To the Land of Pippi

8.5.2017

We finished our time in Oslo toting all our gear along with us since we were catching the bus to Gothenburg, Sweden mid-day.


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Coffee was beckoning us, so we tried some at Stockfleths. I sat outside with the kiddos while the girls enjoyed a more quiet downstairs seating area with free wifi.

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Lunch was another kebab restaurant right near the city central and that’s where Natasha chased pigeons and Lincoln was assumed to be Norwegian by a local artist with a gallery there. She was chatting away to him and when she directed a question to me, I responded in English. She then exclaimed, “Oh! I was speaking Norwegian-he looks so Norwegian!”

The bus ride was approximately 3 1/2 hours long and memorable, to say the least. There were several young children and 3 of them screamed/cried/and didn’t nap for the majority of the ride. One of them, being our youngest. If Lincoln wasn’t crying, the one or two in front of us were alternately crying. Sometimes Lincoln and one of the other youngsters got into cahoots and decided to match tones simultaneously. It was one of those parenting moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I chose to laugh outwardly and cry inwardly. Lincoln finally fell asleep in the carrier, but wow. That bus ride wore me out.

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A rare calm moment on the bus.

Our arrival in Gothenburg was still eventful. The bus terminal is right next to a mall, so we left our luggage near a play area so Natasha could play, while Daniel went in search of groceries and the girls went in search of bathrooms. This in itself was quite a feat. The bathrooms required payment, but wouldn’t take credit card. That meant coins were needed, in the Swedish krone. However, since we just arrived, we didn’t have any and the mall bank ATM had just closed. They finally found a ATM which provided the needed $, but then had to purchase something in the mall to break down the cash. What an ordeal to simply use the WC! Meanwhile, my eyes were busy darting back and forth between our two piles of luggage, my two children, a random dog with its not-so-attentive owner, numerous other children and people who I felt were sitting too close to our bags. It was crazy.

I was so glad to see the girls and Daniel reappear and we quickly headed out to the bus to take us to our next AirBnB house. It was about 25 minutes outside of Gothenburg in the small village Kvisljungeby and so much more peaceful than the chaotic mall. We got off a bus stop too soon and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We weren’t, but it did require extra walking to get to our house.

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Teamwork, folks. That’s how we carry groceries.

Thus, we met Sweden. The AirBnB house was so spacious compared to the tiny Oslo apartment; it was a welcome relief to spread out for our stay. Here’s a picture from later in our visit:

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24-ish Hours in Oslo: Norwegian Folk Museum

8.4.2017

Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum was something we thought we wanted to see. I mean, there aren’t any viking ships where I live in the States. However, once we made it to the museum, we realized it didn’t look like it was worth our 100 NOK ($12.50) to enter. Mind you, there are a few preserved viking ships housed there. You can see one from the gift shop right inside the door, as well as go up the stairs to see it from above for no cost.

If you decide to go though:

  •  Take the 30 bus towards Bygdøy from Rådhuset (City Hall) to Vikingskipshuset. Get off right there and stay on that side of the street. We mistakenly followed the signs with a ship on them that took us to the opposite side of the street and up the hill a ways. Save your walking for other sites and don’t repeat after us.
  • Tip: There are free bathrooms down one level, including a diaper changing station.

We decided to walk back to the previous bus stop (Folkemuseet) to the Folk Museum and we were all quite pleased with that decision as we got to see so much more for only a slightly higher entrance fee. (130 NOK for adults.)


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The very tidy, organized garden with defined borders is the French style. The more brambly, wild looking one in the background is the English style. I like them both.

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This was a schoolhouse with a traditional sod roof and it was used as recently as the 1960’s, which I found very interesting.

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The classroom was the main portion of the space inside and built into a back corner was a small room for the teacher as her living quarters.


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One of the main things we wanted to see while in Oslo was a Stave church. There is one right here on the museum property and it’s open to go inside for awe-inspiring architecture. It’s about 700 years old and covered in tar.

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Right nearby is a more intricately decorated storage shed I’ve ever seen anywhere. We paused for a picture in between rain clouds and dealt with a grumpy 7 year old. I tickled her to get her to smile for at least one picture.

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Photo by Maria

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As we meandered along, we caught some details of Scandinavian life years ago. There was a lefsa baking demonstration, and some folk dancing in one building. Typically the dancing is outside but was moved indoors because of the rain. Natasha enjoyed peeking into as many storage sheds as possible and climbing as many steps as she could. I liked the dairy barn and the quieter way of living represented. One thing we didn’t understand though was if the Vikings and their descendants were/are so tall, why are the doorways so short? :)

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Loved the swinging baby cradle.

