It's more than one year from my last Hawaii trip, life is always busy, but anyhow you need to make your life amazing! I have a lot of debate on this trip, whether to go to these freezing places, or just stick with warmer area like Mexico, or even Spain. I make decision a few weeks ago, Scandinavia is places that I must go, so why not this winter? Okay, so I am planning the trip with my full strength, and putting the credit turmoil news on my side, I can tell you it's so hard to manage the trip plan, the free falling Dow's, the free falling USD, and thanksgiving shopping in these few weeks.
I always think that planning is the most amazing part in a trip, shop for better airfare, better hotel deal! You are going to lose a lot of fun when you become older and richer, as most of the ppl would rather join tour instead of spending months on planning. In my last few europe trips, I didn't book all the hotel before I went there, but this time I need to do a lot of booking, because it's so damn cold in those area, my wife will certainly kill me if we need to walk around in midnight to get a hotel room. Also, we will stay at hotel most of the days this time, no youth hostel anymore, this will lose some fun, I am still missing the 3-tiers dorm beds in Amsterdam, but you know....
Talk about the flight ticket, we are going to take Icelandair from New York JFK to Iceland, spend one night in Reykjavik. The next morning we will fly from Iceland to Stockholm Sweden, it start our trip in Stockholm, Ice hotel, Kemi ice breaking cruise, Santa Claus village, Helsinki, and perhaps a train trip to St Petersburg. The return flight will be from Helsinki back to JFK. The ticket is $585 per person, pretty good deal from Icelandair. The two ways flight between Helsinki / JFK by Finland air was about the same price (if you book earlier), I perfer to stopover in different places. So far I booked Ice hotel (usd $450/night, damn for the falling USD!!!!), the Sampo tour (euro 210). Those thing are expensive, but you know they are pretty much unique, and pretty much once in your lifetime, so I am willing to pay. Kemi have a similar ice hotel, but it will not open until Jan 08, so it didn't fit my trip. Also, on the sweden side border, there is another ice breaking cruise, again it will not operate until Apr/May timeframe, that company has a 2 weeks cruise to north pole, u will see polar bear, interesting huh? me too =)
Ready to go
Actually I just return from Iceland when I start to continue my journal, it's far more excited than I can imagine, in good ways or bad ways? let see. I did make some changes on my Itinerary, I gave up St. Petersbury because I just don't have time to organize all documents for the visa, the visa is $100 if I apply in NY, and the train ticket from Helsinki to St Petersburg is $80 euro each way (seasonal price). That's why it's not worthy to spend a couple hundreds dollar for 2 days in Russia, I would plan for any trip for Russia, as it deserve more! I ticked out St Petersbury, but we will go to Estonia, an historical country just 3 hours away from Helsinki. Alright, we are ready to go.
Exciting things happened in the beginning. We arrived Iceland in the morning around 6:30am, it was dark outside. We rented a car through holidayautos.com, it's about usd $130 for one day (compact auto transmission), the price is pretty good deal if I tell you the car was provded by Hertz, Hertz is right inside the airport. The services is good, even though I don't understand why Hertz can't provide a audio guide map to me, maybe I rented the car through holidayauto. We start our trip driving on the dark icey road, the road condition is far more better than new york. The road is straight and with clear sign, it took around 45min to reach the Reykjavik area. We are planning to take a golden circle tour, but we have trouble to read the map in dark, so we got lost. It's too not bad, we finally find out ways, we went pass