Woahh, It’s December Already!

I woke up yesterday morning having a hard time believing it was December already. I seriously cannot believe how soon I come home – 20 days to be exact! 😉 Definitely getting excited to see everyone back home. Though this semester has flown by way too fast and it’s starting to sink in how little time I have left. I’ve had such a wonderful experience in Oslo and am so thankful for having the opportunity to study abroad and do a bit of traveling in Europe (My little thanksgiving speech for you :p ).

I have 2 exams left this week – both 4 hour written exams. The one I think will go fairly okay as long as I continue to study these last couple days before. On the other hand, the other one I’m not sure about because I’m already signed up to retake this course next semester at UND. I’ve mentioned in a previous post about that class. :p If you want to read about it, go back a few posts. 😉 So basically, it’s kind of a waste of time to take the exam, but I have to go take it anyway.

Early Friday morning I leave for Spain for 5 days to visit my friend Amber, one of my friends who I was in Paris with, who is study in Bilbao. I’m excited to go, minus the fact my flight is at 6:35am and still haven’t decided how I’m getting to the airport since the metro doesn’t run that early. 😉 It should be a good trip and great way to end exams. When I get back, the last school related thing I have is a 72 hour group term paper to do that starts on the 13th.

I had all intentions of posting this on Thanksgiving, but didn’t get time to edit it one last time. Then as you can tell, I planned on posting this the following day. Again, that didn’t happen. So finally here is my post about my trip to Bergen.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans reading this! (okay this actually didn’t get posted til the day after, so maybe it should say Happy Black Friday 😉 ) Being abroad, it does not feel like it should be thanksgiving at all. Which may be a good thing because I don’t feel so bad about missing it. I had my first exam today which went really well. Unfortunately this was the easiest of the 3 and I still have 2 more to go. But it’s one out of the way! 😀

In my last post I ended it mentioning I was going to Bergen for the weekend with Sara, so I shall tell you about my trip. We left on the train from Oslo S at about 11:20pm and arrived into Bergen just before 7:00am. The train itself was not bad, definitely nicer than Amtrak (for Americans to compare it with). There was free wifi, which for me is always nice. I tried to sleep, but had a hard time getting comfortable sleeping sitting up. Sara on the other hand had the window seat, which is always nicer and makes sleeping a lot easier. She ended up passing out right away. 😛 I think I got about 3 hours of sleep that night.

In Bergen, it was still dark when we arrived and not many people were out that early. We left the train station to find out Bed and Breakfast. Sara found a great deal on it, on one of those travel sites (I cannot remember which one it was). Bergen Bed and Breakfast, the name of the BnB, was only about a 10 minute walk from the train station and in a great location. We found the BnB and they were nice and let us put our bags there as soon as we arrived, even though check in was not until noon. We left our luggage and wandered off to find a cafe or bakery to get coffee and breakfast. We had no luck, since it was so early and had to settle on Deli de Luca. I’ve mentioned Deli de Luca in a few of my previous blog posts, but I would describe it as a luxury/high-end convenience store. I had a mocha of course and  Sara and I shared a couple Rosinboller, which is basically a sort of sweet bun with raisins. They’re very good and you can get them almost everywhere in Norway.

After sitting in Deli de Luca for some time, we went across the street to the tourists center, which is just above the famous fish market. At this point, it was after 8:00am and still fairly dark out. We decided to get the Bergen Pass, which is one of those tourist cards that gets you discounts and free entry to certain places. We didn’t know if we were going to get it because we were unsure of how worth it it would be. Luckily, with a student discount it was a great deal and decided to get it since it included entry into almost all the museums, free transportation on the buses and light rail, and because it was off season, it included the ride on the Fløibanen funicular, more on that later.

