Singing the Blues / Cantando el Blues

SORTLAND, NORWAY IS often called the Blue City, because the buildings in a 17-block area were painted shades of blue in 1998 by local artist Bjørn Elvenes as a symbol of the city’s maritime and fishing heritage. To be honest, I found the Blue City quite beautiful when I first saw photos online, but not so beautiful when I saw it in person. Still, there are charming spots and the surrounding area often takes my breath away. After spending some days in Trondheim and then working our way north to Bodø, we finished our stay in Sortland, close to the core of San Geraldo’s northern Norwegian family.

We drove from Sortland back to the airport in Evenes 2 hours away and then flew to Oslo, where we spent 9 hours before our SAS flight to Málaga. Fortunately, San Geraldo also has a cousin in Oslo, and she and her husband met us at the airport for a leisurely lunch. Their enchanting company made the long layover worthwhile.

We’re already talking about how soon we can go back. Maybe we’ll even try a visit in the winter so we can see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Spending days almost entirely in darkness might be difficult but our family make it seem like the sun is always shining.

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SORTLAND, NORUEGA, A menudo se llama la Ciudad Azul, porque los edificios en un área de 17 bloques fueron pintados en tonos azules en 1998 por el artista local Bjørn Elvenes como un símbolo del patrimonio marítimo y pesquero de la ciudad. Para ser honesto, la Ciudad Azul me pareció bastante hermosa la primera vez que vi fotos en línea, pero no tan hermosa cuando la vi en persona. Aún así, hay lugares encantadores y los alrededores a menudo me dejan sin aliento. Después de pasar unos días en Trondheim y luego dirigirnos hacia el norte a Bodø, terminamos nuestra estadía en Sortland, cerca del núcleo de la familia noruega de San Geraldo.

Conducimos desde Sortland al aeropuerto en Evenes a 2 horas de distancia y luego volamos a Oslo, donde pasamos 9 horas antes de nuestro vuelo SAS a Málaga. Afortunadamente, San Geraldo también tiene una prima en Oslo, y ella y su marido nos recibieron en el aeropuerto para un almuerzo tranquilo. Su encantadora compañía hizo que la larga escala valiera la pena.

Ya estamos hablando de qué tan pronto podemos volver. Tal vez incluso intentemos una visita en invierno para poder ver la aurora boreal. Pasar días casi enteramente en la oscuridad puede ser difícil, pero nuestra familia del norte hace que parezca que el sol siempre brilla.

A view from the hotel breakfast room in Sortland. European football. Ole, Spain!
Una vista desde la sala de desayuno del hotel en Sortland. Fútbol europeo. Ole, España!
After crossing the bridge. Sortland is on the right.
Después de cruzar el puente. Sortland está a la derecha.
On the road to Evenes.
En camino a Evenes.
I THINK THIS is Svartisen Glacier, really two glaciers separated by a valley. They’re surrounded by a number of smaller glaciers and are all part of Saltfjellet–Svartisen National Park, which borders Sweden.
CREO QUE ESTE es el glaciar Svartisen, realmente dos glaciares separados por un valle. Están rodeados por una serie de glaciares más pequeños y todos forman parte del Parque Nacional Saltfjellet-Svartisen, que limita con Suecia.
Outside Oslo, a great city we need to return to.
Fuera de Oslo, una gran ciudad a la que necesitamos volver.
SG’S COUSIN HAD just told us that even Norwegians get these two cities confused and make reservations for the wrong place. Then we saw this posting in the SAS lounge. Yes, it was 4:37 in the afternoon and our flight (below the KristianSAND listing) didn’t leave until 8:40. It was a long day.
LA PRIMA DE SG nos acaba de decir que incluso los noruegos confunden estas dos ciudades y hacen reservas para el lugar equivocado. Luego vimos esta publicación en el salón SAS. Sí, eran las 4:37 de la tarde y nuestro vuelo (debajo del listado de KristianSAND) no salió hasta las 8:40. Fue un largo día.

Jerry My Yeti / Jerry Mi Yeti

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

SAN GERALDO’S NORWEGIAN grandmother couldn’t pronounce the name Jerry. When she said his name it sounded more like Yeti (aka Bigfoot). He DOES have big feet. I’ve mentioned that before. He wears a size 49 (14-1/2 in the US). He normally asks the salesperson to bring out whatever they have in his size. If he’s lucky, they’ll have a pair or two. They’re usually unstylish or uncomfortable… or both.

We were in Málaga yesterday and discovered a shoe mega-store called Calzados Gody. I immediately asked a sales person if they had large sizes. “Of course!” she happily responded. We were in Bigfoot Heaven. Hundreds of shoes. Great styles. And all labeled “Available in 47–52.”

San Geraldo selected a pair. The salesman went to the stockroom, returning about 10 minutes later, and said, “We don’t have those, so I brought a similar style in your size.” Since the salesman had only brought the right shoe, we had to wait another 10 minutes for him to retrieve the left shoe only to decide they weren’t comfortable. I guess it cuts down on theft, but we felt like we were “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” (And it did.)

I pointed out other shoes more like the ones SG had selected. “Don’t you have any of these in his size?”

No, the salesman told me.

The store had a great selection, supposedly, of large sneakers. I asked another sales person if they had any sneakers in SG’s size. “All of them,” she proudly said.

