Here it is, the long awaited, yet conscise update on my little jaunt to Norway. I must publicly thank Ingebjorg and her housemate Kristin for their hospitality, it was so nice to stay in a nice little apartment that was so conveniently located across the street from a brilliant coffee shop!!
I spent the first couple of days in Oslo being shown the sights. Our first stop was the Vigelandsparken - the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The nordic folk certainly aren't afraid of a mass of naked sculptures:
and by far my favourite was one very angry baby.
The autumn leaves were beautiful (more on that later), and while it was pretty cold (I think it was around 6 degrees that day), the clear blue skies made the crispness much more manageable.
We wandered down to the harbour, found a seat in the sun and enjoyed the people, boat and bird watching.
A dreary day presented the perfect opportunity to visit one of my favourite places the world over...
A free bus to IKEA!! It only goes to IKEA - it's a bus to heaven!!
We headed down to Stavern, Ingebjorg's hometown, to spend a night at her parent's house. The two hour train ride gave me a chance to see some of the beautiful green countryside and even part of a fjord (but not a cool part, it just looked like a lake). On the menu for the even was the traditional dish of this time of year - fårikål - which literally translates to lamb and cabbage. Ingebjorg had warned me that it smelled disgusting and looked disgusting and she was absolutely right about that
but she was also right about just how delicious it was. She honestly thought I was being polite in my praising of the fårikål, but really I thought it was delectable! From the house the next day we set off for a beautiful rocky beach, home to a traditional viking burial ground.
After hiking across the stones (worried the whole way I was going to twist an ankle) we arrived at a little dug out shelter, absolutely perfect for sitting in to drink our hot chocolate and marvel at the waves crashing on the rocks.
I spent a couple of days at Ingebjorg's house while she was at work doing absolutely nothing, walking as far as the coffee shop and the post office around the corner. But I needed the rest to prepare myself for a night out with an old friend.
Henriette was in my undergraduate class, so we hadn't seen each other since 2001. We met up for incredible tapas, a few drinks at her place with some friends and then onto a bar that only played 50's music, and how could I say no to an older gentleman who asked me to dance - he had all the moves! Randomly at the bar I met two other guys who'd studied at Bond Uni at the same time...small world.
Ingebjorg and I met up with our friend Vidar who we knew from Tripoli for yet another amazing meal (I must have eaten my own body weight about three times over during the week) and then headed out to the park to take some more photos with the leaves. I love the look of joy on our faces in this one, and the whole series is up on my photo site (now with captions!) - about 2 seconds after this photo was snapped, our heads crashed into each other...
Vidar and I had more success
All in all, it was a wonderful week away, made all the better by good friends, good food and good shopping! It was very hard to get on the train back to the airport, and as soon as I landed and got in the queue for my visa, Norway felt like a whole world away.