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posts about ice.

after being in tromsø, we continued to oslo. one of the first surprises met us close to our hotel. we already stayed there last year, but didn’t notice anything. this time, we noticed something greenish on the ground, which on a closer look turned out to be many tiny statues:

this piece of art is called the grass root square by do ho suh.

similar to last year, we had great weather. not on every day, though. here are some impressions from the rådhusplassen and the adjacent pier:

we also wanted to see oslo from the sea as well as more closely inspect the oslo fjord. unfortunately, the oslo fjord boats were not really running yet, and many of the boats around oslo itself were not running due to ice. nonetheless, two boats were operating (route #92 to nakholmen as well as the ferry to nesoddtangen). the following photos are from route #92:

after that, we explored oslo by bus, and then continued to tjuvholmen, which is almost finished by now. last year, i took one photo over there, which is not showing a lot since most things you could see were construction stuff. this time, there’s a lot more to see, for example the new buildings for the astrup fearnley museum of modern art:

(the snowman was on the boat to nakholmen. i just put it here because it fits better with the other portrait pictures.)

afterwards, we continued by ferry to nesoddtangen and back:

while being in tromsø, we did two longer excursions by car. driving on icy and snowy roads is not exactly our favorite thing, but since it is quite common in scandinavia (and also canada), we thought it might be not too bad. and in fact, it was quite ok, probably thanks a lot to the great winter tires our rental car had. most of the time we had no problems at all, only noticing that braking could take a little longer than usual. only in two situations we experienced trouble: one time, in a roundabout, the car started steering somewhat different than i intended it to go. well, i managed to take control of the situation, but it was not exactly good anymore :) the second situation was when turning the car, it ended up in a situation where we couldn’t drive forward anymore due to wheelspin. well, driving back a bit more and then steering differently solved that as well. alltogether, i would say driving in this conditions is not too bad, and after driving for some days, i felt quite safe.

kvaløya.

our first longer excursion led us to the island kvaløya, an island adjacent to tromsøya, the little island tromsø is located on. we started a bit late, when sunset already had begun (i.e. somewhen around 1 am). we basically circled the southern part of the island.

eastwards.

our second excursion led us east of tromsø. we began driving over to tromsø’s mainland and continuing to breivikeidet, from where we crossed the ullsfjorden via ferry to svensby in lyngen, and then continued to the east side. there, we followed the lyngen fjord southwards until we finally reached the southmost point of our voyage, nordkjosbotn. from there, we drove up north again, this time along the balsfjord, and finally continued back to tromsø.
this time, we started much earlier, and so also got some sunny views. unfortunately, most of the time, we were covered by clouds…

last week, we visited tromsø in arctic norway for a couple of days. it is one of the largest cities north of the arctic circle, featuring a university (which, among many other subjects, also has a mathematics department – to my knowledge, the only one north of the arctic circle).

tromsø during daylight.

here are some impressions from tromsø during daylight. at this time of the year, there’s not too much daylight – the sun rises around 10 am, and is gone by 4 pm. the photos feature the tromsø gallery of contemporary art, the polaria aquarium whose form represents ice floes, the rica ishavshotel with its interesting form, the polstjerna (a seal hunting ship) museum, and some views on tromsø’s harbour, in part from the tromsø bridge:

tromsø at night.

most of the time, we saw tromsø during night. this is how it looks. the first picture shows the public library.

the last four pictures depict one of the hurtigruten ships, the trollfjord which was stopping by in tromsø one night. we used the chance to explore the ship a bit and have a nice midnight snack on-board.

northern lights over tromsø.

unfortunately, we only saw an aurora once during our stay. but it was a beautiful one! we were standing close to the public library, and later to the city hall:

polaria.

we also visited the polaria, the northernmost aquarium featuring bearded seals. here are some impressions from their feeding and training session:

tromsø airport.

finally, on our last day in tromsø, the weather was fantastic. that is, there was a lot of sun and not many clouds around noon. we were already at the airport at that time, but still managed to take some nice pictures:

monday and tuesday i was in basel, attending the speedup workshop, including a tutorial on intel threading building blocks and cilk plus. something i have to try out, by writing some lattice enumeration code with it, to see how it copes with it. especially the tutorial was definitely worth the time spend there.
but besides business, i walked around a bit in basel during monday’s lunch break, this time with my camera. this resulted in some nice photos, and some of these are here:

today, i did an excursion to the furka pass and the rhône glacier. i started at 05:45 in zürich, took the train to göschenen, and continued by postauto to the hotel belvédère.

from there, one can visit the ice grotto, a grotto hewn into the glacier. this was the first time i was inside a glacier, though not the first time being inside a artifical ice cave. there is a long twisted corridor, ending in a grotto. the walls often have lights inside, yielding spectacular effects. check out some impressions:

after that, i did a hike to the furka passhöhe. supposed to be a nice, easy hike, at least when you start at at the passhöhe. starting from hotel belvédère, the way is very steep in the beginning (instead of going steeply down at the end). here’s what my gps recorded for me.

the hike started at 2291 meters above sea level, climbed up to 2450 meters above sea level in around 700 meters, and peaked at 2486 meters above sea level near the end, and ended at 2427 meters above sea level after 2.97 kilometers. according to qlandkartegt, i climbed up 358 meters and walked down 222 meters during the whole trip. not bad for my training level… almost took me 2 1/2 hours. but it was really beautiful up there!

in case you want to do the trip in the same direction: the trail starts, seen from the glacier, behind the hotel. the sign is pretty easy to miss, and the trailhead is also easy to miss…

today, i finally did a hike i already wanted to do for a long time: i visited the morteratsch glacier in the engadine. there is a train station nearby, called morteratsch. from there, a trail leads to the ice front. it used to be that the train station was at the ice front, but that was more than 100 years ago, and since then the glacier retreated quite a distance – almost two kilometers. here are a few impressions from the hike to the ice front:

shortly before i reached the ice front, and just a few moments before i could see anything, i heard a loud noice. some ice collapsing, something breaking off, i don’t know. happens all the time, and it is always a good idea to know what you are doing when going on a glacier. for example, never go too near to places where ice seems to break off :-) anyway, even though i only was at the very bottom of the glacier – i’ve seen much more of some glaciers in canada –, there were many interesting views of ice formations, of mixtures of ice, dirt, rocks and water. glaciers are so beautiful!

while looking through the photos, i found a polar bear hiding in one of the photos. can you find it?

helsinki.

after the stay in rovaniemi, we took the train back to helsinki and stayed a few days there as well. besides a concert of moonsorrow and korpiklaani, we visited some churches: the uspenski cathedral, the helsingin tuomiokirkko, as well as the temppeliaukio church. we were extremely happy to visit the temppeliaukio church when it was almost empty, which is apparently very unusual.

frozen harbor.

even though it was raining and the snow was melting, there was a lot of ice left in the harbor and rivers. here is a small impression of its beauty:

and here are some more pictures from the harbor area:

the sibelius monument.

we also visited the sibelius monument, a beautiful piece of modern art dedicated to the finnish composer jean sibelius. enjoy some impressions:

sometimes, i like to cook fancy. with fancy, i mean something which needs a bit more work than just pasta with pesto. like what i ate today. here are two photos, showing everything except the ice cream afterwards, and the drink:

today, i went on a second walk, this time north from my place. here are some impressions.

a beautiful view downwards onto a half-frozen river:

i don’t know how to describe this in words, but it’s simply beautiful. even though i don’t think this picture captures the full beauty the “ice flowers”, here it is:

floating:

not floating:

can’t decide which is of more beauty…