Summer vacation (Norwegian wedding summary)

After just one week at my new job, I took two weeks vacation for our Norwegian wedding in northern Norway. We picked up Carolyn on July 4th, and started driving north. We drove about 13 hours the first day, and made sure to stop a couple of times to fill up coffee and give the dog a break. The second day we drove the last 7 hours, and made it to the summer house at Gjelvågan in time for dinner.

Driving through Songdal - fjord Norway (western Norway) is the prettiest drive.
Summer skiers...people skiing on the 4th of July - only in Norway
Hard to see, but just behind Marius is the landmark for crossing the Arctic Circle
We had a few days to finish decorating the old gym and some fun stuff before Mom, Dad, Aunt Jill and Uncle Jeff drove in. We decorated the old gymnasium of the community center with a marine theme. Rigmor was very creative. To drop the ceiling, she borrowed some fishing nets from her brother and bought some rice paper lanterns. We found some glass floats in the basement of the summer house, that back the day were used to hold up fishing nets. For the centerpieces, Rigmor bought some cheap glasses from IKEA and we filled them with a layer of sand and a few shells from the beach. It came together very nicely!

After hours of decorating, Marius and I took Carolyn and Pancho for an easy hike up Storgjedden before going home to make dinner. The next morning we woke up to great weather so we decided to do some kayaking, swimming and running. I love it up there!

Moose (elg)

Thursday night, the rest of the Americans drove in. We stayed up til 2:30AM talking and getting excited for Saturday. Friday night we had a dinner for the people who travelled up for the wedding, as well as the family members who would be hosting some of our friends. Dinner was served at an old general store that has been turned into a museum (called Falkbrygga). We ate a traditional Norwegian meal called lapskaus, and were given a short presentation about the place (which included a reading of the insurance papers - we thought that was really funny for some reason).

Saturday morning came, and the weather was very grey. Luckily no rain! Elisabeth (Marius' aunt) came by and took a few pictures of us; a couple on a bench, a few with our beloved Pancho, and some walking along the beach.

We went to the church and had the ceremony. Some of it was in english, but most in Norwegian. Marius' little cousins, Veronica and Isabel, played a classical piece their violins during the ceremony and they did so well! Then before we knew it, the ceremony was finished and we walked out of the church. Outside stood Uncle Ingvar's old DKV from the 1950's East Germany. A Norwegian flag and an American flag were fixed to the front bumper and in the back window was a sign that read "Third time's the charm". Hysterical! Our driver was Marius' younger cousin, Knut.

From there we drove to our wonderfully decorated hall and partied. Our friend Knut Erik was a great toastmaster. Toasts are the main feature of the Norwegian wedding reception, and Knut proved to be the best pick. He was good at introducing people, inserting comedy and some fun new games that were supposedly Norwegian tradition. One such game was that whenever Marius or I left the room without the other, then all the single guys and girls had to come give us a kiss on the cheek. The band was also great! They played our song from Grand Rapids ("More of You" by Chris Stapleton) and lots of my favorite songs. We didn't get home til 4AM! It was a lot of fun and totally different from the wedding we had in Grand Rapids.

Beautiful mittens knitted for us by a cousin with the coordinates
of the wedding location and the wedding date. Mine have the fish!
Our friend Kjetil played his accordian for us!

Sunday we moved pretty slow, but the day zipped by, as it did the morning after the Grand Rapids wedding. We ate leftovers and cake, lots of cake, and caught up with all of our friends who took on the challenege of getting up there.

Monday we did a hike to Svartisen with the family and some of Marius' family. The weather was perfect for it! A good day for everyone!

Just after crossing two ice cold glacial rivers. Carolyn and I each took turns
carrying Pancho over
Pancho was outside almost 24 hours. He preferred sleeping
outside in the grass.
On Tuesday, Carolyn, Mom, Dad, Jill and Jeff drove to Bodø and Marius and I drove back south to Bergen. Pancho stayed with his "besteforeldrene" at Gjelvågan so that they could help me out and watch him while I work on the boat. On Thursday, Mom, Dad, Jill and Jeff made it to Bergen, and I was due to head out to sea on Saturday. So we did a hike up Ulriken on Friday and then ate dinner and had some beer downtown. I was sad to leave before they did, but I was glad at least Marius had a couple of days of transition before suddenly being alone for two weeks. Now I'm at sea. My next entry will be about my first week on the boat.

Thanks for a great summer vacation Mom, Dad, Aunt Jill, Uncle Jeff, Carolyn, Marius, Tron, Rigmor, Katrine, Knut Erik, Martin...and everyone who came to be with us for our Norwegian wedding. Both weddings were extremely memorable and I can't wait to start making my scrapbook!

Ulriken hike

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