Archive for the ‘Trystan in Norway’ Category

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Trystan: and it’s good

March 8, 2010

So, school is definitely starting to catch up with me. My math class is exactly what profs back at the U said Norwegian math classes would be – stupidly difficult. So much theory / proofs I can barely grab onto what it means. Political Econ is really interesting, though I’m still nervous for the final. Norwegian is fun, actually. I really enjoy it. I’m not a huge fan of the teacher – she’s very unstructured still, and I learn quite a bit more on my own. The problem is conversation – I’m not quick enough to think on my feet. I should speak with Kasia and Darrio (both majored in Norwegian language) and other people learning it here, but that doesn’t happen often enough.

In other news, on Friday there was a Bad Taste Party at Klubb Fantoft. Everyone’s outfits were horrible and fantastic. Here I’m apparently trying to look as creepy as possible. Yes, those are mutton chops and that is a mustache. My hair was also excessively curly. Fun fact: I owned those pants before this party.

Seriously, I didn’t mean to look like a child molester and/or ’70s pornstar, it just kinda happened. Other people’s outfits were equally as awesome :D

Also of note: I just found a few new Cloud Cult songs (on the reissue of Aurora Borealis / They Live On the Sun). “And It’s Good” is really just awesomely awesome. Cannot wait for the new album this summer!

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Trystan: We need water, good good water

March 2, 2010

So say The Who. And so say we all!

A reference to both The Who and Battlestar Galactica!? They said it couldn’t be done.

Anyway, one of the things we’ve all been commenting on here at the bustling hub of Fantoft is how incredibly lucky we’ve been. It’s only rained once so far, and even then it just kinda sprinkled. Bergen, it turns out, is in a bit of a water crisis.

You see, Bergen apparently gets its water from above-ground sources such as lakes, rivers, etc (unlike most of the world). Bergen is also historically one of the rainiest cities, with an average of 274 days of the year having precipitation (generally that means rain – the freak amount of snow we have this winter hasn’t been seen in 50+ years). So, the reservoirs are drying up. They’re saying showers should be a max of 3 minutes, and they’ve already had to reduce water pressure in the city centre. Pretty crazy that the rainiest city in Europe is running low on water!

PS, it’s snowing again as I post this. For a city that typically has almost no standing snow on the ground, we have more right now than Minneapolis ever did last year!

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Trystan: Gdańsk, a thousand year old city

February 21, 2010

Gdańsk was amazing. It’s surreal to be walking around in a city that’s four times as old as the US. Talk about history.

IMG_4095We got there on Friday night, about 1am. European flights are awesome — I think I payed <$50 for flights this trip. We went out to this tiny little club with Kasia and her friends. It was weird, but fun. We stayed till around 3:30 (yay for European clubs!) and walked back towards our hostel, grabbing a kebab on the way. Granted, it’s not Polish food, but I had never had one before, and my god are they delicious.

The next day we got up early, and went to grab coffee and a nice breakfast since it’s so damn cheap. Kasia and her friend Pavoł (I’m sure I butchered the spelling) showed us around Gdańsk a bit. Afterwards we went to her friend’s place for some pizza and pre-partying. He’s been brewing for a long time, and he’s damn good at it. We went out after that to some clubs, and I think we left at 4 or so. Let’s just say that the excessively cheap price of beer has it’s pros and cons. Also, Donna broke my glasses, which I then proceeded to step on — so I ended up wearing hers for three or four days (thankfully our prescriptions were pretty close).

IMG_4103The next day, we met up with Cher’s aunt’s friend. Her husband drove us around Gdańsk, Sopot, and Gdynia. Incredible history! We saw where hundreds of years ago walls used to surround Gdańsk; we saw where WWII started; we saw where a handful of Polish postal workers held off a force many times their size, we saw where the Solidarity Movement started; we saw the longest pier in Europe; we saw an ice sculpture exhibit — basically, the grand tour. Back at their house (which was absolutely beautiful), they cooked us a huge Polish dinner. We had 2 appetizers, 3 or 4 sides, a couple main dishes, and 3 different kinds of cake. In short, we ate like royalty! I can’t express how grateful I am for everything they did for us. It was nothing short of incredible.

Monday morning came far too soon, and we were soon off to Stockholm, Sweden. I could easily spend another week or two in Poland, though — and I only saw one city!

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IMAGES

Top: Old street with church in background; inside the church

Bottom: Girl feeding pigeons; our travel group; Neptune fountain dated 1633

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Trystan: Løvstakken and Flunkyball

February 6, 2010

Gah it’s been quite awhile. Sorry folks. I need to get back in the habit of doing this!

