Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
— Helen Keller, 1880 - 1968
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madjeanne

TravelJournal user

About me

I'm Female, from United States

Where am I now?

I'm currently in Scottsdale, United States

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My route

United States
United Kingdom
Norway
Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Sweden
Estonia
Russia
Finland
Germany
Netherlands
Belgium
Ireland
Iceland
Greenland
Canada

Link to this journal

My other journals

The World According to Jeanne

31 countries in 4 months

Africa

Safari, wine, and big city time

Summer 2017

Jul 2017 - Sep 2017

Headed North to cool down a bit.

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Lets Go!

12:00pm

We're getting ready for another adventure. It's been a slow travel year so far and we are anxious to log some more miles and see some new places. This time we are heading North. Some of our destinations are Svalbard, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Estonia, Belgium, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. We're leaving on July 16th and return on September 9th. Hopefully it's a little bit cooler in Phoenix when we return.

I am dedicating this trip and this blog to my dad who we lost in May 2016 just 3 weeks after we returned from our 4 month trip around the world. He was always so excited to hear about my travels and followed along with his atlas which was always close by. The two of us could spend hours looking at that atlas. I know he's still following along with me. Here's to you dad, you will always be with me no matter what part of the world I'm in. Cheers!

It all starts with a long flight, or 2 or 3

Fasten your seat belts.....

9:00am

Most of our travels start with a lot of time on an airplane and in airports. With all of our travel we have become pretty good at making it the most pleasant process possible. The flights are filled with reading, movies, food, wine, sleep, more movies, more wine, and more sleep. This is repeated as many times as necessary until we reach our destination. The time in the airport is spent in whatever lounge we can find. We have our favorite airports and our favorite lounges (Emirates in Dubai and any Centurion Lounge) but where we are going usually dictates what airports we find ourselves in. I have had some outstanding meals at the airport and have even had a great shower/spa experience after a long overnight flight to Hong Kong on my way to Manila. The flights and the airports don't always turn out to be great but they are all part of the experience and necessary to get us where we want to go.This trip started with a flight to Houston, then a long layover before a long, long flight to London, then a short layover and another flight to Oslo. It was all fairly uneventful which is always good. We flew British Airways and went first class since we were able to use miles so it definitely made the trip more comfortable. The food was outstanding and they had excellent champagne and wine selections. I had sea bass for dinner and it was the highlight of the whole flight. After dinner they made up our seats into a bed with a mattress cover and duvet, changed into the pajamas they gave us and we tried to get some sleep but neither one of us slept well. By the time I got on the flight to Oslo I was extremely tired but it was only a two hour flight and the seats don't make into flat beds so it was a pretty miserable flight. We got our luggage in Oslo and were even a little surprised that it all showed up (you just never know when you have to make several stops). The airport is about an hour out of the city and it was recommended to take the train into town and then the hotel was only about 2 blocks from one of the stops. We found the ticket machine and got our tickets and then found the tracks. Luckily we also found luggage carts to get all of our luggage to the train. We each had two large bags and one small bag. You can't take the carts on the train so we had quite a time getting all of the bags on the train and finding a place to store it all. It was about a 30 minute ride to our stop and I was already thinking about how we were going to get our bags off the train and then get then all to the hotel since we wouldn't have the benefit of a luggage cart. We each had one bag with wheels but the others were all duffel bags. Two of the duffel bags are pretty big and also quite heavy. I decided I was going to try to turn my large duffel bag into a backpack by putting my arms through the handles so I could carry it on my back. Larry thought I had lost my mind and said there was no way it would work. So when we got off the train I had Larry hoist the bag up on my back and it actually worked. The handles didn't have any padding though so they were digging into my shoulders pretty bad but I was determined to get to the hotel that way. We got a little lost walking but eventually found the hotel and dumped the bags in the lobby. The lady at the desk was somewhat laughing when she saw me and said "wow, that looks heavy". I'm not sure if it was the size of the bag or the look on my face that made her think it was heavy. It was about 6:00 pm by the time we got checked in and we had now been traveling for 24 hours. Oh the joys of travel!

Summer or winter?

10:00am

We went to dinner right after we got checked in at the hotel. The hotel is a short walk to We went to dinner right after we got checked in at the hotel. The hotel is a short walk to the water and there are dozens of good restaurants all along the water with great views the water and there are dozens of good restaurants all along the water with great views. The weather was perfect. Sunny and around 68 degrees. We sat on the restaurant patio for dinner and watched all the activity along the boardwalk. It was very busy since it was such a nice summer evening and everyone wanted to be outside. I started noticing that a lot of people were wearing down jackets. It was so strange that in the summer with beautiful sunny weather that people were dressed as if it was winter. We only had short sleeve shirts on and were quite comfortable. We kept wondering where these people are from that they thought this was cold weather. If anyone should have been cold it should have been us since we just came from sweltering Phoenix weather. It appears that these Norwegians are wimps when it comes to weather. If this is how they dress on one of the warmest summer days they ever get, I can't imagine how they dress in the winter when it's cold and snowy. Anyway, we had a nice dinner and then walked back to the hotel exhausted from our long day of travel and went to bed. The following day we decided to walk around town and do some exploring. The weather was great again and there was still a lot of people walking around with down jackets, I just don't get it. We walked for hours, wandered into some shops and then ended up back at the water. We had lunch at Jamie Oliver's restaurant and then went back to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner. After dinner we had to get our luggage organized since we were leaving for the Arctic the next day. We were only taking two of our bags to the Arctic and leaving two at the hotel that we will pick up when we come back at the end of our 10 day trip. Packing for this trip has been a nightmare! First we packed our bags for the Arctic back in May before we moved out of our house. We sold our house in May and moved onto a rental house until our new place is finished and we figured it would be easiest to pack the Arctic suitcase before the move since we wouldn't need any of those cold weather clothes until we got to Svalbard. It seemed like a good plan but the problem was that we couldn't remember what we packed and if we had everything we needed for the Arctic. Oh well, it will have to do.

Out of touch

4:00pm

There will be a delay in posting entries to the blog while I'm in Svalbard because we can't get an internet connection this far North. It will probably be 5 or 6 days before we'll be back in touch with the world.
Now we're off in search of polar bears!

It's a small world

4:00am

We woke up early this morning and finished getting everything ready to go to Svalbard. After breakfast we lugged our bags back to the train station to catch our train to the airport. As we were waiting in line to check in for our flight at the airport I heard someone call my name. I'm thinking who knows me here? I look to the front of the line and see a couple that we met on the world cruise last year. They are also going on the Arctic trip. It's crazy to be this far from home and see someone that you know. We had a three hour flight to Longyearbyen and then got on the ship. This is the same ship that we took to Antarctica a few years ago. We got settled, unpacked, and had some champagne. We met our butler and then went to the lounge to have a glass of wine as we sailed away. We had a nice dinner and went to bed to rest up before our adventure begins tomorrow.

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