Posts Tagged With: documentary

Oslo Pass, Holmenkollen Ski and Viking Ship Museum

We urgently need to charge our video camera before going anywhere! We hope to find an electricity socket at the tourist information near the train station and indeed, we are lucky! So we spend an hour here, reading through the various options of what to do in Oslo. Amazingly Oslo has 52 museums and since we already checked out the city on our bicycles yesterday, we are keen to check out some museums today. The big question is: To get the Oslo Pass or not to get the Oslo Pass?! The The 24hr Oslo Pass is 270NOK (57EUR or about $70) per person and will give you free entry to most museums, free parking in the city council car parks and free public transport, including the ferry to the museum island. Looking at it realistically, how many museums can you visit in 24 hours when the opening times are only between 11am and 6pm? We decide we want to visit at least 4 museums, ideally 6!

– Holmenkollen Ski Museum = 110 NOK (This requires a 15min journey with the subway)
– Viking ship Museum – 60 NOK
– Norwegian Folklore Museum – 100 NOK
– FRAM Museum – 80 NOK
– Kon Tiki Museum – 70 NOK
– Maritime Museum – 60 NOK

Should be do-able, shouldn’t it? We decide for the Oslo Pass and jump on the subway number 1 going to Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Ski Jump. We stamp the Oslo pass at the train station but later realise we did so in the wrong area. Oops. The subway soon becomes a normal train, as we exit the underground train network and now drive up higher and higher, soon overlooking all of Oslo and the fjords.
Of course the rain begins to pour down once we arrive at Holmenkollen but gladly we brought a rain jacket and a frog green rain poncho. Firstly we discover the ski simulator which takes you onto the ski jump and the downhill ski track, pretending to reach more than 100km/h. This is an extra 60NOK per person but we have to give it a try. Now, having done it, I guess it was ok but it’s difficult to really simulate ski jumping!
Now the ski museum: We enter, show our Oslo cards and are permitted in without any problems (even though there is supposed to be a start date and time on the Oslo pass but the space is still blank). So basically the 24hr valid time hasn’t started yet.
The museum exceeds all my expectations! I thought we may see some old skis from the 50ies and a few photos of ski jumping but instead the museum’s story starts with Roald Amundsen’s journey to the south pole. One of his dogs is displayed here, stuffed obviously.

We get to see some of their equipment but mainly of course the skis and sleds. Just around the corner I find a man dressed in reindeer fur holding up his skis – 4000 years ago! This man belongs to the Sami culture. Original skis from 600AD or skis that are beautifully decorated with ornaments from the 1890’s are being displayed. Until about 1890, skiers only used one ski pole for breaking and balance and often the end would have another function. It could have been in the shape of a spear for hunting bears, a shovel or even a drinking cup.
There are stuffed animals like this very large elk and some of the photos are quite amusing; one showing two laughing women in their early 20th century dresses and on skis all covered in snow, another one showing a little 2 year old boy on his skis and with the question: Are Norwegians born with skis on?

Another highlight is the spectacular preview of the documentary film “Being There” made by producer Filip Christensen (Field Productions). It shows an amazing view (mostly from the helicopter) of the worlds best free skiers climbing and skiing down mountains in the fantastic Norwegian landscape. There are no words to describe this footage, you need to see it for yourself. As soon as we are getting wireless internet, we will download the full movie from iTunes. I also love the soundtrack!

From inside the museum you can take an elevator up to the top of the ski jump and get a 360 degree view over Oslo, fjords and forests. Very nice!
Eventually we are coming down to the souvenir store where Logan does not only pic up a Viking T-shirt and some Norway stickers, he also shows his love for Norway by trying on a I-glitterheart-Norway cap, as well as hugging the “little teddy bear” and the pretty troll girl.


Having spent 3 hours at the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, we are going back to the train station, finally stamping our Oslo Ticket properly.

Off to the Viking Ship Museum!

