A 10-day adventure by Catherine and Paul
  • Day10

    All good things.....

    June 3, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    It's Friday....last day aboard MS Polarlys which means we have several procedures to follow. Suitcases are packed so on our way to breakfast, we drop them off at the elevator as requested. After a bite to eat, we finish packing up our "cabin" and vacate it by 10:00 a.m. Our final destination is Bergen but not until 2:30 p.m. To say the least, we have some time to kill.

    We plant ourselves on deck 7 in the comfy chairs. Deck 7 offers great views but is a tad warmer than other decks. As a result, it is very difficult to sit in the comfy chairs without falling asleep at some point. I continue to bat 1000 in that category !! By the time I come to, it is time for lunch which will be our final meal on board AND our last chance to sit with Aussies Darrel and Jennie and break bread.

    We arrive at the dining room only to discover that someone is sitting at our table. We are appalled. 😧 The hostess tells us it is "open seating". We say hello to the Aussies and can tell they are disappointed....especially given the gentleman at our table speaks no English. Jennie eventually finds us elsewhere and we all agree to meet up after lunch. The remainder of our time on board flys by as we share more laughs with the Aussies.

    We arrive at Bergen....despite more drizzle, it looks lovely. As we enter, we spot a large cruise shop docked. It is a "Costa" ship and I remind all that it was the "Costa Concordia" that ran aground in Italy a few years back. We share a chuckle at the former Costa Captain's expense.

    As we slide into port, we notice that our ship has turned 180 and is backing in !! A glass office tower along the dock provides a great reflection for us to follow the ship's progress. Yesterday, I watched from an outer deck as we docked in Kristiansund. It is truly amazing what the ship's crew can do when "driving" this behemoth.

    Soon, disembarkation begins. Passengers are called based on which deck their cabin was located. It is time for hugs and handshakes with our new acquaintances...and not just the Aussies. We miss connecting with Vermont but do hook up with California and Virginia. The Aussies are flying to England to see their daughter. California and Virginia are taking the train to Oslo. Vermont will take the Oslo train on Saturday and then fly home. As for us.....we are the only 2 on the highway bus that has been arranged for passengers transferring to the airport. The first bus filled up before we finished saying goodbye to the Captain and First Mate. We get dropped off at the airport which is a 50 yard walk from our hotel. We had hoped to return to the city to sightsee but we are further from town than we imagined and it is raining. ☔️Call it a day....hunker down and set the alarm for 3:45 a.m. The first of 3 flights for us leaves at 6:00 a.m. Bergen to Copenhagen to Reykjavik to Toronto.

    Been quite a month. Iceland and Norway.....many towns and cities and none that either of us can pronounce save for Oslo !! Lots of WOW days....lots of photos.....rejigged list of "where to next time" and the reality of going home.

    Would we do it again? Probably "no" to 🇮🇸 but could see a driving tour of 🇳🇴 and some neighbouring Scandinavian countries. Nothing against Iceland....we covered sooo much ground that there isn't much reason to return.....other than to that F**king mountain between Egg Salad Store and Save This 4 Door so I can conquer it in non-snowy conditions. 😎

    Time to say goodbye to 2 beautiful countries. They are very unique in their own individual way. We loved both of them.


    Pics....various "selfies" from Iceland....we forgot to take some in Norway !
    Read more

    Arlene Wood


  • Day8

    With apologies to Bill Withers

    June 1, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    It is Thursday.....2 more days of cruising. We are scheduled to arrive in Trondheim at 6:30 a.m and stay until 10:00. We set our alarm, have a quick bite to eat and then BUNDLE UP. Our plan is to walk the streets of this beautiful city and Mother Nature is unleashing plenty of tears as we disembark. We suck it up and carry on. We get slightly disoriented, correct our miscue and then proceed to find the "old town". We stroll past the Royal Palace (the Royals don't appear to be up as yet), a marvellous church ( not open yet) and various side streets that lead to the fabled coloured houses AND the only bicycle lift in the world. We snap a few pics on the iPad which I can show you....snap some on the camera which I can't as we have no more room to download them to the iPad. We trundle on and then Catherine hits the panic button. "C'mon Paul....I don't want to miss the boat (literally)." Despite walking around for over an hour we are NOT an hour away from the ship. It is not yet 9:00 so we have plenty of time but Cath got her bearings mixed up and panicked. This is absolutely not the worst place to get left behind were the ship to sail without us !!! If we were touring on our own, we agree that we could easily spend 2 days here. It is beautiful despite the rain. It is vibrant. It just has the buzz you look for in a new town. Oh well.....another time perhaps.

