Saturday, December 11, 2010

2 weeks til Christmas

Trondheim has had a serious winter so far, and it's not even officially winter yet. We had the coldest month of November ever measured (since 1788!) and now we are back to warmer weather and lots of snow. I decided to walk to the sentrum today to go to the julemarket, but I think I would have been better off taking the bus. You have to walk down some steep hills to get to the sentrum from Tyholt, and there is basically no way to avoid walking down slippery sidewalks and streets. I was walking down the first steep street today when a girl fell down about 20 meters in front of me. I didn't laugh because I figured I was next. I made it about another 20 meters past where she fell and I went down too. It hurt a little bit but I got back up and continued down the hill. I stopped at the Kristiansten fort to take these pictures, and then I had one more hill to go down to get to the sentrum. And sure enough, I fell down AGAIN flat on my back on that hill too. That one really hurt. Now I'm home taking ibuprofen illegally imported from the U.S. Probably shouldn't say that. I found it, yea that's it.
When we had our company Christmas party a few weeks ago I was awarded my very own first-aid kit as a prize for being the most consistently injured player on the soccer team. I guess I should have had the kit with me today, it might have helped to break the fall(s).
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Visit to Oslo

I made a brief visit to Oslo a week ago to have a doctor look at my injured knee. I hurt it playing soccer in July, but so far I had not been able to get in to see an actual surgeon about what needed to be done. The Norwegian health system is quite good overall but it is very slow for non-prioritized injuries or health problems. Since the knee wasn't stopping me from working, they put you at the back of the list basically which for ACL tears is approximately 3-6 months. I paid for my own visit to see a doctor at the Ringvoll clinic in Oslo just so I could have someone tell me for sure if it needs surgery or not. (It does). He told me they could operate on it in a week in Oslo, but since my company doesn't provide any insurance for injuries like that I would have had to pay the full cost myself, which would be around $5,000 USD. Or I can stay in the queue at the clinic in Trondheim where eventually ( January maybe? ) I will get the operation without cost or at very small cost. I decided to wait until January, since I've already waited 4 months, what will another 3 hurt?
I hadn't been to downtown Oslo for some 15 years, so I was interested to see how much I remembered. It looks mostly the same except for the giant Opera house they built in the harbor. That is a really nice building. It is covered with a white marble roof that you can just wander around on, a photographers/skateboarders dream. A really amazing place. I ended up walking way to much of course, and between wandering all over town and having the doctor yank around on my knee in the middle of the day it really did hurt by the time I got back to the airport in the evening. I lucked out on the weather that day as you can see in the photo, it was not very warm but the sun was out all day and it didn't feel cold after the early morning. It was also nice I must say to listen to people speaking a dialect of norwegian that I actually could understand (most of it). People in Trondheim might as well be speaking martian for how much I understand but the Oslo dialect is close enough to Bokmål that I could get most of the words.
Today I decided to try and XC ski a little bit with my friend Joel to see how the knee would feel. The answer was very quickly "not too good.....". I can't put enough pressure on that leg to turn the skis or snowplow on the downhill parts so it is a bit difficult unless the course was completely flat or had only left turns. Not likely!
Anyway I might try it a few more times this winter before I get the operation, because I think there will be no skiing after that for the rest of the winter.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween in Trondheim

I made a couple of pumpkins this year for Halloween and put them in front of the house. It seemed to work, the little munchkins stripped the house of candy like a swarm of locusts. A lot of Norwegian adults seemed quite mystified by Halloween in general, I think because it didn't really catch on here until about 10-15 years ago. But I must say that the kids have latched on to it now, the words "free candy" have pretty much the same appeal no matter what country you are in. There are tons of kids in my neighborhood here, there must have been something in the water here about 10 years ago. I was worried at first that maybe there wouldn't be any trick or treaters here but after an hour or so I was more worried about running out of candy. I eventually had to look through all the cabinets for old bags of Swedish candies that I never finished. I gave away everything I had and I finally had to bring the pumpkins in around 9pm. Witches seemed to be the most popular costume for the girls, one time I had 6 identical little blond witches at the door at the same time. Or maybe it was more, it was hard to count when they all have the same costumes. Most of the boys I couldn't tell what the hell they were wearing but they all got candy anyway. Another American holiday successfully exported! I did notice also that most of the candy displays at the grocery store were filled with American candy brands. We want to make the rest of the world diabetic as well so we can sell more insulin monitors......
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Monday, October 11, 2010


