The Continental Tripping 2011 Journal Norway #3
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Off to Norway for the third time this 2011.

The Husband's currently doing a Monday to Friday office job and was on call for a weekend.  When he's on call he has to remain in Norway, bummer, but the up side is his usual return airline tickets are made available to his partner to visit him instead.  It's either that or we don't get to see each other, so it's practically my wifey duty to go.

So on Thursday 3rd November 2011 it was off to Edinburger Airport once again.
 Leaving Scotland
The Dad drove me in to Edinburgh Airport, mwaaahh, mwaahhh and in I went.  I had a little stroll around and bought white wine in duty free.  Alcohol is so expensive in Norway it pains me to buy it, and that's why I allow The Husband to buy it for me over there.  But I was being considerate taking my own.

I didn't know this, speaking to the saleswoman she asked where I was going, I talked of Schipol, but fortunately happened to mention in conversation that I was flying on to Norway.  So she sealed the wine in a special airport customs security bag.  Special note to travellers, get you're duty free sealed if you're taking two flights.  If she hadn't done this the customs folks at Schipol would've kept it for their office Xmas party.

This flight saw me on my preferred aisle seat, but sitting next to a really big fat guy and his female partner.  Bless him, he seemed to be doing his best to not impact on my seat space by keeping his right arm (nearest to me) aloft for practically the entire journey.  Though he did take a loo break, probably to get blood back in his arm.  I kept my elbow firmly on my bit of the shared arm rest...sod him and his weight issue.
  Staying alert in Schipol

Regular readers will be aware that the last time I took this Edinburgh to Stavanger via Schipol journey I got all unfocused at Amsterdam, ended up on the wrong side of passport control and spent an hour and 3/4 getting back in.  Lots of stress (mostly The Husband's on the other end of the phone)and massive amounts of rushing around.


But, alls well this time, I'm focused and manage to stay in Schipol airport.  It's a huge airport, takes me about 15 minutes to walk smartly from my arrival gate to a place with a TV screen displaying the gate information I need.  The gate I'm looking for is another 15 minute walk back in the general direction I just came from.  Sheesh!


A first for me is an airport security x-ray.  I stand in the cubicle and following the instructions on the diagram, feet apart and arms up.  Then I'm beckoned out the other side, to be patted down, up and all around by a female member of the staff.  She was very thorough, the usual stuff then pressed the heel of a hand right down my sternum and lifted the middle of my bra off my ribcage.  While she was doing her thing I caught site of my x-ray pics on their gadget screen.  I had a load of squares on the front and a couple on the back view, right on my shoulder blades.


Took me a few minutes thinking to suss what it all was.  I'm guessing the shoulder blade stuff were metal bits on my bra, and the trail down my front left side, looked like I had a small intestine made of steel, but would most likely be the side-zip on my dress.


On both flights I take the KLM savoury snack offered, tasty cheesy balls.  First flight I enjoy said cheesy snack with a Diet Coke, second flight a white wine.  I'm on my iPod, an audio book and playing Solitaire.  It all flies by.


Amsterdam to Stavanger is a half empty plane and a row to myself, I sit aisle seat to aid escape if required.


As the plane starts it's long slow decent towards the ground my ears go mad, I suck, chew and gulp frequently.  Pressure building, pain increasing, distressing, itchy ears.  Shut my mouth, hold my nose and push...really wet spongy noises in my right ear.  It gets bad, but I save myself from the worst with all my mastication and swallowing, phew.


  Arriving in Stavanger
  The Husband collects me at the airport in an anonymous hire car, anonymous in the same way as about 95% of cars in Norway.  I'm not being fussy or ought, but it's not the same as being picked up in a Z4.  On the way to the hotel we stop off at the Tananger shops for Diet Coke, water and Smurt tykklefse med kanel, or in English...Lierne Bakery Lefse snacks with cinnamon, mmmmmmm.  
  We have dinner at the Hummeron Hotel and we're in bed in our waterfront room for 7pm.  
  Hummeron Hotel from the waterfront  
  Norway Day 1 04/11/11 

a life boat leaving Tananger Harbour


The Husband's up and away dead early on a business trip to Trondheim, giving me the day on my own.  I get up at 10am and go for a walk around Tananger Harbour.


