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Thread: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

  1. #1
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    Default Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    My life has recently been turned upside down and shaken very unpleasantly, in the last four years in general and in the last month more severely than the rest combined, and after finding myself pointing a gun at my head a couple times in the last few weeks, I'm thinking a change of scene from here in Puget Sound, here near my ex and so much that has crumbled to rubble, might be... important.

    I have long wanted to have a look at Norway, Sweden, and Finland. A sort of pipe-dream spun from looking at charts of interesting coastline, mostly, especially around the Baltic. That said, I have never travelled abroad from the US that I was not working to a fixed itinerary: go to Morocco, meet a boat; go to Argentina, climb a mountain; etc. That sort of thing. And everything I've done was outside anthropocentric environment: sailing, back country hiking, mountaineering, sea kayaking, etc. Nothing where I need to worry much about accomodations or transport. Frankly, I don't have the first clue how to do even the most basic travelling. How do I get from Point A to point B? Where do I stay, once I reach Point B? How do I even find out the options of where to stay at Point B? I am the proverbial babe in the woods --even in the US, if I'm being honest, but here I know I can rent a car and figure it out from there. I will need to learn on the fly.

    I don't think it's the right season to bareboat charter a boat and go by water, either, despite the fact I'd probably get into less trouble in the Kattegat than on the Stockholm Metro.

    I know there are several members here on the WBF from that region, and probably others who have travelled there. So I am soliciting advice on an itinerary. Not just on traveling technique --which I will whole-heartedly welcome-- but on what to see in that region. The only things I know for certain that I'd like to see are the Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Viking Ship Museum, both in Oslo, and the Vasa Museum, in Stockholm. My schedule is flexible --I'm self-employed, I can pay my bills on line, my boats are safely under cover for the winter, and my sister lives locally and can watch my house-- so... The last I heard, I can stay for 90 days without a visa.

    And yes, I know the autumn and early winter might not be the best time to travel in Scandanavia, but I don't think I should delay too long in seeking a change of scenery.

    So if anyone has any thoughts, please put them forward.

    Alex

    P.S. I'll post this in The Bilge, too.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Sorry to hear about your troubles ( was there myself few times) - looking from that angle, a trip to Europe may do you good.
    I have not traveled to my native Poland in 18 years, but last time I went there was via Swedish airlines - direct flight: Seattle - Copenhagen.
    From what my nieces are telling me, English is spoken by many people in Europe these days. You shouldn't have any problems.
    Take care.

    Wojo
    1955 Fontana 18' - 1958 Atomic 4
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    ...last time I went there was via Swedish airlines - direct flight: Seattle - Copenhagen.
    Thanks. I'm so frazzled of late that I hadn't thought of going to someplace nearby --Copenhagen rather than, say, Oslo-- for the advantage of a direct flight. I'll keep that in mind. I've been dreading figuring out how to make connections SEA to LAX to... Oslo? It'd make sense to go direct from SEA to somewhere close enough and make the next leg part of the ground travel.

    I've heard the Nordic countries have a high percentage of English-speakers, and that's part of my reason to travel there. I feel bad not being willing to linguistically immerse myself more, but I simply don't have the reserves right now.

    Alex

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    A change of scenery sounds like a good idea, sorry to hear of your troubles.

    Locals can cue you in better, but in general Europe is much easier to get around in than the states. I'd recommend buying a Lonely Planet or Rick Steves guide to the area you are interested in. You could be dropped anywhere in the world with only one of those and do just fine. Lodging, transportation, things to do and see, local tips and tricks- it's all there. Hostels are cheap, and a decent way to meet people. Airbnb is really great, especially in out of the way places.

    Here is the very first listing that comes up for Airbnb in Finland. A waterfront cabin for $56 per night.

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1417928...ut=&s=-mJJJzRE

    There is a great wooden boat show in Helsinki where you can eat salmon chowder from giant cauldrons in the hold of a baltic schooner. After that, its a quick ferry ride across to Tallinn, Estonia which is a wonderful place that feels like the PNW with ancient castles. If it were me, I'd move along every couple of days until I found some place that felt right, and then stay for a while.

