Archive for month: October, 2011

Barcelona in October, Arrivederci!

23 Oct
October 23, 2011

The taxis were on time. Three little yellow and black SEATs awaited us with their trunks wide open, ready to swallow our bulging suitcases. Our chauffeur was in a good mood, but our effort to strike up a conversation with him, as is our habit, was futile. He was already deep in playful conversation with the other two drivers, judging from my modest understanding of the language, covering topics ranging from the world situation, via soccer to matrimonial issues. But as we were approaching the airport there was a definite shift, both in themes, behavior and mood. Now it was all about the soon upcoming coffee break and who would get there first. Laughing under his breath, with one hand on the microphone, the other gesticulating wildly and waving at his mates, only occasionally and absently touching the steering wheel, while moving in and out of lanes, our man was set on winning. Terrified, the ladies in the back seat and I looked at each other, and pictured ourselves getting a place in the huge, open air burial facility on Montjüic that we had just passed a couple of minutes ago.
Arriving at the airport we were so relieved to be alive, that when the driver charged us almost one third of the fare on top of the actual one, probably having heard about The Norwegian Airline’s lucrative policy…, we were ready to embrace him for not killing us, and willing to pay all that and more.
The flight Barcelona – Oslo was uneventful, thank goodness. I was standing in line for the youknowwhat, when the captain was announcing our descent over the loudspeaker. Among other things he also mentioned the temperature on the ground. It was + 1. +1! I was not ready for that, and promptly, without thinking, I turned to the purser storing away remnants of food and drink in the compartment next to me, and appealed: “Could you please, please, please, make the captain turn the plane around and take us back to Barcelona!” The friendly man took a good look at me and my sincere, but desperate expression, and said: “Sorry ma’am, but you see, my colleague and I are just making this and another short trip, before heading towards Tenerife where we are getting a whole day off!” He smiled.
He was still smiling, when a couple of hours later he welcomed us onboard the plane, heading for Trondheim. Obviously, this was the “short flight” he had been referring too. When he saw me, he grinned apologetically, and letting us off in Trondheim, both he and his female colleague, now laughing from ear to ear, probably delirious at the thought of the warm Tenerife sun, promised that the next time, at least if their day off was scheduled in Reykjavik, they would definitely consider rerouting the plane in a more southerly direction.

Barcelona in October 4

21 Oct
October 21, 2011
Park Güell, like many other ambitious projects of Barcelona, was initiated and financed by one of the many well to do citizens, in this case the industrialist Eusebio Güell. The place was intended as an English garden city, hence the spelling of the word Park, with mansions scattered around an elaborate and unique park, according to the unconventional and organic design of Gaudi. The project turned out to be an economic disaster, only two houses were actually built, but the park itself became and is till this day, an immense success. It is the work of a genius homo ludens, breaking all the accepted rules of architecture, plan and layout. Describing it is difficult, but being there is like being outside space and time. Your eyes and mind are constantly challenged and amused, as is your ears, because of all the incredibly gifted musical entertainers performing and adding to the pleasant, careful and playful feel of the park.
Playfulness is also an important aspect of another, but more recent project, the renovated Cosmo Caixa, the science museum. Apart from some oddities when it comes to  entrance area, layout and lack of sensible information about the same, it was a very nice experience. The natural phenomena part was great, but not very different from many other similar exhibitions. The presentation of the development of technology, from the first feeble and accidental efforts by early humans, on the other hand, was refreshing and interesting, suggestion qualities of both humor and empathy.
A huge surprise was the inner part of the museum, an enclosed area comprising a humid rainforest, fully equipped with regular rainfall and a varied flora and fauna. The first we enjoyed a lot, but the latter elicited mixed feelings: The fish were probably all right, although constantly swimming around and around, in a perpetual search for familiar seas and ocean currents. The most likely depressed green anaconda, on the other hand, curled up, immobile in a pool of water, and the poor capybara,, the biggest rodent in the world, melancholy pondering over how it ended up in these backwatersl, had no way of or inclination to behave in a remotely natural way, and might as well have been replaced by replicas.
Like the Einstein and Darwin lookalikes in the reception area, seemingly having a good time discussing, merely taking a five-minute break from further calculations and discoveries.

