Luckily for me, I had quite a bit of down time at work over the few weeks leading up to my trip to Europe and I was able to do some research on what I wanted to do while I was abroad for the holidays. I didn’t plan very well and booked my trip so that I would spend:
- 1.5 days in Oslo, Norway (covering Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
- 4 days in Amsterdam, Netherlands (covering no holidays)
- 1.4 days in Stockholm, Sweden (covering New Years Eve)
So when I started researching things to do and things to check out, I had to be cautious of the fact that there was a high possibility it would not be open on the day that I would show up. I also did not take into account where I was staying verses where I wanted to go but regardless, I did some searching through the internet and found a list of things that I wanted to.
As you know, I usually pick one or two things that I want to see in a city and that’s all I set my heart on. I want to be able to explore and find my way around the city in order to explore and make the most of it. I don’t need to see all the touristy things or experience all the craziness of every city, I am totally fine with seeing just a few things and then exploring the less popular areas or taking my time to wander and find these places.
Here were my plans for each of the cities:
- Oslo: Holmenkollen Ski Museum because it was open on Christmas Day
- Oslo: Frogner Park where Vigeland’s sculptures are located (or at least a large portion of them)
- Oslo: The fjords
- Amsterdam: Anne Frank House because I grew up with the Diary of Anne Frank
- Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum because it’s one of the biggest art museums in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum because…it’s Van Gogh
- Amsterdam: A canal cruise
- Stockholm: The City Library because it’s a library in the shape of a rotunda
- Stockholm: Skyview because you’re supposed to get a great view of Stockholm from this little dome outside of the Ericsson Globe
After I decided on what I wanted to do in each of the cities, I started taking a look at what was available for hotels. I’ve started using Expedia as my main form of booking for things like this because it feels like a one-stop-shop for me and I am able to see a bunch of different hotels. At this point, i could probably use other places like hotels.com or Kayak but I’ve enjoyed my experience with Expedia and it seems like the right option for me for the time being when I travel.
When I start doing my hotels and booking my travel, I have very specific criteria that I use when I am evaluating the hotels. I want them to be near the city center and near a main train station. Preferably a train station that has direct access to the airport just in case I decide to use it to get to and from the airport while I’m traveling. What’s funny about this trip is that when I finally started booking my hotels, I didn’t even look up public transportation. For whatever reason, I didn’t pay as much attention to my usual requirements and just went straight for the city center without really paying attention to what was in the surroundings. After I booked all my hotels, all that was left was to do last minute prep and get ready to board an airplane for 10 hours to Oslo.