Anyway, continuing! That Thursday (which was like, 3 weeks ago now, hah!) Maddie and I hiked Løvstakken. It’s one of the tallest mountains around here, which has two benefits. 1) It’s rather difficult and 2) stunning views. You can literally see 360º up there – mountains into the horizon on the east, ocean into the horizon on the west. Unbelievable. It was also super windy and cold up there.

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Please, click that to view in larger in Flickr. Absolutely stunning. It’s about half of what you can see from up there. We actually had to climb up with a rope at one point. How awesome is that!?

So there’s this game that a group of people play here on Thursday nights. It’s called Flunkyball and it’s quite possibly the best drinking game ever. 2 teams of at least 10 people, 40ish feet apart. There’s a liter bottle in the middle, with just a bit of water to weigh it down. One team throws a ball (made of something light, like tape) at the bottle to knock it over. If they do, their whole team drinks till the other team has recovered the ball and uprighted the bottle. Drink as in: chug as fast as you can. Drinking is a reward! Oh Germany.

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Trystan: A busy week

January 25, 2010

It’s been a busy week! Last Friday was the opening of Klubb Fantoft – a bar/dance club right on campus. Then Sunday we hiked up Mt. Fløyen – in the snow. It was really, really beautiful. Kids were sledding down the trails the whole way, some old people were bookin’ it up the hill, and everyone else was just peacefully enjoying the outdoors. Norwegians do this a lot, I gather.

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Maddie got here early Tuesday morning, and we left right after that. Us and 8 friends rented 2 cars and did a road trip to Hardangerfjord. It was just… wow. There really aren’t words to describe it. We spent the entire day in cars and had an absolute blast. Road trips are fun – but road trips with new friends, through the fjords of Norway? Amazing.

We took a ferry across and ate lunch that everyone helped make. It reminded me of Philosophy Camp, where everyone made something for everyone else to share. But the sights! Man oh man you can’t make this stuff up. I’m really excited to see it during the summer as well – mountains covered in green, and gigantic flowing waterfalls. This is such a beautiful country. There really is nothing better…

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Trystan: A random week

January 14, 2010

IMG_3784The last couple days have been filled with random activities, mostly. I generally haven’t had anything planned, but I end up being busy most of the day anyway. Last night there was an International Dinner on the 15th floor – everyone brought something from their own country. Now. America, whether you want to believe it or not, pretty much stole food from all over the world. When I asked people what American food was to them, a pretty consistent answer was “Uh… hotdogs?” Sad day.

But I did make deviled eggs (it was either that or apple pie, and apples are kinda expensive). I don’t have any pictures, but NOBODY had heard of them! And they turned out really well. It was so cool to try all these different foods, too, and to know that each person had probably had this “exotic” dish dozens of times.

IMG_3789Today I went downtown with Sam and got our resident permits, and wandered around a bit (we also went to Fretex, which is like Goodwill). After that we visited a church right next to Fantoft. It’s a beautiful wooden church. The original was built in the 12th century, but I guess a lot of “Black Metal” groups have burnt quite a few down. Really sad. I mean, I honestly don’t care what religion you are(n’t). But amazing historical sites? C’mon. At any rate, this was an exact replica that was rebuilt something like 20 years ago, I think…

Tomorrow, I think I’ll hike up Mt. Fløyen

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Trystan: At Large in Bergen

January 8, 2010

IMG_3738So today was my first real day in Bergen. Yesterday was a lot of detail work, moving in, etc. A bunch of us went out and explored – we tried not to do purely touristy things, but looking back at our photos we were rather touristy! Get it out of the system now, I suppose.

At any rate, we went down by Galleriet (a mall in a shopping area), wandered a bit (mostly to warm up I guess) and headed to the harbor. There weren’t too many boats, but I did see some really beautiful sailboats. Bryggen (the harbor) is just lined with gorgeous buildings, though. We didn’t go into many of them, as they were small and all of us together were large. We also stopped in at the fishmarket, which at this time of year consists of only 3 or 4 tents.

IMG_3736We wandered around the city as well as the residential area just to get a feel for it. Beautiful homes, with very narrow, half-used streets. Walking to city buses is definitely common, as streets often double as sidewalks.

Below is a view from kind of on top of where the castle is/was. It’s looking out over a large chunk of houses, but you can see how close they are, as well as how awesome the architecture is. There’s a really interesting mix of very historical and very modern architecture all throughout Bergen.

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Finally, we went in and around an old castle and church by the seaside. This should give you an idea of just how big it is.

Oh, and this street was super slippery. In the span of a few seconds we saw one boy sledding down it with his dad holding him, and this other girl just slipped, figured she was already down, and proceeded to scoot down the road. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

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