Barcelona in October 3

20 Oct
October 20, 2011
Monteserrat, much more than I had bargained for. The peak with an altitude of 1236 meters. The monastery further down, huge, impressive, but leaving me a little flustered; Once a place of recluse, solitude, retreat, peace. Now a full-fledged toursist machine. Or vortex; sucking people in by the grandeur of its site, the buildings. Centrifuging us through the cafés easily catering for a multitude of visitors of all ages and provenances, the museum, the Basilica, the shops, and spewing us out in the other end, overwhelmed, but a little lacking in the peace of mind usually associated with monasteries and hermitages.
Not yet fully satisfied, some of us took a funicular further up, to see more of the mountain, the unique rock formations, the view. Which was amazing.
 Restless, a little impatient, I agreed to meet with the others in time for the descending cable car, and took off uphill. First following a wide pathway, and after a while pursuing a steep upward path, through a thicket of trees. On the way, puffing and panting, knowing I was short of time, I met and passed some resting, out of breath Russians, a couple of sauntering Poles and two young Londoners, clampering up, step by step. The former two never made it to the Magdalena Hermitage further up, both due their wearing high heels, not well suited for the task and their heavyweight cameras and wallets…, the latter arrived a little later, obviously not being in a hurry like me.
The two English blokes and I shared the thrill when emerging out of the bush and onto a plateau, overlooking amazing rock formations and the valley beyond and bellow. We photographed eachother, neither asking the other to take a step back, which would have been a foolish thing, and probably the last of our lives, to do.
Allowing myself a few minutes of exhilaration, feeling high and on top of the word, in many respects, I felt inclined to stay, but knowing I had people waiting for me, took a last look, before I scurried down, again passing the Russians and the Poles, all smiling, but not uttering a word, now even more oxygen-deprived as they were.
Me, myself, I was high, a feeling that stayed with me on the way down, on the train back to town and all through the evening, and hasn’t quite left me yet. 

Bareclona in October 2

19 Oct
October 19, 2011
Montejuïc, 213 m high hill, on the south side of the city. Spangled with buildings and constructions erected to impress, for the 1929 World Exhibit and the 1992 Olympics respectively. With an infrastructure, both elaborate and confusing. For walking somewhat lacking in directions; a maze of small pathways among groves of orange and almond trees, laurels, mimosa, cypresses, pines…

After indulging in a museum saturated morning, the Barcelonetta beach awaited. Almost void of tourists, but full of locals …, and vendors. Offering anything from Mojito to massages. We escaped into the salty, temperate sea, enjoying the water, the waves, the utter feeling of bliss that wallowing in the ocean in October brings to a northerner.

We still had room for more input , and ventured into the Museo d´Història de la Ciutat,  sporting the most extensive subterranean Roman ruins in the world, featuring streets, houses, temples, baths, sewage systems, work shops, wine making facilities… The only drawback being that the exit was not to be found, and no wine tasting, which by the end of a very hectic day we reaaaly needed, was provided. The latter was more serious than the former, as we could have done well without the exit, providing the wine was served in adequate (ample) quantities…

Rounded off with a Catalonian orgy of food and wine. Shared and exchanged stories of the day’s events.  Much laughter and subsequent dancing in the street, our enthusiasm for a moment even surpassing that of the lively Barcelonans, and gaining applause from the same. 

