Travels in Finland
I traveled to Finland in June of 1999. I met a Finnish friend in Helsinki, and then I traveled back with him to his home in Oulu, further north. After that we went together to Norway. I also passed through Sweden on the way. Scandinavia has some of the most beautiful nature, which is exaggerated by the very long days in summer. As you will see here, the sun stays up until very late at night, and in some places, never sets at all. Because of this, the light stays yellow, orange, and deep red late into the night, or all night! Finland is a very pleasant, uncrowded country. It has a lot to offer the visitor, although it is not as well known with tourists. Although the people speak an odd language that is of Asian origin and not known at all outside Finland, Swedish is also an official language here, and enough people speak English that you can always get around and find what you need.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and a very pleasant city. It is set on several peninsulas, and has two beautiful churches and several museums, including a museum village and a fortress which guards the harbor.
Here is Helsinki Cathedral, one of the major churches in the city. It is in the center of town. In this photo, the evening light glows on it intensely at about 10:00 PM. In Helsinki it does not get dark until about 11:00 PM in June, and when it does get dark, the sky remains dark blue with a strip of red and yellow on the horizon.
Travels in Norway
As mentioned above, I traveled to Norway on the same trip on which I went to Finland and Sweden. Most of my time in Norway was spent camping in the Lofoten Islands, a chain of bare, cold, rainy islands off the northwestern coast, which lie above the Arctic Circle. One of the most beautiful places on Earth, but also some of the worst weather!
The Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands consists of black, bare mountains which drop straight into the North Atlantic Ocean. They are covered by the Gulf Stream, the same current that goes over Great Britain and Ireland, which means that the weather is warmer than it might be otherwise, but also that the sun almost never shines. When it does shine, though it shines through the clouds and is very dramatic, especially because it never sets during summer!
Both of the photos above were taken around 11:00 or 11:30 PM, as the sun peeked through the clouds on the coastal road, near the village of Henningsvær.
Travels in The Netherlands
I have taken several short trips to The Netherlands. I took one long weekend and two day trips there while I was living in Germany in 1995 and 1996, and I spent a couple days there in 2001 also.
Delft is the quintessential Dutch small town. It is lined with canals, old churches, and bridges. There is also a windmill or two. I visited a friend here in January 1996.
This is the center of Delft. A quiet, cold, winter day, with a bridge, old buildings,