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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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Hello! We have been traveling the world for over 3 years visiting 100 countries and 44 U.S. states in our lifetime!

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Please enjoy 185 wonderful places around the world, with award-winning photos, from our BLOG ARCHIVE down on the right ---->

Please use these posts for easy-to use trip planning ideas and tips, interesting things to do, history, and more. Also, for many free useful travel ideas and unique travel bargain-finding strategies, visit our Travel Tips, Resources, & Bargains and Great Trip Planning Ideas pages.

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Pat and I are passionate about travel and love to inspire people to travel and see this beautiful world. We take you to wonderful places in the world with the unique perspective of telling our viewers how you can realistically realize and afford your travel dreams.

From the hundreds of travel tips and ways to save money we have learned traveling to 100 countries, we share secrets of traveling the world for less than the cost of living at home. We show how travel is easier, safer, and more affordable than you may believe.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

A Bargain Strategy: Best Day of Week to Book Airfare

Early in the week many airlines release sales, often on Mondays, leaving other airlines rushing to match prices. By Tuesday afternoon, many competing airlines have matched or maybe beat the lower price. These sales normally last through Thursday, but because they often have very limited availability, you should check airfares on Tuesday (early Wednesday at the latest), and be ready to book. Click here to see many more travel tips and bargain-finding strategies.
Saturday, September 26, 2015

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stavanger (Norway)

Stavanger (Norwegian pronunciation: [stɑˈʋɑŋər] ) is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.

Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway. Stavanger is the centre of the Stavanger metropolitan area, which has a population of 297,569, and the administrative centre of Rogaland county. The city is commonly referred to as the Petroleum Capital of Norway.

Domkirke of Stavanger, the oldest cathedral in Norway

Despite its age, dating back at least to the Viking Age, Stavanger only grew to its position among the most important Norwegian cities in the second half of the 20th century, after oil was discovered in the North Sea. Today, the city is marked by noticeable foreign influences as a result of the presence of several major international oil companies. Stavanger also houses the NATO Joint Warfare Center.

Norway's oldest cathedral, Stavanger domkirke, is situated in the city centre, right next to Breiavatnet lake. The two most popular recreational areas are situated around lakes, namely Mosvatnet and Stokkavatnet.
Stavanger by night - ferry going between Tau and Stavanger.

Access to Stavanger is provided through the Sørlandsbanen railway, and the road E39 from Kristiansand and E39 north on the west coast. Stavanger Airport, Sola has connections to domestic and European destinations, including Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Aberdeen, Manchester and Copenhagen. Also, located outside Stavanger, there is a port serving ferries to Hirtshals, Denmark. There have been advocates for the Smyril Line ferry between the Faroe Islands and Denmark to make a stop in Stavanger as the new port in Risavika allows this to be done while only adding one hour to the total sailing time. Local ferries go to Tau and Kvitsøy, while fast passenger boats go to many villages and islands between the main routes from Stavanger to Haugesund and Sauda. Flaggruten operates catamaran passenger services to Bergen with multiple stops along the way, among others Haugesund. Express bus services are operated by NOR-WAY Bussekspress from Stavanger City Terminal to Kristiansand, Bergen and Haugesund, and by Lavprisekspressen to Oslo via Kristiansand.
View over Breiavatnet towards the inner harbour Vågen in Stavanger.

Public transport
The local bus service in Stavanger is administered by Rogaland Kollektivtrafikk (RKT) under the brand name "Kolumbus". The buses are operated by Boreal Transport. RKT administers all bus routes in Rogaland County.

On 12 January 2009, Kolumbus initiated an express bus service to the large commercial district Forus located south of the city. This service consists of seven direct express routes that run mornings and afternoons. The express buses run from different neighbourhoods in Stavanger directly to Forus, without passing through the city centre, like all other regular routes.

The recently upgraded Jærbanen between Stavanger and Sandnes will be serviced by trains running at a frequency of 4 departures per hour from the 13th of December.

The city has a number of bus services and taxis. There are two tunnel projects planned: Ryfast and Rogfast.

Gamle Stavanger

Outdoor activities
Lysefjorden is popular for hiking. Tourists typically visit places like Prekestolen (aka the Pulpit Rock), and Kjeragbolten. Prekestolen is a massive rock overhanging the fjord (604 meters above). Kjeragbolten is a rock wedged in the cliff approx. 1000 meters above the fjord. The straight fall 1000 meters down to the fjord makes Kjerag a very popular location for BASE jumping.

Not too far from Stavanger, alpine centers are ready for skiers and snowboarders throughout the winter season.

Along the coast south of Stavanger there are a number of large, sandy beaches, including at Sola is within closest reach from the city.

City centre
Gamle StavangerOld Stavanger (Gamle Stavanger) is located right next to the city centre and has a collection of eighteenth and 19th century wooden structures.

Stavanger domkirke (St. Svithun's cathedral) was built between 1100 and 1150 by the English bishop Reinald in Anglo-Norman style, and in the late 13th century a new choir was added in Gothic style, with a vaulted roof. The cathedral is the only Norwegian cathedral that is almost unchanged since the 14th century.

