fredag 7. januar 2011

And once again...

Way overdue.

One big hello from Søgne, from the worlds most sporadic blogger. And since I've not posted anything since the... Somethingeth of October, I have a lot to catch up on. A lot has happened since then...

For instance we went to Belarus and Lithuania! That is my class, Friluftsliv, and Reiseliv (society and travel). I have mentioned this in an earlier post. Here is what happened:

Since getting into Belarus is literally impossible we had to fly to Lithuania where we stayed for one night before we got smuggled over the border in the back of a truck full of potatoes (this is actually funny since no one would ever bother importing potatoes to Belarus. After all, that's all they produce there). But since I really can't find anything else funny to write about the trip, I'll rather just post the pictures I took.

The first thing we did in Lithuania was to try out some of the local cuisine at this fine Lithuanian restaurant:
Running joke of the year.

After that we went on a trip through Vilnius, which I have to say is really a beautiful city.

The Sweedish embassy.

And we shopped for a bit. Some of us bought a bunch of crazy fur hats which I can't seem to remember the English name for. Others bought chocolate.

Morten buys some peculiar chocolate... It's chili chocolate.

And then we looked at more architecture:
A chapel.

Inside it. I really can't think of anything funny =(

Our class on the top of a fort looking out over Vilnius.

Darkness fell, as it usually does when it gets late, and our class went to a karaoke-bar... A while later the local people started leaving.

The next day we had a date with a long, tiresome road to Belarus and a bunch of angry-looking border guards who wondered what kind of potatoes scream when stabbed with bayonets.

The sky was gray, and as I poked my head up from underneath our cover I took some pictures.

It really is nothing like Vilnius.

We were all tired from cheating the toll and avoiding officers, so we went straight to bed after a quick meal... Alright, we weren't really smuggled over the border in a truck full of potatoes, but it would've been cooler than saying we rode the bus, right?

The next day we went on a trip through Minsk. Our first stop was the National Library. Unfortunately it started raining later that day, so I don't have any pictures of the actual city... But you can make a nice replica of it by placing post-communistic square blocks of stone in a quadrature with about a bazillion meters between each block and spray painting everything gray and not significant. Including the small people replicas.

At least I got some pictures of the library.
Interesting building which lights up like a disco globe at night.

Some art in the lobby.

More art...

Naturally a library has books.

Really old books.

Many really old books.

Alright, what? This is just silly... Press F1 for help?

The next day we went to a place called Dudutki, which is an outdoors museum for old Belorussian culture. As I suspected it involved a crude smithy, a woodcraft shop, a pottery and a bakery. Everything very old of course. And Belorussian. So I wouldn't make any mental pictures about this since they would probably be wrong. And of course there was a vodka distillery or two. I didn't bother taking many pictures here, since it wasn't all that interesting. I've seen the same things in Norway. Only in Norwegian.
Windmill and a lens flare.

Potter at work. Not the wizard one. Just one that makes pots =(

Nicoline had a go at pottery making.

At some point during the vodka-induced haze we went to some of the many memorials of the Belorussian peoples' struggles. And boy, have they been through a lot... The first place we visited was Khatyn. This place is not funny, so I'm not gonna make any jokes about it. No really. Here's pictures:
Josef Kaminsky. The only survivor of the Nazis massacre in the village that used to be Kathyn. He was the caretaker of the Kathyn memorial until he died of old age.

All of these chimneys have been reconstructed and a bell is in the top. They all chime every 30 seconds.

One of four Belorussians died during the second world war. This memorial commemorates that.

Some nice trees =)

After that we went to Kurgan Slavi and Kurapaty. Kurgan Slavi is a 35 meter tall monument that serves as a memorial at the place where the Soviet army liberated Belarus from the Nazi occupation... And it's incredibly unfamous. I mean, when you try googling "Kurgan Slavi", some of the top hits are those of blogs from other students from Agder FHS. Even I am more famous than that!

If I mention Kurgan Slavi one more time in this post, my blog will probably appear at the top of the sear... Oh. Crap.

And this is where we lived:
This is how my room looks normally.

Rasmus packing the last day in Minsk.

It's cozy :D I'm glad we stayed in the dorm of  BNTU (Belarusian National Technical University), and not the sad hotel rooms where Reiseliv stayed. There we met a Norwegian student, Mari, who also went with us on all of our trips.
What is this I see?

Oh, and apparently Belorussians are huuuuuuuuuuge fans of anything that's from western countries. I don't know how many times I heard "Take on Me" by A-ha while we were there. It was really weird. I didn't even know A-ha went to Belarus on their final tour... Probably because they too had to be smuggled in by way of potatoes.

And guess where the Belorussian students hang out after classes in the evening... That's right; McDonalds!

That's pretty much all from Belarus. After this we went back to Lithuania for one final night. Some people hit the town, while others stayed back at the hotel mending colds... Yeah, that was me =( After that we went back to Norway. Everyone were pretty much ecstatic to be back. Me included. I mean, I was almost on the verge of breakdown. The fucking Russian letters were everywhere, and since we had learned the Russian alphabet I went around trying to decipher everything I saw. It was freaking impossible not to!

