wellinghall: (Pine marten)
2015-09-25 03:46 pm
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Holiday photos

First there was Oxonmoot, with its Masquerade and Ent(ertainment)s ...

More behind the cut )
wellinghall: (Buzzard)
2009-07-10 04:03 pm
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Pembrokeshire (in alphabetical order)

Barn owl (ghostly)
Birds (buzzards, choughs, kites, peregrine falcons)
Bishops' palaces (Lamphey, St Davids)
Bookshops (achieving L-space)
Castles (Carew, Manorbier, Pembroke)
Cathedral (St Davids)
Chapels (St Govans, St Justinians)
Colds (both of us)
Dogs (from next door; friendly)
Foxes (two)
Islands (Skomer closed due to north wind; Ramsey open)
Motorways (with speed limits)
Seafood (crab, lobster, sewin)
Sunburn (necks)


Good time? Yes!
wellinghall: (Lincoln)
2009-07-01 06:21 pm
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Flying to America

We've been looking at flights from London to Philadelphia, or possibly New York.

(1) It's cheaper to fly from London to New York via Philadelphia, with United Airlines, than it is to fly from London to Philadelphia, with United Airlines.

(2) It's cheaper to fly direct from London to New York direct in business class than it is in premium economy.
wellinghall: (Northey)
2009-05-14 08:54 am
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We're planning to go to Pembrokeshire for a week in early July. Can anyone recommend places to go, sights to see etc?

Must get Pembrokeshire icon ...
wellinghall: (Polar cub)
2008-09-16 11:55 am
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Photos from Norway

The first fruits of our voyage to Norway:
- sea eagles
- gulls, gannets and the like
- waterfalls
wellinghall: (Default)
2008-08-28 03:07 pm
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Coming Back

On Monday afternoon, we said goodbye to our ship in Bergen, and got on the train to Oslo. This goes over some very rough country - up to 1,222 m (just over 4,000 feet for the unreconstructed imperialists among you) - this also means it goes rather slowly, taking six and a half hours to get to Oslo, and getting in Very Late.

Foradan and Meglorien met us at the station, and took us to their lovely flat. As soon as we got there, we went to bed (see the above comment on the time!)

On Tuesday, we went museum-hunting. We found the Viking ship museum (which clearly cheated; there is no way that the real Oseberg and Gokstaad ships can still be in such wonderful condition!); the folk museum (with stave church); the Kon Tiki museum (a tiny ship!); the Fram museum (also with the Gjoa, another arctic ship, outside; this was clearly a miniature replica, as no-one would sail the North West Passage in anything that small); and lastly the general maritime museum (rather dull, but with a very early dugout canoe).

We then got the ferry back to the centre of Oslo, where Foradan and Meglorien met us, and we went for dinner; Findabair met us there, and it was great to meet her at last.

On Wednesday, Foradan took us for a walk round a wooded lake, which was very pleasant. Then back for lunch, and then to the train back to Bergen, which was delayed and got in Very Very Late. Our hotel proved to be pleasant and comfortable, although breakfast this morning wasn't great.

And then onto the ferry to take us back home. There was some confusion at check-in; it seemed that we had already checked in. It's just a shame that we hadn't already carried our bags up to our cabin for us.

We have just left our second Norwegian port of three, Haugesund. We are now heading south to Stavanger, and then out across the North Sea. Back home tomorrow evening - at a reasonable time if we make our rather tight connection in Newcastle, later if not.

A big thank you to Meglorien and Foradan for putting us up and looking after us so well, and for lending me so many interesting books for the journey back.
wellinghall: (Default)
2008-08-19 07:56 am
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Back in Norway

On Monday, we joined the ship at Tromso. This is a much bigger ship than either of the two previous ones - around 15,000 tons. It has luxuries such as an internet cafe (which I think is a necessity), and a hairdryer in the bathroom (which Creatrix thinks is a necessity).

