|Stop #14 from Sept 4 - 6, 2000|
Our Travel Experience
We stayed with Servas hosts Karin and Tore. We encourage more people to join Servas. It is a wonderful to be introduced to a place by people who live there.
We decided to get off the Hurtigruten in Trondheim since the one extra night to Bergen was REALLY expensive and we'd already been to Bergen, but not to Trondheim. We're glad we did since staying with Karin and Tore was very enjoyable.
We originally read about the Servas Hospitality program in an Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine. The magazine article listed numerous hospitality programs and we put joining one on our "Things to do" list. Since joining Servas was not as critical as, say, making sure Tara got paid promptly; we put off joining until mid-June. Therefore, we couldn't take the lists of hosts with us when we left July 9th. We had them sent to Seth's parents and then Seth's parents sent them to Grace and Jeff who brought them to Scotland with us. Therefore, it was nearly two months after we started traveling that we stayed with our first Servas hosts.
We are glad we did!!
We figured that staying with Servas hosts would be friendlier than just renting a room in someone's house. We were right! Karin and Tore were even friendlier than we would have ever expected! Plus, they went out of their way to make us feel at home. Right from the moment Tara called Karin to ask if we could stay, we were pleasantly surprised that Karin offered to pick us up at the Hurtigruten the next morning. Then, on the ride home, we were pleasantly surprised when she stopped to pick up bread for our breakfast. This trend of being happily surprised with how accommodating Karin and Tore were continued for the three days/two nights that we stayed with them.
On our first morning, Karin took us to her home, showed us our room and then sat down to chat with us over breakfast. She had three types of home-made jam. Strawberry was our favorite! After breakfast, she dropped us off in town even though it was not on her way to work. Since the weather was not good, we spent time at the Library on the Internet and reading English magazines and newspapers. We also went to the train station and discovered that Ottestad should be easy to reach since a nearby town was on the train line between Trondheim and Oslo. Then, we took a nice long 1.5 hour walk home. While walking, we saw an Egon restaurant, many renovated riverside warehouses, the old town bridge, the old town fort, and numerous brightly colored houses. We kept walking uphill, uphill and uphill. It was a tiring walk, but good for us and for the last bit of the walk, we were lucky to be able to turn downhill for 5 minutes.
For dinner the first night, Karin made chicken with salad and rice. We met Tore and had an enjoyable dinner conversation. Karin had also baked bread in the bread machine. We've always wanted a bread machine and we now have some first hand experience cleaning it out when her bread overflowed. We still want a bread machine. Much to our surprise, dinner was not over yet, since there was still carrot cake to come! We could have stayed up talking long into the night, but Seth especially was tired, so we turned in and hoped to sleep late the next morning. Since we were going out to dinner the next night, our only obligation was to meet Karin and Tore by the Cathedral downtown at 4:45pm.
We slept in until nearly 11pm and didn't leave the house until after 12 noon. We were headed for Egon's Restaurant in the communications overlooking Trondheim. We HAD to eat at Egon's since one of Seth's best friends at work in Japan is called Egon. We picked up an extra brochure to mail to him. Egon's gave us a great view of the town since the restaurant inside the tower rotated. And since we had walked home yesterday, we knew many of the city landmarks and could pick them out as we rotated.
After Egons, we walked into town headed for the Library. We just love Libraries in Norway. Every town seems to have at least one Internet computer that anyone can use for free. Sometimes you need to register for a 30 minute time slot, sometimes you just stand and use the computer first come first served with a time limit per person sometimes. Trondheim had both computers you could register for or a 15 minute first come, first served computer. We stood and read our e-mail quickly. Then, it was off to the train station to book our seats for the journey to Ottestad's nearby town called Hamar.
We also wanted to stay at another Servas house since we enjoyed this one so much. But, that was not to be since the family in Ottestad that was listed in the book really wasn't welcoming guests anymore. (This is another instance where Karin really helped us out. When I called the Servas family in Ottestad, I was hung up on and just told "NO". Karin called to find out more for me and learned that the Son who had lived in the house before had been interested in Servas, but now he no longer lived there.) So, no problem, we were arriving into Hamar early enough that the Tourist Information Center would be open.
We got to the Cathedral at 4pm - 45 minutes before we were to meet Karin and Tore so that we could look inside. Unfortunately, the Cathedral closed at 3pm. So, we were only able to walk around the outside.
Right on time at 4:45pm, we were picked up and taken to a traditional Norwegian Restaurant that had been serving food since sometime in the 1700's. The building was really neat. There were many separate dining rooms. Between each room was a doorway leading into the next room. The neat thing was that the doorways and room were not the same size, nor on the same level. So, it seemed that you were walking between different houses actually that had been stuck together. Our dining room was a private room with just one table. Karin and Tore had invited their sons to join us. Only Tore's son and girlfriend were free. It was fun talking to them since he was also working with computers and she gave us some insight into what being a student was like in Norway. We liked the traditional dinner. It was dumplings made of flour and potato, covered in gravy with bacon bits and a sweet sauce on the side. It's called Klub and was tasty! It was very filling though. Tara took 2 dumplings and could only finish 1 1/2. After eating, we took a tour of the 2nd floor of the restaurant. It was more of the same: very homey rooms connected to other rooms that were of a different level. One area was so small that 2 people would barely fit. Another area was meant for 20 people. It was a very unique building and we were shocked to hear that it had been located in the center of town before it had been dismantled and moved to its present location.
After dinner there were more surprises in store for us! First we drove to a high place with a good view over the town. This viewpoint was on the other end of town from Egon's restaurant, so we had a nice opposing perspective. Then, we drove to the ski jump at the edge of town. And, there were actually ski jumpers jumping!! In summer, the ski club members are able to practice by using special plastic instead of snow. These jumps were used in the 1997 World Championships, so they were BIG! We had only seen this high of ski jumps on TV, so it was neat to see this in person.
Back at home, we spent some time figuring out how to get their computer to print from a Kodak picture CD. In the end, we went through all the steps, but were only able to get an oddly colored photo printed since they needed to buy one more cartridge for their HP ink jet. We're glad we were able to help them through the printing steps. Even though it was such a small repayment for the kindness they'd showed us.
The next morning, we were up early with Karin and had a quick breakfast before she dropped us off for the train to Hamar.
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|Overall Experience||8||We're very glad we stayed with Servas hosts. It was a very friendly experience.|
|Ease of Journey||9||Karin and Tore made getting around town very easy for us. We didn't ride the bus once!|
|Accommodation||8||Our basement bedroom and bathroom was all our own and suited us fine.|
|Activities||8||The one thing we missed was seeing the inside of the Cathedral since we never dreamed that it would close at 3pm.|
|Coolness||8||A good end to our Hurtigruten journey!|
Many countries have Servas hosts willing to welcome you into their home. You need to sign up with the Servas organization in your country.