It was a drizzly morning for my first day in Norway (how did I of all people forget a rain hat? Guess that means I can buy a new hat! but at least not so bad for my hike back to the Oslo train station with my now-even-heavier-with-everything-including-laptop-inside suitcase…which now finally will need to be retired since one wheel went wonky so I guess I was basically dragging it through the city, scraping the corner! Glad I noticed now before it was a gaping hole! That suitcase has been to the USSR, Estonia, Finland, Mexico, Costa Rica, Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, and plenty around the USA in almost 20 years I think, so I guess it’s had a long & exciting life & deserves a nice relaxing retirement.
From Oslo to Trondheim
I woke up at 5:30, got up at 6am to repack, so I was even able to scarf a quick breakfast as I checked out. I have no problem with pickled herring & scrambled eggs first thing in the morning! I had a window seat on the train, so between the beautiful scenery and the challenge of getting decent photos out the window of a fast-moving train, I listened to my new iPod (thanks again Mom & Dad!) and dozed since I was still wiped from my long travel day. It seemed to be Norwegian families and older people on the train, so I didn’t get to talk to anyone. As soon as we were about an hour north of Oslo, the beautiful blue sky was showing between the fluffy clouds, and it continued so all the way north where there was even some snow still on the mountains. About 3:30pm we finally arrived in Trondheim, and my hotel had said “walking distance” from the train station, but it would have been a good 15-minute walk without a wonky heavy suitcase! I am going to pay for a cab to the dock for the ship tomorrow, since as you can see, my poor suitcase has now lost its wheel completely so it won’t be able to take many more dragging sessions over so much pavement! Since it was bright, sunny & warm in Trondheim and I was dragging probably 70lbs using a tiny little handle, I was dripping & red-faced again by the time I finally found my hotel, so I took a welcome shower, changed into summer clothes vs. my jeans & went back out on the town.
Of course as soon as I got back outside, it started sprinkling, but not enough to bother with my umbrella, so I stopped by the wooden palace Stiftsgården that was already closed, then I continued to the Nidaros Cathedral. Teje had said not to miss it, and she’s never even been inside, and my tour book agreed. Since I was too late for the last tour of the day, I bought the guide pamphlet and wandered around. Of course there was an organ concert at 1pm, long before I arrived in town, and they were setting up a sound system for something in there later, but I didn’t see any signs for what. I sneaked a couple no-flash photos of the fancy pipe organ and the chamber organ in the chapter house – shh don’t tell on me! I went next to the Erkebispgården Archbishop’s Palace, which was closed, but they had an “historisk marked” of renfaire-like tents & people in garb, showing a blacksmith and stonecarver in action, plus various wares and food. I was starving since all I’d had since breakfast was a chocolate mint Pria bar and it was already after 5pm, so I had a vaffel as I strolled around. If the big wooden ladle was a curved handle I would have bought it for Halloween witches brew, so too bad it wouldn’t fit properly in the cauldron! 😉 I wandered down through the cathedral graveyard, taking photos of course, then down by the river, and back up again to find a horseback jousting tournament in full regalia! We non-paying audience were allowed to stand at the side behind the ropes but I got some fun photos.
I was really hungry for a proper meal by then, so I tried to make a guess at where the tavern might be that my guidebook recommended for traditional Norwegian food, but I didn’t find it, so I headed back by my hotel, catching Sinead O’Connor’s soundcheck along the way, so I got some video & close up photos. See, all this cool stuff I happened to catch is the Olavsfestdagene, St Olav Festival Days. Nidaros Cathedral is the pilgrimage church for St Olav, patron saint of Norway and the king who brought Christianity to Norway, since the church was built on King Olav’s grave. Lucky me since I had no idea this was happening the day I happened to choose to be here! 😉 As it was now raining more again, I caught the tail end of the farmers market on my hotel’s street, tasting several kinds of lefse, now wishing I took photos of all the names (potatlefse is what my mom makes) buying some follalefse, which tastes similar but has egg for sure, and buying some moose milk cheese (I think? or elk maybe? Viltost Urterøkt Elg) that was tasty, and a cardamom creamy pudding listed as Gomme. I had seen rommegrøt on the menu for that tavern so I was in the mood for some and that was close! At least I have snacks for later this way, but still wanted a real dinner, and I just didn’t feel like the Dublin Steakhouse, pizza, let alone McDonald’s that was all around my hotel…
Since the receptionist had been nice when I checked in, I ducked into my hotel asked her if she had any idea where that place was from my tour book. She knew but it was an hour walk, and I didn’t feel like taking a taxi for dinner. For Norwegian food she highly recommended the Vertshuset Grenaderen, which I had stumbled across after the joust but wasn’t sure I understood the menu & didn’t see rommegrøt. 😉 It was close & highly-recommended, so I went, and I’m very glad I did! Only 3 other parties were in there when I arrived, but the table that was free was huge, so I sat at the corner of it. By the time I got my wine, they had all left, so my waitress asked if I wanted the table by the window…which just happened to be in a teal brocade couch with teal throw pillows, so since no one else was eating, when she came back I asked her to take a photo of me. I knew you would all laugh at the tealness!
Food, Glorious Food
I had the fisksuppe starter, which was similar to bouillabaisse, with amazing whole-grain bread that I think had flakes of sea salt on the crust – tasty! My main course was rosastekt hjortefilet med rødvinskokt paere, which on my English menu was roast deer in sauce with red-wine poached pear and whisky marmalade. That sauce was EXCELLENT! Since no one else was around, my waitress could be chatty, which made my dinner much nicer for me by myself. That sauce is her favorite too, with game stock, milk, brunost (the brown goat cheese I had just tried at the farmers market), and something she couldn’t translate & I can’t remember or spell. 😉 I also found out the tavern I’d been looking for has the same owner & is the sister restaurant, so I probably didn’t miss anything! After eating all the meat & mushrooms with that delicious sauce, then cramming my broccoli in too like a good girl, I had no room to start my potatoes at all, and my poached pear was my dessert. The waitress was wondering why it was so much slower than usual, and I mentioned the Sinead concert, plus there was something at the cathedral, since there was a line around the corner as I walked by to go to the restaurant…and then while I was eating, a booming beat started coming from the river behind the restaurant, which was another outdoor concert! Since the staff wasn’t doing anything else since I had my food, they all went out to investigate…a Swedish group called “Smelt” was playing, and they found out it was a men’s chorus from Moscow at the cathedral. Trondheim was a happening place tonight! 😉
I can definitely tell it’s 300 miles farther north, since it’s just now getting to be dusk after 10pm! I’m listening to Sinead O’Connor outside my window one block away…nice free concert! She’s singing Nothing Compares 2 U right now…only the 2nd song I’ve recognized since she started playing an hour ago…heh…
Tomorrow I don’t have to be at the dock until 9:45am, so I should be able to sleep well enough and have a larger breakfast to last me longer. The meals aren’t included in the price on the ship, so we’ll see if what they’re selling me looks worth the price, or if I’ll dine on follalefse & elk cheese… 😉 I hope the weather will still be nice enough to get some good photos of the coastline as we cruise past…at least some breaks in the clouds is all I ask and I’ll be happy!
Photos so far are here…Until next time!