Saturday, April 14, 2007

Enjoy Food & Travel in Copenhagen April 23rd to April 25th

I will travel to Copenhagen April 23rd to April 25th. I am attending a conference hosted by the Norwegian Society of Security and Safety, on board M/F Pearl of Scandinavia. There will time Tuesday 24th to enjoy a good lunch and visit some sights.

I have planned to present the following sights for you:

- Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek displaying classical sculpture and art
- Rundetårn Observatory, built 1637-1642
- The Tivoli Amusement Park

Enjoy Food & Travel in Barcelona

Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Ketil Zahl and his wife Astrid Meling are visiting Barcelona April 12th to April 16th, to celebrate their joint 50th Anniversary.

He will write about some of his culinary experiences from this metropolis by the Mediterranean, and I am looking forward to an account from the Gourmet Restaurant Casa Calvet.

Ketil Zahl is Master of Arts from the University of Oslo, and is currently working as an archivist at the Norwegian National Archives. He is a passionate food and cigarlover, and enjoys good wine, spirits and is great company around the dinner table.

Restaurants in New York City: Risotteria

Risotteria is a tiny restaurant in Bleecker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City. On a cold, clear April evening, I was about to walk right past it – it doesn’t look like much from the outside. Once you are inside, you are in for a treat.

By guest writer Susanne Koch.

Overall score: BBBB+
We had dinner twice in this very special restaurant. The food is delicate and delicious and the service is friendly. It is a very small restaurant, though, so be you won’t have much privacy. Personally, I found this to be part of the charm.

Location: BBBBB
Greenwich Village is my favorite part of NYC and Risotteria is located conveniently close to the subway stop on 4th Street/Washington Square. There are plenty of interesting stores in the neighborhood to browse while you work up an appetite.

Price: BBBBB
The food is quite affordable – cheep when you consider the quality. We shared a starter, had a risotto each and a bottle of quite nice red wine to wash it down – all for 50 USD.

Atmosphere: BBBB
Like I mentioned, Risotteria is a bit on the small side and it can feel a bit hectic. But it is a charming place and the people who come and go are part of the experience.

The Food: BBBBB
As the name implies, this restaurant specializes in risottos. You can choose from 35 types of risotto; some based on Arborio rice, some on Vialone nano and some on Carnaroli. I tasted three differrent risottos and they were all to die for. Vialone nano with italian parsley and white truffle oil was a dream.

There is a nice little selection of Italian style starters and a lot of interesting salads on the menu. If you are not in the mood for risotto, there is a selection of panini and a lot of pizzas; some with tomato sauce, some with olive puree and some with pesto as a base.

And let’s not forget the bread sticks! They are huge: crispy on the outside, moist and aromatic on the inside. And they are on the house ☺

If you are a vegetarian, more than half of the menu at Risotteria is for you. The restaurant also specializes in gluten free food. All of the pizzas and panini are available as gluten free.

Risotteria
270 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-6664

Susanne Koch is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. She blogs about search engines and search engine optimization at Pandia.com. Susanne loves to travel and blogs about her journeys at Susi's Souvenirs. You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

The Old Jewish Cemetery - Sofienberg

Close to the Sofienberg Church you see a small cemetery. This is in fact the first cemetery of the small Jewish community in Norway. Jews where closed out of Norway by the first Constitution of 1814. In 1851 the section of shame was removed from, and Jews where allowed to settle in Norway. During the Nazi occupation nearly half the small Jewish community were deported and died in the Nazi concentration camps.

The cemetery was in use from 1869-1917, and during that period 197 people were buried here. These are the graves of Abel Feinsilber (15.5 1850 - 16.12.1917), and Hillel Marcus Feinsilber (27.12.1848 - 11.5.1910).

When a new Jewish cemetery was established in 1917, the small cemetery at Sofienberg was abandoned. The cemetery was renovated 1997-1998.

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Vår Frelsers gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour)

The grave of Henrik Wergeland

Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland (1808-1845) is maybe the most important Norwegian poet of the 1st half of the 19th Century. He is also regarded as the father of the Norwegian Constitution Day, celebrated May 17th every year. This day is celebrated with processions of children in every city and rural community.