    We are cold and damp.As soon as we return I head to the laundry room, strip off my outdoor wear and toss everything into the dryer. Thankfully it is FREE.....a rare price on board the ship !!! Others slept in while some visited "the bridge". When asked how our morning was, the obvious reply was to paraphrase Bill Withers...."ain't no sunshine when it rains..." Well, you get the idea !!!

    A disembarkation meeting was followed by lunch and plenty of coffee to try and warm up. The afternoon was quiet. Plenty of folks disembarked at Trondheim....the ship is getting quieter each day. We stop at Kristiansund to let travellers off who have signed up for the Atlantic Ocean Highway excursion. They will meet us in Molde. We have an "average" dinner....looking like the kitchen is trying to empty the frig before we arrive in Bergen where we all disembark.

    Before you know it, time to start packing. Luggage needs to be in the hall by 9:00 a.m....rooms are to be vacated by 10:00.....we are scheduled to arrive in Bergen by 2:30.

    We are close to the finish line. We will make 3 brief stops during the night...one being Alesund which was featured in this season's "Amazing Race" (US version). Sorry Alesund....another time. We will have to add it to Trondheim, Tromso and Bergen as some spots we would like to return to on our own and spend some quality time visiting.

    Pics....2 x sunny arrival at Kristiansund, 2 x bike lift, 2 x scenes of Trondheim
    Read more

    Arlene Wood

    Wonderful holiday with you guys...thanks for including all of us. Safe home.

  • Day8

    Practising for Newfoundland

    June 1, 2017 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    It is Wednesday and this day has been circled on the cruise calendar since Day 1. We set our alarm for this morning so as not to miss a minute of the action.

    A quick breakfast is followed by a stroll to deck 7 where many of us congregate for THE event. Before the fun begins, someone spots what appear to be whales not far off the back. The siting turns out to be positive....3 Orcas. (see our photo....look for 3 black fins in middle of pic)

    Then the real reason we are all here .....we are mere minutes from crossing the Arctic Circle. Photos are snapped and bubbly is poured (sold actually) and then the staff, including the Captain and first mate, start tossing shots down passengers' throats as well as their own. The bottle reminds me of a lemon gin bottle. The first customers walk away wincing at the flavour. I figure, "what the hell....not like I'm driving today." I step up...take my medicine directly from the Captain and am no worse for wear. Cath soon follows and then heads off to buy bubbly. Meanwhile, the first mate AND Captain have grabbed me and told me "time for more." Thankfully another passenger offers to take my camera and record the proceedings. I don't just get one more shot, I get 2 !!! The stuff is bland and turns out to be cod liver oil....YUCK. I had been telling our dinner mates about kissing the cod and slurping a shot of Screech. This is the polar opposite !!

    The festivities lasted about 15 minutes.....likely the most fun 15 consecutive minutes we have had at this early hour while on board. If you didn't have fun this morning, you had better check that you have a pulse. In addition, we briefly spotted whales AND crossed the Arctic Circle. Pretty successful day and it was only 9:45 a.m at that point.

    Given it would be difficult to top the goings on of the morning, we settle in for some cruising, lunch and a rainy stop in Bronnoysund. We pass the "7 Sisters" mountain range but it is cloudy. While that is happening, we get passed by not 1, but 2 Navy patrol boats that are painted in camouflage and look menacing. Thankfully the Navy doesn't realize that I am on board...no doubt they would have yanked me off had their intel been better.

