Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saying Bye


Its the end of the semester and most people are on their way back home, I'm still studying hard because I managed to pick courses with late exams; in fact the latest one, last time slot of the last day; International Fisheries Management (I know how to pick them :p)
So while most people are all at going away parties and consuming intense amounts of alcohol I'm in the library nerding it up :)
I did however manage to get out to a park a few days back with my floor mates and took a nap in my bathing suit on the grass. I woke up 2 hours later with the narliest sunburn you have ever seen, im purple on one half of my body. On the bright side I now know what it feels like to get a sunburn in my armpit :P
Its still kind of sad that everyone is leaving, especially since the weather is great now so we can all enjoy it together. So as the sun sets on the semester of exchange it seems rather appropriate that the sunsets are getting prettier :)
It's nicks b-day tomorrow so splurged and bought him a bottle of scotch (his fav) and we are going to some restaurant that serves reindeer (YUM.... i think...)
OH, and some dinks on our floor got drunk and ran around knocking on our doors at 5am again, but I wasnt really mad because in their drunken state they managed to break the lock on the door to the roof access, so now we have a really sweet view of the city :)
I'm embarking on a two day hike over 7 mountains in a couple days with a few other guys, should be pretty interesting considering two of them are heavy smokers and we have about 30 hours of non-stop hiking ahead of us; no slack time because I have to be back for my exam. So I'm basically expecting to take the role of a slave driver to push the others along fast enough to make it back :p It will be more interesting if it rains, we are 4 people with a 2 man tent :p
Well Im back to studying, gotta be know enough for a hike, will be landing in Toronto on the 11th after a small euro vacation as planned. toodles

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The horizon to come


As the wind pats softly on my back and the sun warms my face I wounder why I came here; why did I climb this mountain, I awoke early in the morning and rose from my restless sheets to quest, but to quest for what, is this the beauty that I seek for? or is it another it reminds me of?

If another, does it lie in a far and distant land awaiting to be discovered, or did I leave it behind in the places I once knew so well, the very places I have run from.

Why run, the sweet odors of the new-growth shrubs surround me. The rock I have perched upon, though dull and harsh to the touch, brings comfort through its warmth and well shaped contours that please your body as it rests.

Rest, perhaps that is it, as I look out over the horizon to the distant mountains and countless places of beauty, I long to be there. But for the time being I am quite satisfied where I lay, basking in the visual ambiance of the horizon,

The horizon, the horizon to come, I know it must come, I cannot stay here forever, if I indulge in this place long enough the harsh surface of the rock will cause my body to ache, the insects of the shrubs will begin to crawl on my body and let me know that I am no longer welcome, and the wind will shift and strengthen; stealing the comforting warmth of the air.

Time to move, to explore, to seek out a new nursery to nurse my obsession. But my obsession for what? Comfort? Rest? If it was these that I seek I could have very well stayed in bed, there is something more that drove me from my sheets where I laid restless and unsatisfied. Perhaps I quest for change? No, this cannot be; I begin to long for the places I have even before I take my leave; the great trade-off of being in one place and not the other.

Is it possible to have both and not just one or the other; to be in both places at once? Or is there a place that is both; one in the same? Perhaps not, for the most prosperous places in nature the only constant is flux; the change of the seasons, the rise and fall of the sun and tides, the intermittence of rainfall and the varying soil moisture it creates for plant life; a place with a constant state of any kind leads to the weakening and even death of its inhabitants.

Change, flux, it seems so directionless, notionless, but is the nature of change truly random? The natural world changes so unpredictably, while so predictably returning to its original state; it’s not just change that makes life flourish, it cycles.

If this is life, then mine is certainly no exception; to venture off into the horizon with no clear direction and eventually come about, back to where I once started, completing the cycle, a cycle, of many to come I’m sure. Perhaps this is why the world is round, no matter the direction you take you will always come about, it’s the cycle that allows life to continue living, in both the body, and the mind.

Even as I write my welcome in this resting place is overstayed. The wind has strengthen and robbed my warmth, guls that have landed on a nearby post have broken the peaceful whispers of the mountain's peak with their aggravating squaks, and the rock upon which I am perched, though very nicely contoured to my body, is firm and I have begun to ache.

Time to leave, to explore, to wash away with the low tide and slip into the horizon, the horizon to come, the horizon to come about.
I am both, coming, and going, home.
video

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Auschwitz


I finally got around to posting the photos I took while at Auschwitz. So if your interested you can see them at.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623968173084/

Monday, April 26, 2010

Krakow


The airports opened the morning of our flight to Poland, most people in out group had already made other plans and could no longer attend. So with about 15 of us remaining we set off.

We stayed right in the market square in Krakow at Mama's hostel, which was super cheap and really nice. I woke up every morning at 8am and went for sweets and irish coffee while i waited for everyone else to get up from partying the night before. We all ate the greatest food (meat meat meat) and drank a ton because everything was soo cheap. we couldnt pronounce the currency so we referred to it as salamies ( a close pronunciation), basically we spent 1 dollar per drink in bars, some bars had deals for 50 cent shots (this caused us to be out drinking until 8am one night). one afternoon I went out with Allard (classmate) and we had a steak dinner, flaming sambucca, a polish long ice tea (just make all the alcohol woda and double the quantity), apple pie, 2 beers, whiskey and some mix drinks for 12 bucks each !! so you get the idea, very cheap.

