Places Visited

World Tour

2001

  • Trip 1:  Jan 01 — from Kurume City, Japan day-trip (by car) to Ogori City
  • Jan 08 — day-trip (by car) to Fukuoka
  • Jan 13 — day-trip (by car) to Fukuoka
  • Jan 16 — by car to Fukuoka; by plane to Tokyo

    ...shopping spree at REI to get Kumiko outfitted for our travels.

  • Jan 17 — by plane to Fukuoka; by car to Kurume City
  • Jan 25 — day-trip (by car) to Fukuoka
  • Jan 28 — day-trip (supposedly) by car to Oita; then on to Beppu

    ...to eat Fugu; got snowed in and had to stay overnight in Beppu.

  • Jan 29 — by car to Kurume City
  • Jan 31 — by bus to Ogori City

    ...stopped off in Kurume to say goodbye to Kumiko's parents.

  • Feb 01 — by car to Fukuoka; by plane to Ishigaki Island

    ...the southern-most point in Japan; we went there to get Kumiko certified in scuba.

  • Feb 06 — by ship (overnight) to Keelung, Taiwan; by train to Taipei

    ...we arrived just in time for the Chinese New Year festivities.

  • Feb 13 — by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...just another big city, with a decidedly British feel to it; but a good place to get visas for mainland China.

  • Feb 17 — by bus to Guangzhou

    ...I wasn't that impressed with Guangzhou; not my favorite city in China.

  • Feb 19 — by plane to Guilin

    ...I was even less impressed with Guilin (the first time I visited); but on return visits, I finally discovered the charm of the place.

  • Feb 20 — by night-train to Hanoi, stopping first in Nong Yao (Chinese border control), then in Dong Dang (Vietnamese border control)

    ...I should call this the sleepless night-train, what with the stops for passport control, which took 2 hours in China, and more than 3 hours in Vietnam.

  • Feb 24 — by night-train to Hue

    ...where I got sick from drinking bad water; the worst case of Traveler's Disease I've ever had.

  • Mar 01 — by plane to Ho Chi Minh; by plane to Singapore

    ...Singapore is, without a doubt, the cleanest city I've ever seen anywhere in the world; they even have laws against possession of chewing gum!

  • Mar 05 — by train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ...this city was on my personal must see list; but it just didn't grab me like I had imagined it would.

  • Mar 06 — by train to Butterworth

    ...not a pretty city at all; but this is where we were to meet up with the Oriental Express.

  • Mar 07 — day-trip (by bus) to Penang and back

    ...it was a nice day, except for the bad food that Kumiko ate at a sidewalk restaurant; she got sick the next day and couldn't eat any of the delicious meals on the Oriental Express.

  • Mar 08 — by Oriental Express (overnight) to Kanchanaburi, Thailand

    ...riding on the Oriental Express is a once-in-a-lifetime experience - absolutely wonderful; I highly recommend it; on our way up to Bangkok, we stopped off for an excursion to see the Kwai River bridge.

  • Mar 09 — by Oriental Express to Bangkok

    ...Bangkok can be quite overwhelming for the first-time visitor.

  • Mar 12 — by plane to Siem Reap, Cambodia

    ...to visit Angkor Wat - which is really amazing!

  • Mar 15 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Mar 16 — by bus to Na Cha-ang; by night-train to Chumphon; by ferry to Koh Tao

    ...spent a week diving, snorkeling (with sharks!), and relaxing in the sun; we were in bungalow #1 - about ten meters from the beach.

  • Mar 24 — by high-speed ferry to Koh Samui

    ...more lazy days in the sun - actually, after a week in the intense tropical sun, we stayed in the shade; again, we had bungalow #1 - right on the beach.

  • Mar 27 — by ferry to Don Sak; by bus to Surat Thani; by plane to Chiang Mai

    ...rode an elephant and a bamboo raft (though not at the same time). ;-)

  • Apr 02 — by plane to Bangkok
  • Apr 03 — by plane to Kathmandu, Nepal

    ...oops, change of plans - needed to stay an extra day in Bangkok; by then the only flight we could get was to Delhi.

