As I'm writing this we are 38 hrs from winning the Greatest Holiday in the World - 365 nights at any Radisson Blu we like and we have 5 years to spend them! Out of more than 11.000 competitors, we are currently number 1! (You can still vote for us here - we haven't won yet!).
As you can imagine, we have been dreaming, wondering and imagining where we could go and what we could do. So here are 7 different possibilities and we would like to hear what you would do :)
1. European road trip - part1 - the Roman route.
In the summer of 2011 we would like to take our car on the ferry from Iceland to Denmark, spending a couple of nights at the Radisson Blu in Aarhus where both my wife and I have family. From Aarhus we'd drive down south towards Frankfurt where my wife used to live in her early teens. She still has a lot of friends there so we'd probably spend a couple of nights at the Radisson Blu in Frankfurt. It is an absoloute architectural beauty.
From Frankfurt we'd head down to Baden-Baden, climbing the world's largest beer barrel in Heidelberg and exploring the forests of Schwarzwald (don't they have a famous Krankenhaus there? ;)
Next we'd drive through beautiful mountainous Switzerland with a stop over in either St. Gallen where Inga's sister studied, or Lucerne, depending on the route and timing (any recommendations on the most beautiful route through Switzerland?)
Then we'd be entering Italy with our first stop in the fashion capital of the World, Milan. An even more interesting stop in Italy would be our next stop were we would probably spend several days, Padova. The eco-friendly Radisson Blu in Padova is really fascinating and it's close to Venice, Verona and several other Italian highlights, like Lamborghini. I wonder if they have drive-self test tracks ;)
From Padova we'd head down to Rome were it's easy to spend several days exploring the Vatican, the Roman remains and the Italian atmosphere of Rome. From Rome we could do daytrips to Napoli and the infamous city of Pompei which was buried under Volcanic ash flow 2.000 years ago.
2. The French route back
From Rome we could take the ferry to Barcelona. The only Radisson Blu Spain at the moment is in Madrid but we could drive north from Barcelona to Marseilles where there's a wonderful Radisson Blu located by the harbour.
Paris would be next on the list with a couple of days in Disneyland :D From Disneyland we'd head back home through Luxembourg, spending a couple of nights in the spectacular Radisson Blu in Cologne, enjoying the beauty of the Mozel on the way.
The final stop would be in Silkeborg, a very nice little city in Denmark, before taking the ferry back home to Iceland.
3. The Eastern Route back
We could take the ferry from San Antonio in Italy to Split in Croatia, a beautiful old Roman town - where they have a brand new Radisson Blu under construction :) From there I could show my children where I was working at the end of the war in the nineties.
It would be very tempting to go down to beautiful Dubrovnik before heading back north. On the Northern routes we'd stop in Zagreb, Budapest in Hungary and Krakow in Poland. I would like to take my oldest kids to see the horrific concentration camps of Auschwitz. I visited such a place when I was twelve and it taught me a lot about what humans can do, and what we have to make sure never happens again.
From Krakow we'd go to Szczecin (don't ask me how to pronounce it) where we could take the ferry to Copenhagen, where we lived for 6 years. This time, we'd stay at Arne Jacobsen's famously designed hotel :) Then it's just of to Jytland and with the ferry back to Iceland.
4. The continued route from Rome
It's easy to plan the route forward, but the problem is we always have to go back at some point of time. Don't we? So like in 3 we could take the ferry to Split and head down to Dubrovnik.
From Dubrovnik we would head through one of the hidden secrets of Europe, the beautiful Monte Negro. From Montenegro we'd head through Kosove to Sofia in Bulgaria with it's grand historical churches and buildings. Next destination on the list would be a city I've dreamed of going to for a long time: Istanbul! I would like to spend a few days there. The Radisson Blu in Istanbul seems to be a pretty nice place to spend a few days in, to say the least :)
Now the problem is just how to get back home. Fly and send the car with a ship or drive?
5. Aqaba in Jordan
There's a Radisson Blu in Aqaba in Jordan, on the coast of the Red Sea. This is said to be one of the best places in the world to go snorkeling. It would be amazing to go there. There's no doubt we'd take a day trip form Aqaba to the amazing ancient mountain city of Petra. This would be a dream vacation!
My wife learned to swim as a kid in the Persian Gulf as she lived their from the age of 2 to 6. She's never been there since and it would be great to go with her to visit the Kuwait towers. Kuwait is probably quite different from what it was in the early 80's when she lived there. Luckily, Radisson Blu has a 5 star hotel in Kuwait :)
It's easy to get to London from our isolated little rock under the North Pole. Relatively. So London is VERY likely to be one of our first destinations. This capital of the world is always inspiring with people gathering from all over the world, it's fantastic museums, Oxford street and of course, the musicals on West End. The Radisson Blu is located perfectly in the heart of London's West End.
Got any more suggestions? After all, we are talking about 365 nights :)
ps. keep voting here until midnight July 24th!