Hei hva skjer'a, Stavanger Norway!!!!
My first weekend in Stavanger, Norway was UHHMAZING filled with old and new friends, and oddly (but in a good way), tacos... a lot and a lot of homemade tacos. Before I came to Norway, I got contact of Keith's friend, who gave me the contact of Max, so I decided to meet him for dinner/drinks whenever I landed. I hurried myself out of the airport, into a taxi, and straight to the Thon Hotel (my home away from home) in the city center. Stavanger city center is so cute and quaint... I was having a great time just soaking in the city... Once I unpacked my bags, I got a hold of Max and he was having people over for drinks/food so I told him I'd go over there.
I got lost walking around the city walking from my hotel to Max's place, but I finally made it! It was very nice walk getting lost around Stavanger since I got to see all the architecture and the people a bit. I always think it's great to just sit and people watch or walk around to really get to know the culture and people of every city I go to.
I finally made it there, sweaty, foggy glasses, and all (had to power walk up a lot of hills..), and met Max as well as all his friends from all over the world. For dinner, we had tacos. For some reason, having a taco dinner is a Norwegian tradition, especially on Friday's... I am really not sure why.. but nonetheless tacos and beer with good company playing a FIFA tournament was a great way to start my first night in Stavanger!
Saturday was an amazingly beautiful, sunny, blue skies day so I walked around inside the little city, taking pictures, window shopping, but my ultimate goal was to find the electronics store to buy a SIM card for my phone.. that's when all the weird stuff started to happen... The weather was so nice that many people were walking along the cobblestone, but then all of a sudden it started to blizzard and all the people disappeared.. WTF??!?? Suddenly, I was the only person outside walking around.. and then when I thought I was in the worst part of the blizzard, it cleared up and sun started to shine followed by blue skies and not a single cloud in sight... WTF x2?!?!?! People started to trickle back onto the windy pathways... but then.. it happened again, blizzarding a second time!! WTF x3?!?!?!?!?! and this time, I was like, "you know what, I AM GOING TO THIS DAMN ELECTRONICS STORE!" I was so determined and just kept walking in the eye of the storm when everyone else took shelter. The bizarre snowing/sunny weather happened like three four times that day... the last blizzard I gave up and tried to take shelter into a little store, but that store I went into was the electronics store I was looking for! Perfect! After four blizzards, I finally got my damn iPhone SIM card.
Later that day, I met up with Petter and his girlfriend, Helena, as well as Max at a little cute coffee store along the "colored street" where we just talked, drank cappuccino, and ate Laduree Macaroons.. yum! What a great way to spend an afternoon. Afterwards, Max and I went for a beer run at the grocery store... He showed me the aisle of JUST taco stuff because Norwegians really like tacos on the weekend... so strange! But boy, is everything expensive in Stavanger.. one 10 pack of little cans of beer is approximately 60 USD... WOW. One beer at the store costs about 20-25 USD... one regular Burger King meal is approximately 35-40 USD... Everyone told me how damn expensive Norway was, but damn.. I did not expect it to be this damn expensive!!!
After beer run, Max and I went out on a little walk around the "richer" part of Stavanger with all the nice houses until it started to blizzard again.. The weather in Stavanger is so strange... If you think Texas weather is bipolar, please go to Stavanger, and see what true "bipolar" weather is.. haha.
Later in the evening, I was invited over to Petter's friend's place to go eat dinner. TACOS! Again! hahaha but this time there were all sorts of toppings for the tacos like pineapples, cucumbers, red bell peppers, pineapple salsa as well as using a nonconventional "outside layer" of pita bread! Not quite the traditional "Mexican" taco, but I guess this is what I can call a true NORWEGIAN taco! I had a really great time hanging out with new and old friend(s), eating, drinking, and playing card games. Oyvin and Elise had such an amazing view of the city below and such a cute little dog with an imposing underbite consisting of two huge bottom fang teeth sticking up.. their dog was adorable!
After dinner, drinks, and card games, we decided to go out! First night out in the town! We just bar hopped around since the city is so small.. we went to Cementen, Newsman, and Arkivet... they were all little bars with a very close, intimate atmosphere. I really enjoyed my first night out, but my wallet... not so much! haha This is when I REALLY understood how expensive Stavanger is! It's okay though.. Money comes and goes, just as long as I have a fun time :) and it sure was!
Sunday, I woke up early to get lost a bit in the labyrinth of little cobble stone streets of the city center of Stavanger while taking photos of all the cute little Norwegian buildings. I went back to the Colorful Street to drink a coffee and have some time for myself to reflect on my travels and to just relax. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with people, but I also love to give some time to myself. The day was so beautiful out.. blue skies, sunny, a nice cold breeze, and not a single cloud in sight.. my favorite kind of weather so I decided to just walk around some more.
Basically everything is closed on Sundays so I just walked around the Oil/Gas Museum and GeoParken, a graffiti filled skate park. It was a really awesome place for kids (and adults) to play. I found some really great pieces of art along all the skating obstacles.
I ended up getting a message from a friend I met at Max's about having a picnic by the Sverd i fjell, the three giant swords where supposedly THE three vikings came to unite Norway as one.. So of course I had to go! Max picked me up and a couple of new friends up. It was an amazing day to be outside, to enjoy the sunshine and the impressive background we had of Norway. Norway is such a beautiful country! I love it! After our little picnic of hotdogs, a hodge podge of beers, and chips we decided to take some photos up at the swords. They were massive!!! I could not believe how huge these swords were. We took some photos but decided to head back since it started to blizzard again... Seriously, bizarre Norwegian weather..
In the evening, Jeanette picked me up to take me to her new home along the countryside. Her house is so amazing... a quaint little country home right by the beach. The air was so fresh and the scenery.... breath taking! I fell in love with her home! It started to get a bit chilly, so Jeanette and I bundled up in all her winter clothes, mittens, snow jacket, hat, and all, and decided to take Milo, her absolutely charming dog, on a walk out to the beach. The walk was so good. I could feel the clear, pure country air soak into my lungs. And the beach.. wow! The sunset at Jeanette's beach is probably one of the prettiest sunsets I have ever seen (almost comparable to the Cafe del Mar in Ibiza, Oia in Santorini, and St. Micheal's Square in Florence). Who knew of this little hidden gem?? I'm so glad Jeanette invited me over to experience it!
Once it started to get dark (and very cold), we decided to head back and cook some dinner. Chef Jeanette prepared a chicken stirfry with me as sous chef! The dinner was great and healthy! I got to know Jeanette's fiance a bit more and just about Norwegian party culture! Norway is such a great country! haha but once it got too late, Jeanette dropped me back off at my home away from home, Thon Hotel.
Overall, this whole weekend was just amazing filled with friends, tacos, and home cooked meals. I am constantly surprised at the beautiful things God makes in this world (like the country of Norway) and consistently thankful for the incredible friends He has placed in my life. This weekend was a perfect weekend seeing old friends and meeting new ones. So far, Norway, you have been marvelous and I know you will continue to be :)! Excited to see what is in store for me this next week!