The only place that opened before 11:00am was the VilVite science museum. It reminded me of the Science Museum in St. Paul. We had some time to kill before it opened, so we walked around that area of Bergen and happened to stumble across their BI campus. Of course, being the proud students that we are had to take pictures in front of the sign and even attempted to get into the building with our student cards. Unfortunately, the swipe card machine, did not allow us Oslo students in. 😉

IMG_9410edit

IMG_9407edit

(Classiest looking McDonalds I’ve ever seen! ) ^

IMG_9426edit

We spent an hour or so walking through the science museum feeling like kids again. It was fun and there were some actually pretty neat experiment type activities that were cool. After that, we headed back to the more central area of town on their light rail. One of the stops was called Florida, which I had a kick out of because Bergen is so not like Florida as it’s always cold and rainy in Bergen for most of the year.

Our next stop was the KODE Museum, which has the second largest collection of Edvard Munch paintings, after Oslo. We spent about 45 minutes here and then decided it was time for lunch. We visited the fish market and both had fish and chips. I can not tell you how amazing,  delicious and fresh it was. 😀 One thing my mom always mentioned before I left, is that she bet I would come back liking fish (because before I only liked crab and lobster type fish – I guess you could call it crustaceans). I hate to admit, but she’s right, I sort of really like fish now. 😀

IMG_9440edit IMG_9441edit

After our lovely lunch we decided to spend the afternoon strolling along the  Bryggen, the Hanseatic Wharf. It’s the picturesque part of Bergen with colorful wooden buildings that house many shops.  It’s also part of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage sites. We did a bit of shopping and just walked around this area in the rain, of course. I can’t say exactly what I bought because somethings might have been Christmas presents for certain people who I know will be reading this. 😉

1397287_10153544592475182_2107023844_oedit

We stopped back at Deli de Luca, to warm up and get another hot beverage – coffee for me and tea for Sara. We decided head back to the bed and breakfast and relax for a bit since we were tired from not getting much sleep on the train and to leave some of the museums to do on Sunday since we thought none of the shops would be open.

For dinner, we took the suggestion of the bed and breakfast owner and headed just down the street to this small Italian restaurant called Da Stefano. Sara and I decided to share a vegetarian pizza. When the waiter brought the pizza out the candle on the table was knocked over by pizza, so we had to wait for a new one to be made. Though, the wait was worth it because the pizza was delicious. I didn’t think pizza would be one of the biggest foods I’d miss from home, but I guess I was so used to having it at least once a week since I worked at Papa Murphy’s. 😉 & Frozen pizza is just not the same and expensive here that I just don’t buy it. The pizza ended up being enough for dinner and we had left overs to eat for lunch the next day.

IMG_9432edit IMG_9428edit

After dinner we went to bed quite early as we were a bit exhausted from the day. Luckily, nothing opened before 11:00am on Sunday that we planned to do, so we were able to sleep in. We woke up Sunday morning with a lovely surprise of snow! ♥ I don’t think I’ve mentioned snow yet in any of my blogs, but there is still no snow on the ground in Oslo and I’ve only witnessed it snowing here once. The other 2 times I was either inside school or it was when we were in Bergen, but obviously none of it has stayed on the ground for more than a day. I, being the winter-lover that I am, waking up to the snow really made my day! It seems so weird not to have snow around and it’s almost December.

We got ready and decided to take advantage of the beautiful snow and bright sun that was shining and go up Mount Fløyen on the funicular. It’s one of Bergen and Norway’s biggest tourist attractions and I can see why. See here for more information on it. The top has the most spectacular views of Bergen and the fjords. We picked the perfect day and time to go up because the snow on the ground just added that perfect touch and true feeling of being in Norway. After enjoying the view and taking pictures, we stopped at the gift shop up there and surprised that it was open on a Sunday. We did a little bit more shopping because it had the best prices out of all the touristy shops I’ve been to here. I definitely recommend going there. There’s a cafeteria type restaurant there as well, so we decided to enjoy a Norwegian waffle with brown cheese and lingonberry jam. I still cannot decide if I like brown cheese or not. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. I’m quite unsure how I feel about it. 😉

IMG_9466edit

20131124_113212edit

20131124_120222edit

After going back down the mountain on the funicular, we visited the Rosenkrantz Tower and Håkon’s Hall. Both are part of the Bergenhus fortress, which is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. The tower was really cool and I always love going to things that have that super old historical feel to them. There were so many narrow spiral stairs and super low entryways into the rooms. Being an American from North Dakota, we are quite deprived from super old historical castle like buildings, which probably is part of why I love these types of places in Europe.

