Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hotel Fox

We made it to København! It was quite the journey. Three countries in one day! We left on the early train at 7:00 a.m., traveled 5 hours into Sweden, switched trains, and then the train broke down. NO! It was kind of sucky, but way suckier for a lot of other people that were trying to make it to the airport to catch a flight. We had the time to wait for the buses they arranged to take us to Malmö and it only put us in a few hours later than we planned. No biggie. 

We stepped out of the train station and were wowed. Copenhagen is exciting, and bustling! Our hotel was a short walk from the central station, and it's the coolest!! We were given the Swans Love room, aka The Fertility Room. Yikes! So rad though, check it out:

The wallpaper is a forest of trees, with photographs of animals pasted on top. AWESOME!! There are lemurs, swans, owls, llamas and a cat!

The bed had a bunch of stuffed lions on it and plastic fruit hanging from the posts. Weird...


We're looking forward to going out and exploring all day tomorrow, and looks like the sun will be shining the whole time. Sweet! I'll have more pics to post tomorrow...


Copenhagen is AMAZING. and so is the hotel. Pictures and words later after we eat and enjoy the evening!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oslo again!

We are reminded often of how lucky we have been with the Norwegian weather. It was another beautiful and sunny day here in Oslo and we took advantage of it. My dad's friend Per, who he's known since he was 7, picked us up at our hostel this morning and took us all of the place. We started with Holmenkollen, the most advanced skiing facility in the world. The ski jump was just renovated and finished last year to be even bigger, and was quite impressive. You can normally go up to the top but unfortunately the elevator was out of service so instead we did the museum tour which was also pretty cool. We learned a lot about the history of making skis and posed with some stuffed animals:

I almost bought this moose hat. I thought it was cozy and then saw how it looked.

Here's the ski jump, crazy big!! From the top of the jump you look out over Oslo and the fjord and it's an incredible sight. I don't know how those jumpers don't piss themselves when they're up there...

After Holmenkollen we went to the Edvard Munch museum (he did The Scream, for all those that didn't have the privilege of going to art school) which was amazing. After that we drove down to Lillestrom which is where my dad and Per grew up. Per is almost like the mayor of Lillestrom. We walked down the main drag and a bunch of people stopped us and said hi to Per (Dad- we saw Jan Lund and he says HI!). We drove by my dad's old house which was neat to see again, and the soccer stadium where the LSK games are played. 

This one's for you Nikki. If the wine here wasn't as much as a car payment, I'd buy you a case of this awesome cat wine and ship it to you. :*(

At Per's house we stopped to check out his garden. Look how cute his shed is!!! I love the green roof. It has a bed in it and is even wired with electricity and heat! Best shed ever.

We went to my cousin Rune's house and saw my uncle Gunnar too. We had vaffler and coffee and shared some broken English/Norwegian conversation. It was really nice to see them again.

After Lillestrom, Per drove us back to the city and dropped us off with his son Tor Einar who took us to a Thai restaurant for dinner. It was really yummy but now we're stuffed and tired and ready for bed. Gotta wake up early tomorrow for the train to Denmark! Will be posting tomorrow from the Hotel Fox...

Flickr pictures here!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


We just made it to the hostel back in Oslo, after an awesome 2 days in Grimstad. We visited our family friends, the Folkmans, who were so warm and welcoming and gave us a fantastic visit. They live in one of the prettiest towns I've ever seen. It was so idyllic, with the sun shining, it was warm, and everything was so green. We took the train from Stavanger to Kristiansand, and then the bus to Grimstad, and they picked us up there. The bus stop was right on the water, and as soon as we stepped off the bus we knew we were going to have fun there.

After picking us up, Kristian and Lars took us for a mini driving tour of Grimstad, and we went up a hill to look over the town and took advantage of a few Kodak moments:

This is the second largest wooden church in all of Norway. That's a big deal.

See what I mean? Gorgeous. Sailboats were out and we were about to join them.

Here I am making out with their dog, Tussa (It means troll in Norwegian! Poor Tussa...). I miss my kitty, and am taking the animal affection wherever I can get it. This was right before she ate the pile of crap. Thankfully.

Here is Trine and Fredrik... They took us out on their vintage wooden boat the first day which was so relaxing. It reminded me of the boat rides around Balboa Island that we used to do, but with even prettier scenery.

Jeff and Kristian driving the boat:

We docked on one of the small islands off the coast and Kristian brought his fishing pole to see if they could catch any fish to put in the fish soup he was planning on making us the next day. They did! Jeff caught the first one less than five minutes after putting the hook in the water, and then Fredrik showed him up and caught an even bigger fish! Quite successful, although they didn't top the record breaker my dad caught when he was there visiting...

Still exciting! Jeff was pretty proud, and Fredrik taught Jeff how to stick his fingers up the fish's tonsils to carry it like a fisherman.

After we got back and had a lovely dinner of fish stew, we were wiped. We took over Lars' bedroom and guess who wanted to bunk with Jeff...?

This morning we woke up to more beautiful weather and a Norwegian breakfast (homemade bread, jams, meats, fish, goat cheese, coffee, juice and milk) and set off again on their other (more reliable) boat, this time going to a further island and with the whole family. We hiked on the rocks, sunbathed, they swam in the freezing water while Jeff and I looked on horrified, threw a stick repeatedly for Tussa, and ate the fish soup Kristian made before heading back. It was so gorgeous there, I can't imagine why they would want to move back to California (they lived in Foster City for 3 years and loved it). Then again, I do remember the two times I've been in Norway in the winter.... Here are some pictures from the island we docked at:

There were so many jellyfish in the water! This one was the grand pumba of them all. It was huge!! Probably 18" diameter I would guess. Bjorn touched it on top (the tentacles on the bottom are what sting you), fearless Norwegian. 

