|Backpacking was quite the adventure!
I have just returned from a whirlwind trip that took my boots to eight countries and 10 cities in 35 days. And I did it with a single backpack (mostly) and only three pairs of shoes. No hot air balloon involved.
How? Why? Where? Great questions!
As you may have noticed in my Instagram feed, the Ninja finished his PhD in September 2015 – a goal that he has been working towards for 10 years. Ever since we went to Australia for 10 months in 2011, he has wanted to go on a backpacking trip around Europe to celebrate the completion of his PhD. So when May rolled around and the end was in sight, we started talking about bringing the dream to fruition.
Fruition turned out to be the trip of a lifetime with an equally adventurous, flexible and fun-loving husband! I cannot adequately convey the magnitude of fun we had on this trip, but I will try. It was so relieving to be away from the stress of our daily lives and just be with each other while soaking up as much history, fun and food as we could. I affectionately call this trip the “Art and Carbs Tour of 2015.”
Now that you know why we took off – it’s time to talk about where we went! The trip started in Australia, which I know sounds really weird but the Ninja was presenting at a conference in Australia and we wanted to attend some close friends’ wedding in Melbourne so we rolled an Australian visit into our European travels. Over the course of the trip, we traveled 27,000 miles and actually did complete a trip around the world! Additionally, we walked more than 235 miles in 31 days, averaging 7.6 miles per day while visiting some amazing European hot spots including London, Dublin and Paris. But for the whole trip, here is a brief timeline:
Nov 20: The Ninja departs for Australia
Nov 29: I depart for Australia
Dec 1: Arrive in Melbourne and reunite with soul sisters
Dec 1 – 5: Soak up the Australian sun, visit favorite restaurants and attend best pals’ wedding
Dec 6: Depart Melbourne for Rome (via Singapore and Dubai)
|Our awesome group of friends in Australia
Dec 7 – 9: History, art & carbs in Rome; depart for Venice via night train
Dec 9-11: Art, carbs, gondola ride & shopping; depart for Vienna, Austria via night train
|Ceiling in the Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy
Dec 12-13: Arrive in Vienna. Spanish Riding School & art; depart for Poland via night train
Dec 14: Arrive in Oswiecim, Poland. Tour Auschwitz; depart via night train to Prague
Dec 15: Quick train layover in Prague – board train to Berlin
Dec 15: Arrive in Berlin. History tour extravaganza and lots of meat/potatoes.
|Delicious steak dinner at JW Steakhouse in London, England
Dec18: Depart for NW Germany via train to spend time with Hyatt’s family
Dec 18-20: Explore agricultural areas with Hyatt’s family in rural NW Germany
Dec 20: Drive to Paris – experience fear on the AutoBahn
Dec 21- Dec 24: Eat baguettes, visit museums & shop; depart for London via ferry
Dec 24 – Dec 28: Fall head over heels in love with London; depart for Dublin via plane
Dec 28 – Jan 1: Alcohol tasting tours, learn about Irish history, ring in the New Year
Jan 1: Return to Kansas via flight from Dublin to London, London to Chicago, Chicago to KC
|Paris skyline by night
Now don’t freak out about the brevity of this itinerary. This isn’t a travel blog but it is about this cowgirl’s life so I will be sharing the in-depth details of each country and also tips that we learned in subsequent posts.
Ok, so that’s the ‘where’ and ‘why’ but the ‘how’ is probably the most important part. A lot of people asked us “how did you do it?” or expressed their desire to pick up and leave for five weeks. In addition to saving vacation time and money for several months, the truth is that we had a very supportive group of family and friends that helped us make this happen.
– First off, my father took care of our horses and land for the full five weeks we were gone. And in winter, that’s no small task considering the snow and rain that occurred in our absence.
– Secondly, the Ninja’s family took care of our puppies, Rooster and Cricket, while we were gone. In fact, they will have had the dogs for nine weeks by the time we get them back.
– Last, but not least by any means, our colleagues and supervisors were willing to let us take this trip and cover our responsibilities for us. Without their support and flexibility we couldn’t have gone!
– We also had a massive group of prayer warriors behind us praying for safe travel and smooth sailing.
So that’s the basic How? Where? Why? of the trip. Come back next week for agriculture experiences abroad and more travel tips. To ensure you don’t miss a post, add Buzzard’s Beat to your email inbox by putting your email address in that little box up there in the right hand corner. And, if you don’t already follow me on Instagram and want to see some of the sites we visited, you can visit my stream and see them right now!
Would love to hear your impressions, comments and most importantly, questions! What travel posts do you want to see?
Until next time,