Archives for posts with tag: Russ Wagner

PART 5: OSLO, A CULTURAL METROPOLIS FOR MUSEUMS, ARTS, FABULOUS FOOD, THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, AND SO MUCH MORE!

Polar ship Fram

In PART 4: THE TROLL’S DAUGHTER DANCES, WATERFALLS PLUNGE, AND THERE’S SALMON… LOTS AND LOTS OF SALMON! We have left behind the jutting mountains, roaring waterfalls, and orchards planted on sloping hills like grapevines for the country’s largest city.

OSLO translates to Field of the Gods. It is a city undergoing vast urban revitalization.

Where we stayed:

Travellers of all shapes find their way to Thon Hotel Opera

Thon Hotel Opera is a convenient location that will become even more advantageous when the Oslo Opera House opens half a block away in 2019. Right now, the 480-room hotel is ideal for its location to shopping, restaurants and attractions, but what is particularly ideal is its Read the rest of this entry »

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PART 4: THE TROLL’S DAUGHTER DANCES, WATERFALLS PLUNGE, AND THERE’S SALMON… LOTS AND LOTS OF SALMON!

In PART 3: STEPPING INTO THE FAIRY TALE WORLD THAT IS NORWAY–GOAT FARMS, SKI RESORTS, FJORDS AND WHITE-KNUCKLE MOUNTAIN ROADS, we visited one of Norway’s most dramatic fjords, dined at a goat farm, and mellowed to the music of Composer Edvard Grieg.

The pastoral elegance of Lofthus

We leave Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, for the serene pastoral elegance of Lofthus, a city in Norway’s Fjord District. Small farms and villages tuck onto mountainsides. Slopes embrace sparkling fjords. Wild flowers grow haphazardly, creating a landscape of emotionally-charged blues, whites, greens, yellows and pinks. This is the Norway of picture postcards, of a place where time has paused to let one breathe crisp clean air and soak in the relentless natural beauty.

Lofthus

Where we stayed:

Over the bridge and to the water-surrounded decking at Hotel Ullensvang

Hotel Ullensvang may be one of the most beautiful resorts at which my husband Russ and I have ever stayed. From the moment we enter the Read the rest of this entry »

PART 3: STEPPING INTO THE FAIRY TALE WORLD THAT IS NORWAY–GOAT FARMS, SKI RESORTS, FJORDS AND WHITE-KNUCKLE MOUNTAIN ROADS

a private wedding and event center, in Oslofjord

In PART 2: DANISH ROYALTY– FROM THE QUEEN’S RESIDENCE TO HAMLET’S CASTLE TO KAREN BLIXEN’S SANCTUARY, reminders of Denmark’s history thrive today in castles, heroic citizens and the Arts.

We stepped onto the Pearl Seaways, an 1800-passenger cruise liner that masquerades as a ferry, in Copenhagen, Denmark and stepped off in Oslo, Norway. If our Odysseys Unlimited tour group of 24 had been awake during the overnight journey, we’d have seen some of the islands and landmarks along Norway’s 1,100-mile coastline.

Over the next 10 days Tour Director Karin Hansen led us by bus on hairpin mountain roads to gaze Read the rest of this entry »

MADRID, BARCELONA AND TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS

In Part 3, Churches were once Mosques and Synagogues, Novelists pay homage to Spain’s bullfighters and castles, Tapas tantalizes and Flamenco fiery passions ignite.

Spain rolls out the welcome mat

Madrid was the last stop of our guided Odyssey Tour. For five of the 10 couples, our next stop was Barcelona, a three-day tour extension. Odyssey arranged our transportation to the airport from Madrid to Barcelona and had a local guide waiting to escort us to our final hotel. Transportation was also arranged to take us to the airport for our journey home.

Downtown Spain, where many buildings have sculptures decorating the skylines.

Where we stayed: Wellington Hotel, an old-world property near some of Spain’s luxury shopping. Many of the stores were brands popular in the United States, such as Tiffany or Benetton.

What we saw: Plaza Mayor, located in the heart of the city, and Palacio Real, a 2,800 room residence that was home to Bourbon kings from Charles III to Alfonso XIII. The palace today Read the rest of this entry »

OLIVE OIL, HEMINGWAY, FLAMENCO DANCE, AND TAPAS

In Part 2, Roman ruins, mountain-top castles, gypsy offerings, history rich from battles and architectural ingenuity

Parador de Ronda in the background while restaurants, hotels and homes sit precariously on the edge of the El Tajo Gorge

There are more than 300 million olive trees planted across Spain. Don’t tell Italy, but we were informed that much of Italy’s olive oils derive from Spanish olives. That was just a glimpse into the world’s largest producers of olive oil. On the road from Carmona to Ronda, our Odyssey Tour group stopped for a few hours at Basilippo Calidad Gourmet Olive Oil company in El Viso del Alcor, Seville, Spain for a hands-on experience of picking olives from the trees. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the only time we had Read the rest of this entry »

SPAIN FURTHER AWAKENS OUR SENSE OF HISTORY, FROM CASTLES TO ICONIC CHURCHES

In Part 1, our tour of Portugal took us on a trip through Lisbon, Monsarez and Évora. The journey continues into Spain.

Roman Amphitheatre in Mérida

Mérida was a much too-short visit to one of the most fascinating attractions of our tour thus far. At least for my husband Russ and me. We’ve never been to Rome, so have never been to the remnants of the Roman Colosseum; therefore, the exploration of the Roman Amphitheatre and the Roman Theatre in Mérida was like being on the set of “Gladiator,” without having to watch the blood, gore and thumbs-down kill signs hoisted by a rabid audience.

While at the UNESCO World Heritage archeological site with our Odyssey Tour group, schools of Read the rest of this entry »

Belem Tower, Lisbon, Portugal,

PART 1: PORTUGAL

We travelled back to 13th century Portugal and Spain without having to step foot in a time machine or imbibing in mind-altering drugs. The trip began simply enough with an overnight stay at the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, the first stop in our two-week trip with Odysseys Unlimited’s tour of historic lodging and architecture.

The tour is billed as Paradores & Pousadas, which means luxury accommodations resurrected from ancient monasteries, castles or city halls by governments eager to restore iconic structures reflective of Read the rest of this entry »

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