Barcelona in October 1

18 Oct
October 18, 2011

Sunny, pleasantly warm, still teaming with life. Just enough tourists to keep it «going». Refreshed, young guide, eminent, knowledgeable, and like most Catalanes; for historical and political reasons, hungry for independence, autonomy. Proud, but friendly, open, easygoing, at least towards us, nonspaniards as we definitely are. She takes us around Barro Gotti, old town, with “palaces”, tall, often slim buildings (less land to pay for…), tiny balconies draped with dripping laundry, house plants.., narrow streets and alleys, open places, cafés, tapas restaurants, churches. The Cathedral,Santa Maria del Mar, scene of the book by the same name, which I haven’t, but now must read, and Sagrada Familia; after sunset, floodlit, a sight to behold and remember. Stunning, impressive, beyond imagination, before you actually lay eyes on it. Product of a creative mind, and a city generous enough to allow the necessary space for the dream.

A little time goes a long way

14 Oct
October 14, 2011

The little guy up on the stage was speaking a beautiful, eloquent and almost totally unintelligeble English. 

My whole body was straining to grasp what he was saying, smiling and swaying a little as he was in the dim light.

The only thing I could make out, was him saying “is it not?” at the end of each sentence, which confused me a little at first, but made perfect sense once I realized he meant a retorical “right?”.

After a while my ears tuned in to his way of speaking, and I leaned back, relaxed my tensed muscles and listened.

The former world class technological scientist, now dedicated to “the inner sciences”, practicing and teaching holistic and energetic living, is not a man of big words, expansive gestures or elaborate explanations. His slides are easy-to-follow and uncomplicated, as is his line of reasoning and his approach to yoga and meditation. 

His message is clear and simple: We need to change our attitude, from overuse of ourselves and the world at large, to a more balanced, holistic and deeper way of living, providing for and considering both body, mind and spirit.

His focus is on creating inner peace through meditation. We need to deactivate our body to deactivate our mind. We must find a way to go into our “cave”, where nothing, neither external or internal “noise”  disturb us. And the main means of achieving some “cave time” or meditiative state, are 

– a stable and comfortable body posture
– deep breathing
– creating space and time for ourselves, by leaving our daily chores and worries behind, outside of the cave.

I have come across different forms of meditation and a various range of yoga pracitces, many of which make huge demands on our time, our body, our mind. Demands that not many of us feel we can meet.

The beauty and simplicity of his philosophy is that yoga, or meditation, should not be an effort. A little investment in time goes a long way, and is manyfold reimbursed you.

Just 10-15 minutes a day will  reduce your need for sleep by an hour a night, energize your system, increase efficiency and productivity, relieve stress and tension, improve mind control and in general yield better health and well being.

Meditation will hopefully also bring about a self awareness enabling us to see the necessity of change, in ourselves and in the world.

It this way of thinking is of interest to you, or you just want to learn more about the man, small in posture, but big in thought, you may go to