Yesterday, while most of the other passengers were going on a bus trip to the North Cape (by all accounts over-dull, over-hyped and over-priced, and not even the most northerly point in Europe), we went on a bird-watching trip. We saw more sea eagles, puffins and gannets, along with purple sandpipers and goosanders.

Today, we went on a boat trip to the Russian border, and ate cloudberries and cream. The trip was slightly dull, but we did get out in the fresh air. We were told in very definite terms Not To Approach The Border; apparently it gets a fine of 5,000 kroner, and a 4,000 taxi fare to catch up with the ship, which you miss while you are being interrogated.

This afternoon, we hope to go to a C18 star fort at Vardo.

Today has been one of the few cloudy days on our holiday, but it has remained dry; and mild enough, except when we were out on the river.
wellinghall: (Default)
2008-08-18 08:40 am
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Seen around Svalbard:
- one arctic fox (in Longyearbyen town)
- three polar bears (a mother and two nearly-grown cubs)
- several more reindeer (one close enough to see the velvet on its antlers)
- two ptarmigan (which the guides pronounce as p-tarmigan)
- lots of puffins
- two huge glaciers, and several smaller ones
- large waves heading in our direction as the glaciers shed great chunks
- lots of drift ice (which prevented us from getting to the walrus island; so, no walruses)
- king eider ducklings (does that make them prince and princess eiders?)
- bearded seal
- a Russian mining settlement, and an international research settlement (including someone doing research into barnacle geese, and someone else doing research into arctic foxes; this leads to Friction)
- a bright orange cultural artefact
- a book by Rayner Unwin on Barents' third voyage, when he over-wintered on Novaya Zemlya.

Now back on dry land. We're about to go for a walk around town; then fly back to Tromso, and board the Hurtigruten coastal steamer.
wellinghall: (Default)
2008-08-14 10:14 am
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A further update

We had a good-ish dinner last night - mushroom soup, lamb, and ice cream with mixed berries. Then we took a walk up the other way to the afternoon's walk.

Slept far too long last night. At breakfast, the Norwegian habit of putting out jams, marmalades etc in bowls, right next to the pickles and savoury sauces, is slightly disconcerting - I never know whether I'm about to put lemon curd or picallili (sp?) on my toast.

We're about to go for another walk; then lunch; then a coach tour of the area; then we embark at 5pm.

What's been happening with you all over the past week?
wellinghall: (Default)
2008-08-13 05:44 pm
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And now we are in Longyearbyen!

We got a bus to the airport in Tromso - fast & efficient, and empty - we were the only two passengers on it. I am impressed by Tromso's road tunnel system - the tunnel we went through was big enough to have two, count 'em, two roundabouts.

The flight from Tromso to Longyearbyen took about an hour and a half, and was very smooth - and (by airline standards) the tea and muffin were good. The arrivals hall had a stuffed polar bear in the middle of the luggage conveyor belt. Then a bus to the hotel, a late lunch (3 o'clock!) and a "welcome to Svalbard" talk.

After that, we took a walk into town, and saw two reindeer (yes, in the middle of town), some terns, and some ?dunlin (small waders, anyway). When we got down to the harbour, it started snowing, so we turned round and headed up to the hotel.

Svalbard has got lots of colourful houses in it, and several reminders of its industrial (coal mining) history. Impressive snow-capped mountains around it; lots of snow-mobiles parked everywhere; and lots of bikes.

The dutch lady ahead of me has finally got off the internet terminal, allowing me to make this update. In a little while, it will be dinner time.

Tomorrow, there is a range of excursions in the morning; more details of these are promised at dinner. After lunch, there will be a coach trip; then in the evening we board the MS Nordstjernen (North Star?) for our cruise up the west coast, where we hope to see polar bears (or isbjorn), walruses, and puffins (lundybirds).

Back to Tromso, and I should have said that a submarine was moored very near to our hotel. It was flying both the Norwegian and Indian flags, and there were high-ranking Indian naval officers (turban and lots of gold braid = high-ranking Indian naval officer, I think!) going into the big hotel next to ours. My guess is that there is some sort of Indo-Norwegian naval conference going on, but why that should be, I don't know!

