Mohammed Yunus in Lofoton?????

Paul here in the Capital city of Lofoton, Solvaer (ae should be touching and makes a vowel sound). Waiting for our eagle, fishing, ocean and probably not whale trip around the islands in this magical place. The whales hang out north of here but ya never know….one surfaced as we were taking the ferry across from Boda to Moskenes.

reine at 11 pm
beauty ocean color

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, this chain of isles was carved out by water and surf for millions of years and is like nothing I’ve ever seen in all my travels. Mindy says parts remind her of the Napali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii. Take a look and see for yourself. Yesterday driving here from Leknes after stopping at the Viking Museum in the afternoon sun was spectacular. The

reine sunsetfjord steepnational hwy and only ‘European Road” makes hairpin turns, goes every direction every 15 minutes and around every turn and thru every tunnel, WOW another amazing scene.

The people here totally depend on fishing for millennium and tourism for the past few decades and now the oil companies want to start drilling for oil off the coast…Mindy will share more about that but the climate connections are always near-by as we dig deeper into the culture during our brief visit.

Mindy and Jorrun

Jorrun brought us homemade cakes for our journey back on the ferry after our hard walk back from Bunes beach.

Our ‘small world’ story’ linking the title of this post occurred on on first day’s journey to Bunes beach. We stopped at Amanda’s tea shop and WC setting off on the 60 minute hike over the pass to a secluded beach and start chatting with a woman named Jorunn Stromsvag, a quiet, humble village woman who heard about Mohammed Yunus (Nobel Peace Prize winner in 20XX) and his innovative microcredit plan to help women become economically self sufficient in Bangladesh. Jorunn took the idea and started organizing here in Lofoton in 2 villages (now it’s all over Norway). Yunus heard about this woman in Norway and came to visit this magical location and has been back 4 times since to hike and meet the organizers. He also invited a group of Lofoton women to the ceremony in Oslo where he received the Peace Prize where he gave a special “wave out” to the ladies of Lofoton…..pretty cool and what a sweet woman. She saw our ‘friendship card’ and asked how we were going to get around. We said “by bus” and she offered her car to use that her daughter had in Reine and what a difference having our own vehicle for 3 days has meant for our travels and discoveries to the little spots like Nusfjord where we rowed a boat around the fjord and discovered jellyfish, trashed fishing nets and memories of rowing Lake Minnetonka in my childhood with brother Pete.

Paul rowing us around Nusfjord

Paul rowing us around Nusfjord

Time to prepare for our ocean cruise, thanks for sharing our journey and I hope some of you can visit this gorgeous place and we all can keep it free from offshore drilling.

Mindy’s note: On the ferry from Bodo to Moskynes we met Katrine –  a biology student from Tromso university who is part of the

Mindy and Katrina on the ferry

Mindy and Katrina on the ferry

environmental club there (DAVVIN).  She was headed to Kabelvag for a rally against oil drilling in the ocean near Lofoten.  (We have talked to many others since who had heard about the rally and are also opposed to the idea of drilling here).  The area they want to drill is part of a unique habitat including the spawning grounds for cod – a critical fish to the history, culture and way of life of those who live in these islands.  The conversation sparked for me why it was important for us to come here – to see the marvelous and magical place that this is and why it is so critical that it be protected.  Life here centers around the fishing industry – it is a tourist attraction as well as part of the history and culture of the islands.  To risk the environment that is critical to the fishing industry of Lofoten is to say that our lust for oil is more important than the heritage and way of life for the people who live on these islands.  I don’t believe that this is true.  The story of people here and the simple life they lead is important to be told – so that all will see the value of what is at risk here.  It’s an issue of environmental and economic justice.  Talking to Jurinn about microcredit in Norway I understand that this community has many small businesses that are vulnerable to changes in the environment.  These are people who live a simple life that has a low carbon footprint – much of what they need to live is produced on the islands. We know there is a better way than drilling for more oil if we invest in renewables and that the planet can’t take us burning that oil anyway if humans are to survive.