IMG_9488edit

We went back to the bed and breakfast to warm up and eat our left over pizza! That’s another thing European don’t really do – take home boxes. It’s just not a thing to bring half of your food home from a restaurant to eat it later. After warming up a bit, we realized we only had an hour until the last museum we wanted to see closed. We decided to try to make it the Cultural History Museum, since it was free with our Bergen pass. What we thought would have been an easier way to get there, ended up taking us a lot longer. We took a “scenic route” through a few residential areas before finally finding our way to the museum with exactly a half hour to go through it. Let me just say, I absolutely adore the houses in Bergen. I can’t really even describe them, I just want to live in one – they’re so darn cute with the narrow streets and adksghdigthghddg just thinking about them makes me want to live in one. Hahah seriously though, look at how cute these pictures are of them. (I wish the pictures did justice of how lovely they are)

IMG_9496edit

IMG_9504edit

IMG_9502edit

I actually really liked the museum and I wish I would have had more time to really look at the stuff. I’ve always sort of liked learning about history so I found it interesting when I think about how I have Norwegian ancestry on my paternal grandmas side of the family. I know it’s far off, but having somewhat of a connection to a part of the world or history makes it much more interesting. I really wish I knew what part of Norway her family is from and I think that is something I’m going to look into when I get home.

Before our trip to Bergen, we had read that there is this tradition in Bergen to build a gingerbread town each year. It also happens to be the worlds biggest gingerbread town. It was crazy to see how creative some of the gingerbread houses were and was very cool. It made me want to go home and make one! 😀

IMG_9514edit

We couldn’t decide where to go to dinner and after wandering around trying to pick a place, we just decided to go back to Da Stefano, the same restaurant as the night before, and order pasta instead. I had tagliatelle with a creamy pesto sauce that was delicious! We had a ton of time to kill since our train didn’t leave until 11:00pm, so we took our time eating and chatting away.

After dinner, we got all of stuff together back at the bed and breakfast and chilled there for a while before finally going to the train station. Again, the bed and breakfast owners were so nice to let us leave our stuff there all day so we didn’t have to carry it around. We arrived back in Oslo around 6:30am and made our way back to our rooms. I went right to bed when I got home and got a few more hours of good sleep because public transportation sleep is never great. 😉

Advertisements

Visitors in Oslo

My contract for my blog for UND only requires me to blog once every two weeks, but that doesn’t seem like enough. A lot can happen in two weeks, especially abroad. My goal is to blog at least once a week, sometimes maybe more. My last blog was exactly a week ago. Maybe Monday’s will be my blog day? 🙂 [when I started typing this, it was Monday…now it’s Tuesday] ;/

Anyway, last week I had class on Tuesday and Thursday. My Wednesday microeconomics class was canceled, so I had the day off. I was still a sick with a cold, that today I’m still getting over. I washed all my bedding and seriously cleaned my room. I swept and mopped the floor and wiped off all my shelves and desk. It felt so good to have a clean room.

Thursday night I went with Sara to the Amatøren, the student run pub here at Sogn. Every Thursday they have quiz night and one of her roommates runs the quizzes. It was fun, though we did not win. Haha the questions were actually really hard and pretty random.

Friday morning my two aunts and two uncles arrived in Oslo. I planned on meeting them at their hotel around 11:30am, but somehow got “lost” with my directions I had wrote down and it took me a lot longer. I also didn’t end up leaving my place until 12:00pm. I did feel bad because they were ready to go do sight seeing and I was late. Oh well, that can you do.

