Getting ready....

Indianapolis Travel Blog

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It all started with an idea. Hmmm....skipped Europe last year in favor of a grand Pacific Northwest Canada trip.....and I am now eager to get a nice, long Eurailpass again. Never been to Sicily or southern Italy really, and wanting to max out on the experience with a first class month long Eurailpass, and was thinking to fly into Palermo, see the Amalfi coast, to re-visit lots of Switzerland, especially the Jungfrau Region, then Scandanavia, and especially the Fjords of Norway. There was the idea.
I ran this proposed trip by my buddy, Judge in Salt Lake, whose e-mails over time revealed suggestions that maybe we should try a trip together. He said "YES" to the proposal immediately. He said it would be best for him if we left Monday, 12 MAY. Having just made 50,000 miles on Northwest, whose partners go to Palermo and Bergen so perfectly, I called them and after the usual hour plus for them to check, found the seat I wanted on just the dates I/we wanted! Judge did the same thing soon after using his Delta miles! Ticket prices were running $1345.-- each, but instead we each just paid those pesky taxes; hey that's what miles are for! Off to a great start already.

Okay, now the fun of planning this big trip: I Love to plan trips, and Judge gave me the widest lattitude to orchestrate it, he being somewhat relieved somewhat that someone besides himself would do all the legwork for it, and I was glad to do it. Was able to use hotel points I had accumulated for 9 free nights, often including breakfasts. Aunt Mary Lee, very familiar and frequent visitor to Italy recommended Taormina on Sicily as a wonderful place. 2 nites at the hostel there are reserved. Then began reserving from Norway backwards the known amount of time I wanted there, then into Finland, and Stockholm. Swiss in the middle, then went back south and worked up from there: Train up to Amalfi coast, 2 nites at Positano in the heart of it all. Capri, then Naples, then fast train to Rome, then Florence, then to the Swiss/France border for a retreat to the mountains, another night on the other side of this big valley, a hostel, then a boat ride down the Aare river to historic Solothurn. Then train to top of a long downhill bike ride! Saturday night in Lugano hostel. More train riding up and over Bernina Pass to Chur. Then 3 wonderful nights at the place we met in my Favourite place in the world, Gimmelwald, Switzerland! Got a bargain flight to Copenhagen saving lots of train time up non-scenic Germany. Then Stockholm, and overnight ship cabin to Helsinki! Another bargain flight to Oslo and to the mighty fjords of Norway, to hike 3 days, then train to Bergen on the west coast, fly to Amsterdam for an overnight, then home. That's it in a nutshell. I had many options, tried to get to northern Italy to take the world's highest gondola/lift ride (7,000 feet down) but subject to good weather, and hard to find place to stay near the lift... and decided to bag it, and access it from the French side if weather good. Am very happy with how it all came together, and detail of itinerary is rather complete, down to the best trains and times for us.
I researched a lot of Italy while in Davenport, Iowa in March on the job, at a Border's. Just happened to buy there what turned out to be a fantastic travel book by Bill Bryson. Neither Here Nor There. It was written in 1994, never heard of it before and planned to recommend it to Judge. I nearly fell off my chair when He told Me about it!!!!! This is all a good sign I believe of a good trip together.
Today, 7 MAY as I type this, after sending him an e-mail about a massive trash problem in Italy, he writes back today: "LOL...I just read that in today's paper, was going to forward you this same article."
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