Winter Wonderland

31 Oct 2008 – Last day of Oct

The first snow fell on Wed making it looked like winter wonderland. Visited Linn & May’s paternal grandmother, Ellen Hald on Nesøya, where I lived in 1974. Yesterday’s rain washed away the wonderland downtown. Ingrid drove us to Trick or Treat for more snow at Grefsenkollen up in the hills. Hot chocolate with a spectacular view of Oslo in the background was the perfect way to take leave after experiencing summer, autumn and winter during my 5 months stay.

Doing my rounds of farewell before Clement Lam’s (nephew from SIN) visit and before flying off to SIN next week.

To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away;
A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace –

Ecclesiastes 3. 1-8


27 Oct 2008 – National Costumes

A bunad is a traditional Norwegian costume, typically of rural origin. Bunad are local to Norway’s traditional districts, and the result both of traditional evolution and organized efforts to discover and modernize traditional designs. The designs are typically elaborate, with embroidery, scarves, shawls and hand-made silver or gold jewellery. There are bunad for men, women, wedding couples and children. Many districts have their own unique designs. Pictures: Øst-Telemark Raudtrøye.

The bunad came into existence about 100 years ago when a wave of national romanticism swept across the country. Their design is based on regional folk costumes that were on the verge of disappearing. Suddenly, people wanted to preserve everything that was traditional including the old folk costumes. In recent years, interest in bunad and folk costumes has steadily increased. This is especially apparent on 17 May (Norway’s National Day), when there is an incredible show of gorgeous costumes from across the country.

With those layers of clothes, it is no wonder that the population of Norway (area 323,802 sq km) is the same as in Singapore (area 692.7 sq km), app 4.6 million!

It is long accepted by the missionaries that morality is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing people wore – Alex Carey


23 Oct 2008 – Museums

Guiding Mike (my trail angel from the AT hike) towards some sites and museums will get him museum-ed! out when he departs Norway. Bærum & Vigeland Park (pictures in older posts), museums in the center of Oslo and Bydgø which are not in older postings are as follows:

Nasjonalgalleriet/National Gallery- Nordic & International art from 19th century to present

History Museum- Norwegian antiquities from the Stone age onwards

Frammuseet-  the famous polar exploration ship FRAM

Kon-Tiki Museet- Thor Heyerdahl’s papyrus boat Ra II and the raft Kon-tiki are preserved by this museum

Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum/The Norwegian Maritime Museum

Norsk Folkemuseum/The Norwegian Folk Museum- One of Europe’s largest open-air museums

Vikingskipshuset/The Viking Ship Museum’s- three burial ships, the best-preserved Viking ships in existence (pictures in Viking Age, 1 Jul post).

That which, perhaps hears more nonsense than anything in the world, is a picture in a museum – Edmond de Goncourt 


Oct 2008 – Sandvika

Kolsås and Sandvika are located in Bærum (population 160,000), Norway’s wealthiest municipality. Sandvika is Bærum’s main drag where the town hall, designed by Magnus Poulsson in 1926 (Linn & May’s great-grandfather) and at present under renovation. My new Iraqi tenant is the owner of Sandvika Pizza & Grill (tasty fast food) across the road from the town hall.

Sandvika has many small and pleasant places. Pictures: Bærum Rådhus (town hall), Sandvika Kirke (church), Bærum Arts Association (idyllic row of white houses by the lake), Engervannet (lake), Løkkeparkken (charming houses with metal sculptures). It is app 7km (walking/cycle path) from Kolsås to Sandvika. The last 2 pictures are of the former Franzefoss kalkmølle (a mill), now a cultural station, on the walking path from the house to Sandvika.

In terms of fast food and deep understanding of the culture of fast food, I’m your man – Bill Gates

Bærums Verk


14 Oct 2008 – Bærums Iron Works


Bærums Iron Works was established in 1610, Norway’s first blast furnace for iron smelting. 100 years later, the iron works has become the country’s largest industrial company until it closed in 1961. Bærums Verkhus is Norway’s oldest existing inn, from 1640.


Today, many of the old buildings have been preserved and renovated. The main walking street, Verksgata is quaint and charming with museum, restaurants, sculptures, statues, trendy shops and workshops. The best part of it is that it is only app 10mins walk from Piggsoppgrenda thru’ a serene wooded path.


