A little over two weeks ago my friend Ben over at Free Refills reached the halfway point of his trek across Western Europe and published a post about it. Reading his work got me thinking about the three overseas trips I’ve taken and I decided to find out where the halfway points of each of them were. Looking over my notebooks from those journeys and doing some calculations, I found the three halfway points and it turns out that all of them occurred at or close to notable transition points in their respective trips. Today I’ll share some of details of each one.
After several weeks of marching all over Spain, I was passing through Southern France on my way to Italy and later to Eastern Europe. To bridge the gap between Barcelona and Milan I stopped for three nights in Avignon to recharge and explore the Provence region of France. In Avignon I checked out the city’s famed broken bridge and the Palace of the Popes, and while I was in the region I also paid a visit to nearby Arles and Pont du Gard. The smaller cities of Provence were a nice relief from the hectic, nonstop tourism I partook of in Barcelona and helped get me ready for the second half of my trip. As I was walking around Avignon one day it got incredibly windy and it retrospect maybe that sort of symbolic for where I was in my journey. The winds of change were blowing and I was about to leave the tranquility of that part of Provence and jump back into the sightseeing blitzkrieg when I got to Italy.
In 2015 I dived deeper into the Balkans that I had done in 2012 and along with the new places I journeyed to there were a couple of familiar ones I revisited. Split was one of those familiar places, and I had a particular reason to be back there. In 2012 I had cut my foot and bled a little bit while going for a swim in the Adriatic Sea. I wasn’t about to let the sea take my blood and get the last word on me, so in 2015 I went for another swim and this time emerged from the water unscathed and victorious. Once I finished up in Split I would be heading down to Dubrovnik, and then I’d be taking a dive into the Islamic world—first by venturing into Bosnia and then by spending five days in Istanbul. After that I’d be flying to Madrid to spend most of the rest of my journey wandering around Spain.
More so than with 2012 and 2015 I was fairly cognizant of the fact that I had hit the halfway point of my time in Japan and Korea when I arrived in Osaka. I had just finished my time in Kyoto and once I was done with Osaka I’d be continuing my journey west, leaving behind the core section of Japan that sees most of the country’s tourism. Had my trip to Asia been the length of either of my two times in Europe I’d still have plenty of days ahead of me at that point, but my schedule unfortunately didn’t allow for as long a visit and my time was running out. In spite of this, I think my sightseeing slowed down just a touch while I was in Osaka. I certainly did plenty of things, like strolling through Dotonbori, taking a selfie with the Glico Running Man, eating some takoyaki, stopping by the castle and the aquarium, and I even paid a visit to nearby Nara, but compared to Tokyo or Kyoto my foot wasn’t pushing down on the throttle quite as hard.