A Travellerspoint blog

Osaka: Day 2

overcast 29 °C

I woke up to the sound of cicadas and the feeling of peace that marked day 2 of my trip. The day began with a short walk to a nearby 7 Eleven for breakfast, then a trip to Osaka University for my hosts' last exam. I was free to wander as I wished and did so for about half an hour. I then tried to find my way into the building they were in so I could stay in the student lounge, because the humidity here kills me, even when I am just standing around. I ended up finding my way and buying 2 of the best bottles of water I have ever had.

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this path led to a cafeteria, I think?

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view from the student lounge

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silly pictures of a water bottle

After Osaka University we headed to this mall-type place where you could probably find anything imaginable. I found cases for the 3DS LLs and promptly bought one - fellow Midlanders can feel my pain when it comes to buying things like electronics and accessories. I ended up spending my 2000¥ bill, which is actually pretty special, which is why the cashier didn't know if I really wanted to pay with that…I wish I hadn't now, but perhaps I can find something later when I get back to DFW?

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here's my case…I still love Eevee

We ate some really good food and then went to Bampaku Kinen Koen Station to get to the nearby Expo park. It was really a lovely experience, and I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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I wasn't the only one laughing at this, so don't judge me. It is better than the hat that said; "United States Bravery: Luxuriously Daily Life, Run Through in the Forests". I really want that hat.

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My commemoration statue.

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After a bit we headed home, bought some snacks at the 7 Eleven, and after some naps, headed to a class dinner. I met some really sweet, really super people and I wish I would have tried to talk to them. But we headed home and I fell ill, so I suppose it was karma. A headache and lettuce later, I feel fine and look forward to another day in Japan.

Posted by Kacey's Travels 03:09 Archived in Japan Tagged day_2 Comments (0)

Osaka: Day 1

…humidity, chickens, and still no jet lag!

sunny 30 °C

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View from the Grand Hyatt in DFW. 10/10 would stay there again.


My journey to Osaka began at 04:00 in a line in Terminal E at DFW to print my boarding pass. This being my second trip overseas I have begun to realise that the journey to your destination might just tell you how much you really want to be there; and for me, the journey was totally worth it. I found myself on a plane bound to San Francisco, accidentally taking a teenage girl's seat next to the window. Then I found myself with 4 hours to myself at an empty gate, which soon filled up with more than a hundred people in an hour.

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See ya, Dallas - Hello San Francisco!

Now for those of you wondering how I am so "brave" to go travel alone let me tell you what I did once at my lonely gate - when no one was there I played solitaire and texted people, even drawing in my sketchbook a bit. Once people showed up, I was practically in a fetal position, hunched over my bag like some dead man - and I stayed that way until my group number was called. Which was the last group to board. Once on the plane l relaxed a little bit, but this flight was definitely different to my Lufthansa ones (operated by United), and had some pros and cons because of it…but I am not that picky. I just wish they had had more bathrooms.

On my flight to Norway, I was not given a Declarations or Immigration form like I was on this flight. I began freaking out at the airport because I did not know the address I was staying at and thought they wouldn't let me enter the country. What ended up happening was I had to write my friend's name, the university she goes to, and her phone number. I am a horrible friend and don't know anyone's birthday…which they asked me to write down and I couldn't so…I got a light reprimanding from the officer that I needed an address next time.
The entry process went ridiculously smooth for me otherwise. I gave my fingerprints, took my picture, got my bag, went through customs (got my bags sniffed by dogs, everyone has to) where I was confused when the man spoke only in Japanese to me and I had no idea what was going on, and found myself at the North International Arrivals gate! With no jet lag!

The first thing that hit me upon arrival was how humid it was. I was expecting heat, and had been in humid places before, but this…this was a whole 'nother ball game! I still haven't gotten used to the humidity and I think it will take me another good bit of time to get used to it! Imagine a person in shorts and a tshirt surrounded by Japanese business men, and the only person who seems to be dying is the one in shorts. Well, the one in shorts is me. I do wonder what it would be like to come from someplace that is generally cool or even snowy year round, if the heat or humidity would be worse?

