Wheeling Kistefos – The Twist

Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights, yeah
A different city every night
Oh, I, I swear the world better prepare
For when I’m a billionaire

 

Bruno Mars
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What would the world do without art loving billionaires? Perhaps we would survive just fine. But the universe would be a more boring place without guys like Petter Stordalen, Christian Ringnes, Bill Gates and Christen Sveaas. That’s for sure…
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The Twist

Spanning the winding Randselva river, The Twist is a unique new building which connects two forested riverbanks at Kistefos — Northern Europe’s largest sculpture park. part museum, part bridge, and part sculpture, ‘The Twist’ has been designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and represents the companies’s first project in Norway.
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Dramatically torqued at its center, the structure not only allows visitors to cross from one riverbank to the other, but is also capable of hosting an international program of contemporary art exhibitions.
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Personally I had read about the opening of the Twist some months ago. Newspapers said that it was one of the most beautiful and striking buildings constructed worldwide in 2019. And it’s situated in the middle of nowhere (sorry Jevnaker…but it is) in Norway ca 1,5 hour drive from Oslo in the direction of Hønefoss. For some years the park had consisted of a sculpture park owned by billionaire and art lover Christen Sveaas, not that different from Christian Ringnes and his sculptures in Ekebergparken in Oslo. But now the Twist had included an interesting architectural attraction.
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After seeing photos from the park in the news, I had been curious to visit for a very long time. And when I read about the newly opened Twist, I decided that we had to make a Sunday excursion.
The weather was perfect for a daytrip in October. The sun was shining and autumn colours were still creating beautful surroundings in the park. We were not the only ones who thought that a Sunday trip to Kistefos would be a good idea though. A long line of cars met us after we left the main road. Fortunately the parking guards were in a good mood and had practical sense. They found a place for us even if even the disabled friendly parking at the main entrance were taken.
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Because my car was in a bad mood, we had decided to drive with André’s small Golf, which meant that we both had manual wheelchairs. We were curious to see if this was a smart or stupid decision, depending on how hilly it was and the surface of the park.
It probably turned out to be a good idea, although I’m in doubt of what kind of advice I should give others. The park was much more hilly than I expected and some of the hills were unusually steep. In addition the sculptures are spread out over quite a big area.
The biggest challenge however was the surface which was a combination of sand and deep loose gravel/sand, something which would have created big problems for the power chair, especially in the steepest surroundings.
We had brought our assistant, and without her we would probably still be stuck in a pile of gravel – whether we had a manual wheelchair or a powerchair. Thank goodness for independent living and BPA assistance!
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Except for the difficult surface, the park was pretty accessible. It had disabled friendly parking at two different entrances, accessible entrance to most of the buildings from what we could see, level entrance to the Twist and a newly built disabled friendly toilets (with a door opener) close to the café area. The only thing that was difficult was to buy a coffee, because the coffee was served from a food truck.
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All the paths were doable (no steps), although the hill from the park down to the river and the Twist was very very steep. An alternative would be to turn back and go back through the whole park and enter the Twist from the other side. But then you would miss the river and some of the most stunning sculptures.
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Yayoi Kusama

Because this is what Kistefos is all about. The sculptures are huge and specially designed to fit into the natural surroundings at Kistefos. It’s all very cool and impressive. If you have been to the Ekeberg park and liked it, you will definitetly love Kistefos.
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So my verdict over Kistefos is: If you have a strong assistant or a powerchair that can handle gravel – then give it a try!

