Odyssey Trips Unlimited
August – September 2003
For my second trip of the summer 0f 2003, I traveled to Finland and Norway. I flew to Helsinki on August 25 for this two week adventure. This was an Odysseys Unlimited tour which was to take me to Lapland, the Artic Circle, Bergen, sail on Fjords and Oslo. There were a total of 21 travelers on this tour and it was a nice group of people. We were also very fortunate to have as a tour guide Arvid Iversen from the Oslo area. He was just super in his attention to details and our comfort.
This is a picture of the sunrise over the train station in downtown Helsinki on my second morning there.
Helsinki was a travelers dream, since it is rather compact and you could walk to most of the interesting sights.
Standing by a fountain in front of the Lutheran Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Senate Square.
The Fisherman's market square located on the harbor near the various ferry boats.
The Ice Breaker fleet summers in Helsinki.
The Jean Sibelius memorial statue in Sibelius Park. You could holler into the tubes to make your own music.
The two days we had in Helsinki were not enough time to really see a great deal of the sights found there. But the trip must move on.
After two days in Helsinki, we flew to Ivalo in Lapland, Finland. It was a rainy, foggy flight. After a rainy afternoon visit to a Sámi museum and then a dinner at a reindeer farm served in a Sámi teepee. Below is a picture of part of the reindeer herd at the farm.
Yep, I ate reindeer. We kidded each other about eating Rudolph. It did not taste like chicken which is what everyone seems to use as a standard. It was a little like venison and something like beef. We spent the night in Ivalo. The rainy weather discouraged picture taking on my part.
Above is a Russian fishing boat in the Port of Kirkenes. This port is not far from Murmansk, Russia.
In Kirkenes, Norway, we boarded the Richard With for our next five nights of touring. Above is a picture of the ship sailing out of port and into the ocean. We are 170 miles north of the Artic Circle and well above the tree line. Our voyage will cover 1250 miles until we reach Bergen.
The Richard With is very much like a regular cruise ship except it is smaller and stops a many ports along the way. It also carries passengers from port to port and cargo also. Most port stops were for about an hour. There was no entertainment besides sitting and looking at the scenery. I read a lot and took a great many pictures.
The weather remained wet and foggy for the next few days. We settled in to the ships routine which meant we raced to the ship's rail when we sailed in to a port. Here is a typical port of call at Honningsvag.
We have arrived in Hammerfest, Arvid our guide is going to take us on a quick walk around the village. We checked out a church that was build after World War II and the Polar Bear museum. Not exciting but after a couple of days on board the With, it was a change in routine. All of the villages along the Norwegian coast were burned by the Germans as the retreated.
While touring around Hammerfest we saw the Polar Bear Museum. But since the ship would sail shortly we were not able to visit the museum.
The sun finally appeared and we hit the decks to take pictures. The scenery is awesome!
Here is the marker to denote the location of the Artic Circle. We are headed south and the scenery is changing. Higher mountains and more islands.
Norway has a campaign to build bridges to and electrify islands so the residents will stay on the outer areas of the country. Yes, our ship made it under the bridge.
This is Stokmarknes the home of the Coastal Express Museum. Unfortunately, we had only a one hour port of call so the museum was not a possibility. It did look like an interesting place to visit.
Just beautiful scenery. I took over 650 pictures with my digital camera.
We are docked at Bronnoysund. Another brief port call.
The famous Norwegian mountain with the hole in the middle.
Everyone need a warm Norwegian wool sweater.
After our 6 days of sailing, we arrived in Bergen.
Our first stop on the city tour, was the home of Edvard Grieg, Norway's famous composer. It was a very interesting stop.
The fish market on the harbor was very near our hotel. Interesting place.
The harbor area was beautiful and a very busy place.
An exciting day ahead, first we take the train to Flam and then cruise the fjords of Norway.
The scenery from the train was breathtaking!
Our tour boat for the fjord cruise. Lots of open deck for picture taking.
Beautiful fjord scenes at every turn. It was impossible not to take dozens of pictures when on this voyage.
There are many more pictures of the fjords.
A last look at the beautiful scenes of the fjords.
The day on the fjords must end as we have to move on to Oslo. Our trip is almost over and we saw some many beautiful vistas as we rode over the mountains to Oslo. This is a picture of the railroad station in downtown Oslo. We stay at a first class hotel in the middle of downtown. On Saturday afternoon we had some free time to tour around downtown Oslo. It was great to see the sights and relax with a beer at an outdoor cafe.
Sunday morning we toured 4 museums with Arvid serving as our guide. The above building is the Viking Ship Museum. On display was Viking burial ships found buried in a farmer’s field.
Nearby was the Norwegian Open Air Folk with its extensive displays of historical buildings. This church was moved to the museum. The young lady was dressed in period attire.
Next we bussed to the Kon-Tiki Museum, where Thor Heyerdahl's raft, RA II is on display. It was very difficult to get a good picture of the raft.
The above picture is taken in the Frammusett in the Norwegian Maritime museum. The Fram was sailed to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen. This was a very neat museum with many displays. It was possible to go inside to ship to see the living quarters for the crew.
Next we took a ferry boat back to our hotel for an afternoon tour with a local guide. On this trip we visited the Resistance Museum, the ski jump and lastly we walked through Frogner park where the sculptures of Gustav Vigeland of the cycles of life and patterns of human behavior were on permanent display. It was raining and foggy so we did not get the full impact of these works of art.
This fountain was especially attractive and was the centerpiece of the exhibit in the park.
So another trip ends. It was a terrific two weeks. There are places like revisiting the fjord I would like to do. The sail from the north to Bergen is a once done thing. The people were wonderful and very helpful. It was an expensive tour beyond the initial cost. Incidentals were expensive. But that is travel!