27 December 2010

Xmas 2010

Kirsti is ready with Crisp and a Cuddle

Making a small impression on the 17 pound turkey

Liberating the last of the advent calendar chocolates

Ruptured quad tendon - but still goes training in the company gym

23 December 2010


It is still very cold when I get home - never in 22 years have I had icicles but...

it does not stop the kiddies enjoying the Frankfurt Xmas Market (10 years in Birmingham - the biggest outside Germany)

20 December 2010

Total Chaos

Airport bus is on time - but then there is no other traffic

Efficient check-in but the machine won't accept my passport - it turns out Heathrow is still CLOSED

We depart on time - there was snow on the runway, it was snowing some more, it was minus (lots), it had been dark since October - but we took off on time

In Tromsø waiting for onward flight to Oslo

In Oslo - it does not look good - no SAS flights into or out of LHR today - except for SK811 at five o'clock and I am booked on that one!

Several hours later - and we are still waiting for LHR to give us a confirmed landing slot.  The gent on the right got notification that his RETURN flight from London had been cancelled - so nothing to do but take the next back to Stockholm.  The lady is trying to arrange a taxi from Heathrow to Southhampton for three o'clock in the morning.

Eventually we board - and as we take off (an hour later) the purser informs us that we are heading into "total chaos"

A lttle accidental stay in Tromsø

Thanks to LHR being 'total chaos' (according to the SAS purser's announcment) and OSLO being full of folks who could not get out to LHR, I was given an extra stopover in Tromsø

Not having had clears skies in Svalbard I took a chilly two hour walk up into the hills to make an attempt at seeing the Northern Lights - no luck as the moon was too bright - the photo above was HAND HELD: 4 seconds, F4, ISO 1600

The cathedral


Returning to the hotel and the roof top terrace - still too much light

This was midday - but the moon not the sun.

View from the lovely airport - quiet, clean and efficient

But it is 99 NOK for a baked potato... that is ELEVEN POUNDS!  It was very nice though.  Now I know the UK is a second world country and our currency second class.

and here it Tromsø according to Saint Joanna... she did get to see the Aurora Borealis

(its a movie and won't show on Facebook - you have to click through)

19 December 2010

Longyearbyen - In the Dark

This is my hotel

The main drag - Sunday morning - no cruise ships for 4 months

This is what it looks like in the spring

Stirchley co-op supermarket does not have a polar bear in the window!

Hotel reception

17 December 2010

First choose your dogs...

There is a short movie here (91 husky dogs going mad "please choose me!")- it won't show in facebook - you have to click through to the blog - and TURN THE SOUND UP!

My excellent dog sledding was arranged and provided by Christina at Basecamp Explorer Spitzbergen.  Highly recommended

A little doggie-snack for afters

16 December 2010

And the sun set in the South...

From Olso at 10:00AM

To Tromsø midday

and Longyearbyen at two in the afternoon:
(its movie and won't show in facebook)

A little trip to Longyearbyen (Flight North)

Looking chilly in Oslo and I have to walk to my...


At last a sensible breakfast "thing that keeps things hot" - a glass window so you can see if what is inside still looks appetizing, hinged so you can open it and self-serve with one hand (the other holds your plate) and a drip ring so the condensation does not end up on the table top. 

Covered walkway back to the terminal

oops - it is warmer in Longyearbyen (78N) than in Bewdley (text from my neighbour says minus 17)

Flying "off the map" - this is my GPS struggling as we go further north

Welcome to Svalbard! (It is two o'clock in the afternoon)

No information on Alcohol* and no baggage

*it is rationed for residents - due to having been a mining outpost where there was very little to do on the weekend but drink and look out into the dark and then drink some more.