July 1, 2 and 3, 2019: A new adventure begins

Tom Daniels, his brother and sister-in-law Joel and Elaine plus their sister Barbara are on a new European tour.

If you'd like your e-mail address removed from this blog, "no worries".  Just let us know.

This Summer visit is to the land of the Midnight Sun, stopping in Iceland and Scotland along the way. Tom left Monday, flying through the night from San Francisco to Keflavik/Reykjavik, Iceland (the natives spell it "Island").  Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world.

It is expensive to book a shuttle that will take you on the 45 minute drive from the airport to you accomodations to Reykjavik ($80 to $96). So Tom made the executive decision to rent a car.  (Not cheap, either).  However it is the smallest car I've ever been in! Could barely load my suitcase and computer bag.

My computer bag has been approved for boarding

This sign show their estimated arrival time (Top right).

Barbara and Joel eating a sushi supper before boarding Iceland Air in Portland.

Tom was joined the next day by Elaine, Joel and Barbara.

Joel, Tom and Barbara loading up the tiny Nissan Juke with the microscopic luggage space.

Back at the apartment, the rest of the day was spent getting acclimated (napping) in this city of about 140,000.

We went out in the afternoon to visit the very impressive Lutheran church on a large square near the center of the city. Built between 1945-1985, Hallgrimskirkja rivals the size of European cathedrals, but is very bright with clear glass windows and a magnificent organ.

The pulpit is at one end and the organ the other so the pew backs can be easily switched depending on whether one wants to watch the pastor or the musician.

After a stroll around the inner city, we chose a restaurant and ate local delicacies such as seafood prepared in interesting ways.

We have managed to stay awake with brief napping and now will try to sleep in the land where it never really gets dark in the summertime. Looking out the window, the neighbors can be seen working in their garden of cabbage and rhubarb at night (11:00 p.m.) (Maybe they were burying a body???)

Thanks for the update! - Janek B.

Always happy to be part of you adventures!! - Carol S.

Hello Daniels Family! John and I rejoice to receive report of renewed Daniels travel!! As we bake away at 90+ doing homebound chores, your adventure is giving us vicarious pleasure! We always remark at length and with admiration on the remarkable Daniels family culture when we receive these reports! Happy Independence Day with “warm” regards from John & Jill .

Hello Tom,
You are at the beginning of an extraordinary adventure. I know you will find this trip one of rugged beauty. I am not sure where you are going but I have traveled extensively in Norway and it is an amazingly beautiful country. The Stave Churches are truly wonderful.  I know you all will find  the 24 hours of daylight challenging but glorious and fun!!!  I look forward to your adventure.  Dick P.

Great pictures!   Linda D.

Have Fun Tom!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️... Ron M

Great news from Iceland. Noticed everyone is wearing coats and that frigid looking garden out your window….I guess hothouse is the the only way to go there.  Terry D.


Dear Tom, I hope you’ll enjoy the tour and return your home safe and sound. Tetsuya O.

Thank you! Will follow you online!!  Anne C.

Thanks Tom It is wonderful, send us your pictures wherever you go, we love to see your pictures. Fred & Fatimah K.

Dear J,E,B and T, Have a great time in Europe, and keep me informed of your exploits.  We're headed to the Mollala parade this morning, with a stop for breakfast along the way.  Anything new in the parade?--I doubt it!  Kim & Richard S-D

Enjoy your trip! Now, about that dead body!!! Cabbage for kraut?? Janice S.

Hi Tom - love your blog. Keep them coming. Terry S.

Hi Tom. Oh! Your great travelog! I look forward to future segments and only wish I knew how to create them. Making final plans for my adventure with Zion and Denver and just booked tickets to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona since I was unable to get tickets when there last time. Hi to everyone and safe travels.  BTW- perfect time for you to be out of the country this Fourth. I am boycotting all coverage of Trump's folly in DC. Jon S.

Yarn is the least expensive thing in Iceland. I hope there’s a knitter among you. Pam L.

July 4: Iceland Self Guided Tour

We were up very, very early as is to be expected so had a leisurely start to the day. We had time to make some plans for a driving trip around the SW corner of this country.  Iceland is a little less than half the size of Oregon in area.

The second bedroom of our apartment is up very steep steps. We haven't quite figured out the "U" shaped hanger in the ceiling in the above photo.

In our apartment, the cold water is the pristine spring water that Iceland brags about. But the hot water comes from the thermal/geysers and has a strong Sulphur smell.


The famous Blue Lagoon is a hotsprings with a huge outdoor pool with a blueish-gray cast. For a fee you can have use of it. It’s about 30 miles from the city and many tour busses and cars of people were there today.

It was cloudy with periods of rain as we headed for the most famous spot on the Island, the Blue Lagoon. Iceland is alive with thermal and volcanic activity. Most all the heat is steam from underground and as we drove along, we could see steam coming out of the ground in numerous places, large pipes running across the fields, and power plants.

Joel, Elaine, Tom and Barbara in the Blue Lagoon Cafe.

Joel's pickled herring on rye.

We went on through some small towns and stopped for lunch at the Matkrain Café in the town of Hveragerdi.  We were looking for typical Icelandic cuisine. The server said the dishes ar eheavily influenced by Danish foods. This restaurant had only been open several weeks and had a nice assortment of specialties that they called Danish Smorgasbord. These were open-faced sandwiches on Rye or Pumpernickel with tasty treats. Joel’s was pickled herring and beets with capers and red onion, for example.   Barbara had the Iceland cheese specialty "skyr" which is thickened yogurt.

Our mother used to make a wonderful salad of herring, beets, chopped apple and onion for the church’s smorgasbord. We can’t remember much about the dressing and weren’t able to find a recipe in her collection.

As we drove nearer the coast, we saw farms and many of the famous Iceland ponies, examples of the more than 80,000 that inhabit the country. 100,000 have chosen to go abroad and by law they can never return. They come in a variety of colors. We saw where farmers were making haylage, fresh hay stuffed in large plastic bags where it ferments. It would be practical here where it would be hard to dry the traditional hay.

Vast fields of lava surround the area for miles with moss and a few wildflowers the only vegetation. Speaking of wildflowers, the variegated blue lupin are blooming in lots of places in great profusion.


Rounding into the city, we decided to stop and gas up at a Costco, the farthest north, perhaps? We went in the store to see how it compares with ours at home. Much the same although they use windows to light much of the area. Imagine that! Prices are higher here on most things. Gasoline (Benzine) is about $8 a gallon. Now that we have return to our abode, the clouds are parting and we prepare daylight all night. We hope you enjoy our ramblings. We all take pictures, Tom selects those to send out and writes captions, Joel writes most of the narrative and everyone edits. Scotland awaits.

Hi Tom and all, This is a very good day in Iceland. The thermal places are very unusual and the country side with black lands are most interesting. I don’t know when you get to Norway? Best, Dick

Thanks we really enjoy your emails.  Tom S.

Have a great time!   Cherly K.

So if someone sleeps upstairs, they have to come down the stairs to potty? So you smell like rotten eggs after you bathe? I take it none of you partook of the Blue Lagoon? Enjoy the travels……….hope you don’t mind my questions :o)   A little local update for you guys……….there was a fire at the Otis Café. Lots of smoke but no report of damage. From the looks of things they’ll likely be closed awhile. Cloudy today…... Linda D.

Hi! Love your travelogues. When I forward them to Jane, Becky, Shar, etc. the photos don’t tag along. Some folks would like to see them if it’s not too much trouble to make an adjustment. Thanks ... and keep having a great time.  Ruth K.

That is indeed an impressive church! You look like you’re all going to have a fun family time together. By the looks of the coats and jackets, it’s obviously not July weather in Iceland! Who has to climb the steep little staircase to go to bed? Perhaps one is supposed to do pull-ups on the U-shaped bar? Love, Nancy D.

You are the 4th set of friends who have gone to Iceland but no one mentioned Costco. I think that’s funny but seems obvious that Costco would be there. Thanks - Carol S.

