This summer (well in 3 weeks time!) the adventure begins. 4 months on the road, exploring beautiful countries by foot, bus and train; including Norway, Russia and Croatia. Here’s the plan:
#1 ICELAND – Adam turned 21 at the beginning of January, so I chose to get him a trip to Iceland as it is somewhere we have always both wanted to visit. This will be my first stop! We have a hired a very cute little car, and will be completing a 5 day road trip along the southern edge of the country. Stopping to check out the amazing waterfalls, glaciers and doing a spot of whale watching! Our last day will be spent chilling in the Blue Lagoon, before flying back to London.
#2 DENMARK – After spending a few days back in London with Adam, and saying final ‘see you laters’, I will fly to Copenhagen. Staying in a Hostel called ‘Sleep in Heaven’ (fingers crossed it actually is as good as its name!), I will spend the next week exploring this gorgeous city and its surrounding areas. Super excited to try some of the beers this part of the world is famed for and the amazing breakfasts. The Changing of the Guard at the Amalienborg Palace is also on the list for things to do!
#3 SWEDEN – My first point of call here will be Linkoping, catching a train direct from Copenhagen (that’s the plan anyway!). We are extremely lucky to have family friends in this area, so I will be meeting them for this next week or so in my trip. With them I will visit Vastervik – a small city on the east coast – before heading to Stockholm for a week, and then hopefully further North. Leaving them here, I will then get a train across to Gothenburg on the other side of Sweden, which I have heard is amazing for its architecture. 4-5 days here, and that is Sweden complete!
#4 NORWAY – A train from Gothenburg will take me straight into Oslo, Norway’s capital. There will be no rest here; I plan to travel straight up to Flam, following what is meant to be one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. I will stay in this tiny village before heading on to Bergen – one of Norways larger cities. Here, I plan to hike to Trolltunga, which I am SO excited about. It will be hard work taking 10 hours up and down, but totally worth it for the views! A similar plan will follow this as I then head south to Stavanger to hike up to Kjeragbolten. I hope that after this trip I will also be able to pronounce these names properly! Following the south coast, stopping off at Kristiansand, I will make my way back to Oslo, getting to then explore the city. Trains will be my main mode of transport for this leg using a One Country Interrail Pass.
#5 FINLAND – I will be catching a flight to make the hop over from Oslo to Helsinki. A long bus or train journey awaits (this will be decided on route) straight up into the Lapland region. On the look out for Santa and his reindeer I will be staying in his home town of Rovaniemi. Currently my plan is a little vague for this region, but I enjoy the freedom of being able to choose where to go as I travel. I really hope to find the little village of Kemi, which is twinned with my current home-town of Newtownards! From the North, I will head back to Helsinki in order to catch an over night train into Russia.
#6 RUSSIA – Arriving in St.Petersburg I will meet my Dad, who will be joining me here for the next week. I imagine by this point it will be lush to see a friendly face again! We will be spending a few days in St.P before catching an over night train (so as not to waist any of the day time travelling) to Moscow. After doing the main touristy things, hopefully discovering some hidden treasures and buying ourselves the classic fur hat, we will part ways. Dad will fly home, and I will catch a fly to my next stop: Croatia!
#7 CROATIA – This is definitely one of the countries I am more excited about. I have heard the coast line is breathtaking. I arrive into Split in the south of the country. Staying south, the plan is to do a bit of Island hopping: spending days on the beach, exploring small towns, eating amazing seafood and doing some snorkelling (and of course topping up my tan!). I then head north, stopping to visit the ‘Plitvice Lakes National Park’ before reaching Rijeka. More Island hopping and snorkelling will then happen, hopefully with the added bonus of dolphin watching. The final leg of my Croatia journey will be to visit the capital Zagreb.
#8 HUNGARY – My hopes and ambitions for this part of the trip haven’t quite materialised yet, but will on the road. I definitely will be visiting Budapest, spending probably a few days exploring the city. You will have to stay tuned for this part.
#9 AUSTRIA – Vienna will be my next home, travelling by bus from Budapest. Austria is a country I know little about, but somewhere I look forward to learning loads. I currently am planning only a short visit with hopes of returning for a longer period of time in the future.
#10 ITALY – This one has been on my bucketlist for ages. Adam and I had plans to interrail Italy a number of years ago, but we were too young and poor at the time! I will be travelling straight into Venice from Vienna which I hope will be mind-blowing. My parents visited Venice a number of years ago, and their pictures we amazing. I will spend the remainder of my trip exploring this beautiful city and the surrounding coastal areas before heading home.
Currently my plans are vague for most places, I will make decisions as I travel giving me the freedom to extend my stays in some places if I am loving it, or cut it short if not! My accommodation will consist of a mixture of youth hostels and couch surfing. These will be booked and organised on the road. I plan to fly home at the end of August, I have maid-of-honour duties to do at home for my sister (yeaaayyy!) before her big day in October.
(BLUE – travel by air, GREEN – travel by land)