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Posts tagged “Oslo

Rich Norway but icy pavements

Thought for the day…”Every failure is a step to success.”

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” (Franklin Roosevelt)

Today’s photo is of some rare winter sunshine in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.   One thing that you will notice if you visit Oslo in winter is how bad the Norwegians are at coping with snow, even in the capital.    For some reason, the arrival of snow in WINTER seems to surprise Norwegians, leading to travel chaos.    It is also very surprising that the local council in Oslo seems to be so bad at treating the pavements.  On some days, walking around is extremely dangerous due to ice on the streets, yet the Norwegians seem very bad at treating the pavements.  Compared with cities such as Helsinki in Finland, Oslo is a long way behind.  So why is it that the arrival of snow causes so many problems in a country that should be used to it?    As most of the country lies above 60 degrees north (and some parts of it are over 70 degrees north)  then snow and ice should not be a surprise to them, but it is.   And with all the money that rich Norway has, then why are the pavements so dangerous because the local councils have not cleared or treated them??  It is another surprise in a country that many think of as modern and advanced.   As an example of how much money Norway has, the Opera House seen in the photo below cost around 4.1 BILLION Norwegian kronor, or about USD 700 million.  Just to the left of the Opera house, the large new building being built is a new library.  Estimated cost of that is 1.8 BILLION Norwegian Kronor.    So, with all this money, why are the pavements being neglected when it is icy ???

and another photo from the archives….the legs have it…

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Oslo, Norway – Not the modern, organized place that you think…..

Thought for the day..”It is better to rust out than wear out.”

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”  (Charlotte Wilton).

One of the great mysteries of life is why in Norway, the arrival of snow in winter causes such chaos.  Norway lies mostly above 60 degrees north (parts of it are over 70 degrees north) so is Artic or sub-Artic, yet the arrival in WINTER of snow seems to cause such chaos.   Do the Norwegians not expect snow in WINTER?   Are they not used to snow arriving in WINTER?   It appears not.    As anyone who has been in Oslo recently will have experienced, the streets have been extremely difficult to negotiate.   Pavements have alternated between sheet ice and deep snow, all of this in the CAPITAL of a country that is rich and that is supposed to be modern.     It sure shatters a lot of images when you work in Norway, those images that many people have of a modern, well-organized society soon change when you see how it really is.   And I just cannot but help wondering what the local council in Oslo is doing (or rather, not doing).     The one plus side to the chaos caused by the snow and ice is that is has forced many of the begging gypsies off the streets.   Again, the gypsy problem is something that the Norwegian government and police seem unable to deal with, same as with the heroin problem in Oslo.   Whilst drug sellers operate openly in the city centre, nothing appears to be done about the problem.   Oslo has been called the “heroin capital of Europe’, with the statistics showing the big problem with heroin addiction and deaths in the city, but the authorities do not seem to be doing enough.  Have a look at some of the videos of the problem on YouTube.    So if you have any ideas that Norway is a modern, clean and well-run society, then a short visit may change your views !!

One photo of the Norwegian capital, Oslo, taken before the snows arrived…..

and another photo from the archives Rafsundet near Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands, Norway.

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Oslo (Norway) Gardermoen airport – Still a disgrace for Norway

Thought for the day…”The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.”

I have had the misfortune (and misfortune is the word) to travel through the enlarged Oslo airport.   It is still a national disgrace for Norway.   Despite earlier complaints, the airport managers in their infinite wisdom, have still ignored the needs of waiting passengers.   All very well to build a big new terminal, but the queues to check in and at security seem just as bad as ever.    Not only that, but those same airort managers have STILL not put in anywhere near enough seats for waiting passengers.   Before, their excuse was that they did not have enough space for seats (although apparently they did have enough space for stupid scultpures).  Now that the enlarged terminal is open (with more space), there are still not enough seats for waiting passengers.

And once you have negotiated the snake-like lines to go through the security controls, then you have another challenge to find enough seats whilst you wait for the flight.    If you want to find something to do while you wait, good luck, because there seems to be almost nothing for passengers to do (apart fro slow, restricted internet).   Good luck too if you want to charge your phone or computer…the search for a socket will keep you amused for some time before your flight.

