Dinner Fit For A King

27 Sep 2014 – Grouse by Kari Heggelund


Tue: thank you to Christian’s family for a delicious peel to eat shrimp supper.  Yummy chocolate cake for dessert. Appreciations to Ingrid for picking up and dropping me off.


Thu: train from OSL S to Jessheim took app 40mins costing 90NRK/S$18 round trip for seniors. Kari is just amazing. She has made baby books for all her 3 children and 6 grandchildren. And I have visited her in all the places she has lived.


We have many years of memories together, being my first Norwegian girlfriend who has taught me much of the culture here. Today for the second time in my life, I had the chance to have a grouse dinner and the first was also made by Kari back in the early 1980s, a dinner fit for a king! Pix not too clear, but those who know Kari will recognise this gracious delightful lady whose special friendship is much appreciated.


Bjørn Heggelund (who is now grouse hunting in Finmark/N Norway) during his medical studies in RCSI Dublin/Ireland 1974. Kari with our first-born, one day apart; Linn & Thomas who also graduated from the RCSI some years ago. Tkx for the Dublin pix Kari.


Fri: took Olai to his day-care and what a treat to be with him. Made my day.


The Fall colours are just magnificent here at the National Library. The roses are still blooming beautifully and all confused with this fantastic weather.

Sometimes I need to pinch myself to feel that life is not a dream and that it is real. Fun with family, friends food etc make life quite a happening. Counting every blessing and never taking anyone or anything for granted but just being grateful and thankful to all crossing this life’s journey.



Scenes from OSL: wall painting, invasion of Pink Aliens at Majorstuen! The most fancy 7-11 with a colourful outdoor sitting area! Art work on various buildings around the center of town.

Civilized life has altogether grown too tame, and, if it is to be stable, it must provide a harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting – Bertrand Russell

World Record

22 Sep 2014 – For Continuous Weather Presenting


Thu: was at that area a couple of days ago and wondered what it was all about. Then saw in the local news to discover that Eli Kari Gjengedal has broken the world record for continuous weather presenting. Congratulations to her. In the area again today and decided to take some pix



Thank you Leng for taking the time to catch up after your meeting at the Hotel Continental. With 2 kids and a full job, your schedule is a busy one. Comment from Leng -‘ Amy is a friend from Singapore who lived in Norway in the 70s and 80s, and we managed to get coffee at national theatre in Oslo today 🙂 We met each other when she helped me to make brochures for Fort Canning Park in 2001. 2 kids (mine) and 6 grandchildren (hers) later, we catch up yearly for the last 2 years, after we met again 2 years ago by chance in Oslo’s opera house. How small can this world get?’

And this is what happens when you are meant to stay in contact…


Fri: no day-care today and what an education and lovely day with Olai. One can learn from a 3yrs toddler. Glad to know him better and what a delightful child to be with. He is now bilingual and fun to be with.


Sat: afternoon with Claire. Good of her to take time to meet, especially when she is only here from Tromsø for the weekend to attend her nephew’s confirmation. Her kids Eva/18 and Johan/15, and difficult to imagine that she used to baby-sit L&M when she was 15. The best baby-sitter I have had.


OSL Marathon was on and not being aware of it had arranged to meet at Astrup Fearnley Museet. No problems to detour and to take pix of the race having Linn & family in mind with traumatic memories of their house fire a year ago.




A beautiful afternoon in OSL catching up, visiting the City Hall, (Claire has never been inside), National museum (by Munch self portrait)


Enjoyed a hotdog while chatting and watching life goes by at the National Theatre. With thoughts of all the grandchildren and watching the fascinating soap bubbles float by. Thank you Claire for a lovely afternoon.


Sun: laundry and upload of pix time while the family is out. Meditating over a simple lunch and admiring the fall colours in the backyard. I am truly blessed. Life is good.

Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men – Martha Graham

‘Life Looks Better From Here’

18 Sep 2014 – And Anywhere When The Elements Co-operate 🙂


Tue: followed May to send Olai to his day-care and glad to see that he thrives in that environment. A great way to advertise for property ‘Life looks better from here. Top Floor for sale’


A lovely early walk into the center of town via Vika


Baker Hanson**** for a cuppa + take out lunch for Ellen and I. This fall weather is absolutely gorgeous and the plants are probably getting confused…



Oslo domkirke (built in the 1600s)=Oslo Cathedral, and the surroundings.


The IKEA bus-stop has moved from Fred Olsens gt to Dronningensgt=Queens St by the old post office. The first time at this post office was in 1967 when I was a tourist here with father. A lovely entrance on this street. This FOC IKEA bus is a good way to do some shopping there, and combining with a visit to –


Nesøya, an idyllic island 30mins drive South of OSL where we lived in the mid 1970s. The road leading to the house had only 3 house on the left and an apple orchard on the left. Loking at it now, I am glad for the time spent there then!


Thank goodness for Kolberg’s farm, the old familiar site and a view to the top of Kolsås (the area where we lived in the early 1980s). Delightful and quaint to see an old T-Ford on their private driveway. Good to catch up with Ellen and John jr who is L&M’s half bro and is staying with Ellen now.

Thank you Kris for meeting at IKEA and speedy recovery to her.

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Farts dempere=Speed Bumps

KJØR SKATE BARN LEKER=Drive Slowly. Children Playing!

On the road to success; there’s a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends & red lights called enemies – Unknown

Hello OSL

16 Sep 2014 – Happy Birthday to Ivy

Wed: everything on schedule and sooo good to see the little one again. May made a delicious dinner. Must have been extremely tired, even Olai could not keep my eyes opened and I was out before anyone else.


Thu: getting more to my normal self. A sign of Fall in the backyard. Did not know that I could enjoy the trampoline! Youngest #6 grandchild works wonders on me and got me on it 🙂 It was absolutely blissful to just lie quietly and stared in the clear blue sky, but that of course lasted only for a minute 🙂 🙂

Fri: met with Mette for lunch but was so busy catching up that the camera was forgotten…


Sat: must be rather unfocused as I thought today was when I was supposed to have dinner at the Hustads. There I was at Tåsen 24hrs too early. Thank goodness Ingrid and HansK are such old friends and also very hospitable. Stayed on for a lovely crab dinner and chatted till late. Got back past 2200hrs. It was a another beautiful day and their tenants had their tent up, probably to air it before putting away or maybe using it as the weather is unbelievable.


Sun: OK now I am there on the correct day appreciations to the Hustads for gathering their family and Christian’s family. Good to see OleK & family. Nice to meet Christian’s family and to know that he is now safely home in Norway after 3 months in SIN.


Thank you for the delicious Fårikål=mutton in cabbage which is a traditional Norwegian dish consisting of pieces of mutton with bone, cabbage and whole black pepper cooked for several hours in a casserole is typically prepared in early autumn.

Mon: needed to rest after such a feast over the weekend… 🙂 🙂 🙂

A writer need not devour a whole sheep in order to know what mutton tastes like, but he must at least eat a chop. Unless he gets his facts right, his imagination will lead him into all kinds of nonsense, and the facts he is most likely to get right are the facts of his own experience – Somerset Maugham

Reflections of Iceland



 12 Sep 2014 – Unlike Any Other Place on Earth

An early visit to Ytri-Njarðvíkurkirkja before heading to the airport. I have travelled quite extensively but have not experienced anywhere like Iceland. The nature is so surreally out of this world, and only being there can one feel the splendour of this country. Thank you to Peggy & Ian for good company, missed KK this trip.


Goodbye Iceland and hope to visit again. Appreciations to PP for the write-ups and to both Peggy & Ian for the pix following –

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After an exhausting over 30 hour flight from Perth but Ian and I landed in Reykjavik minus luggage. We nearly missed our flight from Oslo as I had misread the departing time. Reykjavik was quaint and most of the shops closed early. The next day we had a hike around waiting for our cases to arrive. Ian was distinctly unimpressed and wondered why I dragged him round the other side of the globe. During our walk met up with a young man who offered to take photos of us and also recommended some sites to see and restaurants to go to.