  • Apr 04 — by plane to New Delhi, India

    ...ah... Delhi... another huge, overcrowded city with too much pollution. :p

  • Apr 06 — by train/bus to Kathmandu, Nepal

    ...oops, another change of plans - the guy at the tourist bureau recommended that we see India first because "it's hot and getting hotter.  Nepal is much cooler."; and, since we had arrived the day after the Indian govt. halted all public transportation, we booked a tour by auto (complete with our own driiver) of the western state of Rajasthan; sounds like a good scam by the travel agency, eh? :p

  • Apr 06 — by car to Jhunjhunu

    ...visited Khetri Mahal; Bihariji Temple.

  • Apr 07 — by car to Bikaner

    ...visited Junagarh Fort, Lalgarh Palace, and Karni Mata Temple (euphemistically called "Mouse Temple", where thousands of holy rats are worshipped).

  • Apr 09 — by car to Jaisalmer

    ...The Golden City - visited Jaisalmer Fort, Jain temples, and many beautiful havelis; Doug wasn't feeling well, so we skipped the camel safari (two days on a camel in the hot desert sun; sleeping in the open dunes - No thanks!).

  • Apr 11 — by car to Manvar Desert Camp

    ...our favorite hotel, with a pool, far from anything remotely resembling a city; went on a Jeep safari to see the real Indian village life and visit sand dunes for the sunset (which was hazy); finally did a camel safari, much shorter and cooler (at 6:00am) than the one planned in Jaisalmer.

  • Apr 12 — by car to Jodhpur

    ...The Blue City - visited Meherangarh (the Majestic Fort), and Umaid Bhawan Palace.

  • Apr 13 — by car to Ranakpur

    ...this was Good Friday (the 13th); visited Chaumukha Temple, with its 29 halls supported by 1444 columns (no two alike) and black-faced monkeys all around (outside, that is); in the evening, we visited a village house nearby to watch a wedding dance (the bride was only 13!!).

  • Apr 14 — by car to Udaipur

    ...The Venice of the East - because of Lake Pichola (which was all but dried up); visited City Palace, Fateh Sagar, and Moti Magri.

  • Apr 16 — by car to Pushkar

    ...not much to see (the lake was also almost dried up); stayed in our second favorite hotel of the trip - owned by the maharaja (who was lounging in the lobby when we checked in), it had a pool, as well.

  • Apr 17 — by car to Jaipur

    ...The Pink City - visited Hawa Mahal, City Palace Complex, Amber Fort/Palace (where we rode an elephant), and Royal Gaitor (cenotaphs of the royal family).

  • Apr 19 — by car to Agra

    ...to see the Taj Mahal, of course (which was magnificent); also went to Agra Fort, and Akbar's Mausoleum.

  • Apr 21 — by car to New Delhi

    ...we decided to cut our stay in India short by a few days and skip Nepal altogether (after two false starts); our goal from the beginning was to tour Europe in Spring/Summer and we realized we were cutting into that time by staying longer in Asia; after reading the Nepal guidebook, we realized we needed to be there much longer than we had planned in order to do it justice.

  • Apr 25 — by plane to Athens, Greece

    ...after a looooooooooong check-in process (1:30 to 4:30am!) and NO sleep that night, we arrived in Athens sans luggage; we got it two days later!

  • Apr 28 — by bus to Delphi
  • Apr 29 — by bus to Pireas; by night-ferry to Naxos

    ...by the time we arrived in Naxos, the weather had turned sour (very windy and rather chilly).

  • May 01 — by night-ferry to Santorini

    ...because of the high winds, all ferry services were suspended; so we ended up staying in Naxos, which you could easily see in an afternoon, for four long, boring days; we spent most of our time inside playing backgammon.

  • May 03 — by night-ferry to Santorini

    ...when we got ready to depart for Crete (finally!), they let us board the ferry - no problem - and only after we had pulled away from the pier did they inform everyone that the seas were too rough for the crossing and that they would stop on the leeward side of Santorini to wait for a break in the weather; almost instantly, there was a long line at the check-in counter with passengers (including ourselves) trying to convert seated bookings to sleeper cabins; nice "scam" the ferry company has going there.

