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.