We have decided!! We are off to see the Northern Lights, The Aurora in December 2015.
Time to start the preparations. That’s right, there is a lot to do and pay!
I have decided to begin planning early and keep you updated as I go through all the steps I have learnt to follow to be as prepared as possible. No amount of planning though, can guarantee that there will be no hitches along the way. Hence my tagline Expect the Unexpected.
Step 1. Get to know the destination. I printed out a map of Norway which is the country in which we will be starting our latest adventure. Being a little over 60, I am rather old-fashioned and find it so much easier to work with printed documents than on the computer alone. This map shows clearly where we will be going and makes the idea more real. In fact, I have included a map of Sweden with the printout as once our tour of Norway is completed we plan to travel through Sweden by train. As with all documents, no matter whether they will be going with us or not, the map is filed in a lever-arch file for easy regular reference.
Our preferred tour, Northern Lights Safari, is a 9 day train, ship and coach tour which includes the Northern Lights and dog sledding. In the detail of the itinerary, there was a question asking for the date on which we would like to start the tour. Having checked a number of websites about The Aurora, I learnt that the experts claim that the best time to see it is on the date of the Winter Solstice, 23 December. Based on that information we have decided to go on a tour which leaves Oslo on 21 December 2015 and we will be in Tromso, the most northern town in Norway, on 26 Dec. This was confirmed by Bjarni Ólafur Eiríksson who will be our tour operator contact if we use this company.
Step 2. Prepare 3 spreadsheets – 1 each for expenses (not forgetting all those indirect costs), the 2nd for booked tickets and accommodation and the the 3rd will include our itinerary with all the contact details.
Step 3. Have conversations with people who have visited the Scandinavian countries and learn as much as possible. One of my sisters has a friend in Sweden so we will note her contact details in case we are in her area when she is at home.
Not a planned step, but yesterday at a breakfast we attended, I met Teresa Smith, my friendly, personal tour operator who has 30 years experience in the travel business – from air hostess to working in a travel company to having her own travel company called 2travel. She booked our flights for our tour to E. Europe last September/October. I was just going to ask her to look at suitable flights but she says that she has an excellent contact in London who books N. Lights tours so she is going to consider all the aspects and get back to me. If you want to contact Teresa her e-mail is Teresa@2travel.co.za
That’s all (for now) Folks – apologies to Disney Films