Norway part 3


The next days were still full of whales but the weather was not really good. Although it could have been worse with more rain. So the grey clouds did not make the days longer. It was pretty obvious that the days got shorter very fast. It was stormy again one day and we had water tornadoes dancing over the water. And for once the humpback was not jumping behind my back. 🙂 Julian came down and told us that a humpback had just jumped in front of the boat. So we went up again and a few seconds later the whale jumped again. I was not fast enough to catch him when he was fully out of the water (he didn’t come out entirely anyway I think). One humpback that we saw had only half of his fluke left. Since it looked like cleanly cut off we think that he must have been hurt by a boat.
At one point we had a group of about 20 humpbacks swimming parallel to our boat and right next to us. I took a video with my mobile of that as pictures would never have caught that appropriately. In the evenings we hoped for Lady Aurora again but although we had clear skies she would not show herself. But the full moon was impressive on our last evening.
The trip back home was an adventure again as we flew out of Sorkjosen at the peak of storm warning red in a little plane. I am usually relaxed when flying but there were some moments that I was rather un-relaxed. It was an experience that I prefer not to repeat. But boy – those pilotes sure know how to fly… The rest of the trip didn’t go that well either but in the end I made it home. Here are the last pics… If you want to go through them in full size click on the first one and then you can navigate to the next one.

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Norway 2018 part 2

We had another great day the next day but we knew that the sunny weather would not last. So I enjoyed the show mother nature gave us in the sky again. That evening when we went out after lunch (shouldn’t have taken our time and went out earlier) there was something in the sky that looked like…. yes, Mrs. Aurora was showing herself. And not only that – we had a rainbow in front of the northern lights. Don’t think I will ever see this again. The pics of the northern lights were expensive ones for me though as it was still really windy. When I opened my jacket to get the mobile out (to let the tour leaders know that the aurora was dancing) the wind blew over my tripod. The camera survived but my lense didn’t. Fortunately I still had another lense with me but since this was my normal ‚Always on‘-lense I had to buy a new one when I got back home. *sigh* The next day weather was no longer so sunny but still OK. We got some breaching and spyhopping wales – and lots of fun. 😉

 

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Norway 2018 – first part

Earlier this year during the Boot-trade show I decided to go back to Norway with the whales. This time it was not in Andenes but in a little village north east of Tromsoe. What I hadn’t known that travelling there would be such an adventure… 😉 😀 Let’s keep the trip there short version… all looked mostly well but I hadn’t been too comfortable with just 35 minutes between flights in Tromsoe. In Oslo it looked like we were on time as they were already doing the pre-boarding calls – only 5 minutes before our scheduled departure time there was an announcement that we had to switch planes. That was when I met part of my group… 😉 Since we all had the same problem we met somehow at the counter. We finally departed with 45 minutes delay and before landing we were told that we go to the other gate as fast as possible as the other flight crew had not confirmed that they would wait. Before arriving at the gate we got the news though that they would wait. We ran anyway and of course the gate was at the other side of the airport… we boarded and when everyone was there we started towards Sorkjosen… little did we know that we would be back in Tromsoe after one hour. During the flight we were aware that there was a lot of wind and the flight became bumpy. I was deep in thought and didn’t realize that we should have had landed already when the captain announced that we could not land in Sorkjosen due to the storm. So we flew back to Tromsoe. Once arrived there we got vouchers for something to eat and drink and then we were brought to a bus that would bring us to Sorkjosen… 4 h drive in the pitch dark. At a quarter past 1 in the morning the bus left us in front of our hotel and we just got our keys and off to bed.
The next morning Anja and Sven from Northern Explorers waited for us in the Lobby and we went to the boat to get some security information. Since I had been on the boat twice before I knew the drill. After that we went back to our hotel for some more sleep because we couldn’t go out for the whales due to the storm. We met in the afternoon for coffee and cake and my Iceland cake was reeeeaaallllyyyyy good. After that the weather app told us that it had stopped raining (it lied! 😉 ) and together with Verena I walked around the village. 1.5 h later we had seen the entire village (including airport). 😀
The next morning we got up early again and then came a day of which I can honestly say that it was one of the best days of my life. Lots of whale action (humpbacks and orcas) and the sky was just awesome. The days started to get really short so sunrise was close to end when sunset started. That day we had a spectacular nearly two hours sunset and I took the time to just stand on the boat and enjoy. Those were moments that were really difficult to forget. Excuse me when I got a bit overboard with pics from that day…. 😉 After dinner we went out to check for northern lights but even with wishful thinking and lots of imagination we couldn’t see more than a very slight green veal.

