When I’m 64 – Happy Birthday Grandpa Tom!

Today we left Stavanger to head back to Oslo on Grandpa Tom’s 64th birthday!  This trip has been an unbelievably incredible opportunity to connect as a family and connect to our Norwegian heritage.  One thing my dad loves more than anything is his family especially his grandkids.  Of course, the kids love their Grandpa Tom to the moon and back.

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The picture above is of my parents at the BorgundStave Church, which connects to Husom via the Vindehellavegan part of the Kongevegan (King’s Road) that connected Oslo and Bergen.  My family and I made the hike, while my dad and brothers’ took the scenic drive to Husom.   It was marvelous to see my dad’s reaction to walking through his ancestral home.

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Aside from my Norwegian good looks and razor sharp wit, I got my love of music from my dad.  If you’re at their house ever, you know my dad loves his music and loves it super loud.   He’s a huge Beatles fan and truly was the only thing missing from our Paul McCartney concert experience.  His musical tastes run the gamut, but the Beatles are one of his absolute favorites and who can blame him.  Nobody could harmonize or envision the combination of chords to form the harmonies like Lennon and McCartney.    IMG_1701

In honor of my dad’s birthday, sing along to these fantastic hits from the Beatles.  Two are from the concert we attended and one is quick snipped from Youtube in honor of Grandpa Tom’s 64th birthday.

“When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four”

Birthday performed by Paul McCartney:

Ob-la-di Ob-la-da performed by Sir Paul

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When Life Happens

As we get older, leave college, get a job, get married, etc, we quickly settle into our routine.  When life happens it is easy to lose our creativity.   We become so busy that the creative outlets of our your get pushed aside.   Here’s the problem with all of that.  Our creative outlets be it writing, photography, painting or singing not only relieve stress, but they stoke the creative fire of our minds.  Even creative outlets, like painting for me, that are sources of painful reminders of art class failures can stoke that creative fire while healing the soul.

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When we let our creative self go dormant, our thinking becomes constrained.  We get stuck in the rut of life and the rat race.  The issues is you don’t know what has been lost until it has been rediscovered.  As a matter of dealing with grief, I started this blog and began writing again.  The consequence is the way I think and approach the world is changing.  It is broadening with my creative outlets and I’m finding myself thinking more creatively and productively about the challenges I face at work or home.

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Note about the pictures:  I picked the pictures of Jake for this post because of the creative composition of both poses.  I took the the featured image was on Mt. Ulricken in Bergen during this trip.  Jake’s best friend took the photo on the stairs in Venice.  The painting was my second attempt at paint and sip with Debbie and family.  I redid the Eifle Tower about 80 times, but it still looks like a rocket ship.  I took the last photo while on the boat in Flam.

Heading South to Stavanger

After a wonderful stay in Bergen, we are headed South to explore Stavanger and the surrounding region. We loved Bergen and cannot wait to go back some day.

Heading South to Stavanger

After a wonderful stay in Bergen, we are headed South to explore Stavanger and the surrounding region. We loved Bergen and cannot wait to go back some day.

Last Night in Bergen

We had a brilliant lunch post Bergen aquarium near Bryggen with our family before J&B headed to catch the bus for Stavanger.  Tomorrow they’ll be on the hike of their life making their way up to Pulpit Rock.   Our waiter was incredible and bought us a round when the fryer broke and our food took longer than normal.  This was a great gift as beer and cider are extremely expensive in Norway even by South Florida standards.  The food was worth the wait and I enjoyed my fish an chips along with my cider.

 

Post lunch we hit the shops to find some useful souvenirs.  The Mayor found a nice knife he can use for fishing while Goalielocks selected a viking horn that sounds a bit like a kazoo.  The kazoo piece wasn’t intentional, so we’ll be looking for another viking horn for the house.   Jake got a nice Norwegian flag he can hang in his room.

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After two ciders at lunch, my favorite local coffee shop Dromedor was calling my name.   Not too far geographically from the tourist hub, but miles away in terms of its customer base.  This is a great local spot with quality coffee and pastries.   I have quite enjoyed their lattes these past couple of days in Bergen.

