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After checking out the Ice Fest we walked down to Canal Park to check out the first ever Cold Front Celebration 2018. The road where the horses and carriages are in the summer had been turned into an ice skating rink. It was a popular spot. There were several sparks in use.

It was cold and blowing and the lake was covered in ice.

There were fat tire bikes available for test runs but it was so cold folks didn’t go very far on them.

A sledding hill was setup in one of the parking lots and it seemed to be a popular spot with the kids.

There were tents setup with displays and food and beverages and fire pits. One display asked for input on the future of the Duluth waterfront. Folks in Duluth just don’t seem to get it. Duluth would be a great place to turn Canal Park in to a walking only location with cars relegated to parking lots outside the area. Auto congestion is a major distraction during the summer.

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Another frosty morning on the Prairie. More frost photos can be found on my website.

This was going to be another long day. We had the morning in Trondheim we then took a train to the airport. We flew from Trondheim to Keflavik, Iceland then caught a connecting flight home. This was followed by a three hour shuttle ride to Duluth, Minnesota.

In the morning we had some time to walk around. This is a trendy area of restaurants and apartments on the waterfront near the Scandic Nidelven hotel. The Norwegians are a hardy bunch and since it was spring they were going to dine outside regardless of the weather. Most of the restaurants had heaters outside and provided blankets and skins to the customers so they can stay warm.

We found this on a bench in a waterfront neighborhood. No idea what was going on.

One thing I really liked about Scandinavia is how pedestrian friendly it is. When we wanted to cross a street and punched the button to cross the lights almost always turned. The exceptions were very busy intersections. I loved pushing the buttons.

Around noon we walked down to the train station to catch the train to the airport.

This was me heading for our Icelandic flight. The first leg of the flight was to Keflavik International Airport . Apparently Icelandic has a plan where you can bid for a seat upgrade on your fight. My wife had put in a bid for the flight from Keflavik to the Twin Cities. She found out the day before that she had won an upgrade from economy to comfort. I think that means the two of us would have had three seats as opposed to two. As a result we couldn’t get seat assignments for the second leg of the flight until we reached Keflavik. We were scheduled for a two hour layover in Keflavik. As it turned out this was barely enough to catch our connecting flight.

Keflavik Airport has become a zoo with more and more airlines flying in and out of Iceland. They have very few jet ways and most flights park on the tarmac and you either walk to the terminal or take a bus. It took us almost 45 minutes to get to the terminal. Once in the terminal we had to go through customs even though we were just waiting for a connecting international flight. The lines for customs stretched all around the terminals and wasted another 45 minutes. I stopped for a bathroom break and heard them call our flight while on the toilet. I probably had TP flying out the back of my pants as we rushed to our gate only to find utter chaos.

We were standing in line when an attendant came by looking for first class folks to go to the head of the line. My wife told her we didn’t have seat assignments so she motioned for us to come along. It was a little embarrassing to walk past all of the folks standing in line. When we reached counter my wife explained that we had received an upgrade notice and didn’t have any seat assignments for the flight. The poor attendant pointed to another desk and sent us on our way. My wife again explained what was going on. The exasperated attendant just looked at her. Finally banged on her computer and wrote a seat number on her boarding pass and turned away. Fortunately my wife pointed out that I also needed a seat assignment. The attended said “him too”? and then banged on the computer keys before writing a seat assignment on my boarding pass. About that time they started boarding the plane.

We looked at our boarding passes and noted the seat assignments were 5A&B. Wow that looked like first class. When you board an Icelandic flight you get a bottle of Icelandic water. As we approached the water bottles we took one. The stewardess stopped us and said “Oh no, your bottle is at your seat”. Yes indeed we were flying back first class. We are not sure what happened but assume there was so much chaos at the gate that they just wanted to get us on the plane.

We were still at the gate when the stewardess came around and asked if we wanted sparkling water. Yes indeed. They then came around and asked if we wanted to use first class head phones. I had been using headphones I picked on a tour bus in Copenhagen.

We even had a bigger TV screen. I had been watching season two of Fargo on the way over and finished the series on the flight home.

Once in the air they came around and asked if we wanted a beer or wine. I ended up with a Gull which is a common Icelandic beer.

I started looking around for my tray and couldn’t find it on the back of the seat in front of me. I finally found it in the armrest.  I had just gotten the tray out when I noticed a stewardess coming toward us with what I thought was a napkin so I started to put the tray back in the armrest. She motioned for me to put it back up. Turns out she was bringing us a tablecloth for the tray. We had a choice of meals. My wife chose salmon and I had veal.

My wife always takes a photo when we cross Greenland. This trip was no exception.

We were really excited about our first class experience but once we started to reflect on it we realized we had been treated like everyone was treated in the good old days of flying.

 

 

It was going to be a very long day. We had to catch the 6:30 am express boat from Svolvaer to Bodo and then catch the train from Bodo to Trondheim. We were up at 5:30 so we could walk down to the harbor where we were scheduled to meet the boat. Needless to say there were not a lot of people around at this hour. We sat at some tables outside of a restaurant and had breakfast.