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Kuala Lumpur

Before I fly to Norway tomorrow I am uploading the pics from Kuala Lumpur. On my way back from Bali I stayed two nights in Kuala Lumpur because I wanted to see the Petrona Twin Towers. If I had realized that it would take me nearly 12 hours door to door from my resort in Bali I am not sure I would have done it. I arrived at nearly 7 PM when it was nearly dark so I just grabbed my camera and went off. Normally I would have just been at the entrance of the park in front of the Petrona Towers but since there is a huge building site I had to go around the area and somehow find my way over. I had to pass a big mosque and when I arrived at the Petrona Towers it was in time to see the colourful water plays in the evening. The next day was my only full day and in the afternoon I had organized a geo-cache event. One cacher turned up and we had a fun afternoon. We walked around the park again doing maintenance on geocaches (that I had to log 😀 ) and I had a really great time. Then I had only one morning left and my foot was hurting, my ear was hurting…. in short: I didn’t really feel like sightseeing. So even though I should probably have gone to see other parts of the city I again went to the Petrona Towers and took some more pics there. I know that I didn’t see as much of Kuala Lumpur as I could have but when you don’t feel well and can’t walk it is not really fun to go sightseeing… here are some pics…

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Bali under water

Let me start with some more info on Bali… in the last post you could see some flowers and a ’stinky stick‘ that were put in front of my bungalow (and all other buildings) daily. I saw the girl putting them one day and she had ‚purifying‘ water too that was sprinkled on them. They were supposed to attract the good ghosts (if big spiders are good ghosts it worked 😉 ). In Bali you are not allowed to build jettys because the bad ghosts could use them to get out of the water. Which made getting to the boat for us a bit difficult at times. We had to go in the water on the stony beach and my feet didn’t like that. I still have problems with them.

Here are some pics from my 10 dive days (including the famous Liberty-wrack which is a 10 minutes boat ride away from the Alam Batu).

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Bali over water….

So here are my overwater pics from time in Bali. some are from the resort and some are from my two excursions. The first one was to a hindu temple and two water palaces and the second one was to a waterfall and a hindu temple. Unfortunately the second one was very hot and once we arrived at the water fall I was very dizzy so we only took pics of a local hindu temple (which I LOVED btw). On the way back to the resort we saw preparations for a cremation. Further to the pics of the two excursions there are pics from the resort and one attempt to milky way pics (wasn’t in the right direction for good pics unfortunately).

 

 

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Bali and Kuala Lumpur…

So now I am officially on vacation… 🙂 Since I still had a credit for one week of dive-vacation in Bali from last year I decided not to just simply let it slide but spend the last vacation days I had left on my planning to use that credit. Only I didn’t have that much vacation left. So I am going to Bali for 10 days and then I fly to Kuala Lumpur where I will stay for another two nights. Not a long asian vacation but better than nothing. 😉 Really curious but really tired too. Desperately needed a vacation so it is good that I am leaving tomorrow morning. Now if only someone else would pack my bags…. 😉

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Illumination Kölner Dom – Illumination Cologne cathedral

Today is the start of the annual pilgrimage of the Cologne cathedral. I had already read a while ago that there was an illumination for it that was to honour the 100th anniversary of the end of WW I. I tried to keep up with all the info and found out that on monday was the last big rehearsal. So on monday I went together with a friend and my mom and it was really cool. First they showed the lightshow (music not to be shown on the pics 😉 ) and afterwards they had only certain pics as image (not moving) for photographers. That was cool. Yesterday was the inauguration day and I was totally surprised that we could just walk in at 8 PM when it was supposed to start. I had expected long lines but nothing. Again we saw the lightshow mostly from the same angle as monday but after the first run we moved a bit more to the middle and that was a totally different experience because we were able to read all the words. There are the years 1914 and 1918. Everything begins with ‚hooray‘ as people were enthusiastic about the war. But then they found out in the 4 years to follow that there is nothing funny or good about a war. It ends with 1918 but still… then there are a lot of words that are very important in the current climate… hate and racism is too common nowadays. And then in the last 3 minutes there is an explosion of colours – that part is my favorite one…. beautiful and it is supposed to tell that there is hope and happiness around. From what I have heard from my sister today it was very difficult to get in so I think we made the right decisions to go on monday and yesterday… here are pics but to be honest: you would need to see it then the words are moving (with the music)…

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Prague day 3

On the last day we went geocaching more than sightseeing and then we had to go back to the hotel to get our luggage and then back to the airport to fly home. I liked Prague very much and might actually go back…

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Prague day 2

On day 2 we went up the hill to the castle… it was really cool up there – but way too crowded for me in some places…

 

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Prague July 2017 – day 1

Well, it came to my attention that I still had not posted anything about the trip to Prague last year. It was awesome, Prague is a beautiful city and well worth a second visit. Here are pics from day 1.

