Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 6:07 pm local time (12:07 pm EST)--Leipzig, Germany
Well hello, folks! I'm really sorry that it has taken me this long to write another blog. It seem like no time at all since I last wrote, but it turns out it's been four day... I'm sorry!
The last concert of the trip was absolutely wonderful, and honestly I think we did quite well. There were some goofs, but it was something to be proud of for that much practice!
Before we left for Scandinavia, Joel and I each scanned half of our music and put all of it on our iPads. I was sure that Murphy's Law would pan out and someone would lose their music. I was right. About 20 minutes before the concert, Johannes Myers came up to Dr. Kibble and said he thought he had left his folder on the bus. She told him that there wasn't an extra (Kerysa usually brings one), so he would have to do without. I suggested an alternative, so I gave him my folder, and I sang from my iPad.
After the concert we all repaired to the cafeteria for popcorn and ice cream. I managed to get myself seated with a local named Christopher Robin, as in Winnie the Pooh's friend. He was very nice, but I had a hard time understanding him. There was a (fairly) funny conversation going on in English, and he kept missing things, and I didn't know how to explain what was going on. Eventually, he just didn't worry about it, and we just chatted.
Sabbath gets over extremely late (like 11 o'clock) that far north, so after a sundown prayer, I watched the rest of an episode of Star Trek on my iPad, and then went to bed with my iPod playing Yankee Doodle Dandy in order to drown out the loud guys with whom I shared the room.
The next morning we all woke up and continued on our merry way. We ate breakfast, and then said goodbye to one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed. As we were driving back into Oslo, we stopped at a turn off, and took a few pictures. From there, we got back on the bus and I gave a non-written-out version of my worship talk.
When we arrived in Oslo, we got our guide, this time a woman aged somewhere between 55-65. She had a lot of vim and vigor, and had a wonderful tour planned, interrupted quickly by a cry for bathrooms... So we walked and we walked and we walked some more, looking desperately for a potty for someone who shall remain nameless.
The first cool thing that we saw on the tour was the opera house, though it was closed. I've decided that the Collegedale Church should be torn down and built in this design, though for a different reason. The roof of the building stretches from the ground to the top (but no higher), and people can walk on it and enjoy the sunshine and the view. If it was covered with snow, you could very easily sled down the roof and into the water. I think Collegedale Church should have a roof like that so we could use it for parking.
Before we got to the opera house, there was a fountain that looked like a peacock. After the opera, we got serious in our search for a bathroom. The person who still shall remain nameless was getting to the point of desperation best imagined by dancing a jig.
We walked through the older part of Oslo and enjoyed looking at older buildings. At one point we passed a statue of Edvard Grieg, and I managed to get a picture. We walked to a fortress of some kind, which was very nice, but there wasn't much that I thought was just amazing.
I'll be honest, I left my notepad in the bus during this tour since we were out walking, so I really have none of the interesting tidbits that make these postings fun to read. That being said, I'll continue to give the highlights of what I remember.
The fortress was really quite beautiful. It was on a river, and it overlooked a cruise ship. There were lovely French gardens (I learned the difference between a French and an English garden. French is cultivated and weeded and isn't natural. An English garden is allowed to grow up and be wild.
There were several places that our guide took us. The tour was supposed to be an hour and a half, but it managed to become three hours... By the end we were all hot and tired and thirsty and sick of being with the group. We wanted to do something else.
We were treated to lunch at a pizza buffet. The problem was that we didn't do well at getting vegetarian pizzas made. And all the meat pizzas had pepperoni. That didn't bother certain members of the group, but I didn't even want to pick that off...
From there we loaded back on the bus, and went to a couple more museums. The first was the Kon-Tiki museum, which commemorates a man who was born in Norway and who moved to the Pacific Islands. In the 40s or 50s he sailed very simple, thatched boats from somewhere in South or Central America to Easter Island, to prove that it was possible that South American Indians (Mayans or Aztecs or something like that) could have colonized the Pacific Islands instead of Asians. He also sailed a Papyrus boat from Egypt to South America to prove that the Egyptians could have settled the New World.
We had been given 45 minutes in the museum, so I paced myself, but I did it too well and was done and in the gift shop in about 10 minutes. Dr. Kibble showed how happy she was for the concerts to be over that she tried to hook caribeaner-handled mugs onto her ears, my ears, and Steven Blondo's ears... You really had to be there, but it was absolutely hilarious. When she gets laughing it is the most hilarious sound you can imagine.
From that museum we went across the street because the gift shop was better there. I got a really cool map of Norway since I hadn't been able to find a Norwegian flag. After the stop at the gift shop, we went to a Viking Ship Museum, which was quite interesting. Unfortunately, my brain was already quite full, so I didn't get as much from the experience as I should have.
After the Viking ships we went to our hotel and checked in, and were given some time to relax before meeting at a Cajun restaurant for our farewell supper. During that time, Dr. Kibble and I figured out how I would get to the airport. The shuttle came right by the hotel. I just had to be out the really early. Eha, our guide, and our bus driver (whose name escapes me at the moment), were with us. After we got the shuttle figured out, Eha, translating for the bus driver, asked me if I had managed to find a Norwegian flag yet. I told them no. Then she went on to say that the bus driver had an extra one sitting in the bus that he would give me. I didn't even know that he knew I collected them.
The food was quite good, and it was a lot of fun to talk with my friends one final time. At the table next to ours, Robby V., Curtis and Josh Knight were talking with the most ridiculous southern accents--which is fitting since were supposed to be in Louisiana. It wasn't just the accents, but all the stereotypically Southern things they were saying.
After supper we all loaded up on the bus and went to a naked-statue park. There were something like 2,000 statues, all naked, that showed humans in various stages of life and death. Americans as a whole, and specifically the guys of I Cantori, are not mature enough to walk through this garden, but if you can tune out the derrières, it is a very touching thing to see honest sculptures of honest people doing honest things.
At the other end of the garden, we met and sang, with Jean conducting instead of Dr. Kibble. We sang My Song in the Night and Finlandia. While we were singing, a group of very spirited (in more than one sense of the word) locals of about our own age gathered around and cheered for us. When we were done, they applauded, and then broke into song. Unknowingly, we had ended up in a battle of the choirs with a show choir (or something) from that area. After they sang a few songs, we all joined together, shoulder to shoulder, and sang Amazing Grace. It was really quite touching.
We all said our goodbyes, and loaded on the bus. We counted off, as we always do, and we we missing number 12, our dear Valley... So Chaplain, Robby V, and Joel all ran off the bus to find her. There was about 20 minutes of tenseness and prayer, and then they found her and brought her home. Then we all went to the hotel, and went to bed.
Well, folks, I'm ready for bed now, so I'll let you go... I promise I'll write more tomorrow, and I'll post it if we have Internet in Wittenberg.
Love you all and miss you,
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.