In a few weeks we depart for Europe. I have tried to consider an appropriate adjective to append to “journey”, and my mind always returns to “epic”. I will give an overview and see if you have a suggested one-word description:
We fly from Kansas City to San Juan Puerto Rico. Because of Christine’s accumulated reward miles our tickets are “first class”, a rarity for us. Our luggage will consist of our respective backpacks and one conventional suitcase that will carry additional clothing appropriate for the Atlantic Ocean crossing. That suitcase will be shipped back to the States once we make landfall in Barcelona, Spain.
We will spend 3 days in San Juan before boarding Viking Cruise’s “Viking Sea”, a 900 passenger ultra-modern cruise ship. This is a “repositioning cruise” (more on that in a later post). The crossing will take 15 days that include stops in 5 different venues. Arriving in Barcelona we will ship our suitcase home, leaving us with just our packs, Christine’s weighing about 16 pounds and mine about 18 pounds… each containing everything we will need for the next 10 weeks.
We will stay a few nights in Barcelona. Top on our list of “things to do” is a return visit to the Sagrada Familia Basilica. Construction began on this wonder in 1882 and may be completed by 2030. It has become one of the most visited sites in Europe. More on the Sagrada Familia and the founding architect, Antoni Gaudi, in another post.
We have purchased Eurail train passes that are good for 60 days of unlimited travel by train throughout Europe with the exception of Great Britain. Thus, with the exception of Iceland at the end of our trip, we will be traveling exclusively by train and foot with the occasional bus or taxi thrown in. We will train from Barcelona to Madrid, spending a couple of days in Spain’s capitol. We then proceed by an overnight “Hotel-Train” to Lisbon, Portugal. We will have a private sleeping compartment on the train. We plan on spending a few days in Lisbon before proceeding on to Porto, Portugal. After a few days in Porto we will begin our 150 mile walk on the Portuguese route of the Camino de Santiago, expecting to arrive in Santiago Spain in 10-15 days.
After a couple of rest days in Santiago, we will fly to Dublin Ireland. We look forward to joining with good friends from Wales, spending time with them and then walking one or more of Irelands many waymarked hiking routes through the countryside. We hope to travel about 100 miles by foot and after 10-15 days in Ireland cross from Belfast to Scotland by ferry. In Scotland we look forward to another 10-15 days of hiking on that county’s waymarked routes, taking in the highlands, Lochs, castles, and a wee dram or two of Scotland’s best “whiskys” (the way the Scots spell it).
From Scotland we will cross by boat to the Netherlands, visiting with friends that we met on the Camino in 2013. We hope also to visit a friend in Belgium who we first met on a train in 1991 traveling from Paris to London when she was 15.
From this point for the next 15-20 days our travels are less certain but may see us reunite with a number of friends on the Continent. Travel could include France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. We plan on visiting Slovakia and spending a few days with one of our former exchange students and her family, perhaps detouring into Hungary and/or Poland.
From Slovakia we will train north through Sweden and on to Norway where we will spend a few days visiting another former exchange student and her family. We will depart Norway via Iceland Air service to Reykjavik Iceland where we will rent a car and spend a week touring the island.
From Iceland we fly directly to Kansas City, landing 3 months after the Journey began.
So, what word would you append to “Journey” to describe this?
Peace Everyone! Pete