Another hello from Norway! This time from Kjølsdalen (I hope I got that right). We said goodbye to Mette, Roy, and the kids last week and boarded a bus that took us all the way west across Norway to where we are now. We had a great time in Jaren and hopefully I will get some pictures up later. We had the opportunity to speak at the school about America and Minnesota and answered some questions from the kids. One of my favorites was the question asking what different colors we have for our tractors; which I answered using what little tractor knowledge I have... We also got to watch Silje, Stina, and Kent get school photos taken and enjoyed hearing Silje's marching band play. It was an excellent time and we are very greatful to everyone we met and the great hospitality we were shown. (And perhaps we will be fortunate enough to see them all again before we leave Scandinavia) The bus to Kjølsdalen took us through some of the most amazing countryside I have ever seen and it was like paging through a National Geographic as we went over, around, and UNDER the mountains! I was humming the Jurassic Park theme as we passed through a particularly steep valley, surrounded by waterfalls and forests.
We are now staying with more of Sophie's family in the place where her great-great-grandfather was born. It may very well be the most beautiful valley in Norway and we have been shown an amazing time and have done such incredible things. Everytime I look outside I am blown away by the scenery, and we are more or less IN a fjord (which I briefly fished in). We also had the best day of the trip so far (in my opinion anyway) when we went up in the mountains with Jostein to help him find his sheep. We found and returned home with 17 of his 90 sheep which I think is pretty good for first time shepherds. I'm pretty sure I could stay here forever; fishing and farming and sheep-herding. It's absolutely unbelievable! On top of that we are being very well taken care of everywhere we go (with Jostein and Johanne and with Sophie's other relatives we visit) and we are eating anything and everything put in front of us. It's all so fresh and tasty and the next time you see me I will most likely have a gut...
Hello once again and sorry for taking so long to update. Sophie and I are currently in Jaren, Norway staying with her relatives who are all extremely generous and fantastic and taking very good care of us. Unfortunately I haven't taken too many photos yet, but I made sure to capture this moment:
Yup, that's a big ol' tasty plate of lefse. And I made sure to eat a LOT of it. In fact, I've been eating a lot of everything and they've been giving us as much Norwegian food as we can handle. It's fantastisk!
I'm also going to attempt to track down where our family came from with the help of Sophie's relative Mette who is an expert at that sort of thing.
I'll be sure to take more photos from our stay here and put them up later, but at the moment you'll have to settle for some pics from earlier in the trip...
This blurry picture is the Cavern in Liverpool, England. It's where the Beatles got their start and played their first shows. It's more or less a replica of what it once was, and now houses acoustic guitar players doing bad covers of Beatles' songs. But I guess it's the thought that counts...
We also managed to snag some surprisingly warm and sunny weather in Edinburgh, Scotland which was perfect for our hike up Arthur's Seat (the hill behind Sophie). It was amazingly windy at the top and provided great views of both the city and the ocean.
Edinburgh also has a cute story of Greyfriar's Bobby, which this statue commemorates. Apparently when his owner died this little scamp watched over the grave for 14 more years until his own death. Awww....
We'll be in Norway for a while longer visiting Sophie's relatives so perhaps by the time I'll leave I'll actually be able to say something in Norwegian... We'll see.
The last post briefly mentioned Dublin, which we have long since left. Sophie and I are currently enjoying ourselves in Edinburgh, Scotland. We had a short stay in Liverpool to soak up some Beatles history along the way. Now, I only have 5 minutes and 3 seconds to finish this before my internet time runs out, so here's the abridged version of each place.
Dublin: Easy to get around on foot and lots to see. Free tour with some crazy history about Ireland; made even cooler being where it all went down. We met lots of great people in our fantastic hostel and enjoyed some of the local nightlife and traditional music.
Liverpool: Very short stay but worth it for the Beatles museum and other random free things available.
Edinburgh: Another hostel stay since neither of us have a connection here but it's worth it because the city is beautiful and the sites are amazing. Took another free walking tour which ran 4 hours before seeing some museums and such. Needless to say we are both pretty exhausted so we're relaxing now before heading out to find some local music.
Ok, that's the rundown, I have 41 seconds left so I need to jet.
Sophie and I have officially left the beautiful country of Wales, and after an early morning of travel have made our way to Dublin, Ireland! We'll be here a handful of days before heading back and up through England to Scotland. It's going to be a hectic bit of travelling before we fly out to Oslo on the 11th, but from there we'll be staying with friends and family of Sophie so things will be a bit less chaotic.
But for those who have been waiting, I finally managed to get a handful of pictures online!
That is our fantastic host on the left, Anwen in her Welsh village of Dinas Mawddwy!
She took us on a soggy yet satisfying hike around a local mountain. Maybe it was a hill. We never quite figured it out. Either way it was great fun, even if our shoes still haven't dried... Plus, we hiked past a lake with sheep hanging out on the beach. Priceless!
At the end of our stay in Wales, Anwen moved to her new apartment in the coastal town of Aberystwyth where we spent our final night before taking the ferry to Ireland. At the top of this ridiculously windy hill was a frisbee golf course- perhaps not the best location?
We also had time to visit my friend Ffion- here she is serenading us in her tea room. How posh!
Sophie and I had loads of fun in Wales and have to extend a big ol' 'thank you' to Anwen and Ffion, their families, and their friends for showing us a fantastic time! Diolch!