The first thing I ate in Japan: chicken skin. As a home-grown Texan I didn't know that so many parts of a chicken could taste so good! We went to a little eatery that had a large platform with a 'hole' of sorts where your feet would go (take off your shoes!!). I was confused on how to get into the seat, and stood there while a waiter and my friend tried in vain to explain it to me.
The food was really good! We played a game to guess what part of the chicken it was from, which only added to how fun the evening turned out to be. In the end we had: chicken skin, thigh, breast, wing, heart valves, and my favourite, chicken heart. The phrase "Don't knock it until you try it" is so true.

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Guess what part of the chicken it is!

At the end of the day I took a shower and passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow. I woke up at 06:30 which will probably happen a lot.
I am still so grateful to be able to stay where I am staying and who I am staying with, I am so grateful to have this opportunity to travel and experience so many new and amazing things. I couldn't ever thank my hosts enough for the generosity they have shown me!!

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My lovely bed, I will definitely miss it.

Bonus Picture:

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A Japanese Keyboard!

Posted by Kacey's Travels 17:04 Archived in Japan Tagged osaka arrival Comments (0)

How-To Overhaul: Scope Out the Temp. Digs and Pre-Flight Day

...and by 'digs' I mean the hunk of metal you'll be stuck in for 10+ hours.

rain 31 °C

"The only thing to be said for air travel is speed. It makes possible travel on a scale unimaginable before our present age. Between the ages of 20 and four-score I visited every country in Europe, all save two in Latin America, ditto in Africa, and most of Asia, not counting eight trips to Australia and 60 to the United States - all by air."
- Paul Johnson

I want this post to be about the absolute basics of what I pack (which may help you), how I pass time on the plane, what I do the day before the flight, and just what to expect for international flying. I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks, please post them in the comments!

What I Pack:

I've always been a light packer. I'm sure some of my friends can vouch for me when I say I have packed in a variety of peculiar 'suitcases' such as a DVD player travel case and a giant tennis ball. I'm not fond of being weighed down to a bunch of stuff. I felt like an absolute idiot by having a small suitcase with me in Norway; I was so scared it would weigh too much or look like I was a very materialistic person. But I noticed when I arrived that other people around me had nice sized suitcases. This is where I tell you; check your airline's luggage rules and make sure to leave room in your suitcase should you buy souvenirs - ESPECIALLY if you're going to a country that interests you in particular. For instance, I wish I had brought a larger suitcase with me to Norway so I could have bought more books.

For my Japan trip I will be bringing a suitcase that is the same size as the one I brought to Norway. This time I have a neon green luggage strap on it so I don't have to ask someone for my suitcase back at luggage pick up. I've packed it halfway full of the necessities, and halfway full of gifts. The main thing I leave room for is gifts I may get, room for non-english books, and maybe food*. I'm pretty happy with what I've been able to do this time around!

Quick Tip: Always bring your passport (a given), your driver's license (i actually needed it), currency of the country or countries you are going to, and if you have an ISIC card like I do - bring your actual college ID too. In Norway I used my ISIC card to get a student discount for the train, and the card worked just fine for the people checking tickets. But just in case, bring your college student ID just in case your ISIC card is declined!

Here's an example of what my packing list generally looks like:
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Here's how I packed my suitcase (I haven't put souvenirs in yet, but it's absolutely full when I do):
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A skivvy-free shot!

And here's what my suitcase looks like when ready:
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I actually had to change the suitcase from a much larger one to a smaller one since I'll be taking a bus and train in Japan from the airport and felt the original one took up far too much space.

