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We spent the morning out at Hoffman Hills and The trees were in full spring color. I think the spring colors are almost as good as the fall colors.

The apple trees are in full bloom.

There are a pair of Canada Geese nesting on the first pond.

There are a variety of flowers in bloom. The Prairie Smoke are just about to start blooming.

The seeds on the maple trees are very colorful.

There were Painted Turtles everywhere.

Nice pond reflections on a beautiful sunny day.

A Vireo was flying around the second pond.

 

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One of my favorite Scandinavian crime authors is Joe Nesbo. His most popular books are the Harry Hole series. Hole is a troubled detective in Oslo. I would suspect that Nesbo is not the most popular person in the Oslo tourist department because after reading his books you would not want to visit the crime and drug invested city. During the summer there are Joe Nesbo walking tours offered in Oslo. Unfortunately we never got around to taking the tour so we decided that we would make our own tour by walking to some of the places mentionedĀ  in his Harry Hole books. There are many places in Oslo mentioned in the books and these are just a few that are all in walking distance.

It would have probably been a lot easier to take the city tour but we had time on our hands so we wandered through Oslo looking for the locations mentioned. It appeared that several other folks were doing the same thing because we ran into them a number of times and they were also using there phone to navigate.

The Royal Palace is the backdrop for “The Redbreast” where Hole must figure out who smuggled a rare rifle into Norway. Tours are available and well worth the time.

 

Egertorget Square is the backdrop for “The Redeemer. Shots ring out during Christmas when a young Salvation Army officer is shot. During our stay in Oslo we had walked through the square many times but had never made the connection to Harry Hole.

Oslo District Court where Hole frequently visits.

Saint Olav’s Catholic Church is where Harry married Rakel and is mentioned throughout the series.

Our Saviors Cemetery is the backdrop to a number of stories.

Restaurant Schroder is where Harry hangs out. My wife I ate there one evening. It happened to be the same evening that the walking tour was taking place. When members of the tour walked in the locals rolled their eyes. Toward the end of our visit we met up with a high school friend of my wife’s. Turned out her husband had just read the complete Harry Hole series so we took them to Schroder’s for dinner.

The Underwater Pub is another local haunt for Harry. This is where he goes when is not welcome at Schroder’s. It seemed to be closed down when we visited.

5 Sofies Gate is where Harry’s apartment is located. It is not far from Schroders and the Underwater Pub. Apparently at one time Harry Hole was listed on the entry but that wasn’t the case when we visited. They probably had a vacant apartment and thought to have a little fun with the Hole fans.

 

 

 

The morning after returning from our trip to Sweden we took the underground down town and walked over to the Royal Palace. As we entered the grounds from Karl Johans gate there were some beautiful flower displays.

More photos from Norway can be found on my website.

Looks like the guards at the Royal Palace are a little more relaxed than they are in Great Britain.

 

We had toured the Palace earlier on our stay and during that tour we discovered there was a royal costumes display taking place in the royal carriage house. This was our main goal for the visit. It seem that when the Queen travels to different parts of the country the custom is to gift her traditional native costumes. These were placed on display in the horse barn. You can see the names of some of the horses on the back of the stall.

After touring the customs display we walked around the grounds. I was able to get a few bird photos.

 

After taking time out for some fall photography I’m back working on my blog from our seven week trip to Norway and Sweden. In my last post from the trip we had visited Fredrikstad, Norway. We were now on our way from Oslo to Stockholm. Our high speed train left Oslo Station at Noon. High speed is a relative term. In Japan it would probably be considered a slow speed train but it did reach 200km a few times. The trip was relatively uneventful. Our car was supposed to be a quite car but a kid was playing a video game until someone asked him to put his head phones on. Another person was listening to something on their phone.

At one point a group of French kids boarded the train. Apparently they did not have tickets and this was a ticket only train. As it turned out the train wasn’t even going where they wanted to go. Someone had told them to get on this train. The had to get off at the next stop.

More photos from our Stockholm visit can be found on my website.

This is a shot of Stockholm Central Station. We had been in Stockholm the previous summer and found there was so much to do we decided to come back for three days.

After leaving Central station we were a little lost because the roads were all under construction. This is Drottninggatan which is a walking street that the Queen’s Hotel was on.

After checking in to our hotel we headed back down Drottninggatan street looking for Gamla Stan or the Old Town. It was a beautiful evening for a walk with hardly a cloud in the sky.

The Af Chapman Youth Hostel was anchored across the water. We could also see the Grand Hotel and the National Museum.

We walked around Old Town for a while before stopping at St George and the Dragon statue

As we walked back toward our hotel we saw the Opera House along the canal.

