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Gunnar lives on a magnificent estate on the heights of a small island just north of the channel leading ships to and from Gothenburg into Kattegat. He knows how to live a good life with his wife after all his children are dispersed over the world. We were not to be the only guests coming for dinner this Saturday night. The small harbour was filled with sailing yachts owned by his friends and finally we were no less than 11 sharing a very pleasant evening in good company, barbecuing under pouring rain. It did not really matter, because we were all comfortably seated in Gunnar's party building, "ryggåsstugan", built by the previous owned to seat all the guest invited for his 50th birthday. It was late when we hit our bunks in Gunnar's sailing yacht Vågspel. We did not really want to stay in his house, having slept for weeks in a row in our own boat and accustomed to hearing the sound of little waves hitting the hull of our boat.

On Sunday we had brunch and then mingled on the different yachts of Gunnar's friends chatting along in particular with the members of his racing team, Lasse, Reine and "Pettson". The day passed rapidly under a bright sun and vivid north westerly breeze, ending with Gunnar and Dad cooking cod for dinner as it should be in an old fisherman's house before the sun set in the ocean.

We woke up late today, Monday which is the day for our departure by the ferry from Gothenburg to Kiel. After breakfast we toured Gunnar's estate, visiting the greenhouse to pick some grapes and playing with his youngest daughter's cat Stella, also on vacation on Grötö. Before boarding the road ferry Göta, connecting Öckerö to the main land, Gunnar helped Dad install some navigation software in preparation for next year's cruising and then drove us back to Öckerö.

On the way to the ferry, we passed by the biggest fishing equipment store I have ever seen located in the Björlanda Kile harbour. We bought two complete fishing sets to ensure that we will be well fed during our next odyssey with Le Canard Déchaîné. More on that later but you can always guess where we will be going...

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There was a very good reason to visit the Louisiana museum of modern arts just south of Helsingør as a side trip. So when we left Stockholm on Friday the 11th of August we drove directly to a hotel in Snekkersten just north of the museum. We took a quick dinner at the hotel and then got up early in the morning to be ready for the opening at 11 am sharp. They were showing a retrospective of one of my favourite artists, Marina Abramović that I studied last year in school. The same exhibit was shown earlier in the year at the museum of modern arts in Stockholm but we came to late there to be able to see it. Marina is the world's leading female performance artists and she has made a great impression on me for her courage, great sensitivity and political engagement. Below we show you a small selection of the various sections of her arts.

Both Dad and I were markedly affected by the exhibition and had to walk around the sculpture gardens and calm down facing the beautiful view over the sound between Denmark and Sweden.

In the mid afternoon we took the ferry back to Sweden and drove north the 300 kilometres to Gothenburg to pay a visit to one of Dad's cousins, Gunnar, who lives on one of the islands, Grötö, close to this city. We parked the car on a neighbouring island and Gunnar came to pick us up in his sturdy motor boat. Fifteen minutes later we jumped into his electric pick-up and were driven up to the estate. More about what happened after this in our next post

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Dad and I left Geneva airport at noon on July 21st and landed at the Arlanda airport north of Stockholm two and a half hours later, picked up dad's car and drove to our sailing home base at Trälhavet's boat club 30 kilometres further south-east. We keep our metallic blue trimaran, Le Canard Déchaîné there. She serves as our home over the part of my summer vacation spent in Sweden. This time we were to cruise, visit family, shop and go to various more or less cultural activities for no less than three weeks.

Dad had already been in Sweden for three weeks, putting the boat in order and then racing around the islands of Åland with good friends. More on that here. This is what the boat looked like from the postal air watch tower 40 m above the sea level on the island of Bärö after three days of racing. Not so orderly!!

The wether was mostly sunny and the wind brisk and blustery this year, so sometimes we were frighteningly fast. I had to steer most of the time while dad was navigating. There are 24000 islands in the Stockholm archipelago and lots of narrow channels. Negotiating these waters, often at speeds close to 20 knots is challenging to say the least. One day we sailed the 40 nautical miles to Rödlöga in three and a half hours. The last half hour was the worst I have ever lived through in my years of sailing because the sea was rough and we were constantly sailing at 18+ knots with me on the helm. Was it nice to glide into the harbour and find good friends to help us attach the boat.

Above I'm steering the boat with my cousin Klara. We had lots of other flying visitors to and around our boat, some with their little one on their back like this great crested grebe..

