Part 1 of My Scandinavian Adventures

At long last, I’ve finally gotten around to sitting down and blogging about my trip!  At the end of this post I will post some pretty photos, so if you don’t feel like reading the post, skip to the end.  You’ve been warned, it’s going to be rather long (by my standards, anyways.)

Since this was my first trip that I’ve taken while working full-time, I stayed up the night before, prepping some things so that if things happened while I was out, my boss and coworker would not be SOL.  The feeling of being extremely sleep deprived yet still eons away from finishing up the project was not a feeling I missed, though in a sick twisted way it made me nostalgic for college.

When we got on the plane from Houston to Amsterdam, I was struck by the huge number of tall, fit, attractive Scandinavians on the plane (it was an ominous foreshadowing to what my entire trip would be like- it’s not fair!  Scandinavians are all just a super attractive group.  Everywhere we went, I wanted to shout at everyone to stop being so pretty.)

I watched a Japanese movie called Bread of Happiness, which has become my movie of the month because it is pure food porn.  As I have written before, I am a hardcore bread lover, so this movie, naturally, appealed to my bread-heavy sensibilities towards food.  Literally every 10 minutes showed a fresh shot of baking bread or freshly brewed coffee or bubbling broth.  I was salivating the entire movie.

But I’m sure you’d much rather read about my actual trip abroad!  I won’t bore you with details about the cruise- it’s exactly what you might expect, if you’ve never been a cruise before.  It’s a floating hotel, the guests are mostly old and/or kind of overweight (thanks to all those buffets), it has activities happening almost every hour of the day, etc.  Actually, being amongst the attractive Europeans made me keenly aware of the differences when I got back on the boat.

Our first port of call was Oslo, the capital of Norway.  We came on a Sunday morning and this, combined with the fact that the heavy majority of Europeans take off on vacations in the summer, resulted in a very empty city.  I mean really empty, especially for a nation’s capital.  Of course, I always had to remind myself that for most of the countries we visited, LA has more residents than these countries have in their entire nation!  I won’t bore you with the details about everything we saw in each city (I doubt you care and frankly, I don’t want to type up our excursion itinerary) but I’ll list the major things and let the photos do the talking.  As always, it will be a mix of things I find funny (and I am easily amused), the beautiful, the mundane, and just weird shit.  Of course, this being Europe, there are far fewer instances of hilariously bad English than can be found in Asia.

Actually, since the majority of people spoke English very well (and this would be true throughout our trip), I often didn’t really feel like I was abroad, because I didn’t have to try very hard to communicate with the locals.  As soon as they figured out I was American, they bust out in smooth English and my feeble attempts at trying a few phrases in the native tongue went unnoticed.  Oh well.  At least I don’t have to write a post titled “The Time I Got Lost in Russia…”

Things we saw/visited in Oslo:

  • Hardly any people (it was almost like a ghost town!)
  • Maritime Museum (meh, but my dad and brother like boats so I went along with it.)
  • The Fram, the first ship to go to both the North and South Poles
  • Akershus Fortress
  • Glimpses of the Royal Family’s palace & summer palace (which is only like 30 minutes away from the other one, but when you’re rich and famous, who has time for mundane things like driving over an hour to get to your country home?)  But these cities are much less dense than say, New York or Los Angeles, so going out 30 minutes truly does mean getting out to the country.

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