Bob Carlsen

Home and Away

Bob Carlsen

I started blogging on Travelblog in 2009, entering trips beginning in 2007. My intention has always been to document my years of travel since my else was I to save all the slides my Dad took of my childhood!

Most bloggers write about their trips away from home. Mine, and eventually Linda's, homes have usually been where people travel to. So the idea eventually percolated to name our blog "Home and Away."

The blog is not intended to be an autobiography, although I spent my entire life traveling, with Linda joining me after college, it may appear to be that way. As this is a travel blog, the entries concentrate mostly on the travel aspects of our lives. The blogs about our homes (see the links below) provide the setting, with an abbreviated description of what brought us to that place, our local travel, and some of the significant events, many of which intersected with history that might be of general interest to readers. These "home" blogs are followed by blogs about the extended trips we took while living in each place.

To start at the beginning in 1949 just go to The Beginning. I was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and lived in Thailand for a total of 8 years, Dalat, Vietnam for 5 years, and the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia for 2 years; returning to the States for college in 1968. I met Linda at Geneva College; me a senior and she a freshman. We were married in December 1972. That's when Linda was also infected with the travel bug.

In February 1973 we moved to Thailand for 2 1/2 years (see blogs beginning with Back to Thailand with Linda - our home in Bangkok).

In July 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, we returned to the States; living in the Washington DC area for 2 years (see blogs starting with Home for a couple years in the DC area).

In August 1977 we moved back overseas; this time to Germany. We lived in Ramstein for 2 1/2 years (see blogs starting with Three Years in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany) and Boblingen for 4 1/2 years (see blogs starting with Home in Boblingen, Germany).

In July 1984 we moved to Belgium; living in Overijse (southeast outskirt of Brussels) for 11 years (see blogs starting with Home in Overijse, Belgium from July 1984 to November 1995). Our three children, Tamara, Rosanna, and Will were born in Belgium.

In November 1995 we finished our overseas assignments and moved to Falls Church, Virginia (see blogs starting with Home in Falls Church, Virginia from November 1995 to August 2005 ). While living there for ten years, we took road trips to all 50 states and several U.S. territories looking for a place to retire.

In August 2005 we retired in Colorado (see blogs starting with Retirement in Woodland Park Colorado), which gives us even more time to travel. However, Linda is tiring of traveling, so is very selective about when she joins me on trips. Our three children are hooked on travel for life, but they have to pay for their travels!

On December 31, 2011 I completed all blog entries covering the period from 1949 to 2011, including travel to 65 countries. Discovering that, I set a goal of traveling to 100 countries.

So in September 2012 (see blogs starting with Our 40th Anniversary Trip Begins!) rather than flying directly to Sydney for our 40th Anniversary, we flew to Honolulu and cruised to American Samoa (66), Samoa (67), Fiji, Vanuatu (68), French Caledonia (69), to Sydney, Australia; then flew to New Zealand (70) for several weeks of touring on the South and North Islands.

In March 2013 (see blogs starting with Planning my Silk Road and Baltics RTW), I flew to Beijing, China where I met up with my son Will who flew in from Bangkok. We traveled the Silk Road by train, first to Lanzhou, where we took a side trip to Xiahe (Labrang where my parents we married in 1949), then to Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Turpan, and Urumqi in China. We flew from there via Almaty, Kazakhstan (71) to finish the Silk Road in Uzbekistan (72); visiting the sights of Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. We then flew from Tashkent to Riga, Latvia (73) and took buses to Vilnius, Lithuania (74), and Tallinn, Estonia (75); and a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, Finland (76). We then took our separate ways with Will flying to Rome and I headed home via a stopover in London.

In May 2014 Linda and I explored the Pre-Colombian civilizations on our first visit to South America; first the Inca civilization exemplified by Machu Picchu in Peru (77) and Tiwanaku in Bolivia (78). We had a brief stopover in Colombia (79) and Panama (80), enough time to see the Panama Canal and the old city, before continuing to Cancun, Mexico to see the Mayan ruin of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula (see blogs starting with Planning our Pre-Colombian Civilizations Trip.

In April 2015 I flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia (81) where I took a side trip to Kotor, Montenegro (82) and Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina (83), and then headed north along the Croatian coast to Split, Trogir, Sebinek, and Zadar, before heading inland to Plitvici Lakes National Park, and back to the Istrian Peninsula, before finishing my trip at Lake Bled and Ljubljana, Slovenia (84). See blogs starting at A Day in Kotor and an Evening in Dubrovnik. Linda decided to skip this trip, so we went to the Big Island of Hawaii in October 2015 (see blogs starting with The BIG Island of Hawai'i Part I: Tropical Forests, Waterfalls, Volcanos, and and Ancient Hawaiian Sanctuary).

In 2016 I originally planned to cruise the southern coasts of South America with Linda. However, I'm in no hurry to meet my goal of traveling to 100 countries. So instead in September and early October 2016 I walked the Camino de Santiago, the thousand year old pilgrimage Way across northern Spain (see my blogs starting with Planning My Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage). I have no doubt that by continuing to travel I will eventually reach that goal. Just doing the cruises listed below when I'm older will achieve that goal. But for now there are higher priorities.