For dinner our kids wanted frozen pizzas, which was a complete godsend.  Food is extremely expensive in Norway and this was a perfectly economical way to feed the kids.        Post Pizza we headed to the wold famous fish market to meet J&M (my older bro and family), my grandma and my parents.

They were finishing up their dinner and afterwards we headed for dessert and shuffleboard.  We ended up at the same restaurant where we ate and drank yesterday as it had several shuffleboard tables where the kids could play and not interrupt all of the diners’ dinners.

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After two rousing shuffleboard tournaments, Priya and Zak and I emerged as champions.   Somehow I managed to figure out how to score a couple of points, which was enough for me to be successful.  The kids had a blast and enjoyed their desserts throughout the tournament.

After shuffleboard, we said adieu to our favorite spot, Bergenhus Bryggeri, and headed out to walk the city.   For the first time, we headed up Kong Oscars Gate where X&P found an awesome and cheap hot dog stand.  The group continued to make friends with dog owners and their dogs.   Norwegians love their dogs and take them everywhere.  Their dogs are meticulously groomed and extremely well behaved.

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As the sun started to descend in the sky, we headed back to our AirBnB to pack for our trip to Stavanger.  We have absolutely loved our time in Bergen and will be returning to this wonderful city hopefully soon.

Fun at the Bergen Aquarium

This morning the weather was a bit rainy, so hiking the mountain as we had planned was a no go. The old cobblestone roads were slippery enough, I couldn’t imagine how slippery the trail would have been. In lieu of hiking, we took the kids and went to the Bergen Aquarium with my brother and his family. The aquarium was a quick ten minute walk from our place and reasonably priced.

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The aquarium wasn’t huge, but it was perfectly sized.  It had a nice array of animals all of our attention including some familiar species from back home.  My personal favorite was the flamboyant sea lion that kept making eyes at us as it swam by the group. It was a fun morning.

 

A Little Treat

After a busy day of hiking and sightseeing, it was time for a little treat overlooking the harbor.  While the kids wanted ice cream, pastries and maybe some hot chocolate, the adults were happy to sit down and have a brew.  Better than a lollipop or any other treat, a nice, cold pear cider over ice was exactly what the doctor had ordered.

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My hubby, Jacob and my brothers enjoyed a nice cold brew.  It’s a bit crazy for all of us that Jacob is now able to legally drink with us while in Norway.  It makes us feel a bit old, but the shared experience of a beer overlooking Bergen Harbor and Bryggen is something he will never forget.

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9,000 steps before noon

We started our morning of 9,000 steps with a ride up to Mt. Floyen on the funicular.  Once up the mountain, we hiked around the lake and through the forest. The views of the city, nearby islands and the North Sea were incredible. Thankfully, they had some coffee and cold water in the gift shop for a post hike refreshment.

Post Mt. Floyen, we got on a bus and headed to Mt. Ulricken. We headed up the gondola to see Bergen from the city’s highest peak. Once at the top, we hiked up to the mountain’s peak. The mountain top was home to a farm and several small lakes. The hike was exhausting, but well worth the hard work.

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Sunset in Bergen

I can’t get over how late the sun sets in Norway. For example, the sunset in Bergen is after 11:00 pm.  It really throws you for a loop as it never gets darker than nautical twilight during July.   Here are some pictures in Bergen on our way to meet family taken around 9:30 and on our walk back to our apartment taken around 11:30.
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Living the Bryggen Life

We made it to Bergen after the nice drive from the Flam.  Of all the cities or places we have been thus far, Bergen is by far the worst to drive in especially near Bryggen.  There is a lot of pedestrian traffic, buses and some cars.  This is definitely not a car city; it is a bike or pedestrian city.

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We’re staying in our second AirBnB of the trip and it is spacious and beautiful.  For the first time on our trip, we have two bathrooms!!  We are so excited!   The best added bonus, aside from the full kitchen, is the full laundry facilities. We’ve amassed plenty of laundry during our stay in the fjords, so the laundry facilities are a huge win.

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Bergen is an absolutely beautiful city.  Our AirBnB is quaint and perfectly located.  Everything is within walking distance, which is awesome. Tomorrow we’re planning on taking the Floibanen (funicular) to the top of Mt. Floyen and exploring the city.

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