Initially we had planned to start our Scandinavian travels this weekend. We had planned on taking a night train on Thursday to Stockholm, Sweden but because of our dinner at Ingers we opted to stick around Hamar. Lauren, Christy and I decided to head up to Lillehammer, the town where the 1994 Winter Olympics was held
. We were planning on taking the Skiblaner, the oldest steamboat in the world. We weren't sure what the cost was, but Friday was so perfect that we didn't care. We walked down to the dock and were seriously just standing there trying to figure out where we bought tickets when all of the sudden our hearts are racing because the whistle on the boat went off. Signaling that it was leaving. Yep, leaving...without us. We missed it by a minute. We were pretty bummed, it would have been fun to say we sailed on Lake Mj?sa, the biggest lake in Norway, on the oldest steamboat in the world. We pressed on. We figured out a bus headed up to Lillehammer for just 80 KR, waited for a half hour or so and headed off! The bus itself was a tour bus for the most part, ideal nap seats. It was fairly full so we all sat in different places. I sat by the window and next to an older Norwegian man that was trying to talk to me, but due to our language barriers, we didn't get very far. I loved the drive up. It was beautiful, I saw farms, fields, hay, horses and we even drove over the lake a few times. Lillehammer is about an hour north of Hamar. Christy had an interesting experience on the bus. She sat next to an older Norwegian women who instantly started talking to Christy...in Norweigian. I'm very proud of Christy, she says she went the entire summer without a word of Norwegian and here we are two weeks into school and she is understanding conversations! We now have a place to stay in Oslo complete with a key, a car and food
. Weird? Nei. Its really cool. Funny story here though. As we were pulling into Hamar, the lady wanted to exchange numbers with Christy, which they did, but in the excitement of arriving at our destination. Christy left her wallet on the bus. However, she was very calm. She claims it was because Norway being a welfare state, everyone is honest and theft is not a common worry. Having exchanged numbers though, Christy called her new friend and found out that the lady had already arranged with the bus driver to bring her wallet back on his next route through Lillehammer. Talk about luck!
Lillehammer itself was very fun. A beautiful place in the valley with the Olympic Ski Jumps in the distance. We grabbed kebobs for lunch. Very popular in Scandinavia and they were really good. I think it is mostly meat with corn, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions with thousand island dressing in a pita pocket. So tasty! After we ate, we walked up and down the pedestrian streets and realized we had seen all of the commercial areas in Lillehammer. We wanted to walk up to the Olympic park and museum, but halfway up the almost vertical incline, we had to turn around to arrive at the bus station in time to pick up Christy's wallet. All in all, Lillehammer was great. Very pretty shops, quaint, plenty of leftover Olympic memorabilia and a ski jump. But...I really enjoy Hamar more. It is a great town and very student friendly
. Plus, there is a lot more lake in Hamar than in Lillihammer. I might take another trip back up there when it gets colder with more people. If I don't have a chance though, I think I'll manage. We collected Christy's wallet with no problems, hopped on another crowded bus headed for Oslo, made our stop at the Hamar Station and headed back home. Once we made it back, we turned around and headed to the lake because we thought all of us would go swimming. I was the only one the dove in. It was great but really cold! I looked forward to the hot shower awaiting me when we got back to our room. After that we made dinner, pizza and salad with Nat and had been planning on a night at the Hydranten, but soon found out that it was a 200 KR charge to get in. We opted to stay in our room.
Our night "in" was interesting. We managed to have a few of our new friends come over. Owe, Daniel, Bj?rn-Eric, Marius, and Håmmok. Most of them were from the previous night. So in order to explain my night, I have to talk about our "observation" of Norwegian Culture. Most functions in Norway involve drinking, as I have mentioned before. Most times that we are talking with Norwegians, they have been drinking. We found out last night that it is defiantly a quiet party when none is present. It was a boring night, but there wasn't much laughter or even talking. I thought it was funny because my computer was passed around multiple times to listen to music
. The one thing I found the most awkward was when they would switch into Norwegian and laugh. I had no idea what they said, but they would eventually switch back to English. Christy and Nat made us all waffles and coffee, which we ate and they were good, as usual. We managed to stay up until 1 AM or so before everyone decided to leave. We were all exhausted for one and also some of the Norwegians had hangovers from the night before. (had to be said)
We are really learning a lot about the culture of students in Norway and I think that it was good to see the different aspects of Norwegian life. Granted we could have all sat in front of a TV or watched a movie and been fine, it was a good thing, I think, to not have any technology to pull attention away from each other. I do hope, however, that we will hang out with them again soon and that they don't think Americans are incredibly boring, because we aren't, we are just entertained easily.
So, I think two posts in one day constitutes procrastination in starting a day. It is already half past 1 PM and I have yet to leave the room. Christy is awake now, so I think we will get out into the sunshine and visit the Hamar Folk Museum that we have been meaning to visit for a while. Until then. hilsen fra Norge.
I know I just posted a blog, but I'm relaxing and my lovely roomie Christy is still sleeping. Its quite nice to just hang out in our room and read or chat. I've been catching up on some news stories. I was reading Aftenposten, the Norwegian newspaper, and I read the article about the Scream and the Madonna being discovered. Both are paintings by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Both painting were stolen two years ago from the Munch museum in Oslo in broad daylight on a Sunday Morning. The police believe that they have been in Norway the entire time and find it very fortunate that both pieces seem to be intact and in good condition.