Sunday, December 31, 2006

A rose in December


The world seems to be off its hinges in so many ways. One of them is fresh roses in a garden on New Year's Eve in Norway.

Let us hope it's only nature's way of wishing us a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Sotra bridge in December


If you have a look around this Blog you will find that I have taken quite a lot of pictures of this bridge. It is not far from where I live so it may me natural that it crops up now and again. In this case it shows the bridge on a sunny afternoon in December between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

And part of the traffic that is the reason why they are planning a new one.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A wee drop for the year that soon has passed


In our part of Norway, 2006 will be known for a its fine spring, summer and autumn - that is until the middle of October. After that it will be known for its rain. I will let this picture stand as both a symbol of the weather in 2006 and a hope that the sunshine we see far off will prevail in 2007.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!


Since this a is blog that I try to write to write in English, it may look a little strange that I post a picture with Norwegian text. But have no fear: it is only the old familiar wish which I want to send to you:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas stars in Bergen, Norway


Christmas and stars go together. Any shopping street worth its name is filled with stars a month (or two) before Christmas. So also in Bergen. I found these in our main shopping street, Strandgaten.

If we can't go to the stars - let the stars come to us.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Morning glory?


As passing guests to my pages may have noticed, I do a bit of walking for my exercise. I usually carry a camera of some sort with me, and you would be surprised how often one finds a motive worth snapping. That the results not always is worthy of the motive can only be blamed on me and my cameras.

Today the sky cleared long enough for a passing jet to reflect the sun - a contrast worth recording.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Soon to be Christmas


Christmas is getting close. Everyone around is spending money as fast (or faster) than they are coming in on gifts for people who most likely have more than they need already. But not everyone can do that, and not everyone may have someone that can give them the parcels they should have had. In Bergen (as in no doubt many other places) there is a tradition that the Salvation Army has a Christmas tree where you can place Christmas-gifts for those who for various reasons will not receive one. What is under the tree shown here is what has been placed there morning and noon. It will be "filled" by evening.

Friday, December 15, 2006

After the rain


Getting quite a bit of rain also has its advantages - it sometimes stops and you can enjoy the beauty in the little details. Such as a pole reflecting in a pool.

BTW, we don't need to make our own pools - nature makes them for us.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cloudy Norway


As you may have noticed in my postings, rain, wind, clouds and fog have been part and parcel of the weather in Norway lately. Nor a snowflake in sight. Not that I miss snow particularly much, but I an not very fond of the changes in the climate thar man has brought upon himself. But enough about that now.

Today I got an indication that there really is a sun behind the clouds somewhere and that the rumours that says that the sky is in reality blue - not grey - is right,

Monday, December 11, 2006

M/F "Bergensfjord"


We are about to get a new kind of ferry in Norway - a ferry were the fuel for engines is based on gas. Five new ones are on the way, and this is the first: M/F "Bergensfjord". It is 129 meter long and 19 meter broad. The carrying capacity is 212 cars and 587 passengers. It is owned by a company called Fjord1. The ferry shall go between Halhjem outside Bergen and Sandvikvåg on the island of Stord. It will reduce the time taken from 55 to 40 minutes.

By the way - the name "Bergensfjord" was initially carried by an America liner owned by NAL - quite a different kind of ship...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A rose is still a rose


During the last couple of months we have been drowning in this part of the world. It has been difficult to get proper pictures of proper flowers. But, luckily, a young man with very close ties to me bought a single, large rose to give to someone whom he thought deserved one. I was allowed to take a picture of it.

I'll share it with you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

M861Urk again


Friday the Dutch naval ship M861 Urk lay peacefully sheltered in the harbour of Bergen. Not so yesterday. With a firm gale blowing and the rain coming down like it was no tomorrow (or rather today), it left Bergen by the way of Hjeltefjorden. This leads straight out into the North sea, but I suppose the Dutch sailors are more used to the North Sea than most people.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Princess of Norway


If you think that you have seen this ship before, you are quite right. It was formerly known as "Fjord Norway", but after much hullabaloo, the ferry line from Bergen to Newcastle was taken over by DFDS Seaways and the ship renamed "Princess of Norway".

