Chuck Woodbury


Chuck Woodbury

Follow us on our trip to Germany and Norway!

Europe » Norway » Southern Norway June 28th 2017

So, the time has come for our adventure to end and to bid farewell to our friends in Norway. Wednesday morning we drove to Oslo and boarded a car ferry to Kiel, Germany. The ferry was really a large cruise ship with all of the amenities that happened to also carry cars. We had a lovely room with an ocean view. The trip was overnight and we arrived in Kiel the next morning at 10:00 am. Departing the ship was easy and well organized and we were on our way to Schiphol airport near Amsterdam. This would normally have been about a 4.5 hour drive. But, the Germans seem to have some sort of conspiracy to keep people from driving the autobahns! There was road construction everywhere and at one point we had to take about ... read more
Waiting to Board Car Ferry to Kiel
Into the Ship
Our Room

Europe » Norway June 26th 2017

On Saturday we were invited to spend the afternoon and have lunch with Hege's older brother Goethe, his wife Kari-Lise and their three children. Both Goethe and Kari-Lisa are geologists and work in environmental fields. They live in a beautiful home with a magnificent view in a town called Stavern further south along the fjord. First we took a nice walk down into the town and along the waterfront. At one time this was a strategic military location since shipping could be controlled coming into the fjord. So there is an old fort to explore. Again, we were blessed with beautiful weather! We then returned to Goethe's home where he prepared a tasty shellfish lunch. Blue mussels, crab and shrimp. Another wonderful day and a chance to meet more of Hege's family Bjørge has has spent ... read more
Bathing Beauties
Composite of Stavern
Companion Yoga

Europe » Norway » Southern Norway June 23rd 2017

As many of you know, the summer solstice is a major event in Scandinavian countries. Some say that because the Nordic people were the last Europeans to adopt Christianity, the pagan rituals involving the longest day of the year have persisted. It seems to me it is because the solar cycle near the arctic circle is so dramatic and simply because the Scandinavians enjoy an opportunity to party! Above the arctic circle, the sun never sets this time of the year. We experienced this while visiting Harstad and the Lofoten Islands. But, even Oslo at about 60 degrees north experiences about 20 hours of daylight. It is actually difficult to sleep for those of us from lower latitudes. This year the solstice was on Wednesday, 21 June but the Norwegians made Friday the official holiday. That ... read more
On the Way to Misummer
Toast to Midsummer!
Hege and Bjørge

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway June 22nd 2017

Hurtigruten is one of the major ferry companies in Norway. They operate a ferry system in northern Norway which starts at the town of Kirkenes which is almost on the Russian boarder and ends in Bergen on the west coast. The ferries are actually small cruise ships with all of the amenities and some people choose to travel the entire route from end to end which takes about five days. Most people use it as a way to travel between local cities in the area. We boarded the Nordkapp in Harstad at 8:30 and were in Solvær by 6:30 pm. The ship stops in several cities along the way and travels through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the world. Lofoten is an archipelago stretching well out into the North Sea. It is a ... read more
Svolvær Arial View
Another Svolvær Harbor View
View Across Svolvær Harbor

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway June 19th 2017

Norway is not a large country by area (149,000 square Miles) but it is long and narrow with its northern most reaches curving over the top of Sweden and Finland and bordering Russia. Its coastline is about 1,500 miles if you don't count the fjords and islands and over 16,000 miles if you count them! Getting from south to north can be a challenge. The excellent rail system only gets you about half way and driving is almost impractical given the huge mountain ranges in the central part of the country. So, it is boats and planes! The Norwegian government subsidizes both in an effort to support people continuing to live in the outlying areas. Hege was born in Tromsø and was raised in Harstad which is above the arctic circle. We took a short flight ... read more
View From Ragnhild's Appartment
Budapest Cake
Memorial by Harstad Church

Europe » Norway » Southern Norway June 19th 2017

The trip to Horten from Fjallbacka is only about a two and a half hour drive thanks to a short ferry ride across the Oslo Fjord which saves about three hours driving time to Oslo and then back down the western side of the fjord to Horten. (See map). We arrived at Hege and Bjorge's house on Friday 16 June. Hege and May Elise met us with a wonderful welcome. Bjorge owns and operates a business which provides sound systems for various concerts and festivals. He is very busy this time of year and we didn't see him until Saturday morning. It was just fantastic to reconnect! We were last in Norway in 2000 when May Elise was just three years old. May Elise, Hege and Bjorge were in Minnesota in 2015 but we had never ... read more
Approaching Horten
Tucked into the Car Ferry
Hege and Bjorge's Home

Europe » Sweden June 15th 2017

The easiest (though not the least expensive way) to get from Lubeck to Sweden is to take a ferry from Puttgarden, Germany to Rodby Denmark and then, the famous Oresund Sound bridge from Denmark to Malmo, Sweden. This was a painless and enjoyable process. The Scandinavians certainly know how to run ferries. If you have visited this area, then you know just how dependent people are on them. Denmark is an archipelago and the coasts of Sweden and Norway are characterized by strings of islands. More and more bridges are being built but ferries are still the backbone of coastal transportation. Our car ferry was like a small cruise ship with a good restaurant and pleasant sitting areas. The ferry to Denmark takes about 45 minutes and then it is about a two hour drive to ... read more
Approaching Denmark
Cars on the Ferry
Crossing The Bridge

Europe » Germany » Thuringia June 13th 2017

Well, I have gotten way behind on this blog again. Having too much fun and activity! We left Leipzig on 13 June and visited Luneburg and Lubeck on our way to Norway. Luneburg is the town where J.S. Bach spent three years as a choral scholar at St. Michael's School. It is a beautiful town with a long history of trade. It has a connection to the Baltic Sea via the Elbe River and a series of canals. It was a member of the Hanseatic League and became wealthy mostly on the salt trade which only stopped in 1980 after more than a thousand years!. We only stopped here for the day to see the school and church. We visited the tourist info office and as I was asking the young man behind the counter how ... read more
Erik Explaining History of Area
St. Michael's Church - Luneburg
Site of St. Michael's School

Europe » Germany » Thuringia June 13th 2017

Up until now, we have been visiting smaller somewhat provincial cities and towns. What a change to arrive in Leipzig! It is the third largest city in Germany with a population of about 540,000 and over a million in its metropolitan area. It is also the fastest growing city in Germany. It was founded on trade and in Bach's time was an even more prosperous city relative to other German cities of the time. Bach and his family must have been overwhelmed after spending six years in tiny Kothen! We stayed in a lovely, recently remodeled VRBO in a beautiful neighborhood about two miles from the city center (Zentrum). Our daily walk into the old part of town took us through a beautiful park and over the Elster river. Once again, we were blessed with beautiful ... read more
Giant Trampoline in Park Near VRBO
Waiting For Sunday Service at Nikolaikirke
Just Before Doors Opened at Nikolaikirke

Europe » Germany June 10th 2017

We left Eisenach after three enjoyable days. It is really impossible to capture the beauty of the area with pictures. However, the terrain would remind you of western Wisconsin (which may be why so many German immigrants settled there). Rolling hills, fertile farm land and lots of forest. We tried to stay on local roads as we traveled around and were truly rewarded with the scenery. We stopped at Weimar on our way to Eisenach. As I may have mentioned, this was home to one of the may princely courts and it was Bach's first job outside the church. By all accounts, he enjoyed his time there and had ample time and occasion for composition. He started as Court Organist and performed in the palace church (the Himmelkirke or Heaven's Church) which was attended only by ... read more
Countryside to Weimar
Weimar Castle Original Tower
 Kothen Palace Tower

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