Europe '06

As promised, some more info about my upcoming EuroTrip.

The goal is to head out pretty soon after school’s done, around my birthday. I want to bum around for a while, and end up in Germany to catch some of the World Cup. I’m aiming for coming back around the 3rd or 4th week of June, just in time to start up some classes for the second half of the summer semester.

The cheapest tickets seem to be flying in and out of Dublin. The fees added to the ticket price seem to be about half of what it would be to get to London, and there’s no $100 Chunnel ticket to worry about. There’s a discount on the ferry from Ireland to France–though I’d probably have to hitch or take a bus to get to the port–from where I’d ride the rails, trying to travel at night and sleep on the train. I’d probably head to Paris, first, but maybe not. My goal is to just bum around, deciding where I go next when I’m ready to leave. No plans or schedules, except for arrival and departure.

One other interesting idea has shown up… I could hitchhike. I probably wouldn’t do it the whole way across the continent, but I could try to get around town or around the smaller countries. Rome to Venice: Why waste a Eurail trip, when I could hitch? Spend money on the bus, or stick out the thumb to get to the train station? Depends, I’m sure, but you never know! 😉

Towards the end of the trip, with maybe a week or so left, I’m going to end up in Germany, probably in Hamburg with my German Brother Christian. (We housed him for a year, so his mother insisted she owes us a place to stay.) I just want to be there for a while and soak up the World Cup atmosphere. Drink beer in a pub and watch the games with real football fans. Who cares if you speak the same language? “Ya” and “boo” are all you need. Then I’ll just have to save a train ride or two on my Eurail pass and enough money to get back to Dublin for my flight home.

Now how to pay for it all? The way I figure it, it should cost between $2500 and $3000. I currently have about $600 saved. Damn! If I had never spent money on anything, including gas, from every job I’ve ever had, I might have enough. Unfortunately, the first job paid for the roadtrip. The second job has just evaporated somehow–and wasn’t that much, anyway–and I’ve managed to save a little over half of what I’ve made this summer. I can try to put away every cent of my earnings from the Lab this year, but I doubt that’ll amount to more than a couple hundred, even if I can resist the urge or need to buy anything, ever. So my plan right now is to ask my family to loan me the difference. I have two aunts who are both doing decently, and who will both, I think, remember that I’m the only family member left who’s never been to Europe. Plus I said loan, not give. I will pay them back, even if it takes me a couple of years.

So that’s the plan, Stan. And I think it will be the trip of a lifetime if I can pull it off.