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  A visit to Trondheim
Posted by: FraserG - 11-10-2016, 10:23 PM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (3)

So as some of you may recall I was sent to Trondheim, Norway, in October for a workshop and general research meetings at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. As things worked out, I was able to spend 5 days in Trondheim in total, flying out from Gatwick on the Friday and flying back on the Wednesday. This gave me 3 days of touristy things (well 2 with the weekend) and 2-3 days of work. Not as long as my Indian report from last year but, nevertheless, here is my brief write up of Trondheim (and some photos).

Day 1 - 21st October
Flew out on the 20:05 flight to Trondheim from Gatwick. Left the house at midday and took the train to Gatwick, stopping off for lunch at Reading. Spent a few hours in the airport before boarding and worked on some code. Was lucky enough to be given the seat 1A on check-in, which turned out to have a lot of leg room which was nice. Flight was delayed leaving Gatwick (same as with departing for India... there's a pattern forming...) but we eventually landed in Trondheim at just gone midnight (Norway time) on the 22nd.

Day 2 - 22nd October
Took the bus from the airport to the city centre (approx. 25-30km) in the early hours, arriving at the hotel (P-Hotels Brattøra) about 01:30am. Checked in, unpacked and slept. In the morning breakfast was delivered to the door in a little bag, consisting of a sandwich (Ost & Skinke (ham and cheese)) and a bottle of apple juice. Although it doesn't seem much, it was rather filling and the sandwich was tasty enough. I looked online for what were the things to do in Trondheim and set out for a walk around the city centre, heading south from the hotel.

[Image: Breakfast.jpg]
Breakfast - ham and cheese sandwich with applejuice (even though Google translate says it is orange juice, it tasted like apple juice to me)

I ended up visiting a library that had an event on for a literature festival occurring that weekend and attempted to read a Harry Potter book but it was all in Norwegian so I quickly put it back, before continuing south towards the Cathedral. It was a nice sunny day so the views were very nice. I continued south past the Cathedral towards the university, though I did not venture onto the campus just yet. I detoured round past the athletic centre that was hosting the Northern European Gymnastics Championship that weekend before heading back towards the city centre to find something to eat.

It was here that I realised prices in Norway are quite a bit different to England, with a 500ml bottle of soft drink (Diet Coke or similar) costing around 30-40NOK (Norwegian Krone) - approx. £3-£4, nearly double the price in the UK. So dinner was a half sub from a local Subway type shop before returning to the hotel for the night, having walked a total of 13km.

[Image: Cathedral.jpg]The Cathedral

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A bit of the river

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Slight Cyberman vibe

Day 3 - 23rd October
Having explored the city fairly easily on the Saturday, I opted to head towards the Ikea on the outskirts of Trondheim on the Sunday. It was about 3-4miles from the hotel and the walking route would take me through some of the residential areas, so I viewed this as a chance to see how Norwegians live and how their houses look compared to English ones. I got lost several times en-route to the Ikea which was fine as I wasn't following a map and was happily exploring the east of the city centre. I finally got the Ikea about 2 hours after leaving the hotel only to find it wasn't open on a Sunday! Doh! Should have checked before leaving the hotel, but I might not have seen the different houses if I had not ventured towards the Ikea.

[Image: Homes.jpg]
What looks like apartments set into a hill

On the way back to the hotel, I went a different route and stumbled upon a fort in the middle of a park. The fort was used during the second world war by the occupying German forces with some history notes dotted around the fort. It was free to walk around and though it was a bit windy on top of a hill, it was nice. Walking home took me through a bit of the harbour side of Trondheim which looked like it might be busy with shops during normal opening hours before returning to the hotel having walked 17km. Sunday evening was then spent reading up about the Norwegian invasion during the war and its consequences (as is typical with such things, what started out as a half hour bit of reading turned into several hours of research).

[Image: Fort.jpg]

[Image: Fort2-300x225.jpg]
Monuments of the fort

Day 4 - 24th October
Monday was a rest day of sorts, as there was work to be done and meetings to be had back in England so most of the day was spent in the hotel. However, I did go for a short walk to the west of the city centre and up to the university to find the building I would be in on the Tuesday, so I still walked about 12km.