You don’t have to be an art lover in particular. Kistefos fits for everyone in all ages – whether you are a fan of art, architecture or beautiful nature. Or if you just need something to do on a sunny Sunday…

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Wheeling Dublin – The Hotel

When will I, will I be famous?
I can’t answer, I can’t answer that (What’s the point of asking when?)
When will I see my picture in the paper?
I can’t answer, I can’t answer that
Bros
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The five days in Dublin, Ireland in August was our only real holiday trip during summer 2019, if you disregard some conference trips to Riga, Salzburg and family visit to Switzerland. So I wanted it to be nice, comfortable, enjoyable and relaxing.
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When I was Googling around for a nice and accessible hotel, my eyes landed on The Marker Hotel, because it came up with very good reviews. And similar to what has happened in other cities, I fell in love at first sight.
The photos were all super nice and it was new, wheelchair accessible and stylish in a not too bad neighborhood. But it was also expensive. So I kept googling. I searched and searched and searched, but there was always something missing. Either the location was in the middle of a cobble stone street, the entrance was not accessible, the furniture looked old or it was equally expensive as the Marker. So after checking out something which was probably between 40-80 other hotels I caved in and booked five days of luxury at the Marker Hotel in Dublin.
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Our plan was to try the pool on a rainy day – but we had only had 5 days of sunshine!

Our taxi driver was clearly impressed. “Oh, you are staying at the Marker? Now that’s a posh place!”. The rest of the trip he gave us a detailed lecture about his favourite soccer team. Or was it another sport? I don’t really remember…
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And the Marker is a bit posh, I guess. They have a door man with a top hat and when we checked in, we were a bit starstruck. Because before us in line was Little Steven and his whole crew, impatiently waiting for their rooms.
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I did not feel inferior though, because the receptionist came over the minute he saw us and asked us to come over to a lower table (accessible for wheelchairs) for check in. Unfortunately our room was not ready yet. But we enjoyed some coffee and cookies in the lobby bar, while waiting. We were curious to see if we would bump into more celebrities during our stay…
The Marker Hotel is situated at the Grand Canal Square next to a new concert hall. It’s a harbor area, which is pretty deserted in the evening. But during the day there is a lot of coffee bars and nice cafés catering the many office buildings in the area, including Google’s headquarter.
It takes about 30 minutes to wheel from the hotel to the city centre itself. It’s quite flat, so it was no problem to wheel the whole distance. Curb cuts and sidewalks are nice and even.
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One day we didn’t bother to wheel that much, so we took the local bus instead, which was completely accessible via an automatical ramp (right side photo).
There was originally room for only one (big) wheelchair, but our two small manual chairs could easily fit at the same time. Since we could not reach the ticket box without delaying the bus, we were allowed to travel for free.
In general public transport was ok in Dublin. Most buses had automatical ramps. The tram looked completely accessible (we did not try it) and the Hop on Hop off buses were all accessible via ramps. Some of them were very steep though depending on where the buses parked. The Hop on Hop off buses stopped just 3 minutes from our hotel, so this was also an alternative way to get around, if you wanted to see the whole city in one day. The Green buses had more buses in traffic, so I would recommend those, something we realized a little bit too late.
A normal taxi cost around 10 euros to get from the hotel to the city centre. And it seemed fairly easy to get an adapted car, because of the city’s policy for adapted transportation.
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And did the Marker Hotel meet my expectations? Indeed it did. There was more or less nothing to complain about. The service was very friendly, everything was new and clean, the design was cool, the accessible rooms were spacious with a nice view to the square and the bed was comfortable. And we had a a nespresso machine in the room.
And both the rooftop bar and the lobby bar were really nice and offered tasty cocktails and good coffee. We did not try the food at the hotel, because the breakfast buffet was extremely expensive. But we found some very nice breakfast places just around the corner, which I will tell you about in another blog post.
One of the little details I noticed at the Marker, which made me feel welcome as a disabled person, was their evacuation signs. In addition to the “clean my room” and “don’t disturb” sign, they had a sign you could hang on your door, indicating that you need assistance during evacuation. We fortunately never got to test it, but I’ve never seen the concept in another hotel.
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I was a little bit curious on how the location would work. And yes, it was not super central. But I actually liked to live a little bit outside the hustle and bustle of the Temple Bar district. By the Grand Canal we could stroll along the harbor in peace on even sidewalks instead of cobble stones. And drunk tourists were replaced with kayak students, ducks and young trendy people from Google.
Just to be clear, we also had the elementary pint in the Temple Bar district during our trip to Dublin. We saw live traditional Irish music, we visited Guinness, the EPIC museum, the Whiskey Museum and much more. We had five sunny days of great sightseeing in Dublin, which is more or less statistically impossible (weatherwise at least). And between all the sightseeing we could relax and enjoy some peace, quiet and tasty cocktails and the Marker Hotel.
Hopefully I have time to blog about the sights and the other highlights in another blogpost. Until then: Sláinte!
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Wheeling Chichén Itzá – The Maya

