Raskazone Beach, Tanga, Tanzania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tanga City, Tanzania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Dar es Salaam on March 8th.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Where are we off to next? Help us decide!

Our tourist visa to Turkey expires January 11th, so we are trying to sort through the options of where we want to go next. The plan is to arrive in Germany around March 22nd in order to pick up our new European motorhome. Of course that is still a ways off and we don't even know if that will be possible at the time. But that's the plan.

So we have between January 11th and March 22nd to go somewhere different. Almost two and a half months.

We know which direction we are leaning, but we wanted your help just in case there is something we haven't figured into the equation. All the options have their positives and negatives... there is no one option that leapt out at us and we said "yeah, that's what we're doing!" And so we have not yet booked any flight tickets.

And of course the situation is still changing. Just because a country will accept us now doesn't mean they will a month from now!

So, in no particular order, here is what we're thinking...

1) Stay in Turkey

Pros: We've really enjoyed Turkey so far. It's easy to travel in, there is a lot to see, there are a lot of hiking options, the weather along the south coast will still be okay, it's fairly inexpensive, and we could spend that two an a half months exploring the coast east of Antalya. It would be inexpensive to fly to Germany in March.

Cons: There is no such thing as a "visa extension". From what I've read, we would actually have to apply for short term residence permits to continue our stay here. Turkey has very strict cellular regulations that are expensive to circumvent. A stay of longer than three months could make internet access either difficult or expensive. And finally, although we know we would love more time in Turkey, we plan to come back with the motorhome at some point. We would really like to use the time to go somewhere new.

2) Egypt and Albania

If we choose this option, we would spend half the time in Egypt and then half the time in Albania.

Pros: We always like to visit a new country. This would enable us to do two of them. Flights to Egypt from Turkey are cheap. Weather in Egypt is nice in January and February. Both countries are inexpensive for accommodation. We think we will really like Albania.

Egypt.

Cons: Cairo is a big dirty polluted city. There are very few attractions in the city itself. Travel in the rest of the country is difficult without doing private organized tours. Difficult to stay away from people due to lax Covid rules. Albania will still be fairly cool in February and March. We have also considered going directly to Albania for the entire time, but January is quite cold there.

3) Tanzania

Pros: Scenery, animals, birds, trekking. Mount Meru, Mount Kilimanjaro. Inexpensive accommodation. We loved our trip to Namibia and South Africa in 2013-2014, and have wanted to return to Africa. Ruth has always wanted to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. February is one of the best months of the year to attempt the climb. And finally, there is a lot more to see and do in Tanzania than just the areas that are on the tourist trail. We would have no problem spending the whole two and a half months in Tanzania. It is fairly easy to rent a vehicle and do some "do it yourself" stuff.

Mount Kilimanjaro.

Cons: This would be the most expensive option, by far. Anything tourist related is priced in U.S. dollars. Airfare to get there and airfare to get to Germany in March will be expensive. It will be hot. Kilimanjaro is ridiculously expensive, and we have personal reasons for not wanting to contribute to overtourism, and we feel that too many people are doing Kilimanjaro. The same reasons we didn't go to Machu Picchu while in Peru. While it would be fun to get the checkmark for hiking to the highest point in Africa, we're not sure it's worth it.

4) Pakistan

Pros: Not many tourists go there. There is a lot to see and do, especially hiking in the northern part. The majority of people are very friendly, open, and welcoming to tourists. English is widely spoken. Relatively inexpensive. Flights from Turkey are cheap. Weather would be overall good. We think we would love the food!

Pakistan scenery.

Cons: Difficult visa process. Covid would make it difficult to experience the hospitality of the people which is one of the reasons we want to visit this country. Weather in the northern part where the best hiking is would be too cold. Not an easy country to visit, but we're not necessarily looking for easy.

So, those are the options we are looking at right now. If you have any other suggestions, we are all ears! But make certain that your suggestion is actually open for visitors. Many are not. And most of the other ones that are open are having cold weather in January and February, which we are not enthusiastic about. Yes, Mexico is open. And while we LOVE Mexico, we need somewhere new!

In the meantime, it is now Monday morning here and our weekend curfew is over... we're off to do another hike!

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And in Canada...

23 comments:

  1. I would SPRINT to Albania! I have always wanted to go there, ever since Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax books. (Read THE AMAZING MRS. POLLIFAX, and you'll see what I mean.) Rose Wilder Lane, Laura's daughter, actually renovated a house in Albania and lived there for a few years. Very few Westerners are able to go there -- if you get approved for a visa, don't hesitate!

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    1. Actually Cindy, all westerners are able to visit Albania, and there is no visa required.