Maybe that is why the weather is so much worse today?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Norønna


Bergen is connected to several other countries by various car-ferries. One of them is Smyril-Line from the Faroe Island. Their ship Norønna connects Bergen with no less than four other places: Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Shetland and Denmark. It crosses the North sea steadfastly, in all kinds of weather, and I can assure you that the North sea has all kinds of weather. Here the ship filling up with oil in the harbour in Bergen.


I see the ship passing often, but I have never taken her to the Faroes. However, I once spent a week there, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it as one of the most spectecular places you can visit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

M861 Urk


We have shown pictures of naval vessels from the Netherlands in Norwegian fjords before. However, this one, M861 Urk, was visiting Bergen itself. It is named after a town in its home land, so it is only fitting that it visits a town here. However, we could have offered our guests a somewhat nicer weather.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1st, 2006


Is is getting on for Christmas - or is it? The grass is as green as ever, the thermometer shows 10 - 11 degrees C., it is raining cats and dogs and we have gale force winds. The traditional Christmas tree has been erected in the middle of Lille lungegårdsvann where a fountain usually resides. The lights will go on this Sunday, but that is about all. The shops are doing there best to give an illusion of a White Christmas, but nobody is fooled.

Maybe we for once can avoid buying expensive presents we cannot afford to give to people we don't like and who will change them anyway?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The good old days


Everything was better before. We had time, we didn't hurry - or so it is said. I found this beauty at the National Railway museum in York, UK, a couple of weeks ago. It looks far to dignified to hurry more than it felt like.

I felt like I wanted to travel aboard it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Marjatta"


The picture is dark, but that may only be fitting. The ship in front is the "Marjatta" - Norway's most secret ship. It is formally owned av Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt (FFI - Norwegian Defence Research Establishment) as a research vessel. Just what it is really doing nobody knows, at least not I, but that electronics is involved seems obvious after a short look at the picture. In addition, its continuous presence just outside the Russian bases in the north has never been popular in Moscow.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

M/S Lyngen


Hurtigruten / The Norwegian Coastal Voyage is justly famous for its traffic along the Norwegian coast from Bergen in the south/west to Kirkenes in the north/east, close to the Russian border. There are eleven of these ships, sailing all year round in all kinds of weather.

The very often pass below my windows on their way into or out of Bergen, and I have tried to "collect" as many of them as possible. Today I managed to catch one of the last ones, M/S Lyngen. You will find pictures of the others I have caught on this page.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Recycled ferry


The season for the large and magnificent cruise-ships is over in this part of the world for now. But we still have other ships going by. And of various kinds too. Today's representative is a recycled ferry. After many years of steady and loyal work crossing Norwegian fjords, this ferry has been recycled as a supply ship for local works of all different sorts. And a good thing too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Alvøen manor (Alvøen hovedgård)



Alvøen is an example of early Norwegian industrialization. Just outside Bergen a small community was transformed in a patrician manner typical of the period. The main facility was the Paper Mill (Alvøen papirfabrikk), established in 1797, which until quite recently made the paper for the Norwegian paper currency. The pictures show the main manor, which became a museum open to the public in 1983.

The avenue posted a couple of days ago is just in front of this manor.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

An avenue in autumn


I have always felt that nowhere can autumn be felt more clearly than in an old-fashioned alley. The trees are almost naked, the ground is covered with leaves of all possible colours, it is blowing and , of course, it is raining. The melancholy of yet another passing year is in the air.

But, wait, hope is here at the same time. Where there is death there is also life. In just some months this will again be sunny and green...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Detour


From time to time one has to make a detour in life. The road ahead is blocked and one has to change direction. It is not always easy to choose which way to take - the alternatives are often not clearly signposted.


