Author Archives: gailgrant49

Stockholm Aug. 21/22-old city,Vasa Museum and Sigtuna

Sviarika is the name of the country in Swedish. More than 50% of the country is forested. Concert hall is only 1/3 above ground to be more in tune with nature. Ambassadors row ….US ambassador’s residency. first, British, Korean, etc. all along the waterfront.

Vasa museum opened 1990.
Royal dramatic theatre with brass sculptures.
We pointed out the bank where Stockholm a syndrome came from. There are 100 subway stations.
Lake is 3 feet higher than Baltic Sea divided by bridge which we drove over and a lock. Earth is rising in Sweden 100 feet every 100 years since the ice age so every 100 years they have to redo the lock. There are 14 inhabited islands that make up Stockholm.
Looking at Baltic with royal hunting island across, old city on left.
Swedes are not opposed to buying secondhand. Liquor stores are government run only.
1/3 parks, 1/3 water and rest for buildings.
The fortunes of Alfred Nobel -the richest man in world at the time. When he died all his wealth (except 6?% to relatives) were invested and have been distributed ever since each year as the Nobel Prize.
I/3 of population left to go to North American after the war for economic reasons so housing is promised to everyone. After getting put on the list, you could wait 15-20 years.

Vasa ship raised in 1960-1 but the museum that was build to house it opened in 1990. The Vasa was 225 ft in length. It sank in 1628. When it sunk the masts showed above water because the water wasn’t very deep. They were ordered to cut off the masts so as to not show the disaster and admit mistake. The reason it sunk was that it was top heavy with not enough ballast. Cannon holes were too low…. too close to water line plus they forgot to shut the doors to cannons. 400 on board but 1/3 perished ??? They have recovered a number of skeletons. The ship was so well preserved because the salinity level was only 1.2%. It was the 1st double decker ship ever built.

1967 changed from left to right hand traffic. That was when they took out tracks for the trolley except for the island where Vasa is, old town and hunting park.
Walked through the old city, had a beer now off to Sigtuna.
Apparently there were homes with a flame above the door. That would indicated that you had fire insurance and so the fire department fight the fire. Otherwise they would let it burn. 480 day paid time off for the birth of a baby. $US 130 paid per month to parents from birth to 18. No property Taxes

Runes of Viking age and before. First capital of Sweden …..from 10th Century. Ruins of St Olafs church built
1100’s but what we see of the illage is all built in 16 &1700’s. Sweden was neutral during the war but was forced to sell iron and allow the use of their soil to Germany.
There are 400,000 moose in the country …too many so they try to keep it down to 300,000 so they kill 100,000 every year.
Less than 8% go to church, 2nd highest birth rate after Ireland… in Europe

Again…will send pictures later…. Off to Helsinki today.

Stockholm Aug. 20/22

Today we do a tour of City Hall and Lake Maelaren and then meeting up with two ladies we have met on previous trips.
Before arriving in port the area we travel through is dotted with an amazing number of island. It kind of reminds me of the Gulf Islands in BC or Portage Inlet but way more so. And there are cabins dotted all along the shoreline…. Very nice! I wasn’t expecting that. It must be “fun” for big ships to navigate these waters! And then there is drizzle!

The ship Vasa was built in 1622-28 …lasted 20 minutes before it sunk. But preserved because very low salt content of the water. It had 2 canon stacks which made it too heavy and not enough ballast. There are 40 islands & 60 bridges in Stockholm.
Iron is a major mineral near Lake Maelaren… has been exported since the Middle Ages.
It costs 100,000 euro per square meter for an apartment here.

City Hall … wow 1911-1923 Built in National Romanticist style….. inspired by Italian renaissance. It is mainly a political centre for the city but 1330 people can be served in main banquet (blue room that isn’t blue at all) hall for Nobel prizes. All local building materials are used in the building. Then up the low-rise stairs to the golden room. They are low so that the women can walk in high heels. When coming down you keep your eye on the star on the wall so that you walk gracefully down.

There are 4 islands to Old Town.
The rule of succession changed in late 20st century to oldest child instead of male heir.

