What we loved….

Amsterdam – Me Jenny loved that it was compact and quaint.  I love the buildings and the history and the canals.

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Iceland – the scenery was simply spectacular and we imagine it would have only been more fabulous had we had more than 8 hours of sun in the whole week.

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Finland – Me J wasn’t a huge fan of Finland.  I think we found it a bit dower and scarce and I hate to mention the weather again – but grey sky and rain doesn’t generally equal happy faces. It seemed to have quite a strong Russian influence with its square, dull (almost criminal) buildings.  We found the people to not be terribly friendly either which can’t be true for the whole country, but the ones we met….. not too fussed on being nice.  I quite liked the trees and the lakes – there are 220,000 of them – only 20,000 more lakes than they have reindeer.  I’ve been to Finland before and met local Finnish people who were more than lovely and hospitable hosts and couldn’t do enough for us…. so I think we were just unlucky this time.  However – they did have some cool reindeer and then there’s Santa….

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Norway – We loved the coloured houses in the remote locations along the fjords.  Flam was breathtaking and well worth the journey to Norway alone!  The city of Bergen had some gorgeous pockets of old houses, giving you a taste of what life might have been like back in the day….. and what it still is like for the people who still live there!

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The basis of this trip was to try to find the Northern Lights.  We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities, but unfortunately we were met with a lot of cloudage throughout our whole trip.  We did see them, but they were not what we were expecting.  After the first night, we were a bit disappointed…. “Is that it?” but then I spoke to my lovely cousin, Kay who had seen the lights before and I did some reading up on what you can actually see with the naked eye compared with what the camera picks up….  and I felt a bit better about it.

The next two photos came from this website: https://petapixel.com/2016/01/22/the-truth-and-lies-of-those-aurora-photos-you-see/ in a blog entitled: The Truth and Lies of Those Aurora Photos You See

This is what we could see with the naked eye …..
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Photo by: GARETH MCCORMACK

and this is what was picked up by the camera…
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Photo by: GARETH MCCORMACK

So….. what have we learned on this trip?

1. Even when the sun doesn’t shine – you’ve got to keep a smile on your face and laugh through the rain.

2.  Buffets aren’t for the faint-hearted, but get your elbows up and push through and don’t make eye contact with anyone.

3.  When you’re in a foreign country, it’s ok to just take a few hours out and see a movie (in English) you don’t have to be sightseeing every minute of the day…. we saw Victoria and Abdul – it was lovely.

4. When you get the opportunity – sit outside with the beverage of your choice and just watch people.  It gives you a great insight into the area, the culture , the country and how sore your feet are.

5.  Always carry your umbrella if you want the guarantee of no rain.

6. Get out of the cities and see how the country folk live.

7. Get off the main trourist streets and always take a different scenic walk back to your hotel…. you find houses and buildings and gardens that you’d never see on the HOHO bus route.

8. Some hire cars have heated steering wheels….. there’s nothing actually wrong with your hands.

9. Even though people give us the shits – they’re only in your life for a very brief moment.

10. Try to be open minded about tyring new foods.  On this trip we tried reindeer, in many different forms, brown cheese, which is made from goat’s milk and whey and tastes like caramel…. but whilst your at it – stick to your guns about eating things you don’t believe in – like whale.  I’m not sure why I draw the line there, but I do.

We’re about to board the plane on our second to last leg of this journey which seems to have taken WAY longer than 34 days – in a good way.

So, thank you all for coming along for the ride – it’s been great having you with us.

Until next time…….

 

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