Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Our next Port of Call was the beautiful sea port, harbor and fishing center called Alesund. In days gone by, it was one of the most important fishing centers in Norway. As we often hear, fire ravaged the harbor in January of 1904. The structures were made primarily of wood, and although only one person lost their life in the fire, over 10,000 were left homeless. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had often gone on vacation to Alesund and commissioned the rebuilding of the city in the Art Nouveau style.
We took another bus tour here, traveling to the Alesund Kirke (church), high up the side of a mountain. Then we went to an open-air museum which depicted coastal village life. You'll see more of the sod roof homes in this blog, as well as amazing views. What I loved the most about Norway is the beautifully colored homes in the city.
Can't forget the towel animal left in our room the night before. DH remembered he needs to leave his sunglasses available for the cabin steward, so this 'seal' wasn't as 'cool' as he could have been!
Next are shots of our travels to the viewing spot, and Alesund Kirke. BTW, we were told that ALL churches in Norway have a ship hanging from the ceiling, acknowledging their deep dependance on the sea.
Note the sailing vessel hanging in the kirke, in the picture above. Below are shots of the baroque-style pulpit and baptismal font, and a beautiful organ at the back.
Next stop was the open-air museum.
Following are the school house, the boat house and guest houses for visiting families coming to worship. The parents slept in the guest houses and the kids slept in the loft of the barn, for warmth.
Back to the harbor for colorful buildings, the statue of the young boy looking longingly out to sea, the old woman salting herring and Scandinavian tulips!
Wrapping up our visit, departing from port, and the new friend waiting for us after dinner! Wonderful day!!
I picture blogs! Fingers crossed I don't have too many! Thanks for joining me!
Next stop - Molde, Norway!!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
YAY! My opening Amsterdam picture blog did not blow up!
Our first day was spent at sea (I LOVE sea days! My hot-stones massage was terrific!). The North Atlantic was relatively rough for the entire voyage, with a couple of real doozies. The last night was the roughest we've ever encountered, and our cabin being on Deck 10 as Aft as it gets was something else. We'd put our luggage out by 11pm, and by 11:05pm I had taken down all the hangers drumming away in the closet and laid them on the floor. Next, I was propping chairs against the drawer banks that were opening and closing ... You get the picture. Luckily, neither DH nor I get seasick and that held true for this voyage.
Our first port of call was the beautiful Geiranger Fjord. We took a bus tour up two different roads, each with hair-pin turns galore, and then had a delicious cafe latte in the quaint town. This was a tender stop, meaning we dropped anchor and took the ship boats into town.
Included in these are the famous waterfalls called The Suiter and The Seven Sisters, which face each other across the fjord. There wasn't enough snow-melt yet to have these be raging falls. One ride up brought us to a viewing area, and the other ride brought us up to the snow line. The road had not been opened for too long; they close it outright in winter. As it was, the snow bankings were astonishing. At this first stop we saw our first glimpse of Norwegian sod roofs, made of birch bark covered with sod.
Here's the last group of people heading back to the ship. Note the ferry's bow, opened to receive cars. Yes, ferries are just about the only way people get around. What a beautiful place. Wrapping up with a last shot of the fjord, taken later by DH from our deck, as we approached the open ocean. Too cold for me!!
Next stop, Alesund, Norway!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Hello to my Spark friends - old, new, and yet to be!!!
Yes, I am still here, albeit very sporadically lately. I have wanted to get my cruise blog together for a few weeks but life has gotten in the way (not to mention sorting through ~1400 pictures - gotta love digital!!). I also returned home with a bad cold and then needed to take an impromptu trip with my folks to their timeshare in Smuggler's Notch, VT, so I could help with driving, etc.
We had a wonderful time!! The cruise embarkation port was Amsterdam so we arrived four days early for some sightseeing in the city. On my list was canal cruising on the Hop-On Hop-Off canal boats, going to the Van Gogh Museum among others, and walking every inch of the city. It's a true pedestrian city; I only wish I'd worn a pedometer!! Here are some of my favorite shots:
Rats. I just selected eight pictures and the upload doesn't seem to be working. Let's try one...
OK, one at a time works. Bummer!! Above is my Quintessential Amsterdam Picture. Here's another:
Above and below are shots taken from the Ho-Ho Canal boat. So many beautiful pictures along the canal and being able to hop on and off was a dream!
The next two show "Melly's Gourmet Cookie Shop" (You bet I did!) and an action shot, working the daily choice back off!
The last two from Amsterdam are of me at the Flower Market, and a second from a Cellar Cheese shop, looking out into the Flower Market.