I’ve consulted all the sages,
I could find in the yellow pages,
But there aren’t many of them…
And the mayan panoramas
On my pyramid pajamas
Haven’t helped my little problem.

The Alan Parsons Project

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I’ve always had a dream to see the pyramids. Little did I know that I was going to get acquainted with the South American pyramids before an encounter with the ancient Egyptians. But it turned out that the Yucatan peninsula definitely has more to offer than amazing beaches and tacos, and that it’s an excellent place for what I would call wheelchair accessible pyramid sightseeing.

After some days of chilling in the garden of our air bnb, it was time for a real day trip. We had a rental car for only a week, and it was time to use it. My own batteries were also charged again after some days with pool & sunshine, and this was good because we had some hard core sightseeing ahead of us.

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Our plan was to visit the Mayans. Or the remains of them to be more precise. We were heading to Chichén Itzá, which is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico with over 2.6 million tourists in 2017. The area is most famous for it’s giant pyramid El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcan).

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Chichén Itzá was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.

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Our guide showing us the huts that the Mayans used to live in.

But before we could enjoy the mysteries of the ancient world, we had to drive approximately 2,5 hours from Cancún. We decided to buy tickets to the Maya pyramids by a roadstand, where we also got a very useful map over Chichén Itzá. I cannot remember if it was the same roadstand, but at least we managed to find an accessible toilet on our way. Which was very good, because we were not able to locate any wheelchair accessible toilets inside the park/archeological site.

I don’t know if it’s the Mexican driving style or what, but at least you are properly warned when you’re approaching a curve. Or a Maya pyramide…

We ended up buying the VIP tickets, because according to the guy on the ticket stand it would be much easier to find parking for us at the back entrance (by Mayaland lodge) and it would also be less crowded to enter the park. Since we never visited the main entrance, we don’t know if this is correct. But our gut feeling told us that he was actually right and that the back entrance is probably the best one if you arrive with a car (and a bunch of wheelchair users).

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Before we entered the park, we had originally decided not to buy a guide. But when we entered the park, it turned out to be a little bit more hilly than first expected. And some of the paths were a bit bumpy, which would probably make it quite physically challenging to wheel all by ourselves.

So after checking what a guide cost, we decided to hire Jonathan for a few hours guided tour. And this was probably the best decision we did during our two weeks in Mexico. Jonathan was an experienced guide from Mayan origin with lot of knowledge about the history of the site. And I think it would have been impossible to get the same experience from a guidebook, that we got with Jonathan’s assistance.

He was also able to help us at the most bumpy paths and being a group of 3 wheelchair users and one pedestrian, this was very convenient. Especially since Ingrid’s “mini engine” decided to go on strike before we entered the park.

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An example of some of the worst obstacles you will face wheeling Chichen Itza.

Sometimes when a stranger is going to help me on bumpy paths, I’m scared because the person is not used to handling a wheelchair. He or she might end up shoving your front wheels into a hole or a ditch, which might cause a nasty accident. But Jonathan had obviously met wheelchair users before. He was very relaxed about the situation and gave us a push when we asked for it or when he saw we were struggling. Otherwise he just left us to wheel ourselves, which is the perfect solution for me at least.

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And disregarding the wheelchair issue – a guide was a good investment because we understood much more of the different constructions on the site. The layout of Chichén Itzá site core developed during its earlier phase of occupation, between 750 and 900 AD. Its final layout was developed after 900 AD, and the 10th century saw the rise of the city as a regional capital controlling the area from central Yucatán to the north coast, with its power extending down the east and west coasts of the peninsula.