Hello Norway

brunflo station

A three hour wait at Brunflo station gave us time to write postcards

We arrived in Trondheim, Norway by train on Tuesday, July 30 after a long day’s journey from Mora – 5 hours by bus, three hours layover in Brunflo, a few more hours by train. We were determined not to go backwards (aka to the East coast to go West) and chose the adventurous route that gave us a glimpse of the diversity of central Sweden in both towns and people. We arrived at the train station and since the tourist information was closed, Paul started talking to a lovely couple who answered many questions, called the hostel to find if they had rooms, located the bus stop, then walked us to their closer hotel where we got a reasonable rate on a room that included not just breakfast but supper as well which saved us quite a bit of money over dining out – and we’re not talking the chinsey continental breakfasts typical in US hotels. I continue to learn the lesson of “just ask for help and it will be there.” Yes, we would do the same for anyone that would ask us for help. People are kind and caring wherever you go. I wish I could remember the names of everyone who helped us along the way so I could thank you here by name – I’ve made my best guess where I could. To all who have been so kind “miljon tak” – million thanks!!

Breakfast buffet

Now that’s a breakfast buffet!

Breakfast brought a wonderful history lesson from Triana (a high school student from Bergen) – Norway gained it’s independence in 1905 after it’s most recent alliance with Sweden and prior alliance with Denmark and has two different written languages (New Norwegian and Book Norwegian) although Norwegian culture and identity has been strong for many centuries.

Trondheim river

Along the river

Trondheim signs and cathedral

Cathedral and signs to sights in Trondheim

boat and bird

Who’s really in charge here?

Trondheim is the third largest city in Norway and the original capital. It’s a beautiful town with winding cobblestone streets, and Renaissance buildings and bridges. It was a rainy day, so we donned our raingear and opted for exploring on foot rather than taking the boat tour. We arrived during the festival of St. Olaf (Viking king who brought Christianity to Norway) so there was live music in a medieval market by the giant cathedral Nidaros Domkirke (we only got to see the outside as they had just closed for a concert). A stop at a store with kayaks in the window led us to a wonderful discussion

Paul & Åne

Paul with Åne from Lofoten

with Åne who is from Lofoten and had many tips on the best places to see and camp. Another discussion at the tourist information center yielded more tips and maps of Lofoten. We took a rest at a lovely café along the river in a charming old building for an expensive beer and delicious vafelplate (waffle with strawberry jam and sour cream) and free postcards. Then back to the hotel for a rest, sauna, supper then packing for the next part of our journey.

packed and ready to go

Packed and ready to go – this is after leaving some of our extra items at the hotel to pick up on our way back

We are now on the train to Bodø (pronounced like Buddha) – a 10 hour journey. We will stay there overnight then take the ferry to Lofoten. Whenever we ask someone about Lofoten, those who have been there get this bright look in their eye then get a dreamy look as they begin talking about it. Sounds like a magical place and I am very excited we will soon be there with a number of days to take in the magic.

More soon… Mindy

Rediscovering My Roots and More!!

Margit and Bosse Andersson at home in Kulara, Solleron

Margit and Bosse Andersson at home in Kulåra, Sollerön

Paul here.

When our train from Borlange pulled into the Mora station there was no question that I was connected to the elderly couple waiting on the platform. Margit Andersson (whom my nephew Ben Thompson had met in 2005) altho shorter than Elva (my Mom and 11th Eklund child…ie elva = 11 in Swedish) she had the Eklund Swedish features I remember so well from all of our family reunions in northern MN. Her husband Bosse is a former blacksmith, turned carpenter, handyman, moose hunter and used a lovely combination of broken English and Swedish that Margit would help to translate.

Our 40 hours together was full of sightseeing, home cooked breakfasts, meeting neighbors (Margit has lived most of her 78 years in Kulåra, the village on the island of Sollerön) and being cared for in a way that only family can. I could see that Margit was stretching herself in every way possible to accommodate Mindy and me and that we were all getting the most out of our time together.

