Our Troll Tour Concludes

A few bits and pieces from our last day. We rushed to Cisternerne and were lucky the gallery attendant let us down for a few minutes while she closed up. the cisterns were drained and covered in 1981; now it’s an art space underneath a park. The current exhibit is Chiharu Shiota’s “Multiple Realities.” I loved it- it’s like a haunting dream. The air is humid and cool like a cave and you have to be careful to stay on the path. Jason scared me in the dark and my scream echoed! I would definitely recommend at least half an hour to experience this.

Buka Bakery was across the street from where we were staying and their cardamon brioche was amazing.

Saw the former Carlsberg brewery elephant gate. It is wild to see four giant granite elephants with pre-nazi swastikas in the year 2022! Carl Jacobson used the symbol in the trademark for Ny Carlsberg to bring good fortune. He dropped the symbol in 1940 for obvious reasons. The tower above the gate used to be a water tower and herb silo. The facility no longer produces beer here tho. It would’ve been cool to tour. Canceled!

Agnete and the Merman, a bronze sculpture of a merman and his seven sons, begging his human wife to return to them. It’s underwater in the Slotsholm Canal next to the Højbro Bridge so it took me a minute to find.

It’d be easy to spend a whole week in Copenhagen. Sadly, we did not have time for Tivoli, the Glyptoteket, Medical Museum or any number of museums and parks. Maybe next time!

An Afternoon in Malmö

The harbor city of Malmö is so close to Copenhagen, we figured what the heck, let’s squeeze Sweden into our whirlwind Scandinavian tour!

Malmö Castle, built in the 1500s on the ruins of a old fort. There were baby ducks swimming in the moat! We got to see a tiny mouse shop! Sam and I were so excited, these things are delightful.

The Turning Torso, a futuristic skyscraper and the tallest building in Scandinavia.

Quickly writing out my last postcard.

St. Peter’s, a medieval church with a 49′ high alterpiece. Construction started in the early 1300s and there are some impressive frescoes.

Sleeping step troll

Ice cream by the water

A nice day in Sweden. I always wish we had more time.

Spring in Copenhagen

We lucked out with clear skies throughout our trip, and it felt like we got a bonus week of spring by being in Europe. It already feels like the cusp of summer at home in Athens, but Copenhagen is just warming up.

I met Jason’s friends Mike and Sam last year in Mexico, and I love that were able to meet up again in another country! We stayed with them in a very stylish flat, and got to meet their German exchange student, Hanna. I forgot to take pictures of the flat so here’s a windmill instead!

Nyhaven (New Harbor), a canal lined with brightly colored 17th and early 18th century buildings. This is how I pictured Copenhagen before visiting. Hans Christian Andersen lived here when he had his first fairy tale published.

Speaking of Hans Christian Andersen, we saw The Little Mermaid statue. We hadn’t planned on seeking her out, but there she was! The statue has been decapitated twice, had her arm sawn off, and been blown up.

The Marble Church with that impressive dome. I don’t know much about styles of architecture so I tried to make note on this trip- this one is Rococo, or Late Baroque. There’s complete silence inside that is really nice.

Over the past couple years, daffodils have become my favorite flower. Daffodil season is over in the states so it made me happy to see them here in April.

The St Albans Church, designed as a traditional English Church in the gothic revival style.

For sure the prettiest Danish food we tried was smørrebrød. I don’t know how you’re supposed to eat them, I had to gently destroy mine with a knife and fork.

Cue Latto’s Big Energy!

The View from the Christiansborg Palace Tower

4/20 in Freetown Christiania, a hippie commune in the heart of Copenhagen. You aren’t supposed to take pictures on the main drag so I just snapped one of this Thomas Dambo Giant, Green George. Christiania operates separately from the city (tho that seems to be complicated)- it has its own laws and its own flag. Hash is openly sold. There’s a skate park, a horse riding school, a daycare. It’s a really unique place. A meeting of Danish Jason and American Jason!

An earned break from walking at the Mikkeller brewery.

Right next to the brewery is Reffen, a trendy looking foodhall with shipping container buildings and stalls of pretty much any street food you could want. I got a peanut stew, Jason got a Danish hot dog.

