Day 5- April 28, 2016- Travel day
We needed to be in the lobby by 10:30am so I set my alarm for 8:55 and woke up at 8;50! I quickly took a shower and packed a little thinking I had time before breakfast, however, I hadn't changed the screen on my watch so I still thought it was 8:45! I ran downstairs before breakfast was over, thank goodness! After breakfast we all met in the lobby and waited for the crew and charter bus to arrive. When it did we all boarded and I was excited to see how nice it was, and it didn't smell! The ride was smooth and easy and the view as we left Oslo was incredible. We stopped in a little town called Gal for lunch and it was delicious! Venison burger with, again, potatoes! The burger was so good and had so many toppings. I cut it in half to eat and noticed everyone was eating with fork and knife. I asked if it was a custom and they said no, just messy! Oops! Ext we continued to drive and went through the world's longest tunnel! 24km long! Heidi was really feeling anxious since tunnels are not her favorite, but she was a champ! We arrived a few hours later at a place called Flam! The hotel is beautiful and feels like a cool, nicer ski loge. After checking in, I wandered off to check out the souvenir store, have a nice prayer on a rock, and do a small hike up a little mountain. This hotel and little town is situated at the top of or beginning of a large fjord that feeds into another. I got a glass of wine and enjoyed the view while doing some writing and took in the sights of the hotel which is like a dream come true since it uses bunads as decoration and as part of all their artwork throughout the hotel including the number on the hotel door. Dinner was, again, so amazing! We had salmon with caviar!! I've never had that! This was after our soup for an app. It tasted like ginger/carrot. Our dessert was so amazing too- a berry sorbet in a bowl of berries and a smoked powder sugar, yum! After dinner we had our info meeting! Tomorrow is going to be another great adventure!
Day 6 (Day 1 on the show)- April 29, 2016
We met for info and to leave at 10am in the lobby of the hotel. We quickly boarded a van and drove about 10min. Away to a small town. As we approached the town we could see a field with 2 helicopters! I immediately assumed it was for the camera crew to film us from above as we went down the fjord, but I was wrong! They were for us! I was in the first group to take the helicopter since we could only do 4 people at a time. Brittney, Johnny, me, and Lars all boarded a red helicopter and after a lot of waiting-- (took a video while waiting). We finally lifted off and started flying straight down a fjord! It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be until we went higher and had to make a sharp turn! It felt like we were going to fly upside down! The helicopter landed in another grass field wher we were to exit the helicopter and move onto the next activity. This was to be our "first time setting foot in Norway" (hence it is technically day 1). I was so emotional on the last part of the flight and especially getting off the heli, the beauty of the fjord was indescribable. The water was the most indescribable blue! There were houses and little villages scattered all over and the sheer size of the mountain wall was stunning. After doing some interviews- we quickly got onto a boat and they took us across the water to a small beach that also had a little stone wall and lots of grass. We had to do more waiting until everyone was there to move onto more filming. Once everyone had arrived, we filmed the opening sequence of Fridtjof saying hello and us cheering and yelling "Alt For Norge"!! After filming this shot for awhile, we stopped for lunch which they brought over on the boat. It was salad, bread, and spaghetti! What a fun "first day in Norway" lunch! Of course this wasn't filmed, but delicious too. Next, we had to get back in our positions where we did different takes of Fridtjof telling us about where we were, Sognogfjorden—the largest fjord in Norway (the world?) and a little about how our ancestors left here and went to the U.S. and that we were standing on the Norwegian Royal Postal Trail! This the trail that got mail form the U.S. to Norway when they had only mail to communicate.. He told us we would be walking the trail to the old post office and we would be sleeping there for the night! How exciting! After a few "pretend" shots of us walking off and starting on the trail, we actually started to walk and we came to a building we all thought was going to the our stop but it wasn't. This is when we got split up and very confused! One group walked to a rock, another went another direction and Richard, Lars, Kelsey, and I all got on a boat. It drove us a little farther down the fjord where we could see more of the postal trail- a really cool brick wall. Petter filmed us walking down the trail and then filmed us walking and talking as we went down the trail. That's when we reached a giant postal bag on a post. I hardy could see it at first, and as Lars opened it and started to pull out these boards—I could see they were like giant postcards and the first one said "Dear Kate" and I lost it. I couldn't hold in the tears. I'm thinking,"I’m actually getting information about my family on the first day". My postcard was from Rissa, Sor Trondelag and it was a picture of the church where my great great grand parents were married on September 20, 1869. It had their full names. My mind was blown! I could hardly believe this and I just kept wanting to thank Alt For Norge- I wanted to hug everyone. I also didn't want to look like an ugly crier either! Ha ha! After I read mine and talked, we all took turns sharing our cards- followed by individual interviews, which I again cried in. It was 7:30 when we finally got a little boat ride over to where the actual post office was. We all had to wait a bit and they finally told us where we were sleeping for the night. We (the girls) were put into a beautiful white house at the top of a cliff. it was so cute! They filmed us walking there, walking in, and then filmed Kelsey and I finding our room then taking off our outer layers and pretending to go to bed. It was so funny, but once I got in that bed, I was tired! We went to the post house to have dinner, which was dehydrated food pouches—definitely different than what we've been used to! Ha ha! After dinner I pretty much couldn't keep my eyes open! So Kelsey and I are off to bed!