Our first stop of the day was Skrova where the pastime seemed to be waiting for the express boat to arrive. Apparently the main industry in Skrova is whaling although all I saw was a sleepy fishing village.

The next stop was Skutvik where we took on a few passengers. As you can see the boat was almost empty and the new passengers promptly took a nap. It was a Saturday morning so I expect there was not a lot of people traveling.

We were traveling right along the coast to our next stop which was Nordskot. We picked up a few more passengers at Nordskot. Just past Nordskot we sailed past Manshausen Island which is only 55 acres in the middle of the Grotoya strait. As we sailed past we saw four sea cabins that were designed and built by architect Snorre Stinessen. These cabins are for rent. Notice a woman in her nightgown taking photos of the ship as we sailed by.

Our final stop before Bodo was Helnessund where quite a few passengers boarded the boat.

We sailed by Nyholmen skandse as we entered the harbor at Bodo. We had most of the morning  free in Bodo so we took a few photos at the harbor and then walked down to the train station to store our packs until we boarded the train.

It was a beautiful day  so we wandered around sections of the town that we had not visited on our first stop in Bodo. Unfortunately it was early on Saturday and most of the buildings were closed. We walked down to Lovold Cafeteria hoping to get some Norwegian meatballs but they were not serving them on Saturday.

Nordland Museum

Bodo Domkirke

WWII Memorial

Town Hall

Lovold Cafeteria

We then headed down to the train station to collect our packs and board the train. This couple had obviously been enjoying the outdoors because they has full packs with snowshoes and skis. The last shot is of me checking my pack.

As the train moved through the lowlands we could see that the farmers were just starting to work their fields at the end of May. It does make a difference who the conductor is on the train. Some of the conductors give a running commentary on things to see along the way.

We passed some mountain cabins, where people were still cross country skiing, before arriving at a small building that indicated we were leaving the Arctic Circle. My wife remembered when she passed it 40+ years ago the train stopped. Ours didn’t maybe because there was still quite a bit of snow on the tracks.

The weather started to deteriorate as we passed over the first range of mountains. We encountered rain and a lot of fog as we passed along the coast.

Once we headed inland we started seeing more farms.

We were delayed a bit in getting into Trondheim because the railroad was working on the tracks. We stopped a small town and boarded some really nice coaches for the ride into town. It was close to 10pm when we finally arrived at the train station. Fortunately our hotel ,Scandic Nidelven was only a short walk from the train station.

 

It looked to be a beautiful day. Our first stop was Kabelvag Church.

There were some beautiful view of the mountains as we drove along the coast before stopping at the quaint fishing village of Henningsvaer.

After leaving Henningsvaer we drove past Lofoten Links, the only golf course we saw on the entire trip. There appeared to people playing although it was early spring.

The area we were driving through seemed to be much flatter and more agricultural than what we saw the previous day. We encountered a man and his son driving sheep down the road.

On the way to Ramberg Beach we noticed this small fishing village so we drove down along the water to take a closer look.

When we reached Ramberg Beach it was cool out but folks were still picnicking although a short time later the sun was blocked by the mountain and the place was suddenly deserted.

There was a hiking trail along the shoreline so my wife and I decided to take a walk in the sun. Along the way we encountered some sheep grazing. There was also a sign indicating that you should beware of the rams.

On the way back to Svolvaer we took a few back roads along the coast.

When we reached Svolvaer we turned in our rental car. The rental shop was closed so I took a number of photos of the car to show there wasn’t any damage. In the process I made a major mistake which I’ll describe later.

After turning in the rental car we walked downtown to get something to eat.

It was a beautiful evening so we stopped for some soft is. We then walked back to our Airbnb taking photos of the harbor along the route.

When we reached our Airbnb we used the keypad to enter the lobby. When I reached for my room key it was nowhere to be found. I searched all of my pockets. My wife searched all of my pockets. I recalled that I had put the room key in the same pocket as my camera. Apparently when I had removed my camera the room key had fallen out. To make matters worse our host and her husband had gone off to another island for the weekend. We had to call them and explain the situation. She was willing to come back but we told here we would search for the key first.

We retraced our steps checking along the way to see if it had fallen on the ground where I had taken photos. It wasn’t until we reached the rental car lot that we found the key on the ground. Normally I keep my camera in a pocket with nothing else in it but for some unknown reason I didn’t upon returning to Svolvaer. By the time we found the key it was getting late. We were very relieved to find the key as was our Airbnb host.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up early again to catch the train to Bodø. It was almost a 10 hour train ride so it would be a long, long day.

Obviously the photographs were through windows of the speeding train so they are not the best. The first part of the trip was through some beautiful farm country. It was early spring and the crops were just starting to come up.

We then reached the coastal area were we encountered some towns. In one of them it looked like a large section of an oil rig was in the harbor.

As we moved north we started to encounter snow and many of the lakes were still frozen. The crops in these areas had not been planted yet and the trees had not budded out. We seemed to alternate between going over mountain ranges and dropping back down to the coastal areas. The highlight of this section of the trip was seeing several moose out in the fields.


