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In late October the Duluth, Minnesota waterfront was hit by a ferocious storm. The lake experienced 28 foot waves. We decided to take a walk along the beach to see what changes occurred. Before the storm there was only a small sliver of beach remaining because of the high water in Lake Superior. After the storm 10-15 feet of the sand dunes behind the beach had been washed away making for a much larger beach. It appeared that the beach erosion had reached some of the out buildings and another storm of this magnitude would probably have an impact on some of the homes on the beach. Because of the high water in the Lake many of the homes on park point have water in the basement. The bottom photo shows what happened to the beach grass that was holding the sand dunes in place.


One of our goals for the Black Hills trip was to participate in the Crazy Horse Memorial Fall Volksmarch. We had made the Volksmarch on a number of other occasions. I think this was our fourth time.

More photos from the Crazy Horse Memorial can be found on my website.

When we arrived in the parking area there was already a large crowd gathering. The march had not started so we walked over to the registration area and paid our fees.

The first part of the March was through the woods. We walked for quite a while with a young man from Washington State who was working in Wyoming for a few weeks and decided to drive over to the Custer area.

After leaving the woods the trail heads up the road to the back side of the Memorial.

It had been a beautiful fall day but by the time we reached the Memorial it had clouded up. Everyone says that they can’t see any progress on the Memorial but we did the Volksmarch two years ago and we could definitely see a lot of progress. On previous visits I had to use my wide angle lens to capture the full face but on this visit they had made more progress on the arm and hand and there was a lot more room at the top so it was easy to get a full shot of the head.

From Crazy Horse’s arm we could see the parking lot and the rest of the complex. We thought for sure we were going to get wet given the clouds we could see off to the west.

Since it looked like rain we didn’t stay on the arm long. This is a shot from the back side of the arm taken on the way down.

Of course, on the way down the sun came out and the fall colors were beautiful. I suggested that we walk back up to the top but couldn’t convince my wife. These are shots from the construction road.

These are some shots of the original buildings that were used when construction started as well as some of the old and new construction equipment.





After driving around the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park we continued on down to Wind Cave National Park. We decided to hike the East Bison Flats Trail. It is not all that difficult and is one of my favorite hiking trails in the Black Hills. In the spring it is covered with wildflowers and we always seem to find some animal bones along the trail. On this trip the bones were still on the Buffalo. A little while later we did find a collection of bones close to the trail.

More photos from Wind Cave National Park can be found on my website.

We found this large anthill along the trail.

The East Bison Flats Trail used to be marked by flimsy brown trail markers. In recent years the Park Service has replaced them with posts. Since the Buffalo love to rub against the posts they are buried deep in the ground. You can see the Buffalo tracks around this one.

There are some great views of the prairie from the trail.



After leaving Scenic we drove on to Hermosa. The fall colors were very good as we approached Hermosa but due to road construction we were not able to get any photos. From Hermosa to the park the colors were also very good. More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

When we arrived in the park we stopped at the new visitors center. They have an IMAX theatre at the center and the film depicting the park is well worth watching. They also have some butterfly gardens and they were attracting lots of butterflies. I believe these are American Ladies.

The leaves at the visitors center were not quite at their peak.

While my wife was filling up the water bottles I walked over to the Game Lodge Campground and took a few photos.


My wife and I were watching the news when the weather forecaster mentioned the sunset. We looked out the window and it was indeed spectacular so we both grabbed our cameras and went out to get a few photos. It would be great if the sunsets would last a little longer.

We met up with Linda’s cousin, Tonje, and toured sights around Oslo. First we took a tram up to Ekeberg Sculpture Park. On the way to the park we encountered a group of children out for a stroll.

The Sculpture Park was great place with some interesting sculptures some of them rather graphic.


The spring wildflowers were out in the park. They seem to be some of the same flowers I had been photographing before I left for Norway. Maybe that is why the Norwegians came to the Midwest.

The views from the Sculpture Park were very good. If we had a better day they would have been spectacular.

We walked down from the park and past Oslo Hospital. Just past the hospital we walked past the Ruins of Clemenskirken.

As we entered the harbor area there were construction cranes everywhere. The harbor area is undergoing a major revitalization. The goal is to create an environment where people can live and work in the area as well as a place that tourists will want to visit. In addition to the new buildings that are going up the city is removing parking ramps. The goal is to discourage people from bringing their car into the city. The major roads through the city are being placed underground.