Day 7 (Day 2 on the show)- April 30, 2016
Today started early, around 6:15am. No shower or anything, just rolled out of bed. I got ready fast enough to have 5 mins. Of relaxing and watching the sunrise on the little porch that overlooks the fjord. I just can't believe how gorgeous Norway is. I headed to the post house for breakfast, instant oatmeal! Most of the group was getting read to jump in the fjord! I'm feeling sad I am so scared of the water since I would really love to say I jumped in a fjord in Norway. But alas, I was just too scared and didn't want tot look like an idiot by slowly walking in or sliding in. After the filming of the fjord jumping we had to do some group shots with Fritdjof talking about our first night- there was also a surprise shot for Johnny and Jeff to go kayaking in a fjord! Jeff was so happy and excited he was overcome with emotions. We then got ready to go on the boat to go to our next location. We didn't know much other than what Fridtjof had announced to us—we are going to a small village called Undredal that is known for having more goats than people! We were driving on the boat there and came to a stone wall where we saw a lady and some goats. We had to get 2 gotas into the boat! Joni and Derrick jumped on shore and to two goats to the edge while I grabbed the collar and pulled them into the boats. It was so crazy! We were actually pretty fast! We were taken to a shore not too far away—we really didn't know what was going on but we knew we were getting off at Undredal! It was their Geitost Festival! We sort of quickly realized we needed to get the goats off the boat too. I jumped off and basically pulled the goats by the collar off the boat! I couldn't believe I was doing this! After off the boat, we got our goats to the pen and quickly too. We were then given money (Kroner) to spend. In my little group it was Richard, Lars, Brittney, and I. We immediately went to the food tent where we tried all of thee wonderful aged goat cheeses. I tried my first Rumegrot. It was so delicious! I'm pretty sure my girls would love how it tastes! We also tried a sort of pancake called a Lapp....(I forgot what it's called!) with jam and it got all over my fingers. Next, we tried playing some horseshoes, and then bet on a square that we thought the goat would poop on! There weren't' a lot of squares left but I chose 50 since my parents were born in 1950! It was fun cheering on the goats. We tried everything to get them in our corner, including letting them lick my hands which were covered in jelly from pancake I ate! It felt like a baby sucking my finger, but as my hand reached the back of his mouth his tooth bit me! It wasn't bad, but my finger was bleeding when I looked down! Ouch! We tried grass, tree branches, and goat food and although that would get them to come to our side of the fence, they would eat and leave again. Next, they finally had one poop on #36 but I'm not sure who won. there was also a jar full of "pearls" (goat poop pellets) that you could guess the number of how many were in there, but I didn't win that either. I had to sit and wait for a my turn to interview so I sat with some people who lived there and it was so neat. I ended up sitting with the principal of Flam and one of the teachers too. Their school has 31 total students and his 2nd/3rd grade class has 10 students in it. It was so great to just talk with Norwegians- learning about their life on the fjord. I checked out the gift shop while waiting and got some marzipan and a wooden mug with "Undredal" on the handle. I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of it! It was finally my turn to interview but it was fast since we had to atch the boat back to Dyrdal since we were going to be filming our "end of day/dinner" scene from yesterday which was weird since we were all looking a bit rough. We had to shoot some scenes of us walking up to the post house and "seeing it for the first time". We were told dinner was in the barn and when we walked in it was all set up with tables and lights and we found a bucket of beer and aquavit. I may have taken a couple big swigs of aquavit! Later I learned you only sip it....oops! I felt pretty bad about doing that. then these men walked in with plates of food and sort of shalls with buttons on them—and we all knew.... it was lutefisk! They then had us sit down and 2 of the men joined us for dinner. Both the men at my table were named Rune! They were so nice. Also sitting with