Not sure whether to say yippee, there are only 160 days until we leave or, oh no, still 160 days before we hop on the plane on the 1st leg of our trip to see the Northern Lights.  Things are gradually coming together.

Once again Bjarni, our travel agent, has surprised me. When I e-mailed him before my previous post he said that no bookings for the Aurora Safari Tour would be done until we had paid in full but just 2 days ago he wrote giving the names of the hotels we shall be staying at in Oslo and Bergen.  We have had the opportunity to look up their web pages and they both look very pleasant.  Also went on to Trip Advisor, an excellent, helpful and informative site, and am convinced that we will have a really great stay in each of these. It was also interesting to read comments by those who have already been on the Aurora Safari Tour and there are plenty of good reads.

What I like about Trip Advisor is that it puts in all the comments, good and bad and one can see various categories – singles, couples, families and groups. I should have checked comments by couples before making our Berlin booking last year. We stayed in a very nice hotel but it was definitely more for younger folk. No cupboard space except a small one next to the bed and what hangers there were did not cater at all to blouses or shirts. They were short pieces of thin wood in the shape of a bow. Then there were 3 geometrically-shaped hooks for hanging jeans, so we were told.  The hotel itself was spotless, well run and very friendly but we only saw employees who were probably under 25. It was the only place we stayed where there was good, free wi-fi  too.  

Back to what has been planned so far. As I said above, our hotels for Oslo & Bergen are now booked and from the comments on Trip Advisor, the good news is that they are very close to the station. I have also made bookings at hotels for our self-travel plans from when we leave Tromsø, Northern Norway all the way down to Fuengirola, Southern Spain. All bookings done through and the majority of those  selected require no deposit, the cost is as at the day of booking and they allow one to cancel up to 6pm on the day of due arrival without any cost. 

There is only one city where I have not booked thus far, Barcelona where we plan to spend 3 nights. The reason I have not booked is because we like to have accommodation very close to the Central Station and I am trying to learn the name of the station as it would seem that there are 2 possibilities.  I have e-mailed the tourism bureau in Barcelona and am awaiting their reply. All added to the spreadsheets too!

Once that is done all accommodation will be booked. Still a few things after that to do but will probably only be done from early September – pay balance of tour costs, apply for visas, order Eurail Pass (for Senior Citizens) and other bits and bobs.  Yaay!!!  Exciting!!!