Kon Tiki Museum

Next door to the Fram Museum was the Kon Tiki Museum honoring Thor Hyerdahl’s adventures aboard the Kon Tiki and Ra II.

The Kon Tiki, a balsa wood pre-Columbian ship design that sailed in 1947 from Peru to Polynesia is a 30 foot by 15 foot raft of nine balsa wood logs designed and built to prove that sea travel could have been possible by the South American population and they could have populated the South Pacific. After covering 4,300 nautical miles in 101 days, an average speed of 42.5 miles per day they reached Polynesia. 

The Ra II was built of reeds based on ancient Egyptian design and sailed from North Africa to the Caribbean. On May 17, 1970, Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl and crew set out from Morocco across the Atlantic Ocean, Heyerdahl thought that Mediterranean civilizations sailed to the America’s and exchanged cultures with the people of Central and South America. The crossing of 4,000 miles of ocean to Barbados took 57 days.    

What interesting people the Norwegians are, they love the outdoors, travel and exploration. When I hear my distant relatives probably have Viking blood it is no wonder my family loves to explore and travel to see new and interesting destinations.

 

Fram Museum; Oslo, Norway. A Tale of a Norwegian Polar Expedition

Leaving the apartment early we jump on the T-Bane for the harbor to catch the ferry to Bygdoy for our Norwegian maritime history lesson for the day.  After a delightful ride we exit the ferry right at our destination, 3 separate Norwegian Maritime Museums.

Maritime Museums from the water

Maritime Museums from the water

Fram Arctic Expedition Map

Fram Expedition Map

First up is the Fram Museum, which tells the story of a Norwegian Polar Expedition taken between 1893 and 1896. The ship, the Fram, was commissioned by explorer Fridtjf Nansen and built in 1891 by Colin Archer to reach the north pole by using the shifting ice flows. The museum was built in 1936 to house the ship and explain the 5-year polar exploration of the 12 brave men. The 36’x128’ double ended ship was built with a shallow draft, a 24”-28” thick hull, 3 masts, and a rounded hull to ride up on the ice flow. It was also supplied with a wind generator to supply electricity to power the experiments and men’s needs. It was amazing these men survived the trip frozen in the ice flow for so long with no means of resupply. The map attached shows the extent of their voyage.

The expedition never reached the pole due to the shifting ice current and Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen decided to head out by dog sledges to reach the pole. That proved unsuccessful due to the ice flows and the 2 made their way south to Franz Josef Land where they made camp for the winter.

The Fram meanwhile continued west then made a southerly course swing on the ice flow to emerge into open waters and make it’s way back to Oslo. Nansen and Johansen were picked up by a British explorer who took them back to civilization at the same time the Fram emerged from the ice.

It was very interesting to walk the decks, inside and outside, and see how these men lived and survived during that voyage. These were brave men who risked their lives for adventure and discovery with no means of support, communication or rescue. The exploration was not a failure as the crew brought back a lot of information previously not known. Here are some photos of the ship and museum.  

 

June 2016 Alaska – Days 8 and 9

Today we have a cruise to Victoria and will not dock until 6:00 PM. So after getting up early for breakfast the buffet and aft decks are empty as everyone on the ship sleeps in. It is wonderful to be out here on the last day of breakfast with my son, peaceful, relaxing and enjoying the early morning with pastries and hot chocolate. It is so empty when breakfast finally opens, there must be about only a dozen of us in the buffet area, so I take out my pocket camera and start getting photos of the food service and dining areas while they are empty (these were shared in a previous blog post).

The family trickles in slowly and we enjoy our last full morning together.

Today I am going to take it easy, in the morning while everyone else on the ship are still resting I walk to get photos of the different areas of the ship, watch a documentary on the Alaskan Gold Rush in the Theater then just mosey around enjoying people watching.

Last Day Food-6At lunch they are having a Bavarian BBQ by the pool and that sounds pretty good to me. Everyone else is doing their own thing at lunch so I gorge myself on pulled pork, pork sausage, breads, sides and wonderful Bavarian desert cakes.

 

When we finally dock in Victoria at 6:30 PM I am exhausted, I was going to walk the couple of miles to downtown but just decide to stay on the ship, find a quiet spot to relax to do some reading and writing. Boy am I getting old, but I am missing Jodi so much today. It has been a difficult but very enjoyable trip and a real re-learning experience on how to take a vacation alone.

I decide to go to the room early to pack my bags as we will be docking and leaving the ship early tomorrow morning.

Up early one last morning to grab breakfast and enjoy my last day of sitting on the Aft Deck with my son enjoying the cruise into Seattle. We dock and leave the ship at around 7:30 AM and I say my goodbyes to the family and make my way to the Light Rail Station about ¾’s of a mile away.

After the 40-minute ride to the airport I exit the train for the long walk to the terminal through the parking garage. Going inside the terminal I head for the announcement board to determine which gate my plane will be in, but my flight is not until 3:15 PM and does not show up yet for the gate location. I see which gates Delta flies out of then head to the crazy long security line. Boy this makes Disneyland’s lines look short but at least it keeps moving and is well organized. About an hour later finally through security I walk the Main Terminal looking for an interesting establishment for lunch. Finding one or two that interest me I find an empty gate to relax and do some more reading until I am hungry.