When in Stockholm, I always visit the Museum of Photography on Stadsgårdskajen on the northern shores of Södermalm where the customs office serving the inner harbour was previously located. It is one of my favourite museums. It's privately owned and is open till late in the evening. Like every time I have been there, I was really impressed by the quality, in particular the section on Irving Penn. We went there with my aunt Karin and my cousin Klara and had dinner together on the terrace of the museum afterwards before walking over to Karin's little flat a couple of kilometres further west and admire the view of Stockholm from her terrace.

You cannot visit Stockholm without shopping around in the many pittoresque little shops on Södermalm where we spent two full days. Dad found his happiness in the Emmaus second hand store with a cap and I bought some jewellery and a navy blue beret. Compare the styles below. Whom do you prefer in what?

Yesterday, Saturday the 5th of August, we visited the Bergianska gardens, property of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, and located just north of Roslagstull on the bay of Brunnsviken. What a wonderful place and so close to the city. There you will find almost all plants and trees in the world. There are several greenhouses with exotic plants. Below you will find a small selection of what we shot with our cameras.

Today is Sunday, August the 6th, and the rain has been pouring down all night and continues to do so. We decided to go pick up one of my cousins, Filippa, in Saltsjöbaden and then drive to Eskilstuna 100 kilometres west of Stockholm to see my grand mother Vanja who will turn 90 in a couple of weeks. I think she is so beautiful and wise. She knows a lot and does not stop telling us about her life and serve us home baked bread, Swedish strawberries and other goodies.

We finished the day with a lovely pasta and salmon dinner in my cousin's family. Their house is all black & white except for a pink pillow...

Our last week in Sweden started today, Monday the 7th of August, and we are gradually preparing for our departure by emptying the boat and do repairs that need to be completed, like splicing new back stays for the rig. These last days are also spent with old friends like Jan and Ulrika who invited us out for dinner at Lisa Elmqvist's, now in a temporary setting on Östermalmstorg.

Walking through Östermalm on our way to the restaurant, we profited from some nice window shopping and were amazed by the fervent rate of reconstructions taking place all over this part of town.

Today, Wednesday the 9th of August was the last day we had the time to visit Stockholm before driving south. It was natural that we returned to the Museum of modern Art, that we visited last week without writing about it, for the Marie-Louise Ekman retrospective. The 350 paintings and films presented span over a period of almost 40 years and shows the tremendous vitality and creativity of this multi-facetted artist, recently retired from the job as director of the Swedish National Theatre. Her paintings contain something for all ages and has inspired drawings of children and adults that are exhibited outside the gallery. We also visited the Josef Frank exhibit at the Museum of Architecture. Dad has quite some affection for him since his mother, who was the first woman architect in Sweden, had close ties to this Austrian architect after he had emigrated to Sweden in the mid 1930-ies.

We finished off our day in Stockholm with a late lunch on the terrace of Hotel Skeppsholmen overlooking the Museum of Photography from across the water. I had Swedish meat balls for the first time on this trip and Dad had a home made sausage, both with mashed potatoes as it should be.

The last day in Stockholm came on Thursday August 10 with sparkling sunny weather and a full program. In the morning we packed up the last things to be transported back to Switzerland. We then had our last lunch at the Klappbryggan restaurant with Stefan, our naval architect friend and then met with Anna and Vera for a relaxed strawberry and play afternoon on the net.

At the end of the afternoon, we headed for the photographic museum to meet my aunt Karin for a drink and to allow me to ask her advice on how to improve my study techniques. We finished off by having dinner together at "Greken på hörnet", a really good address. While driving Karin to the railway station we stopped for some night photography on Söder Mälarstrand

​At sunrise when Dad happened to be up, he was greeted by this magnificent rainbow over our harbour. Six hours later, after a healthy breakfast, we drove south for Snekkersten in Denmark. More about that in our next post

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We are back in our house in Pully writing this last chapter of our travel blog. The journey back from Hirtshals went well despite massive traffic in the south of Denmark and in the northernmost part of Germany, the roads being filled with German vacationeers returning from Easter holidays in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. We took a long "Umleitung" via Kiel and from there the road was almost empty for the next 600 kilometers to Heidelberg where Dad had found us a quiet and somewhat dated hotel on the heights of the city. We went for dinner at the "Europäische Hof" in downtown Heidelberg, tasting the first local white asparagus of the season, accompanied by a sauce Hollandaise. Delicious!

