Yippee!! We have received the tour details and bookings for the Nordic Aurora Safari Tour. This means that the final countdown has begun. 70 days until we leave.

We fly from Durban on 19 December to Abu Dabi for a 2 hour stopover and then on to Oslo where we arrive at midday on 20 December. From Durban’s heat and humidity to sub-zero temperatures. Thank you to our daughter & son-in-law who have ensured that we have the right clothing.

It has been a long time coming and yet the time has just flown by. The only 2 tasks we have left to do are to apply for our Schengen Visas and to book our sleeping compartment on the train from Narvik, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden on 29/30 December. Neither of these can be done more than 60 – 90 days in advance. We had to wait for the tour details (which you can check out here) from Nordic Visitor before we could apply for the visas and also to wait for the right dates to spread payments.

As I have said previously, one of the things to be produced is a detailed, confirmed itinerary with all bookings paid for. This is why we are so pleased to have this tour confirmation from the Travel Operator. Then again it is one of the things that really gets me angry. We go to all the trouble of applying for the visa and give them documentation about our lives and there are thousands who manage to enter countries with absolutely no documentation at all and they often get better treatment.

I am not sure if I have told you about a friend of mine and the treatment she and her husband received in the UK a few years ago. She is and her late husband was a British citizen. While in the UK he fell very ill and was admitted to the ICU of a local hospital. They had to pay approximately R30 000 in hospital fees and when she enquired why this was the case as they are British citizens she was told that it was because they do not reside in the UK. Then the clerk told her that if she had been an asylum seeker or similar her husband would have received free treatment!!!

Well, we have paid everything now even though the Rand/Euro is fluctuating like mad. It seems that even when we wait for a ‘good’ day, as soon as we are ready to actually make the payment – zoom – the exchange rate soars. We are just so grateful for our blessings and the ability to pay for our holidays. It means that I can indulge in one of my real passions – travel.

Well that is where we are now. All decisions made but a bit in limbo as we need to gather together all the paperwork for the visas, fill in forms on–line and make an appointment with the Spanish Embassy representatives in Durban.

Oooh, so exciting

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