Cruise of Lake Maelaren started near maritime museum, is beautiful natural like grounds. Nice houses for ambassadors and embassies but also rich people. Nothing new can be built now there. The Royal City Park was hunting grounds for the royals during the Middle Ages. Now the city park is used by more people than anywhere else in Stockholm. In 1912 rowing competitions were held here. It is a bird watching area.
You can see the old corn mill and on the other side there was once a blind and deaf school. There are massive amounts of apartments across from the school. Huge building on left is a retirement home. It looks like a palace. Fortress to right. “Old Town” from 1600’s, the water level was higher. Some are leaning 60-129 cms. Their is a difference in elevation between the lake and Baltic so in between there is a lock.

Ginkgo trees on the street we were driving on were planted to improve the air quality.
Olaf Palma prime minister was assassinated in 1986 coming from a cinema with his wife. It was never solved but closed because they believe the perpetrator is dead.
In 1523, Sweden gained independence from Denmark and 4 years later became Protestant.
1916 Olympics held here the building is the oldest standing Olympic stadium. … built in the romanticism style of city hall.

After returning from the tour, we meet up with the two ladies and one’s husband. We went back downtown to Old Town again but got a closer look. It is amazing. We had a wonderful time re-connecting . They treated us to dinner and drinks. And then successful got us back to the ship.

Having difficulty posting pictures so will try later….

More Copenhagen pictures Aug.17 &18

Copenhagen, Denmark-a tour of 2 kingdoms-Aug. 17/22

It’s going to be a lovely day with sunshine and a high of 27C. Presently it’s very misty. Coming into port there is lots of reclamation going on and wind turbines out in the water. OMG it quite a huge city built on canals like in Venice but just a little newer… lol! I am sure that is all reclaimed land.

One of the first things we saw coming into port
The royal yacht heading out to sea
When any of the royals leave the yacht, these 2 little buildings is where they await their rides
The Little Mermaid…not very big!

Apparently the weather here is like ours at home…. Upside down with cold one day and next day hot like today at close to 30 C. Winters are not quite as cold as it once was.

Across from where we are moored is a very interesting faculty. I have copied something you might be interested in. — “The intersection of winter athletics, sustainability and hygge (that Danish quality of coziness) has birthed a new travel destination, and it opened to the public on October 4.

CopenHill, also known as Amager Bakke, is a Copenhagen-based heat and waste-to-power plant designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group and built in 2017. It’s also a place where people go to have fun, and it has launched its newest attraction: an artificial ski and snowboard slope”.

First stop on tour is the Little Mermaid erected in 1913, has quite the story created by Hans Christian Andersen. It is beautiful but much smaller than imagined. Climbing down the rocks to have a picture taken was quite treacherous… very slippery. Maersk shipping co. took the Little Mermaid to the Shanghai Expo in 2010. Top of it was modelled by a ballerina but bottom model because the ballerina would not sit for that portion, was the artist’s wife. It is considered it a love monument because of the story behind it that was created by Hans Christian Andersen.

It was pointed out that the low-rise yellow flats built by King Christian IV in 1660 for mariners partly because during the Middle Ages 1626-1726 there was 3 meters of dirt in the street so he built them to keep the mariners healthy.

Hygge… means rest for the soul.

Next stop….Queen Margarethe II residence (castle) called Amelienborg. While we were there someone from our group got yelled at by guard for being within 2 meters of building. It was built in the Baroque style. It is comprised of 4 residence buildings plus museum. Flags indicate if any are in residence. None were today.

Statue of the king on horseback facing the church was facing the church to show his power came from God. Church called “marble church” from Greenland.

The queen was born in 1940… makes much of her own clothes, actually is quite an acclaimed artist. She is also a chain smoker. After much flack she has agreed to not smoke in public…. not quit. She is very respected and loved mostly because she does not hold herself above anyone else. Denmark has the oldest flag in world. The crown prince is married to lady from Tasmania.

Christiansborg’s Palace built in 1164 ad, the original royal residence… installed toilets in 18th or 19th century but the waste was dumped into moat that surrounded the palace so it smelled badly. In 1753 there was afire at Christiansborgs so the royals changed residence to Ameliasborg.

There is approximately 35% of commuters using bicycles but government would like it to be 50%.