I was in Barcelona all last week for a Bluetooth conference. It was a nice break from the cold weather in Trondheim but now it's back to 8C and a bit of drizzle for the next month. Barcelona is a great city, there are lots of things to see there, unfortunately we didn't have so much time for sightseeing as we had to work during the day until around 5 or 6 pm. We did get downtown in the evenings and on Friday afternoon we had some free time so we went to the Sagrada Família church and to the Park Güell. My friend Bjørn Tore got his wallet stolen on the metro on the way to the church, that sucked. The pickpockets are rampant on the subway there so if you go there keep your hand on your wallet! They will pick out people on the subway and then when it stops and everyone pushes up to the door they will grab your wallet and take off. I talked to another guy on the way to the park who also had his taken the day before. He chased after the guy screaming POLICE! until the guy got scared and threw his wallet back to him (minus all the cash). Other than that I thought it was great there, the food is good and not that expensive, there are tons of stores to shop in and lots of nice architecture and public art to see. I recommend avoiding most of the restaurants along La Ramble ( the main sort of tourist shopping street ). The places along the side streets are cheaper with much better service. The Sagrada Famila you pretty much have to see at least once in your life to discover what happens when people spend more than 100 years working to the design of an architect who must have been slightly touched in the head. It's awesome in a sort of head-scratching way.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hiking in Trollheimen

These are a few pictures from a 3 day trip in a cabin called Jøldalshytta in the Trollheimen area southeast of Trondheim. It was a beautiful day for hiking on Saturday and we had a total of about 20 employees from Nordic plus 15 or so wives/girlfriends and kids along. There were a couple of mt. hikes that the more adventurous people went on that took between 7 and 9 hours. The people with bad backs and injured knees like me :( stayed on this road in the valley. It was beautiful anyway but I sure would have liked to see the view from one of the peaks. Maybe next year. I went back the next day and rode the mt. bike down this road, that was really fun. The road is very rocky but it was actually easier to ride a bike on it than to walk on it most of the way.
The cabin we stayed at is run by the Trondheim Touring association and has a normal capacity of around 80 people I think, even though we had about 90 there and I heard there were 100 people there the weekend before. The staff at the cabin was great, they made breakfast and dinner for everyone and we made our own matpakke for lunch.
We slept 4 to a room in a giant wooden cabin where you could hear the people on all sides of you snoring away at night. Fortunately we were tired enough that it didn't matter. I would really like to go back and XC ski in that valley next spring if my knee recovers.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010


I am trying my best to learn norwegian vocabulary and making some progress, but one word I could have done without was "korsbåndsruptur". When the doctor reads that to you it means you tore the ACL in your knee :(
My doctor Elisabeth was doing her best to translate all the words from my MRI to english but I sort of stopped listening after I heard the torn ACL and ruptured meniscus parts. So I guess my experiment with playing soccer so far has these results: Spit my face open on a board in the indoor gym, injured my foot which took 4 months to heal, got kicked in the ear (twice) in the same match, Sprained my thumb, possibly broke my little finger although it seems ok now if a bit crooked, torn ACL and ruptured meniscus in right knee. Which means I still have one good foot, one good knee, and a good hand left. Should be good to go by next season!
I will see a specialist soon about the knee, most likely it will need some kind of surgery but I don't know for sure yet. It doesn't really hurt anymore but it doesn't exactly work right either. It sort of feels like it is going to bend backwards sometimes which is not a good feeling really.
I hurt it practicing soccer at the end of July but the Norwegian health system is not that speedy in dealing with non life-threatening problems. It took 3 visits to the doctor before they set up an MRI and then it took 2 weeks for someone to look it at after that. Hopefully it will work out. If not I have my eye on a nice used mobility scooter for getting to work.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Itunes shuffle

