You know when you are so backlogged at work and you've come to the realisation that you'll never be able to catch up, Yeah, thats me with blogging. I've been so blessed and have done so much in the recent months that I just simply dont have the time to sit down and pen things down any longer. It's a shame really for I love writing things down.
It's just you know, life goes on.
Magnar and I had a wonderful time in New Zealand last December, and if you didn't already know we spent a little over 3 weeks driving around South Island before spending 4 days over in Auckland and Waiheke in the North Island.
Truth be told, I was a little underwhelmed by the so called "beauty" of New Zealand. Yes, I know I am going to get a lot of haters from that comment, but I maybe have set myself up with too high of an expectation and New Zealand didn't quite deliver.
Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful in New Zealand, the waters were this beautiful turquoise blue, the streets are clean, everything runs close to perfect, but is it THE most beautiful place in the world? Maybe not? Maybe I think so because I already am living in the most beautiful place on earth? Maybe I'm biased? I don't know.
New Zealand was pretty, but lacked the dramatic landscapes, in addition to that most of the country is just countrysides, I personally felt like you had to travel to those points on the map to experience the "beauty" we see on Google Images. And sometimes, you have to travel far. Otherwise you'll just be driving for miles and miles of farmlands.
Before I get slapped for saying these things, please dont get me wrong, I feel extremely blessed to have been able to see New Zealand. I feel privileged to have been able to experience so much, horse back riding, dolphin swimming, mountain hiking amongst other fun cool things I've done.
New Zealand doesn't disappoint there, there is SO MUCH activities you can do. Most of the activities we joined ran efficiently and we never felt like we were ever in any danger. You could really fling yourself off any thing in New Zealand.
Even better, they don't usually cost too much. Ziplining in Waiheke 150 NZD, Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa, 150 NZD
Another thing that New Zealand does amazingly well, is their options made available to different budgets, we mainly stayed in the various YHA's around New Zealand, and they are so fantastic. It truly deserves a post on it's own.
Budget wise, Magnar and I spend more than I maybe had anticipated? I can do a budget breakdown if I find time for it a little later. Our biggest surprise is actually seeing the cost of food. You maybe would assume that being an agricultural country brings cheaper food, but that is not the case here. In comparison to it's neighbour Australia (which in our opinion is the food mecca), the food in New Zealand is mediocre if that. We found it hard to get good food, and when we did we are sometimes appalled by their prices. It is not unusual to fork out 60 NZD for breakfast, 80 NZD for lunch and anywhere between 100-150 NZD for dinner.
Because of that Magnar and I resulted to cook most of our food at the YHA.
The people in New Zealand are wonderful, extremely friendly so no complains there! I especially liked the culture of preserving their Maori heritage, and if I ever return to that part of the world, I think I'll try and visit the Polynesian Islands for their history I found is truly magnificent
Would we go back?
Nja. Not right away. We didn't get the longing to return right away like we did with Melbourne. It was so nice to be able to have experienced it nonetheless.
I'll keep posting snippets from the trip, so stay tuned!
Magnar and I had just returned from a 5 day 4 night stay in Svalbard, Norway.
Before I write a little travel guide to Svalbard, I figured I let you guys in on a little (- not so little secret). This trip to Svalbard was a birthday gift to Magnar from me whereby we paid close to nothing for. Yup. I finally gathered enough "loyalty" points to finally fly for free. Never thought this day would come.
I am not one to be loyal to a airline company, I usually fly what's cheapest, and what's available. And to be totally honest, I own some Norwegian Airline shares and have their credit card to which I collect Norwegian Rewards off, so where I can, I fly with them. In fact most of the points I have now is from my flights taken on Lufthansa as SAS is a member of the Star Alliance group!
Anyways, get my drift?
But here is a teeny weeny loophole I thought I let you in on, since Svalbard is sort of like Norway, SAS has been kind enough to classify Svalbard as a domestic flight even though flight time is almost 4 hours long!
When I knew my Eurobonus Points were running out, I had to figure out quickly what to do with them. So I searched for a destination that would give me best value for these points, and behold, I found the Arctic.
Flying into Svalbard from Oslo will cost you 10 000 points minimum (5000 each way) with SAS GO, and 20 000 (10 000 each way) if you fly with SAS Plus.
A quick tip. You really have to be early in booking said flights, between the 2 weeks I looked into going, and to when I actually booked the flights, I had to not only change my dates, but also my flight class, we flew direct to Svalbard on SAS Plus, totalling us 15 000 points per pax. I booked my flights in October, and travelled in February.
And as you call tell, we had to then pay 424,- kr each on the airport taxes, etc.
But that my friend is a good deal if you ask me!
And as previously mentioned Magnar and I got to test out SAS Plus too. SAS Plus is just basically Economy extra. You get 2 bags (23 kg each) , express check in, priority boarding, extra leg room, food and beverage and access to the lounge in Gardemoen.
Note : SAS Plus only allows you access to the regular lounge, not the Gold and Platinum member lounges.
Is SAS Plus really worth the money? Personally no. I would not specifically pay to fly with SAS Plus. Maybe my body is just too used to budget airlines? I didn't think I needed the extra leg room, the lounge excess was okay, but the food onboard was just mediocre at best. I know that SAS is rolling out some lie flat seats on their long hauls, who knows maybe next time.
So yeah. That's my little review on how to get to Svalbard for cheap.
Thanks #SAS, Thanks #Eurobonus.
I do appreciate being able to see Svalbard as it isn't exactly a destination I would specifically pay to go see otherwise.