Hi, Tom. Iceland looks pretty stark to me. A friend and I had to change planes there many (about 25) years ago on our way to England and Scotland. It was around 2AM — and we were both struck by how remarkably unfriendly the local staff at the airport were! Hilariously so, in fact. How are you finding the “natives?” Best to you both. Julian and I will clean up today from our July 4 party yesterday. We and our guests were able to enjoy NINE fireworks displays from our front deck in Newburgh last evening. Very enjoyable. I head to Spokane for the summer on Sunday. Best to Joel and Elaine — and to you! Sorry I missed you in NYC this past spring. Consider Spokane this summer ;-) Mick M.--

July 5-6: Reykjavik to Glasgow

We left our apartment fairly early after packing up our little Nissan Juke to get us and all our luggage to Keflavik airport. The airport is about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik and was originally a U. S. air base built during World War II. We remembered landing there on our DC 6C propeller flight to London in 1965 for a refueling stop. On that visit, we had breakfast in what served as a terminal while they did some repairs to the plane. What a different place now. Virtually all Iceland air travel is through this airport.

Last minute shopping.

Felted soap, anyone?

Our destination was Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland located southwest of Edinburgh. We got there early afternoon and picked up a rental car.

They were so happy to tell us that we were upgraded to a Range Rover and we would have to be extra careful since it was such an expensive car. Well expensive is as expensive does, and our modest luggage that we had managed to get in the tiny Nissan just wouldn’t fit. The agent took pity on us and managed to find a roomier car (BMW X5) in which we easily fit our luggage.

The train from Crookston Road to Glasgow Central.

Today, we decided to go by train to the center of the city to spend the day. The weather was" light jacket" with clouds/sun and in 20 minutes we were at central station. Tom was having difficulties with his phone card so we found Vodafone where he could get some help.

Glasgow Central train station.

While we waited, we walked up to the main street where there was a parade about the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. It had something to do with the Jacobite’s loyal to the deposed King James II of England and William of Orange. It’s much too complicated to explain here, but the parade seemed to feature the latter day Organizations of Orange Men as in Northern Ireland.

When we asked a sales person about the parade, she was very dismissive of the whole affair since the marchers represented British loyalists and she can’t wait for Scotland to become a separate country, especially if Boris Johnson is elected the new Prime Minister.

A "living sculpture" street performer (man-creature floating next to unicorn)

Glasgow Cathedral

Central Glasgow was filled with people enjoying a summer Saturday, and we decided to hike up to the Cathedral. It was the only one of the medieval gothic churches not damaged in the Reformation. It is Scottish Presbyterian with many beautiful stained-glass windows.
Necropolis next to Glasgow Cathedral

Up on the hill behind the cathedral was a large cemetery with large burial structures. One would have to climb up to walk around them and we weren’t up to that.

Painting on the wall of a building we passed.


Elaine, Joel, Tom and Barbara at small carnival

Beautiful metal ornamentation on side of building.

Along the River Clyde

Glasgow looks more “up my alley.” I loved Edinburgh many years ago when I visited, but never made it to Glasgow. I still have some sumptuous Pringle cashmere sweaters I was given in high school. ... Mick M.

Looks wonderful. One of the biggest problems I had last year when we were in Italy and then France was getting a car that was big enough to hold our luggage. Glad you made it and are having a good time. Carol S.

Thanks again for the nice photos and info.....Love the old beautiful cathedrals - Cheryl K.

LOVE the painting on the side of the building of the man with a little bird.
What is the temp. there, everyone is wearing jackets.     Looks like you are all having a good time.    -Audrey Y.

 Hi Tom, Enjoying your travel log very much; it's like being there.  Tom O.

Thank you for sharing again! Again it is so inspiring. Tell me from what time are those baroquish metal ornaments on that building in Glasgow? Hello to all of you! Your Apollonia

Thanks for keeping me abreast of your travels, Tom! It’s a great way to preview some of the places Pete and I hope to visit. We’re headed to Alaska in a week but a bit dismayed to learn that they’re experiencing a record heat wave. I supposed that’s to be expected… Laurie S.



Hello! Once again I have the pleasure of enjoying your travels...with such interesting photos and comments. Reykjavik stirred up some very early memories of my own.. At the end of my jr.year abroad in France, I had a student charter ($75!!) flight from Amsterdam to New York. One of the wing engines (or something like that) caught on fire en route, and the plane had to detour to Reykjavik. The airline put us up on a hotel, which ended up to be 2 nights there, while they waited for another plane to carry us. That was so fun, touring and shopping in Reykjavik,and almost worth the scare we encountered seeing a flaming wing out the window of the plane! I remember loving the visit there, so different from other places I had visited. Bought a wool cape that I wore for years :-). I've been catching glimpses all week-end of the Irish coast, The Irish Open (golf), and the Scottish Open will be upcoming, then the British Open ("The Open")... my favorite 3-week stretch of golf viewing. The vistas of the Irish coast have been fabulous with extremely high cliffs along the Atlantic. We are in the high 90's every day now, with heat indices near 110. Bizarre weather year, even for here. Hottest May on record. A week ago we had flooding rains, with 12" dumped on Harlingen, which was needed, but many people had flood damage. Thanks, again, for sharing. Will look forward to your send-outs. Know you are having fun! Best regards to all, Sandra Heckard Bickley

July 7: Glasgow to Fort Williams

Barbara, Tom and Joel having breakfast at the Crookston Hotel in Glasgow.


Loaded up and ready to to go.

Leaving Glasgow, we drove to Loch Lamond and stopped at a bonny, bonny Heritage town of Luss.  It was full of quaint cottages, shops and a charming Presbyterian church. It would have been fun to stay for services, but our parking ticket was running out and we needed to get going.

The flowers were spectacular.  Near here was a long pier into Loch Lomond where various sorts of boat rides were available.

Loch Lomond

Joel, Barbara and Tom at Loch Lomond.

Barbara, Tom and Elaine with the little Scottish Presbyterian church in the background.

Tom and Barbara at Ardkinglas Gardens

We had been eyeing some gardens and decided to go into the west highlands to a forested garden, Ardkinglas, built by Sir Robert Lorimer.  There was a mile-long trail along the hillside leading up to an old mill.  The stream had been dammed in 1907 and was able to generate electricity making life much easier for the servants and saving on coal.  He built a fish ladder and landscaped with rock walls to make it look as natural as possible.  The rhododendrons are huge, 10-15” trunks.  The trees of various varieties brought in from around the world are immense.  The house is only open 1 day per week so we weren’t able to see it. 

Tom in front of ancient conifer.

Huge rhododendron tree in bloom.

We drove on and stopped in a small town for coffee and scones.  We asked what the celebration was since there were lots of people and were told it was just a normal Sunday.  The remainder of the drive was through beautiful hills with sheep hanging on the steep slopes and cattle.  Everything is very green. 

Elaine asking for directions in Inverary, Argyle.

Scones and skinny latte in Inverary on our way to Fort William.

We passed near the highest spot in Great Britain, Ben Nevis at 4,406.  Considering that it goes straight up from sea level, it seems pretty tall. 

Arriving at Ft William, known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, we found our hotel and were happy to see that we have a nice view of Loch Linnhe, an arm of the ocean and the hills beyond. It’s not far from the Isles of Skye, Rum and Mull.

Nice room. Who said "plaids are out"?


Clan MacDuff Hotel in Fort William


July 8: Ft William to Ardersier, Scotland

Last night we had dinner at the Clan MacDuff hotel.  Elaine had a crayfish salad.

Crayfish Salad

Loaded up and ready to go.

We stopped at a war memorial overlooking beautiful, lush Scottish highland panoramas.

Tributes to fallen Scottish soldiers.

After a short drive, we stopped at a wide spot in the road where we could walk across a cable bridge dating from the 1850’s. it crossed a waterway going between the Lochs (lakes).



Joel and Tom standing on one of the locks of the Caledonian Canal that was built in the early 1800’s with locks allowing shipping between the coasts of Scotland.

Bag pipe music beside Loch Ness

In the gift shop.

We stopped for coffee and scones in Fort Augustus, full of tourists boarding boats for cruising Loch Ness in search of the monster.

Most of the rest of the day we drove along Loch Ness stopping at the ruins of Urquhart Castle, a dramatic overlook of the loch.

Elaine and Joel at Urquhart Castle

A tower at Urquhart Castle.

Our stop for the night is a bed and breakfast called Inchrye in Ardersier, a village about 10 miles NE of Inverness on the Firth of Moray, a bay in the North Sea.

Joel and Elaine's room at Inchrye.