Some time last year I decided to try and see if I could get Itunes on my laptop to play ALL of the unplayed songs just using shuffle play. (These are the kinds of thing engineers think of when they are bored). There are just over 2000 songs in my library, and probably around 500 of them were unplayed at that time. Now the list is down to 10 finalists to see which will be the song that Itunes hates the most:

Road Trippin' - Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication
Where Did You Sleep Last Night? - Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York
Polly - Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York
November Spawned a Monster - Morrissey Bona Drag
Spoon - Dave Matthews Band Before These Crowded Streets
Country Girl - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu
The Spangle Maker - Cocteau Twins The Pink Opaque
Road, River and Rail - Cocteau Twins Heaven or Las Vegas
Percy's Song - Bob Dylan Biograph
Selfless, Cold and Composed - Ben Folds Five Whatever and Ever Amen

Of course the problem is that the fewer unplayed ones you have, the longer it takes for the shuffle to play one of them. I figure the last 10 might take 3-5 months before it plays them all. Another interesting thing is that I have some songs that have been played more than 20 times on shuffle mode, while these have never been played once. Not sure about that random play algorithm that Apple is using....
Feel free to vote on any of them that you think will be the last to go.....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I went to the A-Ha concert last night in Lerkendal stadium in Trondheim. I thought it was a great show, they had a huge stage with giant video screens behind it and the background video artwork was really nice. The band played great and it seemed like everyone was having a good time:
I was curious to see if the lead singer Morten could still hit the high notes from "take on me" and he did it! The lyrics still don't make any sense but the song is great.
It was a bit cold standing in the field for 3 hours (around 40F) but I was smart enough to wear my long underwear. Probably the first time I needed that for a September concert but Trondheim is already into the fall weather. There was an interesting mix of younger and older people there, since A-ha has been around since the early 80's. This was supposedly a "farewell" tour, but we all know that is no guarantee that we won't see the boys again in Norway.
Anyway just in case you haven't seen it lately, the greatest MTV video ever:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in Trondheim again after a week at the Bluetooth UPF-36 in Beijing. That was my first trip to China. It's somewhat overwhelming to go straight from sleepy Trondheim to Beijing in one day. There are 5 times as many people in Beijing as there are in the entire country of Norway. I went with 2 other engineers from Nordic and we stayed in the Intercontinental Hotel which is basically across the street from most of the Olympic venues that were built for the 2008 Olympics. It seems like they don't really know what to do with all of it now though. All the buildings have big white fences built to keep people out, although you can walk up and down the open area between the bird's next stadium and the other buildings. The hotel is very nice, partly because there is approximately 1 employee for every 2 guests. Any hotel or restaurant manager in the U.S. would have a heart attack if they saw how many people were working there. Most of them sort of standing around until somebody told them to do something. The staff was quite helpful though and many of them spoke english well enough to figure out what we were asking for. I did get admonished once by one of the bellhops for giving a taxi driver too big of a tip. The bill was 33 yuan ( about 5 dollars ) and I gave him 40. The bellhop rushed over and said "no no! bill 33 yuan you should only give him 34 now!" Well I thought a 3% tip seemed a bit stingy so I let him keep the 40.
We didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing but we did make it to the Great Wall the day before we had to come back. I enjoyed that except for the gaunlet of trinket sellers you had to wade through to get up there. The tourist areas in Beijing have some very aggressive sellers who will literally grab you or get in your way so you can't get by without acknowledging them. We hiked a long way on the wall, maybe 3 kilometers or so (uphill) until we got to a place where the restored part of the wall ended. When we got back to the entrance the guide that brought us there seemed surprised that we went that far.
"Oh, I never have a group go that far!"
(me) "How long have you been coming up here?
"12 years".
Leave it to Norwegians. (It wasn't my idea)
While I'm on the subject of tourists, is it my imagination or are Americans hard of hearing? Why are they SO LOUD? I could hear my fellow merican's coming like a herd of cheese-doodle eating rhinos from about a half a mile away on top of the wall. I pretended to be from Canada.

