Thursday, 10 August 2017

InterRail 2017

After three weeks of lovely vacation laziness it was finally time for some action. In the middle of July me and my beloved left for a long-awaited InterRail trip. I've done it a few times before, but this was the first time we were going together, so we weren't quite sure how this would end...

17 - 19 July: Vienna
In order to save some time we took a plane down to the journey's starting point, Vienna. At the Stephansplatz we were persuaded already on the very first day to buy tickets for a classical concert the same night. It was okay, I suppose. At least if you're really, really into Mozart and Strauss.

During the stay we also visited the baroque imperial palace SchönbrunnSt Stephan's CathedralThe Museum of Modern Art and The Belvedere Palace. At lunch on our last day in Vienna the opera singer from the concert on our first night popped up again. It turned out he also worked as a waiter.

19 - 22 July: Prague
And then we started our InterRail trip for real. We took the train across the border to the Czech Republic and Prague, where we spent the evening walking in the Old Town and watching the famous (but somewhat overrated) astronomical clock.

The next day we participated in a group tour, including a walk through the Jewish Quarters (and the synagogue where Golem apparently is sleeping his eternal sleep...), a cruise on the Moldau river under Charles' Bridge, and a visit to Prague Castle. The third day we visited The National Gallery, and in the evening we watched a tradional Czech puppet show, Don Giovanni, conducted by Mozart himself.

22  - 24  July: Salzburg and Lucerne
Then we got on the train with destination Switzerland (plus one night in Salzburg on the way). First we spent two days in Lucerne, with sights like the Kapellbrücke and The Lion Monument. An unexpected highlight was Sammlung Rosengart, a private collection of classical modernists, including two floors dedicated to Picasso and Paul Klee, respectively (the latter being one of my all time favourites).

24  - 26  July: Interlaken
From Lucerne we continued our journey through an amazing Alpine scenery to Interlaken. Our original plan was to enjoy the view from various mountain tops nearby, but the Swiss weather gods blew that. Instead we visited the idyllic village Lauterbrunnen and the magnificent Trümmelbach waterfalls. (Unfortunately, Interlaken also offered my worst restaurant experience ever. Bad food and horrible service at ridiculous prices. Avoid Bebbi's Restaurant at all costs!)

26  - 27  July: Lausanne and Montreux
Then we entered the Franco-lingual part of Switzerland, where we stayed in Lausanne and made an excursion to Montreux. Here we visited the insular castle Château de Chillon and strolled along the city's riviera.

27  - 28  July: Koblenz
We were now gradually starting to head home again. After a journey through the Rhine valley with picturesque castles on the hillside, we made a stop in Koblenz, where we visited Deutsches Eck, the "corner" where the Mosel and the Rhine rivers meet.

28 - 29 July: Hamburg
Hamburg was our next destination. Evening stroll through the harbour area HafenCity, with a (clean and decent) conclusion at the Reeperbahn. The next morning: city tour by bus.

29  - 31 July: Copenhagen 
After a rather tiresome day on the road (overbooked trains, alterations in our route, no vacant seats) we finally arrived in Copenhagen. The next morning we walked through the city centre and the harbour area, where we took a boat road along the canals. In the evening I visited Tivoli, a lovely old school amusement park.

31 July - 2 August: Gothenburg
At this point the duties called for my beloved, so in Gothenburg we temporarily went our separate ways. She continued homewards, while I stayed in town for a few more days. The stay included a bus sightseeing and a boat cruise on the canals. Plus a visit to the science centre Universeum. And in the evening, the amusement park at Liseberg. (Unfortunately, there were too many and too long lines.)
The last day I joined a cruise to the fortress Nya Älvsborgs Fästning right outside Gothenburg, before I too took the evening train back home.

We had two great and eventful InterRail weeks. But at the same time it was kind of nice to be back home, too.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Back to Bohemia?

From the Lush concert 7 May. 
Guess who's having a great time on the far right?

I consider my interest in music slightly above average. But although I meet great people both at work and at home, I can't really say they give me much of an outlet for my cultural needs.

So what to do? Well, last month I went on a one-man's trip to London, primarily because one of my favourite '90s bands had announced a reunion concert in Camden. This also gave me a long-desired opportunity to socialize with people with similar musical preferences.

(True, I soon realized my knowledge of British indie music fell short in this setting. It might be compared to a Briton ending up at a rock bar in Oslo. He'd probably know a-ha and Röyksopp - possibly even Turbonegro. But he'd probably soon have to admit that the natives knew quite a lot more about the national music scene than himself. In Camden I experienced the same thing - in reverse.)

During my night at the gig I also rediscovered some of my bohemian inclinations - which I've neglected for a long time. Maybe I should get better at keeping in touch with my musically like-minded acquaintances? Or pay visits to London a little more often? Or at least get a ticket to this summer's Øyafestival here in Oslo? (Which I already have, by the way.)

Of course, there's also a possibility that it's all part of some midlife crisis. But if that's the case, I guess this might have given considerably worse results than a boom in the number of rock gigs...


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sorry

Torgnyworld is currently on a hiatus. But its Norwegian equivalent Torgnyland is still alive and kicking. With a little help of Google Translate you might even understand some of it.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Time Passes - Christmas Remains

Christmas will always be my favourite holiday. The Christmases of my childhood must have made an indelible impression on me. Back then everything was permeated by an atmosphere of utter calm and harmony.

