Yes, you read that correctly. This week, it has almost hit 50°C here in Abu Dhabi (which, by the way, is about 120°F for you Americans).
Yes, I am serious.
So you can probably imagine just how happy I am to be getting on a plane tomorrow and leaving the sandbox for the next 6 weeks to travel in nice, cool (to me!) Europe! All the travel guides and people I’ve talked to keep warning about how “hot” it is in Europe in the summer, and how uncomfortable, and how I’ll need sunscreen because the sun is stronger there … well, I’m bringing my sunscreen, but somehow I doubt that I’ll be feeling the heat very much.
I’m all packed up and ready to go, just taking today to do last-minute preparations like charging my iPad and Kobo and making sure that I have all the information and addresses and everything I need for at least the first few legs of my trip. I’m starting out by flying tomorrow from Abu Dhabi to Athens (with a short layover in Doha), and my first four days will be spent in Greece.
On my last day in Greece, Ramadan will start! I’ll be fasting through almost my entire trip; the only countries where it’ll be “business as usual” are Greece, France, England, and possibly Switzerland depending on the moon sighting. (As a side note, I’ve just posted the tentative schedule for Ramadan Reading 2012, so please check it out and pass the word around that I’ll be continuing to review books about Islam and Muslims this year even though I’ll be off travelling the “Western” world.) I just spent a bit of my time today compiling a chart with the sunrise and sunset times for each day of Ramadan, since they’re different in every city that I’ll be in!
As for trip logistics – I’ll be travelling by airplane for the first bit (Athens -> Rome -> Belgrade -> Sarajevo -> Zagreb), but from there on, I’ll be hopping on trains until it’s time to head back to the UAE. Because of the way I’m travelling (lots of discount airlines with no checked baggage allowance), plus the fact that I’ll be CouchSurfing for at least part of my trip, I’ve had to pack extremely light. Here’s what I’m taking along with me to live out of for 44 days:
Craziness! I’ve never packed that light for any trip, including the 2-day weekend excursion that Zaid and I took in May to hike around Petra.
I’m leaving in the morning, so now I’m starting to get antsy and just want to get a move-on already. But I’m trying to be patient!