I took a crazy amount of pictures and video of this leg of the journey, again all posted on Flickr if you want to check them out... Oh. I just realized the limits of the free Flickr account. You might not be able to see the older pictures anymore... I guess they just allow you the most recent 200 pictures? Sorry! Update: Here are the Grimstad Flickr pictures.

Meeting up with Per and Tor Einar tomorrow to see Lillestrom, where my dad grew up. I'm looking forward to showing that to Jeff. That's my Norway. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010


We're in Stavanger! At a hospital hotel. It said on the website that it was a short walk from the city center, which is true, if by short walk they mean thirty minutes uphill. But the hotel totally makes up for it, it's awesome! After spending two nights in a hostel with a bunch of metal-heads (Bergen was having the Black Metal festival when we were there- which was actually fun, everyone looked evil but were super nice), it's nice to spend the night in comfy room with a nice bathroom and a TV. We're watching The Family Guy in bed and it's only 7pm. We walked all over the city though and we're pooped. It's nice to come back early, shower, eat and veg a bit. Tomorrow morning we're taking the train to Kristiansand, and then another train to Grimstad to meet up with some family friends so we hope to be well-rested.

Here are some pictures from today (and the full set here):

These first two were taken from the Flaggruten boat ride from Bergen to Stavanger, which was about 4 and half hours long. It was a lot better than the Fjord cruise, we had plenty of room to spread out with no old ladies trying to take our seats, and they had wi-fi! It was really cool scenery along the way too, so many little islands! I got a little queasy on the ride, as I posted earlier, but it wasn't too bad. The view kept me pre-occupied.

Once we arrived in Stavanger, we set straight out for the hotel, but passed through the city center from the harbor and saw some shops and this crazy old church. It was built in 1125!! 1125!!!!!! The inside was beautiful... we bought a candle and lit it, said a little prayer, and hung out a bit. It's hard not to feel spiritual in a place like this. Really amazing.

Norwegian kitty! We were just remarking to each other how weird it was that we hadn't seen any animals (other than dogs on leashes) in Stavanger. No birds, squirrels, or cats until this guy showed up. It was a lovely warm and sunny day in the city too so it was surprising we didn't see more cats out sunbathing. And believe me, I was lookin'. 

The internet is a bit slow here at the hotel so I'm just posting these pictures. The rest are on the flickr page! Sorry there aren't any comments on the pictures, which I know would be helpful to know what you're looking at... maybe I'll have Jeff get on that tomorrow. Like he'd remember the names... :)


I realized what Flaggruten means now. It's the sound you make throwing up on the boat. Less due to my sea sickness and more due to the piece of candied ginger Jeff just made me eat. Ugh, tastes like soap.

Really pretty ride though, in between all the little islands, and passing by lots of fishing boats. And there's free wi-fi on the boat! Amazing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 26, 2010


What a beautiful city. I think I'll probably say that about every Norwegian city, but Bergen really is something to see. I'm so glad we made it one of our stops. Apparently it rains 275 days of the year (not 340 Dad, that's crazy) so we expected a wet day. It certainly sprinkled quite a bit but it was off and on, and when it was off, it was sunny and nice. Here's what we saw:

A lot of the houses in Bergen by the water were rebuilt in the 1800's after a huge fire wiped out 7/8ths of the city. That's still really old for houses, and you could see them all wonky and leaning into each other. 

This could have possibly made Jeff's trip to Bergen. A unicorn statue with a boner. 

Norway has a lot of weird naked statues. These wouldn't fly in the states.

This church was the one from the 12th century that I wanted to see. They were in the middle of restoring it though (on the front end) so we couldn't go inside. Ah well.

This kitty lived at the church. He was a salty little thing. A pigeon landed right in front of us and he got all puffed up and made those chattering noises cats make when they stalk prey. He was quick, but not quick enough. The pigeon survived.

We went to this fortress next on the edge of the water. The building above was built in 1560 and the building below (Hakon's Hall) was built in the 12th century!

This was the dungeon! It was crazy spooky in there. They had electric lights but back when it was in use, all of the light and air came from this little slit in the stones. It was awful. Jeff is making a bad joke in this picture, which pissed off the spirits. The paranormal activity made my picture fuzzy. 

We were allowed to go all the way up to the top of the fortress which gave an awesome 360 degree view of the city and harbor. 

After lunch we went to the Leprosy Museum! It was pretty sad. They cordoned off all of the Norwegian lepers into this hospital in the 17 and 1800's. A lot of research was conducted here by Dr. Hansen who named the disease after discovering the bacteria that causes it.

After lunch we went to the Natural History Museum (closed) and the Cultural Museum of Bergen (open) which was next to the botanical gardens. It was higher up than on the harbor so we had really pretty views (and a good work-out walking up and down).

One of the many gorgeous old churches in Bergen.

This one's for you Jan! Although now that you're practically vegetarian, I'm not sure how down you'd be for 64 tubes of Baconost. 

Tomorrow morning we're off early on the Flaggruten to go south to Stavanger. Adventures!

P.s. To see the rest of the Bergen shots, click here to see my Flickr album!