April 15, 2017. I’m fast-forwarding in my blogging timeline for just a minute to wish everyone a Happy Easter — or as they say here in Norway, God Påske! And rather than writing a tome, I’m sending you an Easter postcard collage showing Pascal preparations around Oslo. (If you’re interested in more details, I covered most of the Norwegian Easter basics last year; check out my 2016 post Easter in Oslo), Hope everyone has a peaceful — or chocolatey, sunny, or scary holiday — whichever Scandinavian theme suits your mood! Continue reading An Easter Postcard from Oslo
January 22, 2017. Just a (fairly) short post today. Matthew and I have been inundated with work for months, so I haven’t had much time to write. Now that Easter’s almost here, I’m desperately trying to catch up before we take our first big travel excursion since Christmas. We’re heading to the island of Malta in less than a week! But I’m getting way ahead of myself, and my story of Louis Armstrong in Norway. Continue reading Louis Armstrong in Norway
January 8, 2017. Some of you might remember that last year, Matthew and I spent New Year’s in Vienna dancing to the Blue Danube Waltz at the Rathaus Silvester Gala (Translation: “City Hall New Year’s Eve Ball”). This year, we decided to go back to the same country to enjoy the same holiday, but from a different vantage point. We joined friends for a ski trip to Bad Hofgastein. No, the place isn’t on the naughty side of town, across the tracks from Good Hofgastein. Bad means “bath” because the hamlet has some impressive hot springs and is located smack in the middle of the Gastein Valley, an Alpine skiing Mecca … but more about that in a minute. (P.S. Fair warning: this is a loooooong post, so pull up a chair and be prepared to sit a spell.) Continue reading New Year’s in the Austrian Alps
December 25, 2016. I dunno what happened this year. Between our heavy work schedules, and our little trip to Switzerland, we had a hit-and-run holiday. Slam, bam, and it was over, a distant wreckage of wrappings in the rear-view mirror of my memory. I guess lots of folks feel this way, but I’m a bit peeved with myself for letting it happen. I so wanted to squeeze out every … single … last … drop … of the Norwegian Christmas experience while we’re here. Which led me to start the season by wildly careening from one event to the next, with hardly a breath to spare for “living in the moment.”
December 19, 2016. For our last full day in Switzerland, we decided to hit the slopes. Not skiing, but hiking, since the weather hadn’t cooperated by giving us some snow. Our choice for an Alpine adventure? Mt. Rigi, which sits across the lake from Luzern and hosts the oldest mountain railways in Europe. Although it’s not the highest nearby peak (that’s Mt. Pilatus, which isn’t easily reachable from Luzern this time of year), Mt. Rigi supposedly offers the best views out over the Alps, down across the flatlands of the Swiss Plateau, and into Germany and France. (By the way, that’s me up top, waving my arms from the summit of Mt. Rigi.)
December 18, 2016. After a whirlwind day in Zürich, we caught an early morning train to Luzern (Lucerne, if you’re more comfy with the French version of the name). Not only were we looking for more Christmas markets and holiday spirit, but we also planned to use the town as our home base for a brief excursion into the Alps. And we had high hopes that the place would prove to be a bit more cooperative in the meteorological department by blessing us with at least a dusting of the white stuff. Continue reading Luzern’s Christmas Pageantry
December 17, 2016. When Matthew and I made plans to move overseas, we promised each other that we’d take the opportunity to experience Christmas in as many countries as possible. Why such a weird goal? It’s probably due to one too many viewings of Rick Steves’ European Christmas (we even have the music on CD.) Not to mention that I spent several years working with cultural groups to create the Christmas Around the World exhibition at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. And all that surrogate spectating had us hankering to see the real thing for ourselves.