Interesting facts: the population of the UK (Great Britain & Northern Ireland) is just under 67 million people, 717 persons per square mile The population of Oregon is just under 4.2 million with a slightly larger land area, 39 persons per square mile. The population of California is slightly less than 40 million with a land area 1 ½ time larger and a density of 240 persons per square mile.


Tom. It looks like a lot of fun. Fred K.

Hello to all, I hope that they have sub-titles when you talk to people. I know that I am lost without them on the TV. I still don't quite get the living sculpture....is there a man in there levitating? Keep on having fun. Greg G.

Dear Daniels', in Inverness Sarah and I were in 1963. I bought wool material for my mother which she had made into a suit which she wore til about 2000. Sarah and I had visited an uncle of hers in the highlands and went grouse hunting. Happy further trip! Your Apollonia

Loved Scotland when I was there in 1980! You are bringing back fond memories. I love your blogs! Sylvia S.

Great pictures! Rosemary J.

What a darling little church that looked! I got the “bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond” reference. Yay, me! Love, Nancy D.

Aloha Tom, Thank you for sharing your travel to Iceland with me. I needed this since I have been working 10 plus hours per day since May 1st. Take care and stay warm. Mahalo Sharlene

Fitted for your kilt with the McDaniels' tartan?  Greg G.

This reminds me of the trip I took to Scotland so many years ago. I was amazed with all the ruins. Thank you Carol S.

Thanks for sharing your incredible Adventures, I remember that Herring Salad your Mom made it at a Christmas gathering once, very delicious, i tried to copy the recipe several times but no luck! Trudy D.


July 9: Inverness to Aberdeen

We stayed in a charming B ‘n B in an old house in a small village of Ardersier about 10 miles from Inverness.  

All the rooms were nicely done, and there was a breakfast made to order for each of us.  It reminded us of Mulino House.

We had awaken to rain, Oregon style, and decided to drive into Inverness to check out the Victoria Market: interesting but not quite what we had expected.  

Tom and Barbara in Victoria Market in Inverness

We happened to mention that we were interested in the national flower of Scotland that is kind of like a small artichoke with purple flowers and stickers.  We wondered where we might get some seeds to take home.  We were told it was a bull thistle.  “How did such a wondrous plant get to be the national flower” we wondered.  Apparently when the Vikings were sneaking up on a village, they stumbled into a thistle patch and yelped in pain and spoiled the surprise.  There are several other beautiful plants we would like to bring home.  One is called Scotch Broom and the other Tansey Ragwort.  Oh wait, we have them already. 

Knitted chair at Victorian Market

Tom and Joel looking at kilts.

Soon we were on the way to Lossiemouth to visit Bobby Clark,  our niece Kate’s father-in-law.  He has recently retired as head soccer coach for Notre Dame and retired with his wife Bette to their homeland.  

This day, Bette had gone with her daughter and family to Edinburgh for a couple days and Bobby was left at home to entertain the guests.  

They have a beautiful apartment with an overlook of a golf course and the Firth of Moray.  If it had been a little clearer, we could have seen across the bay and perhaps the Orkney Islands.  We had tea, tasty treats, most importantly a good chance to learn more about the country. 


Tea with Bobby, overlooking the golf course and bay

Golf course outside of Bobby and Bette's home.

Tom, Barbara, Bobby, Joel and Elaine at the Clark's

Too soon, it was time to say goodbye and drive on toward Aberdeen where we are staying.  This part of Scotland has lots of farmland with beautiful crops of barley (think whiskey), potatoes, etc., and lots of cows, sheep and pigs.  The countryside would remind us of home although greener 



Very nice!  Rene T.

Good grief, Tom! Don’t bring home scotch broom or thistle seeds. we have enough trouble getting rid of these pests plants already. Sylvia S.

Hi Tom,
So happy you could catch up with Bobby - he is a sweet guy!  We are hoping to get out there next summer.... Hope you have a good rest of your trip! Xoxo Kate C. 

Looks like your really enjoying this trip. One question.... Did you buy a kilt and that purse looks mighty tempting ???? Tom O.

Love the pics. FYI it's been cloudy all day, I've been putsing around outside and it's just now acting like it will get serious about raining. Love to you all...... Linda D.

Thank you for all the lovely picturers! Anna is on her long hiking tour from Manchester to Scotland right now! Maybe you meet her! She told us the weather isn´t too bad! I hope you enjoy your time and does Doris know that you are in Scotland? She would surely love to see you!!! Have a good time and I send my love to all of you! Love, Ruth K.

Very nice! You know we always enjoy your trip pictures and notes. Thanks so much.  Sharon S.

Love the idea of the crayfish salad. Also the color combo of Joel and Elaine"s room. Amazing to me how European countries make their historical sites safe for people to tour. Enjoyable. Thank You Donna H.

July 10-11: Aberdeen to Shetland Isles, Scotland

Today we bid goodbye for this visit to Scotland. Our overnight stay was in the village of Newburgh about 10 miles from Aberdeen, the third largest city in Scotland. But not before our "English" breakfast at our hotel.

Elaine's English Breakfast with black pudding!

We drove to the city center, and walked around a large square. We looked down a side street and realized that we were close to the dock where the Northlink Ferry was waiting for our evening departure for the Shetland Islands. We decided to walk down and scout it out so we would know the logistics.

Barbara, Joel, Tom - in cloudy Aberdeen

Aberdeen city square near St. Andrew's Cathedral

We had several things to do. The girls waited at the ferry terminal and Tom and Joel walked back to get the car and bring the luggage down to be checked in to storage.

Then we drove back to a pub called the Old Blackfriar Pub, which we had spotted earlier.  Tom left everyone off there while he returned the rental car. After a leisurely light lunch, we walked back just in time to fetch our luggage and board the ferry for the 12-hour crossing to Lerwick the capital of the Shetland Islands.

Cabin No. 446

"Outer Twin" cabin

Cafe/Restaurant on the ferry

We squeezed into our neat little cabins and made some coffee to go with a power lie-down. Later we went to the restaurant for dinner. We understand that this crossing can be pretty wild, but on this calm summer night, the sea was like glass and we slept soundly with the gentle humming of the engines.

Town of Lerwick, Shetland Isles

We arrived at 7:30, and since the ferry doesn’t leave for a return until evening, there was no hurry to get off. We weren’t in any rush since we couldn’t get into our apartment until early afternoon. We had breakfast and were some of the last to leave the ferry.

We had asked last evening when the Captain’s Reception would be held and just got a chuckle. This morning the captain was at the desk as we left and mentioned that some Americans had asked about the "reception".

A taxi took us to our apartment.

The car ferry that brought us over to Lerwick.

The ferry boat captain gave us some good tips for the Islands. We wanted to know where Jimmy Perez’s house was and to perhaps get a peek in the police station. We are in luck that no cruise ships are docking today so no hoards of tourists swarming over this charming village of 6,000 people.

Tom, Barbara, Joel and Elaine

Joel, Barbara and Tom getting some tourist tips

Examples of eyeglasses for sale

Lerwick street scene

Jamison Wool - Yarn shop

Lerwick harbor

Jimmy Perez's house

Jimmy Perez's house (other side)

The kitchen/island in our apartment.

Hello, from OREGON! So, Elaine… are you bringing any Shetland yarn home? Do they have printed or embroidered shirts with village names? Maybe one with a Shetland sheep on it? I’m interested! Jimmy and I are totally enjoying your travel tales and appreciate being on your recipient list. Thank you so much for sharing. What an amazing adventure. Hugs from Oregon, Jimmy and Glenda F.

Elaine has started her knitting project on her Shetland Island woolen yarn. Missing you! How are the dogs behaving? All's good with the dogs..... I did a lot of outside work.... pulling weeds.

So who is jimmy Perez? (Or was) Sylvia S. I’m afraid that the “Jimmy Perez” reference is kind of an inside joke, in a way. We all loved the British detective show called Shetland. It was written by Ann Cleaves who also writes the (British) Vera series. Jimmy Perez is the main character. They film that stone house as his residence in the series. We have yet to see his police station. We have been told that that series has brought a lot of tourists here. It's one of the reason we came here.

July 12: Shetland Isles, Scotland

A gray day, but no rain and this day we enjoyed touring around the southern part of the main island of the Shetland Archipelago.

Early this morning we washed our second load of clothes in the washing machine in our apartment kitchen.  We have a drying rack position next to the radiator which helps speed the process along.

Elaine knitting with her new Shetland Yarn.

