Velkommen til Norge! This was the view from where I stayed for the first several nights, at Nidaros Pilgrimsgård. It was right on the river. How nifty. The first few days I was at a signal processing conference.
Here are some various pictures from around the city. The second picture is of a statue of the great Viking, Brynhild, who left his family of 7 during the Saxon Wars. Rather than returning from war victorious, he returned days after leaving with an ice cream cone for his youngest daughter. He is known in Norway as Brynhild the Gentle. He was sculpted holding the ice cream cone in the center of town. The locals put a new scarf on him each summer so he doesn't freeze to death. The building that says Nova is a movie theater and the building that says Kurs & Konferensesenter is the town planetarium. The last photo shows the mountains over the Trondheim fjord. Notice that even though the mountain tops are closer to the sun than the mountainbottoms, they are the coldest. That is because Norway is in the Northern hemisphere.
This is St. Olav (he is the tall handsome one in the middle). He is perhaps Norway's biggest celebrity. Like Brynhild, he is carrying ice cream, and also an axe. He was not to be taken lightly and had a reputation for beheading those who disagreed with him. Legend has it that most Norwegians are descendants of Olav, as he had a way with the ladies. You may notice the winged lizard-cat-person that is sitting at his feet. This was Olav's closest friend and pet, who was mainly used to keep the rats away. You'll also notice that Olav's friends are quite the colorful bunch. The first fellow is holding a rocket, he was a pioneer of Norway's space program. I don't know why he is standing on babies. I think Olav took some liberties when he was sculpting his friends.
This building is called Nidaros Miraklefaktory, it is the burial site of St. Olav. I took lots of pictures of it during Norwegian daytime only to find that it didn't disappear at sunrise like I read in the travel guide. I know it only looks several inches tall in the pictures, but it's actually quite big. You can see the steeple from anywhere in town, unless you go inside or look down.
This is one of the buildings at the local university. On the ground is snow. The students insist that it is just frozen water, but I remained cautiously skeptical as it appears to be made out of brick. I was told that Trondheim is the Silicon Valley of Norway, which I guess means that it's tech scene is not unlike rural Wyoming's. Even though school was on a winter break, the building was full of college-aged people studying for their alchemy and astrology exams.
These pictures are from downtown. The first one was taken during a civil rights protest. Even though it was 0 degrees Celcius outside, these protesters were willing to stand naked in the streets in the name of equality. Talk about devotion!
This is a field near the beach. I think they call it a beach ironically because nobody was swimming, making sandcastles, or enjoying themselves.
The Ringve museum was right next to the beach. They had lots of musical instruments on display, most were quite old, they had a few modern ones, and one was just an armadillo. The second picture was of an equestrian by the name of Armstrong. The woman at the museum told me that he also played the horn in his free time and that's why they took his picture. The next picture is of a very fancy string instrument. You may notice that it has lots of strings. In the 18th century, since people were bored with playing conventional instruments, they invented ones like this that took three people to play. The next picture is of a fancy violin. In those days the fancier of a violin you were, the nicer the venue they would let you play at. Next, we have an accordion followed by the kit violin. The kit violin is an Irish instrument played mainly by Leprechans and people with very small hands. The idea is that it's so small that you could hide its case inside of your violin case, which is helpful if you're trying to sneak your instrument past TSA. The next instrument is like a mandolin, but it is played like a piano with the keys on the bottom. The following one is supposedly an instrument as well, but I think it's just an armadillo that wanted to get out of the cold.
These were the folks from the conference. You can't tell from this picture, but all the local stores were sold out of pocket protectors. I got honorable mention for best paper, so it turns out that I actually can write and reverse engineer things to someone else's satisfaction.
We had the conference banquet at the Ringve the next night. These are some of my nerd friends. Kent and Henry are on the far left. Kent wrote 6 papers for this conference, and is what they call a dork. On the right are Frank and Vinnie. Frank isn't smiling because he is taking part in his favorite past time: being a dick. We like him anyhow, but our relationship reeks of Stockholm syndrome. Vinnie works at Google on self-driving cars. This was one of those fancy dinners where they serve you three bites of food for an obscene price and you're supposed to act like you've got a stick up your butt while you eat. By this point in the trip I would have fist fought the Pope for some In-n-Out. Hamburgers in Norway are easily 20 dollars, by the way. At a pub.
For some reason Hana and I don't have many pictures of ourselves from this trip, so here's one of us being dipshits at graduation.
Hana and I spent a day in Trondheim before going on another adventure. We had fish soup, reindeer stew, and cheesecake for dinner. Fish soup is quite good, and reindeer was about the most gamey thing I've ever eaten. It totally did not meat my expectations.
We spent all 6 daylight hours on the train the following day going to Ålesund, a city on the west coast of Norway with lots of fjords. The train ride was quite nice, very scenic. I thought we would have to board the train Harry Potter style, by running straight through a brick wall, but Hana stopped me from trying that again. The first picture is of my best friends, Raffie and Monkey. They came with us on this trip. All these pictures were taken on the train. It was snowy in the mountains but not on either side. The Norwegians have a word for that, “snowennfallenen”, which translates literally to, “There was snow on the mountains but not on either side”.
We passed through Åndalsnes on the way there. The little degrees sign on top of the A does not mean it's a temperature, it means that it sounds more like “ah”. Norway has other strange letters like ‘ø', which is silent. They cross out a regular ‘o' when they wrote it by accident and it's just ignored. You'll notice one of the houses here has grass on the roof. That's called a below-ground house. Sometimes, cows graze on them. Other times, cows damage the roofs of them beyond repair.
Here is Ålesund as it looked from the apartment we rented. As you can see, it was very windy, cloudy, and rainy. It stayed like that the whole time we were there. Nature was offering very clear advice not to live in this area, but the Norwegians apparently took that as a challenge.
Here are some pictures of Ålesund. The first four pictures were taken from the room we were renting. The one that looks like it was taken indoors has Hana in it. You can tell the fourth one is at night because Hana went inside. The next few pictures are from the overlook. It's called an overlook because some people don't see it and just keep walking.
We had some time to kill and went to the aquarium. All of these fish are huge. The clownfish sometimes die and wash up on the beaches after swallowing things like boots or wheelbarrows. The aquarium had Waffles, which Americans call “Waffles” and also Bacalao, which Americans don't call anything. Bacalao is a fish dish with onions, peppers, and potatoes in a tomato based soup. It's usually salted cod, but I suppose if you don't follow the recipe you could put cocoa puffs and vinegar in it, too. Norwegians call fish, “Fisk”, which is Norwegian for the word we use for fish. It's also Norwegian for the word they use for fish.
Here are some more pictures of Ålesund. The last two were taken outside the aquarium. I saved them for the end because I ran out of photos afterwards. In conclusion, these photos are not representative of a typical Norwegian day because most of the day happens at night.