Tuesday, October 2, 2007


All together we spent 5 days in Oslo with Terje and Alec. The condo was up against a large forest with many kilometers of muddy trails with lots of prickers, but not poison ivy as was my first reaction to the rednss.
The woods were also home to ancient Norse Viking burial mounds. I, myself, am a Packers fan, but found them awing none the less. We ran often in the woods along the trails used by those ancient men. The locals thought us to be a bit crazy with scraped up legs, muddy shorts and smiling red faces. burrial ground
One of the beautiful things about couch surfing is that you get to see how life really is in a country. The small everyday things that you miss while meeting Australians and Canadians in hostel common rooms. The one touristy thing we did was to visit the sculpture park. We went with our host Terje as he decided to skip classes once again and spend the day with us. Tejre and Nora skipping class
The sculpture park was commissioned by the city of Oslo in hopes the perfect park would be created. The artist, Gustav Vigeland, was told that his budget was endless, and he could have as much time as he wished. He took 40 years of his life to create the plans for this park. Each bridge, tree planted, sculpture, and fountain was of his design. He never got to see his work come to fruition in that he died before it all came off his paper and into reality. Walking though the trees and fields is like being in a museum. It was as intricate as a puzzle and I wondered if there were secrete messages hidden in the carvings and sculptures. Sitting in the sun by the fountain does make you think of the message the artist was trying to convey, the journey of life. Fountain by Gustav Vigeland
We did in fact also go into a museum but that was only so that Peter could use the bathroom. That was our time being a tourist in Oslo.
Terje is a creative soul who is constantly looking for a new opportunity to create something. To do this he is need of a constant supply of art supplies. He finds most of them at the Salvation Army. He mentioned our first day there that he may be taking a trip to this store at some point. I am guessing that at the delight that lit up in our eyes at this prospect, Terje felt that he had come across two kindred spirits. It seems that since people in Norway are so well off they donate extremely nice things to the poor, like us!. We went to two stores all together. We purchased two hand made Scandinavian sweaters for 15 usd each. We had almost bought one in town the day before that was more than twice as much and less than twice the quality. All together we found some amazing, non touristy items, glassware, pewter, plates, and warm clothing that will last us into the future. We vowed that after this we would be on the look out for other second hand stores in future countries.
Some of the other non touristy things we experienced in Oslo via Tejre and Alec:
-Going to the recycling center. Norway is years ahead of the US, well most of the world is, in this respect. We were happy to be around so many green minded folks.
-Going to the supermarket Rimi 1000 and trying to find the cheapest things. Surprisingly this was not eggs as they were $5.00 for a dozen. But cabbage and orange juice were not too bad.
-Being a secrete shopper with Tejre. He gets paid to shop at gas stations and rate their service and sandwich making abilities. He used to work for McDonald's but he gave too many good ratings and he got taken off that account.
-Learning all about life in the Norwegian army. They have compulsory military service. Alec used to be a royal palace guard. We quickly learned this is not glamours, it is quite boring.
-Going on a beer run that turned into a mission of stealing apples from peoples yards. A game that Tejre had not played since he was a young lad.
-Trying to learn Norwegian by watching American television with Norwegian subtitles. Many young people in Norway have an amazing grasp of the English language, this may be a reason why. It is sad that we pump all our trashy television to the world.
-Sharing books and our love of them. I was able to read two books while curled up on the Ikea monsters.
-Going to Max Bo, a home depotesque store, to eat free pancakes with jam, blue raspberry slushies, and take free samples of wall paper.

Museums are great. to pee in.

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