Paul and Mindy with Anders Selling, Executive Director of the Vasaloppet ski races

Paul and Mindy with Anders Selling, Executive Director of the Vasaloppet ski races

One of the highlights for me was going to the Vasaloppet Hus in downtown Mora where the world’s largest (65,000 skiers) ski races finish on main street right near the bell

Paul and Margit near the Vasaloppet bell tower and skier sculpture

Paul and Margit near the Vasaloppet bell tower and skier sculpture

tower….just like Mora MN where I have skied 20+ American Vasaloppets. Our timing was perfect as the new executive director, Anders Selling (one year on the job) had just returned from his family vacation the day before. He reminded me of Ned Zueusdorf the past director of the American Birkebeiner, strong, soft spoken and looked like he just came in from hiking.

When Mindy and I brought up the idea of getting the World Loppet (series of 16 of the top cross country ski races on 4 continents) to make a major commitment to slowing climate change Anders was in total agreement. He spoke directly about the impact that the changing climate is having of the Vasaloppet, and that even though the past 2 years have been snow full, they are beginning to lay the groundwork for more focus on biking as winters seem less consistent. He agreed to doing a 5 minute video interview which will be helpful to share with the Birkebeiner organizers in Lillehammar next week. Anders was also open to having an educational presentation on climate impacts locally as part of this year’s event in March of 2014. So glad I brought my Vasaloppet bib as Cool Planet Skiers plants some important seeds. Visiting the museum was also very cool and Margit got an inside look at what she has known all her life (1st Vasa in 1922).

home Kulara

Kulara village from the dock over Lake Siljan.

We camped out our first night in the rain…the tent met with less than rave reviews but will do we hope. Went for a morning swim in Lake Siljan and saw the place where Margit thought my grandma Mona’s birth house stood long ago. Learned much about the local history, the Viking shaped ‘church boats’ used to get families to church when the ice was not safe for walking and a wonderful trip to the factory where the Dalarna Horses are made. Seeing up close the hand tooled cutting, shaping and painting of the famous export from the Dalarna region.

The historical 'church boats' in storage. Ready for the annual races among neighboring villages.

The historical ‘church boats’ in storage. Ready for the annual races among neighboring villages.

Christine (Margit's friend) putting the finishing touches on a Dala Horse.

Christine (Margit’s friend) putting the finishing touches on a Dala Horse.

Most of all however, I’ll remember the love and welcome we received from our “salt of the earth” relatives and the joy of discovering a bit more about my family and its past….TACK SA MYCKET! To Margit and Bosse, please visit us in Minnesota!!

Brief update – too much to see

PT with Margit & Bosse

We had a marvelous visit to Solleron with Margit and Bosse.  A whirlwind tour of the Mora area and the Ecklund family history and homeland.

We arrived in Trondheim via train last night and after a good night’s rest and breakfast we need to get out to see the sights so that we can tell you about them in our next blog entry.

Much more later about all the details of the past few days… Mindy & Paul

Celebration and Tak och Hej Du Norrköping

Mindy here…


spectators with tournament flags

The lovely ladies – all competitors. We are just missing Sophia.
the ladies

Lovely lady competitors – we are just missing Sophia.

Yesterday was a lovely day of finals for Golf, DDC and Freestyle.  Relaxing to just be spectators for the day – and play a little Discathon together for fun.  And it was another perfect day – not too hot, not too cold, not too much sun, not too much rain.  Last night was our players banquet where we recognized our Overall champions Tomas Burvall and Niloofar Mosavar Rahmani who received trophies crafted by the same artists that made the 18th basket.  Paul had a chance to take the microphone and give a special thank you to Peter Lundmark, tournament director, and the fabulous staff here in Norrköping.  This was the best run tournament he has ever seen in 38 years.  It was also a wonderful chance to spend time with friends new and old.  I had fun hanging with the women – such a wonderful and supportive group to compete with.  Everything they did made me want to improve my skills and keep coming back to these competitions.  Ladies, you are a tribute to the sport of frisbee!


