Sunday, February 28

The Cities of Costa del Sol, Spain

My first city has to be Malaga.
During this stay we visited the town for the second time. The first was ca. 40 years ago, and the memories are very selected. This time we visited the city not only once but twice, and will certainly return. May be even stay there for the whole period, and use it for touring Andalusia. We are urban people and the manifold in this 6th largest city of Spain need to be more explored.

My photo is from mount Gibralfaro with the old castle on the top. The name is derived from the Phoenician word for light, Jbel-Faro, meaning "Rock of Light". On the photo you can see the City Hall (Ayuntamiento) at Paseo del Parque and the castle "La Alcazaba" with the Roman Theatre below. In addition the Catedral and the Picasso Museum in the old city, part of the harbor (Puerto) and the modern western part of the city.We used the train to visit Malaga, and one stop on the line is another well-known city. The tourist-oriented city Torremolinos was very popular for Scandinavians to visit in the 70s. I stayed once at Playamar outside the city together with friends at that time, but had also the pleasure (?) to be hospitalized close to the city (Los Alamos) because severe DVT problems in 2007. The city has changed a lot during 40 years, but the staircase to / from the beaches are still there to be climbed.Moving further south-west, our next stop is Benalmadena. They were preparing for the Carnevale when we visited the municipally, but we only made the visit as a starting point for walking over 20 km back to Fuengirola.
The beaches at Fuengirola is nice and clean, easy to access and maintained every day. I will return to details about this city later, but can absolutely recommend a long term winter stay in this city.
At the mountain side about 450 m above mean sea level and close to Fuengirola you can find "the white village" Mijas. A typical tourist-oriented art-craft and fur-shop village, but also with interesting places and spectacular views over Fuengirola.
The original name for the village was ‘Tamisa’, which subsequently changed to ‘Mixa’ and finally to ‘Mijas’ as it is known today. The history of the name ‘Tamisa’ dates back to the year 600 A.D. when the Tartessians founded the village of Mijas. The Tartessians became important trading partners of the Phoenicians whose presence in Iberia dates from the eighth century BC.
Another beautiful old city can be found in the more posh city Marbella. Marbella is famed as an exclusive destination for wealthy tourists from Northern Europe, as well as the well-heeled from the UK, Ireland and Germany. A nice city with many good Tapas bars at the seaside.
Puerto Banus or only Banus as the winter inhabitants call the city, is a luxury marina and shopping complex for the jet-set and the super rich. The focal point of Banus is the marina. It has berths for 915 boats, including those of the King of Saudi Arabia and several of the world's wealthiest individuals. Behind the harbour lie streets filled with bars, boutiques (all important brands to be found) and nightclubs.The city of Estepona should also be mentioned in this review, but this photo was taken during our stay in 2007, when we also visited Granada and Alhambra.

Saturday, February 27

5 weeks ago starting long term stay in Andalusia, Spain

It is still "Invierno" in southern Spain. When we arrived Andalusia five weeks ago the rain (lluvia) and heavy wind (viento fuerte) was hot on every TV-channel. Since mid December they had not experienced that kind of rainy weather for 60 years, and the waves became green or grey when meeting the normally white beaches at Torreblanca.

And it should only be worse during our stay.
Especially in the Cadiz Province and the municipality Jerez de la Frontera we could watch the flooding in streets and see land slides destroying the "Naranja" (orange) harvest.
The weather between Puerto Banus in south west and Malaga more north east along the Costa del Sol was not so bad, but trees fell down along the beautiful Paseo del Parque in Malaga city.
"Bad" weather was no obstacle for our daily return exercise along the 7.5 km Paseo Maritimo. Along the beaches from our apartment hotel close to Castillo Sohail to Torreblanca, we could watch artists creating sand sculptures which had to be maintained every morning due to the wind, rain and sea.
The waves (olas) meeting the Stream of Fuengirola River was often used by surfers, but many days the river brought with it lots of bamboo stocks and mud making surfing very dangerous.

