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My Norwegian Adventure, Part 1

Today, June 26, begins the third full day of this adventure. Our trip over “the pond” was uneventful. The 7.5 hour flight was full of knitting. Joy got about 15 minutes of shut eye, but I was still running on excitement and kept on knitting. And dropping needles. That is certainly a good argument for using circular needles when traveling. Chasing them around in the dark when you are crammed into a sardine can adds a level of complexity to retrieving them. Enter the iPhone’s flashlight. Technology isn’t all bad. Another note for taking your knitting on the road: the Know Knit project bags are a perfect way to keep your knitting organized. So easy to grab and go. They can hang from your wrist while you knit, clip to the bus seat, and the nylon fabric is so easy to slip in and out of your bag. On the inside there’s a little snap to strap your yarn into so you don’t pull it from the bag that I’ve repurposed to hold my teeny tiny scissors. My knitting is happy.

After a two hour layover at the Amsterdam airport and walking over one mile from gate to gate, we arrived in Oslo in the early afternoon. Lupines were in full bloom and they lined the roads. The day was gray and the cloud cover thick. The rain held off until we got to our room. One of the first things I learned was that my computer simply needed an adapter to be plugged into the wall. No transformer. Ditto the phone. Could have saved the weight of the transformer that I carried. Of course, if I hadn’t brought it, I would have needed it. One of our fellow travelers didn’t realize that some electrical devices need a transformer and burned OFF her bangs when trying to curl her hair.

Arnhild suggested we’d feel better if we didn’t nap, so Joy and I organized and prepared for meeting our fellow travelers. Dinner was served buffet style and the choices were mostly new to us. Many cold foods, including smoked fish and three different types of roe. It was easy to eat vegetarian, “healthy,” or not so healthy. The breads look quite yummy and the desserts double yummy. I’ve been snitching a taste of Joy’s desserts and I can attest that they taste as good as they look. Norwegian’s sweets are much less sweet than ours, which makes them even harder for me to resist.

After dinner, we gathered and introduces ourselves. We have multiple Greg’s, Mary’s, Cathy’s and even two Joy’s. If something medical arises, we have a doctor and several nurses. Everyone is really nice and has a great sense of humor. Some I recognized from  Arnhild’s knitting camp that I taught at last year.

Following a late brunch, we boarded the bus for the airport and our flight from Oslo to Trømsø in northern Norway, just 650 miles from Russia and about 1,000 miles north of Oslo. Arnhild lived in Trømsø for 20 years and her son still lives there. The ride from the airport took is through a tunnel with a round-about in it. I couldn’t help but think of Mariah and her love of round-abouts (not!). The city center is located on an island and has a small harbor. The bus dropped us off there with three hours to explore before dinner. And, explore we did.

This is a photo of my adopted grandchild. Isn’t he adorable?


And here’s what it looks like in the downtown along the waterfront.


Of course, we looked for knitting stores. One can never have enough yarn!



A Catholic church in downtown Trømsø.


Following dinner we boarded the bus to travel to the cable car that then took us to the top of this mountain to see the midnight sun. The view was breathtaking, and while it was slightly overcast, we still had a good vantage to watch the sun. This is a view from the bottom and several from the top. The stacks of stones (cairns) are troll houses on top of the mountain.





We headed down the mountain at midnight (by the sun, not daylight savings time), to attend a concert in this church:


This double weave wall hanging was on display in the back of the church.



The concert was the absolutely perfect ending to our first day in Norway. Three women playing flute, cello and piano or harpsichord accompanied a soprano playing mostly traditional Norwegian songs. When we left the church where the concert was held at midnight “by the clock”, the sun was still fully above the horizon and was much brighter than the picture below shows.

We boarded our coastal steamer shortly thereafter, dumped our things in the cabin and headed to the deck with camera in hand. We all agreed that we didn’t want to go to sleep for fear we would miss something! We stood outside until well after two a.m. and watched the sun begin to rise not long after midnight while the ship prepared to pull anchor and sail from Trømsø.

Our first day aboard ship was full of knitting and running from side to side of the ship to see the scenery. We got off at all the stops that were at least an hour long. Some visited museums, but I walked. It felt good to stretch my legs. In the late afternoon, we took a side cruise through a fjord with a spectacular waterfall. Here are some of those pictures:


Dinner aboard ship is served (rather buffet style). Joy and I dined with Arnhild and her cousin from Oslo. It was good to talk to “a local.” Arnhild shared WWII war stories with us from when she was a baby. It reminded me of how little we suffer as individuals in our country while “our boys” are off to war. Norway was occupied by Germany for five years, so food was rationed (mothers with two children were allowed only ½ gallon of milk per week). We also talked about local politics, university (it costs nothing here), childcare (mothers are paid monthly based on the number of children they have, until the child’s 18th birthday), sports (none at school), how much bigger the dandelions are in Tromso than in Oslo due to all the summer sunlight, and much more.

Last night, I decided that I could stand to miss a bit of scenery and slept the clock around, arising and getting moving just in time to see us cross the Arctic Circle marked by this globe:


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