Met up with Jason’s friend Michael who used to live in Athens. He took us to an awesome bar that felt like it was from another time. Softly lit, velvety baroque wallpaper, smoking allowed. Among other things, a young Danish man gave us a sensational history lesson on Johann Struensee. It’s the longest I’ve spent in a bar in recent memory and I loved hearing about Michael’s life in Denmark!

Hygge Birthday Boy

Jason is preternaturally youthful and no one believes he’s 47. He has more energy than anyone I know and I’m glad we could celebrate with this awesome trip!
We took a morning ferry to the Norsk Folkemuseum to see another stave church. Gol stave church is from around 1200 and this is the original, moved to this open air museum.
OMG, this pig’s face!

My present to Jason was a floating sauna. This one was brutal at first! After we got over the intense heat of the sauna and the shockingly cold fjord, it was a lot of fun. Feels great to cook your body at 125°f+ then dip into 40°f water. A Norwegian family there sang him Happy Birthday. Everyone we came across was so nice! Check out our view of SHE LIES!

We ate dinner at Lille Saigon 1 (the type of name where you know it’s gonna be good)- salmon and Vietnamese pancake.

And finally drinks at Botaniske, a bar covered in plants. I try not to overuse the word, but this place can only be described as magical. It felt both fancy and cozy.

We balled out our last day in Oslo. One more look at SHE LIES, buying postcards and magnets, eating really good fish and chips at Fiskeriet. Phew. Bye, Oslo, on to Copenhagen!

Graves and People Pillars in Oslo

Compared to Bergen, Oslo is bigger, more diverse, and has a cool look that blends grand historical and modern minimalist architecture. I can totally see why Norway is rated the world’s happiest country- the quality of life seems very high and Norwegians seem pretty laidback.
Our first sighting of SHE LIES! We’d been so excited to see this sculpture and laughed when we ended up passing it several times each day.
People are encouraged to walk the marble roof of the Opera House. It’s fun to climb up to an incredible view but I don’t think the grade of this thing comes thru in a photo.

Haralds Vaffel for waffles topped with brown cheese. I’m not sure how to describe the taste of brown cheese, but it is distinctive and delicious. Mine also had jam and sour cream.

Not open when we got there, Jason had heard about the Blitz and wanted to stop by. An anarchist, socialist center with shows and vegan food that started as a squat in ’82 and was bombed by neo-nazis twice in the ’90s. Cool that centers like this are a prominent part of Norway’s counterculture scene. I would’ve loved to have seen an issue of this zine I only learned about later, Gateavisa.

Strolled around Frogner Park, a beautifully landscaped park with A LOT of Vigeland sculptures. It’s the home of Oslo’s Angry Boy! I’m totally into the landscape and strangeness of this park but we learned a couple things: there have been multiple attempts to steal Angry Boy (sure, why not), and Vigeland was a nazi sympathizer (boooooo).


The Monolith has been interpreted as mankind’s longing for spirituality. When I looked at it I saw people squeezed together in agony, trying to claw their way out. Haaa, maybe that’s the same thing!

Oslo’s famous sons, Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch, buried in a small romantic cemetery.

Angry Boy is everywhere!

We walked thru a couple other parks and by the Royal Palace, before hitting the Bohemen football pub. Easter is a big deal holiday in Norway that lasted every day we were in the country- Thursday thru Monday. It was nice to end our Easter Sunday at a soccer bar watching the FA Cup Semifinal. This guy asked to take our photo then a photo with us. Uh, ok!

Support for Ukraine everywhere

Yummm- more mackerel and tomato tins! Jason especially loved them. If any food themed our trip it is tinned fish.

Choo Choo to Oslo

Our last day, we walked by the leprosy museum (sadly closed, but it’s kinda cool to walk around anyway).

Then we got on the train to Oslo.

So, I am low-key into trains. I rec the Seattle to Portland train ride, I like playing the board game Ticket to Ride with a real time train video in the background, I enjoy seeing an elaborate mini train set… Anyway, this is a notably picturesque train ride where you pass by waterfalls, mountains, fjords, icy lakes, forests, and snowy towns (in April!).

train beer 🍺

Troll Forest and Fantoft Stave Church

We hiked up Mount Fløyen for a panoramic view of Bergen, passing cute cottages and ultra green woods.

