Tag Archives: trip to Europe

Exploring beauty of Norway in winter

Some time ago I participated in contest Norway.YourWay set by VisitNorway. My wish to be amongst 5 lucky persons to explore Norway this winter was great but I was not selected. The prize for the contest winners was great – 10 day trip with a lot of activities and adventures around Norway.

Well, it was already set in the rules for participation that 4 people will be selected from certain countries – UK, Germany, Spain and Netherlands. My hope was to be the one from ‘other European countries’. …not this time 😦 . Girl from Poland was chosen for this spot.

views of Norway

Travel destination - Norway

Anyway, this trip is about showing the world great outdoor travel  opportunities in  Norway during the winter. Norway.YourWay hava created a ‘trip of lifetime’ for participants. Lillehammer, Oslo, Bergen, Flam, Voss, Norefjell, Alesund, Tromso, Alta and North Cape are the places explorers are visiting (trip is going on right now Feb 18 – 27, 2011).

Adventure seekers are sharing with their travel experience &pictures on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. I found two of them very nice. I like Nancy’s blog NancyExpeditieNoorwegen  and VisitNorway Spanish branch blog. Even they are not in English, Google translation does wonders & pictures are wonderful 🙂

10 days is not a short trip to Norway. Not everybody will get a chance to do same route but you can get ideas about places you wish to visit in Norway. I see that if to divide this trip in two parts – southern and northern part of Norway, then there will be two wonderful journeys with a lot of sightseeing and physical activities. 

This Scandinavian country is very special and beautiful. I’ve been in Norway in spring  and in summertime, but now seeing these wonderful images from activities during wintertime I have great temptation to try it despite of cold weather outside.

Winter in Norwegian mountains

My favorite picture from Norwegian mountains

Cross country or downhill skiing, fishing in the sea and dog sledging are just a few activities provided for people getting to know Norway. Will see if 5 explorers and Norway.YourWay team will be lucky enough to find Northern Light.

Otherwise, enjoy the images from places Nancy and 4 other lucky explorers visited so far in Norway:)

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Travel ‘Jet Lag’ – best ways to handle it.

Traveling long distances comes with some excitement and new experiences. But there is something else that you have to deal with. While sun is shining bright your body still thinks that at home where it’s middle of night or early morning. Experienced travelers use the term ‘jet lag’ for this feeling. Mostly people feel exhausted in first days after arriving at far-away destinations.

In times when people where traveling more by car, train or even a horse, going to far away places took at least few days or even weeks. Human bodies had time to adapt to new conditions. Now we use air carriers a lot from getting place to place. It takes around 4 hours to go across the Europe; 7-8 hours from central Europe to US east cost or around 15 hours to far East countries. We cross different time zones without paying much attention to it.

Our bodies normally live in a 24-hour rhythm. While we sleep, the heart and breathing rates slow, the blood pressure drops, muscles relax and the mental and psychomotoric efficiency declines significantly. A rapid change to another location in another time zone disturbs phases in the human daily rhythm. Mainly we feel it as an interruption of usual cycles of sleeping and being awake.

Tiredness and slowed reactions combined with memory and concentration problems are the most frequent results. People can also suffer from headaches and a sense of nausea due to the interruption of their normal sleeping time. Therefore don’t plan a lot of physical activities in first two days after arrival.

Jet lag is more marked after an Eastbound flight than a Westbound one. The reason for this is that the human “inner clock” tends towards a rhythm of more than 24 hours. So if you fly from East to West (such as from Germany to the USA), the day is longer – which tends to suit the biological rhythm. Though is is kind of hard to stay awake for more than 20 hours. The human body adjusts to the new time zone about 20 percent faster than after an Eastbound flight (such as from France to Thailand), because flying East means ‘loosing’ several hours.

But from my personal experience I would say that going from Northern Europe to USA cases me more effects that coming back to Europe. Mostly it happens that in first day I would wake up at 4am and the add 30min every next day. So all the 7am clases at the seminars are ‘mine’ (which I wouldn’t do at home). But after a week in States I’m fine 🙂 Few times I’ve had headaches next morning after arrival.

More of travel cased fatigue you will feel if there are no direct flights and you need to take an additional segment before trans-continental flight. Therefore check the times, how long stop-overs are how much time you have. In European Airports 40min – 1hour is  good connection with no rush if you stay in transit area.

When planning a trip, pay attention to departure – arrival times. After several trips overseas now I prefer to pick the flights with arrival times at US destinations around 7pm. Well, since I live in a city with no direct overseas flights, I need to take an additional segment to Scandinavia or Germany in the morning. Total travel time is around 9 hours with some short stop-over. Few days before the trip I go to bed later than usual to get closer to new daily rhythm. No sleep during the flight (two meals, some moving around & in-flight movies help a lot to stay awake) but can go to sleep short after arrival.

When traveling from USA to Europe my suggestion would be to pick evening departures for transcontinental flights because your ‘inner clock’ will make you sleep during the flight and you’ll arrive at new destination in the morning. It’s easy to stay awake while daylight & if you move around more or less then there is no problem to ‘survive’ till evening. For this reason I never had any problems with sleep after eastbound flights. Of course airplane is not the best place for sleeping but it’s still better than stay up for 20 hours and arrive at European destination at 3am.

