Thursday, May 29, 2008

Naked Sigur Rós


As Dagbladet helpfully mentions today, Sigur Rós is out with their first video from their new album. The album is supposedly to be called "Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust", and the first track is "Gobbledigook".

The video, which can be downloaded from Sigur Rós' website, includes lots of people running in the forest in the nude, dancing, playing around naked. And the song is quite catchy, although the drums adds an ominous quality to the happy pictures.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hotel Viktoria, Vienna


IMG_0811
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
When we got back from Bratislava, there was only one more night before my boyfriend would leave. We stayed at Hotel Viktoria. It felt like a good idea at the time - the hotel was almost the only one I could find with available rooms, and it was situated right next to the Schloss Schönbrunn, which made a walk in the park an option.

The woman in charge was, however, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When we arrived, she was all smiles. In the morning, however, when we planned to have a little walk before checking out, she insisted that we pay and leave immediately - because there were guests who needed the room. (This was half past nine or something - an unreasonably early time.) Then, just moments afterwards, she told us that we would be welcome to stay one more night if we wanted to - we could even have the same room. (So suddenly the "guests" had evaporated.)

The room was okay - the only real problem was perhaps the bathroom, which was a bit too small. You can probably see in the photo that the towel rack was actually partly above the wc...

All in all: try to make sure to order a hotel in Vienna early - then you won't have to stay at this, rather expensive and strange, hotel.

Dima Bilan won

Norway's Maria Haukås Storeng got 5th place in today's Eurovision Song Contest. Not bad. (Although, after hearing it far more times than any other participant, I hoped it would win.) Russia's Dima Bilan won, after getting second place two years ago.

A quick google search suggests that Dima Bilan likes to model as well:








Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm number 8!

Surprisingly, I've noticed that this blog is mentioned in the Criteo Top 500 - January 2008 - listing the 500 blogs using Autoroll that get the most traffic. This blog is number 8!

City Hostel, Bratislava


IMG_0621
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
While we had originally planned to stay for a week in Vienna, we eventually decided to make a short trip to Bratislava. We went there by boat (which was nice) and back by train two days later (which was even nicer, actually).

We stayed in City Hostel, right in the centre of Bratislava, which was inexpensive and nice. The room was simple - a bed, a bathroom, a table and a couple of chairs, but after all, that was all we needed. (Actually, in Norway it would have been called a hotel, not a hostel.)

The centre of Bratislava was very nice and friendly. Not as pompous as the Vienna centre, but still with lots of nice buildings - and with more value for money. We even explored the Bratislava gay scene, which was quiet. But after all, it was a Wednesday night, which is quiet in all but the most energetic of cities...

Euro 2008

There's less than two weeks to go before the Euro 2008 kicks off. There's lots of good football to look forward to.

Here are the predicted strength of the teams (according to the current odds from Centrebet):

1. Germany

(Michael Ballack)

2. Spain

(Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres)

3. Portugal


(Christiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes)

4. Italy

5. France

(Florent Malouda)

6. Croatia

7. Netherlands

8. Czech Republic

(Milan Baros)

9. Russia

10. Greece

11. Switzerland

(David Degen)

12. Sweden

(Markus Rosenberg)

13. Poland

14. Romania

15. Turkey

16. Austria

Friday, May 23, 2008

Nude russ protest against China olympics

According to Aftenbladet, a few russ (Norwegian 18-yearolds celebrating the end of "videregående skole"), ran naked across a city bridge (Bybrua) in Stavanger - protesting against human rights abuses in China.

Actually, the russ tend to run around in the nude every year - but making it a protest against human rights abuses is an even better idea...



Håkon Dirdal, Sigurd Bjørheim Haga, Stian Sunde, Nickolas Tomasgaard, Christian Pedersen, Bo Borstad, Sverre Vangen and Thomas Haugvaldstad.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oslo still great...

I keep using this blog (from time to time) to persuade people that Oslo is great. Today, I will photo-quote Aften, who shows how life was like at the beach Huk yesterday:



Granted, the story tells us that the temperature will fall this week, but still we've had a wonderful May so far - and even people like me, who prefers the water to be above 20C, should start preparing for the season at the beach...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Spencer Tunick

Spencer Tunick is a very popular artist among Norwegian newspapers - few artists get as much coverage as he does - so why should my blog be any different? VG has a video, as does Dagbladet - marking the event that about 1800 Austrians were naked in Vienna yesterday.

At the same time, VG writes about Norwegian soldiers in the north of Norway - demonstrating against having to endure the cold weather while the south of Norway is having a taste of summer...



... while also showing photos of people enjoying sun and snow in Brokke (in Setesdal)...


