I was living in Germany for about three months when my parents decided to visit. My Mom had never been to Europe before and she convinced my Dad they would stay for a month. A month straight with my parents! Just kidding Mom. I love my parents, just wasn’t sure what all to do but I planned the perfect Northern Europe sightseeing trip (I am available as a travel agent at any time). It was a flurry of travel here and there. Thankfully we all survived and had a great time. Here are the highlights, part one.
First of all, my Mom decided to pack up my entire closet of stuff left at the house in OK and brought my belongings in the oldest suitcases (yes, plural) ever. They look like a carpet on wheels (see picture, I threw my cat in to spice it up a bit). On a gorgeous May day, my parents arrived with the two said carpets and their own luggage in tow. We barely fit into the car to drive the two hours to Oberhausen. The German’s mama, a gracious hostess, had organized a dinner party to welcome my parents. She invited a few of their friends and served a three course meal to fourteen people! The night was brought to a close with a plethora of after dinner liquors brought out and sampled.
The next week was a few short trips to Hamburg, Aachen and Köln. I love Hamburg, it has a cozy feeling that wraps its arms around you and welcomes you. We took a boat ride on Lake Alster which is right in the heart of the city, and afterwards we grabbed a beer and did some shopping/street wandering. We ended up at the Hamburg Harbour – as a container harbour, it takes second place in Europe and seventh place in the world. There are lots of restaurants there along the River Elbe, it was hard to decide. We ended up at a fantastic sushi restaurant where I stuffed my face until I couldn’t breathe.
Finally it was time for the road trip. ROAD TRIP! I gave The German a kiss goodbye and climbed in the driver seat of our rented Peugeot. We sped off, stopping in Kiel, Germany for the night and the next day hitting Kopenhagen, Denmark for a late lunch. Settling back into the driving routine we headed north on the E6 towards Oslo, Norway. One of my Mom’s favorite hobbies is researching our family geneaology. My father’s side of the family is from Norway, and mom had a few towns on her list to poke around and try to scrape up some ancestors. My mom’s side is a bit trickier, possibly Northern Germany, possibly parts of what is now Poland. We were on a family mission.
Oslo was expensive. Hotel, food, even smelling the flowers were big bucks. My mom is the Energizer Bunny and she was ready for some serious sightseeing. We hit the Viking Ship Museum (pretty cool), the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (an open-air museum, with a variety of traditional houses from all over Norway, lots of activities take place such as folk dancing, arts and crafts, baking, yadda yadda yadda) and some castle type place. After that my dad and I needed a beer asap, I believe the total for 3 beers was equivalent to $35. The favorite of our Norway sights was the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The park covers 80 acres with over 200 statues created by Gustav Vigeland. Most of the statues depict people engaging in various human pursuits, such as running, wrestling, dancing, hugging and so on. And amazingly, it is free.
The next portion of our trip I booked online – Norway in a Nutshell. AMAZING. If you go to Norway, you have to do this. NIN trip coming up in Part II.