Better Safe Than Sorry - Contacts:

And here is a little something I ALWAYS have with me:

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Having names is great, but having numbers and addresses is even better. Always be sure, no matter what country you're from, to have the phone number, address, and any special instructions of whatever your native land's embassy is.
In Norway there was no U.S. embassy in Stavanger, but there was one in Oslo, and I had the number and address for it. In Osaka, there is a U.S. embassy but I also have special instructions to call the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and ask for an "Osaka-Kobe officer" if it's past the Osaka-Kobe Embassy Open Hours.
I'm a cautious traveller (perhaps over-cautious)
, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

I also carry these:
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I keep my copies and passport in one pocket, and my flight information in the other.

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I keep copies of every single ID I have, plus copies of cards should anything get lost or stolen.

The Pre-Flight Day To-Do List:

1. SeatGuru (http://www.seatguru.com/)
I personally like to see what kind of plane I'll be flying in, as well as comments on any seats I may want to sit in. You put in your airline, your flight #, and the date you'll be flying out (optional). On SeatGuru you can view the size of your plane, all the seats in the plane, customer pictures, customer comments, in-flight amenities, even comments on certain seats. It's definitely saved me from making bad choices on seat arrangements!

2. Window or Aisle?
Pros of a Window:
No one has to step over you or ask you to get up so they can use the lavs.
You can lean up against the plane to sleep.
No getting mauled by rogue FA's (flight attendants),rampaging children, or runaway carts.

Cons of a Window:
You have to step over others or ask them to get up so you can use the lavs. If they're sleeping...well then good luck, schmuck.
You have to wait for everyone in your row to get up and out so you can get out of your seat upon arrival.
If your seat mates get to your destination when boarding before you do, you have to wait for them to put their stuff up or ask them to get up.

Pros of an Aisle:
You don't have to ask people to move when you "gotta go" (or stretch), and you don't have to worry about waking people up!
You can stretch your leg (or legs if you're pro) out in the aisle a bit. Watch out for FA's, other people, and carts!
You have control of your row, feel like a king.
First out in case of an emergency. Maybe. You never know.

Cons of an Aisle:
Being mauled and/or mutilated by rogue FA's, children passengers, carts...
Having to get up whenever nature calls for your 'kingdom'.

3. CHECK-IN EARLY.
I check in as early as possible to secure good seats. I had reserved seats for my Lufthansa flights to Norway, but what I didn't know was that no one's seats had been saved. I ended up being super lucky and getting some pretty good seats...though my reserved ones were choice. I literally stalk the hour that begins 24 hours before my flight. You'll get a good seat and can make any changes you need to with time to spare.

How to Kill Time:

August 3rd will mark my third international flight to date. My first two, as you may or may not know, were from DFW to FRA, then from FRA to DFW. Instead of having European layovers, I will have one layover in San Francisco on the way to KIX, another in San Francisco on my return trip, and a stop in Denver, Colorado before my final destination in DFW. As you may be thinking now; "I'm getting the feeling that you don't like flying, Kacey." Well, dearest friends...I cannot tell a lie.

International flights are like sitting in a bus filled to the brim with people you don't know for at least 7 hours at about 40,000 feet in the air over a body of water and there's a very high chance you will not be so lucky to end up on an island with a bloody volleyball as a companion, because let's get real, if this thing goes down...excuse me.
Let's re-do that, shall we?
International flights are like flying with a bunch of other homo sapiens (and the dreaded mini homo sapiens who cry) who want to be in this giant hunk of metal as much as you do for at least 7 hours at about 40,000 feet in the air over a body of water and there's a very high chance you WON'T be involved in a plane crash. Was that better? Good, let's continue.

In my case, this flight will take 15 hours there and 15 hours back. That's more than a full day of my life drinking bacteria infested water and wondering why I didn't get a window seat (and also having terrifying flashbacks of how much "Castaway" scarred me as a child). I've already begun planning what I'll be doing each hour with a tablet filled to the brim with movies and books, and a Walkman almost full of music to drown out crying mini people. Do I sound crazy? Good, because I am and I like it when people acknowledge my lack of sanity. Keeps me feelin' alive.

