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That feeling when plans keep changing

posted in: Plans | 1

My plans keep changing.

Remember when I was going to go to Israel and Jordan in the fall of 2020?

We all know what happened next.

I rescheduled for the fall of 2021. In late 2020, a vaccine was on the horizon, and once I was vaccinated, I was planning to be on the go again. And I decided to to spend some time in Istanbul prior to the main trip.

We all know what happened next.

I rescheduled again, and if plans didn’t keep changing, I’d be on that trip now. I would have spent a week or so in Turkey, another week in Ethiopia, and two weeks in Israel, with a few days in Jordan at the end.

But plans keep changing. First Delta, then Omicron. Israel closed its borders, opened them, and closed them again. 

And finally I gave up on Israel for now. 

Instead, I booked a tour to South America with Overseas Adventure Travel for April and May of this year. I traveled with OAT on my last South American adventure in 2017, when I went to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, including Rapa Nui, Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Iguazu Falls, and Rio de Janeiro. This time I joined a tour to Peru and Ecuador, featuring Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. They offered a post-trip extension to Colombia, and I was going to extend the trip with a stopover in Panama.

I still really want to go to Turkey, and started thinking that maybe I’d just do a couple of weeks in Turkey this fall.

Oh, but guess what: plans keep changing…

My Second South American Adventure

Machu Picchu

I am looking forward to seeing Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands. These have long been bucket-list destinations for me. And that much, at least, won’t change.

But a few weeks ago I got an email from OAT; it seems I was the only person who had signed up for the post-trip extension in Colombia, so they were canceling it. They gave me the option of sticking with just the Peru and Ecuador portions of the trip, or switching to another tour in June when the Colombia extension would go ahead. I decided to stay with the scheduled trip. But then I learned that the flights through Panama wouldn’t work with the modified itinerary. So, no Panama and no Colombia. At least for now…

Itinerary

Here’s my itinerary for my second South American adventure (hotels are subject to change):

Day OneDepart GDL 7:16 pm
Arrive MEX 8:40 pm
Depart MEX 11:55 pm
Day TwoArrive Lima 5:50 am
Free day
Hoteles José Antonio Deluxe
Day ThreeFree morning
Meet the tour group and have a welcome briefing
Miraflores walking tour
Free time
Group dinner
Hoteles José Antonio Deluxe
Day FourChorillo’s Fish Market
Museo Larco
Historic center
Colonial area
Free time
Hoteles José Antonio Deluxe
Day FiveFly to Cuzco
Drive to Sacred Valley
San Agustin Urubamba
Day SixVisit a local school
Visit a local market and shop for lunch
Prepare and eat lunch together with a local family
Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio
San Agustin Urubamba
Day SevenTraditional healing ceremony
Drive to Ollantaytambo Station
Train to Machu Picchu Village
Visit Machu Picchu
El MaPi by Inkaterra
Day EightSecond visit to Machu Picchu
Afternoon free
El MaPi by Inkaterra
Day NineDepart Machu Picchu
Visit Inca Fortress of Ollantaytambo
Visit Chinchero
Hoteles San Antonio Cusco
Day TenKenko
Qoricancha Sun Temple
Afternoon free
Peru farewell dinner 
Hoteles San Antonio Cusco
Day ElevenFly to Quito via Lima
Welcome briefing
NH Collection Royal Quito
Day TwelveMercado de Iñaquito
Downtown Quito walking tour
La Ronda
Afternoon free
NH Collection Royal Quito
Day ThirteenVisit to Sinamune School and performance by Children’s Orchestra
Museo Inti Ñan
Free afternoon
NH Collection Royal Quito
Day FourteenFly to Galápagos via GuayaquilLa Isla Hotel
Day FifteenGalápagos CruiseCarina Galapagos
Day SixteenGalápagos CruiseCarina Galapagos
Day SeventeenGalápagos CruiseCarina Galapagos
Day EighteenFly to Quito via Guayaquil
Check into Wyndham Quito Airport
Free time before flight home
Day NineteenDepart UIO 1:01 am
Arrive MEX 5:40 am
Depart MEX 9:00 am
Arrive GDL 10:24 am

Turkey 2022

Ephesus, Turkey

With things settled for my South America trip, I decided to start planning for Turkey this fall.

And then I started thinking about expanding beyond just Turkey. Still not ready to commit to visiting Israel this year, I started researching other alternatives.

And now I’m settling on a five-week itinerary, my longest trip ever, to Turkey and the Caucasus.

Things are still getting finalized, and I will share the itinerary when it’s locked down, but for now, here’s my basic plan:

  • Five days in Istanbul
  • Seven day tour to Izmir, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Antalya, and Cappadocia, with side trips
  • Twenty-one day tour of the Caucasus, starting in Baku, Azerbaijan and heading east toward Tblisi, Georgia, and the Black Sea resort of Batumi, and then south into Armenia, ending in Yerevan.

This is a very complicated itinerary that involves booking flights with three different airlines and working with two different travel companies. For Turkey, I’m planning to do my own thing in Istanbul and then arrange the tour with Turkey Insiders. Then the tour in the Caucasus is with JayWay Travel. This is the same company I used to plan my 2014 Balkans trip and my 2019 Central Europe trip.

I’d start dealing with booking now, but there’s a war in Europe, and who knows what the upshot of that will be. I think it makes sense to wait a while before committing to a vacation in three former Soviet republics.

Plans keep changing.

Colombia 2023

Bogotá

One of the reasons I decided not to change my dates for my upcoming South America trip is that the weather in Colombia is generally best in December, January, and February. So I am now planning a Colombia trip for next January. I don’t have any definite plans yet, and, yes, plans keep changing, so we’ll see what happens. But I’d like to visit Bogotá, Medellin, and Cartagena, and I want to do that Panama stopover I was planning to do this year.

Keep checking back, because, well, you know…

  1. Tammy

    I am glad to hear that you are using JayWay travel yet again. I just contacted them to arrange a two week trip to Germany for us next year. I like their Grand Tour of Germany itinerary with a couple of modifications. Adding a night to Berlin and Heidelburg and not staying in Frankfurt at all. Do you work with the same agent each time or are they all good? Do you find they charge more than arranging everything yourself? Sometimes it is worth it to pay!
    I can’t wait to hear about your upcoming trip. I did a dive trip in the Galapagos and some land stuff, amazing place!

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