The only downside to the trip was everyone sleeping in, didnt matter when the party ended, the latest i slept in was 930 because someone had purposely turned off my alarm to make me be quite in the morning :p
We managed to get out to Auschwitz for a day, its about a 2 hour train from Krakow, I dont think any of us were quite the same for a couple days after that; its a good thing drinks were cheap, we needed them.

anyways lots of site seeing, food, meeting random people, partying until the sun comes up and soaking up some interesting culture (and lbs :P) I've starting posting some pics on flickr, the link is below

Pictures at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623934614268/

Monday, April 19, 2010

I know I know

I know I haven't posted anything lately, but thats because im super busy with projects and am having some real problems with (for lack of a better word) useless group members that call me at 3am begging me to do their work :s.
anyways i saw this out the window this morning and thought it was pretty funny

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/4533633493/

gotta go do someone elses work

toodles

Jason

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New food


I got really sick of eating cabbage and fish, but had to keep mostly to my diet, so I made some hotdogs wrapped in turnip peels. I was almost like eating a real hotdog in a bun (not that there is anything real about a hotdog... meh :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Finally went hiking!


Didn't go as far as I wanted to because I have more work to do, but I did manage to get about 5 hours in. I brought the kvikk lunsj bar that nick gave me, it seems that all norwegians eat these things when they are hiking, so I thought I was tag along.

Oh, I also managed to drink a lot of water, I mean A LOT, today. It all hit me at once when I was on the trail and I managed to pee my pants before I could get them down in time. Maybe lack of bladder control is a sing of old age? doesnt really matter, I haven't done that in years; it made me feel young again :p

pics from the walk are up at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Slow Progress


Well I may have finished my Economic history paper on the economic growth of Mozambique fairly fast, but this environmental economics paper on municipal solid waste and governmental design with respect to the Ontario/Michigan case is going soooooooo slow. I've been researching and formulating my arguments for 2 days now (only productive about 30% of the time, but I'm supposed to be on holidays anyways). Today I think I will finally start writing it, so that will be a quasi relief.

I Was planning on going for a hike this week of all 7 mountains of Bergen, but the weather took a complete 180 and had a snow storm instead of a 10 degree sunny day. The forecast for the rest of the week is between 0-10 degrees and raining straight through. Lets just say my hiking plans are taking a rain check.

I place of where I should be writing or hiking ive been experimenting in the kitchen. I figure its the holidays and I'm at least going to eat well in place of a vacation. So I've managed to concoct turnip fries and I guess what you could call Kentucky fried fish (less the batter) really its just ghee (boiled butter) and garlic sauce smothered on ground fish and turnip fries and baked in the oven. It tastes like fast food only it wont give you PMS (post mcdonalds syndrome) and wont make you puke your guts out for a 2 hour walk home from a KFC (mark knows what I'm talking about).

I also managed to make what I'm calling egg cake. Its basically like making an omelet in layers and baking it in an oven. absolutely delicious and the eggs really help with recuperating from crossfit football.

anyways thats my break so far, I should probably stop procrastinating this paper and just write it

Pics and details of how I made my food are at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623247661256/detail/

Sunday, March 28, 2010

good day

Its a Sunday on the easter holidays, school is closed and I've snuck into school with a girl from Latvia using one of the teachers access cards. We got into the teachers lounge which is a pretty sweet deal. I'm currently writing a paper on the economic growth of Mozambique and enjoying a sans-cafeine tea looking out over a view of the fjord while Alla (girl from Latvia) plays beautiful Latvian pieces on the piano. Yep days don't get much better than this, well other than the fact that Alla brought pizza, really hard to watch her eat that. I suppose it doesn't help that I missed grocery shopping yesterday because of easter hours and have nothing to eat for today :s

The weather is supposed to get sunny and warm on Wednesday, about 10 degrees. So I think I will get a major head start on my environmental economics paper over the next couple days, then pack a tent and see how many mountains I can walk over in 1.5 days. I have to do something, easter holidays last 2 weeks out here and no one is left at school or in town. all the exchange students (including nick) are traveling and all the norwegians go to the mountains during easter. I would travel but I'm poor and don't have a G to drop on a vacation like most people out here.

good news is that I have the gym all to myself, now when I do the crossfit football workouts (www.crossfitfootball.com) no one will see me looking like a psycho. Oh and as an added bonus I get to walk around naked on my floor; completely empty (though this is not too different, usually I only wear a pair of sweatpants my gramps gave me for xmas; so comfortable that you don't even know that you are wearing em :)

Well thats all for now, perhaps I'll have some cool mountain picks posted in a week

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 3 - Sunday Morning

I must say other than dealing with some drunk Norwegian pounding on the walls of the hallway at 7am and then dealing with him subsequently pulling the fire alarm, I feel pretty good. I even had to go for a walk outside, find the guy, lure him back to the building and stick him infront of the firefighters so that he would pay the fine for a false alarm and not everyone else that lives in our blokk (about $700 dollars). This normally would have made me grumpy, I dont like to inflict pain on people (in this case financial pain) but I feel more relaxed now that I have my entire trip up here, making the event glide past smoothly.

