Diamond Hill Hike (09 Aug 2016)

It wouldn’t be a vacation if we didn’t do at least a few hikes. First one up was Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park. It was a relatively short 3.5km hike up to the peak of Diamond Hill, providing great views of Kylemore Abbey, Twelve Bens peaks, and the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the hike, we encountered many younger kids and older adults, all European, doing what we considered not an incredibly easy hike. Thus, we have come to the conclusion that Americans in general are out of shape compared to Europeans. In a reversal of roles, Ryan hiked faster than Nicole, who is a bit out of shape and maybe carrying a little extra weight :-).DSC08543_blog

That's where we are headed - Diamond Hill

That’s where we are headed – Diamond Hill

Views from the top.
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Connemara is home to the Connemara pony, the only breed originating in Ireland. They are all over the area and were taking a nap as we passed them on our hike.

Most of the landscape on Diamond Hill and along the coast has been rocky with low colorful vegetation, reminding us a bit of the Alpine tundra areas of Rocky Mountain National Park

Most of the landscape on Diamond Hill and along the coast has been rocky with low colorful vegetation, reminding us a bit of the Alpine tundra areas of Rocky Mountain National Park

Post hike, we stopped at the Avoca handweavers gift shop and then walked across the road to savour some more Killary mussels, fresh from a trailer next to the fjord.
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Ryan then navigated the very narrow and windy Sky Road, a scenic single-lane, 2-way road along the coast. At the lookout point, a guy launched his very fancy drone high into the sky. It was crazy windy up there, and he didn’t look too sure was sure it was coming back at one point. However, a few mins later, it did manage to fly back to him. He must have gotten some really cool photos from that flight!  No pictures of the drone unfortunately.

Escapees! (08 Aug 2016)

Light day today . . . driving from Ashford Castle over to Clifden, with a few stops along the way. First, I got to visit with the Irish Wolf Hounds at Ashford Castle before breakfast. They are very large (150 lbs) and very calm, letting everyone pet them. Funny to see dogs that large roll over on their backs to have their bellies rubbed. Unfortunately, then it was time for breakfast and to check out of Ashford Castle.
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The drive to Clifden, via Kylemore Abbey, should have taken about 1.5 hours according to Google, but as we have learned, everything takes longer. The roads are narrow (VERY narrow in some spots), with no room for passing, so if a slow car, or biker, or something else (like a sheep) winds up in the road, it could definitely delay travel.

Views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east

Views of the Atlantic Ocean to the west

Views of mountains to the west

Views of mountains to the east

Killary Harbour - Killary is the only fjord in Ireland

Killary Harbour – Killary is one of three glacial fjords in Ireland

Speaking of sheep, these are the first escapees I saw, up on a hill on the side of the road. Soon after, we saw a ton more along the road, and have since witnessed them easily jumping the stone fences frequently used as enclosures. Mystery of the escape solved! We have also resolved the painted sheep. The markings are used to identify 1) which sheep belong to whom and more interestingly 2) which ewes have been impregnated. During mating season, sometimes “a ram will be fitted with a bag of dye around its neck and chest. When the ram mounts the ewe a bit of dye will be deposited on the ewe’s upper back.” Fascinating.
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We stopped at Kylemore Abbey, which was teeming with tourist buses. Kylemore Abbey is a neogothic country house currently home to Benedictine Nuns and known for its beautiful Walled Garden, mostly what I was interested in. Ryan just read out of the guide book that in 2015, Notre Dame (the university in Indiana) signed a 30 year lease for summer classes and student housing at the Abbey. However, we saw no signs of the Fighting Irish. Ryan and I opted for the longer, Woodland Walk over to the Walled Gardens and only ran into two other people on the whole route. The Walled Gardens were huge gardens with sections including herbs, a rock garden, ponds, traditional Victorian gardens, and greenhouses. It was starting to rain, so we headed for some food (big surprise) in the tea house before walking over to the Abbey itself.
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Dinner was at Mitchell’s Seafood Restaurant in Clifden, a short 5 min walk from our B&B; Killary mussels and Irish lamb stew. Ryan said those were the best mussels he has ever eaten, and probably the freshest, as we drove by the Killary Harbor where they were being harvested.

