Brian Markowich

Brian and Amy

Brian Markowich

We are aircraft engineers and part time dog trainers. We love to travel and see beautiful scenery and wildlife around the world.

Europe » France » Île-de-France September 26th 2019

We arrived early and waited in a line at Border Control for just a bit. Could have been worse and there was no follow-up customs interviews. Much less than Australia. We found a bus that would take us to the Gare Montparnasse train station close to our hotel. Very roomy, not crowded, and easier/cheaper than an Uber/Taxi. It was supposed to be a little over an hour trip but the Paris rush hour traffic was horrific and we spent over two hours in it. There must have been accidents all over as we saw 20-30 police, ambulances and what not shooting by. We got very acquainted with the Neeee-Neer-Neee-Neer sounds of their sirens. Brian managed to grab a few ZZZs in the midst of it all. We were dropped off at the train station which was ... read more

Europe » France » Île-de-France September 25th 2019

Left Edge and Ecco in the care of Anita, our wonderful Petsitter, and headed to Dulles to start our trip to France. No problems with the flight and we must have had a good tailwind as we arrived an hour earlier than planned. We both tried to sleep and managed a few hours. Arriving in the early morning will still feel like the middle of the night to us but we'll try and stay awake to get in sync with Paris time. Looking forward to a great trip!... read more

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen May 31st 2016

We started the day with an early breakfast so we could catch the bus to the airport. Bergen Airport is surprisingly small (but not like Narvik!) and very easy to maneuver. We hopped our flight to Copenhagen with no issue. We only had an hour in Copenhagen and you couldn’t mess around as you also had to go through lines at passport control. We picked a good line as, in the other one, a grim red-haired lady was grilling everyone for 10 minutes each. Made it just in time and flew 8.5 hours to Dulles. We got in right at rush hour and stayed to relax at the Embassy Suites to wait to drive home tomorrow and be able to pick up all the dogs. We checked in had a glass of wine and snacks add ... read more

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen May 30th 2016

Today was supposed to be the big day that we were going to do the well-known “Norway in a Nutshell” tour route. You take several trains, a bus, and a ferry through the higher fjords but it takes about 12 hours round trip. The thought of another long day of planes, trains, and automobiles right before we fly home was suddenly not appealing. And, the forecast was calling for afternoon rain. We called an audible and swapped to a half-day fjord cruise that left from the harbor right by our hotel. It circled up into a closer fjord that may not be quite as majestic but it fit the bill. We had a lovely cruise and even had bright sun in the morning. On the way out of the Bergen Harbor, a whole family came out ... read more
Cruising out of Bergn
Windy on the fast ferry
Nice Flags

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen May 29th 2016

Today was a rest day (compared to the others). We slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and then struck out to tour the city of Bergen. We made some reservations for a short Fjord cruise for tomorrow and then took a funicular (small mountain train) up to the high point of Bergen. The view of the harbor, the town, and the fjords in the distance was excellent. After that, we did a little shopping and stopped for a skillingbolle (a Norwegian cinnamon roll). After cruising the town a little more, we sampled more Norwegian specialties. Amy loved the reindeer filet and Brian snacked on mussels in a cream wine sauce and fries. In a moderate food coma, we headed back to the hotel where Amy found a "relaxation room", with Yanni-type music and massage chair. (Amy ... read more
A view of the city
Exploring Bergen streets
On the funicular

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen May 28th 2016

In the small world category, while walking through the Pulpit Rock mountain lodge, we saw the woman from Michigan who picked her Volvo up the same day we did. She’s having a great trip and has driven and hiked all over Southern Norway and Sweden. What are the odds we’d happen to be at the same spot on the same day and bump into each other? We picked the right day to hike yesterday as today was very rainy. A good day to sit in a bus, hear the rain pitter patter and nap. The transport dance was required - bus back to ferry at Tau, ferry back to Stavanger to catch a 5.5 hour “Express Bus” to Bergen, where we spend our last 3 nights. This last bus takes you on two car-ferries so we ... read more
Amy in the park
Amy loves swans
A quaint town

Europe » Norway » Western Norway May 27th 2016

We got up early and were amazed at the breakfast spread at this Scandic hotel. They’ve all been good but this put Embassy Suites to shame and we all know how much we like that. We took Rick Steves advice and hoarded snacks, sandwiches, and fruit for our hike. It takes multi-transport to get to the start of the Pulpit Rock hike, so you really need to want to go there. We took a bus to the Ferry Terminal, then a nice ferry ride to the city of Tau. A bus is waiting there to shuttle passengers the 40 minute ride up into the mountains. Amy spent the ferry ride crafting one of her “special” emails to the rental car company. They were sticking to their story but needed to “talk to Oslo” for a final ... read more
Selfie during a break
Billy Goat Brian

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Bardu May 26th 2016

Today was going to be about exploring the area around Harstad….umm…..until we walked outside and noticed one of the rental car back tires was very low. Brian inspected and sure enough, there was a screw. Screwed seems to be the operative word. We called the closest rental outlet at the airport who gave us the “It’s not our problem, call the guys you rented from” so we tried that. They were far away and told us to use the Fix-a-Flat and the portable compressor. We learned all about how that little gem of a kit works and we were on the road in a few minutes. However, you shouldn't drive fast or far with a screw still in your tire so we didn’t want to go as far as we planned. We explored just an hour ... read more
An old WWII gun battery
The size of a walnut. What is this?
A view from Fjord Hotel

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Bardu May 25th 2016

After some breakfast (we've stopped worrying about how much we're eating), we went for a short walk around the park. It was still cool but no rain. After that, Kjetil gave us a short briefing on "wolf rules of engagement". It really boiled down to: sit on the ground, no sudden movements, and no matter what, keep calm. If they knock you over, stay calm. If they take your camera and crush it, stay calm. If they get into a fight next to you, stay calm. Five adolescent wolves, all 100+ lbs, keep calm. Got it! Kjetil and another caretaker, Ramona, let Amy borrow a set of sturdy boots and coveralls since it was messy outside. All prepared, we entered the enclosure. We walked (slowly and calmly) into the entrance and let the wolves make first ... read more
Saying hello
Checking us out
That's the spot!

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Bardu May 24th 2016

It was our first full night in the land of the midnight sun. It's daylight 24/7. After a light breakfast of eggs, bacon, muesli, bread, and cheese, we hit the open road. We visited one of several white beaches that look very much like the Caribbean. It's still only about 50 deg F, so we weren't fooled too much. Next stop, the government liqueur store. Success after several failed attempts! We loaded up on wine for future wine-thirties and Amy got her much-loved pistachio ice cream with a new bonus - dipped in dark chocolate. (Brian likes it too!). After a 3 hour ride through the snow-capped mountains of Bardu, we arrived at the Polar Park. It's a combination wildlife preserve and zoo. The enclosures are huge wooded areas (acres and acres) fenced in but house ... read more
Very quiet
Our new friends, Kjetil and Heidi

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