Travel between May 25 and June 01
25.05.2010 - 01.06.2010
Tuesday May 25
Change hotels and into town for sightseeing. Spent a great deal of money on tickets. Norway is expensive. Eurovision semi final 1 is on tonight.
Ended up being way more fun than I thought it would be. My Portugal shirt got a few supporters. We met a couple from Texas, they had seen SBS broadcasting the 2009 contest and loved it, so decided to come this year to Norway.
Wednesday May 26
Fjord cruise today. Dinner at Peppe's pizza, really good pizza, shouldn't have had the Nachoes. It meant that I couldn't try the dessert. Of course it cost more than $100 australian dollars for two of us to eat , I had a pizza Kat had pasta we both had soft drink. Although am noticing that soft drink is way more expensive than alcohol. I don't need anymore encouragement.
Point to note on food in Norway. Solo is found in it's natural form with orange flavour, not the lemon flavour we are used to at home. At least it is now easier to find still water, for a while there it was hit and miss as to wether the water in the bottle was still or mineral (gas) water. Hanging out for a hotdog.
Thursday May 27
Washing day. Found the laundromat, just had to wait abit for the bus. Managed to squeeze in a bus tour before heading back to hotel to drop off clothes before we head off to the 2nd semi final. Wouldn't be a good idea to go to eurovision with a backpack full of clothes, the security personel might wonder what I am up to.
Lots of random Aussies around, the flag got alot of attention, one group wanted to know where they could get one, umm sorry guys, brought it from home. Didn't like as many songs as last time, but still fun. They interviewed an Australian couple, they were funny, wonder what will be included in the DVD, might need to bring one home at Christmas to show a few people what the fuss is all about.
Friday May 28
Museum day, as luck would have there are 2 cruise ships docked in the harbour, it makes catching the hop on hop off bus impossible to catch, no one wants to hop off. So I used the ferry to get over to the Penninsula. The viking ship museum had 3 recovered viking ships from around 800AD. They were discovered in several seperate viking burial mounds, how well preserved they are is something to see, some of the intricate wood carving is also just, wow, in this day and age we would be happy to produce such quality using a computer to assist with the prescision. The ice breaking ship the Fram is in it's own museum too, great photos of polar exploration, north and south.
The Ibsen museum was well worth the visit, a sneak peek into his apartment opposite the Royal Park gave interesting insight into the man and his life.
Caught the Prince of Persia movie at the cinema, while waiting for the film to start, the staff came in and drew out numbers from a hat, the corresponding seat numbers won promotional items, like hats and Tshirts. Thank goodness our numbers were not called, well pretty sure they weren't, it was all spoken in Norwegian.
The snack bar at the cinema was something else, in Fridges that were warm, they stored the popcorn, and chips like pringles, also many snacks like nacho chips and the like were in trays ready for eating, no loud rustling and opening of packets. We were also handed several promotional bars of chocolate before we entered the movie theatre, I think I like going to the movies here.
Saturday May 29
Well today is the last Eurovision day. We arrived at the final dress Rehearsal. Practically everyone was from Norway, their flags were everywhere.
The performances were spot on. Who knows who will win. There were rumors that one of the possible reasons for Norway winning last year was that it was one of the few countries that could afford to host the event. If that is true, then that means that Greece, Spain, Portugal and the UK are out of the running before it has even begun. I liked Greece for the same reason I like France, fun fun fun. Russia was also the kinda of song that you enjoy but don't vote for, loved Romania, Albania and Iceland. Turkey gets my vote for most original performance, also more to my taste of music.
Saw so much more on the broadcast in the hotel than in the arena, there was just too many things going on that could distract you. The divide between the better more experience performers and those that were nervous was obvious. While the dress rehersal was perfect, the final performance was marred by some of the singers just not hitting their notes. the most disappointing was Israel.
History will show that Germany won, and it was a good song, but maybe the conspiracy theorists were right, it is one of the few countries that can afford to host the event. Certainly judging by audience reaction, the French and Greece entries were popular.
Tomorrow off to Amsterdam, staying on a boat, no internet access
Sunday May 30
I am not fond of flying, but at least this time I remembered to remove my deoderant and all items from my pockets before security.
