So it has begun.
As I zipped across the Spanish countryside the other day at 300 km/h on a Barcelona-bound train (one which came with a lovely reservation fee after I slept through my scheduled train’s departure from Madrid), my sangria-induced hangover started to fade– due in part to the awe-inspiring views of the country as well as my overall excitement at the thought of eating more tapas. Tomorrow, I begin my “tour” of France, and soon enough, you will be able to take a “tour” of sorts as well.
Starting in February, the blog will be frequently updated with new content relative to the cities I have been visiting. Each week, a different city will be highlighted, featuring the culture, the sights, the food, the drink, the nightlife, the day life, and much more.
First up: Madrid, Spain (spoiler alert: it’s awesome)
Long-distance travel can be exciting, but enough desynchronosis, or jet lag as it is more commonly known, can turn any amount of excitement into misery.
Medically speaking, jet lag is practically unavoidable, especially if travel consists of passing through several time zones. The body’s internal clock has a hard time adjusting to drastic changes in time zone, and this can lead to anxiety, sleep deprivation, insomnia, nausea, and more. I won’t get into the science behind it (because I have no clue; Let me refer you to Google), but it involves Earth and time and humans and some other things.
Unfortunately, jet lag is just a part of long-distance travel (when going from East to West and vice versa). That being said, there are still ways to reduce the intensity of jet lag and avoid the misery that sometimes may seem sure to ensue.
Try to adjust to local times immediately. Your body won’t want to let that happen, but try your best as it will speed up the recovery process. If you land late at night, try to go to bed. If you land early in the morning, eat some breakfast and try to spend the whole day up and about (good luck). A quick nap isn’t a bad idea, either. Just be sure not to sleep all day. Immediately adjust your schedule to the new time zone too. Eat lunch at lunch time, go out in the evening, and so on and so forth.
The general rule of thumb is that the recovery process takes about one day for every one or two time zones crossed. Well to hell with rules, and to hell with thumbs. With a strong enough body and an even stronger mind, you can adjust to the new time zone quickly, and jet lag will be a thing of the past.
That’s right. At 8:40 a.m. I will be on board an American Airlines flight headed to Frankfurt, Germany (with an hour-long layover in Dallas, Texas). I will land at 8:15 a.m. (local time in Frankfurt). Yes, the jetlag will be atrocious. Yes, it will be worth it.
After a day/night in Frankfurt at a 5-star hotel, I will make my way to Amsterdam. 6 days later I will be on my way to Madrid, followed by Barcelona, Marseille, Nice, Paris, and maybe some more, before heading back to the Netherlands.
Check in soon for some hotel reviews and more. Check in later for a ton of traveling.
Eurail Travel Pack
Planning to travel around Europe? Consider investing in a Eurail pass.
Train travel is among the most popular ways to get around the continent, and for good reason. It is quick, convenient, adventurous, and, at times, economical.
Eurail offers a variety of rail passes, including single-country passes, regional passes, and global passes that allow you to rail around 23 European countries at your own will. Train travel can be expensive sometimes, though–especially compared to some of the budget airline companies that offer flights across Europe for criminally low prices. That being said, a Eurail pass is still one hell of a value, and it surely beats buying individual train tickets.
Every Eurail order comes with a travel pack (pictured above), which includes a traveler’s guide, a timetable, and a map of Europe featuring every Eurail line and connection.
Keep in mind: Eurail is for non-European residents only. InterRail, however, offers virtually the exact same service for Europeans (and at better prices).
My three-country Eurail pass arrived in the mail yesterday. Let the planning begin! First stop: Madrid, Spain.
Happy New Year, ladies & gentlemen. And welcome.
In one week’s time, I will be settled (not quite settled at all, actually) in my new temporary home in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where I will be studying for the next six months.
The Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at SFSU is funding me to keep this travel blog during my time abroad. In the coming weeks (and months), I will be traveling to a handful of European cities, during which time this blog will be updated with the places I go, things I see, and insight for fellow travelers.
Stay tuned, folks.