As much as I love solo travel, exploring the world with others represents many of my best travel memories.
Last summer I traveled to Scandinavia with my Uncle Bill, who I have mentioned before in this story on why I love United. Before I married Heidi, we used to take a major trip together each year. It had been a few years and with a two generous AMEX sign-up bonuses he was sitting on a large chunk of points.
Where to go? My uncle had first visited Europe in 1967, embarking upon a month-long Scandinavian trip. While we did not have a month, we did have a couple weeks and wanted to make the most of it.
My first thought was to re-create his trip exactly: that would have meant flying into Hamburg and driving north. But then I got to thinking: rather than just re-create a journey, let’s make a new one.
So I decided we would start the trip in Longyearben, all the way up in Norway’s Polar Circle territory. We would then work our way down, wind up in Hamburg, and fly Lufthansa First Class home, something my uncle had not experienced before.
Finding award space was actually very easy. SAS had space from Los Angeles to Stockholm in business class (55K Aeroplan miles) with a connection to Longyearbyen via Oslo. That still made for a long journey, but it would be something new and something fun.
After a few days in Longyearbyen, we would fly back to Stockholm, meet up with my brother, and begin a driving trip around Scandinavia like my uncle did more than a half century earlier.
As it turned out, something urgent came up and I had to fly home from Stockholm, but I still enjoyed a great week in Longyearbyen and Stockholm.
The trip report will include the following segments:
Review: SAS A330 Business Class Los Angeles to Stockholm
Lounge Review: SAS Lounge Stockholm
Review: SAS Business Class Stockholm to Oslo
Lounge Review: SAS Lounge Oslo
Review: SAS Business Class Oslo to Longyearbyen
The Advantage of AirBnB in Longyearbyen
A Boat Trip to an Abandoned Russian Mining Island
Review: Hotel Tulpan in Pyramiden
Walking Around Pyramiden at 2:00a
Why Pyramiden is a Must-See
Lounge Review: SAS Café Tromso
Review: Radisson Stockholm Airport
Review: Hilton Stockholm
My trip home was in United economy class via Newark so I will not write about it.
Looking forward to reading this as I am planning a trip to Norway next summer!
It is very touching the way you planned this journey to show caring for loved ones. The whole essay illustrates your love for them like a family album.
Looking forward to your report about Longyearbyen!