    Captain's Dinner tonight. Bubbly for all as we enter the dining room....clink glasses with the head staffers.....short speech....a song from the staff and another wonderful meal. Afterwards, we pull into Rorvik where a second Hurtigruten ship docks directly behind us. Cath and I scoot over for a very quick look-see of the ship which has 9 decks to our 7 and carries about 900+ passengers to our 600. Both ships depart Rorvik within minutes of one another....in opposite directions. Quite a sight.

    Sun FINALLY shines around 9:00 p.m !! Think about that for a minute....realize it never gets too dark here this time of year.

    Tomorrow features a 3+ hour stop in Trondheim commencing at 6:30 a.m. We plan to hop off and walk around as Trondheim is suppose to be quite beautiful. So it is late to bed...early to rise.

    Please note that we seem to have maxed our data for downloading pics to the iPad so excuse us if there are blogs with no pics these next few days. We can rectify that issue when we get home. We have only taken over 2000 photos (and a bunch of videos) so we can't understand that we're having issues !!!!!!!

    Pics....Arctic Circle marker, orcas(look closely), slurping cod oil, Navy vessel
    Read more

    Arlene Wood


  • Day6

    Of freezers,fjords and Denis Savard

    May 30, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Our lunch/dinner partners, Jennie and Daryl from Australia, told us a funny story the other night. They took his mother, pushing late 80's or so, on a cruise in Australia on the Queen Mary 2. During the cruise, apparently 5 people passed away. What to do? Call the staff and store the deceased in the ship's freezers !!! Why am I telling you this story today? Because I took an antihistamine late Monday night that conked me out. Catherine, as per usual, was up and at 'em early. She kept popping back to our room only to discover that I was still sawing logs. I finally managed to wake up at 10:06 a.m only to realize I had missed breakfast by a mere 6 minutes. During lunch, I whispered to Jennie that I think Catherine had contacted the Captain inquiring about how much freezer space he had on board. Catherine overheard our conversation and didn't deny that she had thought about it. So, my day got off to a late start but according to the schedule, I didn't miss too much....a port or 2 but nothing to worry about.

    Our day was mostly sailing until we reached Stokmarknes and were to have a 1 hour stop. I joined Steve (from Vermont...nice fellow but wayyy too bright for me!!) and we waltzed over to visit the Hurtigruten Museum. We could have spent a few hours there but sadly, didn't. The info was very interesting and they had mothballed an old ship that was our's to explore.

    Late in the afternoon we reach the Lofoten Islands. We notice that the topography has been changing most of the day and now is really changing versus the first two days. We then remember that today we are going through Raftsundet....a narrow passage leading into a dead end fjord. We enter at 5:00 p.m and it is (stop me if I have used this before) jaw droppingly stunning. And the crew navigate the entrance like veterans. Apparently our ship will be the last Hurtigruten ship this season to sail in/out of this spot. We realize that what we just saw the past 20 or so minutes will be seen again as we retrace our course....YIPPEE cuz it is beautiful. Before we leave, we need to back out but that doesn't happen nowadays. Today we are treated to a full 180 degree Denis Savard. Yup....the old Spin-o-Rama. WOW.......soooo cool.

    We are enroute to Svolvaer and because there are 4 off-boat tours originating there, dinner is served earlier than normal. Of course, I am too busy enjoying the fjord/spin-o-rama and before you know it, Catherine comes looking for me as dinner starts in 5 minutes. Oh, did I mention that Cath decided to freshen up before dinner? She missed the entire fjord/spin thing altogether.