The city centre itself is small and intimate, with narrow streets and open spaces protected from car traffic. The open-air vegetable market is one of the very few in Norway where you can buy produce directly from local farmers every working day through the year. Unfortunately the Market has been in decline of recent years, it is now filled with very few stall holders.

The Stavanger Museum is also located in Old Stavanger, commemorating the city's past glory as the herring capital of Norway.

The museum of Archaeology is one of five archaeological museums in Norway. According to the Museum itself it, follows a profile of environmental archaeology and interdisciplinary study, with a scientific staff that includes representatives from archaeology, the natural sciences and modern cultural history.

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum is located at the harbour. The museum reflects the fact that Stavanger has been Norway's oil capital since oil drilling activities started in the North Sea in 1966.

AN Norway

Trondheim (Norway)

Autumn foliage along Nidelva

Trondheim (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈtrɔnhæjm]), historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 176,008, it´s the third most populous municipality in Norway and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of Sør-Trøndelag county. Trondheim lies on the south shore of the Trondheimsfjord at the mouth of the river Nidelva. The city is dominated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), SINTEF, St. Olavs University Hospital and other technology-oriented institutions.

The settlement was founded in 997 as a trading post, and was the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217. From 1152 to 1537, the city was the seat of the Archdiocese of Nidaros; since it has remained the seat of the Diocese of Nidaros and the Nidaros Cathedral. It was incorporated in 1838. The current municipality dates from 1964, when Trondheim merged with Byneset, Leinstrand, Strinda and Tiller.

The Old Town Bridge of Trondheim

Trondheim city has a predominantly Oceanic climate,[10] but borders on humid continental and subarctic climate. The part of the municipality further away from the fjord has colder winters (January mean at Klett 1961-90 is −5.5 °C (22 °F)). The part close to the fjord, such as the city center, has milder winters (January mean Trondheim city center 58 m amsl 1961-90 is −2.5 °C (27 °F).Trondheim is mostly sheltered from the strong winds which can occur along the outer seaboard. The warmest temperature ever recorded is 35 °C (95 °F) on 22 July 1901, and the coldest is −26.1 °C (−15.0 °F) in February 1899. Trondheim experiences moderate snowfall from November to March, but mixed with mild weather and rainfall. There are on average 14 days each winter with at least 25 cm snow cover on the ground and 22 days with daily minimum temperature −10 °C (14 °F) or colder. There is often more snow and later snowmelt in suburban areas at somewhat higher elevation, such as Byåsen and Heimdal, with good skiing conditions in Bymarka. Spring often sees much sunshine, but nights can be chilly or cold. The daily high temperature can exceed 20 °C (68 °F) from late April to late September, but not reliably so; on average are 34 days each summer warmer than 20 °C (68 °F). October is the most typical autumn month with cool temperatures and fall foliage, while November is considerably darker and colder. Average annual precipitation is 892 millimetres (35.1 in) fairly evenly spread out over the year, although September and October typically sees twice as much precipitation as March, April and May. Temperatures have tended to be warmer in recent years. The Trøndelag area has seen average temperatures increase by almost 2 °C (3.60 °F) in the last 25 years.

A panorama of Trondheim, the Trondheimsfjord and surrounding areas

Most of the downtown area is scattered with small specialty stores and shops, however a considerable part of the downtown shopping area is concentrated around the pedestrian street Nordre gate (English: Northern street) and the Olav Tryggvasons gate even though the rest of the city center also is riddled with everything from old, well established companies to new, hip and trendy shops.

The Nidelva flows through Trondheim with old storehouses flanking both sides of this river. The Nidaros Cathedral and Old Town Bridge can be seen on the left side of this panorama.

In the mid- to late 1990s, the area surrounding the old drydock and ship construction buildings of the defunct Trondhjems mekaniske Værksted shipbuilding company at the Nedre Elvehavn were renovated and old industrial buildings were torn down to make way for condominiums. A shopping mall was also built, known as Solsiden (The Sunny Side). This is a popular residential and shopping area, especially for young people.

Central Trondheim as seen from the tower of the Nidaros Cathedral looking towards the Trondheimsfjord and Munkholmen Island.

DORA 1 is a German submarine base that housed the 13th U-boat Flotilla during the World War II occupation of Norway. Today the bunker houses various archives, among them the city archives, the university and state archives. More recently, DORA has been used as a concert venue.

Kristiansten Fortress, built 1681–1684, is located on a hill east in Trondheim. It repelled the invading Swedes in 1718, but was decommissioned in 1816 by Crown Prince Regent Charles John.
 The Nidaros Cathedral as seen from the southern bank of the Nidelva.

A statue of Olav Tryggvason, the founder of Trondheim, is located in the city's central plaza, mounted on top of an obelisk. The statue base is also a sun dial, but it is calibrated to UTC+1 so that the reading is inaccurate by one hour in the summer.

The islet Munkholmen is a popular tourist attraction and recreation site. The islet has served as a place of execution, a monastery, a fortress, prison, and a World War II anti-aircraft gun station.