It had been a long day and we were looking for something quick to eat. As we were wandering around we noticed a McDonald’s so we decided that would be good enough. When we entered we noticed lots electronic ordering kiosks. We had noticed them in Sweden the year before but had never encountered one in the U.S. We decided to go to the counter and order but were told we couldn’t order at the counter. Not sure why but it was later in the evening and they didn’t seem to have a lot of staff. We went back to the Kiosk and tried to order. We thought their menu seemed a bit limited (turns out we didn’t realize we had to swipe through the screens) but we did manage to order something. We tried to order with a credit card but it wouldn’t accept the credit card because our credit cards required a signature. We had to back track and select pay at the counter. We saw our number come up on the screen above the counter then it disappeared, then it came up again then dissapeared. We waited. That’s my wife in in the lower left of the second photo. Finally I went up to the counter to find out what was going on. Turns out if you want to pay at the counter you have to go up and pay when your number displays on the right side of the screen. Then you have to wait again until it moves to the left side of the screen and then go pick the order up. There seemed to be quite a few others that were confused as well.

When we came back to the states later in the summer we started to see ordering kiosks in quite a few McDonald’s. We have since started to use them so we don’t get left behind as new technology comes out.

A friend of mine is a quilter and has used several of my bird photos as an inspiration for her quilting. She recently displayed the Northern Cardinal Quilt at a local quilt show. I have to say that it is much better than the original photo.

Several years ago she did a Sandhill Crane quilt.

After visiting Isegran we decided to ride the ferry through town. Most of these shots are taken from the ferry as it completed its route. I took a few more shots of the boats on Isegran.

There were various boats tied up all along the ferry route.

We passed a Tesla display on the waterfront. I wanted to stop and take a look but we weren’t sure we had enough time before we had to catch the train back to Oslo. Apparently Tesla has done well in Norway. They have sold a large number of cars in Norway but failed to build a repair infrastructure. Buyers are complaining that it takes three or four months to get a car repaired.

Interesting bridge over the water.

Businesses and residences along the waterfront

When we finished the ferry tour ( we visited every stop on the route) we walked over to the Fredrikstad church before continuing on to the train station.

 

We took a day trip on the ferry from Oslo to Oscarborg Fortress. It was another beautiful sunny day in Norway. The ferry made many stopsĀ  along the way most them on small islands out in the inner Oslo Fjord.

More photos form the Oscarborg Fortress trip can be found on my website.

The Fortress was impressive. It is noted for its defense of Norway when the Germans invaded on 9 April 1940, all of the fortress’ armament was over 40 years old, and of German origin. Both the guns and the torpedo battery worked flawlessly when Oscarsborg encountered one of the German invasion flotillas; they sank the heavy cruiser Blucher and threw back the German naval force heading for Oslo, thus managing to save the Norwegian King and government from being taken prisoner.

I managed a few bird photos. A pair of Eurasian Oystercatchers and a fledgling Gull.

The last photo is he home of the Fortress commander.

On a beautiful but warm day my wife and I decided to take a forest walk in Nordmarka. We started the hike at Sognsvann Lake. Initially the walk was easy along a paved path they a gravel road.

More photos from the hike can be found on my website.

There were large numbers of wildflowers out along the trail. Many of them were the same flowers we have back in Wisconsin.

After a short time the trail moved into the forest where it became much more rugged. The forest trails in Norway provide some of the most difficult I’ve encountered when it comes to rugged terrain. They are littered with rocks and tree roots.

Along the way we encountered some beautiful lakes.

Every place seems to have its graffiti.

We encountered this sign. My wife thought it meant the end in Norwegian. I thought the red T meant there was a metro station at the end of the trail. I was really impressed that every trail seemed to lead to a metro station. As it turned out the red T meant it was a Norwegian Trekking Association trail.

After hiking for quite some time we arrived at Ullevalseter. Fortunately they were open for business so we were able to enjoy some coffee and Norwegian waffles.

Someone had ridden their horse up to the lodge. We would encounter it again later in the hike.

We finally reached Hammeren. What I thought would be a metro station turned out to be a rural bus station with service every hour. We had just missed the bus.

While we were waiting people came by quite regularly, walking, roller skiing, biking and horseback riding. We finally caught the bus down to Nydalen and then a second bus down to the central station.

 

 

We have been gone most of the summer so I haven’t been feeding the hummingbirds. Shortly after returning I put up a couple of feeders. A couple of days later the hummingbirds started showing up. I took the opportunity to take a few photos.

A few of the things I photographed on the farm this week.

Fly

Milkweed Tiger Moth

Red Clover

Sunflower

Thistle

Wild Basil

Wild Champion