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When we visit Custer, South Dakota one of the things we always do is walk around town and photograph the Buffalo Statues. Apparently they put up some new statues every year and various artists paint them. The statues are auctioned off at the end of the year.


We had driven out to Custer State Park to see the fall Buffalo roundup. A couple of days before the roundup we drove around the wildlife loop looking for buffalo. We were not optimistic because the Buffalo are usually rounded up before the “roundup” and moved into a staging area where they can be driven into the pens before the roaring crowd. We stopped at the Wildlife Loop Ranger Station to see where they were. The ranger indicated that the day before there had been over a thousand of them around the station so the park decided to move them into the nearby staging area. More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

As we drove out into the wildlife loop we noticed that the fall colors were nearing their peak.

Before driving out to find the buffalo we decided to check out the Prairie Dogs. While looking at the Prairie Dogs we also noticed a rabbit sitting next to a Prairie Dog hole.

As we neared the Buffalo Pens we stopped to take a photo of the fall colors. In a couple of days this area would be filled with running Buffalo.


We drove over to the pens to look at the Buffalo. The park service usually brings in a few Buffalo before the roundup so then can calm down. They use these Buffalo to demonstrate the sorting and vaccination process. They don’t want to use the Buffalo that come in during the roundup because they would be too stressed out.

We then headed out looking for Buffalo. The first thing we found were the Begging Burrows. They were in the foreground while the Buffalo were quite a ways away. There was a photographer out among the burrows trying to get photos.

No close views of the Buffalo on this visit.


It seems like we are up early every day and today was no exception. We caught the train out to Holmenkollen National Ski Arena. It was the weekend and the train was full of bikers and hikers heading out to the forests, that surround Oslo, to enjoy nature.

When we reached Holmenkollen we walked past the lodge that serves the ski area.

The ski jump was impressive from the bottom. I remember watching the jumping competition held at Holmenkollen. Great to be standing where some of the worlds greatest jumpers stood.

The views from the top are even more spectacular. There was still snow around the ski jump. Folks living in Oslo really have it nice being able to get to sites for skiing within a short time.

There was a zip line from the top of the jump to the bottom. My wife is always wanting to go on a zip line so I offered to pay her way. For some strange reason she wouldn’t go. Maybe the fact that she can’t stand heights has something to do with it. There were a group of young ladies ahead of us on the elevator and they were all going to go.

We walked down to the bottom of the ski jump and watched some of the people come down the zip line. We also noticed there seemed to be some kind of running competition taking place. We noticed that no one seemed to be carrying water bottles. We also noticed this earlier. We never saw a jogger with a water bottle.

After returning from Holmenkollen we walked along Karl Johan’s Gate. There was a much different atmosphere on the weekend where more people were around and more demonstrations being held. Even though we were wearing our down jackets there were lots of people dining outside. We Would have like to gotten a bite to eat but there were too many people smoking.

The weather seemed to be improving so we walked down to the harbor and boarded the Jomfruen. It was a small boat that was included in our Oslo Pass. It allowed us to hop on and hop off at various locations in the harbor. It was a great way to see the harbor area and get a different view of some of the places we saw from land.

We sailed past some of the yacht clubs around the harbor.

There were a wide variety of boats in the harbor ranging from cruise ships to Kayakers. It was a weekend and a beautiful spring day so lots of folks were out on the water.

We sailed by some of the summer homes located on the islands in the harbor.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog Oslo is making a major push to revitalize  the harbor area making it a great place to live, work and play. New housing developments are going up all along the waterfront.

There are also plenty of restaurants along the waterfront. We thought it was a bit cold to be eating outside but the was probably one of the better spring days so far this year.

We sailed past the Opera House and Akershus fortress both of which we visited by land.

Although we didn’t get off and any of the stops we had an enjoyable sail around the harbor. After our harbor tour we walked back to Akershus fortress looking for the Resistance Museum. It took a while to find it and we only had a half an hour before it closed. We really needed more time and hope visit it at another time. As we exited the Museum we noticed this bride having her picture taken.

