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The surprise trip: 2012-01-19: Day 0 - From Home to Heathrow - Off in the distance
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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2012-02-06 11:57
Subject: The surprise trip: 2012-01-19: Day 0 - From Home to Heathrow
Security: Public
Mood:appreciative
Music:Richard Thompson: Jennie
Tags:among the fjords, among the nords, astronomy, holiday, hurtigruten, norway
The title may be a little misleading. The trip wasn't a surprise, in that I'd blocked off the required holiday since May last year, when I'd been told to take off the period from the 20th to the 30th of January 2012. But what I didn't know was what - or rather where - it would be.

There were some clues.

I was given some socks for the wedding anniversary back in December. They were marked as hot weather or inner socks.

Second clue - for Christmas, I was given a very effective down jacket, and some other socks, and some other cold weather clothing.

So, Morocco was unlikely (and anyway, we don't really do hot. Well, bellinghwoman doesn't, unless it's somewhere stunning like HK).

And I was informed that we weren't going to Svalbard. I suspect that rather few people go to Svalbard in January: it's before sunrise, and the polar bears have had plenty of time to get really hungry, at least those stirring from hibernation.

So, my primary guess was St Petersburg. I've been collecting the Nordic countries, starting with Iceland in 2004 and finishing with Finland in 2008. That Finnish trip had then continued on to Estonia, another Baltic country, but we'd not been back to the Baltic since, and we need only a handful of countries to complete the Baltic set. St Petersburg is the great Russian city on the Baltic and would have been the obvious next step. However, you need a visa to visit, and I'd seen no indication of that.

So it was with a sense of delighted puzzlement on my part that we departed by car on the Thursday evening. After 200 yards, we turned right at the end of our street, thereby cancelling out a whole bunch of likely destinations. 50 yards later, we turned right again, thus killing another whole set (anything involving a ship from Harwich, or a plane from Stansted).

By the time we turned down the sliproad onto the A1M and thereby avoided Luton, Heathrow Airport was my primary candidate, though Gatwick Airport was still in the frame.

And Heathrow it was, or rather the Holiday Inn on Sipson Road, where we were to spend the night. bellinghwoman had arranged a package of a room for the night followed by the long term car park.

And so to sleep, me still not knowing where we were going.

You looking at the tags may have a better idea.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-02-06 14:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It sounds splendid.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2012-02-06 14:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, it was.

Further episodes may possibly include pictures. Including ones of the sky after dark.
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Megabitch
User: megabitch
Date: 2012-02-06 22:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Heh, we flew from Gatwick at stupid AM when we went, so I'd booked us the hotel+parking package for the night before. Seemed the sanest thing to do.

I really, really enjoyed our trip. Possibly the most relaxing time I have had for a decade. Definitely want to go again... probably the same trip you just did but next winter. I don't think I can justify the expense of another one this year as well as the DWCon expenses - especially after the unexpected but urgently required trip to Australia that hammered our finances just before Xmas.

I shall just have to look at pictures and keep drinking coffee from my little red mug ;)
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