Vigelandsparken, Oslo, Norway

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The Vigeland park is a part of the Frogner park in Oslo, Norway. It is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. In this case, Gustav Vigeland. There are more than 200 sculptures in the park made from granite, bronze and wrought iron. Vigeland took part in the layout and architectural design of the park as well. The park was completed between 1939 and 1949, although some of the sculptures are older than this. The park has a 850 metres long axis and the sculptures are mainly in 4 groups along this axis; the Main gate, the Bridge, the Fountain, the Monolith plateau and the Wheel of Life.

Vigeland (1869-1943) came from the town of Mandal, but was sent to school in Oslo as a youth to learn wood carving. When his father died suddenly he came back to Mandal to help his family. He returned to Oslo i 1888. During the years 1891 -1896 he went on several trips abroad and found inspiration from these trips. He work reflects his inspirtion found in the themes of death and the relationship between man and woman.
There was some dispute as to where his grand Fountain should be placed, but in the end it was agreed that it should be in the Frogner park. The other installations followed.  Gustav Vigeland was in his time regarded as the most talented of Norwegian sculptors and had numerous commisions for sculptures and busts.

The Monolith is perhaps the most known of this works in granite in the Vigeland park. At least it’s the one I’ve hard most about. The Monolith itself contains 121 figures and is carved out of one block of grainte, hence the name. Mono = one and litho = stone. The height of the Monolith itself is 17.3m. The Monolith is situated at the highest plateu of the Vigeland park. In addtition to the Monolith there are 36 figure groups on the monolith plateu. The theme is the circle of life and depiction typical human situations and relationships.

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The Fountain has the longest story of any of the installations in the park. Starting back in 1906 and being completed in 1936. The installation of the Fountain itself wasn’t completed untill 1947, after Vigelands death. The 20 tree groups tells about life from cradle to grave while the reliefs along the side of the fountain tells about the enternal lifecycle of mankind.

 

The bridge has 58 sculptures in bronze, is 100m long and 15m wide. It was the first to be installed in the park, but the last to be designed by Vigeland. The bronze sculptures depicts the relationships between man and woman, adults and children. The most popular and well known is Sinnataggen – little Angry boy. Although he is far from the biggest sculpture, nor the easiest to spot.

If you ever visit Oslo, I reccomend a trip to the Frogner park, and the Vigeland park in particular. It is open all year round and has no entrance fee. It is an open public park. Even if you aren’t all that into the art itself, it is a very nice walk.

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Nature hikes in lower Telemark, Norway

2015 wasn’t a very exciting year travelwise. Sometimes other things get in the way of getting anywere new. However we did go on several daylong or at the least hours long hikes in the nearby area. Hiking up a mountain or hill, usually through a forest, has given us many good memories. And not the least some good exercise too!

I love the fact that nature is everywhere in Norway. Woodlands,  forests, lakes, ponds, streams, small rivers, waterfalls, hills, peaks and mountains.  There is no excuse for not getting out and just wander about.  Whether you like the forest were your chances of meeting other people is slim,  or you would rather enjoy a popular path to treck,  the experience isn’t far away.  Not even if your starting point is one of the bigger cities or towns.

Last year we went on several of the routes suggested på Titoppern Grenland (which means ten peaks Grenland) which list 15 peaks in the Grenland area.  Unfortunately we had to stop at 7 peaks (ten is the goal) as Truls’ knee didn’t like going downhill anymore that season.  We’ll try again this year.

 

In addition to these peaks we had several nice walks in the forest that literally starts at our doorstep.  We may walk a round through that forest, and up a steep hill around a small lake and ending up back home. It is about 9km and takes us a few hours. I like the treck, others might find it a bit overgrown for their taste.

 

We look forward to the nice hikes we’ll have in 2016!

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Sunset at the end of one of our hikes

Gotland, Sweden

In 2014 we went to Gotland. This is a rather large Island off the east coast of Sweden in the Baltic sea. We only stayed from the 30th of August to the 1st of September. This is after the main turist season and the camping grounds we stayed at was pretty much empty except for other dog people like ourselves. Perfect when you travel with a bunch of dogs!