Soaked every minute of the enchanting environment. Lunched by the river across a naked blond bronze statue. Decided I needed to walk after being cooped up with the painting for a month. Headed to Sandvika app 7km there and another 7km home. After all day on foot, the reclined body welcomed an inviting mattress on the floor. The cool crisp air and the fall colours made my day. Hope that the weather will be just like that for Mike Freed (LOON, my guardian angel from the AT) when he visits.

Everything has its limit; iron ore cannot be educated into gold – Mark Twain

Nobels Peace Prize

11 Oct 2008 – Nobels fredpris & dugnad

Finland’s ex President Martti Ahtisaari is the recipient of the 2008 Nobels Peace Prize. The ceremony will take place in Dec at the Nobel Peace Center. The Peace Prize used to be awarded at the old University from 1947-1990, later the Oslo City Hall and now the Nobel Peace Center which used to be a railway station when I visited in 1967.

Alfred Nobel’s will has 5 prize awards category, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine.  He was a Swedish trained chemical engineer, died in 1896 who invented dynamite and ballistic. His will also stated that the Peace Prize should be awarded annually in Oslo by the Norwegian Parliament.

There was a neighbourhood dugnad=voluntary community work (twice yearly, spring & fall). After 23 years of absence, I had to do my part and it was fun meeting up with some of the neighbours again. Pictures of Mette Olsen, directing the clean-up and of Sturla Olsen  chopping the trees for a better view from my terrace. Thank you to the Olsens for all their help and work. This exact day 39 years ago, naively and innocently I signed my name into my first matrimony in Dublin 1969!

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha 

Henie Onstad

Oct 2008 – Henie-Onstad Art Centre & Veritas Park

Mette Olsen, a friend and neighbour from Piggsoppgrenda & I took a stroll around the grounds of Høvikodden and Veritas pakken and decided to lunch at the Henie-Onstad Museum to celebrate life.

Sonja Henie (1912-1969)  was a Norwegian figure skater and actress. She is a 3times Olympic Champion, a 10times World Champion and a 6times European Champion. Henie won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies figure skater. At the height of her acting career she was one of the highest paid movie stars in Hollywood.  

The Henie-Onstad Art Centre is a museum located at Høvikodden in the municipality of Bærum, Norway. The centre houses the largest collection for modern art in Norway and a lively cultural activity center, was found by Sonja Henie and her husband, Niels Onstad in 1968. My father was a fan of hers and we visited this museum in 1967 (before the official opening)  when we were Norway. Both Henie and Onstad are buried on top of the mount behind the statue.

Jewelry takes people’s mind off your wrinkles – Sonja Henie  

147m2 House For Rent

7 Oct 2008 – Ready to rent

Happy Bday to my brother Dr Leslie Lam. Are you in Australia, Singapore or the US? See you next month.

House in Norway, located in a friendly & safe neighbourhood with a panorama view for rent.

Pix top row from left: 1st floor – Kitchen/dining 16.6m2, living room 27m2 with terrace 23.8m2 and view, staircase, 2nd floor TVroom 14.6m2.

Pix bottom row from left: Bed1Rm with view 10.3m2, Bed2Rm 10.8m2, Bed3Rm 6.5m2, bathroom/laundry 5.8m2, layout of 147m2, layout

I am a good housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep the house –                Zsa Zsa Gabor

Hadeland Glassverk

3 Oct 2008 – Jevnaker

Hadeland Glassworks in Jevnaker is situated in idyllic surroundings on the banks of Lake Randsfjorden (app over an hour’s drive from Oslo). Here you can experience Norwegian traditions, history and culture and see the latest trends and designs in glass.

The glassworks is the oldest (since 1762) industrial company in Norway that can claim continuous operation since its foundation. With its 190 employees, the glassworks today not only represent a large and thriving industry and boasts a significant historical and cultural heritage, whilst at the same time focusing on continuous development and new design and is thereby one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions.

Kari Heggelund, my first Norwegian girlfriend from Dublin days drove us to Hadeland Glassverk for the fall sales on a beautiful autumn Mon (the first snow fell yesterday, Thu in certain parts of Norway). If only I was living here, I would have spent a fortune at the sales but fortunately for my bank account, I could not afford to ship these amazing designs to Singapore and do not have to buy winter clothes! Thank you Kari for a most delicate guardian angel and for a wonderful day.

Friendship is like glass ornament, once it is broken it can rarely be put back together exactly the same way –