Sun Salutations in Norway & Russia

Alan and I enjoyed a wonderful sunset recently, taking a drive up the coast to soak up its last warm rays as we will turn the clocks back soon. Shimmering, the sun seemed to hover at the horizon for just a few seconds longer than seemed possible. I couldn’t tear my eyes away—I didn’t want to stop looking, it was that beautiful, and it seemed to reflect the last warm breath of the season as we slip into the colder months.

This stunning imagery reminded me of the natural phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun in Norway—extended daylight in Scandinavia and other northerly regions during part of the summer months (countries including Russia, Iceland, and the U.S., among others).

I loved reading Joan Rudloff’s Traveler Story, as her cruise on Russia Revealed: Moscow to St. Petersburg brought back treasured moments of my Russia trip. She planned her departure to enjoy extended daylight hours during White Nights, when extended sunlight allows more time to lace up the old walking shoes and experience the best of Russia’s imperial capital. Like me, Joan found the Russian people she encountered to be very friendly and much quicker with a smile than one might expect. She said she was surprised and excited to hear many people speaking English, and that many of the signs are now in English as opposed to just the traditional Cyrillic—developments that made it a friendly experience for solo women travelers like herself.

I was greatly delighted to see images and video shot by Boston associate Nicole Arsenault, a veteran photographer who captured highlights on Grand Circle’s popular Norwegian Coastal Voyage & Lapland trip. In addition to the beautiful fjords, quaint villages, and indigenous Sami people, however, some of my favorite images are always of happy, smiling Grand Circle travelers enjoying their trips.

Those snapshots from Nicole—some of which are featured in Community News & Views this month, in addition to her experience—reminded me of my family photos from a trip to Iceland a few years ago, filled with clear-blue skies, waterfalls, and stunning greenery. Norway is certainly flush with similarly pristine landscapes, and Nicole said she was delighted to have been able to experience their diversity on her photo shoot. Another highlight for her included the coastal voyage portion on a Hurtigruten ship—a working coastal steamer vessel—and this month in Travel Talk I address a traveler who has a question about the way optional tours are reserved on board.

What natural phenomenon, like White Nights or the Northern Lights, have you experienced on a Grand Circle vacation? I’d love to hear about your experiences! Write to me at