Complex Scandinavia

The Blog has been a bit quiet recently, but it’s not because I haven’t been busy. I have been prepping up for my next Tour, the Grand Artic Circle Explorer…

21 Days, 5 Countries, 15 Hotels, 18 Trains & 3 Ferries – There’s also a few coach transits, but I haven’t got around to counting them yet. As you can imagine, this feels a bit like an exam for Tour Managers in terms of the complexity of the arrangements and I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little bit nervous. I have Rail Tickets filed away day by day in plastic wallets, Rail seating slips, Vouchers for services, Customer Questionnaires, Welcome Letters, Menu choice letters, Baggage Tags & Hotel Rooming Lists. My suitcase is rather heavier than usual which is not what you actually want on a Tour that is all about mobility. Fortunately, I’ve managed to get some of the required information onto my iPad, but that doesn’t solve the problem completely.

Apart from all of this, what are the things that worry me a little…

  • Language(s) – I don’t speak any of them and the pronunciation is a bit of a minefield. I just learned today that the Flåm Railway is not pronounced ‘Flam’ but ‘Flom’. Clearly a little more homework is required here although English is widely spoken in the area (but that’s not the point)
  • Weather – What to expect ? The answer is almost everything but one thing is for certain; it will rain. I just need the rain to be the kind of rain that doesn’t obscure the view.
  • Clothing – I’ve decided that my trusty Rab down jacket will be the best. It’s waterproof (they say), has a hood and is down filled in case it gets chilly when we get up North. I’ve also got hiking boots and a sweater. My usual sartorial elegance may have to be sacrificed on the altar of practicality. So it goes, I guess.
  • Vices – My normal practice on Tour of enjoying a Whisky & Cigar before bed is going to be a bit banjaxed by the prices of both in Scandinavia. I may have to take them both with me, which makes me a bit of a sad person but I refuse to turn this Tour into a branch meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Fortunately, the pay-off should be some of the most spectacular scenery that you can see on a rail journey anywhere in the world. The video below is an example of what to expect.

I’ll be posting daily updates to Twitter & Facebook as usual and I’ll try and blog when possible, but this will depend on internet connectivity and available free time. We leave on Sunday morning, departing from St. Pancras to Brussels and then on to Bremen where we overnight. I’ll post from there.

BTW Did I mention that we have a morning cruise along a Fjord?

7 Replies to “Complex Scandinavia”

  1. Looking forward to your blog as doing this trip next July – hope you will be on that one as we loved your trip across America!

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  2. oh wow, I will be living vicariously through your posts. You most definitely need to have your stash with you…I became greatly skilled at sniffing out booze in Morocco where it is not the done thing. Safe travels

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  3. Looks & sounds wonderful Tim. I’m sure all your prep will pay off.
    Writing this on Eurostar en route back from Germany & Poland. I sympathise with the language challenge – could just about manage “dva priwo” in Poland!
    Bon chance!!

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