Summer in Scandinavia 2007

Visiting Teje for her wedding reception in Skara, Sweden, so in August 2007 I finally visited my ancestral homeland!

on my way!

31 July 2007

This afternoon I board Virgin Airlines, fly to Heathrow, transfer to British Airways to Oslo, then arrive in Norway tomorrow evening! This is my first trip to my “ancestral homeland” and I’m excited! The reason for going is to celebrate the first anniversary of a fellow Halloween fan from Norway who found my website awhile ago, and we’ve become online friends. She got married last year and they’re having the reception in Sweden August 11th, so what a great reason for me to finally visit! :) My ancestors are over 100 years back, so all I know really is that my dad’s family is from Visby, Gotland, so I’m going there, and my grandmother thinks her mother is from near Lillehammer. I’m just going to see as much as I can see!

I might be checking two bags on the way there, which is a first! So much cider, jam, beef jerky & another gift is making my suitcase about 10lbs over, and I’ve tried limiting what else I’m bringing…we’ll see what they say, since I do have my duffle bag packed, so if they make me, I can repack some clothes & shoes at checkin.

I should have internet just about everywhere I’m staying, so I hope to blog with photos during the trip. Wish me luck!

Britta’s Scandinavian Itinerary

in Oslo – finally!

1 August 2007

What a LONG day! I’m here in Oslo finally, in my hotel room on cheap wifi, after a Strongbow with Teje at the Dubliner around the corner. Lucky that I just happened to choose a hotel that was so close to her favorite pub, run by her sister-in-law! 😉

Super LONG travel day!

From Oslo to Trondheim

2 August 2007

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

Hurtigruten Cruise from Trondheim to Bergen

4 August 2007

Thank goodness it wasn’t this weather the entire cruise! I can imagine it would be impressive since we’re navigating through lots of islands right now, but they’re just big gray blobs out the panorama window through the rivulets streaming down the windows. It has been blustery rain and rocky waves all Saturday morning, so much that even though I had intended on eating another good breakfast, by the time I finished packing & getting ready at a consistent 20 degree angle sideways, my appetite was gone. The Caribbean hurricane Roxanne I was in on that cruise in 1995 was still worse, but this has been bad enough I won’t risk reading which would make me really ill! It’s still raining but calm enough to jot down notes on my Treo for posting later. I just ate my last couple pieces of lefse for breakfast. At least Friday it was beautiful!

Hurtigruten Cruise along central Norway

Blur of Bergen

4 August 2007

I’m sure it would have helped my mood if the sun was out and I hadn’t been nauseous all morning, but then when I got my suitcase and the ship crew had snapped my hard plastic luggage tag in half so no name is anywhere to be found AND somehow cracked a little nick in the side of my suitcase too, I was really ticked when for the line of 40 or so people waiting they had only one taxi! I finally got a cab to my hotel & promptly started walking to the bus station to try to get to Grieg’s house before it closed…

Frantic Day at Troldhaugen* plus Blur of Bergen

Et tu, handle?!?

5 August 2007

OH MY GOSH! Why am I being tested so? I thought at least with the leader handle I could gently drag my suitcase around the rest of this trip without scraping a hole in it, paying extra for cabs vs. walking to & from my hotels, then research good deals on new suitcases when I got back, but it obviously thought otherwise. As I was very slowly leaving the train station in Oslo, I got on the escalator and the leader handle promptly came off in my hand! I had to catch the monster before it hit the lady in front of me! I found a cab, 100NOK minimum fare, and my leisurely morning before getting on the train to Stockholm will now be shopping for a hard-sided suitcase, in the most expensive exchange rate in the world vs. the dollar. At least with breakfast ending at 10am, that means I should be able to shop one block over in the main shopping district & be back in time to repack by checkout at noon, then the 1:30 train to Stockholm should be easy. I do have my duffle bag still, but that won’t fit everything, especially my laptop case, which I have been stashing inside my suitcase for safety & theft deterrence, plus the breakables I already have bought for people, plus the cider for the Windsor Castle Pub tasting on the way back.

Otherwise my day had its other ups and downs, but had finally ended on an up note before this, which will be a separate post. I am now back at the First Hotel Millenium in Oslo, and the poor guy at reception was kind enough to suggest some luggage stores and to look up the Stockholm train schedule for me, since I forgot to find a schedule before I left the station when my handle came off in my hand! I think I’ll keep the handle as a souvenir since what could I do but stick it in my purse & keep going?!? 2 hours wifi for 40 NOK will allow me to vent, so I can start the new day afresh tomorrow. Maybe I’ll find the coolest suitcase ever that will last me another 20 years AND be teal? We’ll see…

Next will be the actual sightseeing post…”Norway in a Nutshell = fickle weather!”

Norway in a Nutshell = fickle weather!

5 August 2007

Silly me had not brought my trusty hiking hooded rainjacket this trip since I was hoping my positive weather thoughts would bring nicer weather. Alas, no. I’m now kicking myself for not being better prepared. I do have an umbrella in my purse, but I haven’t yet taken it out, since holding an umbrella in one hand and dragging a suitcase in the other just doesn’t work well enough to bother, so I’ve just been looking like a drowned rat these days I have to lug my suitcase everywhere I go. Since it looks better than the hair plastered to my head, I’ve been wearing much more of my new Nathania-knitted birthday hat than I expected, so not only am I very glad she finished it and got it to me before I left, but I’m very glad I brought it! Thanks again Nathania!

