Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fast Ferry to Harstad

Huribåt to Harstad - under construction

Tromsø Botanicsl Garden

Saxifrage at the Tromsø Botanical Garden

Storkeneb at the Tromsø Botanical Gardens

? Buckbean on the Tromsø Geology walk

DNT hut up the Fjellheisen in Tromsø

Arctic Cathedral Tromsø

Kontiki museum Oslo

Viking Ship museum Oslo

Stave church at oslo folk museum

Moskenes Bay

Moskenes Bay

Moskenes church


Føss at the start of the Munkabu Trail

Sørvågan i Lofotons

Sørvågan Jellyfish

Reine Robrur

Reine Harbour

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Viking Chief's Longhouse

Viking Ship at Borg Museum

Viking at Borg

Henningvær Harbour

The Face of Cod


geit or goat horns

Solvær Harbour

The Best Weinerbrød (Danish) in Solvær

The one kind of pastery I have a weakness for is Danishes, however, this took Danishes to a new level in a pretty little Bakery in Solvær on the waterfront. I loved the view of the islands from the brygge or wharf.

Little Church At Austnesfjorden

Midnight Sun Walk on Saint Hans Natt


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inukshuks found in a far away fairytale land

The Lofotens

Mountains and Cotton Grass

Norwegian Woods

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tromsø from Fjellheisen

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travels In Norway

We are in the beautiful Oslo Gardemoen Airport, waiting for the flight to Tromso. I think that it is the nicest airpot that I have ever seen. First off, in spite of a caribou sized herd of humans, it is incredibly efficient. They also have good food -especially a baguette sub from a little place called the upper crust. The waiting area boasts large comfortable leather seats - the nicest that I've seen in an airport and the best little mock airplane shaped jungle gym for kids to play on.

Yesterday, we did a gruelling 4-museum dash. The first was the Norwegian Folkemuseum - a sprawling collection of exhibits and building from various parts of the last 300-400 years. The Sami exhibit was very well done in particular (I took a picture of a Tuktu pulling a sled for my students. Outside, the was an amazing replica sod hut, like those they used traditionally during the cold winter months. Other interesting exhibits included one on folk dress, another discussing folk clothing, and one on the home for juvenile delinquent boys called Bestoy. There was also an impressive stave church in the open air exhibits along with a variety of buildings that you could peer into and try to imagine how folk lived in one-room farmhouses. I remain impressed with Norwegian wood carving. It did seem that not everything was open, but even so we were at least 3 hours at wandering and reading.

Next we went to the Vikingskiphuset (Viking Ship Museum) where, we treated to a fascinating experience of learning about the archeology of their finds. We appreciated the smaller size of the museum after the huge folk museum.

Next, a little walk down to the Kon Tiki museum showcasing the boats and travels of the renowned Thor Heyerdahl. Having read some of his books (albeit during High School), it was really neat to see the Kon Tiki raft and Ra reed boat. The background info was short and interesting and has renewed my interest in reading some of his books.

The last museum of the day was the Fram Polar Ship Museum highlighting the polar expeditions including those of Roald Asmunden. We were pretty museumed out at that point so we skimmed through the 3 stories of background I formation, but were surprised and delighted to be able to tour the inside of the ship.

Returning by ferry boat from Bigdoy - we immediate went hunting form Concerta, the pizza restaurant we visited the first night and proceeded to enjoy a delicious veggie pizza with artichokes on it. Then it was onto the train and out towards the airport, where we stayed at our first hostel. After paying as much for out shuttle bus fare as we did for our discounted Oslo pass train fare we gave in to tiredness, and slept or read quietly.