Drying laundry on the drying rack in our apartment.

Come take a ride with me in my BMW

After breakfast in our apartment, we set out for the taxi stand nearby. The first car in line agreed to take us for several hours around to some interesting sites.

Shetland ponies

Shetland is a treeless land with hills, dales and lots of sheep that vastly outnumber people, cattle, and Shetland ponies. Everything is very green. The temperature today was in the low 50’s, and the wind was slight, a typical mid-summer day this far north.

Forms for drying woolen socks and gloves

The Shetlands are mid-way between Scotland and Norway. The original language, which has largely died out, is a mixture of Gaelic and Norwegian. The brogue is heavy and sometime difficult for us to understand

Warping machine (creating the warp yarns for weaving)

Our first stop was a community center with a local craft store and tea room. We were fascinated by the steel looms and warping machines from an earlier era. There is one breed of sheep here, Shetland, and the wool is prized for fabrics and yarn for knitting.

Sheep figures for cousin Nancy (Tig and Tag???)

Shetland houses


Peat cutting area

A little further along, we stopped at a restored croft from 1880. Croft is a local word for a farm. The house and connected shop/granary and barn were made out of stone. Peat was the fuel and still can be cut and preserved for heating and cooking.

Elaine, Joel, Barbara and Tom at the Crofthouse (farm house) Museum

Tom, Barbara and Joel at the Croft Museum

The doorways were no more than 4 foot high and one had to be careful. The main house had two rooms and a loft. In each room were large wardrobe-like furniture that were used for sleeping. They would have been warmer and gave some privacy. We saw stretchers shaped like socks and mittens to slip those items for drying. There was a fireplace for cooking and heating. In the granary there were mill wheels for grinding grain. They would have been powered by a waterwheel.

Our guide to the Croft Museum

Old boat used for roof of this farm building

Wild yellow iris flowers.

Sumburgh, the main airport for Shetland Island.

We went by the airport that is located about 25 miles from town that runs flights to Aberdeen and to Bergen in the summer. It is rather expensive in time or money to leave the islands, $200 round trip to fly to Aberdeen or 12 hours by ferry.

Viking ruins in the background

As we motored along, we went by Viking ruins dating back 4000 years.

People seem to be happy here where the few police mostly deal with drunken revelers. Our driver said they don’t even bother to enforce traffic laws. The only traffic lights are for pedestrians. Our driver came here when his wife took a one-year position teaching. They have been here for 17 years. He and his wife have 3 daughters who went to school here and thought the quality was very good.

Oil is big here, and at the height of establishing offshore wells, there were 6000 additional people. That has dwindled down to about 1000. We drove by a brand-new high school that has a boarding facility for those from the outer islands.

Birds on the rock

Our final stop was at Sumburgh Head where there is a decommissioned lighthouse station. It was the place for us to see birds nesting on the cliffs. We were especially enamored with the puffins and puffins and puffins.


More puffins

Nesting puffins

At Sumburgh Head near the extreme south end of the island.

Lazy seal on the Shetland beach

Sandy beach with North Sea waters to the north (right) and Atlantic Ocean water to the south (left) (according to our driver)

Ubiquitous Scottish scone with jam and clotted cream

Gosh! I wish there were more puffin photos. Can't get enough puffin! Off to visit Ruth, Randy and Bob. We'll talk about you. It's hot. Very hot: 115 today. Just like on the Shetland Islands. (Imagine. That's twice the heat that you're experiencing.) Keep up the good work. Greg G.

This is great. And puffins...... BJ, are you bringing back a puffin prize for me? I think that island is the one stop I miss. That guide sure has rosey cheeks! And I'll have a scone please.  Linda D.

Fascinating Tom. Thanks for the photos.  Jon S.

Sometime we will tell you about our experience on the Lerwick-Bergen ferry. Watching the "Shetland" mystery shows makes me want to return. We spent the weekend there, but only got out of Lerwick on a birdwatching boat tour. Sneaky how you get to Lerwick from Aberdeen but can't get out to Bergen for a few days. Pam L


July 13: Shetland Islands to Bergen, Norway

Today was travel day. We had a leisurely morning until getting our luggage down the two flights of circular stairs to the area where the taxi would pick us up for the 40-minute drive to the airport at the southern tip of the island.
Barbara checking out woolens at Sumbrough Airport (25 miles from Lerwick)

Our Saab 50 passenger turboprop

We had plenty of time to get to our gate, one of two. There are about 6 flights per day. The screeners gave our bags a thorough going through with a fine-toothed comb.

All aboard!

Approaching Bergen, Norway over islands west of Bergen

The flight was about an hour. After days of mostly cloudy weather, we landed in beautiful summer sun.

Fish farming??

We've arrive at Bergen (brand new terminal)

Our Bergen apartment's living room

2 of our 3 bedrooms in this apartment

We found a cab to take us to our apartment for one night. We went out to a restaurant nearby and were able to sit outside and have a nice leisurely dinner. Although we haven’t seen much of Bergen yet, it is a beautiful city with very interesting architecture.

Dinner outdoors at Dr. Wiesener Restaurant near our apartment

We are in the back, eating al fresco in Bergen


July 14: Bergen, Norway

Bergen, a city of about 240,000 (450,000 metropolitan), the second largest in Norway, is nestled on various waterways surrounded by conifer-covered rocky mountains. Following a good sleep in our walkup apartment, we had a couple hours for a little exploring before our taxi to the port.

It is Sunday morning and cruise ships have come in so there were lots of people. We weren’t too far from the iconic brightly painted houses on one of the inlets.

We went through the fish market and saw a large variety of tasty treats from the sea. We could sample whale and reindeer sausage and see tanks of lobster and crab. Caviar of various types come in little jars in variety packs. We looked at tee shirts and enjoyed listening to the salesman move effortlessly from French to Spanish to German. It turns out he has only recently arrived from Barcelona and only knows a few works of Norwegian.


BIG Raspberries!

Fishermen's Market at Bergen Harbor

Blankets are available for diners eating outside.


Street art on a wall we walked by. (For our friend Jon S.)

Back to our neighborhood the taxi was there promptly at noon to transport us to the Hurtigruten terminal where we could check in our bags. A few minutes later, we walked into the city center since we couldn’t proceed with boarding until 3.


Bergen city in the background

Elaine, Joel, Barbara and Tom in front of the Hurtigruten Terminal Building

Water fountain on our little street

Don't know what the taller pink flowers are. The blossoms look like petunias.

We found a good place for coffee and the Norwegian version of a scone. We walked through the beautiful gardens admiring the fountains and flowers before heading back.

Lots of beautiful flowers - imaptiens, dahlias, and so on.

Elaine, Joel, Barbara and Tom in front of our ship, the Richard With

Soon we could board just after the previous group had disembarked. We have attended our safety meeting on our ship the recently refurbished Richard With. We are having yet another cup of coffee while we wait for our rooms to be ready. Dinner is at six and we sail away for a 12-day cruise up the west coast of Norway to within spitting distance of Russia. We will stop at 34 ports (going north!) and have various activities.

Barbara on the gangway



Trying to thank you for including me in your contact, but computers and i are no longer compatible! - Almeta P.

Wow, Tom, this is a long trip. Enjoy the next phase on the ship. Sylvia S.

Dear Tom and Friends, You are on one of the most wonderful adventures I have taken this beautiful trip three times and each time the sights and sounds are thrilling. I don’t know of this message will finds you but I know each port is unique and fun to explore. Take all of the tours they are incredible. Will look forward to hearing your stories, Enjoy the Trolls. Smooth sailing. Dick P.

Looks like a beautiful cruise ship. And what a lovely town Bergen looks like. I can't believe there are blankets at the outdoor restaurant, but that seems like a great idea! Have a wonderful time. We are enjoying our time here, too! Deb P.

And just when I thought you’d say you were catching a flight for home, you take off on a cruise ship! Oh my, oh my! Nancy D.

Tall pink flower probably in mallow family. Molly M.

Those are really good pics. I guess you know, when I see the pics, I wish I was with you. Salad, I'm having a splendid time farm sitting. The 2dogs & I get along splendidly. Same for the cats....  Linda D.


Hi Tom, Thanks for sharing! Looks like a lot of fun. I am jealous. Sorry your alarm went off. Hope you were able to fall easily back to sleep. We missed you and Miriam. Gladys Z.