Last night I was going nuts, not only could I not eat sugar or carbs; excluding the frozen pizza I have left in the freezer from my diet, I am an absolute terrible cook (Mark can attest to this, I once made his gums bleed from consuming a bowl of my homemade onion soup). I have been eating nothing but natural yogurt (no flavour, just sourness) cabbage, and chicken for the last few days and its finally starting to get to me. I have been using no spices, and simply throw it all in a pan with some water, cover it and let it mush together into a tasteless soggy slop. So last night I cracked and asked Nick for some cooking advice and managed to make the most tasty meal I have ever been apart of cooking. I used one pan to fry some pollock and another to fry some spinach, cabbage and garlic. I used salt and pepper on both, and when it was done I topped the pollock with some lemon sauce. This may sound like common sense to most people, but try to keep in mind I'm a useless uncommon person :p

Pic at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/4431628928/in/set-72157623247661256/

It took me half an hour to eat the meal, slowly savouring every bit, then I just sat there and starred out the window for another half hour or so, reminiscing about good ol' times with family and friends. I have not been that relaxed and calm since long before I came to Norway.
After this I nestled into bed with a hot cafiene free tea and watched the episode "flowering" of a documentary series called "The Private Life of Plants" which convinced me quite thoroughly that plants are capable of upper level thought and are quite possibly wiser and better strategists than we are, then went to bed for a short while until the pounding of a drunk norwegian awoke the entire 7th floor of F blokk.

To all my friends and family back home, know that its you that bring comfort to my travels, and not some new wounder you might think I have replaced you with.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day two, I feel like Poo

Yep, its nearly noon and I just got back from a group meeting at school. I have never had so much trouble walking up a staircase in my life.
FML

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sugar Rehab Begins

As most of you know, I am a bit (cough cough understatement) of a chocolate/sugar addict. I was doing great on my no carb diet until I got sick and had a busy week at school at the same time. We all know what students do when they are stressed with school work (other than cleaning their room) we eat crappy food. I managed to eat a pizza or two and finish a few jars of chocolate sauce (almost a Kilo) in a matter of days. After I introduced those back into my diet all my weird nuances I had back in Canada returned; my leg started to do the shaking thing when I sat down, the random body shivers and twitches, the random body sweats, feeling hungry all the time no matter how much I ate, and not to mention drastically spiratic energy levels (I even had to take a nap a few times). When I arrived here and stopped eating carbs my nuances must have dissipated gradually; I didn't realise that I stopped doing these things until my diet cracked and they abruptly started all over again.

I promised myself a long time ago that I would never be an addict to anything, and all of these symptoms just scream that I have an addiction. I don't like the feeling that I'm willingly rendering my freewill to a subconscious level; it feels almost inhuman in the sense that I act on instinct and chemical imbalances rather than natural, free thought. So as a response to this addiction today marks day one of a no carb no sugar diet, I figure im in for a rough week or two so it makes sense to kick all my bad habits at once and be done with it, so I'm throwing no caffeine into the mix as well. It is surprisingly hard to eat this way, I cant even finish off the mustard bottle I have left in the fridge (sugar content :s). I figure since I was sucked back in off the no carb diet so easily I will have to make sure that, for at least the first week, I dont have any sugar at all. This includes the banana bunch I just bought thinking I'd start a new trend of eating fruit, but it looks like that will have to be postponed for a week.

As for what I AM eating, I had some sour ass natural yogurt for breakfast (not recommended), tasteless cabbage and onion soup for lunch (I was experimenting and failed horribly), chicken legs for dinner, and about 5 litres of water (Ive been pretty thirsty, so every time I get a chocolate craving I just drink more water).

Its been a really long day, I feel like I didnt sleep last night (even though I had a solid 8 hours), I've had a slight overtone of a headache all day, and almost broke down into tears for no reason at all right before dinner... Yay for manhood
Its now 830pm of day one on my new diet and all I can say is F.M.L..

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kicking the Carbs!

So as most of you know I've eaten a pretty bad diet in my university career, rice, rice with salt and pepper, got scurvy, decided to add vegetable mix, got tired of that and went to intense amounts of pasta and soup, etc.
Now that I've been on this crossfit training program with nick the effects of that diet are really showing in terms of how slowly I build muscle and my stupidly high heart rate.
As a student, I've never been able to justify changing my diet from an economic standpoint until now. Norway's food prices are structured differently so that cabbage is pretty much just as expensive as pasta, and so that canned soup is far beyond my budget. Instead powdered flavour and REAL meats and vegis are relative to soup, much cheaper. Thus i am replacing all of my pasta and rice with cabbage and all of my chunky soups with real vegis and meats.
Today is day 1, I just made a slop (somewhere between a soup and a stew) consisting of:

1/2 a head of cabbage
400g of Torsk (Cod Fish)
1/2 an onion
2 cloves of garlic
chicken soup powder

