Wednesday, January 30, 2008

B is for Beautiful Bryggen in Bergen

The picture shows "Bryggen" (the Wharf) in Bergen on a day in November last year. Since I was born and raised in the city of Bergen, this seemed like an obvious B to me. "Bryggen" is one of the oldest remaining parts of the city still standing - at least that which is made out of wood. The city itself was officially founded in 1070 by King Olav Kyrre ("The quiet"), but Bryggen is the remains of what was once "An office" of "The Hansa", the German Union of Cities that ruled much of the trade in Northern Europe for more than 400 years.

It has suffered many fires, the last one in 1955. Before that it looked like this:

The picture is taken shortly after World War 1 and is courtesy of the University Library, Bergen.

At that fire, six of the front houses went up in smoke. They have been rebuilt. The other eleven front houses are from 1702. Altogether there are 61 buildings. They are continuously being restored and the whole of the area was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1972.

If you are interested, you can find some more of my pictures of Bryggen here. Just double-click on the icons.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A nostalgic moment

I have invested in a new scanner; one that is also capable of scanning negatives and slides at an acceptable quality. I did a test run, and that of course led to a trip "down memory lane". This picture shows part of the old harbour in Bergen, including one of the former ships in "Hurtigruten" (The Norwegian Coastal Voyage).

Today the cranes are a thing of the past, the ships are renewed and moved to another location, and most of the area are enclosed in an ugly fence due to the so-called "Schengen-rules".

But I can see that my way of taking pictures hasn't changed much in 30 years...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One mitten found

The other day I had a walk in a local forest. Evidently at least two people had been there before me: one who had lost a mitten, and one who had found it.

BTW - the pattern is an original Norwegian one called "Selbuvott".

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Scandinavian on the way down in Sky Watch Friday

A SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) MD80 prepares for landing at Bergen Airport Flesland , Norway.

Want more Sky Watch Friday Pictures? Have a look at my other Blog

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A ≈ Å = Aa

This may seem like a "fast one" for native English speaking participants in ABC Wednesday. It isn't. I have chosen this letter Å = Aa to stand for the fact that many Roman alphabets consist of more than 26 letters. In our case it is 29. The others are Æ=Ae and Ø=Oe. However - Å=Aa will do for now: Wikipedia explains it like this:

The letter Å represents various ò sounds in the Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, North Frisian, Walloon, Chamorro, and Istro-Romanian language alphabets. Other alphabets using the letter include the Lule Sami, Skolt Sami, and Southern Sami alphabet.

Å is often perceived as an A with a ring, interpreting the ring as a diacritical mark. However, in the languages that use it, the ring is not considered a diacritic but part of the letter. It developed as a form of semi-ligature of an A with another smaller a above it to denote a long a, similar to how the umlaut mark ¨ is developed from a small e written above the letter in question.

In an attempt to modernize the orthography, linguists tried to introduce the Å to Danish and Norwegian writing in the 19th century. Most people felt no need for the new letter, although the letter group Aa had already been pronounced like Å for centuries all over Scandinavia. Aa was usually treated as a single letter, spoken like the present Å when spelling out names or words. Orthography reforms making Å official were carried out in Norway in 1917 and in Denmark in 1948. It has been argued that the Å only made its way to official Danish spelling due to anti-German and pro-Scandinavian sentiment after World War II. Danish had been the only language apart from German to use capitalized nouns, but abolished them at the same occasion. In a few names of cities or towns, the old spelling has been retained, e.g. Aalborg.
In our language (Norwegian) it has many uses, among them as infinitive marker corresponding to the English to. It is also, as in this case, a name (often meaning "little river"). The road sign shown here is from Å in the municipality of Moskenes in Lofoten in the county of Nordland in Norway. There are however, several places in Scandinavia bearing this name.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Closer to spring?

I went for a walk in a local forest. The temperature wasn't much above zero degrees C., but there was something in the air...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More frosty boats

I continue my series of pictures of small pleasure crafts in the winter. These are tied up in the marina, but there is a thin layer of ice on the fjord. I suppose that isn't doing the hull much good.

BTW - the white building in the background - called Alvøen Papirfabrik (Alvøen Paper Mills) made the paper for all Norwegian paper currency until fairly recently.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Old vessel in the winter

The other day had I a post about winter in "boat-land". However, there are many kinds of vessel. There is a tradition for taking old fishing boats, or boats used for local transport and re-build them for pleasure use. Here is one which obviously needs another rebuilding.

If you wonder why this vessel has two masts, it is because there are two vessels - see below...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Anchors away in Sky Watch Friday

Anchors away - into the glorious morning!

PS As always, another fantastic Sky Watch Friday picture at my other blog

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The small things in life

We are in the middle of a busy period at work - It may even interfere with my blogging for a period! We have also been having a period of heavy rain and some of you may remember a picture taken out of my office window some days ago showing nothing but various shades of grey.

Today started the same way. In black and white. A colleague and I sighed as we put our noses to the grindstone. This we did to such a degree that we hardly noticed anything else until about lunchtime, when suddenly looking up and out found - a blue sky and sunshine!

It didn't last for long, but it felt good while it did. Something lifted off our shoulders.

Conclusion: Enjoy the small things in life while you can - they make the difference between a good and a bad day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Z is nothing (oh, I mean ZERO!)

