Sailing? or should that be Motoring?

I hope you’ve been enjoying my Statsraad Lehmkuhl trip so far; I’ve enjoyed reliving the moments! Today I’d like to share the experience of sailing … but since we were on the inner fjords in the Bergen area and no sails could be raised, that should probably read “motoring”!

Are you familiar with Godfrey Marks’ children’s song of 1880 about sailing on the ocean?

Sailing, sailing over the bounding main
Where many a stormy wind shall blow
‘Ere Jack comes home again.

It ran through my head a couple times as we were enjoying our trip. But it’s not an exact description of our experience. The sails weren’t up, the wind wasn’t stormy, and we weren’t out on the bounding main/open seas. So, should it be this refrain instead?

Smoothly motoring over the inland fjord
Where many a wind-swept raindrop fell
and hit-my-Uggs on-the deck-boards.

(Now that you see my true poetic talents, I hope you won’t unfollow me. ;) )

There have been a couple comments on my previous posts that it looked cold and choppy. Yes, the wind sounds loud in my videos; depending on the side of the ship I was on, especially when facing the Norwegian Sea, it was windy and the waters show that disturbance. But on a ship the size of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, it was such a smooth trip! We were very comfortable. We know this part of the world; we dressed in layers (and brought hats, gloves, and scarves in a backpack, but didn’t need them), and relished every moment of fresh air, wind, sunshine, clouds, and rain.

And there was always that tarp/canvas to sit under if it got too rainy, and the warmth and coziness of below deck — with food and drink — beckoned.

But I didn’t take advantage of those comforts for very long. I wanted to be OUT in the elements to experience everything!

After leaving the Bergen Harbor, we turned south and traveled next to Askøy, passing under the Askøy bridge while I was downstairs eating and socializing. The video of this part of the journey begins as I came up on deck just in time to see the cruise ship after it had passed us; it turned north while we turned south to travel past Litlesotra, under the Sotra bridge, and continue south between Sotra and Bjorøyna. Just south of Bjorøyna was the half-way point of our journey, and we slowly turned to begin the trip back to Bergen.

Here’s a map of the journey so far; do you see Lysekloster in the lower right of that image? So close, yet so far away from home! :)

August 20, 2014 – motoring

 

Before the short video, here’s a gallery of a few of my favorite images from this first half of the trip. We were sitting on the stern, looking through the side rigging or up towards the sky, enjoying the views of the islands we were passing, the changing shapes of the familiar mountains rising in the distance, and the interplay of sun, white clouds, and rain clouds overhead and off in the distance.

 

And my video; it includes the cruise ship as she turned north, the bells ringing on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, the peace of the journey on one side of the ship and the intensity of the wind on the other, and the rain clouds visible as we turned at the half way point of the trip.

 

Want a sneak peak of what we saw as we were turning?

August 20, 2014 – rainbow

Perfect skies for a trip of this type!

Next weekend it’s the rest of the journey, including my favorite part of the trip: standing (almost) alone on the bow!

Statsraad Lehmkuhl: leaving the Bergen Harbor

This week I have had the most fun reliving our short fjord journey as I went through my photos and edited the videos. I’d thought to have a complete “sail trip” post today, but decided it really needs to be broken up even more to avoid a ridiculously long post that would be difficult for anyone to follow. So, today’s photos and short video are about leaving the Bergen Harbor and entering Byfjorden: the beginning of our trip south on the inner fjord waters around Bergen.

As she began to move, I walked from starboard to port and back again, setting my camera on the rail, snapping and recording, capturing the experience of this large ship backing slowly out of her berth and turning about 220 degrees to face the mouth of the harbor and begin the journey. It was so gentle and slow, I had a hard time believing we were moving; of course that makes sense, as there can’t be any heavy waves or wake in a harbor, but the reality was even more quietly intense than I’d expected. The underwater propellers made interesting patterns on the surface of the water (which I was able to capture in the video).

I remember looking at the people standing and watching us, thinking what it must be like for them to see this large ship back and gracefully turn. Perhaps they were a little envious of those of us on board?

After turning, I took one final shot towards Bryggen, with the Fløibanen tracks rising up Fløyen, and Ulriken’s tower barely visible past the rigging.

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

We began to move forward towards Bergenhus Fortress.

