"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, June 10, 2024

TTT: Favorite moments from my recent trip

The Three Sisters. Photo taken atop the Fortress in Salzburg, Austria.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Moments from a Recent Trip
I am not only off topic today, I am not even talking about books. Here are my top moments on a recent trip to Norway, Germany, and Austria with my sisters. 
We called it the Three Sisters Trip.

1a. We found the actual waterfall from which my grandfather's surname was derived. On previous visits to Norway we had found the falls but without much water. With a wet spring before our arrival, we were treated to this view, which felt like a victory since we had to search for the trail to this vantage point. Our mother has an oil painting of the falls and it matches almost identically.

1b. Connecting with our Norwegian relatives. My mom's cousin, Hroar (center), his wife (Astri) and daughter, Eva. Hroar has done exhaustive research on our family lines and has written it all down. One evening Eva, my sisters, and I went through the document with a fine-toothed comb to really draw together our connections to one another. Here we had tea together as we talked about family stories and how we "found" each other.

1c. This is the view from Hroar and Astri's apartment window in Vikersund, overlooking the Tyrifjorden, a fresh body of water which is called a fjord anyway. The landscape in Norway was beautiful anywhere we looked. Our cousin Eva took us on a tour of the family farms one day, and her cousin, Per Ole, took us on a tour of more family farms and cabins the next day. What a delightful country.

2. Visiting our niece and her family in Munich. She asked us not to share any photos of her darling son, so I chose this photo of the three sisters with her in the Munich Residence, the former palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria. The palace was an amazing example of over-the-top decorations in the rococo style, as you see in the background. 

3. The 12th-century catacombs of the St. Peter's Abbey built into the mountainside in Salzburg, Austria. We found the catacombs by mistake as we were wandering around in the rain looking for a way to reach the Salzburg Dom Cathedral, which you can see in this photo I took through a window in the catacombs. It was one of those serendipitous moments of delight on the trip. 

Here I am climbing the steep steps entering the catacombs of St. Peter's Abbey

4a. The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg and the surrounding countryside. Not only did we see many of the scenes from our favorite movie, but much of the gorgeous Lake District of Austria outside of Salzburg.

4b. The three sisters on the same path where Maria walked as she sang "I Have Confidence" in the movie.

5. Attending a special confirmation church service at the same church where our grandfather was baptized and some members of his family are buried. For the confirmation service all the students dressed in the traditional bunads, as did their family members. We were all very touched by the confirmation service. Even though we don't speak Norwegian we caught enough to understand the importance of this rite-of-passage in the teenagers' lives.

A multigenerational Norwegian family in their bunads.

6. A visit to Frogner Park (Frognerparken) in Oslo. We were charmed by the more than 200 sculptures of all stages of life and other artistic touches by the artist Gustav Vigeland. Here the three sisters pose in front of an iron gate of three sisters (at least we think they're sisters!)

6b. Me peeking out of one of 200 of Vigeland's sculptures. It was a beautiful day in Oslo.

7. Norway in a Nutshell Tour. This tour involved a train ride from Bergen to Voss; a coach ride to Gudvangen; a ferry/boat ride on the Nærøyfjord to Flam; a historic train ride to Murdahl; and one more train ride to our final destination. Here we are, the three sisters, before we got wind-blown and cold and had to bundle up in our coats and hoods on the boat ride up the UNESCO preserved fjord portion of the trip.

8. A tour of old town Bergen. We didn't dedicate near enough time to Bergen and the Norwegian West Coast. We got a nice introduction to Bergen with a walking tour and will have to return some day. 

8b. Bergen, Noway. The second morning after arriving I couldn't sleep so I walked around our hotel alone from 4:30 to 6:30 AM and saw a bit more of the city by myself. The sun rises early that far north. I captured this shot of the Bryggen Wharf, another UNESCO Heritage site, without mobs of tourists that early in the morning.

9. An organ concert at the Salzburg Dom Cathedral. The church has seven pipe organs and the concert involved the musician moving from one organ to the next and playing a piece on each. We had to leave before the organist made it to the largest of the seven, a pipe organ once played by Mozart himself! It was a moving experience (in more ways than one.) The picture is one of the seven smaller pipe organs.

10. A visit to the Folk Museum in Oslo where we were able to go inside a Stave kirke (church) built in the 1200s and later moved to this site at the museum. We didn't have time to explore the Folk Museum as much as we would have liked, so it's on the list for a return trip some day.

11. A personal tour of the Kittelsen Museum by the art curator, a friend of our cousin Eva. The exhibition was of Norwegian art/artists on the theme of nature and forests. It was fascinating to not only learn about the artists but about the process the curator took to obtain the pieces of art for the show. The Kittelsen Museum is part of Blaafarveværket which is associated with the cobalt mine, which we didn't tour.

12. The cuisine. We loved the food everywhere we went. The above photo is a pasta dish I ordered at an outdoor cafe in Salzburg. It was delicious but the setting was spectacular. We also enjoyed our smorgasbord breakfasts and our lunches of trout and potatoes in Norway; our Bavarian breakfast of Weißwurst (veal sausages), pretzels and sweet mustard and dinners of schnitzel and spaetzle in Munich; waffles at the Blaafarveværket. We really enjoyed the breakfast offerings at all our hotels. I even got up my second morning back in the US and went out and purchased food for a good Norwegian smorgasbord breakfast: veggies, soft cheese, smoked salmon, boiled eggs and good bread.

13. One of the best parts of traveling is getting home, of course. Here are the three sisters (and two of three husbands) at the Portland airport after a full day of traveling homeward. Now we are all posting our favorite photos on Facebook, doing laundry, catching up on mail and the news from home, sharing our gifts with our family members. There's no place like home.

I'm sure I left some things off. It was a whirlwind trip. I'm also sure my sisters would reorganize their favorites list, but, hey, I'm the one who is writing this post! Ha!


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