24 Hours …. not the TV show!

We made it. Just checked in to the Novotel at Heathrow and the staff could not be friendlier. Had a wee issue and they sorted …. talk about a can do attitude 😊

The flights were great. To LAX, had a colleague who I flew with “back in the day” look after us well. Thanks Stuart x Watched the obligatory couple movies, including a hilarious Aussie one …..Swinging Safari πŸ˜‚

As usual the immigration process in LAX made you feel like you were a risk to the Trump country, even though you knew you were a good person πŸ˜‚ lots of the staff like to yell at the queues, makes you scared to put a foot wrong. A quick march back to the gate for the next sector and round two. Picked up Arran on the way so now we are 3, tomorrow we will be 6 😊

Nice wee display in the terminal at LAX

The flight to LHR seemed to go pretty fast, watched a great movie/doco on The Dance Exponents. Really good.

That shower after 2 long flights feels amazing, so now that we smell great, we are off to the local … The Pheasant Inn……

Shirley Valentine…..

Finally, the girls trip is here, 6 single woman, one beautiful island, and lots of hours till we are there !! Leg one …. get to London, where we will all meet up.

As usual, a great start to a trip, check in and head to lounge for a celebratory bubbles and nibbles, but not before I had surprised us both by losing my boarding pass !! Not my usual modus operandi πŸ˜‚

It was located among the fragrances as I was carefully choosing my new β€œsignature”, Dolce and Gabbana…. The One. ( where are you ? ) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Route March to gate 18 and navigate some extra β€œsecurity” to ensure we meet the criteria to enter Trump Territory.

About to board and hand over the home made brownie to the fabulous crew who are kind enough to look after us for the next 12 hours. LA here we come 😊

Angry Baby….

So there is a park in Oslo, Frogner Park, which in the summer would have a bit of a Hyde Park feel to it with its rows of large trees. The similarities end there as this park is full of statues of ……. naked bodies!

The park is also known as Sculpture Park. All of the statues are by the same man, Gustav Vigeland. The most famous of them …… the Angry Baby.

There are many other statues as the Park covers a large area and is open at all times, attracting visitors all year round.

The tall “monument” in the photo is made up of naked bodies too.

A nice park to wander through.

Sognsvann

Today we walked around the forest and lake area of Sognsvann. It was absolutely stunning. The lake was frozen so we were able to walk out onto it. A lady was drilling a hole in the lake and fishing. We chatted to her and she let us have a “fish”.

The area is very popular for the people of Oslo to walk, run and in the summer, swim.

Such a different experience, walking onto a frozen expanse of water, it took a few minutes to tell myself that it was safe, it wouldn’t crack ! I sat on the edge of a pier, no water to pop feet in….

Hi Folks….

This morning we had a wander around the Folk History Museum. It was awesome, we saw various decades and history of houses and farms, tasted freshly baked Lefse and saw the beautiful Stave Church, medieval and wooden.

It was all the more beautiful covered in snow 😊

The sunset tonight was stunning after a day of mostly fog!

God Jul😊

Merry Christmas from Oslo. β„οΈπŸŽ„

It’s a great feeling to have a new place to tick off. Arrived in Oslo from LHR with SAS, in a very familiar 737, this one was a 600 series. It still had that same drone as the 200 and the unmistakable engine change at top of descent. I slept most of the 2 hours, as the 2 long flights from Auckland took their toll and to be fair, the body clock had been craving sleep during the long stopover in LHR.

Andreas and Hannah were there at arrivals, armed with hat and scarf for me, ready for the outdoor temperature……. -6. Outside was pitch black and covered in snow. Such a pretty sight pulling up at the Fossums…… snow all over and the house lit up. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas……..

Dinner…….. soooo Good! Fresh salmon patties in burgers, I found a new fave. I didn’t last long before sleep was calling again and I was in bed, my first day in Oslo already done. Sunrise the next morning was beautiful ……….. at 0845!!

Time to finally get up and begin the adventure, I tried loads of new foods at breakfast …….. among them ……. brown cheese. Crazy colour and it takes like caramel πŸ˜‚. Had an amazingly creamy blue cheese that gave Kikurangi a run for its money.

Hannah. Andreas and I caught the bus to town and did the tourist thing …… first up, some Christmas markets in Sami tents. So warm in those tents and filled with Christmas goodies and local food delicacies. Walking though one of the theatres, we came across a lady doing Yoga! Google says it’s Kate Moss….. And then ……… a Tiger !! This statue was to celebrate the city’s 1000 year anniversary in 2000. Oslo’s nickname is the Tiger City.

Next up was the Opera House where we walked on the roof and through the beautiful foyer.

We then walked around the harbour which was frozen in many parts, I had to throw a 1 yen coin on the surface to check it out 😊

Next stop was for Hot Chocolate and then off to see the Fort, a really imposing stone fortress with canons lined up facing the sea. Kept those Germans out many years ago.

The walk along the harbour front was so pretty with loads of restaurants and bars in a pedestrian area, ferries coming and going from the opposite side and trees lit up for Christmas.

The sun was starting to set again and it was only 3 pm !

The home of the Royal Family was next and we caught the end of the changing of the guards. I liked this castle, sitting up high and not barricaded off.

The final stop of the day and the place that they had been strategically keeping me away from all day, was the Christmas Vinterland, and it was beautiful!! The foods like lefse……. a flat bread for the holidays made with potato and this one was filled with brown cheese……. so tasty, hot almonds with a sugary coating and salted caramel flavoured licorice. Had to stop, sit and enjoy the sights with a Mulled wine. This mulled wine had raisins and chopped nuts in it, such a great mix as you drank, not knowing exactly what the next mouthful would hold.

The market was accompanied by a Ferris wheel and ice skating rink.

Notice the sky…..this time of day after sunset is called the blue hour and it’s very pretty.

A bus ride home and dinner awaited ……. reindeer stew. Had to try it……. it was great. Served with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I just didn’t let words like Rudolph, Dancer, Blitzen go though my head πŸ˜‚

I was falling asleep and it was only 7 pm, bed time ………..

Houston ….. no problem

What a great city. Now I only had 2 days there but what I saw and what I ate, I loved. The people seem quite relaxed, less robotic than say …. some other states , with a bit more personality.

The 3 places I ate at did not disappoint. Dinner one …..Pappacitos, Mexican of course and delicious. Great Guacamole with a tiny bit of a bite and sensational shrimp fajitas. These yummy finds were accompanied by a Margarita but a Margarita with a twist ……. a twist of Sangria added to it. Delicious!

Breakfast the next morning at a cute place called Le Peep, with a fabulous menu and many great choices. I chose a healthy Feta Omelette which was really good but that didn’t stop me trying my companions’ blueberry pancakes and they were very light fluffy and hit the spot. Totally worth a visit, even though we had a wee wait it was very pleasant in the sun.

The mall was beyond large with its very own ice skating rink and MASSIVE Christmas tree.

Had a blast wandering around the Galleria, stopping to look at every store that had Ugly Christmas Sweaters 😊

Dinner number two at a Gastro Pub called The Tuck Room. This dinner was not only easy on the budget, it was soooooo tasty. Lobster Rolls, flatbread pizza and potato croquettes accompanied by a bottle of Pinot Grigio, a memorable meal in a lovely location with some interesting art spaces.

Would love to return to Houston and see a whole lot more 😊