Itinerary v0.4: Turkey, Greece, and Italy

I started writing this post with the idea that I’d meetup with Charlie in Turkey. We’d be in Turkey for about a week before going to Greece and then on to Italy before meeting up with Quinn in Switzerland on the 7th of July. Well, I got about half way through this post and realized: there’s no way we can do Turkey, Greece, and Italy in 14 days. I mean, we could, but we wouldn’t have any fun. I posted an update to my Twitter/Facebook page: “Andrew Ferguson is wondering about Turkey/Greece/Italy…I think I can only fit two of them in :-/ Thoughts?” Amazingly enough, I got 10 responses, two of which advocated Greece and Italy, five of which advocated Turkey and Greece, and two of which were rather admiment about Turkey. Since I’d already been to Italy before, I decided that Turkey and Greece would be two I would go to.

Then, I talked to Charlie today and he came up with this amazing plan that will not only allow us to see Turkey, Greece, and Italy, but it will also let Quinn spend a few days at the L’Abri.

This is Itinerary v0.4:

  • Day 1 (June 2nd):
    Seattle, Washington
    Dulles, Washington, DC
  • Day 2 (June 3rd): Moscow, Russia
  • Day 8 (June 9th): St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Day 13 (June 14th): Tallin, Estonia
  • Day 17: Ukraine
    Kiev
    Chernobyl
  • Day 21 (June 22nd): Turkey
    Istanbul
    Cappadocia
  • Day 28 (June 29rd): Greece 29th-4th / 6
  • Day 34 (July 5th): Italy
    Naples
    Rome
    Venice
    Cinque Terra
  • Day 40 (July 11th): Switzerland
  • Day 44 (July 15th):Austria
    Salzburg
    Vienna
    Innsbruck
  • Day 49 (July 20th): Hungary
    Budapest
  • Day 52 (July 23rd): Czech Republic
  • Day 55 (July 26th): Poland
  • Day 58 (July 29th): Germany

As you’ll notice, the entire key to this plan is slipping the start of Switzerland back four days to July 11th. As it turns out, this works out quite nicely.

To recap: after Ukraine, I’ll be joining Charlie in Turkey, who will travel with me for the remainder of my (now our) trip. Greece and Italy is currently the topic of hot debate for us. Basically, we need to meet Quinn (who will be joining both of us in Switzerland) around the 7th 11th of July. Thus, Charlie and I need to get through Turkey, Greece, and Italy between the 22nd of June to the 7th 11th of July…15 19 days. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to assume that we’ll be fine traveling in Turkey. Instead, I’m going to focus on plans for the Greece and Italy portion.

We’ve gone through several ideas including literally all modes of transportation, including planes, trains, renting a car, renting a motorcycle, renting a moped, ferries, and buses.

As much fun I think it would be to rent a car and drive through Italy, it would probably be cost prohibitive for just two people. Here’s why:

$361.04 for a 5 day rental of a Ford Fiesta (Manual Transmission) with unlimited kilometers through Hertz with pickup in Bari, Italy and drop off in Milan, Italy

Plus a $22.50/day young drive fee ($112.50 total)

Plus gas for driving from Bari to Agnone to Rome to Venice to Milano for a total of 1335 km. Assuming 12km/L1, that’s 111.25 Liters of fuel. Finding gas prices is hard, I’m going with $5.80/gal2 which is $1.54/L. So add another $170 for gas.
We’re already up to $643.50, and that doesn’t even include toll fees. So driving is out.

I tried looking for a place that would rent one-way motorcycles or mopeds, and I couldn’t find any. So that’s out too.

Charlie mentioned the Eurorail idea, so I looked at that. And I think it would actually be pretty feasible.

Initially, I looked at the Eurail Greece – Italy Pass, which costs $250/person for 5 days of travel in a 2 month period.

However, after looking at Charlie’s new itinerary, we decided that it would actually be more cost effective to purchase the Eurail Global 21 Day Pass for $589. It’s important to note that this is for 21 continuous days of travel, not 21 days of travel in 2 months. The idea is to use this for travel in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, and Czech Republic. Poland isn’t part of the Eurail Global pass, so it actually works quite perfectly, especially considering we’ll be traveling about every other day…more or less.

One idea to get from Greece to Italy would be to take the Superfast Ferry from Igoumenitsa, Greece, departing daily at 23:59 to Bari, Italy, arriving at 08:30.


  1. http://www.mapsofworld.com/referrals/cars/small-cars/subcompact-cars/ford-fiesta.html 

  2. http://fabulously40.com/article/id/2171 

The Free Range Method

After talking with many great people, I think I finally have a plan.

There are really two parts to this story, however I’m going to tell them in reverse order.