He is also considered to be the first National Archivist, as he became the keeper of the Royal archives in 1840.


A group that is particularly indebted to Henrik Wergeland is the Jews. The first Norwegian constitution of 1814 forbade "Jews and Jesuits" (here; Catholics) access to the country. This section of the Constitution - the section of shame, was removed in 1851, and the honor of this is credited to Henrik Wergeland.

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Vår Frelsers gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour)

The grave of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson


Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Vår Frelsers gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour)

The grave of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910), is not as well known as Henrik Ibsen, but was considered to be one of the most famous writers in his time. He is regarded as one of the great 4, with Henrik Ibsen, Alexander Lange Kielland and Jonas Lie.

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson has a very impressive literary production. He is the father of the lyrics of the Norwegian national anthem "Ja vi elsker". He is famous in Norway for novels as Synnøve Solbakken (1857), followed by Arne (1858) and En glad Gut (A Happy Boy) (1860), and Fiskerjenten (The Fisher Maiden) in 1868.

He also wrote historic dramas based on themes from early Norwegian history as King Sverre. He was also a famous journalist and essayist.

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Vår Frelsers gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour)

The grave of Henrik Ibsen

A closer look at the famous mans grave.

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Vår Frelsers gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour)

The grave of Henrik Ibsen

Very few Norwegians are as famous internationally as the playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). A controversial figure in his time writing dramas decribing the tragic lives of the bourgoisie.

Henrik Ibsen chocked his time through plays as "A Dollshouse" where he allows the main character to rebel and leave her husband, or through the dark secrets revealed in the drama "Ghosts". The latter describing a family secret and its effect, venereal disease, in a wealthy and very sinister family.

This brilliant artist enjoyed, in spite of his dealing with controversial issues, considerable fame and respect in his time. He spent his last years in Christiania (the old name of Oslo) until his death in 1906.

  • See a list of all his plays here
  • See the government funded Ibsen.net here
  • His home in Arbiens gate is now a museum. See the site here:

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Vår Frelsers gravlund (Cemetery of Our Saviour)

In the middle of Oslo you find Vår Frelsers Gravlund. This large cemetery goes back 200 years to 1808, and has, since 1903, been used as an honorary graveyard for distinguished figures within Norwegian culture and politics.

I love to walk through this green lung with my friend Ketil Zahl on our walks every Sunday and as he pass the grave of the famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, he never miss his greeting to the old master. "Vær hilset, Maestro Ibsen - be greeted, Maestro Ibsen."

It is nothing morbid to call this a great sight, but it is definetely off the beaten track, at least for international tourists.

See the names of some of the famous figures that is buried on Vår Frelsers gravlund.

Enjoy Food & Travel in New York

Co-writer Susanne Koch shares her memories from the Big Apple

My good friends, Per and Susanne Koch, owners of the successful search engine site Pandia.com, are both attending the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York, April 10th to April 13th.

Enjoy Food & Travel is privileged to have Susanne (brilliant cook and experienced traveller) as a co-writer, and she will, during this period, write a few stories from the Big Apple on this site.

See coverage of the Search Engine Strategies Conference on Pandia.com

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Restaurants in Paris: Man-Lung Restaurant

My husband Per and I had dinner recently in the restaurant Man-Lung in Paris. This is a small authentic Chinese restaurant below a large neon sign with a huge menu to choose from and a clientele of mostly locals.


By guest writer Susanne Koch

Man-Lung is locates in the Trocadero/Passy area in Paris’ 14th arrondissement. It has about 10 tables and when it is full, it can get quite crowded. This just adds to the charm in my opinion.

We had soup for starters: Per had vegetable soup with egg, which was light yet satisfying and tasty and I, had Peking soup, which was hearty and spicy.

The menu offers a selection of steamed dumplings. I chose mixed dumplings and enjoyed the way they were served in a little bamboo steamer lined with lettuce. It all looked very pretty and the tastes were delicate. A little bit of the fiery hot chilly sauce added a little pizzazz.

Per had spicy chicken with cashew nuts and peppers. This is a course that is ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants and thus worked as a kind of litmus test. Man-Lung passed the test. There was plenty of tasty, juicy chicken, golden roasted nuts and crunchy peppers.

