Back After Two Months - Pretty Maps


scandinaviaWhew! These nine weeks sure flew by fast! It's funny now that I thought I would not have enough stuff to do for five weeks in Scandinavia. I was planning on only doing three weeks there and then a couple of weeks in Berlin and a week in Prague/Budapest. Ha! Turned out I had barely enough time without even contemplating going to Finland. Berlin and Prague will have to wait.

But it has been great! It even warmed up nicely while I was in Copenhagen so I was looking forward to some beach time in the Mediterranean with my parents but it turned out to be just a teaser and the weather has not been all that great for the rest of the trip.

Even when I got to Toronto, the first couple of days were crazy hot, but we were too busy with the travel blogger conference to take advantage of city's island beaches and then it got pretty cold. But it was still an amazing trip!

Pretty Maps

So what's the first thing I did once I got back? Before even unpacking my backpack, I grabbed a box of pins and went straight to my wall map:

Wall map getting a few more pins and flags

There is something to that. The feeling of excitement. But it is not just for marking the places I have been. It is more for the memories that instantly spring up in my mind when looking at each of those pins.

And here is the TripAdvisor version:

TripAdvisor Cities Visited map (screenshot)

Unfortunately, I could not find an option to actually embed the interactive TripAdvisor map. That thing is quite fun to play with !

Country-wise, I upped the number of states visited to 38 (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Vatican, and Portugal). Still a far cry from Chris Guillebeau's feat of visiting each one of them, but I am in no hurry:


Being an avgeek, I count "getting there" as part of the adventure as well. And this trip was not an exception.

On the contrary - I am still pretty proud of my travel hacking skills with the ticket I got that covered most of my flights for just $316!

In fact, out of 24 flights, I only had to pay for three of them - getting from Copenhagen to Paris was the most expensive one since I got it last minute. I flown twice more with Vueling, a Spanish low cost carrier, to get from Paris to Rome and from Rome to Barcelona. Lastly, I took advantage of AmEx - Avios bonus transfer promo to get the flights to and from Minneapolis for just about 9,000 AmEx points (for three flights!).

Flying quite a bit on this trip, and most of it for free!

As I already mentioned, it took me 24 flights (8 of them with SAS!), flying 18285 miles / 29427 km for the grand total of 53 hours in the air. Besides SAS, I have flown with seven other airlines and visited 23 airports - some much much better than others! Quite a boost for my FlightMemory totals:

This reminds me of the last flight on this trip - as I was trying to get on a standby list for an earlier flight to Tulsa at DFW, the agent proceeded to school me on the intricacies of standby flying, then snarkly asked how much I fly a year...

Anyways. Time to unpack!