Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox

Last Thursday night, we joined many others in Oslo in celebrating the autumnal equinox by walking the path that meanders through the city parallel to the Akers River. The walkway was lit by thousands of votive candles and many varied lighting displays.  Punctuating the route were performances by local solo instrumentalists and singers, vocal and instrumental ensembles, gymnasts, and dramatists.  As Sten would say, a display of civil society. At various points, one could purchase hot drinks and snacks. The weather was mild, and the evening was magical. Hand-held camera photos aren't the best (okay, they're not good at all), but I hope you'll get an idea of what we experienced that night anyway.  Here's a bit of the river walk.

Sten's holding one of a display of light colored umbrellas lit from underneath and placed on the grass.  They created a beautiful effect.

Here's one of the many groups performing music -- this time it's accordions and a guitar.

These two women were telling traditional stories.

This amazing instrument is a carillon on a truck.  Notice the size of the bells on the lower left of the instrument.  The "keyboard" allows one person to play all the bells of a bell choir. It was fun to watch.  In this photo the keyboard looks like you would play it like a normal piano or organ; however, it requires much more force on the part of the performer.

One of the displays of colored lights along the river walk.

We couldn't resist the aroma coming from this stand selling  hot-off-the-iron Norwegian waffles with raspberry preserves.

People entered or left the walk at any spot along the way, and there was no charge for the event.  After an hour and a half, we decided it was time to head home.  When we got on the bus, we were shocked to discover that we had walked from the end of the bus line to only two stops from the central train station. It was truly a delightful evening!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Walk to Work

Sten usually walks to work, and I accompany him most of the way. On rainy days, he can take the bus, but so far the walk has been a delight.  It's such a peaceful, calming walk, considering that his office is not far from the city center. The first half of his walk is on a path available only to foot traffic and bicycles. We walk through pastures and woods in Kongsgården which begins a couple of blocks from our apartment. Kongsgården is land owned by the Norwegian government that is made available to the King for a summer residence as well as for a model working farm. The cattle are pasture fed and are the epitome of health.

Once you exit Kongsgården the path runs next to the main roadway into the city, following along the shore of Oslofjord.  The forest of trees is replaced with a forest of sailboat masts.

The path for pedestrians is closest to the water, then comes the biking path, and finally the motorway. Many commuters are on bikes, and a few even on roller skis.

Eventually, it´s time for Sten to cross the roadway and enter the streets of the city for the last third of his walk.  

I return home, having had a great start to the day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Birthday Celebration

Last week was Sten's birthday.  We planned to seek out a nice restaurant somewhere near the water in Oslo for dinner in the evening; however,  I wondered if anyone at his office would know it was his birthday and mention it to him. When I met him on his walk home from the office, he told me that he had indeed been celebrated by his colleagues at lunch time with cake for everyone, a Norwegian traditional birthday song, and a flowering plant. They had sent home a piece of the cake for me to enjoy too.  It was on the lines of our traditional blotkake, but made with hazelnuts in the cake. The photo doesn't do it justice, but it was delicious.

We decided to take the boat to the city center rather than the bus. Because we know that because of winter it won't be running past October, we like to use it occasionally while it's still operating. We just missed one ferry, but didn't mind because it was such a beautiful evening and there's lots to look at from the pier.

After a few minutes, our ferry arrived and we were off to the city center pier.

We took our time strolling the walkways along the Oslo harbor, checking restaurant menus and venues to find the perfect place for our dinner.

I love the tiny cars that can always find a parking place anywhere.

We settled on a Japanese tapas restaurant with lots of outdoor seating along one of the canals connecting to the harbor. Since neither of us have a lot of experience with Japanese food, we let our waiter put together our meal of vegetarian options (within a preset price range) .  Here's the delicious meal he came up with. First the appetizer of edamame.  I know they don't look like much, but they were wonderful -- salted, and fun to eat by hand, pulling them between your teeth to get the beans  out of the pods. (In case you're wondering, I'm holding up one of the blankets that are on each chair.  A little chill in the air doesn't stop any Norwegian from eating outside on a beautiful night.) Next were a variety of beautifully presented maki; and finally, tofu steaks with rice. 

Sten felt well-celebrated, and we went home very satisfied with our meal choice. Incidentally, notice the heating elements behind us hanging from the ceiling.  People closer to the restaurant had those instead of blankets.  Very cozy to sit under.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Our apartment

When I arrived in Oslo, Sten was there to meet me and we took the train and then a taxi to our apartment.  Here's the welcoming entrance.

Our apartment is clean, cozy, charming and has everything we need.  Here's our living room/dining room -- first looking in from the windows, and then looking toward the windows.

  We both love sitting in this chair.


This is the enclosed garden our windows all look out on.  

There's an old pear tree
 that is full of wonderful pears
 to pick and eat.

And we have lots of places to sit outside.

Here is the kitchen. The stove top is touch activated. It took me a little while to get used to that. I tried to take a photo of the controls,  but everything reflects on the black, shiny surface, so it's impossible.  We still have to read up on how to use the oven.

This is our bedroom -- tiny but with lots of storage space.  We each have a door to enter, because the room is only as deep as our bed.  The first photo is looking at the room from my side, the second one from Sten's side. We rather like each having our own duvet.

And finally, here's our second bedroom.  
I use the desk for my office space, although we both work at the dining table too.

I almost forgot the bathroom/laundry.  

There is no electric or gas-powered dryer like we have at home;
 but there is a folding drying rack and a drying closet 
which can be heated for drying things in the winter.

So that's home for us for the next ten months.  Cozy,  don't you think?