Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NO - Trondheim

June 29                 Wednesday                        Norway                                Trondheim                         

Rejoice- the sun has returned!  It’d been such a dreary span of days that you could tell Trondheim was excited to revel in the warmth and light.  The street market was jam-packed; as were the tourist sites.  My first stop was the Nidaros Cathedral, which unfortunately prohibited all photography on account of when they allowed no-flash photos… people kept using flash.  Bah… I hate when people who don’t know how to work their crappy point & shoots ruin it for people who actually know how to use a camera.

As I waited to ascend the tower I took a moment to write out a prayer… well, not really a prayer so much as just a muse I figured someone out there might enjoy: “Evil is necessary for Good to find meaning.”  I kind of wondered if they’d read that aloud; I wondered if someone might find some meaning; if I might spark some great reformation which would only know to attribute it to some anonymous signatory “Bossi”; and I’d be thinking in total modesty… that’s me!  I started the reformation!  …Or they might just toss it out since it’s not a prayer request.  Oh well.

Within the same wait I took to looking at some of the stained glass windows near the tower entrance.  The one immediately right of the entrance, at the top of the window, totally has a Wookiee in it.  Sure, the girl managing the tower tour assured me that it’s Jesus; but I still assert that it’s a Wookiee.  Jesus wasn’t that hairy, even with the most hippie-esque of mangy beards.

Up the tower I snapped some photos, and soon I was being advised it was time to descent… too short a time to appreciate the view, but at least I got pretty much all the photos I wanted.  But my favorite part was probably the journey itself: first you ascend stairs at one of the church corners, then you cross over to another stairwell nearer to the center of the church.  That crossover is along the wall overlooking the cathedral’s open interior: answering my question as to whether those were passages or just aesthetic openings as I looked upon them from ground level.  While they are indeed passages: they sure placed a definite size limit on would-be visitors to the tower… while I have some bulk to me, I’d certainly not consider myself fat… but here I could just barely fit.  Granted, my backpack had some part in that.  We lost a few folk who had to turn away on account of being unable to clear this corridor.

From the cathedral I moved next door to the Erkebispegården, or the Archbishop’s Palace.  There really wasn’t much of interest… ruins and statues, for those who are enamored with such.  By this point I’ve seen so many ruins, statues, and museums that I think I just had a tough time appreciating even more of them.

That said: what do I do next?  Go to another palace, of course.  But while the Archbishop’s Palace was definitely more museum in nature; the Stiftsgården (Royal Palace) was more palace-like.  Granted, it still plays its intended role on rare occasion that the royal family makes a visit to the city.  Our tour guide wasn’t the most sociable or able to engage the crowd, but he certainly offered some interesting information.  Such as why there were two small bedrooms on each side of the main party hall: for those who pass out to recover.  Firstly there was the general drinking at a royal party, but that included a Norwegian custom to toast to every single person at the table individually.  That’s a lot of sips even before the party starts.  Add in the heat of the heavy layers of noble clothing, the oxygen depleting corsets on the women, and some other things I surely forget… and yeah: rooms for relocating those who pass out.

Tangent time… I write this now really just because I took a photo of it to help jog my memory; and that photo just syncs in at this point in the narrative.  Opening plastic bottles in Norway.  I’m quite convinced it’s impossible to properly open them… the bottlecap never fully separates from the little plastic strip that’s usually left on the bottle.  The perforated edge seems to fail each time… and it’s not just me; I’ve seen discarded bottles all over the place with the perforated strip still dangling from the bottle cap.

Also, while I’m on tangents… Scandinavians rarely walk on escalators, cross on Don’t Walk, nor even speed despite oppressively slow speed limits.  Just like the Germans: their patience is phenomenal.

I sauntered around the city a bit more, at one point passing by a fitness club whose doors was propped open by a lone shoe; an alarm faintly sounding at this long-term opening of the door.  That single shoe (I caught myself: I nearly said sole shoe… HA HA GET IT??) got me thinking about the Rapture.  I know; a perfectly natural thing for one’s mind to wonder to.  If everyone’s Raptured & they leave their clothes behind, I can only assume that they’re arriving in Heaven naked?  So if I were to end up there, too, and be delighted to find that my heavenly reward consists of lots of naked women; do I run the risk of getting kicked out on account of the sin of lust?  See now this testosterone-influenced tangent comes with greater theological meaning, as my wandering mind is wont to do: can one truly indulge in any of their promised heavenly rewards without committing a sin and getting themself booted right out?  This reinforces my belief that we’re all going to Hell; everyone’s gotta go at least once; so we might as well look forward to the trip.

Trondheim has an extensive bike-sharing system.  Well, so did Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo.  Stockholm had lots and lots of bikes all over, but I rarely saw any actual stations for them; and when I did see a station they were almost inevitably empty.  Copenhagen had a decent mix of usually having bikes & empty spots at each station, but I didn’t come around many stations where I’d have expected them.  The station placement seemed a bit more suited to the locals in-the-know rather than tourists trying to hop from sight to sight.  Oslo had a phenomenal amount of stations (or at least they sure do in the downtown reaches) and they were almost consistently a mix of bikes & empty spots… perfect.  Trondheim doesn’t have as many stations, but still a good coverage & good mix of bikes and empty spots.  So basically… good job, Norway!  Except their bike infrastructure is otherwise eons behind the Danes and Swedes.

Still on tangents: I’ve come to find that Scandinavians seem to have a fondness for either really small dogs (as is common or urbanites on account of limited living space) but also really HUGE dogs.  There have been several St. Bernards and quite a number of dogs that look very similar.  While there are some medium and other large dogs here and there, it’s not nearly of the same caliber as in the Germanic areas… but, of course, German Shepherds clearly have a bit of a presence in those areas.

I absolutely love the clouds over Norway.  While today was overall sunny, it did partly follow a trend that’s been around for several days… basically the weather changes every 10-15 minutes.  It’s sunny, then cloudy, the raining, then sunny again, and repeat.  Sometimes the rain and sun even overlap, with the tiniest of clouds actually being small rain showers.  With the mashing ocean currents to the west, interplay of seas to the south, colliding air masses of the temperate & Arctic, and the mountains jamming it all upward: the clouds over Norway end up being unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  Basically it’s a huge scattering of clouds which at sunset really lights up almost like a decorated Christmas tree.

Dinner was at a kebab shop just a couple doors down from the hotel.  It was tasty, quick, and freed me to enjoy my comfy room more.  By this point I’d hit everything I wanted to see in Trondheim and felt like I’d covered everything I needed to cover.

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