Visiting Norway and Canada


This year, my wife and I indulged our desire to see some more of the world. In May we visited Norway, primarily to search for Joannes family history. When I knew we were going, I contacted Norway Mensa. I received a reply from Hilde, their Webmaster. She lives in Bergen with her husband, Sigurdur. We met in Bergen, and they invited us to stay with them, which we did on our return trip.

First we went on to Trondheim. It was fortunate that we had made reservations months in advance, for when we arrived, we learned that Princess Martha was to be married that week. Trondheim was setting up for a royal party, and there was not another hotel room to be had. We were in a hotel that was near the royal residence, but far enough away to be peaceful. It was not the time of 'midnight sun' but sunset was not until 10:30 p.m., and the twilight lasted all night long.

We spent two days on drives to Hitra and Dolmoya, two islands off the coast. Joanne and I searched for Joannes great-grandparents' farm. We got close to it, and found the local church, but were hampered by our poor Norwegian and the fact that it was a workday and there were fewer people around. We did get census records from the library that helped Joanne in her research. Also, we now have Norwegian friends who can translate writings for us!

While in Trondheim we met the president of Norway Mensa. There were no member activities while we were there that we could attend (it was exam time at the university) but Stig was very hospitable to us.

Being in Mensa does mean knowing people everywhere-a member benefit I have always appreciated.

This September we did something I have wanted to do for many years: we took the train across Canada. From Boston we went to Montreal, then Toronto, and then to British Columbia, where we stayed with friends. After seeing something of BC, we drove to Spokane and took Amtrak home, so we can now compare the two rail systems. The food was very good on both systems, the scenery was beautiful and the trips were relaxing. In Canada or the USA, though, the upper berth is no joy! Joanne and I took turns. It was fun to be traveling while sitting still, except for strolls to the dining car or lounge.

After spending nine days (and nights) on trains, and 12 days earlier this year on a small cruise ship (100 passenger capacity) in the Bahamas, I would choose either over an airline. Not cheaper, but inexpressibly more comfortable.