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

Another Tall Ship, the Oosterschelde schooner out of Rotterdam, was in port. (Her history is interesting; originally built in 1918, she’s flown many flags, transported several different types of cargo, been completely restored to her original state, and made two around-the-world journeys with the last one ending this past May.)

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

Staying on the starboard side, I took a few photos of Bergenhus Fortress. First Rosenkrantz Tower had her side portrait captured.

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

Then is was Haakon’s Hall’s turn for its photo op.

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

All together now!

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

Moving over to the port side, I snapped a few images as we approached Nordnesparken at the mouth of the Harbor, and saw the spot where I’d stood during the Tall Ships Races 2014 Parade of Sails.

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

And then we were in Byfjorden and picking up speed as we headed towards the bridge to Askøy and beyond.

August 20, 2014 – leaving the Bergen Harbor

 

Jan and I went below deck for the shrimp and herring meal. We sat with a couple from Germany, and between their English and Jan’s German, we enjoyed getting to know them and a little of their travels (they come to Norway every summer) while sailing through Byfjorden.

Please join us as we begin our trip; here are few highlights!

 

After eating I went back up on deck. The huge cruise liner that had been in port had just passed us. She’d left her berth near the mouth of the harbor (seen in the video) after we had traveled by, but moved a bit faster. We’d traveled under one bridge and were headed for another. And my camera was out to capture it all! Tomorrow I’ll share an overview of my impressions of “motoring” through the fjord — and next weekend, a few specific moments. I hope you’ll accompany me through my words and images! :)

Norwegian commercials: everyday and special occasion

(Commercials on TV can be considered a necessary evil. So many are annoying, but every now and then one comes along that is the perfect combination of product, marketing, humor, and local culture. In my seven years here in Norway there have been several that have captured my attention. I thought it would be fun to occasionally share some of my favorites.)

It’s been a month since I last shared a commercial. Today’s, like a previous grandson and grandpa affectionate moment, is poignant and sweet, with a gentle touch of humor.

This short commercial is also a sixty second history lesson. It gives a peek into the culture of the older Norwegian generation. The kitchen’s decorations, the music, the age of the couple … welcome to an earlier time.

And, it also introduces a Norwegian word that doesn’t have a direct English translation. “Pålegg” means the sandwich meat/cold cuts/food items you put on bread. (And that introduces another Norwegian word that sums up a food culture — smørbrød/open face sandwiches, a Norwegian staple and one I’ve come to really enjoy!)

While watching this commercial, you’ll see three sentences that translate roughly to “Pålegg for every day. Pålegg for special days. Pålegg for all days.” But truly, no actual translation is necessary. It’s just the gentle sweetness, compatibility, and memories this couple expresses with their individual actions … and that needs no words.

Gilde pålegg

Maybe this captures me so completely since my husband and I are approaching this stage in life?! :)

food, glorious (Spanish) food!

I think that one of the highlights of travel is exploring different flavors and styles of cooking. They all seem to taste better when consumed in the environment from which they come, and following the local culture as far as eating times and methods adds to the overall experience of a trip. And then add the people you meet — in the service industry, the local residents, and other tourists — and the reality takes on a deeper meaning.

One of our favorite local restaurants in Bergen is Escalón, a Spanish Tapas Restaurant. We were excited and hopeful to enjoy an even better understanding of tapas during our recent week in Spain because of Spanish surroundings. We did! Not just tapas, but modern cuisine and (Andalusian) Spanish Paella too.

La Sala Puerto Banus

The house in which we stayed was only about fifty meters from a well-known restaurant in that area, La Sala Puerto Banus. Popular, trendy, crowded, reservations recommended … not the type of place we would normally go to, but staying so close we got there early enough to have the indoor seating area mostly to ourselves. And I’m so glad we did! The three times we visited we sat at the same table, next to the visible (behind glass) kitchen where we could watch the experienced chefs prepare the intriguing food. The wine, the atmosphere, the servers — we visited for our first and last meals in Spain, plus one in the middle because it was so enjoyable. Our servers were all fluent in English, and Rudy and Mikel in particular helped introduce us to the warm Spanish welcome, seemed genuinely interested in us as first-time visitors to their country, and suggested wines to try as we weren’t as familiar with them. And after our first visit, Rudy remembered what we both liked for our pre-dinner cocktails. They also knew how to serve a warmed after-dinner cognac! It was a personal and delicious experience.

(Here is where La Sala is located on the map.)

