Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nomada Vivo 2016

Last year's 19-week trip around Europe was such a success, we're going back again this year. Like last year, we'll be attending Esperanto events and visiting friends—both old and new. This time we'll concentrate on Germany and France, and on our way home we'll pass through Quebec, New York, and New Jersey. The whole trip will take 11 weeks (see the 2016 itinerary).

I'll be sending weekly emails to anyone who's interested, rather than updating this blog while we're gone. If you'd like to be added to the mailing list, please let me know by email.

Ĝis la revido!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Back home!

We're back home in Seattle, living on the houseboat again. The 11-hour non-stop flight on Condor was pretty good. To our surprise, they even served two meals to everybody; it's been ages since we've had free meals on a flight. The rigmarole surrounding the flight was as bad as ever: an hour to get through the various security and passport control lines at the beginning, and an hour to wait for our luggage (forced to check because of Condor's 6 kg limit for carry-on bags) and get through customs and immigration at SeaTac.

During the flight it was continually about noon as we chased the sun across nine time zones. Our entertainment was a cute two-year-old near us. I'm sure her parents expected her to sleep on the flight, since they probably woke up about 6 am, as we did, and it was 9:30 pm Frankfurt time when we landed. But this cute youngster kept going like the Energizer bunny, chattering happily the entire time. We were also treated to some great scenery over Greenland and northern Canada.

Glaciers producing icebergs on the east coast of Greenland

In Seattle, we took light rail and a bus to the boat, where we were glad to see that everything was in order, hardly even any spider webs. The following day we retrieved our car, happy that it started up as soon as Les reconnected the battery. We did several loads of wash at the laundromat: all the clothes we've been using for the trip, plus jackets and small backpacks. I started stocking up on kitchen essentials, since I'd completely emptied out the fridge and freezer before setting off. Les signed up again for Pandora, the thing he missed the most during the trip. Today we retrieved the 19 weeks of mail that our son had been collecting for us; it was pretty easy to sort through and save the few important items.

I feel I should add more about Angelika, our Frankfurt host. She often travels to China for her job, and we were grateful that she agreed to host us even though she knew she'd be returning the previous day from China. At age 31, she was the youngest person we stayed with. Being of the modern generation, she learned Esperanto through, rather than from a "teach yourself" book or class, as was the way 30 years ago. (And lernu must have good instructors, because Les thought that she had as pure an Esperanto accent as you could wish for.) She's been to the "youth" conferences (defined as being up to age 29), which have lots more rock music, dancing, sports, and outdoor activities. I'm glad that we got a taste of it at SES (Somera Esperanto-Studado) in Slovakia, where the very young and very old co-mingle, even if people my age aren't as likely to be at the 10 pm concerts, or the midnight gab sessions.

For those who like statistics, here's Nomada Vivo by the numbers:
  • Length of trip: 133 days (19 weeks)
  • Miles traveled: 18,333
  • Train rides: 55
  • Intercity buses: 13
  • Plane flights: 6
  • Ferry crossings: 1
  • Car rentals: 3 (Minneapolis, Windsor, Leeds)
  • Beds slept in: 51
  • Esperanto official events: 6
  • Esperanto speakers visited: 12
  • Hotels: 29 (plus some that were part of Esperanto events)
  • Countries: 12 (USA, Canada, UK, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark)
  • Currencies: 9 (US dollars, Canadian dollars, GB pounds sterling, euros, Czech koruny, Hungarian forints, Swiss francs, Danish kroner, plus Icelandic krónur during a layover)
  • Weight carried while traveling: 23 kg (50 lbs)
  • Photos taken: 1,754
  • Photos kept: 646 (all edited for composition and color correction)
  • Items lost: 1 (an umbrella cover during a sudden deluge in Switzerland)
  • Number of blog posts: 38 including this one (starting last August with the preparations)
  • Cost of trip: $17,124 (excluding food, which was about the same as when at home)—by comparison, my 10-week trip to Europe exactly 50 years ago cost $560!
  • Words learned for "hazelnut": 6 (Dutch, German, Esperanto, French, Italian, Danish—so Les could order his favorite flavor of gelato)

Les' choice for the most essential travel item: our Nexus 7 tablet. It was a huge help in navigating around strange cities (even without an internet connection, thanks to the wonderful CityMaps2Go app) and having complete train schedules at our fingertips in all European countries (the RailPlanner app). We used a laptop computer for all our "heavy duty" computing (email, spreadsheets, blogging, etc.), and we brought along two(!) Kindles to satisfy our reading needs for the long plane flights. In all, our electronic devices and associated chargers and adapters added up to 3 kg—taking up a significant chunk of our total weight budget.

My vote goes to the set of eating tools shown below. Because we had plastic dishes, bowls, sporks, cutting boards, knife and scissors, we could easily buy raw ingredients at the grocery store and prepare meals to eat in our hotel room or as a picnic. For example, in Frankfurt I bought bread, hummus, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and a bag of grated carrots. The total cost was $9, and from that I made eight sandwiches. We often had cereal and milk for breakfast. Our food costs were low, and we had nutritious meals.

My food preparation essentials

So this brings to a close our trip and this blog. It's been a fantastic adventure, exceeding even our high expectations. We're already thinking about what we might do next year.