The next stop was the Oslo Opera House. For some reason Scandinavians love large glass building for their opera houses. It is a great place for outdoor concerts although I would think it would be a little warm during the day.

A renovated office building with walkways, shops and restaurants nearby.

A sculpture in the harbor next to the Opera House.

We walked through part of the Akershus fortress complex. It is still a military base but the public is welcome. There are museums and war memorials as well as a prison and castle on the grounds.

There was a large cruise ship next to the fort. I had to take a panorama in order to get the full ship in the photo.

Oslo city hall which is often referred to as the “brown cheeses” due to its blocky exterior (Norwegian geitost or goat cheese is brown and blocky).

We took at ferry out to one of the many islands in Oslo fjord. This is Hovedoya (Main Island). The Cistercian monastery, Hovedøya Abbey, was built on the island, and opened on 18 May 1147. These are some of the ruins.

Cannons on Hovedoya Island with Oslo in the background.

Lindøya island Idyllic island in the Oslo Fjord with around 300 summer cottages in red, yellow and green. I suspect they are quite pricy since they are just a short ferry ride from Oslo.

On the ferry ride back to Oslo we had a great view of a cruise ship in the harbor as well as some nice views of the harbor.

When we returned to Oslo Tonje headed home to make our dinner and we headed back to our Airbnb. Before parting Tonje suggested an app that allowed us to access public transportation schedules. Wow did it work great. Wherever we were in the city we could indicate where we wanted to go and it listed all of the transportation options, where to connect with them and their schedule. With one exception, we only had to wait 5 minutes to catch a ride to our destination. Good public transportation is great!

In the evening we took the train out to their Tonje’s condo. Really nice. Their condo was at the end of the train line. All we had to do was walk up to the Plaza and their place was right there.







We had to be at the train station early in the morning to catch the train from Stockholm to Oslo so we decided to grab breakfast at the train station. While we were waiting for the train someone came up and started talking to me. He sounded like  William H. Macy from the movie Fargo. Turns out it wasn’t Macy it was an American from Maple, Wisconsin (of Scandinavian heritage). He and his wife were traveling around Scandinavia and they had just arrived from Finland. This is me waiting for the train.

We arrived at the Oslo Central Station early in the morning and had made arrangements to get into our Airbnb so we could drop off our packs before taking a walking tour of Oslo. We were to pick up the key at a fitness center near the Airbnb but when we arrived they didn’t know anything about a key. We called the host and it turned out he was sick and still at the apartment complex and would come down to let us in.


We familiarized  ourselves with the Airbnb and before heading out on our walking tour. One thing we have found in our travels is that female Airbnb hosts are much more organized than their male counterparts. We encountered this large flower market. It was early spring and they were selling plants.

We wandered around a bit before ending up at Karl Johan’s Gate the major walking street in Oslo. As we walked down Karl Johan’s Gate we could see the palace in the distance.

We found this interesting display in front of a store.

We stopped in a park next to the Parliament Building.

From the same location we photographed the famous Grand Hotel where President Obama and stood on the balcony and waved to the crowd when he was here to receive the Nobel prize.

We walked around the National Theatre  before heading over to the Royal Palace. The flag was flying indicating that the king was home.

There were some beautiful flowers on the Palace grounds as well as this interesting sculpture that serves as a seat and has a living display incorporated into it.

We passed this office building that has an interesting facade. Note also the number of rental bikes in front of it. We did not see nearly as many bikes in Oslo as we had seen in the Copenhagen and Stockholm.


We then headed over to Our Savior’s Cemetery where many important Norwegian literary and political figures are buried. Just before entering the Cemetery we took this photo of the Oslo Cathedral School.

Although it was an overcast day it was a beautiful spring day to walk through the Cemetery. Quite a few other people had the same idea.

On our way over to Old Aker Church we noticed a number of charging stations for electric cars. Our Scandinavian relatives all complained about the fact that they were working hard to combat global warming and the idiot we have in the white house is doing everything he can to promote it. Unfortunately the United States is no longer respected in Europe.

We walked around Old Aker Church and the attached cemetery. There are some great views of Oslo from the cemetery.

Telthusbakken is a picturesque street near the Old Aker Church. The homes are from the 1700s.

A short walk from Telthusbakken street is the river walk along the  Aker River. We followed it down until we reached our Airbnb which was not far from the river. It had been a long day so we stocked up on groceries and called it a day.