    Following dinner, Steve's wife Priscilla joins Catherine in visiting Svolvaer's Magic Ice House, an ice sculpture spot complete with an ice bar and beverages served in ice glasses. Steve and I briefly considered visiting the War Museum but I told him that we know how that story ends! We opt to walk around the town. Boy, did we make the right decision. We stumbled onto an large plaza where a band was playing, video screens are set up and people, despite the wet snow, are rockin'. We make our way into a presentation tent and I ask two young kids if they can tell us what is going on? "They are launching updated currency" was the reply. All this to launch new designs on your paper money? Wow. We are able to swap out our NOK's for the new ones BUT they wouldn't give me anything for the $5 Canadian bill nor the $20 I offered up.....but I had the Norge Bank staff in stitches nonetheless. We set off to explore some more and let me repeat myself here from a previous post.....THIS town is what Port Stanley wants to be. It had hotels, condos, tours of various shapes and sizes, lots of restaurants and all of it built along an inlet that was as smooth as glass. Back at the ship, we asked about tourism. The Norwegians come but so too do lots and lots of Germans. It was a beautiful little port town that pleasantly surprised us.

    An eventful day ends early. We have found that sitting in deck 7's comfy chairs is too relaxing and causes one to not be able to keep one's eyes open!!!

    The alarm is set for tomorrow because the highlights start early.....it is a very special day on the cruise. Stay tuned.

    Pics....entrance to Raftsundet,Cath @ Magic Ice, 3 of Svolvaer, scenery
    Read more

    Arlene Wood

    Terrific looking spot...

    Arlene Wood


    Arlene Wood

    Red seems to be a common colour?

  • Day5

    The Weather Gods Strike

    May 29, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    It is Monday....Memorial Day in the US....just another day for us travellers who continually have to ask what day of the week it is.

    By the time we awake our ship has made 3 stops during the night. None were scheduled to last more than 15 minutes. By the time we finish breakfast, we are close to making stop #4. We sign up for a short tour to be conducted in Hammerfest....scheduled stop #5 for today. Prior to arrival Cath says "bundle up...it's cold out." Well, cold is up for debate but what isn't debatable is the snow. We board a bus and off we go for less than an hour through the streets of Hammerfest. Quite interesting BUT our visibility was affected by the weather. Once back on board we set off to a mixture of snow, fog and eventually rolling waters. Today was one of those days that no matter what you did, it ended in a nap in a comfy chair on deck #7.....TWICE.

    Some of our scheduled stops are 2+ hours apart. Lots of snow capped peaks to see but not much else. Regardless, the scenery is ruggedly beautiful.

    Lunch and dinner are first rate...again !! Later this evening there was a short presentation by our Captain regarding plotting the ship's course. His English is wayyyy better than our Norwegian. Prior to his presentation, we pass the tiny village of Havnnes...pop 50. Flags are flown by both parties....apparently it is traditional. The "fly by" was the result of taking a special detour to Lyngenfjord. Just so you know....any word ending in "fjord" is a fjord much like a "foss" is a waterfall in Iceland.

    We are scheduled to arrive in Tromso at midnight where some travellers will attend a midnight concert. We take a pass.....it's time for "lights out" on deck 3.

    Busy 7 stop day tomorrow.....hoping to be able to hop off for awhile as 2 stops are for an hour or more.

    Pics.....Hammerfest, Havnnes,scenery, snowing
    Read more

  • Day4

    Rudolph the red nosed reindeer

    May 28, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    We have made the ultimate sacrifice for our "followers." We bought internet service on board our new home for the next 6 days....Hurtigruten's "Polarlys". Small price to pay to keep you in the loop !!! Of course it means something in the budget got cut.....no Coke Zero for Cath for a week.

    Our day started with breakfast at our hotel, the Scandic Kirkenes....have not seen a breakfast spread like that for quite sometime. Great way to end our run of hotel stays. Checkout....free bus to the dock....walk aboard and register. Our cruise has unofficially begun....we depart Kirkenes in an hour. Time to get our bearings. The ship was updated last year and seems to not lack for anything. "Polarlys" doubles as a delivery vessel so we will make 32 stops of varying durations these next 6 days.

    Catherine and I are sitting on deck 7 when she realizes we have pushed off from the dock. It is exactly 12:30 p.m.....we leave right on time. Our cruise has now officially begun.

