Saturday, October 20, 2012

Everything's booked!

When is the right time to devote yourself to a task? Why, when there are a million other things to be done of course!

This was a day set aside to do a lot of homework. An unfathomable quantity of homework, in fact. I cleared out my entire schedule, refused to make plans with friends, decided these 24 hours were only meant for getting ready for the coming weeks of class. The looming weeks of class would be a more proper phrasing, actually.

But then I got distracted. And while I could sit here and wallow, cry, gripe about how much I have left to do - how much I didn't get done on a day I'd promised myself to get stuff done - I'm not going to do that. Because today was actually one of the most productive days of my life. And instead of complaining, I'm going to excitedly tell you about all there is to look forward to.

This morning I woke up with only a slice of knowledge. That slice consisted of the awareness that in less than a few weeks, I'll be on my way to Copenhagen to visit my friend Denise who is living there for her study abroad program. So that's all well and good.

I'd bought a one way ticket to Copenhagen. For all anyone knew, I'd be staying there forever. I probably wouldn't even have a problem with that anyway, considering what a beautiful and magical place Copenhagen seems to be. I've only heard good things from Denise, and of course the only other thing I know about the place is what I ascertained from years of obsession with The Little Mermaid and other Hans Christian Andersen fairytales, as well as several viewings of The Prince & Me, which I believe was actually filmed in Copenhagen. Or maybe it was Prague. Well it was made to look like Copenhagen, right?

Anyway, while it would have been nice to spend the rest of my life living among the Danes in Copenhagen, I realized that if I wanted to get down to Rome (as per my original plan to meet my friend Diana and experience the loveliness of Italy with her for a few days) I would have to find some interim travels to fill up the time between Scandinavia and Bella Italia.

So I started searching maps. I cannot tell you how many times I've Google Image searched "Map of Europe," but it's certainly in the dozens. Eventually I realized the stupidity of this effort and went instead to Google Maps, which gave me a better idea of the distance between various cities within the whole of the continent.

And I settled on a little jaunt through Germanic territory.

Over the last few days I've spent some time looking through prices of flights, train travel times, rail pass expenditures, etc. etc. until my head felt like a balloon ready to pop. While under ordinary circumstances, I might be doing this preparation during the summer when I literally have no other responsibilities to worry about, I am doing this amidst classwork and intern work and making my own food/living a life in a foreign city work.

But after a full day devoted to logistical concerns, I think everything is starting to turn out for the better. In more ways than one.

There's something about devoting your mind to planning something that turns your heart away from other concerns. You stop thinking about the petty things and start worrying about bigger concerns - like how you'll get from the airport in Rome to Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps) so that you can visit the place where John Keats was nursed by Joseph Severn before he passed away from consumption (tuberculosis).

Yeah, this is what's on my mind now.

First thing first, though. My travels will have me making my way via aeroplane (airplane) to Munich from Copenhagen. While I toyed with the idea of a long train ride, weighed against the option of getting to the city in less than half the time it became clear that the added hours spent in Germany were worth a few extra pounds. Or was it Euros? Or dollars? I don't remember.

Whatever the case may be, I have organized my time so that I might spend a day in Munich. And for those who are wondering, I am looking at possible locations to buy dirndls. If anyone has advice (I'm looking at you, Kelly) or recommendations, I heartily accept them!

After a day in Munich, I will board my first German train (if it's not punctual, then I will be both surprised and amused) to Austria. Because I am still babying myself, I purchased a single rider room for the six hour overnight commute so I can sleep and wake up refreshed for a big day of exploring in Vienna.

As luck should have it, I have a penpal who lives in Vienna, which makes for a nice tour guide/meeting a friend opportunity when arriving in the city. In other words, once there I will hopefully not have to use the German phrasebook that I have not purchased but will be buying very soon. Thank you in advance, Dom.

After a day in Vienna, I will board another plane to Rome where I will be finally reunited with my friend Diana. We will travel. We will eat (vegetarian food). We will drool at Italian men.

All these plans seem to be pretty well-thought out, right?

No. Definitely not.

The reason for the mad rush to get all my train and plane reservations (and much of my hotel accommodation sorted) today was because it has come down to the final hour before booking things will become astronomically expensive. I have yet to plan a single moment of my trip through Europe. But at the very least, I know it will be happening.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be responsible for buying maps, watching travel videos on YouTube, finding phrasebooks, trying to stuff all of my belongings into a tiny suitcase and not falling apart whenever I (inevitably) get lost in a foreign city.

It's kind of scary to think that in the past I might've devoted months to the planning of an excursion like this. But on the other hand, I couldn't think of anything more exciting.

Being in London is such an opportunity in itself, but I always dreamed that when I got here I would have the chance to see all of Europe that I have never had the opportunity to explore before. And finally, those dreams are happening. And even though other things are being put on the backburner for the day (not for the rest of the weekend, I promise), perhaps it was worth it just for the excitement of putting mouse to "Purchase" link. I really needed this to remind me why life can be unbelievably beautiful sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. AHHHHH! I'm so excited you're going to Germany and Austria! I LOVED Vienna and, well, my feelings about Germany in general are obvious. I got my dirndl at the train station in Munich, because that's where they're cheapest. That was at the height of Oktoberfest season, though, so I'm not entirely sure if they're there year-round or not. But if you buy one we'll have to have a dirndl photoshoot when you get back :)