And We’re Back.
After a pretty long day, we are finally back home. At this point, I am exhausted and want to sleep for the rest of the day, but I’m going to try and avoid that in an effort to get back to our timings here.
Once again, a special thanks to our family in Norway who made our first trip to Europe very memorable. We had an amazing time.
Monday, bright and early, I have my orientation for my internship… which will take over the rest of my summer.
Today was our last full day here. Today, we went to Sweden for a few hours and then had a family barbecue.
These past ten days seemed to go by really fast and we have had a great time here. It’s weird to say that I’ve been to Europe. 🙂
I am definitely going to miss everyone here, especially my niece and nephews who we have had so much fun with. Our family here was very hospitable and we had a great and memorable time.
Yesterday, we met up with our cousin Arslan bhai where he works and then went out with him around Oslo.
The building where he works at was pretty neat and it is built in a really modern style. The view from there was absolutely beautiful as well (I feel like I say that about everywhere here – but it’s true. The view is great.)
Some of the places we went yesterday was the place where it is decided who receives the Nobel Prize for that given year and where it is announced, this new Opera building that is built in a neat way, and a boardwalk near the water which is called Aker Brygge.
Today, we went to the Munch Museum here, where of course two of the famous pictures are of “Scream” and “Madonna”.
I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day here. As soon as we go back, I start my internship and my brother starts his Co-op… and the rest of the summer will fly by.
Let’s start off with yesterday. Yesterday night we went to the Colosseum to see “Indiana Jones”. The place was very pretty nice. We got back home around 12:30, and were just sitting around talking … and about ten or fifteen minutes later the lights went out. At first, I thought it was just my cousin’s house and the fuse blew out or something, but when we looked out – the whole neighborhood was in dark. Even at 1 A.M., with no electricity we could still walk around and see things on the main floor because of course it wasn’t even completely dark outside.
Today, my brother and I ventured out on our own for the first time today. At first we were very wary/hesitant due to the language barrier, but it wasn’t bad at all considering we didn’t have to talk Norwegian at all. Overall, the people here are really nice.
We walked around the Oslo City Mall for a few hours, and then ventured outside to roam around. We walked around for a while, and then walked to and through the King’s Palace.
Today, we first-handedly saw how expensive it is here. After currency conversions, it is still at least twice as expensive here then in the U.S.
Tonight, we are going to our cousin Arslan Bhai”s house for dinner.
This afternoon we went to a beach nearby my cousin’s house. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and the total opposite of yesterday.
Later, in the evening we went to dinner at my aunt’s friend’s house. There, we learned that there was apparently an earthquake here yesterday. Fortunately, we didn’t feel anything.
Today, we went to Lillehammer – which is where the Olympics were held in 1994. The scenery here (everywhere in Norway) is beautiful – and the two and a half hour ride there wasn’t bad at all, barring the rain.
The weather was terrible – extremely foggy and a lot of rain. But we made the best of the experience anyhow, and we definitely still had a lot of fun. Many thanks to our cousins who took us there (and everything else they have done for us since we have been here).
We walked about 3 quarters of the way down and up the skiing area (going down is no problem, but coming up – my god – was painful as an asthmatic).
After walking down for a bit, about a few sections down, we went to the gift shop. The worker there was apparently one of twelve thousand workers during the Olympics and was telling us some stories.
An odd diversion – they charge you in places to use the bathroom!! We took a break once we got to Lillehammer to eat, and when I went to the restroom.. I noticed it was locked. I originally thought someone was there, and while I was looking around.. I saw the sign below:
Not being able to read Norwegian, the only words that stood out were: “10 kr” (money), “toalett” (toilet) and I put together than it costs that much to use the bathroom. Here specifically, if you were a customer it was free to use the bathroom – but my cousin said it is very ordinary to be charged to use the bathroom in public places in Europe. How odd!
The day we arrived in Norway, after being asked what we were interested in seeing, I said we wanted the “Norway experience… so what ever that is”. The reply was in correlation with the jungle. So early this afternoon, my uncle, my brother and I went to … the jungle. lol. It’s right by their house and we took a walk through it and back, which took us about an hour I think. By the time I got back, my face was burning, and I was very nauseous. Fortunately, a quick shower helped me refresh.
Later – in the evening, we were invited to dinner at one of my cousin’s mother-in-law’s house. We had a great time there as well. The mom made so much food – and all the food was really delicious.
Tomorrow, we are planning on going to see the Lillehamer, where the Olympics took place in the past.
Happy Birthday Imran! I hope you are having a great day (off from school)! 🙂
Earlier this afternoon we went to the Frogner Park, which is called the “Vigeland Parken” I believe. There, we saw some pretty cool sculptures : one was of different age groups or generations around in a circle; the first one was one of babies and toddlers, and as you went around the circle of sculptures, there were others of children, adults, seniors, etc.; another one was what I had originally thought represented the circle of life, after I looked it up I realized it was quite similar to what I thought anyways: it is called the “Wheel of Life“. The wheel depicts four people and a baby floating in harmony. It is a symbol of eternity, and implies the overall theme of the park: man’s journey from the cradle to the grave. And yet another one of an “angry child” (in Norwegian, i believe it is called “Sinnataggen”). I’m not sure what the significance is behind this sculpture, but apparently it has been stolen twice and is the most popular sculpture at this particular park.
Afterwards, we went on a drive around downtown, and saw a few neat places. Near the end, my uncle took us to see where my aunt teaches. While my brother and I waited in the car by ourselves, the car started moving on its own! … and it was a stickshift… but anyhow, my brother jumped into the drivers seat and put on the break…but just in time (thank god) my uncle and aunt came back out. Otherwise, god knows what could have happened. Whew!
Later in the evening, my cousins, my brother and I went to see the skiing area here. It was really beautiful – and pretty neat to see. I believe the place is called “Holmenkollen”. I think we are planning on going to go see the Olympics area later in our trip. Below is a picture from the top area near the skiing area, overlooking the mountains and the surrounding area. It looks like a picture right off of a postcard; scenic and beautiful!
We’re here! The strike was over by the time we got there … even though it was only affecting domestic flights anyhow.
It is now 1:45 P.M. here..which makes it 7:45 A.M. New Jersey time. As soon as we got on the plane yesterday, we found out there would be an hour to an hour and a half delay due to some problem with the plane. The ride here seemed to take FOREVER, partly because we started off with a delay… it probably wouldn’t have been that bad if we didn’t have to wait in the plane for the hour. The plane had a screen on each seat from which we could watch movies, and play games… so that helped pass some time as well.
At this point, I have been awake for over 24 hours now… but I am not really tired enough to nap for some reason.
From what I have seem from the car ride from the airport to my cousins’ house… (Oslo) Norway is a very scenic place and very beautiful. For some reason though, I had thought people drove on the right side of the car here… but apparently not.