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On top of this construction they used to sacrifice people.

One of the “fun facts” that got stuck in my mind, was the stories about the violent nature of the Mayans. They basically liked to kill and sacrifice each other in all kinds of different ways. No matter if it was head chopping, pulling your heart out, using your head as a football or throwing your body into a cenote (natural pools).

The scientists disagree, but this thirst for blood might be the reason that caused the end of the whole civilization. It’s kind of logical. If you throw too many living or dead bodies  into your drinking water, you might end up polluting not only the pool itself, but the ground water in the whole area. A little bit similar to what we are doing with plastic in our oceans at the moment…

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One of the survivors…

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The observatory

So even if the Mayans were incredibly smart in mathematics (they invented the zero for instance) and astronomy, they were also incredibly bloodthirsty and stupid. Quite similar to several other ancient civilizations I guess…

The most impressive construction in Chichén Itzá is the giant pyramid El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcan) in the middle of the site. Around the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent god Kukulcan.

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There’s also a special sound effect that the Mayans created as a amplifier, so the sound from the speeches of the rulers on the top of the pyramid would reach a bigger area and not only the people in close proximity. This sound phenomenon can be tested by clapping hard at certain places in front of the pyramide. You’ll then hear an echo similar to a squeaking bird. Of course we had to try it…

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Archaeologists have identified thirteen ballcourts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame in Chichén Itzá, but the Great Ball Court about 150 metres (490 ft) to the north-west of the Castillo is by far the most impressive. It is the largest and best preserved ball court in ancient Mesoamerica. It measures 168 by 70 metres (551 by 230 ft).

Because of Jonathan we learned about the ball court, the different eras where Chichén Itzá was inhabited and developed and the different gods they believed in. We never really understood though if it was the winners of the ball game that got sacrificed at the end of it or the losers. Details, details…

We also learned that it’s probably smart to bring a cap or an umbrella. Because the heat was pretty intense inside the site, with little or no shadow to seek refuge in, except for the “shopping street” with numerous souvenir stalls.

And remember to bring cash! In general cash is king in Mexico. Both our debit card and credit card got skimmed in an ATM in Cancún – so watch where you use it! After a day of very interesting sightseeing and food for the brain, and a little bit of souvenir shopping, it was time for some food for the stomach.

First we ended up in a place that looked charming on the outside, but turned out to be a gigantic tourist machine full of grumpy tourist and staff members on the inside. From the decorations on top of the garden walls, it was clear that intruders were not welcome. Or just another example of the fact that Mayans are still a bit blood thirsty…

So instead of the tourist machine we ended up having the elementary tacos & guacamole at a smaller place down the street, which was nice, quiet and somewhat forgettable.

It was time to head back in the direction of Cancún to get ready for some relaxing days on the beach instead of Antonio’s garden.

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Wheeling Cancún – The Best

Pumpin up the volume, breakin down’ to the beat
Cruisin’ through the west side
We’ll be checkin’ the scene
Boulevard is freakin’ as I’m comin’ up fast
I’ll be burnin’ rubber, you’ll be kissin’ my ass
Pull up to the bumper, get out of the car
License plate says Stunner number one Superstar
Pink

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Cancún, a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. It’s composed of two distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants.

We visited in February 2019. We came with a direct charter flight from Oslo (Tui Airways).  And before we went, one of my co-travelers who had been there before, told me to expect something similar to “Gran Canaria on acid”. So let’s just say I had low expectations regarding the tourist trap factor. And I guess he was right. But Cancún definitely has it’s positive sides as well. This blog post is about the good stuff…

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Cancún is a lot of things, but one of them is definitely a tourist machine. Mostly made for American tourists. They like it loud and they have (or like) cars to get around. What’s the point in creating a nice promenade along the beach, when you can hop into your SUV and drive to your next destination or gigantic beach resort? Fortunately we had rented a car for the first week of our stay. And we decided to rent a car for an extra day the second week as well.