I fried everything but the soup in a pan until it browned and mix nicely, while I did this I mixed the soup mix with water and boiled it. Then I poured the soup into the pan and did what Nick calls "braising". Anyways I tasted damn good and I don't have that feeling of death like I did after eating a comparable amount of pasta. It seems like a win win situation (except for nick who has to live next door to my on a high protein/cabbage/onion/garlic diet, any of you who know how i react to food will know that I'm not his favourite person right now :p )

who knows maybe I'll live past the grand age of 30 on this diet :P

Anyways, I have 1 pic posted on flicker

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/4381614637/

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kramboden

I just got back from a sleepover in a cabin called Kramboden. Its owned by the university and students rent it out for parties. About 60 of us (students) took a 1hr bus trip into the boons to the base of the mountain where the cabin was. Along the way we saw some fjords that had speed skating tracks cleared in them with some REALLY fast skaters on them. The roads went down to those winding 1 lane mountain roads with drops on the side after about 30min, and it was a fun game of seeing who would have to backup if we ran into cars going in the opposite direction. There was this really cool ghetto gondola that went up to the cabin that we couldnt use, probably because it was just a board of wood on an aircraft cable and a winch, very safe. It took 40min to get us up the 0.5km hike, it was pretty slippery and people were falling everywhere and taking out the people behind them :p
The cabin was SICK!, oldschool thing with 2 fireplaces and woodstoves, and a crap load of beds. so we spent a couple hours trying to cook rice and beef stew on the woodstoves, it took so long becuase the pots were somwhere between 2x2 or 3x3 feet; lots of hungry people.
Of course the drinking games were intense, flip cup, cards etc. It reminded me of those bud light commercials with the cabin parties full of tons of people dancing on tables and partying it up like wild animals in a cabin :p bottom line it was awesome!
There was also a cool hottub that some norwegians dragged up the mountain a few years back. it was a massive wood barrel made of vertical boards held together by metal rungs. It was heated by an oldschool watertight woodstove mounted inside the barrel. so basically you fill it with water, let the wood swell and become watertight, then start feeding wood into the once side of the tub where the woodstove was... it was about the coolest thing ever! BUT it was empty when we got there, and i wasnt about to be the one that waited a few days for that sucker to warm up :p
I think my favourite part of the night was when there was leftover stew at 3am and there were no spoons or plates left, so one of the Norwegian students and I found some coffee filters and started scooping stew from the pot with them. Then laughing in a state of complete drunkeness we used them like bowls/squeeze tubes it was like eating from a gogourt tube, but way messier and stew like:p
Oh wait, there was also a point at 6am when someone tried to make popcorn by buttering a pan and dumping cornels on it, then placing it over an open fire. of course the butter caught fire and started smoking out the cabin setting off the fire alarm (it was really weird this place had a fire alarm, i mean it had no running water or electrical appliances, or plugs that i can remember, but it has a fire alarm wired direct to the fire department). So a French guy ripped off his shirt, used the shift like gloves, grabbed the flaming pan and dove through a window with it! hehehe it was ridiculous because we still had to call the firedepartment and let them know it was a false alarm. but when we called the it was so static they had no idea what we were saying and gave up listening to us (note to self, dont put trust in emergency operators) needless to say the firedepartment didnt show up and we continued to have a great time. I dont have any pics but im sure there will be some enbarrasing ones of me popping up on facebook over the next couple days :p

peace out for now

Jason

Sunday, February 7, 2010

im really bad at updating this thing

Ok so nothing terribly exciting since the last blog, its been a lot of school work and projects. I managed to find some running shoes that i can wear around the residence areas and run outside with when it gets warmer out.
I also got a hair cut the other day, SNYKEEESS that was expensive, it cost about 60 canadian dollars AFTER a 20% student discount! but I did get a head massage with it, sooooo it kinda made it more justifiable for that price. I was told there was a cheaper place after i got my hair cut. but everyone thats gone there says you have to wear a hat for a few weeks afterwards becuase its soo bad.

I just bought a round trip plane ticket to Poland in may for 30 euro. going there for a weekend to drink and check out the scenery in Krakow ( i think thats how you spell it). Theres a group of exchange students going so it should be fun. In fact i should have just flown to another country and got my hair cut, it might have been cheaper :p

Today i went on a hike up anither mountain with Mika. Nick was too hungover to come so he missed out. it was by far the best view ive had yet from a mountain. the hike up sucked though, we followed a ski trail through the narliest woods ever. we could hadrly navigate the trees walking, so i have no idea how the crazy skiers did it. when we got up 3/4 of the way the snow was soo deep we were crawling (yes i forgot to bring my sno shoes AGAIN! you think i would learn) but the top was worth it. we found a groomed trail to run down afterwards, which is always my favourite part. i love running down the mountain because you can go really fast with little effort and if you bail, you just roll, no biggie :)

so next weekend i might go to Voss which has some great skiing, and the weekend after im going to some place called kramboden with a large group of students, its a cottage that the students use for partying. apparently it has a hot tub and everything so that should be pretty rad.

OH and i just finished another seminar course, this one was about communicating in the energy sector with reference to cross cultural issues. basically we were put into teams from various countries. had to study their culture and emulate it in negotiations over green technology business transactions. pretty fun, pretty easy :) this also means i have earned enough credits in two weeks to count has a credit back at ivey (Sweeeeet).

well i gtg its madelenes birthday (neighbor) and im late

toodles

oh and the pics of the hike are at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623371754658/detail/

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hikes are getting longer

Yesterday I went on a hike up the crazy trail (called "The Bear" in norwegian) with a group of people including Nick. we were planning on going from our apartments over the peaks of the mountains to Fløyen, which is a 2 hour walk along the nice trail below. We got pretty lost at some points, just kinda looking along the cliff lines trying to figure out where we were. we even found government cabin on the mountain with a map on the wall. But we had no idea where we were on the map and continued to be lost :p .
After about 4 hours we found a cliff lookout that overlooked the groomed trail below and realized that we were only about the equivalent of a 40 min walk along it (not even half way to Fløyen) easy trail below and decided to just head back to Hatleberg (the student residence). This was ok by me because getting to Fløyen isn't the fun part, it hiking along the peaks of the mountains were most of the time there is no trail, the adventure of being slightly lost and plowing your own path. needless to say Nick and I slept like babies last night, i woke up this morning with all my clothes on passed out on my pull out bed that i forgot to pull out :p

