The Itinerary Post

At our family 4th of July gathering, I had many requests to post our itinerary. After much debate and reworking and cost analysis, our final route is complete. This is an overview of our trip. I have decided that trip planning is much more fun than packing and moving, so the majority of our transportation and housing has been planned and reserved. On the other front, very little of our house packing and purging has been completed.

Aug 31: Fly from Nashville to Stockholm. We have a 10 hour layover in NYC, I am hoping to be able to get out into the city for a few hours. Any suggestions on something to do?

– 4 days in Stockholm.

– 4 weeks in Paris.

Caleb is a huge WWII history buff, at his request we are spending 2 weeks in Normandy with plans to visit the D-day beaches.

Mid-October we fly to Beijing. A long 8 hour layover in Berlin, we are again hoping to see a little of Berlin during those hours.

We are visiting 4 places in China:

Beijing — long enough to see the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The pollution in Beijing (combined with my boys’ asthma) has me hesitant to spend more time.

The Great Wall outside of Beijing. We will spend 4 days hiking and exploring the wall and surrounding area.

We will train to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors.  It is fascinating that each soldier has a different face.

We will then train to Yangshou. I am personally very excited about this area. Rice and tea plantations, mountains, river, bamboo boats, bicycling, cormorant fishing, caves, hiking, and much, much more to discover during our 2 week stay.

Mid-November we leave China to travel to Vietnam by train.

In Vietnam we will visit Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, the beach (for what I am sure will be a much needed 2 weeks of downtime), then Saigon for 2 days.

In Halong Bay, our plan is to book a 2 night cruise.  A cruise was Anna’s most often requested item during our trip planning.  From everything we read online, the best options (and deals) are booked in Hanoi the day before the cruise departs.

We will be in Hoi An during a Full Moon Festival.

Our next stay will be almost a week in Siem Reap, Cambodia to see Ankor Wat. The last few days, I have been attempting to figure out transportation from Saigon to Siem Reap. It will most likely be by bus. While the speed boat option looks fun, I cannot get over the safety reviews. 😐

Chiang Mai, Thailand is our next stop. Also still planning this transportation – most likely a combination of bus and train. Southeast Asia has an extensive and inexpensive train system connecting all countries except Cambodia.   This is our least planned portion of the trip. 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year’s in Chiang Mai is the plan, but we have an unplanned week before we fly from Bangkok to Kathmandu.

From Kathmandu, we will bus to Pokhara, Nepal. We have 3 weeks in Nepal, the majority of which will be spent in Pokhara and on a trek along the Annapurna Circuit. Our current goal is to trek to Annapurna Base Camp including a trip to Poon Hill. These plans do not have to be finalized until arrival, so we will decide when we get there how ambitious we are feeling. A trek in Nepal consists of hiring porters and an English speaking guide to lead us on a hike between villages. The villages have teahouses that serve trekkers food and provide shelter for the night. I am thinking about 8 days of this will be my limit – we will see!

The beginning of February has us returning to Europe for a month in Greece.  Greece has the warmest weather of any European country in February. Weather has played a significant role in setting up this itinerary — trying to avoid really cold and/or really wet climates.

2 weeks in Santorini (on the beach again recovering from our travels and trekking)

2 weeks in Athens including a short road trip.

We have 4 weeks left at this point.

1 week in Pisa, Italy (another Anna request).  We found a great rental that includes 4 bikes.  🙂

2 weeks in Rome.

I week in Istanbul.

Home to MS by April – ready to start another adventure. 😉  -KLaff 7/11/15

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