Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Scandinavian Traveller: Likki the Trimmed Beaver - Chapter Three

Hubby mentioned that I should also post about Likki at home, it is after all part of the Scandinavian Adventure, so I've been watching her and actually caught her enjoying life in our little flat as well...

Here she is writing postcards, spreading her stuff all over our small dining table.  And look at all the stuff she has, tapes, crayons, stickers... looks like she might be doing this a lot!

Then I spotted her watching TV, as if she could understand anything, since most of the channels we get are either in Norwegian or in Swedish, but then again, maybe, like me, she's trying to learn the language... plus she's a remote hog, I tell you!

Plus she took a liking to the local beers it seems... that is something she has in common with the husband. I'm told they have decent Pilsner here, or so it seems... I wouldn't know, nor care to find out.

As long as I don't find her belly up in the living room, past out or something, I don't care.  But to be honest, come on, look at the size of that can, it's Viking size!  But I will give her this, she's classy and drinks her beer from a glass, not only is she a trimmed beaver, she's a classy one as well!

As I was ready to go to bed, I saw some light coming out of the living room and saw her looking through Bacefook... Maybe I should create her own account so she could post her pictures from this trip directly on, but then again, I'm already reporting her travels on here.

This will conclude today's chapter of Likki's Scandinavian Adventure, at home.  You must admit, she does keep busy despite how people may worry about her being bored or wasting time.  I'm not to concerned, she's an intelligent beaver, and she will find something to do.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Scandinavian Traveller: Likki the Trimmed Beaver - Chapter Two

This week we headed more North-East to explore that area.  Unlike last week it wasn't raining, just cloudy.

Eventually (I hope) it will be sunny, it will be sunny, it will be sunny - this has become my mantra - but at least it wasn't raining.  That's an improvement I'd say.

This exploration was along road 834.  We followed the coast, heading towards some mountains.  The scenery was pretty, too bad it wasn't more clear, but still it was pretty.

One of the many waterfalls we've seen today

We made a little stop to check where we were (yeah, the husband is that way when he explores: he likes to know where he is), so I went out to look at the mountains and decided to take a few shots, and Likki did a photo bomb, the little bugger!

Further along the way, about 15 km from town, there was snow still in the fields (unlike in town, where there's no snow left) and even the little lakes here and there were still frozen... It made a beautiful picture, with a little fishing cabin in the back, really cute I'd say...

We kept going a little further, and drove by this beautiful lake and scenery, even despite the clouds, it looked like the sun was trying to peek out...

Likki, enjoying the little sun she can get.
Kept going, as Hubby wanted to reach the end of the road in Festvag.  And after twists and turns, and ups and downs we arrived at the end of the road.  It is the second time that we reach a road that doesn't go any further: once in Hawaii in Kauai and now here, expect that in Kauai there was no ferry bringing you anywhere it was the ocean and that's all.

In Festvag, there is a ferry bringing you somewhere else... don't know where (yet) but we might find out later in the season... We turned around and started to head home.  We took a turn along the road and decided to explore that way.  The views were really pretty, and even saw a few houses where they had hung fishes to dry, really native, no doubt we're in a fishing area of Norway...

Don't you think it's pretty?  Imagine when the sun will be out, it will be gorgeous I tell you!

Sun peaking through the clouds...
To me, this shot looks like when someone has an epiphany or something, when God graces us with his presence.  I could almost hear the angels signing in the background!  ... just kidding!

As we're slowly heading back for the center of Bodø, it started to drizzle a little.  Hubby mentioned that a coming car was flashing him.  A few minutes after we've past that car, this big guy was standing there, with a partner.  We had time to pull over and take a few shots.

Talk to the butt, tourist!
I know some people back home who would love to kiss that butt goodbye!  And that fine Norwegian moose closes Likki's Scandinavian Travel for this week.

Sweet Patootie!

I had hoped that coming here I would be losing some weight.  I had a feeling I wouldn't follow WW much.  Not because I didn't want to, but because it would be different food.  I was right.  Since we've been here we've eaten differently than we do at home.  For one we don't have as much vegetables, and we live right next to this fabulous bakery where they made these extremely delicious breads. I think I've fed myself on their raisin bread (with butter) for the first ten days.  It had the better of me. 

To add to my torment, not only do Norway has great breads, they also have good chocolates. My first taste of their chocolate was on the flight from Oslo to Bodø.  I had a little milk chocolate bar, and it was deliiiiicious!  I'm not a chocolate snob like my husband who only enjoys dark ones, I loooove chocolate.