We went past Trivoli gardens. It has the oldest rollercoaster in world.

Christiania is a free state … communes of old hippies but became drug trading area. It has a population of 900 with 350 children. They gave free concerts on Sundays. It has more visitors than Trivoli gardens so police choose to allow it to continue. It was from here that a bike with basket in front for children and groceries was developed, costs about 12,000 Kroners ($2100 CAD). Children went to school outside commune cuz instructors were so high they couldn’t even remember their own names… lol.

Next we are to drive from Denmark to Sweden on the Oresund Bridge a bridge/tunnel system was opened in 2000AD. The tunnel is 3.5 kms long. Because it is near Kastrup airport they could not have anything high near it (like a bridge). Then there is an artificial island that is 4 kms long called Pepper Island and natural island next to is called Salt Island where there are now 400 species of plants … some from seed from 1000 kms away, birds and rabbits (some people must have dropped them off cuz rabbits can’t swim…lol). Then a 8 km bridge. Toll gates are only on the Sweden side but share the take. By 2050 they figure it will be paid for.

This the route of the Oresund bridge complex that goes from Denmark to Sweden.
The bridge

With the tunnel, concrete elements were built on land and then placed on seabed with 10 meters of water above. Ships that cannot pass under 56 meter bridge have to go over top of this tunnel.

Wind turbines are being invested in as an alternative power supply because there are no rivers for hydro power. They are also looking for alternative power supply since Putin has invaded Ukraine.

Now you are allowed to import 50 bottles of alcohol into Sweden but it must it be for personal use only. As you approach Sweden there is a checkpoint that they used to check for immigrants sneaking in, predominantly from Syria but now they check for smuggled alcohol. It is cheaper to live in Sweden than Denmark and so lots of commuters actually live in Sweden. It is a 20 minute train commute to the airport in Denmark where many work.

On the Swedish side to go to Malmo that “Mal” means sand and “mo” means lots of. There is no natural harbour so they dredged and made beaches with all the sand.

In Malmo, they built in 2005, a very strange looking building called Turning Tower. It is made up of 9 cubes pre-fabricated and then erected, has an echo skeleton and will only move a maximum of 30 cms in a tornado or hurricane. The guide said with things like this that mankind can build why do they have to have wars. So I suggested like what Putin has done, he must be very insecure that he has to attack other countries. He has small man syndrome. She then said that he was like Hitler in that he had a problem of a small “dick”….lol!

Castle near we stopped for lunch was built in 1434

Lilleborg meaning “little square”. That is where we stopped to have lunch.. lunch for 2 very small pieces of fish with chips and a beer cost $37.50 CAD….ouch!

Malmo seems to be built on canals like Copenhagen. There is 340,000 population in Malmo…. Lots of immigrants 50% of inhabitants have some relatives that are immigrants. 170,000 out of the 10 million Swedish population were immigrant asylum seekers. A lot of immigrant children are involved in the selling of drugs and because of that, killings. 48 have died so far this year by shootings involving drug gangs.

Then we head to Lund. The area around Lund, is the best soil in Sweden providing 50% of agricultural needs of country in what is called “Skane”.

The Tetra-pak originated here in Lund, Sweden.

We stopped at what was a Catholic Church originally but now is Lutheran … was built in 1145 in the Romanesque style. It originally had flat ceiling but now arches inside. There are 90,000 parishioners that attend it. Crypt means hidden so is in basement. In 1398AD the main altar built.

2nd day Copenhagen-Christiansborg Palace and the Tripoli Gardens

The Royal yacht is in harbour, where we stopped again to see the little Mermaid. To the left is a tower guardhouse of King Christian VI, then naval building…….then the “ski hill” that you can rock climbing. It is actually a garbage burning facility.

300 miles of bike lanes in C. This guide says that 50% of people use bicycles to get around

It took 100 years to build the church at Ameliensborg… at the royal residence. They started to build it using Danish marble but that was too expensive….and so it say unfinished for most of that time. To finish it they sandstone.

