Month: July 2014

Festival—Norwegian Style

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One of the main events of our visit to Norway was Månefestival (Moon Festival): three days of music featuring all female lead performers, including Patti Smith, Beth Hart, and Suzanne Vega. The festival was held in the old quarter of Fredrikstad, on an “island” in the Glomma river. Fredrikstad was a fortified city in the…

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Hangin’ Out In Moss

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Every few days, the nature of our trip changes completely. First we were bicycling and island hopping in the Swedish archipelago, then we were on a leisurely, pastoral canal cruise. That was followed by a very different cruise along Norway’s wild and rugged coast. After that, a stay at a summer cottage on a remote…

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Souvenirs

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When we were in Thailand last year on our honeymoon, visiting a floating market, I spotted a totally useless souvenir that I loved: a string of elephants carved out of coconuts, with feather propellers for tails, spinning in the breeze. We still had many weeks of traveling ahead of us, and they were silly and…

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Another Mystery, Solved!

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Karel lived in Sweden for three months when he was in his early twenties, and he has fond memories of the beautiful, bare-breasted Swedish women at the beach. This time, in spite of the extraordinarily warm, sunny weather, there are no naked breasts in sight. Everyone is demurely covered. Why, oh why? Was it just…

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The Island of Meløyvær

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Please don’t ask me how to pronounce the name of this island. I can do it, but I can only remember it for about 10 seconds. Then I have to find another Norwegian to pronounce it for me again. Anyway, we just spent four heavenly days there, at the childhood home of our friend, Eirik…

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Things To Do In Harstad

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We had half a day on our own in the city of Harstad, population 24,500, while we waited for Gry, Eirik, and Gunn to arrive by bus from the airport. Peggy had arranged a tour for us, so after a bit of confusion about where to store our luggage (the lockers were in the bus…

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Hurtigruten

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We’d just settled into our room back in Bergen when Pegs arrived. Woo hoo! After sharing a pizza for lunch, she and I made a beeline for Bryggen and spent the afternoon poking around the old buildings and souvenir shops and soaking it in over cider and beer. Pegs arranged a tour of Troldhaugen, the…

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Sognefjord in a Nutshell

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Back when Karel was working on the plans and arrangements for our trip (he does a great job!), he asked me how many days I wanted to stay in Bergen. Ask yourself the same question. Bergen shmergen, I thought, I don’t know the first thing about it. “Whatever you think is best, Dear.” Always a…

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Party Town

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The canal cruise ended in Gothenburg. From there, we took a train to Copenhagen. We emerged from the station right across from the Tivoli, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, and a fitting symbol for this lively, colorful, playful city. What a contrast with Stockholm! On the one hand, you have a…

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How We Do Things

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Even as Europe goes, Scandinavia is a more unusual destination for an American traveling abroad. First choice is usually Great Britain, France, Germany, or Italy, partly because these countries are so important to our heritage and history. So, I find it interesting that I sometimes feel so at ease here, I forget that I’m in…

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Land Of The Free

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Anyone who’s been following our blog knows by now that I try to make sense of what I observe, even though I know I’m only getting the briefest glimpse—and often a distorted one—of the countries we visit. One of the most striking things about Sweden, to me, is how empty of people it seems to…

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Slow Travel

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave since the turn of the millennium, you’ve heard of the Slow Food Movement. Well, there is also a Slow Travel aesthetic that has become fashionable, and Karel and I are fans of this style. We try to savor and enjoy a few, high quality, “authentic” experiences rather than…

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Back in Stockholm

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We had one full day in the city before our next big excursion, so we made ambitious plans to see a few museums. First on the list was the Vasa, a fully restored warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1632 due to a design flaw. At the time, the Vasa was the largest…

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Stockholm’s Archipelago

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If you look at a map of Sweden, it looks as though the east coast doesn’t end, so much as disintegrate, into the Baltic Sea. There are about 30,000 islands and an uncountable number of rocks and bumps peeking above the water, which was absolutely flat and calm for our entire stay. Many of the…

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Biking Into The Real Sweden

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For our first adventure, we’re traveling by bicycle and boat around the Swedish Archipelago. Our ride picked us up outside the hotel in the morning, along with a family of three from Massachusetts who were doing the same trip. We drove a short distance out of Stockholm to a nineteenth century castle—manor house, really—where we…

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Dr. Gizmo

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You’ve heard of Inspector Gadget? Well, it appears that Karel may be related. I came to this conclusion when he bought a vest with 42 pockets as a way to carry around his camera gear. This is in addition to a pair of cargo shorts with super duper deep pockets, and a new backpack with…

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Continental Odyssey

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Just over a year since our last trip abroad, Karel and I are traveling again. This time we’ll spend three months exploring Europe, starting with Scandinavia, then working our way south through Eastern Europe, and finally a swing northward again through Tuscany and down the Rhine to Amsterdam. We’ll spend a couple of days visiting…

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