Vacations in the Land of the Midnight Sun
In This Issue
Our Favorite Recipes
Land of the Midnight Sun
Alaska Cruise with Free Photographic Instruction
Coastal Cruise in Norway
My Favorite Alaskan Adventure

Our Favorite Recipes from the North
Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska
Courtesy of Carol Barrier and Catherine Rodgers

Ingredients: Use a purchased pound cake or make a single layer of cake, any flavor you wish.
One half gallon of ice cream 8-10 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 8-10 tablespoons of sugar (about 1 tablespoon per egg white)

Prepare the meringue: Beat the 8-10 egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until it forms stiff peaks.

Directions: Cut the pound cake in half and place the pieces in an 8"x 8" baking pan, or use the layer cake in the pan you baked it in. Soften the ice cream just enough to spread over the entire top of the cake to desired thickness. Freeze until ice cream is firm again. Spread the meringue over the ice cream. Spread it very thick and cover all the ice cream, sealing it to the pan. Do not have any holes through to the ice cream or the ice cream will melt when you bake it! Place the Alaska back in freezer until serving time.

Baking: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the Alaska in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. The trick is to bake the meringue and not melt the ice cream. Serve immediately.
Norwegian Red Cabbage
Courtesy of Merrie Williams

1 large head red cabbage 1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons white vinegar 4 tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red currant jelly

Shred cabbage very fine, and put in a big pot. Add butter, vinegar, sugar, water. Cover and simmer slowly for 2 1/2 hours. Add jelly and cook for 20 minutes longer.
Cedar Plank Salmon 
Courtesy of JMC Curtain - Alaska


Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 30 Min
Serves 6

2 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
6 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless salmon fillets
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste


Soak the cedar planks in warm water for 1 to 2 hours. Add a splash of bourbon to the water if desired.
Bring the pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in the sugar, 1 teaspoon black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 15 minutes. Set the sauce aside.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. They are ready to cook on when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.
Season the salmon with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place the fillets onto the smoking cedar planks, close the lid of the grill, and cook for 10 minutes. Spoon a small amount of the sauce over the salmon fillets, and continue cooking until the fish turns opaque in the center, about 5 minutes more.  
Serve with the remaining sauce, fresh asparagus, crusty sourdough bread and potatoes.
Danish Almond
Cream Cake
Courtesy of Patricia Dunlop

½ pint cream
2 eggs
pinch salt
few drops almond essence 1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1½ cups sifted flour

2 T butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 T cream
1 T flour
3/4 cup blanched chopped almonds

Whip cream till peaks form. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each. Stir in essence. Add flour, b.p., salt and sugar and stir well until mixed. Pour into greased, floured 8" tin. Bake at gas Mark 4 till cooked (approximately 45 minutes). About 5 mins before cake cooked, blend ingredients for topping over low heat. Pour over cake and bake for a further 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from tin.


 What is the Land of the Midnight Sun?

The Land of the Midnight Sun refers to any of the world's northern regions above the Arctic Circle including: Finland, Iceland, Lapland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Alaska, Greenland, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada. During the summer months the sun remains visible at the local midnight, hence the "midnight sun." Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous 24 hours.

The suggestion of vacationing above the Arctic Circle surprises many people. The Arctic Circle? You mean the North Pole? Isn't it all snow and ice? No, it's not. The Arctic Circle is the circle of latitude on the earth's surface at 66°33' north, marking the southern limit of the area where the sun does not rise on the winter solstice or set on the summer solstice - a geographic ring crowning the globe. It is approximately 1,650 miles from the North Pole.

The Arctic is actually a vacation area for all seasons. In the winter it is the land of the Aurora Borealis - the Northern Lights. NASA predicts that winter 2012 will be the strongest Northern Lights activity in 50 years! The Northern Lights are at their most active in the late autumn and they occur most frequently and at their brightest in a belt of some 1500 miles from the magnetic pole. In summer, the prolongued daylight allows in-depth exploration of these geographically diverse and fascinating areas. 

