Friday, March 18, 2011

Europe-y Bits and Pieces
Friday! This means Europe update time! And that tomorrow is the weekend, which to be honest is probably more important. Who am I kidding, it's definitely more important.

I'm starting to feel a bit more relaxed about our trip now. Not that I was uptight or anything before, but the to-do list is getting shorter, almost everything that has to have a deposit has one, and the savings for actually eating and fuelling the bike can start to rack up. With 84 sleeps to go it's not a minute too soon.

Courtney has booked his full car license and sits it on the 24th (wish him luck!). He won't be driving a car while we're over there, but he's getting it anyway to avoid any confusion in the translated International Drivers Permit. It would be a nightmare trying to explain to a cop that yes that does say Restricted but he does have a full bike license, really!

I finally, fiiiiinally, booked our flight to Christchurch to begin our trip too. We are flying with AirAsia, and they only fly out of Christchurch, which is an 80 minute flight from Auckland. Even with the additional flights, we save hundreds of dollars. We've timed the trip so that we get to Christchurch 24 hours before we leave and can spend the day with a dear friend of mine, Gin. Gin lived with me many years ago and is like a very far away little sister that I don't get to see nearly enough. After the horrible Christchurch quake, during which she was at University and had pieces of building falling around her, I am even more anxious than usual to see her. I can't think of a better way to start the trip!
I also booked a walking tour through Athens for the two of us. Every other city we plan on visiting, we are looking forward to exploring at our own pace, learning as we explore. Athens is a bit different for me though. Classical Studies was my favourite subject at school and I have a couple of papers towards a degree in it, that I did out of interest only. I want to hear as much information as possible about the ruins we see. It's one thing to see them in books and online but I'd hate to completely miss something super exciting (to me, at least) just because I didn't recognise it out of that context. The company I booked through only employs University graduates who have studied to be tour guides. Who would have thought you could do that. Poor old Courtney won't suffer for too long though, the tour is 3 hours long and includes only 45 minutes of walking. After that, we have days to explore on our own.

We've finally booked accommodation for Rome, at Plus Camping Roma, but I still can't find anything in Barcelona. Actually, that's not true. I found three campsites, via Barcelona Tourist Guide. Camping Masnou was too small - as in, they have no website and you can't book online. Camping Barcelona was too big - as in, we could have stayed at a hotel for what they quoted. Camping Tres Estrellas was juuuuust right - but they didn't reply to any of our emails. So we're back to square one. Hostels don't have parking for bikes, Hotels are too expensive, and if we stay out of town the prices don't seem to differ from the most expensive we found near town, so there's little point. What a defeatist attitude! I feel a little defeated.

So close to having all of our accommodation booked, but the last few are proving the most difficult. It will be such a good feeling when it's all ready to go though!

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Gin said...

so excited! i am super happy that i will be able to see you before the big trip and then send you off knowing you will have the greatest time because all the work youve put into this trip is going to mean it will be all playtime once you get there! cant wait to see you!

Penny said...

I'm glad SOMEONE understands all the planning haha that's what I think too, that it will mean more time to DO the stuff when we get there :) Everyone else just thinks I'm crazy ;D

Gin said...

you are not crazy! you are penny, and organised penny means happy penny, which means non stressed and super fun penny

Anonymous said...

Hey Penny

I stayed here when i was in Barcelona

not sure if its what your looking for - it was clean and simple

Cheers Brenda B

Penny said...

@Gin hahaha that is EXACTLY right! I'm glad you see it as a positive ;D

@Anonymous ahhh that is the place we wanted as well! They haven't replied to our emails :( Did you book in advance?

Anonymous said...

we stayed there on a contiki - hmmm wonder if there is any other way you can book there - i will investigate - Brenda

Anonymous said...

You can also look here if you havent already

Cheers Brena

Penny said...

They emailed us back! Just yesterday, and said we don't have to book. That agoda website is awesome, thanks so much for your help Brenda :D

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