Friday, August 15, 2014

Song of Norway cha-ching$$$

Trolls play a big part in Norwegian folklore. They are ugly, messy  and nasty creatures that live in caves and forests and will turn to stone if sunlight hits them.
(The Troll is on your left)

Norway, home of  my great-grandparents is God's adventure-land amusement park.  Beautiful landscape and incredible fjords with majestic train travels over visual wonders, and when you go to eat you pay prices that make you think you are at the concessions line at Disneyland. WOW, this place is expensive.  We began our stay in Bergen, a seaside village that gives you a feeling of old world small town charm.  We stayed in historic renovated wooden clad apartments from the 1800's.

Bergen has very nice museums.  We went to one on Maritime history, Viking history, along with beautiful displays of the timeline of Bergen, Art museums with a wonderful display of  Edvard Munch, (who along with Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Greig are Norway's celebrated Artists).  There is a stunning funicular ride and a charming reconstructed historic village.  All in all very nice, but as "foodies" when you have to fork over $22 for seafood chowder, $25 for a BLT,  OR, a single can of  local beer (in a grocery store) is $5, you know your time here is limited.

From Bergen we took a 7 hour dazzling scenic train ride into Oslo.  A train ride not to miss! . We spent 2 nights in Oslo before heading to Finland

Channeling  Ibsen

Edvard Munch "The Scream" aka " Grocery store horrors"


Surrounded by wild natural beauty  (and I'm not talking about my Norwegian husband)
and jaw-dropping scenery is the only way to describe Norway.   The midnight sun means I have 24 hours a day to enjoy the stunning landscape and as Cory Hart says "I wear my sunglasses at night..."

If you are Norwegian, you know what Lefsa is (like a potato tortilla).  Rich's first meal was at the airport concession stand - it was a meal because that rolled potato pancake was $10e, our lunch budget.  I have a feeling we will be losing some weight on this trip.

A restored historic neighborhood in Bergen - we stayed in a timber-clad house.

Views of Bergen Harbor, very picturesque.  In one of the pictures above you can see "The Bryggen" , a UNESCO collection of wooden merchant buildings lining the side of Bergen's harbour.  You can spend the day walking all over the city and there are a number of trails across the mountaintop to walk.  We took the Funicular to the top of  Mount Floyen,  enjoyed the views of the city and hiked back down to the city.  Whew....

Richard Leif's original birth name was Leif Eric,  named after Leif Ericsson a famous Viking in Norway.  I can see the ancestral resemblance...

Fjords of Norway outside of Bergen.   The majestic Sognefjord is pictured and is the largest fjord in Norway, one feels dwarfed when looking up at this great Norwegian scenery.  We took a 10 hour round-trip boat cruise out of Bergen and went in and out of the fjords stopping at islands and ending at Flan before returning to Bergen.

An abundance of seafood available in Norwegian waters, Norwegian cuisine also includes game from the mountainous wilderness such as duck. goose, moose, and reindeer.   We ate a wonderful Smoked Norwegian Salmon Cesar Salad.  Why does Norwegian Salmon taste so good??  We were told "fish grow more slowly in cold water and their flesh develops a firmer structure with more flavor than fish in warmer waters".   Reker is eating shrimp Norwegian style - peel yourself and pile high on white bread, squeezed alioli sauce and lemon - yum.  Lefse of course would not be missed by Richard.  Open-faced sandwiches are a tradition in the country- above are shrimp and herring.
 Bottom left - street food in Norway - $10 hot dogs - worth every Euro.  Bottom right is "Torrfisk" unsalted dried fish - cod is the common fish dried.

We had only 2 days in Oslo - so the highlights of this short stay:
  Frogner Park - the biggest park in central Oslo and home to The Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement, which features 212 bronze and granite sculptures of men, women, and children portrayed in various stages of life.  The Monolith, a 14 meter tall granite structure took 14 years to carve- 121 figures struggling to reach the top.

 We are not architects, but I am amazed at the skyline in this city.   To me, I am in an outdoor modern art museum - the architecture here are works of art.  The Oslo Opera House is worth the trip to visit without going inside.

We made it to Oslo to celebrate one of the many summer festivals in Norway.  Pictured is the Kystkulturfestival.  A Maritime Festival where hundreds of historic ships and traditional boats from Norway sail along the entire Norwegian coast and land in Oslo to party.
You can see Richard wanting to be part of the festivities!

Our 8 days in Norway was quick - 

Off to Toivo's people in Finland!!