Weekly Photo Challenge : Half and Half

The E12 route part of the International E road network is only about 900km long, yet it transverses a few countries along the way. Starting at Mo I Rana in Norway, it heads into and across Sweden and finishes up in Helsinki, Finland, with a ferry connection between Holmsund in Sweden and Vaasa in Finland. The route provides amazing views and vistas of what must be some few unspoilt wilderness areas in Europe. Lakes and Fjords with crystal clear waters provide perfect reflection pools for the beautiful surroundings. Half and Half is the prompt on the Weekly Photo Challenge this week, and images of some of these perfect reflections are my response to the prompt.

………….the journey continues…………

Half and Half

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half and half

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Weekly Photo Challenge : Adventure

Ulriken, the highest of Bergen’s (Norway) 7 surrounding mountains can be reached by foot or by cablecar. Stands to reason, these are the same way you can get off the mountain. Some more adventurous people :-), chose to climb up with paragliders on their backs and paraglide back down. Adventure is the prompt on the Weekly Photo Challenge this week, and images of these paragliders are my response to the prompt.
…………..the journey continues………..

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Weekly Photo Challenge : Fleeting

A dramatic sky in Northern Norway presented a fleeting moment when the clouds momentarily opened up and shaft of light beamed down onto the river. Fortunate enough to be driving past at the time, I took a moment to stop and shoot a few images. Two of them are my response to the “fleeting” prompt on the Weekly Photo Challenge..
……….the journey continues………….

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Travel Theme : Mystical

Travelling more than 10 000km to get somewhere makes it quite a big deal when you finally get there………..nevertheless there are always smaller milestones along the way. I was recently travelling in Northern Scandinavia and had an opportunity to cross the Artic circle. Obviously, quite a milestone when you’re travelling there from wayyy down South :-). So, I guess there is an expectation of a huge fanfare, with flashing lights, marching bands, throngs of people, touristy shops, alarms going off etc :-):-). The reality though is that it is very different, or maybe it was just like that when I was there.

From the simple sign declaring “welcome to the Arctic circle, to the deserted parking area and accompanying buildings, it was very different to what I had imagined. But, when you get closer and vist the site of the imaginary axis, the place has a very mystical quality, coupled with the shallow angle of the setting sun, snow on the nearby slopes, the rapidly falling temperatures, and evidence that many had been there before me, just gave it that mystical feeling. Hundreds of little pyramids of rocks and stones, carefully assembled by other visitors over who knows how long, spread across the undulating landscape, some more elaborate decorated with flags confirming that they had been there, making their mark.

Ailsas weekly travel theme on www.wheresmybackpack.com this week is mystical, providing a perfect prompt for my post about the Arctic circle…attached are some of the images of my visit there………………….the journey continues………….







Travel Theme : Food

The prompt for the Travel Theme on www.wheresmybackpack.com this week is food. Undoubtedly, Ailsa’s pictures and tantalisingly descriptive post about the Halal Guys in New York is going to have many mouths watering, not to mention having an impact on the length of the queues for this food .. :-).

Undeniably, travel and food go hand in hand, so this prompt is probably going to have a huge array of different experiences. For some reason, when I saw the prompt I was reminded of a specific experience in Bergen, Norway, a few years ago. It was my first day in Bergen, so I was quite keen to see the place and orientate myself with the place that was to be my home for the next few days. It was a particularly grey, overcast, cold and wet day, so lots of clothing and waterproof gear was the order of the day. I am not really one for tourist bus overviews and prefer to just walk around considering you get to see and experience a lot more that way.

So it was after some walking around that I stumbled upon this quite casual “seafood” market at the harbours edge, I saw it from the distance with this hive of activity, and lots of people moving around. You got the impression from far away that something was happening, and curiosity kind just draws you in, like it did the many other tourists that were there. At first I saw the ‘seafood” market with all the “fresh” seafood, paellas, shellfish and all sorts of other delicacies, some of it still moving!! and then as you move along you come across the stalls with the prepared food, catering to virtually every seafood palette there is. There were some interesting items on the menu, but just the simple “fish and chips” prepared there and then right in front of you, was more than enough to keep me happy…. 🙂 . Unlikely that there were as many people queueing as in New York, but I guess Bergen does have quite a few less people.. 🙂 Further along there was even a fruit stall, offering something else for those that didnt feel particularly like seafood.

I managed to sneak in a few images in between chips.. :-), unfortunately, none of them of the meal I had :-(, some of these images accompany this post………………the journey continues………………..








Weekly Photo Challenge : Up

Another great Photo Challenge topic, Up, providing opportunities for numerous interpretations. For my post today, I want to start off by heading North, so “up    ‘ on the map :-). Those who have visited my blog before will know I am based in Cape Town, South Africa, and todays blog takes us all the way to Bergen in Norway, yes, way up there 🙂 . Bergen has many mountains around the City and Ulrikken is the highest at 643 metres. Now the South African relationship with superlatives is well documented on this blog, so it stands to reason, when I visited the City, I chose to hike “up”  the highest one :-). It is an incredibly scenic walk, and is highly recommended.