 

La Venencia

Our local “people” connection in Marbella knew we wanted to try different tapas, and recommended La Venencia. We took a taxi to the old section of Marbella and walked on the pedestrian-only section towards the Mediterranean to reach it on a beautiful early Sunday afternoon. Another popular place, we arrived early enough that we could be seated immediately outside under the umbrellas. We people-watched as people walked by dressed for the beach or for church, or for souvenir shopping in the numerous shops. And there we enjoyed our first “true” Spanish tapas, accompanied by a wine we know from finding it here in Norway — except this one was from 2006, probably not found any more in very many places outside Spain, and was utterly fantastic! I was so involved with eating, savoring, and enjoying, I almost forgot I had my camera … but did remember to get it out and capture photographic evidence of **that wine** to prove to ourselves we’d really had it.

August 10, 2014 - Spanish food at La Venencia, Marbella

One interesting observation about this section of old Marbella — the businesses and shops on the street level have many apartments and living areas throughout the upper floors. This particular restaurant has a garage right in the middle of it; the restaurant itself wraps around the garage, and the outdoor seating area is set up on either side of the garage door. While eating, an older couple slowly drove up the pedestrian street, pulled between the two seating areas, opened the garage door, and carefully pulled in. Old Marbella, meet older Marbella … a wonderful (if different!) exposure to tourism and tradition coexisting side-by-side. A few days after our visit, I captured a shot of La Venencia, with our server busy and efficient … and the bright yellow and white garage door sharing the spotlight.

August 14, 2014 - Spanish food at La Venencia, Marbella

(Here is where La Venencia is located on the map.)

 

Andalusian Spanish Paella!

Another fantastic meal — Andalusian Spanish Paella! — was enjoyed here. Small, down a side-street off the main pedestrian area, it looked like just the place for us, as we like to find those out-of-the-way places. Local residents were sitting in groups under the outdoor umbrellas, enjoying coffee and conversation, and others from the neighborhood would stop by to say hello. We’d first stopped about 6:00 pm and been told the kitchen didn’t open until 7:00 (a cultural aspect that took getting used to for us — many places enjoyed that long afternoon siesta, and it’s certainly something that I could also get used to!). So we wandered around Marbella for a while, but although there were many restaurants that catered to tourists that were open, we didn’t find another place that offered the Spanish Paella that (by its menu description) looked as good. So back we went to this little gem that I, unfortunately, forgot to write the name of. We sat at an outdoor table, ordered a bottle of wine and our “Spanish Paella recommended for two” at 7 pm, enjoyed the olives and air and conversations around us …

… and about forty-five minutes later had the most delicious meal placed in front of us.

August 12, 2014 - Spanish food in Marbella

It was a feast for the eyes and the palate! We were the only ones ordering food that early; the owner/chef probably opened the kitchen promptly just for us, and it was the most flavorful paella I’ve ever tasted. Fantástico!!

 

CasaLola

One more restaurant experience to share from Marbella, and I’ve saved the best for last. CasaLola! We’d seen it in our walks on the pedestrian street, a charming and cozy small structure among the high-rise buildings around it. A welcoming home environment and vivid shade of red is the first thing you notice … and then you take in the delightful flowers, tables, upstairs seating, and overall atmosphere.

August 12, 2014 - Spanish food at CasaLola, Marbella

Being our (typical by Spanish standards) early selves, we walked under the umbrellas to see if they were open and serving lunch, and were greeting by a vivacious woman who, of course, spoke Spanish to us, motioning for us to sit anywhere. Jan and I said about three words to each other along the lines of “…. where do you ….” and she immediately switched to flawless English, helping us find the most comfortable seats, chatting about our visit and experiences in Spain and Marbella, answering our questions of her. Lola is our generation, spent lots of time in England to perfect her English, came home to open her restaurant, and seemed genuinely delighted to welcome us. I saw her offering that same personal attention to every diner who stopped by for lunch. Such stamina she and her equally energetic waiter have!

When she brought our wine, I asked if she’d be willing to pose for a photo for my blog. Like me, she prefers to *not* be in front of the camera … but she did it to please a customer.

August 12, 2014 - Spanish food at CasaLola, Marbella

(Lola, I know you won’t see this until after the tourist season is finished … but I think your photo turned out beautifully! Your joy in what you serve and give your guests is evident in your smile, and your warm personality shines.)