The next morning we were up early again. It was raining out and we only had one day in Stockholm so we decided to take the Hop-on Hop-off Red Bus Tours which included several water tours.

We walked down to Stockholm Central Train Station where the tour started. It was rush hour and once again we were appalled at the number of people on the street smoking. We actually had to change our walking pace to avoid the smokers.

We hopped on the first bus of the day and took the entire city tour without getting off of the bus as it was raining out. We were impressed with Stockholm and decided that we would be spending more time there on our next trip. When we arrived back at Stockholm Central Train Station we decided to walk over to the government buildings and Royal Palace. We continued to be amazed by the construction taking place in Scandinavia. There were construction cranes everywhere.

After a few dead ends we finally arrived at  the Royal Palace in time for the Changing of the Guard. Since it was raining out the Guards had on their rain gear. It was an impressive ceremony but quite long. We left before it was finished.


We then decided to walk down some of the narrow streets of the old town. We found a great restaurant and had one of my favorite meals. Swedish meatballs.

We wandered around Old Town taking photos. There seemed to be a number of tours so it was difficult to get photos because there were so many people taking  selfies in front of the statues and landmarks.

We then walked down to the waterfront where we decided to take a couple of tours of the waterfront. We acquired our tickets and then walked around the waterfront taking a few photos while we waited for our tour boat to arrive. The Af Chapman Youth Hostel was anchored across from our boat dock and when we turned around we were in front of the Royal Palace.

We actually took two different waterfront tour boats during the afternoon. Stockholm is a beautiful city. It was too bad it was rainy and cloudy most of the day. We did see a little sun later in the afternoon.


After our boat tours we walked back to our hotel through the Old Town.


We hooked up with the main walking street in Stockholm. We had passed a memorial to the  April 7th 2017 terrorist  attack on our bus tour and wanted to work our way back to the site. It was very moving to read some of the comments pasted on the building.

It had been a long day so we headed back to our motel. We had already settled in for the night when there was a knock at the door. We decided to ignore it. The person knocked for a while then he quit. We happened to be on the first floor and soon there was a knock at the window. We really started to wonder what was going on. A little while later there was a knock at the door again so I decided to get some clothes on and find out what was going on. Turns out it was the manager wondering if we had found the instructions for connecting to the internet. When we arrived the day before we sent him an e-mail indicating we couldn’t find the instructions. Turns out they had fallen on the floor.  A very strange way to end our stay in Stockholm.


The next morning we were once again up early. We had breakfast then headed out for a walk around parts of the town we hadn’t visited before. Our train to Stockholm didn’t leave until mid morning so we had some time to look around.

I captured this rabbit who was out early to grab a bite to eat.

Lots of construction taking place in town. Note the containers that are used for offices and sleeping quarters for the workers. This is quite common in Scandinavia.

This is a one of the lakes in Kalmar.

There was quite a bit of street construction. This is a street that just been finished. Note the different surfaces indicating the walking and biking lanes. There were biking lanes throughout the city with symbols indicating where to walk and the direction to walk.

This is a shot of the railway station in Kalmar. Note the spring blooms on the trees. Across from the railway station is a park where we found this statue.

At mid morning we caught the train from Kalmar to Alvesta retracing our route from several days ago. We only had a short time between trains in Alvesta but when we arrived we found our train had been delayed because of a police incident. We decided to walk around town while we waited. Unfortunately we had already walked around town when we changed trains the first time.

We didn’t arrive in Stockholm until after 5pm. We walked to our hotel only to find that the door was locked. There was a sign on the door indicating that it was closed for the day and to call or e-mail for assistance. We did both but no still no response. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was starting to rain so we were trying to decided whether or not to go to another hotel. My wife had made the booking through so she called them for assistance. Turns out the hotel had sent us an e-mail telling us the code to get into the hotel and where our room and key was located. Unfortunately when we received the e-mail there was no attachment with the instructions so we just assumed it was a note confirming our reservation. This is something we had never encountered before. Apparently it is common for hotels to lock their doors in the late afternoon.

After getting settled we walked through the rain to get something to eat. We were early and they could give us a table if we could eat fast.

My wife and I spent a beautiful morning walking along the Park Point Beach. We were thinking of all the folks in Florida who want to live on the beach but have to endure hurricanes to do so. They should think of moving to Duluth.