Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

The kids have been off school all week, so we've been partying like rock stars.  We pushed the couches in the living room together to form a megabed, and the boys have had "slumber parties" every night.  Here are some photos of the aftermath:

Not only is there no school during Holy Week, but most people also have work off as well, so it's common for Norwegians to spend the week traveling.  Even most of the grocery stores are closed for much of the week.  Good Friday is solemnly observed here--I've heard that commercial ads are not played on TV on Good Friday, just charity ads.

There's also a bizarre tradition of following crime stories at this time of year--the Norwegian TV stations each produce a detective miniseries for Easter, publishers put out books called "Easter-thrillers," and Tine, the nation's biggest milk company, even runs crime comics on their milk cartons.

We didn't travel or read crime stories (though we did try to understand the one printed on our milk carton) over the break, but we did do some interesting things.  One of the highlights was exploring a great area nearby called Fantoft.  Check out this cool wall at the tram stop:

Fantoft has nice play areas that the kids really enjoyed, and we hiked around on some beautiful trails.  There's a stave church there as well.  Stave churches are beautiful, wooden, medieval churches.  Norway is famous for them, but up until last week, I hadn't seen one in person.

Fantoft Stave Church was built elsewhere in Norway around 1150, moved to Bergen in 1883, burned down by a black metal musician (!) in 1993, and an exact copy was rebuilt in 1997.  It's really neat-looking.  Here's a photo I took while we were there:
Fantoft Stave Church

Another adventure Oscar and Davin had was walking to the City Center and back (about 4km each way), doing "ninja training" as they went.  They had such a good time that they did it again with Jonah the next day.

We also went to Vilvite, the children's science museum.  This is nothing new (we've been there many, many times), but I had a new experience there--one I'd been dreaming of since our first visit:  I finally got to go on the Sentrifugalskapen!  Up until now, I'd always been either pregnant or there without Davin (or any other grown person who could look after Izzy and Sergio while I was on the bike).


The boys wore their "Dino Team Uniforms."

Jonah and Oscar participated in a "Cupcake Workshop" at the museum.

Yesterday, Easter day, the kids jumped out of bed (or couches, rather) around 6:00am and immediately started hunting for Easter eggs.  Among the wonderful things they found hidden in the yard were Kinder Eggs (banned in the US!) and Moon Dough (one of the most amazing substances I've ever had the pleasure of handling).  Here in Norway, Easter goodies are delivered in paper egg-shaped containers rather than Easter baskets.  The kids are displaying theirs in the pictures below:

After the big egg hunt, we took a bus Downtown and went out for a fancy buffet breakfast at Rica Hotel Bergen.  It was fabulous.  Then we went to the High Mass at St. Paul Kirke, Bergen's only Catholic Church.

Oscar had given up computer and video games for Lent, so Davin hooked up a Play Station for the kids yesterday to celebrate the end of Lent.  The family we're renting the house from had left one and said we should feel free to use it--Jonah often asks about using it, but I hate for them to play video games, so we had never let them play it before.  They have something called EyeToy, though, and it turns out it's much cooler than regular video games.  You use your whole body to play and it detects your actions with a video camera.  I liked it because playing requires a lot of physical activity and the games can involve everyone in the room at once.  It was really fun.

Afterward, we ate a very nice Easter dinner that Davin had made, and had the last of our slumber parties.

Today (Easter Monday) is known as the Second Day of Easter here, and the shops and schools are still closed.  So today we're just relaxing, eating lots of chocolate, reading lots of Harry Potter, and enjoying our last day of the holiday break.

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