Most couples after their wedding usually go on a honeymoon. My husband and I decided to delay our special trip a year and a half and go when we had saved up some money. This past Christmas holiday we took off for Switzerland and Norway, both snowy places, or so we thought. I’ll share some memories with you along with photos.
We enjoy winter and like to watch hockey so our first stop was the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland. I had been to Switzerland before and was happy to return with someone who had never been. We were headed for the Spengler Cup, the oldest invitational hockey tournament in the world. It’s been taking place in Davos since 1923. Canada won the cup last year in 2012 and we were hoping Canada would win it again with us watching in the stands. They did win the game against the Rochester Americans (the AHL team for the Buffalo Sabres, which has a roster full of Canadians) but Canada lost to Genève-Servette in the semi-finals.
The fans in the Vaillant Arena are fantastic – much better than NHL fans. The Davos arena is a small venue but the spectators make it seem large. They sing along to the pre-puck drop music, they do the wave around and around again, they whistle (instead of boo) when they don’t like a ref’s call. In short – the fans made a good experience – great.
Our home in Switzerland belonged to friends who were away. They live in the most unbelievable beautiful village called Fanas. The houses are built right into the mountain and when the bus dropped us off in the main square I thought I was going to fall off the side of the town. There was no snow in Fanas and it felt like spring most days. The birds sang their Swiss songs and there were goats bleating “guten tag” (hello) and the earth smelled so rich. Some people take a tram even higher up the mountain to paraglide and fly by the house. One guy was metres away and waved hello to us on the balcony.
The bus trip from Fanas to either the town of Grusch on one side, or Schiers on the other, was a bit scary. The roads are narrow and winding and there’s not a lot of room for both a car and the bus. There aren’t many guard rails either but after a couple of trips we got used to it.
Just a nice photo of a swan (are European swans bigger than Canadian swans?) on Lake Zürich (Zürichsee).
Off to Norway where I tried a new food every day. As a Maritimer it was my duty to check out the fish – for breakfast. Not bad, very salty just like the blueberry milk I also tasted another day.
Many afternoons were spent by the fire in Norway. A British senior talked with us one day and told us we made a great memory for her – the Canadian honeymooners sitting in the warm glow of the flames while the sky outside darkened. (It was dark a lot in Norway and only light from 9 a.m. to just after 3 p.m. Even in daylight the sky was dingy.) The funny thing was, the hotel put us in a room with twin beds.
Olso is a nice city and people are friendly. There was no snow here and it was an anomaly for Norway. We were told it’s been the warmest winter in over a century. Olso is on the same latitude as Yellowknife and yet, Oslo was above freezing when we were there. Unlike the Northwest Territories (and the rest of Canada) that was experiencing the “polar vortex”.
Found the harbour! I always gravitate towards water being a true Bluenoser (Nova Scotian).
Speaking of Nova Scotia, Akershus Fortress reminded me a little of the Halifax Citadel. The medieval Olso castle is near the harbour and was first used in battle in 1308 when besieged by a Swedish duke. (I was besieged by my stupid boots that I had to wear all the time since I didn’t bring any other pairs of shoes. Alas, who knew Norway wouldn’t have snow?)
Akershus Fortress is still a working military area and there is a changing of the guard that we managed to catch one afternoon. The procession moves to Kirkegaten to Karl Johans Gate and on to the Royal Palace. Click here for a poor video I shot of the changing.
We checked out the Viking Ship Museum. Wow, incredible. This is the Oseberg ship that was excavated in 1904. There are three ships that were found in burial mounds around Norway. Two are complete and look to be in fantastic shape. However, some of the wood is degrading from the inside out and the Norwegians are researching how to stop this from happening. Human bones are also on display and I wonder what kind of stories their souls would tell. If they could…
One afternoon we took the Oslo Tunnelbane (T-banen, the metro) to the outskirts of the city. A friend of a friend who lives in Olso said we must go for lunch at the Frognerseteren Restaurant. It’s a popular place to end a good day of cross-country skiing, when there is snow. We enjoyed our last meal out in the charming rustic Norwegian place. Tusen takk (thank you) for the great memories.
“[O]ur honeymoon will shine our life long: its beams will only fade over your grave or mine.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre