Norway: A Voyage of the Northern Lights   14 comments


Norway:  A Voyage of the Northern Lights

Dec. 4 – 18, 2013


Jim & I have wondered what it would be like to be in the northern most town in the world during some of the shortest days of the year.  We have wondered what it would be like north of the Arctic Circle for almost a week in the dead of winter.  We have wondered what it would be like to have less than 2 hours of “twilight” daily.  We have wondered what it would be like to see the Northern Lights.  We have wondered what it would be like to cruise along the 1,560 miles of the Norwegian coastline, then turn around and go back the other way.  However, we hadn’t wondered what it would be like to be in Hurricane force winds of 115 mph while cruising above the Arctic Circle.  Well, we found the answers to all these quandaries on our trip with Vantage Deluxe World Travel aboard the Hurtigruten’s MS Nordkapp.  The trip was exciting and delightful!


 The Grand Norwegian Coastal Voyage, was just that….grand.  Our 15 day trip began with a day and night in Bergen, Norway.  Then we boarded the MS Nordkapp for a complete 11-night north and south voyage, with over 30 ports of call along the 1,560 miles of the Norwegian coastline.  After returning back to Bergen, we spent another night in the lovely town before flying home just in time for Christmas.  Karin was our excellent tour director, and she made sure our trip was perfect.  

Bergen, Norway:  Founded in 1070, Bergen has a unique harbor setting and ancient medieval streets, plus a modern vibrant city.  The Greater Bergen Region had a population of 398,800, making Bergen the second-largest city in Norway.  It is ideally located on the Western coast, surrounded by 7 mountains, in the middle of Fjord Norway, with easy access to the Norwegian fjords.  The waterfront is really the heart of Bergen, with the Fish Market and the picturesque old wooden Bryggen wharf – a UNESCO World Heritage site. 


To me the highlight of Bergen is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen.  Bryggen, (Norwegian for the Wharf), is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings (warehouses) lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen.  In the early days  when the town developed into an important trading center, the Hanseatic merchants filled these warehouses with goods, particularly fish from northern Norway, and cereal from Europe.  Some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape.  Today, the Bryggen houses tourist, souvenir, and gift shops, in addition to restaurants, pubs and museums.


Our outstandingly located hotel, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel was right in the scenic Bryggen UNESCO historic area.  Coming out from the hotel was the harbor, and turning left was the historic warehouse area. 


Karin suggested we take the Funicular and see the beautiful snow covered city from above.  A great idea!  The starting point of the the Funicular is centrally located, just a short walk from our hotel. The Funicular takes you to the top of mount Floyen, offering a marvelous view of the city. 


To the fish market we did go. 


Next it was time for a nice stroll in the driving snow.


Saw lots of places with Lutefisk on the menu.  Remembering the Lutefisk that my family helped prepare for our churches annual “Lutefisk Supper” at Vilas Lutheran church in Kansas.


Edvard Hagerup Grieg is a famous Norwegian composer and pianist.  We toured the picturesque wooden villa “Troldhaugen”, which was Nina and Edvard Grieg’s home, and built in 1885. The villa is located in the outskirts of Bergen, surrounded by a garden by the Nordasvannet lake. The couple lived there the last 22 summers of Edvard Grieg’s life. Troldhaugen became a museum in May 1928.  (I recognize The Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg.)


The boarded a Hurtigruten Ship, the MS Nordkapp:  (I copied the following info & the ship picture from the Hurtigruten web site.)

Hurtigruten’s Norwegian Coastal Voyage along the scenic coast and fjords of Norway has often been praised as being one of the  most beautiful voyages in the world.  The service was founded 120 years ago as a way of ferrying passengers and supplies between the isolated communities along the rugged coastline.  It is still considered a “working” ship.  With daily departures, the Hurtigruten journey begins in Bergen and travels north across the Arctic Circle and beyond as it meanders through the dramatic splendours of the Norwegian coast. As you weave in and out of narrow inlets, you will sail along some of the world’s most beautiful coastline, nearly always in sight of land, and discover what makes this voyage unique.


  Some ports of call would only be a few minutes, while supplies and passengers were quickly loaded and unloaded.  Other times we were docked long enough to walk around town.  The ship was usually docked on main street of the small towns so it was easy to get out and about.  Sometimes we were at a port of call for a few hours and had plenty of time to look around.  We were very pleased with the ship, crew and meals.  The following are pictures inside the ship.

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Dec. 7, 2013, the first morning aboard the ship, cruising, somewhere between Maley & Torvik.  That is a little house on the little island below.  Talk about a long way from Walmart. 


A quick stop at Maley to unload supplies and off we went. 


Jim is standing in front of our cabin window.  While we were out on our deck we noticed this little farm.  I can’t imagine living so remotely. 


Alesund, Norway:  After it was destroyed by fire in 1904, this pretty little town was rebuilt in the fashionable Art Nouveau style of the era.  Alesund has a population of approximately 40,000.  The town in surrounded by water.  I think it was the prettiest town that we visited. 


Trondheim:  Was founded in 997.  It is Norway’s third largest city with a population of almost 180,000.  A coach tour of the city was provided.  We visited a viewpoint with a great view of the city.  We saw the Nidaros Cathedral which is the religious center of Norway.  The best thing was the Old Town Draw Bridge of Trondheim which was built in 1684.

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Cruising between Trondheim & Rorvik on Dec. 8, 2013:  The time as per my camera on the first photo is 2:09 pm and the sun is setting.  The days are definitely getting shorter.  The second photo is the  Lighthouse Kjeungskuaer which was built in 1880.


Rorvik:  Located approximately 120 miles north of the city of Trondheim.   The 430 acre village has a population (2011) of 2,721. 


Ornes, Norway:  Dec. 9, 2013, 9:35 a.m., a 30 minute stop for loading & unloading supplies.  Ornes is a port of call along the Hurtigruten ferry route between Nesna and Bodø. The 450-acre village has a population (2011) of 1,623.


Crossed the Arctic Circle around 7:20 this morning, Dec. 9, 2013.   This is the little lighted marker that marks the spot.

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Standing on the deck in front of our cabin window and looking at the small farms on the shoreline.   We are now cruising within the Arctic Circle. 


Crossing the Arctic Circle Ceremony:  If you let them pour ice & water down your neck you could have a free shot of liquor.  I wasn’t that thirsty. haha


 The route map with a focus on the Arctic Circle area. 


Boda, Norway:  The town lies just north of the Arctic Circle and has a population of approximately 50,000.  It is the second-largest town in North Norway.   It was completely rebuilt after WWII.  The sun is not visible from the city from early December to early January.  Thus the twilight.  We were in Boda for 2 1/2 hours. 


As per the lighted sign by the Christmas tree it was –4C (28 degrees) and 1:15 p.m.  We saw lots of ladies using sleds (below) just as we would use a skate board.  Pretty nifty way to get around on solid ice. 


Svolvaer, Norway:  This 540-acre town has a population (2011) of 4,185.  We made a one hour stop here.  It was 3:30 in the afternoon when we arrived and completely dark. 


We saw the Northern Lights.  (Definition) An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere.   Thank you, to a couple of friends in our group for sharing these pictures.  It was a struggle getting decent photos considering the rocking & rolling of the ship.  The Northern Lights were actually spotted twice by some people and three times by others. 

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The following group of Northern Lights photos were taken in Sweden (on land) the same night that we saw the Aurora from the ship.  The people that took them were later on our ship and shared them with members of our group.  Aren’t they beautiful?

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Finnsnes, Norway:  The municipality is well provided with kindergartens, primary and secondary level schools, and studies on university level   Fishing and agriculture is still very important, and fish farming is of increasing importance for the employment of people.  The population of Finnsnes in 2012 was 4,250.  It was a 30 minute stop at 11:15 in the morning.  It was a twilight, with snow, type of morning. 


  Tromso, Norway:  Tromso describes itself as being the Paris of the North.  It is familiar to filmgoers as the starting point for so many Polar expeditions.  It is northern Norway’s largest city with approximately 73,000 inhabitants (2012).  We did a coach tour of Tromso going to the Tromso Museum for “Embrace the Aurora”, and then visited the Arctic Cathedral.  Our ship docked in the city center about 3 p.m. and were there about 4 hours.

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 Honningsvag, Norway:  Hammerfest claims to be the northernmost city in the world, although the title is disputed by Honningsvåg, Norway.  Even though Honningsvag is located at the northernmost extreme of Europe, it has a subarctic climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream.  The 300 acre town has a population (2012) of 2,436.  A young lady from the local newspaper took Bill, Jim & my picture and was surprised to learn that we were from Tenn. & Ks.   FYI:  We were walking around Honningsvag about noon.  Please note, that it is completely dark.  


King Crab from the area.   Demand is high for the delicacy and it has long been the most lucrative harvest in the Norwegian fishing industry.


Storm Certificate:  “It is hereby announced that the Passenger…Marilyn Farmer (Jim got a certificate also)… was on board the MS “Nordkapp” during a storm, along the coast of Finnmark, with winds up to 115 m.p.h. or 54m/sec on December 11, 2013.”  What a ride at 3 o’clock in the morning.  Can’t say that we’ve even been in a hurricane before, and don’t care to be in one again.  The google map below shows the approximate location of our scary hurricane ride. 

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Kirkenes, Norway:  Kirkenes is located in the extreme northeastern part of Norway.  The 510-acre town has a population (2012) of 3,444.  When the neighboring suburban villages of Hesseng, Sandnes, and Bjørnevatn are all included with Kirkenes, the urban area reaches a total population of almost 8,000 people.  We left Kirkenes by coach and drove to the Russian Border, it was about a 30 minute drive.  We were curious about the 4 back-packers who were hiking across the frozen lake to the border. 


The Russian Border crossing complete with a sled to play with and an outdoor toilet.  We were out and about from around 9:30 a.m. until noon.  It was a clear twilight day, no sun of course in the Arctic Circle area. 

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During the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, Kirkenes was one of the many bases for the German’s.  Reportedly, Kirkenes is second after Malta on a list of European towns experiencing air-raid alarms and attacks, with more than 1,000 alarms and 320 air attacks.  Then, the town was taken over by the Red Army on Oct. 25, 1944 when the German Wehrmacht was pushed out and fled the area after having destroyed most of the remaining infrastructure.

Bjornevatn, Norway:  This is a memorial to the 2,500 people took shelter in the mines in 1945 for 2 months, until the Russians liberated the area from the Germans. 


Hammerfest, Norway:  Hammerfest, population 9,000, claims to be the northernmost city in the world, although the title is disputed by Honningsvag, Norway.   The validity of the claim depends upon one’s definition of a city; although Hammerfest is further south than Honningsvag it has a population over 5,000, which is required by Norwegian law to achieve town status.  Honningsvag, population about 2,500 is actually the northernmost in Norway. Barrow, Alaska, population 4,000, is further north than both the Norwegian towns, but does not lay claim to the title of northernmost town.

However, I will say as per this Bing Map is appears that Honningsvag, Norway is further north than Hammerfest, Norway, regardless of the population.  But, I have a photo of the “Northern Most Town in the World” sign from Hammerfest. 

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Hammerfest:  Dec. 13, 2013.   We arrived around 10 in the morning, and had about 3 hours to explore the town.  It would snow like crazy for awhile then quit for awhile. 


Built in 1961, Hammerfest Church is the main parish church in Hammerfest.


Tradition in Norway is to decorate with lots of red hearts at Christmas.


Even though it is one of the northern most towns in the world it is largely ice-free because of the offshore Gulf Stream. 


We decided to have a donut.  They seemed pretty dry for as expensive as they were. 


Stokmarknes, Norway:  At lot of people getting on and off the ship in Stokmarknes.  This town, population 3,500, is the birthplace of the Hurtigruten shipping company.  We visited the Hurtigruten Museum to explore its history.  The first Hertigruten voyage departed in 1893.The original MS Finnmarken, dating back to the 1950’s, rests in dry dock here and we toured it as part of the museum.  We were there from about 2 – 3:30 p.m. (completely dark.) 


Svolvaer, Norway:    This 540-acre town has a massive fishing industry and a population (2011) of 4,185.  Jim visited the WWII Museum and I walked around with some others.  I didn’t sit in the lighted ice chair very long!


Dec. 15, 2013, we crossed the Arctic Circle again, this time headed in a southerly direction.  The ceremony was spoonful of cod liver oil, and a shot of wine.  The best part, was we got to keep the neat spoons the oil was in. 


Our happy group of 32 Vantage Travelers, along with our great tour leader, Karin.

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Bergen, Norway:  Back to Bergen again, and this time without snow.  Pizza with friends, and a last look at the pretty town all lighted for Christmas.


A wonderful time, with memories galore!!

Posted January 4, 2014 by marilynfarmer in Travel

Canadian Maritimes in the Fall   11 comments

Canadian Maritimes in the Fall

News Brunswick, Prince Edward Island & Nova Scotia

Oct. 10- 19, 2013


Since we’ve always heard that Nova Scotia, Canada, and the Canadian Maritimes is a beautiful place to see; Jim & I and our friends, Mark & Karen decided to find out for ourselves.  We went in mid-October and couldn’t have picked a better time…..the fall colors were outstanding!   The Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick,  Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. {The map below is copied from:}

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We went with Caravan Tours ( and were very pleased with the itinerary, and our tour director, John.  We flew into Halifax, Nova Scotia and spent the first night near the airport.  The next morning we drove by coach to New Brunswick where we saw the Hopewell Cape and the Bay of Fundy.  We drove on to Prince Edward Island and spent the next two nights at a Country Inn and toured that area.  Cheticamp on Prince Edward Island was our next destination with a two night stay.  Then it was on to the Baddeck area for two nights.  We spent our last two nights in Halifax at a great hotel along the boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  

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New Brunswick:  The boundary lines in New Brunswick between Canada and the United States were established in the 1842 Ashburton-Webster Treaty, after the Aroostook War (the bloodless cold-war between the United States and Canada) ended peacefully.  New Brunswick is one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the Canadian federation that is constitutionally bilingual (English-French).  New Brunswick is a relatively sparsely populated province, with considerable forests forming the main body. The core of the province is virtually uninhabited, with most of the population being on the Eastern, Western, and Southern coastlines.

Nova Scotia to New Brunswick:  On our morning drive from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, we crossed rivers, streams and marshlands that are connected to the Fundy tides. 


Flowerpot Rocks at Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick:  The rocks stand between 40-70 feet tall.  These formations have been caused by tidal erosion.  The Fundy Tides are the highest on earth and rise and fall an astonishing 50 feet, with an average change of 6 to 8 feet per hour.  The Fundy Tides are created twice each day when one-hundred-billion tons of water flow into the Bay of Fundy. 


The following sign is located in front of the stairs that go down to the beach.  It indicates in French & English what time the “high tide” will arrive.  The clock indicates that we were there at 11:37 and “To avoid being trapped by the rising tide YOU MUST return to the stairs by the time shown here….which was 3:15.”


We were there during low tide.  Below is a photo of a picture that shows what this area looks like turning “high tide”.  The next picture features Mark & Karen.  They are standing under the same arch as shown in the “high tide” picture where the first canoe is ready to go under the arch.  As you can see, if it was high tide the water would be over their heads.     


We walked all along the beach and enjoyed the interesting rock formations that have occurred due to the tidal activity. 


The Fundy Tides overpower the rivers flowing into the Bay of Fundy and reverse their direction two times a day.


Confederation Bridge:  We traveled over the 8 mile Confederation Bridge which links New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island.  The bridge is a multi-span beam bridge with a post-tensioned concrete box girder structure.  Most of the curved bridge is about 130 feet above water, with a 197 foot navigation span to permit ship traffic.  The bridge rests on 62 piers, of which the 44 main piers are 820 feet apart.  The bridge is a two-lane highway toll bridge, 36 feet wide with a speed limit of 50 mph.  It takes about 12 minutes to cross the bridge. 


Just after crossing the Confederation Bridge was a cute shopping area.  A bridge segment is on display here.  And… Jim thinks he has found “his” ice cream!

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Prince Edward Island:  It is located east of New Brunswick, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The island’s landscape is a combination of rolling hills, woods, reddish white sand beaches, ocean coves and the famous red soil, which adds to it’s natural beauty.  The smaller, rural communities as well as the towns and villages throughout the province, retain a slower-paced, old-world flavor.

We stayed for two nights near (but not at) the National Seashore at a Country Inn.  The coastline of Prince Edward Island has a combination of long beaches, dunes, red sandstone cliffs, salt water marshes, and numerous bays and harbors.  This is the coast of Prince Edward Island near Cavendish.


Anne of Green Gables (1908), Prince Edward Island:  We visited the Anne of Green Gables house in Cavendish.  We strolled through Lover’s Lane and other settings from the literary classic.  The author, Lucy Maud Montgomery drew inspiration from the land during the late Victorian Era for her classic novel, Ann of Green Gables.  You should read some of the series of Anne of Green Gables, I am.  Very pleasant reading. 


A stroll down “Anne of Green Gables” lover’s lane.


 Let me assure you…there was nothing simple about Karen & I climbing into the carriage for our photo!


North Rustico, Prince Edward Island:  A community by the sea.  It was fun for these Kansas folks to see a fishing village and learn about lobster fishing.  And….that evening we had lobster for supper. 


St. Augustine Catholic Church, Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Museum & Doucet House, Prince Edward Island:  The oldest church on this island was built in 1838.   We also enjoyed seeing one of the old original homes of the area (Doucet House).  The museum in the old sandstone building provided an interesting review of the old local banking history in PEI. 


Potatoes:  Potatoes are Prince Edward Island’s single largest agricultural commodity in terms of farm cash receipts.  PEI potatoes are processed into frozen potato products and chips. They are also supplied to the fresh table market in eastern Canada, the United States, and overseas. Prince Edward Island seed potatoes are shipped across Canada and around the world to other potato producing regions.  We saw lots of potato fields and potato processors. 