AND THE FOOD. Oh my. Homemade tapas that are better than any others I’ve experienced. I had my first gazpacho. Jan and I shared many other small dishes. We consumed wine. We got another bottle of water. And we allowed ourselves to be convinced to try the homemade desserts. And I remembered my camera for some of it, most images cast in the warm red glow of the Spanish sunshine through the CasaLola umbrellas.

(Here is where CasaLola is located on the map.)

There are so many areas of Spain we want to explore and I’m not sure we’ll get back to Marbella next time … but I’d take a side trip there just to eat at CasaLola’s again.

How about you? What memorable restaurant experiences have you enjoyed during your travels? I’m so hungry for Spanish food after editing these images and writing my thoughts, I’d love it if you’d distract me with your *own* memories of yummy experiences!

a trip on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl: the beginning

I’ve been sitting here barefoot on a rainy Bergen-area Sunday — no Uggs in site! I don’t think I’ll be wearing them again anytime soon, but they were needed last Wednesday (along with the layers we wore, and the hats and scarves we took): Jan and I enjoyed a four-hour trip on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl!

It was a breezy, sun-and-clouds-and-wind-driven-rain trip. It was beyond gorgeous. The only thing that could have made it better is if it had been a longer trip and we’d gotten far enough south to see the familiar surroundings of Lysekloster (and maybe even sailed past our apartment) … but as it was, we traveled in fjords that I’d seen from airplane windows on take-off and landing, under bridges where we’ve driven, saw the familiar mountains that surround Bergen from different angles, and experienced bright sunny moments, wind-driven rain moments, and a complete colorful rainbow.

I’d planned to present the adventure as one post, but I took so many photos and experienced so many different weather events and emotions to my *finally* being out on this beautiful lady it’s a little overwhelming to present in one go. So this post will focus on our arrival in Bergen from Lysekloster, walking around the ship in port, and first explorations once we boarded.

I invite you to join me on the first part of our trip. And since it’s through your computer screen, no Uggs are required no matter where in the world you are. :)

Driving into Bergen, there she was waiting in her berth just at the end of Bryggen. We parked and walked around Bryggen, waiting for 5:00 pm when we could officially board. After our recent time in Spain, it was nice to be back home and watch other tourists enjoying my adopted city — especially as, with the threatening rain clouds, cooler temperatures, and only one cruise ship in port, it wasn’t too crowded:

 

It was exciting to be standing so close, knowing I’d finally be experiencing her very soon:

 

Once on board, I explored a bit of her open areas before we were scheduled to leave, taking it all in.

Down the steep stairs found me looking where we’d be served shrimp and herring once underway:

 

I also peeked through to her berth in port, and thought the sign for the recent Tall Ships Races 2014 in Bergen made an interesting perspective through the window:

August 20, 2014 - Statsraad Lehmkuhl trip

 

Wandering around back up on the main deck, I kept craning my neck upward. I’ve always been fascinated by the Tall Ships’ masts, and standing under the mathematical perfection had me mesmerized:

 

I walked up steep stairs towards the stern and looked to the heartbeat of the ship where the captain is in control, understandably blocked off from us landkrabbes crawling around (but I’d seen the previous setup in the Maritime Museum, so had a slight understanding of what was hidden):

 

Back down the stairs I went, to the main area of the deck under the protection of the canvas (for us landekrabbe’s protection from the elements):

August 20, 2014 - Statsraad Lehmkuhl trip

 

I walked around a bit under the tarp:

 

And before we began the trip, I stood hanging over the side, drinking in the sight of Bergen from a different perspective — in the harbor. I stitched together six images to create a makeshift panoramic view (click it to open a larger version):

August 20, 2014 - Statsraad Lehmkuhl trip

 

And I also captured a few individual shots of Bryggen, Fløyen, Ulriken, Løvstakken, and out towards Byfjorden:

 

And soon after capturing these images, we were off! There was rain and sun throughout the journey. Do you think I stayed under the canvas the entire time? Absolutely not! :) Look for a post next weekend where I’ll share images and a video I took during the journey!

Have you ever longed for an event … and then were able to fulfill that dream? Was it as good as you’d expected?

What a difference a week makes!

Last week

August 2014 - Marbella, Spain difference

 

This week

August 2014 - Bergen, Norway difference

 

You know the reason for last week’s bare feet. Can you guess the reason for the warm Uggs on my feet this past Wednesday?