    Good luck, feel better.




    This is in the Old Town in Tallinn, $50 per night. Just to show you it's not all Best Western Motels!

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5916252...ut=&s=vLY81tjS


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    I too have walked that path. A trip to Europe may help in the short term, a few months diversion. It does not solve the problem. that is different work, and not for the feint heated. But you can come out the other end better in every way. In my case I moved to another city for 5 years. I still had work to do when I returned to the west coast.
    Good luck
    John

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Sorry to hear of your continued travails, Alex. A deep breath in a changed venue should help. Always remember that you have many friends here who like and respect your thoughts. Wish I had some good travel tips for you, but alas I've never been further than Ireland.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Here is the very first listing that comes up for Airbnb in Finland...
    That's very all right. I like some of those suggestions. Thank you.

    There is a great wooden boat show in Helsinki...
    Is that likely to be happening in the next couple months? I figured it would be pretty quiet around there as winter settled in.

    A trip to Europe may help in the short term, a few months diversion. It does not solve the problem.
    If I don't do something short term, I simply won't make it long term, and at the moment I can't bear imagining existing in the long term, so... Short term it is.

    Thank you for your kind thoughts and good ideas, Folks.

    Alex

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    I posted in the bilge because i saw it there first. I suggested flying into Stockholm, but the route could be reveresed via Copenhagen if that works better

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Sounds like a great short term plan to shake things up. Sorry things are looking so bleak. I’ve long wanted to visit where my grandparents came from in Sweden. Airbnb worked out well for us when we were in France, we even stayed on some boats and converted barges. My kids have stayed in European hostels and have had positive experiences. I hope you will keep us in the loop as your trip progresses. We also found the Rick Steves guides helpful.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Your plan seems to be mostly an inward journey. I wonder about starting at the Roskilde Viking Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, and working with their crews for a while. Never been there, but I know people who have and I have talked to the director. Contact them and you might find lodgings easily. That will put you in another place. Just a thought. Have fun.
    Last edited by Thad; 10-30-2018 at 07:28 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Pitsligo I'm sorry you're in a bad place emotionally right now. First thing first, you need to get rid of that gun, then take some me time. Screw the world, eat healthy and build up your physical strength doing whatever exercise you know you enjoy the most. Buy some new gear for it.

    Northern Europe is dark, cold and wet in winter. On the plus side, fewer tourists, but my first thought is that it's going to cost more and be harder work than visiting in summer.

    Personally I'd go to New Zealand, it's coming into their best weather. Fantastic scenery, nice people. I'd buy a touring, folding bicycle that you can easily carry on a plane and take in a train. Triple chainring for max gear range, Brooks B17 saddle, Drops. Cycle tour through NZ with a tent. Then follow the good weather, coming to Europe for our summer - more daylight more warmth.



    The best bike for this is made in America - called a Bike Friday New World Tourist. You can get folding racks and bags, even a trailer that the bike fits in. They ride very well, much better than you expect (steel frame even with the smaller wheels) and are fun to ride still. Mum's got one. I prefer it to the Birdy folder dad used. I'd get them to build one up for you, then head off with Ortlieb bags and a small tent/ bivi.

    Vitmain D supplement helps me get through the winter.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 10-30-2018 at 09:00 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Mr. Pearson has a good point. A good dose if vitamin D and Vitamin B(oat) might do you a world of good. The Australian Wooden Boat Fest is coming up in Hobart http://www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au/ and Tassie has some magnificent hikes up around Lake St. Claire and Cradle Mountain. And the Nant distillery is right there, too.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Mr. Pearson is indeed right. You don't want to be alone in a cold dark place. Believe me, been there, done that, no T-shirt. Only an increased sense of solitude doing it.
    What you need is sun, people and a lot of physical exercise. Since you are a newbie at backpacking the best option I have for you is this:

    Tomorrow the 104' LOA brigantine Tres Hombres sets sail from The Netherlands to the Caribbean. Next stop is Porto in Portugal, on the 26 November she sails for La Palma. From La Palma then to Barbados. You get the chance to work and sail on a bona fide wooden (well composite) cargo sailboat. Working language is english. http://fairtransport.eu/ships/tres-hombres/
    Go on the site, contact them, book the passage. Then pack a light backpack and fly to Portugal as soon as possible. There you can visit Lisabon and Porto or help out someone with a boat to repair. When your ship arrives sail to the Canary Islands, and on to Barbados.
    If you like schooners more then brigantines the Avontuur is also on route: https://timbercoast.com/en/sail-schedule/ but the transatlantic is sold out, only shorter legs available.
    If you feel big ship sailing is not something you would like to do, I have other alternatives.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Thank you all. I'm taking notes.

    The cautions of travelling in the cold and dark are worthwhile, especially vs. travelling to the southern hemisphere, and I will take them under consideration, but Scandanavia has interested me for long enough that I'll probably go north.

    Camping and biking aren't really for me any more. I used to do a lot of back country work, but not so recently that I want to try and fling myself back into the deep end. As for biking, my now-ex brother-in-law worked at Bike Friday, probably built the bike in that photo, so I know the company well. Unfortunately, I *stink* at biking, have never enjoyed it, and it now has painful connotations, so as practical as it may be, that's out.

    Big boat sailing should sound fun, but I am a serious introvert in the best of times, so the idea of being trapped with other people aboard a boat for ocean passages now almost makes me hyperventilate! I need to keep myself in an environment where I can retreat to a hotel room and shut the door for a few hours.

    I'll likely be land-based, public-transit oriented. And I need to get some thermal underwear...

    Again, thank you all.

    Alex

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    In that case, how about booking into one of the ex fisherman’s huts on Lofoten Islands, Norway. Sailers/ north Europeans less interested in sun/ beach holodays, thats our holy grail. Peace and quiet up there.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    I was checking flights to Sweden and Denmark....can't find a direct flight!!!
    The best was 1 stop flight in economy class - $800 range - with one stop in London.
    For over $2000- one can fly across USA to New York , then to Turkey and 3rd leg to The North
    Anyway.....$827 seems reasonable - even going to London first and then short jump to Copenhagen or Stockholm.....

    Take care Alex !

    Wojo
    1955 Fontana 18' - 1958 Atomic 4
    1960 Skippy 12C FeatherCraft - 1947 Mercury KD4 Rocket
    1985 Glen L15 - 1980 Johnson 7.5 hp
    2016 kayak Mill Creek 13

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    I advice a direct flight to Stockholm, Copenhagen or Oslo depending on where you want to start your walkabout. Between these cities, +Helsinki, there will be at least one flight each hour. Each capital serve as the main hub for domestic flights. I suggest flying if the distance is more than 500 km; flying is often less expensive than trains.

    In Stockholm I suggest the Wasa museum, which is on your list already. In addition I would go to a museum in the Old City called Livrustkammaren, were they display some old weapons, military uniforms and other items arranged in a way that tells a story about modern (post 1521) Swedish history. You want to go to the Old City in Stockholm anyway. It's an old Hanseatic city in the exact middle of Stockholm.

    The Stockholm Archepelago is the best part of Stockholm (and of the rest of the world). There are several passenger ferry lines, and all of them are quite cheap, curtesy of the EU tax payers. The archepelago is best in summer, but winter is charming in another way. You could spend a night at the hotel in Sandhamn in the outer parts of the archepelago (there's only one hotel in Sandhamn, but it's good). My wife and I spend most of our free time at our cabin on an island close to Sandhamn also during winter. If you're used to kayaks you can use one also in wintertime provided you have a dry suit and the ice situation and weather allows. The Baltic Sea in wintertime can be intimidating.