The views from above of the City and the distant fjords are absolutely amazing. While I was there, I watched some paragliders who were enjoying the afternoon “up” above the City. There were quite a few, literally just floating along being held “up” by the huge brightly coloured sails of the glider. I can only imagine how much better the view was from “up” there.

Todays images are of these paragliders…………….The journey continues…………………….





bon voyage once more ….two years and 10 500km apart

My fascination with travelling brings with it a similar fascination with the modes of transport that allow it to happen. These are not necessarily dictated by the size or level of exclusivity they offer, so it could be a huge airbus or a single propellor plane, a massive ship or just a little boat, a seriously high speed train or just a little regional train chugging along between rural stations, a transfrontier bus or just a local inner city shuttle, perhaps a hired car or just a hired bicycle, all of them have a similar effect of making me feel excited about the fact that I’m travelling once more. Sometimes, though you encounter a level of exclusivity within or with a particular mode of transport, that gives you that “I know I couldnt afford to travel on that”, feeling. The Concorde would have fallen into that category, though at a more basic level, walking through business class while alighting from an aircraft tends to conjure up similar feelings. Something drastic happens to your state of mind as you walk through business class after having spent 15 hours in “cattle class” on an intercontinental airliner. I’m not sure if its the fuly reclined seats with blankets strewn all over the place, noticing the full duck down pillows, or the unconsumed parts of the nineteen course meal still on the tray. 🙂 Maybe its just the copious amounts of legroom or the fact that there are only 6 seats for every 22 seats in “cattle class.” 🙂  Have you noticed this feeling does not happen when you travel on an aircraft where all the seats are classified the same. Definitely no state of mind shift. Be that as it may, my budget is limited, and I understand the constraints of that, and make the necessary adjustments. So, I’d rather travel a lot more and to many more places on a cramped mode of transport that to a lot less in super convenient luxury. Hey! thats just me, you’re going to have to decide what works for you.!!

The irony though, is that I am still fascinated by any means of transport that falls into the “I know I couldnt afford to travel on that” category. Such was my fascination when I first caught a glimpse of the Queen Mary 2 while on holiday in Bergen in Norway, two years ago. One of, if not the largest passenger ship in the world, berthed in the harbour. I hadn’t known it was there or read about it, or anything, just literally stumbled upon it! It is absolutely huge!! It was difficult to get close to so I just photographed it from as close as I could admired its size and luxuriousness and moved on with touring the city. Neverthless, througout the day, there were constant reminders of its presence, not only from sneak veiws across the city, but from bumping into the numersous passengers who were being shown around by flag wielding guides, in every conceivable language. But,  I did mention that I understand my constraints with travelling in luxury, so I made peace with it and told myself “to each, his own” 😦

Ulrikken, is a scenic hill above Bergen, and those fortunate enough to travel on the QM2, or in business class have the cash to get there by cablecar. I prefer the scenic route 🙂 so it was a decent hour and half hike to the top instead. I wasn’t there too long when I noticed in the distance that the QM2 was leaving, working its way through the fjords that were outside the harbour. A truly magnificent sight. So from my elevated postion, I bade Bon Voyage to the QM2 shortly after I had seen it for the first time.

Earlier this year I was driving along a road which has a distinct view of our harbour and noticed a familiar sight. The distinctive red funnel cannot be mistaken, the QM2 was in Cape Town once again. It had been previously, but during really foul weather and the port authorities had closed off all access to it, so getting anywhere near it was impossible. This time though, I decided to be more proactive, I called them and asked where I could go to get a closer look. I was advised it was leaving that evening, and that access to the port was possible. So camera in hand I got to its berth, and this time managed to get a really close look, truly impressive. I was fortunate enough to watch the pomp and ceremony of the departure close up, and photograph it too. It was an amazing sight watching the scottish pipe band and flag bearers being completely dwarfed by this huge vessel as it eased its way out of the Port, with hundreds of onlookers bidding its passengers Bon Voyage.

For me, it was the second Bon Voyage to this magnificent ship, not withstanding the fact that they were two years and 10 500 km apart……………….the Journey continues……………..

That brings us to todays images, the first two taken in in Norway 2009, and the others taken in Cape Town in 2011

BERGEN-NORWAY IMAGES

Canon 400D, Canon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 lens, ISO 100, F7.1, 1/200, FL-130mm


Canon 400D, Canon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 lens, ISO 100, F10, 1/500, FL-120mm

CAPE TOWN IMAGES


Canon 7D, Canon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 lens, ISO 100, F9, 1/160, FL-24mm


Canon 7D, Canon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 lens, ISO 100, F9, 1/250, FL-150mm


Canon 7D, Canon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 lens, ISO 100, F9, 1/160, FL-155mm


Canon 7D, Canon 18-200mm f3.5/5.6 lens, ISO 100, F9, 1/400, FL-200mm