“If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied.” – Alfred Nobel
Oslo City Hall (Norwegian: Oslo rådhus) is a municipal building in country capital, Oslo, located in the northern part of Pipervika neighborhood and faces Oslofjord. It houses the city council, the city’s administration and various other municipal organisations. The building as it stands today was constructed between 1931 and 1950. It was designed by architects Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson.
Oslo City Hall is built of red brick and has two towers, one 63 meters tall and other 66 meters tall. The bricks used are larger than what was typical at the time of construction, but are roughly the same size as bricks used in the Middle Ages. The bricks – measuring approximately 27,5 x 13 x 8,5 cm – were produced by Hovin Teglverk in Oslo. The eastern tower has a set of 49 bells
On December 10 each year, during the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel, the Oslo City Hall hosts the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in which the annual laureate gives his or her lecture and is awarded the medal and diploma.
A podium for the laureate and the Nobel Committee is erected in the far end of the hall for each ceremony. The Norwegian Royal Family and Prime Minister attends the ceremony.
There are free tours inside the Oslo City Hall. Have you seen the interior of this administration building?
Considering the fact that Tønsberg has been infamous for holding the status of being the filming sight for numerous marvel movies, the most commonly known being it’s role as “New Asgard” I’ve come to the conclusion that Lillehammer; emphasis on the hammer, would have done delightful. Although I’m certain of the fact that even the god of thunder had a hard time heaving up hills.
Well despite the fact, Tønsberg is indeed an abode for godly beings, and today had definitely proved that point:
Today had mirrored the day before, despite the slight shift of breakfast; but I had happily guzzled away. We had managed to catch bus 54, with the help of Dad’s pestiferous prodding, though it had been slightly more eventful then what I had expected.
A little girl, around six, stood blatantly at the bus station. Tears ran down her cheeks as she sniveled forlornly, Dad pointed out. This fact surprised me, for Dad hadn’t been one to barge in the business of other people; though in this scenario I see as to how one couldn’t. We stood rooted to the spot a few feet away, ogling observantly, yet unsure as to what to do. I blinked as a woman bulldozed her way out the bus that had been parked alongside the pavement, scooped the ill-fated fledgling in her arms and bounced back onto the bus. I’m not sure as to why this surprised me, though at a level I had expected her to- at the very least, comfort the poor soul rather than dragging her off like neglected luggage. I wasn’t in any place to protest, for I can’t possibly expect every single mother to be as magnificent as mine. (yeah, yeah, “sucker” or whatnot.)
We tramped off shortly after, though this event had spawned a series of tedious tutts from dear mother, but I doubt we’d ever stray, considering the constant- yet caring cuddles she’d give every few minutes. Some more than others, though you didn’t hear that from me.
Traipsing into Oslo Central had come a teensy bit more natural this time, and the furious fingering we had fumed onto the unfortunate ticket apparatus last time had somewhat subdued, so it’s safe to say we’re professionals now. Even the duration of train had dimmed, and not to mention the fact that the conductor hadn’t been quite as vociferous; thank Thor.
Now onto Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway. When Mom had stated the fact I hadn’t assumed it’d be a ghost town. That may have been slightly overemphasized, although there truly wasn’t a person in sight. The stores stood vacant, and we were left to mingle with the bitter breeze; for it seemed as if even the sun had skedaddled.
Tønsberg seemed to be surrounded by a rolling ocean of hills and herbage, with tiny tufts of trees brimmed with blossoms. A turret stood isolated on the tippity top fold of green; a turret of which I had had no idea as to exactly how long it’d take to get there.
“I don’t know, it must be something with the internet.” Mom had the map at hand. Now I knew for certain Dad was stumped. We were lost.
Mom gestured wildly towards a road of which had been layered by construction. I sighed, pushing the arms of my jumper up to my shoulders, for apparently Tønsberg had chosen right now the perfect time to convert to sweltering hotness. Dad took charge once more, and we trudged up a steep slope; the likes of which wasn’t smothered by construction, until we halted abruptly at the face of an ivory cottage.
I inhaled sharply as Dad trotted towards a gap between the greenery that sat conveniently alongside the ivory cottage, though if the fact it was somebody’s backyard wasn’t tangible enough, a clothes wrack stood embedded into the earth; although Dad walked on nevertheless.
One by one family trickled away after Dad until I remained. Shortly after the mass of green had engulfed the single remaining family member that had been in eyesight, I sighed as I succumbed, and plunged into the forest.
