We Made It

After nearly nine hours aboard a Boeing 787-900, we made it safely to Stockholm. The 789 was quite comfortable and I actually managed to get some sleep!  Yay!  If I had to guess, our bartender Laura’s heavy pour at the airport helped this mission.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough, so I’m totally exhausted now and its only 10:00 PM in Stockholm and 5:00 pm back home.  Once we got through customs and got our luggage, which was quite quick, we grabbed a snack and drink (coffee please) at 7-11 before hopping on the express train into the sitting.

Much like my initial impressions of Norway, Sweden reminds me a lot of Minnesota.  Speaking of Norway, we flew over Fjord Norway on our approach into Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.  The region looked absolutely beautiful from 40,000 ft with the mountains covered in snow.  As for the train, we arrived at central station in a brisk 20 minutes.  Fortunately, our hotel is mere half of block from the station.

Our hotel is adorable.  We have four bed and a beautiful patio overlooking Stockholm.  It’s the perfect place to store our beverages and stinky shoes.  The view is pretty fabulous as well.  Once we got situated in the hotel room, we got ready to head out and about to find dinner.

We started our exodus looking for a meatball place, but found the maps and google searches aren’t too successful here unless we’re on wi-fi.  We walked for several blocks in the brisk evening air until we happened upon a place called Polpette – combination of Italian and Swedish cuisine.  The restaurant was beautiful inside with friendly waitresses and hostesses.

Our dinner started with drinks, my bro and I enjoyed a lingonberry margarita, while B enjoyed a glass of wine and Jake stuck with water.  We started our dinner with an appetizer order of sourdough cheese bread and fresh caprese.  They were amazing.  Unfortunately, we ate them so fast we didn’t even stop to take a picture.

For the main course, I enjoyed a flank steak on a bed of gratinized mashed potatoes.  Jake had Swedish meatballs, Brandi has pasta Bolognese and Jon had fettucine with steak.  Our main courses were beautiful and delicious. My meal came with the bonus of an asparagus spear wrapped in bacon- yum.  Honestly, the food absolutely hit the spot.  We enjoyed our meal and the hospitality of the staff at Polpette.  If you’re ever in downtown Stockholm, I recommend you pay them a visit.

Post dinner we headed back towards the hotel in hopes of finding pastries, but alas all the cafes were already closed for the night.  Since we couldn’t find pastries, we headed to the Ice Bar in Stockholm.  I’ve been to the Ice Hotel in Quebec City, but this was my first time at a year round ice bar.

We suited up and headed into the ice.  Much like the Ice Hotel in Quebec, the Ice Bar had several elaborate ice carvings.  This bar is done in a Viking theme, which makes for an impressive experience.  It should come as no surprise that we spent tons of time hanging out on the Viking ship and throne while enjoying our drinks.  Our bartender was fantastic and gave us a list of places to try before leaving Stockholm After several rounds of drinks, we headed back to the hotel for a night-cap and to get ready for tomorrow.

If you go:

Our restaurant tonight: PolPette

The Ice Bar: Ice Bar by IceHotel Stockholm

Hotel:  https://www.freyshotels.com/

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Back to Back

Wow, it feels like forever since I’ve actually had the time to post on back to back days.  We had a busy day of hockey and hockey related activities.  The morning started with the Mayor’s team fundraising at a Publix in Coconut Creek.  Thanks to the store’s generous patrons, his squad raised over $800.  Fortunately, he and the hubby were back in time to leave right way for Goalielock’s games.

Goalielock’s and his squad split the day dropping the first contest to the Hawks, but winning their second against the Toros.  I had a blast in the box with Tonya and DB during the first game.  Reunited and it felt so good!  Unfortunately, during he warmups for game two Goalielock’s left leg slid out on him and he pulled his groin.  Long story short, I walked out to hit the restroom pre-game and when I came back he was on the bench in a different jersey.  It only took me almost the entire first period to figure it out.  Needless to say, Goalielocks has been on solid regimen of ice for 20 and heat for 20 since he got home.