I spend over an hour wandering around watching the various harbour folks and their activities and taking some great photos before heading back to the hotel bar for a Diet Coke.


On my excursion I have a nasty minute when a fly gets blown into my right eye.  Ouch, but the fly comes off worse and dies.


The Husband comes back and we do dinner in the hotel.

  Norway Day 2 05/11/11  

This early stage of the trip involves The Husband working pretty solidly but I don't mind, I can fill my time, I like my own company and I'm in beautiful surroundings.  It's Saturday and he's on-call, I take a walk around Tananger, retrace my steps around the harbour first then go up onto the main street and visit the shops for Coke Zero.  Taking more photies.  When I'm done The Husband meets me in the hotel for lunch.Rita Eriksen


I go back into the office with him for a meeting he has to do, then when he finishes work for the day we drive up to the Gloppedalsura terminal moraine barrier, it's such an impressive geographical feature.  We visit the Byrkjedalstunet shop/hotel/restaurant and eat more of their most lovely lefse.


Saturday night and we hear tell of famous Norwegian singer Rita Eriksen visiting the hotel for a private party.  Something to do with a 50th birthday.  I stuck around in the bar and got to meet her after they finished dinner.  A lovely woman and very pretty, she chatted to me for ages.  All I'm saying is a palazzo pant and a stiletto heal combo is a bad idea and pretty damn dangerous...unfortunately that was my choice of outfit not hers.

  Norway Day 3 06/11/11  

The Husband was up and away to work again.  I woke thinking OMG.  Brushed that from my mind and waited for his return.  We took another drive into the mountains to buy a Reindeer skin from that lovely shop with all the candles, Xmas stuff and other such Norwegian touristy things.  The Husband discovered he'd done something he's never done before...forgot his wallet.


Back out of the mountains and vowing to revisit for the Reindeer we do pizza at the Tananger branch of Pizzabakeren.  Chowing down in the pizza shop a man enters and says hello.  We don't know who he is, he orders his pizza and leaves again.  I'm assuming it's someone The Husband must know, he says nope.  Only after he leaves do I realise it's the man who saw me safely on the airplanes the last time I flew home from Norway without The Husband.  I wasn't expecting to see anyone I knew in Norway, just goes to never know.


Back in the hotel The Husband and I watch that Burlesque DVD I took over, my review is on the blog (suffice to & dance good, story and acting bad).

  Norway Day 4 07/11/11  

It's Sunday so The Husband's work is soon done and we head back for that Reindeer.


us in a big chair in

At the Byrkjedalstunet shop we set the G10 timer and take photies sitting in a big wooden chair next to a big wooden troll face.  The Husband wants to bring all these big wooden things in the shop back home, but we settle on a Reindeer skin we can fit in a suitcase.


We go to Stavanger for supper afterwards and visit Cafè Sting for a meal.  This cafe/bar sits at the top of the hill with the Valberg Tower (Valbergstårnet).  We were here the last time I was over and like the place.  It's studenty but also attracts office girls and shoppers, seems there's always someone there reading a serious looking book over a coffee.  I enjoyed their Warm Chicken Sandwich and The Husband had the Pasta Creole.  He got bread and butter, I got side-salad, dip and chips.



 We'd parked the anonymous dark blue hire car in the Valberget underground car park in central Stavanger.  On our return to the car park, half way down a flight of stairs we came upon one of The Broken Column statues.  Which was a nice surprise.  On my first visit to Stavanger I'd kept an eye open for these and got photies of a couple of them.  The Broken Column is comprised of 23 iron sculptures, all 1.95 meters tall, all facing 10° west, placed in and around Stavanger's City Centre.