Wow! Thanks , 2 for 1 I do love a bargain....  Cheryl K.

What a great trip. Thanks for the graffiti photos. looks a lot like Banksy- the little boy peeing and the balloons Enjoy. Leaving Wed. for Paris with Zion. Checking weather. Must get together when we are all home. Hi to everyone. Jon S.

Now we have Norway! What an absolutely exciting trip you are on!! (those raspberries caught my eye :-) Way up north, just south of Bodo, there is a village named Glomfjord, Norway. One of the Rotary exchange students with the Welle family was Bjorn Andreassen, friend of my brother, Ralph, in high school. The Andreassen family kindly invited me (during my jr. year abroad in France) to spend the Christmas holiday with them in Norway. My brother, Dr. Ralph Heckard, met me in Paris, and we traveled together to Norway, taking a boat up the coast from Trondheim.. It was incredible. Unlike your lovely photos, it was always dark that time of year. It was like dusk a couple of hours during mid-day, so we would walk into the town. I gained 18 pounds in 2 weeks!! mother kept bringing out food and more food.....big spreads every few hours of fishes and mayo in tubes and etc. plus lots of cakes and coffees. We hardly ever went outside, as it was solid ice. It was a quaint village then, 1970, with all the houses formed around the city center square. All the clothes lines had frozen fish hanging on them! Definitely one of the highlights of my life. Wonderful family, made us feel so welcome. Lots of laughing as parents knew no English, but we all shared the same humor. My dad had just died in October, and Mom sent Ralph over to cheer me up. I hope your trip up the coast is full of adventure and wonderful scenery. Thank you for sharing your travels….so fun! Sandra B.

I'll be having stir fry w some sliced cucs.  Linda D.

July 15: Ålesund to Ålesund and Beyond

Our ship (the MS Richard With) is a working ship. Many of us have signed up for the full 12 days up to the far north and back. Others will be going just one way, and still others are getting on and off at every stop.

Lighthouse leaving Bergen

Bay houses near Bergen

It is possible to bring on a car and go to another village or city. Sometimes stops can be 15 minutes and other times for several hours.


We went up to the top deck for a talk about the day’s activities. The chef was there serving a Norwegian delicacy of cured lamb very thinly sliced and served on flat bread with sour cream. The curing process would start about now and be completed by Christmas.

Food demonstration - cured leg of lamb

Chef holding cured leg of lamb

Samples served on sour cream on flat bread

After breakfast, we made a quick stop at the city of Ålesund and then began a leisurely cruise through 2 fjords before coming to the most spectacular one at Geiranger. The channel was narrow with sheer cliffs on either side.

More fjords

We saw countless waterfalls and were amazed to see dwellings high up occasionally. Either there was no road and perhaps a dock, or the road would zigzag up the hill. At Geiranger, a number of people got off and took a tour that lasted for some hours. They rejoined us later in the day. The town was at the end of the Fjord and there were two cruise ships there. We also saw lots of kayakers. It was overcast, but the beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage site was incredible.

A Costa cruise ship


We had comfortable seating with big windows and could step out for pictures. The accommodations on the ship are very nice. We are on full board and breakfasts and lunches are buffet. The have a time to be seated for dinner and are served a fixed menu. Tonight was leg of lamb with mixed vegetable and new potatoes, followed by baked apple and ice cream flavored with a Norwegian flat bread crumbled. Every effort is made to serve local produce. We could go to a premium restaurant for a fee or a bakery café. We understand that many of the short-term passengers get their meals a la carte..

First stop where cargo came aboard and 2 cars exited

Passenger gangway

Just before dinner, we were back in Ålesund and had about an hour to leave the ship. We got off and walked around looking at the beautiful architecture of the buildings painted in pastel colors. It began to rain as we were returning to the ship

Quick visit to the charming town of Ålesund

Ålesund buildings

Ålesund harbor

Red door entrance to our cabin

The bathrooms have a switch to turn on floor heating (Greg?)

Sofa facing TV (with another TV behind this one in this partition wall.)




Thanks for sharing! Always enjoyable!  Donna H.

Thanks again for the nice travelogue.....I am leaving for. Victoria on Thursday....not quite as exciting as your trip perhaps...but I am looking forward to seeing the. Buchart Gardens....  Cheryl S.

Tom- This brings back many very pleasant memories. Dick  D.

Hi Tom and friends, Your wonderful description and swell photo’s bring back such good memories, Thank you so much for all these specialties. I do know what is ahead and you are in for some dramatic experiences!!! Tak, Dick P.

Really stunning landscapes. Enjoy. Jon S.

July 16: Cruising Norway

Cruise scenes

Expedition leader giving a talk about the history of Trondheim and Norway

Breakfast out of the way, we prepared to disembark in Trondheim, the third largest city in Norway, founded around 1027 by the Viking Olav, the patron saint of the country.

We met the King Harold (Kong Harald), our sister ship leaving Trondheim as we were arriving.

A local Canby/Smyrna Oregon name.

We had three hours to walk a 3 mile circuit around Trondheim.

Umbrella street!

We went into a shopping center that managed to carry out the brightly-colored pitched roof motif.

Ceramic bowl to hold balls of yarn as you are knitting.

We walked around the Nideros Cathedral, but decided not to take the time to tour the inside. It is the only gothic church in Norway. The front has rows and rows of life-sized statues.

We walked back to the ship just in time for lunch. This afternoon there was much to see as we sailed along. First was a little island called Munkholmen (referring to the Benectine Monks who first inhabited it.  Until the reformation.

Our first Tesla taxi!

At one point we passed a famous red lighthouse that has been lived in by the lighthouse keeper and his family. Now all the lighthouses are being automated, but this one might be available for parties, etc., hard to imagine.

Later we went through a very narrow passage with a sharp turn. The captain signed with the horn. Shortly, we met boats returning from fishing we presume. The horns sounded back and forth.

Joel went to a very interesting lecture on the geology of the Fjords. He learned that the word means about the same as ford, a place to cross. There is a specific definition which is a narrow inlet surrounded on three steep sides. If you can go on through, it’s a sound. Yesterday we sailed 66 miles to the end of the Fjord and then turned around and came back out. Fjords are having problems with air pollution from so many cruise ships. Yesterday’s fjord could have 6 or more a day each tendering into the town. Since there is not much wind, smog can develop. Within a couple years all will be converted to natural gas, made from the parts of fish not used, which will be much cleaner.

In the past life on the hillsides was brutal. Farmsteads were small and perched on cliffs. Cattle and sheep were taken up the mountainsides in summer and hay made from the clearing around the farm. It is said that ropes were tied around the children when they went outside to play, maybe the same for animals.

Although tourists come in droves to admire the beauty, farmers in earlier times did not think of them in that way. They were treacherous, ragged, and unhospitable. At time, hillsides have fallen into the water causing tsunamis. In certain areas there is electronic and visual monitoring of the cracks. It is exacerbated by the fact that the top thaws first while the sides are still protected causing instability. One area this year has had farmers evacuated several times. There’s something new around every bend. We are using up lots of film in our cameras!

In April this year, after 11 years of work, Norway’s newest and most modern church organ was inaugurated. The organ has over 5200 pipes and did cost about 20 million kroner. – Absolutely sumptuous, organ professor Bjørn Andor Drage told Norwegian broadcaster


Lovely photos and scenery...you made it to Trondheim! All I saw of Trondheim was ice and more ice and very little daylight, taking a boat up to Glomfjord, late December...so enjoying the vistas you have sent! Thanks for the look...and sharing... Sandra B. Such beautiful scenery.  Linda D.

July 17: Bodø Norway

Our main stop today was the town of Bodø (Buddha), a town of about 50,000, up above the Arctic Circle. We had a couple hours to get off and walk around.

The clouds went away and the water became a beautiful blue. The mainland and islands usually rise fairly high, but there are farms along the coast that often has a fairly level spot. Only 1% of Norway is able to grow crops; another couple percent is used for pasture.

Lowering the gangway and automobile ramps

Tom and Barbara getting some sun on the back deck, level 7

Last evening there was a contest to guess the exact time we would cross the Arctic Circle. It is at about 66 degrees north latitude, but can vary from year to year depending on the tilt of the earth on its axis. They usually try to adjust for that when they stop the earth from spinning while changing to Daylight Time, but they don’t always get it right.

