I visited Ålesund, a town and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county at the west coast of Norway, in April. The reason for my visit was work related, so I didn’t have much time to look around, unfortunately. However, I did find it to be a beautiful city, and I wanted to share some photos i took while I was there.
I hope to visit again in a not too distant future!
One thing I love about Oslo is all the great places to get awesome coffee. Talor & Jørgen is a new discovery for me, and their coffee is great. Not much space for sitting down, unfortunately, but the staff is very friendly, and you might find a seat if you’re lucky!
Talor and Jørgen are the people behind the coffee. Talor Brown has come all the way from Australia, and Jørgen is a Norwegian. Together they have tons of experiense with. The coffee beans are roasted in the shop every Tuesday, which give them a high quality and keep them fresh.
One thing I noticed sitting enjoying my coffee, was that their doughnuts seemed to be very popular. Unfortunately, none of them are vegan (I asked, their kitchen is too small). Which was a shame, otherwise I would have loved to try them.
Even thogh it was very busy at times, the atmosphere was good, with some good music playing in the background. Not too noisy, fortunately.
Talor & Jørgen can be found centrally in Oslo, in one of the corners of Youngstorget (address is Youngs gate 9, 0181 Oslo).
After having some busy weeks (months, actually) behind me, I decided I wanted to treat myself to a spa day. After searching around on Google, I came across a site, where I could buy different experiences online called TrueStory. They offer many different things, but I went for the wellness option, and picked Spa day at The Thief, as it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. The package included a 50 minutes classical massage, entrance to the spa, fruits and tea, and a lunch at The Thief Foodbar. My reason for picking the spa at The Thief was both that it’s supposed to be good, as well as the fact it’s very easy for me to get there from where I live.
Buying the experiense went fine, and I got an e-mail with confirmation, codes and instructions. I’m not a person who likes to phone people, so I e-mailed The Thief, and told which day I wished for and referred to the information I had gotten from TrueStory. Fortunately, they e-mailed me back shortly after, and the day was booked. I made sure to tell them I was vegan, and had a couple of allergies. I had looked at their menu, and didn’t find anything vegan. From experience, many restaurants are willing to make something vegan for you, if you ask on beforehand.
When I found out that the spa, which is actually located in another building behind the hotel, opens fairly early on Sundays, I decided to head there early in the morning. This, I found out, was a great decision. I had my appointment for the classical massage at 10, and had over an hour to enjoy the spa. And the best thing was: I had it all to myself!
At arrival, I was handed a bathrobe and a big, fluffy towel. I went down to change into my swimsuit, and when I got back upstairs for the spa, the receptionist had made ready some tea and a fruit platter for me. That was very nice!
The spa was slightly smaller than I expected. I don’t know why I had expected it to be larger, but for some reason I had. However, it had what a spa needs. A steam bath, a Finnish sauna, a swimming pool, and tropical showers. It was very relaxing, and I got tea, coffee, and fruits. Water was aviable from a tap.
Unfortunately, but understandable, no cameras were allowed into the spa, so I have no photos from inside the spa itself. There was an area right outside the wardrobes, though, where they do misc. treatsments, like manicures and facials. It looked very nice and fresh to me, even though I wasn’t having any such appointment.
The classical massage was really nice, and just what my aching body needed! Getting there, I was handed one of this “neat” single use knickers to use. I can’t say I thought they were neither nice looking nor comfortable to wear, but they did their job. The massage therapist really knew what they were doing. I was asked how I preffered my massage, and the preassure was really perfect. The 50 minutes just flew by.
I was given a new robe and towel after the massage, as wel as a scrub to be used in the steam bath. The spa still wasn’t too crowded, and I relaxed with a cup of coffee and the free to borrow newspaper, as well as enjoying the spa facilities, before heading to the hotel for my included lunch.
The restaurant was situated on the roof on floor 9, and had a really nice view over the fjord. It looked nice too, and the staff friendly. I had to repeat that I was a vegan, and I was, needless to say, excited to see what the chef would come up with. The Thief restaurant is said to be a good high end restaurant, but unfortunately, for me it just didn’t deliver.
