The Gretsch Family Visits Norway and the Arctic!

May/June 2017

Stay tuned here as we chronicle the Arctic Adventure of Gretsch Family Generations 4, 5, and 6--Fred and Dinah Gretsch, cousin Lucas from Denmark, and grandchildren Rhys and Jaden.

To begin, their grand adventure started with an unexpected turn of events. Thanks to Mother Nature, the group trip from JFK to Norway turned into Rhys flying off to Oslo alone! To the family's relief, Lucas had made his way up from Denmark and was able to pick Rhys up at the airport! (Thanks, Lucas!!) On a positive note, Lucas and Rhys had some fun cousin bonding time before the others arrived!

As for the rest of the family, they had an unplanned 19-hour side trip to Iceland. This didn't give the Gretsches and Jaden much time to relax, but with a chance to stop into the Icelandic Museum of Rock 'n' Roll, who needs a nap?! Visitors to the museum that day saw not only one Gretsch, but a small flock!


Eventually the Gretsch family was reunited in Oslo! And with a couple of free days in their grand Arctic itinerary, they were able to enjoy some of the many beautiful sights and activities in and around captivating Oslo!

With Lucas headed back home to Denmark, Rhys, Jaden, and their grandparents were ready to begin the "Arctic" part of their journey.  Arriving at Longyearbyen, "the world's northernmost settlement...with greater than 1,000 permanent residents," the family is looking forward to a memorable expedition ahead and hoping to spot some polar bears along the way (from a safe distance, of course)!

The family is now "on the hunt" to hopefully spot some seals, walruses, and especially polar bears! Don't worry, they'll only be shooting them with cameras!

Internet, unlike snow, is a little hard to come by up around the North Pole, so our updates have been a litle scarce. The Gretsch family has been busy nonetheless enjoying some kayaking, riding in zodiacs, and hiking.

From the Expedition Guide: Today was our first day exploring the southwestern coast of Spitsbergen, which is the largest island in the archipelago of Svalbard. And what a wonderful first day it was! Just as we had cruised a few hours out of Longyearbyen and dinner had been served, the Captain announced that there was a blue whale ahead! We bundled up and got out on deck with cameras and binoculars.

During the night, the officers and the captain took us all the way around the southern tip of Spitsbergen and a fair way up the wilder and even more remote east coast. This coastline is completely empty of human inhabitants and is a true wilderness.

From the Expedition Guide: After a very full day of cruising and looking for wildlife through and around the sea ice, and a wonderful after-dinner Zodiac cruise, we lifted anchor early this morning and continued our explorations of Storfjord. Our destination was the west side of Edgeoya Island on the eastern side of the fjord. We were hoping to find a safe, and relatively snow-free area, to go ashore for some morning hikes right after breakfast. Just before breakfast a scout boat was sent out to investigate the proposed landing site for access, and for possible polar bear activity. It was soon clear that the landing was possible, but fog and low clouds were almost surrounding us, and we would have to monitor the conditions before making a final decision.This morning we found ourselves in Bellsund, a deep fjord system on the west coast of Spitsbergen Island. It was an overcast, but bright and warm day. After breakfast we were given the choice of either landing and exploring by foot or kayaking and discovering by sea – many people chose kayaking. It was a perfect day for kayaking as it was flat and calm.

No dull moments on this Arctic Adventure! The Gretsch family has been enjoying some of the most magnificent, breath-taking views Mother Nature has to offer, all while keeping themselves in shape!

After a week of exploration, it's back to civilization!  What an experience for these adventurers!! Along with breaking through ice, navigating the Arctic wilderness by boat and kayak, and enjoying all the beauty this region has to offer, the Gretsch family did spot whales, reindeer, and, yes, even polar bears!

One would think after an entire week of hiking, rowing, and otherwise exploring the vast, remote, icy wilderness that at least one day of doing nothing but relaxing would be warranted. For this family, however, all play and no work doesn't happen very often. Not that spending time getting to know fans of Gretsch instruments is "work" to them, the family did attend a local dealer event the day after returning to Oslo!

We hope Karl Oluf Wenneberg--drummer for the Norwegian band a-ha and Gretsch Drums endorser--won't mind but we borrowed the above photo posted on Instagram from the event at Gitarhuset Megastore Alnabru including store owner Magne and Mr. Gretsch. And we thank Hoba for the photo below of him with Karl Oluf and Mr. Gretsch!

Thanks to Magna and crew as well as GEWA for a terrific event in Oslo!