Disclaimer: I don't [i](read: can't) sleep in public. I have never been able to. Not in buses, not in planes, not in bathrooms, not in school. So with that out of the way, you know I will not be putting sleep in here!

  • So here's the outline of what I'll be doing:

Part 1:
This is the part of the flight where I just kind of get accustomed to being thousands of feet above the ground and take note of the emergency exits and procedures. I take a look at who is around me so I can remember where I sit when in a dazed state returning from the lavs. I also get my stuff/bag situated so I know the optimum setting for everything. I also take precarious note of where my passport and important documents are - I can't stress how important this is. Always be sure to have this stuff in a folder, and always be sure to check to make sure it's there every so often. I also check out what kind of in-flight entertainment (or lack thereof) my tiny TV in front of me has. I also get into the mindset that; "I paid for this, so I'm cashing in on it". I dread inconveniencing people; I want others to be happy even if it's at my own expense. But I also worked hard to pay for this plane ticket, and I want to be happy about it.

Part 2:
This part of the flight I can start relaxing. I normally get my MP3 player out and try to get some reading done. Make sure you have really good, really long books or an armada of short books loaded onto your Nook, Kindle, Tablet, iPoo, whatever strikes your commercial fancy. I blew up my Nook library on my trip to Norway and ended up finishing 3 books, all by John Green ( not long; 1 of which on the flight from Germany to Norway). It makes the time fly by and you haven't wasted any movies yet. I usually read for about 2 or 3 hours depending on the book.

Part 3:
Remember how I said I couldn't sleep on planes? It still rings true, but that doesn't mean I can't scout about and see if my neighbours are sleeping. This is normally when I take bathroom breaks since I'm always scared of opening a door on someone or having people stare at me thinking; "She's going to the lav, human needs are so lame {insert stupid laugh}". If my neighbours are getting hunkered down I normally do the same, I just kind of let the music play and think of things for awhile. Normally I'll just stay that way until others begin to wake up, or I'll pull out my 3ds**. If I do the latter I will play for about 2 hours or so.

Part 4:
By this point in time the meal is being served. I have a severe love/hate relationship with airline meal time: The airline food I've had has been just fine, but it took an hour and a half to have the FA's (flight attendants) come get the trash. Did I sound like a first world brat? Whoops. Everyone has their food trays down and that's a bit of a pain. If you're super nice - and you should be to FA's - you can ask them to take your food when you're done. I hate to inconvenience them, but they never act bothered by it. To get back on topic, I purposefully eat a little slower than normal. I don't want to look like a starving wallaby and I want to kill time, so I'll take about 40 minutes.

Part 5:
You might be halfway through your arduous journey by now. This is when I pull out my sketchbook or read more. Sometimes I'll check out the in-flight entertainment and watch some movies or TV shows for as long as I can stand it or watch movies on my Tablet. Either way I try to kill about 3 or 4 hours doing something to get closer to my landing time.

Part 6:
Okay, you're about 2 hours from your destination. That change of clothes and hygiene items you brought? Use 'em.
Pro Tip: I always wear comfortable jeans on the plane because jeans are warm on a cold plane and can be worn a lot before they smell begin to smell. Because of this, I never pack a change of pants (though it'd probably be a good idea). I only pack a shirt to change into.
I can stretch in the lav, brush my hair and use bottled water to brush my teeth. Then I go take my seat once more. But don't take too long makin' yerself look pretty you vain picasso. Make sure there is no line for the bathroom before you go to change form.

Part 7:
Okay, you're ONE HOUR from your destination. That's 60 minutes. You can do this.
By this time I try to watch more in-flight entertainment, movies on my tablet, read, draw, or play my 3ds for one more hour. It might not be easy, since at this point you'll want to kill everything around you that moves and aren't afraid to act on promises - unless you're a normal person. If so, congratulations, you're not different. I bet you don't even know what Coach is...and no, it's not a handbag, you First Classers. Y'all weren't even invited to this blog, so just leave (of course I'm only kidding!!).