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On our way to the shopping & harbor area Puerto Cancún

We were 4 couples travelling together (where 5 were full time or part time wheelchair users). The first week we spent in a nice Air bnb (owned by super friendly Antonio) in a gated community in the downtown area. The second week we spent in the hotel zone in a big resort by the beach called Chrystal Cancún.

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The view from the top floor in Chrystal Cancún

And here’s the best parts of our trip to Cancún & Mexico:

The Best:

  1. The Maya pyramids
    Our trip to the Maya pyramids in Chitzen Itza was nothing but amazing! A huge area filled with history and amazing sights, with a very friendly guide. A little bit challenging with the manual wheelchair, I must admit. But our guide Jonathan was very helpful, when he needed to. Hopefully there will be a separate blogpost about Chitzen Itza, because I have a lot of cool photos and travel tips.2019-02-21 18.38.30.jpg
  2. The climate
    It’s hard to beat temperatures between 25 – 30 celsius and sunshine every day. As the weather refugees we were, there are hardly more comfortable places to stay, while escaping Norwegian snow and ice in February.2019-02-17 15.21.15.jpg
  3. The people
    The Mexicans were very friendly, helpful, relaxed and easy going with the wheelchairs. Perhaps a little bit too relaxed in some circumstances, but I prefer that to creating a lot of fuzz because I’m disabled. If we needed help, we got it. If not – we were left alone.

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    People in Cancún have different skills…

  4. The beach
    It’s unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. But the beach in Cancún is so beautiful and long, that it’s relaxing just to lie around a gaze at it.2019-02-26 12.30.20.jpg
  5. The activities
    Whatever you prefer doing – there’s a lot of choices in and around Cancún. Beach, partying, water sports activities, cenotes, Maya ruins, activity parks, you name it. But make sure to rent a car! Public transportation is old fashioned and we suspect it’s not accessible at all. One of our highlights was the daytrip to Cozumel – the island outside Cancún, which is also one of the major cruise harbors in the Caribbean.
  6. Prices of food & drink
    The upscale restaurants in Cancún were surprisingly expensive, but to shop for one week in the air bnb did not break our budget in any way.2019-02-18 19.49.10.jpg
  7. People watching
    It’s hard to be bored in Cancún if you like people watching. No matter if you prefer people with or without very small bikinis. Or weird balloons on their head… 

  8. The airport assistance
    I had really low expectations, since we were five wheelchair users travelling together. But how wrong I was! I think we set a new record in disembarking a plane in no time at all. And our own wheelchairs were waiting outside. It was a bit hard to get rid of the assistance people (who also asked for a tip) afterward, but I guess they have to make a living as well…A greater challenge was getting the rental car. It took forever. Fortunately we had two able bodied friends who could take charge of this part of the expedition. They also volunteered to be our drivers in the slightly crazy Mexican traffic.

     

  9. The air bnb
    Antonio’s house was great. The biggest disadvantage was that you basically needed a car to go anywhere. We had to walk along the highway to get to grocery stores and restaurants, or we could walk along a smaller street with no sidewalks (also a bit dangerous). But the house itself was nice and doable even for five wheelchair users. The challenge was the bathrooms, where some of the showers were a bit hard to use and the some of the sinks were extremely high and difficult to use. 

  10. The tacos
    I’m not a big fan of Mexian food. But they do know how to make tacos, which is probably the best food you can get in Mexico. We also had good seafood in Cancún. And the home made guacamole is of course hard to beat.

     

And not to forget. Cancún is a very nice place to celebrate your birthday party if pool parties is your thing. Considering that your friends have bothered to come along with you to celebrate on the other side of the planet…

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Pool party time!

Stay tuned. The next blog will be about the worst of Cancún & Mexico…

 

Wheeling Vienna

Slow down at the castle
Things to straighten in her head
And she knows it’s not a castle
But that’s what they’ve always said
St. Etienne

 

Since I don’t have enough time to blog, I have tried to play around with the Google Photo app to create a small video from our visit in Belvedere Castle in Vienna, Austria.

