Last Day.

My last day abroad was greeted by a nice wavy day a the pier Me and julie and jenny hung out by the water for a bit and then Julie went to t a Crit so me and Jenny met up with Jack and Julia and we all went ot het some traditional english tea and wait for julie to get out of class. After That jenny and julie had a meeting so me and Jack and Julie went to a Great antique store called snoopers paradise and looked around for a bit and we did some more shopping too. After that we went to the local fair but it was just closing so we didn’t get to go on any rides, bummer. We made our way to the pub and played cards there for a good while. Rob met us there too. we all went back to jenny’s for a chat after the pub closed. LEaving tomorrow morning, Robs mom is driving me to the Airport, should be an interesting day.

I caught Jenny’s flash perfect during a camera fight.

Brighton

I spent the day in brighton just relaxing and hanging out with rob mostly, it was a good day. I went into the lanes shopping for a bit and then down to the water where I just looked at the pier and watched the water for a bit. I talked to a guy working at a local surf shop for a bit and then went and took a nap on the beach for a hour or 2.   After that i walked around and got some sticks of gum and a cherry coke, 2 things i haven’t eaten/drank for months. (they only have the chicklet gum in ireland). After that I met up with rob and we walked around for a bit and got some dinner at a little Japanese restaurant which was reallllly tasty. I also got an opportunity to see the work hes been doing since he was at MCAD as well as check out what he’s going to put in his Senior Degree Show. Should be EPIC. We went to his house and talked about the website that were making together and we watched home alone 2 and relaxed. After That I met up with Jenny, Jack, and Julia and they were going to go a club and I didn’t feel like paying cover so I went back to the pier and checked it out at night. After that I spent 15 minutes figuring out how to get to Julie’s room since She has no buzzer and I had her phone all day. Made it and then went to bed.

London

I caught an early train to London and got off the train and walked above ground and there was buckingham palace. its really a cool building, the best part is the crests on the gate. after that I jumped on the underground and went to the TATE Modern. Its a good museum but after coming from all of the most famous works of art in the world I just didn’t think that it was as good as it should have been. Youre not suposed to take pictures, but i did sneak one of the amaizing instalation by Joseph Bouys. I also Saw the Globe theater nearby, its a reconstruction of the original one.. pretty cool. after that I walked over millennium bridge and made my way all the way over to the tower of london. There was a fun race going on for the British heart association, so I grabbed a bite to eat and watched the race for a bit. Then i walked over to the london bridge, let me  tell you its really not impressive at all. but right next door the tower bridge is GREAT. I waked over it and what not took some photos and then took the tube to Leicester square and looked around for a bit. after that I caught the train to Brighton and met up with julie jenny rob and the whole crew. Julie just finished watching the Chelsea vs. Barcelona soccer match and Barca won. great.  we hung out at the pub for a bit then a few of us went to Ramsey’s house for a glass of wine before heading to bed.

Oslo > London

So i got on the airplane no problem and off to england to meet up with julie. only problem is I got in earlier than her so we decided to meet in london. well one thing and another I got the meeting spot confused so we were bot freaking out. But i sat outside of starbucks, poached some WIFI and used skype to call her and we got it sorted. we met up and caught the train to brighton. Im off to london tomorrow for the day while julie and jenny have class.

Boats and Houses

Today I woke up got a killer breakfast and immediately headed down to where the boats are. I jumped on a boat tour. It took 2 hours and we went all around Oslofjord It was really great and there was some info but I was standing above deck for most of it so I just took in the beauty of the whole experience. It really looks like minnesota here and I can understand why so many norwegians moved there. Especially northern minnesota like in the boundary waters. After that I jumped on another ferry to museum Island I check out the Norwegian Folk Museum which housed so many cool old norwegian buildings I walked around in there for 3.5 hours and saw all of the museum. when i finished looking at the houses I went to look at the exhibits but they were closed for the day which was a bummer. So I decided to go over to the Viking ship museum. This was SO cool there are 3 REAL viking ships there: Osberg Ship Gokstad Tune
They are all really old and were excavated but please click on the links above to read more about them. in the museum were all of the artifacts that were taken from the ships after they were uncovered and the ships.

After that I went to the KonTiki Museum which is a museum dedicated entirely to Thor Heyerdahl and his expeditions. The museum holds His original boats that he used to sail across oceans as well as the replica easter Island heads that he made. Again Click on the link above to read more info as there is so Much. After that I sat on the pier and waited for the ferry to pick me up and I just watched some racing sailboats practice maneuvers. It was great.

I got some dinner at a little shop and the girl working started to speak to me in Norwegian and then she got all embarrassed when I spoke english and she was all like: sorry, I thought you were Norwegian! After that I walked past a protest for something and back to the hotel to take a shower and relax for a bit, It feels strange to go inside when the sun is still up but it doesn’t set until about 10:30.