However - in this case it was.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ruins of a war


Sometimes when one is out walking one might stumble across a bit of history. In this case I did. During World War II Norway was occupied by German forces from 1940 until 1945. And like all occupying forces they did their best to protect themselves against both the inhabitants of the country and anyone who might attempt to help the occupied ones. In the area shown here they had both anti-aircraft artillery, ammunition depots and camps for Russian and Polish prisoners of war used for building army roads. And of course houses for their own troops. Here we can see the ruin of one such site. Exactly what is shown here I do not know, but most of it was removed after the war.

And the nature does its best to cover up the rest.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yet to come?


Some days ago we were flown to England by a company called Jet2.com. A very catchy name. It was what is called low-price company, so we should not expect too much in the way of service. But who cares? Nowadays there is not a whole lot of difference between the whole lot of them. But in this case there was a slight difference. We were promised a selection of freshly made sandwiches at reasonable prices - only, they ran out halfway down the half empty plane. Where we sat. So I took a picture of my in-flight lunch. The beer was excellent (but that was Belgian).

I have since discovered that maybe I had misread the company's name and perhaps I am still waiting for my sandwich?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A distant relation?


I had the opportunity to visit York in in England just know. A thousand years ago the city was known as Jorvik and was as much part of the old Norse history as of the British one. Extensive excavations have been done and much of the findings are displayed in the magnificent Jorvik Viking Centre. Among the findings were this old skeleton. Maybe one my relatives of old?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Scallop


After yesterdays bleak, grey picture I think we need a spot of colour. The autumn is often associated with bright colours, but they need not all come from leaves. In this case it is from a scallop shell found on quay nearby. Personally I think it can compete with any leave any day.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rainy Norway


When I named this Blog Visual Norway I hoped that it would be possible to live up to the name and show you pictures both bright and clear. Not so today. Taking my morning stroll in the wind, rain and fog I had to contemplate a future change of name for the Blog to Rainy Norway.

If you should wonder what the place looks lie in more "normal" weather, have a look here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The first ice of the season


Today is the first day of November. The authumn in this part of the world has been short and sweet. But today there was a change in the air - no rain, a cold nip in the air despite a glorious sun - and ice on the puddles.

Winter is closing in.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Strelitzia reginae


In Norway this plant is called papegøyeblomst ("Parrot Flower"), while in English it may be known as Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise. It hails from South Africa but is now grown all over the world. It has for instance been chosen as the Official Flower of the City of Los Angeles in USA.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Moved to Blogger in Beta

I have taken the step - moved to Blogger in Beta. The reason? Saturdays post crashed repeatedly during uploading with lots of errors while Blogger showed that it had been posted twice! (And not for the first time either). But no post showed on Visual Norway. Blogger in Beta promised that this does not happen here - so I moved. And the first thing I noticed were "both" yesterdays posts! The extra one was quickly removed. Otherwise it looks OK so far. Maybe I'll move my other Blog too.

I would appreciate it very much if anyone who notices unwanted changes reports them in the comments field. Thank you.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rocknes buoy


In the evening of January 19, 2004 the special vessel M/S Rocknes hit an unmarked, submerged bank in Vatlestraumen, close by my home. The ship went down with 18 of the crew still onboard. I'll never forget that night. Afterwards the authorities, somewhat belately, marked the bank with a buoy. This is it.

Some day later the ship the ship whas moved upside-down to another site where it was turned around. You can find some pictures of this transport here (the text is in Norwegian).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Alcudia beach in October


When the rain is falling and the wind is howling it is nice to remember that just three weeks ago this was our life - relaxing by (or in) the Miditerranean sea. This is Alcudia beach, one of the longest and best beaches in all of Spain.