1167 was the beginning of a palace or residence at Christiansborg Palace. It was finished 1907. It is used for the Supreme court, Parliament and reception rooms of the Queen. Smaller receptions held in the first hall we see. In a 1884 fire, pictures were rescued and put in the replaced palace. There is seating for 60 in the dining room. It took 1 year to produce 1 square meter of tapestry in the great hall. (Holds 400 people). It took ten years to complete all the 17 murals. Velvet room is used as reception room not necessarily very important political people.

Danish fishermen smuggled Jews out to Sweden. Many died in the seas.

Spiral tower.. trade centre started by Christian IV

Next we go to Trivoli Gardens. 1843…2nd oldest gardens in the country.

100,000 people use train system

I am having a lot of trouble downloading….will send more later. If you click on the little pictures they should enlarge

Kristiansand,Norway the old quarter and the old canon & museum-Aug. 16/22

The tour today is a walk through old Kristiansand and old cannon. There was a minor wrinkle this morning. There is no room for us at the piers so we are being tendered in. The seas are calm so it will be easy unlike one we took previously in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. The high today will be 21C under cloudy skies…. not bad.

Norway has the 2nd longest coastline after Canada.

Theatre opera house on the pier.

Poorer people lived in the old part (Posebyen) section with the wealthy nearer to the water. Apparently the insides of these buildings are modern even if they are old on exterior. All harbours in Norway are ice free. Homes built on the west coast have horizontal planking and those on the east coast are vertical. It has to do with the climate and rain. White paint shows more wealth. Sign on outside says wet paint and thing on left of is m so fire department can get in if a fire without you not necessarily being home. We have that at home but only on apartment/condo buildings.

Device on upper left is to give access to fire department. Sign says “wet paint”.

Named Kristiansand after King Christian IV is built on sand. Pop. Of 115,000… half own a 20-30 ft boat. In 1893 there was a fire that destroyed a big portion of the city and so anything built after that is concrete or brick. 80% of the people own their own home/house. 80% of new vehicles purchased are electric.

Bigger door is used as main door including for animals.

The 2 angled mirror on window is to see people on street without peering out the window.
Garbage recepticals for plastics,glass, paper, bio (compost) and garbage. The “garbage” contents are burnt and then used to heat the shopping street. You need a card to open them so that they not used by people out of the area.

All homes have a device on exterior in order to give access to nurses to keep everyone in own home as they age. On average those that go into care homes only last less than a year because they are beyond keeping at home by that time. All medications are paid for incl. diabetes meds etc.

Norway is a very strict gun control….. even police who have to ask permission to take a gun out that is locked somewhere in the police car. Otherwise the police do not carry. Having guns by police has only happened since there was an attack in Oslo a while ago.

Guards on roofs are to prevent people on street from being hit by huge amounts of snow.
Saw lots of Segways ….this looked like a tour group.
Nice ditch!
Under this square is a huge parking garage.

The tower in old city centre is of a firehouse tower used for hanging hoses … pretty elaborate for that.

The spire on the cathedral is 70 meter high but because of the sand they had to build 70 meters below in order to make it secure. The old town square was dug up so there is parking garage underground.

Nickel refinery….99.99% pure. Underground tunnel underneath the sea that is 3 kms long. Norway is into windmill production but they prefer to install them far out in North Sea.

The Krupp co. of Germany manufacture submarines but are tested here because of the depth of the ocean which they don’t have in Germany

Next we go to the old cannon museum. These were built by the Germans. It is kept to show the children how bad war can be. The tracts that we see are used for munitions delivery. There were 4 cannons. The biggest was the 2nd largest in the world. It was built for the future ….was never shot at the enemy but was only used for practice. This cannon at Kristiansand had bullets that could travel 50+kms and another in Denmark that would travel the same distance. The area in between had mines suspended just below the surface of the water. This way they could control the marine traffic to and from the Baltic. Built by Germans, Danish and Norwegian contractors and Russian prisoners of war. They changed the paint colours for different seasons. The 330 ton gun only needs 2.5 minutes to do a full 360 degree turn. Norway was invaded by Germany from 1940 til 1944.

Guns in Norway and Denmark to stop marine traffic to Baltic.
The one of 4 guns … this one was not completed.
A mine
Bullets for the cannons
The barrel
From the outside
Look at the size of this cannon compared to size of the man there.

