Monday, July 27, 2015

Travel Blog #2: Family and Fjords and Fiskesuppe

Hello! Lack of internet has made constructing a travel blog a challenge. These last few days have contained so many memories, but I will take a deep breath and attempt to start piecing them all together. Rest assured, this blog will contain many more pictures like this:

But how did we get here? We begin our journey way back in Oslo right after I posted my last blog. Led by Holly's internet sleuthing/snooping, we headed off to visit Ragnhild, Holly's 4th cousin, for dinner. Now I don't know if you've ever visited your wife's 4th cousin before (I would guess not), but I wasn't sure what to expect taking the metro out to a neighborhood to eat at the house of someone I'd never met. But we had a simply wonderful time. Ragnhild and her husband GΓΈran made us a Norway summer shrimp feast and fed us food and drink so deep into the evening that we caught the second the last bus back to Oslo! They were so hospitable and very fun to talk to. Who knows how long we'd have been there if there were later buses.

 The evening wasn't done yet! When we made it back to Oslo we decided to needed to end our time there with a soft-serve cone ("soft-is") that are so popular here. When we told the guy at the checkout stand we thought this was the treat of Norway, he made us an extra large one, saying "I hear in America you have big burgers and big beers and I will make you a big cone!".

In the morning we began our drive to the fjords, stopping along the way at the 1994 Olympic site of Lillehammer before heading west to Geiranger and the famous Dalsnibba lookout. The area is rugged and wild and amazing to look out, with steep mountains emerging from the water.


This morning in Geiranger we received a phone call from another of Holly's distant cousins, Knut Willy, was actually hiking in Geiranger that same day. So we met them for breakfast, because, hey, why not?? They were a lot of fun, and it sounds like we're going to meet up with Knut Willy again tomorrow!

Let's talk about food! Hey look, it's fiskesuppe aka chowder! This is the best thing I've eaten in Norway so far, from the Naustkroa Bistro in Geiranger.

And this is a "Tex Mex" burger...also known as a burger with chips and salsa put on it.

We headed off this morning bound for Alesund, stopping along the way to take the Eidsal ferry and drive along the fjords again.

Finally we ended the day by meeting up with a whole lot of Holly's relatives in Alesund. What started as Holly contacting her 3rd cousin Kjell turned into a mini family reunion and a guided tour through Alesund.

What a couple of days! Who knew Holly sending out a couple of e-mails could turn into all of this. We've met some amazing people and seen some great sights. Off tomorrow to do even more!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Norway Travel Blog #1: Oslo, And in Which I Possibly Commit to Doing a Travel Blog

If there are two constants in my life, one is that the Mariners will always make me sad and the other is that way more people read my travel blogs than read my music blog. Despite my protests, sometimes I just need to give the people what they want and deal with the fact that more people want to watch Holly and I goof off in Norway than listen to the new, excellent Tame Impala album.

So, Norway. Why Norway? It's always been Holly's dream. And since I like pretty pictures, I get the fjords. Also, the average Norwegian woman appears to be a stateside 7, so that's cool I guess. Way to go Norway.

This is the Oslo Grand Hotel. It is a cool hotel with a mighty nice breakfast. While nice, the hotel is also extremely hard to drive to/park at, and only lack of police presence prevented me from receiving the 17 citations I deserved.

We factored in a jet lag day, which gave us some off-the-itinerary free time to explore the areas within walking distance. This also gave me the chance try a Norwegian beer and us the chance to sample the local seafood, as well as stake out the palace.

The hotel is located along Karl Johans Gate, the most popular street in the city. It's also car-free. You know who drove on it anyways? Yup, that same guy who just said he deserved 17 tickets...

I woke up at 3:30 AM the next morning and decided to take a walk instead of lie in bed in the dark wishing I wasn't all time zone-jacked. The result? Pretty sunrise photos and not one, but TWO propositions from the local prostitutes!

The planned itinerary the next day with a trip to see real Viking ships from the 9th and 10th centuries. In also-important news it represented a logistical success, as I was able to figure out the Oslo metro system without dying!

From there we visited Vigeland Sculpture Park, a beautiful park with an abundance of naked statues, some of them touching quite a bit. By the way, the pose below was because we were recreating a picture of Holly's grandparents at the same statue...I would never stand like that naturally. I do look very well-postured though!

From there we took the metro up to the site of the 1952 Olympics and the giant ski jump. Immediately we saw people zip-lining down it, which piqued Holly's interest. I was more interested in the amazing view and pretending to be a champion ski jumper on the award podium. Holly wanted to fly down the hill. 

On the way home we decided to check out the local art gallery in hopes of seeing the famous Scream by Munch. We did indeed see it, though they allow photos of basically everything except that painting. Here's us with Picasso and others, plus a bonus picture of an advertisement for the main painting.

Alright, that's it for now. We are now going to visit the home of someone who apparently is Holly's third cousin! So that should be cool. More pictures to follow, but I thought I should get a blog in while I could. Thanks for the read! (Also, Tame Impala! Go listen to it!)