Italy (1) 2018

21 Sep 2018 – OSL-FCO-BRI

Sat&Sun: needed this weekend to gather my thoughts before heading to Italy. And also feeling blessed that family+friends are all safe after HurricaneFlorence and TyphoonMangkhut.

Mon: coffee with Ingrid@Åpent Bakeri@Damplassen and a trip to Kolibri to see what they were selling for their dinner of the day. Quite pricey for the apple-chips and the dinner of the day!

Tue: lunched@Bicks before picking #6 from school. The tram to the train station to catch the AirportX. OSL-FCO-OSL S$275

Snoozed on the uneventful 3+hrs flight on NorwegianAir arr into Rome-Flumicino FCO app 2130hrs. On transit in FCO for the evening.

New grounds to explore and not staying in the Hilton, just took a covered-walk there on this rainy night to kill time instead of paying for a bed for the night!

This Italy trip will be on the South-East, the Puglia area around the heel on the map. Starting with Bari, will be driving towards the south towards Lecce.

Wed: checking into RyanAir bright&early was an appetizing&culinary sight with all these foods to salivate after the security-check.

Welcome back to Italy – has been a long time ago since my last visit. Soaking in the delightful coffee bars’ ambiance and the emotional Italian language ie living in the moment and going with the flow!

On schedule 45mins flight from FCO-BRI EUR25 S$40 and again I do not remember when I last was on RyanAir but did remember printing out my boarding pass (tkx to May) to have with me or there will be quite an expensive extra charge NOK600 S$100!!!

Met with the Puddeys who arr 2hrs later from London on British Air.

Picked up our rental car@Avis BRI airport and quite it was quite an experience driving to the heart of the historic district where our B&B BorgoSanNicola was conveniently located next to

the BasilicaDiSanNicholas. 

Poor Ian was not feeling himself after catching some bug during their Alaska trip. PP&I did some exploring around Swabian Castle,

the historic district and watching life goes by…

Walked on the wall by the seafront to the non-historic district and for some reason, these colourful flowers got me to think of the movie The Bridges of Madison County (1995) where Francesca (played by Meryl Streep) said that she was from Bari – I have wondered then where Bari was, now I know.

Tasty seafood spaghetti&risotto dinner@Frisa&Co.

Thu: was lucky to get a parking space just across the road by the sea from where we were staying costing EUR1 perhr and foc after 2030hrs – paid EUR8 total. Driving around the historic district is no fun.

PP&Ian got baptized by the pigeons 🙂 and I am not the only one laughing about it 🙂 🙂

Fruit shopping – small pears and fresh figs were juicy&sweet. To the airport again to pick KK continuing app 60+km south and inland to Matera.

Navigating into historic Matera was a nightmare but we managed to find our way to Al Terrazzini, our accommodations  and again in the heart of this fascinating place. Leaving the car at some garage for our stay 3nights here, phew!

Artsy ambiance – Vicolo Cieco Salsamenteria just around the corner. According to the gang, the take-away sandwiches were nothing to write home about – did not taste any, had left over dinner earlier in the car after the nerve-wrecking drive to look for our B&B. Had a taste to the ham with fresh figs and it was good for me.

Time for relaxing and pre-dinner drinks in the room with a view after short tropical downpour.

Dinner@RistoranteDaNico – had the PappardelleTartufo/paste with truffles and it was yummy. PP’s sausage was one of the best I have tasted, Ian’s beef was excellent, KK’s pasta was OK and all the veggie side-dishes were good.


Fri: TGIF, decent breakfast spread before exploring CittàSotterranea=UndergroundCity,  Matera is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, having been inhabited since the 10th millennium BC. Its historical center Sassi/Stones, is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993.


A walk about the SassoBarisano area with much to see


Casa Noha where an interesting video – The invisible Sassi. An extraordinary journey through the history of Matera conceived by GiovanniCarrada and projected onto the walls, ceilings and floors of the rooms, offers the visitors a complete reconstruction of the history of the city from its origins to the present day. A must watch if you want to learn and understand about Matera.


Short siesta before meeting our excellent guide, Anna-Maria who brought us down the MateraSotterranea: il Palombaro lungo – the Cathedral of Water, a large cistern under the old part of town.