It was only this visit I realised this is a work by one of my favourite sculptures, Antony Gormley, he of England's Angel Of The North and Holland's Crouching Man fame.


Another interesting thing bout this subterranean car park, the doors are like a foot wide, set us thinking...this is like a bomb shelter...The Husband says it's to do with The Cold War back in the '70's.



  Norway Day 5 to Trondheim 08/11/11  
  really serious doorsThe Husband takes me into the office before we leave for Trondheim.  I ask about the car park, and it is a fallout shelter.  Previously Norway required all new buildings to have a shelter, that changed to only public buildings with an area over 1000 m², regulations which were revoked in 1998.  At least that's the information I've put together from what I can find on the www.

We leave from the office and head to the airport.  We're going to Trondheim, I've been anticipating this since the last time I was in Norway.

The flight to Trondheim is via Bergen where we stop off to swap passengers going to Bergen for passengers going to Trondheim.  Also on the plane is one of The Husband's work colleagues, we all take a taxi to the Thon Hotel Prinsen on Kogens gate right in the centre of the city.  With a glass lift on the outside of the building, coo-el!

Thon Prinsen Hotel







We're in room 602, the top floor, at the front and a view, from here I can see the Nidaros Cathedral and the Tyholt Tower over the rooftops.


We meet back up for drinks and chat in the Egon restaurant within the hotel and another of the colleagues joins us.

  Norway Day 6 Trondheim 09/11/11  

The husband goes to work I go to see Trondheim.  I've done a bit of research on this city so I've got thoughts on what I want to visit and a rough idea where they are.  I pick up a Trondheim Guide booklet and ask the receptionist where the Tourist Information Office is, it's 3 minutes walk to the the left of the hotel, she shows me a picture of the pink building I'm looking for on the main square, making it extremely easy to spot when, three minutes later, I reach the square with the giant sundial and it's high plinth topped by a statue of Viking King Olav Tryggvason who founded the city in 997.


I speak to the Tourist Information guy, the Cathedral is three minutes walk away from the Tourist Office.  I like this city, everything is so compactly close to everything else.  I ask about The Old Bridge, it's three minutes walk from the Cathedral, everything is three minutes walk away from something else, loving it.


I start my tourist activity with Nidaros Cathedral, The Archbishops Palace and the National Regalia.  Purchase a three-in-one ticket and go first to the Cathedral because the other two aren't open till 11am.


look here for The BricklayerThe downer is they don't allow photography in any of these buildings, so I stroll around doing my best to look deferential and silently admiring religious icons and stain glass windows.


The other buildings in this attraction remain closed by the time I finish at The Cathedral so three minutes and I'm at The Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybro).  I spend some time on the frosty bridge just looking, admiring the old wharves built along the Nidelva river's edge and being intimidated by the steep hill on the other side.  It's such a steep hill they've built a bicycle lift there.  Not imagining for a moment that tomorrow I will climb that hill.


Look at big hill, reverse turn and back to The Cathedral ticket office/cafe.  I sit in the cafe waiting for 11am and have a flick through the Cathedral guidebook I bought.


There's a picture at the back of the book of a statue called The Bricklayer, says it's on the southern west front tower and that legend has it that if the Cathedral is ever finished it and the city will sink into the fjord.  The statue of the mason holds the last brick which will never be put in place, therefore protecting the future of cathedral and city.  I couldn't see the statue so I got speaking to the lady working the ticket/gift shop counter.  She tells me that she has never seen it, that the guides advice to stand about the middle of the square and to count ten of the little stone openings along the top of the front and he can apparently be seen through that space...if you're lucky, in the right place and have either binoculars or a good zoom on your camera.



I go stand around the square and count to ten, a little bit of zooming and edging about the square and I find him.  I take the camera back to the lady and show her.


