GETTING UNDERWAY, HURRAY!
Yes! I know. I said I was leaving in June, but we have a lovely new baby, little Max. Delightfully, he and his mother visited until mid June. It has taken me a month to switch gears from baby play to a travel mode. After all, when one decides to go on a journey for more that a few weeks, preparations and packing become astounding. Closing up a house, persuading responsible friends to cover the mail, any mishaps that might arise, and packing for three climates can be daunting.
My good friends, Jim and Bonnie, have stepped in as caretakers of my house, collect and sort the mail, and give the car an occasional run to keep the hybrid battery tuned. As I write, all the bushes and hedges are being trimmed in preparation for hurricane season, just in case.
|Don't mess with us! Jim & Bonnie|
Even though I have hard-fast rules about packing (see my very first entry: February 14, 2011), packing for this trip is a real challenge. As usual I am traveling with my 23 inch high EAGLE CREEK suitcase (I purchased it in 2002, and only had to send it in to their free lifetime repair service once - the luggage fobs needed replacing), and a ONE POLAR computer backpack, I bought in Pokara, Nepal, in 2010, a quality piece for only $35.00 US. The elimination process of necessary clothes is particularly hard because during this trip, I am attending some dressier affairs than usual. Also, I will be traversing three climate zones. The one saving grace is that in most of the warm climate countries, it is unacceptable for a woman to go bare legged, so my plethora of long pants - three - will be suitable for most of my travel destinations.
No matter what my packing rules, shoes are always a problem not only for me, but I think for most women travelers. Am I going trekking? I don’t know. Ladakh and Nepal are screaming ‘take the plunge again.’ So in my undecided state, that means I should take my trekking shoes, knowing I must wear them on every plane, train bus, and car ride during my travels because they are too cumbersome to carry,. Not a big sacrifice but… Then there is the need for comfortable walking shoes, something dressy enough for London theatre and sturdy enough for the often rutty, dusty potholed streets of Kathmandu, the Paharganj neighborhood of Delhi, and mountain walks in Old Manali and Leh. I also want shoes that are leather with no laces or ties, as I must remove my shoes at most temples. Such a puzzlement. During my last trip, I lost one of my wonderful leather Merrells while boarding a train in Chakki Bank, India. Therefore, if I can’t replace my Merrells, I think I shall have to resort to my old Sperry Top-siders and be done with it.
Tosh on these preparation and packing problems. I know you, my reader friends, are really more interested in where I am going? Ever though I do return to many of my old haunts, seeing dear friends during most of my trips, I always have some new experiences in both old and new venues. This trip has lots of new adventures. Although I have been to Amsterdam a number of times, this year I am going to spend about two weeks in the Netherlands. Last year was the first time during a visit to England that I did not spend some time in London, so I will rectify that as well. Below is my the basic itinerary.
> Friday: July 18th, fly to London
> Friday: July 25th, fly to Amsterdam
An 8 day cruise on canals through small Dutch villages.
A stay in Rotterdam
A night in Amsterdam
> Flight to Delhi India, continuing to Leh, Ladakh
A visit to Old Manali
A stay in McLeod Ganj
Near the end of September I will go to Delhi. Then I would like to visit Gujarat and also go to a Ayurvedic health spa in Kerala. If any readers have health spa suggestions, please let me know.
> Kathmandu, Nepal
> No stedfast plans after Nepal. I will have a month and a half before I must be home in December. It’s fun to have the freedom of no plan. Who knows what mischief I will get into - what surprise adventures I will have. You’ll just have to wait and see. Also maybe you have some wonderful suggestions? Let me know.
Next stop London and to quote Jenny the Dog in Higglety Pigglety Pop. “What I need is experience(s).”
And my retort is, “and I shall have them.”