Travel Diary

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  • Aug 01, 2016 - Allons-y!
  • Aug 02, 2016 - Hello, Sweden
  • Aug 03, 2016 - Exploring Stockholm
  • Aug 04, 2016 - Finland Begins with Turku
  • Aug 05, 2016 - Helsinki Bound
  • Aug 06, 2016 - A Nearby Island
  • Aug 07, 2016 - Running Around Town
  • Aug 08, 2016 - Porvoo and Lappeenranta
  • Aug 09, 2016 - Sauna Day
  • Aug 10, 2016 - The Lake North of Town
  • Aug 11, 2016 - Moving Along
  • Aug 12, 2016 - London Once Again
  • Aug 13, 2016 - Churchill War Rooms and Bugsy Malone
  • Aug 14, 2016 - Kew Gardens and Brick Lane Curry
  • Aug 15, 2016 - The Railway Children and 1984
  • Aug 16, 2016 - Downton Abbey and Macbeth
  • Aug 17, 2016 - Iconic Sights and a Comedy About a Bank Robbery
  • Aug 18, 2016 - The Final Flight Home
  • Aug 01, 2016

    This was new. Due to obtaining an outbound ticket through Norwegian Air and an inbound one with British Airways, I was flying out of one airport and back into another one. The situation wouldn’t allow me to park at either and that was fine, since parking fees would be quite high for 18 days (normally, I’m okay with under seven days). It would be cheaper to just try something new and 21st century: Uber (drop the confetti!) I signed up and found that there was a \$22 discount for newbies. Okay! Once summoned, the driver arrived in under five minutes. I guess they’re just everywhere.

    Always a nervous moment. Did I have absolutely everything? Passport, wallet, and phone, sure, but was I carrying enough? Was I carrying too much? Was there an iron left on? No more time to decide. I hopped in the car and headed to Oakland International Airport.

    The driver was talkative and I was a little tipsy (booze can do that), so I was chatty too. It made the ride go by much faster. Arriving at the airport, I saw my Uber ride bill on my iPhone: \$7.74. Wow! Nice to have a discount. Soon, I was in the Norwegian Airlines queue. They don’t have online check-in. Strange. Were they just not up to date with technology? They have internet in Norway, yes?

    It’s more about the money. In line, I noticed they were weighing all the bags--including the carry-ons. The ones who went over paid an extra fee. Hmm. Very well. I lightened my carry-on a bit by placing a few things in my pocket. Plus, there’s really no limit to what you can wear on the plane (or just until boarding). This technique can save money--just wear half your wardrobe. My plan worked and my bag was 9.6 KG. The limit was 10. Sweet. Let’s put some stuff back in the bag now. My pockets were already stretched to the max.

    Since it was Norwegian, my ticket didn’t include pre-check, but it wasn’t too long. I then waited for my flight. I knew one other person on the same flight. It was fun to chat a spell. In time, we were in the air and heading to Stockholm.

    The plane was rather cold and as it was August, I was in a t-shirt. I asked about a blanket. The stewardess said that I would have to buy one. No, thanks. I’ll get a sweater from my bag. I did wonder if they kept the cabin extra cold to sell more blankets. Norwegian is very inexpensive, but they do nickel and dime to get that money back.

    With my seat upgrade (my only splurge on the flight, making the flight about \$430 in all), I had plenty of leg room and an aisle seat. It made everything tolerable. I also brought snacks. The stewardess came by with food several times, but I received nothing since I had not purchased the \$40 meal upgrade. (Hint: from what I saw the food was not worth \$40.)  My food was not warm though. I very much doubt they’d heat anything up upon request. And the idea of bringing a chemical heating pack should be juxtaposed by the idea of being tackled, tied up, and promptly arrested upon arrival.

    Nah. Cold food will be just fine for a 10-hour flight.

    Time passed just fine. I slept a little, watched a little entertainment, and finally we landed in Sweden at 12:35pm. The airport was fairly easy to navigate and I soon found the train to the city center.