Norway Road Trip 2017: Sæbø on Hjørundfjorden

The first stop on our Norwegian adventure was in Sæbø, a small village about an hour away from Ålesund in western Norway. The Storfjord is the main fjord in the area, and many people pass through here on their way to and from the Instagram/Pinterest-perfect UNESCO Wold Heritage Site that is the Geirangerfjord, which branches off of the Storfjord. However, that was not on our list. We were invited to a wedding in Sæbø, which is located on Hjørundfjorden, another branch. Got all that? If not, check a map because I can’t say fjord that many more times without hitting myself. But there are pictures, so click on!

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5 Things I Loved About Norway

BV and I returned from our Norwegian adventure last week Friday, and I’m still riding high (apart from that whole “work” thing) from it. This was an absolutely incredible trip, and luckily I’ve got about 4,000 photos to flip through whenever I want to relive a piece of it. In the interest of preserving my memory, and friends/family just being able to scroll through a post rather than listen to either of us wax poetic about it for several hours, I do want to get a few posts organized on here, but no promises on when that might happen.*

In order to get my thought process flowing, and *perhaps* to whet the appetite of the lovely readers of this blog, I thought I’d start off with listing just a few of the things that made me go all heart-eyes-emoji for two straight weeks. To the list!

1. Friendly locals

“Chin scratches!”

Say hi to (not sure how this was spelled, but I’ll go with) Miku! This sweet pup lived at one of the places we stayed, and in between checking in on the cows and sheep, would wander past our terrace for a pet or two. Anyone who knows me knows that I lose my mind at the sight of most dogs, so nothing makes me happier than a furry friend coming around to join me for my morning coffee. But this wasn’t the only friendly local we met. Click away for the one with the best view in town…

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Sunday Snapshots: Playing Tourist

Franconia, 2014

I’m not normally one for posting pictures with people in them which makes this one an exception. Normally I shy away from portrait work, but I needed exercise in getting out of my comfort zone. This was the last shot I took on a lovely summer day, in which an equally lovely friend let me take a ridiculous amount of pictures of her as we wandered through our city center. Artsy lady days are fun days. 🙂

Sunday Snapshots: Lights

Lake Garda, 2015

Lake Garda, 2015

You know what I miss? Italy. Was that not obvious?

Slowly walking along the edge of Lake Garda after a fantastic dinner, searching for a still-open gelateria, finding that PLUS finding a outdoor bar/cafe with a live band playing blues rock*…. Oh my goodness. So wonderful.

*In my opinion, finding anyplace with live music that involves zero DJs is cause for excitement.

Sunday Snapshots: Game Time

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Salzburg, 2010

Salzburg is a city that completely enchanted me on my first visit. Since then, I’ve been back quite a few times but it has lost none of its magic for me. Something about the fortress rising above the church towers, the soft whites and pastels of the buildings, and the hills rising all around it just makes me absurdly happy every time. I’ve managed to get there almost once a year since my first visit, so here’s hoping I can squeeze it in again this year!

Now for the real question: in a town that can sometimes almost always be crawling with tourists (note the souvenir stand in the background), are these guys locals or just passing through? The hat to me says tourist, but the fact that they brought their own chessboard (as opposed to playing with the giant set a few steps away), says local. Thoughts??

Sunday Snapshots: Bohemian Dreams

Český Krumlov, 2011

Český Krumlov, 2011

Soooo… apparently May is the month when I go to a lot of palaces. While this last photo of the month is not technically OF a palace, it was taken from the gardens of the castle in Český Krumlov. Go figure.

Quite often, you’ll find Český Krumlov on those ever-popular lists with titles like “20 Villages Off the Beaten Path You MUST SEE in Europe,” but I think it’s safe to say that the secret has been out for a while now. Don’t mistake me, Český Krumlov is lovely and well worth a visit, but considering it has a history dating back to the 15th century, it’s not a recent discovery. Just make sure to watch out for bears

Sunday Snapshots: Leafy Strasbourg

Strasbourg, France 2014

Strasbourg, France 2014

Oh, France. I love you so much, even when you are fairly German. Two years ago we went to Strasbourg to celebrate BV’s birthday, and it remains one of my favorite city trips I’ve ever taken. Charming does not even begin to describe the twisted, cobbled streets, and who can possible argue with literal pyramids of macarons? Pyramids of macarons!? Seriously.