This morning Nick and I felt amazing! no pain from the hike and no bruses from all the falls we took along the way. the deep snow made things interesting, you never knew when you were going to fall through and smoke yourself on a sharp rock. I managed to do this a few times, one time i managed to go through the snow and wedge my leg under a rock and fall sideways. I have no idea how i didnt break my leg or wake up with any bruises, perhaps im invincible (i'll put that to the test another day :)
Pics from the hike are attached to the end of the album labelled "mountain behind my apartment"

oh and i should also mention that the first video in that album showed a higher peak that then one i was at, and on this hike we made it to that peak because we started at 9am and had enough time to do so. The pic of the peak is a blurry image of a group of us surrounding a rock pillar.

pics at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623242716276/detail/

new ones start about half way down the page

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sorry for the long Delay :S

Ok so its been awhile since my last post, this time lag is a direct cause of my netbook taking a hard and fast swan dive into brokeness. The hard drive crashed and cost more than the netbook to replace. So good news I have a new netbook; the cheapest one in Bergen and its better than my last one. Bad news, it has a norwegian/swedish keyboard making this blog especially interesting to write and had a norwegian price tag on it, I am now poor :S
In other news orientation week was a blast and I've met a lot of new people. Beer is really expensive so i plan on making my own beer with a 2 week brewing window... im obviously not counting on good taste, but then again i've never had good taste for anything :p

I climbed a mountain out back from my apartment the other day, i stumbled upon this weird path that started with a 1ft wide bridge across a creek and then up steep ledges of rock. Eventually the trail came to a vertical rock face of about 20ft up. i had no idea how to get up there until i noticed something in the snow which turned out to be a rope! so the rest of the trail involved repelling up rock faces and climbing ladders to get to the peak. It was tiring but definitely worth it in the end for the view. Pictures and videos at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623242716276/detail/

Classes started this week, it turns out I'm considered a masters student out here even though in Canada i'm just a bachelor. The reasoning for this is that this is my 5th year of university, and since ive been in school so long and have overloaded on courses every year I have enough credits to be nearly done my masters out here (maybe I should nag them to count me as a PHD student :p ). So far I'm overloading as usual, I'm only supposed to take 4 classes, but I'm taking more mainly because we don't have most of these courses back in Canada, at least that I know of, and I find them terribly interesting compared to the usual finance and accounting classes I'm accustomed to. So far I'm taking:

1) International Fisheries Management
2) Alternative energy sources in the physical, environmental and economic perspective
3) Design and operation of deregulated electricity markets
4) Energy challenges and energy production in the 21st century
5) Environmental Economics
6) Environmental responsibility: the role of NGO's and large corporations
7) Communicating in the energy sector
8) Norwegian Language 101

Should be a blast!

Everything here closes on Sundays, and I mean everything! so all the students tend to get very bored (and hungry if they did not pre-grocery shop) so we are starting a hiking club and hiking a new mountain every sunday. This sunday we plan on hiking from the first mountain I climbed; fjellveien or Fløyen (not sure which one is its real name) to a place called ørliken. the hike starts on the peak of fløyen and goes along the peaks of several mountains around a lake and ends at the peak of ørliken where you take a gondola down (or if we have any energy left we walk down :p

I'll be sure to post more pictures of the hikes as they come :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FOUND MY ROOM

So i picked up my keys today. i went to the student center when it opened a the receptionist was still recovering from what was now a 2 day hangover from new years. to add to it he only worked the housing desk once a year and was very rusty. After some "manflirting" ( no, no actual flirting, just talk that greases the gears to get a good deal)and it worked! He changed my room from a 1st floor room with a view of a parking lot, to a room on the seventh floor of a building on a 100ft cliff with a view overlooking the bay. AND he lowered the price so it is less than what I would have paid on the first floor... (shhhhh dont tell anyone). Of course I knew he changed my room, but I didnt know that it was to that and didnt know he lowered the price until i looked at the contract hours later (hes getting a random hug next time i see him). so later that day i set off to find my room. I have some choice words to describe the walk there, but I will leave it at I walked along a noisy highway with no scenery for over an hour, uphill. Next time I'm taking a bus :p
But of course when i got there it was all worth it :) now i'm back at the hostel downtown because i had one more night left here and have to be at the police station early to submit my residence and work permits. also all of Norway comes off holidays tomorrow that started on the 24th, which means there are massive discounts and crowds of people at stores. It's like boxing day after a new years day that lasts 1.5 weeks :p i'm going to need to buy a drying wrack, some potatoes and laundry soap! maybe i'll find some shorts really cheap off season that i can use in the summer :p

anyways pictures of the room and the million dollar view (for much much less than a million dollars) are at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623165920956/detail/

Friday, January 1, 2010

Climb up Fjellveien part 2

Went up the mountain again today with the french couple AVEC SNOWSHOES because last time i tried to do it without them sucked a lot. Got some sweet pics at the top again and spent the rest of the day doing basically nothing at the hostel because we were all so tired from the night before. just added a video of the peak of Fjellveien at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/4234227007/

