6/26/02 Departed from Newark
6/27/02 Arrived in Stockholm; another flight to Oslo; another flight to Kirkenes
Took bus from the airport in Kirkenes to our hotel in Kirkenes, first hotel there. Night time but still light out. Walked to water. Went to a bar. Sat outside and looked at the water. Met Heidi and Christian. Had drinks with them.
Walked back to hotel and ate dinner. Had pasta that tasted good but was like beef stroganoff. Went to lobby to watch sun setting. Will it ever? About midnight, the sun did set for a bit. Touched the horizon and in a few minutes started to rise again shining brightly in the sky and making the water glow. Thought we’d stay up until it got dark. What was I thinking? It never got dark. Went to sleep.
6/28/02 Woke up refreshed. Ate included breakfast buffet. Walked into town. A beautiful, sunny almost warm day. I bought a top in clothing store as a souvenir of Kirkenes. Walked back to hotel to wait for bus to take us to the port where our boat was docked. Met couple from Helsinki also going on a boat, but a different one than ours. They invited us to call them when we got to Helsinki.
Boarded our boat, the MS Nordlys, a very nice ferry boat from the Norwegian Coastal Line which made 32 stops along the coast of Norway. People got on and off along the way. Also cars and cargo. Went to our cabin and unpacked . Then to dining room to select a table and a seating time for dinner. We chose the late one and a table near a window. Ate an unneeded lunch but it was good. Tony didn’t eat.
We sat outside and inside. Tony took a nap in the cabin. I sat outside bundled up with a blanket. Stopped at Vardo for 45 minutes, our first of many stops. Walked around. Back in the boat sat inside at the bar, read, drank beer. I dozed a bit.. The sun shone brightly. We saw mountains on either side. Ate delicious dinner. Sat outside but very cold. Came inside. At 11:15pm or thereabout another stop. We walked outside briefly. Came inside to bar and had cognacs. Still light out after midnight and now 6/29/02. Foggy but light. Went to sleep.
6/29/02 Woke up and had breakfast. Next stop for us – Hammerfest, most northern, highest latitude town of this trip. Walked around. Went to see the neat looking church. Went inside and heard a surprise 15 minute organ concert. Walked around the town more. Tony went to a museum. I continued to look around. Beautiful and sunny day. Back to boat. Lunch. Went out on the 7th deck. Beautiful weather and scenery. I jogged around 5th deck. Stopped at Oksfjord for a few minutes. Then on to Skjevooz for almost ½ hour. Checked it out. Back on the boat, we sat outside for more and air and scenery until it got too cold. Went inside. Had drinks. Dinner. Later went to a midnight concert in a church in Tromso, the Paris of the North. Two female singers with a female trumpet player and a female organist/piano player. Absolutely beautiful and thrilling experience. Even though it was after midnight, the sun came through the glass windows just electrifying the so called night. Wished I could have bought a CD of the concert. But very uncommercial. In fact, almost the whole trip uncommercial. No hats, no t-shirts, no nothing. I kept looking for something to say Land of the Midnight Sun. Saw the midnight sun again. Two out of 3 nights in Norway where the sun doesn’t shine all the time. Very lucky! Returned to boat and went to sleep.
6/30/02, (my mother’s birthday). Had breakfast. Outside a lot. Stopped briefly at a few small towns. I jogged around the 5th deck again. Had lunch. Tony went to cabin to rest. I went to 7th deck. Sat and rested a little, but then started to see some of the most beautiful scenery. Tony heard the announcement and came up. Saw waterfalls, a narrow fiord, high mountains. Sunny and warm. In Sorthland saw an art exhibit for a little bit. cat skeleton. Not much open since it was Sunday. Went to Svolvaer, walked around. Not much doing. BUT we saw a double rainbow over the water. That night saw the midnight sun – the best yet. Stayed outside until 1:00am. (real midnight) Tony went to bed, and I got off the boat at Bodo. I asked one of the crew if it was safe to walk around. He looked at me like I was crazy. It was light out of course but very quiet. There were some people walking around. Some on bicycles. I walked to the town center. Took some pictures. Returned to the boat and went to bed.
7/1/02 (Monday) Rainy in the morning. Crossed the Arctic Circle. There was a little globe on a small island to mark the spot. Jogged around Deck 5 again. 10 times. Saw Sulvey and jogged/walked 11 more times around the deck. Went out to another port. Saw a mountain with a hole in it. Saw tallest mountain another stop. Sun came out – warmer. Sat outside, inside, dozed, read. Dinner. Stayed up late again watching the sun. Sky was lit up with colors.
7/2/02 Early breakfast. Then sightseeing tour of Trondheim. Church, etc. beautiful and warm. Jogged around Deck 5. Sat upstairs outside in warmth. Lunch. Port stop. Rain came back. Went to top deck. Sat inside. Read, dozed. Dinner. Last night of the voyage.