Mom nearly scoffed at every step we had taken, for apparently she had what was considered experience in these type of things; although I’d hardly call what we were taking “steps”, or rather more of a earthy embrace.
Finally we had made it out, although to my dirty distress my knees were caked in soil, coincidentally on the same day I had decided to start anew in the pant department.
Face to face with the famous fortress. Excitement sparked in my belly, although I feel as if it was partially due to the tarnished trauma it had taken to get there, although of course, the history behind it too. Though the view!! A large lake occupied the dip between hills; calm as well as comforting. Despite the fact that winter was far ahead of us, a layer of glass seemed to plaster the surface, tingling my toes with the urge to sprint onto the sheen surface. The lush grass immersed my legs at every step, though I took care of the fanciful flowers. Wind whipped my face, kissing my cheeks pink.
We stopped by a cafe on the way back down, the original request of ice-cream quickly morphing to a numerous amount of items once hungry eyes were unsheathed. Shortly after a flurry of lip smacking and chomps we made our way to the port, although once the fact that certain items remained sinkable was made clear, I wasn’t as quick to dive in.
The ride back was a sad one, though it had been perfect for pondering. Reflection was inevitable by the time we’d be home, so I might as well ponder. Tønsberg was beautiful, and it had been such an eventful trip it’d be hard to form the right words. Once again I had fallen for another bit of the Norway I had come to treasure.
One thing was for sure, I definitely had a lot to write.
“The way you call into the mountains is the way the echo will sound. “ – Slovak Proverb
Uummm, what’s that body of water surrounding this country? None? Really? A landlock country… is definitely something new for our family. We had lived in a peninsula country for quite quite some time now. A little drive away from home will lead us to the Arabian Gulf. Don’t get us started on our archipelago, dearly beloved Philippines.
Back to Slovakia… little big country surrounded by countries! It’s fantastic in a different sense. Two hours away from Vienna, Austria, ta da, Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia.
It’s like exploring a different world passing through the magic closet (yeah, like Narnia.)
Churches, museum, shops and Dr. Seuss House (not really but our hostel accommodation), our two days in the country is satisfying to say the least.
Waking up in an ambiance of medieval city, we definitely had a fun time going around the city, checking out monuments and restaurants alike.
A picture says a thousand words, yes, but the conversations our family had during our family travels will be treasured by all members of the family.
As if our days in Bratislava couldn’t get any perfect… we present you, bookstores and street art!
Bratislava can easily have been a day trip from Vienna or Budapest. But hey, not for our family. There are lots of see, lots of discussion to make. It’s that Little Big Country.
We’re glad to have made it to Lithuania. Positively surprising, this country indeed is. We visited two cities, Vilnius (the capital city) and Kaunas. We walked around these cities and for whatever reasons, the kids were very playful and carefree. Even the traveling parents has lots of time for romance, in between churches, museums and monuments.
We celebrated our youngest traveller’s 5th birthday in a very petite ice cream and cake shop.
Of course, we had fun exploring a new city for another year of our little explorer’s adventures.
Read books and drink coffee. Those words are music to our ears when we had a long day exploring. The locals and residents are still heavy on reading in this country, cafes are so beautiful to observe and to just relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee and books. We took with us a lot of books home, too.
Exploring another city in Lithuania, Kaunas is the second-largest city, former citadel of Russian Empire, temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period, point of intersection of all main roads. In addition to all historic infrastructure, plazas and monuments, the landscape is magnificent.
If this country is a person, Lithuania is beautiful inside and outside. Do you agree?
Promised berries will not fill the basket.- Latvian Proverb
There are no promises for family satisfaction. Only commitment and lots of goal setting. In this case, plans how to get berries to fill our basket! It’s either we want baskets full of berries or not. No half hearted berry lover, right!
There is however, best way to enjoy life… Slowly or quick and dirty… hoops, family blog… uhhmm quick and dreamy!
With this in mind, Latvia! A very musical, creative, artistic, spectacularly cold country.
First.. enjoy slowly. Get to know the country.
Latvia is a not-so-big country by the the Baltic Sea . Come on, check it out. It’s really a country! Oh the occupation regimes seems endless… In early times, it was occupied by Balts, and was later ruled by Vikings, Germans, Poland, Sweden, and Russia. It only became an independent country in 1918. (Corrected by our favorite Rebel Travel Family from Latvia, so this should be accurate. – Advanced Happy 100 Years of Independence, Latvia! Exciting year ahead.) That’s barely like a person who discovered traveling to new places and enjoying new found freedom after series of boarding schools after schools after school after 8-to-5 corporate slavery.
