I’ve been in Doha for 4 months and 2 days. Straight. 124 days. That’s a very long time. Especially for Doha. That’s roughly 3 months longer than I’d like to stay in the country at any one time. Don’t get me wrong, I love living here. It’s an incredible opportunity, but sometimes you just need a break. Working six days a week is wearing me out, and I’m ready for a change in scenery. It’s about time to get out of this country. Go see something green. Maybe even catch a cloud or two.
With Eid Al-Fitr (the Islamic holiday to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan) coming up the office is closed for a few days. Combine that with a couple of weekends and a few days of vacation and I had myself a 9 day trip to plan. Before moving over here, Dawn and I came up with quite a list of must see places that we wanted to visit during our time here. We knew we wouldn’t be able to see them all, but we tried to prioritize them as best we could. Thailand, Jordan, Cambodia. All very high on the list. Sometimes the best laid plans are thrown out. Those places all have something in common. They’re all ridiculously hot. Yeah, maybe they’re not Doha hot, but while I’m in Doha I’m sitting in an air conditioned office, car, or apartment for most of the day while it’s 110ºF outside. I’m not out trekking around visiting temples and ancient ruins. That did not seem like a good idea at this time of the year.
It turns out Scandinavia can be quite green this time of year, and I think they even have clouds. More importantly, though, it has highs in the 60’s and low 70’s. Exactly what we need. Scandinavia wasn’t really on our radar as far as places to visit, but after talking with a coworker, I remembered that Dawn had mentioned that she’d like to visit those northern countries. I started looking at flights, and all of a sudden I had a pretty nice looking itinerary.
I have read quite a bit about how everyone loves Stockholm, and the fjords in Norway are not to be missed. So, Oslo and Stockholm were definites, and I figured if I’m going to be close, why not try to work in Copenhagen as well. I may be (I know I am) cramming in too much into a 9 day trip, but if I’m shooting for that Traveler’s Century Club membership I need to visit as many countries as possible. Actually, as I was searching for flights I looked into flying into both Copenhagen and Stockholm, and out of Oslo. And the other way around. And probably a few more iterations in there as well. I love searching for flights. It’s odd, I know, but I enjoy it. Anyway, for the flights and times I wanted it was actually cheaper to fly into Copenhagen for a little over 30 hours and add the one way from Copenhagen to Stockholm than it was just to fly straight to Stockholm. Of course then we had to add in our flight from Stockholm to Norway (we ended up with a flight to Stavanger), and then we had our return flight from Oslo to Doha. Our flights look like this:
As I mentioned, we only have about a day and a half in Copenhagen, three days in Stockholm, and four and a half days spread out in Norway between Stavanger, Bergen, and Oslo. It was really tough divvying up only 9 days between the three countries, but I’m looking forward to getting at least a little taste of each country. Over my years of travel I’ve determined I really enjoy visiting the rural parts of a country over their cities, even while I tend to prefer to live in cities. My wife certainly prefers the time spent in nature over cities as well. I think that our Norway in a Nutshell tour of the mountains and fjords of Norway will be the highlight of our trip, and so I’m glad that it’s last on our itinerary (except for Oslo of course). From the little reading I’ve done on Copenhagen, I have a feeling that there will be a lot we’ll miss out on having such a short time there, but the great thing about major international cities (especially in Europe) is they’re pretty easy to get to. I hope that three days in Stockholm will be enough, at least for a trip of this length. We don’t have a lot planned for much of the trip as of yet except for the Norway in a Nutshell tour, but I’m hoping that will change by the time we head to the airport on Friday morning.
No matter what we end up doing and seeing, it’ll just be great to get out of the heat for a few days and experience another part of the world.