Posted by PicasaI was filming traffic out of the back of a van when there was an accident in front of us. Watch how annoyed the black Mercedes gets when he can't get by us. It has diplomatic plates and the special little blue and red lights stuck in the grill.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Geiranger in April

Thought I better put a few of these up before they get too old. Leif and Joel and I took a flight from Værnes down to Molde and then to Geiranger a few weeks ago. The scenery was incredible as is usually the case with flying in Norway. I put a few of the pictures here, and the rest are on my picassa site:

We got a bit lucky with the weather that day, we had almost perfect flying conditions for 3 hours which is not usually the case in Norway. We had some trouble get the flywheel to engage with the starter before we left Værnes, so we decided not to make a full stop in Molde as we weren't certain that we'd be able to take off again. That would have been bad I guess.

I think winter has finally lost it's grip in Trondheim. We were still getting snow flurries at the beginning of last week but the sun came out the last 2 days and I think we may have actually hit 50F today. Whoopee! I ran a few miles with just a t-shirt on and I don't think I have done that since last October.

There is a big week coming up for me I think. I have a 5k race tomorrow night after work, then on Tuesday there is a practice exam for the norwegian level 1 course. My head is completely stuffed full of adjectives and verbs and pronouns but I'm sure I'll forget at least 1/2 of it as soon as I see the exam. This one doesn't count anyway but it is just practice for the real final exam which is in a month.

Tuesday night is also the 2010 outdoor debut of the indomitable Nordic Semiconductor soccer team. Well perhaps that is too strong a word. The fact that I'm on the team should be an indication that we are no threat to the Champions league anytime soon. I think the goal differential last year was something on the order of 150-2, but we remain undaunted. I didn't play last year but I'm going to try and help out this season. I bought some shoes and soccer shorts yesterday and I borrowed some leg guards from Joel so I should be all set. Except for the part about not having a clue how to play soccer :)

On Wednesday I will be having a doctors appointment to see if I have a stress fracture in my right foot. See how I conveniently scheduled that appointment AFTER the 5k race and the soccer game? If you are going down, you might as well go down in flames....Cathie B if you are reading this I can see those eyes rolling!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Påske in the mountains

Easter is a great holiday in Norway. The weather starts to warm up but the snow in the mountains is still great for skiing and everyone here tries to take advantage of the 5 day weekend by heading to the hills. Leif and I decided to go back to Gålå in central Norway to do some skiing. We had been there once before but it was in January and it was snowing like mad so you really couldn't see anything. The weather was great this time, so we got two and a half good days of skiing in. The downhill area there isn't huge but the runs are fun and the snow was really perfect. We did downhill all day on Friday and then switched to cross country on Saturday. I'm not exactly sure how far we skied on Saturday, depends on which map you look at it was somewhere between 16 and 20km, plus the 2 extra km we added when we were momentarily lost :)
The hotel there is really nice - here is a link in case anyone else feels like checking it out -
The price of the room included breakfast and dinner and they gave you little bags to pack a lunch in as well, so the meals for every day are basically covered by the hotel. I'm pretty sure I was the only vegetarian in the dining room every day but they were really nice and made up a good meal for me every day. There were a lot of families there so we had fun watching the little norwegian kids running around in circles and having fun. Didn't take them long to discover the ice cream cooler in the dining area.
On the way back we took a slightly longer way home through the Rondane mts. There is some incredible scenery there as well. It was well worth a little extra time to see it in winter. There are some large plateaus there just at or above the tree line, so in winter you just see an incredible view of pure white mountain peaks across a huge flat area with a few trees and cabins poking up. More pictues here:
It felt like driving through Antartica or maybe the moon covered in snow. Would not be a very good place to run out of gas either. Anyway it was back to norskkurs homework today and then back to work tomorrow. Time to get the mountain bike out - I don't think the snow will last much longer in Trondheim.
Ha det!
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

