Monday, October 15, 2012

Pistol Boy

Every time we walk in the door and are greeted by our wiggly furball (aka Pistol), I'm reminded of just how lucky we are that he was able to make this move with us.  As soon as I realized moving to Norway was a real possibility (Jeffrey had applied and told me not to get my hopes up, but up they were!) I started looking into getting Pistol there.  I found a contact at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority that was extremely helpful and explained the rules.  Good news, though - the rules were due to change on January 1 and it would be even easier!  

Obviously, Pistol made it to Norway (though he still has nightmares about his 18 hour plane ride), and I'm pretty sure he loves it as much as we do.  Here are a few of his favorite pictures of his time in Norway thus far.

Checking out frozen Mosvatnet

Prancing through the snow at Sørmarka.

Searching for hot chocolate in Bergen

Listening to the streams near Dalsnuten

Keeping the streets safe and cat-free

Taking a break during our drive to the Hardangerfjord

Posing at Vigdel Beach

Getting tickled at the Rogaland Arboretum

Loving the soft green grass

Getting his hike on at Solbjerg

Being rescued from Jeff's pranks in Roldal

Resting in his favorite spot (and ruining my couch cushions!)

Climbing to the top of Preikestolen

Some Norwegian friends have also taken a liking to Pistol and ask to watch him any time we are out of town.  Their son even invited him over for the weekend when we were IN town - Pistol's first sleepover!

He's our dog, and he makes us pretty darn happy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Norwegian Autumn

Our first fall in Norway has brought lots of rain, chillier temperatures and impending darkness (we are now losing 5 minutes of sunlight in both the mornings and evening), but it has also brought beautiful fall foliage and a sense of coziness to our warm, small home.  The weather can be deceiving since it often rains while the sun is shining, but we took advantage of a break in the clouds and headed to the Rogaland Arboretum.

Rogaland Arboretum
Rogaland Arboretum

It was on our walk that I finally felt Autumn - that excitement of this festive season with its crisp air, warm fires, and comfort foods.  Too bad I can't find any pumpkin spice candles to really bring on the season..  Our Norwegian friends have never heard of them and I had a bit of trouble trying to describe the smell since they had also never eaten a pumpkin pie... looks like I should learn to make one! And chocolate pecan pie.  Oh, and apple pie.

I'm still trying to figure out Halloween here.  Not that I would go trick-or-treating (or knep-eller-knask-ing in Norwegian) especially since I'm still confused and a little upset every time I put a piece of Norwegian candy in my mouth.  I just haven't acquired the taste for salt coated black licorice yet and it seems like EVERY candy is a variation of this combo - yikes!  This amuses my coworkers and they always bring me more candy to try like Dunder Salts or Turkish Peppers.  I put on my brave face and always try them, but I can barely last more than 30 seconds before I have to spit it out.  I've tried to explain the bliss of eating a Reese's Cup, but again find my description of their taste to be severely uninspiring judging by their skeptical faces.  Another thing to find and share (and surely they will like them more than I like Dunder Salt!).

I hope you are also enjoying these early days of fall!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Greek Adventure

Jeffrey and I have really tried to take advantage of living in Europe and do some traveling. We've been on the go so much that I fear this year will seem like some crazy blur and all those details that made each trip so special may get overshadowed by the highlights.  Don't get me wrong, some mental images from our trip to Greece in August will stay with us forever like those crystal-clear, cerulean waters.

Myrtos Beach
Myrtos Beach

Agios Thomas Beach, Kefalonia Greece
Agios Thomas Beach

But will I forget waking up each morning to a homemade breakfast served on our hotel's patio? It included Kefallonian honey and Greek yogurt (yum!) and Jeffrey indulged in the cookies and pastries while continuously shooing away the wasps trying to attack me - oh yes, attack me. 

Agnantia Hotel, Kefalonia Greece
Agnantia Hotel

Will the memory of climbing down to that perfect cove only to discover that a 15' drop was all the stood between us and paradise fade with time?  Jeffrey, always quick to solve a problem, assured me it wasn't that far and we could probably jump down.  Luckily, the only other person we saw that day was on his way out and pointed us toward a safer way down.  We spent our entire afternoon and evening here snorkeling, reading, and finding joy in those rare moments that life isn't a distraction but the main attraction.

Kako Lagadi Beach, Kefalonia Greece
Kako Lagadi Beach

Or the day we rented our very own boat-built-for-two and Jeffrey drove us along the coast?  I wasn't completely sold on the boat idea.  Aside from being an expert tuber/sunbather back in childhood (me) and floating on a pond in a $200 metal raft to fish with friends (husband), we had very little boating experience.  Thank goodness I'm married to someone who encourages me outside of my comfort zone - it was fun!  And aside from a few wasps that tried to attack me (again!) it was a perfect day of beach hopping and fish spotting.  As a side note, it was discovered on this trip that wasps or anything resembling their menacing appearance cause me to go into a panic and they were not actually attacking.  Or so Jeff tells me. 

Foki Beach, Kefalonia Greece
Foki Beach

Would we forget being lost in the woods looking for Dafnoudi Beach?  Usually not one to give up, Jeffrey wanted to turn around but I kept coming up with reasons why we should continue the hunt like "look, there's a blue painted rock over there - that must mean beach!" or "the bushes don't look so think over here, it must be the trail!"  We never did find that beach.  We found plenty of others though!  

Antissamos Beach, Kefalonia Greece
Antissamos Beach

How could we forget being paddled along Melissani Lake, a lake entirely within a cave so the sun creates a burst of turquoise when it hits the water?  We drove about an hour from our hotel to see it for all of 10 minutes but it was definitely worth it.  And that evening we visited Assos and had to pay a waiter in Norwegian Kroner because we ran out of Euro.  We also climbed walked uphill to the castle of Assos but somehow couldn't find the castle (hence no picture).  Sometimes its about the journey (and singing some show tunes songs along the way).

Melissani Lake, Kefalonia Greece
Melissani Lake

Assos, Kefalonia Greece

Will we recall the heat and dust of Athens? The countless stalls selling Greek eyes and olive oil next to ruins so old it's hard to contemplate?  We flew in to Athens from Kefallonia the day before our return flight to Norway.  Waking up for a 6AM flight created the perfect excuse for a nap before we explored the city.  We spent most of the day walking around the Plaka and eating souvlaki before the trek to the Acropolis - a truly amazing site especially considering its been around since the 5th century BC!  Greece really is magical, not even the shut down of Athens's entire public transportation system due to impending riots could get us down (though we took a cab directly to the hotel after hearing this).

Greece - I don't think we'll be forgetting you anytime soon!  Yamas :)