Will I ever get over my obsession with visiting weird and wonderful countries? The answer is probably not, however, next years itinerary may well do me for a little while when I explore a few unusual landlocked countries!
Next year, three trips are planned with the first one being in April and visiting Prague and Bratislava (Slovakia). You may be thinking what’s weird about that, not much really! As you may know, in 1993, these two countries became independent of one another after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia and it is this that is of interest to me (and the fact that I was meant to go to Prague in 2017 before Easyjet cancelled the flight at the last minute!). Now, we will be travelling between the two by train, I just have flashbacks to the Polish experience we encountered in 2015 where we seemed to board one which must have dated back to the 1950s, surely it can’t be as bad as that (he says!).
Following on from that trip, the former United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) comes in to focus. I better be prudent as to what I write on here but, if you don’t know, the USSR was formally known as northern Eurasia which was once the worlds largest country separated into several republics until it’s slow demise in 1991! In June, I plan to visit Vilnius (Lithuania) and then head down to Minsk (Belarus), both of which became independent very close to the overall dissolution. Since then, both cities have made their own way towards independence with Vilnius being “rapidly transformed” into a modern European city with skyscrapers (of course that’s a pull also for me to visit) and Minsk following the same path, however, it’s hard to ignore the Sovereign architecture that is still present.
Finally, in October, I plan to visit Uzbekistan with Exodus Travels (similar to Trailfinders here in the UK), staying in its capital, Tashkent with day tours down to Samarkand (via bullet train) and then being privately driven across the Kazak border to tour Shymkent (Kazakhstan’s third most populous city). Why Uzbekistan? Uzbekistan, in particular, Samarkand sits along the ancient Silk Road which was once used as a major trade route connecting China to Europe leading to the magnificent blue tiled architecture being created
You may be wondering how the hell Superbunny is going to cope in these countries? Well Prague and Bratislava are quite conventional European cities so should be quite straightforward (well nothing is straightforward with me…haven’t combated the Czech train booking/assistance system yet…although my PAs did an excellent job booking my 2015 interrailing trip involving speaking many languages!!). As I stated above, Vilnius has undergone a rapid transformation including the construction of a business district which, as demonstrated in both Reykjavik and Tallinn can be mostly used as a backup plan in terms of accessible. To my surprise, Minsk is currently experiencing a disability movement resulting in improvements across the city accessibility wise, however, this movement is quite recent so I anticipate it will either be a manual wheelchair outing or a good old takeaway back at the hotel! Finally, Uzbekistan, well Superbunny has completely no hope meaning that I think it may be best for it to stay in the bunny hutch and manual wheelchair it for a week?
Should be a fun year 🙂