I’ve gotta give a shout to fellow hockey mom D. Green for the amazing ribbon she gave me.  I freaking love it.  It makes me wonder how the crafty gene skipped me entirely.  Truly, I have not one crafty bone in my body.  When I try to be crafty, it ends up looking like something you’d see on Netflix’s Nailed It. (love that show!) Nonetheless, since I don’t possess that skillset at all, I’m in awe of those who do it so well.

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Between Goalielock’s game, the Mayor had a four hour clinic.  We sent Goalielock’s to John’s house with the team, while we drove to Palm Beach to drop him off.   After dropping him off, we headed over to meet the team for some grub.  As for my Mayor, he’s completely exhausted after the craziness of his day.   It’s not often that he puts himself to bed this early!  Speaking of which, it’s time for me to head off  to practice my Swedish, read a bit and head to bed.

P.S.  Don’t forget to join Team Deb Force Five!

Milestones

Last year was full of major milestones for our family with Jake’s graduation, start of college and the Mayors’ completion of elementary school.  It was a lot of big changes for our family, so much so that I completely forgot about this year’s forthcoming milestones.  Yep, this year Goalielocks will finish middle school and get his learner’s permit.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!  Can somebody stop time?

Last month, we completed the choice program application for his high school program.  Like his middle school program, he’s looking to continue in the medical choice program.  I still can’t believe that he’ll be starting high school.  It’s absolutely insane, but the scarier part is that he’ll be driving.

Its scary enough having one teen driver in the house.  Honestly, I’m not sure my heart, stomach and pocket book can handle another teen driver.  I hope my neighbors are prepared as well.  I have a new respect for what my brothers and I put my parents through when we were first driving.  Moreover, in South Florida you have the added worry of your teen driver having to contend with elderly driving and other crazy South Florida drivers.  In good news, once you learn to drive here, I’m pretty sure you could drive anywhere and feel comfortable.

Meanwhile, I started my 14 day vegan meal program that I purchased off of Groupon.   The meal plan from the Vegan Garden comes with 14 breakfast and 14 dinners.  Tonight’s breakfast was a chocolate muffin, which was very yummy.  If I hadn’t bought it as a part of a vegan meal plan, I wouldn’t have known it was vegan.  My dinner was a great dish of spaghetti and “meatballs.”  Fortunately, the spaghetti and meatballs were absolutely yummy.  In addition to being flavorful, the dish was filled with protein.   I complimented these meals with a vegan protein shake for lunch.    After my two-week meal plan is over, I’ll give you a full review and run down on the Vegan Garden meal plans.

Tonight’s song performed by Simon and Garfunkel is “Mrs. Robinson.”  I had to choose a song with the legendary Paul Simon as he announced his farewell tour today.   P..S. The pics are some of my favorites of the boys and my dad from our trip to Norway.  My dad taught my brothers and I how to drive as well as Jake.  I hope he’s ready for his new student Goalielocks!

 

 

Life In The Box

It was back to a life in the box for me as we headed to Coral Springs for the Mayor’s two games.  It’s never dull in the sin bin that is for darn sure.  I wasn’t that too busy in the first game, but the second game was different.  The first game we got off to a bit of a slow start and ended up losing 5-3.  Certainly, it would have been nice to win that one as it would have sealed a state tournament berth.

While the Hubby headed back north to take Goalielocks to his practed, I stayed in Springs with my Mayor.  We grabbed a quick bite in between games at McDonald’s for him and Dunkin for me.  I needed to ensure I had my pre-game coffee, so I wouldn’t mess up the mojo.  I had drunk my morning coffee at home instead of the rink per usual, so naturally that’s probably what messed up the morning game.  It’s a good thing us hockey moms aren’t superstitious or anything.

I grabbed my coffee and some oatmeal.  It was my first time trying Dunkin’s oatmeal and I have to say it was pretty darn good.  Fortunately, both McDonald’s and Dunkin are close to the rink, so we had no trouble getting back to the rink in time. As we waited around for the game to start, we were discussing our path to the state tournament. If we had won in the morning, we would have qualified.  Since we lost however, our team’s fate was in the hands of another team.  Needless to say, it is always better to be in control of your own destiny.

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As the zambonis took to the ice, I headed over to my place in the sin bin.  As they finished cleaning the ice, both teams and referees were ready to start the game.  I looked around and there was no score keeper to be seen.  Both referees tried to reach someone unsuccessfully to find a score keeper.  Consequently, yours truly ended up being the scorekeeper.