San Geraldo selected two pairs of Nikes. She disappeared for 10 minutes and returned with two other sneakers (that he didn’t like) — so it didn’t matter that she only brought one shoe of each pair. Those were the only ones in his size, she said. After an hour, we left the store. ‘Empty footed.’ I didn’t even see Crocs in his size. Talk about false advertising!

LA ABUELA NORUEGA de San Geraldo no pudo pronunciar su nombre, Jerry. Cuando ella dijo su nombre, sonaba más como Yeti (también conocido como Bigfoot). El tiene pies grandes. Lo he mencionado antes. Lleva una talla 49 (14-1 / 2 en los Estados Unidos). Normalmente le pide al vendedor que saque lo que tenga en su tamaño. Si tiene suerte, tendrán un par o dos. Por lo general son unstylish o incómodos … o ambos.

Ayer estuvimos en Málaga y descubrimos una enorme zapatería llamada Calzados Gody. Inmediatamente le pregunté a una persona de ventas si tenían tamaños grandes. “¡Por supuesto!” ella respondió alegremente. Estábamos en el cielo de Pie Grande. Cientos de zapatos. Estilos geniales. Y todos etiquetados como “Disponible en 47–52 “.

San Geraldo seleccionó un par. El vendedor fue al almacén y regresó unos 10 minutos más tarde, y dijo: “No las tenemos, así que traje un estilo similar”. Como el vendedor solo había traído el zapato derecho, tuvimos que esperar otros 10 minutos para que él recuperara el zapato izquierdo solo para decidir que no estaban cómodos. Supongo que se reduce el robo, pero sentimos que estábamos “esperando que el otro zapato cayera”. (Y lo hizo.)

Señalé otros zapatos más como los que SG había seleccionado. “¿No tienes ninguno de estos en su tamaño?”

No, me dijo el vendedor.

La tienda tenía una gran selección, supuestamente, de zapatillas grandes. Le pregunté a otra persona de ventas si tenían zapatillas de deporte del tamaño de SG. “Todos ellos”, dijo con orgullo.

San Geraldo seleccionó dos pares de Nikes. Ella desapareció durante 10 minutos y regresó con dos otras zapatillas (que no le gustaban), por lo que no importaba que solo trajera un zapato de cada par. Esos eran los únicos en su tamaño, dijo ella. Después de una hora, salimos de la tienda. ‘Pies vacíos.’ Ni siquiera vi los Crocs en su tamaño. ¡Hablar de publicidad falsa!

OUR FRIEND ELENA IN 2014, TRYING TO REMAIN UPRIGHT IN SG’S SHOES. / NUESTRA AMIGA ELENA EN 2014, TRATANDO DE PERMANECER ERGUIDOS EN LAS ZAPATILLAS DE SG.

Feliz Navidad And God Jul, With Krumkake

Christmas Day, we were honoured to be included in a family Christmas celebration at the home of Mary and Foxy (so nicknamed because he’s a Silver Fox… at least that what’s HE says). Their son Jason and his wife Ana own Sandpiper, the restaurant that’s our home away from home.

We were two of eleven people at the all-day feast. We didn’t want to arrive empty handed — although we were told to — so San Geraldo went to work in the kitchen preparing one of his traditional Norwegian holiday specialties, krumkake.

Kake is cake/pastry in Norwegian. In Spanish, caca is pronounced the same way and means … well cacka, poop, turds, etc.

So Spaniards find it hilarious whenever San Geraldo serves one of his Norwegian “kakes.” What our Spanish friends don’t find at all ironic is that peanut in Spanish is cacahuete. Why isn’t that funny? Jason and Ana’s 13-year-old son loved the krumkake, but loved saying the name even more.

Our hosts are English, but have lived in Fuengirola for many years. Their extended family is mixed, Spanish and English. They hosted a traditional English Christmas (except for the krumkake). It was a feast! (Click any image to make it even more delicious.)


MAKING THIS YEAR’S KRUMKAKE.
MARY, BACKGROUND, IN KITCHEN.
FOXY’S SPOT AT THE TABLE, FOREGROUND.
FOXY, THE ‘GRUMPY OLD GIT’ IN HIS ‘BAH HUMBUG’ HAT.
DOES HE LOOK LIKE A GRUMPY OLD GIT?!?
FINGER-FOOD FIRST COURSE — MINCE PIES, SAUSAGE ROLLS, AND MORE.
(KRUMKAKE BACK RIGHT.)
IT WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS DINNER WITHOUT THE QUEEN.
(ON TV. BUT WITH US, I’M SURE, IN SPIRIT.)
AN ELEGANT TRADITIONAL TABLE.
PLUM PUDDING (OUR FIRST).
CHOCOLATE PUDDING FOR THOSE WHO DON’T LIKE PLUM.
(OR FOR THOSE WHO LIKE BOTH!)



Making Krumkake

I did more than clean-up in the kitchen at home this time. I had two assigned jobs during krumkake preparation. 1) Hold up the handle of the krumkake iron when it was open because it no longer stays up on its own; 2) Quickly close the iron while San Geraldo rolled each krumkake, so the iron wouldn’t get too cool. We made 50 krumkake.

A few times San Geraldo didn’t even have to remind to: 1) “Hold it up”; and 2) “Close it.”

A Christmas Tradition

(LEFT) SAN GERALDO 1957; (RIGHT) SAN GERALDO 2015.