So the recently enlarged Oslo airport is just as bad as before.  The queues are still there, the lack of seats is still the same, and the lack of things to do whilst waiting for your flight is just the same.    And the worst part…..we passengers are paying for the privilege of using these poor facilities.    A disgrace for Norway.

Plenty of space for these 2 people on the beach near Surat Bay, on the Catlins Coast of New Zealand..

and another photo from the archives….black and white lines and modern architecture…

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Time to Delete…..

Thought for the day….”Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.”

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

Autumn is a good time to get around to sorting the thousands of photos that are sitting on discs and hard drives.   Those of us over about 30 years old will remember that at one time, you only got 36 pictures (37 if you were lucky) on a roll of film, and even on a long holiday, you did not come back with thousands of photos.   But with digital cameras, it is far too easy to click away and end up with hundreds of photos.    I am looking back at my earlier photos and putting them through a test.   First question is “would I be proud to show this photo to somebody else? ”  and the second question “is this photo special to me?”    If the answer to both questions is NO then it is time to hit the delete button.   Rather like pruning trees after the summer, it will result in a leaner, cleaner and better photo collection.    Hit that delete button !

Classical buildings in the Frogner part of Oslo for the photo today, originally a colour photo that I have converted to Black & White.

wordpress Oslo buildingsand another photo, the lunchtime Wideroe Dash 8 Q300 aircraft arriving in Honningsvag, in North Norway.   This is only about 30km from the North Cape, which is claimed to be the top of Europe at over 71 degrees north.     That said, North Cape is actually on an island (Mageroya) so whether or not it is actually the northernmost point of Europe is debatable.  wordpress WideroeALL PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

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Money well spent, or not ???

Thought for the day…” Hope but never expect, Look forward but never wait”

“Obstacles are those frightful things that you see when you take your mind off your goal”  (Henry Ford)

The waterfront of the Norwegian capital, Oslo is changing fast.   Currently it is a mass of cranes and building sites.   A photo from yesterday taken in perfect weather and warm temperatures, showing just how much building is going on.  The white building on the right is the Opera House, which was completed in 2007, supposedly based on an iceberg shape.    The exterior is covered with Italian marble, Carrara marble.   This is an odd choice to use, as the architects had perhaps not read about the problems that this same type of marble had when it was used for the Finlandia concert hall in Helsinki.    Whilst Italian marble may be very suitable for use in the Mediterranean, it does not handle the extreme cold temperatures of Scandinavia well.    Much of the marble used in Helsinki on the Finlandia Hall had to be replaced, so it is interesting to see it used in Oslo, which has a similar climate.  Time will tell !   The cost of the Opera House in Oslo was over 4 BILLION Norwegian kronor, or over USD 700 million.   Would this money have been better spent on a new medical centre??

and another photo showing the whole building….

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Oslo city centre – not pleasant

Thought for the day…”Postive anything is better than negative nothing”

“If your ship does not come in, then swim out to it”.

The Norwegian capital, Oslo, becomes even more unpleasant to walk around.   It seems that in the very centre of the city, that drug dealers can openly sell drugs, and drug users can wait around, apparently without the police doing anything.   As soon as you come out of the main train or bus stations then you see it.    The newspapers were reporting that the Norwegian police said that they had lost control of one area (Gronland), and the situation seems to be getting worse.    Go for a walk early morning and you may see used syringes on the ground.   Walk around after dark (not recommended) and you will see drug dealers openly selling.    It is very clear who the drug users are, but they seem to be immune to action.    Add to that the large number of begging gypsies in the city and Oslo has become an unpleasant and dirty place.  But why are the police not doing anything??  Surely the use of hard drugs must be illegal in Norway, but these people apparently get away with it, and openly too.   And all the begging gypsies apparently do not have any legal right to stay in Norway, so why are they allowed to remain?    What are the police doing about it?   I wonder.

Today’s photo comes from north Norway, and from the fishing village of Honningsvag.

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and another photo from the archives….the same photo as in the previous post, but this time converted to black & white.

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Oslo airport – a disgrace for Norway and for Scandinavia.

Thought for the day…” You may delay, but time will not”  (Benjamin Franklin)

“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” (Martin Luther King).

