Monday, July 27, 2009

The Ugly American Part One of Many

Faced with a four day weekend, I set out to take a small trip. To complicate things, I am trying to keep it relatively inexpensive seeing as we just went on vacation. Inexpensive European vacation, an oxymoron if there ever was one. Especially with a dollar more fit for lining bird cages than anything else.

Originally, we were headed to the original Legoland in Billund, Denmark. Getting there turns out to be an ordeal. Three trains, a bus--sounds more complicated than what I had bargained for. Then I turned to the idea of renting a car. Ten hour drive, ferry to get the car over the water, $7 a gallon gas to get there..again, getting way more complicated than I have the tolerance for.

Isn't there a 1-800 number I can call and get the all inclusive deal? Some sort of mapped out, error free, baby stepped package for the easily overwhelmed? Someone would have thought of this in the US. Plus, we'd get free T-shirts to help market the idea along to other attention span challenged travelers. It's what we do. Actually, we just drive or fly. We don't bother fucking around with trains.

Really, I can't even blame it on my short attention span. My husband, who excels at conquering, complicated Kilimanjaro sized tasks, looked up from the computer and said, "Are you frikking kidding me right now?"

I'll eventually have to make good on my Legoland promise but a nagging voice inside my head keeps asking, "Can't we just wait until we get home hop in the car and make the 5 hour drive to San Diego?" We'd be guaranteed a rain free experience--with ice.

Plus, I hate the idea of spending my money in the highest taxed country in the world. Isn't it bad enough I am spending it in the second highest taxed place? It's like a subtle nod of approval.

Then I moved on, so I started racking my brain on where to go. I've been to many of the larger European cities so I started to look for the cheap, last minute airfares. Cologne, Bonn, Vienna--Yes, I know, Ugly American poster child here- but old buidings, old buildings, old churches. I am surrounded by old buildings. And I love old buildings, don't get me wrong, but I don't need to spend $3,000 to look at old buildings for four days. Especially, when I can walk outside and see old buildings all day long.

In my searches I see there is an airline called German Wings. They have cheap flights to Berlin. I love Berlin, a city worth going to again and again. Normally, such an airline might be a little frightening. I'd be a bit nervous to fly Turkey Wings or Poland Wings. But German Wings, I am OK with. The Germans may not be overly friendly but if there is anyone who I'd trust to maintain, fly and schedule flights--it's them. And I bet you could eat off of the floor of one of those babies.

Bah, it looks like there is some sort of World Cup festival going on in Berlin this weekend. Soccer, right? Don't even get me started on that topic.

Back to my search. Anyone of these cities would be a dream, if I were sitting planning the trip from my computer in Phoenix. But, I am in Stockholm. In the thick of it. So, I am not exactly sure what I am looking for.

Plus, old buildings and museums, at this point, aren't a huge selling point to my kids. Especially, when Legoland was on the table.

I am still looking and taking each city and googling "things to do in city". Museums. Hmm, Krakow has a water park. Who knew?

Then, I move on to what really makes me feel like getting on a plane and going somewhere. Sunshine and blue water. Now, I am down into Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey. It might be hard to actually drag me out of any of these places. Plus, it's high season--not really cost effective for four days, keeping in mind the ever eroding dollar. All and all, still considering Portugal...

In the meantime, we've decided it's Phuket, Thailand for Christmas. It's an idea everyone can agree on. Maybe we are all going Euro.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. if I were you, I'd die to go here:

    Lofoten Islands

    123 miles north of the Arctic Circle. This 118-mile-long archipelago of small fishing communities set against a dramatic wall of towering snow-patched peaks - granite formations that date back several billion years - has drawn increasing numbers of mainlanders (and foreign artists) attracted to its seclusion, special light, bracing air, and unpolluted waters. The traditional rorbu (fishing cottage) was traditionally built on the docks extending out over the water. This steep island-world is bathed in summer nights of eight-hour dusk, with the midnight sun shining from June until late July. Svolvær (population 4,000), the main town for the islands, has a thriving summer art colony. Ferries arrive here from mainland Bodø, where Edgar Allan Poe spent a number of years writing A Descent into the Maelstrom, describing the unique phenomenon of immense volumes of water flushed through deep, narrow gorges with the outgoing tide. A maelstrom - the word, of Dutch origin, means "grinding stream" - is a furious, natural whirlpool (also known as a "kettle") that creates a goose-bump-inducing howl.

  3. Kim, I don't know which entry to post at, so I'll just tell you how much I love them all.

    Talent. You have it.

    Here's wishing ice comes your way!!

  4. testing... (trying to post a comment from IE instead of firefox)...

    I can totally relate with wanting to make the travel plans in the most simple way possible. I also just don't understand why ice isn't a big hit in Europe! I love the stuff.


  5. Lex, I just finally looked that up. It looks pretty. I tihnk oyu'd have to hit it right at mid summer when the days are longest.