The Blue Screen of Death

12 Oct
October 12, 2011

Windows NT crashed
The Blue Screen of Death
No one hears your screams
My old Pc is past its prime, to put it mildly. I have gotten used to the missing plastic left hand corner of the case, and the long crack on the same side looks  like it’s always been there. But now the functionality is acting up. The keys on the keyboard are tilting this way and that, and only if in a very good mood do what they are supposed to do. The space key is particularly obstinate, as are many of the letters, leaving me in a state of despair, and the text almost unintelligible. As if that weren’t enough, the screen has started showing signs of old age, with strange, fine lines and non figurative artwork obscuring what lies behind.
So this afternoon I found myself in one of the town’s biggest pc-stores. For the first time on my own on such an occasion. I had equipped myself with some advice from people with insight on the matter, and a list of my own prerequisites, but other than that I came empty handed/headed…
I was hoping to meet a kind, helpful and knowledgeable salesman, that could guide me through the pc jungle, and met… Christopher. Christopher was all that I could hope for, and more. When I told him my errand, acquiring a pc, he looked a little weary, but upon realizing I actually had a list of things I was looking for in the machine, I saw life reenter his eyes. He started making a list of options, while telling me that since I was a woman, design would obviously be an issue, so he would…I stopped him short, and told him that estetics was at the bottom of my list, but that I would appreciate if he took me through the technicalities of different machines and explaining to me what bearing they had on my needs.
Where before his expression had grown into a rather happy one, he now looked ecstatic. As if he were electrically charged, he took off like a machine spewing tennisballs, throwing facts and figures at me almost at the speed of light. Number of cores, speed of same, capacity of memory, speed of same, hard disc capacity, core i3/5/7 contra something I don’t even remember, but should stay way clear of,  RAM, MB, GB, USB 2, 3, …, dedicated video memory, not to mention integrated subwoofer and HSDPA! He was so enthusiastic it was a sight to behold. Some of the terms were actually familiar, but many only vaguely so, and even more share gibberish to me. So I stopped him whenever I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, and the guy actually went out of his way to try to make things a little clearer for me.
Eventually we had narrowed the choice down to two little beauties, of which one definitely was my favourite. I had him print out the specifications for me, which he did, signing with his name, if ever I needed to enquire about something. Only a predetermined decision not to make any purchase today, kept me from sealing a deal there and then. What convinced me even further that I had come to the right place, was the fact that he told me how they could set up the machine for me, provide expert assistance at all times, telephonic, online, personal. He even pointed out the man in the red t-shirt by the door, whose only job was to sit there, waiting for me to call or come by.
Almost too good to be true, I told myself, walking to my car in high spirits. Coming home I went through the information Christopher, my now good friend, had given me, looking things up on the internet, and of course realized that there were questions I either had not remembered to ask, or answers I had not fully understood. So, what the heck, I thought, I’ll just call Christopher or the guy in the red t-shirt sitting by the door. I looked at the papers he’d given me and found…no telephone number. I looked up the company on the internet and found… no phone number! No wonder the nice man in the red t-shirt had been looking so relaxed, no wonder Christopher could make such generous promises, almost making me believe he would move in with me to always be at hand.
I am still a far cry from buying a new pc, but I do know more about what I am looking for, I have realized that I am still not proficient or detached enough to see through enthusiastic and overly friendly sales persons, and I will ask for the phone number of both “Christopher” and knights in red t-shirts before making any purchase.
Below is a link to make me and hopefully many of you, stay sane, in the world of computers.

India inspiration

09 Oct
October 9, 2011

It suddenly dawned on me, that what inspired me to write my previous blog was listening to beautiful music on an elaborate and partly self built “music machine” at a friend’s house last night. Closing my eyes, floating on the musical clouds, scenes of the movie Aakarshan that I had watched earlier in the day, came back to me. As did previous talks, discussions with and comments by other people on India.

The movie reminded me of what life, history, books, fact and fiction, have been telling me all my life: There have always been and will be people in the world, and many at that, who against all odds and various predicaments, stand out and do good. People whose integrity compels them to do the right thing, not for themselves, but for people around them, their local society, their country and sometimes the whole world.

Their acts and words may impose huge changes, the ripples of their deeds extend to faraway corners, and the inspiration of their actions and ideas reach to the end of the world.

The Bolliwood movie, a genre with which I am highly unfamiliar, took me by surprise with the occasional sudden bursts of energetic singing and dancing in the midst of a dead serious film sequence, together with scenes showing theatrically stone faced characters, enforced by dramatic music, seemingly lasting for minutes at a time. But, easily moved as I am, I was touched by the story and the integrity and uncorruptibility of one of the main characters and the inner struggle, but eventual right conclusion or choice of several of the others.

We should never underestimate the power of good, of love and of hope, all moving the world forward in the only sustainable way. Believing in and striving to live and breathe these properties is our only option, both as individuals and world citizens.

India is a land filled with dualisms; good – evil, poverty – wealth, hope-hopelessness, corruption-idealism, greed-generosity, backwardness-foresight, and pluralisms; past-present-future, different religions, various regions, the many layered cast system, to mention a few.

There may be no place on earth where the discrepancies are greater, the dualisms more distinct, more visible, more resilient; parallel worlds within the boarders of one country.

