This, That, and the Rest

Whoa, it has been about two and a half weeks three weeks now since my last post about the fun we had with sculptures in Trondheim. In fact, I believe this is the longest break I have taken from the blog in over a year - I was "offline" while I was in South America in spring 2012 because I cracked the screen on my MacBook Air. But nothing bad happened this time around. Indeed, lots of cool things have happened lately (and more are lining up) that I am very excited about and wanted to quickly share with you.


It has just been very busy few weeks as I hopped all around Scandinavia. After Trondheim, I visited Bergen, retraced the "Norway in a Nutshell" route on my own, spent a week in Oslo, decided at the last minute to go to Stockholm and then onto Gothenburg. There, I once again altered my plans and took a ferry to Denmark, where I visited north-most point of the country in Skagen, it's second largest city in Aarhus, the famous Legoland, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen in Odense, and finally settled down for a week in Copenhagen.

cities visited

I will be posting a lot more about all these and other adventures, but here are just a few pictures to give you an idea:

Cruising down Nærøyfjord

Stockholm's Gamla Stan (old city)

In Gothenburg, I met up with a couple of guys I traveled with in Laos over a year ago, once again proving that the world becomes smaller and smaller the more I travel.

Trying Swedish Akvavit spirit with Mikael, DQ, and their friends

I had a bit of mixed reaction about visiting the Legoland - the mini city part with reconstruction of many different things out of Legos was really cool. But that's just a small part of it - it is actually a theme park with rides, coasters, and different themed areas. It was all geared to six year olds thou and the only ride that looked mildly entertaining I was too tall for...

Amsterdam in Legoland

Finally, I decided to spend a week in Copenhagen to recharge a bit before meeting up with my parents for a two-week dash through Rome, Paris, and Barcelona. I rented a room on AirBnB and spent a few days exploring the city with the locals, taking advantage of the amazing weather.

The obligatory picture with the Little (quite literally) Mermaid

What a difference three weeks made - from freezing cold Longyearbyen to sunny Copenhagen

It got up to 22 degrees one of the days, the perfect time to rock my flippie floppies - I am pretty sure I was the only person in Copenhagen doing that but I didn't care.

My sister got a job

After slaving away for a few years getting her masters degree, and a few more months after I helped her move out to San Francisco last fall, she is joining the ranks of walking dead working professionals this week!

The new job involves research and antibiotics (that's as much as I know about microbiology stuff) and it's in Paolo Alto. Nicely done!

The timing could not have been better since I just threw away my expired stash of Cipro :) Maybe she could hook me up with some? Let's hope it won't be something "experimental".

Going fly fishing in Canada

After having a blast at the travel blogging conference last year, I am heading to the next TBEX in Toronto during the first week of June. This time around, I was selected to go on a sponsored fly fishing trip in northern Ontario. Never done that before so I am excited to give it a shot and see what happens!

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - the place to go fly fishing

Being an aviation geek, I am also excited to fly with Porter for the first time - a boutiqueish Canadian airline. And we get to check out the Canadian bush plane museum while up there.


Epic road trip is a go!

While I was staying in Copenhagen, I met August - a Danish guy who was thinking about coming to the US this summer to do a road trip along the west coast. Well, our plans aspirations and timing matched perfectly so we decided to make it happen.

Checking out Nyhavn, Copenhagen's old port, with August

He booked his ticket and I sort of figured out the route - we will head south from Portland along the coast to San Diego with detours for Crater Lake and Yosemite national parks, then through Phoenix to Grand Canyon, the national parks in Utah and off to Denver. 4-5 weeks total but still not enough time!

Now I need to plan the route to get to Portland in the second half of June. Who wants to join?

Wedding in Minneapolis

Two of my friends are getting married in Minneapolis just after I finish with TBEX so I was hoping to add a couple more flights to my already-crazy itinerary for this trip.

None of the United agents were willing to have any of that so instead I decided to just take Toronto to Chicago flight and then "miss" the flight to Tulsa. Instead, I got Chicago - MSP and MSP - Tulsa tickets using British Airways Avios points for the first time. Currently, American Express has a promo for transferring points to Avios with 35% bonus, so together with 4000 Avios I randomly got for signing up for some emails, the two trips set me back only 13,000 points and $7.50. Way better than booking directly with American (25,000 AA miles).

Yes, I love this game!

What goes around...

Talking about Portland - I am attending this year's World Domination Summit after having a blast there last year (and this year we will be setting a world record to boot). But it was almost by accident that I got introduced to it when I saw my friend Dustin was selling his girlfriend's ticket on Facebook.

Well, a year later, I saw a post from Brandon (another awesome guy I randomly met at WDS) about giving away a ticket one of his friends couldn't use to a "worthy" individual. I immediately thought of Najeeb, whom I met while surfing in Barra da Lagoa. Since returning to Canada from his trip around South America, he has started a nonprofit working with various charities inspiring the next generation of philanthropists.

I got these guys in touch and Najeeb is now going to WDS thanks to Brandon's generosity. It's a small world!

Whew. I need a drink now.

The largest bottle of vodka found in... Paris!