God Jul! Jeg elster deg!
Bodo Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
Today I got up quite late to find a stocking on my door. Alexander was quite insistent that I am not an adult and as such should recieve a stocking too. I have also taken part in the obligatory national costume wearing for women in Christmas Eve. Every woman gets a specially-made national dress when they are confirmed at 15yrs. They are specific to the Norwegian county, so Bodø's can be either green or blue for 'inland' and 'coast' and they can choose according to their colouring. I wore Elisabeth's which was far too big for me and hence not very flattering, but still fun to try on. Unfortunately for Victoria it's traditional for the ladies to wear them all day, so while I gratefully slipped out of mine, she had to stay in the heavy hot thing all day.
Bodø is built beside a military air base. There isn't a lot of car traffic because of it's remoteness; more air traffic and boat traffic. Stein-Rune is a military helicoptor bloke. He fixes the age-old Sea Kings for use in rescue and freight I would guess. Elizabeth and Stein-Rune tell a story about how it became a military base; when the Americans wanted to spy on the Russians in the cold war. So they flew this spy-plane over the Urals but then run out of fuel, so they chose Bodø because of the midnight sun, so they could see where they were going, and then they would dismantle the planes and ship them back to Pakistan in inconspicuous boxes.
Norwegians apparently owe a lot to the Americans for investing in their country, building up their infrastructure, so they have been brought up to feeling indebted to them, and consider themselves quite Americanised.
So before lunch we drove to the mælstrom. It was quite a long drive round the fjord to opening, and very pretty. It's been an astonishingly clear day today, in fact it seemed so much lighter than yesterday when I got up, and remained so for much longer it seemed.
The mælstrom wasn't as impressive as I hoped, but still very cool. The water ran very fast, though it's impossible to capture on camera. The whirlpools and eddies form and reform, and big fish plop out of the water in confusion, while gulls swoop to catch them. Alexander insisted on a picnic of sorts (coke and chocolate) and then we drove home to catch Santa in the street, but sadly missed him.
So we had Christmas lunch with our hosts and Elizabeth's parents Bjørig and Knut; simple salted and seasoned pork ribs with potatoes and vegetables. In Norway potatoes are plain-boiled and the vegetables were from frozen. Elisabeth makes no illusion of the fact that she isn't a dedicated cook but in fact even at the airport the restaurants advertising 'Christmas dinner' showed pictures of the exact same thing. Following discussion about how this could be, we decided that here in England, Christmas dinner has been adulterated over time. Even in Victorian times our Xmas dinner would have been quite different to the present-day. We have beem more open to cultural introductions and changes in taste because of our checkered history.
Then there was present-opening, not too soon for Alexander!
Alexander and I later settled down to watch Pirates of the Caribbean II (most films are in English and subititled in Norwegian), interrupted half way to have more unleavened bread in cracker form (like Ryvita), with cinnamon and sugar (enchilada shaped), chocolate and uncooked sheep's leg. : I can report that, having been assured it's just the same as eating parma ham etc, that it tastes very much like lamb but very salty. I can live without it to be frank.
I think shortly we are attending a Christmas mass at the church. No one here is especially religious, but Elisabeth's opinion is that people often get to know an area by looking at their churches, and that they are far more atmospheric when they are in use. I'm curious anyway since I've never been to a xmas mass, and I can't see that it won't be both pretty and soothing. Also, it has snowed, so it's a white Xmas here.