The next morning we toured the city during a couple of hours to try to discover its secrets and then headed for home, a little over 400 kilometers away.

We were greeted by Hubbe and Milla who had been in continuous depression since our departure 16 days ago. Mom had made a delicious late lunch and gave us the latest news about her sisters and our cleaning lady. The view from our terrace in the beautiful summer-like afternoon weather was as always magnificent.

We had a lot of time to discuss our impressions of Iceland and the Faroe Islands while driving back to Switzerland. Except for the drive back and forth to the ferry which was an express affair, we practiced slow travelling. Would we take the ferry another time? Definitely, and for several positive reasons and only one negative. Voyaging by sea gives time to read, talk, work, make new friends, eat and drink and enjoy the changing ocean conditions. On the negative side is the impact of bad weather. Indeed we had only about 24 hours of moderate winds and waves compared to 65 with wind speeds between 18 and 35 m/s going back and forth to Iceland. Despite strong winds and heavy seas we never felt unsafe on board M/S Norröna. Our cabins were fine. Just remember to book early, those who had reserved the week before found themselves in six-bed cabins under the water line but above the swimming pool, to be shared with unknown fellow passengers.

We had our trip organized by Smyril Line's representatives and their choices were almost spot on what we had expected. There are literally thousands of lodgings available in Iceland and we never would have had the time needed to explore the different overnight stays offered. We particularly appreciated that they had calculated reasonable driving distances each day, around 300-350 kilometers. The mass of tourists that flock to Iceland is overwhelming, even during low season. Their number corresponds to approximately eight times the population of the country. If the same proportion would apply to Switzerland and France, these countries would see 65 and 500 million tourists respectively in a year. Fortunately, the number of tourists decreases with the distance from Reykjavik and with the exception of the south coast we were not too bothered. In Reykjavik it was difficult to find an Icelandic person with the exception of during Good Friday mass.

Eating well in Iceland is possible despite opposite opinions from other travellers. Breakfast is most often a standardized presentation of industrial food products. We usually ate light during the day and supper was usually taken at the hotel if available.

We had great luck with the weather, seeing mostly sun every day with the exception of a snow storm for a couple of hours when arriving in Seydisfjördur. This largely contributed to the ability to make numerous stops to shoot the beautiful sceneries. These constitute the major reason to visit Iceland and for that matter also the Faroe Islands.

Finally, what equipment did we use for taking our photos? A lot, the main reason being to avoid changing lenses on our camera bodies. Bringing all this stuff would not have been possible travelling by air.

Canon 7D with 24-105mm/f4 and 70-300/f4-5.6 lenses for everything.

Nikon D500 with a 200-500/f5.6 lens for birds (slow and sometimes impossible to autofocus)

Nikon D4 with a 35-70/f2.8 for landscape and portraits

Hasselblad HV (essentially a more solid version of the Sony A99) with a Sony 70-200/f2.8 lens for landscape and portraits.

iPhone 6 for video clips and "discrete" photography.

All the photographs presented are JPEG-s directly out of the camera and then compressed to about 1MB for the blog. We had neither time nor the technical possibilities to do any post processing of our RAW images en route since Dad's computer had given up on us. The reason, we later found out, was 18000 photos in the trash!!


I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures and studying our photos. Today, I do not know where our next trip will be taking us. Stay tuned!

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When we woke up late this morning, I knew my tendency to get seasick was over. We were sailing in a SE direction and it was difficult to understand that the windspeed was still close to 20 m/s and the wave height at 5 m. The waves came from abaft. Norröna's effective stabilizers and my anti-seasickness pills made the whole day a joy.

We passed some archeological sites from the early petroleum period in the 1970-ies and even some more recent sites, still in production as seen from the flame of burning gas polluting the ocean.

I finally managed to get some of my school books out but progress was slow and learning my Italian vocabulary was difficult with my anti-seasickness pills on board.

Dad spent most of the afternoon on deck trying to shoot gannets and fulmars with little success because they were fast and far away.

The queue to get into the dining room for dinner was a mile long. We did not know it was the Friday Viking Show with the personnel dressed up in authentic clothes as worn on the Faroe Islands when they go out on a Friday night. Even the cook had changed his "toque" for a viking cook helmet. The plastic gloves were authentically modern.

At 05.45 it knocked on our cabin door. It was the chief stewardess who wanted Dad to come see a person who was unconscious in his cabin. He was diagnosed with a blood sugar coma. There was no insulin on board so everything was prepared for an ambulance to pick him up upon our arrival in Hirsthals at 10 am.