I think ill walk across all the peaks of the mountain sometime this week, it supposed to take 2 hours up, 5 hours across and about 3 hours back. so i'll have to start and end when its dark, but ce la vie

toodles for now

new years

so we had a hot smoked salmon last night with the hostel and it was kinda of a potluck dinner, then i found some 2.4% beer (woot woot) and some chocolate sauce and bread (some of the cheapest stuff in the store) it cost me about 100 NOK and we feasted and drank through the night. fireworks are really good here, there are no government ones, everyone in the city brings their own and sets them off all at once. there was an after party at a norwegians house where we drank all their beer and then found a shopping cart and had some fun. funny that the word fun here sounds very similar to the word faun, which means fuck in norsk. so i really gotta watch using that word around teachers and children. :P
4am we bedtime so 9am came early today

pics at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623106605520/detail/?page=2

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Climbing Vjellveien

So i decided to climb one of the mountains by the city today. it took about an hour to reach the peak that looks over the city where all the tourists go to. then i decided to go farther, i found a trail of snowshoes through the woods going up the mountain and followed. i wish i brought my snowshoes because the snow quickly became about 4ft deep and made trekking very hard. eventually i made it to a good lookout point and took a break. then i noticed the rock pillar marking the summit close by (pic provided) and climbed some more. the summit was infact the second tallest summit and was quite secluded, i dont imagine many people at all go up there other than the random cottage near the real peak that the now shoes led to. i have no idea how they built a cottage up there, with no roads and no easy trekking (lots of climbing) it must have been air dropped piece by piece. anyways i have some pics of where i got to and a good video that would be uploaded to youtube if the internet here was capable. the trek down took about 30 min :P and i wish i had a sled, all the norwegians were climbing to the tourist summit and sledding down a zig zag trail on the mountain that takes about 20 min to complete! so i think when stores open im going to buy a crazy carpet and give her a whirl

I'm off to eat some fresh fisk from the fisk market and maybe if i feel brave enough to afford it, have a drink with a french couple and some other people i have been hanging with in the hostel (avg beer = 12 bucks canadian) ive been living off the beef jerky i brought and mr noodle packs which are 3 for about $2.5 CND

happy new years to anyone reading this :)

pics are at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623107706196/detail/

Meeting some peeps

So the stay in the dorm with 12 beds is going well. meeting some people from all over the world traveling through, i would hang with the more, but their budgeted activities far exceed my own :P Ive met a girl named Stella from Crete in Greece who is a university professor of technology interfaces and music, a girl named Astrid from Indonesia and a couple from england as well a bunch of frenchmen from France.

I went to the shipping docks last night to find some professional fishermen that were fishing for sharks, their rods were 10ft long and had 4500 kg test line on. cool to watch but unfortunately no action while i was there. I went to the fisk market today and bought a hot smoked salmon as a new years celebratory dinner for the folks at the dorm (well the ones i like anyways) and the rest are buying some champagne and such, it should be a good night.
Im off to see my school for the first time, its a little ways out of the city centre but has a crazy view from a cliff overlooking the ocean, so im pumped, but unfortunately it will be empty and im not going to get in :(

pics at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623106605520/detail/

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dec 29th – Bergen 1st day

I woke up around 8, packed camp till quarter to nine and made my way into the city with Norunn’s (exchange coordinator for the Bergen school who is supposed to set me up with my apartment) phone number. I found a payphone and was about to lift the receiver when a bumbling drunk knocked into me. I checked my pockets real quick and then we attempted to make conversation amidst poor knowledge of eachothers languages, heavy accents and drunken slurs. It turned out he was at a party in Denmark last night and woke up somewhere in Bergen this morning. He said it was a good night, and judging by the fresh cuts on his face and twisted bloody nose id say that was either a very large under or over statement. I saw some coins in my hand and forcefully begged for them to make a phone call to the hotel in Denmark where his girlfriend and him were partying last night in hopes that she would still be there. In any case he failed at operating the payphone, threw the leftover change at me and took off bumbling on about something while staggering 5 ft left to right. Finally it was my turn at the phone, I also failed because the number that Norunn gave me is not in service, or at least that’s what I think the phone said.
I made found some breakfast, 2 chocolate bars and a small jug of OJ for 40NOK (about 10 bucks) and realized that I had to use the toalet badly. Because of the hot jerky I knew I had a real noisy one coming so I didn’t use the toalet in Enke’s quite house in fear they may kick me out sooner than expected. i had not used the toalet since I left Detroit 2.5 days ago and there were no public washrooms in sight, so I sucked it up and thought about what to do next. I went to the ritzy hotel and talked to Nina who was still working and asked how to correctly use the phones in Norway, she helped me dial and looked up some info to find that NHH and SIB and the YMCA hostel (the cheap place to stay) were all closed until jan 3rd ( 4 days from now) she was curious where I went last night and had was taken aback when I said I hiked up the mountain to tent. She said it was getting much colder tonight (it was plenty cold enough last night for me) and gave me a list of some more hotels and said if they all fail she’ll find a spare room for me in the hotel. (again tusen takk (thank you very much) mom and dad for the Canada tags) and again, its all in the smile 
I took off and found a hostel that was open, dorm.no, which had one 15x15 room, 12 beds for 220 NOK (about 45 canadian) and dropped my bag off and used a toalet, oh, that was glorious. I toured the city and found a park near campus to walk through, bad choice. A group of 20 people or more all sketchy looking came flying out of the bushes offering weed, estacy, pills, coke asking what kind of drugs I had in my camera bag and were grabbing for it. It would have been bad to run, its their territory and its far out of sight and sound of anyone else. I had to get on their side. I clutched my bag and thanked them all for the offers and said I wasn’t carrying anything right now ( had to make it look like I was a druggie or they might get un-easy) and slowly walked through smiling and wishing them a good day saying id be back later. As I walked farther into the park I watch people weigh out their pills and hash, I watched people tie off their arms and shoot up, saw I guy snort a line off a rock, but I think he got some snow in there because he complained it was cold. I found a cool spot to take a shot of the sunrise 5ft feet from a couple of guys shooting up, carefully blocking view of the camera with my body and then found a cool willow tree for some pics a little father. And that was as much as I felt comfortable with in the drug park with my camera on me. Nice to know its only steps from campus….
The rest of the day was pretty normal, I bought course book on how to speak Norwegian and went to the fish market and saw life crabs and a large ugly fish called a Mok fish. I also saw my first starfish, it was drinking from a beer bottle and I got a few shots of it. I also bought the cheapest softdrink I could find for 20 NOK (6 bucksish) and it was so carbonated my mouth went numb in a few minutes. I also priced out some food at the grocery store. it looked like the only diet I can afford is potatoes, boiled and frozen spinach, water and the fish I catch from the fjord. This made me a little sad. Especially with the way the store smelled. Then I found an asian store that sells 20kg bags of rice for 220 NOK (about 45 bucks) and that made me happy. Well im in the dorm room right now and im mighty tired, jetlag and lack of sleep from partying with the Germans and freezing on a mountain have caught up to me. Looks like tomorrow I start my residence permits with the police (if they are not on holidays) and if this hostel is not open on new years eve I might take Nina up on that offer for a spare room in the fancy hotel or try and talk up Morilyn some more. Good night.