The bus driver had to blow into a device before driving the vehicle. If he has had anything to drink, the bus will not start.

Stavanger, Norway -Aug. 15/22

BTW the “g” in Stavanger is hard.

Oh my temperature is going to be between 23-25C. Actually by the time we left to get back on the ship, I was perspiring.

What I gleaned from a talk on board… 5.5M population. Only country in Europe on the Arctic Ocean. It is also on the Norwegian and Barents Seas. Ranks 9th in the world for aquaculture. One of only 3 countries that still are into hunting whales (Minke). 13th largest in production of oil. …..but are managing the supply so that it lasts longer. Almost 1200 fjords in Norway. One is 5000 deep. Fjords are only found in the extreme latitudes of the world both north and south because they are glacier formed. Strange but here are cold water corals in the waters. Lumpfish are used in fish farms to eat the fish lice. The Arctic Ocean is only Ice covered ocean surrounded by land…the reverse of the rest of other oceans. Because of the decrease of ice cover, fish are moving north and so is fishing fleets.

This is a view of the cruise ships in dock… humongous P&O, an Aida and our tiny Oceania in the foreground.
OMG… there’s the P&O leaving. Compare it’s size to the apartment tower on the left.

Our tour today is “Panoramic Stavanger”.

Oil capital of Europe. 150,000 people in Stavanger so it quite large, larger than any other place we’ve been. Oil profits/taxes are used for education and health care. It is free except for cosmetic surgery and education except kindergarten, not for building monumental buildings. 5-7% of cars are electric. On toll roads there is no charge for electric vehicles. No charge for camping on the lake in summer or for ice skating in winter.

Hapsfjord where we stopped, people swimming. That’s where the 3 erect pillars were. When asked if the e-scooters that you see along on the sidewalks were free, our guide said nothing in Norway is free.

After 1969…American Phillips company found oil. Share seabed continental shelf with Great Britain. Taxation is quite high. Biggest oil fund in world with a value of $250,000 per person. People go home for lunch to be with family. 35 hour work week. The pandemic made Norway aware that they are short of hospitals so are building…. Something we should be doing. Roads and bridges are quite narrow to try to protect nature by not encroaching too much. To get a driver’s licence along with lessons for young beginner drivers, it coast $7500. BTW all figures quoted are US$ equivalents.

100% of electricity is from hydro power. After beginning American interest in the oil industry, the rights and freedoms were made into law. Only 6% of land is useable for agriculture. Except potatoes and corn along with berries are all imported. Dairy and meats aren’t imported.

Next stop @ 130 meters high is the highest point in Stavanger…. Is where all the communications towers are.

All roofs seem to be corrugated metal or clay tile.

There is a 32% tax on income plus alcohol is also taxed. Alcohol is not to be sold on weekends or after 7pm during week.

A troll outside a store in the downtown area.

Beautiful artificial lake in the middle of the city was built 120 years ago but is now just kept filled by the 220 days of rain/year.

I am not sure what this sculpture high above the downtown shore area is supposed to signify but let’s just call it “art”.
One of the “cock-eyed” houses in the historic area. There were around 120 preserved homes (and being lived in) here.
Steep, steep incline from shore up into the historic Stavanger

The population of Norway is 5.5 million but there are 7 million Norwegians in US. Everyone gets the same salary with wages being approx. $16 /hour. I don’t how they can live on that when a burger and fries at one of the seaside eateries cost 325 kroners or $48 CAD. Ouch!

Orkney Islands-South Island Panoramic-Aug. 14/22

I’m not sure how much panorama we will see today. It is very foggy.. but the sunny is trying real hard to come through. Founded by Vikings… around 1000AD. Kirkwall translated was “church on the bay” in Norwegian. Population pre-pandemic was 22,000 but could be more now because a good number of people if they had to social distance, felt this was a good place to do it where there were so few people.

At the beginning of the war the citizens of the area scuttled 4 ships in harbour to narrow the entrance of the harbour during war but one spot it was near impossible to secure so in one attack in August 1939, the Germans manage to get through killing 835 boys of out 1200 that were on a training naval ship. They were just 14-18 years old. Since then they have built 4 barriers (causeway) across the entrances made of huge cement blocks. If you cross a causeway when it is stormy you may not get home cuz they sometimes close it if the waves come across.

