Sunday, September 26, 2010

The giant blue project - spin, spiiiin, spin, spin

I'm done spinning! It felt like for ever, spinning the eight batts, but yesterday night I finished and plied it all while watching the Lord of the Rings III. In the end, I managed to end up with two loads full on my big bobbins. The result are two giant skeins of yarn which are soaking in the water right now. It does maybe not look like much on the photo, but It is the biggest amount I ever spun and plied at once, and probably the largest skeins I ever made.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Norway Part 2: fjords, railway & waterfalls

Here is some more on the wonderful Norwegian landscape. I went to visit the Geiranger fjord and while I had to wait for the ferry (being in Norway off-season can have advantages as there are way less tourists, but then some museums are already closed, ferries go less often and some activities are not offered anymore, like the weaving demonstration in the Folk Museum in Oslo which would have been great to see), I marvelled at the fjord. It was a bit weird to have salt water in something which looks like a big lake, and I collected some shells from the "beach", played around with bladderwrack and scared of some noisy seagulls. There even were some jellyfish in the water in Geiranger.

The fjord is really nice to see, though the waterfalls were not thaaat spectacular after 2 weeks of dry and warm sunny weather.

I continued to Ålesund, which is a cute little town on the west coast which has been rebuilt in Art Nouveau style after it had burnt down in 1904. The view from the city's hill and viewpoint at sunset was just beautiful.

The next day I took the scenic Rauma railway (though not by steam engine or tourist train, since out of season...) on my way to meet up with my boyfriend and passed some pretty spectacular mountains and rock formations like the "Trollveggen".

There are really some wonderful railway lines, another one we took was the Flåm railway as part of the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour. I am no big fan of organized tours, but this is mainly the round trip ticket with public transport. We first went to Gudvangen via Stalheim by bus and a very impossible steep road, passing some major waterfalls (which had, thanks to extensive rainfall) lots of water in them.

From Gudvangen we took a ferry through the Nærøyfjord and the Aurlansdfjord which was just amazing. We passed waterfalls, more waterfalls and some waterfalls. And a small village named Undredal with population human 120, goats 500. The walls of the mountains are so steep that we were constantly changing from sunlit warm spots into cold and dark shadows. The views were just stunning and the white mountain tops in contrast to the green woods and fields and the blue water sooooo beautiful!

In Flåm we set off to hike up to the foot of a waterfall and got some handmade apple juice from a small farm on the road which was just delicious. We continued by train to Myrdal on the Flåm line, a masterpiece of a railway line with lots of tunnels and great views and a photo stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall.

After Myrdal we continued by train on the Bergen-Oslo line, which we were also taking when
we finally went to Oslo two days later.

The next day unfortunately the weather got worse again, so we did not see that much of the gorgeous scenery of the Eidfjord and Hardangerfjord we went out to see that day. We also could not make it to the Hardanger Folk Museum or much of the other places which are supposed to be nice. Driving up a mountain to have some nice view when you can see from below that the view might consist of mainly clouds does not make that much sense. The giant hydro power station had also closed for visitors the days before, and they must have been the only people to like that much water falling from the sky. But we made it to the infamous Vøringfossen waterfall, which was really breathtaking.

On the pictures you can't really see how steeeep it is. The last one is shot from the top where the two waterfalls plunge down. We had the glorious idea to hike to the foot of the waterfalls, since we could see a small trail from the top. Unfortunately the trail was a bit dangerous since blocked by fields with boulders and those were quite wet and slippery. We read somewhere that it was supposed to take 1.5 hours to go there and back, but that is a bit utopic. We turned back after what was maybe 2/3 of the way, we were also a bit worried that it would get dark. Well, it was still totally amazing from the top.

We spent the next day with travelling by train to Oslo, along some more beautiful topography. The train line goes up to a kind of high plateau at Geilo and Finse, with snow-covered mountains, rivers and lakes and also a glimpse on a glacier. The Lonely Planet says, that in this region some scenes for Star Wars II on the ice planet Hoth have been shot. Well, it was not that icy what we saw, but still very worth seeing.

I really would have liked to just get out of the train and hike a bit, and it would be a great future holiday to do so.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Norway Part 1: glaciers, mountains & sheep

I am back from my loooong looooong trip to Budapest and Norway. Geee, I have been away for 4 weeks in total! My dear boyfriend joined me for the last week in Norway but sadly also brought lots of rain. Those of you who know his name or his chosen nickname might find that actually funny. But there is so much to tell that I better start at the beginning.

The first part of my stay in Norway was not mere pleasure but work related, since I attended a summer school where I also had to give a presentation on my project. We stayed at a nice camping place next to a lake in little cabins which were just too cute, since they had these traditional grass roofs including ferns and flowers (ours had little blue pansies), and some even had little trees growing on them. Me wants a grass roof, too!

Food was plenty and consisted of loads of potatoes. Also the view was splendid, we had perfect weather which made staying inside for the lectures a bit of a shame. But we also went into the field to learn how to apply the methods we heard about and got to see some awesome countryside. The place is located in the Jostedalsbreen national park in the Nordfjord aera. Have an impression:

We also walked up to the glacier, which was the first one I actually saw from close by. The color of the ice was really amazing, it really was greenish-blue inside, at the rim crystal clear. There was a small cavity between the glacier tongue and the soil, so it was almost like a thick blanket.

There is also an ice cold glacier lake and one brave guy had a short swim (or rather dip) into it. I found it to be a bit too chilly.

We found lots of delicous blueberries, and some small cranberries and berries which don't exist in the more southern parts of Europe, but they were not that tasty. I heard rumors of cloudberries, which look just like orange raspberries or blackberries, but had a different taste and were used together with cream as a traditional christmas desert in Norway, but I never found some wild ones.

Norway is also full of sheep, some were even running around more or less free in the countryside and on the narrow one-laned streets. Of course I made inquiries to get some Norwegian sheep wool which was a bit tricky without a car and staying on a camping place some miles off the next village. But the camp site host knew someone, who knew someone and so I ended up with a bag of unprocessed wool! I am really happy about it and I hope that soon I will have the time to spin it. Sadly they keep their sheep mainly for meat production and one of the most famous traditional Norwegian foods is lamb meat with cabbage, but still it is nice to have sheep everywhere.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The monster

A friend of mine asked me if I could make him a scarf. Just a simple black merino scarf. But since he is from Poland and winters there happen to be cold (with a capital C) he wanted it to be long (with a capital L).
So far I have spun and washed 300 g (10.5 oz) of black merino. It's going to be a monster! It's drying right now but when I have started knitting I will keep you posted!