Gradually we started going up into the Saltfjellet mountain range. The rain and clouds that we saw at the lower elevations dissipated and the sun appeared.
It was a spectacular ride through the mountains. I can only imagine what a great trip it would be in the wintertime.

As we passed some mountain cabins we could see people cross country skiing.

We eventually dropped down out of the mountains and road along the coast before reaching Bodø.

 

It seems we were up early almost every day and today was no exception. We had to catch an early train to Røros, Norway. We were actually going to Trondheim but we made a three hour stop in Røros. to look around this historic mining town. My wife at the train station.

The train passed lakes and farmland. The morning started out sunny but quickly became overcast and rainy.

We spent about three hours wandering around Røros. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in 1664 and is one of the best preserved mining towns in Norway. It is noted for its many wooden structures.

 

The existence of the town was dependent upon the mining and smelter but mining is never attractive. We spent quite a bit of time looking around the mining operation.

A classic shot of the Hyttklokka with the Røros church in the background. The Hyttklokka was used to call the miners.

The Røros church is one of the most prominent landmarks in Røros. It was built in 1784 by the Røros Copper Works. It has 1600 seats within. Unfortunately it was closed when we visited.

 

Of course we had to stop at the Kaffestuga, the oldest in Røros, for some Norwegian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. One of the first things my wife did upon returning to the states was to purchase a Norwegian waffle maker.

No visit to Røros is complete without a visit to the Røros Museum. It is well worth the time and money with some great operating displays showing how mining took place throughout history.

It was late in the day and raining when we arrived Trondheim.

Day 11 was our last full day in Oslo. Once again we were up early and walked down to the harbor area to catch a bus out to Bygdoy where some of Oslo’s most popular Museums are located. We had to wait for about 15 minutes for a bus which was the longest we waited for public transportation in Oslo. There looked to be an issue from the direction the bus was coming from because several police cars went by.

 

I spent the time photographing flowers by the bus stop. It had been raining and the flowers were covered with water droplets. I also couldn’t resist photographing the Pigeon that was posing for me.

When we got to Bygdoy we ended up getting off at the wrong stop. Rather than waiting for the next bus we decided to walk to The Fram Museum. I took a few photos as we walked through a residential district. The construction site was interesting because everything is built on rock the same problem we have in Duluth, Minnesota.

At the Fram Museum we toured the125 foot ship Fram that took Amundsen and Nansen into the Arctic and Antarctic.

This was a display outside the Museum protesting the pollution of our oceans.

We then stopped at the Kon-Tiki Museum to view the ship. The Kon-Tiki expedition was a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl.

We then walked over to the Viking Ship Museum.

It was a beautiful day so we decided to walk to the Norwegian Folk Museum. I was mainly interested in getting some ice cream but the line was too long. This is a This stave church was built in the 13th century in Hallingdal.

There was a reenactment taking place while we were at the Museum. The group was marching through the Museum and firing their guns. While we watched them at the encampment we noticed someone was selling Norwegian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries so we purchased a couple.

We then walked around the old farm houses in the Museum. There were a number of artisans at work around the Museum.

I just had to take a photo of these two little kids looking in the door of one of the buildings.

While we were watching some woodcarvers we noticed another couple doing the same. Turns out we met them in Stockholm at the train station. They had just arrived from Finland and were on their way to northern Norway. They also happened to be from a small down just east of Duluth.

We decided rather than take the bus back to the harbor we would walk back down to the docks through a residential district and take a water taxi back. We weren’t sure our pass would work but it did.  It was a beautiful day and a weekend so there was a lot of activity in the harbor.

When we arrived back at the harbor docks we encountered this street artist working for tips. I still recall our visit to the same area in 1999 when our son was little. He got excited to find money on the sidewalk in front of what he thought was a statue. He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t  pick up the money.

We walked over to Karl Johan’s gate where I finally got my soft is.

We took the train to the Munch Museum. Unfortunately “The scream” was not in the Museum. The trees were in full bloom.

We then took a train to the main station and then take a metro out to Nydalen in the early evening. Unfortunately we made our only mistake using public transportation. We somehow missed a connection and found ourselves heading for the outskirts of Oslo. When we discovered or error we got off and picked up another train. We finally found our way to Nydalen.

Our goal was to walk along the Akers River which would take us back to our Airbnb. On the way we found this strange structure. It was an insect house. First one we had ever seen since most people don’t want insects around.

We also noticed a lot of graffiti along the river. I’m really not a fan but it seems to be common in the larger cities.

There were some waterfalls and children’s playgrounds along the river walk.

It was late in the day and the local restaurants along the river were starting to get busy and it was time for us to call it a day.

Our last stop of the fall color trip was Black river Harbor. I love to photograph the landpools under the bridge but they were not all that good this year. There were some nice shots of the bridge across the Black River and boats in the harbor. Incidentally, this is the last year you will be able to visit the harbor for free. Next year there will be fees imposed.

Our final destination of the day was Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We drove up to the Lake of the Clouds but were very disappointed that most of the leaves were down. The only colors were muted rusts and some yellows. The strong winds during the fall color season took their toll.