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Ashford Castle (07 Aug 2016)

Ashford Castle is amazing! That pretty much sums it up. A big thank you to Janie and Jessica and Distinctive Journeys for booking us there for two nights. Totally worth it!
We woke up from the very comfortable beds to enjoy a slightly rushed but wonderful breakfast buffet; Rushed because we didn’t want to be late for our Hawk Walk. What exactly is a Hawk Walk, one might ask. As I read in a travel book, it’s the thing on your bucket list that you didn’t know was on the list. Our guide told us all about Harris Hawks we would be flying, brother and sister named Beckett and Swift. The males are smaller, about 2/3 the size, of females. The hawks flew along with us as we walked through the woods, learning how to release and call them back . . . With food of course, mostly raw chicken parts, including feet and heads. This was an unexpectedly amazing experienced, that we are very glad we did.

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I had read about biking around the Castle grounds, so that was next up on the list. We first rode in circles (not purposely) on a bunch of short forest paths, stopping to walk down into a cave, until I got a bit cranky and we figured out where to go. From there we headed out to the Cong Village, passing by the Monk’s Fishing Hut, St. Mary’s Catholic Church (need to specify Catholic, since there is actually a St. Mary’s Church of Ireland very close to it), and circling around the very small village. It started to rain rather hard by that point, so we headed back to drop off the bikes and get cleaned up for tea.  Think we have enough to eat?
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During tea, the weather had cleared up and was sunny again. To try and burn off some of the tea sandwiches, scones, and pastries, we want out for a walk around the estate, visiting the Old School House (apparently a private residence now), and the Walled and Terrace Gardens. The Walled Garden had a variety of herbs and vegetables, in addition to flowers, which are used in the castle restaurants.
Just in case we were still hungry, dinner reservations were at 8pm at Cullen’s Cottage, on the grounds a short walk from the castle. Definitely NOT hungry! We shared a soup, salad, and main, and that was more than enough food.

Ryan's new car

Ryan’s new car

Ashford Castle is serious about fire safety.  These can be found in the hallways every two rooms.

Ashford Castle is serious about fire safety. These can be found in the hallways every two rooms.

First Full Irish Breakfast (06 Aug 2016)

Saturday morning started with a full Irish breakfast, including a fried egg, bacon, sausage, potato pancake, and black and white pudding for Ryan, and some scrambled eggs with mushrooms and toast for me.

Full Irish breakfast

Full Irish breakfast

First stop of the day was the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. We hiked out to and across the bridge to a small island. Honestly, the pictures I had seen of the bridge made it seem much longer and higher than it actually was. I was slightly underwhelmed.DSC08329_blog
Second stop was Giant’s Causeway. Before hiking, we ate some lunch in the cafe. All of the tourist attractions have pretty good cafes, and, as you’ll see, Ryan and I stop to eat frequently. Ryan had seafood chowder, which was incredible. I had some tomato soup, which was also pretty good. And both came with Irish brown wheaten bread which was very good (we haven’t quite figured out what this is yet, grainy, buttery, and sweet though).
After filling our bellies, we hiked out to Giant’s Causeway and then up along the cliffs to get a view from the top. Unlike the rope bridge, the causeway was really a natural wonder. It was formed by a volcanic eruption, creating interlocking basalt columns. The columns are broken up into many pieces, that fit like ball in socket, so some are convex on top while some are concave. Most of the columns are hexagonal. It’s just amazing to think that something like that was formed by nature and not carved by humans. The Irish have some rather ridiculous legends around how Giant’s Causeway was formed, which I won’t bother to repeat here.
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Throughout the hiking and driving, we’ve been seeing a lot of painted sheep.  Have not yet figured out why.  Some are blue, some are pink, and some have both blue and pink.DSC08368_blog
It was already starting to get late by the time we finished hiking, but we couldn’t pass up stopping by the Old Bushmill’s Distillery. Luckily, we got there right in time for the 3pm tour and tasting, including the 10 year and 12 year single malt. We were in agreement that the 12 year was much smoother than the 10 year.
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At around 4pm, we finally left Bushmills for the 4 hour drive to Ashford Castle. Up until this point, Ryan had been driving the entire time, while my job was to navigate and continually say “look right, stay left, you are doing great”. Ryan is very experienced driving a manual, after having one for 14 years, so his major concern was just staying on the correct side of the road. I, on the other hand, can drive a manual, but am in no way very experienced at it, and haven’t driven one in two years since Ryan got his new car. Needless to say, it took a lot of concentration for me to remember to shift and stay on the correct side of the road. Ryan only feared for his life for the first 30 min of me driving (or maybe just feared for the left side mirror, which I almost took off once or twice, staying a little too far to the left). He was very good navigating and providing positive reinforcement. Finally, I guess he got comfortable enough with me driving to take a nap, only to wake up once in a while, not to provide any useful navigation, but to say sleepily “you are doing great”.

