If you are reading this week’s “DWW” on-line, as you bask in the balmy breeze coming off the Caribbean, you’re already doing your 2023 travels. However, if you’re taking a break from removing what the snow plow deposited at the end of the driveway, read on.
How does this sound for a getaway trip as soon as the tulips break free of their wintery prison? “Visit these five places this summer: Moscow – Odessa – Alexandria – Athens – Verona. Round trip transportation costs from the starting point of your choice: less than $200.00. all taxes included.”
Are you picturing Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, Moskva River? Maybe a chance to see Russia’s President Vladolf Poutine as he furtively scurries from one staff meeting to another. If his army can still muster an operative tank that has not been sent on a shameful mission to a foreign country, you might witness some sort of parade.
Then, in your mind continue the tour I’ve outlined. Odessa, Ukraine’s seaport city on the Black Sea. At time of press, Odessa’s streets are dominated by Russian visitors, eagerly searching for refrigerators and washing machines to take home with them, but there are locals who are seeing to it that they will leave as soon as possible.
On to the next place on the itinerary you are picturing, Alexandria. It is the largest city on the Mediterranean. Despite being a place of industry and connected to the natural gas and oil pipelines from the Suez, it is quite popular with tourists.
You need not be told that the next whistle stop on the tour offered is the largest city in Greece. It attracted over 306 million visitors in 2017. They came to see the Parthenon perched atop the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus and to stroll on the Plaka and the ancient Agora.
Finally, northern Italy’s Verona. You could be among the 25,000 spectators watching the gladiator games in the Roman arena, or witness a presentation in its amphitheater.
You complain that inflation has crimped your discretionary vacation expectations. Even though you have just pictured all of these sights in your imagination and your tentative 2023 travel plan, let me let you in on a secret: if you drive, you could visit Moscow, Odessa, Alexandria, Athens and Verona in Eastern Ontario, all in one day. Despite the soaring cost of filling the gas tank of the family’s Honda, it’ll cost you much less than the other side of the Atlantic version of the tour.
Here’s how: take out your Ontario road map (1:700,000, one cm = seven km scale). Moscow is on cty. rd. 6, north of Kingston, Odessa is only 20 km south. Alexandria is on Ont. 34 and 43, about 220 km NE. Backtrack to Athens, 140 km. Finally, Verona, on cty. rd., 70 km away. Bob’s yer uncle! You do the sums to get the total driving distance.
It could be done in a one-day drive, but be sure to pack a lunch.