For dinner we stopped at a traditional cafe, “Kaffistova”. It services simple, traditional Norwegian meals. This is was my favorite (Norwegian meatballs, potatoes, and cooked, mashed peas.). We actually stopped at this cafe twice while in Oslo.

After dinner we hopped a tram that took us out to Vigeland Sculpture Park. It was late in the day but still light out in Oslo.

We had time for one more stop so we caught a bus out to University of Oslo site at Blindern. My wife had stayed in a dorm at the University when she first arrived in Norway on her study abroad program. We won’t mention how many years ago that was. Needless to say she didn’t recognize any of the buildings. Our son talked about attending the University for graduate school. We were very encouraging but so far it hasn’t happened.

I should mention given all of the public transportation that we used we did purchase an Oslo Pass which allowed us to use the buses, trams, underground, boats etc. The interesting thing we found is that you board on the honor system. No one checks to see if you have a pass. Apparently they do spot checks but no one ever asked us for a ticket. Of all of the places we visited we found Oslo the easiest to get around using public transportation.


It had been a 15 hour day so we took public transport back to our Airbnb.



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.



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.

We happened to be in Duluth when the North Shore Scenic Railroad Steam Train was running. We encountered it a number of times and at various locations. We noticed it when we were in the Duluth Rose Garden and could see the smoke as it was leaving the depot. We happened to be in Two Harbors and could see the smoke as the train made its way up from Duluth. It was around noon so we drove down to the Depot and arrived just before the train was pulling in. As we watched the train and all of the pollution it produced we could only imagine what Duluth was like when all of the trains were burning coal and most of the houses were heated with coal.

We happened to be in Canal park on several occasions when the steam train passed through. In the first photo is is going backwards. There is no turntable anymore so the train pulls the cars as it heads north and then pulls them as it returns to Duluth.

As we were driving through Two Harbors we noticed that there was already a ship in the harbor and another was just arriving. It is always fun to watch the ships in Two Harbors because you get a close view of them entering the harbor. It takes them a long time to get into the docks. In this case the Erie Trader-Clyde S. VanEnkevort was just arriving and the Presque Isle was in the docks and loading Tackonite. The Erie Trader-Clyde S. VanEnkevort is basically a barge (Erie Trader) pushed by the tug  (Clyde S. VanEnkevort). We don’t see a lot of tug barge combinations on Lake Superior but the are apparently far less expensive to operate that the traditional great lakes ship.

As I mentioned ship watching is a popular pastime. It is rare when we stop at the harbor not to find others watching the ships. On this trip even the Ground Squirrel was watching the ships.


My wife and I decided to hike up the Lester Park Bike trail a couple of weeks ago. The fall leaves were just starting to turn. It was a Monday and we were fortunate not to encounter too many bikers. It was a beautiful although warm day. Duluth is in the process of creating bike trails throughout the city and it is now a destination for bikers from around the country.

Lester River

Lester River

Bike Trail

The trees were starting to turn in Duluth.

On the return trip we walked down the Amity Creek bike  trail. This was more of a challenge for bikers and we saw a couple of then take bad tumbles.

Amity Creek

There are quite a few birch trees in the park so it should be a nice place to hike during the fall color season.

We were surprised to find a variety of wildflowers blooming along the trail. Most of them were flowers that bloomed at home six weeks ago.

After visiting Mount Rushmore we drove over to Crazy Horse Memorial. My wife and I have gone on the Crazy Horse Volksmarch a couple of times and are considering going again this year. It looks like they are currently working on the hand. It is always interesting to see the progress although it will not be completed in my lifetime.

There were some native dancers from Arizona performing while we were there.

We were up relatively early and headed over to Mount Rushmore from our hotel in Hill City. Although we are out in the Black Hills quite frequently we spend most of our time looking for wildlife or hiking. We had a couple of Linda’s sisters along with us so we spent more time visiting traditional sites on this trip. It was cloudy when we arrived but as the morning wore on the sun came out.

We were lucky to see some Mountain Goats as we walked along the boardwalk below the carvings.

There were a few flowers in bloom at the Monument.