Joined February 2022 Message
  • Day102

    Last of the good weather

    Yesterday in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 77 °F

    Miles: 3.3 Steps: 8832
    Flights stairs: 13

    So today looks like the last of our beautiful weather here - so we’re really glad we loaded the last two days with activities. The rain has finally arrived here (this evening after we got home) and with it falling temperatures. Went from 80’s to 60’s in a snap.

    Today we took it a bit easier. Woke up to cramps and knots in my leg muscles. Too many miles in too few days. 😂 We saw the Bergenhaus Fortress and the Rosenkratz Tower - and our motto is if there’s a tower, we must climb it! Then we headed to the Fantoft Stave Church - which I found fascinating.

    After seeing French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian churches, fortresses and towers, it was interesting to see the Viking/Norwegian counterparts.

    The Stave church was built entirely of wood, because the Vikings were very good working with wood. Also, stave means it’s built with zero nails or glue - just wood braces against wood. It was crazy.
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    Donna McGovert

    So cool looking!!

     
  • Day101

    Trains and ferrys

    June 30 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

    Miles: 4.88 Steps: 13362
    Flights stairs: 19

    We took a day trip away from Bergen today. We boarded a train for a two hour ride, which connected us to an old scenic train that took us an hour ride from the top of the mountains down to the water in Flåm. Quite the descent - it stopped midway at a HUGE waterfall so we could get off and view it better.

    We had about 4 hours in Flåm so we ate, and then walked around this charming historic town. Eventually found a shady spot (literally) and laid in the grass near the water - I fell asleep. Nothing better. So nice as it was 81° - seemed perfect.

    We boarded a ferry for a five hour ride through the fjords (Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord - Norways biggest) that took us right back to Bergen. There were seats inside and on the back, but not the best views so I rode the entire time upfront right on the bow!! Most of it completely by myself which was so peaceful. It wasn’t too cold but the intense wind got a bit much - but worth it! My legs were killing me after standing for five hours, but hey, got to do what you got to do!
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    Lisa Pelletier

    just gorgeous!

    Christie Mitchell

    The whole day was! Crazy beautiful

    Sandi Mills

    Christie - what an amazing trip! Your pictures are so good! Love seeing them!

    Christie Mitchell

    ❤️❤️

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  • Day100

    Beautiful Bergen

    June 29 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    Miles: 9.2 Steps: 21338
    Flights stairs: 28

    The weather gods have smiled on us in Bergen. The original forecast was for 5 days of straight rain, and instead we’ve had nothing but blue sky for the last 24 hours, with 24 more hours expected. Bergen is the rainiest city in all of Europe, so I’m considering us VERY fortunate. So we packed today and tomorrow with everything that needed a good view or a lot of time outside.

    Bergen is surrounded by and sits below seven mountains. We started the day riding a funicular up to the top of one of them, Mt Fløyen. Beautiful start. We found a mountain lake where you could take canoes out for free, so we did! Jordan’s kayaked but never been in a canoe so that was a first.

    We headed down and then across town to find the cable car to take us up a second mountain, Mt Ulriken, the highest of the seven mountains. 643 meters. It was a huge adventure just finding the entrance - must have walked around at least an hour trying to find it. But we did and It. Was. Beautiful. Amazing view. We could see all the fjords surrounding the town (a fjord is a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs - different than a sound which is just a body of water connected to a larger body). The only other place I’ve seen fjords was our Alaska trip 7 yrs ago)

    We decided to hike back down instead of taking the cable car. It was 1331 VERY steep steps - all in all about a 5 km walk down. Watching people hike up it was very inspiring.

    By the time we got home our legs were so tired, (we walked a LONG ways today) but it was so fun and so beautiful of a day. Made ourselves dinner and enjoyed the midnight sun again before bed. It was a great way to spend day 100 of this trip!!
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    Julie Burdette

    I would love having that lake right there. So pretty.

    Julie Burdette

    Thank you Jordan! Love seeing you both

    Julie Burdette

    How cold was the water??

    Christie Mitchell

    Not too cold actually. We thought it would be worse. Wasn’t going to jump in and swim but there were some kids on paddle boards falling in and they weren’t complaining too much

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  • Day99

    We made it to Bergen, Norway!

    June 28 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Miles: 5.5 Steps: 13166
    Flights stairs: 28!

    We took a BEAUTIFUL scenic train ride from Oslo to Bergen today - a little over 7 hours. At first, I was slightly underwhelmed as it seemed like what I’ve seen in Oregon & Washington my entire life - but then it got AMAZING. What I’ve seen of Norway so far is anything but underwhelming.

    After we got to Bergen, we had to work pretty hard to get to our Airbnb. Jordan may be trying to kill me! Airbnb’s are always further out of the city than hostels - no where near as convenient, but always much nicer. This one is on the top of a very tall hill - there’s a bus that goes there, but it only runs once every 30 min … so we gave up waiting and just walked each time. But we got our steps in!

