Tired of cruises? Try an expedition aboard the MS Roald Amundsen
If your image of a cruise ship is a floating monstrosity the size of a city block, full of casinos, colorful iced drinks with bendy straws, and overblown attractions like waterslides or ziplines, housing thousands of drunk travelers on their way someplace tropical—in other words, if you’re the kind of savvy traveler who scoffs at the idea of cruises—it’s time to take another look at Hurtigruten.
High in the Norwegian mountains is a legendary theatrical experience worth the journey
The curtain cannot rise because there is no curtain, no proscenium arch, nothing but grass and a beach flanked by two shaggy hillocks between us and Lake Gålåvatnet. We are gathered here in the Norwegian wilds outside Vinstra to go on a journey with a character called Peer Gynt. Continue reading “Peer Gynt at Gålå mixes fantasy with reality”→
I knew right away when I stepped off the plane that I’d made a mistake. Skirts and tank tops had no place in my luggage for this trip to Oslo and the Gudbrandsdalen valley in August.
I thought I had planned so carefully. The weather forecast showed some rain for my trip, but temperatures in the 60s—not my preferred beach weather, but not so dissimilar from the old school “summer” Seattle had been experiencing. I packed the sort of clothes I’d been wearing. I very carefully prepared a special clothing plan for an outdoor event in the mountains: long underwear, a wool sweater to be acquired in Norway, and waterproof outer layers. It’s the mountains, yes, but it’s still summer, I thought. How cold could it be? Continue reading “Ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær?”→
On my first full day in Norway, after shrieking and giggling through an uneven shower, I had my first hotel breakfast. I well remember the first breakfast I ever had in Norway, at my father’s cousins’ house. They set quite a table with bread and cheese and veggies and fish and a number of other things. I also remember setting down to lunch and finding the exact same assortment of foods. Ha! Continue reading “Oslo: Another whirlwind”→
My welcome to Norway was a little rocky, as traveling tends to be. Work on the train tracks meant that I needed a buss rather than a tog to get to Oslo, then I had to pull my epically large suitcase through a growing rain the few blocks to the Grand Hotel, where they weren’t ready for me. I must have looked like a drowned rat by that time—my rumpled travel clothes declassing the incredible historic building—because they set me up at the bar while I waited. Continue reading “Arrival in Norway: Tourist stumbles”→
Last fall an article started to go around, written almost exactly a year ago for Matador Network, called “10 untranslatable Norwegian terms” (matadornetwork.com/notebook/10-untranslatable-norwegian-terms). A quick search will turn up many such lists, all with different words and terms, in basically every language you can think of.
Frances grew up in a tiny New York apartment with her parents and younger sister, where they all still live even though both girls are in college. “Everything about my family was small,” she tells us, enumerating the smallness of their aspirations, physical stature, and living quarters: “Our apartment unfurled itself…the sofa bed opening up for my parents, filling the living room until it was nothing but a man and a woman in bed, with no room left, the foot of the mattress reaching just to the knob of the front door.”
One can just imagine a loving family surviving such conditions, but the love is gone.