We get back to the city centre, pick up our bicycles and ride to the port. From there we catch the free (with the Oslo Pass) ferry to the museum island and walk up the road to the Viking Ship Museum. We only have about an hour until the museum closes.

The Viking Age lasted from about 800 – 1050AD. During this period the Norseman were the lords of the sea. They were excellent shipwrights and sailors. Their ships were fast, well built and suitable for long sea voyages which enabled them to go on journeys in most of the northern hemisphere. From Scandinavia the Vikings sailed west over the North Sea to the British Isles and then over the Atlantic to Iceland, Greenland and North America. Some sailed south down the coast of Europe and entered the Mediterranean, while others sailed east down the great rivers of Russia to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
At the beginning of the Viking Age Norway consisted of a number of smaller chiefdoms, but was later gradually united under a single king. Viking society was divided into classes with great economic and social differences between them. The ships exhibited in the museum were built for members of the upper class. The farmers formed the backbone of the society; they were free men with the right to bear arms and to participate in meetings of the “ting”, or assembly. The slaves were the lowest rank in society; they were the property of their owners and had no legal rights. Many of them were foreigners who had been taken prisoner on a raid.
Since the Vikings came from Scandinavia, from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, they had to adopt to a great variation in their landscape, climate and agricultural conditions. In good farming country, crops and animal husbandry were the main means of livelihood, while in other parts people relied more on hunting and fishing which were profitable activities. Furs, bird down, and walrus ivory were highly prized commodities in the rest of Europe. Considerable quantities of iron were also produced in the Norwegian mountain hamlets and found a market both at home and abroad.
The Norsemen plundered churches, monasteries and even whole towns but plunder and conquest weren’t the only reasons why the Vikings took to the seas. Many of them journeyed abroad in order to trade, and others to find new country in which to settle. The Vikings were also merchants, selling their goods in towns and market places, and established trading colonies in Ireland and Russia. Many Norsemen settled down as farmers in the lands they had invaded, such as Iceland or Greenland and they were the first Europeans in North America.
In the Viking age it was customary to bury the dead in boats. In the ships exhibited here at the museum, the dead were placed in a burial chamber which was erected in the stern of the ship. They were buried with a good supply of food and drinks, horses and dogs, and both useful and decorative objects. When the ships were excavated, the graves were found to have been robbed and the jewellery, weapons, gold and silver were no longer there. The objects made of wood and cloth were well preserved, because the ships had been buried in blue clay and covered with stones, clay and turf.

Upon entry our view falls onto the huge and well preserved viking ship: The Oseberg Ship.
The Oseberg ship was found in a large burial mound on the Oseberg farm in Vestfold and excavated in 1904. The ship was built some time between 813-829 AD, but was later used as a grave ship for a woman of high rank who died in 834AD. The 22 meter long ship was built of oak and the number of oar holes indicate that the ship was rowed by a crew of 30 men.

The second Viking ship, the Gokstad Ship, was found in a large burial mound on the Gokstad farm in Vestfold and excavated in 1880. It was built around 890AD and later used as a grave ship for a Viking chieftain; the body lay in a grave chamber built of horizontal timber logs. This ship was 24m long with room for 32 oarsmen. It is the largest of the Viking ships on display and also the most robust. While the Oseberg ship was a luxury pleasure craft, the Gokstad was a sturdy and practical vessel, capable of sailing the high seas.

There’s also a third Viking ship in the museum, the Tune Ship. It was found on the Haugen-Hof in Ostfold and excavated in 1867. It was also built around 900AD but due to poor preservation conditions the grave gifts have not survived and the ship has has been severely damaged.

The skills of the Viking shipwrights were based on long and solid experience. They did not use plans or drawings but instead took measurements by eye. The sails were made of woollen cloth and it required almost as much work as the it did to build the ship. The Gokstad ship’s sail measured 110sqm. The origins of Norse ship-building can be traced back all the way to the 4th century BC. These traditions are still alive in Norway today.

