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India Phase 4- Mumbai

I’ve finally made it to the last phase of our India trip– Mumbai. But before I get into Mumbai photos, I need to share one last Goa picture that I forgot to include on my last post. Now you understand why cows on the beach made for an interesting time.

IMG_1865We left Goa to began the last leg of our trip. I was worried about returning to a big city because of how sick I got in New Delhi due to the air quality. However, the air quality in Mumbai was much better– probably because it’s on the coast. One of our first stops in Mumbai was the Gateway of India.

The main event of Mumbai was meeting more family. My dad’s two cousins, Suddah and Maddu live in Pune, right outside of Mumbai with their families. We met up for a late lunch, but not before going on a Lost My iPhone trek across the city.

Kayla, dad, Lars and I spent the morning walking around Mumbai, stopping in a store to buy some sweets. As we headed back to the hotel to greet the cousins, my dad felt around his pockets and realized his phone was missing. Naturally, we thought he was making a not-so-funny joke… but after a few minutes of him wide-eyed and persistent, we realized it wasn’t a joke. The cousins were due to arrive at the hotel in a matter of minutes, so we frantically made our way to the lobby. I opened my phone and logged into Find My iPhone with dad’s information. Lars dad and I hopped into the hotel taxi and chased the blinking blue dot through the city of Mumbai. It finally stopped moving and we were able to catch up to it. We approached a line of parked tuktuks and I jumped out of the car trying to locate the beeping phone. As I approached the tuktuk that was beeping, the driver sat up from the backseat where he was napping. He was obviously confused to see the family he had driven hours before, back unexplained. I reached into the tuktuk and grabbed the phone which had been tucked under the back cushion. I still can’t believe we managed to get dad’s phone back off the streets of Mumbai.

Paan, loosly meaning “leaf” is a combination of betal leaf with areca nut. Although it’s often chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects, there are many different types, all with different purposes. The type we tried was more of an after dinner “sweet” treat. Watching them prepare it was quite interesting.

Our trip to India was great– even though it took me years to properly document it. I just about ready to head back for round two!

India Phase 3: Goa

I realize it’s been a while since we got back from India, but I finally decided to continue posting the remaining photos from our great trip. Phase 3: Goa.

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Our time in Goa was unlike the rest of our trip. We were in total vacation mode– beaches, sunsets, pools, shopping and good food. We stayed at a hotel that sat atop a hill overlooking the beach– a perfect spot to watch the sunset.

The biggest difference between other beaches I’ve been to and Goa beaches were the cows and water buffalo. They were mostly harmless, however there was one near disaster. I was simply walking down the beach taking a selfie when a water buffalo lowered his head and rammed his horns towards me. If I had been just an inch closer, his horns would have punctured my torso, no doubt. The pictures below document the event. They don’t exactly portray the severity of the situation because I was so oblivious as to what was happening. I only became aware he was charging towards me once I heard the growing screams of a nearby group watching with more amusement than concern.

The only other beach encounters involved cows trying to snag the pakora off of our plates. They succeeded more than once.

The second craziest night market we went to was in Goa (the first was in Varanasi). It was the type of market that needed to be visited twice– the first time for making the rounds and soaking it all in, and the second to actually shop.

On our first day Lars and I walked the shore and explored the rocky bends of the beach. We found lots of little creatures and neat rock formations. Additionally, Mom, Dad, Lars and I took a day trip to a yoga center in order to take a class.

Overall, there was a lot of relaxation during our time in Goa. It was a much needed relief from the bustle of the cities.

Goa was definitely a fun spot, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back!

The Family Hytte/ Cabin

A hytte is a cozy Norwegian cabin, often in the mountains, and used as an escape from the stress and noise of everyday life. Both Ole Magnus and his brother Christian have cabins a bit outside of Hønefoss. I have memories of spending Christmas at the cabin back in 2005, and maybe some vague memories of spending time here back when I was 4. But despite all of the time I’ve spent in Norway the last few years, I hadn’t made it back to the cabins. However, we made it a priority to get some hytte time in this trip. We left Hønefoss late morning, stopped for groceries (and ice cream), and made it to the cabin by the afternoon.

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OJ led us up the mountain which proved more taxing than anticipated. There was still a good amount of snow left up there, so navigating the snow patches and swampy areas took time.

Once we reached the lake, we hesitantly took a dip. OJ was the first one in the water, and he didn’t exactly make it look enjoyable. Nevertheless, I still managed to dunk myself before rushing back onto land to dry off and get dressed. Kayla was the only wimpy one, and only made it in up to her knees. It was really, really cold.