Duomo di Matera, Cattedrale di Santa Maria della Bruna e di Sant’Eustachio – the most important city monument reopened in 2016 after 13yrs of restoration.


Casa Grotta di VIco Solitario – home-cave decorated with original furniture and tools of the time when it was inhabited.


Views from Sasso Caveoso to the caves. Battery in camera when flat, pix form iphone here and below


Dinner@RistoranteFrancesca – PP&KK had mixed grilled, Ian chose the lamp and I had the sausage paste.


Tromsø/Kvaløya 2018

14 Sep 2018 – Coincidence Or Synchronicity??

Mon: landed in TOS on this beautiful blue sky with temps 24.4ºC/76ºF measured at the Meteorological Institute. This is the highest temp ever measured here so late in the year. Tkx to Claire for meeting me@the airport after an uneventful 1hr45mins flight from OSL.

Could not have asked for better weather – this is the 1st time I have seen so little snow on Tromsdalstinden. Sitting in Claire’s living room, totally mesmerized with memories of this similar views from TOS days in the 1960s&70s.

The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go – John Muir

Stein in the meanwhile (since we last met 2yrs ago) has given up his regular 9-5 job and has turned fishman – good for him and for our fresh seafood dinner.

Tue: bus26 to the Fjellheisen hoping to get up to Fløya by the 1000hrs cable-car and walking down. Huffda/alamak it was closed for maintenance and this was not stated when I checked online last night!

Change of plans and decided to find this famous Sherpas’ Steps from the cable-car station to discover that it was quite a walk to get to the first step…

By the time I got to the first step, I knew that it would have been unwise to attempt those 1,000steps up and another 1,000 down again with no water or food (was planning to get some snacks&drinks@Fløya), in addition, having to rush back to make dinner.

The beautiful views from the first step was a good place to give some thoughts for all who lost their life on this day 9/11 17yrs ago.

Also a time for reflecting on all the blessings in life.

A slow walk down and headed back to town following the roads away from Fjellheisen  which will lead to me the church to cross the bridge. As I was soaking the in the views, I heard someone calling my name and looking around to see that there was no one on the roads but me, turned to see where the voice was from! Did not even know that Nils&Guro live here. Tkx for tea, Guro and last time I saw her was at least 10yrs ago! How coincident can this be, not so alamak/huffda afterall!

Down to the church, under&over the bridge and into town.

Yummy fish-soup for lunch@Dragøy with this 90kg Halibut, but just the head was there for display (to later discover that it was Stein’s catch of the day!). Shopping@Vinmonopolet@Nerstranda. Of course sherry is a must for me to cook with, especially now that I do not drink 🙂

A stroll thru’ town as the blue sky appeared.

Great to catch up with Hazel&Richard who are just back from their 6months stay in Ireland. Discovered this local Mack brew Ginger Beer – actually made from apple juice, flavoured with ginger, probably considered a kind of cider (alcohol% 3.75% – 4.75%), liked it.

Made Chinese-steamed fresh fish from Stein’s catch and a fusion shrimp wild-rice dish.

Wed: tkx to Stein for driving me to Pedersens Bakery which was in town many moons ago but now is relocated away from town on Ringveien, north of the island. Ordered 5Napoleonskake for tomorrow lunch as they are Ellen’s favourite and bought Grønn Genser=GreenSweater (light sponge with cream, apricot, vanilla cream&walnuts covered with a thin layer of green marzipan) for today as it is my favourite from this bakery.

Got to see Claire&Stein’s cute boat while in the area. Just can not get enough of the nature here – even a simple natural stone wall to my eyes is amazingly beautiful.

On the way to Kvaløya from the airport and poor Morten had to stop the car as I could not resist taking all these pix  and with him surrounded by Tromsøpalme.

towards the mainland+TOS and the opposite direction towards Ersfjord

Tkx to Laila&Morten for yummy Bokna (half-dried cod, special for N Norway)+fresh produce&potatoes from their own garden@Kvaløya where they have an old charming farm (now converted to present-day living) app 45mins drive from town.

Great to catch up with Magnus&Ellisiv.

