Our Itinerary

Trip Start Jan 03, 2004
1
26
Trip End Dec 2004


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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Thursday, December 4, 2003

This first travelogue entry is being written from the comfort of our home, currently a disarray of boxes and piles of "stuff" waiting to be packed either for storage, our wedding or our journey.

With a week to go before we leave DC for Denver and then on to "see the world," we wanted to give everyone curious about our plans a summary of the places, dates and expected activities over the next year. It has been difficult for us to answer the frequently asked question of where we are going. "Around the world" seems vague and a bit evasive. On the other hand, listing all the countries tends to be a bit overwhelming. We hope this entry gives you an idea of our ambitious plans. While the plans are not set in stone, we are confident that our trip will contain many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. (Not listed here are the days of travelers' diarrhea, homesickness, and standing in lines for visa extensions.) Feel free to send us advice about places on our list or, even better, come visit us along the way!

Los Angeles, USA (January 3-7) We'll be staying with friends for a couple of days before we embark overseas. We'll take long walks on Santa Monica beach, enjoy our favorite American food for the last time and hopefully see a live taping of the Jay Leno show.

Krabi, Thailand (January 9-16) We head straight for the beautiful beaches of southern Thailand to enjoy our honeymoon and recover from the long journey. Possible activities include sea kayaking, rock climbing, snorkeling, hiking in tropical forests and eating tasty Thai seafood.

Phimai, Thailand (January 17-26) We'll be participating in an archeological expedition in northeast Thailand uncovering the origins of the Angkor civilization. As volunteers for the Earthwatch Institute, we'll help to dig, restore, sift and piece together the past of an ancient settlement.

Siem Reap, Cambodia (January 27-February 3) We'll be touring the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat for a couple of days. After that, we may visit the other cities of Battambang or Phnom Penh. We might also extend our stay to teach English to children in Siem Reap.

Saigon, Vietnam (February 3-14) We hope to volunteer at the Thao Dan Center for street children in the city. In our free time, we'll visit the major sights of the city and travel in the Mekong delta. When we need a break from the heat, we'll head to the mountainside retreat of Dalat.

Central Highlands, Vietnam (February 17-23) We'll tour scenic countryside and rural life in Vietnam on a six-day motorbike trip from Dalat to Hoi An along the old Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Central Coast, Vietnam (February 24-March 1) We'll explore the royal tombs in Hue, visit historic sites along the old DMZ, relax on famous China Beach and soak up the culture in the riverside city of Hoi An. We'll take an overnight train ride on the "Reunification Express" to Hanoi.

Hanoi, Vietnam (March 2- 7) We'll extend our visas for an extra two weeks and enjoy the sights of Vietnam's northern capital city including paying our respects to the venerable "Uncle Ho" in his mausoleum. We'll also take a memorable cruise in the mystical Ha Long Bay.

Northern Vietnam (March 8-16) We'll trek in the Tonkinese Alps and shop in the colorful weekend market in Sapa and other mountain villages. We'll also travel by 4x4 jeep along the northwest loop, visit former French hill stations and see some of Vietnam's diverse hill tribes.

Vientene, Laos (March 17-24) We'll do several walking tours of the city's famous temples and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the capital for several days. To escape the heat, we'll travel north to Vang Vieng and go inner tubing on the Mekong River.

Luang Prabang, Laos (March 24-31) We'll spend a couple days in the UNESCO World Heritage city and see some of the famous temples. We'll also take a river boat trip up north to visit the Pak Ou caves and enjoy other natural wonders. We'll fly to Thailand from here.

Chiang Mai, Thailand (April 1-16) We'll relax by taking a Thai cooking class for several days. We'll also journey to Pai and Mae Hong Son to ride jungle elephants, go river rafting and see the famous long neck hill tribes. We'll also get "wet" during the Songkran festival during the peak of hot weather.

Kathmandu, Nepal (April 17-24) We'll enjoy the cool, dry climate in the mountain kingdom's capital city while we begin to acclimate to the altitude. We'll tour some of the city's temples and shop in the bazaars.

Everest region, Nepal (April 25-May 6) We'll fly to the access town of Lukla to begin our trek. Along the way, we'll visit remote Sherpa villages and marvel at views of the highest peaks in the world if we reach the summit of Gokyo Ri at approximately 18,000 feet. We'll take a plane back to Kathmandu.

Bhaktapur, Nepal (May 7-10) We'll escape the traffic and hassles of Kathmandu to visit this UN World Heritage site. We'll spend a few days here enjoying the many Hindu temples. We'll return to Kathmandu in time to get our transit visa for India.

Bombay, India (May 12-14) We'll experience the vibrant colors and exotic smells of India's economic and cultural capital. We'll tour some of the city's attractions and possibly catch a flick in India's "Bollywood". Depending on our time and various travel options, we may stay in the city, fly down to the south or leave India for Europe.