    First stop...Vardo where we take a brisk walk to a witch monument. An odd spot but the walk was refreshing. Thankfully Cath grabs a booklet that will explain what we just saw!!

    Once back, not much time before dinner. Hurtigruten scheduled us for the 6:00 p.m sitting. We have a table for 2 with another table beside us. Soon a couple join us...Daryl and Jennie from Australia. They are on the round trip cruise so have been aboard for 6 days. They had an empty table beside them for the south to north voyage. Now they'll have to put up with me for 6 days!! They are delightful...well travelled....and Daryl, a retired teacher, sings in a men's choir.

    Tonight's dinner is a 3 course meal. Smoked salmon for starters followed by....wait for it......RUDOLPH. Yes, we had reindeer. Catherine ate all of her's so that should tell you something about the taste. It was delicious. Dessert is next up but wait...what's this??

    Suddenly our table is invaded by about 8 staff all waving Norway flags and singing. They surround the table singing the Norwegian version of "Happy Birthday." Cath gets hugs/best wishes from several of the female staff and a special dessert. The room erupts in polite applause and the birthday girl is blushing. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos and Daryl didn't know the lyrics!!

    Next stop....Batsfjord for 30 minutes. In/out....like clockwork. Onward to Berlevag......15 minutes....see ya.

    Our next port is Mehamn.....it is 2 1/4 hours away...scheduled to arrive shortly before 1:00 a.m....not gonna see that stop....bedtime but not before Hurtigruten's ship " Vesteralen" passes us on our port side as the ships swap spots in Berlevag. Time for bed...it is snowing A LOT (see pic)

    Day 1 is in the books. Great ship, food and company.

    Happy Birthday Cath.

    Read more

    Terry Campbell

    Those poor teachers are everywhere! If Rudolph is consumed, does that meant that there'll be no Christmas this December? Happy Birthday, Cathy. Some people get wiser with age. Some people get richer with age. But everybody gets older with age. So good luck on the first two .

  • Day3

    Looking for Sarah Palin

    May 27, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 1 °C

    It's Saturday morning....a big day on our calendar as we are flying from Oslo to Kirkenes in order to catch a 6 day cruise down the western coast of Norway. I first read about this cruise last June in the Globe&Mail. The cruise departs Sunday. Been waiting a long time for this weekend to arrive.

    We take the train to Oslo's airport....get checked in, drop off luggage and clear security. Cath tells me we are at Gate 15 and then catches me checking the departure board. I only took a quick glance because I thought it said 12:30 as our flight time when in fact we were flying at 9:00.

    We sit tight at Gate 15 and suddenly my phone rings. I don't recognize the number so I disregard the call. A minute later the same number calls so I answer it. "Hello, Mr Dilworth? This is SAS at Gate 4. Where are you? If you are not at the gate soon we will have to remove your luggage from the plane."

    "We are at Gate 15 and will be there ASAP." I check the time.....the flight was to have left 2 minutes ago. Guess they don't believe in paging customers.

    Obviously we are the last to board what appears to be a full flight. Holy crap..how did that happen?

    Two hours later we touch down in Kirkenes. We flew in a day early in the event there were flight issues on Sunday that would threaten our missing the cruise departure !! HA.....best laid plans, eh??

    We have our luggage when suddenly another flight arrives and we spot passengers who were sitting near us at Gate 15 in Oslo. THAT explains what happened. Cath spotted info for a flight to Kirkenes....what she didn't realize was the info was for the second flight departing roughly 15-20 minutes after our's.

    Whew. We're where we are supposed to be despite the near miss. Cath's Plan B was to buy tickets on the second flight if in fact we missed(got booted)the first flight !! She's very bright....just somewhat blind without her glasses sometimes !!

    Kirkenes is in the far reaches of NE Norway and VERY close to the Russian border.So close in fact, that Sarah Palin would chime in and say, ?"I can see Russia from my backyard."

    It is 3C here.....20+C back in Oslo. We get a shot of hail later in the afternoon after we had walked around town. The town sits on a fjord surrounded by snow capped mountains. I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of towns like this over the next week.