new and improved snow

The weather gods were having some wild mood swings this week. We had 4 days of very warm weather with rain at the beginning of the week, and I was beginning to think the snow was on the way out. Most of it had melted by Thursday which mostly just left wet ice and a lot of leftover grit from the whole winter. Then came Friday, the weather cooled down a few degrees and we ended up with about 8 inches of new snow. Thus my poor little Audi buried in the picture below. This was from Saturday morning after I had cleaned it off completely on Friday night. I finally took a spill on the ice walking to work last week. That was the first time I have fallen on the ice but I managed to catch myself with my hands before anything important hit the ground.
We had a group of engineers from around the world come to Trondheim this week for some Bluetooth related testing. I felt bad for those guys, they saw the worst week of weather we've had in about 5 months. Of course most of them left Thursday night or Friday morning right before it started snowing and everything looked nice again. Most of them probably won't be in any hurry to come back. I think at least 3 or 4 of them slipped and fell on the ice. I saw one of them go down pretty hard holding on to an umbrella. He fell backwards right on his tailbone. He got up again but he wasn't walking quite straight after that.
The Norwegian class is going well. We have a tough grammar test coming up next week though so I probably should be studying instead of writing this but ja vel - jeg studerer senere.
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

beatiful ski day

My favorite time of year in Norway! The weather was beautiful this weekend. It was just cold enough in the early morning that even my battered old no-wax skis could get some traction. The sun was out all day and there is really something nice about the combination of bright sunlight, blue sky and white snow with an occasional mountain and fjord tossed in for good measure. I got lost on the way to Grønlia for a few minutes but the trusty map got me pointed in the right direction again and I managed to beat the lunch crowd to the warming cabin there. There is a really nice view from the cabin down over the lake, although admittedly the lake is frozen solid right now...
I tried the brown cheese with a waffle today for lunch. It actually tastes pretty good after a few hours of skiing, even if the brown cheese looks kind of strange. I have been working on my 3rd written essay for the Norwegian class today. It is probably about the level that a Norwegian second grader would write :)
I'm struggling a bit with the all important description of brushing my teeth in the mornings - Jeg pusser tenne? pusse tennene? pusser tenner? Too many combinations. Google translate is not that much help with grammar, as it seems to be on about the same 2nd grade level.
We had a week off of class for winter break, now we have another month of classes before Easter.
I took a break from running after the race in January, but now I'm starting to circle the new neighborhood after work now. It stays light until about 6:15 now so there is plenty of daylight again. By the end of March it will be light until almost 9 pm, which is another reason March is one of my favorite months here.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

All moved in

I have made it into my new apartment finally. Not without some adventures but that is to be expected in Norway I guess. Moving anytime is not really fun, it is particularly not fun when it is -20C outside. I don't have any good pictures of the new place yet but I'll work on that.
It didn't really take me that long to find a new place, but I feel lucky to have found something this close to work. Even though I had movers help me with most of the stuff, including all the heavy things, I think I still made about 30 trips in the Audi carrying the fragile things. Probably just as well after I watched the movers carry the "not fragile" things. I was berated by Vladimir (not his real name) an old Russian guy, for buying as he put it "the heaviest sofa in Norway". Thanks Vlad. I think he had his nephew or grandson or some relative helping him out. That kid is seriously rethinking his future after hauling my 5000 pound sofa down 4 flights of ice covered concrete stairs. I was down by the truck when I heard a horrible scraping noise coming down the stairs later. I thought, well they should be moving the bed now, but there is no way that horrible noise could be coming from them sliding my nice wood bed frame on the concrete steps.........oh yes it could. Thanks a lot guys. Even so I was feeling pretty good when we had managed to load the truck and get it to the new place in only about 2 hours. First thing off the truck - the sofa. 5 minutes later it's lying on its side in the driveway. Vlad didn't speak a lot of English but I understood "There's no way in hell that will fit up those stairs". Crap. Next thing off the truck - the scratched up Ikea wooden bed. 5 minutes later that's lying next to the sofa. No way in hell that will go up there either. I said some bad words at that moment. Vlad and the kid continued on carry the things that actually WOULD fit up the cursed stairway, while I stood in the driveway trying to figure out what I was going to do when the house owner came home and found a bed and a sofa blocking her driveway. Vlad offered these words of wisdom "You know you're not in the USA anymore, they do sell smaller furniture here". I could see that the only way I was going to get that bed up here was by completely disassembling it in the driveway. Not fun if you have ever put Ikea furniture together or taken it apart, in the snow, when it's -20C while trying not to lose any of the 4 million little screws or weird fasteners. The sofa was either going to have to go up or out, there was no disassembly option. So I removed the metal frame off the bottom and told them to try again. This time the kid earned his money, stuffing that thing up the stairs like a giant grey sausage. They drove off shortly after that, leaving me in the driveway with the bed. I somehow managed to get it apart, but I haven't had the ambition to try and reassemble it yet. I think I have all the parts but a few missing screws wouldn't hurt anyway right?
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Frosty day in Tyholt