When I arrived, we walked a block to this cute restaurant cafe and had lunch. I had the Norwegian Shrimp Sandwich. I should have taken a picture of it, but I was turned off my the random orange colored caviar sprinkled on top. It was really good, after picking the caviar off. 😉

After lunch, we walked to the Opera. It was my second time being there, so I didn’t take any pictures of myself there. We spent about a half hour there and then walked to Karl Johans gate, the main street of Oslo. There is a lot of shopping, sightseeing, and people watching to do on this street. We walked around for a while, but it of course started to rain. The weather has been absolutely beautiful all week and then when they arrived, it rained for the first time all week. We had ice cream for dessert at Deli de Luca. I kind of love Deli de Luca, they are pretty much on every block in Oslo and have like everything. It reminds me of a cross between a convenience store and Panera Bread.

Image

^^ My ice cream! 🙂

IMG_8450edit

^^ The Opera

Saturday morning, I got up early to make sure I wasn’t late getting to their hotel. I arrived around 10:30am and they were just waking up! I totally knew how they felt thought. The morning after I arrived in Oslo, I slept in until about 1:30pm. It was of course raining pretty heavy again, so umbrellas were a must. We went down to the harbor to catch the water taxi/ferry to go see the Viking Ship Museum. We got off the boat and expected the museum to be right there, but it wasn’t. It was about a 20 minute rainy walk up a hilly residential area.

20130831_124700

^^ View as we were leaving on the ferry. Such a rainy and cloudy morning.

IMG_8454edit

^^ Boat on the pier that had fresh shrimp and other fish for sale!

The museum was really cool. It’s so crazy how those viking ships are still preserved from so many years ago. We spent about 45 minutes inside the museum and then walked to the Kon Tiki Museum. I had heard of Kon Tiki before, but had no clue what it was. We then went back onto the ferry and headed to the Akershus Fortress. We walked around inside it, which I thought was so cool. I had never been to any sort of castle before. Inside by this pond area, there was a wedding going on and the bridal party was dressed in their tradition Norwegian costumes. That was really cool to see.

IMG_8457edit

^^ One of the viking ships inside the museum

IMG_8458edit

^^ Viking ship! It’s so crazy how these are still preserved from soooooo long ago

http://www.khm.uio.no/besok-oss/vikingskipshuset/  Website with more information on the Viking ships in the museum. 🙂

IMG_8464edit

^^ One of the Kon Tiki boats at the museum

IMG_8470edit

^^ Outside by the Kon Tiki muesum.

After spending an hour or so at the fortress, we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a while after sooo much walking. We ate dinner at this restaurant down the block from the hotel called ‘Gamle Raadhus Restaurant.’ It’s inside the original town hall building of Oslo. I shared a meal of scallops (my favorite) and arctic char & seafood risotto. I’m normally not a ‘fillet’ fish person (not sure how to describe that) hahah, I like crustacean type fish. 😉 But I did really like arctic char, so maybe I will start to like that kind of fish. For dessert, I had probably the best crème brûlée I’ve ever had. Oh my god, it was so good! 🙂

20130831_211958

Sunday morning around 7:00am we left the hotel. I ended up staying at their hotel Saturday night because I didn’t want to go back to my place after dinner when it was dark and it takes like 40 minutes to get back there. I walked, while they took a taxi to the Oslo S Central Train station. I said goodbye to them and they went to find their train to go to Bergen for a couple days and then I went to the subway to go back to my residence.

The hotel had given my aunts and uncles 4 tickets to Taste of Oslo, but they never got around to using them. So I took them and went with my friends Sara and Simon, and his friend Niko. I had no idea what the Taste of Oslo would be, but hoped for free food. It turned out to be kind of lame, but we got a few free little samples and a free drink!

This week I have class of course and then Friday I am flying to Stockholm for the weekend with my aunt and uncle. 😀 I’m excited to finally start traveling while I’m here.