Thu: appreciations to Cathrine for delicious smoked-salmon lunch@her lovely home with Ellen, Nils and Sanna. Glad to see Ellen enjoying her food+Napoleonskake.

Tkx to Nils for a delightful evening with Claire for the performance of Richard Tognetti and the NOSO/Nordnorsk Opera og Symfoniorkester@KulturHuset. We really enjoyed the contemporary piece, Vox amoris – Fantasia for violin&strings by Peteris Vasks. And that is unusual, as contemporary music is not my forte!

Fri: TGIF and a good weekend to all. Pix of the town in fog and preparations for the winter with their roads. Hope that the snow this winter will not be above the white-marking on the pole! Tusen takk to everyone who has taken time to catch up with me and to  Claire&Stein for putting me up and putting up with me. Flying off with a very heavy heart but hope to be back again in 2019.

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future Oscar Wilde 

Markedsdag 2018

10 Sep 2018 – Off Again

Sat: #6&B+MooseEgil are off to camp and I am crossing my fingers&toes for the sky to clear for them. Looking much forward to hearing about his adventures tomorrow.

The pouring rains here this early morning was getting me to rethink about going to Markedsdag@Bogstadveien but as it got to a drizzle, decided to go.

More convenient when M&B’s apt was just around the corner by the clock! But that was a couple of years ago!! Was there by 1000hrs and out by 1200n when the sky changed from grey to blue and the crowds turned up. Like walking on this street when it is closed to traffic, but must be careful not to trip on the tram-lines.

Eyeing the security guards, I would imagine that some younger females would not mind being arrested 🙂 Got my usual paella for lunch NOK100 S$16 for a bowl and had to drink gallons of water the rest of the day! Moods of Norway has gone under and Marimekko has relocated. These are the 2stores with quality merchandises I would look for good buys.

Got some decent bargains, the price of this honey has not changed NOK200 S$32 and I still prefer the honey from the berry bees, just hope that the rest of the family has the same taste! All in all spent less than NOK1,000 S$165 this time round.

This is the last weekend for HungryGhostMonth, paid respects@VestreGravlund to Emma (1898-1981) and JohnK Hald#3 (1923-2008) with fond memories of them who have accepted me into the family with open arms when I first met them in the 1960s and have graciously made me feel welcomed for every visit.

This must be the most interesting iron gate I have taken a pix of. The reality is actually just an ordinary lovey iron gate, but somehow both pix taken strangely turned out looking 3D like – optical illusion reminding me that things aren’t always the way they appear.

Sun: presentable presentation, food so-so, service certainly needs improvement here. The quail was on the tough side, #6 can not get enough salmon sushi and May had the tom yum seafood soup total costing NOK466 S$76. No intentions to return to this location. Movies Incredibles 2 to end a tiring day for #6


Mon: off again and this time to Tromsø for the week. 1st time@OSL airportGateC enjoying the sight&novelty of it.

41608602_2065428483488842_587024387576692736_nThe weather forecast for this coming weekend in SE Asia and SE USA do not look like there will be blue skies! But then where MotherNature is concerned, only she can decide what will really happen&when it happens. In the meanwhile, it would be wise for ppl living in these areas to take precautions.

Prevention is better than cure

Computer models indicating a monster TyphoonMangkhut to hit SE China coast area around 16Sep and HurricaneFlorence might be a threat to SC/USA.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less― Rick Warren 

September 2018

7 Sep 2018 – Bday Month For Many

Mon: another train ride bright&early, appreciations to Roar for sending me off@Heimdal station. Another beautiful day with blue sky thru’ Dovre Mts&Gudbransdalen on this 6+hrs train ride back to OSL.

Tue: 4decades have gone by when the land of the Mid-Night Sun, now more known for the Auroras welcomed the birth of my 2nd-born! Happy 40thBday to May – Tromsø/Norway (where she was born), USA (CA,FL&NY) until her late 20s and now back in her birth-country with her partner&their 7yrs old son.

Surprised by neighbours+kids with a special apple cake+champagne bright&early – good of Bjørn to pull thru’ this one, she has voiced that she will be having a crazy day with work and will not be celebrating the actual day. Mexican take-out dinner by request of the Bday girl – Cielito (pix downloaded), good food, but would have been better eating there, especially for the nachos which were on the soggy side when consumed as take-away.


