One Year Ago: Photo Time Capsule, Part III

The last month (of travel last year) was an interesting collection of friends from half a world away. I was with Charlie by this point (beginning of July) in Italy where we met up with his friend Andy, who’s from Germany but Charlie actually meet in Ecuador.

While in Italy, we also met up with James, who know both Charlie and me from Seattle, and Mark — who James knows from his time at Occidental.

I left Charlie in Italy and continued on to Switzerland where I met up with Quinn, a best friend from Seattle, at L’Abri. We then continued north and to hang out with Remo and Gunther, who first stayed with my family over 13 years ago in Seattle when Remo was in school.

After traveling with Quinn a bit, Charlie met back up with us in Prague (just in time for the tour). We finished touring together in Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany: Three great friends half a world away.

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18.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/3.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
Florence, Tuscany, Italy


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Florence, Tuscany, Italy


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18.0 mm || 1/200 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Aigle, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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29.0 mm || 1/60 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70


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18.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Prague, Prague, Czech Republic


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Krakow, Lesser Poland, Poland


Halt! Stou!
70.0 mm || 1/500 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Gmina Oswiecim, Lesser Poland, Poland


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18.0 mm || 1/125 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Krakow, Lesser Poland, Poland


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18.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Berlin, Berlin, Germany

via the Photojojo Time Capsule

This weekend is going to be ridiculously awesome! This evening, Carly and I are going Buzz Putting1 with a bunch of friends to celebrate Beth’s birthday. Then tomorrow we’re going to have breakfast and enjoy the Blue Angles — whom I haven’t been in town to see for the last two years — then a Polish wedding, a bachelor party2, all topped off with lunch with Jon and Kristen — who are getting married in less than a month — on Sunday!

Pyramid Formation Turn
190.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/6.3 || ISO400 || NIKON D70


Pyramid Formation
190.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/5.6 || ISO400 || NIKON D70


Bottom Side Pyramid Formation
70.0 mm || 1/2500 || f/9.0 || ISO400 || NIKON D70

Anyway, that wraps up the Photo Time Capsule series; hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. “combining the best of childhood and being 21+” 

  2. sans Le GF 

Dateline: Arbon, Day 1 – Burn After Reading

Arbon, Switzerland
13 July 2009

L’Abri in the Morning

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18.0 mm || 1/13 || f/9.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70

Traveling to Arbon through Interlaken

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27.0 mm || 1/400 || f/9.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70

Finally met up with Remo and Günther after a slight train mix up1. I’ve forgotten how funny Remo and Günther are. After a wonderful dinner, we watched Burn After Reading at the Open Air Kino mit UBS2 in English with German and French subtitles3. Final note of the day: Food is expensive in Switzerland. It was about $12 USD for a McDonald’s Meal.


  1. all trains lead to Arbon…although not necessarily the same path 

  2. Outdoor Cinema 

  3. simultaneous subtitles will blow your mind 

L’Abri and Itinerary v0.5

11/12 June 2009

L’Abri was the shelter for my journey. After traveling for over five weeks, it was time to stop for a moment (although I wish it could have been more). It was great to see Quinn. It was even better to have some great conversations with some amazing people at L’Abri.

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70.0 mm || 1/320 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Huemoz, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

I was able to finish a book I have literally been try to finish for almost two years and have started, stopped, and restarted several times, The Language of God by Francis Collins. I read over 150 pages in two sittings, morning and afternoon.

The Language of God is a decent book, not great. From an engineer’s (or scientist’s) perspective, I found it lacking in detail. However, I assume such omission was not a matter of ignorance, but rather an attempt to make the book more acceptable to a general audience. I would have liked something more on par with Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time in terms of science content.

I also began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and upon finishing the preface, immediately wished I had read this eons ago.

It was nice to be on a schedule, having set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was nice having a time set aside for me to just ponder. And it was actually nice for me to have my computer locked away for a littler while, and something that I should probably do more1.

As John, the Swiss L’Abri “Director” noted in his email to me about my request for refuge at L’Abri, “A couple of nights is not very long to deal with theological questions, but perhaps it can serve as a beginning.”

The few nights I was there were a good start for me and a reminider of what I need to focus on. It also reminded me why I want to retire to Switzerland, perhaps even Huemoz.

I took some time to meditate on my trip. Where I had been, what I had seen, and what I wanted it to be about. I looked at what my current plans were and decided that they would not do if I wanted to make it with my sanity intact…not to mention, perhaps actually enjoying the trip.

Thus, I also sat down and refigured the rest of my trip. I wrote down the cities I was planning on going to, researched them some more, and then wrote down an even smaller list of cities. Thus leading to Itinerary v0.5, which I now present to you with the applicable changes:

  • July 10-13: L’Abri, Huemoz, Switzerland
  • July 13: Leaving L’Abri in the morning, travel to Arbon, Switzerland via Interlaken and Luzern
  • July 13-14: Arbon, Switzerland
  • July 14: Leave Arbon, Switzerland for Vienna, Austria on the overnight train.
  • July 15-17: Vienna, Austria
  • July 17-21: Budapest, Hungary
  • July 21-25: Prague, Czech Republic
  • July 25: Travel to Krakow, take a bus to Auschwitz and back, then travel to Warsaw
  • July 25-29: Warsaw, Poland
  • July 29 – August 1: Berlin, Germany
  • August 2: Frankfurt, Germany
  • August 3: Leave Frankfurt in the morning for Seattle (via Chicago O’Hare)

Still pretty intense, but nowhere near the pace Charlie and I had going for Turkey and Greece. Most of Austria was gutted, because I didn’t have any real interest in going. Based on my prevoius experience, three nights and four days seems to be a good amount of time to spend in a city; and more importantly, an amount of time that I’m willing to spend and not feel like I missed it or spent too much time there.

In Arbon, we’ll be hanging out with Remo and Gunther, who you may remember from my last trip to Switzerland. They are two brothers who live in Arbon and are super funny.

So, to all the amazing people I met and had the opporunity to talk with at L’Abri, and who managed to find this blog and read this far down, a heartfelt thank you for taking me in. It was pretty much just what I needed, and I shall return.

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18.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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18.0 mm || 1/640 || f/9.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70


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18.0 mm || 1/320 || f/9.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70


  1. I’m also thinking about switching to a system where I only check my email three times a day 

L’Abri, The Shelter

Huemoz, Switzerland
10 July 2009

I’ve made the first real deviation in my Europe plans today. I broke off from Charlie and Andi this morning and took a train (three actually) to the tiny village of Aigle (which is pronounced “Eegg-le). I’m now waiting for a bus to take me up the mountain to Huemoz, which is near Villars. It is there that I will find L’Abri. As in all cases, I have expectations of what L’Abri is. As in most cases, I’m sure my expections will need to be refigured.

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18.0 mm || 1/200 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Aigle, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

I think this break will do me good. I can feel my mind slowly going bonkers. I’ve been exposed to at least 8 languages, Russian, Estonia, Ukrainian, Turkish, Norsk, Greek, Italian, and now French. I’ve also covered countless kilometers, and spent six nights travling and not in a real bed of any sorts…seven if you count the kitchen floor in Rome.

Despite the fact that Rome and Florence were a bit slower than Greece, I need to find some direction. Not only for my trip, but for me. And I’m hoping that L’Abri will help point me in the right direction.

I have no real plans to journal during the trip, which I think is a bit odd since I would suspect most people would use this as a time to journal explicitly.

I’ll see you on the other side.

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