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Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island:  It is both the largest city and the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, it was designated as a city in 1886.


One has to eat lobster in Nova Scotia!


Cape Breton Island: The island is located east-northeast of the mainland of Nova Scotia with its northern and western coasts fronting on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The island accounts for 18.7% of the total area of Nova Scotia.  It is artificially connected to mainland Nova Scotia by the 4,544 ft. long rock-fill Canso Causeway. 

We went by ferry from Prince Edward island back to Nova Scotia.  Then we continued on by coach to Cape Breton Island. 


It was a pretty ride on Cape Breton Island en-route to Cheticamp.

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Cheticamp:  Is a busy fishing village in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with a thriving Acadian culture.  The community has almost 4,000 residents, a large number of whom are Acadians and speak French natively, as well as English.  Music has always been a very important component of Acadian life in Chéticamp.  Both evenings we were there we enjoyed listening to the lively Acadian music.   

Whale Watch:  Well…while in Cheticamp, we boarded a boat and did a whale watch.  What can I say?  It was cold, it was wet, it was long, and we caught a brief glimpse of a whale….I think.  Oh well, we’ve been on a whale watch in Nova Scotia. 


Elizabeth LaFort Museum of Hooked Rug & Home Life, Cheticamp, Cape Breton Island:  Born in 1914, Elizabeth LeFort learned to hook rugs at a very young age. In her early twenties, she was already hooking landscapes based on photos or illustrations that appealed to her.  She made hundreds of tapestries in a large variety of subjects including pastoral scenes, birds, animals and floral motifs.  She also reproduced photographs, and religious paintings. 

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Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island:  This world-famous scenic highway, runs along parts of the coastal borders on both sides of the park and crosses the highlands.  At the western entrance of the park is the Acadian village of Cheticamp on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and a park information center.  On the eastern side of the park are the beaches at Ingonish on the Atlantic Ocean.  In between are mountains, valleys, forests, waterfalls, rocky coastlines and a tundra-like plateau know as the Cape Breton Highlands.  This map copied from Parks Canada shows the route that we drove on the Cabot Trail, through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

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We had the privilege of driving the first part of the trail twice.  These are pictures of our trip into the park on the first day in partly sunny lovely weather.  The next morning when we headed out it was foggy, so we had a diversified view of the lovely area.  


Cabot Trail, Cape Breton National Park:  As we began our drive early the next morning it was foggy, but then it lifted and was a beautiful day as the scenery unfolded on our breathtaking journey on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton National Park.  It is approximately 80 miles from Cheticamp to the Ingonish Beach area. 


Pleasant Bay, located at the northwest part of the trail just before we headed east across the mountains. 


Going generally in a eastward direction across the trail.


Now we are headed in a southerly direction towards Ingonish. 


Keltic Lodge:  After a delightful morning on the Cabot Trail, lunch was included at the Keltic Lodge near Ingonish.

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Driving from Ingonish to Baddeck on Cape Breton Island.


Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island:     Was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1952.  The exhibit complex houses models, replicas, photo displays, artifacts and films describing the fascinating life and work of Alexander Graham Bell.  He invented a lot more than I realized.  


Bell’s Summer Home:  Alexander Graham Bell, compelled by the beauty of Baddeck, chose this area as his summer home.  Looking across the bay from Bell’s museum, this is a photo we zoomed  of Bell’s mansion.



Baddeck, Cape Breton Island:  Situated in the heart of Cape Breton Island, Baddeck is considered to be the beginning and end of the world famous Cabot Trail.  Stretching along the shores of the Bras d’Or Lakes, Baddeck is a charming, quaint little town.  We stayed here for two nights. 


Gisele’s Country Inn:  Our hotel in Baddeck and another nice included meal.  Yes, after the picture taking, Karen did eat it. 


Fortress of Louisbourg:  A National Historic Site of Canada and the location of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  Its two sieges, especially that of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what today is Canada.


Driving from Louisbourg to Baddeck we saw another pretty lighthouse and a ferry crossing. 


  Nova Scotia (New Scotland):  We returned to mainland Nova Scotia for the final two nights of our trip.  Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province with nearly one million inhabitants.  It has over 4,600 miles of coastline.  Nowhere in Nova Scotia is more than 42 miles from the ocean.  The first settlers were the Micmac Indians, and after that Nova Scotia was settled primarily by the French, English, Scottish and Irish.

Peggy’s Point Lighthouse:  Before arriving in Halifax we stopped at the little fishing village of Peggy’s Cove.  This lighthouse, situated on an extensive granite outcrop, is said to be one of the most-photographed structures in Atlantic Canada and one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world. The original lighthouse was built in 1868, but replaced by this one in 1914.  It is still operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. 


 Peggy’s Cove:  Is primarily a tourist attraction, although its inhabitants still fish for lobster, and the community maintains a rustic undeveloped appearance.


Halifax, Nova Scotia:    It’s the provincial capital and most populous province of the four in Atlantic Canada.  We stayed at the very nice Marriott Habourfront.  It was located on the boardwalk of Halifax. 


Maritime Museum of the Atlantic:  The museum has a collection of over 30,000 artifacts including 70 small craft and a steamship.


  CSS Acadia:  We toured this steamship, which is part of the museum.  It is a 180 foot steam-powered hydrographic survey ship launched in 1913.


 Ship Chandlery:  A ship chandler is a retail dealer who specializes in supplies or equipment for ships.  This restored Ship Chandlery circa 1900 was located in the museum.  I understood that it’s in the original store front which the museum purchased and added to it’s artifacts. 


And I bid you farewell with the setting of the sun over one last lighthouse in Nova Scotia!  It was a indeed fun trip with good friends!


Posted November 5, 2013 by marilynfarmer in Travel

From CO to CA with Karree   Leave a comment

From CO to CA with Karree

Sept. 24 – 28, 2013


Karree decided to do some travel nursing again in California and invited us to ride out with her.  So Jim & I flew into Denver and she picked us up at the airport and it was “westward ho”.   This was a five day adventure so we made good use of our time.  Our destinations included Arches National Park, Moab, UT; Capitol Reef National Park, UT: traveling scenic byway 12 through Utah; Bryce National Park, UT; Zion National Park, UT; Marina del Ray, CA; then moving her into her apartment in Culver City, CA. 

As per the google map below we traveled about 1,200 miles.  It was a fun time with our daughter and we got to see some beautiful country in this grand U.S.A. 

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Arches National Park:  The 73,000 acre park is located in eastern Utah just outside of Moab. With over 2,000 arches it contains the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches.  The National Park is a red, arid desert, punctuated with oddly eroded sandstone forms.


Capitol Reef National Park:  Located in south-central Utah, the park is 100 miles long but fairly narrow.  It is characterized by sandstone formations, cliffs and canyons, and a 100-mile long bulge in the earth’s crust called the Waterpocket Fold, a warp in the earth’s crust that is 65 million years old.  Erosion has carved the rock into marvelous shapes.


Mormons settled the Fremont River Valley in the 1880’s.  The National Park Service has preserved the original the Historic Gifford Farm, which can all be seen on highway 24 that runs through the park.  Petroglyphs can be seen on the sheer cliffs near the school house were carved by people in the Freemont Culture.


Scenic Byway 12, Utah:   We traveled the entire 124 miles of this remarkable  Utah route.  Around every bend in the road was another beautiful landscape of plateaus, canyons and valleys.  I copied this map from



Bryce National Park:  Bryce is located in southwestern Utah about 50 miles northeast of Zion.  It is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.  Bryce is distinctive due to bizarre shapes, windows, fins and spires called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering.  The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views as you view the splendid scenery from any of the many overlooks.


Zion National Park:  Located in southwestern Utah, Zion has some of the most scenic canyon country in the United States, and it is one of our favorite parks.  Within its 229 square miles are high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep, sandstone canyons, and the Virgin River and its tributaries.  We entered the park from the East entrance.  The unfolding scenes were breathtaking. 

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Zion Canyon scenic drive through the narrow canyon is open to shuttle buses only.  The park service provides free shuttle service, with included narrative.  It was late in the afternoon so the shadows were outstanding.  We got off the shuttle bus at the at the last stop into the canyon and hiked back into the beautiful area a bit. 

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After our great time spent in National Parks and seeing the beautiful areas of Utah we headed out to the Los Angeles area.  We arrived at Marina del Ray mid-afternoon.  We stayed at a hotel by the ocean that night, then the next day we got Karree moved into her apartment. 



The La Brea Tar Pits:  Is a group of tar pits around which Hancock Park was formed, in urban Los Angeles.  Tar (brea in Spanish) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years. The asphalt would form a deposit thick enough to trap animals, and the surface would be covered with layers of water, dust, or leaves.  Animals would wander in, become trapped, and eventually die.  Predators would enter to eat the trapped animals and also become stuck.  Dating of preserved wood and bones has given an age of 38,000 years for the oldest known material from the La Brea seeps.

This is a tar pit just outside of the Museum.  You can see and smell the tar.  The second photo shows gas bubbles and tar slowly emerging at La Brea Tar Pits.


