Last night I dreamed that I was leaving and my mom took me to the airport to get my flight, but I couldn't find my ticket, then I did, but it was attached to other similar things--they were all like transparent honey packages, but with ticket info on them--and I couldn't figure out which was the right one. When I did, it turned out that I had only a few minutes to get to the gate and, of course, I was a LONG way away and the counter help tried but couldn't, although they thought the plane might be late. Then I realized I'd taken the fob for the car. And I was only half-packed. But, frantic as I was, I realized that I could solve the problems--send the fob back, buy clothes overseas. Then I woke up and thought, "Oh, I'm having a pre-travel anxiety dream right on schedule. How interesting!"
Here's the final plan:
Leave San Francisco on June 19, arrive in London early in the morning of June 20. Hang out in London til afternoon, then take the Chunnel train to Paris, where my parents' friend, Joseph will meet me and take me to dinner. I'll stay with him that night and the next. June 21, I'll hang out in Paris, then meet Maja for dinner. Very early the next morning, I'll take the train for Karlsruhe, Germany, and from there to Hamburg. It's a clunky way to go, but otherwise I have to go through countries for which I have no rail pass. And I don't really mind--I'll be seeing a pretty good chunk of Germany as I go.
I spend the weekend and Monday with Ilka and her new husband Heiko. Tuesday morning, June 26, I go to Bremen, where Miriam picks me up. On Wednesday, I'll observe her leading a meeting for work. Then Thursday morning, we take the train for Berlin, where we'll stay with her godmother until Sunday evening, July 1. Then I take the train to Nuremberg, meeting Maja and her mother. We'll stay there a day or two, then take the train to Munich, where I'll meet her father, as well. On July 4, I'll take the overnight train from Munich to Paris. That afternoon (July 5), back on the Chunnel train to London, where I meet my parents for dinner (my dad has a conference in Wales that ends that same day and they'll be heading through London on the way to visit friends in Scotland) and a few hours of rest before I board the plane for Israel VERY early on July 6.
I'll go directly from Ben Gurion airport to my single dorm room at the University of Haifa. Classes begin on Sunday, July 8, and end on August 2. In addition to the Ulpan (and I'm really looking forward to being immersed in Hebrew), the program includes many side trips--to Jerusalem, to the Galilee and Tzfat, and I can't remember where else. But I haven't made plans for my last couple of weeks because I figure it will be easier to do when I'm there and have talked to people. In the meantime, I've gotten names of friends of friends and family, so we'll see...