Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Miscellaneous Meanderings

I've been operating in a time-disjointed fog for the last three days thanks to the pills and cough medicine prescribed by my doctor. In those moments when my time-sense is not slowed, I'm just woozy, sort like a bad drunk without any of the wine first. The coughing has subsided, as have the fever, runny nose, and sneezing, so I'm going to take the shot that I'll be able to function tomorrow. The side effects are almost worse than the damned illness, but for the first day I was so tired anyway, it didn't really matter. 17 hours of nearly nonstop sleep. That has to be some sort of record, at least for me personally. Napping's about the only thing I can do. Reading science fiction didn't work because the words got lost in translation somewhere. I was able to read and answer some emails, but this is my first attempt at blogging in awhile. Right now, it feels like I've got a thick fog between me and the world. My brain commands my fingers, and my fingers respond after a 1-to-3-second delay. Best not be operating heavy machinery this evening.

Otherwise, in my semi-lucid moments, I've contemplated other variants of the Europe itinerary, including just going with a tour from Rick Steves' web site, or taking a cruise on the Rhine instead of the Rhone, but after due financial consideration, I'm back to the Ireland-France wine cruise-Rome schtick.

I find it somewhat amusing that Rick Steves offers package tours, given how much work he puts into writing books for the independent traveler. However, that type of tour might work for someone like me, who wants the convenience but doesn't want all the shepherding. The two tours that struck a chord were:

Best of Europe in 21 Days

Best of Europe in 14 Days

The problem, of course, is that neither tour includes Ireland. The 21-day tour did include both a river cruise and a wine tasting (separate activities). The 14-day tour falls within my ideal price range, but doesn't cover all the sorts of things I'd like. I can bring the 21-day tour in under $8,000 if I restrict myself to $100 in MI&E per day. The 14-day tour comes in at around $6,400, but again leaves out some things that are really cool about the 21-day tour. However, it's nice to have the option. Steves' tours at least promise quite a bit of free time, which I'd prefer. If the prices are this high for '08, I shudder to think what '09 will bring. Here's hoping for a falling euro.

The fog is about to take me to a sleepy place, so I guess I'll call it a night. Then we'll see what tomorrow will bring.

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