Oslo – Norway 26/26

We are finishing our trip with 4 nights in Oslo without the car. The Opera House lit up at night shows off it’s structure.
We are staying in an apartment in one of the new BarCode buildings. The city commissioned 12 architects to design 12 buildings that are all thin with space between so together resemble a barcode. A vibrant area with courtyards, balconies, restaurants, retail, offices, and apartments.
From the nearby Munch Museum we got this view of the Opera House in the late afternoon. We enjoyed the wood cut exhibit of Edvard Munch’s and seeing  that version of “The Scream”. We saw the famous oil version at the National Museum.
It is very tactile to walk the roof of the Opera House! A fun experience. We did not kayak to it but enjoyed all the harbor activity.
Please Wait For The Saunamaster….a title we never knew existed. Such great weather: people are using the sauna and then swimming in the fjord to cool off.
From the castle on the hill you can see the entire harbor which we will explore. Watch out for the gulls! They are opportunists looking for your tasty treats.
We stormed the gates of the Akershus Fortress, nicely protecting the harbor for many centuries.
The great hall inside has a gorgeous ceiling and stained glass.
This is designed by Emanual Vigeland who also did the stained glass in the cathedral. We saw a contemporary exhibit of a white unicorn in a blue room that seemed to be a play off of this classic piece.
We walked to Astrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum, designed by Renzo Piano in 2012.
I had never seen braided trees before! Interesting live sculpture.
We took the ferry to Bygdoy, a peninsula across the harbor.
To visit the Fram Ship Museum and also saw Roald Amundsen’s Gjoa, in which he used to complete the 1st transect of the Northwest Passage .
Next we went to the Maritime Museum and saw a Viking Ship from the Gokstad discovery built around AD-890. This is possibly the one being recreated in Sandefjord as it was found near there.
Bygdoy was a perfect Lunch Spot!  What a great warm sunny dry day to enjoy Oslo Fjord.
Near the Royal Palace we were excited to see Norway’s King and Queen – in a 1960’s Lincoln Continental. King Harald V, who has reigned since 17 January 1991 with Queen Sonja – and Crown Prince Haakon was in a car in front of them.
A lovely day to enjoy the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The quantity of the sculptures adds to the quality of the bronze and marble. As well as the entertaining real people watching.
Gustav Vigeland not only was the artist but also designed the park as well. Additionally he designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal.
He studied in Paris and was influenced by Rodin. His knowledge of anatomy and the interest in all ages of human body is extraordinary.
The nearby Vigeland Museum has the plaster works and studies done to create the bronze and marble sculptures.
Really fun to experience both.
Love the details.
The sun has sets on our time in Norway as we enjoy the harbor lights. A great trip!

Ostfold – East Oslo Fjord – Norway 25/26

After a ferry crossing of the Fjord, we spent a couple nights near Moss, which is only an hour or so south of Oslo but a world away.
Fredrikstad is a wonderfully preserved medieval town. It is protected by sea and by a moat – luckily the draw bridge is down!
There are several gates to the old town of Fredrikstad
We enjoyed coffee and pastries while wandering the old town. This sign reminded us of Pipo’s love of traveling!
We followed the Oldtidsveien, Highway of the Ancients. Pre Roman Iron Age Circles of standing stones.
Nine concentric circles – quite an achievement to contemplate how these were put in place.  There are burial mounds near by and these were perhaps part of the ritual.
There are many petroglyph sites also on the Oldtidsveien. Ships of the Sun: the legend is  believed to be the twin warriors helping their sister the Sun, move her around the world through the darkness and through the day.
This rock has 22 amazing carved ships. It is thought that the sea would have been closer to this panel, and that sunset could have been seen from here as a ritual to honor the sun, so that it will return. Or perhaps it is about ….

Amla Bay and Urnes Stave Church – Norway 17/26

We are tucked into a cozy apartment on Amla Bay near Kaupanger (Sognejorden) for 5 nights.
We are the middle small green building, second floor. Nedre Amla are 6 attached homes that resemble the old fishing villages. Our owner has created an apartment above his garage for his visiting family and to share with travelers like us.
This is our view across the fjord towards Kaupanger from the dining/living room. Nice – more reflections!
Should we do the high dive?  Let’s just view the sunset for now…
…Great end to a rainy day.
Kaupanger has a nice Stave Church on a gorgeous site that was a pleasant 1.5 mile walk along Amla Bay from our apartment but there is a more famous one nearby.
We took a 15 minute ferry just a bit north across the fjord to Urnes or Orneset on a clear morning.
The Urnes Stave Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Only Norwegian Stave Churches (28 out of 1,300) have survived so they are a unique contribution to world cultural heritage.
We got a tour inside to see the original 1130 construction as well as some of the “drunken” modifications from 1662, which sawed off a main support stave (column) so these diagonals were placed to keep the building from collapsing. Medieval chandelier on left hangs from ceiling.
Original carvings at the column capitals. The  pulpit was added in 1690 by a wealthy benefactor.
The chancel extension and decoration from around 1601. At the foot of Christ on the cross is a skull and crossbones which represent that Adam is dead as Christ is resurrected as the son of god. Mary and St John as the grieving witnesses – the scene of Golgotha.
The wood siding and shingles are covered with a tar and coal mixture for waterproofing. It also gives the churches the characteristic black patina as well as makes them highly flammable – that’s why so few stave churches have survived through the ages.
Looking out the front door, across the graveyard, and the fjord beyond – all now vivid with moisture.