Being served a salad at lunch I find a but boring and uninventive, to be honest. In addition, it was mainly beets. People who know me well enough, know that I really dislike beets (they taste of dirt to me). In adition, it was not vegan when it was served. The cheese itself was a visible and given non-vegan item. I sent it back, but I think they just picked it out and gave me the same plate. This is not something I expect from a high end restaurant. I also suspect some othe other stuff on the plate was non-vegan, and though I tried to avoid the more creamy things, it wasn’t easy. I normally don’t mention my “other” food intolerances/allergies when I ask for vegan food, as they’re non-vegan foods (like cow’s milk). I actually ended up getting ill shortly after leaving the restaurant. I skipped dessert, to be honest, I don’t think they would have anything I could eat, and I was staring to feel unwell.
Would I recommend people to use TrueStory? I would. You can get good deals by using their package solution. They have a ølot more to offer than their “Wellness” category. If I had a wish, it would be that I could have a spa package where there was no meal included.
Would I reccomend people to visit The Thief? The spa, and absolute yes for from me. It was such a nice and relaxing day I had there. As for the restaurant, I would say no. I wasn’t pleased at all by how they treated a vegan guest, and I’m not likely to visit ever again.
This is in no way a sponsored entry, I payed for everything and did all research etc. myself.
As I wrote earlier, I set myself a challenge to read more books in Norwegian. So, how did my challenge go? How many books in Norwegian did I manage to read?
1. Hålke, written by Helene Uri
I was fortunate enough to win a ARC of Helene Uri’s new book, Hålke. It was published early in September, and is a book on an elderly couple who early in January don’t get to leave their flat due to it being icy outside. With only a little food to get by on, and the coffee running out, we get to know this elderly people. What’s their marriage built on? Why do they still keep together after over 40 years, in spite of unfaithfulness (her) and violence (him)? It was a really interesting read, and I really enjoyed it.
2. Odinsbarn, written by Siri Pettersen
This was actually a reread. I first read Odinsbarn (meaning Odin’s Child in English) shortly after it came out, and it’s the first book in the Ravneringene (meaning “The Raven Rings”) trilogy. I love this trilogy, and thought Odinsbarn was even better the second time around.
3. Et norsk hus, written by Vigdis Hjorth
This was my first book Vigdis Hjorth, and I borrowed it from the library’s ebook app. I enjoyed reading about this middle aged textile artist who rented out a part of her house to a Polish family and the conflict between them. And even though this lady is a weird woman with many faults, I grew to love her… I am definitely going to read more books by her!
4. Forbannet, written by Tonje Tornes
This was the second book in the Kire series, and it has been a while since I read hulder, the first book in the series. I am loving this series, and I liked the second book even more than the first – it’s darker and there’s more magic! I can’t wait for the third book, even though I have no idea when it will be published.
So, I ended up with four Norwegian books in September, which wasn’t so bad. I also read On Writing by Stephen King, which is also a very good read. I think my conclusion is that this challenge was good for me, even though one of the books was a reread. I will try to read even more Norwegian books, and am hoping to get some more read this year.
People who know me, know that I am vegan. I have been fully vegan since January, and I haven’t eaten meat for over 20 years. Though things have gotten a lot better, especially the last couple of years, travelling can still turn out to be a challenge. Especially at Norwegian airports.
One of the airports I travel from the most is Stavanger airport. I often go there right after work, and pretty much every time I wish there was a place at the airport where I, as a vegan, could get a hot meal.
To be honest, I don’t get why they can’t have, for example, a simple pasta dish with a simple tomato sauce of tomatoes and herbs. I would have been thrilled! It’s easy and cheap to make, and I think even kids would be happy to eat it… There’s so many people travelling, I am sure many would buy it, vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike.
Os there something that bothers you when you’re at an airport?
