Here are the thoughts of Joanna nee Lake as she spends time in Ecuador, and beyond... Disciple, Fairtrade Freak, Psychologist in the making. Now part of the Blundell Jones clan.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

gettin back to the roots! the summer!

oo well, i've been meaning to write a little here for a little while but i'd been waiting for a couple of videos to be put up on utube by miriam -- scroll down and you'll catch me speaking norwegian in a REALLY weird accent (and making ridiculous faces too!!)

vi har vært etter Norge... and we had a fab time! Helped by the fact that we managed to get the guidebook for Norway JUST before we left, it was bit hairy when I realised the library didn't open till 10 on a monday and we had to catch our train at 10.30!!!
We camped not only 3 nights in Oslo but one very wet night in Bergen (so went home with one wet tent!). We were slightly nervous about camping, but Ekeberg campsite was fab, really easy to get to and from, amazing views over the city, and the weather apart from about an hour of rain was fab, which makes camping a WHOLE lot easier! Camping also meant we saved alot of money!!! which, we spent on food, which was just well expensive -- i guess more so coz we couldn't buy bulk or store stuff in a fridge or cook for ourselves --
We got up close and personal to The Stones, not in a literal sense but definitely in a we-could-hear-every-word-they-say-every-note-they-played-from-4-km-away!!!
It was fun exploring Oslo, checking out the Viking Boat huset (house) by going over on a ferry - those boats are impressive, they're huge!!!! Going round the Cultural Heritage museum, we stumbled across the most amazing art 'installation' (not sure if that's the right word but it makes sense to me) in the middle of an exhibition about the Congo. It just reminded me of why I'm so passionate about social injustice.
This Congolese lady, Kate Naluyele, who is studying at Oslo Uni, created this piece called Defeatism. There were two parts: on the wall, a giant sheet covered in different tib-bits of handwritten info about trade, the mining of Coltan from Congo (used in all electronic equipment) and how it relates to poverty and war; on a table, loads of broken bottles, with things like 'greed', 'materialism', 'hate', written on shards of the glass - as Kate puts "sound bites of what has been constantly sustaining the moral injustices of the world".
There was one simple flow diagram that got me:
How I wish my batteries hadn't decided to die at that point so i could show you the whole thing but alas they did, so you'll have to put up with my rather vague explaination --- i hope you get the picture!
I felt really fired up to change the world again after reading all she'd written, especially as you look at the flow chart and see that it starts with us, with the choices we make!
loving art
The other thing that we really loved out Oslo, and it was something we almost missed, cept for the fact we decided to take one of the trams to the end of it's line, and we noticed on the map Vigelandsparken. If anyone ever goes to Oslo, this place is a must - he was an amazing sculpter, who captured human moments and emotions so beautifully in stone and bronze. There's a bridge through the middle of the park that is just lined with these figures, each one telling a different story, showing a different relationship: a father fiercely defending the baby in his arms, an angry child, an old man in deep conversation with his small grandson, a man and woman in an emotional embrace of deepest comfort! It was almost magical to look at them, I guess the warm sunshine helped!!
training it to stavanger
So on from Oslo we took an 8 hour train to Stavanger and Miriam's house - travelling through the fjords was amazing, through the train went super fast, tilting to go round corners and I ended up feeling somewhat nauseous! The funniest thing about the train was that when we arrived at Kristiansand, the train conductor comes along and starts to turn all the chairs round -- he literally flicks a switch (break I guess), swivles the set of 2 seats round to click into place facing the opposite direction! Everyone (almost everyone) seemed totally unprepared and in a total state of confusion as they tried to find the books and knitting they'd put in the pocket of the seat in front! I luckily had the presence of mind to quickly take all our stuff out before the man came so no embarrassing moments of trying to find stuff using my minimal norwegian!
Norge fjord
Arriving in Stavanger, we pretty quickly set off on a ferry to Tau to Miriam's family 'cabin' on the fjord nr Jopeland. We had a chilled out night there and the next day set off up Preikestolen, aka Pulpit Rock - and what a mammoth trek it was! Well it wasn't that bad really, but it was hard work climbing up (or rather over) 'stairs' of giant boulders - but when we got to the top and the fog cleared, the view over the fjord some 600m below was spectactular and well worth it!
oo we're almost at the videos!!! hee hee... the next day we took another ferry trip over to an island called Finnøy, to join in the delights of their annual tomato festival!! It was fab, there were tomatoes, tomatoes galore - for free! whole handfuls - I had to be very careful not to get carried away and tomatoes and me have a love-hate relationship!! we tried fried green tomatoes in a crumby batter with vinegar and olive oil - delicious, and of course some super creamy traditional norwegian cake!
we got abit lost trying to find our way back to the ferry port so ended up missing it by like 30 seconds, grrr!! so rather than drive off we decided to hang round the port and chill out (which included playing the most frustrating card game ever, Mao) - and get alittle silly with videos!! catch my attempts at speaking norwegian!!

oo we got back to our roots in the evening with some music!!! a friend of miriam's has held a garden festival for the last 3 years - they provide the bbq, puddings and drinks, amps etc, and you bring your meat and your instruments/voice/performance! It was awesome, some amazingly talented guys played, a bit of youth gospel choir, the local versions of Sting and Jarvis (in hair, eccentricity and build at least), a local comedian did the most amazing mime, some off the cuff blues, a whole host of other things, and this britney song! sorry its just a snippett!

it was a fab evening and both tim and i thought if we ever have a garden big enough, it;s something we'll do for sure!!!
oo interesting fact about Stavanger, Antony Gormley did an art installation with all these bronze statues of people that he placed round the city called "Broken Column" - if you ever go, keep an eye out for them! Some are in the most unexpected places!!
our last stop in norway was Bergen, the rain centre for Norway (and for Europe apparently) where we flew home.... we got there by taking a rather spectactular boat trip up the coast (cheaper than the bus actually and quicker) which was a little choppy in patches, resulting in alittle sea sickness... and true to it's reputation, it rained... there were a few drops when we arrived mid afternoon but sun and warmth too, but by the evening, the rain settled in for the night!!! It's good place to visit, even in the rain, very charming - especially the World Heritage site, all these old wooden buildings, towering over you, built in really close... in a way it would've been good to stay longer as there is a lot to be seen...

so all in all, we really enjoyed our time in Norway, it was awesome to hang out with miriam, to have a giggle, be silly (and serious), to meet some of her friends (and be made to say my little sentence like some kind of english show monkey - hee hee) and i guess generally be reminded about some of the things that make us tick... xx
p.s this blog always lies about the time, it's actually just after 5pm!