Monday, October 17, 2011

Long Overdue Trip to Oslo

We finally made it to Oslo!  I feel bad that we didn't bother traveling there last year when it's not only the capital of Norway but also only 2 1/2 hours from Lillehammer.  Anyways, we experienced all that Oslo has to offer last week!  Gino and I carpooled with our friends, Evan and Jillian, and happened to go on a beautiful fall day.  THANK GOD.
 I know some of our Norwegian friends might disagree....but before going to Oslo, I was researching "things to do" in the city and came across a poll taken on Trip Advisor.  They surveyed 1,400 people and found that Olso ranked #3 in one of the most boring cities in Europe.  Warsaw was #1 in case you were wondering.  We were still excited to go but had the mindset that this wasn't going to be like Paris or anything!  The guys had an early practice last Saturday and were done by 11am so we left soon after and arrived in Oslo around 1:30.  The city was pretty busy and I'm glad we had another couple with us so we could all help navigate around.  We easily found a parking ramp, parked the car and walked around the block a bit to get our bearings.  We started walking towards the water to find a  central place to meet up at in a few hours.  We happened to run into a Burger King so of course got excited and had to stop in.  I know...woo hoo.  But seriously, it was exciting! Gino and I split a whopper quick, which was delicious, and headed back to the main shopping street called Karl Johans Gate and ran into some street preformers.  Either there are hundreds of the exact same street performers all over Norway or these few performers travel to different cities...not sure.  But, I've seen the same costumed performers in Lillehammer a few times.  Michael Jackson?

After a quick pic, the couples separated for a few hours.  Before I go on, here are a few fun facts I found about Oslo.
  • Population: 600,000
  • Daylight in July: 18 hours, 41 minutes
  • Official Religion: Protestant
  • Political System: Parlimentary Democracy, Monarchy
    • King Harold V
    • Queen Sonja
    • Crown Prince Haakon Magnus
    • Crown Princess Mette-Marit
  • Oslo is Scandinavia's Sunniest Capital!
Gino and I continued to walk down Karl Johans Gate towards the Royal Palace which sits on top of a hill at the end of the street basically overlooking Oslo.

As you can see, the palace is under restoration.  In 2010, 20.9 Million Kroner (about $3.75 Million US) was allocated from the state budget to restore the palace.  I guess it was critized in the newspaper for being way too much money.  But aparently, it needed it!  This is the official residence of the Monarchy but they have numerous castles and estates they stay in throughout the year.

Here is the view of the city from the palace stairs.
We moseyed through the Royal Park, which is directly behind the palace.  There were alot of people out strolling their babies and walking their dogs.  It was a very pretty park with ponds and bridges all over the place.  When we started walking back to the palace, I snuck a couple pics of the guards.  WHAT A BORING JOB! Right??

The royal soldiers do a transition march in front the the palace at 1:30pm daily.  We had just missed it!
After the Palace, we walked over to the Harbor (Aker Brygge area) to check out the scene on the board walk and ran into the Nobel Peace Prize building.  Since the Nobel Peace Prize was just appointed earlier this month we thought we better head in and check out the museum.  It seemed really interesting...and FREE, so we were all over it.

We walked the Aker Brygge along the marina which was so beautiful.  It was packed with people eating outside and sitting on their sail boats and yachts.  You can kind of see the Akershus Fortress on the hill behind me.   

Which leads me to our next destination of the day...the Akershus Fortress.  It's a big stone castle built in the 1200's that was used as a fortress to protect the city.  It's built up on a little cliff overlooking the water.  Very beautiful! It's currently used for military purposes, tours, and special events.

We snapped a few photos and then decided to pay for the self guided tour.  Gino and I just finished watching all the seasons of The Tudors (about the Tudor dynasty, King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn etc).  Which is a great show, if you haven't seen it.  We learned alot about the history of the English Monarchy so touring the castle and learning about Norweigan Royalty was pretty amusing. 
We happened to be 2 out of the 4 people touring the entire castle so we found ourselves alone in all of the rooms.  Which was actually really scary.... ha.  Here I am, walking down into the dungeon  where prisoners were kept, oh and also where a few dead Norwegian kings and queens are biggie.


It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop...not even kidding.  I was just waiting for a ghost to contact me and literally felt like I was on an episode of Ghost Hunters International.  I think if there would have been more people and we weren't the only 2 living beings wandering around a 12th century castle...then I would have been more comfortable.
Besides the dungeon, the rest of the castle was really interesting.  Alot of it had been restored but the furniture and tapestry's on the walls were all dated back to the 1200's.  Pretty amazing. 

After touring the castle for a few hours, we met up with Evan and Jillian for dinner and headed home.  It was a nice trip and I would totally recommend visiting Oslo, for anyone traveling to Norway.  There were so many museums that Gino and I would have loved to visit if we had more time and there's plenty to do.  So I would officially like to say that I do not agree with the Trip Advisor survey. Oslo..check!

If you've already heard me talk about this, sorry, but for those of you who haven't, I think its worth mentioning.  A few weeks ago, Jason Davis from "On The Road With Jason Davis", flew to Norway to do a piece on the 5 Minnesota guys on the Lillehammer team.  We all thought it was a little random but then found out that the King and Queen of Norway were going to be in Minnesota within the next few weeks and that KSTP was doing a whole segment on Norway.  So anyways, the guys went to the rink to interview with Jason while I went and worked out at the gym with a few of the girls.  After workout, I got home and within minutes received a message on skype from the guys saying that Jason wanted to take video of our apartment and that they would be over within the next 30 minutes.  So I start scrambling, doing the dishes left from last night, sweeping, making the bed, picking up clothes etc.  The apartments aren't the nicest anyways, and I didn't want it looking more like a pig pen than it already is! I had enough time to fix my hair into a "nicer" ponytail and slap on a little makeup over my sweaty, post gym face.  Somewhat presentable, thinking they would film the apartment and leave. 

WELL, to my complete suprise and shock, Jason Davis walks in with his camera guy and tells me to take the gum out of my mouth.  This was about 30 seconds after shaking my hand.  So of course I listened haha and spit it out.  He had Gino and I sit on the couch and taped us playing on the computer and asked a few questions about the lifestyle, etc.  So there I was....still sweaty from the gym, let alone the sweat I built up cleaning the aparmtment, and still wearing my gym clothes.  Just my luck....the ONE time I am ever on TV and I'm not showerd? Figures.  Oh well,  not like it's Oprah or the Grammy's or something. This was just my side of the story:)~
Here is the clip from the news.  All the guys did a great job and I just want to clarify that yes,  those are twigs on my bedroom wall and yes, they are decoration. Oh and I swear it looks slightly better in person.


Here are a few recipes that we made the last few weeks that are well worth sharing!!!  Let me know if you try them!

Creamy Chicken Baked Flautas   Must try it with the lime sourcream

Gino's amazing recipe of the week! 
Bangin Good Shrimp

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

1 comment:

  1. OMG LOOKS SO GOOD!!! The flautas remind me of you! I just started a blog too you should follow me:) I miss you!