Sunday, June 1, 2008

Norway to Holland

After leaving Lillehammer, visiting Gloria's family farm and a cousin in Gjovik, we headed to Oslo. Fearing the horrible driving conditions we experienced 6 years ago, we actually found Oslo much easier to navigate. Found a hostel on the west side, and made our way on the public transit system into downtown. Great to see the city hall where the Nobel Peace prize ceremonies are held. Took the ferry to Bygdoy where the Kon Tiki and a Viking ship museum are located. We had to change plans for next day ferry to Denmark as when checking schedules, some no longer run. So, we booked a 20 hour ferry Oslo to Kiel in Germany. We have never been on a cruise, but this was definitely a cruise! A huge ship complete with shopping mall, numerous restaurants and views from the deck of Sweden & Denmark and the Baltic sea. Drove from Kiel, stopped for a few hours in Bremen to refresh our memories of this old town, then on to Holland. 

We met up with Karin and Zsolt, our wonderful friends and hosts in Amsterdam. Two action packed days walking, taking the trams, a canal cruise, eating great food including Zsolt's special Italian veal dish! Amsterdam is a great city as we discovered many interesting sights which included the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank house, and Zaandam where there are the windmills I have seen on posters since I was a kid. With picturesque views and great weather, we concluded our 3 weeks with a good flight home to be greeted by our good friends Joan and Jim. What a trip! A great way to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. For those who have been keeping track of this blog, thanks for your interest. Neil and Gloria

ps - watch this space for climbing in Nepal in October!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stave Churches & snow

After leaving Sogndal and our goodbyes to Knut and Vivian, we saw another 3 impressive stave churches, of which there are only 31 left in all of Norway. We caught another ferry, drove through more tunnels and up over the high country to see snow and ski resorts including the Filefjell. We went from spring to late winter. We are further north than Edmonton and is is still light out at midnight! Today we went from Fagernes to Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Tomorrow we will take in the Olympic Museum at Hakon's Halle, where the hockey arena is located. Weather has deteriorated, rain yesterday and most of today. We will now head to Gloria's cousin in Gjovik, then on to Oslo on Sunday. From there we plan to take a FAST ferry to Hirtshalls in Denmark and over 2 days drive to Amsterdam where we will meet our friends Zsolt and Karin. We fly home May 31 :(

I can't stop thinking about all the opportunities to climb, ski, cycle and paddle over here. I really would like to return and spend much more time!!

Well, this may be the last post before returning home so here are some more photos.

Neil and Gloria

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Land of tunnels and ferries

We made an epic trip from south Norway to Songdal by 5 ferries, and innumerable tunnels made with Norwegian timetables and engineering. The country is very beautiful, still with lots of snow on the mountains, spring is just arriving. We hiked to the Preikestolen, the huge block of rock 600m above the Lysefjord. Later in the day we arrived in Songdal on the fjord and met our friends Knut and Vivian who were wonderful hosts. I had met them in Nepal a year and a half ago trekking in the Khumbu. Yesterday we drove and took a small ferry to Urnes to see the oldest stave church in Norway. Built in 1150 AD, it was a beautiful representation of old church design made of wood coated with pine tar to waterproof and preserve. Then on to the glacier called Nigardsbreen, rather similar to the Athabasca glacier in the rockies. We hiked and touched the toe of the glacier and realized with many conversations with Knut, I need to return to telemark ski, do some mountaineering and alpine climbs. This area is amazing! Today we are 3 days away from Oslo and will visit Lillehammer on the way.  More later, hi to everyone at home, N & G

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vikings and history in Denmark

We arrived in Copenhagen airport Sunday night, rented our small car, a nice black Peugot diesel 4 door. Drove to Rita and Jorgens and crashed. Jet lag really hit and most evenings we were headed for bed by 9 pm. The past few days have been spent shopping in Copenhagen, visiting the Viking ship museum in Roskilde, the famous Roskilde church - of Angels and Demons fame and checking out the chalk cliffs in southern Sjaelland at Moens Klint. The weather has been great, mostly sunny and in the 18-20 C range. We arrived in Tarm around 5pm and met our friends Peder and Ulla. Now need to check out the ferry schedules to Norway which we will take on Sunday. Hope all is well at home.

Neil and Gloria

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April - the month to ski!

The first week of April was our annual trip to kamloops to visit parents and bike & ski. The roads were dry and skiing was good. On a base of 160cm plus some recent new snow felt like winter skiing. On tele boards, the days were great. Did some cycling on dry roads in and around kamloops before heading back to Edmonton. Temps were in the +9C range. When we arrived back home, we found 10cm of new snow had fallen within 30km of the city. Back to winter :(

Spent an awesome 2 days cycling in Edmonton April 12 & 13 as the temps were in the 21C to 24C range. Did our first MS150 ride with Stew and 13 others on Sunday in very warm temperatures. Completed 4o kms with our new jerseys and enjoyed a DQ at the end.

April 18,19 went to Jasper to ski Marmot Basin. Nice new 15cms powder waited for us. Amazing skiing at this time of year. Original plans were to go ice climbing but weather forecast not good and Jay at COE said ice conditions were abysmal. Stayed at Athabasca hostel and had another great ski day before heading home to horrible road conditions from Hinton to Edmonton. Overnight we had 6cms new snow in Edmonton, temps in the -10C range and more snow Sunday. Winter is back, I guess I should take out my XC skis again!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Elk Lakes Ski Tour March 5-7

Several awesome days in Kananaskis country and up over Elk Pass into BC to Elk lakes ACC Hut. Beautiful views of Mt. Foch, Petain Glacier, upper and lower Elk Lake. A couple of inches of new snow on crust and ice, made for decent skiing. Total 9km to the hut which sleeps 10. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

Boulder Hut

I have just spent a week in the most beautiful part of BC near Kimberley in a remote hut doing some telemark skiing in the back country. Ten of us had blue skies for 7 days and skied the most amazing terrain above 2000m. Each day was route finding, digging pits and exploring some great slopes in the Purcell Mountians, carefully watching south aspects where the sun was causing natural class 1 and 2 avalanches. A meter of snow had fallen the week before and with warming temperatures was settling. We avoided south aspects and wind loaded slopes doing some great turns in sometimes crusty, and some soft powder! What a week, ate well, played games, got lots of fresh air and exercise. Awesome!
some photos to show off...