On Monday, I was feeling quite anxious. I’ve been feeling rather anxious all semester and I wasn’t entirely sure why. I went to More on Mondays, which is a targeted “seminar” that The Annex arranges. This past Monday was specifically for graduating seniors and they brought Cindy Smith, a woman who specializes in transition. Cindy usually deals with missionaries, expatriates, and repatriation. But being a senior is not entirely different. She provided us with a slide that shows the major steps of transition and then walked us through them:
transition
Click image to embiggen

This was really helpful. Just realizing that transition, especially on this scale, can be stressful and chaotic. This also helped me realize another thing: transitioning from college/Colorado to mission trip to work/Seattle would be way to much for me to handle. So I pretty much have nixed the idea of doing a mission trip over the summer, and I think it’s a good call.

Second, I talked with Jessica a couple weeks ago. She spent last fall traveling for about two months in Europe, which is great because that’s basically what I want to do – although I may go farther East than she did. I also filled in some important details of my trip. For me, it will probably cost about $4k-$5k, which is a lot, but I don’t think unreasonably so. I saved at least $1000 by using airline miles to fly from the US to Europe (assuming there isn’t some insane “fee” for booking said flight). Keeping cash on hand seems the way to go, which is what I remembered from my trip to Europe a couple years ago (I paid cash for everything…still have some left over, too).

In terms of getting around, Jessica said that using RyanAir (which I’d heard of) and easyJet (which I had not heard of) were probably better than getting a Eurail pass, although I don’t have to make that call just yet. In terms of sleeping accommodations, HostelWorld.com is the site to visit. I poked around it a bit and it seems really easy to use and should fit the bill just perfectly. The Lonely Planet series of books is what Jessica used, I currently have one on reserve at the library to see if I like the format and what they cover. If not, I may just end up using Rick Steves’. Or just wing it.

The plan, thus far, looks something like this: fly into and out of Europe via Paris or Frankfurt using airline miles. Spend several days in each city until I’m ready to move on to another city. Use HostelWorld to find places to sleep and meet new people. Theoretically find some other people travel with at a hostel and join them for a little while. Rinse and repeat. I’m calling this the free range method.

I would like to list out some places that I would like to visit, although I don’t want to attach a particular time or order in which to visit them. I think this will help move my journey along.

One of the other major things that I need to resolve is what I’m bringing. I would like to bring some photography equipment, but I’m not sure what and how much. There’s also the problem about what to do with all my photographs after I take them. Since I shoot in RAW, I need some special equipment and software to do any sort of editing, I can’t just upload them to Flickr. Do I want to just bring a stack of memory cards? I’m thinking about purchasing a netbook1 to bring with me. Costco is currently selling an Acer Aspire One Netbook with 8.9″ display, Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, no optical drive, and integrated webcam for $299.99. I could load it up with the most basic of RAW viewing tools so I could delete any photos I think are absolute crap and would never keep (e.g. blurry photos) and then upload the rest to a secure storage space online. This way I wouldn’t be completely SOL if the netbook was stolen, lost, broken (not that I’m planning on any of that happening).

Also, how much stuff do I really want to be taking? I want to be nimble.

If you’ve ever traveled abroad in this sort of fashion, what did you bring?


  1. A netbook is a small and cheap computer used primarily to access the Internet 

The Quest Continues

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

I’m thinking that maybe I should start making weekly updates on my summer plans. To follow up on last weeks report, I’ve prayed and thought long and hard about Messenger and Engineering Ministries International and I don’t think those would be good matches for me.

Messenger is really a community-based missions trip and I think me not returning to Colorado next year is not inline with that goal. eMi seems to be more of planning organization rather then a doing organization. I’ve been planning for the last five years, I’m ready to do.

I’ve talked to a couple friends I have in Switzerland (Remo and Günther) and Germany (Philip). One thing that I’ve started to look into is using RyanAir and Eurail to travel. RyanAir would be nice and fast, but I think is ultimately unfeasible to use on a regular basis because they only fly into cities with airports. Once I get to a city, I’d need to find some mode of transportation if I wanted to explore anything more than walking distance.

Eurail could be the ticket, though. I could get the 21 country pass and travel to just about any city of a decent size. Sure, it would be slower, but the sheer number of cities available make it completely worthwhile. Besides, Europe is that big. $1039 buys me two months of travel. I’d also probably consider 15 days of travel in two months for $709. If I did get a Eurail pass, I would probably just visit a lot of cities, spending as many days I wanted in each city (sleeping at a hostel, presumably), and then catching the next train to where ever. To this end, I have a phone call with Jessica planned tonight to

But I haven’t given up on a mission trip yet! My search is progressing and I talked with Lance who suggested an organization called Serving in Ministry. It looks like SIM has some really interesting short term mission trips, including a photography/videographer position; I’ll definitely be checking them out some more.

Flatiron’s Community Church may also be planning on sending a college group to Afghanistan over the summer. I emailed Ron, the Director of Missions at FCC to see what the deal on that will be.

I did finally call the Department of State today to see if there were any special travel restrictions that I needed to observe. They didn’t seem to have a list, so I’ll probably just keep an eye on the Entry/Exit requirements for countries I intend to visit. (Side rant: Why doesn’t travel.state.gov work with Google Chrome?)