In 2017, Linda and I had planned to visit Scotland and Ireland again. I was able to track our ancestors back to the "Old Country," to her great-great-great-great-great grandfather who was born in 1703 in Old Crumnock, Scotland and immigrated to America, and my great great grandfather who immigrated to Canada from Essex, Devon, England. However, our dog Bonnie developed diabetes which means that one of us will have to stay with her. We will each take separate two week vacations except for road trips within North America. So I plan to take overseas trips in the foreseeable future to destinations for which Linda is not interested. So I looked at three options: taking an island ferry linking the French islands in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Via Francigena pilgrim trail from Tuscany to Rome, or the St. Olavsleden pilgrim trial to Trondheim. I selected St. Olavsleden, and the rest will have to wait until next year or the following. My blogs related to this trip begin at Planning my St. Olavsleden Pilgrimage.

Future trips include;

A pilgrim walk along the Via Francigena from Tuscany to Rome.

Taking the L'Express des Isle ferry service between Martinique (85), St. Lucia (86), Dominique (87), and Guadeloupe (88).

A walk along Hadrian's Wall in conjunction with a trip to the British Isles to find ancestors.

The TICA bus from Panama through Costa Rica (89), Nicaragua (90), Honduras (91), Guatemala, and Belize (92) to Mexico.

A cruise from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (94) and via Montevideo, Uruguay (95); Buenos Aires, Argentina (96); the Falkland Islands (97); and Ushuaia and the Chilean Fjords, to Valparaiso, Chile (98) or vice verse. Linda wants to do this cruise, so maybe for our 50th Anniversary!

An overland journey from Tanzania through Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia to South Africa.

Really see Australia, and throw in Bali.

Who knows, but at some point I will exceed my goal of traveling to 100 countries.

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag » Trondheim July 4th 2017

4 - 5 July 2017 Tuesday and Wednesday. My flight left Colorado Springs at 11:25 AM and the rest of the schedule to Houston, Amsterdam, Oslo, and Trondheim went smoothly. The flight from Houston to Amsterdam was great as I had the whole row to myself. I stretched out, although I didn't sleep as I had movies to watch. A cold made the take offs and landings hard on my ears. They were pretty much plugged up for the entire time I was in Norway. The last leg of my flights landed about 3:30 PM on Wednesday. I took the train from the Trondheim Airport (Varenes) to Verdal and a taxi to the Stiklestad Pilgrim Center where I was assigned a bed in the Loft House. The room and its six beds were traditional; carved white ... read more
Stiklestad Church on the site where King Olav was slain in battle in 1030
Interior of Stiklestad Church
Stone upon which King Olav was slain

My last post was about training for my pilgrimage on the St. Olavsleden, and specifically about the Denver Broncos 7K Run/Walk in which I failed due to heat and dehydration. Since then I've increased my distances and am a bit more confident that I will be able to build up to the 21 Km maximum distance between farm house accommodations. But this blog is about another unusual event in our town which seems to be attracting more than its share of attention. This weekend is Memorial Day so my daughter Tamara, son-in-law Ryan and grand children Liam, Cecily and Austen came down from Greeley for the weekend. I took them to our newly renovated Memorial Park where they slashed in the stream/pond and played in the play ground. I happened to meet a couple from Alesund, ... read more
Family at Lavenham, England in 1991
Morris Dancers start to arrive at the pavilion at Memorial Park
Morris Dancers in Memorial Park

Today was the kick off of my preparation for walking the S:t Olavsleden pilgrim trail from near the Swedish border to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway (see ). After a long winter, where my average number of steps per day was about 5,000 (thanks to my Fitbit, a Christmas present) and where my walks for the few good days were about 1 mile (1.6 Km), I really need to be in shape to walk 21 Km...the maximum daily distance on the trail between accommodations...before departing on 4 July, which is only two months away. My hometown of Woodland Park has been fortunate to be the venue for some major events. In August 2014 we hosted the USA Pro Challenge, the US counterpart to the Tour de France (see ). Today we hosted the Broncos 7K ... read more
Milling around before the start with Pikes Peak
Opening ceremonies with Broncos players and cheerleaders
Opening ceremonies with Broncos players and cheerleaders

Europe » Norway » Trøndelag » Trondheim April 29th 2017

I always start a new year by planning my trips for the year, if not before. Last year, Linda granted me five weeks away to walk the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. I knew she wouldn't agree to that long a separation again so that set one limit for any trip this year. This year we have a new more constraining limit to our ability to travel together. Our dog Bonnie was recently diagnosed with diabetes, requiring two shots daily, in the morning and evening. We didn't want to burden anyone with having to take care of her, especially as she doesn't like to be away from the comfort zone of us or our home. This requires that we take her wherever we go, which pretty much limits us to road trips around the United ... read more
Bob exploring the Fram in 1964
My first visit to Hell in 1968
Linda and I visit Bergen in 1974 while Eurailpassing around Europe