Two of our favorite Midnight Sun destinations are Alaska and Norway.

North to Alaska...and so many different things to do and see! There are numerous different shore excursions and day trips varying in extreme from sedate city tours to kayaking alongside a glacier. Whether you are a high adventure thrill seeker or on a family outing with your children or grandchildren, there is something for everyone in this incredible state.

Whale WatchingThese are just a few examples:
You can snorkel and come home with tales of purple starfish and bright yellow sea anenomes, to say nothing of the looks on your friends' faces when "snorkeling in Alaska" starts to sink in.

Love watching "The World's Deadliest Catch?" Spend 3 1/2 hours on the Bering Sea and watch from the comfort of the ship's heated amphitheatre, as they hunt giant Alaskan King Crabs, prawns, snow crabs and more or step it up a little and learn how to catch them yourself! Take a culinary class and learn how to prepare real Alaskan dishes.

Do extreme rollercoastering and white water rafting appeal to you? If are going to LOVE driving three of your friends around in a Zodiac boat. Go fast - go slow - search inlets for bears - search big bays for whales. See Alaska's back country in a way you will never forget.

Feeding HummingbirdsCheck out the world's longest Zip-Line.
Watch for bears as you wander through the Alaskan rainforest. Yes. Rainforest. Even more surprising is the hummingbird tour. Imagine how amazing it would be to feed hummingbirds from your hands! (This tour is only available during May and June.)

Don't just fly over a glacier - land your helicopter on it and learn how to dogsled! Or combine a train ride into the Yukon with a visit to a dogsled camp, help socialize the beautiful sled dogs and motorcoach back to town. Not in the mood for a cruise? How about 5 or 6 days of guided fishing, daily maid service, fish processing for your catch, gourmet chef, 62 beautiful acres to roam and so much more. No more than 8 guests on the property and only a 90 minute flight from Seattle!

What about Alaska in the winter? According to astrophysicists, Solar Cycle 24, an increase in sunspot activity, is expected from the winter of 2011 through 2013. The sunspots result in vibrant, brightly colored aurora borealis and one of the best places to see them is in a small town north of Fairbanks. The lodge there offers aurora viewing tour packages from December until April 10. You have an 80% chance of seeing this magnificent phenomenon during a 3-night stay. Call us for more information and your chance to experience the adventure called Alaska!

NORWAY:Aurora Borealis
Much of the Norwegian coast lies in an area with the greatest Northern Lights activity, especially above the Arctic Circle. Late summer and early autumn bring the brilliant colors of changing leaves. Spring brings the beautiful wildflowers. Summer brings the Midnight Sun with days when the sun never sets. It is a time of festivals and the most popular travel time of the year.

National Geographic Traveler Magazine has placed the Norwegian fjords at the top of its list of destinations based on the following six criteria: Environmental and ecological quality; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites; aesthetic appeal; quality of tourism management and outlook for the future. The beauty of the land and sea, the friendliness of the people, the variety of exciting excursions, and the energy of the cities are all excellent reasons to visit the lands of the North.


Capture Amazing Photographic Memories in Alaska 
Hubbard GlacierHone your photographic skills while cruising in Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity
September 7 - 14, 2012
Seven nights roundtrip from Seattle
Ports of call include:

Departing from Seattle, Washington; Ketchikan, Alaska; Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Skagway, Alaska; Alaska Inside Passage; Victoria, British Columbia; Seattle, Washington

The goals of photography and travel are one in the same - to explore the world and experience it with a fresh vision. Travel to Alaska in the company of Fiona Dunlop; along the way learn the basics of photography, insider tips on composition and lighting, photo editing techniques, PLUS what all the bells and whistles on your digital camera can do.
Whale TailAbsorb the splendor of Alaska through the lens of your camera. Expose the pristine wilderness, capture the magnificent birds and animals, develop a love for all that is Alaska. Let us travel together through this magical place and share our Kodak moments together.
Photographic instruction is free of charge.
All you need is a digital camera and a laptop. No prior experience is necessary.