Made a blueberry pie and the only time I do so is when I can pick wild blueberries and when I can get Norwegain Tina unsalted butter and fresh cream, otherwise the taste is not how I like it. Forgot to take pix this time round! The last time I baked one was in 2011 and this one is similar and tasted just as good.

Wed: 7yrs ago, was blessed with my youngest #6 grandchild. Today, am still blessed and he is an adorable 2nd Grader who manages to communicate both in Norwegian&English. Happy 7th Bday Olai, who was so excited that he was awake at the crack of dawn. His latest favourite snack, homemade apple chips and this is a good year for apples. Even I who is not a fan of dried fruits like them.

The magnets of the 50 USA states I have been collecting over the years were well-received, was afraid that he might find them boring. Believe it or not, request for his Bday dinner was salmon sushi from Alex Sushi (pix downloaded). So while I made Bourbon Salmon for the us, he had take-away salmon sushi.

Thu: #6 Bday party and boys will be boys – with 11 of them in a small space, best to be not too near 🙂 Glad that all the paper-wear mailed in Jun have been received in good condition – considering the cost to mail them from the US!!! Fun time was had by all with music from Cubby Chucker’s Limbo&Twist – good job from M&B.


IMG_8044New game received – La cucarache (Spanish), Kakerlakak (Norwegian) – not sure how this Cockroach board game got translated to Bugs In The Kitchen. And guess who is the cutest bug in this Norwegian kitchen 🙂

According to #6, this shuttling Hexbug might be too quick for an older person like me and he might be right – lol

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age ― Sophia Loren


Fri: TGIF and and good weekend to all. Looks like MooseEgil is back for a revisit! It must have enjoyed its time with us so much last year. Started the revisit shopping and having dinner@Storo Storsenter. Tkx to May for dinner@BambusSushiNoodles. That boy sure likes salmon sushi!

People Who Know How To Pose With Sculptures – these are so clever. Tkx to Steve Reno for sharing these on FB. Hope that they have also put a smile 🙂 on your face.

The catch phrase for the day is ‘Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile – Harvey Ball

Norge Rundt/Around Norway

3 Sep 2018 – Around Trondheim TRD

Fri: good morning, TGIF and the last Fri for Aug with this beautiful sunrise from Byåsen.

Started the day on the 1100hrs boat to Munkholmen, a small island of 13acres which lies app 15mins by boat outside Trondheim center. 1st time on this island and could not have asked for a more beautiful day on the fjord and a walking around the island is FOC.

Interesting&rich in history dating back before the 11th century. Was also used as a prison here at one time and it is no wonder that the last prisoner here in the basement died within 2-3months considering the condition! Would have gone crazy for even an hour!!

NOK95 S$15.50pp boat-ride, NOK30 S$5 entrance&tour into the round building. While I took the tour, Anne fell asleep outside in this glorious weather, just made it for 1215hrs boat after frantically looking for her.

Ravnklov – one of the best fishmongers in town by the water.

Fishcakes done in at least 4ways, various smoked and fresh fish.

Short walk into town to share a chicken salad with Anne@Rosenborg Bakery, Olav Tryggvasonsgate which is under a test project with more green and trees, several bicycle racks and seating. And on the pedestrian street, Nordregate where TGIFridays&BurgerKing are located.

Tyholtårnet TyhotTower is a 120m high telecommunications and radio tower. On a clear day like today, you can see most of Torndheim city+the background mts.

On the top floor, restaurant Egon where the floor slowly rotates 360º so you can see the whole of TRD in an hour. Both Anne&I opted for the non-revolving floor below with just a bar and could walk around without feeling too queezy!  It was perfect as we were the only ppl there.

Sat: a drive to another top, Gråkallen and a walk around Baklidamen/Bymarka with a further, but broader view of Gråkallen – like seeing the whole pix instead just a section.

Quite an active life on this well-trodden trail.

With 69stores, City Syd (1987) is one of Norway’s largest shopping malls and is located app 8km S of TRD city center. Trying to find Bday gifts, but food shopping is till my favourite kind of shopping. Ariel pix downloaded.

