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.  

 

Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ship Museum) Oslo, Norway

We are staying in the Schous Plass area of Oslo and head to the Schous Plass T-Bane stop to catch the trolley to the downtown area where we’ll need a transfer to a bus to Bygdoy for our visit to the Vikingskipshuset and the Norsk Folkemuseum, our adventures for today’s Norwegian history lesson. Continue reading

Vasa Museet, the colossal ship that sank shortly on it’s maiden voyage.

After a brief rest at Skansen Outdoor Museum (link) off we go to finish our tour of the 75 acre museum then grab the T-Bana back to the Vasa Museet (link). Going 2 stops we get off the T-Bana cross the street and walk the short distance to the museum. Inside we are greeted by a massive wooden ship that was built between 1626 to 1628 and sank only 1,400 yards into her maiden voyage. It sat on the bottom of the bay until it was raised in 1961 and placed in the museum.

Vasa Sailing Ship

Vasa Sailing Ship

A colossal ship that was to hold 450 men of whom 300 were soldiers, 48 – 24 # cannon, 8 – 5# cannon and 2 – 1# cannon on 2 decks. It sank as the tall, top heavy ship caught a crosswind in its sails and capsized very quickly as the gun ports were open to show how mighty the ship was to the citizens of Stockholm. 100 crew including wives and children were lost in the sinking as the citizens of Stockholm watch in horror.

Grona Land Amusement Park

Grona Land Amusement Park

After walking all 4 floors of the Vasa  Museet we decided to walk over and visit Grona Lund (link), an amusement park with roller coasters, thrill rides, games, concerts and restaurants, that is also located on the Island. Being part of the Stockholm Card with free admission was a plus for us so we were able to walk through and see what the park has to offer. We walked most of the park and it looks like a fun place to spend some time at as it is along the same lines as the old pier amusement parks in America in the 50’s and 60’s, Blackpool (link) in England and Prater Park (link) in Vienna, Austria. We had a great time seeing the park but we are tired from our day’s walking and the 9 hour time change is starting to take it’s toll so we head back to our room for a stop at the market for more goodies and drinks, stop by a restaurant for something to eat and to rest for the next days adventure.

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 6

Leaving Skagway last night we retrace our route down Lynn Canal going around Point Couverden heading to Glacier Bay on our last full cruise day to a dramatic, remote, beautiful wilderness reachable only by boat or plane. Cruise boats ply this bay to fulfill the multitude on the Inland Passage route, I can only imagine staying here at the campsite or lodge, and enjoying the area in a kayak or small ranger led boat tour (bucket list). Glacier Bay National Park is 3.3 million acres of the 25-million acre UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches from Alaska into Canada.

morning bkfstUp early again to watch the sunrise at pre-breakfast. My son makes sure to join me today and we enjoy a beautiful peaceful morning with outstanding scenery on our cruise to the National Park. Later in the morning we all head to the main dinning room for an enjoyable breakfast.

 

 

 

Before we enter the park I grab a quick lunch and have some snacks in my pocket as I do not want to miss anything. Even though there are excellent window views from different parts of the ship it is not the same as being outside for photo opportunities in this magnificent landscape.

Pano b 1 megThere is a ship following us all the way in and as we get closer a National Park Ranger joins us onboard to provide a history and background talk of Glacier Bay and to explain to us over the Public Announcement System what we are viewing as we are cruising bay.

We head to the aft of the ship to Deck 7’s outside perimeter walkway where we can go from Port to Starboard of the ship as it sits and spins several rotations at each spot. Everyone must be up on decks 12 and 13 as we have very few people on the lower deck with us.

Well I am just going to let you view some photos of the bay, explaining the beauty is difficult as I will run out of adjectives and adverbs for this wonderful landscape.

ENJOY

John Hopkins Glacier

Glacier Bay

John Hopkins Glacier

Grand Pacific Glacier

Margerie Glacier

After cruising Glacier Bay we have dinner at the restaurant we ate in the first night then part ways to explore different activities that night. I go to a throwback musical of the songs of 1969, ah Woodstock and the Hippie era when I was 14. They do snippets for one and a half hours of all the good songs that year and I relax to enjoy myself. After the show lets out I walk to the front  of the ship to head for a closer Stairway to my room but the wind is blowing so hard the group of us walking are huddled together and fight our way there. Made it back and rest comfortably as the ship is really rolling in the wind.

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 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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