It was a short flight, and maybe it was me but it seemed that everyone knew each other, either that or the dutch are a very friendly people.We waited in line at the information centre longer than the entire train journey to the central station. Took a while but eventually got to the houseboat. The instructions were good, we were just disoriented.
As expected the room is tiny, two of us cannot stand up at the same time with both backpacks. The light for the toilet cubicle at the end of the hall is on the roof, I nearly missed it completely.
Afternoon spent catching trams to the Heineken experience. That was great fun. Even though I am not fond of the beer, they put on a good show. I can see why it is so popular. Two free beers at the end of the experience, and at least one "Tasting beer" as part of the experience, to you know teach you how to drink a beer properly. I never realised that I had been doing it wrong all these years. Dinner at an Indonesion place on one of the main squares, so good, walked in and it smelled like home. Ate way too much.
Have noticed that there is a great variety of foods in Amsterdam. more than one Argintinian stake house, even Urauguian stakehouse, Portuguese, Italian, American, Irish and English pubs, Indonesian, Thai and chinese.Foodie heaven. And so much cheaper than Norway
Monday May 31
Oh what an interesting mix of a day.
Started with a canal cruise, through large ones and small ones, some with houseboats and some with bikes, some with sinking boats and some with boats that were really resturants.
After a bit of a map issue made our way through the red light district, not on the original agenda but certainly an eye opener, to the hallowed halls of the Hemp museum. So cute they even have their own grow room, for seeds only and they were not encouraging anyone to take up illegal activities. So from hemp to art, the rjiksmuseum. I saw several Rembrandts and a Vermeer, the milkmaid, it took a while to see it though, there was an oldie tour group being lead by a guys that was talking/lecturing them about the painting and the one next to it by the same painter, or perhaps the body of work of the artist, because seriously I didn't know that one guy could talk for so long about the one thing. It took forever before they moved along enough for me to get a look at the iconic painting that was obviously one of the museums prized posessions.
I saw several still lifes which contained more than a bowl of fruit, and there were 2 amazing examples of Doll houses. It was once the height of extravangance and fashion to have in your home a replica of your house in minature, a Dolls House. One women had gone to the extreme of organising to have every item of furniture replicated to scale, down to the composition of the furniture item, so some items were imported from china.
Next stop was the house of Bols. Aparently Bols have been brewing liquers since the 16th century. Maybe I haven't spent enough time in Bars over the years. A little sensory experience later and we sat down to try our free cocktails and 2 tasters of the 36 odd flavours. Green Banana was just like the banana lollies you can get and the coffee liquer was a harsher version of kahlua. Also got the chance to drink Kat's two drinks, will need food soon, too many cocktails on an empty stomach.
The day was not yet over, the pancake bakery was dinner and that was a culinary experience, my pancake was more like a pizza base, it was huge. but so yum got to eat some real profitijes.
On the way back to the tram we thought we could line up and see if we could get into the Anne Frank house. Well for a while there it looked like we wouldn't make it. Eight pm was approaching and we still hadn't moved, but then they started to let people in again. We inched then footed forward. Moving around the house itself was difficult there were so many poeple that in a lot of places you just had to go with the flow. All up though well worth the admission. Must remember that booking ahead of time is the way to go not off the cuff spur of the moment, pity that.
So hemp, art, alcohol and history all in one day, the highlights (and lowlights) of Amsterdam. Worth a second visit, just to eat more food.
Tomorrow, the Hague then onto Frankfurt, a new tour awaits us, with hopefully a bunch of oldies so perhaps a slower pace.
Tuesday June 1
Train to the Hague, nice little trip didn't take long, the problem was trying to find the right platform to catch the right train. Kat had bought the tickets but I couldn't find the platform, ended up just making it, 4b 4a it is the same platform, just further down.
Saw the MC Escher museum definitly the highlight. There was a little gallery that a few paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer, a little known painting called the Girl with the Peral earring. The Hague is an interesting little place.
A train ride later and were were in Frankfurt. The hotel was less than 100m from the station, just around the corner. Not an expensive hotel, but Internet, beds and private bathroom and included Breakfast. Can't go wrong.