Friday, June 6, 2008

Blå Tur!

Okay, tonight surely rank as one of the higlights of our Norwegian experience thus far.

Matematikksenteret hosted a Blå Tur, or "Blue Trip" tonight. It's a mystery a trip, a voyage out into the blue. Our instructions: be in front of our building no later than 7 pm. Dress nice but comfortably. That's all we knew.

We gathered outside and made introductions. Pam has not met many of my coworkers. She'd be passing into a Norwegian world tonight, which could be a little unnerving, but my colleagues are great and took to her right away. The bus pulled up at 7 pm sharp. We drove on the E6 west, making a stop near Vikhammer.

We stopped at a farmhouse with a beautiful view over the fjord. As we drank champagne and ate strawberries, Nurse Åstrid and Nurse Gina explained our teams and the first game we'd be playing. Our teams had to travel a distance standing only on small foam mats that we could move. Each player had a mat just large enough to put two feet on, and a team of 4 needed to travel 30 meters without stepping off the mats.

We played another game, got to know each other and our spouses, and then climbed back on the bus and headed out into Stjordal, past the airport. We had a trivia challenge along the way (Pam and I both solved several puzzles, even in Norwegian!)

We arrived at a placed called Re, a lovely traditional farmhouse in a beautiful setting. We settled in to a formal dinner at a long, candlelit table. Our dinner was a selection of local Trondelag specialties: shrimp, salmon, crusty garlic bread, local cheeses, sausages.

The best dish on the menu was also the biggest surprise: raw slices of moose served with a berry sauce! The moose was marinated in sugar and salt. This so was so delicious, I had seconds. After dinner, a pair of musicians told stories and sang Trondelag songs. We didn't understand half of what was said, but everyone at the table knew the words to all of the songs. It was beautiful, and very entertaining even without knowing what was being said!

After dinner we had cognac -- Norway is the #1 cognac drinking country in the world (I assume in liters per captia) -- and dancing! Everyone really cut loose, I danced with a lot of beautiful women tonight... none more lovely than my wife! We traded magic tricks and puzzles. Tor was in rare form tonight, wooing the ladies and holding his own against my puzzlers.

We drank and laughed and danced until 1 a.m., until the sun was finally setting (but not really).

The final song of the night is a Norwegian song asking "Vil du værra med mæ hjem i natt?"Will you come home with me tonight, and sleep in the same bed tonight." Here's 30 seconds at the end of the song. It's been stuck in my head for days now! If you listen closely, you can hear my wife proposition me... to go to bed with her and Anna, my 5-year old. Romantic songs are quite different when you have children!

Thank you friends -- this was a night to remember!

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