Hvarsteinkirke, a charming stone church (1857) with a wooden tower added on in 1900. Like most Norwegian churches, here is another eg located with perfect views to the town and sea!


Amund lives in a lovely apartment by this church&cemetery.


Ola&family has a nicely renovated house on the other side of the cemetery.

Sun: another day in paradise picking berries in the woods@Granåsen neighbourhood. Memories of 40yrs ago when May was about to be born and we were picking blueberries together in Tromsø. Roar was then my anesthesiologist who was going to give me an epidural and I was making sure to be around him that week of the due-date 🙂


Blueberry season is kinda over but we still managed to get some. What a wonderful day to be with good old friends in this beautiful world.


Paying respect to Roar’s parents, Anne&Arvid@Tiller Church&Cemetary.


Delicious salmon dinner with Ola&fam minus Sondre who was at a Bday party. It was no wonder that Amund could remember much of his May1993 FL visit. His journal with pix here are impressive considering how old he was then.


Berry-picker I have seen, but this new concept is really quite brilliant. Since the berry picker usually also picks some leaf, this thing here attach to a vacuum-cleaner separates the leaf from the berries! Trust Anne&Roar to have gadgets like this. Appreciations to them for a lovely weekend, for putting me up and putting up with me.

The moon stood still 
On Blueberry Hill
And lingered until 
My dreams came true – Fats Domino

4 Sep – Happy Bdays MayH (40) & Vince (56)

5 Sep – Happy 5th Bday Olai (7)

8 Sep – Happy Alfred

11 Sep – Happy Bdays Steven & MayY

15 Sep – Happy Bday Ting Ting

16 Sep – Happy Bdays Ivy & Edith

20 Sep – Happy Bday AmyR

21 Sep – Happy Bday Greg

23 Sep – Happy Bdays Joyce & Klaus

24 Sep – Happy Bday Yun

25 Sep – HappyBday Kat

30 Sep Happy Bday MabelDaisyLValerie

Going Down Memory Lane

31 Aug 2018 – We Are What We Remember

Mon: downtown to take the free IKEA bus and what are all these new constructions by the OSL OperaHouse?? Above 2pix downloaded. Passengers on the IKEA bus reminds me somewhat of the Greyhound!


Edited: Thu’s newspaper – the Opera has become more invisible. Looks like the new library, Munch Museum will soon be joining here to change the skyline of this area! Will take some time getting use to the new blocks…

Had to pick up some wine glasses for May and for 6glasses@NOK49 S$8, you cannot go wrong. A bite to eat and pineapple plant for house-warming and good luck to Leng hit the spot.

A short walk to do some grocery@MENY (did not exist when I lived in this area in the 70s!) with some time to go down memory lane. Sjøengen kafé (1980s) as it was known then when I used to help Jenny, now Sjøengen Kro AS Billingstad.

The boats and houses here have grown at an overwhelming rate and I have lost count of the times I have crossed the bridge across to Nesøya. It will be a different story now that Ellen has sold the house and moved to Tromsø. Also far-away memories of flying into the airport@Fornebu in the 1960s!

Appreciations to the Lundemos for dinner@their lovely home. Was informed that there are ongoing NATO exercises, thus all these helicopters over the past few days.

Nice view to Oslo Fjord, can barely see the bridge to Nesøya where I lived in the 1970s! Tkx Leng for driving me back downtown.

Tue: morning@DnB/Majortuen to take care of banking matters – the security guard there looked totally bored! Every time I pass by this statue, there are either pigeons or sea-gulls on the head! Wonder if Heyerdahl, an engineer for the foundation of Holmenkollbane would RIP if he knew what was going on top of his head!

Some day I will sit down at this delightful cafe and have a bite of a drink. Have been saying that for years and again saying it today as I had to catch the subway to Kolsås.

App 30mins from Majortuen-Kolsås, another area where I used to live in the 80s!

Tkx to Kirsten for picking me up at the station and for a drive up memory lane – Piggsoppgrenda, 

A wonderful afternoon@Henie Onstad Kunstsenter with Jakob Weidemann – self portrait (1942),  It is simplicity that I wish to attain… but honestly&personally, most of his works do not speak much to me.