The George C. Page Museum is dedicated to researching the tar pits and displaying specimens from the animals that died there. The La Brea Tar Pits are a registered National Natural Landmark.




Jim & I flew home early on Saturday morning.  Since Tuesday morning we had driven a lot, seen remarkable country, and most of all we enjoyed being with our youngest daughter. 


Posted October 29, 2013 by marilynfarmer in Travel

Quebec, Canada   4 comments

Quebec, Canada

Aug. 20 – 23, 2013


What a delightful little trip we had to Quebec, Canada.  We each had a $500 flight voucher because of a flight from hell.  So, after very little contemplation we decided to go see what Quebec looks like.  We have always heard that “The Old City” both upper and lower town is beautiful.  And indeed we found that to be true.   

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Quebec is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located along the St. Lawrence River (Seaway).  A high stone wall surrounds the historic Upper Town portion of the Old City.  The Plains of Abraham and the Citadelle are located near the edge of the promontory.  Lower Town is located at shore level.  Most of the historic sites are within the city wall of Haute-Ville (Upper Town) and Basse-Ville (Lower Town). 


Hotel Louisbourg: The first photo is looking down the street towards our hotel, the second photo shows the green shuttered building of “Hotel Louisbourg”. The hotel is in a building from the early 19th century, is recently renovated, and located on Louisbourg Street in the heart of Old Quebec, Upper Town. I booked our hotel on-line using the hotel website. Was very pleased with the quaint little hotel, and it’s in easy walking distance to everything in the historic area.


Anciens Canadiens Restaurant:  It is located in one of the oldest buildings in Quebec having being built in 1675-1676.  We arrived in Quebec in the early afternoon and didn’t waste anytime checking into our hotel and walking down the street to this nice restaurant to take advantage of the lunch special prices.  Our lunch was delightful and included the area specialty of meat pie, pea soup and hot maple pie.  Oh yes, it’s listed in the “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” book. 


Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac:   The chateau style hotel, is reportedly one of the most photographed hotel in the world.  It was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and opened in 1893 to house railroad passengers and encourage tourism. It’s commanding position is atop Cap Diamant, the rock bluff that once provided military defense. 


The Champlain Monument:  Located next to the Chateau Frontenac Hotel.  Bleachers were set up near it and street acts were happening all afternoon and evening.  We enjoyed watching all the fun things. 


The Governor’s Promenade/Terrasse Dufferin:  Located on the river side of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel is an elevated boardwalk along the cliff that overlooks the Lower Town and the St. Lawrence River.  The area is complete with lots and lots of park benches and you can people watch or look through the wrought-iron fence at the lower town and the river.  Thus ended our first day in Quebec.  


I had purchased Frommer’s “Montreal & Quebec City” travel book and we decided to follow the walking tour as outlined in the book.  On Wednesday we did the Upper Town ( Haute-Ville) and Thursday we did the Lower Town (Basse-Ville & Vieux-Port).  Since it is such an easy walking town we actually completed the tour and saw everything listed.  It was a very enjoyable because we casually strolled along and tried out many park benches and stopped for refreshments along the way. 


Upper Town (Vieux-Quebec: Haute-Ville)

Changing of the Guards, La Citadelle:  The star-shaped fortress keeps watch from a commanding position on a grassy plateau 354 feet above the banks of the St. Lawrence.  It’s the home of the French-speaking Royal 22e Regiment, and is North America’s largest fortified group of buildings still occupied by troops.     The Changing of the Guard ceremony is an elaborate 45 minute choreographed ceremony inspired by the Changing of the Royal Guard in London.  It’s included in the regular admission fee. 

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The Citadelle:  The duke of Wellington had this partially star-shaped fortress built at the south end of the city walls in anticipation of renewed American attacks after the War of 1812.  Dug into the Plains of Abraham high above Cape Diamant, the fort has a low profile that keeps it all but invisible until walkers are actually upon it.  The facility has never actually exchanged fire with an invader. 


Ramparts of Quebec City are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America north of Mexico. The English began fortifying the existing walls, after they took Quebec City from the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.


Hotel du Parlement:  The Quebecois Parliament Building is in this Second Empire chateau constructed in 1886.  The water fountain is located in front of the building. 


After a little refreshment it was time to continue on with our Frommer’s walking tour of the Upper Town.  Back to my favorite area (The Promenade).  The Obelisk Monument is by the Promenade and in the park next to the Chateau Frontenac Hotel.  If is dedicated to both generals who died when the French were defeated and the English took over Quebec. 


A couple old buildings in Quebec.  Maison Jacquet (red roof) dates back to 1677 and now houses our favorite little restaurant that we enjoyed the day before.  Maison Maillou (stone building with metal shutters) dates back to 1736 and was built as an elegant luxury home and later served as headquarters of militias and armies. 



Place d’Armes: A pretty plaza across the street from Chateau Frontenac Hotel.  All over the Old Town are lots of park benches, and we tried out several of them.  They fit pretty well. 


Rue du Tresor:  Artists hang their prints and paintings on both sides of the walkway. 



Basilique Notre-Dame:  The basilica’s golden interior is ornate.  Many artworks remain from the time of the French regime.  The basilica dates back to 1647 and has suffered a history of bombardment and reconstruction.


Seminaire de Quebec:  Founded in 1663 By North America’s first bishop, this seminary had grown into Laval University by 1852.


After a nice dinner it was time to go to some more fun street entertainment. 


Lower Town of Basse-Ville & Vieux-Port:   Our third day in Quebec and it’s time to continue on with Frommer’s Walking Tour down to the lower town of the old city. 


We went down the stairs located near the Funicular on the Boardwalk.  Down, down we did go but it was pleasant because the stairs staggered through different areas, so you could enjoy the unfolding scene.


The buildings in lower town were charming and there were beautiful flowers here, there and everywhere.


As we strolled along how could we not enjoy these lovely scenes?


Merrily we stroll along…….


Place-Royale:  This small but picturesque plaza is considered to be the birthplace of French America.  It was the town marketplace, and the center of business and industry. 


Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Victoires:  This church dominates the plaza. It’s Quebec’s oldest stone church, built in 1688.  Its paintings, altar and large model boat suspended from the ceiling were votive offerings brought by early settlers to ensure safe voyages. 


Mural of Streets & Houses:   Depictions of citizens from the earliest colonial days to the present.  It was a fun place to stand among the characters in the mural and have a photo taken. 


We toured the Museum of Civilization, but by reading all the wonderful comments about it, I think we must have missed something.  It was okay.  After that we continued on a long walk along the waterfront. 


 Well, we didn’t walk back up to the Upper Town, we took the Funicular.



An absolutely delightful three days in Quebec, Canada.  Try it sometime, I bet you’d enjoy it!

 Fly, fly away home!


Posted August 31, 2013 by marilynfarmer in Travel

Essence of the Elbe: Hamburg, and Berlin to Prague   8 comments

Essence of the Elbe:  Hamburg, then Berlin to Prague

June 26 – July 11, 2013


Jim & I and our friend Linda went on this delightful trip with Grand Circle Cruise Line.  This was our 31st trip with GCT/OAT.  We began our adventure with a four day pre-trip in Hamburg, Germany.  Next was two days in Berlin, Germany.  Then we boarded the M/S River Allegro and cruised on the Elbe River for seven days from Magdeburg, Germany to Dresden, Germany.  Due to the recent flooding our ship was one of the first back on the river.  Our last two days were spent in Prague, Czech Republic.  Our awesome program director was Kati. (The map is copied from the Grand Circle web site.)   


Save Money:  If you decide you’d like to go on this or any Grand Circle Travel or Overseas Adventure Travel trip, and you are a first time traveler with them, they will give you $100 off any trip if you mention the name of my travel blog and my customer #561413. New travelers instantly receive $100 off the cost of the trip, and I will receive $100 when you depart on your trip.

Hamburg, Germany:  Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany with a population of 1.8 million.  Situated on the river Elbe, the port of Hamburg is the second largest port in Europe (after the Port of Rotterdam) and tenth largest worldwide.  It is considered one of the most affluent cities in Europe, and it has become a media and industrial center.


Below is our hotel, “The Radisson Blue” and the adjoining botanical gardens.  Looking out our 23rd story window is an overlook of Hamburg.  Our hotel was next to a metro/train station so we purchased a three day transportation ticket and could zip most anyplace on the metro and trains. 


Hamburg lacks a quaint medieval center.  Bombing destroyed about a third of the city in WWII, but a huge fire in 1842 had already leveled Hamberg’s atmospheric old town.  The impressive, 647 room Rathaus (City Hall) was completed in 1897.  The Rathaus overlooks the Rathausmarkt, the plaza used for local festivals. 


Dinner at the BlockBrau Beer Garden overlooking the Hamburg Harbor.  Highly recommend the Elderberry Beer alongside  a delicious German dinner. 


Well, since our hotel was next to a station it seemed only sensible to take advantage of the situation and check out the first of two places I had read about that I thought we’d enjoy seeing.  Lubeck and Luneberg.  So Lubeck was first on the agenda.  After doing a city tour in the morning with GCT, Jim, Linda and I headed out for Lubeck.  It was less than an hour northeast by train. 