Kerala, India (May 15-24) We'll fly to Trivandurium to take in a few sights of south India. We'll relax at some of the laid back beaches at Varkala and take one of the famous backwater boat rides through the area.

Rome, Italy (May 25-May 28) We'll recuperate several days in Roma as we enjoy Italian wine, gelato and other culinary delights. We'll also make time to see the Coliseum and other major attractions.

Amalfatina, Italy (May 28-June 1) We'll travel to Naples for a quick stopover before continuing further south to the Amalfi Coast, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

Tuscany, Italy (June 2-16) We'll stay on a family-run organic farm near Pisa for several weeks helping with various tasks. Hopefully, we can explore some nearby Tuscan villages. We'll have a couple glasses of Tuscan chianti to celebrate Andy's 30th birthday.

Bologna, Italy (June 16-July 18) Andy will be teaching a course on

Prague, Czech Republic (July 6-15) We'll soak up culture in the capital as we visit baroque palaces and frequent trendy night spots. We also hope to guest lecture at a student leadership program run by a common friend from high school. After that we'll embark on a loop of Central Europe by rail.

Krakow, Poland (July 16-23) We'll learn about Poland's rich history and view the stunning architecture in the ciy's Old Town quarter. As a solemn reminder, we'll also visit the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Tatra Mountains, Slovakia (July 24-31) We'll explore the rugged beauty of the Carpathian mountains along the Polish-Slovak border. We'll hike and enjoy other outdoor activities.

Budapest, Hungary (August 1-7) We'll spend several days walking in the pleasant city along the picturesque Danube river. We'll also visit historic castles, palaces and towns in the countryside.

France or Greece (August 8-28) This part of the trip is still yet to be determined. If we land a coveted spot as a volunteer for the summer Olympics, we'll head south for Greece and the islands. If not, we'll gladly settle for a quick trip to Bourdeaux and Paris.

Kenya and Tanzania (August 29- September 6) We'll fly to Nairobi to begin a three-week safari for budget travelers entitled "Gameparks and Gorillas". The first week's expected highlights include camping within sight of Kilimanjaro and viewing wildlife in the world famous Masai and Serengeti.

Uganda (September 7-13) We'll journey into the lush countryside of Uganda. Highlights will hopefully include whitewater rafting on the source of the Nile and tracking mountain gorilla families in the forests of extinct volcanoes.

Kenya (September 14-21) We'll see more wildlife including black rhinos, lions and flamingoes as we cross back into Kenya and make our way back to Nairobi. After our return, we may consider helping with cultural orientation training for refugees awaiting INS interviews.

Pretoria, South Africa (September 22-26) We'll hopefully spend a few days catching up with some old friends who are working in South Africa. We'll also take a guided tour of the black township in Soweto.

Drakensburg, South Africa (September 26-30) We'll spend several days hiking in the sheer and jagged escarpment that splits South Africa from Lesotho.

Durban, South Africa (October 1-6) We'll enjoy the laid-back beach scene and possibly try surfing some of the world-class waves. We might also journey to nature reserves and villages along the coast of the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Buenos Aires, Argentina (October 7-11) We'll fly across the Atlantic to one of South America's most vibrant cities. To work off several meals of thick Argentine steaks, we'll try to learn a few tango steps at one the city's many clubs.

Bariochle, Argentina (Oct 12-Nov 12) We'll fly southwest to the Patagonian Andes and scenic Lake District. We'll immerse ourselves in several weeks of Spanish and possibly volunteer at the language school. In our free time, we'll go on several short treks.

Rio, Brazil (November 13-18) We'll spend several days in the vibrant Brazilian capital, sampling the beaches of Ipanema and Cocacabana and watching the locals dance samba and play soccer. We'll purchase a Brazil airpass to cover the long distances over the next month.

Salvador, Brazil (November 19-27) We'll head north to the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture in Salvador. We'll take a walking tour of the city's old colonial quarter, enjoy unique Bahian cuisine and watch locals practice the Capoeira dance. We'll also hike in the spectacular tableland area of Chapada Diamantina.

Natal, Brazil (November 28- December 2) We'll experience the hedonistic revelry of the off-season version of the Carnival festival in Brazil's northern city.

Manaus, Brazil (December 3-8) We'll take a guided jungle tour deep into the Amazon by river boat to see wildlife and indigenous tribes.

Caracas, Venezuela (December 9-14) We'll travel overland from Brazil to the Venezuelan port city. Along the way, we'll try to stop at Salto Angel, the highest waterfall in the world.

St. Lucia, Carribean (December 15-22) We'll try to rendezvous with a friend working in the Peace Corps as we enjoy the last couple days of our trip on the beach and celebrate our one year anniversary.

Denver, USA (December 23) We'll return to Colorado in time for Christmas. We'll have so many amazing experience to share!
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