Awarding flag below to the person who guessed when we'd cross the Arctic Circle

An ogre came out and initiated "victims" who crossed the Arctic Circle

And putting ice cubes and water down the backs.

Pedestrian street in city of Bodø

Street art above and below for our friend Jon.

A troll. Legend has it that they created the fjords.

Another Tesla taxi ... boy this country is rich.

Bodø Peace Cathedral bell tower

Norway was occupied by the Nazis from 1940-45. The Lutheran cathedral was destroyed by a German Bomber. The bell tower is a memorial to that time.

Bodø Peace Cathedral, rather plain on the outside, but beautiful inside.

Interior of Bodø Cathedral

In April of 2013, after 11 years of work, Norway’s newest and most modern church organ was inaugurated in the Bodø Cathedral. The organ has over 5200 pipes and did cost about $2 million.

Click on the following to hear three snipets of the sound from this organ.

Sounds from the Pipe Organ


What a great experience. So cool. Carol S.

Hi Tom, This is very good account off your trip . and the smiles on your faces says you are enjoying the voyage. I was very impresses with the new organ and the interior of the Cathedral. As I write this I do know what lies ahead which you will really enjoy. Your recounting sure brings back memories. One thing to remember the trip is a two way adventure.What you don’t see going up as you sleep you will visit the return. I hope you saw the Trolls! Dick P.

“Stopped the earth from spinning”? Uh...right! You’re right; the cathedral is gorgeous inside. Loved the pipe organ snippets – did Joel wish he could go try it out and play around on it? You look like you’re all having a wonderful time. Love, Nancy D.

Later this evening after dinner we stopped in the town of Svolvaer for about an hour. People were waiting to board the ship, cargo was being loaded and unloaded, and cars drove on. We need to stay awake because we will be going through a small fjord at about midnight.

Tom walked ashore and followed the people from the ship to a tourist area representing a fishing village.  It was a 9 at night and he had just enough time to go out take the following photos and get back to the ship

Sun is kind of low at this time of night.

Fishing Village

Looking back at the Richard With


Jan Inge Hovig   Tromsø   Marit Bockelie mosaics

July 18: Up and Up We Go to Tromsø, Norway

Last evening, we were encouraged to stay up this night for the cruise into a very tiny fjord. We would be there about midnight, and the captain would be serving fishcakes on a stick and some kind of grog in decorated tin cups.

Narrow fjord ahead of us

So we took a nap in the afternoon to take advantage of this event. Since it stays so light, it’s easier to stay awake. Some of our party, not to mention any names, must not have napped enough.

Sunset at midnight!

As we entered the area of the fjord, we could see the sun setting though there was strong twilight. It was surprising how light it stayed since the sides of the canyon were straight up and very high. We thought we heard that the width of the fjord was 50 meters (a little over 150 feet), and we thought we must have heard wrong. As it turned out it looked like you could almost jump off the ship and land on the rocks. It was a couple miles long and then we had to turn on a dime and go back out. We were in bed by one.

Tom, Joel, Barbara surfing on the fjords

Today we could relax in the morning in the lounge watching the world go by on another beautiful sunny day. Elaine knitted, Barbara washed a load of clothes and Tom and Joel did some online shopping although it was difficult to tend to business with so much to distract us.

Passing by beautiful bridge

Tom disembarking in Tromsø

This afternoon we docked for a 4-hour stop in the city of Tromsø (Troomsa). 79,000 in population. We naively thought that way up north, there would only be very tiny villages. While there are plenty of those, there are surprisingly large ones also. Tromsø is the headquarters of the Hurtigurten and the terminal is well appointed.

Bridge to the Arctic Cathedral

We quickly engaged a taxi to take us to see the Arctic Cathedral across the channel from the island of the main city. We lucked out and he agreed to take us on a city tour pointing out many of the sights.

Entrance side of church   This church, the swimming building and the library were designed by Norwegian architect Jan Inge Hovig.  Our driver/guide told us that Jan married Ingrid Espelid Hovig.  She was a Norwegian television chef called the "Julia Child of Norway".  One week after the wedding, he died of a heart attack.

Kits with toys for the small children attending church here

We also solved the mystery of the Tesla taxis. It is not unusual to pay 100% in taxes to buy a car. A $40,000 car would cost 80,000 for example. However, if you choose an electric car, there are NO taxes plus you get free parking, recharging, etc. A Tesla is not such a bad way to go.

We asked about the burden of high taxes. Norway pays 47% of GNP in taxes. He said of course people complain, but they get a lot in return. A semester in college costs $50, health care is free, there is liberal family care leave, housing assistance, transportation etc. We’ve only seen one or two people begging and no one sleeping on the street.

Up the hill overlooking Tromsø.

Mosaic wall art by Norwegian artist Marit Bockelie

More art by Marit Bockelie

Arctic Cathedral from the distance

Why would people come to such a forbidding place we asked. He said that the Gulf Stream keeps it from being so cold in winter and although they got 25 feet of snow last winter, the streets are plowed and for the most part everyone goes about their business as usual. People have trouble with the endless winter nights, but the spectacular northern lights bring in lots of tourists. Asians especially like to come in the winter.

Tom's first ice cream cone in Norway!

Tromsø pedestrian street

Norway wool yarn

Tromsø church

Hello Tom;' Have fun up there in the north, I once long ago in 1980 took a train to Narvik, wanted to stay up without the sun going down but it rained that night and was just boring. You all are lucky to have good weather. Here in the Netherlands we had nice cool weather this week but next week we get the second heatwave, maybe temperatures above 35 degrees. Bye from René T.

Barbara………..the pink viking yarn pictured in this message………did you buy some? It looks great…….good sock material? :o)  Lind D


You all look like you are having such a wonderful time! Deb P.

The church is beautiful. I'm just sitting down to bacon, eggs and toast with fresh brewed coffee. Love you......Linda D.

Thanks for your delightful tour! Sylvia S.

Hello Tom, The photo’s and description certainly capture a time I do remember. I The events to follow are going to amaze you all as well. Bon Voyage Dick P.


July 19: To the Top of Europe: Honningsvåg , Norway

In the Fall of 2018, we were at the Top of Europe at over 12,000 feetl at Jungfrau in Switzerland. Today, our destination is the Top of Europe at North Cape (Nordkapp, Norway) the farthest point north in Europe,

Our ship stopped at Honningsvåg, a city of 2,500, the northernmost city in Europe.

Picturesque Honningsvåg

Honningsvåg is on Magerøya, an island at over 71 degrees north latitude. There is a city in Russia, and Pt. Barrow, Alaska that are closer to the north pole. Those of us who live in Oregon are at the 45th parallel that runs through Salem and Lincoln City.

We boarded a bus for the 40-minute drive to North Cape. We passed the most northern Shell gasoline station in Europe, and a Rema 1000, the most northern supermarket and on and on. We are far above the tree line in the Arctic tundra.

Tom and Barbara at the North Cape center

Theater / move at North Cape

Unlike Alaska, there isn’t any permafrost. The gulf current coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Florida keeps it too warm. The ocean doesn’t freeze in winter, and there are no icebergs. North Cape is on Magerøya Island and every spring, reindeer are brought by ship from the mainland to spend the summer. In fall, they are strong enough from summer feeding to swim back for the winter. They don’t stay on the island because the snow is too deep. The reindeer belong to the Same indigenous people of the north. We only saw two reindeer today.

We arrived at North Cape and spent about 1½ hrs. touring the beautiful visitor center. There is nice movie that sets the stage without words.We were on a high bluff.  Before the road was built, the only way to visit was by boat with a long climb up a steep switch-back path. There is a large globe marking the spot and some sculptures. There were lots of stacks of stones around the area.

Project to promote peace and understanding

Norwegian writer Simon Flem Devold in 1987 suggested that North Cape, the prominent geographic and historic point of intersection between East and West, be used for something of positive, symbolic value far beyond the borders of Norway.  He brought children from different nations and cultures together at North Cape to promote a lasting expression of youthful understanding, cooperation across all boundaries.

Children of the Earth were from Tanzania, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Italy, (former) Soviet Union and USA.  Pictures from 1988 and 1999

One of the "Peace" sculptures.

Stacking and balancing stones

Rule #1 (of the Five Simple Rules): Construction of stone cairns destroys soil and vegetation and is therefore seen as destructive.  Please do not build stone cairns.)