check out some pics at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623103620350/detail/

Dec 28th evening – Bergen (B air – gen)

When I got to Bergen I realized that there was no readily accessible wooded area to setup a tent, the city was quite vast, and where it wasn’t, it was too steep to climb out of the city. I started to look for hotels. To start the search I went to 7-11 and asked for a map, which they did not have, and it turns out there were no gas stations for miles around the downtown area so couldn’t get directions there either. I found a lot of hotels but could not figure out where the front desks were to ask for prices. Funny enough, I my wandering I found where I am supposed to live in a SIB student hostel building. But there was no one there and I didn’t have a key yet, so on I marched. I walked into a burger joint / convenience store and found a pretty girl about my age named Morilyn working. We chatted for a bit about school and she moved from Olso to Bergen for a boy who just dumped her and how she lived in the same neighborhood that I will be living in and then she pointed by towards a hotel with a reasonable rate. I guess my smile wasn’t that good 
I went to the hotel to find they were closed, in fact according to the manager most hotels were closed for the holidays. He pointed me towards one that was open, of course it was the ritziest looking thing around, uhg. I walked in and found another pretty lady behind the desk, a little older than me, named Nina. I asked about prices and they were waaaaay outta my league, 1050 NOK per night (like $250 canadian). I said goodnight and turned to walk away when she stopped me and asked if I was Canadian, she had seen the Canadian flag luggage tags on my pack (thanks mom and dad!) turns out her fiancé is from Canada who she met while he was vacationing in Bergen. We talked for a bit, I made an impression and was on my way to check out a list of hotels she told me to try. After exhausting the list with no luck I decided to try the bus station, but it closed. I tried to go back and chat it up with Morilyn, but the store was closed. So I looked for the closest edge of the city (which happened to be a mountain) and started walking.
I found out that Bergen has very steep streets, which I could hardly climb as they reached angles of 30-40 degrees as I zig zagged though small cozy neighborhoods towards and up onto the mountain (yes the neighborhoods were built on the mountain). After about an hour I was dripping with sweat, smelled like a well used toalet (toilet), and could hardly walk, infact I was crawling on all fours for some of it. I started to regret bringing such a large pack. I finally made it to the forest, I turned around, look a big piss down the mountain like cityscape in pride and then snapped a few shots of the cityscape for my friends and family back home.
My climb was not over yet. I had to get out of sight in case I was on private property. This meant climbing up the mountain in 2ft of snow in rough terrain littered with trees rocks and logs at about a 45 degree angle. Lets be honest there was no walking, no snowshoeing, this was straight up crawling on all fours, at one point I tried to stand up only to fall backward rolling down the mountain under the weight of my pack. Luckily my fall path was all deep snow. I found a deer trail and followed it in hopes the deer would take the easiest and fastest route to cover and I was right. I found the first flat spot I had seen in a while, it was hidden by large trees and just large enough for my little tent.
After the tent was setup I rolled out my ground mats to find that they were 2 ft too short and that some part of my body was going to get wet and cold. I tried sleeping onto of other items but id wake up soon after closing my eyes with everything sliding out from under me from the incline of the mountain. Guess my perfect spot was not so perfect. I didn’t get much sleep at all and kept putting on more clothing throughout the night to stave off the cold. By morning I was wearing 3 layers and it looked like a hurricane had blown everything to one side of my tent, meaning I had a lot of packing to do and this would be 3 nights now with a total of about 5 hours of sleep and it wasn’t really affecting me (jetlag is weird).

checkout some pics at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157622977812437/detail/

thers not many as it was hail and rain and i was too busy to take them :p

Dec 28th – bus to Bergen

Nothing too exciting here, there were two big tunnels that went under Fjords and two ferrys that the bus had to take over its 5 hour drive to Bergen. The tunnels were so deep I had to pop my ears about 20 times on the way down. Each taking about 10-20 min to travel through. The ferrys were very cold and windy making it very hard to take pictures but I still managed to get a few. I made it into Bergen at 9:30pm.

