March 19, 2015. “What’s the best thing to see in Oslo?,” is the question I’m often asked by friends and family preparing for a visit. I know I’m a history geek, but I always recommend the Viking Ships Museum. Seriously, where else in the world can you go to feast your eyes on three incredibly intact Viking vessels? We all know about these Scandinavian raiders who pillaged most of Europe and were the first Europeans to touch foot on North American soil. (It’s now pretty much a proven fact — Columbus was late to the party.) So it’s a real goose-bump experience to see the vehicles that made it all possible. Continue reading Viking Ships
February 22, 2015. After a quick, two-hour nap, we met up with Marcus Åhlund, the owner of Arctic Fishing Adventures, for an all-night expedition chasing the Northern Lights. And I do mean chase. Unfortunately, the heavy snowfall that had hung around all day continued to plague us in the evening. Snow is pretty — until it keeps you from seeing something you’ve traveled almost 4,000 miles to witness. Continue reading Tromsø’s Northern Lights
January 20, 2015. Yep, that’s right. Let’s call a spade a spade. I’m illiterate. I’m living in a place where I can’t read a newspaper, the street signs, ads in store windows, cryptic notes that my neighbors post in the hall, or the operating instructions for my washing machine. I can’t fill out forms or applications at the bank, post office, or dentist’s office without someone translating each line to me in English. Continue reading Being Illiterate
January 15, 2015. The stereotypes are true; Norwegians are avid (some might say obsessive) cross-country skiers. I’ve yet to pass a bus or tram stop without spotting at least one or two ski-toting folks waiting for a ride to the end of the transportation lines, where snowy forests beckon. And in the middle of the day, the train platforms are clogged with throngs of schoolchildren headed to skiskole (ski school) as part of their regular class curriculum.
November 4, 2014. Let me just say, I’m in hog heaven. My new kitchen is absolutely splendiferous. Aside from the gorgeous view out its windows, it sports lots of well-organized cabinet space and a galley layout. Plus, the fridge is full-sized and the range has four burners and a small oven — rare commodities in European rentals where a dorm fridge and hot plate often suffice. But the showpiece of the kitchen is the fireplace, which I’m convinced can somehow be turned into a pizza oven, saving me hundreds of dollars. (No kidding: a large carryout pizza in Oslo costs around $100!!!) Continue reading Grocery Shopping 101
November 3, 2014. Fourteen hours, eight suitcases, and several drinks later, we’ve finally made it to Norway. So much for Round 1 of our international move. Because Matthew’s transfer is for only a year, shipping everything on a slow boat didn’t seem to make sense; hence the large number of suitcases. However, I must confess that this entire load of luggage consists of nothing but my wardrobe, since Matthew’s closet made the trip with him during his initial move in mid October. Continue reading The Move: Round I