  • May 07 — by night-ferry to Iraklio, Crete
  • May 10 — by bus to Phaestos; by bus to Matala

    ...first we toured the ancient site at Phaestos; then went on to Matala (where we found a nude beach!)

  • May 12 — by bus to Mires; by bus to Agia Galini; by bus to Rethymno; by bus to Plakias

    ...this was a full day of travel:

  • May 13 — by bus to Iraklio

    ...we were too early in the season for the west-bound bus service; had to backtrack.

  • May 14 — day-trip (by bus) to Rethymno

    ...stopped for lunch and a walking tour of the town; then on to Hania.

  • May 14 — by bus to Hania
  • May 16 — day-trip to Samaria Gorge

    ...long day! - by bus to Omalos; trekked through Samaria Gorge (six hours) to Agia Roumeli; by ferry to Hora-Sfakion; then by bus back to Hania to catch a night-ferry to Athens.

  • May 16 — by night-ferry to Pireas; by bus to Athens
  • May 18 — by bus to Nafplio
  • May 20 — day-trip (by bus) to Olympia and back

    ...in case you're wondering... yes, this is where the Olympic games originated.

  • May 20 — by bus to Patras
  • May 21 — by night-ferry to Brindisi, Italy; by train to Villa San Giovanni; by ferry to Messina; by bus to Taormina
  • May 23 — by train to Syracuse
  • May 24 — by train to Pozzallo; by high-speed ferry to Valletta, Malta
  • May 25 — day-trip (by bus) to St. Julian's and back
  • May 26 — by helicopter to Gozo; by taxi to Marsalforn, Gozo
  • Jun 01 — by taxi to Ganjsielem; by ferry to Cirkewwa; by bus to Valletta
  • Jun 02 — by ferry to Catania, Italy; by bus to Palermo, Sicily
  • Jun 04 — by bus to Trapani
  • Jun 05 — by ferry to Cagliari, Sardenia
  • Jun 07 — by narrow-guage train to Arbatax; by bus to Cala Gonone, Sardenia
  • Jun 13 — by bus to Arbatax; by ferry to Civitavecchia; by train to Rome
  • Jun 16 — by train to Florence
  • Jun 18 — day-trip (by train) to Pisa

    ...to see the leaning tower, of course.

  • Jun 18 — by train to Corniglia

    ...Corniglia is one of five quaint little costal villages collectively referred to as Cinque Terre (five lands).

  • Jun 21 — day-trip (by train) to Milan; then by train to Chivasso

    ...after a walking tour of Milan, we were trying to make it to Courmeyeur, but were forced to stop for the night in Chivasso.

  • Jun 22 — by train to Torino; by bus to Aosta; by train to Pre St. Didier; by bus to Courmeyeur

    ...we arrived too late to catch the cable car over Mont Blanc, had to stay the night in Courmeyeur

  • Jun 23 — by bus to La Palud; by cable-car to Chamonix, France

    ...by spectacular cable car over Mont Blanc to Chamonix, where we enjoy some lovely hikes in the mountains, and even tried paragliding.

  • Jun 25 — by train (several wrong trains actually) to Olten, Switzerland

    ...to meet the man who would rent us a VW camper; called him in the evening and found out he was actually in Solothurn.

  • Jun 26 — by train to Solothurn

    ...to meet up with Casper, the friendly camper, as we ended up calling it.

  • Jun 30 — by caravan to Bern

    ...our first night in our new camper, at a beautiful caravan park by the Aare river almost in the heart of the city; we "floated" in the rushing currents of the river in VERY cold water.

  • Jul 03 — by caravan to Emmendingen, Germany

    ...we were on our way to see Ayako, a Japanese girl we had met in Taipei, who was living in Freidburg, Germany (where we thought we were heading, but upon closer inspection of the map, we were actually nearing Freiburg); Friedburg was another half-day's journey, so we just found a place to camp for the night.

  • Jul 04 — by caravan to Friedburg

    ...finally connected with Ayako.

  • Jul 05 — day-trip (by caravan) to Munich

    ...mostly for shopping; Ayako had found a small market that had just about anything a homesick Japanese national would desire.

