Archives for posts with tag: norway
A hot air balloon near Bournemouth beach

A hot air balloon near Bournemouth beach

The past 12 months have been fairly busy for me; I switched flats, got engaged, passed my driving test and started a new job. As well as these milestones, the highlights of the year for me were watching the Winter Olympics in February, visiting Norway in May, and continuing to be inspired by so many things, from window worshipping in Kent, to viewing incredible war art for the centenary, getting creative with my face, and nomadic felines on film.

I’m not sure what 2015 will bring, and I haven’t made any plans so far, but I hope to up my blog posts and go on a few more adventures.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I appreciate the comments and follows so much. Have a great 2015 x

This was the first leg of my trip to Norway, which began in Southampton, England. It was a very hot, sunny day and I took full advantage by lazing on a lounger on the deck as we set sail on our Scandinavian adventure.

After taking some photographs and admiring the Isle of Wight in the distance, I settled down to read The Big Sleep before making like an old lady with a game of shuffleboard and a gin and tonic. Bon voyage!

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On my recent trip to Norway, I travelled by boat from the UK, meaning I spent a period of time in the middle of the North Sea. It felt quite surreal but was incredibly freeing, and the sunsets were very nice indeed. The experience only heightened my love of the ocean, and being completely surrounded by the deep blue was quite emotional at times. I became almost hypnotised by the smooth ripples of water and the sight of this image above takes me straight back.

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I’m so happy to be writing a travel post again, especially one on a country I have wanted to visit for a long time: Norway, land of fjords, lakes and snow-capped mountains, and the most beautiful country I have seen so far, the town of Olden in particular. From above Olden literally looked like a model village, to the point that I thought it was some kind of mirage. Lush green trees crept up the hillsides dotted with colourful wooden houses, with great waterfalls speeding down the mountains.

On the way to the glacier trail I photographed a large turquoise-hued lake that I could have sat next to at all day. I really wanted to find a rowing boat and get out on the water.

I then hiked for 45 minutes uphill past waterfalls, goats and grass-roofed huts to Briksdal glacier. It was my first time seeing a glacier, and it was an impressive sight; they really do look blue close up. At the bottom of the glacier was a small turquoise lake, which looked beautiful next to the rugged landscape, although alarmingly a man who has lived in the town since 1998 informed us that when he arrived in Olden, there was no lake.

An equally pretty place was the small town of Eidfjord, with the opportunity for kayaking and of course more hiking.

The Norwegian landscape was everything I imagined it to be and more, like the Scottish Highlands but even more rugged, with higher mountains and clearer lakes.

I hope you enjoy the photographs.

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Inspired by my recent trip to Norway (pictures to follow), I decided to compile a short list of my favourite works by Norway’s most famous artist.

Painter and printmaker Edvard Munch was born in Adalsbruk in 1863. He was a symbolic artist, often using psychological profiles, and became an early expressionist.

Munch frequently portrayed images of torment and insanity, most obvious in his most famous painting The Scream (1893). He had a troubled childhood and mental illness ran in the family.

Many of my favourite Munch paintings display a sense of isolation, of foreboding, tension hanging in the air above the figures, an almost palpable anxiety.

The Storm, 1893

The Storm, 1893


The Storm

I saw this painting in person at MoMA in New York and it had such a haunted quality. Its setting is the seaside village of Asgardstrand, where Munch spent his childhood summers. The woman in white is evidently isolated from the rest of the villagers, even in a harsh situation, creating a sense of nadir.

 

Melancholy, 1894

Melancholy, 1894


Melancholy

Melancholy is certainly how I would describe this painting. Sadness etched on the man’s face as he contemplates, pensive and forlorn. I feel like I can relate to this character and I am definitely drawn to the sea when I am feeling this way. The idea of life and death is of course symbolised by the ocean and these are recurrent themes in Munch’s work. Similar in theme and style to Separation below, this work is concerned with love and loss.