Dinner last night was very good. Monkfish wrapped in bacon; blackcurrant sorbet; moose; and creme brulee with berries. A couple of days ago, on an excursion, we passed through a major fruit-growing area. There were kids in the villages selling punnets of raspberries and strawberries, which were very good. The guide also said that they grew apricots and peaches; in that latitude???

We also went to two cathedrals in Tromso - the Lutheran Domkirke (very 19th century), and the modern Katedralen - the walls were formed of multiple overlapping triangles, with the east and west walls being of glass - the west one plain, the east one stained.
wellinghall: (Default)
2008-08-13 10:40 am
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Hi folks

A very quick update from Tromso! We got here yesterday, and left our Hurtigruten ship - the second oldest and second smallest in the fleet, called MS Lofoten - very friendly. We have seen sea eagles, trolls, and waterfalls galore.

We are about to catch the bus to the airport, then fly to Svalbard, where we board the oldest and smallest ship in the fleet!

More when we can.
wellinghall: (Northey)
2008-08-05 01:25 pm
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The spare bed is covered with stuff to pack. So is the bookshelf next to it.

So far, my valiant attempts to reduce the pile have resulted in the removal of one (1) fleece. I may need to be ruthless.

(The reasons for the huge heap are that we are going (a) for three and a bit weeks, (b) somewhere with limited laundry facilities, and (c) to a country with, potentially, a 30 degree C range in daytime temperatures.)
wellinghall: (Olympus)
2008-07-22 07:07 pm
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Holiday photos

Please, please, please suggest something for me to photograph for you on our trip to Norway! I love taking photos, but sometimes I need a bit more inspiration.

If you all suggest something (something different!), that will be 144 photos for me to take! Come on, you can do it ...

(Yes, I know we're not going for another two weeks - but making these posts seems to bring it closer. I'm already saying, "Are we nearly there yet?" ;-) )
wellinghall: (Orkney)
2008-05-20 07:03 pm
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We aren't doing many postcards this time, but if you tell us what you would like a photograph of while we are away, we will do our very best to take it for you. (We'll be going to WightFrag and Orkney, so suggestions involving, for example, Killer Penguins of Doom (TM) will not be appreciated!)
wellinghall: (Orkney)
2008-04-10 03:50 pm
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(no subject)

We're going to Norway in August! And Svalbard! Yay, Squee and even W00t!

Still to do:
- arrange train to Newcastle and back
- arrange hotel in Tromso
- arrange train from Bergen to Oslo and back
- talk to [livejournal.com profile] foradan and [livejournal.com profile] meglorien
- ETA: buy lots of warm clothes!!!

Yay! (Sorry, did I already say that? ;-) )

More details to follow.
wellinghall: (Default)
2007-09-24 09:05 am
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Bath - roman baths (including beautifully carved tiny carnelians) - statue of Julius Ceasar looks just like his Asterix cartoon - new spa (with rooftop pool) - abbey (memorial tablets) - royal crescent (too many plate glass windows) - circus (no jugglers, clowns, acrobats) - no 1, royal crescent (reconstruction of C18 gentleman's house) - assembly rooms - fashion museum (nice waistcoats) - shopping - world's best bookshop (Mr B's, John Street) - meeting [livejournal.com profile] firin and [livejournal.com profile] toryin - food - more food - yet more food.

B&B - large Georgian house 1 mile south of city centre - large room - bed far too comfy, leading to over-sleeping - breakfasts far too good, leading to over-eating - odd selection of books in room - nice hosts (he is a sculptor - busts all over the place).

Wells - long bus trip - stunning cathedral - like the arches - love the clock - impressive bishop's palace - vicar's close - wow!

Pictures behind the cut )
wellinghall: (Default)
2007-09-23 05:33 pm
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We're home!

A long, but uneventful, journey home saw us arrive back at 5pm. Tea has been drunk, post opened, post office cursed for not leaving our new Pratchett and Novik where we could get at them NOW, and washing put on. More later.