As always, time just flies when one is busy and has a very exciting trip to plan.

I have had people say to me that it is so early to do all this but, as said before, having had some unexpected occurrences and missing out on some things we have planned to see due to not doing all the homework, I am doing everything I can now. Of course, that does not mean we will forget to “Expect the Unexpected”. 

I have had further contact with Bjarni, our travel agent, to get absolute confirmation on what they will book and arrange and he added something which is exciting. Because of being on the tour which includes Christmas Day, we get an extra day which will be spent in Trondheim before we fly to Tromsø. No extra cost to us so really exciting.

Now that those dates are confirmed I have been working on finding our accommodation in Southern Spain near Malaga & Marbella. We are choosing this area because it is near Gibraltar and we plan to visit ‘The Rock’. I have been there and very keen to see it again as I found it a fascinating place. It will be a first time for Trevor. We will be using our Club Points for this week long stay before returning home so I am really happy that we have Sheldon in the International Bookings of the Club as he seems to be on the ball. The first place I requested him to see if he could secure a booking he wrote back and said that he did not feel it was right for us as it has a lot of stairs and it is on hilly ground.

Knowing our probable dates for the trip, I was able to ask Teresa Smith, Travel Agent and owner of 2Travel in Durban North, to start looking for suitable flights for us to consider. I visited the Spanish Embassy site to confirm that there are sufficient blank pages in my passport for them to place a visa in it. This is an important issue as people have been turned away from airports as their passports do not meet the requirements for the number of blank pages. Each country has its own specifications so it is important to check if you are unsure and you have just a few pages left. For example – South Africa requires 2 pages, Germany – 4 pages and Spain just 1 so do check well in advance because it may take time to get a new passport. Many countries are now refusing temporary documents except in certain circumstances due to fraudulent paperwork.

I have also continued to add to my spreadsheets – itinerary, costs, list of ‘things to do and details of flights, coaches, trains and other transport – and it gets more exciting each time something is added. Some might think that I am a bit over-the-top in my preparation but I have been caught too many times with things which could have been no problem if we had done more research on what we wanted to do. For example: arriving in Spa, Belgium for the specific purpose of visiting the race track but not confirming that we could get there on a Sunday. It turned out that not even the taxis worked on Sundays except for an exorbitant price. It was another of those times that we had to say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” which is just what we did by enjoying doing things in Spa itself. We ended up having a very interesting day.

That is what travelling is all about. Everything you are doing is new anyway so if Plan A can’t happen change to Plan B and discover something else.