Call of the North (31): Logistix, and the end

For those interested, some logistic details of the northern trip, never know when they can be useful.

Accomodation

I stayed in hostels, with 2 exceptions, when I reserved lastminute and didnt find any beds in hostels. Most reservations were made through hostelworld.com, one through booking.com and one through hotels.com. I recommend reserving beforehand. If not possible due to spontaneous decisions, very helpful are the tourist offices in railway stations.

Here’s where I stayed:

Copenhagen: Danhostel Copenhagen City. Big building, lots of space. Simple, no frills. I recommend the one in the centre if you find a spot.

Reykjavik: Pavi Guest House – a clear recommendation, @ my friends Dani & Vero. Excellent location, close to the central street and to bus station. Huge bedroom with cubicles. Very good prices for Reykjavik, and romanian speaking staff – priceless.

Greenland: I didnt spend the night, but you could, at Kulusuk hotel, and then take a helicopter trip to Tassiilaq, and from there onwards on the ice. Or go to the other side, to Nuuk, the capital.

Oslo: Anker hostel, similar to Danhostel, big, “industrial”, good conditions. 10-15mins walk from the center.

Bergen: YMCA Hostel. Center of the center. Stayed in a 30 beds bedroom, like in the army. For the few hours spent there sleeping, was ok.

Stockholm: am avut privilegiul să stau la prieteni :).

Helsinki: I strongly recommend the Stockholm-Helsinki overnight cruiser. It’s a nice experience, good conditions, good price. The next night I took the overnight train to Rovaniemi. When back I reserved a night locally, a last minute thing at Carlton hotel.

Rovaniemi: City Hotel. 3 stars, central. There si a hostel too, but not available on hostelworld.com, or I didnt find it. Ask in Helsinki.

Savonlinna: I didnt find anything on websites, people at tourist info in Rovaniemi helped me. I don’t remember the hostel name, it was FAR from the center. Not recommended. Ask @ information beforehand, for something central.

Tallinn: Old Town hostel. Excellent location, old town. 30 mins from the harbor where you get to from Helsinki, by boat.

Riga: Friendly Fun Franks. One of the best I’ve seen. Lots of character, perfect location, friendly people. Clear recommendation.

Vilnius: Old Town Vilnius. Very good location, close to the trainstation (10 mins) and center (5 mins). Personality, funny. I didnt sleep there, just left luggage, as I took the overnight bus to Warsaw. Very nice people, cute receptionist.

Warsaw: Hostel Helvetia. Very good. Like most hostels I found in Eastern Europe (!), with character, nice people, clean. A bit far from the train station, that’s its problem. 30 mins walking, 20 mins if you know the way, 15 mins if you know the way and are about to miss the train ;P. Very close to old town though.

Krakow: Hostel Flamingo. Hostelworld.com hostel of the year in 2007, Flamingo has them all – central location, personality, nice people, diversity.

Transport

Cheap airline tickets: kayak.com, germanwings.com. From Berlin to Copenhagen there’s a bus, 20 EUR, but I didnt know at the time and took germanwings.

I tooka sterling.dk flight to Iceland. Alternatively there is a ferry from Copenhagen, with a stop in Far Oer Islands, off the beaten path, if interested.

To Greenland u can fly from Copenhagen or Reykjavik. I did the one day trip from Reykjavik to Kulusuk, quite pricy for the 4 hours trip. Alternatively from Copenhaga to Nuuk.  Check Greenlandair and icelandexpress.com.

Sterling.dk took me from Copenhagen to Oslo, where I bought an Interrail Global Pass Rail ticket– 10 days out of the next 22. I should have done that in a DIFFERENT country from the one where I start traveling by train, you get better conditions (in my case, should have bought it in copenhagen airport, as i intended but was too lazy to).

Train took me everywhere from then on, having to do only seat reservation sometimes, at low prices. Baltic countries were an exception – they have very few rail tracks and cumbersome schedule. Eurolines buses rule in the Baltics.

Communication

Almost all hostels have free internet. Interestingly, all from Eastern Europe, not all from Western Europe (e.g., Denmark – I had to use the net cable, which was free, unlike wireless).

Public phones – very few, from Norway on I didnt find any with coins, just cards. There are “cards for acalling abroad”, but I was too lazy.

Finland is the easiests – there are no public phones at all.

Mobile roaming – for me it didnt work in Iceland, Greenland and Norway. Apparently SMS worked in Norway and Greenland, not in Iceland though.

Epilogue

I set foot in 11 countries in a month, in 9 for the first time, so inevitably i didnt do everyting “there is to do”, i saw only a fraction of all there is to see. But even so, I enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks Valentina for the last minute idea to go to Iceland, it was well worth it.

Before the trip, i saw “Nordic countries” with no clear differentiation between them. The trip introduced lots of nuances, they are quite different from another, each with its own particularities.

Bonus at the end was the pleasant surprise of the Baltic countries, about which I had had not a single concrete image in my head, and which made a strong positive impression.

The Polish experience added another touch of fun, making approaching home smooth and pleasant.

The End.

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