    You'll get by using English anywhere in Sweden and the other Nordic countries. All information in museums and almost everywhere else will be available in English in addition to Swedish.

    Welcome,
    Erik

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    There are direct fligths each day between Stockholm and New York with both SAS and Norwegian. Direct flights to other destinations in the US are less common. One stop on the way isn't a big deal, but you loose a few hours.

    Erik

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Wojo: Thank you for the intel. I suspect there isn't a direct flight to anywhere in Scandanavia from SEA, but I've only begun my research. I recently found a FinnAir flight, SFO to HEL, $410 round-trip --which is probably what the SEA to SFO connecting flight would cost. Another on Norwegian from SFO to OSL is $243. I'll be looking into SAS too, as Erik recommends. I suspect I'm not travelling at peak tourist season...

    Erik: I am taking your thoughts to heart. In fact, I have cut-and-pasted them to my notes, complete. Livrustkammaren sounds like something I shouldn't miss, and the Stockholm Archipelago... I admit, it's the single biggest element drawing me to the area. A route that takes me through that area is very much my ideal.

    I have a feeling I'm going to freeze my butt off, travelling at this time of year. But there are worse things to remove, and worse ways to remove them.

    My tentative plan is evolving to spend a week in each of three countries, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, with another week left open to give myself room to either go explore somewhere else nearby --Denmark? Estonia?-- or to retrace my steps and explore in more depth someplace I especially enjoyed on the first time through. I'll start with a single objective in each --the Viking Museum in Oslo, Vasa in Stockholm, and ____ in Finland (someone please suggest something specific?)-- as a landing pad, something to aim for to get me into the area and out on the streets. A known plan, as a starting point for improvisation. From there I'll explore, depending on how conversations develop. I know the Nordic countries have a reputation for taciturnity, but I'm still hopeful of having such conversations when I'm there.

    There's no way I'll really see any of these places in any genuine depth, but the trip will get me outside my known, familiar environs --even to the point of hearing a completely different language spoken around me (though I admit that the Nordic countries' general fluency in English is a factor in my travel plans). And it'll show me whether my pipe-dream of moving into that area is something I ought to pursue, if even only as a carrot to entice me toward something other than what I have now.

    Thank you all very, very much.

    Alex

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    A common way to travel from Stockholm to Tallin, Helsinki, Åbo and Mariehamn (Åland) is by passenger ferry. From Stockholm to Tallin or Helsinki you start travelling in the late afternoon and arrive in the late morning. The cruising ships are more like floating hotels with restaurants and passenger cabins. The prices are quite reasonable, considering that you also get one night accomodation. Check: www.tallinksilja.com

    The route from Stockholm is through the archipelago, so that scenery is part of the bargain.

    Erik

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    You might think about going light on cold weather gear and getting good stuff while you are there. If you are a cross country skier investigate some guided tours. Lots of stuff on the Norse coast, boatshops and boat building schools from Trondheim south. There have been threads on this in the Forum. The Viking ship museum is on the same peninsula as the Fram, the Gjoa, the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
    Ben Fuller
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    That sounds like a good way to go. I can't quite figure out if there's a way to leave Stockholm, debark for a day in Mariehamn, and continue on to Helsinki the next day. Åland seems like the sort of place that might warrant a full day to look around.

    The route from Stockholm is through the archipelago, so that scenery is part of the bargain.
    My only concern is that it'll be pretty dark, so I'm not sure how much I'll see from the ferry.

    You might think about going light on cold weather gear and getting good stuff while you are there.
    That's not a bad thought. Go over with the basics, then adapt as needed with local supplies.

    The Viking ship museum is on the same peninsula as the Fram, the Gjoa, the Norwegian Maritime Museum.
    I've started a basic schedule, and now allotted two days to that peninsula.

