Harstad (pronounced Harshta) is a community of about 23’000 but it seems much bigger then that, the town is very spread out. Despite its small size and remote location, it is a modern town, has lots of shopping and 11 bars. The walk to between school and where I live is about 10 minutes, uphill on the way back. The temperature is above 0 and there was rain the other day. At night, everything must freeze because there is sheer ice EVERYWHERE; it makes walking very difficult. Many people wear cleat-type covers on their shoes to not slip and get hurt.
Yesterday morning we, the international students, went to Trondenes church which is Norway’s northernmost stone church and the world’s most northern mediaeval church. It is beautiful and is surrounded by fascinating stories and mysteries. Nearby, there is a museum that is full of information on the Trondenes region and Harstad.
After this, we went to a lovely Norwegian café in town for lunch. I also finally got my cellphone figured out! We ended up back at home in the early afternoon but since it felt like evening, we started drinking and had some people over. Russians, Siberians, Norwegians, a girl from Poland etc… It is fascinating meeting people from all these places and learning about their culture as well as just hearing them speak in their language is interesting.
It was a late night but I got up early for a true Bavarian breakfast prepared by the German guy, Jan. He had made Bavarian sausages that were lightly boiled. They way to eat them is to suck the meat out from a hole at one end, out of the skin; it was surprisingly good. It was served with some Bavarian mustard and a glass of what I thought was apple juice…but was some beer that tasted like vinegar.
On my way out for the morning, I saw a big “fisk” truck in the grocery store parking lot, selling fresh fish. I think that is so European and there was a long line of people waiting to get their daily fish. Maybe Ill buy some at some point and make a Norwegian meal. I then went to the police station in town to register myself and get my residency visa put into my passport, paid for my residence then went to school for lunch and a Norwegian history/language class. We learned the basics of the language but I am looking forward to learning more and to be able to use it! I bought a Norwegian Cosmopolitan magazine and will read it using Google translate and a English-Norwegian dictionary. Also, some channels on the TV and movie theatres are in English with Norwegian subtitles so that might help me learn the language as well.
I checked out the gym/swimming pool and am going to get a membership because I think Ill spend a lot of time there. The facility is dug into a large rockface and makes for a very interesting pool. Behind the glass in the picture, is the water play park area. I didn't see it but Ive heard it is amazing with waterfalls etc...
Ive been here for a day and already Im famous, check it out... it is paraphrased a little bit but Im in a newspaper!