Showing posts from September, 2014

Carpe diem

“Death twitches my ear, ‘Live,’ he says, ‘I am coming.’ ”
-- Virgil

Three city blocks – it happened that instantaneously.The day’s excitement nose-dived into fighting for my life.
I was up late the night before, Skype-ing with people in the States.At 05:00 I woke up slowly, placed last minute toiletries in my suitcase & ate the leftover strawberries + carrot cake from the mini-refrigerator.Today in Bergen, Norway, I went through morning procedures like most other mornings of my life in the U.S.A.: groggy and functioning on a very basic level.
Iceland proved to be better than expected & Bergen was picturesque, but I was certain nothing from this trip would, or could, compare to the Arctic Circle.As you know, the entirety of my European adventures spawned out of one singular dream – to see polar bears in the wild – and soon I would be departing mainland Norway, headed straight to the animals’ realm.
Still sleepy, Mom & I stepped onto Bergen’s barren streets.Though the sun was…


"A friend, as it were, a second self."
-- Cicero

In this chapter of my month-long vacation – and, moreover, my life – I could not fully do my novella of the Arctic justice without describing its characters.

Aboard G Adventures’ (sometimes referred to as G.A.P. a.k.a. the Great Adventure People) MS Expedition, I quickly learned that the feeding hours were one step above lunch period in high school.Dinner was a step above the teen years due to the more comfortable seating (individual, padded chairs chained to the floors versus plastic picnic tables), 4-course meals, and exceptionally better company.Then, there were similarities between my high school cafeteria & the ship’s atmosphere: the food was still mediocre & usually fried, and there was a political undertow.Like no nerds attempted to sit with jocks, certain people were hand-picked to esoterically join the captain for dinner.
To remove herself entirely from this silent social game, Mom sat alone – at a table suited…


The last time Mom & I were in Europe in 2011 we train-hopped and shoved our way onto busses, but did absolutely no driving (unless you count wrecking a motorcycle). Traveling around Iceland and Norway I saw many unfamiliar signs.  Hopefully, after taking the quiz below, you will be more prepared than I was.

#1 * Tunnel * Ranger station * Shelter  * Train station

ANSWER:  Tunnel  You have probably seen a magazine advertisement with a cute, Norwegian town on the side of a fjord.  If not, then you are probably aware that travelers flock to the country for its BASE-jumping.  This fantastic landscape also necessitated tunnelens a.k.a. tunnels.  A local told us there were 80-some tunnels in the two-hour stretch of road between Bergen & Eidfjord.  He was correct.  Some were short & I could see the sky on the other side before we entered the tunnelen.  Others interjected into the rock face, as in the photograph above.  All the tunnelens had some form of lighting & -- smartly – …