Saturday, September 5, 2015

EuroTrip 2015: Norway (Part 1 of 5)

Before moving to Australia I lived in Europe for 4 years.  Three years in Norway, one year in Scotland, and another six months in Norway until we could get everything sorted to move to Australia.

So it's more than a bit nuts that I hadn't been back a single time in 3.5 years of living in Australia!  Martin has, twice actually, but for me it just didn't work out thanks to my sister getting married, having twins and us prioritizing travel in the southern hemisphere.  So EuroTrip 2015 was happening for me come hell or high water!

I've decided to break my EuroTrip blogging down into 5 parts, as I viewed this trip as five distinctive trips because of the people we were with and our geographical location(s).  Plus I didn't want to skip over important details for the sake of brevity.

Our first, and most important, stop was back to our old stomping grounds of Moss, Norway.  We lived there the entire time we lived in Norway and Martin's parents and brother still do, so this is where we spent 99% of our time during part 1 of 5 of EuroTrip.  Moss is a 40 minute train ride from Oslo (20 if the high speed railroad ever materializes) down the Oslo fjord, which means one thing:

Boat life!  Martin's dad has a spiffy little boat, and when the weather is nice you must seize the opportunity and head out onto the fjord.  That's because nice days are so rare you need to use them when you can; you never know when, if ever, another opportunity will arise!

It was so beautiful and relaxing to bake in the sun, which is not deathly strong for once, and watch the scenery go by.

Pictures don't do the scenery justice!  I had forgotten just how dang pretty (and undeveloped) the fjord coastline is there.  I got 2 boat trips out of my week there, which is a pretty average sun-to-rain ratio for summer in Norway.

We also had Martin's cousins and their significant others over one night "for dinner", which was so much fun!

I suck at taking pictures, I apologize this is the best shot I got
Dinner turned into boxes and boxes of wine (standard drinking procedure in Norway) until 3 a.m.  That night was the highlight of part 1 of 5 of my EuroTrip, as it was really great to reconnect with the Norwegian side of the family.  Plus we got craaaaazy drunk!

We had so many people to catch up with, most of which I haven't seen since February 2012 when we made our grand entrance to Australia, so Norway couldn't be all family, all the time.  Luckily our college friend Jonas was getting married while we were there, and the majority of our friends in Norway were conveniently gathered together under one roof.

A mere fraction of the Norway friend contingent.
Wrangling drunks is hard, yo.
Everybody we knew there was a graduate of the University of North Dakota, a fine institution of higher education indeed!  I hadn't seen some of the people since college, and I graduated almost 10 years ago (December 2005)!  Newflash: I'm old.

Here is Martin with the groom:

Fine examples of Norwegian men these two are.

The last time we had seen the couple, at least all four of us together, was in 2010 in Cambodia.  By some crazy coincidence we were both in Siem Reap at the same time and hung out drinking for the night.  Time really flies, I can't believe it's been five years (half a decade!) since then!

Late night food is pretty standard at weddings these days, but I was particularly impressed with how traditionally Norwegian their drunk food selection was:

For the record, a hot dog - from a gas station - was the first thing on my list to eat for my return trip.  They are disproportionately delicious, and arguably the most Norwegian food there is.  An awesome choice to feed drunken wedding guests!

As the wedding was at a small venue we weren't present for the entire thing, just the booze-y part of the evening.  That was a.o.k. with me, as I just wanted to see everyone and briefly relive the glory days of college, if only for one night.

It was such a fun time!  We hung out with these people every single weekend in college, and I can assure you despite marriages and children and careers and mortgages none of us have matured a day.  We picked right up where we left off.

I must say 3.5 years is far too long to be away from the family, friends and country of Norway.  I realized on this trip (part 1 of 5, that is) that Norway will always be a part of me, and it will always be a home of mine.  Is it where Martin and I want or need to be in our lives right now?  No, that I know for sure.  Could that change someday?  Absolutely.

I have been lucky enough to amass three homes: the USA, Norway and Australia.  Going back to Norway after all this time was definitely a homecoming.  

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