We were invited to the bridge participating when Norröna entered the harbour which was a real treat.

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It was a brisk morning with a stiff northwesterly wind still blowing. Sun and showers came and went when we drove north on Streymoy, the main island, in the morning. Our goal was Sáksun on the northern west coast. Once there, we set up our portrait studio for the local sheep. Some came with a friend, others came with their newborn lambs and yet others preferred to have a shot of their bottoms. Below you will find a small collection of our clients.

The hamlet was beautiful and, contrary to the rule in Britain, had a small church which overlooked a bay of the ocean with a narrow inlet. It was low tide when we came so the inner bay had turned into a lake.

On the way back we stopped to "shoot" a couple of oystercatchers playing in the stream.

Back in Tórshavn, we filled up the tank, washed the car and had lunch before going on our second tour of the day. This time we had chosen the southwest coast of Vágar and the villages of Bøur and Gäsadalur. The landscape was overwhelmingly beautiful. Dad could not resist to "shoot" some birds along the route

On the way back to Tórshavn we were greeted by a magnificent rainbow. By the way, the reader of this blog who can guess the origin of the title photo will be rewarded a secret price. When we put this post on line we are already on the route towards the Shetland Islands that we will pass around 8am tomorrow morning Friday. We will keep you posted if anything dramatic happens.

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Yes!! The predictions for our crossing to the Faroe Islands were bad with a true storm coming, reason why our departure was advanced by five hours. Little did we realize what was going to happen. We had arrived in Iceland in a snow storm. When we drove the same road in the reverse direction we were able to appreciate the beauty of nature and the waterfall you saw in the Day 1 post, being blurred by the horizontal snow fall, now appeared almost peaceful. A lonely goose was the last bird we saw before entering Seydisfjördur.

We roamed the streets of the town in search for a souvenir shop but all we found came from Denmark or Finland and the rare Icelandic products did not please us.

There was not a breath of wind in the harbour producing interesting perspectives of the nice wooden houses and the mountains in the water.

We boarded M/S Norröna shortly after noon and found ourselves surrounded by some of our old German bus friends seated in the Philippe Starck sofas equipping the bar on upper deck. Some interesting hair-do's were also on board. I had never seen anyone with a moustache on his front before.

On the way out through the fjord there was still no wind and the combination of sea and mountains was incredibly beautiful.

It was first when the ship rounded the southeastern tip of Iceland that we realized what was going to happen. The wind rapidly increased to 20 m/s, then to 30m/s and finally stabilized around 35 m/s (70 knots or 130 km/h). The worst was that we had the growing seas directly from the side. Dad took me to dinner but I was really unable to eat anything for the third time on this trip so I took to my bunk and was served bread and biscuits by Dad when he returned from his meal including half a bottle of Amarone. The waves slammed against our window on the fifth deck and the wave height during the night was reported to be around 8 m. Before the upper deck was closed off completely, Dad managed to take a couple of photos of the sea state. He told me he had to crawl on his knees and hands to arrive to the railing on the eighth deck, where he had to tie himself with his belt not to be thrown off.

During the night the wind veered first to west and thereafter to northwest which made for a quieter ride to Tórshavn where we arrived two hours before schedule. Norröna had beaten her record on this route and we felt ready for a large breakfast once the ship was securely moored in the harbour. This prepared us for a whole day of excursions since our ship was not scheduled to sail until nine in the evening. More about this in our next post tomorrow.

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You cannot believe this about Iceland. It was sunny and nice for the eighth day in a row. The storm that shook our B&B last night was long gone when we sat down for a delicious breakfast made by Abba, by far the best we have had. There was even Darjeeling tea! And not in a bag!! It's true, the accommodation was a bit simple and we had to take our shower in the open. No, that's not really true, everything was fine!

After breakfast we returned to see the sheep and thereafter we paid a visit to the horses. They said a tender good bye...

We travelled to Húsavik where we tried to get on a whale and Puffin watching boat. The only tour for the day had just left. Bad luck.

We continued north with the goal to reach the huge waterfalls Dettifoss and Selfoss from the north. More bad luck, both roads leading there were closed after the heavy snow fall in the region last night. So we had to go back to Myvattnet where we spent part of yesterday. Over 200 kilometer for nothing. Well, not really because the weather was marvelous with absolutely no wind and a temperature of +9. We profited to take some photos of the magnificent nature.