Lubeck, Germany:  Lubeck, the former capital and Queen City of the Hanseatic League, was founded in the 12th century and prospered until the 16th century as the major trading center for northern Europe.  The old part of Lubeck, known as the City of Seven Spires, is on an island enclosed by the Trave River and is barely a mile long.  Because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Walking from the train station takes you into the old town through  the 15th-century Holsten Gate (1478), which sits across the Trave and once guarded Lubeck’s western entryway.  The Lubecker Rathaus (Town Hall) was a pretty square for a stroll.  We got to see lots of crow-stepped gabled town houses and we were never far away from water.  It was a nice afternoon outing. 


Luneburg, Germany:  Luneburg is about a 45 minute train ride southeast of Hamburg.  Luneburg dates back more than 1,000 years and is considered one of the prettiest towns in northern Germany. Having survived the Second World War unscathed, it has retained its charming medieval character. ‘White gold’ was extracted at the salt works for over 1,000 years and it was the trade of this precious commodity that put the town on the map. (The ancient lift in the 2nd photo loaded & unloaded salt into boats.)  Luneburg quickly became one of the wealthiest and most important towns in the Hanseatic League.


There’s always time to eat, correct? 


It was fun waiting on the train platform in Luneberg.  The young people were heading to Hamburg to walk in a parade. 


Hamburg Hauptbahnhof:  Main train station in Hamburg.


The last evening of our pre-trip to Hamburg was spent with the group at the Schiffer Borse in a cute ship theme restaurant near the train station in Hamburg. 


Schwerin, Germany:  We bid Hamburg farewell and went by coach towards Berlin.  We stopped for lunch at Schwerin, which is best known for the Schwerin Castle, located on an island in the lake of the same name.  The 973 room castle was completed in 1857.  For centuries it was the home of dukes and grand dukes.


The town center of Schwerin, with a very interesting statue.  It shows people “mooning” Henry the Lion, who was Duke in the mid-12th century.   


Berlin, Germany:  The largest city in Germany Is the capital city and has a population of 3.3 million people.  Since first being documented in the 13th century, Berlin has been the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and the Third Reich.  After WWII the city became divided between East Berlin and West Berlin.  Following German reunification in 1990, the city regained its status as the capital of Germany. 


When people think of Berlin, the first thing that usually comes to mind is its most famous landmark – the Brandenburg Gate.  It was commissioned and built from 1788-91.  During the post-war Partition of Germany, the gate was isolated and inaccessible immediately next to the Berlin Wall.  The area around the gate featured most prominently in the media coverage of the opening of the wall in 1989.  Our U.S. Embassy is located to the left and in the block directly beside the Brandenburg Gate. 



The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe:  It consists of a 4.7-acre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae”, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The slabs undulate in a wave-like pattern.  Each is a five-sided monolith, individually unique in shape and size.  According to Eisenman’s project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.



The Berlin Wall:  The Berlin Wall was the physical division between West Berlin and East Germany from 1961 to 1989 and the symbolic boundary between democracy and Communism during the Cold War. The Berlin Wall stretched over a hundred miles. It ran through the center of Berlin, and also wrapped around West Berlin, entirely cutting West Berlin off from the rest of East Germany.  The Wall was constructed by the Communist to prevent the East Germans from fleeing to the West for a better life.  The wall literally came up overnight.  Crews began tearing up streets that entered into West Berlin, dug holes to put up concrete posts, and strung barbed wire all across the border between East and West Berlin. Telephone wires between East and West Berlin were also cut.  Whichever side of the border one went to sleep on during the night of August 12, they were stuck on that side for decades.



  Below, the copied picture of the map shows the outline of the Wall in 1949.  This new organization of Germany became official when the three zones occupied by the United States, Great Britain, and France combined to form West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany). The zone occupied by the Soviet Union quickly followed by forming East Germany (the German Democratic Republic).   Today, (as indicated in the 2nd photo), the former location of the Berlin Wall is shown throughout the city center with a double row of cobblestones on public streets and sidewalks.


Checkpoint Charlie: The name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.



These are some of the remaining parts of the Berlin Wall.  The last photo shows the barrier which included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area known as the “death strip”.


Potsdam, Germany:  On 16 July 1945, the “Big Three” leaders met at Cecilienjof Palace in Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin.  In this, (the last of the World War II heads of state conferences), President Truman, Soviet Premier Stalin and British Prime Ministers Churchill and Atlee discussed post-war arrangements in Europe, frequently without agreement. Future moves in the war against Japan were also covered. The meeting concluded early in the morning of 2 August. It ended with an ultimatum: Japan must immediately agree to unconditionally surrender, or face “prompt and utter destruction”.


Wannsee Conference:  On January 20th, 1942, fifteen high-ranking civil servants and SS-officers met in this villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss plans of “The Final Solution” of the Jewish question in Europe. The decision was to deport the Jews of Europe to the East and murder them.  Under the direction of SS General Reinhard Heidrich the “Final Solution” was the code name for the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews.  (The villa is now a memorial and education site.) 


All Aboard….the M/S/ River Allegro!  This ship belonging to the Grand Circle Cruise Line ship was ranked #2 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2013 Readers’ Poll. 

We boarded the M/S River Allegro on July 2, and as I mentioned before Germany was recovering from the worst flood since 2002.  In fact one of the news reports on June 11 reads: “Flood misery as surging Elbe breaches defenses in Germany. Over the past 10 days, floods on the Elbe and other rivers including the Danube have also affected southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.” With that being said let me tell you….one would have never known there had been flood devastation only 3 weeks previous. The Germans jump in there and make things neat and tidy. Germany is a proud, spotlessly clean and neat country, flood or no flood! 


Our first evening aboard the Allegro, Jim & I enjoyed dinner with our splendid “singing” Captain.  As usual, our favorite location on the ship was on the open top deck where we could watch the world go by as we cruised leisurely down the River Elbe.


We should have boarded the ship in Tangermunde, but due to the docks not yet being repaired in that town we boarded the ship a little further south down the river in Magdeburg.  The next day we went back by coach to visit the lovely town of Tangermunde. 

Tangermunde, Germany:  Dating back to 1009, this town is located along the Elbe River.  We strolled all through the little town viewing the ancient city walls, the stork nests, and the Gothic town hall.  It was fun seeing the old East German car (the Trabant) sticking out of the building, especially after hearing the stories from our program directors involving the Travant during their time in the GDR, as they lived behind the wall in East Germany.  There were also lots of beautiful half-timbered houses admire.  We looked at the remains of a fortified castle built in the 14th century by Charles IV.  It was his second royal residence, after Prague. We also had a nice lunch in a cute, medieval looking restaurant.


Cruising between Magdeburg and Wittenberg.


Wittenberg, Germany:  The 12th century city of Wittenberg, is officially known as Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the cradle of the Protestant Reformation.  Martin Luther (1483-1546) lived, preached and began his philosophical dispute with the Catholic Church here.  The Reformation started in Wittenberg in 1517, when he may have nailed his famous 95 page Thesis to the wooden doors of the Castle Church.


Lutherhaus (Luther House):  A former Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg.  This building hosted several important events in Luther’s life, not the least of which is his conversion from fearful monk to confident preacher of “justification by faith alone.”



Market Square of Wittenberg: 


Elster Kindergarten:  A small town along the Elbe completely lost it’s Kindergarten building due to the recent flood.  Grand Circle Foundation gave a donation of $10,000 to the school.  Since Jim & I and another couple had been on the most trips with Grand Circle, we had the honor of presenting the $10,000 check to the mayor of the town.  After the presentation our guests enjoyed a bowl of ice cream. 


Cruising from Elster to Torgau.



Torgau, Germany:  The town is best known as the place which commemorates the meeting of US and Soviet forces during the Second World War.  The meeting of soldiers signified an important action towards the end of WWII, with the allied powers avowing to complete the dissolution of the Third Reich.  We went to the the monument, and a man that was a very young soldier at that time spoke to us about the war.  Kati was the excellent interpreter. 



Hartenfels Palace of Torgau was built in the 15th and 16th centuries in the style of the early German Renaissance.



It’s hard not to be impressed by the Marketplace in Torgau with its Renaissance town hall and ensemble of Renaissance town houses.


Cruising from Torgau to Meissen.  The first picture shows the repairs of a broken dyke from the recent flood.  Saw lots of camping groups along the river. 


How about a friendly “beer tasting” on the boat?  A great assortment of German beer.  Kati & Christian made it lot of fun!


Meissen, Germany:   Famous for the manufacture of porcelain, based on extensive local deposits of china clay and potter’s clay.  Meissen porcelain was the first high quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient.  The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meissen in 1710.  We toured the factory then went upstairs to the museum.  Lastly we journeyed around the sales floor. 


Thought the huge bowl with cherubs, and the indicate fountain were beautiful.  The three lady figure dates back to 1784.  The bowl was listed for sale for 32,500 Euro.  I didn’t buy it! 



