Thursday, September 13, 2007
I really should be better than this. I only started this blog about three weeks ago and I'm already down to one post a week. Pathetic.
I guess the crux of the problem is that now that I'm back in Manchester (or thereabouts) I actually have friends to talk to, TV to watch and pubs that I can afford to drink in - read this and weep my Norwegian friends... one pint, one bottle of Corona, one brandy and coke, two cokes, all for barely a shade over 8 quid - about 90 krone.
Anyway, I've not got much to say now, but I just thought I'd try and post something to show willingness (and to show off this lovely leaf from Lymm Dam, mmm).
Before I go I should also stress that I'm not a real stingy bastard that's only concern in life is logging the price of everything. That said it is difficult, nay an impossibility, to come from any other country to Norway and not be hit square in the nuts by the staggering cost of absolutely everything.
It's a beautiful country, with lovely people, but that certainly comes at a price. A great big scary one.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Is it possible to get jet lag from a 1 hr 40minute flight and a time difference of only 60 minutes?
If so I’d like to sign up to the newsletter and admit that I’m currently labouring under its oppressive fogginess.
Being back in Manchester for the first time in about six weeks I’m still working on Oslo time and finding it rather difficult to adjust (oh, by the way, forget everything I said about Ryanair in the last post – the flight was over two hours late and the cabin crew happily furnished me with both the correct coinage and a few smiles).
Today I was up and furiously at them prior to 7am (for a freelance bum that’s unheard of), whereas yesterday I was knackered and ready to chuck in my quill for the day at only half three (that’s more like it), and in bed at about eleven. And I wasn’t even drunk.
I’d like to write more about this phenomenon now, but it’s currently about half eight so I’m just about ready for my elevenses.
Anyway – jet lag, you, short flights, possible? Answers on a picture of yourself naked to the usual address please.
Monday, September 3, 2007
First of all it’s not Oslo Torp. It’s Sandefjord Torp. Mainly because it’s not in Oslo, or anywhere particularly near Oslo, it’s in Sandefjord.
Sandefjord (an agreeable, sleepy little town that sells whale meat in its supermarkets – the slab I saw in Meny recently looked like a fat person’s buttocks stripped of skin) is about 115km away from Oslo, meaning – when you take into consideration Norwegian speed limits - about three days drive.
This, of course, is a lie: a lie facilitated by the fact that I’ve just got off a bus from Oslo and am currently sitting in said airport (free broadband – alright!) feeling a little coach-lagged and pissed off at the size of the queue in duty free.
Anyways, in reality the bus journey is about one hour and 40 mins, which isn’t really all that tragic, until you consider that the flight time from Liverpool to Torp is exactly the same.
Yes, I know it’s on a plane, I know that that doesn’t have to stick to the Norwegian motorways (by which I mean roads that are almost as big as the A50 to Knutsford) but there’s just something a bit shit about the fact that the second leg of the journey doubles the time when it’s about a twentieth of the distance (give or take – as I actually have no idea about this).
But, but, BUT, it is a necessary evil.
Flying with SAS from Manchester to Gardermoen (the main airport) is prohibitively expensive, you usually have to fly via Copenhagen and then you still have to get a train into town – which although very fast (about 20 mins) actually costs more than the bus-ride-saga to Torp.
Also, although I’m pissed off at the fact that Ryanair have this habitual hard-on for saying airports are in a main city when they’re blatantly not, they do provide an excellent service from Liverpool to Torp (fast, efficient and spanking new planes) at a price that really is silly.
So, I’ll stop the moaning for now and get back to duty free. The bus lag’s wearing off and unless I get my brother 200 fags quick smart I’ll be walking back from the airport. Again.
Which will make the whole journey considerably longer still.
Ps. has anyone else noticed that the cabin crew on Ryanair never, ever have the right change when you buy your can of beer for £plenty monies?
This usually leads to them saying they’ll come back to you when they have it, only for them to somehow change plane mid way over the North Sea. Is the pay that low that they’ve got to resort to stealing coppers here and there?
If so I demand that they get fair and equitable wages right now! Unless, that is, it bumps up the cost of my 99p flights.
Pps. the pic's the fjord at Sandefjord. Minus the whales.
Friday, August 31, 2007
There’s a handful of things about Norway that really piss me off.
Things that, when I’m sat sifting through a festival of feculent US sitcoms of an evening, make me stop, ponder and ask myself ‘what are you doing here?’
Obviously I then look across at my lovely girlfriend (who, incidentally, might just be reading this – hello darling!) and think ‘oh, right, that’s why.’
But for that handful of things that get me down there’s a handelkurv chocked full of goodies that lifts me up again. Small things that make a big difference… as they so often do (isn’t that right darling!).
One of those little sprinkles of delectable garnish on the Oslovian dish is the Bysykkel.
This is a fantastic idea that I’m not 100% sure would work quite so well in Manchester. Basically it’s ‘free’ bikes that you can pick up and drop off at about 80 different places around the city.
To get access to these you have to be an Oslo resident (or, as a tourist, leave a credit card deposit) and pay 70 krone a year (about £6, or one pint down Aker Brygge) for a membership card. You then simply insert this at one of the pick up/drop off stands and it logs which bike you have.
Said bike is now yours to use throughout the city for a maximum of three hours before you’re required to drop it off at another rack and, if you so desire, pick up a different bike.
It’s genius and, in a city where you have to re-mortgage your flat every time you clock up an extra mile in a taxi, a very inexpensive, fun and environmentally friendly way to fly about.
What’s more the bikes are kinda cool – in a kinda totally shit kinda way – and are available from 6am until midnight. Brilliant, simply brilliant.
The only downside is that the whole scheme is funded by Clear Channel (notorious hoarders of Nazi gold and supporters of apartheid, world hunger and the Burmese military junta*) so you have to endure a couple of six sheet advertisements every time you collect your carriage.
But then again if, like me, you’re stupid and don’t understand the language it doesn’t matter anyway. Ha! Up yours Clear Channel!**
Anyway, these would be a great idea for every major city in Europe and would undoubtedly work a treat in Manchester too.
If, and this is the biggest IF ever, armies of little scally bastards didn’t nick them, kick the crap out of them in the stands and stretch cheese wire over all the major Bysykkel routes to decapitate the oblivious cyclist.
Let’s face it, if reinforced bus shelters can’t live through an evening in the city centre what chance do a few bikes have?
Very little I imagine.
So Oslo, Bysykkels – I salute you! Little scally bastards – you’re ruining it for everyone back home!
*Possibly, or possibly not
** But thanks for the bikes
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Sticking on the subject of bob magazine, this wee review thing was in issue 3. The badly lit picture, however, was not.
vigeland sculpture park
With beer costing around a fiver a pint and a meal out setting you back roughly the cost of a small hatchback, it’s refreshing to know that there are some things you can do in Oslo for nowt. Willing Scandinavian lovelies aside, there’s also a visit to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, or Frognerparken as it’s known locally.
This is an incredible place showcasing the ambition, industry and vision of Norway’s most prolific sculptor, Gustav Vigeland.
212 imposingly full-bodied sculptures populate the park’s 80 acres, mostly hewn out of local granite, with some (including the famous Sinnataggen, ‘angry little boy’) crafted from bronze.
The figures are both human and other-worldly, staring out at the visitors hauntingly or engaging in pursuits that include wrestling, pulling hair, embracing and fighting hordes of evil babies.
The central 14m high monolith is made up of granite bodies writhing towards the heavens, forming both a breath-taking and unsettling focal point.
Vigeland is a unique and unforgettable place to think, breathe and ponder how the hell you’re going to afford to survive for the rest of your trip to Oslo.