Going on a sabbatical and travelling around Europe has always just been a secondary consideration in terms of my plans to leave Singapore. The so-called plan was to be December - Europe, December-January - USA then February - Australia. In terms of monetary situation, it does seem the least bit feasible of all possibilities to pull off considering that I will be needing my savings to survive in Australia.
But, last week, out of impulse, I used my KrisFlyer miles for a ticket going to Amsterdam. It was confirmed almost immediately after paying for the taxes only (which was about a PAL flight to Manila). My impulse to purchase the ticket was partly in consideration that 1. SQ flights to Paris were all wait listed for the day I wanted to go and 2. I only had Amsterdam in my mind for this Europe trip. (I had no intention yet to go to Frankfurt).
Come last Monday, while trying to distract myself from the realities of life and trying to inject some excitement into my otherwise boring corporate life, I booked a flight from Brussels to Milan. I have in part initially only considered the below itinerary:
Netherlands - Dec 5-11
Belgium - Dec 12-16
Luxembourg - Dec 17-20
France (only Paris) - Dec 21-27
New York - Dec 28-Jan 1
Los Angeles - Jan 2-10
San Francisco - Jan 11-14
Manila - Jan 15-31
Australia (For Good) - Feb 1 - Indefinite
After speaking to some friends and mulling on it (again, distracting myself), I realized if this was meant to be travelling to see much more of Europe, then it does not follow that I restrict myself to how much of Europe I'll be seeing. Well, to be honest, I allotted more days than usual in the cities mostly because I know it will be winter and walking around seeing the sites may not really be that ... hmm warm. So, yeah, I decided to fly from Brussels to Milan after browsing for flights and saw that it was one of the cheapest cities you can fly to from Brussels - also in part because the direct flights to Nice, France were very expensive. (I've recently discovered http://flights.google.com to assist in this endeavor of flight scouring.). So, the tentative itinerary now looks like:
Netherlands (Dec 5-9)
----Amsterdam, Dec 5, 6, 7, 8
----Amsterdam, Dec 9 - bus to Bruges
Belgium (Dec 9-13)
----Brussels, Dec 9, 10,
----Bruges, Dec 11
----Ghent, Dec 12
----Brussels, Dec 13 - fly to Milan
Italy (Dec 13-16)
----Milan, Dec 13, 14, 15
----Milan, Dec 16 (train/bus to Nice)
France (Dec 16-28)
----Nice, Dec 16, 17, 18, 19
----Lyon, Dec 20, 21, 22, 23
----Paris, Dec 24, 25, 26, 27
----Paris, Dec 28 - Fly to New York
USA (Dec 28-Jan 14)
----New York, Dec 28, 29, 30, Jan 1
----New York, Jan 2 - fly to Los Angeles
----Los Angeles, Jan 2-10 (visit family and niece's Christening)
----San Francisco - Jan 10-14
I could have stayed in San Francisco a bit longer but my mom said she needed me to be in Manila on the 17th of January for my cousin's wedding. Since it's my cousin from my favorite uncle, I said yes. It was funny how my mom's concern when I told her my plans was when I will be arriving back in Manila to attend the wedding which coincidentally is when the Pope visits the Philippines.
The itinerary is not final yet but it should be as my thoughts and planning on the matter amalgamate. Like for instance, I am considering shortening the days in Nice, Lyon and Milan to include a trip to Rome. But then again, I'm considering travel burn out and the uncertainties of travelling in Winter (this will be my first Winter experience). Well, I've experienced cold weather but never nearing levels of negative.
In other news, I only have 10 episodes left from finishing the 5 seasons of Breaking Bad. If you do the math, if each episode averages 47 minutes, having watched 49 episodes then I've lost 2303 minutes of my life. All in all, that translates to 38.38 hours I've spent watching it since Saturday. I've never seen anything so addictive to just binge watch. I very much like and enjoy seeing how they portray humanity and the consequences of actions. Anyway, that's for a different entry all together if I get around to it.