The Last Leg

Our last day and I managed to catch Dick’s cold, however, I sat in the hot springs tub and enjoyed the morning air.   We had a lovely breakfast and said good-bye to Emma, our host, 

These are some beautiful felt art pieces Emma has hanging in her lobby.  



We proceeded hacking and sniffling our way to Reykjavik for one last visit.  

This is the majestic Hallgrimskirkja church a tall landmark within downtown Reyjkavic.  


Enjoyed walking around the lake one last time…

  And a full double rainbow gift enroute to the airport. 


These are cool wood slat benches throughout the  airport 

And a Duty Free Reindeer


A glimpse of how we might feel on the long plane ride home. 

Thank you for reading this blog about our travels.  It was always fun to write and I have appreciated your likes and comments.  We are still processing the trip as we adjust to our home, our dirty laundry, and all the loose ends we are finding upon our arrival home.  We set out to learn about other countries and I think we learned a lot about ourselves, too.  Spending a month 24/7 with your spouse is a wonderful challenge.  We met some wonderful people, read stories to each other, listened to music, compared photos and perceptions, laughed together, bitched at each other when required, and overall have a stronger relationship than when we left. I guess that made it all worth it.  

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The Golden Circle

Today we are in Hveragerdi and after breakfast we may drive the Golden Circle road. But first breakfast! I decided to steam my eggs in a steam vent.





Eggs were excellent! 

We walked along the river by our guest house.  

Remnants of an old woolen mill nearby. 





The weather was forecasted for cloudy weather but we are lucky and enjoying the sun.   This should be a beautiful day to drive the Golden Circle.    We’ll share a few sights along the way.  

First stop was Kerio Crater.  Approximately 3000 years old the water fluctuates with the water table.  We walked around the crater. 


Strokkur Geyser is the largest continually active geyser in Iceland. 


Gullfoss is a stunning two tiered waterfall on the Hvita River.  




In the early 20th century there were plans to harness the energy by building a power plant over it.  Sigridur Tomasdatter fought with her family to protect its wildness.  She guided people on trails down into gorge.  She lived to be 87 and is considered one of the country’s first female environmentalists.  ( Plus beautiful hair!)




Many of the vistas reminded us of the Ice Age Flood formations in Eastern Washington.  

Lots of Icelandic Ponies in the fields grazing.  Also lots of sheep and a few cows.  

Meeting a tractor on a one lane bridge…


View from the bridge..

It was a perfect day to drive the Golden Circle road.  Our last full day before going home.  

   Frost and Fire

After an 18 hour delay in Stockholm we landed in Reykjavik at midday and took our car to Hveragerdi to find Frost and 🔥.  





Frost and Fire is our destination along a flowing river with hot springs all over the hillside. They have contained their geothermal waters in two hot tubs along the riverside and a large warm swimming pool.    We made it! 


We jumped into the hot tub not long after getting situated in our room.  It is just outside our door.  How convenient!  Ahhhh!!! Perfect temperate water to lighten and warm the soul!  

After a lovely soak we set out to walk the hillside paths.  



Our place from across the river on a footbridge.



Lots of warnings! 





This has been going on a long time!




Old and new….


A slender waterfall feeding the stream.

Tonight we will have dinner at the Restaurant Varma here on site.    They use the hot springs to cook some of their dishes and bake their desserts.  They bake bread and we can boil our breakfast eggs in the hot springs!  Geothermal Disneyland!  

It is raining and hailing outside but we are staying warm.  Just two more sleeps before we return home to Redmond!  

The Archipelago 

30,000 islands make up the Swedish Archipelago!   Everyone seems to have waterfront property!  


Walking around Varmdo Island on trails linking forest and sea between sun and clouds.  




I think fairies may  live here…



These sailboats were racing in the high wind. They looked like hydrofoil hulls suspended over the water.  







Back where we are staying. 




Billy’s playhouse.  

And up over the hill to The Artipelag (where we went the first day).  Some photos of their smorgasbord and the exhibit by Bigert and Bernstein.  



Time to pack up and move on to Iceland. We loved our stay in the woods. 


Bye bye Billy!  MEOW! 

VASA  –                    Afloat: 40 minutes     Under water: 330 years


This ship was underwater for 330 years after being built as a warship with 70 cannons aboard.  It sailed for only forty minutes on its maiden voyage before capsizing as it caught wind in its sails.   It seems it was not the weight of the cannons alone that caused the imbalance but King Gustavus Adolphus ordered more and more features above the waterline and the shipbuilders obliged him.  The bottom of the hull and ballast just could not support the entire weight of the ship and it tipped over and filled with water. The only 17th century ship that is intact with 98% of its original materials.  Although the cannons were pillaged, brilliant marine archaeologists raised the ship and began learning and restoring.     


When the ship launched the carvings were painted these bright colors. 



Archaeologists in the cage are still researching, cataloging, and assembling artifacts found in the shipwreck.  



The masts of the Vasa on the outside of the beautiful museum.   Walked along the harbor.



Had lunch at the Spritmuseum




Then into the Norsk Museum




Majestic inside, too!  Interesting Swedish cultural exhibits ranging from lighting, furniture, jewelry, table settings, to the aurora borealis. 



Time to go home…





Took a bus back to Varmdo.  

Little Cabin in the Woods    


How about a quick tour of the cabin?   

Here is the back view from the bedroom.  A wood-fired hot tub on the deck…

Fiorella and her three children flew to Rome this morning.  It is a school vacation week for them. We agreed to feed Billy, their deaf cat, while they are gone.  More on Billy later.  This was taken from Fiorella’s deck. 





Inside the cabin -one great room..