So, Norway in a Nutshell is the name of the tour I took today. Until the evening when it finally redeemed itself a bit, I was prepared to say “Norway in a Nutshell means Rain, Fog & Mist Forever!” I completely understand why so many Scandinavians settled in the Pacific Northwest, since the scenery is similar, weather is similar, and there was even work they already knew, like fishing, logging, etc. How so many ended up in the landlocked Midwest where it gets SO cold I’m still confused though…? You Minnesotans and Iowans explain that to me please… 😉

Norway in a Nutshell = fickle weather!

Sunny in Stockholm

6 August 2007

Not a cloud in the sky here in Stockholm, and I only had my jacket on a few minutes since I was hiking around town this evening in the balmy weather! Let’s hope it stays this way for my long ferry ride to Visby tomorrow! :)

Goodbye Norway, Hello Sweden

Medeltidsveckan in Visby, Gotland, Sweden

7 August 2007

Today was the excursion to as close to my ancestral homeland as we know for sure. Visby on the island of Gotland off the southern coast of Sweden, where my father’s Swedish side is from about 100 years ago. That there happened to be a big medieval festival the week I was able to go was an extra bonus!

Medeltidsveckan in Visby, Gotland, Sweden

Goodbye Stockholm, Hello Skara

8 August 2007

Another long day with plenty of sightseeing in Stockholm, two souvenir shot glasses (I really have to figure out a way to display my collection at my new house!), and even unexpected thunder & lightning! 😮 I’m now safely out in the country in Skara, and will be staying in the same room through Sunday, which is a refreshing change! The free wifi is also nice…ahhh… :)

Goodbye Stockholm, Hello Skara

Sightseeing around Skara

9 August 2007

Obviously the aquavit shots weren’t so bad since I’m still typing my daily diary post before I’m going to sleep tonight! Although, about 4 shots of aquavit (yuck! I’d rather have vodka any day!), 2 bottles of cider, 3 shots of honey rum (yum!) and at least 20 crayfish later, I am feeling some alcohol. Let’s just say I wouldn’t drive in my current condition. 😉

Sightseeing around Skara

wedding party prep in Skara

10 August 2007

I go on vacation but I’m still doing party prep…how’d that happen? 😉 Well, I volunteered to help since I was traveling alone to attend the wedding party, so why not? I lettered their new mailbox per Teje’s request, which took awhile but turned out very well thank goodness, and I arranged a fireplace display using old car mufflers Tobias wanted to display along with some candles. We’ll see how that turns out when the candles are lighted before the party tomorrow. I also came up with a leaf idea for under some tealights on saucers that I will wait until tomorrow to do so they leaves will be fresh, plus helped Teje figure out how to hang the painted backdrop she’s made for the wall. During the table setting & flower arranging I was helping by entertaining baby Sixten, leaving Teje to arrange what she wanted, which wasn’t my usual way to help with a party, but it was helping nonetheless! 😉

Friday in Skara

The Big Day

12 August 2007

Finally the big day – the reason I came to Scandinavia in high expensive summer season in the first place! Not only was the wedding party in the evening through the night, but they were able to get Sixten baptized in the cathedral the same day, which was great for all the relatives coming into town. Fun for me too to see a Swedish church service!

The Big Day

Goodbye Sweden, hello again Norway

13 August 2007

Gotta love Macs…we just unplugged the ethernet cable from the back of Teje & Tobias’ Mac mini, plugged it into my laptop, and voila – internet again! :) It’s been a more laid-back couple of days, but that’s just fine to recover after the big party! :)

Goodbye Sweden, hello again Norway

Strolling Around Sarpsborg

14 August 2007

Another relaxing morning thankfully, breakfast with brunost & other cheese again, nice bread, yogurt & tea, then after drying my jeans the rest of the way with my hairdryer from doing laundry last night, Teje, Sixten & I were on our way to see how far we could walk.

Strolling Around Sarpsborg

rain rain go away!

15 August 2007

This morning gave us no incentive to get out of bed, let alone leave the house, since it was awful blustery rain! Teje & I finally left with Sixten around noon, after I got a lesson on all the quirks of the ancient 1962 Ford, since I was to be the driver today since Teje has no license and Tobias wasn’t coming with us. No power steering, and it was probably a long as our old 1977 Chevy van, so it wasn’t so bad, but I did err on the side of caution on the curves due to the rain and the baby in the car!

A little rain won’t make us melt…

Tales of Thursday

16 August 2007

Since I repacked earlier today, tonight has been computer night! Tobias was looking for the punk covers we’d listened to in the car today and loading them into my laptop, while I was figuring out why Teje could never run iChat on their Mini…well iChat was corrupted somehow and they don’t have their Tiger install disks, so I was able to copy iChat from my laptop to CD and load it onto their machine fine…we’re just stuck trying to edit the all accounts name from Tobias back to Teje! Ah well…after such a stormy night and morning, it had cleared up to beautiful again by lunchtime…why couldn’t that have been yesterday too? heh… 😉

Tales of Thursday

Oslo, London, and home again

18 August 2007

The witching hours pre-dawn at Heathrow are amazingly different than just 8pm at the very same place…it was an absolute zoo then, and an empty desert now! For anyone following along, I did get to the Windsor Castle Pub in Notting Hill, and my second-best batch of cider, the March 24th batch I brought for Teje and brought some small bottles for myself, is in my opinion BETTER than the Addlestones cloudy cider it was inspired by! Granted, my first memory of Addlestones was sweeter than tonight, so it could be the differences in batches, but I’ll call that a success for Brittahytta Brewery! :)

28 Hours in Oslo