Freia has really tasty goodies
They also have good cookies, with chocolate!  I know I could NOT buy any, and then not eat any, but then again who are we fooling here?  I'm too easily tempted. And I succumb even more easier when it comes to that smooth,
rich flavor, that sweetness which fills my mouth. 

During our grocery run yesterday I wanted some cookies to dip in my tea at night, and then I saw this cookie with chocolate that caught my eye because it was in French and its name.  I don't see my husband's name often on treats, so I had to get it!  Plus it does look good, no?


Michel et Augustin sont de Lyon, France

We've also been seeing this TV commercial where they advertise this "new" chocolate bar, Stratos, and each (yes, EACH!) time Hubby says, that's not new that's just like our Aero!  Yesterday I bought one, I will see for myself if it is just like our Aero...

I haven't tasted it yet (yet being the key word).  So, as you can see, my diet is going great!!

I will be coming back to Montréal, looking like my little Moomin... ah!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Things I've noticed thus far re. mat*...

Before coming here, I did have some concerns about the food I would find here, not that I'm a fussy eater but more because I'm not really a fish fan.  I thought they would eat a lot of fish, and maybe they do, but in almost three weeks I haven't seen many places where they offer fish.  I did find the fishmonger shop, not that I was looking for it anyway, but found it anyway.  Yeah, I'm a winner like that!

One of the few things I've noticed here is the weird restaurant combination they have in town: sushi-burger!  Yep, they offer sushi and burgers, because those two are like peas in a pod. Not and yet,   many restaurants have that written in their window.

Last night we went out and ended up at an Asian restaurant, or so they said.  They had sushi and one plate of duck, one of dim sum (which really didn't inspire me) and one of pork belly... We went for sushi and sashimi.  The restaurant's decor was pretty and the service was good (actually got to chat quite a bit with our waitress about Bodø and Norwegians in general) and I actually enjoyed my meal.

Sushi - Rolls @ Ohma

The husband had ordered some sashimi of salmon and halibut and he said both were very good, and fresh.  Since he was still hungry he decided to try some Tataki whale - he likes this raw shit - since we've seen whale advertised here and there in Bodø, we figured if not here then where?

Tataki Whale
 As you can see on the picture, it was served in some type of oil, flavored and something else that turned out to be heavy after a few bites, according to the |Mister, since I didn't try it.

While he was munching on his whale I had some chocolate cake. O.M.G.  I've had bad desert but this one took the cake!  When my plate arrived I think I was too surprised to even take a picture.  It had three little squares of cake not even an inch big, with a teaspoon of mandarin mouse on a crumble of dried chocolate type crackers, I'm telling you, it was bad. And I had made the mistake to order a cappuccino - also a first for me as it was so friggin' bad, no foam what's so ever...  1500,00 NOK later (which is about $236 CDA) with wine, we walked home not too impressed. Yes, Norway isn't cheap!

Another thing I've ate since here, that I'm still not sure how I feel about is some black licorice chocolate covered!  It's an interesting taste combo.  I bought a bag of misc. chocolates (their chocolate is actually very good) and from the pictures on the bag I could tell that it contained some milk, some dark and some caramel.  The first time I got a licorice one I was taken aback, a new taste sensation to say the least.  The jury  is still out on that one...

And lastly, in every grocery stores we've been in, they have a BIG wall of candies in bulk.  Lots of candies like we have (like gummy  bears, some sour type gummies, etc) and lots of different chocolates, nuts, etc.  They sure like their sweets those Norwegian folks...

*mat is food in Norwegian

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Scandinavian Traveller: Likki the Trimmed Beaver - Chapter One

Montréal, March 18, 2015
During my last visit at a client, one of them had baked a Norwegian cake and gave me a little stuff beaver because of an inside joke we had going, as a farewell for our Scandinavian Adventure. 

I liked it a lot, and was truly touched by the gesture.  I had decided to make it my mascot for this Scandinavian adventure of ours.  I thought I could bring it along and take pictures of different Norwegian things.  Thing is it's not small, and despite its good looks, I've felt kind of shy or embarrassed to pull it out of my carry-on to take pictures at airports, etc. (yeah, I know, who would have thought; me shy!  But I was!)  So, it stayed in my luggage until we got here.
Bodø, March 29, 2015

I took a few shots of it through our little flat, in Bodø, like this one of it on the windowsill in the living room.  I've taken a shot of it with a bunch of postcards I had bought, and got a few comments from Postcrossing members about how cute it was, so I thought I should be using it more.