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24-ish Hours in Oslo: The Fortress

8.4.2017

Akershus Fortress was our next destination since we were now powered up with caffeine. It’s a good thing too, since all fortresses seem to be built on a hill. Hmm…

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Photo by Melody

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There are guards who take their job pretty seriously, and in the case below, stared down at the youngster on the hillside until the trespasser climbed down the forbidden hill. 17-IMG_5501

We got our first group photo here. From left to right: Lyn, Melody, Maria (or Mia, as she is commonly known these days), me and half of Lincoln, Natasha and Daniel.

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Where did she learn to pose like this? #dramatic

 

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Photo by Natasha

Turns out we girls (and Lincoln) sat here an unnecessary length of time waiting on Daniel who was researching where to have lunch, when he simply wasn’t sure where we were. Ah well, Lincoln amused the other visitors with his cheesy grins.

 

 

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From here we headed to a kebab restaurant, one of the more cheaper options for eating out in Norway. Food is always a very good idea.

24-ish Hours in Oslo: First Up, Coffee

8.4.2017

Despite some of us not getting much rest during the night due to jet lag, we woke ready to tackle the day and first on our list to find was: Coffee. I just happened to read about Tim Wendelboe coffee on this blogpost and fortunately it wasn’t that far of a walk from our AirBnB apartment. It turned out to have the best coffee to date, from our travels in Norway and Sweden with the girls. No wonder; Tim Wendelboe has won numerous awards, including World Barista Champion in 2004. He was there at the shop when we stopped in this particular morning and our visit there was a highlight of our time in Oslo.

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Natasha requested her own cup of something, and Daniel ordered a cold brew coffee for her and me. It came in wine glasses. Just how classy is that?

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Photo by: LynnRaine

 

We were joking that we girls would want to do some shopping at some point because we like to take something home from the places we visit. Daniel said that buying stuff isn’t typically what he thinks of doing, however, after he purchased some coffee, he said, “Okay, I guess I do buy coffee.”
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The view from Tim Wendelboe’s Espresso Bar doorway

The next stop was for SIM cards at MyCall for those who wanted one. They are fairly reasonable here and makes communication between parties much easier when WiFi isn’t available. Turns out though that WiFi was fairly easy to find; almost every coffee shop, restaurant, mall, etc… seems to have a guest network.

 

And Off We Go

August 2, 2017. Chicago > Dublin > Oslo, Norway.

That was our flight itinerary to begin our trip to Scandinavia. We left home with our fellow travelers, Lynette, Melody and Maria, who have each been with us in another country (or two) previously before. Lyn and Melody were with us in Panama and Maria came with us to Europe the first time and then visited us in New Zealand. It’s so fun having all three of them together with us for another adventure. The three of them had a different flight than us, so we dropped them off in Chicago to wander around a bit while we caught our flight and the plan was to meet up again together in Norway the next day.
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This was just before Lincoln did that classic little child face-plant against the glass.

Daniel arranged for us to fly business class with points, and that always makes me feel rather privileged. Beds that lie flat on a 7+ hour flight are not something I take for granted. They are very convenient when you have the seat to yourself, but when you’re sharing that seat with a year old baby, they’re even nicer for sleeping. Tray tables and food are a little tricky, but we managed fine.
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Still. Traveling is very tiring. Natasha started out the day complaining of a sore throat and acted like she was nervous about flying or something. Not how any family wants to start an overseas trip, but it can’t be helped sometimes. The Dublin lounge provided some extra sleep time for her while I walked with a sleepy Lincoln and snapped pictures.

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The first thing I noticed about the Oslo airport was the wooden floors. And a moss covered wall. Very nice touch Norway.

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The girls were about an hour behind us, so we waited at the play area and as soon as they joined us and train tickets were procured, we made our way to our AirBnB apartment. It was a welcome relief for our weary bodies; a place to unload our heavy packs and release small children. And sleep. Ahhh…

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More to come, albeit slowly, as we’re still in travel and touring mode (note, not tourist mode). We’ve been sight-seeing in Norway and Sweden for the past 2ish weeks and soon the girls will head back to the States while us 4 as a family head to Denmark. I’m looking forward to more down-time in our Denmark home where we will be for a fair amount of time.