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Paris

I had been looking forward to a quiet september but as it often happens in my life suddenly everything changes. I had to go to Paris for work twice in the past two weeks and I wasn’t too happy about it. But I do what I have to do – part of my understanding of doing my job. Last week it was just an overnighter but this week I had two nights so on the second night I went geo-caching around the Eiffeltower. When it started to get dark I had enough and was thinking about taking the metro back but then decided to walk since I was already closer to the bridge over to the Trocadero than the metro. One of the best decisions I have ever made… 😉 It got darker and the lights on the Eiffeltower went on. It looked different but I didn’t really notice. When I crossed the bridge I thought that it had been stupid to carry around my ‚big‘ camera when I had been taking pics with my mobile… 10 meters later I saw an add about the lights of Japan on the Eiffeltower for two nights. When I went by it was the first night. So I imagined there would be white and red on the Eiffeltower. What I didn’t know was that at 20:30 h they started with a 10 minutes lightshow that usually is showing for 5 minutes at the full hour. After that there was a light show with music that lasted 10 minutes and then it started again. I watched it twice and it was absolutely FANTASTIC. On the website I read that this was a special display to celebrate the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between France and Japan. I felt really really blessed that I just happened across this without knowing it… See some pics here…

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Portugal day 5: Agueda and Aveiro

When planning the trip I had checked on excursions. The girls initally wanted to go to castles. I came across ‚Aveiro – the portuguese Venice‘. When I googled pics of Aveiro a lot of umbrella pictures turned up. So I investigated and found that these umbrellas are an art installation for three weeks in July. Since that was exactly the time we were there I wrote the girls that I was going to go to Agueda. And they decided to skip the castles and join me So on our last morning in Porto we took the train to Aveiro where we had to change trains to go to Agueda. Walking down to the city center we came through the streets with the balloons. We soooooo loved that. In the city center there were two streets with the colourful umbrellas while another one had transparent umbrellas. There was a lot of additional art installations which is why I have so many pictures. It was much hotter in Agueda as it had been in Porto so finally we walked back towards the train station and took the train to Aveiro. My canadian friend had said that the reviews she had read were all not impressive so we didn’t expect much. And actually we were not really impressed. Just because there is one canal doesn’t mean that this is similar to Venice… by that time we were really hungry and tried to find a restaurant that actually would feed us. But no way at 5 PM…. kitchen was closed everywhere until 7 PM. So we took the train back to Porto and had dinner there before we went back to the hotel to pack as the girls left early the next morning to continue their adventures in Portugal while my flight back home was at noon… here are the pics from my personal highlight in Portugal.

 

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Porto days 3 and 4

Yeah, I know I haven’t been very busy with uploading more pics from my trip to Portugal. Really sorry about that but somehow life got in the way. 😉 Here are days 3 and 4 now. And let me add something else: if you ever consider going to Porto, I can not highly enough recommend the Fine Art Guest house where we stayed. I liked the rooms and the entire guest house anyway but then I realized about 4 weeks after I got home that my bag with the photo-filters was missing. I searched for several days but when they didn’t turn up I sent a mail to the Fine Art Guest house to check if I had somehow left it there. I didn’t have a lot of hope because I knew I had checked my room before leaving. But then – they wrote me back that they had found my bag outside of the guesthouse. And I got the filters back a few days ago. Not only are all of them still in the bag, they are not broken either. Photographers know how expensive this sh… is… so thanks to the guesthouse I don’t have to buy new ones which would have hurt my bank account. Thanks again for keeping them and sending them back to me!
And here are the impressions of two days spent entirely in Porto…

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Porto days 1 and 2

So…. it had been planned for a while that I would go to Portugal the first weekend in July to meet some friends from America/Canada/Mexico. And finally two weeks ago it was time to take the train for Frankfurt and fly to Porto. ‚The girl‘ (one from the US and the other one from Canada) arrived around the same time that I did and it couldn’t have been more perfect with our luggage belts being next to each other. When I had my suitcase I walked over to the other belt and they came just out of immigration. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Our inital idea had been to share a taxi but then we decided on a whim to take the metro – only to end up in the parking garage… 😀 We finally found the metro, bought the tickets and were off… once we got to our hotel we had rooms next to each other too. The american girl wanted to stay in but with the canadian I went off to explore a bit and we found our own personal panorama spot over Porto… 😉 Then dinner and sleep…
The next morning our american friends who live in Mexico were supposed to come in by train from Lisbon. We went to explore Porto first and found out that Barak Obama was supposed to arrive later that day for a climate conference. Around noon the ‚mexicans‘ arrived so we headed back to meet with them for lunch. Obama somewho sneakily arrived without saying hello to us… 🙁 After lunch we hung out a bit I went out again with the girls, the ‚mexicans‘ somehow were out cold… and that was it… 🙂 Here are some impressions from the two days…

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Copenhagen

On the way back from Faroer I stayed in Copenhagen for three nights. Since our flight our of Faroer was early I had all afternoon to explore Copenhagen. The next day it was marathon so I went over to Sweden (pics of Malmö are already in the latest blog entry) and the weather had substantially gotten better by then. The third day I went on the hop on-hop off tour even though I walked a lot of the way between the stops anyway… here are some impressions from Copenhagen.