We visited in May 2018 and the castle was very well accessible for wheelchair users with lifts and ramps throughout. Toilets were a little hard to locate, but did exists. It’s not possible to wheel through the entire garden however. In the lower part you will find a long staircase, where you have to turn and wheel a rather steep hill up again. Make sure you bring cash (and patientce) to the garden café, which have steps to go inside to pay or to visit the toilets.

Best & Worst of 2018 – The Booze

Most any afternoon at five
We’ll be so glad we’re both alive
Then maybe fortune will complete her plan
That all began
With cocktails for two

Duke Ellington

It’s New Years Eve again. Many of my friends have posted words of wisdom on social media saying that it’s a night for reflection and contemplation. True! But it’s also an excuse to party and have a good time together with friends. That is why I have decided that the first (and maybe last) “Best & Worst of 2018” – post will be about…the booze.

Our plans for tonight are to leave the thoughts (or the afterthoughts) until tomorrow and open a bottle of champagne or two together with our closest friends. Hopefully 2019 will bring interesting travels, fun parties, good music, tasty cocktails, exciting experiences and new friendships. With this blogpost, I wish all my friends & readers a great celebration of the New Year! 

2018 was a good year for cocktail lovers like us. It started out with some educational activities, with two different cocktail classes for both our birthdays. The first one took place in January at Bar Bastard (Bølgen & Moi Tjuvholmen). The second class was held at Støtvig Hotel in Larkollen, where we were the only students. Full attention to cocktails!

Best Cocktail course

Extra lessons from the teacher at Bar Bastard

Spring offered travels to Stockholm, New York and Vienna. And with a memorable summer offering long summer days and nights for weeks and weeks, there were plenty of opportunities to explore the city and find out where the tastiest drinks were. And together with Google & TripAdvisor, my internal radar for good places offered some new discoveries as well as nice rendez-vous with earlier discoveries.

Here is the best & the worst of 2018:

Strongest drink
The party was nice, but the welcome drink was perhaps not the biggest success in history. Our New Year’s Welcome drink only qualified as the strongest of the year. Even if it was consumed in 2017, we could still feel the effect some hours into in 2018. I knew I should have left those infused strawberries alone…

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Best beach bar
The drinks are not memorable and are perhaps to be avoided. But Kongens Marina in Oslo offered a nice venue for the first outdoor drink in 2018.

 

Best view from a bar
It’s very hard to beat the view from The Crown rooftop bar in New York – with its two large terraces with a 360 degrees view of Manhattan. We celebrated Norway’s Constitution Day there with a custom made drink menu, Norwegian students, a brass band and Americans looking for free drinks! Hurra for 17. mai!

Best rooftop bar
It was our second visit to Azotea de Benito rooftop bar in Las Palmas. The first time we visited was December 2016 and I discovered it completely by accident because I had trained my internal radar for rooftop bars during my visit in New York in July. The Azotea bar is situated close to the cathedral in Gran Canaria’s capital and they offer a nice ambience and very tasty cocktails with attention to details. The bar is easily accessible via a lift inside a cinema complex.

Best bar
Himkok is the place to be if you want good cocktails. New York Times agree. You can read more about it in this blogpost.

 

Best summer cocktails
The outdoor serving at Grådi (situated in Tøyen, Oslo) offers very fresh and tasty cocktails with gin from Himkok and the best hipster tapas in the neighbourhood.

 

Best beer place
Kulturhuset in Oslo have a bar for beer nerds. Read more about Kulturhuset in this blogpost.

 

Best value for money
Omnibar at Sørenga in Oslo gives you the leftovers in a shot glass when you order a cosmo and espresso martini. Never throw away alchohol!

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Worst drink
As I said above, Norwegians usually never leave a glass of alchohol. At least not a full one. But the cosmopolitan at K1 food & lounge was not drinkable. Usually in Gran Canaria it’s better to stick to the wine…

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Best accessible rooftop bar Oslo
Neither the drinks or the weather were that memorable at Bar Social Eating’s Rooftop bar, but the view is pretty nice from the huge terrace vis a vis Mathallen.