[Image: Lights-300x225.jpg]
Nighttime lights in the city centre

Day 5 - 25th October
Tuesday was the first day of the workshop at the university, so I spent most of the day up there. I walked to the university in the morning and met with Johan van der Zwart, the researcher who had invited me to Norway. In the morning I gave a presentation of my research to some MSc students before discussing the reason for my visit with Johan, Aneta (a fellow researcher with Johan), and Dominique (from Switzerland).

[Image: Uni-300x225.jpg]
The University main building

Day 6 - 26th October
Wednesday was my final day in Trondheim and it was primarily spent at the university for the final part of the workshop before taking the bus back to the airport and flying back to the UK on the 18:00 flight to Gatwick. The workshop was good and interesting meeting with St. Olav's as well. An uneventful journey home (where I managed to acquire seat 1A in the self check-in for extra leg room again) turned stressful at Gatwick when they took forever to get the bags onto the belt (and when they had, they had managed to break part of it again.....) but luckily the 20:03 train from Gatwick to Reading was delayed by 4 minutes so I was able to catch that train for a return home.

Concluding remarks
Overall Trondheim was a nice place to visit, with some different architecture and views. The weather was nice, it was sunny all of the days I was there and it wasn't too cold (for me anyway). I'd recommend a visit, but if you're going from the UK save up spending money as the price differences between the UK and Norway can catch you out a bit! But overall, an enjoyable visit to Norway, and a wonderful networking opportunity with fellow researchers on the mainland of Europe.

In total, I took 542 photos during my visit, mostly of mundane things that I like to have to look back on in years to come like the street signs, and houses and, in some cases, just the route I took (useful for finding my way back if I get lost!). Some of them (about 66) were uploaded to Facebook and have been used here, but I also promised Kingy some that didn't appear on Facebook. Don't worry, you're not getting the remaining 476. Just a select few that I think are interesting.

[Image: IMG_2258.jpg]
This was a view of a bridge over the river from the path by the river with some large green areas going down most of the river back into the city centre.

[Image: IMG_2531.jpg]
A view of the city from the fort

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A contraption in the fort for dropping a weight on the ground (purpose unknown - anyone know?)

[Image: IMG_2716.jpg]
An example of high prices, these shirts are the sorta quality you could pick up for £7-£15 depending on your retailer, here marked up at 399NOK - approx. £40.

[Image: IMG_2306.jpg]
Part of my walking and finding hidden areas - a couple of basketball hoops have a rest from a hard days work being hoops.

[Image: IMG_2284.jpg]
Finally, a little bit of how they live - garages out front with spacious drive ways and decent sized housing. Close to the city centre and very close to the university.

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  President Trump.
Posted by: Kingy - 11-09-2016, 08:47 AM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (6)

Donald Trump elected 45th President of the USA.

Unbelievable. Didn't realise the Americans hated Hillary THAT much! 

Now this is going to be some ride. The lunatic is in control of the asylum.  Big Grin

[Image: 944fd02cebc0f3dc4b742c2d591e96dd.jpg]

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  New Man Utd line up revealed!
Posted by: FraserG - 11-08-2016, 11:55 AM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (6)

[Image: GqVFfau.png]

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  How f'kin cold this morning!
Posted by: Kingy - 11-02-2016, 08:21 AM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (96)

As some will know I get up a bit early to ride a few miles before work. I keep a close eye on the weather via a couple of apps on my phone which have proved to be quite accurate over several months. 

Last night I rode home and temps were 5 degrees - which was fine for shorts on the bike. I don't wear lycra unless I absolutely/ no possible way round it have to. So, after checking and re-checking my apps agreed that it would be 3 degrees with some frost when I leave the house at 4.30am. I decided that whilst chilly that would be fine for shorts. 

So, I get my gear ready last night. I susbstitute the teeshirt I have been wearing (over a long sleeved base layer) for a thin jacket and get my winter gloves out. 

