Monday, May 13, 2013

Fresh Air

A beautiful wildflower.
 I've been to Norway in May recently. In fact I've visited Norway in May now three years running. In 2011 and 2012 the weather was pleasant. I remember sweating two years ago at Irene's confirmation in May. Last year we sat outside and enjoyed breakfast on the patio in the sunshine.

However, this year it was just plain colder. I'm told it even snows in May occasionally.

No snow this year but our plane landed in thick gray fog. The next day, Friday, was fogless but exposed naked trees embarrassed to be undressed this time of year. Spring in Norway was just at the very onset. All around, you could barely see that faint tint of chartreuse that happens as the leaves begin to bud. Temperatures were in the 40s and 50s... quite a change from the humid, smoggy 80 degrees we left in Italy. The bonus was that the nordic air was clean and  fresh and there was no snow!

All four of us were very excited to be in Drøbak for the confirmation of my cousin Camilla's daughter, Benedicte on Saturday.

Because the air is often so polluted in Vicenza, when Camilla asked me if there was anything special I wanted to do in Norway, I told her I would love to hike around a bit and enjoy nature and breathe fresh air.

 Sounds silly but it's true.
We had a day between arriving and the event so in between the errands on Friday, Camilla suggested we check out Ekeberg which is actually in Oslo. There is a women's sculpture park being built by a wealthy benefactor on some lovely land on a hill overlooking the Oslofjord. The scupture park is quite controversial and nowhere near completion but the land it will sit on is woodsy, beautiful and unrestricted so seven of us piled in the car and headed to Ekeberg to walk around on it a bit.

After a quick hike, we returned to the car and Camilla suggested that we try out this super fancy restaurant on the hillside. I was skeptical but she convinced me. The views from the restaurant were spectacular, we were hungry and so we all headed into this lovely restaurant.

Readers, I'm going to pause here and educate you about something. Maybe you know this already, maybe you don't...

Norway is expensive.

When I say "expensive", I mean $20 for a sandwich at the bus depot. Paying $18 for a beer is no big thing. When I tell you seven of us went to a fancy restaurant with a view, you have to realize that I had a tremulous feeling of dread in my cheap heart.
We perused the menu posted outside and determined that we could manage the expense if we all kept to soup or dessert.
Once inside, Camilla managed to charm the maitre'd and before we knew it we were sitting at the best seat in the house - at that corner table with windows all around that everyone wants. We three adults in tennis shoes sat with our four children, stuck our pinkies in the air and ordered the absolutely cheapest thing on the menu in our most hoity toity voices.
"Oh and ice water all around please!" Camilla said.
The cheapest item on the adult menu was the liten Fiskesuppe for 98 NOK (that's a small bowl of fish soup for $17).

Happy Edith with "small" bowl of fish soup
Can I just tell you that that liten bowl of fiskesuppe was the best damn fish soup EVAAHHH.

We giggled at our richy rich, cheap date, enjoyed the views and breathed the fresh air.

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