Thursday, July 1, 2010

Side-trip to the midnight sun! (and then some...)

Sean and I had been dithering about whether or not to take up the offer of a visit north to see Geir & Karl for awhile. Lots of reasons to stay put, lots of reasons to go. In the end, we chose the path of YES, and set about finding our route North. We had dithered a bit too long for Ryan Air (sold out) and other vendors, but we were UNDAUNTED. We found tickets on Norwegian Air which got us from Barcelona to Oslo, but had no tickets or real plan on how we would get home. But we knew when we needed to leave Oslo. Sounded good. So off we went! We even got to depart from Gate 42.

Oslo is beautiful. And very very expensive-if you aren't Norwegian. Their wages and social system kind of rule, but if you aren't getting the bennies, the sticker shock is pretty fierce. And the sky! Amazing. Clouds, blue, everything lit at crazy beautiful angles AND BRIGHT ALL THE TIME. I've never experienced or seen anything like it. It put me in a sort of euphoric exhaustion. I've spent two months in Spain and my first sunburn was in freaking Oslo.
For example, here is the skylight over our bed at 4am:

And here is the same skylight at 2pm:

The apartment which contains that skylight belongs to my brother's truly superlatively wonderful boyfriend Geir. They were both pretty wiped from hosting my sister and her co-worker just days before our arrival, but it was still nice to see them!

(it is now August, and I'm finally posting this and trying to catch up...we are currently in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, watching iguanas.)

More pictures from Oslo below, starting with the Opera House. Geir gave us a tremendously interesting tour. I brought my Holga.

Karl, Geir and I hit the Vigeland Sculpture Park during a summer storm while Sean worked from the flat. It was epic, grand, inspiring, and full of the most impressive trees I've seen in a very long time.

We also had the pleasure of a trip to Lillestrom for Papa Haraldseth's birthday! Such a delicious spread of food we hadn't seen in a looong time. Little did we know we were in for a repeat gourmet lunch at the botanical garden the next day. Norwegians know how to do summer. And it involves lots of berries, shrimp, and chocolate. No complaints here.

Picnic in the Botanical Garden with Karl's host sisters from his Rotary Exchange years. They were crazy generous, delightful and interesting!

We ended up with an extra day due to budget airline shenanigans, and so rode the ferry over to Bygdoy and wandered the museums for a day, with a goodbye dinner on the water with Karl & Geir. Highly recommend making the effort. If you are into Vikings and Polar ships, that is. Which we are. Next up, Prague!!