Thursday, June 27

Visiting Munch´s Åsgårdstrand

The weather in Oslo this morning was bad. Very bad with heavy rain as we have had last night too.
We therefore decided to take a trip to the small city Åsgardstrand where many Norwegian painters like:  Edvard Munch, Christian Krogh and Hans Heyerdahl stayed many summers. Åsgårdstrand can be seen as the Norwegian answer to Denmark´s Skagen.

One of Munch´s most famous paintings are "Girls on the Bridge" 1901 (below) and my wife placed herself almost in the same position as Munch´s models.
Munch always said "I don´t paint what I see. I paint what I saw" but in Åsgårdstrand it is easy to imagine where he put his easel and model.
I am not convinced that the Melancholy beach is on the beach below his house. (That is what the guides are arguing) A little bit south of the harbor (where I am sitting) looks more like the place for "Melancholy" 1891 - 94.
Munch first visited the coast between Borre and Åsgårdstrand in 1885. He rented a house from 1889 and bought his own house in 1898. The year after he raised the red studio-house where many of his sketches for "Livsfrisen" was made.  Today "Munchs House" is a small museum and cultural center.
Of course he also painted the two houses and this nice painting expresses the warm summer cottages in the light of Åsgårdstrand.

We had a great day in Åsgårdstrand and recommend everyone to visit the area and feel the spirit of our great painter Edvard Munch

Saturday, June 22

Norwegian Bonfire

This year Midsummer, ST Hans or San Juan (or whatever) was celebrated this Saturday at our cottage area. Bonfires are not only a costal tradition in Norway, and our annual "Santhansbål" is an event we have to join.

This year Midsummer, ST Hans or San Juan (or whatever) was celebrated this Saturday at our cottage area. Bonfires are not only a costal tradition in Norway, and our annual "santhansbål" is an event we have to join.

Friday, June 21

Removing of Writer´s block?

A Month ago I posted in my blog some of the paintings I had made and put on the walls at our cottage. These were old works, but suitable for decoration in the Munch-year 2013
Coming so close to these paintings I soon discovered that some of them had to be further processed in a better way.
The first painting that had to be somewhat changed was "The Voice / Summer night " signed by Munch in 1893.

In this version I have slimmed the lady´s upper body and made the beach lighter in the moonshine.

The second work that became repainted was  "Love and Pain" / "The Vampire" first signed by Munch in 1894, but presented in many versions in years to come.
My version is now perhaps too "clean" but my first version from autumn 2008 was more a sketch.  Munch shall in 1933 have said that:  "The title "Vampire" is really what gives the painting a literary image. Actually, it's just a woman kissing a man in the neck"
My painting has now replaced the yellow restaurant painting to the left of the "living room" wall.

Working with these two paintings is the first painting activity I have had since autumn 2011, and in that year I only produced 2.  It felt really good and maybe the "Writer´s block" in you can say so, is removed and more paintings will develop during the summer this year.

Thursday, June 20

My grandchild is growing

Times are running. Children and Grandchildren are growing up very fast. Maybe too fast.

I will never ever forget the shocking message in the summer 2003 when Helene arrived too early to this world.
A challenge, or many challenges for her and her the parents, but the result so far (as seen on this photo) documents that she has grown into a beautiful girl. We also know that she is a smart girl.

Tuesday, June 18

Breakfast in the Garden

It is no Edouard Manet or Sesam Station but an ordinary summer breakfast at the cottage. Have a nice day.

Saturday, June 15

Beer testing at Amundsens

At Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri we was invited to a beer test on Friday. 10 cl x 4. (and more if you want to find out more of the intriguing selection of beer).
I tested 4 of the recommended draft beers.
From left:
Nøgne Ø´s Saison 5.2% with 10% weat grain: Nice
Amundsen´s Ocean with taste of Greapfruit. Strange.
Ægir´s Rallar Amble Ale 4,7%. The best in test.
Haandbryggeriet´s Norwegian Wood 6.5% with juniper which tasted like burnt wood or smoke. Very strange.

Usuallly I drink a Hansa Bayer, but the quality Rallar Ale may lead to a change when ordering next time I make a visit to Amundsen.
The restaurant has a good kitchen and I can recommend:

Chicken drumsticks with
blue cheese dressing

A herring plate: blend of heering and egg,
onion, cheese and two types of herring.
Rye bread on the side.

500 grams of mussels steamed in
Gueze beer, served with French fries
and rouille on the side.

Klipfish-loins served with cherry tomatoes, French
beans, potatoes, chorizo and beer based gravy.

Beer braised chicken served with creamy asparagus,
carrots cocked in beer, potatoes and veal gravy.

