A Walk at Sognsvann

December 27, 2014.  A couple of days after Christmas, much was still closed, so we decided to go for a walk.  This time we picked Sognsvann, which we’d been told had a lovely lake that you could stroll around, as well as paths for cross-country skiing.  We thought we’d join the Norwegians, who love to picnic despite frigid temperatures, so I packed a lunch of leftover pickled herring and grilled veggies, along with a thermos of hot coffee. Continue reading A Walk at Sognsvann

Sledding on Christmas Day

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Dozens of sledders caught the train to the top.

On Christmas Day, the sun shone brightly for the first time in what seemed like weeks, and all was right with the world.  We donned our winterwear and headed out on the T-bane (the Metro train line) to Frognerseteren to admire the winter scenery from the mountain overlooking Olso.  A surprising number of Norwegians had the same idea, and when we pulled up to the Midstuen stop, an enormous throng of people toting sleds (called “sledges” here) climbed aboard.   Continue reading Sledding on Christmas Day

Christmas Eve

We prepared to spend a quiet Christmas all alone in Oslo.  By this, I mean that we’d been warned of two things: 1) absolutely everything is closed — even the grocery stores — from about noon on Christmas Eve through Boxing Day (December 26th).   And 2) Norwegians are quite private; Christmas Eve and Day are reserved for immediate family, so don’t expect an invitation to join anyone for the holiday.  No problem, we did our grocery shopping Christmas Eve morning and scheduled Facetime with friends and family for the next two days. Continue reading Christmas Eve

Nürnberg, Medieval & More

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A view over Nürnberg from the castle grounds.

December 22, 2014.  We’re not done with Nürnberg yet, folks!  In three days, we tried to squeeze in as much of the old city in as possible, but we definitely need to go back.  We had only a few hours for a too-brief visit to the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle) and its stunning grounds.  Just taking in the magnificent views over the city from different vantage points requires at least an hour, then there’s the vast castle itself, the burgrave buildings, towers, stables, and so on … and on.  You really need a full day to appreciate the enormity of the site. Continue reading Nürnberg, Medieval & More

Nürnberg’s Gospel Gothic

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In front of the Frauenkirche. The glockenspiel is right below the blue clockface.

Lest you think we came only to eat, drink, and shop in Nürnberg (well okay, so that was our primary objective), we did do some sightseeing.  Loads of amazing Gothic sites surround the market, including the fabulously ornate Goldener Brunnen fountain built in 1396 (spin the ring in the gate for good luck), and the brooding Frauenkirche (Our Lady’s Church), which has an enormous, gilded glockenspiel.   Continue reading Nürnberg’s Gospel Gothic

The Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt

December 19, 2014.  As usual when on vacation, we somehow ended up staying in the red light district.  I guess it’s our penchant for wanting to spend as little as possible on a hotel.  So when we found a great rate for the Holiday Inn not too far from the city center, we jumped on it without thought.  (Actually, it was quite a comfy, clean place, and the flashing neon of the nearby strip joints blended right in with all the Christmas lights.) Continue reading The Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt

Holiday Festivities & Hobbits

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“Elg” is Norwegian for “moose.”

December 15, 2014.  Gotta say, moose are pretty tasty.  One night after work, Matthew and I headed over to the Christmas Market on Karl Johan’s Gate for a bite to eat and a little shopping.  Three moose burgers later, we decided we liked the stuff.  Especially when you wash it down with a little gløgg — a mulled wine made with cloves and cinnamon, served warm with a helping of almonds and raisins.  On a tight budget, the drink can easily serve as a meal that’ll sustain you all day. Continue reading Holiday Festivities & Hobbits

Learning to Live in the Land of the Midnight Sun

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