One of the 4 causeway crossings in the fog

Our first stop is at the Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war. When the British returned to the otherwise uninhabited island to dismantle the prison after the war, they were so “gob-smacked” at the chapel that they could not destroy it.

The water temperature as well as air temperature is 12-13C in the summer.

The inhabitants have to try to cram everything in between May and September. The cruise ship industry is trying been trying to extend the season. They celebrate with an agricultural county fair in the middle of August …..which seems to coincide with the beginning of winter.

Agriculturally, beef cattle plus sheep are big…. Not grain.

We stopped at a village called St Margaret’s Hope….. a pretty little place on the water with well kept homes and gardens. It is our 2nd stop. The gardens had plants much as we have at home in Victoria.

Blacksmith museum in St. Margaret’s Hope
On the shore at St. Margaret’s Hope
Seen on someone’s property post .. in St. Margaret’s Hope

Scapa Flow… the home of British navy … our 3rd stop for which we cannot see a thing because of the fog.

The people feel closer to Norway so refer themselves as Orkney Islanders or Orkadians, not British or Scottish.

Pre-pandemic unemployment was between only 1-2% probably because in times past people knew that if they didn’t work they didn’t eat. Keys are left in doors and cars cuz they is no crime and if you need to borrow something, we’ll go ahead….. and everyone looks out for each other. Ferries run between Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Shetland. There is an airport here but there probably will be no flights today because of the weather.

Land reclamation has made the cathedral and earls palace in Kirkwall (which was originally at the shoreline) now in middle of town.

After our tour we took the shuttle into town. We checked out the cathedral built in 1150AD as well as the bishop’s and earl’s palaces…. built shortly after the cathedral. When we were going to exit the cathedral, a huge bagpipe band played on the church steps. That was followed by a parade of horses that of course, left their piles of poop all along the route.

St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney
The Bishop’s palace of Kirkwall
Check out the booties on this pooch. He had the booties made special after having had surgery.
Horse parade in Kirkwall near the cathedral
Miniature ponies in the parade

Finally by the time we returned to the ship, the skies cleared somewhat and we had to remove jackets. It was too hot.

Torshavn & Faroe Islands Aug. 13/22

Our tour today is of Eysturoy Island

It looks like a better day today…. No rain, wind, waves, the sun is trying to shine and the temperature is 11C & going to 13….. Whoohoo!

Torshavn means Viking harbour. They have had a baby boom this last year with 767 born….. pretty big considering the population is only 53,ooo.

Talk about switch-backs

Oy at end of place names means island. Vik means bay or harbour. All trees that are here have been planted….. thanks to the British. Trees were planted during WW2 to hide military installations. There are several subsea tunnel networks… one with a roundabout… built in 2021… the only one in the world. 2002 was the year the original tunnel were first built. It is 170 meters below sea level. Built by Norway privately. 90% of economy is from fishing making it one of the highest per capital income countries in Europe. A young person can start working in a fish processing plant and make US$10,000in one week. .5 M for 4 months as a fish boat captain but there is an average 50% taxation rate….. starts at 40% up to 60% but then all needs are fully funded.

Waterfall (actually runoff)
Fish farms
Wind farm

Eysturoy Island, our destination is at end of the tunnel with the roundabout.

Strict regulations around fishing. It was the main reason they did not join European Union. They did not think the European Union was protective enough toward the fish stocks. Here there are 300+ days of rain year… 70% max renewable energy from wind and tidal. Very moderate temp… max 13.5C to a minimum of just below freezing. Close to 23 hours daylight in summer and the reverse for winter. 80% Lutheran, 20% Baptist. Rhubarb and potatoes only thing that will grow here. Faroe Islands made from volcanic ash dropped from Iceland so in layers that are quite visible. The vertical lines down sides of mountains are waterfalls from all the rain that falls. 882 meters is the highest mountains in Faroes.

