In August of this year, I take off on a Nordic Adventure!  Although I have been traveling to many exotic places, this trip may well be THE Once in a Life Time Voyage!

We start out with 6 hours in Iceland after which we fly to the West Coast for our 9 Day Cruise on board the Ocean Diamond.  In order for us never to forget this trip, and to share it with friends and family, I though I would create a little diary on this page.

Albatros

I will also spend some time in Copenhagen and Stockholm and will be sharing photos and adventures from there, too!

 

Stay tuned!

June 29, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

And so it begins!  The ticket for Europe is booked and it is beginning to feel very real!  Wondering about what to pack for a summer in Iceland and Greenland?  Mosquito repellent for sure, but gloves, scarf, hat?  Will there be wine?!

July 17, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

Bug spray has arrived, but will it be strong enough for Nordic Mossies?

mossie

August 4, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

untitled (12 of 253)
A double rainbow – must be a good sign!

This marks the official start of the Nordic Diaries!  I have landed in Copenhagen after close to 24 hours of travels from San Francisco via my beloved France.  Such torture to only stay 3 hours!  Saturday morning, we start very early early in the morning when we fly to Iceland to spend 6 hours of sightseeing and then…… Greenland!

August 6, 2016 of The Nordic Diaries”

Almost 24 hours of constant action!

We got up at 4:30 am and after a hellish check-in experience at the airport, we got on the plane to Keflavik in Iceland where a bus awaited us for sightseeing.  It was a rather long drive and we did not have enough time to enjoy the scenery while stopped, but Iceland is still an extraordinary country!  It is one of the “hippest” countries in the world, blessed with landscapes that will take your breath away!

After a day of Iceland, we flew to Kangerlussuaq where the Ocean Diamond was waiting for us and boarded our new home for the next 7 nights.  After a delicious meal and endless meetings, our heads were finally allowed to rest on the pillows.

August 7, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

The members of the travel company clearly do not believe in sleeping in!  At 7 am, i.e. in the Middle of the Night, we awake to the foggy, foggy dew in Sissimiut!

What a delightful little town!  Even with the fog, I have never seen anything so colorful. We were lucky enough to have been invited for lunch with friends and enjoyed a very traditional Danish lunch (no, I still am not adult enough to drink beer and schnapps!) in a gorgeous house overlooking the whole Bay.  The weather decided to do a 180 degrees, and we had a fabulously sunny afternoon walk through town.

 August 8, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

We are now far north of the Arctic Circle in Qeqertarsuaq (The Large Island) on  Disko Island.

“Kaffemik” is a Greenlandic word that literally means “via coffee”. It is social engagement by way of coffee and cakes, generally in somebody’s house.  We had the privilege of being invited by various families to share an hour in their lives.  Thank you!

kaffemik

August 9, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

We are now 590 km north of the Arctic Circle in what is supposed to be one of Greenland’s sunniest areas, but the weather gods did not get the memo today and we could not even see the famous heart shaped mountain behind the town of Uummanaq!  By now, I have realized how lovely fog is to shoot in, though!

nordictrip-281-of-1033

 August 10, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

I admit that I get goose bumps when I think back on this beautiful day!  We were treated to an outdoor barbeque on the ship as we approached the Eqip Sermia Glacier.

nordictrip-407-of-1033

During dinner, we arrived in Ilulissat and almost declined the evening walk which was most likely the highlight of the trip!  We could not understand why the guides were carrying such heavy back packs, but it turned out they contained 15 bottles of Champagne for us to celebrate the view – and what a view it was!

nordictrip-533-of-1033nordictrip-2393-of-512nordictrip-560-of-1033nordictrip-448-of-1033

 August 11, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

After a very frustrating afternoon waiting for the weather to improve, we finally got on a smaller boat that brought us closer to the gigantic icebergs.  A cold, but utterly breathtaking tour.

August 12, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

Niaqornat, a small town of 30 something inhabitants and what seemed like 10 times as many dogs!

Once you cross the Arctic Circle, only the Greenland Sled Dogs are allowed (and they are not allowed south of the Circle!).  These beautiful creatures are definitely not pets, but working dogs.  They do get to vacation during the summer and you can see hundreds of them lying around the hills and streets.  Naturally, I could not resist approaching two tail wagging sweeties and was rewarded with joy and kisses!

 

This was our last evening on the ship and I would like to thank the crew of the Ocean Diamond and the Albatros Guides for contributing so much to this amazing trip!  We were so impressed with your dedication, professionalism and wonderful personalities and hope this will not be our last trip with you.

August 13, 2016 of “The Nordic Diaries”

Our last day in Greenland and we were sad to leave this beautiful country which touched me so very much by its breathtaking scenery and kind and generous people.  However, I got a strong sense of frailty, too, which is staying with me on a very deep level.  The Greenlandic people lead a rough and hardworking life and there is an increasing concern regarding climate change that is affecting their way of life, economy and survival.

I cannot stress it enough:  We must do everything in our power to preserve this part of the hemisphere that is not only so important to them, but also to the rest of our world and our future as inhabitants of the only planet we have.

These last Greenland pictures are from the Ice Sheet of Kangerlussuaq – a remarkable place in the world that feels like another planet entirely and yet one of the most important spots in our lifetime to keep safe.

If you want to see all the pictures from Iceland and Greenland, please visit:  Dreamreflectionz.com

Sweden & Denmark

Last time I was in my native Scandinavia was during the Holidays in 2012 and it was quite lovely to see it in the sun this time!  Having had enough of airports and security to last me quite a while, I decided to drive up to Stockholm from Copenhagen.

I had not seen my beloved Archipelago since sometime in the early 90s and it was a joy to be able to see it again with my father and his lovely lady.  This part of the world is one of my safe havens and we were blessed with the most perfect day on the water.

I decided to stop half-way on my way back to Copenhagen and where else would one stop but Granna ? This lovely little town located right on a huge  lake (Vattern) is famous for one thing and one thing only; Polkagrisar (Candy Cane)!  (I really wish this website would let me include Swedish letters, but alas!)

The town could not look any more Swedish if it had tried and I spent a wonderful night at a hotel that I would fully recommend, Amalias Hus (http://www.amaliashus.se/en/).

Back in Copenhagen, the weather gods had decided that it was still SUMMER!  I do not believe that I have ever experienced such heat in Denmark and the people of Copenhagen went crazy!  Everybody was outside, enjoying the weather, their Friday afternoon and perhaps a beer/glass of wine or two!

Unfortunately, this marks the end of the “Nordic Diaries”, an adventure of almost a month back to my roots and beyond.  I has been magic, rewarding, interesting, beautiful, but more importantly, has left me with gratitude to the people who made it happen (you know who you are – Parents, friends, guides, inhabitants of the North!) and a very strong desire to discover more!

Rumors have it that I will be back in Scandinavia in 2018 and 2019 for various celebrations – wonder if I can stretch it to Greenland and Iceland again!?  I certainly wish so, because I am not done with those gems of the world!

Thank you for following along!

Lee