Off to england tomorrow. for the last leg of my travels.

Oslo Fjord panorama
Oslo Fjord panorama

 

Oslofjord Panorama
Oslofjord Panorama

Oslo 1

Today I walked around nice and far, first I went down to see the museum of modern art, but it was closed so I didn’t go, instead I went over to check out the opera house which is a really cool building that you can walk all over. After that I walked up to the Design museum and looked at a lot of contemporary furniture and that was really cool to see, they also had a great ceramics display too. After this I was going to go to a gallery called the Office for contemporary arts that Aaron told me about, but it was closed, on my way i passed a gallery called hausmania so i went to look at the show, there was a really funny piece in there about nigerian prince email scams. I looked around that area for a while and ran into a little art sale thing in a back alley, it was really cool. i walked along the river for a bit and then went across a bridge and sat on a huge tree rope swing in a nice park for a bit. after that I made my way to the natural history museum and botanical gardens. I went to the geology museum first, my 2 favorite things in there were a huge piece of copper from a mine in michigan on the keweenaw peninsula. and A piece of rock from the moon along with a norwegian flag that was taken to the moon. after that i went to the zoology side and it was interesting but looking at dead animals is just not that entertaining. after that I got a waffle and sat in the botanical gardens for a bit. After i walked through some of the flowers and looked at the gardens. after that I went to the train and bus station to see if i could get a train or bus ticket to go to the Fjord and town that my dad’s side of the family is from to see the family farm that is still there. It would be a 18hour bus ride (roundtrip) or a even longer train and boat ride if i wanted to get there, so This time I dont have enough time, when I have time to come see Scandinavia proper I will go to see the farm. after all that I was really tired again from the lack of sleep in italy so I crashed early again. 

Its really great here except 1 thing It is soooo expensive Im talking about minimum price for anything is 10nok which is $1.53 and a bottle of coke is usually 20 or 25 nok and it just goes up from there, luckily my hotel has a great free breakfast that Iv been capitalizing on and eating as much as possible to keep me full through the day. Another funny thing that keeps happening is that People will come up and start talking to me in Norwegian and I have no idea what they are saying but its funny because I’m in a place that I actually fit in. Tomorrow Im off to see the Norwegian history museums so that should be good to learn some about the heritage. 

oslo panorama
oslo panorama

Norway Arrival

Well I caught my 3:30 am bus to the airport in italy and my 6am flight to Oslo, arrived around 9 and took the bus to the city center. The city is nice here, small but big feels like minneapolis, the drive to the city from Torp (the airport) seemed like i was driving through minnesota. I arrived at my hotel and laid low for a bit and then I went out to see the museum of contemporary art which had a good show on. called “Hypocrisy: The Sitespecificity of Morality” for more info click on this H , after that I went to The Akershus Fortress and hung around for a while and looked over the water and watched some sailboats for a while. After that I walked down the main shopping brag and looked at a few things on my way up to the royal palace. after that I was really tired so I came back to the hotel and made an early night of it.

Magic Marco and Schiacciata [aka. Marco shows us around his home]

 

This is I think by far the most fun day I’ve had traveling thus far. Me, Nate and Erin took the early train to Montevarchi to meet Marco at his home. he met us at the train station and we headed to his car with magic doors that open automatically. He proceeded to drive us around to a few small towns in Tuscany and bring us to some of the most Stunning vista’s I have ever seen. Overlooking rows and rows of Vineyards and Olive tree Groves. In one of the towns we stopped to get some bread Called Schiacciata which is the best bread ever. ever. we brought it home for lunch. We arrived at Marco’s Home for lunch and he showed us around his delightful home. We met his Mom, Dad and Aunt All very very very very very nice people. Only marco’s dad speaks a tiny bit of english so Marco’s english translating skills were really put to the test! He did wonderfully all afternoon. Marco’s mom and Aunt cooked us a traditional meal with Pasta first and after that We had Roast Beef, Tuscan Rabbit, Peas, Schiacciata, And a few other things. We also had wine from Marco’s other aunts Vineyard that was made not far from his home, VERY VERY good wine. ontop of that we got to use Marco’s Grandfathers olive oil which is produced just for the family, its not sold. We also drove through his grandfathers olive tree grove earlier that day. And when we left they sent us home with 2 bottles of it so we can all have it when we get home! After Lunch Marco took us to Siena And showed us around, this was a treat. I fianly figured out what the flag that Brian sent me in ireland was for. in Siena there is a Plazza called the Piazza Del Campo and in that square twice a year they have a huge full contact no restarints bareback horse race. Each neighborhood of the city has a team and they have a horse and jockey and it is a MAJOR event here. the flag that brian got me was for one of the best teams. The race is Called the Palio di Siena:

READ MORE HERE
The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, Italy, in which ten horses and riders, dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards.
The seventeen are: Aquila (Eagle), Bruco (Caterpillar), Chiocciola (Snail), Civetta (Little Owl), Drago (Dragon), Giraffa (Giraffe), Istrice (Crested porcupine), Leocorno (Unicorn), Lupa (Female Wolf), Nicchio (Seashell), Oca (Goose), Onda (Wave), Pantera (Black Panther), Selva (Forest), Tartuca (Tortoise), Torre (Tower) and Valdimontone (literally, “Valley of the Ram” – often shortened to Montone).
The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, involves circling the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually last no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza and indeed it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys.
A magnificent pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.