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Our overall impression was how polite and well spoken the Iceland’s were. Service was also prompt and cheerfully given. The only exception was the Thrifty car hire crew. Firstly they forgot us then gave us a round of nonsense excuses. All they had to do was apologise for the mess up and not lead us on. We were two and half hours late in our departure as a result.

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Iceland is breathtakingly beautiful and wild. The mountains were rugged and the black lava rocks covered with thick green moss was surreal. We felt we were on another planet. When the clouds were low the mountains took on a mystical appearance as the mist swirled around us as we stood on the edge looking down on a pitch black beach with thundering waves breaking on the shores. Walking up to the glaciers (Jöklagöngur Glaciers) was also very exciting -instead of pristine white snow and ice the volcanic ash gave an interesting pattern to the snow, like shadows. The water in these areas are also coloured a vivid blue/green colour.

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Going down the volcano was also very exciting. The articles I have read did not really describe what actually occurred. The walk 3.5km to base camp was through volcanic plain devoid of vegetation and the path was covered by volcanic rocks. Amy’s shoes were ruined going through this area. The guides walked very briskly so you get very sweaty quickly but your hands are freezing from the wind. Once at base camp you are harnessed and given a safety helmet. The guides keep mentioning going down the spout in a basket. One imagines a wire net basket and that aggravated my fear of heights even more. It was actually a gantry and the floor closed. All I then had to do was stare straight ahead to manage the descent. The inside of the volcano was enormous and the Statue of Liberty reached 2/3of the height of this cavern. The colours were astonishing. Well worth the cost. The guides also told us the whole operation including the base camp was packed away end of every season only to be reset up the following year. They were very ecologically conscious.

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Saw geysers up close and not fenced off. Smoking bubbling hot rivers and hot springs everywhere. It is quite scary to stand on ground that was also sending up plumes of hot steam. One wonders if gushing hot water will follow. Smell of sulphur was quite strong in some areas.

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The quaint little villages and churches were also very picturesque. Saw some tiny houses built into the mounds – perhaps for elves??

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One thing we noted was the lack of trees and wild animal life. We saw one fox and one mice in the mountains. We did see groups of flying geese and swans. There were sheep and horses roaming freely everywhere. Cows were contained in a paddock. We were not bitten by insects so that is a plus.

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The distance between sites occasionally take up to one hour and many areas were off road conditions.

It is very hard to summarise the experiences over the past week. I would undoubtedly think of others in time.

While there is life there is hope. I beg to assert…that as long as a man’s heart beats, as long as a man’s flesh quivers, I do not allow that a being gifted with thought and will can allow himself to despair – Jules Verne/Journey to the Center of the Earth

Iceland Day 8/edited 18 Oct

11 Sep 2014 – Happy Bdays to May Yung-Lam and bro Steven


Tue: Strandakirkja was originally built in the 12th century. The story relates that there is one night when a group of sailors tried to navigate back to Iceland in a storm. The southern coast of Iceland is notorious for its hidden reefs and rough coast. The distressed sailors prayed to God for a safe return and vowed to build a church wherever they landed.


When they ended their prayer an angel, seemingly made of light, appeared before their bow. The angel guided them through the rough surfs and led the crew into a bay for safe landing. The sailors, making good on the promise, built a wooden church at the site. The bay nearby is named Angel’s Bay to commemorate the incident. Many miracles have been attributed to Strandarkirkja and there was a time when it was one of the richest churches in Iceland from the donations of Icelanders coming from all over the country in hopes of having their prayers and wishes realized.

So if I do return here, it means that my wish has been granted…



Seltún, boardwalks meander round a cluster of hot springs. The steaming vents, mud pots and solfataras (volcanic vents) shimmer with rainbow colours from the strange minerals in the earth, and the provocative eggy stench will leave a lasting impression.


Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula situated in the southern part of the peninsula on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The lake’s greatest depth is 97 m. The lack of life gives an amazing deep feeling of inner peace.