I have to say, I truly sympathize with the scorekeepers now. There’s a lot going on and the whole thing isn’t setup for a lefty.  The refs said I would start the game and not to worry about the penalties and such, but that wasn’t exactly accurate.  If you didn’t put the penalties up, you had to do the backwards math yourself.  No thank you!  Additionally, ladies there’s a reason men don’t like to read instructions.  Most of the time the instructions are poorly written or leave out key steps – as was the case with adding penalties to the clock.

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Fortunately, I had mostly figured it out (penalties included) by the end of the first period.  I am pretty sure, however, that the score sheets are made for people with 20/20 vision and super small and perfect writing.  Sadly, I fall into neither of those categories, which made filling out the score sheet quite the adventure.  By the third period, we were on run time, which made my life a bit easier.  Meanwhile, the Hubby is texting for updates and getting radio silence.   There was no way I could text and score keep all at once.

We ended up winning the game 9-1, but we lost one of our players in the process.  Late in the first, one of our D-men was checked and flew head first into the boards.  Can I tell you how scary that was?  From where we were sitting in the box, we could tell he was out cold.   Unfortunately, he ended up having to be transported to the hospital with a concussion.  It was certainly a very scary situation.  Thankfully, his mom just updated all of us and let us know that he’s home and will be okay.  Thank goodness!

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Post game, we ended up watching another U-12 A game as it would decide our fate.  Like I said, it is always better to decide your own fate than to leave it in somebody else’s hands.  It was nerve wracking and up to 23.7 seconds left in the 3rd it looked like our season would end early.  Only at 23.6 seconds, the Panthers scored a goal and sealed our fate.  Our squad is going to SAHOF!!!!  I couldn’t be happier for this team.  They work so hard and play so hard for each other that it is fun to watch.  Even on their worst days, they have each others’ backs.  I freaking love these kids and families.

Anyway, we’ve been home for almost 3 hours and my toes are still frozen.  Once that cold gets in your bones, it sure does not want to leave.  I’ll be making myself some nice chamomile tea to try and warm myself up.  Tonight’s song performed by PitBull, JLo and Claudia Leitte is “We Are One.”  The Mayor and I listened to this song as we drove back to the rink and it is the perfect song for him and his team.  Plus the hockey dads will like the samba dancers.

 

Amazing Art

Last night, I had the opportunity to view some amazing art at an art gallery opening in Wilton Manors.  The gallery, Negril Art Gallery, was holding its grand opening complete with wine, hor d’oeuvres, music and great company.  This event was made even more special as my employee was one of the night’s featured artists.  It was an awesome opportunity to enjoy some art while supporting a colleague.

Honestly, I had an inkling that his work would be great, but I had no idea just how amazing they would be.   Consequently, I was completely awestruck by his work.  His portraits were sublime.  If you asked me which one was my favorite, I wouldn’t be able to pick just one.  They were that good!

I really enjoyed the gallery opening.  First of all, it was the first time in a long time that the Hubby and I were attending something that wasn’t hockey related.  Secondly, the art was utterly sublime.  Lastly, it was amazing to see our team there to support their colleague.  Truly, it was incredible seeing all the people form work that went to support Kwame.   It was a great event!

Afterwards, several us went to Padrino’s for some Cuban food and more drinks.  Oh yes, the vodka and long islands were free flowing as we waited for the others.  I enjoyed Arroz Con Pollo, while the hubby had lechon asada.  Fortunately, both of our decisions were pure perfection.  Both the chicken and the pork were cooked perfectly and were full of flavor.  We will definitely be back!  Moreover, our bill was only $200, which for 8 adults that are all drinking is pretty darn cheap.

After Padrino’s, we headed over to Cafe Vico for some more drinks and live music.  Unfortunately, the band had finished playing by the time we got there.  They had music playing, but the song choices were not fantastic.  Fortunately, the DJ/Chef/Owner let us start playing the music from his iPad. We had a fabulous time and shut the place down.  We ended our night by committing to go to Reykavik or Zurich for a girls weekend.   All in all , we had an amazing night out on the town.

