Tour of Southern Europe Starts in Oslo???

Details for my upcoming tour of Southern Europe are starting to shape up. Well, as much as I want them to — the plan is to have little to no plan, but a few decisions have been made. First, I booked a ticket to leave Los Angeles, on September 13 and arrive in Paris on the 14th. Yes, I know that Paris is not really in Southern Europe, but I have to land someplace. From LA, I get to change planes — and spend four hours in Oakland, California. Being a Pittsburgh Steelers football fan, you can see how painful spending four hours in Oakland Raider’s territory might be. ๐Ÿ™‚

After an overnight flight from Oakland, I will have a three hour layover in Oslo, and a two+ hour flight to Paris. I plan to spend four nights in Paris, then make my way to Saint Jean Pied de Port, France. This is significant in that it relates to the most important part of my journey. I have decided to hike the 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago, across the Basque Country to Galicia, in Northern Spain. The first section of the trail is considered the hardest, in that it climbs over the Pyrenees Mountains from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France descending to Pamplona, Spain. I have no firm schedule, but expect, blisters allowing, to take about 35 days to complete the journey.

I am, in no way, in the physical condition necessary to hike the mountain passes, so yesterday, I began my training and conditioning program. I walked two miles, through downtown Huntington Beach, stopping at an IHOP for a blue cheese and bacon burger — and unsweetened ice tea. Today was a rest day!!!

My backpack arrived today. Before I decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, I was, mostly, concerned about limiting myself to one carry on bag, so I ordered a PacSafe 45 liter. Forty-five liters is a relatively small bag, but it meets most overhead storage requirements, and will hold everything an urban adventurer needs, so long as you are willing to do laundry in the shower each evening.

When I added the Camino components, especially a month long trek in September/October, I also added a slightly heavier jacket, rain poncho, and lightweight sleeping bag — and that takes up a lot of room. I’ll do a blog post, and a little video, on the packing, after I figure it out.

pacsafe venturesafe 45l GII - Front

pacsafe venturesafe 45L GII – Front

pacsafe venturesafe 45l GII - Back

pacsafe venturesafe 45L GII – Back

OK, so the big question: Anyone going to be in Paris on September 14-18? I’ve reserved a bunk at a hostel (yes, hostel) — this is not going to be a cruise on a luxury liner. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are going to be in Paris, during that time, and want to get together, PM me on Facebook, or use the Contact Form (menu, above).

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Going on the Road — Who Wants to Meet?

As you can see, my sabbatical from Facebook is over, to some degree. I am back for a few specific reasons. First, it is the most effective way to keep up with my grandchildren. I just spent nearly three weeks with four of them, and both my daughter – Elizabeth Robison-Sostizzo – and daughter-in-law – Nattnoi Vattuone, are frequent posters on FB. Only Paul Robison and Jorge (who doesn’t even have an account, shun FB.

Secondly, FB seems to be a good way to keep in touch while travelling. That brings be to the point of this post. In mid-September, I will be embarking on a two-month (approximately) backpacking trip, mostly through Southern Europe. I have no itinerary worked out, as yet. My area of interest is, primarily, between Lisbon and Istanbul. in no particular order.

I am looking for traveling, dinner, coffee companions, along the way (even if I don’t know what the way is, right now). While I am capable of finding Big Ben, or the Eiffel Tower, on my own — wait, neither are in Southern Europe — so i may actually need help ๐Ÿ™‚ I am interested in seeing those things that the guidebook might not mention, but that locals know about — the small museums, the view from a hilltop, the great people watching cafe, etc.

I will shoot alongside of you, or make your portrait, or just enjoy conversation (but don’t ask me to explain the American electoral system). If you are a model, painter, sculptor, musician, I will be happy, and honored to photograph you, or your work.

As this is a backpacking adventure, I will be staying in hostels, and some AirBnB rentals, or maybe even sleeping on your couches, if offered.

For the photographers, I am limiting myself to a newly acquired Olympus OMD-10 Mark 2, a few small lenses, the 12-40mm pro, and my favorite, the 9mm Bodycap Lens.

Everything I need, I intend to carry in one 45L backpack, so doing laundry will be a frequent chore.

I have always want to visit Portugal and Spain, and the Balkans. I was fortunate enough to live in Turkey, in the early 1970s, so I would love to return. I have visited Italy, twice, but missed Milan and Venice.

So there you have it — a rather unformed plan that needs to take shape, at least as to the first destination, so I can tell the pilot where to land ๐Ÿ™‚ I expect to leave Los Angeles in mid-September, and be one the road about two months. If there is a train or bus stop, near you, and you want to get together, I’ll buy the first coffee or beer or vino. Send me a PM, so I can put pins on my map. Hasta la vista!

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So Rick, I’ll take pictures of any 40 year olds who look like you!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rick Rubis

Paul, That sounds great. I hope you have a wonderful adventure and see the places you most want to visit plus meet some interesting prople along the way. Safe journey. Rick
PS I spent 2 1/2 years in Germany while in the army and visited over 20 countries while I was there. I even did some hitchhiking through the scandanavian countries.