We stayed at Kneippbyn resort. Most of it was closed down as the Summer season ended the weekend before, but we enjoyed our stay just as much.

The nature of Gotland was pretty different to what we are used to around our home. It is made up of sedimentary rocks going back to the Silurian age (443 mya to 416 mya) Going for short hikes  in the near by area gave us a really nice view of this part of the Island.

Gotland is reknown for it’s history. From the Viking age to the Hanseatic area Gotland has a lot of history. Visby, the “capital” of Gotland was an important, perhaps the most important, Hanseatic city in the Baltic sea.

We went for a visit to Visby, without the dogs, as well. Being on the island we wanted to see this historic and charming little town. It is one of the best preserved Mideaval towns in Scandinavia and is on the Unesco World Heritiage list. The Visby city wall, the church ruins of Drotten, St.Katarina and St.Lars were visited. All built during the Hanseatic area in the 1200s (13th century).

The city wall is 11 M high and is 3,44km long (originally 3,6km). It was built in two stages and was finished in 1288.  Originally it had 29 large and 17 small towers. Today 27 of the large towers and 9 of the small towers remains. This city wall is a major reason why Visby ended up as a  Unesco world heritiage site.

Drotten was built around 1240 and was the church of the Hanseats (Germans). “Drott” is a word from Norse meaning “owner of a thrall”. In other context drott could mean fürst or king, and the wife of the drott is the drottning. Drottning (Swedish) or dronning in Norwegian is the word still used for queen in Scandinavia.

St. Katarina ruin was started around 1233 and was originally built by the fransiscan order. The construction carried on untill the middle of the 1300s.

St. Lars ruin was finshed in the early 1200s (1210-1220), but the eldest parts might be from the 1100s. This chuch has some ortodox traits and it seems like the arcitecht might have been influenced by Russian churches, it is highly unlikely it was a Russian church.  St. Lars has it’s name after St. Laurentsius who died as a martyr.

 

The main reason for going this exact weekend was the Gotland Dog Show. We showed Freke and Fjellbris. Both got high praises from the judge. Freke became best of breed and Fjellbris best of opposite sex. A sucsessful trip in that regard as well.

 

I am sure we will be back for another visit to Gotland some time. Most likely with the dogs tagging along. However it is not certain if it will be at the time of the Gotland Dog show or not. The show was very nice, but not necessary for another visit. Next time we will stay a bit longer though.

Our first vaccation – part III: Norway

 

Part III:  Norway

from the 4th of Augut to the 7th of August

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Welcome to Norway!

 

After our visit to Nordens Ark we drove back home to Norway. We didn’t make any stops between the border and the summerhouse of my parents. My parents had taken care of our keeper puppies and an unsold brother for the duration of our vaccation and we couldn’t wait to see them again.

Having picked up the puppies we drove home, picked up the adults and had a few relaxing days. We also went back down the the summer house for a bit of swimming in the fjord and being social with my parents, sister and nephew.

Our first vaccation – part II: Sweden

Part II: Sweden

From the 2nd of August to the 4th of August

After crossing the Øresund bridge from Denmark we continued up the coast to Gothenborg.  Here we stayed at Elite Park Avenue Hotel. Situated in Gothenborg’s main street Avenyen. A wonderful hotel with excellent staff and rooms. The price was reasonable considering it is a four star hotel with prime location. We will most likely be back next time we visit Gothenborg. At least if we go without dogs.

Our plans for Gothenborg was relaxing and a visit to the amusement park  Liseberg.  That didn’t work out, as just before we reached Liseberg we came across a dinosaur! Both of us having had dinosaurs as an interest earlier in life, and still reading up on them from time to time it was bound to sidetrack us. We ended up at Universum instead of Liseberg.  Not at all a bad thing.

It was a rather huge place but we visited the flora and fauna part and of course the dinosaurs on  the rooftop.