7/3/02 Breakfast, lunch on board. Arrived in Bergen. Rain. Checked into hotel. Went to Railroad Station. Bought tickets for Norway in a Nutshell trip for the next morning. Sun came out. Walked to harbor/fish market. Had beers and walked around. Went up funicular. Ate in restaurant high up. Beautiful view. Sunny. Back down. Walked around the city. Light out till late, late.
7/4/02 Woke up early. Had breakfast. Walked to RR station. Train, bus, boat, train (Flam RR), train. Arrived in Oslo late at night. 10PM. Checked into hotel close to the RR station. Went out to nearby restaurant for dinner. Walked around and had beers outside.
7/5/02 Did self-walking tour. Main drag. Grand Hotel where Ibsen hung out. Walked to harbor. Had lunch. Went to War Resistance museum in fortress near harbor. Drinks at Radisson Hotel, tallest building in Oslo. Dinner in nearby restaurant.
7/6/02 Got up very early. Took 6:27am train to Stockholm. Subway. At first going the wrong way. Went right way. Walked to Wellington Hotel. Nice neighborhood. Self-walking tour. Lunch at harbor outside. Art exhibit in park. Amazing photos taken from sky. Rain. Went into Radisson for refuge and toilets. Rain stopped. Went to Grand Hotel for drinks and snacks. Very grand. Nice views from window. Back to hotel. Dinner at Ciao Ciao in neighborhood.
7/7/02 Walked to harbor. Boat ride around islands. Walked over to Gaula Stan. Walked to old square. Had beer. Then lunch. Then ice cream. More walking. Then hotel. Dinner in another neighborhood restaurant.
7/8/02 Hop on/hop off bus. Got off at City Hall. Went to King’s Garden. No life size chess game as Rick Steves said there was. Walked to market near hotel. Had lunch at outdoor restaurant. Took cab to harbor to get overnight ferry to Helsinki. Had cabin. Went to top deck to watch pretty views of Stockholm as we departed. Buffet dinner. A little gambling. Talks with 2 Mexican boys and a woman from Stockholm. People sleeping all around the boat. We retired to our cabin.
7/9/02 Breakfast buffet. Arrived in Helsinki. Took bus to train station. Got hotel. Walked to Arthur Hotel and checked in. Walked back to harbor and bought tickets for ferry to Tallin for next day. Ate delicious lunch at outdoor market. Walked along main esplanade and park. Café Capelli. Had coffee. Then ice cream. Concert in park. Outstanding day. Weather-wise. Went to famous bookstore. Had drinks at outside café. Back to hotel. Walked to restaurant for late dinner. Light out until midnight.
7/10/02 Fast boat to Tallin. Spent day there. Walked a lot. Sat some. Nice lunch. Saw someone get robbed right along side of us as we ate. Okay art gallery. Nice church. Very pretty town. Lousy dinner. Ice cream. Back to boat. Arrived in Helsinki late. Walked back to hotel.
7/11/02 After buffet breakfast walked to Rock Church. Listened to girl play piano. Church, wow. Built from rock shelter under church. Can hold 6,000 people. Walked back to hotel. Cab to airport. Arrive in Copenhagen in afternoon. Cab to hotel. Made arrangements to see Gail’s friend Lisbeth the next day. Walked to Nyhavn, the walking street along the canal. Jazz Festival going on. Heard a concert on street. Tried to eat at restaurant suggested by Lisbeth. Found it but it was crowded. Back to Nyhavn. Concerts going throughout Copenhagen on pedestrian streets. Had dinner outside. Cold. Blankets provided by the restaurant.
7/12/02 Lisbeth came for us after breakfast (best yet after boat). We walked all around the city. City Hall, DIS, University Café where Gail had her first legal beer. Round Tower. Had lunch outside. Walked to Christiania and met Anders, Frida and Karl. Walked around. Had ice cream, coffee. Back to hotel. Called Ingrid to say yes to dinner. Cab to her house. Very nice evening. Saw where Gail stayed. Walked around nearby park w/Kooky the dog. Cab home.
7/13/02 Anders picked us up after breakfast and took us to their house. Very nice morning. She served pastries/fruit/coffee outside in their backyard. Lisbeth then drove us to the Little Mermaid. We took boat around Copenhagen. Stayed on too long. Got off finally at Nyhavn. Another concert. Dinner. Walked to Tivoli. A very pretty old amusement park, (150 years old). Concerts. Ice cream. But didn’t stay for fireworks. Walked back to the hotel.
7/14/02 Anders was to pick us up in the morning to take us to the airport. He was late. We ordered a cab. He finally came, but so did the cab. We thanked Anders and left with the cab. Very hectic and hurried time in the airport. But arrived in Newark safely the same day.
Below, our daughter’s friends (and ours) from her semester abroad in Copenhagen