Now this is a sunrise that was worth getting up for! Can you just imagine standing on the deck and being a part of sailing in this amazing fjord? We were so excited, that we scurried to get dressed and head out for the deck. Haha, we barely made it outside when we had to dash back to put warmer clothes on! Oh, was it cold and windy, but worth every minute shivering!
We stayed out on deck for a couple of hours watching enormous whales breach, icebergs float by, and dozens of areas where ice was cutting through mountains reaching for the sea. The seas had 8-10 foot swells making the natural beauty remind you of how harsh the environment really was. Prince Christian Sound (named after the Danish Prince) is between Iceland and Greenland and took us most of a day to navigate as we headed toward Nanortalik, Greenland. Check out these photos.
These massive ice flows are indescribable. It seemed like you could reach out and touch them.
The 22 Faroe Islands are located between Norway and Iceland and while independently ruled, they are a part of Denmark. The archipelago islands are a series of jagged mountain peeks and fjords. Our first stop was in the capital city of Torshavn. Today the people speak Faroese. The earliest inhabitants were Irish Monks, but were overtaken by the Vikings.
Most of the men fish for a living. Many of the homes were painted black because it is the easiest color for them to get. The black is derived from tar. Here too, many homes have grass thatched roofs. The green tin roofs you see in the picture is preferred if thatching is not available. I just don’t think I’d like to sit down to dinner and hear hooves on the roof from sheep eating. Does dirt fall in? How about bugs? Ick!
We also stopped by a workshop of a woodcutter who made lamp shades out of finely cut pieces of wood. It was an interesting process, but honestly I cannot imagine life there. It seems so solitary, cold, and dreary. A final interesting fact is that there are few trees of any real height. Why? The sheep eat them. They wander all over the place. Some are known to have GoPro’s on them!
Vacation time has rolled around again, and this time we took off on the Viking Sky Cruise ship to trace the path of the ancient Vikings as they explored Norway, The Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada. The trip took 23 days and was filled with many unexpected events and sites.
Our plane landed in Oslo, Norway and we used the Hop On, Hop Off bus to acclimate ourselves. We took in the Viking and Maritime museums.
Both had relics from the days of the Vikings.
After a day in Oslo, we took a train to Flam and passed through cloud shrouded fjords and had our first glimpse of the quiet life of Norway.
In Flam we had our first taste of reindeer meat as we strolled through a local Farmer’s Market. It was actually very good and we had it several more times during our trip.
After a day in Flam we boarded another train and headed for Balestrand for a two night stay.
Balestrand was a busier city than Flam, but still very small and quiet. The views were extraordinary. We were able to do quite a bit of walking with the temperatures being in the low 50’s.
One of the best things about Balestrand was the food. We had two nights of the most amazing buffet of Norwegian foods. The dinner service offered at least seven different ways of preparing salmon. It was all so wonderful. By this point in the trip, we had eaten, reindeer, veal, halibut,
salmon, and numerous kinds of local fish that I’d never heard of. The bread was to die for. If this was the kind of food we would be eating for the next 3 weeks, we were going to be in big trouble! It would be a challenge to keep portions small or pass on sampling everything our eyes would see.
At the end of our time in Balestrand, we took a ferry to Bergen were we would meet the ship. These three days were a nice adjustment to the 9 hour time change before we began our official journey.
In Bergen, we began our day in the rain with a drive around the waterfront and then on to a small working farm just outside the city proper. The farmer had four working horses, chickens, and a dozen or so sheep. Since it was raining quite hard we didn’t wander about the farm too long, but the guide did stop to show us some of the animals. When was the last time you saw a barn/shed with a grass roof? Take that a step further and ask yourself if you had that barn and some sheep would they have kept it neatly trimmed by eating it regularly? These sheep did! I watched them climb the rooftops and nibble away. Amazing.
Eventually we went inside the farm-house and had a lovely snack that include fresh-baked pastries and tea. The farmer changed into traditional Norweigan clothing, along with the gals that worked the tours. They came out and did a traditional dance of us and the farmer played the piano. It was a charming morning despite the rain.
By the time we headed back for the ship the rain had stopped and we were able to walk along the wharf to see some of the old Hanseatic buildings. Having been in Bergen before, we didn’t spend a lot of time walking around. Instead we headed for the ship to get settled in before setting sail early that evening. This was a must see city.
Retirement and Road Trip seem to go together, don’t they? This past spring we had the opportunity to head for the Grand Canyon with our son, Brian and his wife, Jenny. Dan and Brian shared the driving and it seemed like the long trek went quickly.
Judging by all the creature comforts we packed into the car you would have thought we were going for a week instead of 4 days! But we had a great time taking pictures, tasting beers from local brewery’s and sharing family stories. New memories were made like Brian bringing a hammock and stringing it between 2 trees so we could lookout over the canyon! Can you imagine how beautiful it was? It was a bit scary too!
Three of the four of us are NOT morning people, but we were all up and headed for the park at 4:15 to see the sunrise beam light over the red canyon. Dan drove and parked the car inside the park. By moonlight we hiked in to find the “perfect spot” to watch the day begin. My pictures don’t do justice to the magnificence of the Canyon, but I did manage to capture a few good shots.
And yes, later in the day as we were hiking, an elk wandered up to a public drinking fountain to have a sip of water. A park visitor was happy to give this big animal a slurp before moving on.
We had a great time traveling with our grown children. Now we have our free “lifetime” National Park pass. As senior citizens it cost us a big ten bucks. Who knows where we will go next…
I’ve discovered that traveling is a great way to be on the hunt for my favorite collectible: thimbles. They are easy to collect and store, but not necessarily easy to find. I started collecting around 1983…long before retirement! But over the years, the collection has grown to just over 200!
I don’t look for what I call “airport” thimbles, which are inexpensive and usually have tacky machine-stamped logos on them. In a pinch these little icons will do, if they represent a city or place that has meaning and there are no other choices. I tend to look for the unique or unusual that will remind me of a special location or event.
When we travel with friends, they all know to be on the lookout for these hidden treasures and give me a heads up. They are often shelved almost out- of- sight in shops, as I suspect they aren’t great sellers. It’s like an adult scavenger hunt! An added bonus is that they take up no space in a suitcase and don’t add any weight. And, I save lots of money by not collecting jewelry!
These tiny souvenirs are very affordable as far a collectibles go. Some of my favorites cost under $8. Some can be more, a lot more, but those are typically passed by. No one will want my collection because of its value! It’s purely sentimental and a beautiful reminder of places we’ve been.
I’ve managed to acquire thimbles from every continent but Antarctica. Hopefully, I will make it there one day. Then I can declare I’ve been on every continent!
Our tour of Italy allowed us to see some amazing fountains. Hope you enjoy these beauties! Since we went from Rome south to the Amalfi Coast and then north as far as Venice, I don’t remember where they were all from. Some were more ornamental than useful, although dogs didn’t seem to mind where the water came from.