The preparations and expectations played an important role. I vividly remember the baking before Christmas. My brother and I helped mum and gran rolling coriander cookies. We weren't really allowed to taste the pastry, but we were still frequently standing by the tap to have a sip of water. Coriander pastry makes you thirsty.

Lots have happened since then. And I realize the Christmases of my childhood will never come back. Lately I've often decided to spend my Christmas abroad. It's nice to get away from the winter cold for a while. But at the same time it almost feels like skipping the festival. You go through Advent, and then suddenly you're on summer holiday!

Consequently, I guess I prefer celebrating Christmas in my homeland after all, with winter, cold and maybe even snow. It may sound a bit sad sitting on one's own on Christmas Eve. And - yes! I'd much rather celebrate Christmas the way I did before, with mum, dad, my brother and gran... But of obvious reasons this is no longer possible. And instead of crying over spilt milk, I guess one should rather try to make the best out of it.

And that's what I do. On Christmas Eve I prepared the traditional pork ribs, with potatoes, sauerkraut, prunes and sauce. And afterwards I relaxed in front of the television, watching various Christmassy programs, my regular cognac replaced by aquavit. It's Christmas, after all.

The days between Christmas and New Year's Eve are often a slight anticlimax. But recently my closest relative invited me home to him and his family on 26 and 27 December. Many other relatives were also coming. Family is important, and one should stay in touch while one still can. Unfortunately, I had already booked a trip to the US in this period. But there will be other Christmases. And hopefully also more opportunities for family reunions. 


I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and all the best in the New Year!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Winter Wonderland

Sundays can be sort of boring. But this time I decided to "visit myself". As some of you may know I've just bought my own flat (although I haven't moved in quite yet). Consequently, I thought it might be a god idea to get more familiar with my new local environment to be.  

According to the ad you're "only 150 metres away from the woods. Here you can enjoy leisure activities like kayaking, swimming, mountaineering, mountain biking and skiing in greatly groomed ski tracks during the winter season". This sounds great. Although I'm not generally an outdoors guy, I don't mind having forest and field nearby.

Consequently, this Sunday I took the tram to my new soon to be habitat and went into the woods. At first, I walked along "a greatly groomed ski track". But then the Capricorn within me got the better hand of me, making me set out into the woods along a narrow and hardly trodden path. The snow lay soft on the ground, and everything was quite and peaceful. After having struggled through a pretty rugged terrain, I finally found myself on top of a rock, beholding my new realm, the district of Østensjø.


It was getting dark, and I started to worry I might not find my way back. (I have many good sides, but a sense of direction is not one of these.) After having messed about in scrubs and bushes for a while, I could finally see the city lights in the distance. I got on the tram to my own district, where I made myself a cup of lovely hot chocolate. That has always been a part of wintry hikes in the woods.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

In The Night Garden

Dreams are a fascinating phenomenon. Sometimes they seem more real than reality itself. For a while I was determined to form a band playing ethereal dream pop and calling ourselves As Real As Dreams. 

Some claim that you don't dream in colours. Some claim that you can't have tactile experiences in a dream ("pinch my arm!"). Some claim that those who dream never are aware of it themselves. Well, I've just realized that neither of this is true. 

The other night I was lying sleepless in my bed, desperately trying all kinds of sleeping techniques. I've gradually discovered that a good way to enter slumberland is emptying your head of all your thoughts. It requires a bit of concentration, but it's not as hard as you might expect. Instead I try to imagine a scenery, an abstract figure or something like that, and then focus completely on this image. (I guess it's some kind of "zen"...) With a bit of luck (and concentration) I then sink deeper and deeper into this image until I'm sound asleep.

This time, however, my technique failed. I tossed and turned for hours with no result. But suddenly I found myself in a luxuriant garden. I knew that I'd been lying in bed only a few minutes earlier, and realized right away that this had to be a dream. But this only made me even more attentive of my surroundings. The colours were strong and sharp - paradoxically even more "realistic" than what you experience when you're awake. I was surrounded by green trees and shrubberies, walking (barefoot, I think) through soft, dewy grass while tiny insects were whirring around my face.    

As I said, I was fully aware of the fact that I was dreaming. Lately I've had some dreams in which I've sort of floated along some feet above the ground. Quite pleasant, actually. Since this obviously was a dream, I decided to find out whether I was able to accomplish a similar glide here as well. No sooner said than done. With my strength of will I started levitating from the ground and gliding like a ghost through the garden. But then I must have got a bit overconfident. After a few seconds I lost control and crashed into a tree!    

My sleep probably wasn't very deep, because now I started to reascend to the waking state. Right afterwards I opened my eyes and once again found myself in my bed. Damn! But I had at least made a few empirical observations of existence in dreamland, and can hereby deliver a report to you, the residents of the world of the awake.          

Thursday, 11 November 2010

R.I.P. Mac


Last weekend my Mac collapsed. First it caughed a little, then it hawked a little, and finally it died completely. It was heartbreaking.

The last few days it's been examined. And now they've made a diagnosis. It needs to be fixed. And it turns out the costs will be higher than buying a new Mac! And then what's the point? Grrr, a phrase rhyming with "clucking bell" comes to mind...  

Well, now that my Mac is dead at least I can spend the evenings in the company of a digital, text-based medium from the good, old days before the internet: Teletext. There's nothing like 7-bit graphics in eight glorious colours.