Yesterday during our walk, since it was a (rare) sunny day in Bod
ø, I thought of bringing it along but decided against it, since the weather changes quickly here and I didn't really know where we were heading I didn't bring it.  Today, being yet another rainy day in Bodø we decided to go explore some more, but this time by car.  
Likki, as we're leaving Bodø

Doesn't it look comfortable and ready for a road trip?  I  just love how you can see its' tail reflection in the windshield.  We left Bodø's center of town and headed East towards the University of Nordland.  It's not it town as such, but about twenty to thirty minutes out.  The area around it has grocery stores, drugstore, pizzeria, you know the typical things for students...
University of Nordland

We kept driving, since there wasn't much around there.  We headed towards Saltstraumen.  We had to go through tolls and two long tunnels.  The navigation system in our rental car (a Mazda 3) is pretty neat, at least I think so, it showed the speed limits, and was quite accurate and also showed the tunnels - the display changed and I thought it was cool, check it out:

Navigation system in tunnel

Coming out of the tunnels, which were fairly close together  (Editorial comment:  it was weird driving through a tunnel and not feeling like some part might fall on us, really felt like we were in a foreign country.) and really through rocks, with gorgeous snow covered mountains as background.  I will say this, the scenery in Norway is quite nice, between the mountains, the fjord, and the grey skies, because since we've been here we've seen blue skies only a few times so far...

Scenic view post tunnel
View along the road, where the rocks had funky striations
Likki posing
Bridge leading to Straumøya
There were two bridges (as well), long ones too, which led to a little more rural and remote area.  There were some fishing camps at the bottom, and when I got out of the car to take a few pictures, the smell of fish was quite present, to say the least.
View from the other side of the bridge

There we also saw an actual beach, more than just a shore line, and it looked like actual sand.  I do know there are a few white sand beaches in the area, so seeing that little one was pretty.
Little beach by a cow field
We kept driving down that very narrow road, where we couldn't really meet another car, one of us had to pull aside to let the other go by.  We (read Hubby who was doing the driving) were looking for Bodø from the other side, since so far we've seen this coast in the distance, so we wanted to see Bodø the same way, in the distance...  We couldn't find a road that would really lead us to the coast line as such, we were following the coast. 

Bodø in the distance
There was this little dirt road which looked like it was leading towards the water, so I told Hubby to go that way.  He was hesitant, afraid that some Norwegian farmer would come running out with a shot gun or something (yeah, he watches a lot of TV) plus the road was full of holes and we could get stuck if not careful. He's quite wary when he drives, but we found what he wanted to see.  The picture doesn't show much (it was taken with my cell phone after all), but we could see the Scandic Hotel and the Control Tower of the airport. 

We then decided to head back to Bodø Sentrum, and along the way passed not one but four moose.  I guess the postcards I've seen (and sent) were not only for the tourists benefits but because those big beasts are quite common.

Hubby had never seen a live one before, only steak in his plate at my mom's - which he truly enjoys either as steak or as fondue meat, which is always a treat - I was excited to see not one but four of them simply grazing in the woods.  We both agreed that it must be hard to spot them, an this despite their size, from a tower and in the forest.  They have a great natural camouflage.

I was also happy we got to see them only, and not hit them as we could have done given they were standing by the road.

One of the four...
We did manage to get back, rather quickly, and without any sightings of anything else, big or small.  For having been out and about for a few hours I need to eat a little something, so we went to the cafe below our flat.  They have a daily soup buffet, homemade,  which is rather good, so I enjoyed a nice soup and cappuccino and a cold one for the husband.

Post Road Trip @ Kafta Cafe
Wouldn't you say it was a nice way to close this first adventure of Likki the Trimmed Beaver in Norway?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Wind Warning!

Today was a windy day in Bodø, really windy and I think that we had every type of weather possible from sun, to snow, to hail and rain - and everything in between!
Hubby has been following the weather warnings and last night we could hear the wind rattling the windows, the way the rain hit the windows was a strong indication of the winds.  Supposedly, according to our landlord, storms are not that common in Bodø.  Wind yes, the weather shifting rapidly yes, but winds like last night and today, not so much.  Good to know!

Actually since yesterday the city center has become alive.  Funny how dead it was, due to Easter, and how different it feels now.  You can hear kids playing, that alone is very different from anything I've heard since we've arrived.  Even walking to the grocery store, there was people everywhere in the mall.  I will say this, it is nice to see 'cause it was pretty dead before and despite being a nice town, it was dead!

While grocery shopping I've noticed a can of fish balls.  Naturally having the twisted mind I do, I couldn't help to think: "Geez, those are mighty big fishes to have balls this size!" - I know, I know, I'm bad, but come on, tell me you didn't think of that too!

