The flight from Cape Town via Dubai takes a bit longer than going direct, but the difference in cost between Emirates and SAA, British Airways & other national airlines is substantial. Thus began our Euro Trip 2014, which will take us from London to Lulea in Northern Sweden, via Stockholm, then on to Venice, Rome, Amalfi and Pompeii before flying back to London and then home to Cape Town.
Cape Town – Dubai – London
We had the pleasure of travelling business class on this occasion, so it was actually a breeze. Even a midnight stopover at Dubai isn’t too bad, the Emirates business class lounges are awesome and the girls totally enjoyed the shopping. Arriving at Gatwick in the early morning is a bit of a pain, hotels aren’t that keen to accommodate guests who arrive at 7AM, but the Hilton, located at South Terminal was able to get us into a room without too much delay.
I’m not a great lover of shopping, but Camden Market is definitely an experience that I recommend. It’s crowded, noisy and somewhat commercialised but still a great way to spend a day. The sheer abundance of “stuff” available to buy is mind boggling and don’t get me started on the food. There is something from pretty much every corner of the world, and at reasonable prices too.
We spent 2 days in London, one at Camden Market and the other walking the streets and seeing the sights. It’s a fascinating city, I always enjoy a visit. One thing about London that always fascinates is the combination of ancient and modern architecture. This city isn’t afraid to mix the old with the new, and to me it really, really works.
There are no direct flights from London to Luleå, in Northern Sweden, a change is required at Stockholm. We flew with Norwegian both legs, a modern and efficient airline in true Scandinavian fashion.
Luleå is located in the far North of Sweden, on the coast and not far from the Arctic circle. Consequently the sun never really sets during summer (when we visited), nor does it fully rise in the winter. It’s a small, modern city of around 70 000 founded in 1621. It’s main industries are internet focused, in fact one of it’s claims to fame is that Facebook has located a data centre in the city.
Our visit was only one night, in order to drop our daughter off with friends, before we headed onwards to Italy and Venice, I definitely plan to visit again. Sitting at the Sky Bar on the roof of our hotel, watching the sun dip towards the horizon, before beginning to climb again at half past midnight is a wonderful experience. Seagulls flying around, cyclists, and people walking their dogs at 1am with the sun visible is just so different.
Clarion Hotel Luleå
We spent the night at the Clarion Hotel Sense which was incredibly awesome, one of the best hotels I have stayed at. Everything is just so modern, clean, efficient and well…Scandinavian. In a class of it’s own.