Today we fly to Sydney! We’re saying goodbye to Aussie summer and jumping on a plane to Europe! Over the next five weeks we’re going to be spending Christmas in England, New Years in Scotland and exploring Iceland, Scandinvania and the Baltic’s! It’s going to be cold but we are so excited, especially as winter is one of our favourite times to travel because there is less people! Here’s a snippet of what we’ve got planned! Fingers crossed for lots of snow!
As we live five hours from Sydney we often fly to Sydney rather than driving and dealing with the hassle of city traffic and (expensive) airport parking! We’re Qantas Frequent Flyers and so often our points cover our flights, but often our flights also get cancelled, or delayed, or changed and so on. So when Qantas changed our flight TWICE, I was getting a bit antsy that we would potentially miss our International connection (not Qantas) so we decided to fly a day earlier!
We’re spending the night in Coogee and scored a great deal at the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach where we’re planning to catch up with some friends who live nearby. The next day we’re planning to get up early and do the Coogee to Bondi walk, which Dan and I are both really excited about! I’ve actually NEVER been to Bondi Beach. WHAT.a.terrible.Australian…
Anyway we are really excited for the walk and to see that part of Sydney. Bondi apparently has some amazing cafes so we’re going to fill our day with delicious, nourishing food before we spend 24 hours eating plane food.
Our flight isn’t until 10pm, so the hotel is kindly going to let us use the pool and showers etc before we leave so we aren’t those stinky people on the plane.
We’re flying for the first time ever with Cathay Pacific and I’m really excited as I’ve heard good things about them. I think it’s the fastest flight I will have taken to Europe (about 22.5 hours) with a brief stopover in Hong Kong!
We’ve got a week in England where we will be mostly catching up with family and friends. Dan’s dad lives in Kent and his mum is Surrey so we’ll be tripping around a little. We’ve also got a day and night out planned in Brighton with friends the day after we arrive, so we will be drinking through the jetlag. I’m so excited to catch up with my work friends as well, I think they are the thing I miss most about England (oh and how easy it was to go on holidays to a new country)!
Christmas will be spent in Surrey and I’m literally praying for a while Christmas but based on the current weather forecast, it doesn’t look promising. I told Dan that we need to plan a Christmas trip to Canada soon as I can get that white Christmas experience finally!
My mum and dad are spending a week (including Christmas) in Singapore – including Christmas Eve at Marina Bay Sands… lucky buggers! They are then flying to England on Boxing Day! Mum, Dad and I are then jumping in our rental car and driving up to York for a few days.
From York we head to Oban and Glencoe for a few days. My mum swears she is of Scottish descent (even though there is no proof of that in our family history) however she says that she feels very much at home in Scotland so we will go with that. For Mothers Day a few years ago we purchased her a plot of land through Highland Titles so she now makes every call her a lady. It is a pretty cool program though, with money going towards conservation in Scotland – something we are definitely happy to support. We’ve got a few days here so we plan to explore the area, drink lots of whisky and visit mum’s plot of land!
Dan flies in on the 30th December to Edinburgh, where we are staying for a couple of nights for HOGMANANY! We’re really excited to do the torchlight procession on the 30th and then the street party on New Years Eve! We’re staying in an apartment which is only a 10 minute walk from the Royal Mile which should make getting home at the end of the night easy enough.
Iceland is probably one of the things I am most excited for on our trip! We’ve got 8 nights and will be picking up our car at Keflavik Airport and visiting the Blue Lagoon, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, diving Silfra, the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón and all the waterfalls and ice caves and hot pools and black sand beaches and everything we can along the way. It’ll be cold and dark, but we’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed for even just a glimpse of the Northern Lights! We’ve booked some amazing hotels and cabins along the way and I cannot wait for every moment of our time in Iceland (and to share it with you guys)!
Mum and Dad fly home from Iceland and Dan and I fly to Denmark! We’re excited to explore the city and I’m especially excited to see the iconic Nyhavn Harbour.
From Copenhagen we are training to Stockholm in Sweden! I’m most excited to explore the old town, Gamla Stan and eat ALL the Swedish meatballs.
We’re flying from Stockholm to Riga, Latvia! Latvia is our first of the Baltic countries from our travels. We’ve heard amazing things about how charming Riga is and are looking forward to exploring the Old Town, learning more about the history of this country and also enjoying how cheap it sounds in comparison to the Scandinavian countries!
Tallinn in Estonia is a country that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. It looks so charming – especially covered in snow and we’ve got longer here than any of the other cities, so we can’t wait to explore it in depth!
Finland is our final country of this trip! We’re catching a ferry with Tallink Silja ferry line from Tallin which only takes two hours! We’ve read other posts from people who’ve taken this ferry and it sounds so lovely sailing into Helsinki with it’s icy waters! We’re going to explore Helsinki and I’m most excited to visit Loyly, Helsinki’s most incredible sauna! We booked tickets to make sure we didn’t miss it. It’s located right on the sea so that the brave can dive in the sea after their sauna! I don’t know if I’m that brave but I’m hoping to give it a red hot go!
We’re finishing the trip with a huge tick off the bucket list! We’re flying to Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle to visit the Santa Claus village AND stay at the Arctic Snow Hotel in a snow suite. It’s going to be a very cold night I imagine and we’re hoping this tick off the bucket list is worth the $500 per night! We’re also going dog sledding the next day with Bearhill Husky (which was way more reasonably priced than dog sledding in Iceland) and hopefully going to visit some reindeer, and of course, meet Santa!
From Finland we fly back to England for one last day in London for this trip before flying back to Australia! We’re so excited for this trip and ticking off some exciting new countries and a few major bucket list items!
If you’ve got any tips for any of these locations (especially Iceland and Scandinavia) we’d love to hear them!
Have you got any fun winter holidays planned? x