OK, I spent all of today (since I screwed up my train ticket and didn’t buy it for the right night train — rocket scientist I am), working out my general plan to get from here to Hanoi by my target date of October 24th. Upon further review, I really do want to make that date now, if for no other reason that to see if I can. The last five or six weeks has been too easy (and expensive — I need to get to Southeast Asia fast).
I think I left Berlin on the 25th of September, on the day I got my passport back with my China and Russian visas. I took a train from there to Malmo, Sweden overnight. Spent the night with my first couchsurfer (www.couchsurfing.com — really good travel resource I should have been using more). Took the bus the next day to Oslo. Then the train the next day to Trondheim, where I am right now.
I should have then taken the overnight train that left an hour later to Bodo, Norway, halfway up the length of this long country, but it turns out when I bought my train ticket out of the machine in Oslo, I punched the wrong date and actually had a ticket for the 29th, not the 28th, so they wouldn’t let me on the train. So, I’m taking the “correct” train in a few hours.
From Bodo, I will hop on a boat for four days that cruises up the coast to Hammerfest, my destination, the northernmost city in the world. It then continues on over the top of Norway and I get dropped off on the Russian border, at Kirkenes. One of the bonuses of going this way (aside from the pictures I am assuming I will be snapping the whole way), is that it is a working ferry boat that stops at every little town along the way. There are some towns north of Hammerfest — though they claim they are the northernmost ‘city,’ so whatever is the northernmost whatever. . . I’m hitting it.
the link to the ship I will be on for three nights/four days.
From there I take a bus to Murmansk, Russia. Then a train to St. Petersburg. Short stop there to pay homage to Crime and Punishment, which diligent readers with recognize as one of the banes of my existence on this trip. Then train to Moscow. Then a long, long train to Ulaanbaatar, Monogolia, where I will get off for a look-see for a bit. Then another train to Bejing. Then probably a place or two in China, and finally Hanoi.
In less than a month. This might not seem as difficult to you, as you sit there, as it now does to me, that I have finally researched it. That procrastination thing just puts off the pain of doing or knowing something, it never really does make it go away, does it?
Pull out a map or globe or check out googlemaps online. This is a long way.
I was able to get a very rough idea of the mileage by pulling up a website that has distances between places as the crow/airplane flies. Obviously, my route is going to be a bit longer, seeing as I am more the tortoise than the crow, but it will give you a reasonable idea.
I calculate it at approximately 7,300 miles (or 13,000 kilometers). Some perspective. That is L.A. to New York City. Three times. For my European friends, it is London to Cape Town. . . then back up to Harare, Zimbabwe.
If I make it by October 24th, I am celebrating with a great dinner. Perhaps some good local food, with a very nice bottle of French wine, to celebrate one of the cultures that has permeated Vietnam. And ’cause I love wine.
I’m buying. Anyone up for some eats? There is time to book a ticket.