After the big earthquake in 2000, the lake began to diminish, and 20% of its surface has since disappeared. The cracks that opened up in the earthquake have since then slowly filled again and by 2008 the lake had regained its previous surface Level


Hópsnes Lighthouse is a spit of lava land between Cove Hraunsvik and Cove Jarngerdarstadavik close to Grindavik. The lighthouse there was built in 1928.


Blue Lagoon is a must to end this astounding and breath-taking trip with the Puddeys.  A dip in these clear blue hot springs, paradise on earth is the best reward and way to relax after all the driving over the week – EUR40 S$65 including a towel rental). Thank you Marisa, manager of the Blue Lagoon Shop for her excellent service. Would certainly like to visit again and take on her hospitality.

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Pix credits to Peggy & Ian for the 3 above pix from the Blue Lagoon. Was to busy enjoying the soak to take pix! This is the 2nd visit at this location and will certainly visit again even if it means to have an overnight stay when travelling from the US to Norway on IcelandAir in the future.


Our last hotel and dinner in Iceland for this time round – Icelandair Hotel Keflavik**** Dinner at Vocal Restaurant****with a delicious serving of Ling Fish at a discount as they had a big group and the service was slower than normal. Not a complain, just a comment. Like that they actually separate the big groups into another room and we had a quiet and peaceful time to wrap up our Iceland tour.

Paradise is open to all kind hearts – Pierre Jean de Beranger

Iceland Day 7

10 Sep 2014 – Landmannalaugar

Mon: thanks to Peggy for this write-up…


‘Woke up to another grey drizzly day. Today is our free day. Ian was determined not to stay indoors. He pored a over the map and decided on an area called Landmannalaugar. Ian and I was talking about the volcano that erupted in 2010 earlier. We were not sure about road condition so I asked at the desk. I mentioned the volcano and they said 4 wheel drive required and that we could rent one.


All through the trip I chatted about the volcano to Amy. Meanwhile Ian was looking for a place to hire 4 wheel drive and apparently saw a place but neither Amy or I heard it.  So we kept going and the roads were really dodgy. Amy kept going bravely. we saw the most fantastic views.



A testament to the views Ian took 200 odd photos of the area.  Breath taking to quote Ian. Took 1.5 hours to go 30 km without stopping to take photos. Well worth the effort. Like the day before the weather cleared on our arrival and stayed clear till we left.



Landmannalaugar is a place in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the highland of Iceland.. It is at the edge of Laugahraun lava field that was formed in an eruption around the year 1477. Lies at the northern end of the Laugarvegur hiking trail and a popular destination for tourists. The Iceland Touring Association operates a mountain hut with sleeping bag accommodations for 75 people and a public toilet with showers.

The colours and views in this area cannot be justified with pix, paintings or words. You need to be there to really feel and see the effects they have on you…


Another night at Hotel Selfoss and dinner at Kaffi Krus. Did not have the time or energy to check around this place but the view from the bedroom window is a reminder of the river and the bridge. Two paintings by some local artists on the hotel walls which caught my eyes.

Iceland Days 5-6

9 Sep 2014 – Golden Circle

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Sat: wet start and instead of the fjord drive, took the toll tunnel and headed to Þingvellir National Park (UNESCO World heritage Site), the first national park in Iceland and was decreed a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged. Parliament or AlÞingi was established at Þingvellir in 930 and remained there until 1798. It is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance.

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Thankfully the rains stop when we reached Geysir. The word geyser comes from Geysir,  the name of an erupting spring at Haukadalur, that name, in turn, comes from the Icelandic verb geysa=to gush, the verb itself from Old Norse.

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Night at Hotel Helka***more inland and into farming area, thus lamb was the dinner choice for us.



Sun: the small peninsula Dyrhólaey (formerly known as Cape Portland by English seamen) is located on the south coast of Iceland not far from the village Vik. It was formerly an island of volcanic origin, which is also known by the Icelandic word eyja meaning island.


