Friday, May 3, 2013

Awesome Oslo and the end of the 2013 trip

Who knew that Oslo was awesome?  With daylight from 7 AM to 10 PM, gorgeous blue skies and “almost” warm weather... we had a great day here.  (I say "almost" because we were still wearing every layer of clothes we had but at least we were OK instead of frozen). The city is filled with interesting statues and artwork... everywhere. 

We started with a boat trip across the bay to visit the Viking museum.  At the turn of the century, Norwegians found two remarkably intact Viking ships buried in thick blue mud. The mud helped preserve the ships and everything stored inside.  The ships had been used as burial tombs for two wealthy people so they provided great insight into the Viking life and death rituals.

The mud even preserved much of the skeletons

We hit a few other museums and then the Nobel peace center (where the Nobel peace prize is awarded each year). Our scavenge there was to figure out who was awarded the prize in 1991. The answer: Ang San Suu Ki (the Lady of Burma and a personal hero of mine).

The weather was so good that we rented bikes and rode all around town seeing stuff and almost clearing away entire sidewalks. 

A personal favorite was the Oslo opera house: a new building with exceptionally cool architecture.  The building was designed so you can actually walk up the structure to stand on the roof (with an amazing view of the entire city). And all without ever going inside!!

We spent the afternoon riding our bikes around the Vigeland park seeing his monolith of bodies and crazy statues.

Our day ended at the pointy hand statue

Sadly for us... it is pointing home.  Goodbye Europe. We head out today to Iceland and on to Toronto. We’ll be back in  North America by 7:30 PM this evening. Can’t believe another year is over….I’m sulking already. GOODBYE UNTIL NEXT YEAR. 
And - as a quick ode to the wonders of this trip - here's some of my favorite moments:

The children of Nepal: Namaste

Memories of how exhausting this trip can be (Jordan past out in a moving Tuk-Tuk in the dust and grime of Cambodia):

The magic and wonder of the big, wide world out there...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Exhausted in Europe

The Europe leg of this trip is always hard… and this year was no exception.  It’s rough because you have to travel between 4-5 countries on your own… while hauling every ounce of junk you brought with you.  You curse every extra pair of socks you packed.  You contemplate throwing your entire suitcase into the nearest Fjord and just walking away.  You stop over in a town for 1-2 hours and take off running out of the train station to get as much done / seen in your short layover.  Basically: you finish the trip going full-out.   We have spent the last 4 days traveling through Germany, Sweden, Denmark and  landed last night in Oslo, Norway. It's been a whirlwind few days with lots of stories and memories.

We began the leg in Frankfurt Germany with a hospitality dinner: where we all eat together and swap war stories from the road. It was at a traditional German restaurant:  bratwurst, weiner schnitzel, beer... you get the idea!!!

The next morning we started early and got in a healthy dose of religious rituals before breakfast.  (You can never have enough spiritual blessings !!!)

We climbed to the top of the cathedral in Frankfurt for a great view of the city. And it was a CLIMB... in a VERY narrow, dark, interior spiral staircase. I had to do some yoga breathing to overcome the claustrophobia. 

But ...most interesting ... one of the graffiti names scratched into the wall at the top.. was done during World War II. Weird to think about that person and how different their lives and Germany was then.

We then headed out of town to Copenhagen where we spent two nights and got in a full day of exploration. First up, Elsinore castle… supposedly the inspiration for the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

And yes, it was FREEZING. We were wearing virtually every piece of clothes we had brought on the trip.. and were still cold to the bone.
The afternoon was spent in the city of Copenhagen  doing a bunch of scavenges including.. of course… visiting the Little Mermaid 

The answer to the question of whether she has feet or a mermaid tail is... both.  Her feet are a split mermaid tail.

And – for 100 points – one team member had to take a dip (up to your  neck) in the freezing cold Baltic.  Do you believe me now that – on this trip – you will do the craziest things for points? Since I have to eat the yucky food scavenges, Rainey (and Jordan) did the pneumonia-inducing sea bath.

We arrived in Oslo late last night and have been out all day seeing the city. I’ve never been here before and I LOVE it.  We lucked out and today was clear blue skies and much warmer weather.  I’m exhausted now so will upload my Oslo stories tomorrow.  There's a reason this leg is a Par 5... it's hard !!!!  And it's sad because the countdown is on. The trip is almost over.  SIGH !!!!

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