    Eating out in Bergen appears to be VERY expensive. A basic dinner for two could easily cost $75-100, so we’ve decided to cook these 5 days we’re here since we’ve got a full kitchen. We found a grocery store, and did our shopping - which is always really interesting in another country. Very little is the same packaging so it’s a challenge to even find and identify butter. Luckily, most people speak English so people here were able to help us a lot. Eating out is a lot, but groceries didn’t seem to be that out of line - we only spent 906 NOK, which is about $90 for the week.

    We’re in “the land of the midnight sun” meaning the sun doesn’t really go down this time of year. I’m writing this at 12:30am and it still just dusk. They say the sky will stay orange all night until around 3:15am when the sun will come up again fully. Amazing!
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    Don Norman

    Uncle Don and I leave on July 14th for our trip into “The Midnight Sun”. Via Viking Cruises. Norway is a beautiful country and Bergen is quite unique. We’re looking forward to our upcoming trip. Enjoy your time in 🇳🇴.

    Christie Mitchell

    That’s great. We see the cruise ships lined up each day here

    Don Norman

    Yes, our friends will be pulling into Bergen port sometime today and will fly home 🇺🇸 on Friday. Uncle Don and I were suppose to be on that trip, however our plans changed. It would have been fun to see you and Jordan in Bergen.

    Christie Mitchell

    It would have!

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  • Day98

    Oh my, what a travel day!

    June 27 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 75 °F

    Miles: 3.4 Steps: 8139
    Flights stairs: 7

    Today was CRAZY! I guess if we flew enough times we were bound to eventually have a really tough time of it. And today was it.

    We had a late morning flight out of Amsterdam for Oslo. We were set to get to the airport about 3 1/2 hrs early (which we never do) but because of check out times and such, it worked. Figured we would get thru security, have a leisurely breakfast, hang out there and eventually meander to our plane. Easy peasy.

    We were actually the first ones at the check in counter (it was a good start), got our backpacks checked (offered by the airline so why not) and headed to security - it was 11:00 and our flight didn’t leave until 1:40. We were sitting pretty. Then, we hit the unexpected lineup at security. It seemed a bit excessive, but weren’t sure being an airport we weren’t used to. Well, long story short, we waited in the security line for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. It was a first. Yeah. 2.5 hours. It was miserable. Met some really nice people in line, but still. They only had one scanner open - apparently covid left them with a labor shortage they haven’t recovered from. 2.5 hours!

    Our flight was due to take off at 1:40 … so we made it thru security at 1:32 and RAN thru the airport to our gate. We boarded right at 1:40. Little did we know they were going to hold the plane trying to let as many people make it on as possible from line. So we sat in a hot airplane, with no air for 90 minutes. People were still held up at security and they couldn’t wait any longer, so they closed the doors short 100 passengers! But … it didn’t end there. They had to get all the bags of those 100 passengers off the airplane! - so pulled them off and sorted them, right there, outside our window. Chalk up another 60 min in the plane waiting.

    So we stood in line for 2.5 hours, then sat in a very hot plane for another 2.5 hours. We eventually took off (had to pay an excessive amount of money for sandwiches on the plane as we never got breakfast and it was now well after 3:00 and were STARVING) and then had an uneventful, beautiful flight into Oslo.

    Then we had to board a train to take us from the Oslo airport to the city center - 35 min ride, shouldn’t have been difficult. And of course, we boarded the wrong one! The nicest train conductor lady informed us of our error about 20 min in when we showed her our tickets - she got us off the train at the next stop, and headed back the right way. Yeah. Icing on the cake.

    We got in so late all we could do was grab dinner and get to the hostel. Just staying one night here and heading out in the morning by train for the beautiful fjords — urghhh. What a day! Crossing our fingers for a better travel day tomorrow.
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  • Day97

    Last day in Amsterdam

    June 26 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    Miles: 7.8 Steps: 19439
    Flights stairs: 7

    We went to the Rembrandt house this morning. It’s really nice to watch Jordan get so excited about artists she’s loved and studied. The house is the original, but everything in it was reproduced from a complete inventory they had found. It was still neat to see how people would have lived. This was a VERY expensive mansion back in the day - eventually Rembrandt went bankrupt and lost the house.

    The only other thing we did today, other than just walk, admire and take in our surroundings was a trip to A’dam Lookout. It’s a 22 story building across the river from the train station. We took a ferry across the river (it was free, but the bathrooms aren’t?!?!) and then went to the top for a fantastic view of the city and another phenomenal sunset.

    Then just to get our blood pumping, we did the swing from the top! We couldn’t film it because phones weren’t allowed and we went together, but filmed the people that went before us. It was quite a rush.
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    Don Norman

    We enjoyed our time in Amsterdam, went to Anne Frank’s home and Van Gogh’s Museum walked and walked. Did the famous tulip bulbs market and canal boat ride. Loved all the bicycles and flowers everywhere.