Still, people who have spent time in India seem apt to fall in love with aspects of the country, be it people, culture, religion, history, landscape. Qualities and values of India clearly have something in their nature that appeal to us, features that draw us in, ways of living that we have forgotten or have never known. 

Bearing that in mind, we may trust that some of these innately virtuous qualities are what India and we may build on, to shape the future and to make economical growth benefit Indians from all walks of life, and in the process teaching ourselves a lesson or two about a better and mindful way to live our own hectic lives.

Do you speak Hindi?

09 Oct
October 9, 2011
”Do you speak Hindi?”, the guy next to me in the cinema smilingly asked, with the more often than not impeccable English Indians speak, albeit with a charming, but distinct accent. Having decided to see the movie Aarakshan on the grounds of hopefully learning a tad more about the to me incongruent piece of geography called India, my heart fell a little. No, I do not speak Hindi, I must admit I had counted on English sub-titles…, which the film, to my great relief, actually turned out to provide.

My knowledge of India is very limited, but my curiosity about this historically and culturally rich and immensely diverse country is unsaturable. Authors like Vikas Swarup, Vikram Seth, Gregory David Roberts, Tobjørn Færøvik, in addition to accounts by Mark Tully (BBC) and Joar Hoel Larsen (NRK) and other journalists, have fuelled my interest, as have talks with people who have travelled, done business or in other ways spent time in the country. 

Some focus on the opportunities, some on the challenges. India is lacking in neither. Nor is the world lacking in facts and statistics on the country, information that sometimes leave me optimistic about its future, sometimes pessimistic, but always baffled!

But the devil can cite scripture, and statistics, for his own purpose; the picture can be turned this way and that, depending on what we choose to focus on: Castisism, illiteracy, corruption, gross inequalities in terms of living conditions, education, job opportunities, health care, gender etc. etc. on the one side, and economic growth, “reservation” (securing “backward classes” places within educational institutions and GOs) and further state and province welfare schemes, subsidies, other programs etc. on the other.

When trying to figure out India and its future, juggling a whole lot of balls at the same time is necessary. Keeping the challenges in mind, one should welcome, encourage, explore and exploit the opportunities for improvement. India’s faith is not separate from ours, economically nor ethically.

And concerning books, articles, films, research… you come across, or your own experiences on the subject, please keep me posted:-)

Interesting links: 

Island Jumping Åfjord, Norway

03 Oct
October 3, 2011

You don’t have to go to Greece orThailand to indulge in what is referred to as island jumping. Even though the water may not be as warm, the sand not as fine, the palms non existing, amazing experiences await you many places here inNorway. Last weekend I went with a friend to the municipality of Åfjord, 2 hours northwest ofTrondheim, where a brand new cultural heritage “tinted” biking trail is laid out, covering parts of the mainland and two beautiful islands, Stokkøya and Linesøya.
 The trail takes you through beautiful landscapes, and features pointers to traces of prehistoric and historic life from different periods. Stone age cave dwellings, tools and ornamental finds, and quays, trading places, peat digging and other cultivated landscape sites of more recent times, are only some of what you get to see. All the while comfortably biking and, if you like, hiking, through a beautiful and varied landscape, sporting fjord and sea, rolling hills, mountains, lakes, caves and a similarly diverse flora and fauna.
 The trail can be covered in on, two or more days, depending on how much time you have/want to spend, and how many things you want to experience. If you choose to stay overnight, you have the choice between roughing it, tenting, sleeping under the stars (a little weather dependent) or doing it in style, by for instance lodging in the newly, and beautifully constructed Sub-houses (built partly below the turf) at Stokkøya Sjøsenter.
 If you’re a local, i.e. living in theTrondheim area, a life time experience is only a short drive away. If you come from out of town or from abroad, I’ll be happy to either take you there or show you the way. For a more elaborate description of the trail and our trip, click               

 If you don’t read Norwegian/Scandinavian, you may still enjoy the photos:-)