2000, March – Madeira
Spring break, flight directly to Madeira. Nice hotel overlooking Funchal harbour. Various excursions by bus around the island and walks along the levadas – more than 200 man-made channels carrying water for irrigation of agricultural fields, with walking paths beside them. Afternoon tea at Reid’s hotel, overlooking Funchal. Toboggan ride, with two carreiros in white uniforms and straw hats, guiding the sledge downhill.
2000, May – Norway, Germany and Austria
Arrived in Kolbotn in time for Norway’s National Day – national dress and ribbons, parades, flag-waving and a special family lunch. Then took the car on the boat to Keil in north Germany and drove south-east, staying in Berlin for two nights, then to Potsdam, through Brandenburg to Leipzig, Dresden and then through the Czech Republic and into Austria at Passau. Stayed in Salzburg (‘Sound of Music’ sights), Innsbruck, and then picked up the motorway all the way to the Channel port Ostend, where we queued on the dockside for the ferry, and home.
2000, July – Hamburg and Copenhagen
We took David, Jenny and Alison to Germany and Holland. Overnight car ferry from Newcastle, reaching Cuxhaven by breakfast time and sailing slowly up the River Elbe to Hamburg, where we disembarked. Drove north to Denmark and spent the night in Hans Christian Anderson’s town of Odense and looked around it. Then on to a farm outside Copenhagen, where Jenny rode horses. Visited the harbour and the Little Mermaid. The highlight was an afternoon and evening at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park. It was necessary to reserve seats on the train back to the town nearest to the farm. At the appointed time, no one wanted to leave Tivoli, so Ian rebooked for a later train. This happened twice more, until only the last train for the night was available. Return was by car ferry from Esjberg to Newcastle.
2000, October – Norway
Cheap flights started by Ryanair from Prestwick to Torp airport, marketed by Ryanair as ‘an airport serving Oslo’ although it is 68 miles south of Oslo. It suited us well to get to Sandy, with car-hire and a ferry across the fjord to the main road north to Kolbotn. While he was at work, we re-explored some of our favourite places around Kolbotn, including the pier at the museum (his house) for Roald Amundsen, the first to reach the South Pole in December 1911.