Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Things You See Along the Way…

Today, Greg and I braved the weather and made our way down to Griswold, Connecticut, to Buttonwood Farms to see the sunflowers.  We had to go today because tomorrow we are leaving for Ohio to visit relatives and when we get back, the sunflowers are going to be cattle food.
On the way down to Connecticut, we went through North Grosvenordale and saw this very beautiful, old mill tower that was built in 1872.

A little further down the road, I saw the bumper sticker of the day:  “Driver may be singing.  Exercise caution.”  Good advice, especially if I am driving and singing!

Once we got to Buttonwood Farms, it started raining really hard so we had to sit for a while and wait.  Then once it let up, we decided that going on the hayride was a smart thing to do just in case it started to rain again and here’s what we saw along the way:

And aren't these kids adorable?

Life being short, we had dessert first.  Mine was Sunflower Ice Cream, which contained caramel swirls, sunflower seeds, honey and some kind of crunchy almond confection.  Yum!

Then we met this distinguished fellow:

On the way home, I noticed this sign at one of our regular restaurants.  They have it right!  It's what's necessary in a summer like this. 

I may see you along the way while we are in Ohio.  If not, take it easy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Arctic Circle and beyond plus five thoughts about Norway…

I'm so short, they left me back at Sandnessjoen.  Notice how I'm clutching my Hurtigruten coffee mug.  It was early.

The globe marks the place where one crosses the Arctic Circle.  Those people in the boat seem to be fishing.

1)  Bet you’re pretty sick of my Norway pics by now.  I won’t be posting too many more.  Believe it or not, this has been barely a dent in the number of gigs that are still on my computer.  In any case, these particular pictures are ones I took around the time we were crossing the Arctic Circle.  Before we left, I read a review of this part of the Hurtigruten trip.  The person said that it was a big disappointment because they were expecting more than this goofy monument.  I’m not sure what that person wanted…fireworks or a laser line showing the demarcation, I guess.  But I found that it was enough for me and I considered us to be very lucky to have such beautiful weather.  Greg made sure we were going to cross on the Summer Solstice and we actually crossed just about a half hour past the actual Solstice time.  I liked that!

2)  Here are a few things we learned about trolls on this trip.  Trolls turn into rocks if they don’t make their curfew or, in other words, if they are found out in daylight.  That is why Norway is so rocky.  Trolls have four fingers and four toes and a bushy tale.  They can have one or two heads and sometimes one eye.  They come in all sizes.  They like to live underneath bridges and in waterfalls.  They can be good or bad, but mostly they are good.  Those big white rolls you see in fields that you thought were hay bales are actually troll toilet paper.

3)  We took the boat all the way to the end of the voyage in Kirkenes, Norway, which is way up north.  The day we were in Kirkenes, we were surprised to find that it was ten degrees warmer there at the top of the world than it was in Oslo almost 2,000 miles to the south.  Whether or not this is a common occurrence, I have no idea.

4)  The weather in Kirkenes that day wasn’t the only thing that surprised me about being above the Arctic Circle.  One is that there are a lot more people living up there than I thought there would be.  Another thing was that there are actually mallards up there.  I have to wonder if there is any place on earth with water where mallards aren’t.  I need to look that up.

5)  When I was sitting in the hotel lobby in Bergen one day, I overheard a conversation being held by two distinguished looking, older British women.  I wasn’t eavesdropping really, but I couldn’t help hearing them.  They talked about their gardens and a book both liked.  Then one of them said, “There is the summoning.”  A man was standing across the lobby gesturing impatiently to them to come along.  The other said, “Oh, yes.  He’s always summoning me to places I don’t want to go.”  I had to smile.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Land of the Midnight Sun…

The evening before we crossed into the Arctic Circle, Greg and I decided to stay up until midnight to see if Norway truly is “The Land of the Midnight Sun.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, the sun is still up at midnight in Northern Norway.  Here are some of the photos I took while we waited for the sun to not set.

At some point while we were waiting around and being awed by the scenery, the captain came on and told us that because the weather was so good, he was going to take us to see Torghatten.  Here it is:

I couldn’t get a very good picture of it because, in spite of the fact the sun was still up, it was low in the sky and opposite this interesting formation.  But here’s the story of Torghatten according to Wikipedia:  "According to legend, the hole was made by the troll Hestmannen while he was chasing the beautiful girl Lekamøya. As the troll realized he would not get the girl, he released an arrow to kill her, but the troll-king of Sømna threw his hat into the arrow's path to save her. The hat turned into the mountain with a hole in the middle.  The tunnel is 160 metres (520 ft) long, 35 metres (115 ft) wide, and 20 metres (66 ft) high. It was formed during the Scandinavian ice age. Ice and water eroded the looser rocks, while the harder ones in the mountain top have resisted erosion."

Now isn't that cool?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013



Thanks, Nancy!  I used your Navajo texture when I processed this photo.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Back to Norway…

...I wish.  It has been so hot here and will be for the next week that Norway would be a welcome relief.  But I will just have to content myself with a virtual return.

There were a few excursions offered while we were on the Hurtigruten ferry and one that we definitely agreed on was the excursion to the Geirangerfjord.

Here’s what we saw:

This is our ferry, the MS Trollfjord

And here is the Geirangerfjord.
After our overview of the fjord, we continued on.

We saw waterfalls.

And one of the oldest houses in Norway.

And we survived a trip down this road called the Trollstigen Pass.  I love the looks of this road.  It looks like it was actually stitched down by trolls.

Our tour guide told us a little story about the Trollstigen Pass.  Here it is:  A bus driver and a priest were trying to get into heaven.  Peter let the bus driver in but didn’t want to let the priest in.  The priest was appalled and had to ask Peter,”Why does he get in and not me?”  “Because,” Peter said, “when you did a service, everybody in the church was sleeping.  But when the bus driver drove his bus down the Trollstigen Pass, everybody was praying.”

