Sep 29, 2010

Does this Bunad make me look fat?

Alternate Title:  Which way to the US Consulate?

Our European vacation began with three flights. Detroit --> New York --> Reykjavik --> Berlin. We ended this unbelievably long day by knocking back a few Berliner Pilsners at my Uncle Dieter’s dining room table. He lives in Dabendorf Germany, just south of Berlin.

Before you know it the clock says its 11 pm. Off to bed so we could get up early the next morning to catch yet another flight at 10 am.. This time to Oslo, Norway.

Observation --> German pillows are awesome, especially after 24 hours of flying and a few German beers.

First stop in Norway was the Oslo Hard Rock Café to get a shot glass for my collection.

My Dad looked like he was going to complain about the 20 mile detour but I wasn’t going to be denied. I doubt I will ever go to Norway again so this was my one chance. We pulled up to the HRC and I darted in to get the glass while they waited in the car.

Wish we would have had more time there. It looks like a beautiful city.   This is the National Theatre, right next to HRC.

Observation --> the older my parents get the crankier they get when they travel.

Now for the six hour drive from the east coast of Norway to the west coast. Please don't ask me why we didn't fly into Bergen instead of Oslo. My husband asked me that question so many times. I don't have an answer. And being the "Lemonade out of Lemons" kind of girl that I am I decided to make the best of it by enjoying the scenery.

Observation -->  When your Dad disagrees about getting the minivan instead of the sedan, insist on the minivan.

Norway has three distinct regions, each characterized by unique landscapes, all of them beautiful. The eastern side of the country gently rises in elevation as you drive through beautiful green forests filled with pine trees.

In the middle of the country the road begins to climb more steeply and the terrain begins to look like arctic tundra. Few trees, scrubby brush and flowers and shallow streams and lakes. This area was pretty barren except for some grass covered camping huts and three vacation lodges.   It seems as though this area is a popular spot for camping. 


We stopped at one of the lodges to get some coffee and stretch our legs a little bit. Snapped a few pics.  Then back on the road.

The western side of Norway is where all the fjords are.  A fjord is formed when a glacier takes a slow leisurely stroll through rock.  Once the glacier is gone the fjord is filled with a mix of water running down from the mountains and sea water.

The western side of Norway is  also where the roads narrow considerably.  Nothing like barreling down a steep mountain road and then all of a sudden a semi is heading your way.  Close your eyes (not really), grip the wheel (really) and pray (to any and all Gods that may be listening).  They have lots of tunnels too.  Some of them wind around like a corkscrew through the middle of the mountain. 

The later it got the more worried we were about getting to the hotel in time for dinner.  There are no fast food places here and things clearly were going to close early.  Our best shot at a meal was getting to the hotel.  Didnt' make it in time though.  We ran into some of the people my mother knew back in 1955.  They insisted we come in for coffee and traditional Norwegian waffles.  By the time we got to the hotel it was 11:00.    We had peanuts and crackers for dinner.  
As we were unloading the luggage from the car I couldn't find my purse.  I searched under the seats, inside luggage and backpacks.  It was nowhere to be found.  That's when it dawned on me...... I had left it at the lodge back in the Norwegian tundra.  I panicked.  My money, my credit cards..... OMG my passport.  The second day of my vacation and I was destined to spend the rest of it at the US consulate in Oslo trying to get a new passport to get home.

I never leave my purse anywhere.   The only explanation I have is that during the plane trip(s) from  hell I had been carrying it in my backpack so had gotten out of the habit of insinctively reaching for it.

I rushed into the hotel and frantically told the hotel clerk (Thor, seriously, his name was Thor) my story.  He asked if I remembered the name of the place.  "No.... it had some weird looking vowel in the name and I remember it was 1000 meters above sea level."  That's when I remembered the pictures.  I had a picture of the place.  I showed him my camera.  "I know the place. Let me call them."

Sure enough, they had my purse.   Mentally, I resolved to be thankful and not to be bitter about the six hour round trip we had to make in order to retrieve it.  Then Thor says,  "They'll send it on the local bus tomorrow morning.  You can pick it up from the bus driver right out front there."  Promptly at 2:00 pm the next day I got my purse with "all" of my belongings.

Next post I'll tell you about my Mother's reunion with all her old friends.

Observation --> Norwegians are very honest and hospitable.

Oh.... what's a bunad you ask?  It's the traditional clothing of Norway.   I was pretty sure I'd be sporting one after being forced to become a Norwegian because I wasn't allowed to enter the US without my passport.


  1. Wow, I am so glad you got your purse back so easily. I am notorious about leaving mine so I always wear a fanny back instead of carrying a purse when we travel.
    I've always wanted to go to Norway. Looking forward to more stories about your journey.

  2. Oh my gosh, leaving your purse behind was a true Miss Healthypants moment. *smiles* I have done that a few times in my life...but thankfully, never in a foreign country. THANK GOD that Norwegians are such an honest folk! :)

  3. Mom - I was so happy to get it back. I never leave my purse anywhere. I couldn't believe it. I should have just left it in my backpack.

    MHP - I think most people would return it. At least I like to imagine that's true.

  4. What a beautiful country - One day I want to see northern Eurpoe, and ireland and Scotland - Glad you got your purse back what a mess it would have been if it was gone

  5. I would have had a heart attack for sure if I lost my purse.....great retrieval though. I'd look horribly fat in a Bunad....i think anyone would.