Tag Archives: europe

Around the World

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Thursday morning we depart on a round the world trip with the kids. On the itinerary: Depart Sydney for Singapore; Bodø, Norway; Lofoten Islands (Moskenes to Tromsø), Norway; Longyearbyen (Svalbard/Spitsbergen), Norway; Hamburg, Germany; Charlotte, North Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and San Francisco, California.

Come along and see what we are up to…

Here is what our organized chaos looks like right now. Not anywhere near organized, but moving in the right direction. I am coming down with some terrible sickness and I am struggling with clear thinking!

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One day glimpse of our travels in Norway

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I am about four days behind doing Norway posts but I have to share our day on Monday. It was a long, tiring day but so much packed in.

Monday was one of those days that had grand vistas, glorious views and memorable experiences.

The day started off with this view:

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Then a drive through the world’s longest tunnel, the The Lærdal Tunnel which is 24.5km long. It has three lighted cathedral/cave areas:

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From here we crossed a fjord by ferry and then drove by some mirror-like fjords.

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After more and more tunnels we made it to the glacier area.

We visited a Bøyabreen glacier. It has retreated so much that the terminal end is high up the mountainside now. There was still a large piece down at sea level that we managed, just, to walk to. We had to walk along a rocky shoreline and then cross a river (which we managed to get around on the way back). The river was very shallow here but was full of fine glacial silt. I went first….and nearly lost my shoes! Oops. Too wet and muddy, find another way. Once we got up to the glacier we clamoured up rocks to have a look and feel of the ice. It was a good learning experience for the kids.

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After our little adventure I washed my shoes in the river and we were packing up we heard a rumbling noise. I heard it earlier and thought it was an airplane I couldn’t see. Then we saw it, the glacier high up on the mountain was calving, sending heaps of ice flowing down the mountainside. It was all very exciting.

We had been adventuring all day and we really needed to get to our hotel in Geiranger. There were a few viewpoints to see along the way, but Dalsnibba came highly recommended. It is a toll road and is 5km up the mountainside on switchbacks.

Here are a couple of the views from Dalsnibba looking down to the Geirangerfjord. Magnificent, majestic, these are two of the words to describe the view from up here. 1500m up above the valley. The kids played in snow and got dirty. It was so much fun. Of course my shoes were wet so I was standing up at this viewpoint with my summer shoes on. Brrrrr.

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We finally arrived at Hotel Union which was a last minute change. We were booked into a hotel in Ålesund but realised it was going to be far too much driving for one day. Hotel Union sat up on the hill overlooking the Geirangerfjord which was fine by us. We had a beautiful buffet dinner and stopped to see the pool area before retreating to our room for the night. It was deserted and inviting so off we went to change. There was a kids area, a sauna, warm pool with crackling fire on one end and the best part was the outdoor heated pool. It was cold out there but jumping in the heated outdoor pool was heavenly. It was 10:00 before we all collapsed into bed for the night.

What a wonderful day! And more to come.

Reflecting on the journey

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A couple of weeks ago we had our eleven year anniversary of being expats. It made me stop to think about the journey I have had since that June weekend I stepped on the plane thinking we would be away four to six months. Here we are eleven years, two kids, and several moves later sprinkled with our favourite thing to do—travel.

Our journey has been filled with ups and downs, stress, joy, friends, family and most importantly—learning. Although we haven’t lived very long in a country requiring a new language (Germany for a few months) we have had to learn new cultures. With the UK and Australia being English-speaking countries you would think it would be easy to acclimate. It is amazing how long it takes to learn how things work, where to buy things, popular culture and so on. After eight years in England we were really feeling like it was home. Here we are three years in Australia and we still laugh about things we are learning. It feels like each day something new pops up we have never heard before—whether that is a person, a word or a little fact about Australia. I won’t even go into the different accents and slang and everything else we coped with living especially in the UK. Steep learning curve for language!!

We have had the privilege of travelling extensively over the past eleven years of living abroad. It was easy to travel when we lived in England, especially when we lived outside of London. We had so many options to get over to Europe—plane, train and ferry. Travel is a priority in our lives so we make the most of it. We don’t spend money on much, saving for our next holiday. Moving to Australia posed a bit of a travel problem for us. I was pregnant with Alex when we moved here. Travel with two kids made things a bit more difficult, as well as the distances. Australia is much bigger than I had imagined. After Alex turned two it was much easier to do some travelling. We have travelled to several cities around Australia as well as some South Pacific islands and New Zealand. Now that he is about to turn three and Sofia is five we can do about anything–with restrictions due to Sofia’s school schedule.

We have met some amazing people along the way. It has been hard here in Australia to see friends come and go as they come to Sydney for work and then move on. It tends to make you protective about friendships. I haven’t learned to let that down after all of this time. That said, I have met and continue to meet some wonderful people.

We don’t know how much longer we will be in Sydney. A year? Three years? Who knows? I do know there are still plenty of things we want to do and see here before we move on to the next adventure. It has been an interesting eleven years and I can’t wait to see what the next eleven bring us!