Norway, days 18-21

The story’s the same for this week: it’s been raining and I’ve been staying in. Until today! Because today is our anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been four years. Happy anniversary, Matt!

The thing to do in Oslo is to go to a fancy restaurant and have a several course tasting menu. So I hunted down a not *too* fancy restaurant that also had a vegetarian tasting menu and that’s where we went. It was called von Porat, located at the fairly new Mathallen Oslo. (Coincidentally, the photo at the top of Mathallen’s website seems to have been taken from the table where we sat.) All the food was so pretty, I took pictures of what I had just for you.

20130530-222650.jpgTo go with our meal we had some great sourdough bread served with local butter and pork fat with pork crumbles. I stuck with the butter.

20130530-222843.jpg First course: parsley root, charred pickled onion, and julienned apple with some kind of nice herb sauce that I didn’t catch the name of.

20130530-223052.jpg Second course: poached egg with cheese sauce and fresh herbs. Unfortunately, I don’t like soft poached eggs. If I had told them they probably would have made it differently for me. Oh well.

20130530-223242.jpg Main course: charred cabbage, charred pickled carrots, and grilled king oyster mushroom with potato sauce. I was so excited about this course that I almost started eating it before I took a picture!

20130530-223528.jpg Matt’s main course: veal, pickled carrots, pickled radishes, peas, broccoli, and mystery bubbly sauce. I got to eat all of Matt’s pickles.

20130530-223800.jpg Dessert: nyr (a cream cheese ice cream, strange, but good) infused with coffee, rosemary sweetbread, and rosemary blueberry sauce.

It was definitely a fun place to go for our anniversary dinner. And now we’ll try to stick to cheaper restaurants for the rest of the trip!

In other news, we’ve decided to go to Sweden for the weekend. It’s so nearby, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity! It’s a four hour bus ride to Göteborg, Sweden’s second largest city. We already bought some city passes that will give us admission to tons of museums, public transit, etc., and even included our hotel. Online reviews say that the hotel has a great free breakfast, which I’m pretty excited about. Scandinavian breakfast is something we’ve sort of missed out on since we eat at our apartment every morning. Someone even said they have Swedish pancakes…

Our bus leaves at 5:00pm tomorrow and we’ll get back Sunday night. It should be fun!

Norway, days 16-17

The trend seems to be: rain all week with beautiful weather on the weekend. It’s worked out so far.

Yesterday we went to do some outdoor things around Oslo, since the weather was so nice. Our first stop was Akershus Festning, the fortress that you’ve probably already seen photos of on flickr. There was also a great view of Oslo across the fjord from up there.

Admission inside was only $8 (which is so, so cheap in Oslo), so we went for the tour. The lighting wasn’t spectacular in there, but I still got some good pictures. The audio tour also included some (usually humorous) ghost stories. We brought a picnic lunch and ate outside when the tour was over. On our way out we noticed a big crowd of people and lots of horses. We didn’t know that we had walked right past the police horse barns on our way in, and they were apparently having some kind of show that day. Unfortunately, the show barn was too crowded to see what was going on, so we didn’t stick around.

After that we hopped on the ferry to Bygdøy to see the Norsk Folkmuseum. It’s a mostly outdoor museum with over 100 reconstructed original buildings from all over Norway. You can go inside many of them, and some of the more recent ones even had photos of their last inhabitants. I loved the loft style houses.

20130526-235207.jpg They looked like something out of my favorite Christmas book when I was little, “Trouble with Trolls”. (And it makes since, because the author visited this museum to do research for her illustrations for the book!) Another cool building was the Stave church. I believe that it’s one of the last still standing.

20130526-235620.jpgSpeaking of churches, we decided to go to the American Lutheran church service this morning. It was only about a 10 minute walk from our apartment. Coincidentally, we saw the person who invited us to the international pub night the other day there. After church there was coffee and waffles (free for visitors!). They’re having a picnic in a nearby park next Sunday, so we may be going back.

This afternoon we took the tram up to a pretty park overlooking Oslo. In this kind of weather, everyone in the city seems to flock to the parks for sunbathing and grilling. I think 70° is a little cool to be wearing nothing but a swimsuit, but I seem to be the only one. The naked children playing in the kiddie pool and the man wearing a speedo on his back porch seemed to agree.

P.S. I did a little more research on the rabbit island when we were thinking up things to do this afternoon. It turns out that all the rabbits were killed in 2007 to protect the native vegetation. So much for all those adorable pictures I was going to take… T_T