Finding My Way – part 2

I despise buying airline tickets … a month in advance … on-line. Inevitably, the online registration process for reservation adds yet another load of crap to my inbox. News of new airline routes, summer sales, changes in regulations, reminders of the fact that “Hey, look where we fly, but you probably don’t have the time or funds to go to when we discount our prices!” Bastards. Also, filling out the online reservation is paramount to applying for medical coverage or joining the Freemasons. The barrage of questions is one turnoff (Do you want insurance? Do you need to check any luggage? Do you wish to rent a car at your destination? Do you like films about gladiators?), and the code-like formatting that some of your details has to be in invariably never goes right the first 3 or 4 times (please enter a contact number; country code followed by a space, then change the font, make the first 3 digits in Roman numeral, double space, put your computer on standby for exactly 3.47 minutes, come back and enter 3 more digits in Arabic, get bled by leaches and complete the number afterwards … and then it still gives you an extremely vague warning: “One of the fields has not been correctly filled. Please check the 27 places designated with a red asterisk”). After you finally decrypt the Da Vinci Code and click confirm, the server always crashes, leading you to go to your banking details and pray that you didn’t get billed for the first erroneous booking before starting the entire 3-hour process once again. After all this, there is Murphy’s Law. No matter when you search for or buy a ticket, there was or will be a better deal that pisses you off to no end. You look up prices one day, think “hey, that’s not so bad, but I’ll confirm tomorrow”, come back the next day to see that the cost has doubled … or … you find a deal, buy the ticket and, two days later, the airline amazingly drops a “once in a lifetime deal” to the exact destination you want to go. Bastards! Obviously, there is also the concern that any time you reserve something a month or more in advance, a situation will arise and change your entire plans. Sickness, death in the family, job offer, Russian invasion (or US invasion for that matter), raging case of crabs … you know, typical stuff … life! I am parting with cash, so I am already stressed. Why does the process need to be made haemorrhoid inducing as well?

So, the flight tickets for the trek have been purchased. Our route will take us from Olomouc to Budapest by train for the first day, then off on the low-cost, purple and pink Hungarian Wizz Air to Istanbul the next. With only three weeks to attempt as much of 509 km as possible along the Lycian Way by foot, I doubt we will take even one night in Istanbul upon arrival. Depending on the final decision for our starting point (Hisarcandir in the east or Ölüdeniz in the west), we may as well just get off the plane and hop a bus so as to get right into the thick of it. This is not to say I wouldn’t mind some time in Constantinople … I mean, Istanbul (thank you, They Might Be Giants, for that song, which not only stays in your head forever, but was probably more information than we were taught under US scholastic curriculum), but one day is no justice to give a city with so much to offer. I would prefer to miss it all together than plant a flag to stake my claim of visitation status after a 12-hour sojourn. Overnights locked in a hostel and layovers at airports do not count as having the ability to tick another place off my list of countries or cities traversed, though I will state that I “have passed through” if given the chance.

Alas, the gateway to the East will have to wait till another day … but I am not embarking on this excursion to slink about large cities filled with people, cafés, museums and wi-fi spots. I am going to breathe once again and to remember the days when my father used to take my sister and I up to the North Georgia mountains to get away from all the encroaching materialism of home ownership and monotonous weekends filled with lawn mowing, car washing and TV watching … and to escape reality for a brief blink of the eyes.

To be continued …