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Thread: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

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  1. #1
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    Default Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Despite my best resolves to stay within the US and save money, I keep getting these offers from wonderful places.

    I will be home exchanging in Scandinavia for 6 weeks from about July 8-August 17, 2012. When you go abroad for more than 4 weeks, you generally have to do more than one home exchange. I will be going to Fredrikstad, Norway, for the first exchange and Talby, Sweden, for the second one.

    Fredrikstad is about 1 1/2 hours by train south of Oslo. I certainly will see Oslo, but am also considering the train to Bergen and Flam and a tour through one of the fiords (not the whole cruise up north). Talby is in the Stockholm suburbs and I am sure I will find plenty to do in Stockholm and the surrounding area.

    I have already narrowed down the airfare choice and will be flying Icelandair. This time I might stop in Iceland for 3 days or so instead of just changing planes there. I can fly into Oslo and then home from Stockholm, so that bit will be taken care of. Between the two cities, I will use some sort of public transportation.

    And, for November-December 2012, I have 2 exchanges in Australia. They are not "fixed" yet because they are so far out. I will probably get a ticket for that sometime around April or May.

    Always traveling.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Oooh, Norwegian fjords...those are super-high on my list! My only trip to Norway was a couple of days in Oslo, which is lovely (but a couple of days was enough ).
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    It is different when you home exchange. I'll be in the small town of Fredrikstad 1 1/2 hours south of Oslo. I may fly to Bergen instead of Oslo first and then take the train one way into Oslo before changing trains for Fredrikstad. Then I'll use the train to get to Stockholm for exchange no. 2. My Scandinavian exchangers already have their tickets so I am going to have to get mine--and I just bought the Rome ticket. Unbelievable.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Scandinavia is truly beautiful. I have to revisit it in the future.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    I did a home exchange in Finland 3 years ago and really loved Finland. Now I am looking forward to exploring Norway and Sweden.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Back from the Scandinavia. Had a great time! Really gorgeous scenery. Also went to Latvia via the Tallink/Silja Ferry and stayed one night in Riga. My high school Russian still works!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Quote Originally Posted by LSKahn View Post
    Back from the Scandinavia. Had a great time! Really gorgeous scenery. Also went to Latvia via the Tallink/Silja Ferry and stayed one night in Riga. My high school Russian still works!
    Great experience in Tallink Silja Line Ferry, although I have concerns with online booking, we tried booking online only to be met by site errors several times, so we had to book physically. I hope they change that!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    I just went to the Tallink/Silja Line Ferry on the day I wanted to go and bought my ticket then. They have a hotel in Riga (Hotel Tallink) and I stayed there. If you go during the week, many less people on the ferries than on the weekend. Lots of Swedes go back and forth to enjoy the cruise and enjoy duty free liquor and cigarettes. Lots of smoking in Sweden and--ugh--people who put tobacco under their lips. I had never seen 'snuff' before. Not a nice habit. The Norwegians cross the Swedish border to buy similar stuff in Sweden at duty free shops convenient located at the border. Norway is more expensive than Sweden, but I think Australia is worse than either of them. In any event, I don't hang out at fancy food places much and eat sandwiches and the like when I eat out.

    I couldn't figure out the ferry site online and just packed a few things and went over there and it worked. I used the same company to go to Tallin from Helsinki and also took a cruise from Turku, Finland, to Mariehamn in the Aland Islands and back (I just got off and turned around and did it in a day) when I was in Finland. Poor man's cruises. Same places as the big cruise ships but much less deluxe and much cheaper. There is entertainment on the boat but I just read and went to sleep at night. Lovely scenery on the Turku to Mariehamn route. For Stockholm to Riga and return, you see a lot of gorgeous Swedish scenery until you get out of the Swedish Archipelago. Unfortunately, when I went, it was less gorgeous because it was overcast and rainy. Such is life.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Glad you had a great time....were the houses you stayed in good? Log cabins, or futuristic flats? I love the Scandinavian way of life- and everything seems so clean. I also like the sound of the ferries, being a fan of such ships.....
    Jo.
    Last edited by jocap; 08-23-2012 at 02:14 PM. Reason: typo
    Jo.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    Glad you had a good time! (And impressed with your high school Russian. My high school Spanish is beyond rusty...)
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Summer in Scandinavia--Home Exchanging Again

    I get Pimsleur before most trips and do what they have for the language. Only 10 lessons in Swedish, but almost everyone speaks English there. Homes were fine. The one in Norway was newer but everything was acceptable and much better than what you get in Southern Europe. Both homes had dryers but the Swedish one was a sort of closet where you hung everything up and turned it on for about 2 1/2 hours to dry everything. Worked but everything came out wrinkled. It was my first experience with that sort of dryer. Both homes had front loading washing machines but the usual small European models.

    Insofar as the ferries are concerned, they are a bit shopworn and could be cleaner. They are run by an Estonian company. There is entertainment on board, children's activities and huge duty free shops (the sole reason for taking them for many Scandinavians is to load up on liquor and cigarettes). They are cheap. The days I went to Latvia, it rained on and off in both Sweden and Latvia. It added to the post-Soviet grimness that told you that you were definitely in the East.
    Last edited by LSKahn; 08-24-2012 at 06:11 PM. Reason: Add information

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