Well, I finally made it to Norway! Thanks to the amazing Morten, I was able to go surprise my best friend of almost 35 years on her fortieth birthday. Crazy! It was a ridiculous amount of fun and now I really miss her and my Norwegian family. It was such a great vacation, spent laughing with Lara & Morten, getting to know the kids better, meeting their family & friends, and hanging out with Good Dog Luci. I had the best time walking around their neighbourhood, exploring the city, going on our first-ever Lara-Jo solo road trip (we both learned to drive only very recently, and I’m happy to report that Lara is an excellent driver and first-class parker). The great thing with Lara and me is that whenever we get together, whether it’s been six months or six years since we last saw each other, it’s like there hasn’t been a single day we’ve spent apart. Best friends really are the best that way.
It’s been almost two weeks that I’ve been back home, and I’m fully recovered from my jet-lag and time confusion. It wasn’t the 24 hour clock that rattled me, it was the ‘no darkness’ nights. Staying up until 4am, crashing, and waking to the same amount of daylight was confusing to say the least (though also really cool). I think the kids will remember my visit most for my constant refrain of, “What time is it?” and “What time is it now?” Check it out for yourself on this little home movie of Lara, her friend Siv and me arriving home from Lara’s birthday bash:
The sweetest girl in the world, Thea, and her bottle of ketchup.
The impossibly adorable Aleks with his soggy cornflakes (just how his mom has always liked ‘em).
View of Trondheim, with the fjord and mountains beyond, on one of our daily dog walks.
A zoomed-in close-up of the city and Nidaros cathedral.
A big tower which, I later found out, houses a rotating restaurant (with $40 burger platters. Welcome to Norway!).
Aleks awaits his pizza in the rotating restaurant.
Thea plays “laptop” while Lara and I focus on looking ahead (we have competing motion sickness issues).
Try eating your meal with this staring at you. Go on, try.
View from the park at Kristiansten Fort.
Kids and cannons at the Fort.
Aleks and Thea explore the Kristiansten Fort.
Upstairs display; the image is shaky because I was falling through the ancient floorboards.
The river Nidelva, flowing through the city.
Classiest birthday present ever!
Vår Frue Kirke, where Lara & Morten got married.
First time inside since the big day! Lara kindly reenacted the wedding for me.
Me, in Trondheim! For real!
Classic postcard shot of the old warehouses along the river.
The Old Town Bridge gates with the neighbourhood of Bakklandet in the background.
Go 45! Soccer ace Thea in action.
Olav Tryggvason statue, in the centre of the town square. He was the Viking king who founded Trondheim in 997.
More important: this sign commemorates the magic that is Freia chocolate. What time is it? Time for (another) Freia Melkesjokolade bar.
I love this view of the statue, the Freia clock, the seagull on the lamppost.
Lara & Morten’s church again, with tulips and sunshine.
Two examples of my favourite kind of street art, the big stencil.
Thea’s end-of-school celebration. They sang “Tomorrow” from “Annie” in Norwegian. Check it out:
Morten drove us out to Husaby, because I loved the ‘Kristin Lavransdatter’ trilogy by Sigrid Undset. Volume two is titled, “The Mistress of Husaby”, and this is where Sigrid set it. So cool.
Wild strawberries were everywhere.
More Husaby. Now some action shots of Thea & Aleks doing some hill rolling:
Love this freckle-faced, dimpled grin!!!
Proof I was there.
Now for some classic sod-roofed and quaint-town photos of Røros, a UNESCO world heritage site, and ultimate destination for our Vancouver-Island-Girls Only road trip.
Røros cat. I was missing my feline friends.
See that white blip on the mountain? It’s a farmstead. I love Norway!
Good Dog, Luci!
Lara takes a photo of all her visitors with this statue outside the tourist info office. It’s called “Go’dagen” (‘good day’) and is modeled after a real-life resident who worked as a housemaid and was often seen at the market square. (I’m lifting this info straight from the tourist bureau pamphlet on Trondheim.)
If this statue doesn’t make you want to go to church, what would?
I love a good cathedral, but this new church at the Tautra Mariakloster (a Cistercian monastery on an island that also serves as a bird sanctuary) is my favourite church ever. It’s exterior is clad in big slate tiles. Check out the interior (that view!):
The ruins of the original medieval monastery on Tautra.
Me, Morten’s mom Elfrid, and Lara.
On my last full day in Norway I finally got to try the cardamom infused heart-shaped waffles (with strawberry preserves and sour cream) that the area is justly famous for. Yum.
Country idyll near the monastery ruins. So completely gorgeous. A brochure I picked up at the soap shop run by the nuns (yeah, they make soap!) states that women have until the age of 42 to join the order. Don’t think I’m not considering it. Okay, maybe I’ll just go over for one of their week-long silent retreats instead of a lifetime of habits and, oh yeah, believing. (Ay, there’s the rub with nunhood.)
I miss these kids!
There are some important photos missing, ones that I didn’t take. I’ll ask Lara & Morten to send them along, and then I’ll insert them here later. You all want to see me and Lara and Morten’s sister Sissel at the KISS concert we went to, right? Of course you do.