In the back wing of the museum we find the grave gifts and other objects such as wooden carts, wooden animal heads, sleds, “camping equipment” and more. Everything made from wood is decorated with wave, animal and plant ornaments.

At the end we also have a quick look at the souvenir shop of course, where they sell books and dvd’s about vikings, but also viking jewellery. Most of it is quite expensive but Logan get’s himself a silver ring with viking ornaments on it for only about 6 Euros.

Museum Day 1 is over, we continue tomorrow!

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Grotti di Frasassi, Europe’s biggest cave system

I open the blinds and squint through the window of our Globetrotter. Half asleep I say: “Caves!” Logan is confused: “What?” So I repeat it: “We gotta go to the caves today, it’s raining!” “Ah!” he replies and turns around for another 5 seconds. Then he jumps up and says: “Ok let’s get going then.”
We make our way to the “Grotti di Frasassi”, Europe’s biggest cave system. I have to admit; I found out about the cave by accident when reading the Lonely Planet guidebook. On the way, we stop at Tolentino to buy a few groceries and to find a shop with TIM sim cards. In a town where hardly anyone speaks English, it is quite a challenge to find the store. Even Google is of no help. Eventually I get a street name off a lady in a 3-Store, another telephone provider. Surprisingly we find the TIM store quickly, just that the service inside the store is anything else but quick. We wait around for what seems like over an hour and finally get served. Yippie, 20Euros and 250MB per week included for free. That’s pretty good and will save a lot of international roaming fees.

It is a rather long drive to Genga because of the mountainous terrain and we got lost quite a few times. The main issue being, that the caves are not in Genga, as Google suggests. No, they are actually 15min out of town. No drama then.
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We park the Globetrotter in a large outdoor car park with only a few cars in it. We are very much out of season, being here in April, which also has the disadvantage of only Italian tours being offered until June.

A bus takes us and about 15 other people to the cave entrance. I see a sign of a photo camera in a red circle, with a line through it. It dawns on me that there may also be no video cameras allowed but I’m still hoping they are only referring to flash cameras. While the woman, guiding us into the cave, runs through her spiel (in Italian!), we get the camera out and try to secretly film the cave. At some point she stops and talks into our direction. Oops! I’ve got no idea what she’s saying but I think she doesn’t want us to film. Soon after we get past a coin-operated photo machine. Great. So why don’t they just sell photo and film licenses then? And who “possesses” this cave anyway that they can forbid taking footage home with you? It almost makes me angry and I keep filming secretly from time to time. Most of the visitors do and we smile at each other with understanding. The caves were discovered 1971 and have been used to conduct experiments in chronobiology. I don’t particularly like to be guided around a place that is so fascinating, especially when not even understanding what is being said. I would rather like to take my own time and to get lost in this different world. I keep discovering holes and smaller caves in the walls high above us and below us and when there is a moment of silence, you can hear the stalactites dripping onto the stalagmites. A tour in English would have probably helped make it more interesting.
Halfway through the cave, Logan turns around at me and says: “I just talked to someone from Currumbin Waters!” I can hardly express what a co-incidence and surprise this is. How unlikely would you meet someone from the other side of the world, in a cave in Italy, way out of season? We haven’t seen any tourists so far and the first ones we run into, are almost our neighbours. Hi Nick and girlfriend (so sorry I forgot your name!). If you read this, say hello and we can catch up for coffee when we’re back. But we’ll surely run into each other sooner or later anyway.

We return to our ‘base camp’ Colmurano and are looking forward to the Monti Sibillini National Park tomorrow (if the weather will allow so).
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Paragliding the Alps

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Dann das Video runter laden. Voila.

 

26/01/12

Australia Day!
This morning the valley is covered in thick fog but the top of the mountains are clear and blue. The forecast for tomorrow, Logan’s birthday, is cloudy with snow so someone might get his birthday present a day early. Well technically Logan will glide into his birthday since Australia is 8 hours ahead. Explanation following!

