Route 66: 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Paisano European Tour 2010 - Day 19

Day 19 is September 25

Welcome to another amazing & full day.  I was up way early as my coughing woke me up and I tried my best to leave the rest of the family at peace.  I was down stairs well before 5:30 and camped on the couch.  It's all good because I was ready for coffee and "tried" to help with breakfast but was politely kicked out of the kitchen.  :)  After a very nice breakfast with much of the family -  Morten, Line, Ronja, Hans, & Momma - we were out the door by about 10am & on our way.

Today, we are heading out to catch our dinner.  We, (Morten, Hans, Momma & I), piled into the van, stopped by the farm and picked up Astrid and then made our way down to the boat to meet up with Marten.  Most often, boats and ships are named after women/ladies, but in this case, Marten named this boat the Hanso.  "She" is named after Hans Olav because he is the only grandson.  That's pretty special stuff.  The Hanso is a great boat!

At the beginning of our journey out to sea I must admit I was cold.  Of course, I'm a wimp and generally prefer the heat.  We motored out to a fishing spot Marten had discovered.  We used the electronic map and fish finder, to get ourselves in position.  After getting to our fishing "ground" we drifted a bit and between the skills of Marten & Morten, we were in place.  The hooks were dropped  from the first side, which was the "electric" side and then we dropped "old fashioned" side.  After both sides were dropped and cranked back up a couple of times, we started started reeling in fish.  Now this was Fun fishing!  I gotta tell ya, I really am not much of a fisher man, but that is likely because of some less than wonderful memories as a boy.  I never caught a fish at anytime when we went and well, you know me, I Cannot stay still and well, that didn't make for a very good fishing experience.  Momma and Astrid did an outstanding job observing & supervising. Couldn't have done it without these wonderful ladies.

At any rate, I cranked in a couple times & got 3 or 4 total and Marten's side got quite a few more.  We finished our expedition with about a dozen Coalfish or Sei fish, depending upon who you are speaking with. That was by far, my "greatest" fishing experience.  Heck, if I could catch fish like that All the time, I'd be "hooked".  In reality, it was likely Marten's expert "fish divining" and Morten's "skippering" that got us to the right spot at the right time. 

We decided to take our fish and motor around a bit.  As we were heading towards the fjords and shores, we encountered several things.  As you can see, we had a following of flying rats, I mean seagulls.  I think I got some pretty cool shots of the birds.  I even impressed myself.  We also saw a pod of small whales, how cool is that!  The scenery around the coast is really beautiful.  There are what Morten calls cabins dotted around the coastal areas and near the shore.  Wow, those look like some pretty fancy cabins, but at the very least, What a View!  There are some amazing near sheer drops into the ocean and many of the cliffs are pretty high up as well.  Some areas reminded me a bit of Colorado, well, except for the water, of course.  We had a great time.  No doubt, this was my best time fishing, ever...

 Once we're back on shore, Marten, Morten and Astrid clean the fish while Line, Hanne and company boil carrots, potatoes and the like.  This meal was Outstanding!  The VERY fresh fish was the Best.  All the food was great and the conversation was excellent!  While everyone else was cooking and slaving away, Morten and I took the veteran Volvo out for a spin.  That was fun, but I got the biggest chuckle out of Morten's park job.  He "claimed" the reason for the parking challenges was because he was backing in, had new gravel in this spot and he says it's Very light in the rear end, sure, sure...  :)

We head back "home" for a bit of relaxing, talking and viewing of fishing pictures and videos. I also had a great talk with Ronja about her upcoming plan to take part in the EF High School Year.  I know I'm excited for her!  We talked about the differences between Colorado and well, everywhere else.  I know that wherever Ronja gets placed, she'll have a Great year.  Ronja is part of an outstanding family and I know I will do everything I can to help as well.  Oh yeah, she's planning of going to Hawaii on "My" week as well.  Yay!

Later in the evening, Morten, Hans and I went to a "show" at the local pub.  I was suitably impressed.  It was Great to see, up close and personal like, in a different country that music really IS a great equalizer.  The show was 2 acoustic guitar players, (electrified a touch, of course) and a pretty good drummer as well.  The guys sang in English, which was a plus for me.  They did mostly covers, but did a great job of it.  They were into and the folks in front of the stage were enjoying it as well.  There was lots of dancing and all in all a very well behaved crowd.  I liked that those who  had a bit too much cheer were well taken care of.

I kept thinking this could be a possible for In The Machine or Channel 27.  One of these days "we" need to do a European tour and ya know, the band(s) WILL need a roadie AND photographer...hint, hint.  After the show I had a chance to talk with the lead singer.  Nice guy and he had the same Great attitude of the "great" musicians that I've had the pleasure of meeting and knowing over the years.  He said "as long as you are passionate about what you play, the audience responds to it."  Great stuff!

