I am happy to say that, unlike Minnesota, we don't have snow yet!! I know, suprising. It's snowed a few times but melted right away. Last year it snowed on the 11th or 12th of November. But, it seems to be holding out. I just checked the weather this morning for this week and its supposed to snow. Oh well, we had a nice long Fall! Can't ask for much more than that. This week has been in the 30's, which hasn't felt so bad but we had sort of an ice storm...I think around the same time that MN was getting some crazy weather. Anyways, the roads are like skating rinks! They don't put down salt when it snows, instead they use gravel. Makes it a little more bearable for the diesel engines.
We were lucky enough to have another set of visitors this year. Gino's parents! They flew in on Monday the 14th for a weeks stay. This was their first time in Europe and Norway so it was really special. They had a little bit of a hectic travel day getting here with a few delayed flights and some running from terminal to terminal. But made it in one piece! They took the train in from the airport and were able to experience the beautiful ride mixed with a little nap time so they were pretty refreshed when we picked them up from the Lillehammer train station.
Tuesday was Tessie's 50th birthday so when they walked into their apartment we had a happy birthday banner up and a fridge stocked with food and goodies for the week. What a great way to spend your 50th, in Lillehammer Norway! Since I am an avid knitter of scarves...just scarves (currently working on expanding my knitting repetoire) I decided a while ago that I was going to make one for Tessie's birthday present. She opened it on Tuesday and loved it!
Tuesday also happened to be a home game for Gino and the first game that Tessie and Pat have seen Gino play in about 2 years. They were beyond excited to experience a European hockey game. Lillehammer played Valerenga (from Olso) who they are actually tied with in 2nd place. It was a great game for them to see. Lillehammer won 6-3 and they had a great crowd. Pat and Tessie really enjoyed the European style of play and on the olympic sheet of ice. Its very uptempo, alot of skating, making plays, etc. Just a different style from North American hockey. For example, in North America you don't usually see 2 captians playing paper rock sizzors to decide who shoots first in a shoot out. But here in Norway its occasionally part of the game. Welcome to European Hockey!
After the big win, we took them to dinner at Lillehammer Pizzeria for some bernaise pizza and a kabob. We ended the wonderful day back at the apartment for ice cream cake.
The next morning we took a long walk into town and showed them around Storgata. The sun is starting to set at about 3:45ish so that doesn't leave alot of time to sight see during daylight hours! You will notice in alot of our pictures that they sort of look like dusk when its only about 2pm.
We of course had to swing by our favorite cafe, Nikkers, for a coffee and waffle. I think that little cafe has been one of the highlights of both mine and Gino's parents trips. Its a great, cozy cafe.
Kind of a funny story...actually its a really funny story. We were all up at the counter ordering drinks and Pat decided to order an expresso, later telling us that he didn't really know what that was but he thought it would be like a cappuccino or something. Anyways, as we were preparing our waffles, the waitress dropped our drinks off at the table. When Gino and I got to the table, he couldn't stop laughing and said, "look at my dad's drink!" It was literally the size of a small baby tea cup. Tessie was the next person to get to the table and we were all laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes. When Pat came up, he sort of rolled his eyes and got a good laugh. Leave it to the iron ranger to order a "manly" expresso! To put it into perspective, the toothpick glass next to the expresso is actually the size of 1.5 ounce shot glass...
After Nikkers, we headed back to the apartments for a bit and Gino drove his parents to the top of the ski hill before the sun went down. I stayed back, but from what I heard, they thought it was amazing and couldn't imagine jumping! Like I said in past blogs, it takes a special person to jump from those tracks. Like me, Pat is a little afraid of heights but they snapped some good photos while they were up at the top.
They also happend to be making snow that day.
When everyone got back to the apartments, we were trying to rack our brains on what to make for dinner. Before Tessie and Pat arrived, Gino and I shopped for some basic food items to stock their fridge...goat cheese, ham, bread, yogurt, etc. Well Tessie decided to whip up something with chicken and came up with the best meal!!! She made sort of a chicken cordon blu type entree with the ham and goat cheese and actually threw a couple pieces of bread in the oven to toast them (they didnt have a toaster) to make bread crumbs. Talk about using your resources or camping skills:) For dessert...yes she also came up with a dessert from scratch, she sliced up some apples and used some of the cinnamon granola type cereal we bought them to make apple crisp. It was great!
Gino had an away game Thurs night so he was gone most of the day. We decided to lounge around the apartments for a bit in the morning before heading off on a hike. I took them up the trails by our house and then we hiked over to the Olympic Museum to browse around. We ended up not going into the actual museum portion because they were going to charge us and its WAY too expensive for what you get to see. Instead, we walked around and checked out the Olympic exhibits inside of the arena which is just as cool.
After the hike we headed back home and lounged around a bit and then met up for popcorn and a movie. We talked Pat into watching The Sound of Music. He had never seen it before!!!! A week later and I'm still singing "I am sixteen going on seventeen" in my head. AHHHHHH
On Friday, we were on the hunt for some good ol Norwegian christmas ornaments for Tessie to take back home with her. We stopped in one of the cutest shops just off of Storgata and it was all decorated for Christmas. Tessie made a haul and left with some really good buys. It was so pretty in the shop, we had to snap a picture.
Friday was also the day of the ice storm, the roads were awful! It looked like there was a sheet of snow/frost on the ground but nope, it's all ice. May need to break out my spikes, although I was hoping I wouldn't have to do that until it snowed!
Saturday was another game day for Gino. Luckily, this was a home game against Manglerud. It was great timing for Pat and Tessie to visit and be able to see 2 home games. With them playing every other game at home, they only had 2 weeks throughout the year where you would see 2 home games in 1 week. Here's a picture of all the ladies watching warmups.
After a HUGE win for Lillehammer, 10-4, (Gino had 1 goal and 2 assists) we all went out as a group for dinner to celebrate.
Sunday was Pat and Tessie's last day Lillehammer. They were flying out of Oslo at 11am on Monday morning. We decided to take one last walk into town and have a coffee and waffle at Nikkers. They had started putting up Christmas decorations on Storgata so that was really cool for them to see! Looks a little like a ghost town. Sundays are a day of rest...
The rest of their trip was spent watching the Vikings lose on the slingbox and eating junk food in our apartment. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and so good to see Gino's parents. We are very blessed that both sets of parents were able to visit this year. It sure does make the season go by faster for us. Now we have Thanksgiving with the North Americans, a little trip to Prague, and Christmas in Lillehammer to look forward to. It will be January in no time! I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy the time with your families! I know for Gino and I, we have alot to be thankful for in our life especially our friends and family (all of you who are reading this blog).