So we start off our day at St. Johann skiing/snowboarding and Logan has got no idea of my little birthday surprise. After 3 hours racing on blue, red and even black ski tracks, I tell Logan, we should go down to get the camera. At the car I tell him, I got bad news. We can’t go snowboarding anymore. And the second bad news: Tomorrow is bad weather. Logi looks at me all shocked and shakes his head: “No no no no! We are going back boarding now!!” “No we are not, because you will be paragliding in one hour!” “No!?!”  I smile and say “Yes” Logan: “No?!? Really??” “Yes!!” Now someone is happy and excited but first we need to make sure to fill our tummies with some food. At 2pm we are meeting Hervé from the Mountain High Adventure Centre at the Max Pub. There are country flags at the end of the ski track and we spot the Australian flag and behind it a house with a roof full of snow. An interesting image!
The conditions are perfect, the sun is out and there is no wind. Hervé gives Logan a big bag while he carries one himself and they make their way to the St. Johann gondola.
I’m waiting for them down the bottom and after about half an hour I see them gliding down the mountain. When they come closer I can hear Logan cheering while they are doing aero acrobatics and just a few minutes later two happy faces are landing in the deep puffy snow.

We are going back to the car and make our way back to the Mountain High Chalet to look at the footage and rest before going down for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

27/01/12

Since Logan has already received his birthday present yesterday and our ski passes have run out, we start the day slowly with some work on our footage before we head out to Kirchberg and Kitzbühel around noon.
We have a browse through the towns and meet my great cousin at a pub in Kitzbühel. We actually have never met before and two years ago I didn’t even know she would exist, so it was really nice to meet her!

Kitzbühel is an interesting town. The high society is here and as we found out, Arnold Schwarzenegger was here only two days ago. We see women with expensive fur coats, Botox in their skin, fake lips and other body parts; most of them being over 50 and trying to look like 20. Then there is the rich youth scene and the gold-necklace men scene. Not worth going into detail but it is quite funny to watch.
After 4 hours of après skiing, we went back to our chalet, having missed out on our nice three-course meal and Logan clearly still in drinking mood. You only turn 33 once, don’t ya?! After another hour I went to bed and didn’t find Logan next to me until 4am.  God knows whom he was talking to or what he was talking about, we will never find out. Meister Jäger made sure he lost all his memories.

New year, new start!

 

28/01/12

Unfortunately it’s time to check out of our much loved Mountain High chalet and we would like to officially thank our hosts Hervé and Stephanie, the barmaid and the chef for looking after us so well and answering any questions we had. Also thanks to Hervé as the pilot of “Mountain High airlines” for giving Logan a once in a lifetime experience of paragliding over the Alpes.

Logan and I would have liked to extend our stay in Kirchdorf or anywhere else around the area but since holidays are about to start, every guesthouse seems to be booked out.
We are happy and grateful for this awesome week of powder fun and make our way back home to Magdeburg just to find out that the rest of Germany is also covered in snow. Yeeeeewww!!!

 

www.mountain-high.at

 

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Malerweg Day 3

Malerweg
Day 3

by Logan Foote

Today was another hard days walking. I left camp heading down hill only to walk straight back up the other side where a small village “Waitzdorf” was located.

That’s how this journey is: up-down, up-down and then up again. If I didn’t have my bag I think could run it in just a few days but with all my gear it’s a different story.

My mission today was to try and find supplies. NO LUCK. None of these little villages/settlements have any stores to get supplies. The closest I found was a florist. I was excited spotting a shop sign and eagerly approached in the pouring rain only to be disappointed as I peered through the window to see just flowers.

I have passed a few local restaurants featuring pictures of outdoor gatherings, music, food and wine. Unfortunately this is only in summer time. Nothing’s open this time of the year, because which idiot would be out here trekking in winter? Oh, that’s right, ME!!!

That’s why I’m here. Summer is too far away. I love it when things are hard, the weather is wet, cold and windy and I’m struggling up and down these forest trails.

