Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Epic Adventure

It has been a very busy past several months! Matt graduated from nursing school. Both of us passed our boards and got jobs! Currently Matt is working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at OU Children's Hospital and I got my dream job as a Pediatric Pain Management Nurse Practitioner at OU Children's. We also moved out of our wonderful 400 sq foot apartment to one that is twice the size and has central heat and air! (I LOVE central heat and air, and promise to never take it for granted again!). We love our new apartment but the size of it took some getting used to. The first few months we mainly lived in the kitchen and bedroom because it felt too big. To celebrate all of these exciting changes (mainly the fact that we both survived going back to school) we decided to go to Europe! Actually we had started planning this trip when we both started school as a goal to get through school. So two weeks ago after 2.5yrs of planning and dreaming we finally boarded a plane for an AMAZING and much needed two week vacation- In which I like to title Plane, Trains, and Automobiles.....

Our first stop was Rome, Italy. We spent 1&1/2 whirlwind days walking all over the entire city of Rome! Our favorite thing was visiting the catacombs de Priscilla. Which was a very impressive maze stretching 3 miles under the city.

After two days we road a train to Cinque Terra, which was absoultely breathtaking! We spent two days hiking and riding the train between the five villages.

The whole experience was incredible! One evening as we were walking back to our hotel we saw the happiest bride and groom walking down the street! It was so random as there was no one else around them or any sign of a wedding. It just proves how magical Cinque Terra is!

Our third stop was Florence, Italy. We spent two nights and one very long perfect day walking all over the entire city of Florence!.Our fourth stop was Venice. We spent one whole day here before boarding an overnight train to Vienna. I fell in love with Venice and will hopefully get to come back here again someday......
Our fifth stop was Vienna, Austria. We splurged on a private sleeping car which was completely worth it!
We were even able to see an Opera! We saw Salome which was about the beheading of John the Baptist. The music was incredible until you realized what they were singing about which was very disturbing! We spent two full days in Vienna. On the morning of the third day we woke up at 3:30 am to catch a plane for Bergen, Norway at 6:30am. The plan was for one layover in Frankfort then arrive in Bergen around 11:30am where we had a rental car waiting for us. Well what we didn't take in account though was the fog in Frankfurt which had us circling in the air around the airport for one hour before finally landing. Then once we landed they could not get the door to our plane open. So we had to exit out the rear of the plane, wait for a bus, then ride the bus to the opposite end of the terminal. We then sprinted to our gate arriving 15min prior to our connecting flight leaving. What we didn't realize though is they board much earlier and take a bus out to the plane. So we missed our flight. They originally had us booked on the next flight to Bergen which was 12+hrs away. We begged for something sooner and they found a flight to Amsterdam that had a connecting flight to Bergen which would get us there at 3:20pm, much better than getting in a midnight! We were disappointed about the delay but excited about getting there at a decent time- then we learned our flight was delayed to Amsterdam. We arrived in Amsterdam as our flight was leaving for Bergen. So we were booked on the next flight which did not leave for 7hrs. So we decided to make the best of it and buy a train ticket into the city to pass the time away..... Amsterdam is so pretty in the fall!

The airline was nice enough to give us food vouchers for the airport. So after waking up at 3:30am we finally arrived in Bergen at 11:00pm. We were so happy that at first we didn't realize that the ground was covered in snow!

The first night we took a taxi into Bergen to stay the night (since the rental car companies where closed). We were not too prepared on how cold it would be! The hotel we stayed in was nice, but we could never figure out how to turn on the heat! The only thing we could find was a little space heater. So that night we slept in our hats and coats. It wasn't until the morning that we figured out where the thermostat was!
One of our main goals while visiting Norway was to see the Stangeland Farm. All growing up I have heard about the Stangeland Farm from my Great Aunt Shirley. In fact when my sister and I were in elementary school we would go to her house once a week for Norwegian lessons. So I was excited to finally see where the Stangeland family came from! Unfortunately I am afraid to admit that my Norwegian is severely lacking and I remember very little of it. Shirley, I promise to practice more before my next trip!

We spent the first day driving around the fjords. It was breathtaking!! The last day we spent exploring Bergen.....
The trip was incredible! This was not my usual expression.... this was after carrying my backpack around for two weeks and at this moment we had just missed our train. (Each day it seemed to get much much heavier!) I was telling Matt that I cannot run anymore.....
This was more my usual expression- I love this man and I love Europe!!