A Change of Plans

Looks like I will not be able to visit Greece and Italy consecutively during my tour of

The Schenwen Agreement zone in dark blue. The UK and Ireland are exempt from the 90-day rule.

southern Europe over the next year. Turns out there are 25 countries in Europe that are part of the Schengen Agreement, where you can stay in one country for 90 days on your passport but you can’t move to any other country in the region for 90 days. So I will have to find another country besides Greece to spend three months in before moving to Italy.

Looks like that country will be Turkey (grey country to right of Greece in map at right).

I learned all this quite by accident, unless you believe, like I do, that it was by grand design. One of the Poker Pals in Atlanta, Ron, happened to send me a link to a story about a guy who was doing what I’m doing – visiting low-cost countries for 3-month intervals and reporting on them on his Web sites. I contacted this man, Roger, by e-mail and he replied promptly. He asked how I was able to circumvent the Schengen Agreement in my plan to visit Greece and Italy simultaneously. I knew nothing about this agreement (treaty), so I investigated.

Rober, BTW, was responding from Turkey, which he calls very nice along the southern coast and has a low cost of living. So, I will begin investigating visiting Turkey for the third leg of my trip in March, and pushing Italy/Sicily to the final leg, May-July.

Turkey was not on my original spreadsheet list of possible countries to visit so I will start clean with my research and let you know what I find out. I doubt this information came to me coincidentally and thank Ron for thinking of me and sending the link. And Roger has offered to provide advice and support on my journeys, sharing his knowledge from numerous country visits.

A Hiking in the Blue Ridge

Capping off a busy weekend, we decided to go hiking in the mountains the day after the wine tasting adventure (see Asheville, N.C. post). Danny, Kim, Lena and I drove to a prearranged spot at more than 4,500 feet, where we met Tom and Michelle. We had gone to the wine tasting with them the day before and had dinner with them that night at their home way away from everything. We brought the dogs – Pumpkin and Gira – who went nuts in anticipation the whole 45-minute drive.

It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, with a cool wind blowing to cut the sun’s heat. We hiked up some hills (mountains?) and down some trails, at first trying to find blueberries. Alas, the hot summer and low rainfall ruined the crop. But the walk was definitely a workout.

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Asheville, N.C.

The Asheville area is pretty interesting, a mix of mountain culture with the arts community that has flowed into the area. The latter like to refer to themselves as “bohemians,” but they look suspiciously like the “beatniks” of 40 years ago. The 2bagsandapack World Tour has been visiting this city in western North Carolina as part of our interim travel between international destinations. I have spent a wonderful month with my daughter and family as I retool for the trip to southern Europe – Croatia, Greece and Italy (maybe Portugal).

Asheville has its charms, mainly its strong arts and cultural community, as well as the downtown retail and restaurant establishments that are strongly local in nature. In Asheville, you will find the Biltmore Estate, a well-known tourist destination. The grounds are beautiful, the main mansion is immense and filled with artwork and antiques. We went on an adventure to the Antler Village winery inside the estate grounds to enjoy a wine tasting.

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