Inge Runar Bygland


Mari Eikeland, Åse Marie Hovet, Hege Silje Jansen, Jørund Saaghus, Cecilie Berg and Inge Runar Bygland.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pension Stadthalle


IMG_0378
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
The second place we stayed in Vienna was the Pension Stadthalle. This is part of Hotel Stadthalle, only a bit cheaper and across the street (and a few blocks away).

The room was totally okay - with a very strange bathroom. The photo here is me in the shower, leaning on the wall, making a quite creepy effect... The smell, however, was terrible. The room seemed to be recently painted, and to avoid serious damage to our health, we preferred to keep the windows open at all times. Which means that I remember this room as a bit too cold...

The hotel seemed nice, though. Well worth a look.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movie: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone



I've spent lots and lots of hours reading the Harry Potter books, and have made all the necessary pictures in my mind. That's also why I've waited so long to see the movies - I wanted to read all seven books before getting my pictures messed up with these other pictures. And now that I've finally seen the movie, I can safely say that my pictures were better...

Okay, this is a well done movie. The filmmakers have recreated the magic quite convincingly. However, all the excitement is gone, of course - that's often the problem with making movies based on well-known stories. And Alan Rickman was really terrible as Professor Severus Snape - in my opinion...



Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
Directed by Chris Columbus

Main actors:
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger

Movie: Juno



A balanced view of the difficult decision of putting your child up for adoption.

It's always nice to see a movie in which all the characters are believeable, with their own, rational reasons to behave the way they do. The actors are - mostly - doing a good job to.

And very funny at times as well.



Seen in the English Cinema in Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna - in the original language...

Juno (2007)
Directed by Jason Reitman

Main actors:
Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff
Michael Cera as Paulie Bleekergton

Homophobia

A friend let me know about this video: Chumbawamba's Homophobia. It's cool. (Thanks, Jon Julius.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Apartment in Vienna


IMG_0219
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
In a nine nights in Vienna and Bratislava, I stayed in five different places - enough to give a tiny mini-guide of places to stay... :-)

The first one was REALLY nice. It was at Bella Vienna. Our particular apartment had a huge bedroom/living room with a tv. Next to this was the kitchen (see photo), with microwave oven, dishwasher, refridgerator etc. The bathroom was also very nice. For an additional 12 Euros each, we also got an okay breakfast delivered to the room.

The apartment was right next to Mariahilfer Strasse, a major shopping street in Vienna (which also has a great cinema with movies screened in English - most other cinemas show them with German voice-over, which is a problem for me...)

The price? A bit over 150 Euros per night. It happened not to be available for more than two nights, so the price was not really a problem - and a great way to start the stay in Vienna. Recommended!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A rose


IMG_0147
Originally uploaded by BjørnS.
One of the first photos I took with my new camera (a Canon PowerShot G9) was this rose - which was a gift from my boyfriend... Ain't it a sweet rose? :-)

The mystery Josef Fritzl (and a Norwegian lawyer's comments)

As everybody else, I've been amazed by the "Fritzl case" - the (now obviously) evil man who imprisoned his daughter for 24 and had her carry seven of his children - only three of which were ever allowed to breathe fresh air.

The story has of course dominated the Austrian media for most of the week I've spent there, and now that I'm back in Norway I can read the Norwegian take on it. Lawyer Tor Erling Staff, who loves to provoke, has commented on this case: "This seems to be an alright, little, low-roofed apartment, with lots of consideration for cozyness", he says about the prison the daughter was kept in for 24 years. "He actually saved three of his own children from the basement. That is a sign of compassion", he says.

What a crazy world view! It's like defending a murderer by pointing out all the people the murderer has not murdered... After this, Staff will no longer be taken seriously - even by those of us who has kept listening (a little) to him after previous provocations...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tutanchamun

I haven't been blogging for a few days, because I've been travelling. To give a hint of my destination: today, I've been to the Tutanchamun exhibition (Tutanchamun and the World of the Pharaohs. This has been travelling a bit, and I caught it at its current installment at The Museum of Ethnology in Vienna.

The audio guide was not great and most of the text in the exhibition was in German, but that didn't destroy the experience. For me, the main point of this exhibition was the WOW factor of facing statues more than 3300 years old - and especially the artifacts connected with Tutanchamun himself. The exhibition included several things from his tomb, including a bed that he might have slept in, as well as a tiny, gold cage that at one time contained his stomach - after his death, that is...

And to make matters even better, I bought the exhibition catalogue, which will certainly give me all the background information that I felt I missed out on. (A CD with the audio guide was also included - which will give me the opportunity to listen to the Egyptian expert say over and over again what he felt the first time he saw this and that...