After we put our layers back on, we enjoyed some Coronas and chocolate before heading back down to the cabin.

We spent the night playing cards and boardgames, all of which OJ won. We cooked a yummy stir-fry and put a dent on both the bottles of tequila and fernet. Of course, it wasn’t time for bed until the sun already started rising.

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Norwegian Treats!

I went into these two weeks knowing that my sugar and carb intake was going to skyrocket. Ice cream, pastries, candy, bread… it’s all part of the Norwegian experience. I decided that I can afford a food bender once every two years, and I made sure to properly document it.

Ice Cream

It’s no secret that I am a bit ice cream crazy– but when in Norway, this amplifies. There’s nothing quite like Norwegian ice cream– my favorite: soft-is. It’s like soft-serve ice cream, but so much tastier. Think of your favorite custard, imagine it being 10x better, and that is soft-is. And what makes soft-is complete? The toppings. My favorite topping is the chocolate– it tastes like a sweet cocoa powder. When I want a bit of a mix, I usually pick half Oreo half chocolate. Besides from soft-is, there is småis, which include a variety of packaged ice creams. My personal favorite is the krone-is which is comparable to a drumstick ice cream cone. And lastly, my trip to Norway wouldn’t be complete without trying one båtis (boat ice cream.) This was my go-to daily ice cream during my first 1-month trip to Norway as a 4 year old. I have to admit, I remember it tasting better as a kid.

Pastries

There are a lot of buns and pastries in Norway, but my favorite is Skoleboller or Skolebrød (school bun/bread.) This pastry has a custard center and coconut icing topping. It’s by far my favorite Norwegian sweet. Most skoleboller are great, but nothing beats homemade. I am still left craving the buns we made in Lofoten, and most of all, Grandma’s homemade skoleboller. The other pastry I had on this trip was a solboller, or sun bun. This is similar to the school bun but without the coconut topping.

Pålegg/ On-Bread

In Norway, there’s a term ” pålegg” which refers to all types of things that can go on bread. This term is used often, because Norwegians eat a lot of bread. Ole Magnus helped coined the english version of this concept as “on-bread.” I had a lot of bread, with a variety of on-bread during this trip. Kayla and Brandi made a fresh bruschetta which was a perfect evening patio snack. Grandma and Grandpa bought shrimp for a shrimp feast one evening which is by far my favorite on-bread. (Yes, I lucked out and got two shrimp feasts!)

Drinks

Although not documented as well– I tried a fair amount of delicious beer, wine, and spirits. Brandi, Kayla, and I did a local IPA and Sour beer tasting in Trondheim. Ole Jørgen brought over his Bareksten Botanical Gin which is the first gin I have ever enjoyed. We sipped on gin and tonics until we went to a great natural wine bar, Spontan Vinbar. We shared two different (both fantastic) bottles of rosé. And I must mention Ole Magnus’s home brewed beer in Hønefoss. He had a British bitter, a Boston Lager, and a Chili Stout– all three were great! They even got Grandpa’s seal of approval– which is a big deal. Beyond alcohol, I had lots of coffee. I enjoyed cappuccinos, chili-mochas, espresso, and lots of black coffee.

Fire-Foods

It wouldn’t be a trip to Norway without cooking over fire at least once. This time, we made both pizza and chocolate-stuffed bananas. The pizza was great– especially because of the company of many great friends. (More on this later). I realize the picture of the banana is blurry, but it needed to be included. This is one of my fire favorites, and Vigdis was nice enough to bring them along for our fire.

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There are a few things out there that are distinctly Norwegian. The first, pictured below in the bowl, is rømmegrøt. This is a smooth but thick porridge made from sour cream, milk, flour, and butter. It’s not one of my favorite Norwegian dishes, but it’s sooo Norwegian. If you load it up with a dollop of butter, a hefty amount of cinnamon, and enough sugar, it becomes simply a vessel for sweet goodness.

Although I don’t care for hotdogs, I make sure to get a few øst-pølser each trip. These are delicious cheese-filled “sausages” that put shame to hotdogs. Even the mustard– a condiment I don’t usually like– is different, and makes the pølser experience perfect.

Norway has a lot of candy, but over the years I’ve focused my interest down to one type: Black Licorice. I made plenty of stops to the bulk candy section of grocery store to load up my paper bag with licorice spirals.

And lastly, there’s lefsegodt. Lefse is a potato flatbread, and lefsegodt is this flatbread layered with butter, sugar, and sometimes cinnamon. How can you go wrong with that? It’s even better enjoyed with a view at the end of a hike!

Overall, this trip was full of great food, most of which was enjoyed outside under the sun. I had just about enough of my favorites to tie me over until next time.