Because of work, I have to travel a lot, and recently had the misfortune (and misfortune is the word) to travel through Oslo airport (code OSL) again.   It is an absolute disgrace for Norway and for Scandinavia.   Not only is it far too small for the numbers of passengers now using it, but the facilities there are hopeless.   The management there have seen fit to remove most of the chairs, which means that many waiting passengers must sit on the floor (and remember that this is in Norway, which is supposed to be a civilised country).   They have found space to display dumb sculptures (such as the famous bent penis sculpture) but claim to have insufficient space for seats.   And despite their claims of a lack of space for seats, they have been able to greatly enlarge the size of the tax free shop.   So whilst passengers may end up sitting on the floor, the airport does not care.     If you have come off a long flight, then do not bother to look for somewhere to get a shower.   There is nowhere.

And this is the 21st century.   Most travellers now carry mobile phones, tablets etc. all of which need charging.    But try finding sockets in Oslo airport.   And if you have a long wait for a flight, then do not count on finding much to do at the airport….things like TVs to watch or any other facilities that good airports (such as Singapore) provide for waiting passengers.  So, while you are sitting on the floor waiting for your flight with nothing to do, then remember that you are paying to use the airport.   Things are so unpleasant at Oslo OSL airport that I am now considering going across the border to Sweden in future to avoid the unpleasant experience that Oslo airport OSL is.

A photo of a couple, seen in Bergen, Norway.   Not sure which country they were from, but not Norwegian.

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and another portrait photo…from the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku

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Breakfast morning sunrise – Pembroke New Zealand

Thought for the day…” We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it”   (Dwight Eisenhower).

“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often    (Mae West).

Nice photo of the sunrise on 20th Februrary for today’s photo.  One of those occasions when it was so lucky to have the camera ready AND be in the right place at the right time.     I took a series of shots as the clouds and light changed, but the aim was to get the clouds to appear to come out of the electricity pylon and a frame around the best of the clouds.  See what you think.  As the light was changing so fast (and the clouds were also moving fast due to the strong winds aloft) then there was not time to set things up properly, but the results were fine.  Hopefully the time-lapse of the moving clouds will be equally dramatic.    So much fun with a camera !!!

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and another photo out of the archives….night train from Trondheim, Norway to Oslo……This was one of my first night shots with the Fuji X-E1….

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Two sides of Oslo, Norway

Thought for the day….”Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it”

“Be nice to people on the way up because you will meet them again on the way down”

Today’s photo is of the Opera House in the Norwegian capital city of Oslo.  Opened in 2008, the shape is supposed to resemble an iceberg.   The cost was a staggering 4.1 billion NOK, or about USD 720 million.    A new public library is to be built nearby as well as several office blocks.  Despite the wealth, the streets nearby have many beggars and drug addicts, as well as rubbish and grafitti.   Even nearby the Opera House, there are parts of the city that are run-down and are dirty, a fact that often surprises visitors to Oslo.    It is known as the heroin capital of Europe, with 248 deaths from drugs in 2010.   Again, visitors are often surprised by how obvious drug use and drug dealing on the streets is, something which does not fit in with the image of clean, well-run Norway.     Reality is sometimes very different.

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and another photo from the archives…a dramatic sunrise in Pembroke, New Zealand.

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The streets of Oslo – not what you are expecting.

Thought for the day…” A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ”

” Success is simple.  Do what is right, the right way, at the right time”.

One of the surprises that visitors to the Norwegian capital, Oslo  often comment on are the large numbers of beggars on the streets.   All around the city they are a common sight, including in the city’s parks where they often set up camp.    During the summer it is not uncommon to see them cooking in parks and open spaces, sometimes using  the trees and bushes for firewood.    Back in September 2014, the council in Oslo voted AGAINST a ban on begging in the city, another sign of the weakness of Norwegians to deal with the problem.   A newer proposal to ban begging nationwide in Norway was dropped as it was seen as discriminating against Roma (gypsy) people.      The fact that pick-pocketing and crime have increased in the areas where there are many beggars can hardly be a coincidence.    Complaints about litter and the bad sanitation have also increased in the areas where the gypsies are camping, including in the city centre.     Yet the Norwegian government has apparently done little to resolve the problem.  Same thing with the drug dealers and drug addicts who also frequent the city centre.    If you drive you car 10km over the speed limit in Norway then you are a major criminal, but apparently a drug dealer or beggar can get away with their crimes.     Not the sort of Norway that tourists were expecting before their arrival.

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and another photo from the archives….early morning balloon over Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey.

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