Cabin prices*

Inside: $859

Oceanview: $969

Balcony: $1,319


*Prices are per person, based on double occupancy and do not include taxes and fees of $152.91 per person

Coastal Cruise in Norway, Land of the Midnight Sun

Norway Coastal CruisingExperience the Land of the Midnight Sun on Hurtigruten, the original Norwegian Coastal Voyage in operation since 1893. Join Jim and Merrie Williams to experience the Summer Solstice Celebration in the Arctic Circle on the classic voyage June 18 - 29, 2012 aboard the MS Finnmarken.

The Finnmarken was built in 2002. She holds a maximum of 1000 passengersand is is the only ship in the fleet with both a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi on deck. A special feature on the MS Finnmarken is the bow - you can actually go all the way to the tip. All cabins have safes, refrigerators, telephones, and TVs. There is a fitness center with saunas and a massage room, a hair salon, an Internet café, several restaurants and bars, plus panoramic lounges and observation areas. No dressing up for dinner--no fuss, no frenzy--the aim is to sail calmly through crisp, clean air, close to the ever-changing environment.

It is a luxury adventure cruise. Optional shore excursions are available every day of the cruise - no days at sea! You have the opportunity to partake in a Viking feast, cuddle with a husky puppy, meet a family of Sami reindeer herders, visit three separate UNESCO world heritage sites, attend a midnight concert in the Arctic Cathedral, and even travel to the Russian border. You may view sea eagles, Europe's largest predatory bird, on a special safari. There is a potential adventure around every bend.

You are also invited to join Jim and Merrie for pre-cruise stays in Copenhagen (Tivoli Garens, Helsingor Castle, Hans Christian Anderson) and Oslo (Vigeland scultures, viking ships, the Fram and the Kon-Tiki) as well as a post-cruise stay in Bergen (Fløibanen Funicular, Edvard Grieg's home, the 400-year-old Hanseatic wharf.

The 12-day cruise starts at $3440.00 per person double occupancy.This sailing offers a 15% AARP discount if booked by February 29, 2012. Call your Firstworld travel agent for more information.

 My Favorite Alaskan Adventure

Musher's Camp and Sled Dog Experience 


By Dennis Hein

Sled Dog PuppiesIf you loved "The Call of the Wild" and are crazy about dogs, don't miss this outing in Skagway. Jack London traveled to the Klondike in search of adventure and that's what you'll get during this two-hour adrenaline rush at Klondike Gold Rush National Park. Hold onto your seat -- and your hat -- as a powerful team of huskies whisks you away on a wheeled sled; spruce and hemlock forest, glacial-fed waterfalls and the Taiya Inlet tidal flats will surround you. If you're not already smitten with these handsome, hard-working dogs by the end of the ride, stop by the kennel and meet the adorable puppies.

I really can't say enough good things about this trip! It was a brilliant experience that I'd recommend to anyone. Even the rain didn't spoil it. The dogs were happy and well looked after (and of course, adorable!) From the start, everything was perfect! The staff was very welcoming and informative. On the way to and from the camp the driver told us all about Alaska and answered any questions we had. We were pleasantly surprised to learn there was a lot more to this trip than just riding the husky sled.

The setting was beautiful and the staff taught us about the area, the dogs, and the history of Husky mushing. We got to spend plenty of time cuddling the puppies. The ride was very scenic and the dogs really seemed to enjoy themselves. The musher got off to check on all of the dogs and kindly took pictures of us and the dogs so we can look back and remember what a brilliant trip it was. To top things off, we had great hot chocolate and cookies!
Happy New Year!
I hope you had a great holiday season and I wish you all the best for the new year. I look forward to providing you with terrific vacation opportunities at the best value possible.

Dennis Hein 
Firstworld Travel and Cruises
7443 Mission Gorge Rd
San Diego, California 92120
CST# 2006995-10