My trip to SMBE in Vienna was not exactly direct. I flew Halifax to Toronto on the Friday evening, Toronto to London on the Saturday and London to Vienna on the Sunday. The things I’ll do to avoid a red-eye flight! There isn’t anything too exciting to report about the trip – it all went pretty smoothly. Well apart from falling between the train and the carriage at the airport when I tried getting up the step onto the train with a heavy bag and without using my (injured) right arm. That didn’t go so great although it all ended OK. I decided to just use my injured arm in future!
The conference itself was OK. As it happened that wasn’t too much relevant to my current work but as you don’t normally know the program until after you’ve booked that’s always a possibility – previous years have had more of relevance to what I’m currently doing. Still there was more of relevance to my previous work and I got quite a bit of interest in my poster so it was by no means a waste of time. I took one afternoon off from the conference to look around Vienna. It’s a very nice city and I can see why it’s so highly thought of. That said a lot of the architecture is from a period of history I’m not that interested in. Old history, more than about six or seven hundred years, yep interested. Modern history the last hundred and fifty years or so, yep interested. The bit in between not so much for some reason. Still had a nice time looking around – including going up a couple of towers in the cathedral. One had a lift (elevator). The other involved lots of circular stairs that got you rather dizzy! Was worth it for the view. Photos of Vienna are here.
The only other thing of note to report of the conference was the conference dinner. The dinner itself was OK but nothing special but I somehow ended up in a gay bar in the early hours of a morning. We were a large group so no one bothered us and it was all quite sociable. The three older ones amongst us – by which I mean those of us in our thirties – left at about 3am and left the youngsters to it! The train journey to the airport the next day wasn’t so much fun but I was OK by the time of the flight. I was glad I didn’t have an earlier flight!
Next I headed to Norway to catch up with Jen. The original plan had been to go climbing but my elbow ruled that out so we mostly went hiking and sight seeing. I arrived the Friday evening and we sat around chatting for a bit before heading to bed. In the daylight. Not a surprise as we were north of the Arctic circle in summer but still a little odd! Next day Jen and Rich the main event was a walk up Straumsaksla. The Norwegians sure like building their paths straight up the hillside! It wasn’t the greatest height gain but the very steep path made it feel quite hard – to me at least. Still the views were worth it. The next day the weather interfered with our plans a bit so it turned into mostly a driving tour. It was still very pretty though – see lots of photos. There was also a camp Polar Bear which was amusing.
The Monday saw us heading to Senja – an island south of Tromso. We only just got on our intended ferry which thankfully mean we didn’t have to wait the two hours or so for the next one. Once on Senja the weather didn’t exactly play ball and most of the upper half of the fjords were in clouds. Still there were plenty of hints about how attractive it could be. There was also the Senja troll – a tacky tourist attraction we didn’t pay to actually go and visit properly. Towards the end of the day we went for a short hike and wild camping being a big thing in Norway we decided to just camp on the beach at the start of the hike – so not really wild but you know what I mean. Photos from the day are here.
The weather the next day was not so great for the first part of the day so there was some ore driving and sight seeing before we walked in to see a waterfall, which the low clouds didn’t really affect. The weather started to clear up later in the day and we did a hike to an absolutely gorgeous alpine lake. I was rather pleased I chose that hike out of the two that Jen suggested. Of course I have no idea what the other one was like but I have no regrets about doing this one! It also included some rather nice views of the surrounding mountains. We then spent another night wild cmaping – again rather near the road. Photos from the day are here.
Wednesday was to be our last day on Senja and the weather was finally nice pretty much all day. We only did one short hike that day but it was still a wonderful day. Beautiful fjords – now visible in all their glory, idyllic beach and cool sights – including fish drying all made for a brilliant day. It so very nearly all went wrong when we went to get the ferry back as we were the penultimate car to get on the ferry and others missed it. But it didn’t go wrong so instead we had a nice end to our trip to Senja. Yes, the weather could have been better but it was still wonderful. Photos from the day are here.
Thursday was the day I was to fly on to England but first we took a cable car to the top of a hill overlooking Tromso. The views were pretty spectacular. On the way to the airport we dropped Jen off at her work where I was able to see a rather less camp Polar Bear and then my Norway adventure was over and I was on my way to England. Not that I’d spend many of the next few days actually in England but that’s for the next post. The final photos from Norway are here.