Pictures from the ferrys are at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157623102187494/

just post the link into the address bar at the top of the page

Arrival in Stavanger (Sta – vahn – air) Norway

The plane to Stavanger was short and boring, it was so cloudy outside and the windows so dirty you couldn’t see much. It wasn’t until we were 10 min out that something exciting happened, HAIL. Tons of hail pelting the plane mixed with rough winds made it quite a bumpy ride. On landing I realized why the plane was so dirty, the moment the wheels touched down loads of muddy slush sloshed over the windows of the plane. I knew right then that my plan to walk to Bergen from Odda (well known for its avalanches) was going to suck. Customs was a breeze, it was quite literally hello here is my Canadian passport and poof I was in.
I spent about an hour taking my 3 bags (2 check and one carry on) and packing them into one big bag that I could carry. Once this was done I quickly realized how much I underestimated the weight and bulk of the bag, it was a chore to walk for 10 min let alone 7 days from Odda to Bergen. It was already 1pm their time and the airport was 20km from the city so I decided I would take a bus to Stavanger knowing I would not make it there until at least 10-11pm walking. On the bus I met a Frenchman working for an oil company in Stavanger. He was nice enough but completely un-interested in talking to me. I also met 2 German guys Felix and Timo, about my age travelling to meet a friend who was also German living in Stavanger. We chatted it up for a bit, laughing at how none of us could read or speak a work of Norwegian. When we made it to Stavanger where their friend Enke (ank – uh) met us. I asked her if she knew of any cheap hostels in the area and was met with a bust of laughter. She said id be better off staying the night with them, so that’s what I did (again its all in the smile  )
We spent the night talking about cultural differences between Germany and Canada and found that they enjoy all north American entertainment and almost no German arts. They listen to all out top hits and watch all out movies. I was kinda disappointed, I was hoping for a bit more of a culture shock. This group came from an area in Germany close to the Netherlands, they in-fact do not eat a lot of sausage and do not like to drink to much, but they were really nice and really funny none the less. I found that the houses in Norway are all small and cozy looking and are all made out of horizontal wood siding and painted bright colours making them look like nice old style cottages you would find in ski towns back in Canada. We went for a walk through the neighborhood and were amazed at the views, Enke was close to the water with a view of the mountains, amazing. I convinced them to try some of the spicy beef jerky I brought (they had never seen jerky before and were quite taken aback by it). I have some good pics of their faces after trying the hot texas style ones, all I can say about those is that they were hot and messy going in and even hotter and messier going out (should have listened to your warning mark)
After viewing the terrain and experiencing the everything weather, and I mean everything from sun, rain, hail, hot cold ALL IN ONE DAY and having to walk to Enke’s with the pack (which was ridiculously hard) I decided against the walk from Odda to Bergen and to take a bus direct instead. 4pm the next day and 470 NOK later I was on 5 hour bus to Bergen. I left short half my jerky and 200NOK for dinner for the other 3 in payment for me stay there, but up a few places to stay in Germany when I backpack across Europe. Danke Shune (excuse my spealing) my 3 friends from Germany.


Check out the pics at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157622976683797/detail/

Flight to Amsterdam – morning of Dec 26th Ontario time- morning of Dec 27th Norway time (jetlag sucks)

So the journey started off with a very sad goodbye to my family as I got onto a Robert Q bus direct to the Detroit airport (nothing to do with Louise getting me drunk and making me promise not to walk across Detroit :p ). I met some alright people on the bus, however when we got to the USA border they were both pulling out this I94 document. I don’t have one of those and they quickly became angry with me insisting that I would hold us up at the border and none of us would catch our flights. As it turns out I did not need one and passed through customs faster than they did, so :P
However there was a catch. When I arrived at the airport and collected by baggage from the bus. I found out that the customs officers had decided to go into one of my bags, normally no problem. However these high and mighty officers of the USA decided that they were too good for using drawstrings and had cut my bag open. Ugg, this meant that I could not close it and therefore could not check it with the rest of my baggage on the plane. So with some quick knot tying skills and some greasing up the airport’s check baggage employees I was able to get the bag on the plane. I am lucky people like my smile 
I went to the check in desk by the breezeway for the plane and again did some sweet talking with the guy behind the desk and got him to move me to an earlier flight with a window seat, again its all in the smile . The plane ride was my first in something larger than a sesna, and other than the sweet view from the window and the pretty good FREEEEEEE meals they were serving it was exactly what I was expecting it to be. I have some pics from the window of the plane ride to Amsterdam, but none of the one to Norway because the windows were too dirty to see out of. Could this be a form of foreshadowing….

pics are at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157622976574283/

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Testin Again




making sure the pic thing works

Friday, December 18, 2009

Leaving London

So I'm starting this blogger thingy a little early to make sure I know how to use it and all. I'm also trying to get used to my camera before I take it to the mountains, I have a slideshow of some pics from london below if any followers feel so inclined to take a peek :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonmader/sets/72157622842581510/show/