4.30am I leave the house and both cars are white over as I pass them on the drive. Initially it feels a fair bit colder than I expected, but it usually takes 15 minutes to acclimatise so I put this down to me being a tart and just ride off. 

3 degrees my arse! 

In the latter part of my ride as people were getting ready to leave in cars they were out with engines running scraping ice off car windows. 

My jacket, winter gloves and buff did their job keeping my upper body toasty. Smurf boots made sure my feet were the same - but feck me my legs were cold!  Angry Rolled into work 23 miles later for 6am and checked temps. All the apps had changed their minds and were now arguing between -2 and 0 as a 'high temp' at best. Bastard technology!  Tongue

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  10,000 Posts ...
Posted by: Kingy - 10-25-2016, 05:51 PM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (7)

Since we started. 

Passed the 10,000 post mark today. Thanks everybody. It's been emotional.  Tongue

[Image: 936full-lock-stock-and-two-smoking-barre...enshot.jpg]

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  Berlin Baby ...
Posted by: Kingy - 10-13-2016, 05:14 PM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (12)

OK. Have a lads (& Robinson) weekend jolly coming up in mid November. We are off to Berlin. 

From what I understand we are in a hotel in Friedrichshain, which is supposedly a bit like the Northern Quarter of Manchester. 
Already have some ideas on what we want to do - TV Tower, Berlin Wall and Astro Bar have been mentioned. Would love to get over the Tuefelsberg Field Station (NSA Spy Station) but its a bit too far so unlikley. 

Anyone been to Berlin and have any must do's?

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Posted by: FraserG - 10-11-2016, 04:33 PM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (10)

Anyone ever been to Trondheim, Norway? I've been invited (and have booked flights/accommodation, etc.) to the city to give a presentation and take part in a workshop later this month. I'm flying out on the Friday and have the Saturday/Sunday to look around/be a tourist before the workshop/presentations on the Monday-Wednesday. So has anyone been? If so, anything in particular I should look at doing/going to see? Or avoid?

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  Happy Birthday Martin (Croweman)
Posted by: Kingy - 09-19-2016, 09:47 AM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (3)

Happy Birthday mate. Have a good 'un.  Cool Big Grin

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  Well, I'm alive to tell the tale...
Posted by: FraserG - 09-14-2016, 02:39 PM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (9)

This morning, going to work, nothing out of the ordinary. Bit damp under the trees, nothing unusual or unexpected. Nothing untoward to suggest a different day than one in the office was lined up. Oh how one corner can change all that eh? Going round a right hander, in a 60mph zone but only doing 45-50 round the corner (it's an open enough corner, in the dry I wouldn't even slow down normally but today was damp, so eased off, as I have done every time that road is damp) when the back end slipped from under. 'Oh sh*t' thought I and rolling off the throttle in the hope of regaining it. Which it did, it went upright, but the back kept coming to the right instead. Full skid mode initiated! Throw the handlebars one way, then the other as the back went round the other way, then back again until the bike went "sod this" and spat me off, over the tank and into the oncoming traffic. Bike went towards the trees, I went head first into the traffic as a nice big landrover (you know, the sort of things that don't do a lot of damage if you hit them!) was coming the other way. Thought that was it for me but he saw me coming and swerved out of the way allowing me to skid along past and come to a stop in the middle of the road, face down with the bike near the trees on the left.

Someone called for an ambulance while I got to my feet (not quite as steady as I'd have liked) and got off the road. Then went back to get the bike off the road so not to hold up work traffic! List of injuries is nice and short though. Headache, foot pain, grazed knees. List of 'injuries' to inanimate objects slightly more extensive - helmet, gloves, jacket, trousers - all pretty much buggered. But they did their job - I walked away, got checked up by the ambulance and allowed to wait with the bike for the AA to come and take it home for me without needing to go to hospital. Sat at home now in a fair bit of pain knees/foot wise but able to hobble around and the bruises will heal. Just gotta take a look at the bike now, which I may do tomorrow when I can kneel hopefully.

