Sunday, 23 February 2014

Five Continents, 25 Days

Tonight we leave South America, and begin an itinerary that altogether takes in five continents by the time we arrive in Paris on March 18th. Why the hell are we doing this? It's all because of Matt.

When Danielle and I married in November, one of my ushers was Matt, a friend I've known for almost a decade. Nothing so unusual about that, except I met Matt in South Korea, he's from New Zealand but now lives in Sydney, and he came all that way to make the occasion. Therefore, when he announced to me that he was marrying his girlfriend in March, I naturally filled the air with expletives and said "Yes, of course I'll be there."

Attending a wedding in Australia in the midst of a year's travel in Europe and the Americas is, naturally, a small spanner in the works. But everything can be worked out, and I'm quite a dab hand with the flight websites, coaxing out the best deals and routes. And so, after immersing myself in the matrix, I discovered that tacking on a flight from Lima-to-Los Angeles two-and-a-half months after my initial Madrid-to-Lima flight was only marginally more expensive. But why would I want to go to LA? Because any flights from South America to Australia were prohibitively expensive, whereas the LA-to-Sydney flight was incredibly reasonable. And even better - it stopped over in Fiji, which I gather is very pleasant, and which includes another old friend of mine from way back in my South Korean days, Maebh. Well, perfect.

Therefore, leaving Lima and South America in the early hours of tomorrow morning, we arrive in LA and North America by around noon. Four days later we leave LA and North America for Sydney and Australasia/Oceania (whatever it's called now) via Fiji. Matt gets married on March 14th, and so we're out of there by the 16th - I don't want to cramp the guy's style. And what was the cheapest route back to Europe? Via Shanghai, which now has a relaxed no-visa rule for people in transit less than 72 hours. It's a no brainer. On my last visit to China, in which poor Burness was ravaged by illness, I never made it to Shanghai. But I'd love to go. So, en route from Australia, we'll have a manic two-point-five days to zoom around the city. And then - back to Europe.

So: South America, North America, Australasia, Asia, and Europe. Only Africa and the doesn't-really-count Antarctica are missed out. Sorry guys. It's going to be fun, a little ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be sick of the sight of aeroplanes by the time we touch down in Charles de Gaulles on a spring morning in three-and-a-half weeks time.

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