Рето в Берн (Reto in Berne)

Schutzengel - guardian angel

This was visa week. Whew – lots of traveling and queueing. But I got all the necessary documents for the start of my trip. My passport currently contains the visa for Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. I still need to decide where to get the Chinese one (Zurich, Almaty or Ulanbataar).

Most notably, the Mongolian visa will be done while staying in Irkutsk, since the Embassy here in Switzerland is just too far away (sic!).

Under normal circumstances, I might try to send the Mongolian application by mail – but Easter holiday is taking away valuable processing time at the Embassy. Moreover, since I’ll be moving out from my current flat the week after, there is an obvious and serious risk of not receiving my passport back in time before leaving.

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Visa, Exchange Rates and Global SIM cards…

Red Tape

Parts of my upcoming journey will cross Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia within six weeks before arriving in China. That gives a total of seven tourist/transit visa to obtain. Most of the travel guidebooks and online blogs from other travelers rightly talk about the “visa hell” when visiting Central Asia (or: the “Stans”).

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Should I take the laptop – yes or no?

Technology gear to carry around

The question whether to take a laptop computer on a round-the-world-trip will be answered by anyone you ask in a different way. After reading through a lot of advice on travel forums, I guess it comes – for me – down to answering a couple of questions.

  • How long is the journey?
  • Are overnight stays planned mostly in individual hotel rooms?
  • Blogging a lot?
  • Need to edit photographs?
  • Have a light / small laptop?
  • Renounce to a laptop in case of loss or theft?

There are actually a couple of answers which might point in favor of lugging my old, bulky Acer Travelmate 2300 (3kgs) with me. It is so old, that I don’t really mind anyone stealing it. But then, what’s the point of bringing it along if I don’t mind not having it anymore. Yes, I like to crop, edit and resize photographs – so that my shots will look perfect when uploading them to the blog. But do I really want to spend my time in the evening – somewhere in the Mongolian desert for example – editing pictures?

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