Part 8:
YOU'VE LANDED! You know what that means all you window seaters?! You have to sit and wait for the one or two people in front of you to get up and leave, those one or two who are also waiting for the dozens of people in front of them to leave too! You know what that means all you aisle seaters?! You haul butt down that aisle and push past all the Economy Plus, Business, and First Classers. You don't even take names.
If you're lucky, this won't be a layover stop. Go have the time of your life kiddo, you got 15 more hours of community probation ahead of you.
If you aren't lucky, and only have about an hour and a half, then you seriously need to jog to where your next gate. I'm sure everyone in FRA got a kick out of a little white noodle sprinting her way to the gate that would take her to Norway, but I got there not a minute too soon.
If you are lucky, and have about 3 hours, take it easier. Get something to eat and drink and just relax.

Why Are You Going?

Today I had someone ask me why I was going to Japan. Granted it was a pleasant conversation, and the person brought up some points as to why they personally wouldn't go; the language is difficult and many a tourist goes there without knowing a bit of Japanese, the food is not to everyone's best taste, it's crowded in many areas, and it's just generally a different culture to what we're used to. I think you need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It makes you a better, stronger person when done right. In my personal opinion, I think international travel is a necessity for understanding the world and other cultures, just like I believe learning a new language will help you do the same thing. Making the physical connection really helps you see the world from a different perspective when looked at through open eyes and minds. That's not to say you have to go to someplace like Japan, maybe you've always wanted to see Canada? Germany? Iceland? China? Go for it. You never know what surprises await you beyond the airport.

This is where I end this post. I'm nowhere near a seasoned traveller (I think that is frightfully obvious) and I'm sure one could come through here telling me off in so many ways but...this post is mainly for my reference. I'd like to say one day I'll be a world traveller and can laugh maniacally at how ignorant past me once was but we shall see. And remember - we've come a LONG way since ships. Try to keep in mind that you could be stuck in a many months long journey across the ocean with a bunch of people you don't know.

  • *food - You have to fill out a sheet declaring the items you have brought back with you to the U.S. when you pick up your luggage. DO NOT BRING BACK KINDER EGGS, AMERICAN FRIENDS. They're banned food and if they check your suitcase you will get in trouble. European friends - DO NOT SEND KINDER EGGS IN PACKAGES. They'll just be taken out if found. Otherwise, please research to see what kinds of foods are legal to bring back to the U.S. Also observe the rules for banned foods in the country you are going into.
  • **3DS - You can make friends on the plane with Street/Spotpass!
  • ***Make sure you have all your electronics with you and that they are easily accessible. You must put them in a separate bin in Security. This includes phones, cameras, laptops, game systems, and the like. It's annoying, but save everyone else the exasperation of waiting by having them out and ready.

Until next time,
Kacey

Posted by Kacey's Travels 20:09 Archived in USA Tagged advice Comments (3)

Preparing: Japan

Travel and Packing Advice From a Novice

sunny 34 °C

I fully admit that I am nothing but a mere fledging in the world of international travel. I've thus far been in 3 international airports, one of which I hold a deep grudge against for almost no reason, and I'm preparing to go to an additional 4. This time, I'll be ready and more sure of myself as I navigate the crowded terminals and grumpy airport management.
For those of you who are preparing to go on an international journey, let me be the first to congratulate you on this stepping stone in your life; I hope that your experiences open your eyes to a world you never imagined and that you will travel more in the future! I hope you enjoy this entry on what I've learned from my first trip in regards to packing and planning:

1. Over packing carry-ons.
For my first international trip I made sure to pack as much as possible to keep myself entertained on the long flights to and from Norway - I took my MP3 player, 3DS, Nook, Tablet, and a ton of sketch paper. It was a pain to have to take all of this stuff out at security and keep up with it all on the flight, but I really did use all of the listed things (except for the sketch paper). The in-flight entertainment was not very good on this flight, so I really saved myself trouble. This time around I've decided to take 3 things I don't think I could make a long plane trip without:

  • My MP3 player. It comes in handy both during the flight (crying babies), at my noisy layovers, and at my destination.
  • My 3DS. I like to connect with people from around the world, as well as pass a good 2 or 3 hours during the flight. It can also be a conversation starter, and I was able to make some new friends because of it.
  • My Tablet. I can load books and movies onto it, as well as use the drawing application to pass time during the flight and at layovers.

2. Aisle or Window seat?
I took my chance and secured aisle seats to and from my destination. When you have an aisle seat you don't have to crawl over anyone to get to the restrooms, nor do you have to stay stuck there while your seat partner sleeps. I do admit at one point in my journey I was resenting the woman next to me in her window seat since she could prop up a pillow and lead her head against the side of the plane. But it all washed away when I almost missed my connecting flight from a late landing and slow unboarding. I would have been stuck for much longer had I had the window seat. This has just been my experience, I may go out on a ledge and hop into a window seat next time, just for the experience.

3. Taking too much documentation with you can cause problems.
Unless you're extremely organised and know what you're doing. I wasn't my first trip overseas. I was alone, nervous, and always holding onto my folder that contained all of my important copies and documentation needed to get through border control in Germany and the States. Make sure you have your flight and ID documents close together but separated. I can't stress enough to know where your passport is at all times.

4. Keep organised so that you can go through security quicker and with less pain.
Have an organised backpack with quick access to the things you must put in separate bins at airport security. Have a special pocket where (if you keep a folder) your folder with all of your documentation goes. When you get through security, make sure everything is where it is supposed to be - make sure anything and everything you put into separate bins comes out and back into your hands. Being quick and efficient causes less stress to both yourself, the security staff, and your fellow fliers.

5. Don't take a suitcase that's too big or too small.
The bigger your suitcase, the more stuff you'll try to fill it with. The smaller your suitcase, the more problems you're bound to face later when it comes to repacking. I took a smaller suitcase with me because it stops me from buying things I don't need. I know if I took a bigger suitcase I would buy things I don't need, just for the "foreignness" of it all. Try to find a suitcase that will allow you to pack the necessities, small gifts, and allows space for souvenirs later on.

Posted by Kacey's Travels 14:55 Archived in USA Tagged japan advice preparing Comments (0)

Stavanger: The Departure

the post that I don't want to finish


View Stavanger, Norway on Kacey's Travels's travel map.

For me, it's always a failure of the imagination. I have that anxiety that time is passing, that everything is ultimately fleeting and impermanent. I better take advantage of every single moment.
-Jason Silva

There has never been a morning I wished I did not have to wake up to. The awful mixture of sadness, regret, and fear swirling inside of me almost made me switch off the alarm and go back to sleep. I cannot tell you how many scenarios I had played in my head to miss my flight, to either make it look like an accident or just say; "Who cares?" and jump on another one just one day later. But I knew that there are some dreams you can't act on, and responsibilities you must take care of, no matter how much you wish you could just run away from it all. This was what I felt my last morning in Stavanger, Norway. And this is what I still feel right now, in front of a glowing computer screen, in Midland, Texas.

The ride to the airport was a battle of emotions for me, since I could barely do anything besides fight back tears that threatened to fall at any moment. I watched the scenery fly by out of the car window and hoped that perhaps this was all a dream I would never have to wake up from. To be melodramatic about it all I can describe it like this: It felt as if someone had walked into my home, dragged me outside, tied my hands together and said; "'I'm taking your home, your friends, your belongings, and every dream you've ever had, now scram.'" A mixed feeling of sadness and anger that I had to leave this place was overwhelming. I had finally come to know what feeling "at home" was like, and now I have to leave so soon?