It was a spectacular day of sight-seeing that ended in a nice dinner at Quality Hotel Alexandra in Molde where we joined back up with our boat the MS Trollfjord.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday…

I’ve managed to keep up with my 365 on Flickr, but I have fallen behind here.  No worries.  I got stuff together for this week’s Scavenger Hunt.

  Here are the prompts:  Relaxing, Inspiring Person, Written Word, Memories, and Best Friend.

Here’s what I’ve got:

I find it very RELAXING to meditate.  Buddha reminds me of meditation.  Buddha is relaxing.

For some reason, I have been thinking a lot about Kurt Vonnegut lately.  I have a real urge to get out my copy of Cat’s Cradle, my favorite Vonnegut book, and reread it.  I think that he is an INSPIRING PERSON so I am using a quote of his today.

I keep a travel diary when we go on trips.  Often, when we get home and I look through what I’ve written, I am amazed that I can’t make heads or tails of it.  My handwriting is pretty bad.  But now and then I get some insight from my WRITTEN WORD.

We made new MEMORIES this week when we went out to Northampton, Massachusetts to celebrate my daughter Carrie’s 29th birthday.  Here’s a photo of Carrie and my son Evan from that day.

Who says that dogs are just a man’s BEST FRIEND?  I would argue that many women have canine best friends, too.  This is mine.  Olive the pug doesn’t like to get her picture taken but she cooperated with me this morning even though at 8:30 when we were out taking a walk, it was already 80 degrees out and miserable.  I love this jolly, little pooch!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Most Beautiful Voyage in the World…

In Bergen, Greg and I boarded the Hurtigruten ferry the MS Trollfjord for what was billed as the “most beautiful voyage in the world.”  One of the first things they tell you on the Hurtigruten is that their boats are not cruise ships.  They are working ferries.  But while the Trollfjord might not have glitzy entertainment and endless food like most cruises, it was plenty comfortable and after we settled in and went up on deck, here’s what we were treated to.

A glimpse of Ålesund.

And that was within the first 24 hours.  Here's a map of Norway that traces our route.  The boat does stop at those places either on the way up or on the way down.

Monday, July 8, 2013


So yesterday after I got home from the grocery, I decided to take some time and look through and edit my photos from Bergen, Norway.  About fifteen minutes after I got started, the rain started coming down in buckets and the thunder and lightning started.  I decided to shut down my computer.  Good thing.  A few minutes later, the electricity was out and stayed out for three or four hours.  Oh, well…

But I have managed to get a few of my Bergen pics edited and will share them today.  Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is located on the west coast.  Its name in Old Norse means “the meadow among the mountains” and after having been there, I have to admit that it is aptly named. 

Bergen has a funicular, called the Fløibanen, that takes you up to a high point over the city.
  From there, this is what you see.

Back down at sea level, there is a famous site in Bergen called the Bryggen. It is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings that line the street facing the fjord.  It is the oldest part of the city and is quite charming.  Of course, it was also a source of photographic frustration for me as the building smack dab in the middle was covered with blue mesh as it was being restored.  Trying to work around that building left me with a virtual pile of not-so-good to Yuk! What were you thinking pics.  Such is life. 

 Greg and I did take the time to stroll through some of the appealing, old residential streets of Bergen.

We got to view some Bergen wildlife.

And we ate lunch at the famous fish market and had some native raspberries for dessert.

We enjoyed our visit to Bergen and would recommend it as a destination.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Flåm fences and five random thoughts…

1)  It has been really hot here since we returned from Norway.  Hot enough to make me want to hop right back on that plane and head back.  I can’t take the heat.  Even as a kid I hated it.
  It makes me feel like a slug.

2)  I had to take my Prius in for her 50,000 mile maintenance this afternoon.  Even though the waiting room was air conditioned, it was still stuffy in there and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.  The good news is that she (Ms. Prius) got an excellent health report.  The bad news is that I had a hard time keeping my eyes open on the drive home and had to stop for coffee.  Now, I am hoping that doesn’t interfere with my sleep tonight.
3)  I need to get some sleep tonight, because tomorrow at 10 am sharp, I am going to be one of the judges at our neighborhood 4th of July parade.  For the last three years or so, I have had the dubious honor, together with two other neighbors, of deciding which float is the best.  We’ve always been unanimous in our selection.  Hoping tomorrow won’t be any different.

4)  Yes, I know that tomorrow is the 6th of July.  Our neighborhood party is usually on a Saturday closest to the actual 4th.  That way, if the weather is horrid, we have a rain date.  If the weather is just ungodly hot, as it is likely to be tomorrow, we have the party and I just stay as still as possible.  We’ve lived in the neighborhood for 26 years and I can remember only once that we’ve had to use the rain date.

5)  The photos I’m posting today are from around Flåm, Norway.  What a beautiful little town!  While I would normally link to Life According to Jan and Jer's Friday's Fences, Jan and Jer are on a much deserved mini-vacay this week and it will resume next week.  I'm sure I can find more fences and link up then.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

On the Nærøyfjorden…

We spent a very pleasant night in Flåm and caught the ferry there for a ride through the Nærøyfjorden, which is said to be the narrowest and most spectacular inlet of the Sognefjord. 

I will let my photos of this magnificent place do the talking.  But what artistry was done by the receding glacier in partnership with the sea!  Man cannot rival this!

We got off the ferry in Gudvagen and caught a bus to Voss where we got back on a train that took us to the west coast and the city of Bergen.  At that point, I couldn’t imagine seeing anything more glorious, but now I know…the best was yet to come.

Happy Independence Day to all my friends from the USA out there in blogland.  I hope your day is safe, dry and happy!