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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,
Very excited about our itinerary below. A bit different from all that I have seen here. You might be amused by some of the places we are staying. Any advice? Any fellow travellers?
WED JULY 25: Depart LAX → Goteborg
THURS JULY 26: Arrive Goteborg, SWEDEN @ noon, pm: Goteborg (Volvo chooses hotel)
FRI JULY 27: Pick up car, drive Goteborg → Stockholm (5 hours), explore Stockholm, pm: Stockholm (jumbo jet hostel, 3-bed) http://www.jumbostay.com/
SAT JULY 28: Explore Stockholm, boat Kapellskar → Aland (2 1/2 hours), rent bikes, pm: Aland (camping, Grona Udden) http://www.gronaudden.com/
SUN JULY 29: Boat Aland → Turku, FINLAND (5 1/2 hours), explore Turku, drive Turku → Tampere (1 3/4 hours), pm: Tampere (Dream Hostel, private for 4) http://www.dreamhostel.fi/
MON JULY 30: Drive Tampere → Jyvaskyla (3 hours), Alto sites, pm: Jyvaskyla (Hotel Yopuu, sauna suite) http://www.hotelliyopuu.fi/
TUES JULY 31: Drive Jyvaskyla → Helsinki (3 hours), museums, design zone pm: Helsinki (camping) http://www.rastilacamping.fi/
WED AUG 1: Drive Helsinki → Talinn, ESTONIA(3 1/2 hours), pm: Talinn (apartment rental) www.oldhouse.ee
THURS AUG 2: Drive Talinn → Viljandi (2 hours), Viljandi → Soomaa National Park (44 km) (beaver safari, floating sauna), pm: Soomaa (camping) www.soomaa.com/
FRI AUG 3: Drive Soomaa → Gauja National Park, LATVIA (5 hours?) (castle walk, raft & toboggan ride), explore Ligatne, Cesis, pm: Ligatne (camping) http://www.makars.lv/en/kempings.html SAT AUG 4: Drive Sigulda → Riga (1 hour), explore Riga, pm: Riga (Neiburgs hotel) http://www.neiburgs.com/en/hotel/
SUN AUG 5: Drive Riga → Jurmala (30 min) (beach, spa, waterpark) → Kurland (120 km from Riga → Kurland) pm: Kuksu Muiza, Kurland (manor) http://www.kuksumuiza.lv
MON AUG 6: Drive Sabile → Zemaitija National Park, LITHUANIA (100km?) (missile base tour, nature trail) → Curonian Spit (70km?) (bike, boat ride, Gaiglas home, Nemunas Delta, Smiltyne), pm: Nida (camping, Nidos Kempingas) http://www.kempingas.lt/en/
TUES AUG 7: Explore Curonian Spit, drive to Vilnius (Klaipeda → Vilnius=310km), pm: Trakai (28 km W of Vilnius, resort is 8 km from Trakai) (Tony Resort)
WED AUG 8: Explore Vilnius, Europos parkas, Kernave, pm: Trakai (Tony Resort)
THURS AUG 9: Hang out at resort, drive Trakai → POLAND (5-6 hours), pm: boat from Poland to Karlshamm Sweden (4 hours)
FRI AUG 10: Explore Goteborg, pm: Goteborg, SWEDEN (boat hotel) http://www.liseberg.com/en/home/Accommodation/Hotel/Hotel-Barken-Viking/
SAT AUG 11: Depart Goteborg → LAX
 

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One more item for trip!

SUN August 12 - All day spa (for recuperation)! WOW!,:eek:
 

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Piece of cake...

Did not go to Latvia and Litva, but drove extensively in Sweden - Finland - Estonia - Norway in 2008.

3500 miles...in 16 days

Have a great trip...I am envy... are you from former Soviet Baltic? I have many good friends from that part of the world.
 

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Other than the LAX part, it looks like a GREAT trip. Enjoy!!
 

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That looks like an incredible trip. We did 3000 miles in 3 weeks (6 countries). Your plan seems a bit aggressive but I don't know your background/previous travel.

Just note that driving times in Google maps is optimistic and everything takes longer (meals, etc.) than you are used to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
just gotta schedule ferries

thanks for the comments
Yes, we are packing a lot in AND we are bringing our 8yo and 5yo!
The distances are actually pretty small for those of us used to driving in the american west. I do not think we will clear 2000 miles of driving. We will be putting the car on a nu,her of ferries, including an overnight across the baltic from lithuania back to sweden-- its a very long drive thru poland, germany, and denmark other wise-- although I would love to try her out on the autobahn!

I will try navigating by iPad (could not stomach $2k for volvvo nab system) and let y'all know how it goes.

ALSO I just got the best tickets thru Volvo travel on British Air, which Volvo has just negotiated a contract. DIRECT LAX to Heathrow overnight, $1450 for each kid-- adults fly free-- thanks volvo!
 

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I understand your "pain" akml--we are traveling with 3 kids: almost 7, almost 9, and 10 1/2. However, we are anxiously counting down the days and all of us are quite excited. We expect close to 3k miles over 3 1/2 weeks, so the car should be well broken in by the time it gets to the states! AND, I noticed that we are leaving Goteburg to come home at the same time your are leaving LAX to go to Goteburg. Enjoy!
 