Tonight’s song performed by Prince is “When Doves Cry.”

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as you had hoped.  Ours started early, but thankfully not too early.  The Mayor woke us up shortly before 8:00, which is a lot later than it used to be. Back in the day, the boys would wake us up well before 7:00 am.  My friends and family know how little I enjoy waking up early, so the super early Christmas wake up calls were tough!

Unquestionably, Christmas is much more meaningful as a parent.  Its not that I don’t like getting gifts; its just that giving them is so much better.  In our house, opening gifts happens like a hurricane as the boys tear open their gifts.  This year their Christmas lists were markedly smaller than previous years.  Although they did include some interesting items like: a teacup pig, a puppy, a tegu, a bearded dragon, and a MacBook.  Unfortunately, there was no teacup pig or puppy under the tree this year.

After they opened their gifts, the Hubby and I got to work preparing for brunch.  He made his famous Cholesterol Bake (totally worth every calorie,) while I finished my caramel rolls and started the bacon.   Additionally, we had to get our drink bar ready.  We had plenty of OJ and champagne/asti for mimosas.  Moreover, this year we added a coffee bar, so my bro brought cold brew coffee and we paired it with Bailey’s and/or Ciroc French Vanilla vodka.  To the uninitiated, the coffee (we used Stok) with Bailey’s and vodka is smooth and absolutely sublime.

While I finished cooking the 85 lbs of bacon and rolls, the boys played show and tell with their menagerie.  They were more than happy to share their animals with our guests.  After showing off Lil’ B (our little beardie,) Goalielocks and the Mayor brought down their two chameleons.  Surprisingly, Goalielocks was able to get the normally shy chameleons to eat in front of company.  Of course it’s a bit of a show when the chameleons eat.

Fortunately, all of the food turned out awesome.  Surprisingly, we didn’t end up in a food coma after eating copious amounts of caramel rolls, cholesterol bake and bacon.  Once brunch was done, the boys headed outside to play football.  Unlike Minnesota, which was -5 this morning, we were balmy in the 70s this morning.  For paintball we were in the low 80s, but without too much humidity.

This year we went to paintball a little later with a 1:00 pm start time.  Unlike years past, the paintball place was completely crowded with groups of uninitiated paint  ballers.  We’ve done this for several years on Christmas not to mention the numerous birthday parties the boys have attended.   Nonetheless, I have zero patients for morons who shoot randomly when not on the field or take their masks off on the field.  Darwin would have been proud!

Straightaway, after getting our guns, we headed to the far fields away from the crowds.  We had the far fields to ourselves for over an hour before a couple of the inexperienced and not so bright groups came on over.  Despite the ineptitude of the people around us, we managed to have a good time.

Our group was pretty small, so we stuck to the smaller fields.  We split up the teams a number of different ways to make interesting throughout the day.   The adults took it to the kids several times, but don’t worry they got us back.  Both the Mayor and Goalielocks have their own guns, which are far more powerful than the rental guns.  Both took me out several times from afar.  I didn’t even have a chance since my gun couldn’t shoot that far.

In one round, Jake, Brandi and I played against my brother and my two younger kids.  My brother came running across the field, thinking there was cover (there wasn’t) and all three of us shot him simultaneously.  Whoops!  Thank goodness my brother is a good sport!

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Between rounds, we Face-timed my parents from Paintball and was able to speak to everyone there, which was awesome.  I definitely miss seeing my family and extended family this time of year.  I have many cherished memories that  I have from holidays spent with my grandparents and extended family.  My hope for my boys is they cherish the traditions we’ve started that put a premium on time spent together having fun.

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Post-paintball we headed home and ordered some friend rice and chicken teriyaki.   Tonight we’re going to watch a movie on NetFlix and relax.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is Tuesday and not a holiday meaning most of us will be back at work.  Can you hear the collective boo?  I’ll leave you tonight with my favorite Christmas song.  This song performed by Mariah Carey is “All I Want For Christmas is You.”