Thursday, February 25

Norwegian Airlines 22 hours delayed

This photo of some of our bored travelling friends onboard Norwegian Airlines´DY2963 (NAX5963) from Malaga, Spain yesterday, cannot tell the full story of a planned flight with 22 hours delay. Travelling passengers are able to find internal relations when external mis-management are becoming visible. A lot of laughter and use of own money in restaurants, taxfree shops, cafes and bars can create many relaxing situations, but that is mostly because Norwegian Airlines failed to take care of us and inform properly their passengers (customers).

I am not sure if any detailed presentation here will be of any interest. I know that many passengers will write to the company´s CEO and present complains on our behalf. I also know that technical problems can occur, and that security is the first and final topic to be dealt with, but being almost without any formal information and only receiving "we do not know", rumors and wrong information from crew members, are a quality chalenge that has to be focused at the upper management in their strive to get more and more return of their investment.
Without customer satisfaction there is no TQM (total quality management).
Our plain was scheduled at 18.45 Tuesday, but late departure of the plain from Norway (and too late for returning with the same crew) should have been taken seriously earlier than 1 am Wednesday night. We were offered hotel-beds and breakfast, but with only few hours sleep and required early return to the airport for a new checkin and security procedures, it should have been able to give us information and not left us alone with questions at the scheduled gate for many hours. The leaving of a 11 years old sick girl and an eight months old baby (with families) behind closed and locked airport doors, is part of the scandal.

At last we boarded the aircraft, but had to wait grounded in the heat for another hour without water supply because no slot was available for the journey. When in the air we were informed that they had no food onboard because the food they got the day before could not be used. What the crew used the many hours waiting for departure without checking food and water supply is an enigma. I also felt that the crew lost their authority through the day, and could also question the possible security challenge, if something fatal had occurred.

At last we landed at Moss Airport - Rygge - 2 hours ahead of planed arrival, not Tuesday but Wednesday - 22 hours delayed.
Hopefully this will be a once in the life time experience. As one of the passenger (a pilot from SAS) said: "I have never experienced a situation handled like this, and I have been flying for 42 years".
The last photo of myself at the pool before leaving our hotel, may be as a symbol of the other days of our 5 weeks longterm stay in southern Spain. A recommended variation of spending the wintertime away from snow and cold weather.
In the days to come I will present some of our experiences in Andalusia.

Tuesday, February 23

Two additional paintings

I believed I had given you all paintings from my lovely area at the north western part of Norway. Maybe I had, but when going through my Gallery I discovered at least two more. One expressing the abstraction of the Fjords and Mountains, and another from the seashore nature colors with the North Sea in the horizon. Once more thank you for the interest shown by visiting my blog. It is 5 years minus one month since I published my first blog on March 21st 2005, and more will come.

Saturday, February 20

Puerto Banus and Gibraltar

Wednesday my first visitor from GIBRALTAR found his or her way to my blog.
At the same time I had Tapas-lunch in Marbella. On Sunday we visited Puerto Banus, with the large Marina.
Although the weather in southern Spain has been challenging the last four weeks, with heavy wind and lots of rain (more than the last 70 years) the difference to the cold and snowy Oslo has been great to experience.
Gibraltar is a self-governing British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and Europe at the entrance of the Mediterranean overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Flag of Gibraltar is an elongated banner of the Coat of arms of Gibraltar, granted by Royal Warrant Queen Isabella I of Castile on 10 July 1502.The flag was regularised in 1982 and is formed by two horizontal bands of white (top, double width) and red with a three-towered red castle in the centre of the white band; hanging from the castle gate is a gold key centred in the red band. The flag differs from that of other British overseas territories, in that it is not a British ensign. The castle does not resemble any in Gibraltar, but is supposed to represent the fortress of Gibraltar.

