On assignment: Northern Lights adventure

The cruise team for is on a bucket list assignment in Norway with Viking Cruises.

Much of our time has been spent sailing fjords, bundling up for late-night treks to dark spaces in search of the Northern Lights, and visiting small museums.

One of the favorite museum stops has been the Polar Museum in Tromso, Norway.

A bust of famed explorer Roald Amundsen is outside the museum. And one of the main stories told inside the museum is that of Amundsen’s life and work in the polar regions at the beginning of the 20th century. 

“With the passage of the Northwest Passage, the journey to the South Pole, and the overflight over the North Pole, Amundsen seriously put Norway on the map as a leading nation in the exploration of the polar regions,” the museum rightly boasts.

Among the many objects on view in the museum, these two stood out.

 Amundsen was the first to successfully navigate the North-West Passage by boat, on a voyage that lasted from 1903 to 1906. This razor was with him on that trip. Below is a taxidermy dog, one of at least 20 that was on that ship.

More snaps and stories from this adventure will follow.

Animals at Anchorage Int’l Airport

I checked in with Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport yesterday, asking after the status of some of the taxidermy animals I remember seeing on my last pass through.

Turns out the record-setting polar bear is not currently on display, but many othre specimens are still there.

Sharing some of my snaps from a while back. Not shown: a record-setting halibut and a big moose.

If you pass through, please share snaps of what you see.

And let us know how you feel about seeing taxidermy animals in airports…

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Polar Bear
Musk Ox on display at Anchorage International Airport

More reasons to love Reno-Tahoe International Airport

I’m getting to like the Reno-Tahoe International Airport more and more.

Passenger amenities there include free Wi-Fi, free local and toll-free calls, gaming machines in the lobby and on the concourses, art exhibits and a growing menagerie of taxidermy animals.

Last year, a 400-pound black bear showed up on Concourse B.

Taxidermy black bear Reno Airport

Now the airport has added a display of three Bighorn Sheep species: the California Bighorn, the Nelson Desert Bighorn, and the Rocky Mountain Bighorn.

Reno Airport taxiderm BIGHORN SHEEP

You’ll find the bear behind security on Concourse B.  The Bighorn Sheep are just outside the B checkpoint.

And here’s one more reason to like this airport: travelers who show ID and a same day boarding pass can get a complimentary half-day lift ticket (night skiing included) at Squaw Valley USA, about an hour from the airport.  The offer is valid from 1 to 9 pm Fridays and Saturdays and or from 1 to 7 pm mid-week when there are night operations in effect.

Souvenir Sunday at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Anchorage Airport muskox

The last time I flew out of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport my plane-mates were a crew of rowdy guys heading home after a season of commercial fishing.

They’d started drinking long before the midnight flight departed and kept at it until shortly before we touched down in Seattle.

I’m sure a lot of those guys missed their connecting flights. And I doubt any of them took the time to explore the Anchorage airport (beyond the bar) before they left.

If they had, they’d have seen great Native Art, an exhibit about the Alaskan Flag and a wonderful collection of taxidermy wildlife that includes muskox, polar bears and this record-size Kodiak Brown Bear, killed in 1997.

Ancorage Airport World Record Kodiak Bear

Seattle-based writer Pam Mandel of Nerds Eye View recently spent some time in Alaska (you can see her report and her photos on her blog) and was kind enough to snap a few Souvenir Sunday photos at the airport on her way home.

Each Sunday here at Stuck at the Airport is Souvenir Sunday – the day we take a look at some of the inexpensive, offbeat and “of” the city souvenirs for sale at airports.  Pam spotted this postcard attached to some sourdough bread starter  (under $3) .

And packages of both moose and bear “droppings” for the Stuck at The Airport collection of airport “poop” candy:

Candy from Anchorage Airport: moose and bear droppings.

Thanks, Pam!

Polar Bears and Musk Ox at Anchorage Airport

Ted Stevens, the former senator from Alaska who died in a plane crash earlier this week, had the pleasure of seeing a lot of things named for him while he was alive.

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is one of them. 

Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport

The terminal offers free wireless Internet access and is home to the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and an impressive display of Alaska Native Art.

Alaska Native Art at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

photo courtesy Kathy Gronau

Photo courtesy Kathy Gronau

It’s been a while since I’ve been up there, but I’m planning to head that way soon.

If for no other reason than to wander the terminal checking out the airport’s collection of taxidermy Black Bears, Kodiak Brown Bears, Polar Bears and a Musk Ox.

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Polar Bear

Who says airports must be boring?

Musk Ox on display at Anchorage International Airport