Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Summer in a hidden paradise

It's been a pretty good summer, so far! There was a particularly sunny week in between, which, somewhat uncharacteristically, I chose to ignore completely :). I guess the few hectic weeks and weekends had begun to catch up a little.

However, I probably more than made up for it last weekend :D. As far as last minute plans go, this was pretty out there, a weekend cycling along Rallarvegen. The fact that trains here are quite cycle friendly, even over long distances, helped no end.

We took the Bergen train to Haugastøl early on Saturday morning, and started working our way west through some of the most spectacular terrain I've ever seen! The weather was perfect, just to top things off :).

We reached Finse, the highest railway station along the Oslo - Bergen train line, just in time for a relaxed lunch next to the lake and the still snow covered mountains. Then it was onwards to Myrdal. Of course, on the way there were more views to gape at :).

With not far to go, we even took a break at a particularly inviting beach at the edge of a lake :). Eventually when we did make it to our stop for the night, it turned out to be quite the perfect place. Not only were the rooms cosy, we'd made it just in time for a very satisfying dinner.

The next morning we weren't in any particular hurry as we set off for the rather famous Flåm. The first couple of kilometres were so steep, we decided it would be much more enjoyable to just walk down with our bikes and enjoy the view :). Soon we were in the valley though, and things got much more reasonable!

Having reached Flåm with a long time to go for our train back, we decided to explore the area up to Aurland along the fjord. Soon it was time to head back on the historic Flåmsbana back to Myrdal and then on the Bergen - Oslo train. It was quite entertaining spotting the many bits we could recognize from our cycle route the day before and that very morning!

There was a little bit of drama with some breaks in the train service and the associated trouble with trying to fit our bicycles on the replacement buses, but eventually we made it back to Asker, rather tired, but thoroughly satisfied with the 100 plus kilometres of cycling :).

Currently: wondering what's next
Listening to: Avicii - Wake me up

Friday, 19 July 2013

Super bass!

It's coming together rather nicely now :). After years of compromise in favour of portability, here's to a flood of colour in high definition. And sound! Glorious, rocking sound! The end of knowing that all those extra notes are playing, you just can't hear them.

The beginning of trying very hard not to blow the eardrums off everyone and everything within the air blast radius of this. >:)

Currently: very, very excited :D
Listening to: The XX - Intro

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The wheels, they keep spinning

Another couple of fairly active weekends have gone by. While I'm getting pretty good at racking up mileage on the bike, it seems I'm getting a bit lazy with blogging. Anyway, so I've always been rather curious about Drammen, that's probably got something to with the fact that we ended up biking there last weekend.

The weather seemed really perfect, and seeing how I'd never seen the local concept of a 'use and throw' barbecue grill in action, we decided to make it a picnic! Worked out quite nicely, I must say. So nicely, that we kinda lost track of time and had to take a train back home :).

Then there was the hike to Gaustatoppen. Seeing how the place is well over a hundred kilometres from Asker, we ended up driving for what seemed like forever :). But the hike itself was quite spectacular.

Unlike some other long hikes, you can quite clearly see your destination from the very start. Of course, one might be inclined to not believe that it's at all possible to cover such distances in a mere couple of hours! And then you see the snow :).

Yep, this is the middle of summer, and we were happily trudging through patches of snow that had braved the sun. The rest of the landscape was equally fantastic. Beyond a point, the whole hillside is covered in boulders, which in turn are covered in a green mossy sort of thing. This apparently is the work of centuries of freezing and thawing that's ruptured entire mountain sides!

You can supposedly see a seventh of all of Norway from the top of Gaustatoppen. I wonder who worked that out exactly, but we must have missed out on a few fractions of the view, seeing how the farthest rows of mountains were rather cloaked in a haze by the time we made it to the top. The store selling fresh waffles kinda made up for that though :).

Since the weather was particularly fine for most of the week, there were a couple of more forays to the beach and such. But this last Friday, we really outdid ourselves! The great thing with Drammensfjord is how the roads that skirt around it on either shore really cling to the coastline! This means that on a good clear day, you are constantly presented with stunning views of the fjord as you make your way around, all 60 kms of it :D.

This afternoon we decided to explore the Oslofjord side, and sure enough, the views were rather few and far between and the terrain a lot more challenging. But there's nothing like ending a long bike ride with a smoothie and an ice-cream, so I guess I can't really complain. Especially since I'm the one who planned the route :P.

Now where should we go next week?

Currently: I should be sleeping :|
Listening to: Sparklehorse - Revenge (ft. Wayne Coyne)

Friday, 12 July 2013

For Ellen, who didn't survive the winter.

Every so often a bit of music comes along. It sort of just fits. Slots right into a little gap somewhere in your soul. For the most part it means nothing. But there's a phrase, or a few bars of sound, that just draw the entire world out in front of your eyes in the colours of your dreams.
Apologies like the birds in the sky
And even they are falling like the tears in my eyes
Time and place, I suppose. Or a book. And sometimes you remember a bit of the feeling later. A shadow, an afterglow. And sometimes there's not even that.

Currently: darkness outside, is summer over then?
Listening to: Poliça - Amongster

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Mad "skills"

Most days I'm quite glad I don't have to tell people about me. Someone asked me today what I'm good at. I think I stared blankly for a bit before asking what he was talking about :). When he clarified he meant work, I began to feel distinctly uncomfortable.

I mean, I'm good at stuff. But 'stuff' clearly wasn't going to hack it here. A bit of this and a bit of that? Nope, people want distinct classifications of ability. Turns out I've been in a job where you take it as it comes and do the best you can long enough that I've forgotten how to 'define and sell my skill-set'.

I don't suppose being able to navigate any airport in the world without batting an eyelid would count. Or the fact that I can survive in a social setting a lot longer around people I don't really know without panicking than I used to.

I can, however, assemble Ikea furniture like nobody's business :D. And at long last the sofa arrived last night! It may not look like it in that photo, but seriously, this is the bad-ass-est of bad-ass sofas! I love it :) clearly, and suddenly my living room, and by extension my apartment, went that much closer to being my home!

Yeah, say what you want about the little things making a difference, sometimes the big things make a bigger difference ;).

Currently: hoping for a bit of sun
Listening to: Boards of Canada - Split your infinities