Copenhagen, Denmark

As I mentioned before, we were always looking forward to the opportunity of seeing Copenhagen from outside the confines of the airport.  I’ve always heard great things about the city, and our day didn’t disappoint.

To start out our tour we visited Tivoli Gardens, which is an amusement park inside the city.  Unfortunately, we got there 30 minutes before it opened and had to wait around for a while and the temperature was rather chilly out.  Once inside, we spent the time grabbing a bite to eat and watching people enjoying some of the rides.  We had only but an hour so our time there was fairly short.

We then went to visit some of the more famous sites in the city such as the Christianborg and Amalienborg Palaces.

Lastly, we stopped to see the famous little mermaid statue inspired from Copenhagen’s own Hans Christian Anderson that wrote the fairy tale.

All things considered, Copenhagen was one of the highlights of the trip and is definitely a place I’d visit again to see in more detail.


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Gothenburg, Sweden

Before taking this trip, I had never heard of Gothenburg.  I was surprised to learn, however, that it is Sweden’s second largest city after Stockholm.  For this stop, we opted to just walk around and see what the city had to offer instead of taking a guided tour.  It was very green and we enjoyed our time walking around looking at the shops and having a quick bite to eat.  There’s nothing that really sticks out about Gothenburg, but we had a very relaxing time.  Here are the few pictures we took.

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Oslo, Norway

So, we decided to take an excursion that took us on a brief site-seeing tour of the city before stopping in Vigeland Park to see some of the sculptures by the artist Gustav Vigeland.  On the way to the park, we drove on the road called “Valhallveien” where Edvard Munch was walking when he had a panic attack.  As a result, he painted the famous painting entitled “The Scream” in 1893.  We also had a chance to see the building where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented every year.  We learned that the Peace Prize the only Nobel Prize that is not presented in Sweden.

Upon getting to the park, our guide took us to many of the famous sculptures and discussed his background and fascinations with the phases of life. Let’s just say that his artistic judgement on what warranted a sculpture was a little strange, but I’ll let you form your own opinion after seeing the sculpture photos.

Afterwards we went to the “Christmas House”, located outside of Oslo. Quite frankly, we were a little disappointed in this part of the tour.  The Christmas House was underwhelming and we were caught up in quite a rain storm.  Looking back, I wished that we had more of a chance to see downtown Oslo.


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Flam/Stavanger/Kristiansand, Norway

This trip began with a short flight up to Copenhagen. We were excited to finally be able to see the city from outside the airport as our only other time there was to merely catch a flight down to Frankfurt.  This chance was but a short one, however, as we only got to take a cab from the airport to the cruise terminal.  Fortunately, the ship came back to Copenhagen later in the trip and we were able to see some of the highlights.  More about that in a later post.

Our first stops onnorway-flag the cruise were in three small towns off the Norwegian Coast.  Kim had always wanted to see the fjords and so we made sure to at least have a chance at admiring them first hand.  Due to the short time we spent in each of these small towns, I’ll combine them all into one post.

First up was Flam, which is located on the Aurslandfjord, and was our first taste of Norway.  Unfortunately, much of the trip up the fjord took place in the middle of the night and so we didn’t get to see as much of it as we would have liked.  Of all the places we visited, this was the farthest north.  We were approximately 400 miles below the Arctic Circle.  For our day there we went and walked around the small town before eventually taking a tour that brought us to a small hotel up on the side of some cliffs where we had a chance to see a lot of the surrounding regions.  Afterwards, we took a very steep and curvy drive down to Tvinde falls.  Overall the day was very relaxing, but we were definitely aware of the significant cost to everything.  Just for a t-shirt, you’d have to part with about 40 – 50 dollars.  Needless to say, we don’t own one.  That evening we got to see some of the fjord as we set sail, but we didn’t get to see the spot of the fjord that were really narrow with the high cliff sides.

For both Stavanger and Kristiansand, we took time just to walk around the towns as there was really that much to do.  They were both quaint, but took approximately two hours to see everything they had to offer.


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The Baltic & North Seas

Hello all.  We just got back from a trip up north where we had a great time sailing the high seas and seeing new places.  Over the next few days/weeks I’ll be posting on some of the places we stopped.  As a teaser, below is a picture of Tyler our first night on the cruise dressed to impress.


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Munchen, Germany

We just took a trip down to Munchen (German pronunciation for Munich) with our friends the Williams’, and had a rather pleasant time.  Personally, we found Munchen to be much more enjoyable than other cities like Berlin, but the weather probably had a lot to this.  It was nice to finally see the city as we have driven past it more than a few times on our way down to other areas in Bavaria.

After the morning drive up, we spent the first afternoon just walking around the in the heart of the city.   There were plenty of things to occupy our time and we finally wound up eating in the Augustiner Brauhaus.   As expected, the food was pretty good.

The next day we made our way over to the Nymphenburg Palace, which was the house of the Bavarian aristocracy from the mid 17th century.  Ludwig II was born here, and later built the three other well-known castles to include Neuschwanstein.  That evening we ate at the Hofbrauhaus, which is the largest and most popular beer house in Munchen.

Our third day we drove out of the city to the Chimesee Lake to see the Herrenchimesee Palace.  This was the last of the palaces built by Ludwig II, and was his tribute to Versailles.  The inside was truly impressive, and so it was unfortunate that visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside.  In true Ludwig style, he had the castle completed in five years and yet only spent ten days there.  We spent some time walking around the island and had a bite to eat before heading back into the city.  That night we walked around the English Garden.

On our way back home we stopped at the Dachau Workers Camp that is located right outside the city.  Living in Germany, I think it’s sometimes easy to forget some of the tragic things that occurred here in the not so distant past.  Visiting Dachau was certainly a sobering experience, but was one that I am glad we had.

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Nazareth & the Sea of Galilee

On the second day in Israel, we pulled into the Port of Haifa and first visited the Baha’i Gardens that provide a very nice view of the entire port area.  Next, our guides then drove us over to Nazareth.

Upon first getting in the town, we stopped off in a bakery where our driver mentioned that it had the best baklava he’d ever tasted.  Sure enough, we tried some and it was absolutely delicious.  We bought a few pieces of one variety that had a large amount of pistachios on the inside.  I think I could have eaten the stuff until I got sick… was really good.

Mosaic_floorWe then walked up to the top of the hill where we visited the Church of the Annunciation.  The church is built upon the caves where the original inhabitants of the town would have dwelled.  The building’s courtyard was decorated with tons of murals from countries all over the world with their visions of what Mary would have looked like.  Inside, we went down to see the spot traditionally held as the locale of Mary’s home.  On the way out, some ladies stopped Kim.  At first she thought the women wanted her to take pictures of them, but instead found out that the women wanted to take a picture with her.  They were really amazed at Kim’s hair color, and I have a shot where Kim was posing with them.

Afterwards, we boarded the bus and drove towards the Sea of Galilee.  We made one quick stop to try a local store that was known for its spices and dates.  As for me, I tried one of the local wheat beers and thought it to be pretty good.

We stopped quickly for a bite to eat and then made our way over to the Sea of Galilee, where we stopped at Capernaum, the Church of the Multiplication, and the traditionally held spot of the Mount of Beatitudes.

It was rather strange to think how close we were to both Jordan & Syria while driving around the Sea.  This day was certainly a long one, but, together with our previous day in Jerusalem, made the entire the trip worth while.  We all had a good time and really liked visiting all the sites in Israel.

For those that look at it, I updated the Google Earth map with the points we visited this trip.

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