Safe and sound and not even too jetlagged (thank you Singapore Airlines business class, ooh you are so awesome!)
It was all amazing. Iceland was even more stunning than I imagined, and Norway lives up to all the hype and then some. In no particular order, here are my own personal invented awards:
Country most likely to blow your mind: Iceland, no argument
Country which was the biggest disappointment: Denmark
Country with rudest people: Denmark
Country with the nicest people: Iceland, followed by Finland
Country with the most dramatic scenery: Tied between Norway and Iceland (Fjords! Glaciers! Volcanoes! Glaciers on top of volcanoes!)
Most expensive city: Stockholm
City with biggest ripoffs: Stockholm
City which was the biggest pleasant surprise: Helsinki, with Malmö in Sweden a close follow up. Spouse and I had both thought Helsinki would be rather bleak, but it in fact has a lot of fantastic architecture, public art and lovely green spaces. Two separate people warned us that Malmö was ugly and dirty, but we found a lively, clean, exciting city full of things to see and do, with lots of historic architecture and beautiful new stuff, as well as glorious gardens.
City with best food: Copenhagen. Omigod the pastries!
Place with worst food: Höfn in Iceland. Chocolate covered potato. Enough said.
Most exciting city we visited: London. Sorry, Scandinavia, but you just can’t beat her
Smartest thing we did: Took skirt hangers with us to hang laundry. Worked like a charm!
Dumbest thing we did: Let a taxi driver charge us $120 for a ten-minute, less than 1km journey in Stockholm.
Things we missed most about home: our pillows (Scandinavian pillows are filled with tapioca!), our washing machine, and a decent fridge
Things we miss now we’re back: the food, the public transport (especially the trains!), having someone else make breakfast 🙂
Things we don’t miss at all: public toilets in Sweden (when they exist, which they usually don’t). Cobbled streets. Scandinavian pillows. Living out of suitcases. Doing your laundry by hand. The Piccadilly line to Heathrow
Things we want to do again: fly business class! Go to Iceland. Go back to Norway. See our friends in Finland. Do more train travel to the places we didn’t get to.
Colds: 2. Injuries: 1 sprained foot, several mild gashes. Lost luggage: none.
Advice to fellow travellers: they really do take credit cards everywhere. Also, you don’t need thermal underwear in Iceland in summer. Really. And that advice about taking half the clothes and twice the money? The clothes thing is totally true!