SEE THE WORLD plan.
Weddings, no visa, chaos at work, well, something's gotta take a back seat. But I'm not going to see all 100 countries before I die by just sitting around am I?
So. Back to focusing on the plan. I'm currently in the process of sorting out a Schengen visa (with a little advice from friends and lovely strangers who have both suggested I go through France as they're the nicest and give longer visas apparently) and then I realised being married came with a surprising little perk: Enter the EU SPOUSAL VISA.
Instead of having to give the embassy a rainforest-sized stack of paperwork, I only have to show them our marriage certificate, the Brit's passport an three photos. No hotel bookings or flights or other crap, just those three important things - and apparently they usually give me a year-long visa!
Just for being married to a Brit. Good Lord my husband is so goddamn useful. And beautiful.
The Dove (with her little British passport) is coming over in July/August, so as I do, I opened up a Google map and set about looking at new places my Schengen hasn't taken me before. Research.
We are planning one of our annual trips, and was hoping to do one of the ex-communist, cray, insane noone-else-wants-to-ever-go-there-but-we-love-them countries, but none of them are on fucking Schengen. Yet.
Bosnia? No. Serbia? No. Bulgaria? Pending approval. Romania? Pending approval. Macedonia? No. Albania? No.
They all need separate visas. Which I just haven't the time, money or capacity to do. I'm trying to save for a house in Primrose fucking Hill, for Christ's sake.
So we are choosing a Schengen country that we both haven't been or seen yet. Ref. my picture above.
Red ticks where I've been, yellow ticks random ex-communist countries I NEED to go and pink means these are Schengen places I haven't yet been.
I have been to pretty much all of the Schengen countries (high fives!), bar just the following:
Iceland - northern lights, country is run on thermal energy so lots of hot springs and sauna vaabs, maybe hit up a Bjork concert dressed as swans?
Finland - Helsinki is the new Berlin. Some Russian told me that in an Estonian bar, so the source isn't a reliable one. We almost went last year, but were too hungover to climb aboard the ferry to cross the Baltic Sea.
Cyprus - still teetering on the brink of economic collapse. Wouldn't be a great holiday if we were there when it finally happened.
Slovenia - Apparently Lljubljana is not shit. In fact it's the shit. And is listed up there with Sarajevo as the new cultural city of the year or something.
Malta - come to Mama. My paternal grandmother was born here, and according to Dove, her mother nearly married a hairdresser here called Manuel until her mother intervened. Deemed 'the most Mediterranean place on Earth' (by the Maltese Tourist Board, to be fair). Beaches. Cobbled streets. Amazing food. We could get drunk on the beach all. Day. Long.
And given I still haven't had nearly enough sunshine this year - our thoughts were uninimous:
Let's go to fucking Malta. And find Manuel and your grandmother's birthplace.
We are 'gnising it as we speak. It's not Ukraine, sure. But it'll definitely do.
That'll be country 48. Just after country 47, Singapore, which we will go to via honeymoon to Borneo. (Borneo doesn't count as a new country for me; we are going to the Malaysian side, and I've been to Malaysia. The Indonesian side of Borneo is practically jungle and pirates, and the honeymoon company won't take us there. Pussies.)
I guess the rest of the beautiful stark, grey, undiscovered Eastern Bloc is going to have to wait until I'm actually British.