  • Jul 06 — day-trip (by caravan) to Dachau
  • Jul 06 — by caravan to Innsbruck, Austria
  • Jul 08 — by caravan to Salzburg
  • Jul 11 — day-trip (by caravan) to Werfen

    ...to see the Eisriesenwelt Hohle (ice caves); WAY cool (freezing actually); Hehe. ;-)

  • Jul 13 — by caravan to Vienna

    ...Ayako had departed by train from Salzburg the morning we left Vienna.

  • Jul 17 — by caravan to Melk

    ...nice campsite; great place to ride our bikes.

  • Jul 21 — by caravan to Krems

    ...just in time for the Apricot Festival - yum!

  • Jul 23 — by caravan to Prague, Czech Republic

    ...on the way, I thought I was going to get stopped for speeding by the Czech police (and I didn't have any local currency yet), but it was a false alarm; they waved me on and stopped the car behind me.

  • Jul 29 — by caravan to Nuremburg, Germany

    ...best preserved (meaning completely rebuilt after WWII) town of our trip.

  • Jul 31 — by caravan to Nordlingen; by caravan to Rothenburg

    ...via the Romantic Road, a beautiful drive through the German country-side; stopped off in Nordlingen, but found it to be less interesting than the guidebook touted; had lunch and then went on to Rothenburg.

  • Aug 02 — day-trip (by caravan) to Wurzburg

    ...where we visited the Residenz, which was magnificent, the most beautiful place we had seen thus far on our trip.

  • Aug 02 — by caravan to Bamberg

    ...where we were to meet up with Ayako again.

  • Aug 03 — by caravan to Friedburg

    ...met Ayako at the train station; did a walking tour of

  • Aug 04 — day-trip (by caravan) to Munich

    ...bacll to Munich so Kumiko could get more food and supplies from her favorite Japanese store.

  • Aug 04 — by caravan to Joditz

    ...did a walking tour of the city during a short break in the rainy weather.

  • Aug 05 — by caravan to Magdeburg

    ...along the way, we drove past many trees broken and felled by high winds.

  • Aug 06 — by caravan to Potsdam; by caravan to Berlin

    ...drove through Potsdam on the way and tried to see two sites (which were closed), including the site of the conference of the allied nations at the end of WWII; in Berlin, we stayed with new friend, Helmut, and went wild-boar hunting.

  • Aug 10 — by caravan to Rostock

    ...cheapest campsite thus far (with a coin operated gate).

  • Aug 11 — by ferry to Gedser, Denmark; by caravan to Møns Klint

    ...beautiful cliffs overlooking the sea.

  • Aug 13 — by caravan to Copenhagen
  • Aug 17 — by caravan to Ljungby, Sweden

    ...to visit our friends Curt and Helen (and family) whom we had met in Koh Tao, Tailand.

  • Aug 21 — by caravan to Gränna; by ferry to Visingsö

    ...camped on a small island in the middle of a huge lake.

  • Aug 22 — by ferry to Gränna; by caravan to Vadstena; by caravan to Trosa

    ...did a bike tour of the island; drove to Vadstena to see a beautiful abbey; then on to Trosa.

  • Aug 23 — by caravan to Stockholm

    ...with so many beautiful, tall, blonde, blue-eyed ladies.

  • Aug 29 — by caravan to Sala

    ...camped at a rest-stop (free); had a great dinner (the menu was explained in English by a guy that was half-Japanese, half-Swedish).

  • Aug 30 — by caravan to Särna

    ...visited a silver mine in Sala; then drove on to S

  • Aug 31 — by caravan to Hamar, Norway

    ...the nights were getting much colder and we were encountering a lot more rain; so we decided to change our plans, which had us going farther north in Sweden; we headed northwest into Norway instead.

  • Sep 01 — by caravan to Ål

    ...after a beautiful drive through the Norwegian countryside, we camped by an equally beautiful river.

  • Sep 02 — day-trip (by caravan) to Flåm

    ...after driving through more stunningly spectacular scenery, we did a boat tour of two fingers of the Sognefjord (Aurlandsfjord and Naer

  • Sep 02 — by caravan to Bergen

    ...after our day on the fjords,we drove on another 300km - through 51 tunnels! - to Bergen.

