E-U train lines map shown not actual size: actual size reduced significantly when I had to trim off the burned parts when I accidentally set it on fire by propping it up on the reading desk backboard and failing to note proximity of candle in brass mortar to left. Because I'm a genius.
So, this is what I pretty much settled on after finally finishing with the Consulting of My Maps and sorting through the kazillion variababbles of rail and air availability and cost and etc. I know it looks weird to be ducking in and out of Paris like this, but it really does appear to be very efficient to use it as a hub - flying out of it to Berlin and then working my way down Germany by train, taking Air Berlin from Munich to Vienna and then working my way up to Klosterneuberg and down to Salzburg, and then trains into Italy (thanking my stars that my manuscripts are north and close to each other- Mantua and Venice), then another quick and inexpensive flight from Venice to Paris, dip down to Chartres and then trains up through northern France and Belgium, fly from Brussels into London, do a great swooping counterclockwise arc on the trains and end up back in London, then fly to Paris to meet Julia for our trip together to Moscow and St. Petersburg, then back to Paris and home again, home again, jiggety jog. Sounds all short and tidy, but it's going to be long and probably a "growth experience" - I'll be on the bounce and living out of a carry-on for four months. Most of May is planned for Oxford - there's a week in there in which there's this whole theory that either both of my parents or just my mum will be there and we'll get a car and have hilarious hijinks getting around the Cotswolds while not having vehicular mishaps in re: that whole other side of the road thing plus evidently the fact that there IS no other side of the road in the country, just "the road" which is big enough for one (1) car and sometimes requiring one to put it in reverse for rather an awfully long time or possibly risk offroading in a rented Citroen or whatever, but I'm not counting on it. More than one too many rugs went *yoink* last semester to do that. If they don't show up I'll just have a nice break on my own, maybe go down to London early and pester owlfish and vitabeata for lunch dates and go to the BL
This is a list of my travel days. ** means there's an airplane involved. There may be considerably more airplanes. Air Berlin has wicked inexpensive puddlejumpers that go just about everywhere. But I like trains. I like prop planes a lot less. We'll see.
Saint Omer-Bruges (for Easter, yay!)
I will then sleep for two weeks. And then I'll probably spend the summer in Kansas. I have a yen to take my camera out to some of the big pow-wows and rodeos and summer festivals and fairs. And I think I'll be in the mood to just really roll around in the Kansasy Kansasness of Kansas and some country music and getting some cowshit and hay bricked up on the bottom my ranch boots while I clamber around livestock fences and eating funnel cakes and gawping at hot men riding bulls and/or dancing around with their shirts off to drum music. After all that Euroculture, you know. There's only so much violin music and superold architecture one woman can take.
I am still trying to get things sorted out with the travel office at the university. I'm apprehensive, of course - I have no idea how long getting things arranged is going to take (way too long so far), or how long it will take for the walkin' money percentage of the fellowship gets disbursed to my bank account. But somehow I think that will all get sorted out. Working in France gave me some valuable perspective: if it doesn't involve a two-month delay and dealing with psychotic people, it's a win. No big. Ha.
Lots to do. Not as much time left as I thought I had. I have no idea what I was thinking when I speculated that I'd leave in March. Not even remotely possible to do 50 manuscripts at 26 archives in 6 countries in three months. Nope. Not happening. Even if you got improbably lucky and didn't have to spend half of your first day doing paperwork and could figure one day per manuscript (these are huge beasties), that's 50 days of open-library plus 24 travel days: 74 days plus the Sundays wedged in there plus national holidays for Good Friday and Easter Monday and the UK thing with "first and last Monday of May" and god knows what else I haven't found out about yet, also the libraries will be closing earlier from 13 March-25 April in the UK... is 89 days. So I guess you could do it, going absolutely flat-out balls-to-the-wall hard and having one morning a week to catch your breath and get some extra sleep. HA. I am lightly padding travel time in and out of the larger archives on account of invariable load of paperwork, one week for personal travel, and a week of OH SHIT days. Because you *know* that shit is going to happen. Trains are going to get delayed, or there's going to be a strike, or one could Meet with Misadventure On the Road sort of thing. Probably not. Probably I'll send those extra days barricaded into various hotel rooms watching hypmotizing FashionTV while eating weird Euro-flavor potato chips.