Tubas, Trumpets, and Trombones in Trondheim

Saturday, Oct 5

We awoke this morning with frosty windows.  The temp outside was a frigid 28 degrees. Bearing this in mind, we hung out at home for a while before setting out.  We didn’t have much planned for today, really we were just going to wander through some other parts of the city center that we hadn’t made it to yesterday.  I wanted to check out a yarn store and a couple of touristy shops. So, we set out. Just below our flat, there is a cordoned-off section of canal that was totally frozen over.  Rob threw a screw that he found laying on the ground onto it, and it didn’t break through. It was frozen enough to support the weight of a screw. We saw steps on the other side leading down to the water,  so we figure it’s probably used for ice skating in the winter.

It was a cold walk through the streets of Trondheim.  We tried to stay on the sunny side of the street, which helped a bit.  I did get quite a bit of nice Norwegian yarn at the yarn shop, while Rob sat playing iPhone games at the table near the front of the shop.  We wandered on until lunch time. A menu outside one restaurant (all in English) caught Rob’s eye. The Bror Bar & Grill had house-smoked bacon as a side order item.  He was intrigued and feeling the pull of bacon, so we went in for some lunch. I was a bit hesitant because all the menu items were really American: burgers, tacos, wraps, and fries.  But Rob isn’t often intrigued by a restaurant’s menu, so I figured we should give it a try. Well, it turned out to be a pretty disappointing meal. I ordered a cider that had (what I thought) was a Norwegian flag next to it on the menu.  When it arrived, it was an English cider. Shame on me for mixing up the Norwegian flag with the English flag, but in my defense, it was the English flag and not the Union Jack that I’m used to seeing in all the places and websites that you click on to get the English language menu/website, etc.  Since I’ve had lots of English cider, I was a bit disappointed. I wasn’t very hungry, so ordered sweet potato fries with a side of truffle mayonnaise.  They were fine. But, Rob’s double order of bacon was not at all what we expected. Since arriving in Norway, we’ve seen bacon in several places that is just like American bacon, so that’s what we were expecting.  We were not expecting huge cubes (1”x1”) of pork fat with crusty bits on each end. They were so fatty as to be gross (at least to both of us). Rob valiantly took a bite, hoping for that crispy smoky bacon taste to come through despite the unusual shape.  It did not; that was Rob’s first and last bite. I used a knife and fork to cut off any small bits of meat I could find, which wasn’t much. So, not a great success for lunch.  

We had to cleanse the palate, so found a chocolate shop nearby, then searched for 2 blocks to find a bench in the sun that we could sit on to eat our chocolate without freezing.  We found one that had dappled sunshine, the best we could do. We each only ate 1 of our pieces of chocolate because it was too cold to have our hands out of our mittens long enough to eat any more.

From our bench, we proceeded to Nidaros Cathedral for the Saturday afternoon organ meditation (Thanks, Abby, for the suggestion).  They have 3 different organs, but only play one during any given Saturday. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play the big one with pipes on our end of the cathedral.  They played a smaller one located in the transept a bit farther away from us. It was still a nice service, lasting about 20 minutes. After the service ended, we looked around the cathedral.  It is made of dark soapstone, and is rather gray and dark in a beautiful way. Much darker than other cathedrals I’ve been in. The dark gray color makes the colors of the stained glass windows stand out that much more.  Maybe also helped along by the fact that it’s a sunny day today.

As we walked back toward the flat along the river, we heard a brass band in the distance behind us.  We turned around and saw clusters of people, some holding flags and banners crossing the river on the bridge far above.  Curious, we headed in that direction. As we neared the bridge, we ended up behind a group of students dressed in blue and white kilts.  Behind us were 4 young men in tuxedo jackets, short pants, black berets, and tall Norwegian socks. We wandered along through the Bakklandet neighborhood and encountered a few more groups.  I got a short video of one of them, with their brass band playing. Click here to see the video. They pushed a large blue sphere, probably made of papier-mâché with a large yellow “ribbon” around it. Another group had a replica of a space shuttle labeled “Space XYZ” that they pulled on wheels up the hill.  When we got home, we googled some of the words on their banners and found out this was an annual tradition for Trondheim students from 1915 until 2001. Various student organizations make floats (like the space shuttle or the blue ball), all congregate in one place, then set out in a train to the city center where they build a tower.  (The website was in Norwegian – we had to use Google translate, so it sounds a bit funny). This year it is being revived for the first time since 2001. It seemed the students were having a great time, so hopefully it continues for years to come.

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