Why I Decided to Cruise Norway's Coast With Hurtigruten


The above photo was taken from a scenic view while in Kirkenes, Norway.

In February 2017 I decided to cruise Norway with Hurtigruten.  The ship I was on is named the Finnmarken.  This was a 12 day round trip cruise this started in Bergen and ended back in Bergen after making many stops as far north as Honningsvåg and Kirkenes which is not far from the Russian border.

The first thing I should tell you about going on a cruise with Hurtigruten is that their ships are working ships.  That is why they make so many stops.  It is also more of a ferry.  New passengers get on and off the ship in various locations quite frequently.  People in Norway use these ships to get from one area the country to another.

I have been on 12 cruises in the past five years.  I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise lines, and Holland America.  Cruising with Hurtigruten was such a different experience.  Many people go on cruises for the entertainment and to party.  I know because I have done so in the past ;)  There was no entertainment such as singers, bands, and speakers and t is also very expensive to party as one glass of wine is 14 USD. 

In spite at the lack of entertainment on the ship, this was definitely one of the most fun adventures I have ever been on.  One of the best things about this cruise was the scenery.  The ship is never far from the shore and it makes frequent stops.  I also got to see the Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights because of the time of year I went. 

I have written three posts about this cruise.  Here they are:

Visiting the Famous Snowhotel in Kirkenes Norway

Visiting the Beautiful City of Trondheim, Norway and the Nidaros Cathedral

Visiting the Top of the World: Honningsvåg, Norway

I will be writing more in the coming weeks.


Continue reading "Why I Decided to Cruise Norway's Coast With Hurtigruten" »

Visiting the Beautiful City of Trondheim, Norway and the Nidaros Cathedral

 Nidaros Cathedral


As I mentioned in my previous post I recently went on a twelve day cruise up and down the Norway coast with Hurtigruten.  On our second day we stopped in a beautiful city with a population of close to 190,000 people named Trondheim.  We only had four hours at the stop which was actually one of our longer times to go on shore.  We were allowed to leave the boat at 8:00 AM and had to return by noon.  As you can see it was still dark but I got some great photos of the sunrise.



Continue reading "Visiting the Beautiful City of Trondheim, Norway and the Nidaros Cathedral " »

Visiting the Magical Greek Island of Santorini Again With New Eyes


 Going on a Mediterranean cruise was at the top of my bucket list this year.  My choices were to leave from Rome, Venice or Athens.  I chose to leave from Venice as I knew I would want to spend some time there once I got back.  I had only been to Venice for a couple of days a few years ago and it rained the entire time.   

I also wanted an itinerary that visited the Greek island Santorini.  Although I visited there two years ago I was very sad while I was there.  I learned that our Black Lab named Shadow, who was around 16 years old, was extremely sick as my plane was boarding in Athens.  I could not have made it home on time to say goodbye to him.  It would've cost $3500 for a one way ticket to get home. 

I did think about just going home as I felt terrible that my husband was alone.  We knew shadow had been very ill for a long time, but I really didn't think anything (or hoped) nothing bad would happen when I was so far away. 

                                                          Here is the post I wrote about what happened: 

What Do You Do When a Tragedy or Emergency Happens at Home While Traveling?

Continue reading "Visiting the Magical Greek Island of Santorini Again With New Eyes" »

Visiting the Spectacular Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona Spain

Untitled (1 of 1)-59When I decided to visit Barcelona in January 2016 one of the main things that I wanted to see while there was the Sagrada Familia Cathedral designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi.  After seeing so many beautiful photos of this church my expectations were very high and I was not disappointed.  I have visited many Beautiful cathedrals around the world and was starting to think I had seen them all.  The design of this church was unique because of Gaudi's influence.  It was so bright, colorful and ornate, but also had an Art Nouveau feel to it.

As you can see from the photo below construction of this Cathedral is not complete. Construction of this project went slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War.  Gaudi passed away in 1926 at the age of 73 and construction was only about one quarter complete.

 I was fortunate enough to be able to see the inside of the cathedral which is now completed.  Everything seems so new bright and well cared for.  I was there on a sunny day and seeing the sunlight streams through the windows was breathtaking.  One of the things that I found most beautiful about this cathedral was the bright colors of the stained-glass windows.

 It was a little cold in Barcelona visiting in January it was generally in the mid 50s during the day.  The good thing about visiting this Beautiful and interesting city during the winter months is their are fewer tourists.  I did not have to wait in line for a long at all.  My ticket was only €15.  If I had chosen a tour with a specialize guide it would've been €24.  You can learn more about the prices and hours here .

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral along with six other buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi is a UNESCO world heritage site

 It's quite shocking to see how Close to being finished the interior of the cathedral is when you look at the exterior.  Construction of the exterior is scheduled to be completed around 2026.  This is definitely a place I would recommend to anyone wanting to visit the Barcelona area.

If you are interested in using any of my photo in a variety of sizes, you can get them here for free and you will not get in trouble as they are NOT copyrighted! 


Untitled (1 of 1)-59As with so many buildings and cathedrals that I have visited around the world and especially in Europe the ceilings were incredible!  Everywhere I looked there was something interesting I wanted to take photos of.
Untitled (1 of 1)-59As I said the stained glass were so bright and were different colors than any I'd seen before
Untitled (1 of 1)-59The staircases were so different than anything I'd ever seen!
Untitled (1 of 1)-59

Untitled (1 of 1)-65
Untitled (1 of 1)-65


Untitled (1 of 1)-53The ceilings are not the color they appear in this photo.  They are white but the sunlight streaming through the bright colored stain glass windows causes a reflection that makes them appear different colors. 
Untitled (1 of 1)-53

Untitled (1 of 1)-65
Untitled (1 of 1)-65Thank you for visiting.  As always I appreciate hearing any questions or thoughts you might have.  I hope you are have a wonderful week





Christmas in Burlington Vermont Featuring Church Street

Everyone thinks I'm crazy for wanting to visit Vermont in the wintertime.  It's true that I have friends and family that I want to see regardless of the time of the year.  The truth is I miss the seasons now that I have lived in Florida for eight years.  I especially love the decorations on Church Street in Burlington in the winter especially around Christmas time.                           

 It was not especially cold this year when I was there in mid December but it was cold enough coming from 90°F in Tampa, Florida  to 30°F in Vermont.  I just wanted to share a few the photos I took this year.  Church street is busy regardless of the time of year and quite frankly I was a little too chilly to use a tripod.

Church2I just love the Christmas tree on Church Street in Burlington!

This is another shot of Church Street heading away from the Christmas tree:

New video (1 of 1)-72

The landscape in Vermont is not it's prettiest after the foliage is gone and the snow hasn't fallen yet.


The pub where we had dinner was very empty.  If the students were still in town, it would have been standing room only.
Untitled (1 of 1)-118
Here is a family portrait and a photo of my mother's gorgeous Christmas tree:

New video (1 of 1)-62
New video (1 of 1)-62
I will leave you with a photo of a covered bridge in Underhill, Vermont:

Thank you for visiting.  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays!  I wish you all a healthy, happy and successful 2016!