I should mention at this point all the features in our car, with which we are pretty impressed (list provided by Ryan): TDI, parking sensors, backup camera, engine auto-off when off the clutch in neutral, hill assist to prevent rolling in 1st gear, auto mirror folding, keyless entry & start, fully integrated entertainment system, adaptive cruise control (disabled), front & rear fog lights, and a pair of manually adjustable cloth seats that are miserable for the back, and very uncomfortable for both of us to drive. Oh well, guess you can’t have everything.

We finally arrived at Ashford Castle around 9pm, sore from the car and exhausted. The amazing upgraded room, complimentary chocolates and sherry helped ease our pain though. A light room service dinner of soup and salad was followed by a quick bedtime in a very comfortable bed.

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Traffic Knows no Borders (05 Aug 2016)

The flight to Dublin from Newark was very easy.  It’s only 6 hours, which is great, quick, but doesn’t really provide much time to sleep.  By the time they served dinner (mostly yuck), I’d say we got about 2 hours of sleeping.  I did something Ryan hates, booked an isle and a window on a 3 seat row.  (Thank you Nicoleo for that tip).  We lucked out and no one booked the middle seat, so we were able to spread out, and I got to sleep across two seats.

The flight landed before 7am in Dublin and getting through the airport took all of about 10 minutes.  All our luggage was carry-on, so no waiting at baggage claim.  No line at immigration.  And no customs.  I don’t mean no line at customs, I mean literally, we could see where the customs check should be, but there was no one there, so no customs (this island is VERY different than New Zealand).

We picked up our rental car, a pretty sweet manual Volkswagon diesel Golf and headed off.

Nicole sizing up our TDI Golf

The plan was to stop at one site outside Dublin and then head straight up to our first night’s lodging in Bushmills, about a 3.5 hour drive total.  The drive to Bru Na Boinne was easy.  Good thing we got there early!  When we arrived at 8:45am, there was already a line at the door for tours, and the visitor center didn’t even open till 9am.  We got a spot on the 9:45am tour for Newgrange.  Bru Na Boinne is a valley in the Bend of the Boyne River known for passage tombs.  Newgrange is one of the three largest tombs, that you can actually walk into, and dates back to 3200 BC, which is crazy to think about.  The rest of the area is also dotted with much smaller tombs, which are identifiable by the mounds in the middle of the fields.  There is a window above the entrance to Newgrange, and during the Winter Solstice, the sun lines up directly with the window and lights the passage all the way into the tomb.  They replicate that with artificial lights for visitors, and you can enter a lottery to be on of the 150 people or so that gets to visit the tomb during the actual Winter Solstice.


After the tour of Newgrange, we headed back to the visitors center for a quick snack and a short ‘audio-visual’ (movie) about the tombs, where Ryan and I both promptly fell asleep.  Oh well.  Once at the car, we decided it smart to take a short nap prior to more driving, considering we had only slept 2 hours the past night (and only about 4 hours the night before for Ryan, since he was busy trying to get the new router and VPN working).

Friendly European Robin following us outside the visitor's center

Friendly European Robin following us outside the visitor’s center

We hit the road at about 2pm for Bushmills, for what should have been a 2.5-3hr drive.  Unfortunately, the primary motorway A1 was shut down for a short part a little bit south of Belfast due to a traffic accident.  In Ireland, as we learned later, the roadway is shut down for 24 hours after a traffic fatality.  The ‘diversion’ (detour) turned into a 3 hour ordeal of crawling traffic.  Shout out to Ryan at this point.  He not only was awake and taking part in activities the first day after arriving, but was patiently sitting in traffic for 3 hours when I know he was exhausted.  He was really a trooper, and luckily, still not sick yet on this trip :-).  After way too long, we finally arrived in Bushmills at 8pm.  Our lodging for the evening, Lismar B&B, was owned by a nice older couple, was very clean, with a nice bathroom.  We opted for a fast food fish and chips so we could get to bed as quickly as possible.


