March and May Capers
Wowza, where the heck has all this time gone? Last time I checked the damned calendar said March on it. Or Mars, in the case of my work calendar (Jeg prøver å lære litt Norsk). I’ve been absolutely flat-out busy with work over the last few weeks, and creative writing has sort of been pushed aside in the name of sleep. Darn, it’s been so damned long I can’t remember what the heck I was going to write about. Oh well, the following is written in the order I remember it.
Breakfast on the Hurtigruten
In Norway there is a popular tourist cruise/transport line called the Hurtigruten, which is a series of small(ish) ships that sail between different cities along the coast of Norway. The whole thing seems to be incredibly efficient, with the company having enough boats to have two departing daily; on sailing up north, with the other going south. Patrons can book seats or a cabin and can choose how many days they want to spend on-board – you can choose to just sail up one or two cities for example, rather than go on a full round-trip.
In early March (again, wowza) the Ex-Pat office invited us to go on board one of the boats for a buffet breakfast, so we could see what it was all about. In the interests of cultural and culinary exploration we accepted, and so braved the – at the time – rather chilly weather to walk all the way down to the docks. The boat in on this particular day was the Nordkapp:
One of the newer boards in the fleet. There were a couple of quite nice decks in the boat, with a stunning observation deck that must be a lot of fun to be in during the bumpy winter season:
On the top deck was a traditional frame containing dried Stockfish – a Norwegian delicacy. I think it was there as a homage to the old Norwegian fishing boats, but right now I can only say be glad this isn’t smell-o-vision:
After eating our fill of what we’ve discovered is the standard Nowegian breakfast buffet (I still don’t know who wakes up in the morning craving beetroot and mackerel) we went on a short tour of the ship, watched an informative if a little dated documentary on the transport line and then headed home. I was actually quite charmed with the whole experience; in a few months I might book Anika and I on it and sail down to Bergen for a few days.
The 17th of May
One thing I discovered recently; the 17th of May, Norwegian Constitution Day, is a big deal. Far from being just a regular public holiday, it gives an excuse for everyone to put on their Bunad and throw the biggest, craziest parades you can possibly dream of. Here in Trondheim, there was actually two parades – one early morning for the children, and another in the early afternoon for everyone else. Since we live very close to the city center, we were woken up by the melodious sounds of a brass band warming up, rather than the usual church bells.
Unfortunately however I managed to miss both parades, although I did see part of one televised from Oslo. Instead of braving the hoards of people and the rain to see the members of the Norwegian Mustache Club give their best parade impression – no, I’m not even kidding for once – I was instead attending yet another amazing party thrown by Paal, my co-worker-slash-partner-in-crime. A few other people from different departments were there also, including Eivind (founder of AVRFreaks.net) and his partner, but I was flattered to be the only Apps engineer other than Paal himself. Paal knows how to throw an damned good party, which meant I ended up having to suffer through veal, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, fresh bread, cured meats, cheeses and good company. This might look like a stock photo, but I assure you it’s a genuine Paal party:
Becoming one of the unwashed masses
I used to use that phrase jokingly, but a few weeks ago it became a bit of a harsh reality. After discovering a minor drainage problem with our bathroom shower a few weeks ago (we got out of the shower to find a swimming pool where the bathroom floor used ot be) we called a local plumber. After a week of waiting and one minute showers – the plumber got sick the day after I called – he came and took a look at the problem while I went off to work.
When I got home, I was a little suprised to find a spotless bathroom – sans shower. Apparently the old unit had become defective, so the plumber had gone the sensible route and removed it completely. But not to worry, we would have a new one by the end of the week!
Cue several days of me going into work early just to use the work showers, something I’d rather not have to repeat in the future. There’s just something about having to get on the bus without my morning shower than puts me off for the rest of the day. That said, the new unit did indeed arrive by the end of the week and we now have a functional, and functioning, bathroom once again.
Spring is Here
Spring – and now summer – has finally come to Trondheim. It’s hard to believe that a city that used to look like Frosty the Snowman’s village now looks like this:
In fact, it’s now actually quite warm during the days, and everyone’s now flocking to the local parks for picnicks and other outdoory activities. Anika and I went on a picknick yesterday for lunch, sitting in a park along the river and catching some of the sun. Being in Trondheim in 20 degree heat is certainly much nicer than last time’s -20 degrees, that’s for sure.
This week it was Anika’s birthday, and as a result we decided to go out and try a new local restaurant. After going through the menus of what must have been half the food establishments of Trondheim Anika settled on “Two Rooms and a Kitchen” (To rom og kjøkken) as our final destination. The food was very nice; I have to find out where the heck the local eateries are getting their dinner-plate sized scallops, as I bleeding want to buy a ton of them and cook them up for my dinner at home. I ended up forgoing dessert as I was completely full, but Anika being Anika, she unsurprisingly had a little room left over for a “Chocolate Sandwich”, a dessert made from frozen mousse, sorbet, fruit and soft biscuit. Yum.
After dinner we went back to the local Kinosenter and saw the new Men In Black 3 movie. I happen to love the first two campy films dearly and the new one wasn’t a disappointment, but I was struck by how different in tone and in some ways style it was when compared against the earlier films.
Last week I managed to get
roped in volunteered for piloting a new project at Atmel. I can’t say much about it right now, other than to show this:
Should it ever see the light of day, keep in mind I had thirty minutes preparation and it was supposed to be a test-video only. That didn’t stop it being shown at a company wide weekly meeting last week, unfortunately.
That’s all for now – plenty more to write about, but I’ll save it for another day (but not one as far away as this post was from the last). I’ll be gearing up for a public beta test of a new LUFA release soon.