August 21, 2008


Filed under: England — sensel @ 5:08 am

From 8/16: Started my official Dales Way today, with lots of tramping alongside the river (literally). The river’s quite nice, although I’m having a hard time getting used to brown rivers — there’s so much tannin in the water and ground here. Spent about an hour at one of the best historical sites along the whole way, Bolton Priory, which sits on a bend in the river and the nave, which wasn’t destroyed along with the rest of the church, still serves the local parish. Not my favorite abbey of all time, but it is a big one with lots of atmospheric ruins and some GREAT door hardware. Mused over a place called The Strid, where the river charges down through limestone plates that come within about 3 feet of each other — close enough to tempt one to stride over, thus the name — but boy, if you slipped into that water you’d never come up; it looks like a blender on high. (A blender filled with Coke on high, since that’s about the color of the water.) Ended the day in a great little place called Appletreewick, about two dozen stone houses that sit on a hill over another bend in the river. The pub had the best fish chowder I have ever eaten, so even if I had to use my earplugs that night before the riots finally died down, it was worth it!

Ilkley moor

Filed under: England — sensel @ 5:00 am

From Friday 8/15: I tramped all over Ilkley moor today and really enjoyed getting up among the purple heather (never seen it in bloom before) and the lanolin smell of the sheep (droppings). Checked out a tumble of rocks known as the Cow and Calf and came back down through a place called Hebron’s Ghyll. I’m not sure if a ghyll is the creek or the shady ravine it tumbles down through, but it was lovely and must have kept the bridge-builders busy for weeks, as the trail criss-crossed back and forth across the beck at least six times. I don’t know if it’s true that the Otherfolk have left this land, but their echoes still certainly sound in green, mossy hollows like this.

One thing I really love about England is the tangible sense that you’re just one thread in a long tapestry, and the picture on the rest of the tapestry is considerably more clear than the recent weaving that you’re involved in. Everything’s built of stone and feels eternal, and sturdy, and helps makes sure the humans are well integrated into the earth.

Also, the people are SO much more friendly here. Or maybe I just have a weakness for being called, “love.” Had a nice chat over a cider with an older fellow in the pub I’m staying in last night, and we discussed the lousy weather, trains, Scotland’s current rumblings for independence, and websites. Fun!

August 15, 2008

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 4:57 pm

Allen in Bergen

Mom to the rescue?

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 12:53 am

Well, I CAN e-mail photos and if she has time, my mom/marketing manager/administrative assitant will post a few. I’m in England now and having a harder time finding internet access, but if that works, will e-mail her more when I can for posting!

I’m in the Dales at Ilkley, with the moor towering over the stone houses and manors of the town – man, I love it here. People are much more friendly than in Norway — or perhaps I just have a weakness for being called “love,” and everyone says “good morning” and “lovely day, right?”. My room’s over a pub and I had a cider downstairs last night with an old fellow who I chatted away with about (of course) the weather, the train system in the UK vs. the US, Scotland’s rumblings for independence, and travel in general. Fun!

Pedometer: 70 miles, but I start the “real” walking tomorrow. It’s beautiful today, though not supposed to last. That’s okay, I’ll take even a day of blue sky and sun at this point!

Okay, gotta get out of the library and up on that moor. Having a harder time finding i-net access here, so the posts may be farther apart, but I’ll try. Cheerio!


Filed under: Tech Difficulties — sensel @ 12:48 am

Okay, I’m admitting defeat. I’ve got the camera down, at least, after some playing, so I’ll have some good pics after the fact. But I’ve realized that 1) there’s a bit of miscommunication between my camera and the little Linux photo manager on this Eee, so I keep having to hard shut down and only about every third photo saves correctly to the Eee. I should have tested that more thoroughly before I left, oh well. And 2) there’s another conflict between Firefox and the WordPress photo upload page that keeps hanging the site; it wasn’t just file size before. So rather than dink around with this, which I don’t want to do, and risk screwing up the Eee so I lose e-mail contact, I throw in the towel (unless I end up somewhere convenient to upload them on someone else’s machine from one of my flash drives). Sorry. :-/ I’ll try to hone my verbal descriptions so photos would be superfluous, ha ha!

August 13, 2008

Talking back

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 4:49 am

A few random answers (thanks for the comments/questions!)

Ray: If there is a Flim to go with the Flam, I haven’t seen it, but I’ll check the map (or perhaps the street performers here in Oslo, who are probably fully acquainted with both.) 😉

Mom: Allen is mostly keeping up with my mileage, although we’re not always covering the SAME mileage; we’ve been spending part of most days going our own ways. Keeping up until today, anyway, when I spent just about all day walking in the rain and he spent most of it reading (he bought a new Dan Brown book, as that Slash book doesn’t hold his interest more than 5 minutes — it’s the same one he had at Xmas.)