Early afternoon and I am finally hungry so I head for a gourmet Hot Dog stand and get a dog, fries, candy bar and drink. Not good for you but it sure hit the spot and tasted real good and I have eaten bad all week so what is one more day. I’ll worry about good nutrition next week.

Boarding the plane at 2:30 PM I settle into my seat at the rear of the plane, read, gaze out the window and think about the week I have just had and what to do for my future adventures while just trying to keep my mind busy and not wander.

This would have been a vacation Jodi would have loved but hated at the same time as it would have been very difficult for her to walk and use the wheelchair with all the hilly terrain and crowds in the towns.

Well I am rethinking the BUCKET LIST and will be posting it presently along with a some of the past adventures I have been on.

STAY TUNED THIS RIDE IS NOT OVER YET!

June 2016 Alaska – Day 7

Well after the fun evening I wake up at 4:30 AM and head to the buffet for another pre-breakfast. Grabbing my goodies I make my way to the aft deck as we are in the channel entering Ketchikan. My son joins me and we eat our breakfast as we dock at 7:00 AM and are able to leave the ship at 7:30.

Ketchikan-7We are the last ship on the far end of the dock and walk along the Waterfront Promenade to town. Heading straight through town we turn away from the water to Creek Street along Ketchikan Creek. This is an interesting area of town as it was the red light district at one time. Once prostitution was banned in Alaska the houses of ill repute relocated themselves to the creek as the law banned this practice on land but not over water. The Madams’ were resourceful and built the new houses over the creek bed to skirt the law.  Now a pedestrian tourist shopping area there is one house left that is a museum to the ladies of the night.

At the end of Creek Street there is the Tongass Historical Museum exhibiting artifacts, text and photos telling the history of this first city that was a Native fish camp, mining hub, salmon-canning capitol, fishing port and timber town.

Further along the creek inland is the Totem Heritage Center with a collecting of unrestored totem poles of the Tingit and Haida villages.

We walk back to town and make our way over to stop for a snack back at the waterfront; I purchased a Mountain Dew and a very large thick piece of Snickers chocolate fudge, YUMMY. We go out side the store to sit on a bench and eat our food while we rest as we wait for the rest of the group to exit their show, “The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show”. Still having some time until the show finishes we walk through several stores to see if I can find anything for my grandson, no luck again.

At 11:00 the show ends and we all decide to go to a little food shack on the dock next to the Visitors Center for some fish and chips. The food was vey good but expensive as it was fresh halibut caught that morning and they catered to the tourist crowds, I must say that I was not disappointed it was that good.

We head out to do some additional shopping but must be back on board by 12:30 PM so walking back down the seaside walkway I stop in one of the shops along the Promenade and there is the gift, a nice baseball style hat for the grandson.

The boat leaves for our final destination Victoria, British Columbia at 1:00 PM. So having an afternoon to rest I notice there is a show in the theater at 3:30 PM on “30,000 Years of Art History” which was fun, educational and very relaxing. I almost fell asleep during one part in the dark theater with comfy seats; I guess an old man needs a nap every so often.

We have a quiet restful dinner with everyone in the Main Dinning Room then my son , daughter-in-law and I head to the theater at 6:00 PM for a musical highlighting 3 Rock Legends; Michael Jackson, Madonna and my favorite of the 3, Elton John. It was a very good, entertaining show, which we all enjoyed.

After walking 20,359 steps in 7.5 miles and climbing 25 stories today I head back to my room after the show to rest and I fall fast asleep very quickly around 10:00 PM.

June 2016 Alaska – Day 5

If this is Wednesday it must be Skagway.

Skagway-19Skagway is a small city in southeast Alaska, with a population of 920 residents as of 2010 that is set along the popular cruise route, the Inside Passage. This city is part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park that is home to many gold-rush-era buildings and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, finished in 1898 that runs vintage locomotives past the famously steep Chilkoot Trail and offers sweeping mountain views during its climb into Canada.

 

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June 2016 Alaska – Day 3

Alaska trip 6-13-2016

It is Monday and a cruise day so not much going on except for exploring the ship. There was a time change last night but I did not catch it so I was up at 4AM showering, doing laundry and getting ready for pre-breakfast with my son.

Yes I said pre-breakfast. Up to the buffet for fruit, bread and hot chocolate we sit on the aft deck watching the scenery pass by in quiet solitude. I do not get to see my son much, as he lives in Washington, so we catch up on life and family. At about 7AM the full buffet opens for breakfast so we head in for our full breakfast courses with the family joining us shortly after we sit down with our meals.

My son, his wife, his son and I start walking the Decks 12 and 13 after breakfast and notice some whales spouting close to the ship. This makes it a great day seeing these majestic creatures in the wild.

After a while I start exploring the the interior of the ship and then get ready for lunch. Yes the theme of the cruise is eating, walking, exploring and then eat some more. I walked a total of 6¾ miles, 17,500 steps and climbed 48 floors on my exploration of the ship today.