    Alex

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Ok, since you seem determined to go to Scandinavia, let's get to the basics.
    You need some form of sharing your experiences. A thread here about your daily travel would be nice and talking regularly with someone you trust a must. Hotels and cafes all have internet, so that should be no problem. If your smartphone is GSM you can buy a local prepaid SIM and have internet on the go.
    Money, Scandinavia is not exactly cheap after all. Get a no fees debit card. Ideally one Visa and one Mastercard, chip and pin preffered. Schwab was popular (no ATM fees worldwide) but there are also other options. Your credit card should also be of the no international fees variety. Don't use a creditcard at an ATM use a debit card. Carry some chash also.
    Clothing and bags. One bag please, ideally a carry-on. I prefer backpacks but it's not mandatory. There are washing salons everywhere (good places to meet other people) so you don't need to carry the whole closet. Clothes for 4 days are enough. You also don't need to look like you are trying to climb the Everest, if you stay in civilized country. You do need good shoes, you will do a lot of walking. They should be warm and waterproof. Some good wool socks are in order. A waterproof outer layer, can be removable. Thermal underwear is a somewhat delicate topic. Good if you spend most of your time outdoors. Bad if you go in and out frecvently since all indoor places will be heated. I would use it only for the legs, not for the torso. Get some wool or fleece or down with a front zipper so you can open it quickly. Some headgear that covers the ears, and a scarf and gloves.
    Transportation. All big cities have good public transport. All have dedicated apps with maps, orientation and timetables, so download them. Usually the cheapest way is to buy a one day ticket for the whole city, that way you hop on when needed. Some have dedicated tourist tickets offering discounts at museums, restaurants, etc.
    Also usefull are apps with offline maps (here we go, ulmon, etc) and course google can handle everything. All of Europe is linked by overland buses that are usually cheaper than trains. Sites like checkmybus have all the infos.
    Getting here is easy, you discovered norwegian with their low prices. They fly Copenhagen from LAX. If you need a layover don't look at it as an annoyance, take it as an opportunity to visit another city. Check flights individually for each leg and include a 3 day leeway. Use the time to explore instead of beeing stressed.
    Accomodation. Book everything a few days in advance. Sites like booking agregate a lot of options and you can book directly. Airbnb offers whole apartments or rooms. If you take only a room you get the chance to meet other people and talk to them instead of beeing alone in the place. Use the saunas were available, you get to meet people there and talk.

    For such a trip I would stay in cities and visit the local atractions. Also go to things you normaly don't visit (art, historical or technical museums, a concert, etc.) Plan a day without anything to do and explore the city on foot and with public transport. Altlasobscura will get you to less known places.
    If you take more time you could do a complete baltic circuit. Oslo-Stockholm-Helsinki-Tallin-Riga-Vilnius-Gdansk-Szczecin-Berlin-Hamburg-Kiel-Copenhagen-Malmö-Oslo/Stockholm.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    If you are near Bergen: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/475931 $77/night


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Or for a bit more a cottage on a private island in Hvaler:


    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2498966


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Rumars: those basics sound pretty good. I’ve started a checklist, much of which now comes straight from your post.

    I just bought an iPod Touch, and once it arrives will load it with the apps you recommended, for use with WiFi.

    (Anyone else have any favorite apps? I don’t have a smartphone, so this whole apps thing is new to me.)

    Glad to hear there are laundromats. For some reason, that’s been bugging me; probably because I don’t want to carry an expedition’s worth of clothes.

    StevenBauer: Whoo-ee, those are gorgeous, but perhaps a little more than I want to budget for. Maybe I can find a single room nearby…

    Alex

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Reality check. I really don't want to pee in your cereals and being finnish myself I am glad someone sees our nick of the world interesting. But you are choosing the time of the year when the Nordic is at its worst .
    Here are some live cams from the capitals of Finland, Sweden and Norway. The weather is mostly rain and the temperatures are around freezing. Everybody is waiting for the permanent snow so it wouldn't be so dark.

    https://balticlivecam.com/cameras/fi...klaus-k-hotel/

    http://www.webbkameror.se/webbkamero...plan/index.php

    https://www.oslohavn.no/?template=webcam

    If you think you must do it now, there are boat related museums in Turku and in Kotka worth visiting. I can post some links later.

