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Dr John Hawkins

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Posted on 2006/05/21 03:18:42 (May 2006).

[Saturday 20th May]
I spent almost all of the day working on my travel pages, which can be viewed both chronologically, and as a list of places I've been in the last couple of years (oh and there's also a Google Maps based thingy, still a work in progress, which you can see here). I then sat back and looked at it towards the end of the day and wondered what the point of it all was. I think ultimately there were two things I wanted to achieve: firstly to do the map pins thingy to show where I've been , and secondly to link sets of pictures and journal entries (beforehand they weren't all that well co-ordinated)... Looking back now though it is really hard to tell whether all the effort justified the end result. Oh well.

I think this is prompted by a recent desire to travel, particularly around Europe, which I guess is also connected to a recent bout of home sickness.

I have just finished reading Bill Bryson's book (Neither Here Nor There) about his travels around Europe, and to add to this, the Eurovision song contest was on in the UK today (at far too awkward a time for me to attempt to watch it here in Japan).

The combination of these things has given me a really strong craving to go and see all the bits of Europe I've yet to see - so far I've only seen a handful of countries on this wide and varied continent - France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Holland. I've only seen a couple of places in each of these countries and there are still so many nations left entirely untouched.

I would love to spend a few weeks (or event months) idly wandering through Scandinavia, and have for a few years now harboured a daydream about a rail and ferry tour of Northern Europe. Starting in London, going up through Scotland, Shetland and Orkney, from there to the Faroe Islands and on to Iceland. From Iceland across to Norway, and work my way in a long slow circle round the Baltic Sea - Sweden, Finnland, possibly a quick pop into Russia to see St. Petersburg, then down and round through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania before returning home through Poland, Germany and perhaps Holland.

Then I had another couple of grand tours planned - something involving the Mediterranean, and another one with the Alps (culminating in an Alpine village with log cabins and the distant sound of cow bells, where I'd eat Fondue and have a charming conversation with Heidi).

Well for the time being at least these are just going to remain daydreams. The summer is ahead of me with no real prospect of any exciting holidays, just a hard slog in the oppressively hot and humid weather that a Japanese summer consists of.

Comment 1

Yes! The Grand Tour! Bring back the 18th Century! :) Well, ok, forget the wigs and fleas! The northern Europe trip would be splendid! Of the countries mentioned I've only been to Denmark - and it was really friendly. I'd love to do the others.

Posted by Nigel at 2006/05/21 09:21:29.

Comment 2

John, I think you have yourself confused with Micheal Palin!, perhaps you could get a Japanese camera crew to follow you on your journey. Call it "80 Days around Europe, Scandinavia, the Arctic Circle Pole with a bit of faffing about in Nottingham , Orient Express to the Mediterranean with a quick stop off in an alpine villiage with a Gyjin Show".

You never know they might even pay your expenses.

Posted by Kev at 2006/05/21 24:17:05.

Comment 3

Ciao John, hopefully we can speak about the trip around Europe TONITGHT!! :)

Posted by Lox at 2006/05/22 02:38:41.

Comment 4

You may have noticed I've subtly changed the text to this post just now, to include a link to the maps thingy, which I got more or less working later on yesterday. Still very much a work in progress!


Posted by John at 2006/05/22 05:47:10.

Comment 5

At the moment it doesn't do anything when you click on the place markers (I'm sure this is possible, but so far I am struggling with it).

Still it is quite nice to see all the little pins in the map - albeit a somewhat incomplete set, only covering the places I've been in the last two years.

Hopefully I'll get the links working properly over the next couple of days, and then I'll also add in some of the other places I've been.

Posted by John at 2006/05/22 05:58:09.

Comment 6

John, How about getting yourself a hi-def widescreen camcorder so you can document each place you visit "documentary style". That would be cool.

Posted by kev at 2006/05/22 09:58:12.

Comment 7

Right - after yet more tweaking, my map page is just about doing what I want it to now.

Posted by John at 2006/05/22 14:06:59.

Comment 8

That's actually stunningly cool, John! Well done. I was surprised the zoom setup works so well too.

Posted by Nigel at 2006/05/22 20:46:37.

Comment 9

Get back to work, sonny. We own you.

Posted by (Software Company who John deliberately does not mention the name of) at 2006/05/23 08:36:33.

Comment 10

Nigel: thanks very much - I'm glad at least someone picked up on the desperate fishing for compliments in my post!

Posted by John at 2006/05/23 24:00:09.

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