October 28, 2012

Earthquake in Western BC

Today shortly after 8PM my husband noticed a slight movement of the blinds, and suspected the heat of the radiators causing it. Seconds later my iPhone app signaled an earthquake warning, but it does this all the time as it reports major geological events from around the world. However, something made him look at my phone, to which he usually never pays attention, and he discovered this:
Then, we got a news flash from a German broadcasting app, and the first emails coming in to ask if we were ok. It was surreal to find that no Canadian broadcaster seemed to find this worth reporting instantly. We turned on the TV but couldn't find a channel where the current events were reported, so we focused on surfing the net for information.
While US Geological Service reported a magnitude of 7.7, Earthquake Canada stated 7.1. Not sure which one is right, I trust it's the USGS. It's a major quake and it will likely cause a Tsunami.

Google meanwhile issued a tsunami warning for the North Western part of British Columbia. Another warning could be found on the website of the Canadian Weather Office. The region that is going to be affected is a relatively sparsely populated area but yet there are people out there, and I hope that the warnings will reach them and that they will be able to find higher grounds in time.

It doesn't look like the Vancouver area will be affected by any flooding, but maybe we will experience some higher tides.

In the meantime news keep trickling in from all over Canada (and finally at 10:39 - 2 1/2 hours after the main event the Vancouver Sun seemed to have woken up, too!). No injuries or damages have been reported so far, and I hope it will stay that way.

I am going to watch this for a while as I won't be able to sleep anyway:
Emergency Info for BC with warnings and advisories in effect. Here is the tweet.

Tsunami Travel Map - Source

October 27, 2012

Fall Food Challenge!

The dark and wet season has begun. I am still doing my three miles walk along the inlet every day, now back to wearing hi-viz rain gear to be seen, and a headlamp to be able to illuminate the otherwise unlit path. Please note the sign in the background... bears are around this time of the year to feed on the returning salmon.

It is also comfort food season. Time to go through my piles of cook books (those who know my streaks of OCD will rightly assume that I don't keep books in a pile but neatly categorized on a shelf), and pick my favourite soup and cabbage recipes. This year I have to conduct my own special challenge by converting those hearty meals into the vegan variety.

Pam over at Helmet or Heels threw out the Fall Food Challenge right in time for my first experiment: Veganizing Szegeniner Gulasch, a spicy Hungarian meat stew. So how to do it without the main ingredients: meat, meat and meat? As a matter of fact the recipe can be easily transformed by replacing meat with tempeh, and adding soy based sour cream at the end, done. And bonus, it doesn't take hours to cook.
Voilà! Half an hour later the meal is ready to be served.
Bon Appétit!

October 21, 2012

Nothing new under the Sun

Sun? Which sun? I haven't seen this thing since my return from the lands of Trolls and Huldre (not that we met either of those). Meanwhile I have been served a typical week of work, eat, sleep, repeat, while fighting off the jet lag and the spousal unit's man flu.
A dry spell on a coldish Saturday afternoon gives us the opportunity for a little out and about. We only ride for about sixty kilometers, but use back roads to make it last longer.
It is wrap-up season. The outfitters haul in their equipment and shut down the facilities. We are also painfully aware that there will not be much mileage happening on two wheels between now and maybe March/April next year.
Nature repeats itself. While passing by a stream we notice that the salmon is back. I had visited the place before but it was the first time for Roland to see the deadly attempt of reproduction in full force.
The fish were fighting over the best spawning position. Due to the recent rain falls the water levels were higher than usual, and the silver bodies moved swiftly through the current.
Some were resting for the next attempt to reach a higher vantage point.
Here is one propelling himself over the pebbles into the next little pool of deeper waters.
Although salmon season is in full force we haven't seen one bear on our little ride-out, only deer. We must visit again as this show will go on for another ten to fifteen days.