Sunday Snapshots: Prague from the Gardens

Prague, 2009

Prague, 2009

If you venture beyond the streets filled with tourists in Prague, you just might find yourself here, overlooking the old Troja Palace. This view can be seen from the city’s Botanical Gardens, which are far enough from the summer mayhem to give a sense of serenity but still close enough for a view back to the main castle complex.

Of course on our way back to the city from here, we found ourselves at the finish line of the Prague Marathon, complete with Samba bands and small children dressed like extras at the Rio Carnival parade. Because that’s how Prague works.

Sunday Snapshots: Obama Mania

Statues? Ninjas? Ninja Statues?

Statues? Ninjas? Ninja Statues?

One of the advantages to living in a capital city such as Prague is getting to see more notable people passing through than I could back home. While there, I saw Prince Charles and his entourage strolling through Mala Strana, the Pope’s caravan of cars driving along the river (and the window was cracked, so I may have glimpsed the top of his hat), and of course the championship-winning Czech ice hockey team. Though the hockey team had a fairly impressive welcome home party in Old Town Square after their victory, none of those caused quite the kerfuffle that our very own president did when he visited in April of 2009.

On that epic day, I gathered with a group of friends, and we joined the sea of humanity that streamed up towards Prague Castle. Using public transport that day was completely out of the question, as was any thought of escape once we had all squeezed through the crooked alleys and streets that lead onto Hradčanské náměstí, the square in front of the castle, where President Obama would be speaking. Our group struggled to stick together, making our way to a less crowded space with a decent view of one of the big screens. We noted the sniper ninjas placed on buildings around us, cleverly blending in among the statues that edge most of the rooftops of the square. We noted the lack of beers in hands, nearly unheard of for any public gathering in the CZR!

Soon though, the time had come. I took this picture of pictures when Mr. and Mrs. Obama first appeared on the big screen. Smartphones weren’t too big yet in 2009 (at least, not in the CZR), so this feels charmingly dated to me.

prague crowd

Also, if you think a kid hanging off of a taxi stand sign is dangerous, you should have seen the one who had climbed up into one of the enormous lampposts. He probably had a better view of the stage than us. So we made due with the screens broadcasting the man himself…

obama prague speech

So young, so dark-haired, so optimistic.

To be honest, I definitely had to google in order to remember what the speech was about. Foreign relations, to be sure, but Wikipedia tells me that the main thrust of his speech that day was on nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War world. That does sound familiar, but for me it was really more about the experience than what he was saying.

It’s not too often that you have the chance to see your country’s sitting president in the flesh (on a video screen, or teeeny tiny in the distance if you hop up and down #shortpeopleproblems), and who knows if it will ever happen again? And at the risk of sounding too political, this election cycle kiiiiiind of makes me want to stick my head in the oven so it’s nice to think back on a day that I was happy to be an American in Euroland. Let’s all hang on to those memories, shall we?

Sunday Snapshots: Cathedral Details

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Detail in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin 2010

Like last week, today’s picture comes courtesy of A.’s visit a few years ago. During our whirlwind weekend in Dublin, we tried (keyword: tried) to ingest a bit of culture along with all of the delicious, delicious Irish beer. Thus, we stopped into Christ Church Cathedral in the heart of Dublin.

This was another instance of being in a place that nearly overwhelms with the amount of history that it has seen. There was an incredibly helpful, and characteristically chatty Irish gentleman at the door that was eager to share the story of the church, and after a history lesson with him, we wandered the aisles and marveled at everything from the floors to the rafters.

Since this was six years ago, I honestly have idea what this picture is of, exactly, but there is something about it that I love. It’s slightly creepy, but so vivid in detail that it almost seems like it might come to life and bite right through the rope (or branch? or arm? What do you think that is?)