Thursday, June 13

Iceland, Art on our journey Blogpost number 1800

I cannot tell you that I made any priority to visit the different Icelandic art galleries during our stay at the island. However, when traveling and walking around there were always some artworks that had to be photographed and thus copied into this last presentation about our visit to Iceland.
The first image is a painting by Nihil Kirsh called Geysir Bistro 42 x 60 oil on canvas. Prize 150.000 IKR. A very good composition and excellent use of colors. I was nearly to buy it myself, but transport to Norway by airplane made a challenge so I recommended the painting to a professor at Bifrost U.
The group of musicians outside the "Perlan" is called "The dance", but we thought it more descriptive should have the title: "Anorexia". The sculpture is made by Torbjørg Palsdottir
The next image is a poster made by an unknown artist. The beautiful and delicate color combination met me in a window at Reykjavik and reminded me immediately of the Norwegian artist Gunn Vottestad. It also reminds me of the Borgarnes image from yesterday blogpost.

 Another poster or maybe city art was this presentation of Tie Knots outside a clothing shop for men.
I did not buy any tie there, but my new marine blue Bugatti Cap was acquired at G.E.sf.
On our way from the restaurant Snaps to Ølstofan down Skolvørdurtigurthis this sculpture had to be immortalized.

At Reykholt graveyard this sculpture was placed. The virtualizing of running Lava was however so spectacular that a presentation here became obvious. Sorry, I did not register the artist.
The last sculpture we found at Borg a Myrum, Egill Skalagrimsson´s birth place. Made by Åsmundur Sveinsson which as you can see, was very much influenced by Henry Moore.

This blog post is my number 1800. I hope you sometimes go back in my blogging history from march 2005 (first years only in Norwegian) and find interesting photos and information from my last 8 years in Bloglandia. My english blogposts started in January 2008 and have continued so for over 5 years.

You are always welcome to give me comments

Wednesday, June 12

Iceland, Day 4 - Borgfjørdur, Snorre Sturlason and Hvalfjørdur

 Our last sightseeing day in Iceland this time was a tour to the western Iceland and the fjords north of Reykjavik.

 On Route 1 we first went through the tunnel under Hvalfjørdur. It is 5,770 m long and reaches depth of 165m below sea level.
Route 1 is going around Iceland and connect the most interesting parts of the country. The length is 1.339 km

The landscape on Route 1 is beautiful and this scenery is just like a motive for a painting by Thore Heramb or maybe myself. We also crossed the Borgarfjørdur on Borgarfjarðarbrú which is the second longest bridge in Iceland, after Skeiðarárbrú.  It spans 520 m

We had a break for lunch in Borgarnes and visited the Settlement centre where the life of Egill Skallagrimsson is covered. You can learn about his life in Egils Saga.
Borgarnes is first noted in Egils Saga, where it is called Digranes. The first Settler to live there was called Grani, a shipmate of Skallagrímur, the first landlord and settler of the Borgarfjörður-area.
I think you should make special attention to the colors of the roofs on the image above. Picturesque?

From Borgarnes we headed toward Reykholt but made a stop at Deildartunguhver which is a hotspring in Reykholtsdalur. It is characterized by a very high flow rate for a hot spring (180 liters/second) and water emerges at 97 °C. It is the highest-flow hot spring in Europe, and comes just out of a hole in the wall.
Some of the water is used for heating, being piped 34 kilometers to Borgarnes and 64 kilometers to Akranes.

The valley around Reykholt has an open u-formed shape which is common from the withdrawal of the ice cups. In the middle of the valley Snorre Sturlasson´s home is located.

We did not stop at Reykholt, but continued however up the valley. About 20 km from Reykholt, there are the lava waterfalls Hraunfossar, one of the most interesting natural wonders on the island.

From this area we can see an arm of Langjøkull the second largest ice cap in Iceland (953 km2) Langjøkull is also giving water to Gullfoss and  the Thingvella-lake described in a previous blogpost from Iceland. After this visit we returned to Reykholt.

Every Norwegian and Icelander know Snorri Sturlason ( any facial similarity to the editor of this blog is random)
Snorri was known as a poet, but was also a successful lawyer. In 1215, he became lawspeaker of the Althing, the only public office of the Icelandic commonwealth and a position of high respect. In the summer of 1218, he left the lawspeaker position and sailed to Norway, by royal invitation.

Snorri Sturluson most famous works are Heimskringla (facsimile above) and (the Younger) Edda, and it is speculated that he also wrote Egils saga.
Heimskringla (ca. 1220-1235) is a collection of sagas - a history that is about the Norwegian kings of Halfdan the Black (850), Olav Tryggvason and of King Sverre (1177). The work is named after the opening words of the work, Kringla Heimsins (= the round earth album). Heimskringla has meant very much to create a Norwegian national feeling.

Snorri's Edda (ca. 1220-1230), also known as the Younger Edda, is a textbook or manual of poetry (not to be confused with the Elder Edda). It is about the Norse god myths surrounding among others Odin and Thor. The book starts with a prologue in which the creation is described along with religion origins and genesis of the old gods, the Aesir.

In addition, it has been proposed as a theory that Egils saga (1226) also was written by Snorri, but it is not yet proven. It is a saga of Egil Skallagrimson. The action takes place in the period 850-1000, mostly in Norway and Iceland. The saga of Eigil is visualized at the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes.