Monday Night Mayhem

Monday Night Mayhem

It was Monday night Mayhem when I received an urgent call from my Hubby as I drove to the rink for his and Jake’s game.   Unfortunately, their team’s goalie wasn’t going to to miss tonight’s game.  They wanted Goalielocks to suit up and play for them in the championship.  Never mind the fact that Goalielocks at 14 isn’t old enough for adult league.  But from a maturity stand point I’m not sure most beer league players are old enough to play in adult league, so Goalielocks would likely fit in perfectly.

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He was not to keen on the idea of being pummeled with pucks from beer leagurers living out their childhood fantasies of playing in the NHL.  However, the Hubby and Uncle Jon convinced him that nobody on the ice could shoot as fast or hard as anyone on his current team.  It took some convincing, but he eventually acquiesced as we drove back to grab his gear.

They held the game for us and our gear.  Consequently, Goalielocks quickly got dressed and took to the ice.  For Goalielocks, the game was a much slower pace than what he’s use to, but he was busy from start to finish.  He played phenomenally.  I’m pretty sure he’s the only goalie in beer league that can do the split.  This nice little trick caught the other team by surprise a couple of times.

Unfortunately, they pulled him with 5 minutes left in the 2nd when an adult goalie replacement was available.  Apparently, you have to be an adult (chronologically speaking) to play adult league.  While they’ve made exceptions for goalies before (in a pinch), it’s better from a liability standpoint to have an adult goalie in net.   He came off the ice smiling, but was still bummed he didn’t get to play the whole game.

Goalielocks walked into the locker room to get undressed and with a smile said, “they owe me a lot.”  And he would be right, he was kept very busy in net tonight.  Fortunately, he gave their team an opportunity to win.  In the end, he watched the third period from the stands with the rest of us fan.  Unfortunately, the goods guys lost 3-1.

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While he didn’t play the whole game, I could see that he enjoyed the opportunity to play with his family.  Likewise, judging from their reaction, they enjoyed the chance to have him in their net.  Of course the best part of the night, for my boys, was the free pizza, wings and beer post game.

Sometimes all compasses, all roads, and all maps lead us back to the same place.  For my family, our compass apparently only points us in the direction of the rink.  Moreover, forget the compass for a second, when I got leave to work or my house, my iPhone tells me how long it will take to get to the rink.  Such is life as a hockey mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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P.S. Goalielocks also gets bonus points for making his mom dinner.  He made me awesome scrambled eggs and waffles!  The waffles were amazing!  Finally, the scrambled eggs were divine.

Tonight’s song is Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) performed by Celine Dion.  I love this song.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all the ghosts and goblins in the blogosphere!  I hope you had a delightfully ghoulish day and an equally fantastic night.  I love the fun of Halloween.  At work, there are several people that go all out with amazing costumes and creations.  Unquestionably, I admire their creativity and bravery.  Not only do they dress up, but these guys go into character.  I mean, I can wear a costume, but it is tough to get into character.

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One of my co-workers, our marketing guru, goes hog wild for Halloween. Every year he pulls off a wildly different and authentic costume.  Last year, he was John Lennon.  This year, he was the Godfather.  As is the case every year, he absolutely nailed it!  His officer was awesomely decorate with all the accouterments one would expect from the Don on the day of his daughter’s wedding.  Twinkies, poker chips, beverages, music, playing cards and framed music.  Everything about the execution, pun intended, of his character and his office was absolutely pitch perfect.  Undoubtedly, he has inspired me and my leadership team to up our game next Halloween.

At Zumba, Halloween is always a fun week as I breakout Michael Jackon’s Thriller.  The girls and I love dancing to a little MJ.  It’s a nice change of pace from the usual Zumba music.  Not to mention, its a bit nostalgic.  I think we all remember when the Thriller video debuted.  It was incredible.  There’s nothing like it on MTV today, which is a shame.

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Meanwhile on the home front, Jake’s spending his Halloween at work.  Goalielocks went to a friend’s house for a party and trick or treating.  Lastly, the Mayor reluctantly went trick or treating.  I couldn’t believe he didn’t want to go!  I remember growing up we’d go as far as we could to get as much candy as possible.  It wasn’t always easy because the weather in Minnesota was bitterly cold and snowy.  Nevertheless, we’d make my mom take us miles and miles.  Halloween was all about getting the biggest candy hull possible.  Apparently, that isn’t the case with today’s kids.  If I were a kid now, I’d go to every house in my neighborhood not just our loop.

