Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How I Ended Up In Norway In Jan 2014

This is Tromsø, a little town at the very far North of Norway

Whenever people see me, the first thing they ask is, "Where are you going next?". I'm not one who ALWAYS travels, but sometimes opportunity just comes along and it's fated for me to be there. Time is very precious to me, and especially for HH. With a slipped disc, she knows what it's like when she couldn't even walk one block on her own a few years ago and had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair. This time, it was her dream to see the Northern Lights. So why wait?

The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) can only be viewed from selected destinations, for example Alaska in USA, Yellowknife in Canada, Aberdeen in Scotland, remote Norwegian Sea Islands of Denmark, Abisko in Sweden, and parts of Greenland, Norway, Finland and Russia. After extensive research, I picked Tromsø, Norway. Why? USA and Canada were too expensive to get there, not to mention visa procedures. Tromsø is still a large city, and I still need the comforts of a city instead of being in the middle of nowhere like the Ice Hotel in Abisko Sweden.

So Norway it was. But since we're going to Europe, we might as well explore Europe a bit. Another of HH's dream is to visit Spain. Therefore, we chose Barcelona over Madrid, and came up with the idea of entering Barcelona, and exiting from Norway. And the most likely time to see the lights is from October - March, and 2013-2014 was predicted by NASA to be the Solar Maximum period, i.e. best time in a decade to view these lights. We ended up with January 2014, because we only get 14 days of annual leave a year, and we had to make the most out of public holidays, i.e. Chinese New Year holidays.

I kept all this information in mind, and was waiting for the right opportunity. I knew it was going to be expensive, especially the tickets to Europe. So I made the Skyscanner App my best friend, and would check on prices now and then. One night on 21 Apr 2013, Skyscanner showed me a magnificent deal!! I shot out of bed and quickly showed it to HH to confirm if I was dreaming or not, and we quickly submitted our booking online within a matter of minutes.
Our confirmed e-ticket on Qatar Airways, booked on 21 Apr 2013
That's RM2384 for 2 persons!! We were so excited and couldn't sleep that night. The following day, I quickly checked up on the rest of our journey and drafted out a rough itinerary, and proceeded to research on our connecting flights within Europe.

On 23 April 2013, I received the following email:

Two days of excitement and planning, gone down the drain. What to do, they removed the e-ticket that I had originally purchased, and it was a non-negotiable move on their part. Everything was cancelled. My friends and family asked me to fight, but I already saw disclaimers on their website protecting Qatar Airways from such incidences. With much regret, we accepted this twist of fate, and agreed to purchase the exact same ticket for a 50% discount on their base fare. The new price came to RM2749 per person, instead of RM1192. This 50% discount must be purchased within 24 hours of receiving this email, and we didn't have time to think. We just accepted this as God's will and took the plunge.

And this was how we ended up in Europe for Chinese New Year of 2014. The moral of the story is, if something seems too good to be true, it is!

Cheap thing no good,
Good thing no cheap.

Continue reading on Europe2014:
How I Ended Up In Norway In Jan 2014
6 Days Itinerary In Italy - Day 1 & 2
6 Days Itinerary In Italy - Day 3 Visiting The Pope!
6 Days Itinerary In Italy - Day 4 Napoli & Pompeii
6 Days Itinerary In Italy - Day 5 & 6 Florence
4 Days in Barcelona - Intended Itinerary
4 Days In Barcelona - Day 1 
4 Days in Barcelona - Day 2
4 Days In Barcelona - Day 3 & 4
4 Days In Berlin - Intended Itinerary
4 Days In Berlin - Day 1
4 Days In Berlin - Day 2, 3 & 4
Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway - Day 1
Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway - Day 2
Northern Lights in Tromso Norway - Day 3 & 4  

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