Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “norway”

Paintings of Bergen in Norway


More paintings by the British artist Vincent Van B. Bergen sits on the Norwegian coast and I struggled to be captivated by it, in contrast to cities like Stavanger that have something special. Here are a few paintings designed to try and bring Bergen to life and light.

Few interesting turrets floating around. 000000450000005000000065

Graphic Designers Who Are In The Wrong job


IMG_0729IMG_0757Whoever designed these toilet signs maybe needs to take a long hard look at their chosen career. These signs were found in Bergen Norway.

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Sjohuset Skagen- Stavanger Restaurant


A harbourside restuarant in Stavanger. A recent blog discussed all the wonderful aspects of Stavanger.

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This may be one of the best restuarants in Stavanger and well worth a visit.

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Chocoloate Truffle Cake and Pear sorbet

Chocoloate Truffle Cake and Pear sorbet

Sausages and Mash

Sausages and Mash

Stavanger- A surprisingly Wonderful Place in Norway


Stavanger is a place in Norway. I say this because the reactions when I announced my trip were “where is that place”. Taking a quick look at what I was told I might find there seemed to educate me to expect a place with eternal 24 hour rain each day, where the highlight of the town was the National Petroleum Museum and a place that was centric to oil production. This opinion was further influenced when on the outbound British Airways flight from London, being generous the plane was perhaps 20% populated, a small Airbus 319, suggesting that an 8.30 am flight to Stavanger was not a mecca for travellers, and in the only row on the whole plane with three customers, they all sat talking, loudly, about the exciting topic of winches and other seemingly oil rig decorations through the flight.

Landing at Stavanger airport is also not designed to induce idyllic thoughts. The airport is small, clean and functional, but passengers are greeted with a huge mural photograph seemingly showing a man about to jump off a very high cliff, and this is closely followed by a large SAS advert (the airline, not the military organisation) inviting people to “get lost”. My own personal experience was then not further improved by a 45 minute wait for a taxi driver to appear.

Leaving the airport one might think that the whole of the Stavanger road transportation system was being replaced. Wherever one looked there was digging and building, though with little sign of the workers. Aliens arriving in Stavanger would certainly have rapidly reversed their spaceships and headed off to more succulent climes such as Birmingham or Croydon, or even Clacton-on-Sea.

So a fair summary as I approached Stavanger city centre, was that I had low expectations that had actually been exceeded by this seeming awfulness. How wrong could I be? It took around an hour to fall in love with Stavanger. The Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel sits on a central small lake and from the 11th floor the views are impressive, of the lake, of the city buildings and the distant mountains. Walking around the lake is a nice start taking maybe 20-30 minutes and counting around 1500 steps on my Fitbit. There were nesting birds, and in fact a huge egg in a nest, which I presume belonged to the scary swan nearby, were really cute sights. Plenty of various seabirds in attendance including the greedy seagulls who seemed to own the benches for themselves and certainly used them as their own personal toilets. The only surprising thing was maybe the number of beggars sitting on their blankets around the lake, and even more so the fact that the lady here had expensive looking streaks of colour in her hair.

The walk down into the town, described as the “old town”, although not looking that old to me, was a nice walk, where cars were either prohibited or certainly discouraged. The walk takes one along the harbour or we should call it port, as a huge cruise liner from Holland America called                       “ Rotterdam” ( could their name have been a little more inspiring?) sat right next to the quayside to the extent that passengers could have hopped off any lower tier balconies. In 2011 Stavanger hosted 130 cruise ships.  The quayside is lined by bars and restaurants all with nice looking menus that ranged from Reindeer to Burgers with a lot in-between. A few museums poked their heads out as did any number of coffee and snack shops no doubt designed to deal with the cruise liner passenger’s appetite. The whole atmosphere was relaxed and happy. Bars promised live music in the evening and the beer was flowing it seemed all day.

There was not 24 hour daylight as was suggested but maybe 20 hours certainly. The photographs show how the lake looked in the afternoon and also at 4.30 am.

A few facts about Stavanger. it is the fourth largest city in Norway with a population of around 150,000. Unemployment rates are low and lower than many other european countries at around only 2%.

So will I return to Stavanger? Certainly. A great option for a weekend break.

Welcome to Stavanger. Jump off a cliff?

Welcome to Stavanger. Jump off a cliff?