This trip itself was absolutely beyond words. There was very little I didn’t like about it all. I know I complained about the high prices of everything, but I'm not really bothered by them now. The public transportation was fabulous, and everyone there seemed really active with all the walking and bike riding. I kept hearing from various sources that "all Norwegians are cold and distant" but I didn't feel that or see that when I was there. To be honest (at the expense of sounding ridiculous) I experienced culture shock upon returning to the US where everyone seemed so loud and rather outspoken compared to the Norwegians I encountered.

This trip did not end without its downs - I was bawling and couldn’t even say all I wanted to say to my friend. I was so thankful and humbled that she and her family opened not only their door, but their lives to me. I spent almost two hours in the check-in luggage line wallowing in self pity and jealousy directed at the Norwegians around me. Here’s a little tidbit of what happened to nearly cost me my flight to Germany though, if anyone is curious:

When my friend departed from the airport, I got in line to check in my luggage with Lufthansa. I listened to what the workers at the airport were saying out of sheer curiosity, and I heard a couple talking about how a luggage system was down. An American couple behind me began loudly complaining about people cutting in line, and asked me in very slow, painfully clear english what was going on. I replied; "Sorry. I don’t know." and left it at that. Then, they went up to the counter to complain and brought me into it, putting up my hands I said; "No, it's okay, it's okay." and the counter man had to pacify them back into their places in line. The people around us began talking about them (albeit, not nicely) and by this time I was annoyed with them myself, since they kept making rude comments about the workers and people there. Needless to say, everything worked out and we all got on our respective flights.

I did take quiet a few photographs. I am so pleased with some of them, but I know they don't really capture what I saw. It’s one of those places you have to see for yourself. I'll get over having to leave at some point. I have all those good memories. I've got photos and videos.
It's going to take awhile.

So I thought I would end the article with a couple of things:

My favourite things about Stavanger in no particular order:
- The street art. It was either misspelled graffiti, or really incredible "paintings". I even saw a book about street art in Norway at Norli - needless to say it’s pretty cool.
- The people. Everyone seemed relaxed or mellow. No one was really loud, and it just gave me a warm feeling to see friends and families out together.
- The accessibility. Almost everywhere you wanted to go was accessible without a car - you could walk to a bakery, a mall, a grocery store. You could take the bus and train many places, or bicycle even. I really will miss that, coming from Midland, Texas.
- The nature. The environment here is phenomenal - you could just look out the train window and see a scene worthy (in my opinion) of National Geographic.
- The history. There was so much history in one place, it’s almost surreal.
- The sun and weather in general. The sun stayed out until the early hours of the morning and the weather was so cool. When I was heading with my mother back to our car at the Dallas airport I had to stop so she could come pick me up - I felt like I was being fried at 90F.
- The food and water. You practically get Voss water from the tap, and the food was just perfect. Their fish? Delicious beyond an inland Texan's comprehension.

Here are a few things that were new to me:
- That one unisex bathroom they had in the mall.
- Not saying; "yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir". As a Southerner from the States, it's deeply ingrained into my DNA to say such things.
- The wildlife. Being dive bombed twice by a flying insect left the impression of Norwegian wildlife being quiet bold.
- The preteens and teenagers. One word to describe my first impression of them: terrified. Don't ask me why, I suppose I'm easily intimidated, but they really scared me.

So in summary if you've never been to Norway, go to Norway. If you don't know what city to go to, I'd like to suggest Stavanger. There's so much to do and so much to see, it's well worth the trip. Just make sure to stay awhile, because if you're anything like me, you'll never want to leave.

To end this post, I would like to thank the people I met and family I stayed with. I can never repay their kindness and generosity; they also showed me that no matter where you go in this world, you will find kindness.

And here's to Stavanger - the first place that gave me a meaning behind the word "home".

Posted by Kacey's Travels 13:07 Tagged norway departure stavanger Comments (1)

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