North America » United States » Florida » Kissimmee April 26th 2017

When I informed people that I was going to Kissimmee FL for a high school class reunion, they naturally assumed that I went to high school there. However, I went to Dalat School in Dalat, Vietnam. As the Vietnam War heated up, in April 1965 the U.S. Embassy sent four USAF C-123s to move the school to Bangkok, Thailand. I was on furlough in Nyack NY at the time so missed the excitement. After a year there, the school moved to the Cameron Highlands and then to Penang, Malaysia where it remains today. My Dalat experiences are recounted in , , and . My subsequent 1973 visit to the school in Penang is recounted in and my 2009 visit to Dalat, Vietnam is recounted in , , and . So we can pretty much have our ... read more
Dalat School Reunion 2017
Class of 1968
Cocoa Beach Florida

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver October 13th 2016

Less than a week after returning from my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage (see ) I was off again, this time with Linda. Our son-in-law Evan had a week long human genome conference in Vancouver and he was taking our daughter Rosanna and grandson Connor with him. We thought we would keep them company while he was at meetings all day. Our previous trips to Vancouver had been one day in and out visits, so this would give us a chance to really get to know the city. Our only concern was the weather forecast...a typhoon was headed that way and rain and wind was predicted for the entire time. But what else can one expect in the Pacific Northwest in October?! 13 October 2016 Thursday. We spent the morning packing and then drove up to Greely ... read more
Pikes Place Market, Seattle
Linda and Rosanna at Pikes Place Market, Seattle
Pikes Place Market, Seattle

Europe » Spain » Galicia » Santiago de Compostela October 8th 2016

This is my last blog related to my walk along the Camino to Santiago. My previous blogs started with , followed by , , , and. This blog relates to my journey of 100 km from Lugo along the Camino Primitivo to Melide where I rejoined the Camino Frances, my arrival in Santiago, and my time in that area. I knew that this walk would be much different from the walk from Pamplona to Burgos, where I skipped sections of the Camino due to an ankle injury. By skipping ahead I was able to hop scotch fellow pilgrims with them catching up to me, although in highly improbable circumstances. For the final 100 km I would have to walk every step to receive my Compostela, the certificate of completion. This meant I wouldn't be meeting pilgrims ... read more
Lugo - the starting point for the last 100 km was the gate in the Roman city wall in front of the cathedral
Village church just after leaving Lugo
Cows along the Camino on their way to pasture

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Burgos September 24th 2016

19 -20 September 2016 Monday and Tuesday. Burgos I ended my last blog with my arrival in Burgos...two days early because I had to take care of my sprained ankle and rest if I was going to be able to walk the final 100 km from Lugo to Santiago, and thereby earn the Compostelo. In my original planning I had intended to make the segment of my Camino between Burgos and Lugo less walking and more sightseeing as I was going to be passing through many historical cities and I did´t want to arrive at any of them so in pain or exhausted I would´t want to leave my albergue. So this blog covers this phase of my Camino. My first order of business on Monday was to make an appointment with a physical therapist...located conveniently ... read more
Burgos Cathedral

Europe » Spain » La Rioja » Logroño September 20th 2016

Please read my previous blog at before reading this blog as the story of my Camino begins there. 12 September 2016 Monday. Weather: Hot Distance from Villatuerta to Logroño: 0 as I took the bus from Estelle to Logroño, skipping Los Arcos and Viana. When planning my trip, I had scheduled my departure so that I would arrive in Logroño to participate in the Fiesta de San Mateo, a wine festival featuring grape crushing. I based arrival date upon the 2015 dates as the 2016 dates weren´t published until four months after I had to book an airline ticket using my frequent flyer miles. However, once the schedule was published in March 2016 the wine festival turned out to be a week later. Oh well. Today would be my day of rest...relatively. I had entered the ... read more
An upscale Pilgrims meal - first course
An upscale Pilgrims meal - Entree
An upscale Pilgrims meal - Dessert

Europe » Spain » Navarre » Pamplona September 13th 2016

7 September 2016 Wednesday. Weather: Blazing hot in the high 90´s Distance from Pamplona to Cizur Menor: 7.1 km or 4.4 miles I caught the 7:30 AM train from Barcelona Sants, arriving in Pamplona at 11:17 AM. Here I would begin my pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. When planning my pilgrimage, I debated whether to spend the night in Pamplona or start my walk right away. In the end I decided to walk the 7 kilometers to Cizur Menor where I had reservations at the highly rated Albergue (hostel) de Maribel Roncal...they care for perigrinos (pilgrims) blistered feet...not that I would need help having just started the walking part of my Camino. And besides I was anxious to get started! I figured the walk to Cizur Menor would take two hours, which would leave me ... read more
Cathedral Santa Maria in Pamplona
Cathedral Santa Maria in Pamplona
Cathedral Santa Maria in Pamplona where the kings and queens of Navarre are intered

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