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Lastly, as the trick or treaters wind down, we’ll start binge watching the second season of Stranger Things.  Can I tell you how excited I am to be current on the “hot show?”  I mean, we just finished “Big Love” like a year ago and that’s been off the air for over six years.  Amazingly, the entire family is into this show.  The hubby and I love it because it reminds us of the movies of our youth.  It’s like the awesomeness of ET, Goonies, Stand By Me all in one.  Not to mention the soundtrack is amazing.  Moreover, the girl that plays Eleven is simply incredible.  It is some of the best acting you’ll see bar none.  She’s amazing!  I won’t post spoilers here because that will ruin the fun for others.  Meanwhile, I’m happy to be starting season 2 tonight.

Was there ever as doubt as to tonight’s music video?  I thought not… Enjoy MJ’s epic Thriller

Road Trip

The road trips in Norway made for some priceless family moments withstanding the many frustrations we experienced.  And by many, I mean three.  We ended up in a compact car for the trip.  Unfortunately, this didn’t afford the boys  much leg room.  You can imagine three boys (18, 13, and 11) trying to fit in the back of a compact car for 7 plus hours.  Unfortunately, there is no room for manspreading in a compact car.

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For the younger two, the trip was particularly difficult as each boy felt the other had more leg room.  The argument got so heated they even broke out math: proportions.  Damn freaking proportions.  I couldn’t help my laughter when one began shouting at the other that their legroom was greater in proportion to their size ergo he should be able to have some of said legroom.  I should point out that this was all occurring as my husband was driving on rainy, mountain road or deep within the bowels of a 15 mile long tunnel.

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With the confiscation of their phones, the fighting subsiding and they started to enjoy the scenery.  This was true of every drive we had in Norway.  Nonetheless, we were always thrilled to get to our destination and out of the car.

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When we got back to Oslo the second time, Goalielock’s and the Mayor’s toothbrush were nowhere to be found.  The joke was we would have to drive back to Stavanger to get them from the hotel where we left them.  Who wouldn’t want to do the 14+ hour drive to Stavanger and back?  Of course we were joking.  However, we had to chuckle when they woke up the next day to ask when the hubby was heading to Stavanger.   Fortunately, we found the missing toothbrushes, which “saved” my hubby a trip.

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Exploring Trondheim

Exploring Trondheim

We spent our morning exploring Trondheim with my parents, my grandma, my brother and his family, my cousin and her family and my aunt and uncle. Trondheim is a great walking town, so we haven’t needed the car once since we got here. The weather is quite a bit colder than Florida, a refreshing and rainy 55 degrees.

One of the coolest sites in Trondheim is Nidarosdomen, Nidaros Cathedral, which is the northernmost cathedral in Europe. The cathedral was built on the burial site of St. Olav and work started in 1070 as a tribute to the King and was completed in 1300. The church’s denomination (as with the rest of Europe) was originally Roman Catholic Church, but post reformation it’s denomination is the Church of Norway.  It is truly a saintly place.

We stayed for the organ meditation where many of us fell asleep courtesy of a long travel day and some jet lag. The kids were only hushed once, which was a complete miracle. My boys lit a candle to honor Debbie. Each of the kids lit a candle to say a prayer, threw coins into the wishing well, and left a note of gratitude with a stone on an alter. Only two of them burnt themselves on the candles, another small miracle.

 

After the brief nap, or the 1:00 pm organ meditation, we made our way down to the crypt. Its much different from the catacombs of Rome or Notre Dame in Paris. In Norway, the burial practices were much different. In medieval times, they did not embalm people and they reused graves. This means the headstone would change when they would bury someone else in the grave. These headstones, some of which were for knights and other dignitaries, were what was kept in the crypt.

In the Nidaros Complex there are several museums including the crown jewels, the Archbishops palace where you can see the actual excavation sites, and a military museum. We were able to go into all of them on our combined ticket. The boys favorite was the military museum while mine was the Archbishop’s Palace and the military museum.

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Post cathedral, we took a nice nap. For those that know me that will come as quite a shock as I am not a napper. Tomorrow I’ll grab some pictures of the free breakfast, which is absolutely incredible.