Meissen, Germany:  The ship docked by the Albrechsburg Castle. The construction of it began in 1471. It was constructed solely as a residence, not as a military fortress, the first German castle built for such a purpose.  Jim & I are ready to set out on our stroll around the town, and on up to the castle for a tour.  Meissen was founded as a German town by King Henry I in 929.  With a population of only 30,000 it’s the size of town I like the best.  We thoroughly enjoyed the entire afternoon.



Had to post this photo of a picture that I took of the flood.  I understand the water was 29 feet above flood stage.  The beige building in the flood picture is the same building as in the picture we took 3 weeks later.  This photo shows that same beige building next to the street before the castle.  The flooding went way up into town.  Again I say the only way one would have known was to look inside a building and see the entire bottom floor stripped out waiting for repairs.  Again…in a very neat and tidy fashion.  The German way. 



On our way up to Albrechtsberg Castle.  Yes, that is the Mr. in a suit of armour I guess.  And yes, many steps to the top.  The 13th century Gothic Meissen Cathedral is next, followed by a photo of the Castle.  No pictures were allowed inside the Castle.  However, outside we did take a picture overlooking the Elbe and our river cruise ship. 



On our walk up to the Castle and back down they were having a bicycle competition of seeing who could ride down from the castle the fastest without killing themselves.  We only saw one ambulance picking up a broken kid. 



Our touring is over, time to sit down in the old town square of Meissen and enjoy my favorite drink of Germany, “the radler”… and lemonade.  And fare-the-well to the lovely town of Meissen and the Albrechtsberg Castle!


Dresden, Germany:  A flourishing artistic center until the rise of the Nazis, it was almost completely destroyed during WWII.  Dresden has been rebuilt from the ground up.  This is a copy of a post card that I purchased that shows Dresden, 1945; followed by a view from our riverboat, 2013.



The Furstenzug:  This large mural is located on the outer wall of the Dresden Castle. It shows the mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony, originally painted between 1871 and 1876 for Saxon’s ruling family.  In order to make the work weatherproof, it was replaced with approximately 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907. With a length of 335 feet, it is known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world.  Only minimal damage to the tiles resulted from the 1945 bombing of Dresden.



1st photo below is part of the Dresden Castle, and across the street is Katholische Hofkirche (Catholic Church of the Royal Court of Saxony).  The 2nd photo is the Semperoper (Opera House). 



The Zwinger:  A palace in Dresden, built in Rococo style.  It served as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court.  The building was mostly destroyed in 1945, but has been rebuilt to its pre-war state.  Today, the Zwinger is a museum complex.



Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady):  When completed in 1743, this was Germany’s tallest Protestant Church.  In 1945 the firebombs came, and it burned for two days before finally collapsing.  After the war, it was left a pile of rubble and turned into a peace monument.  After reunification it was rebuilt, and reopened to the public in 2005.  Other photos are in the immediate area of the Church. 

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Royal Palace Museum:  Within the Royal Palace Museum is the Historic Green Vault.  After the destruction of the WWII, the Green Vault has been completely reconstructed. Today, its treasures are shown in two exhibitions:  The Historic Green Vault is famous for its splendors of the historic treasure chamber as it existed in 1733, while the New Green Vault focuses the attention on each individual object in neutral rooms. (No photos were allowed in the museum).  After the museum is was certainly time for cool refreshments. 


Saxon Switzerland National Park:  The park is characterized by sandstone cliffs, deeply carved valleys, table mountains and gorges – a truly remarkable landscape.  Saxon Switzerland National Park is located about 45 minutes from Dresden, Germany.  Within the park there are some 250 miles of hiking paths and 31 miles of biking paths.  It was a beautiful area. 


Our last outing of “Cruisin’ Down the River.”  Sure was fun on the M/S River Allegro!



Prague, Czech Republic:  The “City of 100 Spires” is indeed a beautiful city.  During the 1,000 years of its existence it has grown from a settlement to the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic.  It spreads on both sides of the winding Vltava River, connected by 16 picturesque bridges.  It is built over a series of hills and its varied architecture spans many centuries. 


Prague Castle:  What is the largest castle in the world?  Prague Castle.  Stroll through the Castle area and admire the  overwhelming beauty of a place which has been the seat of Czech kings, emperors and presidents for a thousand years. 


The city of Prague and whole castle grounds are dominated by the monumental St. Vitus Cathedral.  The gothic Cathedral of St. Vitus was founded in the year 1344, with construction finally being completed in 1929.



The Charles Bridge:  The famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague.  Its construction started in 1357 for King Charles IV, and was finished in the beginning of the 15th century. Situated on the bridge are 30 statues erected between 1683 and 1714.



The Old Town Square of Prague:  This was our third trip to Prague and I never get tired of seeing this beautiful square.  The medieval Astronomical Clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working.  Church of Our Lady before Týn, is a dominant feature of the Old Town and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church’s towers are topped by four small spires.


The trdelnik: This pastry is a typical pastry of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is made by wrapping dough around a stick (wooden or metal) and roasting it over an open flame until it is golden brown and fully cooked.


  So….what a fine way to end this wonderful trip through Germany and ending in the Czech Republic.  Happy Travels!

“Life is not measured by the breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away.”


Posted July 29, 2013 by marilynfarmer in Travel

Scandinavia: The Capitals to the Fjords   8 comments

Scandinavia:  The Capitals to the Fjords

May 10 – 22, 2013



Jim & I did this trip with Go Ahead Vacations.  It was a very nice overview of the Scandinavian countries.  We stayed in Copenhagen, Denmark; Flam, Norway (in the Fjords region); Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; and Helsinki, Finland.  We went by overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo, by coach from Oslo to the Fjords, and by coach again from the Fjords back to Oslo, flew from Oslo to Stockholm,  and by ferry again from Stockholm to Helsinki.   (The map below is copied from the Go Ahead website).  Thomas was our great tour director. 


Copenhagen Denmark:  Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the beginning of the 15th century.  Today it is the most populous city of Denmark with bridges and tunnels connecting the parts of the city together and its cityscape is characterized by waterfronts and promenades. 


Christiansborg Palace:  The seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister’s Office and the Danish Supreme Court. 


Nyhavn:  The seventeenth century waterfront, with its colorful buildings.  Hans Christian Andersen lived and wrote his first stories here in the Nyhavn area. 


Harbor Boat Cruise:   It was a nice way to leisurely see Copenhagen.  1st photo below:  One of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen is the Old Stock Exchange, built by King Christian IV (1577-1648).  It remained in use until 1974.  2nd photo below:  Cruising through the Nyhavn area which was established in 1670.  It is filled with glamorous old sailboats, trendy cafes and jazz clubs. 


1st photo below:  Cruising through a residential area of Copenhagen.  2nd photo below:  The Copenhagen Opera House is one of the most modern in the world, and one of the most expensive ever built.  Completed in 2005,  it was a $400 million gift to the nation from an oil-shipping magnate.   


1st photo below:  “Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as a cornflower, as clear as crystal, and very, very deep…..there lived a young mermaid.”   So begins one of Hans Christian Andersen’s (1805-1875) best-known stories.  2nd photo below:  Cruising through Christianshavn which is a lively, primarily residential area located across the harbor from the old town of Nyhavn. 


1st photo below:  Another view of the Christianshavn area.  Look closely at the very center of the photo and you can see the spire of the church which is featured in the following photo.    2nd photo below:  Our Savior’s Church, dates back to 1696 and features a unique spiral spire with an outdoor staircase winding up to its top. 


Jim & I used public transportation, but the most fun was on the water taxi. 


Amalienborg Palace & Square:  Queen Margrethe II and her husband live in a mansion on the square.   Frederik’s Church (center of 1st photo) also known as the Marble Church, built in 1740 has the largest dome in Scandinavia and the 4th largest in Europe.  We watched the changing of the guards.  The guards change with royal fanfare at noon only when the queen is in residence. 


Jim & I did our own little side trip to Roskilde, Denmark by train.  It turned out to be a delightful afternoon.  The lady at the train station sold us 24 hour tickets, which could be used for Roskilde and also for any public transportation in Copenhagen.  So we made good use of the tickets for the next 24 hours.   Foremost, we wanted to get out of the big city and we knew Roskilde was a small town with a beautiful old town center,  and also home of the Viking Ship Museum. 


Viking Ship Museum:  The museum displays five different Viking ships which were discovered in the Roskilde fjord and painstakingly excavated, preserved, and pieced back together beginning in the 1960’s.  These vessels were sunk a thousand years ago to block an easy channel into this harbor (leaving open only the most challenging approach—virtually impossible for anyone but a local to navigate).


Roskilde is a nice little town with a pedestrian street running down the center of the city.  It dates back to the 980’s,  has a lovely old town square and the Roskilde Cathedral which was built in 1170.  It was the largest and most important town in Denmark in 1268.  The food in Copenhagen was extremely expensive, as was everything else.  We loved the fact that we ate in Roskilde for a lesser price and had a delicious meal. 


To take complete advantage of our 24 hour public transportation ticket we headed out early the next morning to see more sights around Copenhagen.  I must tell you that the one thing in this city that could inflect great bodily harm to us was the hundreds of bicycles that were coming at us in every direction.  Well, we survived unscathed!