The BricklayerIt's 11.10 so I go to see the Norwegian crown jewels.  As with all national regalia exhibitions they keep in them in near-dark conditions, so you can't see how unexciting and non-sparkly these things are in real life.  The final room has the crowns, and it's so dark in there I thought I was alone, thankfully all I was doing was looking intently at the crowns, giving the impression that I was well interested and impressed.  When I turned to leave, as I approached the door a figure became apparent in the gloomy corner, a stony-faced unfriendly guard had been watching me the entire time.  I know he was unfriendly because in fright I laughed and spoke to him, he grunted.


I go round the three floors of the museum in the Archbishop's Palace next.  Apart from the lady on the counter and a workman who strolls through the ground level at one point, I have the entire place to myself.  I feel obliged to show great interest and spend a reasonable amount of time in the place, well, she'd notice if I left too quickly.  There's lots of old stuff, stones, statues, glass fragments, shoes, coins and a big bit of very old original palace wall.


After that, I know there's an armoury museum here too, I even know what door it's behind, but I'm all historied out and head back the three minute walk to the main square again.


Another three minutes down another street and I'm at Stiftsgården (The Royal Residence), and as Royal Residences go, it's very non-royal.  It's made of wood, right on the street and closed to tourists at this time of year.  A few photies and I walk three minutes to the harbour on the fjord and the Ravnkloa Fish Market, with The Last Viking statue and the Ravnkloa clock.


I take a stroll along Fjordgt on the waterfront, past the Maritime Museum with the WWI & WWII remembrance statue and back up to the city centre again.  There was another church I wanted to see but the tourist info guy put me off this, he indicated Our Lady's Church (Vår Frue Kirke) was full of junkies.  I came to this church and he seemed to be right, the shambling figures hanging around the place did look a tad unsavoury, though more like middle-aged drinkers than your typical idea of drug adicts.


I had a Google bout this and found this article by Idalundemo called Ignore showing the other face of Trondheim, which seems to be all about Romanian substance abusing beggers.  She talked to these people and took photographs earlier this year, it's an interesting and accomplished piece of work.  Some of the people in the photographs I saw for myself around the Vår Frue Kirke and the main centre of the city.


Page 44 mentions the Kirke and Stiftsgården.  It's all very well having sympathy for the plight of these Romanian people, but I was intimidated by them enough to not visit the church.  Having looked at pictures online of the inside of the church I would've liked to have went inside.


From there I walked way past our hotel, much more than three minutes walk, along Kongens gate to see the Hospital Church.  I walked as far as a bronze naked lady statue sitting beside a bench.  I had to make use of this bench to sit down with cramp in my left foot.  Taking the cramp to be a sign that enough was enough I took a moment to view Munkholmen Island out in the fjord before heading back to the hotel avoiding the trams on Kongens gate.


The Husband came back from his work day and we went down to the hotel's Egon restaurant.  After an appetiser platter for two and a walk around some shops where we liked the shop called SWAG just for it's name and The Husband bought a hat, scarf and gloves I talked him into going to another Egon restaurant. A far more interesting one.

please be careful

We took a taxi to the Tyholt Tower.  This telecommunications tower is 120 meters tall, and 74 metres above the ground is the dual floored Egon Tårnet rotating restaurant.  The floor on which the diners sit, slowly turns round at one turn per hour so the city revolves around you on one side and on the other you eat as you pass by the bar and kitchen in the middle.  We easily got a window table, I totally loved it.

  Norway Day 7 Trondheim 10/11/11  

King Olav V statue StiftsgårdenThe Husband was away back to work early and I set off for my second day exploring Trondheim.


I headed back to The Royal Residence because I wanted to see the public park gardens to the rear.  I was there very early and from what I now know, fortunate to find it devoid of drug addicted Romanian beggars.