We stayed in Riga, the capital city, for ten days. Our eldest traveller stayed with a host family for a Youth Choir trip while we stayed in the heart of the Old Town of Riga. She had a lot of fun with her host family she didn’t want to leave. They are all so musically inclined, something missing from her real family. We were sure that if they offered her to stay for a longer time even after the scheduled choir concerts, she would have said stayed. Sending all gratitude and love to this fantastic Latvian family
We didn’t see nor appreciate how green the city was. We visited March, beginning of spring. Hence, our desire to go back during summer season. Another wish list in our growing travel to do list with family.
We did however stayed indoors a lot a experienced a taste of Riga, literally and figuratively.
The more we stay in Latvia, the more we were hooked. Off we got on the trains and enjoyed this super affordable public transportation.
Out of Riga, maybe our quick and dreamy version of Latvia. We head on to Jumarla for three days to freeze our beautiful .. faces.. by the Baltic Sea. Such a shame we didn’t get to swim and see the beach crowded with hot bodies. There still saw lot of tourists walking by the beach.
We took more trains and visited more quiet towns, we have enjoyed the serenity and silence of empty streets. The kids definitely has their share of echoing screams. We felt like we were in the opening credits of a country movie, eerie silence, solitude. We’ll, it was fun, cold experience.
Oh the food, wine, cheese and coffee! Let’s not elaborate on that in this blog or we might go booking a ticket to Latvia for a hot wine and salmon. We ate a lot of meat, too. It might be not politically correct to post photos of them, you know…. pork.
No matter how you travel Latvia or any country in particular , slow or quick, night or day, fast food or fine dining, herbivore or carnivore, medium rare or well done, train or bus, music or story, travel it your own unique busy way! Just be alive. Let’s be busy being alive.
“Happiness does not come from happiness itself, but from the journey towards achieving it.” – Finnish Proverb
Our gateway to Eastern Europe from Middle East is Helsinki, Finland. Making Finland, our 23rd country to explore as family. If you know our family up close and really personal (which will be the case if you read all our blogs because that’s really us! – read on! ), then you’ll know that NO. 23 is a huge life sign for us. Not in a Michael Jordan kind of way. But that huge and enormous impact. We guarantee, that Finland will play part of our family life’s future. We’ll do all efforts, of course, and God wills will pay the wave. Anyway, we are a happy bunch because we are loving our journey.
That moment we landed in Helsinki… it’s like taking a huge breathe of fresh air! Inhale, exhale. We felt we were home in a strange land. Actially, we always feel at ease in Scandinavia countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Although some geography experts will claim that Finland is not part of Scandinavian Region. Oh well, either way, these countries are our true north. (Literally and figuratively!)
Unique Christian churches, busy people going on their business, convenient transportation system, artistic places everywhere and of course, playground of big and small kids abound.
We stayed in memorable accommodations in this capital city – cabin by the sea and an apartment owned by an awesome artist. You know those phrases we, as traveling parents often say during our holidays, became more surreal —-“People live this way?! Day in and day out? What a spectacular way to live.” Of course, the optimistic family family members will rave and say with conviction – We can live like this, too!”
With this energy and vibes, we started the first day of spring with the biggest bon fire our family has ever seen! And yes, spring coincided with Easter festivities, oh what fun. Easter bonfires in Seurasaari is a Finnish Tradition during Holy Saturdays . According to Finnish folklore, evil spirits, witches and trolls are particularly busy on that day and bonfires are believed to scare them away.
For our family, this actually makes sense more than Easter bunnies, don’t you think? Since Jesus Christ is yet to rise, the Black Saturday is like a fun day for evil spirits, hence, bonfires can help! That’s how our family interpret this tradition. Anyhow, it’s really cool to witness world traditions especially one that we can relate to.
Another highlot of our Finland adventure will be life’s celebrations! I ur eldest kid traveller celebrated her 11th birthday in Helsinki at Linnanmaki, an amusement park we enjoyed way better than Disneyland.
Oh yes, she’s feisty , courageous, determined, gorgeous, visionary and eleven! Her talents, wits, beauty and brain will sure change the world we live in. What better way to celebrate this by pumping the adrelin with adventure and sugar in a very metropolitan city?
