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Back on the old continent

NETHERLANDS | Sunday, 23 September 2007 | Views [904]

Mauled bicycle in the streets of Utrecht

Mauled bicycle in the streets of Utrecht

As this trip has strayed far from the original plan, of which Australia wasn’t part, and has become much more consequent with a non-planned South American leg, budget considerations have to be taken into account. The stint Down Under has made a major hole in the funds, and I had to make the decision to leave as soon as possible. Which isn’t too sad, since I never pretended visiting the entire country in a single trip, and hoped to have made the most of the opportunity.

In order to save a bit, I decided to cut my time Down Under short, skip New Zealand altogether, and jump directly to South America. This plan was short-lived though, since one-way ticket from Sydney to Santiago started at no less than 2000 US$. Talk about sinking your budget! Another idea was to buy a half-RTW ticket, but the problem was that I had to pay for a leg back to Europe from South-America and I’m not sure if I’d use it, or from where. Finally, I thought I might as well ask for tickets the other way around, and it happened to be the best solution. Incredibly, flying to South-America via Europe was cheaper! At the same time, I’d also have a chance to drop by and say hello to my family. In the end, the decision wasn’t too difficult to take, and I booked my tickets back home. First stop: Utrecht.

The Australian experience has been a rich one, yielding all kinds of different emotions, from loneliness behind the wheel to side-of-the-road-socializing, from sadness at the sight of dead kangaroos to pure bliss when I swam with a shark, from boredom in the endless outback to simple enjoyment when roaming the streets of The Friendly City, from distress at the sight of some aboriginal communities to admiration of the quality of the service in the tourist industry, the information centers being by far the best I have seen so far in the world. Australia is a country that deserves several trips for many different reasons, the first one being that, unless you are a close relative to Bill Gates, it tends to put a big strain on any world traveler’s budget.

Tags: Budgets & money

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