North Cape, Norway

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A unique experience awaited me and my niece when we travelled to North Cape in Norway. Sweden was to the South! This is not an easy place to get to. You fly into Hammerfest from which a network of busses travel between the small communities across the vast frozen peninsula. Not frequently, so make sure of the timetable and if you need to call ahead to let them know you want them to come. We had the nice hard working young woman at our hotel in Repvåg call so the buss to Hammerfest would indeed come and collect us.

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They were also kind enough to drive us to their town of Håningsvåg, for a fee which was well worth paying. Despite the March snow we really enjoyed walking around the town. And the people we met – not many – were very friendly.

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As we ate at the harbour the ship for Hurtigruten arrived.

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We discovered a way of life very different from the modern cities we are used to. On the long rides stared out from the bus windows across snow covered fjords and very occasionally a wooden cottage would appear, most of which had large TV dishes. There were long distances between settlements and few people. But they work hard to make a life for themselves so very far north.

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Pleasant travels! C

Salamanca, Spain—Plaza Mayor

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If you allow me to say that people can “fall in love” with a city or place then I shall tell you that I fell in love with the Main Square, Plaza Mayor in the Spanish town of Salamanca.

What made me interested in travelling to Salamanca was James A. Michener’s book Iberia where he writes that Plaza Mayor is one of the four most beautiful city squares in the world. I had already fallen in love with one of the others, Piazza San Marco in Venice.

I do think that Michener’s Iberia is the best tourist guide for Spain and Portugal, although more than fifty years old. Today, it is so easy thanks to the Internet and e.g. Amazon to find literature about places one wants to visit, books out of print, older books. It costs to little to take a chance on some of those used old books and sometimes one makes great discoveries. I discovered Plaza Mayor in Salamanca in out-of-print books I bought through Amazon. What made it so fantastic for us was that we discovered—via the Internet—that one hotel on a side street had managed to buy up a few floors in a corner of the Plaza and connected these rooms with long corridors. The price for these rooms was a bit higher but not bad and what we got was a (tiny) balcony over the square—one of the four most beautiful squares in the world.

There is another hotel that is half a hostel with shared bathroom and partly a regular hotel and it too has rooms with a view over this fabulous Plaza.

Pleasant travels,   S