June 27th, 2007

The Plan

“Why did you get an apartment ze6ke? Is there something that you haven't been telling us?”

Yes. There's something that I hadn't shared. I really had no idea what I was doing after Germany. I just knew, “East”. I wanted some comfy time to plan out the next round of adventures and deal with any logistical nonsense.

I'm going to pass through the continental pole of inaccessibility. My first plan was to go through eastern Europe to Russia, to Kazakhstan, to China, to a boat to Korea. After researching that, I learned that Russian visas are restrictive. You have to have everything arranged in advance and sponsored by a local person. That is near the antitheses of my preferred method of travel. Partly because it's much more expensive (a one week tour in Bahia, Brazil is around $2100. My weekly budget there was around $200) and partly because that takes away a lot of the adventure. The only other land route to China passes through Iran (The US would send me to jail for visiting them). So, I started to look at plan C.

Plan C: There is a ferry that runs from Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan. That would add a bunch more visas for me to get. I don't look forward to getting visas and don't think I have enough time to do all of the before the cold weather comes.

Plan D: Fly a little bit. I could just screw around in Europe until time to go and then fly straight to Kazakhstan and take the train from there. I got some new memorable experiences trying to set that up. There is a direct flight on Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Kazakhstan for as little as $3000. That is roughly the same price as if I chartered a flight for myself on a cesna. After getting more thorough in my search, I learned that Istanbul has more affordable flights to Kazakhstan (for example: Lufthansa has a flight that connects in Frankfurt and only costs $700). Trying to figure out how to get to Istanbul, I came across a flight that will probably hold a record for a while. American Airlines offers a flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul. It connects in London and New York, costs $6500 and takes around 60 hours. The bus is around 40 hours and costs $140.

$140, incidentally, is how much the train from Stuttgart to Berlin costs, but it only takes 4 hours. There is no bus, because the law here prevents buses from running routes that are serviced by trains. One can fly for around $50.