Travel experiment with the iPad

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions - Site Assistance' started by Howard9999, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    I have been on eight extended bicycle tours (lifetime total) plus many shorter trips. My ninth tour begins next week. I am on my way to Hungary and the Balkans for a month.

    Last year, I bicycled from Warsaw to Prague to Krakow to Budapest. There are other beautiful places in between which I also visited, and some not-so-beautiful ones as well (Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, etc.).

    On my journey last year, I carried the latest Macintosh Powerbook. At the end of the summer, I left my bicycle in the care of a hostel owner named Attila the Hungarian. Next week, I return to Budapest. Hopefully, my bike has been safe in Attila's care, and I can continue my journey.

    This year, I am bringing the iPad on my travels instead. I have vowed that this year, I am not going to buy any paper maps. Instead, I am going to download all the maps that I need onto my iPad and navigate exclusively with my iPad:

    Budapest, Baleton, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Trieste, Split, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Belgrade, and finally back to Budapest.

    I have cannibalized parts from several different bicycle panniers to create a new front handlebar bag that is deep enough to hold my iPad.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  2. tdmsu
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    tdmsu iPad Fan

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    Sounds like a cool journey and experiment. Please keep us updated on your progress.
  3. Yarrow
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    Yarrow iPF Novice

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    Photos

    Would be good if you could post some photos including one of your iPad carrier!!!
  4. Purpleorchid
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    Purpleorchid iPad Enthusiast

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    Very nice! Safe travels!
  5. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    Will you be using 3G on this magnificent trip?
  6. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    Old Guy Travels Like He's Still Young

    I have the 64GB iPad without 3G. I'm sure that my next iPad will have 3G, but I felt that I would be doing most of my browsing in places with wireless access. In the kind of places that I travel to, 3G access is not very dependable. One of the most difficult parts of planning my route was figuring out where there are even functioning roads to get in and out of Bosnia.

    I know from my experiences last summer that although Americans don't go very deep into Europe, western Europeans and Australians do. Wireless is often free at cafes and restaurants, and almost mandatory at hotels and hostels. It never works very well. You often have to wander around to find a spot with a functioning network.

    One night last summer in a Polish industrial town, I stayed at a still functioning "Communist Hotel" with no wireless network. I walked out into the Stalinist era bloky (apartment blocks) and searched until I found an unprotected network. I got bitten by lots of mosquitoes sitting outside using my Mac.

    Although I am reasonably affluent and I could stay in swankier places, I actually prefer staying in hostels, and many other middle aged travelers do the same. After a few weeks on the road, I develop a good tan. I wear brightly colored polyester shirts every day so that motorists won't hit me. After a few weeks of riding 50-75 miles every day, I become really fit, and I actually start to believe in my own head that I am half my age. That's why traveling is so much fun.

    This is the BackPack Guesthouse in Budapest, where I ended my trip last summer, and where I will begin my trip this summer. Attila says he's happy to keep my bike again next winter, so I am starting and ending my trip once again in Budapest. It's a sprawling old house, a maze of rooms with a garden in back. See this picture? I'm the guy in the red shirt, sitting next to a beautiful Ozzie in a toga. Do I look like I'm having fun?

    http://www.backpackbudapest.hu/pictures/hostel_life/hostel_life_006.jpg

    I'm not going to bother with a sleeping bag this summer, so my gear will be light and compact, especially with the iPad replacing guidebooks and maps.

    When I first traveled by bicycle in the 1980s, you needed books, maps, tents, and stoves. Hostels were called youth hostels, and were often run by former nazis who demanded that you turn out the lights by 9:45 pm. Instead, you stayed in your tent, in a campground full of German teenagers who always ran around in their underwear.

    Today, every popular tourist city in central Europe has hostels, most of which are organized as coed dormitories. They always have wireless, but it doesn't usually work very well. The further east you go, the cheaper the hostels get and the less reliable the wireless is.

    The former Yugoslav republics vary a lot, from Slovenia, which was always called the Switzerland of Yugoslavia, to Bosnia, which is isolated and poor, not to mention Kosovo. I won't be going south of Montenegro. I expect that both Montenegro and Bosnia will be problematic for wireless access.

