Travel Tuesdays


As a regular contributing author, I introduce today our new “Travel Tuesdays”. We are not all travelers, or writers or photographers. But I find we all love stories of places and the people who make them different, alluring, exotic. Out of the ordinary and apart from the everyday, travel stories give us perspective of a greater world out there. And offered from a different point of view, history is no longer flat. It takes on color and vibrancy. Shapes. Feelings. Connections.




So for this inaugural Travel Tuesdays post, I continue with the 4th in my series from aboard the Disney cruise ship, The Magic. Our port stop, after a six-day North Atlantic crossing is Stavenger, Norway. Gateway to the iconic Norwegian fjords.




I think of my mom and her lifetime longing to visit this country. Her father’s family hailed from Norway, but she knew little about him. He died at an early age so there was no handing down of traditions, culture and stories. I wonder would she have felt a natural affinity to this land were she here? And then I wonder, will I experience any connectedness? A feeling of roots unexplored? Will it beckon me through its past, its present, its people?




I scan the Norwegian shores from the deck of The Magic. I see neat, clean rectangles of yellow, red, gray, blue or green. Homes trimmed neatly in crisp, bright white, boat houses at the shore. And boats. Marinas are packed tight with sailing vessels and the the harbor boasts large ships of bright orange, yellow, red. And ferries. The air is fresh, clean and cold. So far, really good. I like what I see.




We disembark only to board another boat. To tour. Our guide tells us there are 200,000 islands and that over 90% of Norway is forested. Industry comes from the sea. A top world petroleum exporter. First in salmon, cod and herring. The completely organic fisheries are a series of buoyed nets in the sea; completely mobile so that they can be moved should infections invade. Chemicals are not used.




We stop for waffles and coffee. The waffles are delightful; the coffee is great. So is the tea, someone remarks.  Surrounded by verdant greens and fresh, clean air, we relax, chat. Take pictures.

PicMonkey Collage


Having boarded again we proceed deeper into the fjord. Cliffs rise higher and rougher, splatters of bright spring green clinging to the stone. We begin to see ribbons of waterfalls. Our captain pulls close to one and the crew fills a stainless bucket so that we may taste cold, clear Norwegian mountain water. It is a hit.


PicMonkey Collage2


Returning to the port, our guide extends a charming invitation. School is adjourning and this boat will pick the children up and deliver them to their homes. We are welcome to stay aboard should time allow. A large commuter ferry passes. It strikes me how truly bound to the water, the sea, are the Norwegians. Island hoppers. And there, finally, I recognize my own connection: the waterways, the sea, the boats, the life lived close to nature. I, too, am a coastal girl.

Nancy Kirkpatrick


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