Best hidden secret
Even with Google & GPS, Bryant & Mack Private Detectives is very hard to find. In a tiny side alley the establishment looks closed and abandoned. But look two times! If there is light in the window, there is hope. One small step to enter, but the staff will help you. As long as you follow the rules of the bar. Which are kind of special…

Best cocktail place for people watching in Oslo
Bettola at Schou’s piazza in Oslo offers the best combination of people watching, tasty cocktails and late afternoon sunshine.

 

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Best homemade drinks
Our homemade strawberry basil smash & strawberry daquiri were probably among the best drinks we had in 2018.

 

Best bar encounter that did not happen
When André almost met Metallica at Bern’s in Stockholm. But the cosmo was good…

 

Best neighbourhood bar
Human Mote is a stayer. At least we hope so…

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Best traditional pub
The Kenilworth in Edinburgh offer a good variety of beer, gins and bar snacks. And a nice atmosphere.

 

Worst name of a bar
Dirty Dicks had worn out bedpans as decoration. Do we need to say more? But the place was friendly and a nice place to end the holiday in Edinburgh.

 

Cutest wine label
Petit Ours looks cute and tastes good.

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Coolest hotel bar
The main bar at Baoab Lopesan in Meloneras has very cool decor, tasty drinks (best cosmo in Meloneras by far) and nice live lounge music. Only a pity that they have a long steep hill in front of the hotel entrance.

Best bar we never visited
Bonding with some Danish cocktail lovers at the Bryant Mack Private Detectives in Edinburg, we asked them where to go for cocktails in Copenhagen. And their answer was Balderdash. We have no idea if it’s accessible or not, but the are supposed to have good drinks. Maybe we’ll get to try them in 2019?

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Until then I wish you a Happy New Cocktail Year! But just remember…

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Wheeling Oslo – The Secrets (The Boat)

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend I got planks to nail
I got charts to make I got seas to sail
I’m gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Jimmy Buffett
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I promised you some months ago to tell you about the secrets of Oslo. So here it goes. One more secret. This one is mainly for those of you who are wheelchair users or who knows a cool (or just easily persuaded) person in a wheelchair.
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The Captain

Once upon a time there was a crazy guy who had an idea. Sometimes it takes a crazy guy to change things. To have progress. And this crazy guy he had an idea about a boat that was accessible for everyone. Because he liked to be on a boat. He just happened to be in a wheelchair. So he needed some money, some help and some faith.
Crazy some would say (including myself). But this guy managed to realize his dream.
A private yacht that was accessible for all.
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And then ‘Sjøen for Alle’ (The Ocean for Everyone) saw the day of light. It is a yacht called Arnøy that has been rebuilt and modified to cater for wheelchair users. It can fit 30-35 people at the same time. Doesn’t matter if you have an electrical wheelchair or a manual one, you can easily get onboard. And they are docked just behind the Opera House in Oslo, so the location could not be better.
It costs you 100 NOK per year to be part of the private club and then 50 NOK per person to pay for the diesel on every trip you take. You can also bring friends, disabled or not. Usually the whole concept is very flexible and pragmatic.
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The club has a webpage & a Facebook-page:
– Webpage: Sjøen for Alle
– Facebook: Sjøen for Alle
They have a very solid ramp to get on board and you can access both the front and the rear end of the yacht with the wheelchair.
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They also have a stairlift installed to get you to the wheelchair accessible toilet, if you should be in need during the trip. I tried it with a permobil. It was narrow and I had to fold my footrests, but it was doable.
This summer they have had several trips per week, both daytime and in the evenings. Usually one trip takes about 3-4 hours and the boat moves in a relaxed pace along the cost of the Oslofjord. It’s also possible to charter the both for organizations and groups.
Bring your own food and drinks and enjoy!
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Ship O’Hoi!