    Rough outline:

    August 3: Fly JFK to Budapest
    August 4-7: Budapest
    August 8-9: Lake Baleton, Hungary
    August 10: Nagykaniza, Hungary
    August 11-12: Zagreb, Croatia
    August 13-14: Ljublijana, Slovenia
    August 15: Trieste, Italy
    August 16: Rijeka, Croatia
    August 17: Zadar (by ferry)
    August 18: Split, Croatia
    August 19: Ploče, Croatia
    August 20-21: Dubrovnik, Croatia
    August 22: Montenegro
    August 23: Bosnia
    August 24: Sarajevo
    August 25: Serbia
    August 26-28: Belgrade
    August 29-30: Hungary again
    August 31: Final night in Budapest
    September 1: Fly back to JFK

    On Saturday, I do not travel and I stay in some place where there is or once was a Jewish community. I eat kosher veggie pescatarian food.

    That's my trip in a nutshell.

    Don't expect me to blog or write very much. There just isn't enough time to do that on the road.

    Howard9999
  7. Studor13
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    Go west young man

    If you want to do something really special in Slovenia, come over to Bohinj. You can put your bike on a train (maybe even a bus) from Ljubljana.

    I'm an Australian and I live here with my Slovene wife in a small village named Studor.

    Bohinj is truly a magical place, although a bit crowded during summer.

    We have a hostel in Studor (I can't link it but it has studor13.si ) and without too much exaggeration it is the best place this side of the solar system. No, really.

    I'm also interested in your iPad. I'm dying waiting to get one and might just have to go over to Austria to get it.

    Yes, we have free Wi-Fi and I would love to see this baby in the flesh.

    If you can't make it over here, I recommend the Celica hostel in LJ. It's sure to be full though, so book well ahead.
  8. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    Thank you. Studor/Bohinj sounds like a great plan, but it is one day off my route. Is your hostel anything like the Ginger Monkey in the Tatry mountains in Slovakia? I was there last August for four days.

    I had already received a recommendation for the Celica Hostel from somebody I met traveling last year. (The Prison Hostel, as she put it.) I just entered a reservation. I'll be there August 13-14.

    If I don't get to Studor/Bohinj in 2010, I have already made arrangements to store the bike again in Budapest this winter, so maybe 2011, although 2011 is more likely to be a spring trip, which would mean no mountainous areas.

    Do you have a recommendation for Trieste or Rijeka?

    How many Americans come to Bohinj? Most Americans wouldn't be able to tell you on a map which one is Slovenia and which one is Slovakia.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  9. Hasty
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    Hasty iPad Ninja

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    Wonder if there is a small generator you could attach to the wheels to keep your pad fully charged....

    Sounds like a great trip ahead of you. Have fun.
  10. Studor13
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    Studor13 iPF Novice

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    Maybe in the spring

    Howard, from what I understand, the Ginger monkey is in the mountains.

    We are in the valley, but the Julian alps can be seen from our place. The highest mountain in Slovenia - Triglav (2864m) is about 10km as the crow flies.

    I don't have any recommendations for Trieste and Rijeka but really suggest that you somehow make a trip and at least see Bled. It's the one with the little church on the one and only island in Slovenia.

    Bohinj (and us) are 25km from Bled. It's flat and as I said you can put your bike on the train if you want to save some legs.

    So many things to do, so little time....
  11. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    I arrived in Budapest this morning. I slept all afternoon.

    I came to the conclusion that my iPad handlebar bag was too much weight too high up, that the bike would not ride well. So I am using a smaller conventional handlebar bag, and I will put the iPad in my panniers.
  12. Howard9999
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    Howard9999 iPF Novice

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    I am pleased so far with the iPad as a travel tool. The available maps are not nearly as detailed as printed maps, and sometimes misleading, but I have managed so far. I changed my route to skip Zagreb and go directly from Hungary to Slovenia. It is raining today, but the weather report on my iPad weather app says that tomorrow will be sunny here and Monday will be sunny on the Dalmation coast.

    People are raving about the beauty of both Bohinj and Bled, but I don't have time if I am going to both Montenegro and Bosnia. Always save something for your next trip when you travel.

    Howard

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