We went by overnight ferry from Copenhagen, Denmark to Oslo, Norway.  This was a real treat and we enjoyed it very much.  The ferry was very nice and included most of the amenities of any cruise line with the exception that it carried automobiles in the bottom.  We had a nice cabin, a delicious buffet dinner and breakfast, watched the entertainment and could have shopped and gambled if we’d desired.    We set sail about 4:30 in the afternoon and arrived in Oslo around 9:00 the next morning. 


Norway:  With a population of about 5 million, it is the second least densely populated country in Europe.  It shares a long border with Sweden.  The capital city of Norway is Oslo.   Norway’s extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords.  Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity. The coasts of Norway, Iceland, and Greenland have many fjords.


After arriving in Oslo by ferry we went by coach to the Fjord area of Norway.  It was a beautiful drive with scenic beauty all along the way.  It was interesting seeing the countryside, the farms, and the mountainous areas that were still covered with snow. 


It was fun spotting a Lamborghini tractor.  We sure don’t have that brand in Kansas. 


Borgund Stave Church:  It dates from about 1180 with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name “stave church”.


Borgund has tiered, overhanging roofs, topped with a tower. On the gables of the roof, there are four carved dragon heads, swooping from the carved roof ridge crests, recalling the carved dragon heads found on Norse ships.


The ceiling of the stave church is held up with scissor beams crossing each other to form an X shape with a narrow top span and a broader bottom span. 


  Located next to the Stave Church, is the currently used Lutheran Church.


Proceeding on towards Flam, Norway:  We did a first….rode through the longest road tunnel in the world.  It’s a little over 15 miles long and took us a good 22 minutes to drive it.  


We arrived in the lovely village of Flam, Norway in the late afternoon.  But since it didn’t get dark until around 10:30 p.m. we had plenty of daylight.   We loved the little town and Hotel Fretheim in Flam.  Our group of 28 had several meals together, but this was the best at this hotel.  The hotel also provided a great sitting area which overlooked the town and the amazing landscape.  


The next morning we embarked on a cruise to explore the fjords.  The breathtaking natural beauty and tranquil scenery of the region was awesome.  It was misty and cool, but we didn’t let that interfere with the pleasure of the day. 


The village of Flam is home of the Flam Railway which goes between Flam and Myrdal and is one of the steepest railroad tracks in the world.  In the afternoon we did a scenic journey on the Flam Railway, taking in breathtaking views of the fjords, mountains, countless waterfalls, and the charming area. 


Thus ends our favorite part of the trip and that was seeing the Fjords of Norway. 

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway:  We saw two finely crafted, majestic oak Viking ships dating from the 9th & 10th centuries.  This ship, the Oseberg, from A.D. 834 (1179 years old), with it’s ornate carving and impressive rudder,  was likely a royal pleasure craft. 


The Gokstad ship, from A.D. 950, was a practical working boat, capable of sailing the high seas.   The ships survived so well because they were buried in clay as part of a gravesite.


Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo, Norway:  in 1947 Heyerdahl and five crewmates constructed the Kon-Tiki raft out of balsa wood.  They set sail from Peru on the tiny craft, surviving for 101 days on fish, coconuts, and sweet potatoes.  About 4,300 miles later they arrived in Polynesia.  The point was to show that early South Americans could have settled Polynesia.  The Kon-Tiki story became a best-selling book. 


Vigelandsparken:  The famous park is filled with 212 bronze and granite sculptures and locals enjoying outdoor life in the nice park area.  Gustav Vigeland made a whole park full of naked sculptures.  He also designed the architectural setting and the layout of the grounds.


Norway’s National Day:  May 17 is Norway’s Constitution Day and is celebrated with children’s parades and festivities.  A distinctive characteristic that contributes to making this a unique day is the beautiful national costumes that hundreds of people were wearing.  It was a fun time seeing all the festivities and gazing at the awesome national costumes!


We flew from Oslo, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden.  I was looking forward to seeing Sweden, because my great grandfather immigrated from Sweden to America.  It was nice to see the homeland of my ancestors.  I now understand the love my Daddy had of carving and painting ships….it was in his blood. 


Stockholm, Sweden:  Sweden’s capital city spreads out over 14 islands in Lake Mälaren and looks out proudly to the Baltic Sea to the east.  Her grand public buildings, palaces, rich cultural history and museums tell her 700 year-old history. 

We visited Stockholm’s architecturally unique City Hall. It was built in 1923 and is still a functioning city hall.  The blue hall is well known as the dining hall used for the banquet held after the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony.  Above the Blue Hall lies the Golden Hall, named after the decorative mosaics made of more than 18 million tiles.  The last picture of this group is a Swedish Dali Horse with Marilyn, the Swede standing beside it. 


Vasa Museum:  The glamorous but unseaworthy warship Vasa—top heavy with an extra cannon deck—sank 20 minutes into her 1628 maiden voyage when a breeze caught the sails and blew her over.  After 333 years at the bottom of Stockholm’s harbor, she was rediscovered and then raised in 1961.  It is considered the best-preserved ship of its age anywhere.  Painstakingly restored, 95% of the wood is original.  It was fascinating to see all the unique craving that was on this old, old ship. 


Stockholm’s Old Town (Gamla Stan):   Until 1600’s, all of Stockholm fit on Gamla Stan.  We strolled down it’s winding, medieval streets and also got to see the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace which is part of the Old Town. 


Uppsala, Sweden:  Considered the birthplace of Sweden.   1st photo – Gamla Uppsala Church dates from the 12th century.  2nd photo – The Gothic Uppsala Cathedral is around 800 years old and is one of Scandinavia’s  largest and most historic. 


Photos from inside Uppsala Cathedral:  There is a beautifully carved, gold-slathered Baroque pulpit.  At the far end of the church is a woman peering toward the grave in the apse.  This is a eerily lifelike statue from 2005, called Mary, which captures Jesus’ mother later in life, wearing a scarf and timeless garb.   I literally thought this was a actual person!  The chapel she’s looking at once housed a shrine to her, but for more than 300 years after the Reformation, images of Mary were downplayed in this church. 


Uppsala University:  Is a research university and is the oldest university in Sweden, founded in 1477.


Drottningholm Palace:  After a one hour boat ride we arrived at the queen’s 17th century summer castle known as Drottningholm Palace.  It has been called “Sweden’s Versailles.”  The current Swedish royal family have used Drottningholm as their primary residence since 1981.  (No photos were allowed inside.)


We did another overnight ferry ride from Stockholm, Sweden to Helsinki, Finland.  This cruise was just as enjoyable as the previous one.  We left Stockholm around 5 pm and arrived in Helsinki the next morning.  We spent a nice evening of eating, strolling and watching good entertainment. 


Helsinki, Finland:  This was our last destination of the Scandinavian trip.  (Jim & I had been to Helsinki in 2002 after doing a Russian River Cruise.)  Helsinki is the world’s northernmost metro area of over one million people. The city is spread across a number of bays and peninsulas and over a number of islands. 


We did a city tour by coach.  The Helsinki Cathedral, finished in 1852 and located above market square is probably the most predominant building of the city.  The Sibelius Monument contains 600 stainless-steel pipes is in honor of Finland’s greatest composer, Jean Sibelius. 


Jim & I went bought a public transit day ticket and had unlimited travel.  We took advantage of this and went by city bus (#24)  to Seurasaari Open-Air Folk Museum.   It is located on a island on the edge of town and has a collection of 100 historic buildings from all over Finland.  The traditional Finnish way of life is displayed in the cottages, farmsteads and manors of the past four centuries that have been relocated here. This was our favorite venture in Helsinki.


Seurasaari Open-Air Folk Museum:  We got of the city bus and entered the island on a footbridge.  This  granary dates from the 17th century.  Its understructure prevents mice from getting in the granary and helps to ventilate the bottom in order to keep the grain dry.  We saw many of these exact structures as we traveled the countryside of the Scandinavian countries. 


Antti Farmstead:  It was brought from western Finland and was built around 1820.  Houses with enclosed farmyards were built since the Middle Ages in western Finland where the open-field division of land was followed. The villages were grouped on riversides and waterfronts.  The last photo shows the water-well and how the bucket was lowered into the well. 


Pertinotsa Farm:  Was built 1850-1884 and exemplifies the type of northern Russian house in which dwelling rooms and cowsheds are to be found under the same roof. The main upstairs living room, with its adjoining guest quarters, was the center of daily family activities. Storerooms are located underneath. At the other end of the building, a second story hay loft is situated above ground floor cow stalls.  This windmill was built in 1894 and remained in use in the west of Finland until the 1940’s.


The Karuna Church:  This is one of my favorite things that we saw in Scandinavia.  The inside of the church is absolutely unique!  The Karuna Church is the oldest building in the Museum.  It was built in 1685-86 and brought to the Museum in 1912.  The pulpit dates from the 1600′s. The church is decorated by 11 oil paintings. Christ and the Apostles are pictured on the railing of the organ gallery.  My favorite thing in the church were the carved arms on the wall with the hand holding a candle. 