According to "Landnamabok" a hot bath was used at Reykholt already in the 10th century.
In Sturlungasaga the hot bath is mentioned several times. The bath at Reykholt is approximately 4 m in diameter and as a depth about 1m. A passage leads from the old "Snorri-stugu" to the bath, and the story tells that Snorre was killed in this passage 23 september 1241

Instead of taking the underwater-tunnel on our way back to Reykjavik, we travelled over the Skardsheidi and followed the road around the Hvalfjørdur. A beautiful and different road.

At a break we could see the photo of a Fin whale with a jaw bone in front. The dimension is clear.

At all the tour of day 4 was a different way of experiencing Iceland, and the beauty of Hvalfjørdur in the late afternoon will remain in our memories.

Tuesday, June 11

Iceland, Day 3 - Reykjavik

 On Wednesday our excursion was to the famous sites of the capital and it´s surroundings.
  First we went through the western part of the city and ended up at Grotta Lighthous. From here it is only water until you reach Greenland and America.
 The Hallgrim´s Church is a landmark wherever you are in Reykjavik. The memorial of Leiv Eriksson is placed in front of the church.
Leiv Eiriksson c. 970 – c. 1020) was a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada.
The beauty of the church must be seen from inside although the facade also has a spectacular exterior. This is the organ opposite the alter which impressed us by it´s clean and majestic design.
From the top of Perlan the view over Reykjavik is fantastic. On this image you can see Hallvard´s Church at the horizon. Behind it, you find the city center and further on; Akranes peninsula. The area where Akranes city is located was settled in the ninth century
Outside the restaurant on the top of Perlan there is a viewpoint of 360 degrees.
Perlan is situated on the hill Öskjuhlíð where there had been hot water storage tanks for decades. In 1991 the tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure placed on top. This project was largely done at the behest of Davíð Oddsson, during his time as mayor of Reykjavík.
Before the financial scandals and crack in 2007 the building activity was extremely high in Iceland. This is the skyline which among ordinary people now is called "Madhattan"
At Thingvellir the Alltingi was closed in 1881 and moved to the capital situated in a building made of Icelandic stones. Here it it very restricted access for ordinary people as us.
Near by the Alltingishusid the Cathedral of the Icelandic church is located. A beautiful building made of trees and a delighted choir and high altar. Rather small compared to the Hallvard Church
At the Tjørnin Reykjavik City Hall is located. It was built in 1991 and is quite special. A typographic map of  Iceland is placed in the lobby.
Visiting Reykjavik also include Shopping in the two main shopping streets. This is on the corner of Skólavörðustígur, running from ,Laugavegur  up to Hallgrimskirkja. In the side streets you may find interesting and nice restaurants and bars.

Monday, June 10

Iceland, Day 2 - The Golden Circle

The most popular tourist route at Iceland is the The Golden Circle and day 2 was dedicated to this.
Our first stop was at Thingvellir which is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is also home to Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.

The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region, the biggest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. This also causes the often-measurable earthquakes in the area.

According to Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in AD 874 when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson became the first permanent Norwegian settler on the island. Over the next centuries, people of Norse and Celtic origin settled in Iceland.
At Þingvellir the Icelandic Parliament or Alþingi was established  in 930 and remained there until 1798. The flagpole on the photo marks the Lögberg (Law Rock) which was the focal point of the Alþingi and a natural platform for holding speeches. The Lawspeaker, elected for three years at a time, presided over the assembly and recited the law of the land.
Our next stop on day 2 was the Geysir area. The old Geysir is no longer active but the water is still very hot.
The present most impressive active "geysir" is Strøkkur, erupting about every 4–8 minutes 15 – 20 m high, sometimes up to 40 m high.
Moving further to the north-east the weather became more and more nice, and for the first time we could see the beauty of the Icelandic landscape and feel the reality of nature.
Next stop was the Gullfoss,  a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river.
The waterfalls are really impressive and the volume of water running over this waterfall is 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the wintertime. The highest flood measured was 2000 m³/s.
Going close to the river may make your cloths wet, but you really feel nature by staying on the edge and see the water falls into a crevice of 32m.
Normally the Golden circle only include the three tourist attractions above.
We had the opportunity to visit two more on our way back to Reykjavik.
First we stopped at Skalholt, one of the most important places in Iceland. From 1056 until 1785, it was one of Iceland's two episcopal sees, along with Hólar, making it a cultural and political center. Iceland's first official school, Skálholtsskóli (now Reykjavík Gymnasium, MR), was founded at Skálholt in 1056 to educate clergy. This is a memorial at Skalholt.
This old bible in the cathedral at Skalholt is from MDLXXXIIII or 1584 if I still can my roman numbers well enough
Before we returned to Hotel Saga in Reykjavik we had a stop at the Kerid volcano. This is an old crater filled with natural rain water. The caldera itself is approximately 55 m (180 ft) deep, 170 m (560 ft) wide, and 270 m (890 ft) across. Kerið’s caldera is one of the three most recognizable volcanic craters because at approximately 3,000 years old, it is only half the age of most of the surrounding volcanic features. The colors on the steep walls tell all about the variety of metallurgical combinations in nature.