Sept. 4-15, 2015 - We took another jaunt to Europe recently and got three more countries checked off the list including Norway (which we've wanted to see for a long time), Copenhagen, Denmark, and even a little bit of northern Finland. This was easily one of our best trips and one that will be hard to forget.
Friday, Sept. 4 - We took an early flight down to Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest and had most of the day to hang out in in South Florida before our overnight flight to Oslo, Norway.
|The weather was perfect in South Florida and after lunch at one our favorite area delis, Too Jays, we hung out at the beach for a while and soaked up some of the last truly warm weather we would feel for several days.|
|We cruised up the coast and took a gander at the beautiful Hillsboro Lighthouse.|
|Saturday, Sept. 5 - Our first glimpse of Norway was out of the over-sized Dreamliner plane windows. Weather was just about perfect during our whole trip. We feel very fortunate for that.|
|We ended our first day in Norway with a walk around the beautiful Oslo Harbor and 13th-century-built Akershus Fortress.|
We retired back to the very nice Hotel Bristol and got ready for our "Norway in a Nutshell" tour beginning tomorrow. It's a 4-night self-guided train, boat and bus jaunt from Oslo to the southwestern coast of Norway. The tour company arranged all the tickets and accommodations (including tonight's hotel room) for a reasonable price and all we had to do was be on time for departures. Before turning in we had a couple of fun Norwegian-inspired cocktails at the lovely hotel bar served in a very cool silver and a wooden cups.
It took some getting used to the crazy Norwegian kroner conversion rate (184 of anything seems like a lot for a cheeseburger!!), but once you got used to it we figured out we were getting a pretty good exchange rate. Historically, the U.S. dollar hasn't been strong here and Norway could be a pricey travel destination for Americans.
|Sunday, September 6 - It was Train-to-Flam Day for us and we got lucky that the train station is right next door to the beautiful, modern Oslo Opera House and we had a few minutes to look around it before our train departed.|
|As we climbed in elevation, the landscape changed dramatically as we got above the tree-line and into tundra with a good amount of snow still hanging around.|
|There were so many waterfalls in the fjord that they almost become routine...almost.|
|One that I did take from the hairpin road. Yeah, a postcard around every turn.|
|After a great dinner at a little place called Ruccola that we just stumbled upon, we took in the sunset in the harbor. These historic wharf warehouses known as The Brygge are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
|Wednesday, September 9 - A very early, but short, flight from Bergen to Copenhagen, Denmark, this morning revealed a great sunrise from the plane window. When we landed we were able to mark yet another country off the "Need to Visit" list.|
|Our hotel in Copenhagen literally sat on The Grand Canal of the city. This unique floating barge hotel allowed us a waterfront view from our room (middle one, bottom floor) and great city views from the open lounge on the roof.|
|We moved on to the historic Carlsberg Brewery next for a tour, some lunch and, of course, some beer. It was an interesting tour and the Carlsberg story has plenty of drama. The beer was outstanding as well.|
|We Uber-ed over to Amalienborg, the Royal Palace and winter home of the Danish Royal Family, and arrived just in time to see the changing of the guard ceremony. in the huge courtyard surrounded by the four huge mansions.|
|We went by the Royal Yacht on our canal boat ride which is a real beauty.|
|One of the biggest attractions inside Rosenborg Castle are the actual collection of Crown Jewels of the Royal Family.|
|Our next stop after another short walk was The Rundetarn (Round Tower), a 17th-century twelve-story observatory with a helical corridor that served originally as an equestrian staircase all the way to the top. Very unique and a fun climb!|
|The 360-degree views of Copenhagen at the top of The Rundetarn are outstanding.|
|We ended the day's tour with a stop at the flagship store for Lego, proudly made in Denmark since 1949. The store was very cool with huge Lego creations throughout it like this dragon coming in and out of the walls.|
|Our first look at Tromso and the surrounding area was not what we were expecting given the fact that it lies above the Arctic Circle. The lush green canopy and aqua-blue water looked more like a Caribbean island than a frozen wasteland.|
|Attention Audi Advertising Department: Contact me if you want to use this picture in your next ad campaign. Yep, our first rental car and first driving experience in Europe was a sweet Audi sedan and some fairly quiet roads around Tromso.|
|Saturday September 12: Happy Birthday, Ashlee!! We woke up to a thick fog in the Tromso Harbor but after it burned off we had a perfect day for a road trip even farther north. The scenery was jaw-dropping the entire day.|
|No need to buy postcards here. There is one around every turn in the road if you have a camera.|
|We just stumbled upon this magnificent waterfall up near the border with Finland. No sign, no name. Just a great place to pull over and enjoy this beautiful area.|
Monday, Sept. 14 - We took an afternoon flight back to Ft. Lauderdale in the same seats we flew there in (albeit this time with seemed a dozen crying babies and their parents using the space in front of us a soothing station!). We had a late arrival back into Ft. Lauderdale and had to spend the night since we couldn't get a flight back to Nashville today.
Tuesday, Sept. 15 - We had an early flight back to Nashville via Southwest again and we were back at work by noon.
|The amazing ice caps of Greenland came into view on our flight back.|