Guest Room Makeover (Christmas 2015)

Our biggest adventure to date!  Ryan and I have lived in our house for 11 years now.  About half of the interior has been painted and almost none of the rooms have been decorated.  Since we were spending this holiday at home with not a whole lot planned, we decided to paint and decorate the guest room.  On closer inspection, this quickly turned into a larger project than expected.

  • Day 1: Christmas Day
    • Tape the moldings with blue painters tape
    • Realize that the drywall tape has separated from the walls in at least 2-3 wall/ceiling or wall/wall corners -> Trip to Home Depot for drywall tape, joint compound, and necessary tools
    • Spend a typical Jewish Christmas with Les and Steve – Catch the new Star Wars movie and enjoy some Chinese food for dinner
Holes in the ceiling

Holes in the ceiling

  • Day 2:
    • Pull down all the peeling dry wall tape
    • Sand away excess tape and joint compound
    • Find that there are large gaps (1/4″ to 1/2″) between the drywall at the corners of the room -> Trip to Home Depot for spackle
    • Rent The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Nicole’s choice) and eat leftovers for dinner
  • Day 3:
    • Fill in large gaps with spackle – Wait 12 hours for it to dry
    • Rent Antman (Ryan’s choice) and make mushroom barley soup for dinner
Filling in gaps with spackle

Filling in gaps with spackle

  • Day 4:
    • Sand spackle
    • Apply layer of joint compound, smooth drywall tape on top, apply a second layer of compound on top of drywall tape – Wait for it to dry
    • Rent The Woman in Gold (Nicole’s choice) and make vegan spinach and mushroom quiche for dinner (not bad, needs some work)
  • Day 5:
    • Sand joint compound
    • Apply a second layer of joint compound – Wait for it to dry
    • Ramen dinner out, followed by trip to Home Depot for paint
Sanding joint compound

Sanding joint compound

  • Day 6:
    • Sand joint compound
    • Spend 2 hours trying to match the texture on the ceiling and walls – Finally give up and do the best we can
    • Paint the ceiling – Wait for it to dry
Vacuuming up the mess

Vacuuming up the mess

Texturing experiments

Texturing experiments

  • Day 7: New Year’s Eve
    • Tape the ceiling and go over edge of tape with the ceiling paint (cool trick I learned to get nice clean paint lines between the ceiling and walls) – Wait for it to dry
    • Paint the walls -> Ryan makes a trip to Home Depot to get another gallon
    • New Years celebration with friends!
  • Day 8: New Year’s Day
    • Homemade breakfast tacos and mini cinnamon sugar muffins for breakfast
    • Decide I want the shelves in the closet painted white – Repaint shelves in closet (Ryan is a saint)


  • Day 9 and 10:
    • Clean-up and put the room back together

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Furniture and decor still a work in progress . . . 7 months later.  Maybe we will get to that next Christmas.

Oslo (June 30-July 1)

The last few days of our trip were spent enjoying the beautiful weather and sites in Oslo. Oslo is a very easy city to hang out in; Good public transportation, big parks, tasty food, and nice people. First stop was the Oslo Opera House, a landmark of Oslo. The opera house was designed to be enjoyed by all. The roof is sloped such that you can walk up to the top. Many people on their lunch breaks use the opera house roof as a picnic spot.

Walking up the roof

Walking up the roof

On the roof.
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Views from the roof.
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Sculpture in the bay

Sculpture in the bay

We wandered around the roof and then went inside for our backstage tour, where we had the opportunity to see the set and costume departments. We also visited the backstage area of the main stage, which was absolutely enormous. I had no idea how much space was backstage. There were multiple stages that could rotate, move in, drop down, etc.

Inside the opera house.
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After the opera house, we took a tour of the Nobel peace center. While very interesting, it was definitely a bit of information overload. I could have spent hours there learning about all the inspiring individuals that have won that award.

Loan with the Dalai Lama - Courtesy of Loan's camera

Loan with the Dalai Lama – Courtesy of Loan’s camera

Instead, we headed off to Slottsparken and the Royal Palace, where we learned that tickets for tours were sold out, and decided to hit the National Gallery instead.

Royal Palace

Royal Palace

View of the park from the Royal Palace

View of the park from the Royal Palace

Changing of the guard.

Changing of the guard

I’m not a huge art fan typically, but the National Gallery was just my speed. It was a relatively small, very manageable art museum, organized (and color coded) by periods. The highlight was Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. Munch is Norwegian, so he’s a big deal over there.

Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'. We weren't supposed to take pictures, but we snapped one from outside the room.

Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but we snapped one from outside the room.

Imitating art; I decided to keep my clothes on so we didn't get kicked out of the museum.

Imitating art; I decided to keep my clothes on so we didn’t get kicked out of the museum.

Leaving the gallery, we walked down a very happening (and somewhat touristy) street with outdoor cafes. Dan and Ryan saw a motorcade and stopped to see what the commotion was. Bill Clinton! At least it looks like him in the photos, no?

Bill Clinton!

Bill Clinton!

Elephant on the street

Elephant on the street

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Rejuvinated by some beer and mango smoothies, we headed to Vigeland Park, filled with tons of people and lots of statues of naked people. We had some fun posing.

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Angry baby; It's good luck to rub his left hand.

Angry baby; It’s good luck to rub his left hand.

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Phallic symbol?

Phallic symbol?

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Dinner was at a family run restaurant around the corner from our AirBnB. Life is good in Norway; The restaurant does so well that they close on weekends and the entire month of July. The son, probably a little older than us, runs the front, while the father cooks. And boy was he a talker! He had us there till 11pm. But he was very interesting and knowledgeable about history and current events. The food was pretty good too.

After a crazy packed first day in Oslo, we took it a bit easier on the second. We took a cruise over to the Viking Ship Museum first thing in the morning, where there were multiple viking ships and other relics that had been dug up.
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After being retired from the sea, the viking ships were used as burial vessels, where people would be buried with valuables like the relics below.
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Views from the cruise.
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The afternoon consisted of wandering around, souvenir shopping, lunch, more wandering, and a nap. Obviously day 1 in Oslo had tired us out! We had a nice last dinner of the vacation, and then hung out at our apartment, swapping photos, and enjoying the company and our last day of vacation.



KLAD’s flight to Germany was early the next morning, while Ryan and I didn’t have to leave till mid-day. Unfortunately, the flight to Germany was changed, but no one found out until they made it to the airport. Ryan and I caught up with them in the terminal for a few games of Uno before hopping on our plane back to JFK via Reykjavik.

It was a wonderful trip with great traveling companions!

Ready for the Olympics (June 29)

Who can pass up bacon oast for breakfast?! We tried to bring some home, but it has to be refrigerated. So, what exactly is bacon oast? It is basically cheese with bacon in a squeezy toothpaste looking tube. Does that sound delicious or what?
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After a nice breakfast of toast, fried eggs, and bacon oast, it was time to leave the awesome Ringebu farmhouse.

First stop was the Ringebu Stave Church. It was sort of like a scavenger hunt; We searched for a man and two pig carvings, a dragon carving, and Norse god faces at the top of some pillars.

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I think this was the dragon carving in the top left.  Doesn't really look like a dragon to me

I think this was the dragon carving in the top left. Doesn’t really look like a dragon to me

And this was the man with 2 pigs carving; Again, questionable

And this was the man with 2 pigs carving; Again, questionable

Pretty sure we were all churched out. Next up was Maihaugen, an open air museum with replicas of Norwegian history (churches, houses, barns, fishing villages, post office). I found some great little homemade booties and a lamb stuffed animal for Kate and Egg’s baby (Nate was born August 19th). The funniest part about the museum was the ‘20th Century Houses’, basically 1950s style.

One of the oldest two-story houses in Gudbrandsdal.  Oddly enough, it didn't actually say when the house was built.

One of the oldest two-story houses in Gudbrandsdal. Oddly enough, it didn’t actually say when the house was built.

One of the most exciting pictures from Maihaugen.

One of the most exciting pictures from Maihaugen.

Adam and Loan fishing at Maihaugen.  Pictures courtesy of Loan’s camera.
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The best part of the day came in Lillehammer. We visited the Olympic ski jump. There were a bunch of people practicing, even though there was no snow! The surface of the jump was like a turf, and they would just stop at the bottom in the grass. We were able to walk underneath the jump and up to the top where the skiers would take off. It was very cool to be able to get that close! Never would have happened in the U.S.  The following are lots and lots of pictures of the ski jump.  Some of them you’d swear were against green screens, but no, we were taking pictures next to and below the jump.
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We take the long way up

We took the long way up

The skiers take the short (smart) way up

The skiers take the short (smart) way up

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View from the top

View from the top

Olympic torch

Olympic torch

Loan and I doing our best ski jump impression; Loan looks much more committed.

