Living from my Backpack!

Wow! Again- it’s been a long time.  A LOT has happened!  I met up with a friend of my brother’s friend (what a connection, I know) and had coffee with him.  We went on a hike from Sognsvann to Frognerseteren and made a pit stop at Ullevålseter, a cabin in the forest that serves hot chocolate, waffles, sandwiches, etc.  It’s mainly a big hub for cross-country skiers- I’ll be sure to make a trip there once the snow starts falling!

The following Thursday I began my big solo adventure to Belgium and The Netherlands.  I arrived in Brussels and easily found my hostel-  I toured the city a bit that day and ended it with a nice meal with fries (of course!) and a walk around the beautiful square with all the lights.  That night I met an English bloak who wanted to tour the same things as I the next day, so we spent the next day visiting a flea market,  the Atomium, the Palace of Justice,  and the Cantillion Brewery; which was a very unique brewery where they serve Gueze, a sourish beer that tastes……interesting.  But, it’s the only place in the entire world that they serve this beer, so I felt like I needed to experience it.

After much persuasion from family, friends, and folks and the hostel, I decided to go to Bruges. Oh man! What a gorgeous city, I’m so glad I decided to go.  The buildings were all in the old style, very well preserved. And there were probably 100 castles.  They had canals going through the whole city; it was like a cleaner, more old-fashioned Venice.  And what a pleasant surprise, there were some spectacular art exhibitions!  They had both a Picasso and a Salvador Dali exhibit going on, and they both were quite impressive.

The next day I set off to Amsterdam.  What a gorgeous city! I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be so nice, but I got off the train to see these beautiful buildings, canals, the sun shining, and friendly people!  I checked into my hostel- which was basically summer camp for grown-ups.  Equipped with a bar IN the hostel and plenty of comfy hang spots to sit down, relax, and meet some new people. I decided to forget all my sights and I wrote down and was planning to see and just took the city by storm.  I explored all around letting the canals guide me. J I stopped to eat a sandwich on some nice benches and an older Dutch gentleman sat down next to me.  After a while we started chatting, mostly about the birds that were trying their hardest to find some bread crumbs around the benches.  He knew that I spoke English, but I don’t think he quite realized that I didn’t understand Dutch- but, as I learned on this trip, laughter is the universal language.  Our conversation was mostly hand gestures, a mix of dutch-english-norwegian, and lots of laughter.

That night I met not one but 3 Americans!  I haven’t hung out with Americans in so long… we spent the night playing cards, going to dinner, and just chatting.  The next day my friend Peter whom I met in Bozeman while he was on an internship there came to visit me in Amsterdam (he only lives about an hour outside the city by train).  It was good to see a face from home!

The last day I spent walking around the city and meeting some more interesting people at the Hostel- it really did have everything you could possibly need, it was a great place to meet people.

I came back home to leave again in two days to Gøteborg, Sweden.  What a gorgeous city!  The buildings were beautiful and the atmosphere was pretty similar to Oslo- a big city, yet it had very cute little neighborhoods that make you feel all cozy inside.

On Monday I threw a Halloween party to show these Europeans how Americans celebrate Halloween- with costumes and candy and yummy food of course! It was a hit- especially the rice crispy treats!

Two days later I cooked dinner for my birthday (although, I cooked a pasta dish that my mom usually makes for me, and no matter how much I try…it’s never quite the same as she makes) and invited some friends over.  I got some nice gifts and of course great company.  Marie and Aisha got me a new troll for my collection- a little baby!  It was definitely the highlight and now my little troll family is complete!

This weekend I’m off to Bergen with Marie and Carolina- we will stay with some of Marie’s friends from Russia.  I’ve been quite the traveler- I feel like I’m in a constant pattern of packing then un-packing my backpack!

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