Best of the Best

The Adventure in Akureyri

The Adventure in Akureyri

During this contract, I was able to do and see some truly incredible things.  Since coming home, I’ve frequently been asked about my favorite places, and I’ve had trouble answering!  There were so many wonderful places, but I liked different ports for different things.  Looking back through my photos, I tried to break down some of the highlights of the past few months.  This is what I came up with…  The Best of the Adventure.

Best Hike

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

Best Beaches

Paradise

Paradise

Photo doesn't do it justice!

Photo doesn’t do it justice!

Just look at that water

Just look at that water

Best tours

Tuk tuk tour

Tuk tuk tour

Camels at the base

Camels at the base

Magic at the top

Magic at the top

Best Place for Beer

  • Beer Wall in Bruges
    • I made a special category for Bruges, because I had such a great day there!  The beer is fantastic, but the whole city is worth visiting!
Beer Wall

Beer Wall

Favorite Landmarks

Amazing to see

Amazing to see

I could visit every day!

I could visit every day!

Best Museum

  • The Guggenheim Bilbao
    • The architect, Frank Gehry, also designed the Guggenheim Museum that will soon be built in Abu Dhabi.  There was an interesting article in the New York Times about the new museum.
Beautiful Gehry building

Beautiful Gehry building

Favorite City

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Favorite Country

Sunset in Reykjavik

Sunset in Reykjavik

Northern Lights.  Photo by: Daffodaleia Williams

Northern Lights. Photo by: Daffodaleia Williams

I knew the quality of the places I was visiting was pretty astounding, but I just recently added up the quantity!  I’ve now been to 39 countries.  I can’t wait to add more to the list in the New Year!

Casey’s Travel Map

Casey has been to: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, China, Curacao, Denmark, Fiji, France, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican, Vietnam.

Get your own travel map from Matador Network.

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On Top of the World

Last cruise, the ice captain organized an outing to Preikestolen for a hike up to Pulpit Rock. When we docked in Stavanger, 26 members of the crew, mostly from the cruise division, met at the gangway. We had a quick walk through town to the ferry station, then were able to buy ferry and bus round trip tickets once on board.

Starting the hike

Starting the hike

The ferry ride took about 30 minutes, and then there was a 15-20 minute bus ride to the mountain. When we got off the bus, our leader set a time to meet back at the bus stop, and we broke off into smaller groups to hike.

Getting higher

Getting higher

The entire way up, I was astounded by how beautiful my surroundings were. Up, down, left, right… Everywhere I looked, there was something to take my breath away.

In a cloud

In a cloud

Some parts of the climb were harder than others. For example, some portions were just rocks, and since it had recently rained, it was a bit slippery. I was tired and sweaty by the time I reached the top, but it was worth it!

Amazing

Amazing

Looking across the way, there were more mountains. The valley in between had a large river. The edge of the main cliff dropped straight down. Sitting on the edge for a photo, I was simultaneously scared and stimulated. There was actually a line for photos there!

Waiting for the perfect photo

Waiting for the perfect photo

I had about thirty minutes until I needed to head back down, so I took a seat with some of my friends and we pulled out the sandwiches we had snuck off the ship. After our little picnic and a few more photos, we started down.

My turn!

My turn!

In the steep sections, going down was almost harder than going up. My knees hurt by the time it was all over, but I felt rejuvenated after breathing the fresh mountain air.

Incredible views

Incredible views

We caught the bus and ferry back to Stavanger, and had just enough time to walk through town before our all-aboard time. The day, in a word, was perfect.

Life doesn't get much better...

Life doesn’t get much better…

All Wet in Alesund

Alesund

Alesund

In Alesund, Norway, I was in an adventurous mood. I got off the ship with a few friends hoping to either bike or kayak. Since kayaking is less common, and there was a rental just two blocks away, we opted to do that.

Getting directions

Getting directions

Growing up in Texas, I didn’t participate in many water activities. This was actually my first kayaking experience! The woman adjusting my pedals decided that since I had long legs, I’d be more comfortable without them. I, not knowing what I was supposed to feel like in the kayak, didn’t see the problem with this decision until it was too late.

Let's go!

Let’s go!

We started rowing, and since I didn’t have a solid base from pushing against pedals, I felt quite unstable. However, I thought that was just because it was my first time. When we were directly behind our ship, within view of some friends sitting back deck, one of the guys in my group nudged me. That little push was enough for me to tip over! I was stuck, fully clothed, in the water with my kayak flipped over.

Site of the accident

Site of the accident

I was able to turn the kayak back over, but needed both boys to help stabilize it while I climbed in. Since I was horribly embarrassed, I chose to row back to a dock we had passed so we could dump the water out of the kayak rather than pumping it all out. My friend also re-adjusted my pedals so I was more stable.

All good now!

All good now!

Although I was soaked and cold, the day got much better after that! The views from the water were fantastic. It was a really neat way of seeing the town. We also so a few unidentified creatures while we were rowing around.

So fun

So fun

When we returned the kayaks, one of the other girls dropped her phone in the water. Without a moment of hesitation, one of the boys stripped down to his underwear and jumped in to get it. The phone, luckily, was in a waterproof case, so it was fine. The guy, however, was just as cold and wet as I was (if not more).   We decided to get back on-board, shower, change clothes, and then go back out for a walk and a beer.

Wandering

Wandering

After a bit of souvenir shopping, we found a nice bar to sit in. I tried a house brewed amber ale that was pretty fantastic. We had a nice, relaxing afternoon out, before returning home. In spite of all the drama and accidents, it was a lovely day.

Final view

Final view