What a day & night!  Line was nice enough to pick me up and take me back home.  I got a bit of medication and finally turned in by 2:30.  It was a pretty awesome day, but I'm Beat and being sick is Really getting old.  I spent a good part of the day & night coughing...yuck.

Anyway, Good Night to all and be ready for another jam packed day tomorrow.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Paisano European Tour 2010 - Day 18

Day 18 is September 24

Ahhh, our first full day in Norway.  I was able to sleep in a bit today and finally drug myself out about 9am.  After a nice breakfast, I started feeling a bit better.  No one ever likes being sick, but I would much rather feel bad at my own home.  Being sick on the road really sucks; I also want to try to make sure I don't get anyone else sick. 

After I get myself together and everyone else is out for the day, Morten took Momma and I sightseeing.  Today, we started out with a trip to the nearby light house.  The views up there are Amazing!  As always, Morten gave us great stories to go along with the views.  Parts of the lighthouse area and concrete foundations were left behind by the World War II Nazi war machine.  Other than that, it was great place to be and there's even a picnic and cabin area near by.

We took pictures and looked around from the high 180 degree plus views, we drove around the area and checked out the coast.  We also took in the site of the future Raustein palace.  Actually, maybe not a palace, but the future home-site looks like it will be outstanding.  The somewhat cliff/mountainside location facing the fjord will be Great.  All that and it will be at the end of the street, as well.  Those are always the fancy houses.  Hey, wait, my house is at the end of the street...oh yeah, I live in the 'hood; never mind.

Our next stop on this day's tour was a great opportunity to meet Morten's, Marten and Astrid, out at their farm.  Morten has some toys out at the farm.  Two of the coolest were "veterans".  He's got an old, basic troop carrier of sorts and a great looking '56 Chevy Bel Air wagon.  It's a very cool black and white and has plenty of room for the whole family.  There's always something very cool about a nice old car.  Back in the '50's, those cars had real personality.  There's lots of great stuff out there on the farm.  What a great place and the views were great, too.  Marten & Astrid were awesome about making us feel very welcome as well.  Takk!

Dinner tonight was lasagna and vino.  Two of my favorite things and Hans was good enough to pick up a great bottle of one of my favorite wine regions in the world.  Rioja!  Yay!  Takk Hans, you learned well.  ;)  
I had a bit of fun convincing Line that Rio was named after the wine region.  Her name is actually Rioja, but maybe I'm just lazy and call her Rio, I mean after all, I call Hans Olav, just Hans...  ;)

After dinner, we did a drive out to the coast to try to catch the sunset, but we didn't quite make it this time.  That being said, it was still great.  The coastal area is wonderful and of course, just like Switzerland and Germany, the family here is unbelievable.  Later in the evening, I spent some quality time with Hans.  We worked on a "saying" for his graduation announcements.  I came up with "Fanticecceptionalistic Norwegianal Explorer" , we'll see if I get "published".  Either way, I had a good time giving my brain a bit of a work out.  That being completed, I'm done, out and calling it a day.

Here's to a hopefully good night's sleep and feeling a bit better in the morning.

Good Night All.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Paisano European Tour 2010 - Day 17

Day 17 is September 23

Today we had a very early start. I was up a bit before the 415 am.  Unfortunately, I started the day with a massive headache & joint pain.  However, from there on, the day was another Great one for the Paisano European Tour.

I can't say it enough, I'm So proud of Marc and Jana, too.  They've got the greatest relationship with their folks and that's Outstanding!  I'm really looking forward to having that kind of relationship one day, in the meantime, Danke to Marc for being one of my kids.  ;)

Marc and Frank were good enough to take Momma and I to the Hamburg airport and make sure we were all ready to go and checked in.  Again, Danke!  Everyone in the Wilkens family made us feel Extremely Welcome.  Remember, you ALL are Always welcome in our homes and we look forward to seeing you all again, soon.

Our flights today took us from Hamburg to Copenhagen and then to Trondheim.  We were lucky in that we had uneventful flights.  Yahoo!  As we arrived into Copenhagen I had to take a quick little trip to the restroom.  Since I peed there, that's counts for another country on my list, right??  The Copenhagen airport is surprisingly a very quite.  I guess I'm so used to LOUD American airports, I was rather surprised.  As we took a brief break between flights and grabbed a caffe, we also acquired more "new" money.  This time, we've got Danish krone.  I Love traveling, seeing new things, experiencing new places and collecting new money as well. ;)

I have to admit that as much as I love traveling and that I have Absolutely LOVED being in Germany for the past week, I am Beat...I feel pretty worn out.  I've been coughing, had major aches and a massive headache today, but...we made it to Trondheim in one piece and found ourselves in a Very quiet airport.  It was a bit odd as even the folks in the the lounge were very quiet.

Momma & I are now on to our 3rd or perhaps 4th country during this trip.  4th, only if you count Denmark because I used the restroom there.  ;()  So, when do YOU count a country???  Morten was good enough to pick us up.  I can't thank our European family enough, Everyone has been SO generous. Takk Morten!!!

