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Independent Travel Through Scandinavian Region

Ojai, California
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203 posts
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Independent Travel Through Scandinavian Region

We are a couple of seniors interested in traveling through a few Scandinavian cities (Copenhagen, Oslo, St. Petersburg, etc.) to get an overview of this region. We considered a cruise but felt that would limit the time available in many of these cities. My questions:

* Is this travel possible by train or ferry?

* Any suggested websites or books available for planning such a trip?

* Is mid-September's weather still comfortable?

* Any must see cities/points of interest not to be missed?

I thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: Independent Travel Through Scandinavian Region

> ...interested in traveling through a few Scandinavian cities (Copenhagen, Oslo, St. Petersburg, etc.)

Uhm, since when has St.Petersburg become a Scandinavian city?

St Petersburg Russia
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for St. Petersburg
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2. Re: Independent Travel Through Scandinavian Region

Well. the area was Swedish for a long time until that issue was settled by Peter the Great:>)

The best ways to get around Scandinavia, minus St Petersburg, is ferry. The overnight passages negate the need for expensive hotel rooms. Buses are used a lot intra-country. September is a marvelous time, normally the autumn is mild and relatively dry. I think it is one of the best times to visit St Petersburg also for the same reason, plus the crowds in popular museums have gone home by mid September. Of the region capitols, Copenhagen to me is a special city. The people in all of Scandinavia are friendly and often speak European(primarily English) 2nd languages. Denmark English speaking tops that of the USA at over 95%. A cruise is the most efficient way of visiting because the cost is reasonable to see a glimpse of 7 or more countries but the longest stay in any of them is too short. The cruise ships stay in port in most for less than 10 hours except for St Petersburg were the port call is 1-3 days, most being 2 full days.

If you have the time to really explore, as you apparently do, getting out of the cities into the rural areas is great for all the Scandinavian countries. All of them are very civilized, with great services, the highest standard of living in the world, the least poverty and very high quality of life and it shows in a more relaxed content attitude among the people.

St Petersburg is a crossroads city, the gateway to the east and window on Europe and has as many reasons to be here as any city in the world, whatever your interests you will find it and in abundance. It is more culturally oriented than probably any city, and probably better educated than anywhere in the world. It will be rare to meet someone who does not have a college or higher education. The biggest mistake visitors say after coming is that they did not plan enough time here because regardless of their schedule, the just skimmed the surface. 5 days would be a bare minimum and 10 days would be getting to the heart of the matter. A full season would be even better. I came first 34 years ago and returned very often until moving full time 7 years ago. I still discover interesting things that few locals or even guides know about. on a daily basis. Although the language is "foreign" to most people the city is very easy to navigate on one's own, and invites random exploration because in any direction you walk you will find interesting historic, cultural or contemporary points of interest. To get the most out of your visit, plan to stay as long as possible and read a few good books on the subject...not just tour guide books. A good one to start with is "St Petersburg -Russia's Window to the Future, the First 3 Centuries" by Author L. and Elena George. It is the best book for putting the history, spirit, culture arts and daily life in context. Everything will make more sense than reading guide books. The society is changing so fast here that guidebooks are usually pretty obsolete but one that does not have to be fully up to date due to its style is the very pretty D&K Eye Witness Series St Petersburg. It will get you in the mood, and supply just enough needed facts to be a sure bet. Visually it is very attractive.

You have some time but a lot of study to do so get started today!

Have a great visit!

3. Re: Independent Travel Through Scandinavian Region

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