We had a couple of days of freezing fog a week ago, so I was lucky enough to get some nice pictures that day from the Tyholt tower. This picture is looking down towards the Telenor office building where I work. The bigger buildings on the left are part of the NTNU marine science campus.
I have been very busy the last few weeks, starting when the owners of my building said that my apartment was sold, so I needed to find a new place. I technically had 3 months, but they were hoping that I would be out by the end of January, and through luck I did manage to find another place already. You can actually see it in this photo if you know where to look, but basically it's just behind those tall apartment buildings in the center of the pic. It should take me a whole 5 minutes to walk to work from there. I managed to talk the owners of my current apartment into paying for the move, so hopefully my back won't be destroyed by trying to carry a sofa down 4 flights of stairs. The new place I found is the top half of a house, with 2 bedrooms and about 80 sq. meters of space compared to my current 47, so having some extra room will be nice, except when the heating bill comes. I'll have to park outside now too, so I guess I have to break down and buy an ice scraper. I started packing up the last few days and it is quite amazing how much stuff I've accumulated in only 1 year.

I also started the 1st level Norwegian course at NTNU last week, so now I have that for 2 classes a week until the end of May (6 hours a week). I think it will be quite fun actually, we have a small class of around 15 people, and almost everyone is from a different country. The first few classes were pretty easy, but I have a feeling it will get much harder soon.

Just to make my life a bit more stressful, last week someone managed to duplicate my debit/visa card and go on some spending spree at Macy's in NYC. I got a call from the bank last Sunday morning asking if I had tried to spend $8000 at Macy's the day before, so I said "well no, I've been in Trondheim all weekend". So she said "OK, we'll have to send you a new card and then you can file a claim for the fraudulent charges." Which is fine of course except that it takes a week for the new card to show up and in the meantime I have no money and no debit card either. So I managed to live for a week on about $10 worth of change that I dug out of my change box. Yesterday the new card showed up, so I gave it a workout this afternoon and it seems to be fine. Yea for money!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Last day in Tromsø

I took this on Sunday, from the top of the tram car ride outside of Tromsø.
It was definitely worth the 99 kroner for a ride to the top, although it was windy and cold as hell up there. I managed to stay out on the observation deck for all of about 5 minutes before I was shivering too much to take any pictures. I met another guy from the race on the way up in the tram. John David said he was from Belfast and he came up to Tromsø to run the half marathon. He was worried about his camera battery on the way up and sure enough, it died as soon as he turned the camera on, so he said he was going to come back again the next day just to get some pictures. You get an incredible view looking west over the city from the platform up there, if you're tough enough to stay out there. I think there was about 30 mph winds that day and some rain, so I ran for the hot chocolate after a few pictures. John David had walked across the bridge from town with a German woman who was also in the race. She for some reason had decided to try to hike to the top of the hill we were on, which was about 1000 feet of vertical climb, through the snow, in the rain and 30 mph wind. Nein danke! We never saw her again.


I'm sure she's fine. Somewhere.

