Un bleuet loin du fjord

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Blueberry cruises on other fjords.

(La version française est ici)


So it's the day after September 22, I might as well revive my blog which has been deserted by its author and its readers (assuming the latter actually exist). Anyway, a month ago I was in Europe. I set foot in Norway and Germany (and Denmark for a brief time, I wanted to spend two weeks in Norway since I had a conference there, but it's freakishly expensive... so I spent the second week in a slightly cheaper country). As the title indicates, this post will be exclusively about the last country of Scandinavia that was missing from my list, so here are a few excerpts from my travel log. And a few pictures, since I might as well. The post trip comments are in italics.

"Ottawa, 2012-08-26 Airport (no intentional misspelling in the translation, doesn't work)

So I'm about to go on my first solo trip to Europe since they shut down Mirabel (last time, they still had chartered flights)."

It was in a previous millennium, direct AirTransat flight from Mirabel to Toulouse. I've been to Europe twice since, but never alone.


"Existential question: what's the idea of wearing a tuque on one's noggin inside when it's 30, and that's +30, outside?"

I ask myself that question a lot on my travels I didn't have a travel journal in San Diego, and the thermometer never reached +30 there, but I seem to remember seeing a few idiots wearing tuques in this lovely corner of California, which, by the way, I know of since kindergarten, as one classmate kept saying with a funny accent, that his dad worked in "Califouwnie". He disappeared from the classroom during the fall if I recall correctly, probably to join his dad in "Califouwnie".

"Frankfurt, 14:40 local time

... Anyway, FRA, ain't all that great. But the gates are relatively quiet and unoccupied. I dozed off for about 15 minutes. And the English newspapers (the only non-German ones, couldn't they get a least one Le Monde?) suck. Except for the USA Today, on the C. diff., it's all finance."

My cousin Janick had told me that Frankfurt airport wasn't all that great. He was right, and that was even truer on the way back, you can read about it when I write the post on the Berlin leg of the trip.

"Bergen, 2012-167 20:27
...The hotel is fu******* expensive for what you but the internet connection is reliable and the bar has won a gold medal for its whiskeys. But everything is expensive and my brain is barely functioning. Time to sleep and get over the jetlag. The pizza was good."

FYI, the room was $220 Canadian per night, and that's the conference price. Expedia's price: 330$ per night. But a reliable internet connection is almost impossible to find in North-American hotels.

"Bergen, August 18, 2012, 15:09
Do I look like a not a tourist? I hate being spoken to in an unknown language by a stranger who thinks I'm not a tourist. Anyway. I walked in the sentrum and beyond. I bought a sheep for Christmas. I must reiterate, Bergen, it's fucking beautiful but it's fucking expensive. Surrounded by no less than 7 mountains (not as tall as the Rockies but closer than in Vancouver) with little houses on the cliffs. There are some steep slopes, cobblestone streets, a castle and a museum about the time of the Hanseatic league.

 

(It's been 18 years since I set foot on a site that used to be part of the Hanseatic league and is part of Unesco World Heritage. I must absolutely take a cruise on the fjords
...
Now that I think about it, I've never been on a fjord cruise except to see some whales (it's been 22 years I think). The only drawback of the fjords is that they don't freeze over (as there's no winter here) so you can't go ice fishing.
..."

The sheep I am talking about is of course a decoration, not a real one. And the other Hanseatic league, UNESCO World Heritage site is of course Visby. And I never did close that parenthesis.
 
"Bergen, 5 minutes after the good ol' 5PM movie, 2012-08-19

Well, no smoked mackerel this morning, and since the conference started this morning, the breakfast room was packed this morning, with some asshole who moved my place holding juice to steal my table. Fucking classless jerk.
...
Anyway, I walked again downtown, and took new pictures including one of two young ladies walking barefoot on the street after the rain (and before the rain, it rains every day a little, a lot, passionately, madly). It reminded me of Janna who used to walk barefoot outside as well.
...
In fact, one restaurant in the sentrum sells Fajitas for 276 kr that is 46$ per plate. I can't wait to have the lunch included with the conf."

I did not have a single lunch at the conference. What was edible allergy-wise wasn't orthodontic braces-wise.

"18:38 Addendum
...
And Scandinavian kids are so blond and Scandinavian. So are the chicks.
Last remark: it's supposedly 17°C but the least of exercises makes me sweat since it's fucking humid and Europe has yet to learn about the principle of air conditioning."

"Bergen 2012-08-20 8:40
Grieghall
Finally some Grieg. I was afraid that the piano on the stage was there for nothing. Unfortunately, we'll get to hear "You raise me up" instead of death metal. I hope I won't have to look for some.
...
8:55  Våren by Grieg sounds better than the previous song and translates to "blueberry hill". I approve.
The blueberry jam here works better on the non toasts than the strawberry jam (which is oh so natural but yet so flavorless).
Marianne Juvik Sæbø has quite a voice and some range.
...
10:25 Why can't they let go of the Warsaw template in Beamer for fuck's sake? An also, only coffee and tea as refreshments? No juice? Swear word again!
...
21:37 at the hotel
 ... It's better that way, I won't give my cold (or flu, or SARS or tuberculosis, I don't know, I'm not a medical doctor) to everyone."

