Arriving and settling in
Bodo Travel Blog› entry 2 of 8 › view all entries
December 23rd, 2006 – by: Tannith
They have been pretty disappointed with the weather on our behalf, as they know I hoped for snow and reindeer, but apparently it is actually quite rare to snow in Bødo, and in fact it is quite a long drive to the closest place; the closest town is an hour away, and beyond that the closest Norwegian town is 8 hours away! In fact the second closest town is in Sweden.
We went shopping today, everything is extortionately priced. The exchange rate is 11.4 so 100 kroner is about ten pounds. A hairbrush (I forgot mine) cost me 4 pounds, and the tiny phrase book we bought which was 115 kroner I converted the wrong way, thinking it was about 1 pound 50p was actually about 12 pounds! Thankfully most of their Christmas celebration involves visiting family and friends, and I understand that most Norwegian houses here are designed for entertaining. Elisabeth explained that English people really only use their houses for sleeping and entertain and socialise 'out', so we decorate our houses less.
All the houses here are very pretty, though unfortunately my camera phone cannot capture the details. From the kitchen window you can see lots of pretty houses all clustered up and down around a snowy hill. You can see into everyone's houses as everybody leaves their lights on all time, even when they're not in.
So we visited Elisabeth's parents today for coffee and I had some patisserie cakes; unleavened bread with cinnamon and sugar, donuts, viennesse type biscuits and chocolate biscuit-type cake. Dad is cooking our traditional xmas dinner today, much to the delight and relief of Elisabeth who enjoys food but really isn't a big cook, and to the consternation of the rest of the family who think it is really unfair to make Dad cook half the night and all day on his first day here. They don't understand how much of an imposition he feels we are, and also how neglected he feels to be excluded from cooking on his favourite feast!
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December 23rd, 2006 – by: Tannith
After visiting Elisabeth's parents Bjørg and Knut (pronounced Byoorig and Knoot) we came back for a traditional ENGLISH Christmas dinner, which considering an unfamiliar kitchen, electric oven and the reduced availability of the usual Christmas trimmings (we had to bring a lot of ingredients with us eg cloves, sausagemeat, green veg) was actually one of Dad's best. We were joined by Elisabeth's sister, husband and 3 children. They were suitably impressed with the food, if not the green vegetables, which we were pre-warned wouldn't be popular seeing as they don't grow in Norway so are pretty unfamiliar fare.
Later we had lots of different biscuits and cakes and sweets which I can definitely cope with. After which we took a drive with Andre down to the cemetary. We had passed earlier in the daylight and Elisabeth commented that there would be many candles there later. It's a lovely Norwegian tradition that at Christmas everyone visits the gravestones of their family and leave a light, so the graveyard is alight with flickering candles. Impossible to take photos of sadly!
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Norwegian's BIG day so we are half-expecting both sets of grandparents round. Apparently Christmas Day is a nothing day! People sleep half the day, play with the toys they recieved on Christmas eve. We are planning a long drive pending weather. Apparently they are 25 minutes from the largest mælstrom in the world, so we're hoping to see that. I didn't know what one was, so for your benefit (although I sincerely imagine that this is not news to you) there is a very large fjord with a very tiny entrance to the sea so when the tide comes in a very large amount of water rushes in through the tiny gap and forms a very large whirlpool. And then perhaps the same when the tide rushes out again. So we are checking when the tide is strongest and when the light is best.
So that's it for now. I'm sure tomorrow will be mostly home-based family stuff so I may not write and then hopefully we will be out and about doing and seeing stuff when Christmas is out of the way.