We definitely made family memories in this country. True to our vision of living up to the uniqueness and individuality of our family members, up to paving our own family trails. It’s just really fantastic exploring a new place while kids grow… by age and by number of countries visited.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out? ‘ – Dr.Seuss
Oh the places we find together, we even managed to find Dr.Seuss House! Or at least, that’s what we call Hotel Galeria! A unique hotel very close to the Main Train Station in Bratislava, Slovakia (our 29th Country! )
The facade of the Hotel Galeria is full of colors, screaming for admiration. The irregular shape and architecture is quite pleasing to watch from afar, much more in a closer view.
The view from the inside of the hotel also never disappoints. The lobby looks like an artist hard-at-work and all wall and table covers look like abstract colorful painting!This is not a sponsored post. We were just in awe having to experience a hotel like this that our eldest traveller described the hotel in her IG account as “one of the best hotels she has stayed at.” We book our hotel reservation one day before heading to Slovakia from Hungary. It was a reasonable rate for a 2-star hotel.
Yes, it’s a 2-star hotel. We could recommend a lot of improvements on facilities, yes, but we always get what we paid for, right? With this hotel, plus lots of color, art and good customer service!
Hoops, the name of the hotel is Hotel Galleria. However, this hotel will always be Dr. Seuss House for our family. It’s a really unique concept worth benchmarking anywhere. Don’t you agree?
“Every time we visit a new country or a new place or do new activity together as family, we always have that feeling of vigor, of expanding our horizon, of being reborn (in a non-radical-religious-kinda-way!)”
That’s every single time. Insert music, tale as old as time…
Family travel offers a tremendous potential to learn – learn from local people and fellow travellers, learn from history.
For us, learning from history is one of the best way to learn. History is never boring when we visit actual places where certain events actually happened. We get to see or even touch artifacts and memorabilia. We get to breathe the same air (almost!) of people involved in the events of the past. We get to feel the eeriness , of solemness , of the haunted or happy past.
Ain’t that the truth, even on personal level, learning from people’s history gives us enormous potential to self check if we are walking on the same path, doing the same mistakes and gives us the chance to correct our wrongdoing. That is a mark of a matured individual, however. And yeah, there are lots of mature people out there.
In a way, we get to see the full picture of the past and how it’s domino effect is reflecting in the present.
Exploring Europe with kids gives opportunities to see the beauty of the industrialized circulations, almost ancient countries enjoying the technologies and way of life for hundreds of years, magnificent buildings, spectacular way of living (even third world countries in Asia and Africa are yet catch up.)
On the other side, exploring Europe with kids? for us, also pave the way of magnified “narcissism” or worse “psychopath” tendencies of world leaders.
It’s not easy to explain to kids how the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle is where the “unfit to rule” King Ludwig II was arrested and how the history has declared him “certified insane” despite of all his inclination to beauty, good architecture and love for landscapes.
Walking in his castles, it’s difficult to imagine, how can someone be lonely with all the extravagance and beauty of God’s creations.
Exploring the Danube River on the Pest side of the beautiful city Budapest, the kids learned about horrific Shoes on the Danube Bank. We stand on the very side where at least 500 people where asked to take off their shoes and got shot at the edge of the river.
The beauty of Europe is, yes, beyond stunning. On the other side, the humanity which created the civilization is almost always beyond words.
How do we explain to kids the horror of wars and wrongdoings of world leaders of the past?
For now, we focus on lessons. On people and government (kinds, queens, world leaders) to not repeating the same horrors of history.
Why do you wag your tail? What do you think, am I not afraid of wolves?”
– Gregorian Proverb
It’s Country 16 and are we are just warming up to family travel and the kids! On this trip, we have combined low cost airlines, with connecting flights both way and absolutely wonderful, albeit a little dangerous road trip using the country’s public transportation! Indeed, one of the highlights of our visit to the country is the Metro fun! Almost 45-degree inclined escalator for two minutes made our hearts excited for several times! Who knew metro escalator could also be a fun ride for kids and adults?!
During this trip , we also tried everything local. Well, this is not really saying much because Georgia’s border to the south is Turkey (which is one of our home country!)
Checking our quest status (100 countries in 10 years!) by far, we have achieved 16/100 in three years, it’s really a good feeling to settle in our family’s priorities in life. It’s exhilarating, most of the time, scary sometimes, yet that family satisfaction is reaching to new heights every time we explore another country. We bark loud, we wag our tails and enjoy life in dogs’ years.
We said it again and again, that there are great benefits when traveling with kids, especially when traveling becomes a lifestyle for the family. The routine of preparing for the journey, the joy of seeing new things, the body clock adjustments, that jet lag feeling. All familiar things leading to something new.