We have been there before and we will come again!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Authumn leaves


Authumn leaves - can one see the leaves, feel the rain and the wind without hearing Duke Ellingtons famous song (link to Amazon sample)? After a beautiful summer the authumn has finally hit us and I suspect that winter is not far away. But why worry about that? Because after winter follows spring...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Trinity College, Dublin


A short tme ago I was at a conference at Trinity College in Dublin. It is a nice and quiet campus right in the middle of the city. Since the weather was fine and I had some time to spare I took three pitures of the library building which I have made into a panorama picture.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Skansen brannstasjon (Skansen firestation)




Skansen brannstasjon (Skansen firestation) is located over and behind the lower station of Fløibanen (shown in the previous post). It thus commands a view of a large part of the old city center - a center that has been destroyed by fire many times. As can be seen from the information sign it was built in 1903 and closed in 1965. From Skansen you see towards Torget ("The Market"), Torvalmenningen with Johanneskirken ("The Chusch of St. John") in the background.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fløibanen


One of the seven mountains of Bergen is Fløyen, and one way to get there (if you don't feel like walking - the preferred way of getting there) is by taking Fløibanen. This is one of the foremost tourist attractions in Bergen - not to say Norway. Fløibanen is a funicular which goes from the town center, close to the harbour ("Vågen"), and almost to the top of the mountain. The picture shows the lower station. There are two cars, one blue and one red, and the view from the top makes the trip well worth taking.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More colourful fruits and berries



The other day I found some red berries which are very common in gardens around here (they are not rowanberries!) because the leaves (not shown here) are totally different. I also found a small, yellow fruit that I have not seen before. It was about the size of small tomato and had the colour of a yellow paprika. And it is not an apple or a plum.

Once again I must admit that although I like to take pictures of all kinds of plants, flowers and fruits - I am no gardener.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

M343


It has been some little time since I have seen any "new" Norwegian naval vessels. Today I caught this one, KNM "Hinnøy" - M343. It is a so-called minehunter and according to this site it is from 1994.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hip - another red fruit


For some reason the combination of red fruits and green leaves seems to be a common one. And a pleasing one - at least to me. I found these three while out walking this morning. Another sign that it is now October in Norway.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Not Norway


This picture is definitely not from Norway, not even from Bergen. It was taken yesterday evening at a resturant on the the beach of Alcudia, Mallorca. We spent a week there as a conclusion to the summer of 2006 - and summer we had.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Pictures from Bergen




Looking through my Blog I find that I haven't presented any pictures from Bergen itself for quite a while, so I 'll put that right at once by showing you these typical "tourist-pictures". The first picture shows the two carriages of the "world famous" Fløybanen meeting half-way to the top of Mount Fløyen - one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen. The second shows the view from the top towards the old harbour called "Vågen", while the third shows the view towards the city center with the small lake called "Lille Lungegårdsvann ("smålungeren" in the local dialect") with a fountain in the middle.

Needless to say I walked both up and down.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A bug


I met this little guy when I was out walking the other day. I don't know if he belongs to the species known as Computer Bug (in that case he would have be one of the larger ones), but he seemed to enjoy the stroll and the weather. Maybe he had just come down from one of the nearby Apple-trees?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Another boathouse


I took more pictures of the area around Hindensfjorden on last Saturday evening. This is a boathouse with reflexes in the calm water at the end of the fjord. BTW; it is taken very close to a couple of other boathouse I have shown you before.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Storset


The farms in Norway have traditionally been small, and especially so along the coast. Many of them are placed in positions where foreigners question the ability of getting a decent outcome. But they survived and they built the country. Today many of these farms are used as summerhouses for the generations following the initial farmers and many of the houses are still kept in full working order.

The two farms shown here in the evening sun are at Storset, not far from Bjørsvik and Ostereidet in the municipallity of Lindås north of Bergen. They are so placed that they without much difficulty can overlook both Osterfjorden and Hindenesfjorden. And some of my more distant family are related to one of them.