October 16, 2012

In the Swedish Outback

The last ferry South of Oslo brings us close to Sweden, and soon we reach the border.
Border crossing in Europe is simple and doesn't require showing a passport or even stopping. If there's nothing to declare one just drives through.
Our friend lives is in the middle of nowhere. The last time we visited him about ten odd years ago the roads were worse than today, and he didn't even have electricity or hot water.
We drive 26 km into the forest. The road is a mix of gravel and mud. Now we know why we rented a 4WD vehicle.
Then we reach the house in the woods.
 Here's how it looked back in 2003, quite the change I would say.
 And that lil' hut would be our home for the next three days.
Unfortunately the weather is changing the next day. The rainy season begins.
The fall colours which will soon be gone, and everything will fade to white.
Our friend's wedding was sweet, the after-party grand and we had a wonderful time. Now it is time to return to Oslo to catch the plane to Amsterdam, and fly back to Vancouver.

Thanks for following me on this wonderful road-trip.

October 14, 2012

The Fast Way Round

We got up before dawn to hit the ferry which is part of Norway's highway system. The Best Western was again a great choice for the breakfast alone, and we feasted on the buffet knowing that we would be well filled up until late afternoon (at least I was).

To our surprise vehicles would just swiftly drive on the boat without being given instructions or directions by the crew. It was disciplined, fast and efficient.
A beautiful sunrise greeted us while we were warming up ourselves with a cup of tea while standing at the railing.
The water was calm, but with temperatures around freeze point and the chill of the fair wind it was cold enough to drive us back quickly into the warmth of the cabin.

A lone rider. Guess who was first to go?
Norway's ever changing landscapes kept eyes and mind busy while meandering through. It was a pity that we didn't have time to dwell.
The scenery became more rugged, and it looked somewhat like Nova Scotia's East Coast to us.
The early morning fog added to the unique arcane atmosphere that inspires to stories of the super natural kind.
We had another ferry to catch, and kept rolling through the stunning scenery.
Driving in a car robbed us of connecting with the surroundings but it certainly kept us warm, as temperatures were barely climbing higher than freezing point.
Once again the landscape reminded us of places in Canada. We felt like jumping back and forth between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Then the shape of the land changed and gave way to green pastures. Are we still in Norway?
It became flat with lots of farmland. Roland found it looked very much like Denmark here.
Also the coastline put up another face. The beach looked like some ancient giant played with rocks.
Archaeological findings tell that people landed here during the migration period in the early years of the first millennium.
The ferry transfers had eaten up a big chunk of our time, so we moved as fast as signs and speed cameras would allow. Most sections were 80 km/h or often reduced to 60 km/h so it took time to travel in Norway, time we didn't have.
In a blink of an eye the scenery changed yet again back from flat farmland to hills and rugged looking mountains.
We took in this marvelous vista while resting. This is Norway, period. We couldn't find any comparison from previous travels.
The South of Norway comes with a milder climate, and the trees are not as 'autumny' as the rest of the land we had driven through.
Another eye catcher: Reflections in a lake. Regretfully most places remained nameless for us.
Another view, another lake. We have to come back one fine day to revisit all those lovely places.
It was a shame only to be able to 'consume' the ever changing landscape, and not to be able to cherish the moment.
Our stop for the night became the YESS hotel in Kristiansand, probably the one and only budget accommodation in Norway, small but clean and with an excellent breakfast buffet.
Thanks to Happy Cow Roland found the one and only vegan-friendly restaurant in town. It was only five minutes from the hotel in the pedestrian zone.
A lovely ambience, and a creative and delicious food presentation.
We went for a walk after dinner to enjoy the sunset. Kristiansand is a modern city with a rich culture and history.
And with the characteristics of a fishery town. We liked it very much here.
Kilden Performing Arts Centre
The next day our wonderful Norwegian sojourn would be over, and we were off to cross the Swedish border.

Summarizing Norway: Land of bridges and tunnels, country of speed cameras and toll roads, nation of pølser (Hot Dog) and hamburgers, and territory of 25% VAT (GST) rate. Norway, where people are friendly and helpful, and speak English even in remote places. Respect!

Tusen takk og på gjensyn!