland):
Total days – 51
Total countries to visit (7) – France, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Montenegro(?), and Bosnia and Herzegovina(?)
All major cities (11) – Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Liberec, Cesky Krumlov, Dubrovnik, Herceg Novi(?), Kotor(?), Trebinje(?), and Zagreb
Activities planned – Wine-ing and dining (cheaply) with Adèle in Paris, neighborhood hopping in Amsterdam, celebrating Gay Pride in Berlin, partying and picnic-ing in Prague, farming and exploring the Liberec countryside, decompressing during my day trip to Cesky Krumlov, sunning and visiting islands off the coast of Dubrovnik, mud bathing in Herceg Novi(?), hiking outside of Kotor(?), and architecture-gasming in Trebinje(?)
Goals – Speak basic French without a Québécois accent/don’t get yelled at if I do, eat as many fried pancake-y/ potato-y Dutch foods as possible, enjoy authentic German brews, dance my ass off at my first Pride Festival, learn/speak a decent amount of Czech, assist with Bohemian farming practices and strengthen myself doing it, manage to get from Liberec to Dubrovnik alone, sample Croatian wine and spicy olive oil, recognize something from Art History class, buy some stylish threads and have enough room to bring them back home in my bags, survive the 10 hour bus ride from Dubrovnik to Zagreb, find a cozy place to sleep during my long-ass layover in the Charles De Gaulle airport, and do not run out of money.
What do you think? Any suggestions? The majority of this plan is tentative, especially the locations in the Balkans.
My friend, Nina, says she lives relatively close to both the borders of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, so hopefully we will be able to do a variety of day trips/extended stays in both nations while also enjoying Dubrovnik as our base of operations. I am pumped regardless.
Stay tuned for more updates, packing guides and tips, and of course, everything to come! Happy spring!