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Three-generation date in Oslo

During Grandma’s visit Grandma, Lily and I took a day trip to Oslo just because we could. We took the night train there (sleeping in a sleeper car), bopped around Oslo for the day, and then took the night train back. Oslo is surprisingly doable in a single day, especially in the off-season. Mom got a huge kick out of spending the night on a train for the first time (just like me on my first time!) and even Lily enjoyed it! It was hard to really tell at that age what she liked, but the motion of the train calmed her right down and she slept like a rock!

We hit 4 of my favorite museums (The Fram, Kon Tiki, Viking Ships, and the Norwegian Folk Museum) to give my mom a good dose of Norwegian history and culture. Lily spent the whole day in and out of naps in her Solly Baby wrap and handled the long day like a champ! We’ll make a world traveler out of her yet!

Grandma and Lily taking in the Northern Lights show aboard the polar ship Fram.

 

The Viking Ship Museum
The Royal Palace

 

Menorca Photo Challenge by Chris

In May, Chris went to Menorca, Spain for 2 1/2 weeks for a work exercise. Seriously… he gets to go to all the cool places :)

He’ll laugh at me for writing that, because in reality yes, he gets to go to some pretty awesome places, but he also works 10-12 hours a day while he’s there and often only gets to sightsee at night, if at all. Fortunately, he had a few days in Menorca where he got a chance to explore in daylight and even got to go to the beach after work once!

Before he left, I slipped a little Menorca Photo Challenge into his suitcase, just for a bit of fun :)

So here’s Spain according to Chris’ Menorca Photo Challenge:

 

1) Your hotel room

2) Top 3 things you ate

Yes, there are only 2. He forgot to take pictures while he was eating too many times :)

3) A church

4) A self-portrait at work

5) Clouds

6) Something touristy

7) Something you do every day

8) The beach

9) The ocean

10) A boat

11) Something very Spanish

12) A plant

13) Architecture

14) Something colorful

15) Night

 

Stockholm

Sometimes it's nice to deliberately not do anything touristy when traveling. To make a point to avoid seeing the sights and museums. To just take it slow and not try to hurry to fit in everything there is to experience in a short amount of time.

To just wander the streets of a city and eat ice cream and feed the birds.

To explore food markets and sample the pastries while sitting in front of old churches.

To hear a lady ask what kind of fish was in the fish soup and the stall owner respond, “No, there's no fish in this fish soup.”

To admire the crazy and unique live-aboard boats lining the canals and harbors.

To listen to street musicians and watch bridge fisherman haul in their catch.

To just enjoy being there.

We (particularly me) learned that lesson in Stockholm. Since our ward does this temple trip every summer, we are pretty sure we'll be going back. Therefore, when we took a break from the temple Friday evening to explore downtown Stockholm, there was no pressure to try and see all the stuff that the guidebooks say is a MUST see. (Although, full disclosure, we tried going to one museum, but chickened out when we saw the price of admission. Ice cream was much cheaper :) )

It was really nice to just be there.

(Note to self- next time at the top of my list is rent a kayak and tour the canals by water. That looked worth it!)

 

Stockholm or BUST!

It takes 18 hours or so to drive from Stavanger to Stockholm. By some definite divine intervention, our plucky little station wagon made it to and from Sweden in one piece. We had some worrisome moments, but I tell ya…blessings come from going to the temple!

We carpooled with our friends Amerigo and Sarah and caravanned with the Steffensen clan. Amerigo and Sarah are originally from the Philipines, which meant that our car was full of a combination of English, Tagalog, and Norwegian the whole drive! So much fun!

Amerigo

 

Of course, we had to stop along the way for a Norwegian hot dog picnic.

Cousins

Rotten watermelon discus

Cousins

Mother and daughter.

 

We wound along the southern coast of Norway, stopping for church in Kristiansand along the way. It was a seriously gorgeous drive! We passed fjords, lakes, rivers, and countless waterfalls. I don't think I will get over how beautiful Norway is as long as we live here. We stopped for the night in Drammen (just outside of Oslo and about half-way to Stockholm) and stayed the night with our stake president's family.

Our stake prez. and wonderful son-in-law.

 

We crossed the border into Sweden the next day and the difference was strangely immediate. For one thing, the speed limit suddenly increased from 70 km/h to 110 km/h! (Go Sweden!) In addition, I had never noticed there were no billboards along the side of the roads in Norway until we started seeing them along the highway in Sweden. The landscape also suddenly became rather boring (sorry Sweden!). Where Norway is full of winding roads and small quaint towns, Sweden was one loooong tree-lined road. With red barns. Lots and lots of red barns.

Ikea in the Motherland!!

Speed bump tee hee hee! (yep, we're still 12 years old ladies and gentlemen)

 

Chris Goes to Poland

At the beginning of summer, Chris went to Bydgoszcz, Poland (read like bydajflagkfjd. Pronounced like “bid-gosh”) for work.

“Chris, do you have anything to say about Poland?”
“Poland is…..Poland.”

And with that vivid word painting, here are some photos of a very Poland-ish Poland.