Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The tale of the special weekend + photo dump...

Alright all.

I will now try to summarize and convey as much as I can about my special weekend that just happened with the Hubs, in honor of my birthday (which is this coming Thursday!).

We leave the house here in Haugesund, drive for an hour, wait for another hour for a ferry. Ride the ferry for an odd 45 minutes. Get off ferry, drive for another odd hour. Wait another 40 minutes or so for ferry #2. Ride ferry for about 20 minutes. Get dropped off right down the road from our hotel.
The drive was beautiful, btw. The usual amazing scenery for Western Norway, but still something I gape at and am impressed over. We tried to take some photos, but also, the weather for pretty much the whole weekend (especially Friday) was terrible. It poured and poured all day, with crazy wind too.
Anyway, we check into the hotel, which was pretty nice, then changed into our swimsuits and spent an hour in the spa pool downstairs. Afterwards we just relaxed together for the rest of the night in our room. It was lovely.

These are all of the view from our balcony...

There's our hotel!

Woke up and hit the hotel breakfast. Yum.
Had couples massage hour mid-morning. Surprised to find that not only was our message room not dark-ish, or lit with candles in what I think to be a typical spa fashion, but included floor-ceiling windows with daylight streaming through, and a gardener working outside!
Suffice it to say that Weegie spas don't really understand the concept of modesty, and that some of their clients might not want to be totally nude in front of the entire staff.
This was really driven home after the Hubs and returned a few hours after our first massage treatment, for our second. The Hubs just got a neck rub, but I opted for the de-stress body scrub.
Yeeeeah. First, I had to wear one of those flattering papery undies/thongs so my sides could be scrubbed. Sure. Fine. Whatever. Except, with my masseur and the Hubs and his a few feet away, I was asked to strip down, change into said undies, then lie on the table with no cover. Wasn't real into that. Managed to tug around on the tiny towel and try to stay covered. When I turned onto my back, my masseur, who was a very nice lady, asked me, (in Norwegian of course) if I wanted her to do my chest as well.
Now let me mention, she used the general word for "chest" as in, your upper torso. I've had scrubs before and figured this had to just mean the decolletage area.
Wrong again.
When I agreed, she pulled my tiny towel all the way down to my waist and continued to scrub my chest. All of it. When she did, I just stiffened up and she just laughed and told me to relax. Which obviously was really easy with a stranger exfoliating my nipples for me.
Good times.
When she was done and I was supposed to hop in the shower to rinse off the scrub, I also wasn't left alone. Apparently, showering isn't all that personal a thing in the Weegie spa atmosphere. Again, I tried to cover myself as much as possible, but when I came back to the table, and my masseur started to apply the moisturizer to my body, I sort of gave up. Suffice to say, my 'chest' had never been so pampered...definitely not by a stranger anyway!
After all the spa action, the Hubs and I went around the little town that our hotel was located in. Again, amazing location, right on the water, lovely mountains in the background. I dug it. We relaxed in our room for a bit again, then had our gourmet 3-course dinner in the restaurant downstairs. (There isn't a photo of the desert below, as I sort of leapt on it without pausing for a photo. It was delish though.)
After dinner, we went for a little romantic walk by the pier, then back to the room to relax for the night.
Saturday was chilly and windy, but didn't really rain, so we were lucky!

Cute little local church...

The Hubs, out walking the 'town'...


Dinner! (Trust me, it was yummy.)

Down by the pier, looking like a goober.

Trying out the massage chair in the lobby...
The Hubs doesn't have a career in self-portraits...plus this one won't turn the right way. Sorry!

Wanted to hit the local church, but the Hubs had planned our day pretty tightly. Unfortunately.
Got up, ate breakfast then checked out of the hotel.
Proceeded to drive an odd hour to the Pulpit rock site. (Preikestolen)
To start with the positive: I am SO glad that we made the journey up to the Pulpit together. Seeing it in person was amazing. Beautiful, and humbling to see the majesty of God's creation in one of Norway's most well-known natural wonders. The view was obviously breathtaking. And the coolest thing? Me, the notorious 'indoor-girl' made the hike up to the rock! Something I'll be proud of forever. It's a 6km hike each way, btw folks. And an achievement. Trust me. Also, I managed this amazing feat in a skirt. Yes. I went on a 12km, rough hike to the top of a mountain in a skirt and tights. I win.

Moving on to the not-so-positive: First, the weather was terrible. Cold, SO windy, and drizzling the whole time. Thankfully, the real, pouring rain didn't start until we were nearly off the trail altogether and on the way back. But the wind on the actual Pulpit itself was literally SO HARD that people could barely stand up. I wanted to sit on the edge and dangle my feet over, but only made it about halfway out the to the edge before the Hubs begged me not to go any farther, claiming:
"STOP, HONEY, STOP! The wind will blow your tiny body off the edge!"
Direct quote folks.
Anway, I will now attempt to describe the trail (the photos will help)...first, the internet reviews and tourist websites claim that the Pulpit trail is 'easy' and 'suitable for seniors and children'.
I would agree with that statement, if said children and seniors happen to be mountain goats.
I admittedly am not an outdoorsy, active girl. But I am not exaggerating when I say that for a majority of the trail, you literally clamber up boulders, sometimes at a straight, vertical angle. No joke. There aren't any steps, only a few cumulative feet of railing on the whole trail, and oh yeah, YOU CLIMB ON ALL-FOURS UP BOULDERS.
I'd like to have a little chat with the tourist board folks.
I will never, and I mean never ever attempt that trip again. Already told the Hubs that in the future, should our children want to go, I will fully endorse them seeing it themselves as little half-Weegies...but I will not be accompanying them.
So anyway, the Hubs and I made pretty good time on the trail in general, considering I nearly threw myself off the side of a cliff a few times in desperation, then got back to our car, dripping wet and filthy.
Then we started the journey home.

The trail map. Deceptively simple looking for the most part, right?

Half-way up the boulder-scaling trail...see that ribbon in the distance that's light-colored? That's where we came from...

Enthusiasm for the cliff-side trail as opposed to the hilly trail? You bet.

There it is, Pulpit rock!

The view to the right of the Pulpit...

The exhausted hikers!

The wind, I tell you. The wind. Also, dig my Barbie sneakers? You know you do.

A couple of crazy people attempting to battle the wind out to the edge...I made it almost that far!

So we took the same way home that we drove to the rock and the hotel, so nothing real exciting/new there. Except we met a really nice American couple that we played guide to for 2/3 of the drive total. Which was fun, having someone to talk to and give tips about Norway, since they were just visiting. Except for part of the drive, we weren't exactly sure where we were going, and had a 'blind leading the blind' moment.
We made it out alright in the end, caught both of the boats we needed to, and back to the house...to a couple of very tired, stressed puppies that stayed with my in-laws at the house over the weekend.


Well. I think that probably rivals my longest entry ever, so congrats if you made it all the way through!

All in all, it was lovely just being somewhere quiet and alone with my Husband. We have a pretty stressful living situation, and though we know we're lucky people in general and try to count our blessings, getting a weekend to ourselves was just what we needed. Awww, love.

Now we're just settling back into our routines. The Hubs has to go to Oslo all day tomorrow for some meetings, and I got called into work on my birthday too. Oh well. God is good!