Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Home Sweet Home

So happy to be home....
I did the Pope thing!

New York, New York, USA!!!

We arrived at dawn in New York Harbor and were welcomed by lady liberty and the Staten Island ferry. After seeing so much and being on the road for almost a year entering the United States was a home coming for me.
The Big Apple and big hair!
Our first steps back in GLORIOUS USA!! We are sitting with all of our luggage, at this point I was feeling quite proud of our packing through out this year. While leaving the cruise ship we were stopped twice by crew members to be sure we had all of our luggage. We'd been in Europe for 5 months with just our back packs, while fellow cruise travelers were leaving the ship with multiple suit cases per person for two weeks of travel. The minimalist in me was just tickled pink to respond, "No, this is it!"
The views of New York Harbor from the Empire State building.
Rockefeller Center, home of the Today Show. The news junkie in me just had to have a picture!
Strolling through a bit of Central Park...
before we headed to the airport for our final leg to LA!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quototoc, Greenland

The cruise ship was hosted by the large town, 3000 people, of Quototoc Greenland. This is the largest town in Greenland and is located on the southern tip of the island. The local choir put on multiple shows, highlighting their cultural dress and singing in their native language, so that the 3000+ people would have a chance to fit into their small church for the concert.
There are no roads connecting one town to another, they travel from town to town by boat. In the winter time traveling is very limited.
The river through town.
The locals demonstrated Eskimo roles in their kayaks.
The local fish market.
The tourists line up to go back to the ship.
Seal skins for sale. Luckily, the seal is not an endangered species in Greenland.
Friendly locals give us a warm send off!
That night off the coast of Greenland our ship came across high seas. We spent the night riding the crest and trough of each 13-20 wave and the ship slowed to a crawl to keep us as comfortable as possible. With plenty of medicine on board we were quite comfortable, but while I lay awake unable to sleep with the crashing of each wave on the hull of the ship Case slept soundly. In fact he only woke after the second water glass slid off the counter in the bathroom and shattered on the floor! Those were probably the roughest seas I've been through.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland

Oh! The grandeur of Greenland, the largest island in the world. What an amazing day of sights that we could only attempt to capture in pictures. It is hard to sense the remoteness of the area, so pristine and unspoiled, raw nature with all of its power in granite faces, glacier ice caps and ice cold glacier blue/green waters, but here is just a taste to remind us of the experience.
This was the southern tip of the ice cap, that covers most of Greenland.
I was impressed with the color and calm of the water.
we moved along with barely a ripple
Another glacier meets the sea as we stand on the back of the ship.

These were the only people we saw through out the day of cruising the channel. The locals came out in their boat to greet and wave to us. They circled our boat for about 15 minutes, making trips back and forth to their tiny town, taking turns to come greet us. From what we were told only 1 or 2 cruise ships come through this area a year. This may have been quite an event for this tiny town. They are hard to see in this small picture, but there are two dead seals at the back of the boat, tonights dinner for the locals.
At the base of the rocks by the edge of the water there are a few small brightly painted buildings of the town...the only town we saw all day. The ice in this area doesn't melt until summer and this area will once again freeze over for the winter. These are amazing hearty people to live in this remote place that is isolated through the long cold winter.
The mountains rise from the water...
and are topped with misty clouds.
Such great memories!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Reykjavik, Iceland and The Blue Lagoon

Our plan for Reykjavik was to spend some time at the Blue Lagoon a natural thermal and spa. The cruise ships make arrangements to take people to the Blue Lagoon but it was in combination with other sight seeing and left very little time for soaking and enjoying the hot thermal. So we walked off the boat and through the rain to a place near the airport that arranged tours. What we found didn't meet our needs either but next door was a car rental place and within a few minutes Case had made arrangements for a car rental. We didn't actually take many pictures of the city of Reykjavik but it is a substantial city with a population of 117,000.
We were curious what the scenery would be like and we saw a lot of this....
and this....
A lot of black lava covered with green moss, every where we looked. We were also amused with our Toyota rental car with a center console dash,
a cute little basic functional car, and something we've never seen in the states.
We arrived to the entrance of The Blue Lagoon through a maze of Lava...
and spent the day relaxing, swimming and soaking in the pools, enjoying the hot bath.
The lagoon is open everyday of the year and the Icelanders especially enjoy the pools in the middle of winter.

Then it was back across the lava rocks and moss to our ship in the harbor.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Akureyri, Iceland

We have now crossed the arctic circle and then dipped 60 miles south down a long fjord to Akureyri, on the north side of Iceland.
The local church...

The climate in this area is one of the warmest on Iceland as the area is well protected by the Fjord and surrounding hills or mountains....they are very proud of their botanical gardens...

It is here that we see our first signs of fall...

Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland, with a population of 17,000.

From the ship...