Beautiful and interesting geologic formations and black beaches.


The village of Vik


Solheimajokull glacier, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss were wet experiences, but by then it did not matter as it was time to find our hotel in Selfoss



Hotel Sefoss located by the river will be the accommodation for tonight and tomorrow night. Good fish dinner at Kaffi Krus***

To be edited…

Iceland Days 3-4

7 Sep 2014 – Snæfellsnes Peninsular/edited 9 Oct

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Thu: Happy 36th Birthday to May, my 2nd born. There was some mess up with the rental car co and we were picked up 2hrs late. If you are thinking of renting a car here, do not go with Dollar Thrifty Car Rental. After all the paper work, we managed to get out of town by 1115hrs heading NW.

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New fresh strawberries for sale by the honest system, ie the trust that one will leave the payment in the locked box provided.

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Strawberry picnic at Deidartunguhver hot springs. Stunning colours of stones in the hot springs.

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Waters in Hraunfossen and Barnafoss waterfalls sure looks cold compared to the previous hot springs!

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Amazing nature, Gerduberg basalt columns. The only other company we had were 3 sheep staring at us from the cliffs

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Imagine living by your own waterfall with the view of the glacial and lava rock. Even the road leading up to this house has a ‘Private Road’ sign. Someone there must have had too many people using the road to turn around after taking pix!!

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Hotel Hellnar****with views, good food and a patriotic neighbour! Lovely evening with a shy appearance of Aurora. Not cold and clear enough for her full appearance!

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Fri: Happy 3rd Birthday to Olai, youngest grandchild. Lóndrangar are a pair of single sharp and steep cliffs, or volcanic plugs pf basalt, that have been hewn out from softer surrounding rock by erosion. Miles and miles of beautiful moss-covered lava rocks can really create quite an imagination! No wonder the locals think that elves live in them 🙂

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Exploring around the peninsular to see a black pebble beach/Dritvik, to the other extreme of a yellow sand beach/Skardsvik and to Kirkjufell, the mountain where it is most photographed in Iceland. Surprised to see Hurtigruten in this village of Grundarfjörður. With the rains coming down,  mutton soup lunch at the café hit the spot.

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Back to Hellnar Hotel for another night and the smoked trout and mussels were delicious for dinner.

In Iceland, it was believed that a pregnant women who looked that the Lights would give birth to a cross-eyed baby…

Iceland Days 1&2

6 Sep 2014 – Reykjavik/edited 9 Oct

According to legend, Reykjavík/REK, the capital was home to Iceland’s 1st settlers, the Norse Viking who arrived in 874AD. Today almost 3 out of 4 Icelanders live in REK. Iceland’s pop of 325,671 and an area of 103,000 km², making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe.


Tue: from Keflavik Airport/KEF to REK –  app 50km/30mins on the bus with no built-up area.

Hotel Leifur Eiríksson is set in an old respectable house right in the center of REK where we are staying. Across the street from the hotel is the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja, the most famous landmark of REK.
The church is also used as an observation tower. One can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view REK and the surrounding mountains.
REK is the largest city of Iceland with its  latitude at 64°08′ N, makes it the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With an urban area population of around 200,000, it is the home of the vast majority of Iceland’s inhabitants. It is the center of culture and life of the Icelandic people as well as being one of the focal points of tourism in Iceland.
Dinner at Sjávargrillið**** a variety of fresh fish deliciously presented.
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Wed: morning walk to the museum and around town.
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2014-08-21 03.27.162014-08-21 03.20.55App half hour drive from Reykjavík lies the dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano that erupted 4,000yrs ago and the only volcano on earth that can be explored on the inside.
After app 50mins walk to the crater (this is where my shoes gave out on me!), we were lowered 120meters/400′ in a cage into this volcano with all kinds of colours inside.
This tour*****was just one of a kind with professional cheerful well-trained guides and staff who put my shoe together. Highly recommended, even thought it was quite expensive – EUR260=S$425
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Another delicious dinner at Fish Company****
The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth ― Slavoj Žižek