Kirsten: I DID eat that brown cheese (gertost or something like that?)! Tastes a little like Velveeta to me. And thanks for the tip on the aquarium, I did go there. They had basket stars, my favorite.

Several: It’s been comfortably cool every day, with showers most days and out-and-out rain on several. But we did have partly sunny yesterday, which was nice. I expected this weather in England later this fall, but not here and not yet!

Rae: The wrap I had was made of tortilla, basically; I think the lefse might be saved for dessert? Allen & I did try some freshly cooked in the demonstration at the folk museum, though — tasty.

Bergen rocks

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 4:42 am

Bergen was a treat! We got lucky with a wee bit of sunshine, and we wandered through the Bryggen, which is like the York Shambles in England only made out of wood, all dark alleys and crooked buildings and overhanging second stories dating back several hundred years to Bergen’s glory as a key German merchants’ trading port. Then we toured the tower, which was basically a small castle dating from the 1300s that had its roof and most of its top floor blown off in 1944 when a German munitions boat blew up in the harbor. Saw an old church or two, rode the funicular up the mountain – think trolleys on the steepest slope this side of the ski lift – and enjoyed the great view from the top with a great salmon-and-egg-salad sandwich. Throw in a buzz through the aquarium for me and a buying spree at the mall for Allen, and it was a great day!

If I were doing this again, I’d skip Oslo, or at least spend less time there, and come straight here. Bergen is WAY better. With maybe two more days here, I could take the bus to the abbey ruins and the botanical garden. But we had a brutal red-eye train ride instead. (Lesson learned; I probably won’t do that again. Like trying to sleep on a plane x 2, despite the ear plugs and eye mask they kindly provide.) More rain back here in Oslo on Weds; you’d never know it was August (or maybe this is as good as it gets here?) Wouldn’t mind more of the fjords, but I’m indeed ready to leave Oslo.

Back in a few e-moments to post photos (I think).

August 12, 2008

Okay, here’s the plan…

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 12:01 am

I will outsmart my Firefox font problem by writing all my blog posts in the word processor first, like I know most “real” bloggers do anyway. I will make some stab at outsmarting my camera (or at least being within a few degrees of its IQ) by.. well, I’ll spare you the gory details since I don’t want to retype my whining about that, just as well that post got deleted, but we’re now in Bergen, which looks really great, so I’ll hope to solve all camera problems and upload some photos from here soon. (I started to upload one or two big ones last night and froze up my blog site, so clearly that is a bad plan. For photos from the very start of our trip, you’ll just have to see them in person later. Sorry. Just go online and look up Flam or fjords and look at their photos for a sense of what we say there!)

<Whine over.> I’ll just try to describe poetically:

Flam was half old-time train station, half wilderness marina, half tourist trap. Sunday gave us showers (from the sky, not the bathroom, we’ve had those all along, though we’re not always sure how to turn them on) and Monday basically rained all day, so we didn’t spend as much time outside as I would have liked. The fjord is stunning, even shrouded in mist. It’s hard for me not to look at these massifs and think that the land itself is God. Our boat ride today was chilly and damp, but I sat out back in my raincoat for most of it to soak in the impassive and patient glory, and I wish I had counted the waterfalls, because we must have passed, oh…40? Tiny white threads from peak tops to sea, huge gushers billowing spray, ribbons that frayed and branched and rejoined, peekaboo falls tucked in crevasses… I had a hike to a nearby biggish waterfall this morning that was steep and muddy but I really enjoyed it. Ate wild raspberries on the way and saw three nearly new-born lambs. Those delights notwithstanding, I can see why the vikings had to go raiding to make ends meet; this is a harsh and stingy corner of earth, and even with the few patches of nonvertical land in fields, it’s hard to see how 2+ months of summer could possibly had yielded a living for anyone back in the day, even if they ate plenty of fish. (Hard to fish when the sea is frozen, I’m guessing.)

Okay, I could go on for pages but I won’t. Up to 37 miles on the pedometer. Going to bed, but will explore Bergen tomorrow and try to report on what looks like a fab town when I can!

August 11, 2008

Digital moron

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 12:52 pm


<We’re sorry, but the user of this blog is having technical difficulties. Please tune in again later, when perhaps she will stop deleting things, hitting the wrong key, and losing wars of wit with her camera. Your patronage is appreciated.>

Sticker shock

Filed under: Norway — sensel @ 12:25 pm

Boy, I just can’t get over prices here. The best illustration I’ve found so far: I’ve repeatedly paid $7 for a (small!) cup of tea, and Big Macs (which I have NOT paid for) cost $14. The rest of my destinations are going to look relatively cheap!

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