Clouds approaching Stavanger Airport

Clouds approaching Stavanger Airport

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Swan egg by the lake

Swan egg by the lake

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Lake Stavanger

Sausages and Mash

Sausages and Mash

Chocoloate Truffle Cake and Pear sorbet

Chocoloate Truffle Cake and Pear sorbet

Chocoloate Truffle Cake and Pear sorbet

Chocoloate Truffle Cake and Pear sorbet

Stavanger Graffitti

Stavanger Graffitti

Lake 9 pm

Lake 9 pm

Lake 9 am

Lake 9 am

Lake at 9 pm

Lake at 9 pm

Harbour at 11 am

Harbour at 11 am

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Harbour at 11 pm

Harbour at 11 pm

View of lake at 4.30 am

View of lake at 4.30 am

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Curious fish dish for breakfast. not my breakfast though

Curious fish dish for breakfast. not my breakfast though

Beggars in Stavanger

Beggars in Stavanger

Morning walk by lake

Morning walk by lake

Stavanger Railway Station. The end of the line it seems

Stavanger Railway Station. The end of the line it seems

Hotel Radisson Blu Atlantic

Hotel Radisson Blu Atlantic

Many taxis like a start of the Grand Prix

Many taxis like a start of the Grand Prix

On way from Airport. The view

On way from Airport. The view

The Cakes of Scandinavia


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Coconut Tart

Coconut Tart

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Ice and Snow. What can we learn from Scandinavia? Oslo airport. Gardermoen.


At around the same time Manchester airport was being closed due to snow and bad weather, the weather was not so different in Oslo and flights were leaving on time. Not so many are aware that Norway is the northernmost, westernmost and easternmost all all the three Scandinavian countries and has a population of only 5 million, mostly Norwegian people. And it also is a country without an official religon having separated from the church in 2012.    And humble Oslo is only the 17th busiest airport in Europe with 24.2 million passengers in 2014. About half the airport operator’s income is from retail revenue. There are twenty places to eat or drink, in addition to stores and other services including banks and post. In all, 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft) are used for restaurants, stores and non-aviation services. And yesterday it felt like an expedition to get through the duty free zone to anywhere near a departure gate. But as Oslo airport is connected to 162 other airports, maybe I can excuse the retail element. This of course has nothing to do with why the airport functions when all others close down.

The reality is pride and equipment and foresight.In Nordic Countries, Skill at Keeping Airports Open Through Blizzards Is a Point of Pride. Winter can last 6 months and airplane de-icing starts in august.Across the chilly water, on the bleak Svalbard archipelago in the Norwegian arctic, winter temperatures can drop to -55C. In winter, airport employees work round-the-clock shifts,  at the first sight of snow.

Another Nordic secret: pushing producers for absurdly powerful equipment. Oslo Airport runs two of the world’s largest self-propelled snowblowers, built by Norwegian airport-equipment maker Øveraasen AS. Only two other of the TV2000 units operate at airports; they, too, are in Norway.The 2,000-horsepower machines can shoot 10,000 tons of snow an hour more than 150 feet from the tarmac.

So we can say that foresight, effort and equipment play major roles in explaining why Scandinavian airports stay open , but also airport capacity . Heathrow for example, one of the worlds worst airports in my opinion, operates to 98% capacity and thus even small disruptions can be chaotic. Stockholm Arlanda has over 40 people dedicated to snow clearing during the winter.The airport has 18 PSB (ploughing, sweeping, blowing) machines. These are followed by snow throwers which move the line of snow left by the PSBs. Behind these come friction measuring vehicles that test the likelihood of skidding on the runway.photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

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Casting Spells in Finland


After a mere 24 hours in Finland I can only say that this is quite a magical place. The people are kind, intelligent and interesting, also interested in other people. The food is great. The hotels are interesting. The temperature is cold, minus 8 this morning.  What however struck me the most is that for children to learn spelling is not so easy. I had to sit through 2 hours of lectures in Finnish, which I did with good grace ( and my blackberry). One noticed that they used a lot of long words, and I counted  21 letters in one word. At dinner I was informed that the words could get and did get longer. Here is an example:

levyseppahitsaasaopiskelna = 26 letters

 

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Reflections on Norway and Lovely Free Wifi


Norway has to be one of the most civilised countries. Having been here only two days I have yet to find anyone who is anything less than polite and helpful. Anyone who serves you with food and drink has all the attitude you need and none of that surly dont care stuff either. The food is fresh and simple. Lots of nice bread, fruit and fish. Flying on Norwegian Airlines ( in Row 30 I should add economy cheap class), there was free wifi on the plane above 10,000 feet. Taxi drivers smile and are helpful. People are intelligent and interesting. Admittedly this place is not so cheap.  Something like 8£ for a hot dog at the airport, but it did come with mashed potato, relish and a decent bread roll.  In short I like this place.

Wifi if it is free at 10,000 feet and free in the airport and free in all hotels. Why Marriott hotels and others is it not free in UK? Explain to me also why all airlines cannot offer free in-flight wifi?

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