They had one display of fish, birds,reptiles and amphibians from Scandinavia.  Another part had a rainforest environment,  they had a huge marine aquarium tank – and several small ones. A collection of serpents that I really enjoyed and of course the dinosaur display.  Animatronic ones. I guess they weren’t all that amazing, but as it kind of was a trip back to childhood we had great fun seeing them anyway.  Luckily several of the species had been uploaded since we were kids and gotten their feathers.

 

 

On our way back to the hotel,  we got the first rain during our vaccation.  And it really poured down. It was refreshing. Knowing we would be back at the hotel before long we made no attempt at staying dry, but enjoyed the pouring rain. Me rather a bit more than him though.

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Leaving Gothenborg we visited the zoo Nordens Ark (the Ark of the Nordic) before driving into Norway. This zoo primarly have northern species. Big areas for their animals and areas that are possible to rotate between animals to some extent, meaning that the animals get more stimulation than staying the exact same area all the time. I long wanted to visit this park as they have several species of cats I haven’t seen in life before. I wasn’t let down, and I loved the fact that the animals may hide themselves from view if they whish to.

 

Our first vaccation – part I: Denmark

In the Summer of 2014, more exact from the 25th of July to the 7th of August we went on our first vaccation together. This is a recapitulation in three parts.

Part I: Denmark

From the 25th of July to the 2nd of August

 

We started out taking the Fjordline ferry M/S Bergensfjord from Langesund – about 45 minutes drive from my home (at that point he didn’t live here yet) to Hirtshals in Denmark.

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Fjordline’s ferry M/S Bergensfjord

 

Our vaccation would be a road trip in Denmark and Sweden, with a couple of days at my familiy’s summer house in Norway before we had to return to our day to day life.

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The first part of our vaccation was spent in Denmark. starting out in the north, driving up to Skagen and to the outermost tip of Denmark, Grenen.Our first night was spent at a camping ground in a tent. We then had lunch in Skagen centrum, and spent some time on the beach.

 

In the afternoon we drove to Ørnereservatet. A fabulous place well worth a visit. We sure will return ourselves one day. It was fantastic to see the big birds of prey flying free in the Danish nature, as well as seeing the bond they clearly had with their humans.

 

We then continued on to Randers were we visited Randers Regnsov,  rainforest growing in domes.  Plants and animals were divided in South America,  Asia and Africa.  It’s a nice place to visit and you really get a bit of the same feeling as a real rainforest gives you.

Next stop was Himmelbjerget. Not the highest point in Denmark,  but the most famous high point. It’s elevation is a mere 147 meters. Not all that impressive when you’ve grown up with 1000 m mountains around you. However it does give you a good view of the surroundings as Denmark is a rather flat country even in it’s more hilly areas were Himmelbjerget is located. 

Crossing Lillebælt we arrived at Fyn island and went to the city of Odense.  The most memorable parts were the delicious steak we ate and meeting the Katta Lemurs  of Odense Zoo close up.

Next day we continued on across Storebælt to Skjælland island and down across the Falster island and arriving at Lolland island. Here we stayed in an apartment right outside Maribo for a night before visiting Knuthenborg Safaripark.

Knuthenborg Safaripark once was known as the medieval manor of Årsmarke. This was Denmark’s largest private estate.  It opened for a paying public already back in 1870, at that time displaying only exotic plants such as the rhododendrons which still grow in the park.  In 1950 it opened as a safaripark  as well, adding the first exotic animals in 1969. Today it is still a unique place to visit.You drive your own car through huge enclosures where the animals have the opportunity to get away from it all if they wish to. In several areas you may stop your car and go outside it for a closer look. Some of the animals will let you pet them, others won’t.

 

 

Our last stop in Denmark was the capital Copenhagen.  We stayed here for a few days. Took a boat sightseeing,  visited Tivoli, wandered about the city and last visited the aquarium den blå planet (the blue planet). We weren’t all that impressed by this, even if it is one of the largest aquariums in Europe.  Then we crossed the tunnel and Øresund bridge into Sweden.

 

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the Øresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden. Made famous by the detective series “the bridge”