Z for Zero is nothing, zilch, null, nix.... It must be easy to illustrate :

But if you want to drive it home - like this:

But isn't it more to zero than nothing? Of course there is - according to mathematicians one might almost say that it is everything! At, least the most important number of them all, and the most difficult of them all to grapple with. Try this: 1/0= ? - right; it is impossible! So it is not allowed in mathematics. Strange. Want to know more? Read the book below - it is written for people like you and me - and it is very well written - Highly recommended!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter in "boat-land"

Norway is a country of boat-lovers, but for most people boating is not very popular when the temperature creeps below 0 degrees C. I can understand why when I look at these two. NB! This is not snow - just frost.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hole in the wall

These days Hole in the wall usually means a cash point, dispenser, ATM, or whatever one calls the little boxes that gives you money if you have the right sort of card. We call them minibanks, but each to his own.

This one didn't give me much, though.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A triangular world?

Not everything in this world is square.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sky Watch Friday among the clouds

I sometimes have to visit Oslo, the capital of Norway. The distance between the cities is about 500 km if you drive yourself or take the train. That translates into most of the day; the nature of Norway being what it is. That of course leads to more use of air planes than might be quite healthy for the planet - on the other hand it gives one an opportunity for taking pictures from angles that are not quite common.

This was snapped about 6000 m above Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau filling a large part of Southern Norway. I also enjoyed seeing the clouds we usually see from below in Sky Watch Friday - from above. And even a bit of the sky.

More pictures from between the clouds in my Norwegian Blog.

I have got an award!

I have an office with a view - a corner office. It can become a bit hot when the sun is out, but of course this seldom happens. At least not today:

A bit of grey, a bit of wind, a bit of rain and an tiny, tiny bit of light.

But even a grey day at the office can become full of colour: A message on my PC told me that i had received the following from Marie:

"You made my day award"

And she really did. She is one of my "Blogger friends" who keeps an open house and one feels welcome whenever one drops by. She lives in rural Rogaland in Norway and shares the beauty of the area with us with her excellent photos.

Wards are to be shared. Since I have one Norwegian and one English Blog, I have shared the sharing, so to speak. The Norwegian part can be found here. So the international part:

My English Blog is a photoblog and for me my serious international blogging started with Sky Watch Friday - So the first award of course goes to Dot. Aided by her Mr. Linky, she keeps it all under control and it is always fun to see what her lens has found today.

My other main activity is in ABC Wednesday. It has given me more fun the latest couple of months than most other things put together. So an award goes to mrsnesbit. How she can manage all the things she is up to, and blogging too, is beyond me.

DavidMcMahon in Australia is always a pleasure to visit. In addition to writing an entertaining blog, he is also a first class photographer. When he chose my blog the other day as one of the blogs of the day it really made my day. An Award to him.

One of the photoblogs I enjoy most is Oswegan. I cannot visit his blog without learning something new. I look forward to see what he comes up with when his new lens arrives!

I have a weekness for British Columbia. Michele (Rocky Mtn. Girl) shows in her pictures a nature that could have been here. And with a sense of humour.

Drop by and say hello from me! You won't regret it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Y is for Yoplait Yoghurt

After X I felt sure that Y would be an easy task. No such thing. After having taken twenty unsatisfactory pictures of my wife's yellow yarn, I crawled the hard disk for suitable yellow yachts. Nothing doing. Then I tried the refrigerator for some supporting refreshment - and there it stared at me: YOPLAIT YOGHURT!! And that even with Yellow Mango!

First the whole package:

Then the Mango:

And then: Yum!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A ferry in a ferry

The other day I came across the old ferry M/F Bjorøy, moored at her old quay at Alvøen, in the outskirts of Bergen. She used to connect the small island of Bjorøy with Alvøen, but this connection has been replaced by a sub-sea tunnel long ago. As I was standing there, a much more modern ferry passed, M/F Prinsesse Ragnhild, bound for Denmark.

Some difference

Monday, January 07, 2008

Goose in the winter?

Around here we are accustomed to the sight of geese leaving us in August. Some single specimens might of course stay the winter, but I was a bit surprised when i caught this one the other day. It is not easy to see in this picture (I was a bit far off), but it is right in the middle.

I have enlarged the middle section so that is a bit easier to see. If you click on the picture it can be enlarged further.

Of course - it might be something entirely different.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pefect symmetry? No!

I might be called a symmetry-freak. Very often I try to build by pictures around some kind of symmetry. But must it be perfect? No! If it is perfect, there is a danger of it becoming dull. A repetitive pattern that might be nice in itself, but for me - the "story" in the picture is gone. Here is an attempt. I also felt that this "was" a B & W.

This "tunnel" is located below a balustrade at the southern end of the Museum of Natural History , University of Bergen.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A librarian's Sky Watch Friday

A somewhat cryptic title, perhaps, but the reflections shown in today's Sky Watch Friday are from the Arts and Humanities Library at the University of Bergen. If somebody recognizes the church shown in the windows of the first picture, it is the same church that I have shown before. That reflection was taken via a window in the yellow building on the right (not at the same time).

No, I'm not a librarian!

As always, a totally different set of Sky Watch Friday pictures can be found here.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A wee drop

I found this icicle while I was out walking. I find it very difficult to take pictures of falling drops, but I always try.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

X is for Xbox

If you should be in any doubt as to what an Xbox is, look no further than here. According to the authorities (my son), it is Microsoft's gift to homo ludens.

Anyone with teenagers around the house will have no problem in recognizing the importance of this interpretation of the word X. There are many game consoles around, but according to the same authorities, this one (Xbox 360) is the one to beat.

I myself cannot say - I never made it past Mine sweeper.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The day after the day before

Updated version:

It is obviously fun having a party, with fireworks and all, all over the place. It is less fun for those who have to clean up afterwards all the pieces that people have left. Let us hope that the pow(d)er is gone...