Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whoa, October

Well, October was certainly a whirlwind of a month.  We stayed at a cabin in the beautiful mountains near Lillehammer, Kate visited from Portland, and there was some hardcore traveling for a week.  I'll cover it all over the next couple of weeks...

We'll start with Kate and the travels first.

Kate, who is one of my best friends from Portland, came to visit us in Oslo en route to her dream trip in Italy.  It was so nice of her to want to see our lives here, and to get to spend time with her.  We just relaxed, saw a few sights, and had our Oslo friends over so they could all meet.  It was lovely.

Apparently, when we have visitors I forget to take pictures.  I suppose it's because I live here, and I'm showing them around while they take pics?  Anyhow, a couple of pics...

Pretty sheep eating grass among the ruins of a monastery on the island of Hovedøya in the Oslofjord.  Kate and I became sheep whisperers here.  I love this little island.  Between the sheep, the super green grass, and the ruins, it feels like Ireland.

Oslo, dressed in fall colors.

Wow...that's really all I have?  I promise that I love Kate, and I'm so glad she visited.  I actually have pics of the two of us from our time in Tuscany post!

Anyhow, Kate went on to Venice for the weekend after her stop in Oslo, and I went to Amsterdam to see Feist on my way to Tuscany to meet Kate after her Venice time (it might all be a little confusing...but the logistics worked somehow).  

I absolutely adore Feist...her voice is pure honey, and she just seems cool.  I got to see her in Portland four years ago, so it was time to see her again since it had been awhile.  She was only playing a handful of shows in Europe, so I jumped on the tickets.  She just so happened to be playing in Amsterdam, a city I love.

Luckily, my friend Erin lives in Amsterdam, so I got to stay with her and her husband, Dennis.  I met Erin at a bar in the Temple Bar area of Dublin when Ken and I were there last year.  Both being American, we started talking, and then stayed in touch and bonded through our expat experiences.  I guess we picked each other up at a bar, then?  

Dennis and Erin were the best hosts - they made such fun plans for us for the weekend.  And it was great to see Amsterdam with locals, and to bike around without being confused by the winding streets, since I could just mindlessly follow them.  Thanks Dennis and Erin, for an awesome weekend!

A boat ride through the gorgeous canals.  Captain Dennis gave us a good tour, and Erin made us mimosas and macarons.  And we were so lucky to get such pretty blue skies in Amsterdam.

The buildings in Amsterdam are fantastic, especially with fall trees.

Passing under a canal bridge.

Love the shutters.

Pretty buildings with shutters, boats, blue!

Later that afternoon, we took a beautiful bike ride down the Amstel river for a few hours, and got to meet this adorable guy on the way home. He was trying to dig in Erin's bike bag for goodies...

The hosts with the most with our new friend.

After our active day, we enjoyed these delish little liquor concoctions at Wijnand Fockink (no idea how to pronounce that?).  

I had to take a pic of the stairwell in Dennis and Erin's apartment building.  I thought our stairs in Oslo were tricky, but these babies take the cake.  Erin had to lift my suitcase over her head just to get it upstairs.

Thanks again, Dennis and Erin, for a great weekend!  And thanks Kate, for coming to see us!

There were so many Moments of Zen - having one of my best friends here with me, seeing Feist, the boat ride, and the bike rides.

However, I'd like to also note the moment below as well.  It took place in an airport, of all places.  

Thank you, Eindhoven airport, for having a fantastic soup and salad bar that didn't contain frightening, unidentifiable items like those here in Scandinavia.

Well, there you have it.  A non-frightening salad bar can make me very, very happy these days.  A fantastic visitor and a weekend in Amsterdam aren't too shabby either.