  • Sep 04 — by caravan to Geilo
  • Sep 05 — by caravan to Oslo

    ...met up with Heidi (whom we had met in Malta) and had dinner one evening at her house; also, this is where I contracted borrelia.

  • Sep 08 — by caravan to Göteborg, Sweden

    ...just a stop-over on our way back to Ljungby.

  • Sep 09 — by caravan to Ljungby

    ...back at the home of Curt and Helen; they diagnosed my malady as borrelia (got some penicillin from a local doctor).

  • Sep 11 — by caravan to Odense, Denmark

    ...we had only planned to stay a couple of days on our way back thru Denmark to the mainland; but then we got the news about the terrorist attacks in the U.S., so we stayed a few days to watch the news coverage.

  • Sep 14 — by caravan to Helsingborg; by ferry to Helsingør, Denmark; by caravan to Odense

    ...tried to connect with a friend of mine, but was never able to.

  • Sep 15 — day-trip (by caravan) to Egeskov

    ...stopped off to see Egeskov Castle (a half-hour from Odense) which turned out to be our favorite castle of the trip, complete with mote and drawbridge, set in a most beautiful collection of gardens, hedge-mazes, and wooded hills.

  • Sep 15 — by caravan/ferry/caravan to Hamburg, Germany
  • Sep 16 — by caravan to Bremen

    ...toured Beck's Brewery, where we met Jia-qi, a Chinese girl who lives in Shanghai.

  • Sep 17 — by caravan to Amsterdam, Netherlands

    ...hated it (mainly because this is where our bicycles were stolen).

  • Sep 19 — by caravan to Lexmond

    ...woke to heavy rains in Amsterdam, so we decided it was time to leave; got a late start (after filing a police report for our bicycles), got stuck in afternoon rush-hour traffic; decided to exit and look for a campsite; found one run by the friendliest folks we had encountered at any campsite; even though they were officially closed for the season, they let us stay - for free!

  • Sep 20 — by caravan to Antwerp, Belgium
  • Sep 22 — by caravan to Brugge

    ...the weather was rather nasty, so we just passed on through the rest of Belgium on our way to England.

  • Sep 23 — by caravan to Coquelles, France; by chunnel train to Folkestone, England; by caravan to London

    ...drove from Belgium, through France; then took the Channel Tunnel from France to England; quite an experience - but very expensive!

  • Sep 25 — by caravan to Northampton

    ...we tried to visit Princess Diana's grave, but it was only open to the public during July and August.

  • Sep 26 — by caravan to Avebury

    ...visited the stone circles of Avebury (similar to Stonehenge).

  • Sep 27 — day-trip (by caravan) to Stonehenge

    ...visited Stonehenge on our way to the southern coast of England (to catch a ferry across to the Normandy coast of France).

  • Sep 27 — by caravan to Portsmouth; by ferry to Caen, France
  • Sep 28 — day-trip (by caravan) to Normandy

    ...toured various battle sites of the D-Day invasion of WWII, including Omaha Beach and Point Du Lac.

  • Sep 28 — by caravan to Rouen
  • Sep 29 — by caravan to Paris

    ...the main point of interest for Kumiko was the Eiffel Tower (I had seen everything I wanted to see during my trip in January, 2000).

  • Oct 01 — by caravan to Versailles; by caravan to Blois

    ...drove first to Versailles, but being Monday, it was closed; drove on to Blois, where we camped at a rest-stop on the highway; enjoyed a great sunset.

  • Oct 02 — by caravan to Poitiers

    ...just a stop-over on our way to Laudinie; couldn't find a caravan park that was still open; camped in the parking lot of a shopping center; washed up and brushed our teeth at McDonald's the next morning.

  • Oct 03 — by caravan to Laudinie

    ...got an early start to go see Chateau Chambord (which was stunning); then drove on to Laudinie and stayed at the home of my expat friends from England, Andy and Sue, in their beautiful 12th century villa.

  • Oct 05 — by caravan to St. Jean de Lux

    ...found a beautiful campsite with a great view of the bay.

