You may remember a few months ago, I “bought” a return flight to Istanbul for next year using my Krisflyer miles.
That was just Phase 1 of my intended Europe adventure. I never intended to stay in Turkey for two weeks. I will spend some days in Istanbul, but it is also going to be my transit point to other parts of Europe.
So I began to plan my epic Europe adventure. Well it wasn’t really that epic to be honest. My plan revolved around:
- Fly from Istanbul to Monte Carlo,
- Rent a car and take a 3 days drive along the French Riviera from Monte Carlo to Perpignan (French-Spanish border),
- Take the train from Perpignan to Barcelona,
- Fly from Barcelona back to Istanbul.
It was a good plan, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, the Malaysian politicians and American economy had other plans for me. I was just about finalizing my plans and getting ready to book the rest of my trip when they decided to conspire and screw our forex rate and plunge it from US$ 1 – RM 3.10 to US$ 1 – RM 4.30, all within a couple of weeks.
Do you know what this means? This means I’m phucked! If I stick to the plan, I will be spending 30% more than what I have budgeted for my trip. I know, most people would say: “Aiya! Just spend that damn 30% more lah! Since you are going to Europe already!”
But no. I am NOT most people. I am NOT going to succumb to instant gratification. So instead of spending 30% more, I have to find ways to avoid spending that 30% more.
It took me two months of checking here and there, comparing this and that, before I finally accepted the fact that there is only one way to make this happen. No French Riviera drive for me this time. And that royally sucks. But there’s just no other alternative.
And no, hitchhiking is NOT an alternative. I want to DRIVE along the French Riviera, not watch someone else do it. I want to be able to stop wherever I want at my whim, not at someone else’s convenience.
Now you might be wondering, if I drive, I could sleep in the car. If I don’t do the drive, I save on the car rental, but I would have to rent a room (hotel/airbnb) for more days. Could I not just sleep in the car to save cost, since I have done it before in Scotland? Well, my original plan was really me sleeping in the car for two nights.
You might now ask the follow up question. So if I am not renting a car anymore, I would have to sleep somewhere. I would not save much because the money I saved from car rental would go to renting a room. To answer this question, I will show you what I booked and paid for last night.
The two nights I was supposed to be sleeping in the car, would be spent in Paris CDG Airport. Yes, I am going to do what most tramping backpackers do, what I think I will never be doing again. I will be spending nights in the airport. Gosh, just thinking about it makes my back sore. But it is too late to change my mind about this now. 洗湿咗个头 无得返转头 sai sap jor gor tao, mou tak fan zhuin tao. I’ve already wet my hair with water, there’s no going back.
And you know what’s even more frustrating? I’ve ranted about this in FB last night. This flight path that I am taking, I checked it out a few months back and it was US$ 189. Yesterday, when I finally purchased the tickets, it was US$ 161. But due to our “strong” ringgit, plus baggage and protection and whatnot, I had to pay more than RM 200 more than what I would have paid a few months back! But I did it anyway, because there were less than 10 seats left for the return flight. If I let this slip, the next cheapest option would be US$ 280. So, well… Phuck!!
So now, all that is left is for me to plan my time in Istanbul and Barcelona. Actually, I don’t think I will have much plans at all. I’ve been thinking, the only thing that I must see in Istanbul is the Topkapi Palace, and in Barcelona the Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou (football stadium). I won’t be able to watch a live football match because that weekend, La Blaugrana will be playing away from home. Other than that few must sees, I plan to just wander around and get lost and carve my own experiences.
So basically, the only thing else is to get my accommodation sorted. I am wondering if our ringgit will bounce back this month, or if it will slide further down the drain. Thinking about this frustrates me to no ends. Pissing me off…