Well enough of the day, here are some photos of the ship for you to enjoy as tomorrow we visit the capitol of Alaska, Juneau.

June 2016 Alaska – Day 2

Well I sleep pretty well and do not need to be at the ship till 11AM but I am up at 6AM, so I take a shower and pack everything I used the night before. I walk next door to Top Pot Donuts and a delicious breakfast of some large donuts; a chocolate cake donut and a chocolate old fashion donut with milk. Yes, I am on vacation so I will eat things I do not normally have and be bad. I sit comfortably upstairs on the mezzanine level and slowly eat while I read my magazine.

Well it is about 8AM and I decide what the heck, might as well go for a early Sunday morning walk. I head down to see that the ship is in port and continue on for about another hour exploring a quiet downtown. After walking a lot of the streets I decide to get my bags and see if I can get on board early, so I check out of the room and head for the cruise terminal.

Norwegian Pearl

Ship Docked at Skagway

I check my carryon bag but carry my shoulder bag with the camera gear on to ship, The Norwegian Pearl, my home for the next week. Check-in is easy but I have to wait another hour or so to board until they have the ship cleaned up. As I sit the waiting room becomes clogged with fellow travelers. I have group #5 boarding time so when they start calling people I get on pretty quickly.

On board I find a nice window seat where I can view the entry on deck 7 Promenade and see when the family is boarding. In just about an hour everyone is on board and we all head for the buffet on Deck 12 to grab lunch and enjoy catching up on lost time. We hear the call that rooms are ready after about an hour and a half so off we go to Deck 10 where all the rooms are very close together.

At 4PM it is time to sail so we head back to Deck 12 aft and watch the Seattle skyline fade into the distance.

When the skyline fades away we have the first decision of the cruise; where shall we eat dinner? Since my daughter-in-law and her mother have been on this cruise once before it is decided we shall eat at the dinning room on Deck 7. Good choice as the food was excellent and we had a great window view.

Sail Day-2

Pool on Deck 12

After a leisurely dinner my son and I head to Decks 12 and 13 to walk off some of the rich meal we just finished. Casually we stroll the decks going up and down enjoying the evening air and just relaxing watching the shoreline glide past.

Sail Day-1

I mention all the decks as I have made up my mind not use the crowded elevators all week to fight off gaining weight and stay in somewhat good shape with all the good food I will be partaking in. Well it works today as I have walked 7.39 miles with 19,365 steps and have climbed 66 flights of stairs. Who needs a stair climber in the gym?

Whoa am I tired when I get to bed that night and sleep like a little baby as the ship gently rocks me to sleep.

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Part 11

This trip was taken between May 22, 2014 to June 10, 2014.

 

View of Bergen

Bergen

We get up early and head to the Windjammer Cafe for an early breakfast and we actually arrived before they opened. After the filling buffet we walk down to deck 4 to watch the docking at Bergen, Norway. The sequence of events at docking is pretty entertaining at times. We notice one gentleman has run the show at every port, we watch as he directs other crewmembers and dockworkers to secure the gangway so everyone can exit safely and comfortably, but sometimes that is a little more difficult than others. One time the tide must have been out as there was very little headroom for taller passengers to exit the doorway and a very narrow area to place the gangway. They tried several different angles but to no avail and must get out some foam padding to protect heads from banging on the top of the opening.

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Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Part 10

This trip was taken between May 22, 2014 to June 10, 2014.

Geiranger Fjord Seven Sisters Waterfall

Seven Sisters Waterfall

We are on our way to Geiranger, Norway sailing along the Storfjorden to the Geiraner Fjord where the town sits, the Geiranger Fjord is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in this area, is 9 miles long and 800’ deep. Geiranger is a bustling tourist town of about 250 population at the head of the Geiranger Fjord that is the 3rd largest cruise port in Norway hosting 140-180 ships and 300,000 passengers during it’s 4 month season. It boasts 5 hotels, 10 camping sites, a small store and a touristy port area with the Tourist Information Building, gift shops and eateries.

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Sweden, Noway, Denmark, Part 9

This trip was taken between May 22, 2014 to June 10, 2014.

View of Alesund from Fjellstua

Alesund from Fjellstua

This morning we dock in Alesund, Norway a municipality founded in 1838 consisting of a population of 45,033 surronded by fjords and the high peaks of the Sunnmor Alps. Alesund is the most important fishing harbor in Norway and was destroyed by fire in 1904, luckily only 1 person was killed but 10,000 were left homeless. The buildings of the town center were rebuilt in the Art Nouveau Style between 1904 and 1908. We plan to use the 10 stop Hop-on-Hop-Off bus that circles the town which gives us 24-hour transport with commentary and Wi-Fi on board the buses. The Wi-Fi is welcome as we have been off the grid since leaving Oslo as the WiFi on board the ship is very expensive and we hear quite slow at times, and actually it has been refreshing. We leave the ship and get on the bus knowing we are going to the second stop, the hilltop vantage point of Fjellstua. Quickly we scan our emails and turn the phones back to airplane mode to enjoy the street view. As our older phones are not capable of being used on the European network we have been transported back into the Dark Ages (HA HA) without the disruption of the wireless monkey.

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