Quotes: At the New Year

Swedish author Henning Mankell’s settling of accounts, a book called Quicksand, was his written reckoning with a cancer diagnosis. He ranged widely, and lamented that not many of us are remembered for long. His example:

Construction of the Great Wall lasted 1800 years.

“If you think of the work being handed down from father to son that means there were over sixty generations who never saw the end of the work they and their forefathers had been engaged on.”

This makes me less apt to stand in an overnight queue for iPhone version x.xxx.

Cheers, and may 2018 treat us all well.

Sweden: Sort of Like an Ax in the Head


Mentioned Sweden on Common Sense and Whiskey the other day. Here's an article from last month called When Sweden Rules the World, which might be worth your time.

It calls this Baltic-Scandinavian-Nordic land

"… this anomalous, oblong nation of 9 million, wedged as comfortably as an axe into Europe’s forehead."

But it's a really positive look at the Swedish character. Really.

Photo is the harbor and Strandvagen, downtown Stockholm, from EarthPhotos.com.

Cockpit Seats Must Be More Comfy than in Coach

And speaking of Sweden (day before yesterday), "The captain of an SAS plane flying between Copenhagen and Stockholm fell asleep last week, as the first officer was using the lavatory." The captain "claims to have only gotten four hours of sleep the night before, and it was his fourth flight of the day."

But still, come on, flights only take an hour and ten minutes.


Arctic Travel Resources

Iceland Looking into possibilities for some Arctic travel this summer. Here’s the early stages of an expanding reading list:

Who Owns the Arctic?: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North by Michael Byers

After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic by Alun Anderson

Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sarah Wheeler

Some web resources:

Svalbard TourismCruise Handbook for Svalbard – Longyearbyen (capital of Svalbard) airport informationTromso, Norway flight informationWideroe Norwegian airlineFaroe Islands photographyFaroe Islands transportationThe Smyril ferry lineArctic Small Ship Cruises

And related:

Alaska bear viewing – The Northwest Passage (1, 2, 3) – Canadian polar bear tours – more here, including the aurora forecaster.

Prior to our August 2010 visit, our trips to the region have included Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The links are to their galleries at EarthPhotos.com.

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Uh Oh. Check Those Party Plans.

SiljaWe used to call it the party boat, and it looks like we weren't alone. The Silja Line is one of two companies (with the Viking Line) that ply the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia between Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.

It's an agreeable way to travel between the two capitals. You board in the afternoon on either side and arrive at your destination the next morning, and along the way enjoy the lovely archipelago in between.

These are huge cruise liners. The Silja Symphony, for example, holds 2,852 in 995 cabins. And it literally is a party boat, with entertainers in the main atrium, like men on stilts and acrobats (photo).

This time of year companies book their holiday office parties aboard. Trouble is, the Helsingin Sanomat reports that the Silja Europa is out of service until December first, and that

"This will affect the travel plans of thousands of people who have already booked their cruises. This is a busy period with many bookings for Christmas parties”, regretted Vice President Pasi Näkki of Tallink Silja."

All Silja Europa departures are cancelled until 1 December due to a rudder problem.

(See more photos in the Finland Gallery and the Sweden Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.)

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