Thursday, February 18

Happy birthday Anne Katharina

When turning my direction from the fjords towards Ålesund and the coastline at Sunnmøre, I move over Strandafjellet and will today dedicate my paintings to a birthday lady.
Happy Birthday AnneKath.

Maybe you spend the day in the mountains inand skiing tracks at the beautiful valley east of Sykkylven, StraumgjerdeOr maybe you take a trip to your second residence at Skuleøya with the warm Jacuzzi where the sunset during midsummer can be expressed like this.
This painting ends my artistic tour from northwest Norway which I started on January, 22nd. Hope you have enjoyed the tour and learned something new when clicking on the links in the various posts.

Sunday, February 14

Sunnmøre and the Fjords

One of my favorite fjords at Sunnmøre is Hjørundfjorden, and one of the spectacular peaks are Slogen as I painted after a tour to Hotel Union Øye. The peak is the nearest neighbour to the hotel, and maybe the favorite of our queen H.M.Queen Sonja.
The Slogen summit seen from east during winter is also an object of my paintings.
Moving from Øye through the "Queen Route": Norangsdalen you arrive Hellesylt where this painting has its origin. From Hellesylt you may continue by ferry to Geiranger.

Wednesday, February 10

Sunnmøre´s Alps from Ålesund

From Borgund Fjord (see last blog-post) we turn east and face the spectacular Sunmøre Alps.
The beautiful surroundings of Ålesund have always been a copied motive for photographers and painters. I have made these two paintings of the mountains close to Sykkylven where Anne Kath and Asbjørn have their permanent residence.

Looking forward to our next meeting.

Monday, February 8

Aspevågen in hard wind

The central part of the harbor basin in Ålesund; Aspevågen, Steinvågen and Buholmstranda, is heavily polluted according to environmental officials. The cod-fishing is suspended due to this and cod-fatigue facts, but tons of "Borgundfjording"-cod (Møretorsk) have been served for dinners in Ålesund as a Norwegian delicacy in many many years. When I was a boy my mother went down to the quay and asked for cod. The fishermen just threw a large fish to her, asked for her own weighting and took 1 NOK per kilo. That was then.
My paintings today are not about codfish, but weather at sea and in the city with all the troubles umbrellas can create over the bridge connecting Aspøy and Nørvøy.
Take some minutes, see the youtube-video and listen to my old friend Knut Maaseide singing about Aalesund city´s Golden Gate

Friday, February 5

Breisundet and Eltrane Ålesund

At "Breisundet", south of Ålesund between Godøy and Hareidlandet you are forced out in the open sea. Power, wind and extreme depth variations can cause rough seas and difficult conditions in the waters. The sea go heavy and coarse, especially in western and north western wind. The outgoing flow from "Storfjorden" can be powerful at times, even though it normally remains at around one knots. The depth in Breisundet goes down to 300 meters.

I have made my painting from 2009 of Breisundet in stormy and rainy conditions. To the left you see the Eltrane at Sula island.

Monday, February 1

Godøya west of Ålesund

When you are at Molja (see post from Thursday) looking west you will see a large mountain-island: Godøy.
Far west on the island you can visit another lighthouse from 1876 at Alnes.The lighthouse is in operation and is accessible for tourists. It also houses an art gallery and a small historical museum.
Alnes is a small village in the municipality of Giske, Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. In 2006 its population was 205, but as the population dropped below 200 the next year, Alnes on Godøy is no longer counted as an urban settlement and its data no longer registered.

You can arrive Godøy and Alnes from Ålesund free of charge through 3 subsea tunnels (total length: 11492 meters) plus a bridge of 552 meters. When my girls was much younger I took them out there from Oslo (560 km away) in a heavy stormy weather, for the purpose to see the large waves and let them understand part of why I am as I am. Our ancestors on my mother mother side can be followed back to Torberg Arneson Giske (990 - 1050) and further back to Finnvid from Ønundarfjord, Iceland (850 -)

My winter-night moonshine painting is from 2007.