Sheep travel in threes in case one gets hurt, one can stay with the injured while the third goes for help
Sod covered home in Gjogv
Sod covered (the only one in the world) prison that once was a military installation

Affiliated with Greenland and Denmark. First village we passed by is Funningur. Then Gjogv…..“Gorge” in English …sheep are kept in basement of the homes with the living area above and grass(sod) roofs for insulation. The sheep also provide heat from below. When you need to mow the grass on the roof, just take the sheep up there.

Gjogv….The Gorge
At the Gorge
Outside kitchen for cooking all their really stinky food.

Presently there are 800,000 pilot whales now in Faroe Islands. It is illegal to go searching for whales…. They are only killed if caught in fiord. No harpoons are used now.

Sounds like housing is about same price as Victoria. 40 sq. mtr appt $400,000 US. The Faroe islands are looking to purchase oil (the main source for heating)from Canada since Russian invasion…. Russia used to be trading partner.

The “Witch and Giant” … rocks off coast.

The Witch & the Giant
The witch
The Giant

The Danish tried to eliminate/ban the Faroese language. Kind of reminds us all of the attempt to eliminate aboriginal languages all over the world….. incl. Canada.

Only prison was once a military instillation …. Max prison population is 20. It is the only prison in world with sod roof.

Me in Gjogv… the name is on the sign.
Leaving Torshavn… sun peeking through the clouds

Akureyri-Aug. 11/22

There is a ski resort here in Akureyri with 2 chairlifts, that our guide works at during the winter. There are actually 7 ski resorts on

The black colour of the church shown is quite typical esp on older buildings. They are coated in tar in order to preserve them.

Iceland. Our guide was very entertaining supplying little bits of information which I am sharing with all of you.

All red (stop) lights are now hearts ♥️’s since the crash of 2008/9. They were trying to lift peoples spirits.

It’s 12C today and bright with no rain…. Yeah!.

25% more babies have been born this year because of COVID.

93% homes are heated with geothermal energy… the roads are heated as well so that the snow is melted. The temperature of the steam is 100 F or 40 C.

That is steam escaping (in the background) that is used to create the electric power used in most of the homes

2-3 times per month they have storms with winds of over 80 mph

They built a tunnel that is 7.5 Kms long. Most people especially tourists travel the old highway in the summer, not the tunnel cuz the views are better but the tunnel is used more in winter when there is lots of snow. Actually though, they had fresh snow just last week.

There are 2000 more sheep than people on Iceland.

The raise mostly dairy cattle here, not beef. The cheese that is made in Iceland is eaten along with jam. That’s strange for most of us.

There are no street lights on the highways so they have poles or sticks along the sides of the roads…… 1 stripe on right, 2 on left so can tell if you are still on the road.

No daylight til 10am in winter.

Iceland has a 3000 sq km glacier… biggest in Europe

Godafoss waterfall… waterfall of the gods

The average temperature is 16-20 C in summer…at 23C, businesses sent people home from work cuz it was too hot… lol!

Lake Myvatn

OMG there are lots of midges. They drive you crazy flying into your face and hair. But heh… they don’t bite!

Dimmuborgir is a 1700 sq kms in area…is a lava field of ”trolls”….lava columns. You can see the faces of the trolls.

This the divide between the North American plate and the Eurasian plate.
A troll taking a selfie
North American Indian troll
A lot of the area looks like this

Sea campion… (pinky mauve and white flowers

Burgundy Cinquefoil

2010 eruption that disrupted air traffic caused problems because it erupted under a glacier that consequently caused steam and ash to form.

Next we went to the absolutely amazing boiling mud pots. Everywhere there is steam escaping from the earth but oh my goodness did it stink of sulphur.

Boiling mud pots. Door but it seems impossible to post videos. The colour is a strange colour…. Sort of looks like lead or zinc not brown as I would have expected.

Value added tax of Iceland is 24%… wow!

On our return to our ship we had a pit stop where there were a herd of Icelandic horses…. Beauties! Did you know that if a horse was taken off the island that they can never return. That’s to protect them from disease.

There are only few Muslims here in Iceland besides the predominate Lutherans and to a lesser degree Catholics. Our guide told it is a little difficult for the muslims when Ramadan is in the summer because they are only allowed to eat, drink and make love from sundown to sun-up. That only gives them about a half hour.

Tonight we cross the Arctic Circle.