This brings s to the present - flying north to Tromso. We are looking forward to being in amuck smaller city surrounded by ocean and mountains. I believe that Norwegian Airlines has free wireless, if so this will be my first blog post from 30,000 ft.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Up up and away

We have arrived in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. I am still getting used to the hunt and peck typing made necessary by this tiny touch keyboard. The airport is large, but is efficient and well signed. There are many bits of random architecture - like a wooden floor that rears up to form the roof of the adjacent kiosk. There are a pair of cafe style restaurants one done in the style of a grand old train station and the other under the arc of a green metal structure that looks to me like half a carousel. My favourite part is the one done up with green floors and faux trees and log benches with the best part being the nature sounds of birds and water to complete the woodland effect. We are currently enjoying a small outdoor terrace where S. has got the complete outdoor effect of sitting on a slightly wet chair, he notes that this is a clear sign of under cafeination.

The flight was long and cramped and they ran out of chicken before I got my meal- leaving me with the fish- which I couldn't eat. We didn't sleep as much as hoped, but there is still the next leg...

I slept through most of the plane ride to Norway. It was raining heavily when we arrived though it made an impression of verdant farmland of hills and overgrown creek valleys. The train ride into town was uneventful being only marginally awake and was followed by a 3 hour nap. The rest of the evening was spent wandering the downtown area marvelling at the detail of the finishings on the buildings.

There was some kind of concert near the waterfront, but we opted for a stroll through the grounds of the old fortress. Actually it is the largest concert in Scandinavia The VG Lista, complete with slightly overwhelming throngs of enthusiastically noisy youths. The pictures include a view of one of the buildings and the other of some kind of shadow art in a cave.

Dinner was some most excellent thin crust at a pizzeria on Karl Johans Gate. It was a bit of a challenge to order having finally to cave in and check that ost was indeed cheese and ask what skinke was - ham.
This morning we hiked up to Frogner and Vigeland parks to see an interesting select of sculpture in plaster, bronze and granite. We also visited the Oslo museum which was incredibly well done. We are just finishing our lunch now.

Our next stop was the museum of history showcasing the history of civilization in Norway from caveman to Viking to now. There was also a nice bit on cultures from around the world including the Inuit. The evening was spent sharing a lovely dinner with two of S.'s family friends and their kids. Today is a full day and I am going to try to post this before I am without Internet.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

you don't have the keyboard

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Ghost Town

Spooky looking picture on a lovely evening. It seems brighter out today and the wind is calmer and it has stopped snowing, but the system that brought us the "JUNE BLIZZARD" has left a sloppy glaze of icy messy snow atop, what had appeared to be the begging of the ground come out for spring. The sky is still relatively grey, but it seems to be trying to shake that bit of weather and hopefully go on to be slightly more seasonal. The weatherfolk are not promising anything much about 0 C temperature this coming week, although there does appear to be some sunshine in the next few days.

Apparently I missed a big Geomagnetic storm in the last 24 hours, but I can offer myself some solace that even if it had been dark, I still couldn't see through the clouds. Its strange living in a place that never gets dark. Even walking home after midnight on a miserable day still seemed light enough to be day. It definitely makes it hard to mentally figure out what time it is, but on the other hand I have much less trouble getting out of bed in the morning when its light. There was an interesting article about how Caribou have their circadian rhythem shut off because of the wacky seasonal light shifts.

I guess I'd better go write a to do list and start working my way through it in hopes of getting more sleep than less sleep this week. I've decided in my old age, that getting enough sleep isn't so bad afterall... it might even be good.
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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Clouds With Big Silver Linings

The forwarning of weather should have been in the nifty cirrus clounds Tuesday night. We haven't seen much sun since. Since, it was a lovely walk that evening and I'm glad I got out since the subsequent weather hasn't been at all tempting. Currenlty it looks cold (see picture 2 posts below) and the icy bits of snow are scouring against my window, sounding worse than they would if it was colder.