me was Derrick, Kelsey, and Richard. We had great talks about their club, the lutefisk Kings of Norway. Their club has consulates all over the world and we decided to have Derrick be the one to start one in the US! We had to sin a lutefisk song and what was most crazy was we saw the words beforehand and I guessed at trying to put the words to music and since it started with "Oh Lutefisk" I guessed it might be the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree" and I was right! I felt pretty bad though when I saw later it said "to the tune of Tannenbaum". I was pretty sure that everyone thought I was pretending to have thought of it, but oh well. After we ate for awhile the men left and came back with robes on and carried a pillow with some medals on it, and a stack of something framed and a jug of lye, and old rotten looking fish. They called some of us up one by one to get an award and be knighted and joined the Lutefisk club, the Lutefisk Kings of Norway! I got a pin, a certificate, and had to drink the lye (aquavit) and taste/lick the rotten fish. I was so excited but definitely a little "warm" inside from another shot of aquavit. I was interviewed after and we quickly got on a boat back to Flam and we settled in for the night! Information for tomorrow came and has me nervous for our first competition.
Day 8- Sunday, May 1, 2016 (day three on the show and end of “first week”)
Today we met early to leave and drove to a neat farm on the edge of the fjord. We spent the first part of the day doing a group shot of everyone standing over the fjord as well as our close ups which were actually really difficult since it was so windy and cold, a lot of us had a hard time looking away without blinking! Next, we walk to a small house with a room with a couple tables. We sat down and got info on our first competition. We were told about the rules and process of how we will do the game. There would be six posts and the goal would be to find the two Norwegian items. We drew numbers to see which team would go first and I drew number one so red team goes first! On the red team was Kate, Johnny, Jeff, Heidi, Derrick, and Brittany. Blue team was Lars, Lauren, Joni, Richard, Thomas, and Kelsey. The blue team had to sit quietly while we shot our competition. We did pretty good and felt confident. We had to wear the outfit to be picked out. After ours was done we had lunch altogether, lasagna! We couldn’t talk about anything with the other team, but that was OK. The blue team left to do their competition and it was stressful to wait. I kept thinking there is no way they would get any items wrong. We had more interviews then it was time for results! Red team won! Yay! And we got every single item correct! The waiting to find out who one was so hard! We filmed in and seen after more interviews of us drinking raspberry lemonade while reach Jeff came over and gave Britney the spiritual! I'm so happy he won it! She totally deserves it! We finish the night by taking a bus back to the hotel for dinner. It was with the guys from the boat Gabriel in your again and one other man I can’t remember his name. We had drinks and played games and hung out in the lobby after that. It was so much fun that I didn’t go to bed until 230 in the morning! Yikes! Tomorrow we have been told, is a travel day! Monday May 2, 2016 Day 9- Travel Day Today we traveled by charter bus back to Oslo. When we got back we did some walking around and shopping and ended the day with dinner at the Thon hotel. Our information for tomorrow was in the lobby. We were told that our laundry will be ready by 9 AM and that we will be traveling tomorrow! We are flying somewhere, but we won’t know until we get to the airport! Yay! ** It’s getting real that someone will go home Saturday. We will fly to Oslo Saturday night, on May 7 but I can’t focus on that. I just need to win one game at a time! May 3, 2016 Day 10 Travel day!! We got to the airport and were handed our boarding passes which told us we were flying to Stavanger! The flight was short and easy and smooth. We had dinner in the hotel lobby when we got there. We are staying at the brand-new Clarion Hotel next to the airport. The food was great! I’m exhausted and feeling a bit nauseated, but I think I will feel better in the morning. I'm rooming with Lauren for the second night in a row. She's great! She always does make me laugh. Hoping for a great day tomorrow and a win! Fridtjof seems really excited for this week!