It's getting to be that time of the year! I feel like we're all thinking about snow and Christmas early now that we're stuck in quarantine during these crazy Covid-19 times. I feel like I know so many people breaking the "Wait Until After Thanksgiving" rule, just to have some holiday cheer early. My sister and her family even put up the Christmas tree a week ago haha!
Normally for the Holidays, my family will trade off doing a Christmas or New Years away one year and then at someone's home the next. This year would've been our time to do one of those big family trips together, but we're all stuck at home now. Still hoping my parents and I can even make it up to Newport where my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew live to celebrate Christmas with them. But Rhode Island has much stricter travel rules, and Maryland's rates have been pretty bad. Fingers crossed!
Reminiscing on past travels now since we're all stuck at home. Wanted to share with you all our family trip to Norway the Christmas a year before last.
We started in Oslo in the city, staying at the hotel where the Nobel laureates stay when they come to Oslo to get awarded. The old school craft cocktails were certainly award-worthy haha (sorry I couldn't help the pun). The city also was having their annual Christmas market. My nephew asked to go on the ferris wheel every time we passed the market -- and given that the market was right outside of our hotel's entrance, he asked A LOT for ferris wheel rides. Near Oslo, we also got to see real live viking ships. Did you know Vikings actually buried their dead in an intact ship and buried the ship underground, not actually set the ship on fire and sent it to sea? We also went to the Vigeland Sculpture park to see all the bronze statues and to Norway's National Art Museum to see Munch's "The Scream."
Then after a few days in Oslo, we traveled far north to Tromso. Tromso is the second farthest city north, so second away from the North Pole and Santa! In Tromso, we did dog sledding and pet all the sled dog puppies. One of our dog sled guides was actually training a sled team to do the Iditarod. We also fed reindeer on Christmas Eve; little John, my nephew, was very confused why none of the reindeer had red noses like Rudolph lol. My brother-in-law and I went on a night time snow mobile ride -- he drove, not me (I'm a scaredy cat). That was when I got my first glimpse of the Northern Lights on our night hike as a break from riding.
But the BIG reason to go was to see the Northern Lights. We had to chase the Lights all the way to the Norway-Finnish border, and technically we were in Finland when we saw them. But we did see them! They said we were extremely lucky that year to see the lights, since that year the sky was especially cloudy so the lights were hard to see. Good thing we caught the lights on a clear night! It was soooo freezing that people either had to take turns standing by the fire or hopping inside the tour bus, before going back out into the brush to see the lights. Still, even with the fresh fire and hot cocoa, I was so cold! But I wouldn't have traded off seeing the beauty of the Lights, even if we did stay up until 3am and froze our butts off.