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I can see that much is doable, and I appreciate the visits to cities in many countries, but there is a lot you might be missing by not spending time to take in experiences on the way. In our case over the course of two OSD’s we spent multiple days traveling between Goteburg and Stockholm, and then extended time in Stockholm. We visited castles, walked in the countryside, had lunches at local restaurants, hung out at pubs, took early morning walks, stayed at manors such as a Swedish ambassador to Russia's home, walked around Gamla Stan and the Swedish Royal Palace, saw Viking ruins, and visited the Vasa museum. Get out of the car occasionally and get a breath of fresh air. There is beautiful countryside in Sweden. After all, you will be taking long trips in your new Volvo in the West to Mammoth, SF, SD, PHX, Colorado River, etc. That said, I love that you're heading over to Latvia and Lithuania. Hope to get there on our third OSD.
 

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akml, as you probably know, Aland is very beautiful during summer and it's very easy (and popular) to bike on on the island. I wish you could stay longer in Turku, it's my favorite city in Finland and more fun than Tampere or Jyvaskyla or even Helsinki (OK, so I am biased, used to live in Turku for 5 years). When in Turku, I would suggest that you visit the old (700+ years) Turku castle, which is right next to the ferry terminal where you will be arriving http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turku_Castle. The beautiful island of Ruissalo is also fairly close to the ferry terminal. At the far end of the island is a beach where you and your kids can take a swim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruissalo). If you are into museums, Turku is full of them. For instance the Handicrafts Museum will take you back 200 years and show how people lived then (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luostarinmäki). Just google Turku museums. There is a large sail ship, Suomen Joutsen along the Aura river in downtown Turku if you are interested (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suomen_Joutsen). If you'd like to enjoy a cold beer, I would suggest Old Bank in the downtown or, if the weather is good, one of the ships along the Aura river. Whenever I am in Turku, I always make a trip to Pizzeria Dennis on Linnankatu in downtown for some good pizza.

Have fun on your trip!

Edit: Forgot about the Turku Cathedral in downtown Turku. Beautiful old church (700+ years), worth visiting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turku_Cathedral
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank You kaitsu,
This is exactly the sort of advice I was hoping for! We are reorienting and staying the night in Turku instead of Tampere. I am an Alvar Aalto fan and really want to go to Jyvaskyla, as well as a side trip to Noormarkku for the Villa Mairea.
 

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Are you sure about this leg?

THURS AUG 9: Hang out at resort, drive Trakai → POLAND (5-6 hours), pm: boat from Poland to Karlshamm Sweden (4 hours)

I found a ferry from Klaipeda, Lithuania to Karlshamm, Sweden. Nothing from Poland. As far as I know Sweden<->Poland ferries go Ystad-Swinoujscie, Karlskrona-Gdynia and Nynashamn-Gdansk.
And 4 hours of travel requires very fast ferry.

Krzys
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You are correct; I found the Karskrona-Gdynia was a lot less expensive than going from Klaipeda, but it does not take 4 hours, I mis-transcribed that (the 4 hours is more like the drive time to Gothenberg from Karlskrona). It is a couple of hours shorter than going from Klaipeda to Karlshamm. Thanks for reminding me that I need to purchase all the ferries NOW, since they sell out. Will you be taking one of these ferries this summer?
 

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I wish, Gdynia is my home town. It was fun to drive on my old streets in my wife's new Volvo.

Krzys

PS We will be buying new car next year. If Volvo has car for us we would love to repeat OSD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wish, Gdynia is my home town. It was fun to drive on my old streets in my wife's new Volvo.

Krzys

PS We will be buying new car next year. If Volvo has car for us we would love to repeat OSD.
Hey Krzys, it sounds like you might have done what we are doing-- or did you go there other way around the baltic through Copenhagen?
I would like to drive from Klaipeda thru Kalinngrand and Gdansk to Gdynia to take the ferry, but I don't know if the Russians will let me get a thru visa-- any thoughts?
 

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Nice itinerary. I live in Tallinn, and would suggest not to drive from Helsinki to Tallinn.;) take the ferry it will be much more comfortable and dry.
Make sure you take time to explore one of the finest old towns in Europe. Tallinn's Old Town is a real beauty for sure. Also recommend dinner at Olde Hansa http://www.oldehansa.ee/?id=10693, which is in the center of Old Town. Make sure your choice of accommodations if in Old Town offers car parking, as this can be a problem.
Enjoy Scandinavia and the Baltic's, and one last thing, be warned of the lousy road conditions in Poland.:thumbdown:
 

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+1 to the Olde Hansa...and to the Old Town in general...we came across it by chance, window-shopping in the Old Town...and did not regret it...a bit Disneylandish...but it is part of a package...
My wife and I like and appreciate some departure from reality, while on vacation...

I am from former USSR and was pleasantly surprised with the current ambiance in Tallinn...I as for a forgiveness from locals...but back in 70 and 80th my hard earned ruble was much less appreciated in Tallinn then today...

Previous time, when my wife and I were there in our pre-wedding "honeymoon" in 1978, we felt a real and apparent resentment...
But it seems to change...

We have the same opinion about Prague (both in relations to the Russian speaking people and to be Disneylandish), and love it...

...and +++1 to the ferry suggestion...

Had Stockholm - Helsinki - Tallinn - Stockholm - "sea-fairing" part of our 3rd OSD in 2008...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Unimproved Polish roads? That's why I have AWD and ground clearance! But thanks for the advice. It is quite a haul to drive from Vilnius to Gdynia: 600km across Lithuania and Poland. We are allowing 10 hours. I do not really know why, but the ferry from Gdynia is about $300 with cabin and car, but the ferry from Klaipeda is $700! If we go from Klaipeda, we would still be driving there from Vilnius, 5 hours or so, but we are considering it.
 
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