And yet on the way home I saw three more bikers in shorts and tshirt. Why people do that is beyond me. Dress for the slide, not for the ride as they say - without the right equipment I probably wouldn't be typing this right now as I'd be in the hospital - or worse! Still, good excuse to buy the bigger bike I'm saving up for rather than repairing this one (if it needs much) Tongue

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  To Hull and back ...
Posted by: Kingy - 08-30-2016, 11:55 AM - Forum: General Chat and Banter and Sillyness! Anything goes. - Replies (7)

As many will be aware I like to watch the odd football game.   Wink

With the season started, we got our first away tickets in the official ballot. Now fixed at £30 a ticket (new FA rules to try and make away prices fairer for travelling fans) they are a little like gold dust or hens teeth. We got our first for the away game to Hull. Contacted our local supprters club and booked on their funbus to Hull and back. Only thing was - they were staying overnight (Sat) with it being a late kick off (5.30pm) so it was a lads jolly. Booked a cheap b&b (£20 each which included breakfast!) and we were sorted. 

We quickly established a couple of things. 
Hull is a very run down, grey and grubby place stuck in a timewarp. 
Beer is cheap in Hull. 

We dropped bags into the b&b and wandered into the centre to watch the lunchtime game (Spurs v Liverpool). Found a pub ... £2.15 a pint Big Grin . Made the most of it, as you do ...

[Image: IMG-20160827-WA0000.jpg]

Onto the KC Stadium early as I had been 'chosen' to collect my ticket in person with photo ID. (To try and stop ticket touts). 

[Image: 20160827_164040.jpg]

Hull ... "City of Culture".  Big Grin PMSL. 

[Image: IMG_20160827_172650.jpg]

Players out and a rather tedious match got underway. Tedious as Hull played for a draw from the start and United lacked the means to break them down until substitutions the fans were pleading for ...

[Image: 20160827_172837.jpg]

[Image: 20160827_172842.jpg]

United belatedly (92'nd min) got the winning goal and it all went a bit barmy ...

[Image: IMG_20160827_192108.jpg]

[Image: 20160827_191956.jpg]

After a quick trip back to the b&b we were off out again. First in some very nice bars. Spotted some cool wall art in one. 

[Image: IMG_20160827_230811.jpg]

We then stepped into a different dimension in the early hours of the morning. It was like Glossop about 20 years ago (I kid you not!). 'Mega mixes' blasting out, double whatever spirit you wanted with coke for £2.99 - everyone hammered and knowing exactly which record was coming on next. Very very wierd. Crazy, but very odd!

We rolled back toward the b&b sometime about 2.30am "ish". On the way back we heard a girl shouting behind us - at a guy we assumed was her boyfriend. We looked around, but she seemed ok. Next thing she shouts "Dont hit me in the face. That hurts". So we look around and stand. She walks off. They are some distance away at this point. 

We wander on and a few minutes later this girl runs toward us (no 'boyfriend in sight). She is in skimpy clothes, very attractive and no shoes on. Not crying, no marks on her face at all - infact no marks or indication of any tears. She asks for help so we say - what do you want? She says her 'boyfriend' has her hotel key, so all of her posessions. All she has is her phone. Before we can say anything she taps her phone, puts it to her ear and starts speaking to someone immediately ...

"Hi. I need your help. Can you pick me up? It's £50 for a taxi and I've got no money. Oh, you can't. OK. Thanks". 

When recalling this later we all noted that the girl had not needed to wait (even a few seconds) for someone to 'answer' her call despite it was 2.30 am "ish" in the morning. 
She then asks us if we can help her saying she is scared 'he' will hit her again. 
In all this time the violent boyfriend is nowhere to be seen. 
I say "have you called the Police"? She says - what 999 or 101? I say - "101, it's not an emergency - is it?" 
She then says thanks, she is fine and wanders off quickly in the direction we assume the 'boyfriend' was. 

So, a good win at the footie, some good beers, a great craic and a scantily clad young lady tries to scam us on the way home in the early hours. Quite a day. 

PS. Let me kow if the pics show up ok as I linked them from Dropbox as I'm sick of photobucket being a nightmare to link to before USA wakes up.

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