Three Things… #3

Reading, Looking, Thinking

Three Things Pic

This is a place for me to prattle on about things varied and unspecified. You are invited to participate.

As regular followers of Book Jotter will know, I recently returned from a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, having sailed from Liverpool on board the MS Magellan in the company of my partner and four friends. Since this trip is still very much in my thoughts, I will use this post to share with you a few pictorial memories of my voyage north.


Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Kirkwall is the main settlement of the Northern Isles and capital of Orkney, an archipelago in the north of Scotland.

The Orcadian

Naturally, I tracked down the island’s solitary book shop.

Orcadian shelf

Kirkwall - Rendall

I also enjoyed spotting plaques in memory of local writers.

Kirkwall - Laing


The leaving of Liverpool

Leaving Liverpool

We left a drizzly Liverpool – the first rain we had seen for weeks!

Heading for Norway


A comfortable reading spot!

Paula posing

Guess who? Posing with early sightings of the Norwegian coast in the background.


Founded over 900 years ago, Bergen’s roots reach back to the Viking Age and beyond. It is now Norway’s second largest city and the country’s ‘fjord capital’.


Bergen 2


A small village located at the inner end of the Nordfjord.


Olden River


A gateway to the Hardangervidda, the largest high mountain plateau in Europe and Norway’s largest national park.

Eidfjord butterfly
Eidfjord gallery

Gallery N. Bergslien – above is a picture of Nils Bergslien (1853-1928), known for portraying the Hardanger way of life.

Cruising Hardangerfjord



Home and here I go again!

I must confess to a recent trip to the cinema to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – that cheesy, cheerful follow-up to Mamma Mia! The Movie, based on the songs of ABBA. Yes, it was as schmaltzy as expected, but I loved every mushy, melodious moment. And while I’m in the mood for cringey revelations, I may as well cough up to being a life-long ABBA fan. While my school mates went through the obligatory tartan-wearing Bay City Rollers fad; as they pogoed maniacally about their bedrooms to the sound of the Sex Pistols; and when they tottered awkwardly in their mod-revival pencil skirts and two-tone high-heels; I was that uncool friend who worshipped at the feet of the Super Swedes. I even took a taxi all the way from Llandudno to Stafford in 1979 to see them perform live – but I never regretted it for a moment!



We spent a number of days at sea, giving me ample opportunity (on the rare occasion I wasn’t engrossed in a book) to ruminate the nature of existence – though not, I’ll admit, without regular and intrusive thoughts about the day’s menu. I was also, during these times of deep contemplation, able to watch gannets, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes bouncing in the ship’s backwash.

As we meandered back towards Liverpool, I thought quite a bit about a fascinating talk given by the on-board Guest Lecturer, Geoffrey Farrell, on the subject of The Vikings and their Saga. He had spoken towards the end of his discourse about Viking ancestry, asking who among us believed we might have Norse genes lurking in our DNA. I immediately put up my hand (along with several others) as my mum spent years tracing our family history and came up with a likely link to Count Rollo the Viking on her father’s side. She found this impossible to prove conclusively, but was able to establish a definite link with Norman nobility.

Mr Farrell, an archaeologist and natural historian, encouraged us to discover our true origins by taking a simple DNA test with a reputable company, which typically costs about £100. However, speaking to a couple sitting next to us in the theatre, I discovered they’d recently had theirs done for £60. I rather like the thought of having Viking ancestors, and it may well explain why I am consistently drawn to countries in the northern hemisphere.

I shall cogitate further on the matter!


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45 replies

  1. Beautiful pictures! Thank you so much for sharing a part of the world I probably won’t ever get to see!😊💖

  2. Some stunning photography. Looks like a fun trip.

  3. Lovely shots, Paula. Thanks for a very enjoyable vicarious trip to Norway!

  4. Very jealous of your fjord cruise – have always wanted to do something like that.

  5. Lovely post Paula – thanks for sharing!

  6. Lovely to see these pics and share vicariously in your, ahem, saga. All I knew about Hardanger was that this was where the eponymous fiddle originated; now I know a smidgeon more!

    You’ll know I immersed myself in a Tove Jansson novel while you were away (and now some early Chekhov) and your mention of Viking saga reminds me I want to revisit some medieval epics from, as it happens, Denmark–in particular one about Hrólfr Kraki who has tenuous links with Beowulf, and then another about the Niflungs who were also celebrated in the medieval German Nibelungenlied, which I always meant to reread. Perhaps I ought to save these for midwinter as suitably chilling for that time of year!

  7. Beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing your cruise – looks wonderful!

  8. Wonderful post, Paula! You know I’ve been looking forward to this one! Loved the pictures and seeing you enjoying all that beautiful scenery! And the birds! Of course, the birds! And a bookstore. I love it all. Yes, do try that DNA test some time. We did it about five years ago when it was less precise. I’m so happy you had a wonderful trip, and I’m grateful you shared!

  9. Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wonderful photos of a place I’d like to travel to 🙂

  11. Enjoying your photos, as well as your confession of “cringey revelations” – I think we all have some!

  12. I loved seeing the photo of you as now I know who is behind all of these wonderful posts. I also loved the photos of the bookstore; whenever/wherever I go, I always look for the bookstores. Whenever I am in England, I bring home stacks of books.
    The rest of your trip also looked very inviting.

  13. Beautiful post Paula, I have enjoyed it all – both words and pictures. I have been from land to all
    the wonderful places you show. Just now I am holidaying on the West coast of Sweden so it is a shame you didn’t make it t Gothenburg.😊 .
    From one Viking to another, there is nothing wrong with liking ABBA and their music. They are
    each one superb singers and musicians.
    💃😉 .

  14. Lovely pictures, Paula! From what you wrote the journey was fabulous 🙂

  15. When you return to Norway, I can recommend Trondheim. Also, the Hurtigruten along any extent of the coastline is worth it! So much gorgeous scenery, and it never gets boring, regardless of the weather.

    As for your Viking ancestors — I’m willing to bet that any of us with Scottish ancestors will have a hint of Norsemen in there too. And “Norman” is just a shortening of “Norsemen”, so you need go no further in your search. Vikings all the way down!

  16. So glad the cruise lived up to expectations, Paula. I loved Bergen when I visited and will return one day – perhaps as part of a cruise. I’ve wondered about one of those DNA tests too. Though I suspect mine would be pure anglo-saxon!

  17. Wow! It’s all so beautiful!

  18. Those photos just jump off the page.

  19. Beautiful trip, Paula, gorgeous photos! And I will have to get my act together and do another Three Things 😉


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