I hate getting a cold while traveling. Because in the end, it was just a cold. I think.

"Grieghall August 21, 2012 11:10
...
13h48 A "weird" thing about Bergen, there's only black ducks around, no mallard. Ah yes, I'm not allergic to smoked mackerel, I'll have more tomorrow.

17h37 I finally had the balls to eat in a non-fast-food, nor hotel restaurant for dinner. I had a cider "with berries of the forest". Same makers as yesterday's perry. With aspartame added. A little too much of a girly drink for my taste. I'll have some whisky tonight, perhaps with a local beer before. I think the dessert will have to wait as well. Not bad for a "fancy" little restaurant, this Yr Café.
..."

The tea cup to finish was practically a tea bowl.

"22 August 2012 ...
So, I drank beer from a local microbrewery while eating a brownie and drinking a Japanese single malt scotch. I had a headache this morning, but I blame my cold.


...
Fuck! Stop going over the outline of the talk. The lady speaker sucks and not in a good way....
Again with the fucking Warsaw template. Uhm, um, euh... shit.
Slide after slide of boring notation. (in English in the original) Leave that for journal articles. They really don't have a clue how to present. The slides are Spartan outside the mathematics. How can you be so dumb?
It's really no the type of presentation one wants to see while suffering from a cold. My camera couldn't take the photo, but the slide was a record. Tiny font, gigantic lines of equations. The guy's a true champion. And he skips the real data example as well.
...
Black writing on white background PowerPoint. It truely is an entire session of champions. And she's just reading her slides. OK, a little racist remark: she once pronounced it "rikerihood"..."

I was really disappointed by the talks at the conference this year.

"19:07...
Norway is simply too beautiful. The mountains, the fjords, the architecture, tall blondes with blue eyes. Because of that, to compensate, it rains all the time. And it's crazily expensive."


"Bergen's harbour, August 23, 2012 9:50

On the White Lady (I like that name) for a 4 hours tour on the fjords. I'll still have time to play tourist after. There are people dressed up for winter, while I'm sweating.
...
Magnificient rainbow over Bergen. I hope that the fat Italian doesn't ruin my picture too much.
...
OK, Bergen and the fjords of Norway are beautiful like little baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. But, without wanting to be chauvinistic, the Saguenay has three advantages:
1- the sun that is there more often and for longer periods
2- belugas
3- ice fishing
But I do recommend to all those who can afford it to visit the fjords of Norway.

If the people could stick their luggage under the chairs instead of on them, fewer idiots would have to stand like the dumbasses they all are.
....
So, boat cruises are nice but there are some lengthy boring periods. The French couple that's almost fighting, a classic.
Just to annoy people, and since despite my antiperspirant my armpits are sweating like crazy, I took off my jacket.
...
I also took a picture of the blue sky between the clouds. You always have to hurry for that here.


...
There aren't enough swear words, even pious ones, to express how insanely beautiful it is. And if it rains again I should take advantage of the deck while it's sparsely occupied.

OK, Norwegians have a lot of fjords.

Jeans below the ass when you're a fat chick, they really don't help. It makes you a fat chick with no ass. I seem to recall there were more people on the top floor at the beginning of the cruise. Those who can't stand the "cold" temperature don't know what they are missing.
...
Even the English are frozen. Despite the fact that they're used to rain and humidity.
....
The cabin is overheated for the whimpy cold averse tourists, that now only go above to smoke. I visited the facilities and bought myself a liquid lunch, a Coke for 30Kr (5$), cold of course."


I must mention how much I despised most of the tourists on the cruise... But the boat tour and the views were worth enduring their annoying presence.

"16:03 Top of the funicular
...
So, I hear some geese (or ducks) and I find myself singing softly Nils Holgersson's theme from the animated series (the story is Swedish, the animé is Japanese of course). For Norway, one needs a good camera, a good jacket, a superior quality umbreall, and high quality waterproof walking shoes.

...
I set foot outside the path like the insane daredevil that I am. If those are the last lines I write, it's not too bad a way too die. The president of the ISCB said you could really believe that fairies and et trolls live in these woods at the place is so magical. She's absolutely right."


I survived.

"August 24  2012...
7:34      TABARNAC! I lost my Saguenay flag badge. A cleaning lady must have stolen it while cleaning the room because I know I had it when I arrived in Bergen.
...
The flybussen have baby seats and I made the mistake of sitting next to one. I had to move twice when a MILF and her crying baby...
...
The baby stopped crying. He seems much content with his situation now. With a mother as hot as his, you can't stay mad for long.
...
Ah yes, it's natural Norwegian spring water, distributed by Coca-cola. I have this funny feeling that there's a municipal tap in between somewhere.
...
Among the stupid jokes to make while I let my mind wander, and which shall be true soon enough. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark: it's me."

That MILF was so hot, blonde, blue eyed and Scandinavian.

And this puts an end to the Bergen part of my travel log. I was in Copenhagen only for a short connection on the way to Berlin, but it was by far the best airport I visited on this trip.

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