So, having my first week off work this summer, my girlfriend and I went to Bergen. On the morning of Tuesday 1 July we hopped on the bus, and headed north. The bus trips usually takes about 5 – 5 1/2 hours, but it isn’t so bad, as there are two ferry trips included. It breaks it up, and makes it more varied.
After checking into the hotel, we went to Bergen public library, where we walked around, and I borrowed a couple of Neil Gaiman books I hadn’t read. It’s a nice library, and I am planning on an entry for that all by itself.
We had dinner at Hot Wok, and the food was fresh and nice. Needless to say, going for a walk after dinner was a great plan, we even walked along the harbour, and had a nice view of Bryggen.
Saturday we had agreed to meet up with a friend of mine, so after breakfast we first walked around a bit before heading for Det lille kaffekompaniet, which in my opinion, is the best coffee place in Bergen. I must admit I was so thrilled about the good coffee there, I had three hot beverages! My friend met us there, and after he had had some coffee too, we headed for Fløyen.
The hike up to Fløyen was really nice. It was nice to have a bit of a feel of the “woods”, which I don’t get very often where I live, and we had also some stops where we could enjoy the view over Bergen. At the top there’s a café/restaurant, where we just had a break eating ice creams, before walking back down to the centre of Bergen again.
After the hike, it was nice to relax with a cold beverage at a café. We found a book café called Krok og krinkel, after the recommendations from someone I know online, and had a bit of a rest there before we Went to have some pizza for dinner. After dinner, we said goodbye to my friend, and then headed back to the hotel.
Our main plan for Wednesday was to visit Bergen Aquarium. I’m a huge fan of penguins, and was very excited to see some live again.
The aquarium also had a sea lion show, that was much fun! It was so fun we decided to watch it twice! The penguin feeding was fun too. They had two chickens, the youngest beig only a couple of days old, the chicken of the same sex couple. Yes, the Bergen Aquarium has a same sex penguin couple! The seals were in mating season, so they were just occupied with eachother, than putting up a show for us. Which, of course, is totaly understandable. The aquarium has lots of other animals too, turtles, fish, reptiles of different kinds, and so on. Lots to watch!
In the afternoon we met up with my girlfriend’s friend for dinner and later something sweet. It had been an eventfull day indeed.
Friday was our last day in Bergen, and we mostly spent time at cafés or walked around. Walking down Bryggen was interesting, with lots of tourists. We ended up having diner at Pygmalion, which serves organic food. I think we agreed we had the tastiest meal of our Bergen trip.
In the afternoon it was time to hop back on the bus, and head back home.
I år tok jeg tidlig juleferie. Jeg hadde siste arbeidsdag før ferien lørdag 17. desember, og 18. desember satte jeg kursen sørover.
Mandagen reiste jeg til Sandnes og Stavanger på dagstur. Først og fremst for å besøke den nye jobben jeg starter i 1. februar, men også for å finne sted å bo. På ettermiddagen dro jeg inn til Stavanger.
Deretter tibragte jeg noen dager i Oslo, før jeg dro til Gjøvik for å feire jul. Der ble jeg til julaften kvelden, for så å dra til Enebakk. 1. juledag var det tid for et lite familiebesøk på Fetsund, før jeg reiste tilbake til Hammerfest 2. juledag.
Helgen 18. – 20. november 2011 var jeg på besøk i Øksfjord. Øksfjord er kommunesenteret i Loppa kommune, som i følge SSB hadde et innbyggertall på 1 087 pr. 1. oktober 2011. Øksfjord ligger i havgapet, sør i Finnmark, og har veiforbindelse mot Alta. Skal man til Hammerfest, hvor jeg i skrivende stund bor, er det rasket å ta båt. Det går rutebåt som tar rundt to timer, samt at Hurtigruta også stopper her.
Jeg hadde en veldig koselig helg. Bland annet fikk jeg med meg lørdagens julemarked, arrangert av bygdas husflidslag. Der ble det solgt mye forskjellig. Selv endte jeg opp blant annet med et par tovede votter til meg selv, som jeg ønsket meg.