Europe next or last?
While we were in Australia, we have envisioned going to Europe in the peak of winter. We bought winter clothes accordingly and were aware of how cold it can be. And, we wanted to experience Northern Lights as well.
However, Shruti’s uncle in Hong Kong made a very valid point. While we were prepared to brave the cold, we had not taken into account that a lot of Europe’s lesser known towns and tourist destinations may be shut for the winter.
One example of his drove the point home. In the summer, many streets in Paris or squares in Italy have open air bars with people mingling around creating a holiday atmosphere. However, in the winter the cold wind and possibly the rain or snow would drive people inside. Therefore, while there would still be people around the Eiffel tower, Brandenburg date etc, the fun of Europe would be lost.
Hence, we chose to put Europe to the end so we could enjoy the summer in Europe.
So what now?
We discussed lots of options such as going to South America or Africa but our bucket list items were left out. There was a bit of stress and we were trying really hard to crack it.
Till one fine afternoon, Manish spoke words of wisdom – hey, we can go to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. BAM! We hit jackpot. After we finish from India, we could head to USA and then South America. And once we completed our journey in the American Continents, we could head to Europe.
Problems with the passport
As we wrote in another post, Shruti and I had a long procedure trying to get her passport renewed. This left little time to do other things namely getting visas for South American countries. Having said that, the visa application is usually accepted at least 3 months in advance to planned travel. So our Peru application (post coming soon), for instance, was not accepted because we applied too early, almost 4 months in advance.
Luckily we managed to get USA visa, so that is a big yay! Now, even if getting visa for South American countries is an issue, we could fly to Central America and spend time in islands :)
We will be flying to USA next week, spending Christmas and NYE in New York. That fulfills our bucket list for White Christmas and New Year.
In addition, we will be flying to Fairbanks Alaska, to try our hand at seeing the Northern Lights. After this, we will be traveling to Colombia and then to Ecuador. From there, it’s que sera sera with plenty of options…..