Today we walked up about a hundred hills to get to the Olympic Museum in Lillehammer, Norway. At first, we were slightly worried that we had walked to the wrong location, but then realized the two museums were just together. The museum itself was full of different facts, pictures, medals, quotes, uniforms, and interactive exhibits. The museum was brightly colored with all of these things which made it incredible to just look around at everything, especially one room with colored lights shining through the ceiling decorations. Outside the museum was a path that led you to a variety of old buildings surrounding the water. The sunlight on the green green grass and the water made it a beautiful spot for pictures.
On the way back to the hostel, my group went too far down the street before turning so we got to once again see the waterfall and stream that ran underneath about seven different bridges. The sound of the water was calming and refreshing so we stayed a few minutes before continuing our walk back to our “home.”
This evening we also had a performance. It wasn’t attended by too many people, but there were special guests in the audience from the Midwest which was cool because we had both traveled so far just to meet our own neighbors. The performance was great. We changed up the order of music which I kind of liked after doing the same program for forever. It seemed to give everyone a renewed sense of energy and as a result, the performance was beautiful. It is now tied for my favorite performance, the first being Nidderau. After the concert, we greeted our guests as usual and everyone got extremely excited for Pastor Blake when we found a man from Wartburg Seminary. It was a nice little piece of excitement.
On the walk back to the hostel, Kyra and I noticed a little park and practically ran to the swings. We spent quite a while just hanging out there. Swinging is probably one of the best types of therapy. We were sad to leave internally, but externally, I was on top of the world. Those few minutes were one of my favorite memories of tour. Later, I also got another friend to go outside which made it great all over again. Man, what a tour this has been. It’s the little things that are the best.
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Our last day of tour began in Reykjavík, Iceland, where our tour guide showed us different historical aspects of the city. This included the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja church, where the choir was asked to share some music. We sang the first verse of “Pilgrim’s Hymn”, and we’re subsequently given an invitation to perform in the church upon our next visit to Iceland – a tremendous honor.
Our guided tour ended at the city center where we were given free time for shopping and lunch! I enjoyed the time with friends, and we spent the time making some souvenier purchases to remember our time in Iceland, as well as relaxing in a coffee shop. I also purchased homemade bracelets made out of lava stones for my mom, sisters, and myself!
At the designated time, we all met back on the bus and made our way to the Reykjavík airport where we went through security and customs before boarding the flight to Minneapolis. Upon arriving back in the US the customs officer that I talked with asked me if our tour was fun, and was the first to tell me “welcome home”! From there, we had a fairly uneventful bus ride back to Wartburg where I was greeted by my Wartburg roommates as well as my boyfriend!
I had told the customs officer that our tour was fun, but upon reflection, I’ve found that it was much more than fun. It was 3 weeks of experiences that will forever change how I view the world and my role in it. We were told by the pastor in Vilslev, Denmark that our music was breaking down barriers between countries, and bringing us all closer to Heaven. What it honor it was to have been a part of that. I know that I, as well as everyone else on the tour will forever be grateful for the opportunities that we had as ambassadors for the college, for Iowa, and for the United States.
Today we traveled to the beautiful city of Oslo! We began the day by exploring the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. It was reminiscent of Central Park, except this park had an abundance of almost haunting pieces of sculpture work. Afterwards, we were given free time to explore the culture of Norway. The sushi here is fantastic! That’s no surprise seeing as fishing has a major market here. Going to the harbor area and getting ice cream was also delicious as well as scenic. We also went to the National Gallery where the original Scream art is housed! Finally, we ended the day with date night. This was a great opportunity the explore the dining of Norway, as well as the night life. The group I was in went to a barbeque place with really good beer. Oslo truly is a beautiful city, that’s very clear to me, and I can’t wait to explore the rest of Norway!
This day, May 8th, is easily divided into two sections, our excursion to the city of Lübeck, and the concert in Boizenburg. For myself, visiting Lübeck was one of those moments that I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or it was really happening. I’m a big fan of online historical grand strategy games, and visiting the city really hit home to me that I was in a place that guided the shaping of Northern Europe for centuries.
Lübeck was a free city in the Holy Roman Empire, and was the main leader of the Hansietic League, a group of city states in Northern Europe that banded together to form a trade empire, one that dictated Baltic and North Sea trade from the 1500s to the 1700s. Being in the city, seeing the Massive city gate and the artifacts and replicas therein, seeing the steeples above the skyline, and the ubiquitous red brick buildings and roofs, was an eye-opening moment for me; one that I will always treasure.
As for the concert that night, I was impressed by the age, mustyness, and solid elegence of the church. A beautiful old building that has made good use of the space inside, it was a wonderful place to play in. As for the concert itself, it was unremarkable to me, in that we performed well, the audience loved it, and we were happy with our efforts afterwards. It was truly a blessing that this was the normal concert, that they were all of such quality.
Today was our last day in Iceland as well as the last day of the trip. While not much time was spent in Iceland, we did have the morning to explore Reykjavík. We stopped at Hallgrimskirkja (the famous Protestant Church) and the choir sang the first verse of Pilgrim’s Hymn. Even though our voices were tired, the music was a blessing. The group was invited to have a concert in the church the next time they came to Iceland.
We then went to the City Hall to be dropped off for some free time in Reykjavík. There were many cool shops that I went to on my way to find fish and chips. One of the strange things I learned about was Fish Leather. Personally, I am not a fan. We found the most amazing fish and chips ever at a little restaurant by the pier and proceeded to learn that salt is much stronger in Iceland, so don’t use much!
We got back to the bus and off to the airport we went. The kiosks to get tickets were interesting and only about half of them actually worked. Luckily we all made it through albeit a little early. After a long period of waiting, we were on the plane and ready for home! Many movies, books, discussions, and card games later, we touched down in Minneapolis and got on the bus for Waverly.
And so the tour comes to an end.
Castles, concerts, mountains, concerts, oceans, concerts, fjords, concerts, hot springs, and volcanoes are now a not so distant memory. The green grass of Iowa is coming nearer for us to start a new adventure.
Today we traveled to Denmark. We passed some beautiful sights on the way including water and wind farms! I really enjoyed the wind farms on the water because they were something I’ve never seen before. When we arrived at Vilslev, we went into the church. The church was extremely small. This affected our program because we have to get rid of our movements. This concert was a difficult concert to perform because of the long bus drive before the concert. When we went to change and eat before the concert we had an interesting meal. It was baked avocados with tiny shrimp on top. I hated it. I don’t like shrimp or avocados so it was a nightmare for me. I ate a courtesy bite and moved on. We then had our concert and it was an incredible concert. The audience was so responsive and they were so thankful afterwards. It was a fulfilling moment to see the church packed from a small town. Overall today was a successful tour day and one we wanted to have all your long.
Today was an amazing day in Germany. We got to indulge in architecture from the old times of Central Germany. We went to a marvelous national park that housed a castle, the worlds oldest carousel, a palace and a toy and pupet museum. This wonderful and fresh park was gave us a rush of energy on a beautiful cloudless day.
We also entered into a park near yet another palace, some miles away. It was full of trees and hills and a fountain. Upon entering the Palace, and seeing artist depiction that revealed that the park was once the courtyard of the Palace. It was such a fantastic day full of cultural immersion and beautiful wether. Stepping back in time through artwork and architecture.