2017 Travels - Roads Less Traveled and A "Dark" Day

Our 2017 travels started with a long adventure on the Silk Road.  That’s a destination… or rather a series of countries that needs an explanation every time we tell someone about it.  And it’s often met with at the very least the question… “Why?”  

How about quoting George Mallory in his answer to the New York Times about climbing Mount Everest, “Because it’s there.”

That’s not exactly why we travel. 

We travel because we love learning about other cultures… the food and the architecture. 

Our journey along the Silk Road taught us history beyond what we were taught in our US schools.

There were antique airplanes too.  That hobby gives us ideas for destinations, and once you get somewhere, explore!


Why Do YOU Travel?

You DO take your vacation time don’t you?  It always bothers me when I read  how many people don’t take all the time they’re allowed.  Travel recharges you.  Studies have shown that people who take their vacations are better workers… so go on vacation already!

What do you use to plan your vacations?  Hobbies are a good place to start.  Even visiting friends and family gets you out and about.  And there is nothing wrong with going to a nice sunny place and sitting by the beach or a pool.

Time to start planning your travels for next year… check around our site and see if any of our stories inspire you.  All our planning and packing pages are there to help you with your next trip.

Clicking on any of the photos starts a slide show with bigger photos and more explanation about our 2017 travels… So… Are you ready?  That long trip to Central Asia was where we started…

The Silk Road Through Central Asia

I’ve never really understood that children’s game of Marco Polo, but who wouldn’t want to go where Marco Polo went.  Well, not everyone, I guess, but the Silk Road called to us.

Registan Square in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes from the Far East to the Mediterranean.  We went through what the travel industry calls The 5 Stans.  That’s Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Map of the Silk Road in Khiva, Uzbekistan

I wrote a page on our Silk Road adventure with lots more pictures.  With these five new countries, I think our 2017 travels brought us to 108 counties visited.


Norway and The Netherlands

Don't be afraid to combine interests when you're planning your travels.  This trip took us on a train and boat adventure with friends and on a thrilling flight in an antique airplane.

Norway

Bergen

Bergen is always fun to visit.  The historic center is compact and pretty… and it’s especially nice if you have spectacular sunny weather!  The view from the top of Mt Fløyen is wonderful when it’s like that. 

Bergen Bryggen
Bergen, Norway

By Train - Traveling North For Three Days

Train from Bergen to Oslo

I won't bore you with all the beautiful scenery we saw from our three days on the train through Norway, but trust me... it IS beautiful. 

The first segment was along fjords then over the mountains from Bergen to Oslo. 

We stayed only one night in each city enroute because we’ve been before, but stop longer to explore if you’re going.

Oslo

In Oslo we revisited the Aker Brygge wharf for a late lunch.  It was only a short stroll to the Opera House.  All within easy walking distance from the train station. 

There are plenty of hotels to choose from so you don’t have to drag your bags too far.

Oslo Akershus and harbor
Oslo Opera House

Trondheim

The city of Trondheim is charming and very walkable…. especially if you have sunny weather.  And in summer daylight lasts until the wee hours of the morning! 

The Gothic Nidaros Cathedral dates from the 11th century and is worth a visit.  We wandered the old wharves and took the “required” photo on the Old Town Bridge, the Gamle Bybro.  It is also called “Lykkens Portal” which means Portal of Happiness.  The bridge was first built in 1681.

Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim
Trondheim Old Town Bridge

The Arctic Circle

Bodø is above the Arctic Circle and as far north as you can go in Norway by train. 

The trip on the Nordland line takes 10 hours from Trondheim to Bodø and according to their website has…

“44 stations, 293 bridges and 154 tunnels. 

It is the only rail line to cross the Arctic Circle.”

Arctic Circle marker

Bodø

A train ride across the Arctic Circle… that’s pretty cool, eh?  It’s a very pretty trip… and again, we were lucky with the beautiful sunny weather. 

We strolled the wharf area with its restaurants.  We had a wonderful bonus… the sailing ship Christian Radich cruised into Bodø and offered a dinner cruise around the fjord… how could we resist?

Christian Radich
Shrimp buffet aboard the Christian Radich

We did spend an afternoon at the Norwegian Aviation Museum... more about those planes on that link to Antique-Airplanes.com

Midnight stroll in Bodø

For many, this Nordland city is a jumping off point for outdoor activities. 

We were there for only a couple of nights and one full day. 

