Scandinavia. . . Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. . . are beautiful countries. Until COVID raised its ugly head this year, most travelers chose cruise ships for these destinations since all the major cities can be accessed by ship as well as the spectacular fjords, but taking a bus/land tour with a much smaller group of people has its benefits. It presents the opportunity to learn more about the people and the land than what a short day excursion while in port can provide.
Denmark is, as they say, “flat as a pancake” and everyone (everyone!) owns a bicycle. Part of the reason is that there is a 150 percent surcharge on personal cars, although the Danes can get a “business” plate. Cycling also keeps them incredibly fit and healthy in spite of a penchant for ice cream and waffles. Historically, the Danes were powerful, having control of both Norway and Sweden for centuries. (Remember Hamlet?) Odense is the home of Hans Christian Anderson and a museum there has beautiful editions of The Little Mermaid.
Sweden is very pastoral, with forests and a huge lake (Lake Vattern) that nearly bisects the country. Stockholm is actually a city of many islands crisscrossed with numerous bridges. Old Town (Camia stan) was settled nearly a thousand years ago and contains Marten Trotzigs Grand, a street with 36 steps and only 35” wide. Contrast that to one of our eight-lane freeways!
Norway, though, was my favorite. The fjords are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and as deep as the mountains surrounding them are high. The snowcap on the mountains starts at about 3,000 feet so you can imagine the depth. It’s no wonder cruise ships can sail all way in. A Flam Railway trip to Voss passes by numerous waterfalls, at which any the Nordic Huldra, a wood nymph that lures sailors into the forest, may lurk. She sang her song as we passed. Also worth the trip was the Trolstigen Road (The Trolls’ Road) which climbs a mountain at a 10 percent incline and includes eleven hairpin bends. . . a bit hair-raising if you are sitting on the side of the bus that looks over the edge of that road.
But you simply cannot visit Scandinavia without thinking about Vikings. The Viking museum in Oslo has two well-preserved long-boats from the Viking area that are definitely a must-see, as well as plenty of other artifacts from the Viking Age (9th-11th centuries).
I suspect there may be a Viking novel or two emerging from this trip!
Travelling tips: Because of the North Atlantic Drift (part of the Gulf Stream) the waters around southern Scandinavia are relatively warm which means a temperate climate. Pack some shorts and t-shirts if travelling in the summer! Also, most hotels and restaurants do not have air-conditioning.
Children of the Mist #1
Emily, the Dowager Countess of Woodhaven, has received title to lands in the Highlands–MacGregor lands–and after surviving an abusive marriage, she’s determined to make a new start. . . without a man. She just has to win over the handsome Scottish laird whose family has lived there for centuries. How hard could it be?
When Ian MacGregor heard that the Sassenach countess was actually laying claim to his lands, he figured to scare the aging widow away by showing her the hardships of living in the Highlands. She’d leave before the first snowflake fell. But he never imagined that the widow was young and beautiful and more territorial than a she-wolf. No matter, he’ll prove that a fragile, London woman like her would never survive life without her servants. . . and if he happens to give her the coldest and most remote rooms, all the better.
Despite his best efforts to freeze her out, things between them heat up. But Highlanders hate the Sassenach, so Ian faces a dire choice–his clan or the irresistible English aristocrat who seems to have taken not only his lands, but also his heart.
Romance Historical [Entangled: Amara, On Sale: September 21, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781649370587 / eISBN: 9781649370587]
About Cynthia Breeding
An avid reader of anything medieval, Cynthia Breeding has taught the traditional Arthurian legends to high school sophomores for fifteen years. She owns more than three hundred books, fictional and non-fictional, on the subject. More information on Arthur, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot can be found on the Historical Account link. In addition, she has won numerous awards including the Holt Medallion, Beacon Contest, Barclay Gold, More Than Magic and Ancient City Romance Authors. Cynthia lives on the bay with her Bichon Frise and enjoys sailing and riding on the beach.