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    2. Thanks for mentioning this, Kevin! The last time I checked -- a few years ago, admittedly -- there was. Now this goes on the future travel plans even faster.

      We have been extra-cautious about travel this year, having been stuck in London after an aborted cruise in mid-April...and Virgin cancelling our plane tickets home to the U.S. without telling us. We ended up in the one hotel Heathrow allowed to stay open, along with airplane and airport crews.
      We've generally stayed home since then, but had tickets to Puerto Vallarta in December, where we are now. The big festivals are all shut down; restaurants can generally stay open for in-house dining until 6 p.m., but that's it. Very few Americans or Canadians at the hotels or walking the malecon downtown in PV. Very unusual.

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    3. We are definitely wanting to go to Albania once we have the motorhome. Not sure how long it will take us to get there because Europe is big and we are slow, lol!

      Glad to hear that you made it down to Puerto Vallarta and you are now enjoying the warmth there. Yes, we can only imagine how different it must feel being there this year compared to a normal year.

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  2. Time to move on. All the ruins are starting to look the same.

    Tanzania looks intriguing!

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    1. We have really been enjoying Turkey but we don't think we want to spend another two and a half months here, especially knowing that we want to return again sometime over the next couple of years in our motorhome.

      We do agree Tanzania, does look very interesting. We will see. :-)

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  3. Chasing good weather is never wrong.

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  4. Replies
    1. We definitely want to see Albania but we can do that in the motorhome when the weather is better, especially in the mountains which is where we would love to go. We know that we could put up with the weather, we just aren't sure that we want too!

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  5. Tanzania
    If your ever going to climb the big one, now seems like the time. Especially when none of us are getting any younger.

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    1. And, of course there's your own good argument.
      "And finally, there is a lot more to see and do in Tanzania than just the areas that are on the tourist trail. We would have no problem spending the whole two and a half months in Tanzania. It is fairly easy to rent a vehicle and do some "do it yourself" stuff."

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    2. We were talking about that when we were out hiking yesterday, that if we do want to do this climb sooner is better than later.

      You are also correct with that statement of ours. We do enjoy showing people that there are many other things to do there other than just climbing Kilimanjaro and doing a safari. We will see, we still have a little time to make the decision.

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  6. My ex husband spent a winter in India a few years back. Apparently he enjoyed his trip a lot. He decided NOT to go to Pakistan.

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    1. We would love to go to India and I think that we would really like it once we got out in the country but unfortunately India is closed to tourists at the moment.

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  7. I found Cairo the dirtiest city I was ever in and I have been in quite a few. Getting around requires use of tourist buses for safety`s sake and then you are at the mercy of all the tourist hustlers, not a pleasant experience.

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    1. Yes, we have heard that about Cairo, having said that we would not stay in the city for long if we do decide to head there. We prefer to go to small cities or towns and stay away from people as much as we can. The getting around on our own is another issue, as you have said it seems like tourist have to take tourist buses and if we were to rent a car it would come with a driver which we would prefer not to have. This is most certainly on the con side of the board for Egypt.

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  8. Don't know anything about Albania. Egypt is desert hot during the day and often cold enough for a ski jacket in the evening. You said the temp. in Tanzania is about 35. You don't like Ottawa at that temp. I have never spoken to anyone who has gone to Pakistan as a tourist!

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    1. Most desert areas are like that but we are generally in our accommodation in the evening rather that being out and about.

      It depends on where you are going to stay in Tanzania, Kevin checked on the small city near Mount Meru and the temperature there would be around 29C during the day, not sure if there is humidity with that or not though.

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  9. My vote would be for Albania and perhaps some island hopping in Greece. I think I gave you a link to the Chouters blog; they're currently in Croatia and staying for the winter. They had some issues due to passport/visa/Schengen regs so it appears that they must stay in Croatia for 3 months, which appears was their plan anyway. https://thechouters.com/2020/12/autumn-in-slovenia/

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    1. Albania is still going to be cold in January, by mid February it might start to warm up enough for us though, that is why we thought of combining both Egypt and Albania together.

      The Greek Islands are out, Greece is part of the Schengen Visa area and like the Chouters we would only be allowed three months in and three months out, and because we want to pick up our motorhome in March and travel it in Europe until we go back to Canada in May we don't want to use up that precious time in Greece, especially when we can do some of that with the motorhome later on.

      Many people aren't aware of the Schengen Visa requirements and this is why the Chouters made plans to be in Croatia for the three months. It is also one of the reasons that we are going to look at getting a German resident permit if we can. That way we wouldn't be so tied down to the Schengen Visa requirements.

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  10. Yes, we were in Morocco back in April of 2017. We would like to go back again but with our motorhome, the next time. :-)

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