Note the beautiful carved ship hanging from the ceiling and the pulpit dating from the 1600’s.


In summary:  We have always wanted to go to Scandinavia and particularly Sweden since I am of Swedish descent.  It was a great trip!  We knew it would be expensive, but let me tell you it is by far the most expensive area that we have ever toured, and we have been to 72 countries thus far.  But….keep on traveling, and happy travels. 


Posted June 11, 2013 by marilynfarmer in Travel

Yellowstone, Winter & Wildlife   4 comments

Yellowstone, Winter & Wildlife

Feb. 14 – 21, 2013


We decided we wanted to see Yellowstone in the Winter, and it turned out to be a great decision!   In the winter the Yellowstone National Park interior is only accessible through guided tours on snowcoaches and snowmobiles.  So we booked a round trip coach tour from Wichita to Yellowstone with Village Tours & Travel, Wichita KS,  and let them make all the arrangements.  We have lasting memories of streaming geyser basins, snowy landscapes, and fantastic wildlife viewing.   


This was our general route and amounted to approximately 2,700 miles RT.   In addition to the coach provided by Village Tours, we rode the Amtrak train from Denver to Glenwood Springs, and snowcoaches within Yellowstone National Park. 


In Denver we boarded the California Zephyr, Amtrak train to Glenwood Springs CO.  Amtrak takes a scenic route through the mountains between Denver and Glenwood Springs.  Much of the route follows the Colorado River and is away from roads and major developments.  It was a very enjoyable seven hour trip with lots of lovely scenery and the opportunity to get up and move around at will. 


This is the Amtrak route as provided by Google Maps. 


Passing through the Coal Creek Canyon area. 


Very pretty scenery from the train window.


Winter Park Ski Area


And the wheels on the train so round and round, round and round……


The railroad followed the Colorado for most of our journey. 


The elevated road (below, right) is Interstate 70.  On the latter part of our journey to Glenwood Springs, it ran close to the railroad for many miles. 


Glenwood Springs, CO:  Is known for it’s historic underground steam baths. They are over 100 years old and were used by the Ute Indians as a source of rejuvenation and healing.  The city has seen famous visitors including President Teddy Roosevelt, who spent an entire summer vacation living out of the historic Hotel Colorado.  (photo below, left). 



Meeker Colorado:  Population approximately 2,500, located along the White River in NW, CO.  We stayed the night in Meeker and Jim & I enjoyed a tour of the 1891 Meeker Hotel.  Think it would have been fun to have stayed here. 



Jackson Hole, Wyoming:  It is a major gateway to millions of tourists visiting  Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and the National Elk Refuge.  It has a population of under 10,000 and the elevation is 6,237 feet.  A ski slope is shown in the first photo.  The large arches of shed Elk antlers are located on all four corners of the town square. 



National Elk Refuge:  It is located between Jackson Hole WY, and the Grand Teton National Park.  The refuge was created in 1912 to protect habitat and provide sanctuary for the largest Elk herd on earth, and it is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  It is home to an average of 7,500 elk each winter.  The refuge also provides horse drawn sleigh rides to the public during the winter months so that visitors have the opportunity to see portions of the herd up close.  (And we did just that.)  During the spring the herds follow the retreating snows back into the Yellowstone National Park region.



Grand Teton National Park:  At approximately 310,000 acres, the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole.   Some of the rocks in the park are the oldest found in any U.S. National Park and have been dated at nearly 2.7 billion years.  It is only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park , and it is connected by the National Park service-managed John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Highway. 

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Yellowstone National Park:   It’s located primarily in Wyoming, however it extends into Montana and Idaho.  It was established in 1872 and is thought to be the first national park in the world.  It is known for its wildlife and is home to Old Faithful and two-thirds of the world’s geysers.   

This maps copied from the National Park website shows the route we took through the park. (The 1st being the whole park and the 2nd a close-up of the area we visited.) We spent a day and a half in the park and traveled over 100 miles on our snowcoaches. We had the privilege of staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge that night.


In winter, the only way one can visit the park is with a commercial guide, either in a snowmobile or a snowcoach.  There is a daily limit on snowmobile and snowcoach travel within the park. We traveled around in style in this classic, historical bombardier snowcat, which is made for over-snow travel. To stick your head out for an unobstructed view, one could open the hatch in the back, or use the opening in the center top of the ceiling.


It was fun riding around in the snowcats!   Probably wasn’t as much fun for the yellow snowcoach company (below left) since one of their snowcats had run off the road and was buried up pretty deep. 


Lewis Falls:  The 30 foot falls is on the Lewis River, just south of Lake Lewis and located halfway in between the South Entrance and Grant Village. 


Between Grant Village and Craig’s Pass we ran in and out of gorgeous, peaceful, beautiful snow.  


After white-out snow, then the sun would shine brightly.  We crossed the Continental Divide many times.   (Below, right) is Shoshone Lake barely visible through the trees. 


Kepler Cascades:  The cascades drop approximately 150 feet over multiple drops.  The cascades are located about 2.5 miles south of Old Faithful. 


Old Faithful Historic District:  Late on the afternoon we arrived at the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone.  We stayed at the Old Faithful Lodge, which is very close to the Old Faithful Geyser.  It was projected to go off at 5:17 and we waiting impatiently in the cold until after 5:35 when it finally did the grand performance for us.  These are photos of the area near Old Faithful. 


Old Faithful:  It is a cone geyser and was named in 1870, the first geyser in the park to receive a name.  Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400  gallons of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet lasting from 1.5 to 5 minutes.  The average height of an eruption is 145 feet.  Intervals between eruptions can range from 45 to 125 minutes with the average today being 90 minutes.  It is called the most predictable…..thus Old Faithful.  More than 137,000 eruptions have been recorded. 


We stayed at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, which is located very close to Old Faithful


Looking out the Lodge window the next morning at Old Faithful erupting.



Off we go for a full day of adventure with the sun shining brightly.  First we drove through the Geyser Basin area north of Old Faithful. 


Bison:  The Yellowstone bison herd is probably the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States.  The National Park info indicates that the bison population fluctuates from 2,300 and 4,500 animals.  There are two sub-populations  defined by their gathering for breeding.  The Northern Range (northern herd) and the Hayden Valley (central herd).  We saw the central herd, and we saw lots and lots of the bison!


The hot geyser waters flowing into the stream. 


Lower Geyser Basin:  This is the walk up to Fountain Paint Pot, passing by Bacteria and Silex Spring.  In referring to the National Park Service info again I will post this:   “Heat from the molten rock of the earth’s interior is transmitted up through the solid rock of the earth’s crust. Ground water circulating through these rocks becomes heated and follows cracks and fissures upward. Where the hot water can escape at the ground surface, a hot spring is formed” 


Fountain Paint Pot:  The Fountain Paint Pot is named for the reds, yellows and browns of the mud in this area. The differing colors are derived from oxidation states of the iron in the mud.


Red Spouter:  It originated with the Hebgen Lake earthquake, and exhibits the behavior of fumaroles, hot springs and mudpots.  The earthquake which is referred to was in an area west of Yellowstone National Park in 1959.  It lasted 30-40 seconds, and was registered as a magnitude of 7.3 – 7.5 on the Richter scale. 


Leather Pool:  The pool “underwent dramatic changes after the Hebgen Lake Earthquake of 1959,” reads a National Park Service brochure. ”  Prior to the earthquake, it was a warm (143 degrees ) pool that supported leather-like thermophilic brown bacteria. After the earthquake, water temperatures rose to boiling and killed the microorganisms. Since that time, Leather Pool has cooled and again supports the brown bacteria.”


 Fountain Geyser:  The Fountain erupts 10-50 feet for 20 minutes or more. We were fortunate that Fountain was erupting while we were there. 


The Lower Geyser Basin/Fountain Paint Pot was really a beautiful area!


Really enjoyed watching the thieving Raven.  He unzipped the backpack, picked out several things that weren’t too his liking and dropped them on the ground, and was just settling on a tupperware with food in it when someone chased him away. 


Heading east towards Canyon Village and seeing some of the parks wildlife.


Loved seeing all the Bison!


Following the old roadway between Norris & Canyon provides a great view of Virginia Cascade and some more steaming beauty.


Crossing the Yellowstone River.


Yellowstone Falls consist of two major waterfalls on the Yellowstone River.   As the Yellowstone river flows north from Yellowstone lake, it leaves the Hayden Valley and plunges first over Upper Yellowstone Falls (photo, below left) and then a quarter mile downstream over Lower Yellowstone Falls, (photo, below right) at which point it then enters the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.


The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is the first large canyon of the Yellowstone River downstream from Yellowstone Falls.  The canyon is approximately 24 miles long, between 800 feet and 1,200 feet deep and between one quarter of a mile and three quarters of a mile wide.


And in parting, it only seems appropriate to have the last two views of Yellowstone out the front window of our Snowcoach.


But, then suddenly what should appear before our very eyes………this BALD EAGLE…….the national symbol of this great nation of ours……..The United States of America!


Posted March 14, 2013 by marilynfarmer in Travel


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