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Malmö

On the way back from Faroer Islands I did a 3 day stopover in Copenhagen. Unfortunately the second day was Copenhagen Marathon and I didn’t really want to get into the chaos that is involved with this. Public transportation is deviated or closed so – no thanks. So I took the train over to Sweden to spend the day in Malmoe. Which is a nice little city too.

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Day 6 and 7

The last two days were already there… on day 6 we got up at 2:30 AM and left the hotel at 3 AM to catch the sunrise – which didn’t really happen. Around 3:30 we were stopped in a tunnel and our tour guide had to do an alcohol test. When we told the police-guy that we were hoping for some sun (I mean – we were trying to get pics of a SUNRISE). For a moment he looked at us as if he was about to send us to a mental hospital, then he started to laugh and said ‚Sun? Why did you come to Faroer then?‘ At breakfast we were still laughing about that. Once arrived at destination we got into position but there were too many clouds for a real sunrise. We saw the sun for about 5 seconds. It was still a very impressive spot. After several hours we got back to the hotel for breakfast and then we stayed there till 4 PM when the reain was supposed to lighten up. We went back to Saksun and even if we had shorts showers in between we were finally able to take our pics there. Unfortunately we missed a beautiful rainbow by about 15 minutes. From there we went to tidal pools for sunset but once again the photo session didn’t turn out as planned…
The last day we did some sightseeing too but had several photosessions in different spots too. And then that day was over as well and we had to pack because we had to leave at 6 AM on the last day because our flight was at 9:30AM and we still have to drive for over one hour. I found the Faroer Islands very interesting. There are beautiful spots there but it is becoming a hot spot for photographers and the people on Faroer fear that they will become a second Iceland. I hope that this won’t happen…

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Day 3-5

No, I haven’t forgotten day 2 – actually arrival day counts as day 1 so I didn’t skip anything. Now we have days 3-5. The first day we went on a 3.5 km hike to the slave-rock. The name comes from the fact that vikings have been said to push slaves off the clives. Walking over was beautiful so I did stop every now and then just to take in the landscape. Once up on the cliff we needed to be careful not to go too close to the edge because if you are going over – then that was it. The lake you can see is about 100 m above sealevel and up on the cliff you are 142 m above sealevel. We intended to stay till sunset but then around 6 PM clouds started to roll in so we left as we still had to hike back. On the way back we saw an asian wedding couple coming over… she in her white bridal gown – 3 km through the mud… that can’t have been fun. Not sure she was able to use it after that hike because we were lucky to be back at the car when it started to rain – they weren’t. That day we had dinner in one of the few small restaurants where they opened a small room only for us because all regular tables had been booked already.
The next day we knew that the weather wasn’t likely to be good but we tried. First we went to Saksun which is a very picturesque spot. But shortly after we arrived it started to rain hard so we gave up and went to Torshavn, the capital of the Faroer Islands. We strolled around some, took pics and then had something to eat and drink. After that we went over to a small gorge. Since it was still raining we looked for shelter and took some pics from where we were dry. When I went back to the car I saw that we had some reddish clouds from sunset so we went over to the edge of the main land and took some more pics.
Day 5 was not a good one photowise. We knew that this would probably be the worst day weather wise. So we went to a little village to take pics of a waterfall but it was so windy that the water flew up instead of falling down. Then it started to rain again and we left to go to a different spot. While driving along the sea we saw several ‚dust devils‘ (but water) form on the water. I have never seen anything like this. Once arrived at our destination there was no way we could take pics. The wind was about 9-10 beaufort in gusts and one of the others had difficulties to get back to the van as the wind was blowing her away….

So here is an assortion of pics from these 3 days.

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Arrival day and day 1 at Faroer

We arrived at Faroer with relatively good weather. So after having gone to the hotel (which was about a 1 h drive from the airport) we checked in, had an early dinner and then we went out again for the first foto session. The next morning we got up to have breakfast at 9 and we left the hotel at 11. First stop was a waterfall, second were some nice typical houses (abandoned), then a picturesque village and then a very iconic sight for sunset. Which turned out good but the sunset itself didn’t really happen. 🙁 Long day, only hotdogs at the gas station – that was the first glimpse on what was to come… 😀 Here are some pics of the arrival and the first full day.

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