Thursday, February 28, 2008


Looking back at Oslo from Holmenkollen

(read Arctic Adventure post first and this is then in sequence) 
After arriving at Oslo and walking through what reminded us of a skanky corner of The Cross, we were relieved to step out into Oslo centre and explore much nicer spaces.  The architecture throughout is much like the building below.

Noran in the town centre

Our nights out were fun, particularly the first one at the Nomaden Club. Noran had emailed ahead to both venues  saying we wanted to see both DJ’s (you couldn't buy tickets ahead of time) and our names were on the door at both places (yay free entry). Further, one club owner and the other club's door man were expecting us and we got to meet both DJs, making both nights great.   Yes we took photos, but we had come a long way and they didn’t mind.   I think they considered us mad and all were curious about Australia.

12 pm at Nomaden started my birthday celebrations with a round of Jagermister on the house. It was a small welcoming place with low wooden beams, dim lights and walls covered in event posters and cool wallpaper.  We danced, met people and had heaps of fun. Noran now has some good music contacts in Norway.

The next day we explored Oslo further and found the groovy end of town, good coffee and great sandwiches.  
Coffee at, 5 times world champion barista, Tim Wendelboe's coffee house

Oslo Harbour

Back to the hotel for a glass of champagne (what else) and then off to one of the many local Vietnamese restaurants for a quick dinner, than to see Prins Thomas. Another good night to finish the celebrations.


On day three we thought we would get out of town and explore the snow fields around Oslo. Catching  the metro train from the centre of Oslo up the surrounding hills to Frognerseteren. People get off the train straight onto cross country ski tracks or taboggan down trails. It was great seeing the snow, I am now inspired to try some cross country skiing and Noran wants toboggan which also looks fun (they have these cool toboggans which you can steer down the tracks). One thing we wont be doing is this.

Ski Jump at Holmenkollen built for the 1952 Winter Olympics

We did wish we could speak some Norwegian, rather than everyone having to speak to us in English. 

We said good by to Oslo early the next morning wondering how they keep the runways free of snow.  It was a great trip one that we will remember.

Arctic Adventure


Our decision to go to Norway was based on very little research, Noran saw that his favourite producer Linstrom and DJ Prins Thomas were playing in their home country and I thought it would be great to see the Northern Lights. So we booked our tickets on Norwegien airlines, not realising the long list of items required to make it all happen. We shopped for shoes, thermals, jumpers, socks, hats to make sure we would be warm in the Arctic. All packed we set off for an adventure we will not forget.

It was well worth the effort and even though we only saw a sneaky bit of the northern lights through the clouds on our first night in Tromso.  However, in the search of clearer skys we booked a trip to the town of Sykervoy, probably the most north we will get in our life times. From here we caught a ferry back to Tromso through a number of fjords.

Ferry from Skejervoy to Tromso

It was brilliant seeing the moon reflect off these enormous mountains coming out of the water either side of the ferry. I bought a tripod to take photos which although somewhat dark captured some of the peaks.

Fjord just off Skejervoy
arriving back to Tromso

Another indulgence was a dinner to sample some food cooked locally, after much searching we found the Arctandria seafood restaurant. Cod was the specialty and now is the the best time to eat it. We were rewarded with a very tasty meal, I wasn’t allowed to take photos so you will have to take my word for it. Almost getting used to the Pound v AUD we had try hard not to continually calculate the Norwegian Kroner (norky’s) to the Australian dollar. Just for fun post your guesses at how much this round was, two pilsners and two gold snapps.

The Arctic experience was awesome and definitely recommended for anyone heading this way.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brighton Weekend

Noran and I took our first trip out of London to Brighton to visit some of Nick's old friends. We had a great weekend and can understand why so many people have said good things about it (Ed & Kate). Especially once we found our way off the beach with some help of the locals.  

A few hours later Antonia and Justin join the group

Lunch the next day back at the Constant Service a slow cooked pork roast (Justin had put it on the night before) delicious

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Year of the Rat

Wishing all of you born in 1936, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96 or 2008 a Happy Year of the Rat.  People born in a Rat year are said to be logical realists, shrewd, ambitious and inventive, they are usually charming, quick-witted and intelligent.  It is a very social sign, rat people tend to be very talkative and are almost never found sitting quietly on their own.  They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes. 

Apparently a Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity and renewal (great).  It is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a project or make a fresh start (that sounds better). The best way to success is to be patient, let things develop slowly  (i can work on patience) and make the most of every opportunity.

Claire (Rat) and your London correspondents (Rat and Goat) waited in the que at the Royal China restaurant to sample some Dim Sum (Yum Cha) to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Our patience was rewarded with some very tasty dim sum, duck pancakes and a lap around the restaurant by two dragons with accompanying drums.

So much for Chinese Astrology we had a fun day.

Tourists in London

We decided to take the day off from job searching and have a look around town.  You can guess the places we visited.

Prem warned us about Brick Lane ... but we went anyway

Brick Lane is quite close by and we walk down it a bit now, but somewhat wiser than the first couple of times.   

Our initial search for a curry was a little overwhelming, but funny looking back.  This was due to the array of discounts, offers and creative sales pitches tossed at us as we walked past each restaurant.  The enticements included: "what do you drink, we give you a beer, the lady wine and 20% off, we promise to make you smile", then onward, "we give you 25% off and a bottle of wine, we have quality food and best service", next, "we have quality food, the others will give you small portions and big discounts, you will leave us happy", further on, "I promise you wont pay if you don't like, we have best chef in Brick lane, look the Guardian says ".   Bewildered we walk into the last one probably not the best offer but a bottle of wine sounded like a good idea by then.    The meal was not the best we have had, but then we were warned, so the next indian meal will be found elsewhere.  

In the day, the apprentice touters must be on duty and  it is not so hectic.  We had a lovely lunch with Ange,  Claire and Laure, which I thought the food was better, but still not the best.     On a more recent wonder we found some really tasty potato cakes (aloo tikki) and the search is on for Masala dosa, apparently we need to go to Eastham to find this.

It is a really interesting street with lots of history.  One end is the indian section and up the other there are bars, shops and a well attended local establishment, the Bagel House.  We are told it has been in Brick Lane forever and has stacks of fresh bagels made in-house filling it's cabinets. Some with creme cheese and salmon and others with what looks like big chunks of corned beef.  We are working up to trying the latter - must be good though as the que never subsides.   

We will return to explore further, Brick Lane is close by and just near Spittlefield Markets/shops which unsurprisingly keeps luring me back.