Monday, August 1, 2016

10 Reasons for Visiting Scandinavia in Summer

travel journal

It's summer which is all about palm trees, bikinis, and tropical drinks with umbrellas. Unless you aren't a real fan. Since I'm a gardener and beekeeper the season certainly has advantages but secretly I find myself longing for chilly nights by the fire with an Irish coffee. So while lots of folks head to the beach for their summer vacation my husband and I headed to Copenhagen and from there to Norway and Iceland with a couple of friends.

Here's a list of reasons why it's a fantastic travel option in summer:

danish boats

1. Charming scenery and quaint vignettes. In case you don't want one more travel photo of palm trees and sand.

2. Gardens and flowers that thrive in a cool rainy climate. I'll be doing a whole post about gardens later but while things at home are wilting in triple digit heat it was refreshing to stumble upon sweet  flowers and delicate plants.

3. The quality of the fruit.  These rasberries and blackberries were massive. In Europe you can be pretty sure your food hasn't been tampered with in that all American GMO Frankenberry way that our FDA approves of.

moss and trees

4. Mystical forests. In the Southeastern US a summer walk in the woods is fraught with real dangers and minor annoyances. From poisonous snakes to ticks and mosquitoes there are a lot of things to ruin a lovely walk including sweltering heat. We found this forest at the top of a mountain in Norway and I don't think any natural place has ever enchanted me more. Okay except for the inside of a bee hive.

traveling norway

5. The seafood. It's everywhere and in all forms from fresh lobsters to crab paste in a can to caviar in a tube.

norwegian fish market

6. The friendliness of the people.  The backstory to this photo is that as we were walking around this fish market in Bergen, Norway the song from the speakers providing the soundtrack was Song of the South by Alabama. That's right--as in

                                                             Song, Song of the south
                                                 Sweet potato pie, and I shut my mouth
                                                             Gone, gone with the wind
                                                 There aint no body looking back again

When we asked this guy about it he said that everyone in Norway loves country music. My favorite thing about travel is always a broken stereotype. 

arctic summer midnight sun

7. You can wear your sunglasses at night. Literally. As our cruise ship left Copenhagen we had our last dark night for the next 10 days. It was cloudy during this entire trip so while it never got dark we also never saw any actual sunshine. It's a bit disorienting but you get used to it.  This picture was taken at midnight after crossing the Arctic Circle off the northern coast of Iceland.

cruising iceland

 8. You can give your winter clothes a vacation. Your sweaters and scarves will be so happy to get out of storage for a few days! And when you get home you don't have to rush to do the laundry. You won't be wearing these cloths again until fall.

9. Everyone--and I mean everyone-- speaks English. You won't find signs or printed materials in English for the most part in Norway and Iceland, but you won't have any trouble communicating. No one is really dressing like this but the people of Renavik, Faroe Islands put on a street show with music and traditional folk music and dancing. See No. 6.


 10. You can take a break from sunscreen.  You won't be needing it. You can leave the insect repellent home too. You'll need that room in your suitcase for an extra hat and a pair of gloves for chilly July days.

Remember the Bizarro episode of Seinfield? This is the vacation version. And it was fantastic!

Happy travels! 
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