Stiftsgården is the royal residence in Trondheim, originally constructed in 1774 by Cecilie Christine Schøller. At 140 rooms constituting 4,000 square metres (43,056 sq ft), it is possibly the largest wooden building in Northern Europe, and has been used by royals and their guests since 1800.

A statue of Leif Ericson is located at the seaside, close to the old Customs Building, the cruise ship facilities and the new swimming Hall. The statue is a replica, the original being located at a Seattle marina.

The main building of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Nidaros Cathedral
The Nidaros Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace are located side by side in the middle of the city centre. The cathedral, built from 1070 on, is the most important Gothic monument in Norway and was Northern Europe's most important Christian pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages, with pilgrimage routes from Oslo in southern Norway and from the Jämtland and Värmland regions of Sweden. Today, it is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world, and the second largest in Scandinavia.

A tram making its way through Trondheim.

During the Middle Ages, and again after independence was restored in 1814, the Nidaros Cathedral was the coronation church of the Norwegian kings. King Haakon VII was the last monarch to be crowned there, in 1906. Starting with King Olav V in 1957, coronation was replaced by consecration. In 1991, the present King Harald V and Queen Sonja were consecrated in the cathedral. On 24 May 2002, their daughter Princess Märtha Louise married the writer Ari Behn in the cathedral.

The Pilgrim's Route (Pilegrimsleden) to the site of Saint Olufs's tomb at Nidaros Cathedral, has recently been re-instated. Also known as St. Olav's Way, (Sankt Olavs vei), the main route, which is approximately 640 kilometres (400 mi) long, starts in Oslo and heads North, along the Lake Mjøsa, up the valley Gudbrandsdalen, over the mountain range Dovrefjell and down the Oppdal valley to end at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. There is a Pilgrim's Office in Oslo which gives advice to pilgrims, and a Pilgrim Centre in Trondheim, under the aegis of the cathedral, which awards certificates to successful pilgrims upon the completion of their journey.
The Pavement Cafes at Bakklandet

Trondheim Museum of Arts has Norway's third largest public art collection, mainly Norwegian art from the last 150 years. The National Museum of Decorative Arts boasts a large collection of decorative arts and design, including a great number of tapestries from the Norwegian tapestry artist Hannah Ryggen, as well as Norway's only permanent exhibibition of Japanese arts and crafts. Sverresborg, also named Zion after King David's castle in Jerusalem, was a fortification built by Sverre Sigurdsson. It is now an open air museum, consisting of more than 60 buildings. The castle was originally built in 1182–1183, but did not last for long as it was burned down in 1188. However, the Sverresaga indicates it had been restored by 1197.

The building of the Studentersamfundet i Trondhjem

Trondheim Science Museum (Norwegian: Vitensenteret i Trondheim) is a scientific hands-on experience center. The Museum of Natural History and Archaeology is part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. There are also a variety of small history, science and natural history museums, such as the Trondheim Maritime Museum, the Armoury, adjacent to the Archbishops's Palace, the music and musical instrument museum Ringve National Museum, Ringve Botanical Garden, the Trondheim Tramway Museum, and the Jewish Museum, co-located with the city's synagogue, which is among the northernmost in the world.

Early winter in the hills near the city. Trondheim municipality covers large areas outside the city itself

Rockheim (National Center of Pop and Rock Culture) opened at the Pier in August 2010. It is located inside an old building, but characterized by an easily recognizable roof the shape of a box. "The box" is decorated by thousands of tiny lights that changes in a variety of coulours and patterns, and is a landmark in the cityscape - especially in dark winter evenings.

Trondheim has an international airport, Trondheim Airport, Værnes, situated in Stjørdal, which is Norway's fourth largest airport in terms of passenger traffic.

Major railway connections are the northbound Nordland Line, the eastbound Meråker Line to Åre and Östersund in Sweden, and two southbound connections to Oslo, the Røros Line and Dovre Line.

The Coastal Express ships (Hurtigruten: Covering the Bergen–Kirkenes stretch of the coast) call at Trondheim, as do many cruise ships during the summer season. Since 1994 there is also a fast commuter boat service to Kristiansund, the closest coastal city to the southwest.

Trondheim also boasts the northernmost (since closure of Arkhangelsk tram in 2004) tramway line in the world: the Gråkallen Line, the last remaining segment of the Trondheim Tramway, is an 8.8 kilometres (5.5 mi) route (which is mostly single-track outside the innermost parts of the city; except the stretch between Breidablikk and Nordre Hoem stations) which runs from the city centre, through the Byåsen district, and up to Lian, in the large recreation area Bymarka. Trondheim boasts the world's only bicycle lift, Trampe.

The bus network, operated by AtB, runs throughout most of the city and its suburbs. In addition, the Nattbuss (Night Bus) service ensures cheap and effective transport for those enjoying nightlife in the city centre during the weekends. Note that the Nattbus has other prices than ordinary busses. The European route E6 highway passes through the city centre of Trondheim in addition to a motorway bypass along the eastern rim of the city.

AN Norway