One man and his dog

We were invited to our old neighbours birthday party back in Cheshire a long time ago; the date finally arrived and our stay in Bollington proved to be special in many ways.
These pictures of one man and his dog are for you, Mike!

One man and his dog
One man and his dog

One man and his dog

We wish you a very happy 70th birthday, it was so good to see you and celebrate the the ‘three score and ten’ landmark.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking...
Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking…

One man and his dog
One man and his dog
One man and his dog
One man and his dog

and big love to all of our lovely ex-neighbours!

Johny & Christina
Johny & Christina
Chris and Chris
Chris and Chris
Mike, Tish and Sweep
Mike, Tish and Sweep
Sue and John
Sue and John
Alex and Kate
Alex and Kate

Well done to Tansy, Tish and Sue and John for all your hard work!

Tansy and Peter
Tansy and Peter

70 is the new 50
70 is the new 50

Thanks for a great party, the best hosts, fantastic food, the dogs running around and enough drink to sink a battleship!

One man and his dog
One man and his dog

But most of all, love to you Mike (and George who would have been watching down on us) and all our ex-neighbours; we won’t leave it another two years before retuning to Happy Valley!

 

Hurtigruten from Trondheim to Bergen

According to Wikipedia, Hurtigruten is the one of the world’s leading premium Expedition Voyage Operator.

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They have been sailing up and down Norway since 1983, so we thought we would incorporate the MS Midnatsol into our trip for 36 hours, and take the famous Hurtigruten from Trondheim to Bergen.

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The company started operating voyages on Norway‘s western and northern coast between Bergen and Kirkenes. Sometimes referred to as Norwegian Coastal Express, Hurtigruten ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the round-trip journey in 11 days.

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We found that a day and a half was more than enough – cabin fever would certainly set in for much longer!

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The trip has been described as the “World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage,” with highlights including the Hanseatic League city of Bergen, the Geiranger fjord (summer only), and the Lofoten Islands.

We didn’t get that far, but what we did see was beautiful!

Bergen and Trondheim are a distance of 700 km (435 mi) apart, which is covered by several transportation options. Each option has its pros and cons, the main problem with the boat is it’s very slow and also blooming expensive – but for 36 hours at least you can relax and watch the coast go by; I loved it.

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Oslo Opera House & Vigeland Park

Oslo Opera House & Vigeland Park

Our train to Oslo from Flam is rammed with tourists – it is a busy Saturday in June I suppose, and we are tourists ourselves-  just trying not to look like them.

Oslo is a huge city by comparison to where we have been; The 1000-year-old Norwegian capital sits at the head of Oslo Fjord.

Not being tourists, we would of course still be visiting the visual delights at Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Viking Ship Museum and the amazing Oslo Opera House, just across the road from our hotel.

So no apologies for these tourist snaps, the opera house is so amazing you can’t fail to make it look good – even on an overcast day with an iPhone, but on a sunny day with a new 28mm lens, it shines.

Music is never far away at Oslo Opera House
Music is never far away at Oslo Opera House

So let’s start this post with one of the busiest tourist hotspots in Oslo; namely Oslo Opera House; a fantastic building that is home of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway.

The building is situated in the Bjørvika neighborhood of central Oslo, at the head of the Oslofjord, there is a huge amount of redevelopment going on here with the building of a new National library next door, scheduled to be finished in 2018.

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House interior
Oslo Opera House interior

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After the Opera House we moved on to the Vigeland Sculpture Park

Vigeland Sculpture Park

This is a wonderful park with hundreds of sculptures – each one a work of art in it’s own right. It’s free to visit – quite remarkable for such an accessible location in an expensive place like Oslo.

You could spend hours here depending on your personal artistic bent. Nudity is the order of the day – some of the offerings are unusual to say the least. We certainly enjoyed the experience, I hope you like these snaps.

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Gustav Vigeland (11 April 1869 – 12 March 1943), né Adolf Gustav Thorsen, was a Norwegian sculptor. Gustav Vigeland occupies a special position among Norwegian sculptors, both in the power of his creative imagination and in his productivity.

He is most associated with the Vigeland installation (Vigelandsanlegget) in Frogner Park, Oslo.[1][2]

He was also the designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal.[3]

This was the last day of the trip, it was a great idea to get out of the centre on the tram and take in the super Vigeland Sculpture Park – this was a truly amazing place!

Fram Museum

Finally there is no trip to Norway that is complete without paying homage to those Antarctic explorers who were busy beating Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole nearly 100 years ago.

Fram is the strongest wooden ship ever built and still holds the records for sailing farthest north and farthest south.

At the Fram Museum you can get on board the ship and see how the crew and their dogs managed to survive in the coldest and most dangerous places on earth – the Arctic and the Antarctic.

The Fram Museum also has a polar simulator where you can experience both the cold and the dangers of polar expeditions over a hundred years ago. The museum’s Gjøa building has exhibitions on the Arctic and the Northwest Passage.

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Of course Amundsen beat RFS to the prize.

I suppose being in Norway I had to admit that the plucky Brits were never realistically going to win that race; having now seen it from the Norwegian angle.

A great end to our own little polar expedition.

At least we made it back, which is more than can be said for so many of those amazing brave explorers from 100 years ago.