Day of farewells, meetings, green grass and red beer

February 28th.

The first people arriving in Riga airport are Ināra, Vitolds and Imants. Then soon after also Rūdolfs, Dace, Andra, Ilgonis un Gunita. Agnese has trusted Imants the responsibilities of the group leader till Jakarta. In Riga he has 8 travellers under his supervision. Two more will join on the way. The main worry is to divide luggage so that nobody had more than 15.9kg. We are saved by Rudolfs who has a half-empty bag. Everyone is a little worried about Andra’s name day’s cakes – who is going to eat them. Luckily they are eaten by ourselves instead of the customs officers.
We lift up above the sun-lit clouds and 3 hours later land in Bergamo airport near the rainy Milan. Going by bus to the central Milan. On the way some of us are very delighted by the green grass along the highway. In the centre of Milan we need to switch to another bus to Malpensa airport. During the ten minutes while we reach the bus stop we get 20 offers to buy umbrellas. In Milan Kārlis has joined us. In the airport Ilgoni’s suggestion about drinking beer is supported by 100%. The Italian beer labels are Peroni Forte 8% (you can ask more details to Imants) and Peroni Rosso which has a lovely red colour and is also tasty. In the Turkish plane we get well fed and diminish our thirst, so it’s actually good that we have warmed up a bit. The flight goes by without noticing and around the midnight we are already in Istanbul where Normunds joins us. The first day has finished. Let’s see what the next one will bring!

A short glimpse on how a trip is created

A trip is not created in one day – it takes a lot of work. For an eclipse trip it is even more so because there might be no other initial reason to go to that particular place. For other trips one might want to see a particular landmark, but eclipses are temporary and rarely coincide with touristy places.
It is both a good and a bad thing. Off-the-beaten path is always very alluring, but meanwhile it can be a boring path as well. To make the path more charming, one should read a lot and browse a lot and talk to people a lot, and it might just happen that one of the resources will give inspiration.
For this trip and me it was not Tana Toraja’s burial traditions which other people can find captivating. For me it was the moment I read this post about Togian islands. The post is currently missing somewhere, but the same article is republished here: Remote islands with seldom electricity, very basic accommodation options, less tourists, but pristine nature and snorkeling – I’m coming! :) That is – we are coming. I really hope we will all enjoy this place after the long road trip.
After the inspiration is found, growing other things around it is much easier until it’s time to get up from planning, go and start enjoying!