Loan and I doing our best ski jump impression; Loan looks much more committed.


Outside the Olympic ice rink.

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We made a quick stop in the town for lunch and headed on to Oslo. We took a round about way (ie, we had no idea where we were going) to fill the cars with gas and drop them off at the rental company. The rest of the evening was spent hanging out and relaxing in our Oslo lodging, another great AirBnB apartment.

Napping in Oslo before dinner.

Napping in Oslo before dinner.

Awesome AirBnB in Ringebu (June 28)

Sunday was a slow morning, finally starting the drive to Ringebu around 11am. Amazingly, I have found traveling companions that are even slower than Ryan getting going in the morning. I really don’t mind, though, because it makes for a relaxing trip. Most of the day was spent driving. In addition to the ‘normal’ cars mentioned in an earlier post, we have seen a very large number of Teslas and American muscle cars. We made a stop at a few churches along the way and a cemetery that (we think) had a lot of the Kostad ancestors.

Ryan outside a Stave Church

Ryan outside a Stave Church

Norwegians love their trolls!
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Church and cemetery with Kostad ancestors.
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We rolled into Ringebu pretty late, after most restaurants and grocery stores had closed, so we picked up Chinese takeout on the way to the AirBnB. This AirBnB was absolutely breathtaking! It was the second house on a farm, where the grandparents used to live. The houses overlooked a beautiful green valley and lake.

Unloading at the farmhouse

Unloading at the farmhouse

View of the valley out the back

View of the valley out the back

Storage barn off to the side

Storage barn off to the side

The mom was there when we arrived and showed us around the house using the little English that she spoke. Amund, the son, who we estimate to be a little younger than us, arrived a little while later. He was the one who had put the house on AirBnB, and we were his first visitors! Amund had been an exchange student in California during high school and then attended a small college in Michigan. The family invited us to eat dinner out on the porch of their house next door. While we ate our Chinese takeout, they brought us out local delicacies to try, including aquavit (potato liquor), cured pork, potato crisps, and beer and wine.

Dinner on the deck at 10 something at night

Dinner on the deck at 10 something at night – Courtesy of Loan’s camera

Proscuitto, potato crisps, and aquavit

Proscuitto, potato crisps, and aquavit – Courtesy of Loan’s camera

The house itself was an interesting mish mosh of stuff.

View from the dining room table

View from the dining room table

Ryan sitting at the dining room table, engrossed in Lonely Planet

Ryan sitting at the dining room table, engrossed in Lonely Planet

Chilling in the living room before bed

Chilling in the living room before bed

Hanging out in Alesund (June 27)

Saturday was spent wandering all around Alesund. First stop was the Alesund Church. The person at the tourist info office said it would be open, but as is typical with our church experiences on this trip, it was closed. On to the Art Noveau Museum, which housed interesting exhibits on the various styles of architecture, the fire of 1904 and rebuilding of the city, and the impact of Japanese influence. In the corridor to the June Art Museum, Loan, Ryan, and I stopped in the kids’ activity center to make some of our own art. I know art is subjective, but the items in this museum were not what I would call art. The thing closest to art was a sculpture that looked like a bunch of breasts stuck together.

Alesund, built in the Art Nouveau style

Alesund, built in the Art Nouveau style

Another closed church

Another closed church

We were all getting a little museumed out, but headed to the Aalesund (alternative spelling of Alesund) Museum anyway. The museum was 3 levels that took us through the history of the city. The most interesting parts were about WW2 (still not sure if the Enigma machine on exhibit was a real one) and the Uerad life boat that crossed the Atlantic in 5 months in 1904. There was a replica of the life boat that we could climb into. Tight quarters for a rocky trip on the Atlantic! Dramamine would have been a necessity on that trip.
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The rest of the afternoon was spent climbing 418 steps up to Fjellstua for nice views of the city, followed by an evening kayak trip around the harbor. Dinner was late, like most of our dinners in Norway, since 10pm feels like about 6pm. Loan and I shared a few dishes, including whale and reindeer. Not bad, but neither make my favorites list.
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Views from the top.
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Interesting and slightly freaky carvings on the way down

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Wondering if the REAL Amazing Race passed through here. I don’t watch the show, so I guess I’ll never know.
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Cars we did not expect to find in Norway.
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Kayaking around the bay before dinner.

Dinner in Alesund

Dinner in Alesund