Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Year, New Hockey Season, Same Town!

Round 2!  You're probably thinking..."hockey! already?, it's still Summer!".  Yea, I know, I was thinking the same thing.  Gino signed for another year with Lillehammer in May, and we found out shortly after that training camp would start August 1st.  CRAZY.  I feel like we just ended the 2010/2011 season yesterday!  3 1/2 months at home was just not enough but this is the life we signed up for and we were excited to know that we would be heading back to the same team, town, friends, apartment, etc. 
Our travel over here was pretty easy, except for the 6 hour layover in Newark, NJ.  Our flight was slightly delayed because of weather in MN so when we finally got off the plane in the Newark airport we had about 4 1/2 hours to kill.  We met up with another Minnesota guy (Justin Bostrom), who also resigned with Lillehammer,  at the airport and grabbed some dinner and drinks.  The flight to Oslo left at 8pm which was a great time to fly overseas.  We jumped on the plane, ate some dinner, watched a movie, slept for a few hours, ate breakfast, watched another movie, and we were there!  Having the tv screens built into the back of the seats on international flights is a LIFESAVER.  You could literally watch 3 movies, take a cat nap and you'd be over here. 
We arrived in the Oslo airport at 9:45am (2:45am MN time) and had to wait around for one more Minnesota guy to arrive, Kyle Schmidt (UMD).  He had his layover in Iceland and was arriving at 12:30.  Side note: Did I mention how many Minnesota guys are on this team....let alone Gophers!? 

1. Gino
2. Justin Bostrom
3. RJ Anderson
4. Kevin Wehrs
5. Kyle Schmidt

That's almost unheard of over in Europe to be on the same team with 5 guys from the same state let alone same college.  They all have wives/girlfriends that will be over here too so it should be a good year!
Anyways, We got to Lillehammer and into our apartment around 3:30 pm. That gave Gino and the guys just enough time to drop off their bags, grab a little water, and head to practice.  The coach wanted to meet with all of them before.  That left ME to do the unpacking.  ICK.  I was pretty tired on the drive up to Lillehammer but when we got here and got into the apartment, I got a second wind and unpacked and "decorated" in 2 hours! 

We're in the same building as we were last year but a different apartment layout facing the lake.  It's slightly bigger than last year and we have way more windows! Which will come in handy when the  winter arrives and the Norwegian sun is sparse. Here is the beautiful view from our patio.  We almost forgot how green and lush everything is!

You can see the lake through the trees

Our first night we made a little frozen pasta meal that was already in the freezer.  One little perk that's very helpful especially to new guys on the team, is the fridge and pantry is stocked when we arrrive with basic food items to get you through a couple days until you get your feet on the ground. 

We stayed up until midnight not because we weren't tired...we were! But we were trying to keep our selves up so that we could sleep through the night.  At one point, I looked out the window and saw the sun was going down and thought it was about 9:00pm...turns out it was 11:30pm!  The next morning I woke up to go to the bathroom and saw the sun was already up, so I went to check the time and it was only 4:00 am.  Welcome to Summer in Norway! Got to soak in the sun while we have it!

The jet lag hasn't hit either one of us too bad.  We were pretty tired the first couple of mornings but are trying to get on a schedule so we've been forcing ourselves to wake up at decent times.  The weather has actually been beautiful! The guy who drove us to Lillehammer told us that they've had a disappointing Summer, if you'd even call it that.  It's been predominantly rainy every day and they've  only a handful of sunny warm days.  We must have brought the weather with us cause the last few days have been perfect!  Mid 70's and sunny.  Hopefully it can stay this way for a while...

The day after we arrived, Gino and I went into town to fill out paper work for our visa's.  I didn't get one last year, but we made it a priority to have it in Gino's contract this year. The team is working on getting a few of the wives part time work at the local hockey school.  So a visa is a must!  Since we're living here for the next 8 months, a visa is pretty vital for traveling in and out of countries.  I got by last year but don't really want to chance it again.  You can only be in a country for 3 monthes without a visa.  So if we were traveling after that, there's a chance I wouldn't be let back into the country.  It's better to be safe than sorry! 

Yesterday was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky. The guys had a team building event all day playing paintball and a scavanger hunt.  They finished the day at a BBQ.  One of the wives and I strolled around town to check out the cafe's etc.  I meant to bring my camera, but forgot!  Otherwise I would have some pics.  Oh well, I'll have plenty of time to take pictures!   Colored umbrella patio tables and hanging flower plants were lined up and down the streets.  I had forgotten how beautiful the town is without snow on the ground.  Gino brought some strawberries home from the BBQ that were the sweetest, redest strawberries I had ever eaten!  He said that all the Norwegian guys were bragging about how good their strawberries were and he laughed.  But they weren't kidding!  Apparently, Since the Summers are so much cooler in Norway, the strawberries turn out sweeter.  Here's an interesting article I found about them.
That's all for now, I promise to have more photos in the upcoming blogs.  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you both are going to have a FUN-FUN-FUN season!!! Miss you already :(

    Can't wait to read more and check out the beautiful pictures!