    Christie Mitchell

    Yes the tulip market was fantastic. We saw that today. The bikes were amazing - almost scary - as the rules seemed to be, there were no rules. It was much different than I pictured.

    Julie Burdette

    Holy cow! Gorgeous. Have to say I love me a good sunset too.

    Christie Mitchell

    I didn’t even edit that either - that was completely raw and the way it actually was

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  • Day96

    Another day in Amsterdam!

    June 25 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☁️ 66 °F

    Miles: 5.1 Steps: 14191
    Flights stairs: 10

    So the weather has definitely not been as bad as forecasted here in Amsterdam. It has hardly rained at all, and actually it’s been beautiful blue sky for the most part.

    We keep seeing all different kinds of restaurants - so different than in the US. Today we saw a fast food place, where the food is kept in little cubbies and you access it yourself. Like a vending machine, but it was warm, and actually not half bad.

    We took a day trip out to the small town of Zaanse Schwans. Just a 20 min train ride out of town. It is a town of historic working windmills and houses that recreated an 18th century Dutch village. They had many demonstrations going on — cheese making, clog building, and we were able to go thru the last working dye windmill in the world. They create dyes for paints and chalks - most notably the chalk used to line futbol fields! It was a really relaxing time walking around the village. And an added plus … the whole town smelled of cooking chocolate, as there was a huge chocolate making factory right next door. Very odd and fun to constantly smell chocolate everywhere.

    After seeing the village we went into to town and saw “Jurassic World”. This is our third movie in Europe, and this theater was even different than the others. It had lamps at each big wonderful seat. Great experience, and pretty good movie. 😃
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    Julie Burdette

    futbol.....lol

    Julie Burdette

    Very cool. Did you see anyone in Dutch wooden clogs?

    Christie Mitchell

    Yep. The guy making them and other shops people.

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  • Day95

    Amsterdam

    June 24 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    Miles: 10.3 Steps: 24204
    Flights stairs: 5

    Well what a cool city Amsterdam is! I didn’t know much about it before coming here - mostly only that prostitution and drugs are legal, and that it gets really cold. I’ve learned so much today!! it’s gorgeous - it’s a city built around water and canals much like Venice, but in my opinion even more attractively. It’s actually 6 meters below sea level. They are masters here at “water management”. And a little known fact - there are almost as many bikes here as there are people! 600,000 bikes. Bikes are EVERYWHERE. It’s amazing to see them used as the main form of transportation in a big city.

    Did you know Van Gogh was Dutch? I didn’t. We went to the Van Gogh museum - and I have to say it was probably the most enjoyable art museum I’ve been to yet. Just the way it was set up and how it lead me thru his life. Very well done.

    We wandered without much purpose for awhile which is actually really fun. We came across the red light district where prostitution is legal and found it was much different than I expected. The way they have it set up, I barely knew where I was most of the time.

    We took a boat tour of the canals which was really nice to see a lot of the city from that perspective and then Jordan and I spontaneously went and got small semi-matching tattoos together to commemorate our travels!

    We ended the night taking a tour of the Anne Frank House. It was so moving to walk thru it all and listen to the audio tour. I honestly didn’t know it was located in Amsterdam till I got here. How WW2, and the Nazi occupation, touched every country in Europe is mind boggling.

    Overall, it was a fantastic day that I hope to remember a very long time. I still haven’t adjusted to their VERY late sunsets - it doesn’t get dark till after 10:30. It’s easy to lose track of time and think it is endlessly 6:30 in the evening.
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  • Day94

    Hello Amsterdam!

    June 23 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

    Miles: 3.65 Steps: 8274
    Flights stairs: 6

    We traveled all day by train again to Amsterdam! The trains are so different here - smooth, fast, and have much different seating (little “rooms” of seats). We transferred in Berlin, but unfortunately weren’t close enough to see the city. The train we got on there struggled - our car’s air conditioning was broken. We thought it was the whole train, so didn’t ask - found out with 3 hours to go it was just our car and we could move to another. 🤷‍♀️ so we did, and it was MUCH better. Even with that, still very impressed with their train system. The station in Berlin was HUGE! Bigger than some airports I’ve been in.

    We’re staying in a hotel a ways out this time as I didn’t figure out the city well enough to feel safe downtown. It’s a nice change tho, because it’s much nicer. 😃

    The forecast is for four days of nothing but rain and 70°. Feels and looks like home. (My Oregon home). We’ll head out in it regardless cause …. Not much choice. It’s just going to rain. ☔️
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    Donna McGovert

    We left for home from there, but I had no idea there were so many canals!!! So pretty! I had heard it was a dirty city, (back in the 80”s) but it looks really nice!

    Christie Mitchell

    There’s some trash around - a little like New York at times. But overall it’s very clean and nice.

     

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