For desert I had diced mango, which was very refreshing. Per had banana fritters. The serving was generous, but it was a bit too sweet.

We have had many meals this restaurant over the years and always enjoyed the adventure of looking through all of the choices in the menu, the quaint and charming atmosphere and the genuine Chinese cooking.

Susanne Koch is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. She blogs about search engines and search engine optimization at Pandia.com. Susanne loves to travel and blogs about her journeys at Susi's Souvenirs. You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.

Ten good ways to get cheap airfare - for just for you!

Are you a DINK? Here are ten good rules on how to get cheap airfare for just for you!

DINKs are "double income, no kids" – i.e. couples and individuals that may travel with no concerns for peak seasons, holidays, or school breaks, when families travel. If you are a DINK and enjoy a flexible working situation, you are lucky. You may get excellent airfare by shopping airtickets on the net. How? Here are 10 good rules on how a DINK may get a cheap fare.

You are not a DINK? Well non-DINKs may also profit from this information.

  1. Be flexible - travel off season
    Avoid traveling, when everyone else wants to go to the destination of your choice. Even the most famous and popular places to travel, have periods when fewer people visit. November, January or February - these are the times you may try to get cheap air-travel to New York, Paris, or London, and not during summer. Likewise, visit South Africa or Australia during off-season, i.e. their winter. These are the options for DINKs , as couples with kids are restricted to travel, when everyone else travel, during holidays and school breaks. Avoid large public holidays. DINKs should not travel during Easter, or Christmas and avoid the US e.g. during the Halloween and Thanksgiving Holidays.


  2. Be flexible – order late
    If you have a very flexible working situation, and can take time off on a very short notice, you may bide your time and order just a few days before departure. At that point you may get a bargain price for an unused seat. Some booking services offer a last minute service and some have even specialized in this kind of booking.


  3. Plan ahead - look for seasonal campaigns
    Yesterday, the low cost Norwegian carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle launched their autumn campaign offering one-way prices to European cities from EUR 35 to EUR 110 during August and September. You are well advised to use this and similar campaigns to buy a cheap airline ticket, but act quickly, as there are many that think as you.


  4. Avoid weekends – travel during weekdays.
    Most non-DINKs work Monday through Friday, and have kids that go to school during the week. They will travel during or include weekend days in there travelling. If you can avoid travelling these days you may get much lower prices. Try travelling Thursday through Tuesday, and see what you can get for your money.


  5. Look for campaigns for new travel destinations
    Look out for campaigns where aircarriers launch new destinations. They may offer travellers great deals during the first period, but trust me - it will not last. If the airlines succeed on the new destination the prices will be much higher later. So if you see a great bargain, try it. I did! I got a roundtrip deal on a new service for Oslo/Torp to Marseille, last November for less than EUR 60, all included.


  6. Do not wait – order when you have found that unbeatable price
    An excellent bargain is an occasion not to be missed. Order quickly, preferably there and then, as the excellent price you’ve found may be gone tomorrow. I have checked several booking services and found that the price for airfare on a certain date to a certain destination may fluctuate drastically from one day to another on the same website.


  7. Book online – avoid travel agents
    Travel agents are out, the web is in. Use all the options you have on the net. There are a great number of reliable websites that compete with each other for your attention. This gives you an excellent chance to get a great deal. The travel agent, however, may give you personal choice, but will in many cases not offer you the good deals you get on the net.


  8. Investigate properly - comparing prices presented online can save you big bucks
    I have checked the difference on prices for several destinations already, and there are great differences in price from different websites. So compare at least 4-5 options before you decide to book. But remember – check the itinerary, as the cheapest tickets may mean longer travelling time and several transfers. One good example was the excellent deal for the roundtrip Oslo Johannesburg with Egypt Air. The itinerary was Oslo-Vienna-Cairo-Johannesburg. Choosing a more expensive ticket may save you fewer stops, less waiting, and shorter travelling time, so you have to weigh the low price against less convenience and comfort.



  9. Look for new low cost air carriers from your destination
    Are you living close to an airport and a new airline starts a new service be alert as the new carrier may offer you good deals in the start to harden its grip on travellers.


