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Norway/Iceland 2005

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Travel companions: 4 High School classmates. Purpose of our trip was to visit a 5th classmates who we hadn't seen since 1982 when she was a foreign exchange student at our High School.

Photos posted at: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kay6213132/album?.dir=/fe6d&.src=ph&.tok=phz2m1DBmrkEYwys

Copy of e-mails sent home following:

9/15/05
Greetings from Alesund, Western Fjords of Norway!

We had such high expectations and everything is exceeding them in a big way. I don't know where to begin.

Tuesday and Wednesday were days of difficult, exhausting traveling. We were simply exhausted. Norwegian speed limits are very strict and slow. All we wanted to do after 5 hours of driving was get in our reserved cabin and crash. Once we left the "super highway" (very funny), everyone seemed to be injected with a high dose of delight. Our secondary road climbed a steep mountainside by hairpin turn after hairpin turn thru a pine forest with thick, carpeted moss floors. So, so gorgeous. We drove for what seemed hours in first gear to a point above the tree line where the road turned into a dirt track. A few more miles to our cabin thru terrain that reminded me of the very tops of the Yorkshire moors. Lots of bracken (red & orange) and light green colored lichen.

The delight increased as we moved into our cabin. An ancient farm (Putten Seter) converted for tourism. Old, old, old and beautifully furnished for visitors. Mom & Tim would just have not believed it. Wavy glass windows, antiques, fireplace...too cool. Everyone that was ready for bed at 5:00pm was revived. Cindy made some soup. Tammy & Tracie cut some apples, pears and fresh bread. Ronda gathered wood, made a fire and warmed some brie over the fire. I went out for an evening hike with the sheep and Norwegian cattle (very pretty...dark, reddish brown with white faces). We stayed up until 11:00 chattering and giggling like people who haven't slept in over 24 hours. Or 41-year old school girls.

Thursday morning we hiked to the peak of Peer Gynt (?). It felt like being on top of the world. In the distance were snow-capped mountains, lakes at high elevations, Rondane National Park. Many senior citizens passed up on the hike up the mountain. How embarrasing.

Today 4 hours of driving turned into about 7 hours. Way too much to see on the way. We passed thru Trollvegen under dark, spooky clouds. It freaked everyone out a bit. Ronda was speechless (!), she was so overwhelmed. It just couldn't be described...by far the best thing on earth I've seen so far.

We didn't make an island ferry until 9:30 tonight, arrived on Mette's island and after a little searching in the dark, found her house. Absolutely gorgeous. We are so lucky to be here! And we don't even know what these islands look like in the daylight. The house is inviting and we had a nice meal waiting for us. Everyone is in the dining room making much noise and drinking wine.

I'm tired, so tired. More mentally than physically. The extreme scenery at Trollvegen blowed my mind today. I think I'm having a meltdown.

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