    Timo

    Dreaming a schooner since 1988:

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Good to hear Alex. IMHO the iPod is less than ideal, I would send it back and buy a smartphone. It's really just an older Iphone without the phone and GPS. But this two functions are great for travel, the GPS positions you on the map and enables directions, and the phone is usefull for calling, and data. You don't need the latest flagship phone, just something for GSM with an up to date operating system and good camera (one less thing to carry). All of them have GPS, and most apps are available for iThings and Android, so it does not matter. Plus it's something you will also use later, it's not only for this trip. If it's the only electric thing you will carry get a C-plug USB charger (european style, available online or locally after you land). Otherwise you need a plug adaptor and devices that can handle 230V/50Hz. Manual toothbrush and wet shaver preffered, they are smaller and lighter. Headlamp is usefull.

    Laundromats are available in all big cities. You search for them online beforehand and put a pin on your favorite mapping app to be able to find them later.
    What you need: 4 pairs of socks, three thick ones, knee length, one medium for indoors. 2 pairs of pants, softshell or water resistant treated. 1-2 pairs of long underpants (thermal wear). 3-4 pairs of your normal underpants form, preferably non-cotton. 1 pair of leggings (sleep, indoor, also doubles as thermal wear). 2 T-shirts + 2 long arm tops non-cotton. 2 of some form of shirt (dress shirt, light sweater, etc.) to look decent. 1 thick front zip fleece jacket/wool sweater or light down/thinsulate jacket. 1 overcoat, thick, long, waterproof, with hood. Scarf, cap, gloves, comfortable waterproof warm shoewear.
    1 microfibre travel towel+1 small bar of soap. Toiletries you can buy everywhere, only bring things you can not live without, like your favorite brand of aftershave that's not available in Europe. Buy airline travel sizes for those. 1 pair of flip flops for indoors, or go barefoot. Prescription medicine (have the actual prescription with you) if needed + antidiarrheal proven to work on you (hopefully not to be used). Other medicine as desired. Ziplock bags for used clothes, packing cubes/vacuum bags for organizing and compressing, and one 30-45l backpack, waterproof (raincover), frameless. You can use an existing backpack, buy something like the Cabin Zero/Max, or some other more or less specialized form of travel bag. What you need it for is transporting your stuff from airline to bus to hotel. There it gets emptied, and you use it to haul around some sandwiches and a waterbottle and maybe clothes that you took of. That's it, this is not like hiking with all your gear for days on end. If you arrive in the morning and check-in is only in the afternoon you go visit a museum or use a public locker at a train station. Every three days you wash some clothes. Most AirBnB's actually have a washing mashine, and synthetics will dry overnight.
    Here is a blog with gear reviews I like, but there are many others. https://snarkynomad.com/category/gear/
    You need travel health insurance.
    Budget. I would calculate something like 100USD/day.

  29. #29
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    BC Coast
    Posts
    3,808

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    You could try something different.
    Consider "Workaway"....... https://www.workaway.info/ ......... The world's leading community for sustainable travel and cultural exchange. Promoting Volunteering, Family Exchanges, Homestays, Farmstays, Working Holidays, Travel Buddies, Language Learning and Cultural Exchange.
    Basically You could get yourself to Scandinavia and do a working holiday at one or several hosts. The usual thing is to work about 25 hours per week in exchange for room and board. Workaway travelers typically stay for a few weeks or a month though we have had a number that stayed for between 2 and 8 months. A quick look on the site shows almost 1000 hosts in the subject countries. You could work on a farm or with sled dogs, or building. You get to stay with a family, hang out with locals. Most do some English. Usually you can organize your time to permit side trips to visit local attractions such as museums.
    There is a slight cost to sign up, and you will be responsible for your actual travel, but while you are with a host there would be almost no daily costs.