When I was a boy I built a plastic model of the German battleship "Tirpitz", which was the sister ship of the Bismarck. After the Bismarck was sunk in 1941 the German navy sent the Tirpitz into hiding basically in Norway. It spent some time in the Trondheim fjord and later moved north past Tromsø where it was attacked numerous times by Allied aircraft and once by a quite daring mini-submarine attack from the British. The Germans repaired the damage from each attack until a direct bomb hit on the bow of the ship made it unseaworthy in September of 1944. The German navy then moved the ship to Tromsø, to act as a floating gun battery basically, with no further intention of trying to repair the ship. The Allied attacks continued, since they were unaware that the ship was no longer seaworthy. On November 12th, 1944, an attack was made by British Lancaster bombers that finally destroyed the ship. It rolled over and sank near the island west of Tromsø, ( in the background of the picture above ). More than 900 sailors were trapped in the ship and killed when it sank. Partly because my father was in the American Navy in WWII, I always felt bad when I read about ships being sunk and sailors dying at sea, no matter what navy they were in. I'm sure I read about what happened to the Tirpitz when I was young and building that model, but I probably never thought I would someday be in Tromsø myself to see the place where it sank.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Polar nights 10k

I did the Polar Nights 10k race in Tromsø yesterday. Truely a course which will be burned into my head for some time. I think if the race had been on Friday, it might have been reasonable ( 30F and streets covered with packed snow). Unfortunately it started warming up and raining on Saturday morning, so by race time at 3:00pm it was about 37F and the rain had turned the course into a combination of rutted wet ice, gravel, slush, and puddles. Mostly wet ice. I had my shoes spikes screwed in a little bit too far I think, they were working on the flat areas but every time we had to go uphill my feet would start slipping backwards a little bit on every step. The wind was blowing somewhere between 20-30mph most of the race, I didn't feel it when we started in downtown but as soon as we got out of the main part of the city it just about knocked us over. Anyway the course was the same for everyone, and it was fun in a sick sort of way :)
Some guy wiped out into a huge puddle of melted snow in front of me about half way through the race. I think that must have been a long 5k back for that poor dude.
They had the course marked with nice little oil lamps the whole way, and a lot of volunteers helping us at the corners. I'm not sure how they got all those volunteers to show up. Let's see, stand outside for a couple of hours in the cold, pouring rain, high winds, in the dark, sounds like fun! I finished 33rd in the men's group for the 10k, out of 111 starters. I think there were 3 women that finished ahead of me. I was impressed with some of the people that ran the half-marathon. That had to be a tough slog in that weather. The woman that won the half finished in 1:28 something, which is pretty fast for running on ice.
Tromsø is a nice city, I can't see that much really because it's dark, I guess I'll have to come back sometime in the summer. Maybe all the ice will have completely melted by then :)
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Greetings from Tromsø

I made it to Tromsø yesterday, escaping the -20C temps in Trondheim for a balmy -2 in the Norwegian northland. I saw a few other runners around town today, getting ready for the race tomorrow. I'm glad I brought my race shoes with the spikes in, the streets are mostly covered with packed snow and ice in a few places. The temperature tomorrow should be fine for running, unfortunately the forecast calls for rain and "near gale force" winds. That doesn't sound so great...
At least if the weather is horrible I can laugh at the half-marathon people for not being smart enough to only run the 10k :)

I asked the girl working at the restaurant where I ate lunch if she was happy that the sun would start coming up again next week. She said "oh it won't be back until Easter". Hmmm.
I feel bad that I would know more about the sunrise/sunset in Tromsø than someone who actually lives here but just to be sure I double-checked when I got back to the hotel. I was right. She'll be really surprised I guess when it comes up in a week, or maybe she thinks Easter is in January.

I will have to do some fast thinking when I get back to Trondheim next week. The company that owns my apartment called me and said they had sold the apartment, so now I have to move. Technically by the contract I have 3 months to move, but of course the person that bought it wants to move in at the end of January. The building company said they had another apartment I could move into in Lade (further away from work), and if I moved by the end of the month they would give me a free month of rent. The problem of course is that moving sucks, and if I move in 3 weeks and then find a place I like better after a month I would have to move twice in one month. On the other hand it's hard to turn down 10,000 NOK of free rent. More on that later.....
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