    Tomorrow....cruise day #1. Not sure how much internet we will have but will do our best to add stories and believe me, there's ALWAYS a story when we travel !!!

    Pics...2 maps to show our location, 2 coming in to Kirkenes
    Read more

    Arlene Wood

    Spa, relax, enjoy...have a cocktail or two...who cares...just enjoy life. Happiest birthday to you Cathy.

  • Day3

    Row, row, row your boat

    May 27, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    It's Friday....our last full day in Oslo. With our Oslo Passes in hand, we catch a tram towards City Hall. From there we hop a ferry to Bygdoynes (Norwegian for "Big Boy Island"), a short ride across the fjord.

    Our objective today is to visit 3 museums and then return to the main city to shop. We depart the ferry and have a 10 minute walk to our first museum.

    Our museum tour kicks off with the Viking Ship Museum. It contains 2 fully restored Viking ships and part of a 3rd one along with treasures recovered from unearthing the buried ships. The museum is fascinating and popular. At last count, there were 6 tour busses in the parking lot. Off we go to stop #2 . We are on foot and walking through a neighbourhood of beautiful homes. We think Bygdoynes actually means "big money to live here" because some of the homes are massive.

    We arrive at our 2nd museum....the Polar Ship Fram....it contains the Ship "Fram" which was built for the express purpose of sailing to the Arctic. The museum is fabulous and, like the Viking Museum, can devour hours of your day. We opt not to spend hours but we do stay quite awhile. Let's move along.

    Across the roadway is museum #3....the Kon-Tiki Museum....another boat related spot. Are you seeing a theme here yet??!!!! This museum contains the balsa wood boat "Kon-Tiki" which was built to sail from the west coast of Africa to Polynesia. The trip lasted 101 days which , if you were betting in Vegas, surpassed the over/under by about 87 days. Many "experts" and members of the media gave the boat about a 14 day lifespan. The 5 Norwegian sailors proved them very wrong. The crew filmed their adventure resulting in an Academy Award for "Best Documentary" in 1955. "Oscar" was there for all of us to see. In addition to the boat "Kon-Tiki", there was a second boat made of papyrus.

    Time to move on. We found all 3 museums to be well worth our time and we passed on visiting 2 more on the same island. We hopped the ferry and returned to the port area of Oslo. We meandered our way back to the hotel stopping along the way to browse but came away empty handed.

    Another great day ended with a wonderful dinner at the restaurant "Louise" down by the docks followed by 2 fabulous desserts at another spot that we had visited the previous day. We were in an area called Aker Brygge, a collection of upscale condos, retail and restaurants. Very trendy, hip and well planned.

    Time to start packing as we fly to Kirkenes at 9:00 a.m tomorrow. Stay tuned for more adventures.....no doubt we'll have a story or 2.

    Pics.....Viking ship, "Kon-Tiki", "Fram" model, papyrus boat, 5 explorers of "Fram", one large house
    Read more

  • Day1

    Oslo....Norwegian for "walkable"?

    May 25, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Question.....what do you do with your vacation time when the weather is sunny and warm but you have no running shoes?

    Answer....put on your big boy pants and your hiking boots and then start singing "I will walk 500 miles...."

    What started as a cool day in Oslo turned to a perfectly sunny, warm one by mid day. First stop...the architecturally famous Opera/Ballet House. Here we discovered that the city has a Harbour Promenade.....9 km long and featuring 14 information stops. The stops are difficult to miss as they are numbered and painted orange. The info includes a brief history of the location, its current situation and any plans for the future. Very well done. We covered 10 of the stops which means we hiked a majority of the 9 km ....and back to our starting point. I will cut to the chase....we logged over 20 km today on foot.

    By late afternoon we figured we were done for the day and that a nice dinner somewhere would be the perfect ending. We started to think about Friday being it is our last day to see anything OR buy anything given we fly out early Saturday. During our discussion over beverages we agreed to be efficient with our time. That led us to purchase a 24 hour Oslo Pass and get on a tram.....to Vigeland Park. Dinner got moved to Friday!