Leaving my disappointment behind I grab my last chocolate bar from my bag and head back into the forest once again.

Along the way I stop for a bit of filming before passing through Altendorf with, that’s right, NO store. I eventually come across the only tram operating in the national park “The Kirnitzschtalbahn” which runs through the best-known valley of the Elbe mountain range. In the valley was a large camping area with several amenities and more signs of food. Yet again no food to be had, however what I did utilize was their bathroom. I quietly snuck into a clean, even heated toilet. My last toilet was not so posh: a late night squat in a cold forest.

Once I had committed the perfect crime, I took what I thought was a short cut, which didn’t seem to be very short. The sign was in German and it must have said “the steepest, longest way possible”. I reached the plateau and continued along the cliffs until I had to choose a spot to camp. I didn’t want to camp this high up but had no choice as it was close to sunset.

I’m sitting here perched on the edge of the cliff with awesome views down to the valley, river and snowy mountaintops in the distance. I’m getting low on food now so I’m eating my last slices of dark bread with salami. I normally can eat and do eat a lot but the last few days I have only been eating because I have to. I’m just lucky I brought some food with me and that there are fresh water streams around. I can’t seem to drink enough.

Its dark now, time to retreat to the tent.

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Rügen, a German island in the Baltic Sea

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The Christmas tree we chopped down last week is still standing and after unwrapping our presents we have Fricassee for dinner. The next day we have the traditional goose with dumplings and red cabbage, oh how did I miss this in Australia.

One of the presents from my parents is a little blue bag that, upon opening, makes the noise of waves and seagulls. Inside I find a voucher for 2 nights in a 5 star hotel on Rügen, an island in the Baltic Sea. That is just awesome!

A day later I call up the hotel, to see if there is a room available for the next two nights and indeed, the friendly lady could book us in.

Off we are on a three-day mission to Rügen!

Before checking in at the Cliff Hotel on Rügen, we drive to Prora, a place with a lot of history. Hitler’s plan for Prora was to build a holiday camp for the hard working Germans, to regain their strength. The “Kraft durch Freude” (power through happiness) camp was supposed to hold 20,000 people at once. Hitler’s idealistic and militant views are reflected in the straight architecture and the size of the buildings seems to represent the large and strong German people and army. Today it’s all in ruins, sad and grey. In 1939 the war broke out and money went into producing weapons. During the war it was used as a station for wounded soldiers and after Germany lost the war, the Russians took over the buildings and destroyed parts of it.

Today there is a youth hostel in one of the 8 buildings that stretch over a length of 5km but there are no further plans for the rest of the massive structure, as it’s heritage listed.

Inside the museum we find original WWII blankets, helmets, dishes and more. There is a 18m model of the 5km long structure and it’s only now that we realise how long it really is. There are a lot of original documents like letters, newspaper articles and parts of schoolbooks full of fascist propaganda.

On our second day we are going to check out the “Königsstuhl”, a big chalk rock and cliff formation. To get there we have to walk for an hour through a beautiful old German forest and then down wooden stairs to the bottom of the cliff and a pebbly beach. It’s a bit frightening to stand below such a massive cliff, especially when you know that only yesterday a girl was buried underneath a landslide a few kilometres down the beach.

After a lovely dinner we are enjoying the pool and spa area of the hotel and try out the different saunas and do a few laps in the pool. Logan had to press the red emergency button in the sauna but I thought it was more worrying that no one actually came to check on us. At 10pm the sauna and spa closed and it was time for us to go to bed.

Weather has turned quite bad on our third day. Thick clouds, wind and rain have come over Germany’s north coast so our last day falls rather short. We choose to visit Prerow, a resort village with a nice wide beach and Ahrenshoop, the village of arts. Houses are painted in all sorts of colours and the thatched roofs look amazing. A life band is playing on a stage while people watch them in the rainy weather. We are just having a hot chocolate inside a café and then leave for Magdeburg.

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