  • Oct 06 — by caravan to Santillana, Spain

    ...enjoyed a beautiful drive along the northern coast of Spain.

  • Oct 07 — by caravan to Cadavedo

    ...went into the mountains but it was very windy (like 35-40 knot gusts), so we decided not to do any hiking.

  • Oct 08 — by caravan to Lisbon, Portugal

    ...the next stop was supposed to be Portugal, but Kumiko and I reached the "last straw" and decided to separate; we backtracked toward Switzerland (to return the camper), then decided to detour through Barcelona on our way back.

  • Oct 08 — by caravan to Logrono

    ...couldn't make it all the way to Barcelona in one day; stopped here for the night.

  • Oct 09 — by caravan to Barcelona

    ...toured the city, taking in most of Gaudi's works (La Familia and Gruel Park); on Oct 12, Kumiko flew back to Japan.

  • Oct 15 — by caravan to Aix en Provence, France

    ...I had planned a quick trip across France on my way back to Switzerland without getting any more local money; all campsites were closed for the season; had to stay in a hostel; met such nice people there, I decided to stay and do some sightseeing.

  • Oct 18 — day-trip (by caravan) to Cassis

    ...drove south from Aix and stopped in Cassis for a quick walking tour of the city.

  • Oct 18 — by caravan to Ramatuelle

    ...from Cassis, I drove southwest along the French Riviera; found a great campsite set in some beautiful wooded hills overlooking the Mediterranean.

  • Oct 19 — day-trip (by caravan) to St. Tropez

    ...in the morning, I drove to St. Tropez, where I stopped for a walking tour and lunch; very touristy

  • Oct 19 — by caravan to Antibes

    ...continued along the coast enjoying stunning views; in the evening, met up with Pierre and Samantha, a couple I had met in Copenhagen; had dinner at their house with them and their two boys.

  • Oct 20 — by train to Nice, France

    ...back in Nice, I slept in the van in front of a hostel (as I had done in Aix).

  • Oct 20 — day-trip (by caravan) to Nice; by train to Monaco

    ...drove to Nice to meet Hilary; left the van there and went by train to Monaco for the day.

  • Oct 21 — by caravan to Aix les Bains

    ...the drive north from Nice, through the French/Italian Alps, was absolutely gorgeous; along the way, I helped a horse in distress.

  • Oct 23 — by caravan to Solothurn, Switzerland

    ...returned the camper; had a great photo session with Isabel; spent Halloween night at the house of another new friend, Martin (no connection with Chalet Martin).

  • Nov 01 — by train to Interlaken

    ...did a hike with Neal (from Canada); went out on the town with three ladies who worked at the hostel; did a driving tour (with one of the ladies) around the lakes and ate at an outdoor restaurant up in the mountains (not frequented by tourists) with stunning views.

  • Nov 05 — by train to Gryon

    ...decided to visit Chalet Martin in Gryon on a recommendation from a fellow-traveler in Interlaken, and was glad I did; I had planned to stay two days; ended up staying eight.

  • Nov 13 — by train to Florence, Italy

    ...tried to meet up with one of my new friends from Chalet Martin, but couldn't connect.

  • Nov 14 — by train to Rome

    ...met up with my Romanian friend, Lia (from my trip in January, 2000).

  • Nov 19 — by train to Naples

    ...toured the city; had an interesting trip on the Train to Nowhere.

  • Nov 21 — day-trip (by train) to Pompeii and back

    ...went with a young Australian named Tom; the ancient site was quite amazing.

  • Nov 23 — by train to Milan

    ...did a walking tour with Monica (from Colombia).

  • Nov 24 — by train to Gryon, Switzerland

    ...for more relaxing and socializing; stayed another eleven days this time.

  • Dec 04 — by train to Zurich

    ...just to catch a plane back to the States.

  • Dec 05 — by plane to Fort Worth, Texas

    ...where my sister is now living; home for the holidays, to see family and friends, take care of personal business, and to prepare for the second year of my world tour.

  • Trip 2:  Dec 28 — from Austin, Texas by plane to Kawaguchi, Japan

    ...to visit Kumiko and see if there was anything left of our relationship to salvage.