Flying Jayhawks explore rugged beauty of the North Sea

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 in Alumni News and News

Rita Clifford, n’62, g’81, shared stories and photos with us from the Flying Jayhawks trip she took this past summer to Iceland and the North Sea with her husband. Rita, a proud Life Path to Life Premium member, is the associate dean for community engagement at the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

Rita Clifford, n’62, g’81, and her husband on a Flying Jayhawks trip

We have always loved to travel in the northern areas, particularly Scandinavia, so when we saw the cruise to Iceland on the Flying Jayhawks schedule, we jumped on it! In all of our travels, we had never been to Copenhagen, except for an airport layover, so we used this opportunity to see more of the city by traveling there three days before the cruise.

Copenhagen was outstanding. The city is comparatively small, so we were able to see a lot of what we wanted to see by walking since our hotel was in the “old town” right on one of the main canals. We loved the fact that almost everyone rode bikes everywhere. Their major parking problem was where to put all the bikes. There were many double-deck bike racks!

The 12-night cruise included fourdays at sea, which we love, but the stops were all very nice. We docked twice in Norway (our first and last stops). We had been to Norway before, but not to these cities—Geiranger and Kristiansand— so we enjoyed them. The scenery there is outstanding.

The Shetland Islands were also interesting, but Iceland was the most unusual. Our stop in the north had wonderful old mountain scenery (snow-covered and green!), while the scenery in the south was mostly lava fields, which have their own kind of beauty.

But our favorite stop was the Faroe Islands, which we had never heard of before reading about this trip. There are more than 18 islands originally connected only by water in the archipelago. However, the people wanted to keep their village culture alive, so they dug tunnels through the mountains and even under the sea to make it easier for people to continue living in their villages and still have access to other islands and the major town. We visited one village of 17 people for whom they had dug a huge tunnel through the mountain to better connect them to the rest of the population!

The boat on this trip was a small cruise ship with about 500 passengers,  so it was easy to talk with people that you had seen before. There weren’t any other Jayhawks on this trip, but we were able to hold our own with alumni from the University of Maryland, University of Arkansas, Rice and several others.

We have been on several Flying Jayhawk trips and always enjoy them. The accommodations are always outstanding, the itineraries are unusual and interesting and the alumni group hosts are always great!

Travel the world with fellow Jayhawks! Visit for more information about upcoming trips and to sign up for emails about the Flying Jayhawks program.

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