    We have hosted workaway travelers for years....so far 15 different countries represented. perhaps half of our travelers are young.. 18-25, but most of the rest have been between 25 and 35 and one over 40. We have heard of several travelers in their 60's.

    This might be a really healing experience. I would do it if I did not have other obligations.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    N62 53´52" E27 41´10"
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Here are the links I promised. If you really land in Finland contact me with a PM.

    http://www.forum-marinum.fi/en/

    http://www.puuvenekeskus.fi/english

    Dreaming a schooner since 1988:

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Alex,
    The ferries from Stockholm to Helsinki, Talinn and Åbo all make a stop at Mariehamn (Åland) around midnight. Not many people get off or on there, but the stop at Åland makes it possible to have tax free shops on the ferries. That's not allowed when travelling between EU countries, but Åland (part of Finland) has somehow managed to simultaneously be both inside and outside EU. EU can be very pragmatic when needed. I don't understand how the Åland deal with EU works, but the consequences are that every ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, Åbo and Talinn make a stop at Mariehamn and therefore are allowed to sell tax free alcohol to Swedes and Finlanders. Alcohol in Estonia is cheap anyway. The tax free shops makes the ferries profitable in spite of the low fares and Mariehamn gets excellent communications.

    Definitely spend a day in Mariehamn if you can.

    You need a credit card or bank card connected to Visa or MasterCard. American Express, Diners Club and similar aren't always accepted. Almost every shop in Sweden accept credit cards, but fewer and fewer accept cash. Especially in small shops you will see the sign "cash not accepted". E.g. you cannot by a bus or subway ticket in Stockholm with cash. I don't have cash in my wallet and don't recognise all of the new Swedish bills that were introduced a few years ago. I've never owned some of them. So far I've only used cash once this year, and I used cash only to get rid of some notes that I'd had without using for a more than a year.

    Erik

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Australia and Tasmania
    Posts
    15,744

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    Prepare for Christmas. A cold dark lonely Christmas on the wrong side of the world will probably do your head no good at all. Just make sure you have someone to be with, at least part of the day, wherever you are.

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Olympia, WA, USA
    Posts
    2,251

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    So from what everyone here is saying (both in P&P and in The Bilge), and from conversations with friends, I might not be exploring the best idea I've ever had. As a friend put it to me, "I know you as a man of pragmatic brilliance. This might not be up to that standard."

    Even aside from the seasonal considerations of travelling north during the coldest, darkest months, I need to consider several elements that may make this idea theoretically sound but pragmatically... less than brilliant. Chief among them my personality: I am a serious introvert with at times debilitating social anxiety, and I am of late *not* at my best, so building a plan around interacting with strangers of completely different cultures might not be smart. I don't want to spend three weeks under sedation in an Oslo mental hospital after suffering a complete nervous breakdown asking where to find a laundromat. I don't think there's a app that would make that any easier.

    Since hometown logistics demand I wait another week before making any solid plans, I'm going to take a step back from this and do some hard thinking.

    That said, I haven't abandoned the idea completely, and the information you all have supplied has been supportive, thoughtful, and sound. I have been taking notes, and hope to use the information eventually, if not this winter.

    Many, many thanks to you all.

    Alex

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    EU
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    There must be something you tought of learning or doing sometime. Surfing, cooking, tanning hides, etc. Look for a course or seminar in a warm place and do it. No need to go abroad, America is big enough. Or just take a relaxing beach vacation. Rent a cabin, go walking, sunbathe.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Wales, UK
    Posts
    483

    Default Re: Northern Scandanavia Walkabout?

    I can thoroughly recommend the Rough Guide https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rough-Guide.../dp/1848360282

    The post boats that also take passengers up the Norwegian coast might be an option worth considering ? https://www.fjordtravel.no/tour-crui...igruten-ships/

    https://www.hurtigruten.com/


    Nick

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