I planted a few nasturiums in my room, and they are currently flourishing in a way that only nasturiums do, seeming to grow before your eyes. 3 flowers have bloomed (I have an orange one that is well ahead of the second lot I sowed in the same container) and two are currently in bloom with at least 4 or 5 more buds getting read to bud. They leave me wanting to plant a whole bunch more. I can't wait to see my garden. I'm not sure what shape it is in, but I'm looking forward to seeing hopefully a few surviving lilies after 2 years of nasty lily beetle infestations and some of the perrenials should have survived not being watered occasionally, assuming they aren't dying from a waterlogging summer. I'll have to go up to Terra and spend some money. (I worked there one spring - but I'm not sure I made much money that I also didn't spend there) I absolutely loved working there and I still visiting. I hope they have nasturiums... because I'm pretty sure my mom needs some for a belated mother's day present.

Its hard to believe that the year is coming to the end. I have lots to look forward in both the summer and next year, but especially in the short term, I'm looking forward to seeing my mom, dad, siblings #3 and #4 and sibling #3's delightful and awesome-sauce spouse and their adorable kids. (#4's girlfriend is also awesome, although I'm not sure if and when I'll get a chance to see her) I'm also looking forward to spending time with my grandparents who were co-authors of most of my best childhood stories and whose stories of the north are the reason I fell in love with the Barrens long before I finally made it here. I will also get to see sibling #2, his wonderful spouse and 2 bright-eyed, and bushy tailed squirrels and S's family too.

I've been here 3 years and I'm a part of this community more than I have been in any other place at any other time in my life. I've gotten past the novelty of living in the north to a sincere appreciation of what it is and what it has the potential to become. Its a beautiful place and frankly, I enjoy complaining about the weather and the lack of produce. The one downside is the distance from my family, so it'll be good to be able to see them all a bit this summer and see how much beansprouting upwards the little ones have done. Additionally, I'll get my fix of trees and gardens and Kaylee (the malamute) and produce - assuming that this deadly E. coli doesn't spread to north america.

Cheers, to living in a wonderful and ever surprising world.... especially on a blizzardy day in June.


Robin Rangers

I don't know if it is normal for any of these fellows to make it this far north, but I'm guessing this guy is hunkering down under a house somewheres wondering what just happened to the weather. It was eerie to hear this common thrushes song (one that minds me so much of home) it the open landscape of the tundra. Of course, he was only meters away as I worked my camera out of my bag, only to fly away the minute I had him in focus..... ah well... next time.
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We're Not in Kansas Anymore

There have been deadly tornados in the states, floods in Manitoba and Mississippi and Quebec, and fires in Alberta, BC and now the Yukon. Europe has been hit by ash from an icelandic volcano and E. coli. So, on the scale of natural disasters around the world - a blizzard in June hardly ranks, but there is a certain amount of bragging rights thta can come from living in a place that has the audacity to produce a full bore blizzard in early June. I hope the Larkspurs and Robins weather it alright.

Welcome to the north... land of strange weather, which this year has been persistantly wintery right into June for the 3rd year straight.

But I have a few more pictures to throw up this morning... so give me a second and I'll get to the second post.
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Friday, June 03, 2011

Spring??? Or Blizzard

Anywho feeling sorry for themselves weatherwise, should take a peak at the current Baker Lake weather. Although, they haven't quite said as much, the weatherfolk have been describing not bad conditions for a June Blizzard..... Although, it is scheduled for Saturday... a piece of me can't help musing about the irony of June exams cancelled due to a blizzard. There is a fresh coat of snow this morning, with 5-10 cm or more coming along with 60-80 km winds. Currently, a belegared looking gull is picking through the snow to find food. I saw my first larkspur yesterday and I even saw a robin on Tuesday night. Tuesday was a nice night... nearly 2 C (plus)...

Not must else to report. I took some more pictures on Tuesday, but I haven't had a chance to dump them onto my computer. My computer has also randomly stopped talking to my printer, much to my annoyance. Sigh. I'm not sure what is going on, so I'm going to have to dig up the owners manual and figure out how to troubleshoot the printer.

I'm hoping that the weather folk have got it wrong, as humourous as it is to brag about surviving a June blizzard, I was rather enjoying pleasant walkings on sunny evenings... Eventually..... it has to warm up sometime.
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