But no, all in all I think this was a really good trip. It was a nice way to get to know both classes better and in any case, Belarus is an interesting place to be. It looks just like any other European country... Only, you know, it's not. I honestly have no complaints. The food was interesting, but not bad. I think we were served food that was at least ten times better than what they normally eat there. We experienced the Belorussian approach to service... Which is none at all. And I think we all learned to appreciate how good we really have it here in Norway. Beautiful Norway. Although I liked the trip, I have to say one week was enough. After that I think maybe it would've become kinda unpleasant... I hope the photography class survives their two weeks in Belarus =) They're there now.

For some reason the karaoke bar in Vilnius was closed when we returned. Why!? =(

And that's all for now. See ya.

- Mr. Seriousface who never tells a funny.

søndag 24. oktober 2010


Oh boy, am I overdue. I think I'll have to split this blog post into multiple smaller posts so that people won't spend all day reading it and that my friends won't come looking for me in my room, wondering whether I've died or whatnot. A lot has happened. But it's at least four weeks since last time I wrote anything here, and in the meantime I've been to Lista, had autumn vacation and visited Belarus! I'm back at school now.

Our trip to Lista happened the week before autumn vacation. We brought two lavvus (which weighs a ton by the way) with which we camped close to the beach. This was our first trip that was more or less picture-oriented. We thought maybe we could take some cool pictures of waves, buuuuuuut...

Lame waves are not very exciting.

So instead we took a little trip around the place and to the big rock you see in the picture above.

Yee! Camera trip. From the left: Rasmus, Hallvard (who's really just posing), Kine, Marthe, Nicoline and Vanja.

Not much more to say really... So here's pictures!

The new face here (or rather back) is Kenneth. Rasmus is too cool for school.

You can almost see Denmark from here!


We wandered around, took pictures and played kubb until the sun went down and we couldn't even see where we were throwing the sticks. The night was damp, and even the warmth from our campfire couldn't do much to fight of the chill, so I went to bed.

... And forgot to put on warm socks. This was very sloppy and very, very, very stupid. The next day I was completely ravaged by a terribly potent cold. This can actually be seen in the pictures I took the following day. They looked fine to me when I took them, but now I see that most of them are either too bright or too dark.

Anyways, we went to Morten's cabin. It was a nice little, white-painted house in a small, secluded fjord, completely shielded from the strong winds of the sea. The other guys (who didn't take pictures with us), had been out the previous day and set lobster traps and fishing nets. While we ate breakfast they went out in the boat to haul in the catch. And was that a catch to remember... At least if you think seaweed is a memorable catch.

One lobster trap filled with crab. Doesn't English have a word for a contraption that catches crab?

On disgruntled crab (several disgruntled crabs underneath disgruntled crab).

Everyone helped (I did too)

Even Rasmus was an asset :D

Oh well, we did get something in the net. Several small Rødspette, a few sticks and another couple of crabs to add to our collection. After we'd cleaned out the net, we cooked the crabs and went for a walk; to this sunny place which name escapes me:



Here Morten told us this interesting story about how the whole place was built on stolen and pirated money. Talk about sunny and idyllic. You don't need to go all the way to the Caribbean to find badass, dirty pirates. These guys wouldn't offer a sea battle, broadside to broadside like you see in the movies; or even a fair fight for that matter. For instance; they would outfit cows with lanterns to make sailors believe they looked at a lighthouse in pitch darkness, and then pillage the leftovers as they ran aground. Oh, and this was all perfectly legal! If you had a consent, you could pillage and loot foreign ships as much as you pleased. At least the English ships. And this area is dangerous enough on its own, even with the proper, non-cow-related guidance. It's full of reefs and dangerous currents. The whole area around Lista is one gigantic ship graveyard. Even to this day you can find the remains of ancient ships and their cargo.

Pirates or not, it looks pretty sweet to me.


And then we went pack to the minibus and drove to Lista lighthouse.

The lighthouse.

Inside the lighthouse.
Sheep roams freely here.

As does these guys.

After everyone had their turn in the lighthouse and gone berserk with their camera, we drove the minibus to a forest where we could really go bananas. The forest was one of those old forests with trees getting really intimate with their branches. Like this:

Yeah, can you see the sun? I pointed my camera directly at it, just for the record. And the ground is not even visible due to a thick, dense layer of pines. It's this kind of forest in which there lives fairies and witches.

What was that? Did you see that?

And the water runs like jelly.

Too bad I didn't have a tripod... That could've led to some pretty cool pictures. Later we went to yet another place.


Windy? Oh no, not at all...

This is where Lista has gotten its name from. See the wall of mountains in the distance? To seafarers this would look like a doorstep or a list. (List is the same in Norwegian, hence the name)

Afterwards we drove back to Morten's cabin and ate the fish and crabs we'd caught, and some shrimp we'd bought earlier. And I realized why people tend to eat shrimp in the summer when it's warm. When your fingers are cold, trying to peel the scales of a shrimp requires a ridiculous amount of effort. And being ill the whole day, while driving to all those places didn't really help at all. Oh well, I was almost completely healthy again the next day. Which was most welcome. Sleeping outside or in a lavvu or a tent apparently seems to speed recovery up. Then we went home again, to our warm, cozy rooms and soft beds. Man are we spoiled...

That was all from our trip to Lista. The big scoop comes in the next entry.

'till then.