These parts of the trail were so mossy and magical looking.

At the top of the mountain is a troll forest, goats, and ice cream!





That afternoon, we caught the light rail to see Fantoft Stave Church. (Passed a guy with his ass completely out at one of the stops, hahaaa!) The church was originally built in 1150, then burned down in 1992 by black metal musician/arsonist (and murderer, and nazi) Varg Vikernes. It was reconstructed the following years and there’s a sign at the entrance that says no fires now. So awesome to see this medieval architecture in the middle of a small, lonely forest.

Last, Cafe Opera for tea and beer after walking almost 12 miles. The cafes here looked so cute- I wish we could’ve stopped in a couple more.
*Side note- I heard Norway was expensive and that is no lie! We tried to be economical if we ate out and became fans of these mackerel and tomato tins at the grocery store. Other tiny ways we tried to budget was walking A LOT and staying at Citybox which I recommend if, like me, you want a clean, small, no frills room that is centrally located. We booked the citybox in Oslo too!

Bergen is Beautiful

We just got back from our whirlwind Scandivia vacation! I’m very tired and very happy looking back on these pics.

We started the trip in Bergen, Norway- a beautifully situated city surrounded by seven mountains and seven fjords. I loved this place at first sight! Bryggen, once a medieval wharf! Colorful Hanseatic boathouses (left) lining the Vågen Harbour. I read these buildings have burned several times however the foundations are from the 12th century.

Caramel donuts and reindeer hot dogs. We didn’t eat out much. When we did, it was usually tasty and unhealthy.

For whatever reason, there were at least a couple Norwegian sculpters making creepy bronze babies between the World Wars. This is Sofus Madsen’s Crying Boy. Madsen has several works throughout Bergen.

Fish Market and fish soup, yummm

Bergen is also a pigeon paradise. No head is safe from them.

I kinda think of this as our Troll Tour- troll souvenirs everywhere!

Bergenhus Fortress

Cold Camping in Okefenokee Swamp

We closed out January camping in Stephen C Foster, Georgia’s certified dark sky park. I made this tiny watercolor (a little larger than a post-it) of the stars reflecting on that ancient, black water since a phone pic would be no good. Seeing the night sky here was truly overwhelming and special. Okefenokee is estimated to be between 7,000 and 10,000 years old. It’s one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders and the name is from Choctaw Indian words meaning “quivering earth” or “Land of the Trembling Earth.”

The plan was to kayak out to Billy’s Island but we were heavily discouraged by park rangers due to the wind being at a near gale. Bummer. We instead took a boat tour. I’m glad we got to get out on the water at all, but I’d love to go back and kayak to the islands and out on the lake in the future.

Hahaaaa!!! Jason’s unhappy face!! The weather was bracing because of a sharp wind on top of the cold temps.

The ranger told us this was the oldest cypress in the area. Wildfires have wiped out a good deal of the surrounding flora.

The sign says it all! The park is relatively small so we were able to walk every trail- all short.

Turkey vultures on the Suwannee River Sill. The dam here was built after a period of drought and wildfires that broke out in the swamp during the 1950s.

My neighborhood in Athens is lousy with deer- I see them in my yard every day. But it still makes me happy to see them wherever I am. These guys were fearless.

Hahaaa!!! Wood forage. He DID throw these fat boys in the small fire ring.

Sunset in the swamp was lovely. No sightings of Pogo Possum or, but we did see Howland Owl, looking down on us on our walk back to the campsite.

It got down to 23° this night but Jason and Jen had a raging fire and I wore plenty of layers so I was never uncomfortably cold. I DID think of the phrase “freeze your butt off,” tho because Jason’s butt probably got below freezing too- it was like a couple of freezer box ham hocks. Hahaaaa!

This little anole was in the picnic pavillion, half frozen to death. As soon as he thawed out, he wanted to scurry to freedom. THEN, when Jason was unpacking his tent, a (presumably different) lizard popped out. Stowaway!