There's a statue in the park of King Olav V (02/07/03 - 17/01/91) who was King of Norway from 1957 until his death.  It's a friendly statue, looking for all the world like he really is just stepping down stairs, smiling raising his hat in greeting.


By now I've just about 'done' the Trondheim tourist scene to death.  There's only one challenge left, Kristiansten Fortress, at the top of the very steep hill on the other side of The Old Bridge.  Should I?  More importantly, could I?  Yes, I can, so I do.  Back over the river and up the hill, then up some more hill, round some twists and bends in the road, past many Norwegian houses and gardens.


I visit the fortress and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and fjord below.  On the way back down the hill it's more difficult than the way up, as the road is still in shadow and slippery frosty underfoot.  I'm sharing this stretch of road with a woman out for a stroll with her 3 week old unnamed baby in a pram.  I know he was nameless because we get chatting.  I've never known of a baby that old with no final decision on his name, but it's an important matter and shouldn't be done till both parents are totally sure.  She said they had favoured Storm, but this is such a quiet content baby it wasn't appropriate.


me on The Old BridgeShe's very friendly, when we reach The Old Bridge she offers to take photographs of me, very sweet.  On her advice I take a walk through the old working class Møllenberg area on the east side of the River Nidelva.  The Tourist Office guy had recommended this too, I don't know why to be honest, it isn't all that great.  But I walked down to the Bakke Bru bridge and crossed back over the river.  In a supermarket I bought some baby carrots and a Pepsi Max and set off to walk back through the streets to the city centre.  I came out of the supermarket and fate would have it I was in the right place at the right time, and spotted a Norwegian lady in traditional dress, looking like she dresses like this all the time and had just arrived in the city from the country, pulling a suitcase and looking like she wasn't entirely sure of the place.


lady in traditional dress

Or maybe she was blind, now I take a closer look at them shades. 


I was back in the hotel room in time for the Blasted Heath eBay auction for the signed tin I was after, as I told in the Blog I didn't win it, but gained some pleasure at bumping the winning price up to double what it had been sitting at.


That evening The Husband plus one (me) were invited to drinks and dinner with his customers at the prestigious Eld Restaurant and Bar with it's flashy open kitchen.  An expensive place apparently, though free to us on this occasion, which was very nice.


The waiter described in detail each dish, but of course I can't recall every detail.  The appetiser was a small decoratively twisted spoon of some sort of bite-sized hard cracker bread topped with prawn and a slither of salmon I'm guessing.  The starter was definitely a pumpkin soup with butter-fried scallops, pickled pumpkin, exquisite caviar, many of which I burst individually between my teeth onto my tongue and a slice of crisp bacon standing on the side, barely wet dipping just 5mm into the soup, I'm certain of that one.


we waz thereThe main was a pork dish fancied up with a triangle of layered potato and something vegetable and some reduction


of something else very tasty.  The sweet was their Cloudberry, a panna cotta and marinated berries of white chocolate mousse with crispy Karamellflarn, which I think was what looked like a piece of shattered and highly decorative Easter egg, I think.  The Husband's plate lacked the Easter egg fragment, I informed the waiter who immediately rectified the situation, delivering the missing ingredient in silver tongs.


This picture shows the three tables our party were seated at and indicates exactly where The Husband and I were.


Post meal we retired to an upper floor to relax and chat, sitting on chocolate brown leather upholstery pieces from the Conran Matador range.

  Norway Day 8 11/11/11 

view from a Dash-8

Time to go home.


We flew from Trondheim via Bergen again, looking down on glaziers in the mountains, then on to Stavanger, before, last flight of the trip, on to Aberdeen.


The flight from Stavanger to Aberdeen was interesting because it was on a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400, only two seats wide on each side of the central aisle.


This is a Widerø baby plane with them big turboprop engines with the propellers on the outside.


What fun I had, sitting just in front of the right side engine I took photographs throughout the flight.  Experimenting with the Canon G10 settings to capture the propellers at different speeds.

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mmmm  mmmm