Thursday, February 11, 2010
NAKED IN NORWAY
Most of our two weeks were spent in magnificent Norway – land of reindeer balls, whale sushi and the highest rate of one-night stands, who’s capital has a public park filled with naked sculptures in all sorts of outrageously compromising positions. Not something you would expect from such a subdued and law abiding race. In fact, if it weren’t for their penchant for fashion and hairstyles circa Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club, it would be easy to consider them...conservative.
Since my shoulder pads and bubble skirts are firmly in the past where they belong, it was always going to be difficult to blend in, but with my eldest brother Ben along for the ride it was nigh on impossible. His sensible walking shoes, green King-Gees and clashing navy blue t-shirts screamed tourist louder than a socialist does free health care.
We camped along the Baltic sea, hiked Preikestolen to marvel at a view so vast you can’t take it all in, and raced to supermarkets to make the 6pm cut-off for purchasing alcohol. There was a team effort to collect fresh mussels from the pristine fjords whereupon Gregory cooked them over an open fire using a can of beer and some roughly chopped garlic and onions for the sauce. You don’t eat too badly when you camp with a chef. None of those burned sausages and dirt-dusted bread from where you dropped it in the soil for us. We dined on Spaghetti Bolognese, macaroni and cheese (hand mixed in a plastic shopping bag) and burritos with accompaniments balanced carefully on nearby rocks.
Back in Oslo, my younger brother Lachlan, (who lives and works there as a personal trainer) introduced us to his band of sexual refugees – thirty odd Aussie and kiwi blokes, all who’d moved there for a gorgeous blonde Norwegian, only to have them renege on the deal on the grounds that she’d prefer a native.
Youngest brother Rhys and I represented the family at Lach’s very early morning bootcamp classes. Conducted thankfully, (since Lach hasn’t bothered to learn the language on the grounds that it sounds like Jabba The Hut in Star Wars) in English.
We reached Norway via London (where pink linen seems to be an unfortunate fashion trend for men), through Denmark and its wind turbines and Holland and its tulips. We stopped off at a gorgeous old farmhouse in Germany, the hosts feeding us a delicious meal of cheeses and charcuterie presented on individual wooden boards, and proceeded to get thoroughly sozzled on a never-ending series of German toasts. Interestingly, I learned that German carpenters spend their first year traveling the nation dressed in Liederhosen and living off the generosity of fellow workmen while they work for free to gain experience. We followed our German feast with a night in Sweden where we met a Brit convinced he was a retired James Bond. All of this navigated by Suze the trusty GPS who avoided all accidents and road work, but also managed to point out every McDonalds in Scandinavia. They are bandits for the chain over there – there were more of them than there were natural blondes.
Back in sunny Santa Monica now, but not for long. We will leave la la land at the beginning of December and schlep our way across the country in time for Christmas on the east coast. Travel makes you more aware, I consider it my social responsibility…ok not really, but it is an excellent bonus garnered from an already excellent activity.