So this is New Zealand. For those of you that have followed my blog from Antarctica, you know that I love New Zealand. The people are friendly, the country is beautiful beyond all description, and the whole feel of the place is pleasant and peaceful. My type of place. So that justifies much time spent here on this trip. So I will spend a few days in Auckland planning and organizing for my bus travels around the islands. I will head south along the coast to New Plymouth. Moving on after a night there, I will get to the capital, Wellington. I plan on at least a full day here to take in the sites (the city is built around a semi-circular harbour) and hopefully get a few good conversations in with the locals. Then I will embark on the ferry crossing of the straight to Picton on the southern island. I will go on from there to Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park, which from all of my planning is one of my most highly anticipated parts of the trip. I will cover all details after I get there though, I promise! So now I have to get back up to Auckland again to catch my flight back to the southern island to the city of Queenstown, but that is fine because I get to go back a different way and see more things like the Maori town of Rotorua and the site of Hobbiton in the filming of Lord of the Rings.
Ok, so now I fly to Queenstown, where I will do some more city walking and people meeting and also catch a bus to Fjordland National Park to see some sweet fjords and Milford Sound. Then I fly on to Christchurch where I hope to get up to see either Arthur's Pass or Kaikoura. All done with New Zealand, now on to Australia.
So for those of you not familiar with your southeast Asian geography, this is a really horrible map to show since you probably don't know where this is at all. But no worries! Simply correlate to the world map at the top of the page and hopefully all troubles are solved. Anyway, I will be visiting with a friend from school who now lives in Singapore. He has promised me a "balistic" time so I am really looking forward to it! I just need to avoid chewing gum, jay walking and feeding any wildlife (Singapore has some strict laws). Hopefully they aren't too rough on those having a "balistic" time. But Rakhil lives there so I will trust in him! From Singapore, I move on into Malaysia and Thailand, where I will basically be bussing and ferrying between major cities and tropical islands. This should be a really, really beautiful part of the trip, and I really hope I will get good computer access to keep the pictures (or at least stories) coming to you all! From the pictures I have already seen of some of these islands and cities...this is going to be really good. And for those of you familiar with the region, don't worry; I have been warned many, many times about Thailand (and I know you know what I mean).
So after a mad dash down the eastern side of the peninsula, I fly on from Singapore to Mumbai, India. From here I will travel (mostly by train) to Bhopal to hopefully hit up a national park that is home to lots of tigers and Jungle Book-like terrain. From there I will go on to Agra to, of course, see the Taj Mahal (also one of those must sees, eh?). I will do a little maneuvering around, possibly through the "Pink City" of Jaipur, through Delhi and on to see Amritsar, the Sikh capital with the golden temple. I then want to get up into Kashmir to Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama currently resides. I have a strong interest in both Sikhism and Buddhism, and I am also looking forward to catching a glimpse of the Himalayas. From Dharamsala, I go back to New Delhi to see its sites before going back to London.
So Europe will be the end place of my travels. I fly into London, but I will do my best to get out of the UK as quickly as possible due to the overwhelming price of nearly everything there (with the exception of their amazing museums and galleries that is). I don't care how much money I have left, I will see Ireland. From there, I have one month worth of Eurail pass, and I will go with sleeping on trains and wandering through Europes many cities for as long as I can afford! I am most definately expecting to be running out of my funds in Europe, so it will basically be a crap shoot as to where and when! There you go, maybe someone can start a betting pool on that... :P
So, my realistic goal right now for Europe is: Dublin, Galway, and Wexford in Ireland; hopping a ferry to France for Cherbourg, Paris, and Toulouse. Crossing the Pyranees to see at least Barcelona, and crossing them again to see the French Riviera on my way over to Italy. Here I have hopes for Pisa, Florence, Rome, and Venice. I must also make it here to meet up with two friends from school: Gianluca (a native Italian) and Chris. Gianluca has promised to show me and Chris the real Italy, and I am really looking foward to it! Then hopefully I will book it up through Austria and Germany and into the Netherlands and Belgium before flying home.
So there we go. I am leaving in two days and I can barely believe it. I want to thank everybody who has helped with any advice, money, and motivation. This trip started out as a dream, and I have only been able to make it a reality because of all of you. I hope that you enjoy this blog, and I will look foward to telling even more stories when I get back!