Meanwhile in Honningsvåg: enjoying summer sun in shop window

Airport runway in the background

Drying fish.  Preserved this way, they can last for 10 years

Back to the ship, we had a nice quiet afternoon. This is the most relaxing trip we’ve taken. We can go to the front of the ship and sit in lounge chairs with the big windows to watch the endless, spectacular scenery.

Joel and Elaine watched a movie about a Norwegian male choir that’s perhaps 100 years old.  It is from the northern town of Berlevag. “Cool and Crazy” is the English name. It was a beautiful movie with songs including “Come to the Church in the Wildwood” in Norwegian, translated “Come to the White Church.

Hi dear Tom, You are bringing back good memories of my cruise two years ago. I did Tromso-Kirkenes-Tromso. You reached Kirkenes today I guess. I hope you had a very beautiful sunny day to see the famous “midnight sun”. I hope your friends are enjoying to eat whales, reindeer, wild smoke salmon and codfish. Have a good trip back to Bergen. Love Flávio G.

Hello Tom and friends, Each adventure you have encountered dies bring back the joy of this cruise. I know you are thrilled by all you are experiencing. The photo’s are so good of this special place. Dick P.

Are any of you old enough to remember the words Rev. Salter wrote for that tune? I think it used to be glued inside the front cover of the hymnal. Muriel V.

Tom This brought back such pleasant memories. This was - and remains - our favorite stop in Norway. And, yes, I do have the tee shirt. David S.

Very interesting, plus a bit chilly! I know you guys are having a great time. Thank you for the geography lesson. Hugs to you all! Janice S.

Never thought of taking an adventure like this, but you make it look so effortless and everything is beautiful and your descriptions perfect. Who is the main organizer?  Carol S.

July 20: Far Northeast of Norway

Today we journeyed on east to near the border of Russia.  Our first main stop was Kirkenes, a city of about 3,500. At Kirkenes, we are halfway in our journey up and back the coast.  Lots of people do just half the trip so many got off this morning replaced by many more.  There is an airport here to get people on to their next destination. 

Kirkenes cleaners ready to board to clean the many newly vacated cabins

We had time to walk into town.  We passed a memorial to the Russians, who helped liberate Norway in 1945. 

In Kirkenes, the temperature was the warmest in Norway thus far, 66 heading to a high of 68.  It was very nice in the sun.  Usually the harbor is just far enough away to make a good walk, about 1 mile each way today.  We have to work off breakfast so we will be ready for lunch.

Iceland poppies grow like weeds here

Orange and yellow Iceland poppies

Dandelions are much more robust and sturdy here. We must bring home a graft to improve our stock.

Tom at lilac bush/tree

Russian war memorial commorating the liberation of this area in 1944

Barbara with giant rhubarb patch in the background

Many signs here are also in Russian

In the town square was a European-themed market which we gathered travels around Norway in the summer.  They were from Italy, The Netherlands, France, etc. selling products such as cheese, candy, olives and cured meats from those countries.  They didn’t seem to be doing a rip-roaring business.  Maybe the population was sleeping in.  We wondered how they could have much business.  They were liberal with samples. 

About $35/pound

Nougat candy from France

Flavored cheeses: Lavendar cheese anyone??

Trying to be Willy Wonka?

Selling shut-knives at this booth

Lots of cars have these large extra headlights. Fog?

Building's fire escape spiral staircase

On our way back to the ship, we passed rows and rows of large crab pots.  Apparently king crab from the pacific has come to the North Atlantic.  Tonight we could go to a king crab feast, but at over $100 each, we’ll probably pass.  When one grew up on Dungeness crab, king just won’t do. 

Typical view of islands we are passing

Later in the afternoon, we had a half hour stop at Vardo, the farthest east we will go.  Norway lies south to northeast at a diagonal.  At the very top, we are farther east then Istanbul. 

Short stop in Vardø

Tom, Joel, Barbara and Elaine at the Vardø fortress

Norway has been unified for centuries, but wars and politics of the 19th century lead to it being governed by Sweden.  In 1905, Norway became unified under King Haakon VII.  The current king, Harold, is the first to be born in Norway.  He is a constitutional monarch who is granted powers under the constitution, but like the British monarch, defers to the Council of State or Parliament.  Harold is probably one of our cousins, but we haven’t met up with him yet. 

King Haakon VII, first king after independence in 1905

Typical coastal scene with colorful buildings.

Prices seem on the high side here for us.  The only way to judge is to look at the economy here and compare what it would be like for Norwegians.  Norway is a prosperous county thanks in part to oil revenue. 

Strange sign in our onboard bathrooms



Thanks for your information. Everything seems so well organized and the places you visit quite beautiful!  I agree about the crab.Carol S.

That rhubarb patch looks just like my Mom's in northern Alberta - even the greenhouse behind it looks like the one she had. Wow. Guess it's those long days in the summer....you all look like you are having a wonderful time! Blessings to all, Deb P.

Looks like y’all are having a wonderful trip, My maternal Grandmother came from Norway so I especially enjoyed your photos of Norway. Thnx for sharing. Louise G.

Never thought of taking an adventure like this, but you make it look so effortless and everything is beautiful and your descriptions perfect.
Who is the main organizer? Carol S.

Don’t you dare bring home sturdier dandelions to graft! That last picture comment brought forth a definite sputter-giggle. I wonder what sort of strange things they’re thinking of? You are having such exciting adventures! Love, Nancy D.

July 21: More Cruising –Hammerfest

Last night was a perfect night to see the midnight sun: no clouds. Joel was snoozing, but managed to rouse himself to go out on deck with many others to take pictures. Elaine woke up and was able to see it directly out our window. At this latitude, it will last until about the end of July. We cannot verify for certain, but apparently the sun stays low on the horizon until it comes up again very early the next morning.

The Sun near the horizon at midnight!


Today’s longer stop was the 6,500-person city of Hammerfest. We got off for a walk about. It was Sunday so most shops including the grocery store were closed. We lingered around the wharf thinking we might see the white Beluga whale that surfaces from time to time.

Heating pipes in the sidewalks??

Hammerfest building mural

Ole Olsen, Norway's famous musician, organist and composer was born in Hammerfest (see further below!)

Mosaic on the side of the Catholic Church

We walked around the quiet streets and went up to the church. In 1945, all the people were moved out and every building except a small white church near the cemetery was razed.

In 1961, a beautiful 500-seat church was dedicated. We left the church at noon just as a service was about to begin. We would have liked to stay longer joining the 6 or 8 others who had come. Walking away the beautiful bells were ringing.

Welcome to Hammerfest: Tom, Barbara, Joel and Elaine

This beluga whale showed up in the Hammerfest harbor in April. It was wearing a harness that said "Made in St. Petersburg". May have had military or therapudic training. Officials are afraid it is not eating so they allow the feeding of it.

Cemetery near the Church of Norway (below)

Hammerfest Church is a parish church of the Church of Norway (Lutheran Evangelical) . Built/opened in 1961.  The Church of Norway is an evangelical Lutheran denomination of Protestant Christianity. 

Looking back towards the organ pipes.

Stained glass over the altar of the church.

Ole Olsen's music album on this Church of Norway piano.

Joel and polar bear

Today Joel went to a presentation on the oil industry in Norway. We have been hearing about it, but didn’t know much about the details. Lots of drilling took place in the late ‘60’s and all were dry until the very last attempt was made. It turned out to be the largest find in the world. Many more in the south and north, offshore, have been drilled since.

Only one attempt has been made on land, and it was on the farm of the presenter. They were offered a lot for it but turned it down to preserve the village. The middle coast has been off limits as an ecological measure, but that may eventually change.

All the revenue has been managed by the state and belongs to the people. Just this year it exceeded a value of $1 trillion and has been invested in equity stock in companies around the world. It also owns real estate in many cities around the world. 2 to 3% goes to the national budget each year though the pressure is great to use more. Many have wondered if a democracy can run such a fund and not be tempted by politics to use it. They haven’t so far and Norwegians are quite aware that they own a portion that at this point is about 2,000.000 Norwegian Kronen ($200,000) per person.

This cruise ship (the Aida Luna) was also in town

Smooth sailing

Tonight we are in Tromso at 11:45 PM and have booked the Midnight Concert at the Arcrtic Cathedral.  These were the skies as we entered the cathedral.

Our performers.


The Program (wonderful music)



Beautiful photos - what a trip! Deb P.