We have explored the city Tbilisi in less than two days and have explored the nearby mountainous city Kazbegi in just one day! Our interaction with the local is limited to public transportation and the local shops we have enjoyed, yet there is something about the Gregorian hospitality we are so familiar with that we love. The country feels like Turkey way back in the 1980s. Most of the locals do not speak English yet, although the country had opened up tourism to nearby countries, with the visa-free privileges!
A family of five coming from Qatar, we would spend more going to UAE with the visa alone, compared to going to exploring Georgia and staying in a not-so-fancy B&B! It’s a nice long weekend getaway alternative for the GCC countries residence. Of course, we still recommended going to Turkey as nothing beats the history, the landscape and architecture of the cities of our beloved Turkiye. Yet, Georgia, is a close second choice for us, if we are to include travel costs as a defining factor.
Georgia – warm hospitality, awesome mountain landscapes and wine culture! The country is surely a bliss break from desert work. God-willing, we get to enjoy the country in winter season, how we would love that for sure!
“Every person’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers. “– Hans Christian Andersen
Is it a coincidence that our two favorite children’s authors, Hans Christian Andersen and Astrid Lindgren both stayed in Copenhagen, Denmark? Maybe or maybe not!
To be able to see where these authors worked during the prime of their lives before they have written their printed masterpieces, is like a dream come true. Kinda like seeing the Nyhavn street with is colored houses by the harbor in Copenhagen. A real fairy tale place.
Denmark will always be that fairy tale land for our family. We had enjoyed five wonderful days of exploring and enjoying castles, fairy tale rides at Tivoli Garden (what a great full day it was!) and scenic landscapes and statues like Little Mermaid and Carlsberg aka for our family, beer paradise.
We also enjoyed tremendously the walk in Denmark suburbans with all the elegant cabin houses. We always say to each other: “These people actually live in this place?! Seriously?!” The grass is always greener from the other side of the fence, yes. But Denmark houses are beyond green, it’s green, flower-filled, technology-savvy paradise!
We were also amazed with how the Tesla electric cars is already so normal. It is a different world where we are used to land cruisers powered by cheap fuel oil. Well, its kind of given in our family. Summer in Denmark and yet we were wearing our winter jackets, we desert-dweller, we!
While we were enjoying the Rosenborg Castle, our little boy gained a tourist friend when we were exploring the throne room of the castle. The kids our boy were playing with came from North America, USA , together with their grandparents.
The grandfather was so fascinated that our family came from Qatar, he ran to us and asked – Do you ride in camels in Qatar?! (True story!) Most of the tourists looked at us with different expressions on their faces. Mostly, fascinated faces.
The sarcastic version of ourselves wanted to blurt out, “Oh my God, aren’t you so uniformed citizen of an industrialized first world nation. You actually believe that only your country can be so civilized. Hoops, wait a minute, did we feed our camels before we head out here in Denmark, kids?!
Well, it’s a great story for our family’s fairy tale story. Once upon a time, there was a family who only know camels and decided to explore the world….. Turknoy Travels 100 happily ever after.
Of course, we were not sarcastic to our fellow tourists. We tried to be articulate about our life in Qatar. After all, we are ambassadors of three countries when we travel, Qatar, Philippines and Turkey. We wanted to look like “educated travelers.”
Oh well, side story in Denmark over. That’s not about the country, it’s about how people treat us when we travel. Nonetheless, a story linked to Denmark memory.
We moved on to exploring the place and was able to visit the ever famous Little Mermaid. It’s really not that impressive, a popular tourist trap. When we visited Carlsberg, there is another Little Mermaid almost similar to the original ones. Exploring Carlsberg gave us a lot of opportunities to talk about global entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
You see, Mr. Carlsberg is the one who donated the Little Mermaid statue for the love of art. The take away we got from all the discussions is, we can be passionate about something and yet earn a lot of money from businesses we are not really passionate about. Somehow, passions will link the two together.
It was a great experience, exploring Denmark with all the getting lost around the neighborhood, the people we met, the awesome views we’ve seen, lessons learned.
We read this quote about Copenhagen and we agree to this interpretation of the city and even the country. Country No. 15 and our conclusion that country affects the attitude and way of life of people, residents or citizens alike holds true. Swoon!
“If Copenhagen were a person, that person would be generous, beautiful, elderly, but with a flair. A human being that has certain propensities for quarrelling, filled with imagination and with appetite for the new and with respect for the old – somebody who takes good care of things and of people.” Connie Nielsen
Yes, being in the country for few days, we know why Danes are the happiest people in the world.