Hint: that’s a combination of rain drops and sea spray in the last image … and this post’s tags probably give it away, too. ;)

Photos of the journey coming soon!

Marbella and Salvador Dalí

On occasional Thursdays I’ve published various “paintings and photographs” posts, and showcased a photo that I’ve taken of a Norwegian view along with a painting in which an artist captured a similar perspective.

Today’s post is somewhat within that theme, except it’s not a Norwegian painter or photo. But it *is* an artist and it *is* a photograph(s) … but not a perspective. It’s photos of sculptures created by the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.

Dalí. Just saying his name brings up a vision of bizarre dreams and melting clocks … but there’s so much more to his life. A synopsis, from Biography:

Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. From an early age, Dalí was encouraged to practice his art and would eventually go on to study at an academy in Madrid. In the 1920s, he went to Paris and began interacting with artists such as Picasso, Magritte and Miró, which led to Dalí’s first Surrealist phase. He is perhaps best known for his 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory, showing melting clocks in a landscape setting. The rise of fascist leader Francisco Franco in Spain led to the artist’s expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that didn’t stop him from painting. Dalí died in Figueres in 1989.

(Visit his page on Biography to read the complete story and view several interesting videos.)

While walking around Marbella during our trip to Spain last week we discovered a little gem: the Avenida Del Mar. It was unexpected and delightful, and I enjoyed walking and photographing. Sculptures, flowers, benches, shade, views of the Mediterranean: an oasis of calm in an area of tourists. It was so peaceful.

Except, as I looked closer at the sculptures I saw they were created by Salvador Dalí depicting a few of his surrealistic visions. Not calm at all! But the overall effect was. For me, the representation of disturbing dreams against the larger, more present backdrop of seagulls, warmth, color, sunshine, water, people, and real life created a unique and interesting mixture. I could have wandered there for hours.

Once home, I researched a bit about the Avenida Del Mar. This is what I found on the Arts & Culture section of Expatica:

The Avenida del Mar, which is the main walkway between the town centre and the Paseo Maritimo, is home to a collection of 10 of Dalí’s sculptures, cast in bronze and signed by the man himself. With its fountains, cafes and fabulous sea views, it’s the perfect place to admire his work and while away a few pleasant hours. … It wasn’t always like this though; several years ago the old Parque de la Alameda was a run down and virtually abandoned area, which was crying out for redevelopment. As part of his programme of improvements around Marbella, former mayor Jesus Gil arranged for the purchase of the collection of Dalí statues. They were to form the centrepiece of the newly redeveloped park, along with a series of fountains, landscaped areas and benches. A gleaming marble floor was then installed and the result of the work is what residents and visitors to the town now enjoy every day. Each of the sculptures bears a name plaque and a Dalí signature … and has all the surrealist hallmarks of his most famous works.

I meandered down the plaza for quite a while, camera in hand and eyes taking in the statues and surroundings. Although, because of the bright sun and my limited point-and-shoot camera my photos don’t show the detail very well, perhaps they’ll give you an impression of the area?

The first statue from the town end of the park is Perseo, depicting the beheading of Medusa by the mythological Greek hero Perseus:

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

As you walk towards the Mediterranean past Perseo, the next one is Gala Gradiva, thought to be one of the loves of Dalí’s life:

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

Continuing on, you’ll find Mercurio:

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

… and Trajano a Caballo (Trajano riding a horse):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

Next, Gala Asomada a la Ventana (Gala at the window):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

… and Caballo con Jinete Tropezando (Horse and jockey stumbling):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

Continuing, you’ll find Elefante Cosmico (Cosmic elephant):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

Mujer Desnuda Subiendo La Escalera (Nude woman walking up stairs):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

… and Don Quijote Sentado (Don Quixote sitting down):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

… and finally, the last of Dalí’s statues, his Hombre Sobre Delfín (Man above dolphin):

August 14, 2014 - Salvador Dali on Marbella's Avenida Del Mar

 

Referring to my earlier post where I mentioned “planned and focused” vacations vs. “let’s see what happens,” this was a little of both. It was definitely an unplanned discovery … but once I did see it during a quick Marbella walk exploration, I planned a visit back to absorb and take photos. Has that ever been your experience on a vacation? I’d enjoy reading your thoughts!

(Here is where this part of the world is located on the map.)