  10. Stay informed - subscribe to newsletters
    Most people find a few websites where you book your tickets. Stay informed and subscribe for the e-mail newsletters, as many campaigns and good prices may be advertised here. However, check their customer policy, so you e-mail address are not sold to other websites for spam. Alternatively you may establish a second -.hotmail, or-.yahoo address for these services, in order to avoid spam to you official e-mail.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Hotel Nicolo, Paris

Hotel Nicolo is a hidden gem. It is quiet and charming with a tiny but lovely garden and newly redecorated rooms and very helpful and accommodating staff.

By guest writer Susanne Koch.

This small hotel with just 25 rooms is located in Rue Nicolo just off Rue the Passy in the Passy area in Paris’ 14th arrondissement. Unless you have trouble climbing stairs, I can definitely recommend Hotel Nicolo:

Overall score: BBBB- (4,5 oout of 5 points)

Location: BBBB

Nicolo is a 5 minute walk away from both Metro and RER lines and 5 minutes on the Metro (line 6) takes you to the Champs Elysees.

Rue de Passy is great for shopping and there are plenty of nice cafes and restaurants around.

Service: BBBBB

The staff of Hotel Nicolo are very accomodating. Due to the small size of the hotel, they will know you bu name from day 1 and they are liable to joke around a bit if they see you enjoy that kind of thing. I stayed at Nicolo several times from 10 to 7 years ago, and one of the desk clerks remembered me after all these years.

This time around, I wanted to visit a small museum in the Montmartre. Even though the consierge had never heard about it, he found info on the web and provided me with a phone number.

Hotel facilities: BBBB

The rooms are a bit on the small side but lovely. The décor has a colonial touch. Our bed was lovely and comfortable and there’s flat screen TV and a safe. There is also WIFI access if you bring your own computer and a computer in the reception area if you don’t.

I can think of only two drawbacks: The breakfast area is small (although quite charming) and the hotel is not accessible for the disabled.

Price: BBBBB

Paris is an ecpensive city, so rates starting at EUR 118 for a single and EUR 126 for a double room is quite a bargain. Triple and quadruple rooms are also available.

Adress:
Hotel Nicolo
3, Rue Nicolo
Paris
Phone: (00 33) 01 42 88 83 40

Fax: (00
33) 01 42 24 45 41

Email: http://www2.blogger.com/hotel.nicolo@wanadoo.fr

Susanne Koch is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. She blogs about search engines and search engine optimization at Pandia.com. Susanne loves to travel and blogs about her journeys at Susi's Souvenirs. You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.

Sights of Oslo - off the beaten track

Along Akerselva (Aker River) - Aamodt Bridge

This little verse can be seen on one of the posts of the bridge.

It says:

"100 men can I carry, but will move during rhytmic march!"


Along Akerselva (Aker River): Aamodt Bridge

Further down the river, you pass the Aamodt Bridge. It is a chained hanging bridge, constructed in steel, in 1855 and used to cross the Snarum River at Aamot, in Buskerud County.

It was considered an engineering masterpiece when it was constructed. After falling into disrepair, it was given as a gift to the city of Oslo in 1952, and moved to its present location in 1962. If you pass over the bridge with other people you will feel a distinct movement in the whole construction.


Along Akerselva (Aker River): The Waterfall

This waterfall is situated close to the house of "Hønse-Lovisa". Here the amount of water is small, but during spring and in period of heavy precipitation, the amount of water produce a fine mist of water drops drifting over the walkway.

Along Akerselva (Aker River): House of "Hønse Lovisa"

By the Beyer Bridge, you see a little red wooden house. It was built around 1800, for the Master at the "Monsesaga" Sawmill. It is the last of a large number of small houses that used to be located by the river.

The house is named after "Hønse-Lovisa". a strong and warm character from "Ungen", a play of the Oslo playwright, Oskar Braaten from 1911.

Today you can stop by and enjoy a cup of coffe and a waffle with sour cream and jam, before you stop to admire the waterfalls just by.

Along Akerselva (Aker River): Hjula Væveri

Behind the trees, you see a building from the early industrial history of Oslo. Hjula Væveri (weavery) was started in 1848, and moved into this wodden buildings by Beyer Bridge in 1855.

