Looking for bad roads
05/28/2008 80 °F
Email me at email@example.com Skype me at sfoshee
Things have been very hectic these few months getting ready for my solo adventure to Iceland and Scandinavia this Summer. My wife Emily and I did a business conference in Hollywood Florida a few weeks ago, and I had to turn around and do a scouting trip to Las Vegas checking out hotel meeting space for upcoming conferences. I returned sick as a dog and recovered just in time for major Memorial Day festivities at the house with our friends Joey and Amy Brickman and their sons Zach, Will, Aaron and Ethan, Keith Coker and his daughter Angela, my great friend from Emory University Beth Martinez and her daughter Anna and son Diego, my daughter Anna Kate's friend Ali and her dad Alan Pieratti (his wife Sherri had strep throat and could not make it). We had a house full all weekend and it was a lot of work, but everyone had a lot of fun and it was a great send off for the trip.
Reading Surfer's Journal magazine on the plane back from Las Vegas I came upon a quote that really stood out to me. It read, "Bad roads bring good people." I really like that one - it can mean so many things. Geographically it might mean that you almost inevitably will find good people at the end of a bad road, the ones really dedicated to a task being the only ones who actually make the trek. Emotionally it might mean that after traversing very difficult terrain together, people become closer than ever before. I think that I will make this quote the motto of my journey this year, and I really hope you all enjoy travelling along with me.
When I tell people I am going to Iceland and Scandinavia alone, usually the first question I am asked is "Why Iceland?" Well, I ran across Iceland Air flights a long time ago before my previous trips (Africa '07, Australia '06, Peru '05) and their stopover offer on the way to Europe has always intrigued me. Why fly directly to Europe when you can spend time in Iceland on the way? It sounds like a lot of adventure and fun. When my previously planned trip this year to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos fell through twice (my Semester at Sea friend Herb Thompson, who organized the three previous trips I went on, worked really hard on them and I felt bad for him), my thoughts drifted to Iceland and Europe. It was cemented when I thought of my friend Per, who lives in Landskrona Sweden. I have known Per for 10 years and we have never met. So I thought that it might be fun to combine meeting him and seeing Iceland into one trip. That is where the idea for the trip was born.
Per called me one night 10 years ago out of the blue after seeing a picture of my father-in-law Paul and me in Model Railroader magazine, where we were posing in front of a newly-donated train caboose and asking for members to join a model train club. Per is a model train enthusiast in Sweden specializing in Southern Railway (the road name of the caboose). When I took the call from my wife Emily, I was surprised by the flabbergasted look on her face. I took the phone. "Hello? This is Per from Sweden. How are you?" Since then we have chatted on the phone and written monthly, and have become good friends. Per has a degenerative muscle disease and I thought that this finally might be a good time to make good on my promises to go see him.
The current plan for the trip is as follows:
Fly from Atlanta to New York on June 4th and then on to Reykjavik Iceland overnight, arriving 7:00am the morning of June 5th.
Spend 4 days in Iceland seeing Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon, and the Golden Triangle.
Fly to Copenhagen, Denmark for 4 days.
Take the train across the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo Sweden and Landskrona to see Per.
Take the train to Stockholm for a few days.
Ride the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, Finland for a few days before heading over on another ferry for a few days in Tallinn, Estonia.
Return to Helsinki on the ferry and then fly to Oslo, Norway.
In Norway ride the cross-country train across the mountains to the fjords on the west coast and explore for several days before returning to Oslo.
Fly back to New York and Atlanta via Reykjavik, arriving home on or around July 1.
I have purposely kept the itinerary fairly open, hoping this time for a more loosely-structured travelling experience, remaining flexible for whatever what might come along. In the past I have been on several trips with small groups, and they are great, but at times the structure begins to wear thin. I hope to leave a little room for more adventure this time around.
I plan to post trip blog entries and photos on this site as I go along, and I really hope that you enjoy them! Please let me hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thanks goes to my wonderful wife Emily, who lets me go on these crazy adventures to retain my sanity. She and our daughter Anna Kate have been the best things in my life. I love you both.
Email me at email@example.com Skype me at sfoshee