My optimistic 2022 Travel Plans
Just finished a glorious rehash of the previous year, and already off to make 2022 travel plans… well, not quite!
We are going through an Omikron Surge right now in Germany, Berlin, where I work, has a seven-day incidence of about 1000 infections per 100.000, and I don’t even have a clue where I will be next week, when I have my first holiday of the year, my usual “beat the January Blues” short trip somewhere sunny.
Also, this year I will celebrate a big birthday, and my plan was to celebrate it with a “special trip”. But everything I have dreamt of stands on somewhat shaky foundations right now.
A special sea voyage
My first idea, dreamt up on a boring train commute to work one morning, was to be a trip to Spitzbergen on a vintage Hurtigrouten vessel, the 1950s “MS Nordstjernen“. I actually travelled on that very ship in 1992, on a DIY “cruise” booking the cheapest category berth together with a friend, and loved it. My mother warned me that “there is nothing in Spitzbergen” and my husband hates anywhere under 20 Celsius. So, perhaps not the greatest idea for an enjoyable trip for both of us.
Then, searching for a ship that isn’t a 5000 people swimming fortress, I looked on cruises in the Amazonas. I always wanted to visit Brazil, and then, being on the water for a few days in the Amazonas jungle sounded really good. Then I researched ships. There were only luxury cruises on what looked like a Disney animation ship crossed with a paddle steamer. All “luxury”, of course. No, thank you. I am currently looking into modest house boats in Kerala, and sightseeing trips in better-than-our-usual-budget hotels in Sri Lanka.
To the End of Eurasia by Rail
Last not least, it is no secret that I love a good train journey. And as far as epic trains journeys are concerned, the Trans-Siberian Railway springs into mind. Except, it is somewhat tricky to get a visa to China right now, whereas getting a visa to Russia is a bit more hassle (no e-Visa) , but possible. I have hopes things look up as summer approaches.
And I might need to look into what is there to see in Vladivostok – after all, a through train just takes 6 days and a bit. And obviously, we might want to stop for a bit in scenic Golden Ring Cities right at the beginning and in Lake Baikal, of course. And we go in a standard quad compartment, none of these fancy luxury trains for us. The Man in Seat 61 has a lot of details. The food is probably going to be terrible and the sleep deprivation enormous. But I have enjoyed riding the sleeper train from Moldova to Romania enormously, so I will go re-visit that.
Another plan my husband proposed was visiting Italy by rail – yes, he is the slightly less adventurous of us! And staying in fine hotels. I guess that will cost more than three weeks on the Transsib.
My winter sun holiday – a bit of a mess
So far for the “dream trips”, what about any imminent 2022 travel plans? The “winter sun” or rather” Try to dodge Omikron trip that may or may not be coming up, negative tests and no disaster plan cancellation of my annual leave provided? Oh, and there is also the small chance of the airline cancelling the flight…
I tried to be super clever this time. Looking at flight prices online counts as one of my not daily, but frequent activities with my morning coffee, and I snaffled a 17 Euro return ticket from Berlin to Tel Aviv. Pretty bonkers, but I bought it, of course. I had planned to visit Israel in March 2020, but that did not happen and I did in no way believe that the trip would actually happen, so, for good measure, I booked a 9 Euro return flight to Budapest when I saw a cheap offer, and seriously contemplated to do a bit of walking in Cappadocia in January when it probably isn’t flooded with tourists.
However, as the first trip is coming nearer, none of what I had originally planned is going to happen.
To travel or not, and hos to make solid 2022 travel plans
The Omikron surge has by now reached Germany, and every time I sneeze, I wonder whether I might have caught it – which to be honest, would not be the end of the world, but I would like to know early, so I might not pass it to my husband or my patients, so I have made use of my lateral flow tests quite liberally while at work, but nothing yet.
I am convinced now or soon I will not be able to dodge it, but I prefer that not to be while travelling, especially in Israel, where, according to Israels Ministry of Health, you will be transported off to a managed quarantine facility should any of your mandatory PCR tests turn positive… no, thanks! Last not least, there appears to be a lot of tension in Israel and Palestine right now, so I am unsure whether visiting the West Bank cities of Hebron and Nablus on my own might be such a good idea.
Surprise, Surprise, I am going to Turkey again!
So, instead of Israel and Palestine, I am going to Turkey again. I loved my trip a mere 2,5 months ago so much, I am going to Turkey again. The people are friendly, the language barriere is not too bad, it is safe and relatively easy for a solo traveller so navigate. The inflation is high, so a bit of tourism might be nice for Turkish businesses. Also, lots of flights from Berlin. I booked a flight and a hotel for the first two nights last nights, and had a good choice of flights and accommodation at reasonable prices. As usual, I have a buffer day in Istanbul, enough time to get a nice haircut, maybe a fancy hamam and a bit of shopping.
As for the rest of the year, I learned from my bodged travel plans. Everything is fluid, and trhat includes 2022 travel plans. I can dream and plan but the most detailed plans might be shot to bits. Such are the times we live in. Given that my problem really pales into insignificance, I will just make hay whilst the sun shines and see what travel will be possible safely this year!
Do you have any plans for this year? Do the infection control measures dictate where you will travel, or will you not travel abroad at all?