After we left the airport, our first stop was Kristiansten Fort. The view from up here is really amazing.  Check out this link for some cool history. 
We spent some time looking around and even got to take a special tour with the grade school kids.  That was cool too.  The vantage point up there for pictures was amazing. 

Of course, that would also mean that the folks who built the fort, WAY back when, had the same idea. 

After taking in the sights from the Fort, we next went to the beautiful church in the heart of Trondheim.  That was impressive, to say the least.  One of the most interesting things was the artwork on the church.  I found it quite interesting when Morten gave us the run down of how, way back when, the leader of Norway was converted to Christianity.  He went around the country and asked if the people were Christians.  When they said no, well, guess what, they lost their heads.  If they said yes, then, Ta-Da, they kept their heads.  At any rate, there's a spot on the church that depicts a church "elder" with a bag full of heads.  Interesting, huh?

Morten was nice enough to take us around the city to view the sights and then we stopped at one of my Always favorite places.  We hit the Harley shop.  Yay!  I scored a t-shirt and it's got all the stuff that we just saw.  Very cool & it was just like Morten knew what to show us.  ;)

Our drive from Trondhiem was absolutely amazing, especially the further north we went.  At this point, I realize that I So need a bike out here!  The ride out to our new "home" for the next week was great.  After we got home, we finally got to meet Line, Maja & Kristen.  That was Great!  We got a chance to hang out  while Morten & Line were cooking dinner for us.  What a Great way to get settled in.  Just before dinner was ready, Hans and Ronja got here.  Just like when I saw Marc at the airport, I realized just how much I missed my boys.  LOTS! 

Tonight, we got a chance to go to a "grand opening" for the multi use building and community center in Linnsvik where Line is in charge of several key areas of the municipality.  This was Very nice surprise.  The program was really nice.  They had bands, music, singing, dancing & story telling.  I know Momma and I both enjoyed it very much, even the "stuff" we didn't understand.  Thank you Line for helping the Americans out.  ;)  So, Line was the MC, Kristin as a back up singer and Ronja was also part of the program as a member of a team.  Very cool AND the Raustein's were well represented.   

After show, we went back home and had a nice little meal and some great conversation.  Hans & Ronja spent the night here at home and Momma and I give up and head up for bed. I was out like a light and was hoping for a good night's sleep so that I could try to get over being sick.  Welcome to Norway!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Paisano European Tour 2010 - Day 16

Day 16 is September 22

Sadly, this is our last full day in Germany ;(

While I was waiting for the rest of the Wilkens crew to make their way downstairs, I got some pictures of the horsies out back and couldn't help but think of my Sis Jenno's comment when we saw horses in Colorado.  Her comment was "Ohh, look at the horsies, Woof, Woof".  Cracks me up Every time!

Today we, (Frank, Heike, Momma, Marc & I), spent time driving around a bit, seeing sites around the area and then we dropped Marc off to take his driver test.  As we expected, Marc passed with flying colours!  YAY!!!  Marc is now an officially, fully licensed German driver...uh-oh, I mean, Yay!  I Knew he could do it.  I mean afterall, he did some learning out here in Colorado, (and did a Great job, too).  While we were waiting for all the "important" folks to show up, the instructor commented about Marc's "fan club".  Glad to be known for something.

After Marc's triumph, we had a light lunch and then went to Alster Lake.  This time out, it was Momma, Heike, Jana & I.  The weather was Beautiful!  We walked around for awhile and I was able to get some really cool pictures.  This time through the park area I saw much that I didn't get to see on our first visit.  There were folks hanging out enjoying the sun, dogs playing, folks out on the lake, sailing, rowing and enjoying a great time.  I also saw some sculpture around the pathway and they even had these really cool lounge chairs out in the middle of the park for people who want to relax and enjoy nature.  Why can't we have things like that here in the US?

Our last night here in Germany featured a Great dinner with the Wilkens'.  Tonight we get to dine with Suzanne, Nadine and Aline as well as Heike, Jana, Marc and Frank.  It was outstanding!  What a great end to a wonderful week.  After dinner and dessert, we got to watch Aline's pictures of Cypress.  I Know I've not traveled Nearly enough and seeing these pictures serve to prove the fact.  These pictures were great.  It looks like a wonderful place and too many people, Especially, folks from the US, do not think about traveling to other countries, especially those countries that the think are "different"

This evening's celebration was wonderful, BUT...I'm really starting to feel the effects of Marc's cold and his souvenir he gave me from his trip to Poland.  That's OK, I guess, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

danke euch allen dafür, dass Mama und ich nach Deutschland, wie es war bestimmt Erfahrung, mit der Familie. Es war eine Reise ihres Lebens. Immer in unseren Herzen. Vielen Dank für die Familie.

Thanks for the memories,