Hot Travel Destinations in 2011

Have you been wondering how one or other place suddenly become ‘hot destination’? I was but never got more or less reasonable answer. What comes to the nature – there are so many nice & beautiful places in the world. Almost every big city in Europe has some  great architecture and historical sites…

What are the reasons besides the regular travel destinations like New York, Paris or Rome suddenly Prague or Stockholm became popular? It is kind of funny but many people discovered Prague after ‘Mission Impossible’ with Tom Cruise was released or seeing ‘Lords of the Rings’ made many people wonder about New Zealand. The power of images is great and often films are the ones that makes us want to pack and head out to world.

But if  we look at the most popular destinations during last few years, Las Vegas, Cancun and Hawaii remained constants on the ten most popular domestic and international destination. Whether planning for Spring Break or looking ahead to finding the perfect location for your summer vacation, think of Las Vegas as a popular destination filled with great hotel and nightclub experience; Cancun – a place with pristine beaches and varied entertainment; Hawaii has been great vacation destination already but with Aulani Disney Resort opening in August 29 will make it magical destination for all ages.

Last year Stockholm got a lot of attention because of royal wedding. But  this year much more visitors will head to London at the end of April. Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. In Britain it will be 4 days of public holidays and big celebrations. Guess how many people from around the world already have booked the tickets to London?

Another hot destination of year 2011 is going to be Australia. Why Australia?  Because Oprah did announce, “We’re going to Australia!” on seasons premiere in September, 2010. Since then this destination has been on the radar of media and travelers for sure. With all the media attention and a $5 million marketing campaign launched by Tourism Australia more and more people will think about going ‘down under’.

P.S. Travelers – get ready for Russia in 2014! Russia is working hard to make winter Olympic Games in Sochi event of the year.

Seasonal accomodation in Europe.

It’s wintertime here in Europe. As you know its cold and we have a lot of snow for a few months. Creative and business minded people are using this.

For people who are looking for extreme experience there are several winter accommodations – hotels or igloo’s build from snow.  Rooms are created by ice artists. Each year the places are a little bit different because these hotels are seasonal 🙂

Room temperature in ice hotel is 0 to – 6 C ( 32 – 21 F). Imagine – you  sleep on reindeer skins in special sleeping bags. In the morning there is hot lingonberry juice  served. For more fun you can try ride with the snow-mobile or dog sled.

There are several ice hotels are located in Scandinavia. Most famous are original ICEHOTEL is located in small village Jukkasjarvi, Sweden and SnowVillage in Lainio, Finland. Both these places are around 200 km above the Arctic Circle. The new entry in this category is Kirkenes SnowHotel in Norway.

Check out before they are melted!

P.S. If you are not for so extreme adventures but wanna feel, how it is to be there – visit ICEBAR in Stockholm, London, Copenhagen, Tokio or Oslo.

Travel planning for 2011

Time around Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the time when people think about their plans. Very popular subject is New Year’s resolutions. Well, I would say – it’s kind of setting a plan for the things we wish. Sometimes people just think  – it would be nice if I … but if you really mean it, then you need a plan to reach a goal.

But to make new plans we need to be clear about things that we have already implemented from previous ones. Do you remember what were your resolution for 2010?

What are the things you have already achieved? …hmm… feels good to say – I did it!

What are the things you decided to skip? Why? It turned out to be unrealistic or you changed your mind?

What are the things you havent done? Why? –Will you take it to the next years resolutions or leave behind?

From there we can go to next years resolutions. First of all – they have to be REALISTIC. If I dream to go to Australia I will not put it in next years plans because this trip is time-consuming (in my understanding at least 2 weeks) and is kind of expensive.  But what I can do right now is set aside certain amount of money each month for this trip.

The best way is to put everything on paper. When you’ll see ‘the picture’ and actual numbers it will be easier to make a decision. In order to prepare for the possible trip, there are few basic questions to ask for planning a vacation/ trip:

WHAT you would like to do? ->  Trip to Europe

WHEN ? -> actually right now is the perfect time to decide when you need vacation weeks off.

WHAT TO DO ?-> sightseeing <-> relax <-> adventure <->event

BUDGET needed ? -> flight, hotel,  meals,  sightseeing, car rental fees.

If you will set all that on paper, then you can easily see can you afford that or no.  Any resolutions set on paper become a goal. Any goal with ‘road map’ is already a plan. And plans are achievable. If not in short-term (next 3 month) than in long-term (in 2-3 years) definitely it is possible to do.

Lately economic downtime is effecting almost everyone. Just because there are less money you don’t need to give up with your dreams. Look for opportunities that come in your way. And do more planning for your trips.

Actually you could take an advantage of economic downtime. Prices are down – hotels are cheaper, there are more special event prices, “sales”. Two simple things that might lower your travel expenses – choose less perfect flight time or instead of  hotel accommodation rent a cottage together with friends.

If you are willing to  travel Europe on budget there are many money saving  ideas you can apply. But before you start your trip check out basic cost of all travel expences to/at particular destination.