A new Christmas tradition is starting to crystallize. Spend the holiday tropically! However, the winter wonderland is in Norway. After hot, tropical days in Thailand, the woods outside Oslo offers snow-clad trees and tranquillity.
I’ve always avoided Thailand like a pest. The stories about backpacking there always put me off. Furthermore, I always thought that “Since everybody goes there it must surely be destroyed long ago. Just like Mallorca and the Canary Islands.” But sun and summer was needed in the middle of winter, and Thailand offered warm beaches, and affordable airfares. To make sure the experience was bound to be terrible, we bought a Russian charter trip from Moscow to Pattaya.
But it turned out the trip wasn’t terrible at all. Save our Russian travel companions and Pattaya. Strangely, it seemed more Thai people spoke Russian than English in our part of the city. Pattaya has a reputation for its liberal attitude towards love for sale, and we only spent a night at our pre-paid hotel there before finding real paradise at the island Ko Chang.
Everything is easy in Thailand. Everything is cheap. And everyone is friendly. The contrast to Moscow is enormous. At Ko Chang We stayed at a wonderful small place called Saffron by the sea. It’s sort of a “back-to-nature” type place. Run by two sisters, Ding and Ban, and their older brother, this resort only has seven rooms and the best Thai restaurant I’ve been to. No need to leave for meals. Highly recommended.
We spent Christmas Eve outside in the garden at Saffron, and honestly I didn’t miss home a single second. In Thailand I had time to scuba dive, snorkel, kayak and simply laze at the beaches. We also found time for a short shopping spree in Bangkok.
After recharging the batteries we headed back to Norway to show off our enviable tan. Norway is not a tropical place in January. It’s dark and cold. But the woods are wonderful. I’ve gotten my skies out of storage, and managed to do a few practise runs from Frognerseteren. The atmosphere is magic – especially if you get there early, or late. Just avoid the crowds. This practise can by much needed. I am planning to participate in the Svalbard ski-marathon in April. The worlds nothernmost cross country ski race. (79 degrees north). Snow or beaches? Yes, please.
Written on Aeroflot SU212 for Moscow