OK, soldiering on with embarkation pictures (Gosh, I hope this doesn't blow up! I have tons o' pictures on Facebook... What happened to being able to post multiple pictures on here?)
This trip was my celebratory college graduation and turning-50-this-year trip. First time in an aft jr suite - directly on the back of the ship. AWESOME! I'll just put in a few...
Yep, it was freezing. But NO RAIN!! I'll wrap up this segment with pictures from our first formal night:
Next up, Geiranger Fjord in Norway!!
Melly (crosses fingers)
Monday, January 16, 2012
One upon a time, it was the beginning of my Winter break from college. BLURRRRR......
Hey, that story was SHORT! And it started like a fairy tale, too. I wonder if I get to live Happily Ever After? Seeing as I have the one day left before I return to campus, it's time to catalog my activities and see where I stand.
The holiday break started 12/19/11:
Wednesday weigh-in on 12/21/11 = 118
Weigh-in peek today 01/16/12 = 117.5
Highest Wednesday Weigh-in over the break = 122 (12/28/11)
I attribute my success at keeping the weight steady to my "At Goal And Maintaining" team's "Merriest Maintainer Challenge" that ran from 11/07/11 - 01/02/12. That challenge accountability was invaluable to me. Knowing I had to log my weight each week, and fight to keep within a +-3% deviation for the challenge kept me on track with food for the majority of the holiday season. I was not perfect, in fact, I even popped out of the 3% deviation on the SECOND week! That sure taught me what THAT felt like - crummy! But I stayed in the challenge, knowing I was out of the running for absolute "Merriest Maintainer" but determined to rock the remainder.
I am proud to say my diet stayed very clean (thank you, Merriest Maintainers) for the majority of the semester break. I was mostly successful at keeping the Christmas cookie jar full for my visiting sons without tasting myself. I ate reasonably well on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and was sensitive to portions of less-healthy things if I wanted to try them.
CONFESSION: I did have one large blow-out that resulted in huge sodium gains (5+ !!) and a couple of days where I could not fit into my size 6 pants as a result. The water weight came back off within two days of normal, healthy eating within range. Work in progress, hopefully not a lifetime work.... The good news is that I did NOT panic and resort to restriction. I just returned to my regular healthy, clean foods and the extra lbs were shed. Consistency DOES pay.
Working with my two accountability buddies, Bev and Kathy, I managed to stay somewhat true to a M-W-F strength routine. This work has fallen away again due to family responsibilities up at my folks that literally had me staying there part time since 01/04/12. However, I am ready to resume this activity and my responsibility as a full accountability work-out partner. Accountability is INVALUABLE to me!! I will do my part to work out, encourage, cheer going forward in 2012 because it KEEPS ME EXERCISING and FEELS GOOD WORKING TOGETHER!! Do you want an accountability buddy with food or exercise?
I have greatly missed my daily Sparking due to family responsibilities. I've missed my friends, the fellowship and accountability, what's been going on, Dance Party Fridays, etc etc!!
Equally important, I have missed being able to track my food and plan my food day. I put a nutritional stake in the ground in January 2011, STUCK TO IT, and changed my life. If I want to continue to live my life as a healthier me, this work MUST continue and the SP Tracker is absolutely invaluable to me. It is my guide, source of fun and inspiration, and the tool that challenges me to eek out the most nutritious day I can. I live very close to the 90/10 rule with food, and I have indeed learned that my body is an ally in this effort. If I eat well almost all the time, I feel better, my weight is stable, I sleep better, I think better - AND, my body forgives small deviations. I have like-minded friends who actively strive for healthier food while passing on non-nutritious, processed products and we keep that conversation going continuously! (KELMO2450 and I are putting in our first sprouts seed order of the winter! Sprouting rocks!)
I am getting myself organized for tomorrow. I fished out my campus ID to see if I need to get it renewed and I do. It was good for the 2010-2011 school year. Guess what? it's a photo ID! Yup, it has a picture of me in the Fall of 2010, before I began my personal challenge in January 2011. I was over 160 lbs in that picture! So, for FUN, I looked at my Sparkpeople reports and decided to do a start of Spring 2011 semester vs. start of Spring 2012 semester weight comparison:
01/14/2011 = 158 lbs (January 2011 photo in gallery)
01/16/2012 = 118 lbs (Profile picture taken 01/15/12)
So, ONWARD in 2012!! I have my books and am ready for the start of my final semester. What's on tap? Pathophysiology, Intro to Pharmacology, Bioethics, and my History elective. YEAY!!!
Hey, I guess that's my ending!
"... and she studied happily ever after. The End."
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