Overall champions – Tomas and Niloo

Happy and sad “goodbyes” and “we will see you agains” continued this morning at breakfast.  Many wonderful hugs.  Now we are relaxing at the train station waiting for the ticket office to open.  Backpacks are tightly packed.  Extra frisbees went back to Stockholm with Hannah and Anders to wait for us.  Cart is being put to good use so we don’t need to balance two backpacks each.  Plenty of food for the road including the sandwiches we made at the breakfast buffet at the hotel.  It has been a week of luxury at the hotel with all our needs taken care of.  Most days we had breakfast at the hotel then our pre-paid lunches at the field and only need for a snack for supper.   Now we’ll have to find our own food and lodging as we begin the next part of our adventure.  On to Mora (pronounced Moorah)…

Play Goes On/ Cool Planet SPEAKS UP!!

Friday in Norrköping and Paul and Mindy have wrapped up their competitive experience.  We look forward to 2 days of rest (the disc golf course was a killer for slow moving Paul) and planning our next 2 week adventure.  First to my family farm in Mora, the birthplace of Mona, my grandma and the home of the Swedish Vasaloppet.  Then on to north of the Arctic Circle (did we bring enuf clothing?) to the fiords of Lofoten and the whales waiting our arrival. Then south to Lillehammer and Norwegian Birkebeiner HQ, across to Karlstad, Paul’s grandpa Gustaf’s birthplace.  Finally, back to Stockholm for a final fling with our new friends Hannah and Anders and their friends as we broaden the Cool Planet circle of friends for dinner and conversation about our changing climate.

mindy accuracy

Mindy throwing Accuracy

Ms Distance b:4 pr

Mindy prior to throwing her personal best Distance

Mindy has been a real champ in her first ‘full out’ frisbee competition participating in 4 of the 7 events and yesterday reached her goal of ‘breaking 100’ on a super long and challenging disc golf course. It was overheard one of the women competitors saying that Mindy was a “putting machine” in making all  of her putts…all that backyard practice pays off.  The community has been welcoming and encouraging of Mindy as a neophyte disc player.

Mindy also set her personal best in distance with a throw of 56 m, 11 more than her previous best. Paul was just

pt discathon
Paul playing Discathon
pt distance huk

Paul letting one rip in Distance

happy to play and the community has ben very supportive of my limited strength and flexibility….time to get serious about my health and body.

our winnings

Mindy showing off one of our new matching visors and Paul’s new Swedish shirt

Last night was the Save the Children auction (see photos) and lots of old items and new

Swedish paraphernalia for us and lots of Swedish Kroner raised for one of my first loves in supporting child health globally….nice work to Peter Lundmark and the tremendous

Swedish Team here.

Tonight Mindy and Paul will be hosting a “Cool Planet Conversation” with a group of int’l players, family and community members interested in discussing our changing climate and taking action….a mini “Speak Up!!” for those of you who know of the Cool Planet Action Training. We will be showing clips from’s “Do the Math” Documentary as a conversation starter….will report on how it goes.

The rain has stopped, off we go to buy some snacks for tonight’s event and then off to the Freestyle prelims as the race for the overall titles in the Open Division tightens…details and results at We are having a blast and

auction table

Mindy looking through the silent auction items

hope to find enough internet connection to keep you informed as we strike out for discovering Scandinavia, making new friends and building our Cool Planet family…see you soon.

Day 1

My first day of international flying disc competition!  The morning was rest for me with the opportunity to watch Double Disc Court – first the men then the women.  I loved watching how the women supported both their teammate and their opponents.  Good competition while also great camaraderie.

Mindy & the girls SFC

Mindy with the other women after Self Caught Flight

After lunch it was my turn to get into the games.  A little practice to calm my nerves for the Self Caught Flight women’s competition.  I didn’t come to win.  I just came to participate for the first time.  I caught the first of each of my throws in Maximum Time Aloft and Throw Run and Catch.  3.22 seconds and 3 meters (well that’s the score they gave me because it was too short to measure with their instruments and they didn’t have a tape measure – they marked the spot thinking I’d do better on a later catch, but was unable to catch any others).  I got on the board – that was my goal.  I also had one spectacular slide on the ground with the bruises to prove it – I’d missed the catch, but my momentum couldn’t be stopped and I found myself in a dive – a partial roll broke my fall with no major injury. Oh, and I did have fun!  Tomorrow I get another round of Self Caught Flight then on to other field events.