The industry in this area along the river, goes much further back. The Papermill of Bentse Brug, was started already in 1687, and the Glads Mill, ran for almost 135 years, from 1736 until 1870.

Now the red brick and wooden buildings along the river, has been turned into office space, restaurants, and exclusive appartments.

Oslo off the beaten track: Akerselva (Aker River)

As Paris is divided by the Seine, and London is divided by the Thames, Oslo is cut into an East and a West End by Akerselva. But compared to these two famous rivers, it is merely a small brook or stream, stretching for only 5 miles from Maridalsvannet to the Oslo fjord.

Twenty years ago it was nearly an open sewer, heavily polluted by the industry that has been situated by its banks from the latter half of the 19th Century. The last years there has been a clean up , and now you can walk along the river and see the sights of its history in its whole length.

I will take you along a short stretch of the river and show you just a few of the sights on the way.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ferryservices to/from Norwegian cities to European ports.

Here are a list of ferryservices to Norway from ports in Europe, the UK and Iceland. Many of them are daily, all year around services. Others sail seasonally.

Go to the website to find out prices and timetables. Some services operates on more than one port during one crossing, i.e. Bergen - Lerwick - Tòrshavn.

Unfortunately I have tried to locate English websites for Stena Line and Smyril Line without having found any. Bad services for foreign travellers.

On ferry-services in Europe see: ferrylines.com

Copenhagen

Fredrikshavn
Hanstholm
Hirtshals
Kiel
Lerwick
  • Bergen (Smyril Line)
Newcastle upon Tyne
Scrabster
Seyðisfjørður
  • Bergen (Smyril Line)
Strømstad
Tórshavn

Montecillo Crianza 2002

A reminder of the Spanish Sun

This is one of four wine categories from Rioja, the crianza" are wines that are supposed to be aged for at least two years, at least one in oak barrels. The producer, Bodega Montecillo, is one of the oldest wineries in Rioja, going back to 1874. It is now a part of the Grupo Osborne, you know the products with the bull.

This wine is made from 100% tempranillo grapes, and aged in French oak barrels, for a year. It is a great wine, with wonderful deep ruby red colour, and aromas of red fruits and oak from the French barrels.

Definetely a wine for red meats or - for a good evening inside, as it snowing outside. It is April 8th in Oslo, and the Montecillo Crianza 2002, brings some of the sunshine of Rioja up here, as we wait for spring to come.

Planning a trip to South Africa

Finding the best airfare

We may be travelling to South Africa in September / October. This was an idea that came up at the dinner last wednesday. Well, I have to check my diary first, but I could not help myself. I just had to check the prices.

This is obviously not the best time to travel, as this period is late spring, early summer at the Southern Hemisphere, i.e. peak season. But as always did the price vary a lot.

The most surprising result was that Egypt Airlines offered great rates over Vienna and Cairo. Still this is not a very conveniant route, changing plane (or landing) twice, adding extra travelling time. Still the cheapest fare is offered by KLM and Kenyan Airways, at a total cost of 6462,- So we just have to decide to buy now, or take a chance and wait.

Here are the results, with the cheapest fare on 13 sites.

1. www.klm.no NOK 6462,- Airline: KLM/Kenya Airways
2. www.skytours.no NOK 6683,- Airline: Egyptair
3. www.restplass.no NOK 6782,- Airline: Egyptair
3. www.kelkoo.no NOK 6782,- Airline: Egyptair
5. www.supersaver.no NOK 6832,- Airline: Egyptair
6. www.marcopolo.no NOK 6932,- Airline: Egyptair
7. www.ebookers.no NOK 7441,- Airline: Lufthansa / SAA
8. www.gotogate.no NOK 7666,- Airline: Lufthansa / SAA
9. www.seat24.no NOK 7762,- Airline: Lufthansa / SAA
10. www.reisefeber.no NOK 8018,- Airline: Air France
11. www.ticket.no NOK 8093,- Airline: Air France
12. www.sembo.no NOK 8102 ,- Airline: Air France
13. www.lufthansa.no NOK 14840,-