When Fiorella bought the giant chain of beads her 90 year old grandmother saw them and scoffed about how women’s fashion has gotten out of control. So funny. 


She has a tiny mini-store so you can purchase pasta/sauce for dinner, little candles, facials, and a bamboo toothbrush.

The bedroom is cozy

Dick reading in bed

Between the bed and shower a huge pane of glass, skyscraper sized

Mirror mirror on the wall

And a lovely sauna…

Metal of choice is copper



Here is Billy! 

A little about Sweden:

“While church is handy for Christmas, Easter, marriages, and burials, most Swedes are more likely to find religion in nature, hiking in the vast forests or fishing in one of the thousands of lakes or rivers. Sweden is almost 80 percent wilderness, and modern legislation incorporates an ancient common law called allemans rätt, which guarantees people the right to move freely through Sweden’s natural scenery without asking landowners for permission, as long as they behave responsibly.” from “Rick Steves Scandinavia” by Rick Steves

This is our kind of place!  

Walked down to the beach on Vardmo Island.


We walked up the hill from the cabin to an amazing cultural art/design center the Artipelag.  Liledor and Bjorn Jacobsen, Baby Bjorn baby pack designer, provided funding and inspiration for the project.  The beautiful building houses international art exhibits, designer conferences, a restaurant, cafe/bakery, gift shop, and community meeting place.  


Here is the rooftop of the building.  

Vegetables grown here are served in their restaurant.  

A peaceful rooftop plaza




We stopped for a brunch buffet.  Here’s a giant boulder integrated into the building.  


And on our merry way home…


Billy asked to come in as he is easily wrapping Dick around his little toenail. 



Billy now knows where his cuddlers and feeders are staying!        MEOW! 

5 years old again!




Traveled from Heathrow to Stockholm on SAS this morning just a little over two hours.   

I loved this  Bill Bryson quote because it speaks to me.  Sometimes you just have to feel yourself through a situation like a child and it seems to work.   And that is one of the true values of travel.  Dick keeps telling me he wants to bring me home in a seat beside him and not in a box when he sees me crossing a busy street. He is often more cautious than I am.  

We rented a Skoda (thinking about our Czech friend, Roman❤️) and headed for Stockholm just in time for rush hour.  Spent almost as long driving to our rental house than flying to Stockholm.  The place we are staying is 25 minutes outside of Stockholm in the archipelago in Varmdo.  

Fiorella, our host, was there to meet us. She is very welcoming.  It is a cozy, wonderful log cabin in the countryside.  It reminds me of children’s books I have read.  


Her place is simple and beautifully furnished. 

Fiorella showed us how everything works.  The cabin is small and every detail is well thought out. Ironically, no IKEA products here.  She prepared this beautiful spread to enjoy on our first evening here. 



Took a sauna(no photos 😜) and cozy bedtime stories.  Godnott!

“Last Train to London Leavin’ on Runway Number Five”

Being in London somehow feels like coming home.   With so much music for our generation coming from England and the English literature we were taught in school there are so many familiar place names.  “Abby Road”…”Portobello Belle”….”Waterloo Sunset”….  “Westminster Abby the Tower of Big Ben..(the rosy  red cheeks of the little children)”  ….”London Bridge is Falling Down”…to name a few.




But is there a song about

                                ?




Please comment below if you know of one.  

The Tower of Power..The Tower of London



He didn’t think this was funny but I did.  

A pub with a suggestive name


Locals call this building “The Gherkin”




Conran Design Store in the Michelin building is so cool! 


We leave London in the morning.  Our visit has been reinvigorating and fun.  What a city!  You just can’t see and do it all!  We’ll be back!  

The London Eye

The London Eye, a 443′ tall ferris wheel, was meant to be a temporary installation when it opened in 1997.  It is one of the most popular paid tourist attractions in London so it stayed.  It takes 30 minutes to go around and does not stop so you must be prepared to step on in slow movement.   

Skate park across from a book market…strange path fellows.  


Pitch him a pound! 



In bed and loud fireworks go off in several spots on the riverside.  I managed to jump out of bed and catch a few.  Sweet and Wild dreams to all!


Tree Pose with a View!

This is The Shard, Western Europe’s highest skyscraper at 95 stories.  The viewing gallery is on Stories 69-72 about 800 ft up.  


This morning I got up early to attend a weekly sky high yoga class on the 69th floor.  The instructor’s name was Leo Lourdes from Yogasphere and he was fabulous.  The morning sunshine, stretching into the poses, and the incredible views all around made it worth getting up so early.  And we got a little goody bag, too!  

One of the lobbies is gray with thick white street map lines and comments noting what happened in various spots.   I liked this one.


Afterwards, Dick and I meandered over to the Borough Market for a little breakfast.  Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London.  Delicious food from every ethnicity and food ingredients from A to Z.  


Porcini!  
I’m kind of mushroom obsessed!


Paella!



I had grilled scallops on greens and Dick had a salted beef sandwich.  We had cardamom Turkish coffee and a bit of halveh for dessert.  Yummy!

Then on to the bridges.

From London Bridge and on to Hay’s Galleria.  It was built in 1850 as a covered wharf around a dock.  The tea clippers from India and China favored this wharf because it kept the goods dry.  


The Tower of London -poor Ann Boleyn!

And The Tower Bridge 

We went to Green Park and Hyde Park on this beautiful autumn day. 


Sunset from the flat was gorgeous.  This is the Tower Bridge opening for a tall masted boat. Can you see it opening?  


We had dinner at the “Mayflower” just fives minutes downriver from our flat.   Supposedly, the Mayflower sailed from London not Plymouth and had been moored outside this inn.  (Not fake news). 


After a delicious meal we walked home and fell into bed.  Good night!