 

The Kiss, 1897

The Kiss, 1897


The Kiss

This painting is clearly different from the others detailed in that the figures are locked in an embrace, very much together, in fact almost melding into one. This represents the changing perceptions of women during the era, becoming more boldly sexual and dominant. This is perhaps a much softer version of his work Vampire.

 

Separation 1900

Separation 1900


Separation

This painting brings out such emotion in me. The man clutching his heart, alone but never alone, the woman who holds the key forever with him yet always apart.

 

White Night, 1901

White Night, 1901


White Night

I like this painting for its depiction of the Norwegian landscape – especially after my recent visit – with the spruce trees framing the fjord beyond. Whilst there are no figures in the painting, the single house continues the isolated theme of his work. For me, this has a definite van Gogh influence, and the use of colour is wonderful.

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Lilyhammer

Last night saw the return of Lilyhammer [sic] to Netflix. I thought I would use this opportunity to write about some recent Scandinavian comedy series’, as we’re more familiar with dramas like The Killing, The Bridge, and Borgen.

Lilyhammer is an original Netflix series that made its way on to BBC4 at the end of 2012. Season one saw New Yorker Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt) turn up in Lillehammer under witness protection, after ratting out his mob buddies in court. He chose Lillehammer for its obscurity and because he had fond memories of the place after watching the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. When he arrives in Norway, he is given the name Giovanni, which the locals quickly change to Johnny. He manipulates the system to get a licence for a bar and quickly makes friends with the natives, including single mother, Sigrid. However, the local police, being unaware of his past, instantly distrust him. He can’t stay out of trouble for long, and is soon raising suspicion on both sides of the Atlantic.

In episode one of season two, a Londoner named Duncan (Paul Kaye) arrives to hawk his Ferrari. Johnny’s hapless crew accidentally trash said Ferrari and Johnny ends up with a gun in his face. It also sees the baptism of Johnny’s illegitimate twins, whose names he attempts to change due to their meanings in English. The first episode was eventful but sort of fell flat if I’m being completely honest.

What I like most about Lilyhammer is Lillehammer. The location shots of Norway are beautiful, full of crisp, snow-filled landscapes and towering trees. It’s also nice to be immersed in another culture and language for an hour. However, due to Frank/Johnny’s nationality, there is a mix of both English and Norwegian.

NB This season, Van Zandt has added the co-writing credits to his name, as well as executive producer.

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Night Shift/Day Shift/Prison Shift

Night Shift is a comedy series set in Reykjavik, which was first shown in 2007. It aired in the UK in 2011 on BBC4, after an influx of Scandinavian drama series. Its setting is a petrol station, where three employees – who could not be more different from one another – work the night shift. Pedantic tyrant Georg is the eldest and the manager. He is served by Daniel, a med school dropout, and Olafur, an endearing but utterly clueless no-hoper.

It’s a slow-paced comedy, which split opinions between friends of mine. As a night owl, I was drawn in to their nocturnal world and found it pretty amusing. It spawned two follow-up series, Day Shift and Prison Shift, as well as a film that was released in its native Iceland.

NB Jon Gnarr, who played Georg, is now the mayor of Reykjavik.

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Rita

The easiest way to describe the main character in Rita is to look to another comedy-drama with a strong female lead. Picture Jackie Peyton in Nurse Jackie (minus the drugs), move her to Denmark and give her a job as a teacher. Her annoying colleague, Zoe, has strong parallels with student teacher, Hjordis (she even looks like her).

Rita is a single mother of three in her early forties. She navigates life’s trials – an estranged mother, an affair with the school principal, and supporting her brood’s problems – in her own special way. Straight-talking, quick-witted and dysfunctional in her relationships, she’s not afraid to break the rules. She’s also a damn good teacher.

Season one of Rita is available to watch on Netflix.

NB Anna Gunn (Skyler from Breaking Bad) is to play Rita in the US version.