Lom and into Jotunheimen National Park-Norway 3/26

We drove north and then west into Jotunheimen NP to the Vegaskjelet Viewpoint. This is Galdhopggen, the highest peak in northern Europe at 2469 meters (8,100 feet).
We enjoyed views up and down the Boverdalen valley and made a stop at the Eleveseter Hotel.
Fun historic architecture (and interior finishings) with slate roofs at the Eleveseter Hotel.
Inside the octagonal building is a dining room with a painted ceiling at Eleveseter Hotel
Of course we are in Troll country!
There is also the Sagasoyla Column with the history of Norway carved in layers which is here because Åmund Elvesæter campaigned to have it finished.


We followed the river to Lom Bakery for some fresh baked goodies and a loaf of bread to go. The National Park visitor center is here as well as the stave church.
Impressive Stave Church in Lom was worth a wander. “Stave” means vertical planks of wood in case you were wondering as we were.
Detail shot of building techniques from 1158 when this Stave Church was constructed.

Elche, Spain

Welcoming 2023 with a beautiful sunrise over the Mediterranean.
The Via Augustus roman road led us to Elche.
Elche has a long history so we headed to the Archeology Museum.
A large sculpture of the Dama de Elche is outside.
The real one is in the National Museum in Madrid but this is the replica. Scholars think it was painted in multiple colors which we saw in another section of the museum.
Elche is also a UNESCO world Heritage site for the ancient groves of date palm trees.
The doves and pigeons seem quite content to make this their home.
A few miles south is the Natural Park El Fondo where we walked over the Salt Marshes.
There were several of these red-knobbed coots – a Eurasian water fowl.
Enjoying the Peñón de Ifach as we near our balcony in Calpe for Wine O’clock.

L’Escala, Spain Revisited…

L’Escala Apartment In Front of the Sea looked the same after we were gone for 996 days waiting for our return so we could continue our Spain vacation.
Henry guarding the keep at Torre Montgo. He could see the Barbarian approaching for miles. Our previous pictures of L’escala.
There is a beautiful cove and the Platja de Montgo on the other side of the tower. We decided to walk to the cliff on the other side.
Looking back from Cala Mongo
Beautiful Bay of Roses from Punta Ventosa.
What does the sea look like down there? From Punta Ventosa.
The Seagulls look different with a black and white tail.
We enjoyed a walk around the marina and especially the old fishing boats.
Walking back along the shore and the Reilles beach is The Little Prince reminding us that what we tame is important to us.
The city of Emporion on the Bay of Roses off the Mediterranean Sea is where the Greeks first landed on the Iberian peninsula.
The Ruïnes d’Empúries shows many different centuries of Greek building.
Asclepius is the god of medicine and this replica looks over his temple –  and the Greek Ruïnes d’Empúries
The real marble carving is inside the museum with a 3D computer recreation movie of Empúries as it looked in the 2nd century BC.
This incredible roman mosaic  (each piece smaller than the end of your pinky) from the 1st century BC depicts the myth of the sacrifice of Ipigenia.
So the Romans drove out the Greeks and built their larger city adjacent but inland to complete the archeology Ruïnes d’Empúries.
This is part of the Roman city with baths, mansions, mosaic floors and all sorts of interesting architecture.
This is a small Roman courtyard in one of the massive mansions.
The edge of the city has a concrete wall which was one of the earliest examples of Roman concrete we had actually seen.
Sunrise on the Mediterranean is a great way to celebrate the winter solstice.

On the road to Arkansas

After a few weeks of enjoying the comforts of home…
We started a trip to Florida –  glad for the dry roads near South Fork.
Capulin Volcano National Monument (NM) was our first lunch stop.
We walked the rim of the cauldera.
We camped at Clayton Lakes State Park with these amazing dinosaur tracks.
After a great dinner/camp with family, we paid our respects to Oklahoma City National Memorial honoring the lives lost April 19,1995.
We spent the night at Chickasaw National Rec Area. We are going to follow the sad trail to Shiloh. Such tragic history to displace people from their home land.
Historic Washington State Park in Arkansas had this magnolia tree planted in 1839.
Bois D’Arc Lake near Hope after visiting President Clinton’s boyhood home.
We enjoyed relaxing and watching the sunset on Bois D’Arc Lake.
We walked around the grounds of President Clinton’s library in Little Rock on the Arkansas River.
An interesting art exhibit of climate change globes like this on pollinators.
We drove by the 1915 state capitol, a replica of the national capitol.Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site commemorated the bravery of black students that were our nation’s first to desegregate here in 1957.

Muskegon, MI Area with Mom

Japanese Garden area in Beautiful Mejeir Gardens near Grand Rapids was our first stop taking Mom on a mini-vacation.
The Zen garden with wonderful raked patterns
There are a lot of sculptures that are a permanent collection.
Appreciating all the colors on a warm autumn day.
Mom with Deborah Butterfield’s Cabin Creek bronze horse looking very natural in the tall grasses.
Sunset from our suite at Shoreline Inn in Muskegon. Mom had lots of reward points that were expiring so we stayed in style. Thanks Mom!
Mother and Daughter at Holland State Park.
We had a great day-trip to Holland and enjoyed many of the waterfront areas.
Sunset on Lake Michigan before returning to the hotel.
A day-trip to Grand Haven to enjoy another light house along Lake Michigan.
Artistic angle as we walked under the catwalk to the end of the pier.
Picnic lunch along Grand Haven River before it empties into Lake Michigan.
The restaurant patio at the hotel looked very inviting so we went down for an early dinner.
Look at the whitefish dinner. WOW. Gorgeous and Yummy. Enough for leftovers the next night.
Another sunset at Pierre Marquette city park in Muskegon.
Our next day trip was heading a bit north to the White River Light Station.
Picnic lunch at the Muskegon River with the submarine museum floating in the back ground.
Forth beautiful sunset melting into Lake Michigan – such a treat for all of us.