Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thank You, Oslo

Oslo, I'm willing to take back any grumblings I spoke against you from November through March if you keep up the glorious spring you've bestowed upon us the past few weeks.  

Not many things make me happier than sunshine and loads of daylight, and you've been extremely generous.

I'm wide awake by 6am every morning, even with dark curtains, because it looks like this outside (which I'm perfectly okay with):
I might have to reinforce the curtains when this is 4am in June...

It also looks like this at 9pm now (please also note that the trees are starting to bloom!):
Pretty soon this will be 11pm.  Love it.

Our little balcony is also ready to rock - the flower box is full of pretty pansies, and we found an excellent sale on a tiny table and chairs:

Once the trees bloom completely, I'll take some pics of the city.  Right now it still looks like November as far as foliage goes.  Hopefully another week or two.

So yeah, you could say that we're good to go around here.  It doesn't take much more than bike rides, laying in the park, and BBQing to make us happy.

Other than the ongoing Moment of Zen of amazing weather every day, here are two additional goodies:
A little Cherry Garcia during Free Scoop Day at Ben & Jerry's.

Oregon wine tasting with a group of awesome gals.  So much fun, and so tasty!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hello, Amazing

Being the travel nut I've somehow become over the past six years, I got a little stir-crazy and developed some severe warm weather cravings a couple of weeks ago.  

So I pulled up Ryan Air just for kicks.  

Chose Oslo as the departure city.  

Scanned the list of arrival cities and prices... 

...and my eyes widened in delight at the amazing price for this little gem:

So I sent a text to my friend Brigita, whose husband works with Ken (the guys had a Paris trip with work the same weekend).  She called me quickly after, and we booked!

Here we are, thoroughly enjoying our last-minute plans.  Thanks for such a fun weekend, Brigita!

Anyway, this little slice of heaven is Alicante, Spain, on the Costa Blanca.  My good friend Kaitlin (who lives in the U.S.) visited Alicante a few years ago, and that's the only time I've heard of it.  I remember that she loved it, and her pictures were gorgeous.  Since then, I haven't heard a single person I've met in Europe mention visiting this place.  

I'm extremely baffled by this, due to the amazing price from Oslo, and the following:

Insanely beautiful scenery.

Gorgeous beaches.
(I refrained from photographing the elderly folks enjoying the nudity option.  
You're welcome.)

Perfect blue skies.

Inexpensive and absolutely delicious wine and mojitos.

Tasty eats. new love.
Castillo de Santa Barbara looming in the background of the city.

Relaxing with drinks at tables under these massive and beautiful trees.

(Possibly the best place ever to have a drink.)

Learning valuable life skills, such as how to properly handle a crustacean carcass (not something I'd normally be interested in, but when in Spain...)

And finally, all the charming and gorgeous architecture:

Fabulous.  Lovely.  Wonderful.  All of the above.

I don't know that Ken took many pictures of his Paris trip, but I do know that he had an awesome time last weekend as well.  Apparently he rode a bike around Paris all three days of the trip.  While wearing a beret.  

Here's the lone photo I've seen from his trip:

The fellas taking a break from the mean streets of Paris.
(I can't look at this without laughing.)

For this week's Moment of Zen, you can simply choose your favorite photo from above.  I can't decide...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back in the Game

Well, our U.S. taxes took an astonishing amount of time this year (this is even with KPMG U.S. "doing our taxes").  It's a blessing/curse (more of a curse...) to sort of know how to do them, so I watched the process like a hawk (and saved us some $!)

Anyhow, enough nerd talk.  I'm done being boring now, and I apologize for the lull.

March is always a strange, in between month for me anyway.  Every year it always seems to be a month of trying to cross some sort of really long bridge into warmer and more exciting months, weather and work-wise.  It didn't feel much different in a year of funemployment.

We also haven't traveled in the past two months, and posts of waiting for spring to arrive and having dinner parties probably aren't the most entertaining reads.

So...farewell, March.

Let the Euro travel begin once again!!

Ken is heading to Paris with his department at work this weekend ("team building" trip, I believe it's called).  Thus, I'm heading to Spain with my friend Brigita, whose husband works with Ken.  There are so many lovely reasons for this little last-minute getaway.  $200/1200 NOK for the roundtrip. 75F/24C weather.  Haven't been outside of the Oslo city limits in two months.  Beaches.  Tapas.  Tapas. Beaches.  Sanity.

So, that's about it for the excitement right now.  Here are a few pics from the past couple of weeks...

Lovely farewell lunch for Robert, Esther, and Pippa at Mel and Nader's house.  They're moving to Copenhagen, so they're only a party boat ride away now.  But we're sure going to miss them.  Good luck Robert, Esther, and Pip!  We'll see you soon.

Ken and I went for a run along the fjord to the opera house a couple of weekends ago, and the fjord was definitely frozen solid.  So we got to walk out onto the water.  Slightly disturbing, but cool.  We went for another run last night, and luckily the ice in the fjord is now disappearing with all the warmer temps we're having lately.  Thank. Goodness.

Went for a walk with some of my fun girlfriends in the sunshine at the "beach."  Apparently we'll be able to lay on this beach with no snow/ice this summer, and possibly swim (something about jellyfish the past couple of years may keep us from that?)  It looks like a snowy apocalypse to me at this point, so fingers crossed for more melting action...

At least my face got a little bit of color from the sun + glaring white snow?

Here's to warmer times...and a Moment of Zen:

Although it will only take approx ten minutes to pack the free small carry-on I'm allowed on the flight to Spain, I started packing yesterday.  Bring on the dresses and flip-flops!  And don't laugh at my Chacos...they're perfect for hiking, which I plan to hopefully do this weekend.  Or I might just lay on the beach and eat tapas, either way...