a trip to remember – going to Northern Europe in the early pandemic and winter

I started 2020 with a big dream to travel extensively and months before this trip I have been doing intensive research on Denmark, Iceland and Norway. Not to mention all the shopping frenzy for winter clothes. I have been to Europe few times but never in the middle of winter and this trip will be our first going to northern Europe. Well I thought March is beginning of spring but not in that part of the world. March is apparently still in the middle of winter and temperature will still be hovering at 5-6C. I will write in a separate posting on how to pack for a winter trip to Iceland.

Who would’ve thought that starting 2020 we are entering into a covid-19 pandemic and my trip to Europe happened to be the only long holiday trip we managed to do in 2020 before all the countries in the world go into a lockdown. I have started to worry about this pandemic in February as covid19 cases in Europe is increasing. Some friends have already cancelled their trip to Europe so we were prepared if we had to do that also and closely monitoring the countries situation and airlines. Statistics in the three countries we are going to visit still look under control and so far Singapore airlines are still flying and have not changed their schedule. Our itinerary also looks safe as we are going to rent a car in Iceland and Norway so we are not going to be in a group with other people.

One day before the D-day Alyssa had fever which made us re-think of our trip. However my parents stepped in and told us that they are going to take care of Alyssa and most likely her fever is only coming from common cold. So with a heavy heart we finally decided to still go ahead with the trip without Alyssa. We are not alone in this trip as we are travelling also with my BFF Varee and her Hubby.

The three of us in a plane. Mask on at all times
Long transit time in Changi

We were flying Singapore airlines (which I purchased during BCA SQ Travel fair) with transit in Changi airport. Changi airport was quiet and we see people everywhere wearing mask. We are equipped with stocks of mask, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. We were vigilant with keeping personal hygiene at all times. We make sure we wiped our seat, seat holder, table, the trolley etc and make sure clean our hands with hand sanitizer at all times. .

Varee and I at the empty airport, wondering if we made the right decision to still pursue the trip lol
Us in the train

Our original itinerary is a 2 weeks trip covering Copenhagen (Denmark), Iceland, Norway and flying back from Copenhagen. Just when we landed to Copenhagen, we read news that Norway is imposing a 2 weeks quarantine for anyone entering the country and as we left to fly to Iceland, Denmark is announcing that it is closing its border lol. We really had to be flexible with our itinerary so we can still enjoy our holidays. Thank Goodness Booking.com is accommodative with the changes as we had to cancel all of our hotels reservation in Norway. Our travel agent from SQ (Pak Johan) is also super helpful in keeping us updated with the changes with the airlines and help us booking and changing our flights from Iceland to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Jakarta as we can no longer fly back to Copenhagen.

Us landing in Schipol

Our fly back home was also a roller coaster. It was early morning that Pak Johan informed me that Singapore was going to close its border and not allowing transit visitors so we had to leave that day and changed our flight at the airport. That was 1 hour rush in getting ready and packed everything. A big thumbs up to Singapore airlines. Without fuss the SQ rep changed our tickets when we told him that we need to fly back to Jakarta before Singapore closed its border. There we were checking in just 1 hour before our flight is departing.

At the end we arrived safely back to Jakarta and took a self 2 weeks quarantined at our house. Looking back I was extremely glad that we managed to travel just before all the countries went into lockdown. We couldn’t go to Norway but that gave us experience to spend longer time in Iceland and we even got to see northern light. We never know when Indonesians will be able to travel again to Europe or any other countries. But when the border opens again, Norway will be the first country I would like to visit.

Bye Holiday
Us landed safely in Jakarta