Monday, August 4, 2008

Velkkomen Till Norgay!

"Save The Best For Last"...this old adage rang true during my Scandinavia tour.

Norway, the 3rd and final leg of my trip was by far one of the most picturesque places I've ever been. Upon immediate arrival, I hopped a train to Larvik - a small town on the coast of the Oslo fjord - about 2 hours from Oslo. After staying in hostels for several days at this point, you can imagine my excitement when I found out from my dear Auntie that I would have my own room and bathroom for 3 whole days!!! Whoo hoo! I also enjoyed being greeted by my Great Aunt at the train station with a big smile and a hug...there's just something about familiarity that soothes the soul.

My three days in with the fam, were so sweet. I was treated like a princess by my generous hosts and thoroughly enjoyed the quality time with my Aunt and Uncle. Uncle Ulf was so excited for my arrival that he had a whole 3 day itinerary planned out for me, which of course he said I could modify, but he was so excited I wouldn't, they were all things that I would enjoy! So as not to bore you, I'll just give you the rundown of our activities with a few details here and there. We scoured the whole town of Larvik, stopping at the Larvikete Quarry where they mine, you guessed it, Larvikete, which is basically a type of granite (shades of blacks, grays and blues) that's very pretty when shined. I was also introduced to other quaint towns, sleepy harbors, beautiful beaches, a viking ship dig (where a real ship was excavated), Morel - a viking stone burial ground (basically a beach comprised of stones with real tombs below) kinda eerie to walk over the mounds and feel the hollowness below, a navy church, German barricades, gunners & bunkers, meeting Chamille (Ulf's pregnant daughter, and tons of Norwegians eating "is" (ece) aka ice cream. The days were jam packed, but leisurely (if that's possible)...every day was started with a hearty breakfast, compliments of Aunt Norma and filled with grand tours by Ulf. I especially enjoyed returning home in the evenings to lounge around, hike, listen to Ulf play piano, eat good veggie food, and sleep in!

At this point I am feeling recharged and ready to tackle my next adventure! Fortunately for me, my Aunt and Uncle planned to escort me to Oslo and planned for us to stay overnight at his son's house there. This day we accomplished what Ulf liked to call "American Sight-Seeing," which he believes is worse than the Japanese...i beg to differ...Basically, Ulf was our chauffer all day, driving us from attraction to attraction. Hitting up the Ski Jump, Kon-Tiki Museum and Viking Ship Museum. My favorite stop by far was the Vigeland Sculpture Park! An amazing feat.... The park contains 192 sculptures with more than 600 figures, all modeled in full size by Gustav Vigeland . The Monolith is especially interesting bc it towers 14.12 meters (46.32 ft.) high and is comprised of 121 human figures rising toward heaven. This is meant to represent man’s desire to become closer with the spiritual and divine. It portrays a feeling of togetherness as the human figures embrace one another as they are carried toward salvation. Wow...pretty deep, I mean high :)

We ended the Oslo in a Nutshell in what Ulf affectionately called "Oslo's Living Room". A central pier that encompassed restaurants, street vendors, condos, shops, statues and the like.

We spent the evening with Ulf's son and his family and enjoyed watching one of the EuroCup semi-final games (Spain vs. Germany)'s kinda a big deal i hear!

Then the next morning I was off to the train at 8:11am for my solo adventure on the Norway in a
Nutshell tour. Lucky for me, I knew I wouldn't be alone on this one...I met Thelma (a girl from Purdue) in Stockholm who happened to be taking the same tour as me on the same day and staying at the same hostel in Bergen! --If that's not a God-incident, I don't know what is! Before I met her, I had felt lonely and prayed for God to bring someone "a friend" in my path...and i met her literally seconds later!

With mountains of memories behind me from Denmark, Sweden and Oslo, I was in for a treat - memories IN the mountains of Norway!

1 comment:

Monte Jenkins said...

Hey Michelle!

What a great blog. Enjoyed the mix of pics and stories. Keep it up!