We missed the midnight sun, but we did have 24 hour daylight, so sitting outdoors for a late dinner included sunglasses! 

Even took this midnight walkabout.

Boat... Well, Ship - Hurtigruten

We boarded the Hurtigruten in Bodø for our cruise back to Bergen... at 3 in the morning!

Hurtigruten ship the Polarlys

For three days we cruised through an “inland passage” dipping into hamlets and cities on the fjords. 

All of the stops are less than two hours... many are much shorter, so if there is something you want to see on land, you must take excursions that will get you to the next port or just stay on board and enjoy the cruise. 

All of this was easy to arrange as independent travels.  For three days, just sightseeing from the deck was fun.

The Netherlands

This is where we get to the exciting antique airplane part.  As soon as the ship docked in Bergen, Mark and I headed to the airport and flew to Amsterdam.  We had a reservation to fly on a PBY-5A Catalina, a 75 year old amphibian that was supposed to make a “splash and dash”. 

The bad news is that the wind kicked up waves making it too dangerous for a water landing, so our flight was cancelled. 

The good news is that since we’re retired now, we could wait around a week, and we got our flight a week later.
    
We took advantage of the extra week to explore the back roads of the Netherlands and find some fun things.

We found the replica of the famous old ship Batavia.  We also found steam trains to ride and a carriage museum to visit. 

And we found the Hunebeds, the Megaliths of Drenthe.  These were ancient megalithic burial chambers built between 3400 BC to 2850 BC.  We love exploring ancient megaliths!

Replica of the Batavia
Megaliths of Drenthe

There were cute little canal towns… with windmills of course.  And charming fishing villages.  We strolled the dikes, went to the cheese markets in Edam and Hoorn.

Dokkum, Netherlands
Cheese Market Hoorn

And finally.... the PBY-5A Catalina ride! 

PBY-5A Catalina at Lelystad Airport

While that may be one of the highlights, it's not the end of our 2017 travels...

Oregon and The Total Solar Eclipse

Nope... those 2017 travels had to include the Total Solar Eclipse that was dubbed the Great American Eclipse because it was seen all across the continental US and only in the US.

And we made it a road trip, visiting aviation museums and wineries and friends all the way to Madras, Oregon and back. 

Mickey Mouse Telescope at the total solar eclipse
Totality during the solar eclipse

You don't have to travel to distant or exotic lands to have a fun filled adventure!

We had to camp for 5 days as accommodations were limited and booked well in advance, but it was great fun... And the the event itself?  Experiencing totality was an amazing experience.

Canada

It was an antique airplane that took us to Canada, but remember you can use those specialized interests and hobbies and expand them into a great trip.

We flew to Montreal, drove through the Laurentian Mountains and visited Mont-Trembland and Mont-Laurier before dropping back down to Ottawa and Gatineau.

In Ottawa we strolled around Parliament Hill and toured the Canadian Aviation Museum.  In Gatineau we saw totem poles at the Canadian History Museum…

Parliament Hill, Ottawa Canada
Totem Pole Exhibit Canadian History Museum

...and that antique airplane?

We flew in a 1932 de Havilland DH-83 Fox Moth.

1932 de Havilland DH-83 Fox Moth

To see more about that, head over to Antique-Airplanes again.

We've Wrapped Up Our 2017 Travels

Have we inspired you to plan for one of these destinations?  It’s fun writing these pages… looking back on our 2017 travels, it was just as varied and fun as I could ask for.

We’re starting to think about where we want to go next year.  No decisions made yet, but there is still a lot of the world to explore, and we're not going to stop!

Remember, these photos of our 2017 travels can be viewed in a slide show too… just click on any of them to start it.

Tell Us About YOUR 2017 Travels

Maybe you'll inspire us! 

Write us a travel story about your 2017 travels... or any favorite trip.  We also welcome your comments below on this page or any of our pages.  Like us on Facebook, we put photos up there too occasionally.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

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Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. 2017 Travels - Trains, Planes and Boats and Road Trips

    Our 2017 travels took us on wonderful international adventures… An exotic road trip to Central Asia and a domestic road trip to see the total eclipse of the sun.

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  2. Is the Water Safe?

    Water safety includes knowing when to drink only bottled water, when and where you can swim... Is the water safe is a good question to ask yourself.

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  3. Silk Road Adventure

    Ths silk road has called adventurers since ancient times... why not go yourself?

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