    Let's just say that at one point, Catherine was so awestruck that she couldn't even say WOW. The park within a park is the creation of Gustav Vigeland. He designed and sculpted most of the 600 pieces that are here.....all on display to the public for FREE. It is easily one of the major highlights of our trip....and that includes Iceland AND Bruno !!!

    We catch a tram back to the hotel area and as our guide book said, "the round trip on the tram will show you parts of the city you may otherwise miss." Well, Catherine made note of some streets she'd like to visit tomorrow. That is Catherine code for "we're going shopping on these streets."

    All in all a great day. Tomorrow will be a few Viking related museums and .........shopping !!

    Pics....the Opera House, Harbour Promenade info stop, Nobel Centre, 3 in Vigeland Park
    Read more

    Arlene Wood

    Nice buns.

    Terry Campbell

    Nice sculptures. And that's a Group WHAT, that Cathy is in?

  • Day1

    Funkin' Awesome

    May 25, 2017 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    On the PGA Tour, Saturday is referred to as "moving day". Our's was today. We relocated from Iceland to Oslo.....as seamlessly as is possible in this day and age of hyper security.

    Our day started with a notification from Icelandair that our flight would be delayed by at least an hour. THAT was to be the worst thing that happened to us all day. We had checked-in the previous night...showed up early....self-checked our luggage by printing and attaching our own tags....self-scanned those same bags and placed them on the belt. Our luggage shuttled along the belt and whispered to us, "see you in Oslo." We killed some time in the beautiful Keflavik Airport and then off we went. Forgot to mention.....I got randomly selected to be "swabbed" and we are not talking pirates swabbin' the deck. Fill in the details with your own imagination.....suffice to say---I passed the test.

    Great landing in Oslo was preceded by gorgeous scenery during descent. I snapped pix on my phone so you'll just have to trust me about the scenery!

    Grab the bags....need to head for Customs. Wait. What? There's no Customs if you have nothing to declare? Right this way folks...no need to ask you any skill testing questions. No stamping your passport to prove you've been here either. Have a nice day. We trust ya won't do anything too stupid during your stay. Are we back in the 60's? Are we still in Hofsos,Iceland at that crappy Guesthouse that was right out of Twin Peaks?

    OK then....be that way.

    Let's grab a train to downtown. Two tickets thru a kiosk and we are good to go. We scoot at warp factor 8 and arrive downtown easily and efficiently. We disembark into this world of retail, food and service shops. It is rather glamourous and very busy. We are not in Kansas Toto. We ask at the Info Centre as to where our hotel is and then proceed to sheepishly walk the 50 yards to it !!! You know that old saying? Location.Location.Location. We are all over it.

    Several hours pass and then it is time to end our day by kicking it up a notch. On a fluke I discovered that Bruno Mars' 24 Carat World Tour was dropping into Oslo TONIGHT. Luckily I was able to purchase tickets several weeks ago. We missed his pre-sale for Toronto and Detroit so this ought to be a good substitute location. Getting there and back is yet another great story about efficiency....tell ya later when we are home.

    Bruno absolutely kills it.....we are back to our hotel in no time.....and here I sit, typing. It is cool this evening following a day of 20+C in Oslo....a damp 10C in Iceland when we left. Tomorrow, a national holiday---stores will be closed, is to be in the low 20C range. The town our Sunday cruise departs from is hovering around 0C !!

    We haven't been here long but can register a "we love Oslo" vote already. We will trek high and low tomorrow given nothing is open. We should see some wonderful architecture and perhaps some of the 1000's of boats we passed coming back from the concert. We will also see sneakers...predominantly white ones. Seems that regardless of what you wear here, you have to wear sneakers. We will snap some pics to prove it to you.

    Pics....on the train, views from our hotel...notice that in a short time the cruise ships have changed
    Read more

    Arlene Wood

    What fun...

    Arlene Wood

    The red toque is gone...nice hair.

    Arlene Wood