We hung around in the plazza for a bit and then met Marco’s friend Manna which lives a few houses down from Marco and they grew up together. We ll chatted for a bit looked at the church got some ice cream (those of use who still had space after the largest meal ever). and then we went back to marco’s house for a second before heading back to Florence with Marco driving us there.

one thing I forgot to mention Is that May 1st is a national holiday (labour day) in italy where everyone has work off and everyone just goes out to party. So there were many people around, but the place to be on the 1st of may is in Roma and many Italians go there to celebrate and attend concerts.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that its NATES BIRTHDAY!!!!!! and Marco’s family was very happy to celebrate, ante has a video so I will need to get that from him, but Marco’s Mom made nate a cake and put 25 candles on it and we all san happy birthday to him in Italian. a lot of fun. The best part is that when Marco came to the US I invited him for Thanksgiving Dinner and that was his Birthday So its like almost the same thing! A BIG meal and a birthday. A LOT OF FUN.
After the cake Marco’s parents offered us some champagne so we drank a a bottle of italian champagne as well, and it was SOOOO tasty. after all of that we drank some Real Italian Cappuccino and Espresso. this was the best coffee I have ever had in my life.

so after Siena we got back in Marco’s car and drove back to florence. we went to a street market and got some food and drink and sat out front of one of the churches and talked to Marco and his friends that met us there. Manna was there too. They all soon left to get back to Montevarchi and Nate, Me and Erin went to a local MicroBrewery and got a pint before heading to bed. At 2 am…. Ive gotta catch the bus at 3:30. should be an interesting 1 hour of sleep! off to Oslo tomorrow

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH TO MARCO, YOUR MOM DAD AUNT AND FRIENDS FOR MAKING THIS DAY ONE OF THE BEST IVE HAD IN A LONG TIME. I hope to see you soon in minneapolis Magic Marco!

ps. MAGIC MARCO was Marco’s nick name that I coined while we played Soccer together in minneapolis on the MCAD team. Marco has a match with his soccer team tomorrow, wish him luck!

more on marco’s team HERE

Tuscany Panorama  with Olive Trees and Vineyards
Tuscany Panorama with Olive Trees and Vineyards

 

Piazza del Campo Panorama
Piazza del Campo Panorama

And Lastly: Marco gives a Cheer!

Lock up David’s Love

Well me and Nate and Erin did the same thing that I’ve been doing for a while now, just walk around, but today we had more of a plan of attack! First things First we went to see the David Sculpture by Michelangelo . Its really big and truly deserves all the hype it gets. After we went to that we got a cupon for lunch and entry to a DaVinci Museum for 7€ … cant beat that. we looked around at many re-creations of some of the great inventors inventions! After that we decided to go see the Duomo. We went inside and looked at the ground floor and the HUGE dome, they modeled the Vatican dome after the one in Florence. after we were inside we decided to go to   the top to get a good view of Florence, it was great there was NO wind and it was a spectacular view. On the way up we could see the painting of the dome better and it was really interesting to see the Detain of the painting, not very detailed. but I guess it is really high up so no one can tell anyway. After that we went to meet Marco so that he could give us the info for going to his house tomorrow. Should be a great time. He showed us a good restaurant to eat at and then he showed us what tickets to buy at the train station, turned out that nate and erin could use their Eurail Pass so only I needed to buy a ticket. Marco made it on to the train in the nick of time and me Nate and Erin went back to the hostel and got ready for dinner. on the way to the Restaurant we saw a GREAT sunset over the river. we just so happened to get there at the perfect time. we went to the restaurant he recommended and the food was GREAT but the service wasn’t the best ( I don’t think they liked the whole english speaking thing). After that we started to walk to the David’s original location before the moved it indoors for preservation. Its a really nice park and a GREAT overlook of florence. 1 more thing to tell you about. Around florence there are the bushels of padlocks. We asked marco and he said this: They are when 2 people will write their names on them and lock them to a place in the city and throw the key into the river or off of a cliff or what have you. this will Lock up their love or to stay together forever or whatever. it was a really nice Idea and we saw 7 or 8 different places where there were huge bushels of locks around the city.

 

Florence Panorama
Florence Panorama