For some reason, I decided to wait until the end of your trip to look at pictures – thought it might be interesting to view all at once. Decided not! Next time will view as you go! The crayfish salad absolutely made my mouth water. Rick Martson, Martson Farms (on Bagby Rd off Sawtell), raises Highland Cattle and has all sorts of beef products for sale.  Judy S.

We were in Norway in 2007. We thought the prices were high. In Sweden they were a little bit less for food, beer, and coffee. Do you have Norwegian ancestry? Or were you just kidding? Pam L.

Aloha Thank you for sharing your trip with us. It seems like you have some good weather during your trip. Take care and enjoy the rest of your trip. Mahalo Sharlene I.

Can’t wait to see you both in kilts! Judy S.

My husbands grandmother is from Hammerfest and he enjoyed this blog. Terry S.

Great pictures!  Thanks for sharing!  Cheryl K.


July 22-23: Cruising Southbound: Brønnøysund

Another lazy day cruising south.  We crossed the Arctic Circle again. It was represented by a sculpture of a globe on a rock.  Our ship made several short stops to villages along the way.  People continued to get on and off, sometimes with a car and cargo was loaded and offloaded. 

Marker for "Arctic Circle" lattitude

We passed the newest ship in the line, the Roald Amundsen.  It is state of the art with hybrid power designed by Rolls Royce that it supposed to save 20% in energy.  It has batteries and is also powered by natural gas since that is the goal for all the ships in the next few years.

Hurtigruten's newest "Hybrid" ship, the Roald Amundsen

More waterfalls along the way

More midnight sun!

Dining room crew singing happy birthday to the captain.  We are technically 2 tables away from the captain's table

Fish farms under netting

Our longer stop today was Brønnøysund, a town of 5,000.  The part we saw was not as picturesque as some we’ve been in though they had exquisite planter boxes with hydrangeas and unusual petunias.  It was a warmer day and we could take off coats. 

We saw 2 small one-person cars, the Mini Crosser!

This is a "cabin" that fits over your Nordic mobility electric scooter

Joel, Ton and Barbara in Brønnøysund

We stopped in a shopping center to look around.  We’re not shoppers especially, it’s just a good way to see more of how people live.  Grocery stores here are rather small and utilitarian with interesting products to sell.  One clerk we talked to was an exchange student in Delaware.  She is now attending Penn State and home for the summer.  She has lost any Norwegian accent she might have had. 

Knitted "onesies", anyone

Barbara bought some yarn here


And more buttons

Bags of peanuts we see advertized on TV a lot. About $4/bag

Village scene

Torghatten with its distinctive (natural) hole going clear through the granite


We had the farewell dinner last night and all were served champagne to toast everyone from the captain on down.  Some servers are students who are seasonal, others are full time.  We have been served traditional Norwegian food the entire trip.  It’s easy for vegetarians, vegans, gluten free folks since everything is clearly marked. 

Fresh and batter/fried cod tongues (UGH!)

We have been served lamb, reindeer (prepared in various ways), every kind of fish imaginable including pickled herring, dried and reconstituted cod, cod tongues, various local cheeses, delicious whole grain brown breads, lots of barley served in soup, mixed with beets, and as pudding for dessert.  Mixed vegetables are often serviced cut in large strips the size of French fries including turnips, carrots, pea pods, celery, and potatoes usually boiled. 

The bread and rolls usually have lots of seeds and are fresh and good.  We have been served a white bread that they call sour dough that has a lightly salted crust that we like. 

If one wanted and was willing to pay more, there is a café that would serve an upscale menu including pizzas and hamburgers.  We are on full board, but those who come aboard for a day or two may but food a la carte

Fresh baked cod topped with fried kale on barley and beets

We have been on a fixed menu for dinner and last night it was soup of green peas with gratinated well-preserved Jarlsberg and sourdough bread, cod with fried kale, beetroot-Byggotto [barley], and Noisette Vierge. 

Tom had a barley cake topped with a tomato salsa on some sliced potatoes.

“In cod we trust,” as we say in Norway.  In the cold and clean waters of the north, the cod is king…they can reach up to 50 kilos [100 pounds+] 2 meters [6 ft.] in length. 

For dessert:  Sukkerbread og vaniljeis fra Svolvær [bottom line, a kind of baked Alaska in individual servings.

Dick S.  Posted (on FB): [You were] Not far from the Kyllo farm!

Tom Daniels replied: We've been thinking of the Kyllos on this trip. Were your ancestors from around Trondheim? Have your been to the home place?

Dick S. Replied: about 25 miles off to the east, near Hegra (not sure if this is a feather in the cap, but about 5 miles past Hell!). I was last there when I was 25ish. 3rd cousins abound.

Tom Daniels We have looked up Hell and Hegra and see the towns you are referring to. We look forward to a long shore leave in Tromsø, later today. Beautiful clear weather.

WOW. What an incredible journey you have had. Great photos...Sandra B.

I need that recipe for Fresh baked cod topped with fried kale on barley and beets, it looked YUMMY! -Audrey Y

July 26: Homeward Bound

We spent yesterday morning packing and getting ready for our 2:30PM arrival in Bergen.  All went smoothly and we took a taxi to the same Begen apartment where we'd stayed 2 weeks ago.

There is a super market next door where we got some breakfast things.  Last night we ate at Emils Kabab, a small restaurant nextdoor.  Now Tom has had Norwegian falafels and can go home happy.

Today we will spend the day flying home.  First to Reykjavik where we change planes to continue on to Portland and San Francisco.  See you all soon!

Elaine with chicken kabob wrap in Bergen

Bj and I are eating a late dinner.....glad everyone is home.  Linda D.

Welcome home!  Bae S.

Thanks so much for sharing your trip so freely.  Louise G.

Sleep well. Thanks for sharing.  Jon S.

Hi Tom, glad you all made it home safely. Thanks for the wonderful catalog of events. It was wonderful following your journey and adventure. Hugs, Mike H.

Welcome home Tom. Enjoyed the travelogue. Ken B.

Thanks for the update! Happy Birthday! Rick G.

Super! Welcome back home. Mick M.

Hope you both do something special for this day.  Lohre H.

The country is beautiful! I loved the village. Now about those Knitted onesies. Did you buy one!  Janice S.

Happy Birthday on Saturday!! Thanks for another great travel story with pictures. Pam L.

So glad you are all home safe and sound! We loved following your trip! Deb P.

Hi Tom Thanks for keeping me in the loop. I have enjoyed travelling with you as your reports have brought back lots of memories for me Looking forward to your next trip! Hugs Don F. (Cruise friends from Australia.)

An amazing trip! Enjoy being home and in your own bed!! Carol S.

Welcome home! Looking happy!  Donna H.

Welcome home!   Cheryl K.

So happy to know that you had your Norwegian falafel ! Your trip is complete. Today, Ken and I are going into SF for lunch at Tadich's Grill. I hear that they have a special falafel. Rest and regroup. Greg G.

Welcome home. It’s been a lovely time seeing all this through your pictures and commentary, as it always is. Love, Nancy D.

I had so much fun reading your posts. Glad you had such an interesting and fun trip. Thank you for including me on your mailing list. Terry S. (T.)

Hi Janice, Thanks for the reply! No onesies! Can you imagine? I hope they are super soft. No kilts, either. The good ones are expensive. Tom

Darn! I thought you’d all get one!! Continue having an awesome time!Hugs to you ALL!  Janice S.

Tom, Thank you for all your travel pictures and written comments. I have enjoyed seeing and reading them on several of your trips. I am pleased that all of you are safe and sound and back on the old home turf. Hope you will have a chance to be well rested. Keith J.

And a big thanks to you all for “taking me along on your fabulous trip” Jude S.

Bj says she slept ok. I made our breakfast and she's going thru her mail. I suggested we can go outside and water the pots while she surveys her vast holdings. I was pleased to tell her I got the house washed. It's cloudy today with a few patches of blue. Sorry you won't be here for the Beyer Lake outing. I've turned down some dog sitting, so think I'll be ready to go to the beach. Lind D.

Happy Birthday Tom - Renee W.

Welcome home! I'm at Blue Lakes "escaping" the Oakland heat wave. Have enjoyed your mailings. Rob J.

Dear Tom, thank you so much for the diary of your journey to Norway an Island. It was great fun and very interesting to read about. Lots of love to you all. Freundliche Grüße. Urs E.