Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Scandinavia day 4

I've been putting off finishing my Scandinavian report because Julia was supposed to send me her pictures. It's been about a month and she hasn't sent them, so the show must go on.

Since Julia was working during this trip, she had a day or two off and she wanted to experience a bit of Norway. I don't know how she did it, but she convinced me to do Norway in a Nutshell again. This was my third time. Three times in 18 years. I guess I'll survive. *sigh*

For the uninitiated, this is a package that lets you see all the beauty and wonder of Norway in one day. It starts with a train either out of Oslo or out of Bergen and takes you to the middle of the country. Then you take another train up a mountain. Then you get on a boat and cruise through a fjord. At the end of the fjord cruise is a bus that takes you back down the mountain and back to the original train. You take this train either east or west, depending on where you want to end your journey -- Oslo or Bergen.

So we arrived in Bergen (my greenie area) at one in the morning and had to get up super early for the first leg of the Nutshell. As we were shoveling our delicious breakfast in our gullets (nothing better than Norwegian bread and cheese and jam, although Swedish cheese was really good, too), I glanced at Julia's watch and realized our train was leaving in 10 minutes and the train station was 20 minutes away. We thought if we could take a taxi, we might make it, so we ran out of the dining room and found that there was a huge line of people waiting for cabs because it was POURING rain. If you have been to Bergen, this will not surprise you. All of a sudden, Julia gets a brilliant idea. If we flag down a regular person on their way to work and offer to pay them, maybe they will take us to the train station. I'm laughing even now thinking about this idea of hers. I guess you can imagine that no one stopped for us and we missed our train. Since this was my third time, I knew we'd probaby be able to catch the next train and be able to catch up with the tour, and that's what happened. But it meant that we had about two hours to kill in Bergen before the next train.
First we walked to the gågate and looked around. I took this picture...

... because it reminded me of this picture....

... which was taken 19 years ago (I'm so old) and sent to me recently by that punk standing to the right of me. Next we got on the streetcar, which did not exist 19 years ago, or even 10 years ago when I last visited Bergn. We were going to ride it to the end and then turn back around, until we got to Fantoft station and I remembered that this is where the church building is located.

So we got off the Bybanen, walked about 10 feet and actually found the church!! I couldn't believe I actually was able to find it after so many years. I know this is weird, but one of the memories that came back to me was standing on this driveway, eating Hob-Nobs for the first time, courtesy of Dan Buck, who shared his with me.

Once we got back into town, we continued to walk around a bit. Here's a statue of Grieg...
... and some beautiful tulips (they were about a month behind us in their spring season, which was awesome because tulips were everywhere).

We got on the train and traveled east to Myrdal and while we waited for our next train, we had a light lunch of another of my favorite Norwegian delights... panekaker (pancakes, shown here with cream and jam)!

This is the second leg of the tour...
This part cracks me up.... when I first took this train with my mom in 1993, they stopped the train so we could get a look at some of the waterfalls. When I took the train the next time in 2001 with Esther, there was this platform built so we could get out and look at the waterfall and take some pictures in front of it. This time, they announced that if we looked hard, we might see some fairies or something frollicking in the mists. (commence eye roll.)

Next, we were on the boat through the fjord and it was freezing cold!! The rain had let up a bit, but it was the normal misty freezing cold that is western Norway. (I'm not complaining, I love this place!!)
Since I had done this boat ride and it was cold, I let Julia go outside and take all the photos, and I would get copies. I see now the flaw in this plan.

Approaching a little village on the fjord. I had a vision of getting a little cabin here and writing my memoirs. I think I'd love it. Could this city girl become used to isolation like this?

Once we were back on dry land, we promptly fell asleep on the bus ride down the mountain (it's really beautiful but I was still jetlagged). While waiting in Voss for the next train back to Bergen, we saw some more beautiful tulips.

Julia posed with the requisite giant troll.

And once we were back in Bergen, somehow I found a place that serves a traditional Norwegian meal. In fact, it was the exact same place that Esther and I ate in 2001! It was delicious and every bit as good as I remembered.

More of Bergen to come in Day 5....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recent movies

I went to see Super 8 this weekend... loved it! Although it dragged a bit in the beginning, for the most part, I thought it was great, the kids were great, and I especially liked this character...

And of course it did not hurt to have Coach Taylor, AKA Kyle Chandler...

Another movie I really liked from this spring was Win Win.

And of course, Bridesmaids, which was hilarious. As usual, I would say that Judd Apatow needs to remember that comedies are 90 minutes for a reason. But really funny, and one of the funniest endings I have seen in a while. Kristen Wiig. She can do no wrong.

I couldn't be less interested in the superhero and comic book movies that are coming out now... but I am very excited for this one...

It looks cute and funny, and I love....


Really LOVE...

Really like...

But... unfortunately...really can't stand....

She's in Anne Hathaway territory for me. But I'll still see it. No blue make-up involved, so I hope it is good.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scandinavia day 3

DAY THREE.... Woke up in Denmark.

Copenhagen Central Station
Took the train to Malmø, Sweden. It goes over this bridge.

We got off the train and saw this sight.... yes, another biking city.

Here's a bike counter, which says, "Cyclists today." The line to the right says how many bicylces rode down this street in 2010, to the left is the goal for 2011.

Some random church near the train station.

While Julia went to see a play (the reason Julia went to Malmø ), I looked around. Then we met up again afterwards.

Looking around Lilla Torg

This is Osthuset (translation: Cheese house.... we are cheese lovers!!)

We ate at this cute little restaurant.
Saw this bakery... but it was closed. (would it be possible to get a cupcake during my journey?)
After a short, but fun day in Sweden, we took off..... and went to bed that night in Norway!!

Glee quote of the week -- Season finale

I'm not really into the Royal wedding stuff, but...

Curt: " I'm spending my summer composing 'Pip Pip hooray.' Hit Broadway musical about Pippa Middleton. "

Number of the week -- Light up the world

Still the best number of the season.... Teenage Dream.

Glee quote of the week 5/17

Just getting to the final two episodes of Glee... thank goodness or DVR.

Curt and Finn bring Sue Sylvester flowers after her sister dies...
Sue: "There were more arrangements, but I had to throw some of them out. I'm allergic to pansies. And I don't mean that as a swipe at either of you."

Number of the week: Santana singing "Back in Black."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Scandinavia day 2

Day two, we got up and tried to figure out how to downtown (our hotel was in the equivalent of Washington Heights, as far as I was concerned). Julia did some google maps thing, and figured out a bus route, but it turned out that her computer thought she was still in Utah and told us to take a bus that only runs at night. Of course, we didn't know this until we walked our legs off and got lost during a marathon happening in the city. We finally found our way downtown. (is that what they call it in Copenhagen? I don't know, but that is what I call it.) We took a little tourist ferry through the canals of Copenhagen.

This little white house on the harbor was where Hans Christian Anderson lived at one time.

This is the top of the old World Trade Center in Copenhagen -- the three crowns represent Denmark, Sweden & Norway.

You probably can't tell, but this spire is comprised of four dragons with their tails intertwined.

Here's the back of Den Lille Havfruen. I only saw it from the back, from the ferry.

Everyone rides bikes around town because it's a super flat city, plus, we discovered that so much of the city are walking streets and therefore the buses don't go there.

That night, we went to play, which was the reason that Julia went to Copenhagen in the first place. It was a play from China, and it was pretty much the longest, most painful 70 minutes of my life....And that's saying something since I had surgery this year!!

And that's pretty much day two!