Someone asked me what they (the Norwegians) ate.  From what I've seen so far, lots of frozen stuff - understandably so since being so far, frozen is the way to go, for vegetables and such.  They don't have that much canned goods, and what they have isn't what I normally see, like fish balls and lots of different fish products.  One thing I've noticed though, is how everything is in Norwegian, some things (like the fish balls) will have an English translation for the title, but when it comes to instructions and such, Norwegian is the way to go.  I've been told, a few times already, when I've asked about the language, that there are many dialects so learning it will make it "interesting" to say the least.  To get back to what they eat, I was told today, by the landlord, when I mentioned buying a toaster, that they don't toast their bread because they buy it fresh daily.  We buy bread too, ok not daily but every other day I'd say, being with a bread lover, and we like it toasted as well.  As if we toast bread because it's no longer fresh, strange.  I like my toast in the morning, especially, thank you very much.  I will not enjoy smoked salmon for breakfast.  For an appetizer at dinner, delicious.  But for breakfast?  No thanks.   I did try some funky stuff while in Japan, like raw egg that you either "drink" or put over rice, and yes it was an acquired taste, but (thank God) it wasn't fish.  I do enjoy some good sashimi, but not for breakfast.  Call me fussy.  But come on, look at the size of me, there's your proof I'm not that fussy!



Monday, April 06, 2015

Against all odds

As you (may) know, I'm an active Postcrossing member.  I've been for over four years now.  I love it.  It's a serious addiction.  I can not go anywhere without thinking and looking for postcards.  Since Bodø is not that big of a town, I thought I would ask other postcrossers in Norway - there are only 1,105 members (on a +5 millions population) - if they would be interested in swapping some Norway cards with me.  I did contact five members to start, and was quite surprise to get an answer right away from one of them.

This person actually lives in Oslo and get this, is presently in Bodø, visiting her family for Easter!  What are the odds?  I can't get over it.  Look at the map of Norway, it's not a small country.  I don't know about you but besides Oslo and Lillehammer I didn't really know many other towns here.  And looking at the map, Bodø isn't the first place I would think of... Don't you find it funny that the one person who does answer me is currently in Bodø as well?   Let's see if she does contact me again once she'll be back in Oslo.

Tomorrow, should be a return to normality here, since the Easter break should be over (for most, that is).  Hubby will be really doing what he came here for, alone, since the other person went back home a few days ago.  Tomorrow, I will make my way to the post office and mail about twenty postcards.  I won't even try to figure out how much it will be.  It will be expensive.  Like everything else in Norway.

Today I took a picture of a commercial on TV, advertising some specials at a grocery store. 
I know it is in NOK, but still, whenever I see a price like that I can't help but catch my breath a little...  That is about $3,85 CD, which is much better but then again, it's still more than what I would pay back home for 2 avocados.  Last grocery run we did it was almost 2,000 NOK - it goes fast and yet, whenever I shop for food, I don't look at the price, really but more at what it is I'm buying.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to make friends with the Post Office people, since I will most likely be "visiting" them often!  I might stop by the Kommune on my way, and see if I could get some info about maybe a Norwegian class.  It doesn't seem to be an easy language, but the writing/reading part seems easier to me, than what I've heard of it.

Let us see how that goes, if it goes at all...

Friday, April 03, 2015

My Chocolat for Easter!

On our flight from Oslo to Bodø, there was this little magazine "Scandinavian Traveler" in the little pocket of each seats, where I saw this ad for Chocolate & Baileys... It looked delicious.  Already that Baileys isn't too shabby, but a chocolate one had me intrigued.

Wednesday, while running some errands with the husband we went to a liquor store (oh, big surprise) and there it was!  I had a glass of it tonight, since everything is closed due to Easter, and man, oh man, this was not disappointing!

This is really yummy! The Norwegian adventure is getting better one sip at the time!

Happy Easter!!

Ask and you Shall Receive...

Since I was asked by Phil Plasma (I had a feeling it was you MC), and since I had taken pictures of our flat, I will also post them here (they all are in our travel album on Flickr)
As you enter our flat (Coat and Shoe Racks on the left, bedroom on the right)

The Master Bedroom
The Guest Bedroom

Dining/Kitchen/Living Room
Same, different angle
Fridge on top and mini freezer below
View of the Kitchen, with oven, induction stove top and dishwasher
and last but not least...
our bathroom, with the funky space saving shower and the mini washer
And there you have it, that is our humble home for the next three months.  It's small, it's cosy and now it's clean!!