Hymn of Life – Yayoi Kusama

Yummy Fishsoup and an applejuice@Piruetten for lunch.

A ride on one of the slowest elevators going down another memory lane to my first visit here 50yrs ago with my father.

Paying respects to the Onstads where the views to the area are quite lovely, including Kolsåstoppen in the far background.

Thu: what is it with public transport stations and me?? Catching this 0806hrs 6+hrs train-ride from OSL – Heimdal to visit with Anne&Roar for the weekend.

Was tired and snoozed most of the way. Had an apple juice NOK50 S$8+a cup of coffee&waffler NOK70 S$11.50 to keep awake so as to enjoy this spectacular view while crossing the DovreMts with Snøhetta 7,500′ 2,286m under the blue sky. Tkx to Roar for meeting me at the station.

Appreciations to Ola for sharing his 3boys – Sondre (9), Elias (8) and Jakob (5) orienteering run. Fun and always in support to see active kids out enjoying the good weather.


Anne, another doting grandmother here 🙂 Good turn out and baked-sales. Brownies were most popular and the first to be sold-out. Bought some slices enough for the boys before they were all gone!

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.

Something About Norway

26 Aug 2018 – Being Top Of The Happy Country List

Fri: woke bright&early to an amazing sunrise with the helicopter above. Could have done with more sleep, but somehow the mind would not go in sync with the body!

Had to get to the post office on a lovely morning’s slow walk to and back from Ullevål Stadion Shopping was well-received to get some fresh air in the asthmatic airways of the lungs and movements to the joints. Nice of Mette to meet me@BakerHansen for my shrimp salad lunch. Could not resist getting more seafood at the grocery since I was here.

Kari Traa for sale at half-price NOK245 S$40@Milslukr’n. There are a few Norwegian branded quality I like, HellyHansen, Brynje, Norrøna. And now, found this shirt that is light-weight, thin and drip-dry to hopefully dry within 5mins. The material seems strong enough for my travels, so let’s see how this goes.

Sunset with the Holmenkollen Ski-Jump in the far background before the sky opened to a short heavy downpour.

Sat: feast on smoked-salmon, mackerel and peel to eat shrimps – appreciations to Ingrid for lunch company. Norwegian shrimps are the best tasting ones as they are usually cooked straight from seawater after they are caught and that is as fresh as you can get them, ended the day with tiny piece of Halibut for dinner. To top the day, tkx to May for pix of #6 catching a large one, can’t wait to hear about it tomorrow.

Sun: some neighbours down the road were having some birthday bash last night, could hear them but was too tired to be bothered. A good night sleep of 10+hrs last night was much needed, do not remember when I had such a long deep sleep! Another beautiful morning in paradise watching the neighbours shed-building development since last summer!

A short walk to the only grocery in the neighbourhood open on Sundays, Kolobri@Damplassen.

Watching ppl enjoying each other gives me a good feeling. Tasted this Coffee&Cocoa Farm IceCream, but still prefer Ben&Jerry’s CoffeeCoffee!

While making food in the kitchen I heard some unhappy cries from the neighbour! spied a sweet little fella having time-out!! on this beautiful Sunday – a Kodak moment 🙂

Enjoy your Sunday, time-in or out – Time & Tide wait for NO one.

To discover that his older sister’s Bday is today and probably a lot is going on indoors – gratulerer med dagen, Nora! Pix taken of the Bday party from the patio.

Besides the fresh seafood from yesterday, the other foods&drinks I enjoy from Norway are various fishcakes, lomper/potato pancake wrapping around a hotdog while lefse is sweet and has layers of butter and sugar wrapped in it. The best apple juice I have tasted is from Norway. Do not usually drink soda, but Solo, I like.

Roast-beef salad supper today while waiting for the family to return from the mountains.


With the family safe&sound home, no need for helicopter 🙂 This amazing moose skull (may it RIP) with a perfect set of antlers was found and brought back to rest in the garden where apples are ready for harvest.

Norway – something in this clean air where the ppl really seem to genuinely enjoy their simple moments in life, cheerful chatters with laughter, etc. Norway is also where I remember both my happiest&saddest memories…