Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Planning

We've had two email questions about our planning efforts. Here are my almost verbatim replies.

Q1: Are you couchsurfing, airbnbing?

SL has mapped out (literally) possible hotels - no CS or ABB -  for all of Greece and Albania, Montenegro, and most of Bosnia. So far nothing has caused us to change our long time practice and new slogan: We don't book, we look. ;-) 

However, for two reasons we have decided  to contact some CSers along the route. One, they may have helpful on-the-ground information, and two, it may be nice to have cup of coffee/chat with a local in some places we visit.

Q2: Can you get by with English in all these places?

I'm guessing that many hotel managers will know basic English; and that bus drivers, taxi drivers, and ticket sellers will know little or no English. Therefore we'll need to know how to properly pronounce our destination city or town. ;-) And knowing how to say "please stop right now" may come in handy along with "I am a vegetarian".

We are learning to transliterate Greek letters into Roman letters and getting pretty good at place names and things bus schedule related. And soon will do the same for Cyrillic.

Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria have pretty good English versions of their national rail system's websites. And many bus lines have good English websites.

Romanian is a Romance language and it looks like we'll be able to get a lot of meaning from written Romanian, be unable to understand only a few spoken words as it sounds quite unlike Spanish or Italian, and be able to utter some heavily accented words and phrases.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me. ;-)


mytimetotravel said...

Rather than trying to pronounce place names (just think how easy it is to get English ones wrong!) I always write them down when dealing with people selling tickets or when taking buses or taxis.

I've traveled in most of the places you're headed (aside from much of Romania) and I don't remember having any trouble with language, although I did learn to transliterate the alphabets.

john said...

Good point Kathy about writing place names down. Certainly a must for buying bus and train tickets.

Charles said...

I arrived in Bulgaria this morning (awful overnight train from Belgrade). Based on just one day of experience in Bulgaria, I think that Bulgaria has great food, and vegetarians are well taken care of with a huge variety of salads and vegetarian stews. I went out to eat and had just bread, a huge salad, and a couple of glasses of wine for dinner. Makes a nice change from what I ate in Belgrade last night (pork stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon).

john said...

Charles, Thanks for the tip on eating vegetarian. To paraphrase D.H. Lawrence: If one travels, one eats! That's all for now, I'll let you get back to your laundry. ;-)

DayleInNC said...

Wow, your trip is just around the corner! I hope you get the chance to meet with members of CouchSurfing. But be advised, meeting CouchSurfers can lead to new beginnings and changes of plans. ;-) Have fun! And glad to hear there will be some tasty vegetarian food along the way. Καλή όρεξη! (Kalí óreksi!)

john said...

Thanks Dayle! Sun-Ling is furiously studying Greek with a focus on reading menus. ;-)