And "shot" some geese, as usual

And we did not forget our industrial ambitions...

Before arriving in Detifoss we made a brief stop at some mudponds in the Myvatn area followed by a visit to the nearby Krafla geothermic power station. On the way back, it was time for a shower...

There was even a basin to wash your hands...

The final stop for the day was at the Dettifoss waterfall. It is considered to be the mightiest waterfall in Europe. Just south of Detifoss, there is also access to the Selfoss waterfall and to the north there is the Hafragilsfoss that we did not have time to visit. There is quite a distance to make by foot if you want to visit all three.

In our opinion, Selfoss, although smaller is more beautiful. Maybe part of this could be due to the lighting conditions at the end of the afternoon.

There was still no wind so we got some more photos with nice mirror effects.

It was time to reach our hotel for the night, 145 kilometers further south east in Egilsstadir, the capital of Eastern Iceland. We passed a black and white wilderness area in lava and snow, where the American astronauts trained before walking on the moon. It was so wild there was even a large portion without cell phone connection!! Luckily we were reached by the Smyril Line representative informing us we had to check in 5 hours earlier tomorrow because the captain wanted to avoid the worst of a severe storm approaching Iceland.

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Our seventh day in Iceland was going to be entirely devoted to water in different forms. We thought we were dreaming when the sun was out for the 7th consecutive morning. We left Akureyri after having cleaned out our car and repacked for the first time since we left the ferry.

It did not take long until we arrived at the Godafoss water falls. Light clouds had unfortunately started to cover the sun producing a rather bland series of images. The wind blew from the south predicting arrival of a low pressure system. We shot our photos from several different locations around the waterfalls.

After a hot chocolate for me and a double expresso for dad we were ready for Myvatn, a large lake in the middle of a hot spring district covered with magnificent lava fields. In the lake there are small archipelagos. Myvatn is known for its rich bird life but since ice covered half the lake, it was obvious we were too early for anything interesting to "shoot". So we had to concentrate on the beautiful landscape before going to the finale.

What could be better than soaking in 37 degrees, light blue water after this tremendous day...

Filled with energy we started to look for the farm where we were going to pass the night. We had to drive back towards Akureyri and take off north in preparation for tomorrow's journey. We were met by our charming hostess Abba, proud to have this name that she adopted after ABBA had won the Eurovision Song Contest. We were given a nicely decorated room with view over the Laxárdalur, invited for 5 o'clock tea and then shown around the farm which houses 100 sheep, four horses and 30 hens. After dinner in the nearby village Laugar the awaited storm arrived howling around the house.

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We started our 6th day under clear skies in a brisk easterly wind, that progressively abated as we advanced into the Reykholdalur valley ENE of Borgarnes. We had expected to shoot the northern lights during the night but the forecast index suddenly dropped from 4 to 1 in the early evening, making its appearance unlikely. So we had a good night's sleep followed by a good breakfast in the Borgarness Hotel that we can warmly recommend. The manager was extremely helpful and gave us lots of good advice.

Our first stop was at Deildartunguhver which is Iceland largest hot spring, producing 180 liter of water at 96 degrees each minute.

We then continued to the Hraunfoss and Barnafoss waterfalls where water is ejected at high force from the lava walls on the northern side of the river Hvitá. We spent considerable time here profiting from the beautiful morning light to shoot a long series of photos.

On the way back to join the ring road we paid a visit to the famous Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson's pool, built in the early 13th century and located in Reykholt.

Since we had a lot of road to cover this day, we drove without stopping till Hafurstadir just north of Blönduos, where dad "shot" eiders and oystercatchers at the orange lighthouse.

The road now started to climb and we crossed several mountain passes, stopping in the rare places where we could pull aside. The temperature had dropped markedly and the wind was again brisk. The landscape was magnificent and completely empty. The snow was abundant, also on the road.

In the Skagafjördur valley, known for its horse breeding we just had to stop for some more horse encounters.

After 450 km of driving we finally arrived in Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland. We were superbly received at the Norderland hotel with a beer for dad and water and smoked lamb sausage for me. We had the time to admire the Easter decoration in the bar before taking a walk around town followed by dinner in the posh restaurant RUB23.

It was obviously the same architect who had drawn the cathedral in Reykjavik. On the way to dinner we passed an exotic restaurant and a white cat.

RUB23 was a surprisingly good eatery and we both agreed we had had our best meal in Iceland even in comparison with "Matur og Drykkur" in Reykjavik.

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