My home computer is probably sick of me lately. I have spent most of my time at this keyboard looking at two things: Flights to different cities in Europe, and pictures of Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen). Neither of these activities is getting me any closer to my trip this summer, but I have begun narrowing down the possibilities.
The first big change came when I got tired of trying to figure out how to visit St. Petersburg, Russia. Those Russians are still making it difficult to visit their country. Do I want to see the Hermitage? Not any longer, cross that one off the bucket list. According to my sources, the interwebs, the two most expensive cities in the world are St. Petersburg and Moscow. When did this happen? This is a country that eats beets and turnips at every meal. (According to my stereotypes.) So, because of the expense and the difficulty in figuring out the Visa requirements, I have taken a trip to Russia off the list of possible stops during the Summer of Jon. Someday, when I am 70, I may want to go to The Hermitage, but any place I have to visit on a cruise ship is off my list during my summer.
Since Russia bit the dust so did Helsinki and Tallinn. Finland looks like a great place to visit, but those damn Scandinavian countries are surrounded by mountains and water, and I don’t want to spend all my time on a long train ride or day and a half boat ride with a bunch of drunk Norsemen. Rumor has it, interwebs again, that alcohol is so expensive that people in Sweden and Finland take cruises just to drink cheap, duty-free alcohol. So the day long boat ride from Helsinki to Stockholm is generally filled with a bunch of drunk Vikings.
My next problem was that I looked at a picture of Pulpit Rock.
Look at this place. How can I not try to get there?
Pulpit Rock is in Norway and is a tiny bit off my original path, but come on, look at this place. What could possibly go wrong with trying to get there? Okay, I am scared of heights, but I read that no one has ever accidentally fallen off of the rock so I figure I’m safe as long as I can walk and chew lutefisk at the same time. There is also the possibility that I might spend two days getting there and then the weather would suck. I doubt pictures of Pulpit Rock in the pouring rain are as breathtaking, but some risks are worth it.
One of the mysteries of the world has opened up to me as I have searched for flights. How can a flight that goes from Seattle to Frankfurt and then on to Oslo be cheaper than one that goes from Seattle to Frankfurt? It makes no sense. I can fly from Seattle to Oslo through Frankfurt for $1300, but if I fly directly to Frankfurt it costs $2000. I didn’t do especially well at Geometry in high school, (there are plenty of reasons for this: not studying, staring at Mrs. Hearn for long periods of time, and having a half-developed brain) but I do think that the shortest route should be the least expensive.
So now the Summer of Jon is looking like this: Iceland, Norway (Oslo, Fjords), Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Munich.