Saturday, October 04, 2008

Coming up on Enjoy Food & Travel in October - Trondheim

October 18th to October 20th, I will attend a conference in Trondheim, in the mid part of Norway. Trondheim once was the religious capital in the country with the shrine of Saint Olaf and Nidaros Cathedral.

I have, these last two years visited Trondheim in October. Last time I stayed with my nephew and his wife at Lerkendal. This time I will stay at P-Hotel in the middle of the city centre. I hope to give reviews of a few good restaurants as well.

So stay tuned here on Enjoy Food & Travel for the October destination.

More on Trondheim here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Here is a map of hotels, sights, and restaurants visited during my last trip to Trondheim in October 2007


View Larger Map

Friday, October 03, 2008

Schwerin Schloss - noble residence through 1000 years




















One of the most impressive sights I have seen in years was the former residence of the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Located on an island in Schweriner see, its current appearance was created in the 19th century but it has been a fortress / palace her for over 1000 years.


The earliest settlement recorded was there in 973. This fort was destroyed in the 12th century, but due to the strategic location, a new fortress was built on the island.

The hereditary ducal line was founded in 1167 and the dukes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern lived in this palace until the end of World War I.

Major construction works were made during the 17th and 19th century, and Schweriner Schloss has today architectural elements from different ages.

Located on an island you get an impressive view over the Schweriner See. As you walk around the castle you can admire a beautiful garden, with rare trees and flowers.

One of the most beautiful parts of the surrounding park is the orangerie, a terraced garden with a distinctly Mediterranean touch. Here you find a good restaurant where you may sit outside or inside in the bright rooms where the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern could admire fountains and exotic plants through the window.

Today Schweriner Schloss is the location of the Parliament of the Bundesland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and many of the rooms in the palace are accessible to the public. We did not enter the building, but there is a museum as well as a chapel open for visitors.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Acorn Street - the rich men's backyard

Bostons rich and powerful once lived and still live on Beacon Hill. An area located behind the State Capitol, it is close to the city centre, as well as to the political power base of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Stately 18th century town houses, some with small front gardens, are found along streets as Mount Vernon and Beacon Street. In some of the side streets you find smaller servants quarters. One of these is Acorn Street.

When the row houses here were built, Beacon Hill had fewer and larger estates. They were built in the grounds of these large properties giving easy access for domestic servants and tradesmen. Acorn street was one of these servants quarters with smaller versions of the stately homes in the nearby Chestnut street.

Close by, Branch street, was once known as Kitchen street, as here you found the kitchens adjacent to the stately homes in neigbouring Chestnut and Beacon street.

Workers and servants have left the wealthy Beacon Hill area long ago. Now even these houses belongs to the wealthy upper and middle class in Boston. Acorn street does, however, provide a unique glimpse into once was an early 18th century class society. It is now is a beautiful quiet street in the middle of the metropolis.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Enjoy Food & Travel - September 2008


View Larger Map
By September 30
th 2942 of you had visited Enjoy Food & Travel. In addition to this, an average of 24 of you subscribed daily to feeds, bringing the total number to 3696. I am still curious who you are, those of you that visit Enjoy Food & Travel.

Sharp increase in visits

It is Feedburner that has made it possible for me to follow where my visitors come from, and it has been exciting to follow the increase in traffic.

From the humble start in September 2006 Enjoy Food & Travel has grown in size. In average I have published one story each day, and September 25th I published my 1000th story on food and travel here on my site. As the site has grown, more and more of you visit. The first year I struggled to reach 400-500 visitors a month, now the number of visitors has increased fivefold. In September I did another jump as the number of visits in average was close to 100 a day, touching 3000 a month.

Majority of visitors in Northern Europe and the US

Most visitors are still found in the United States and Europe. In the US the Boston, New York City-New Jersey, Washington DC area, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas have the largest concentration og visitors.

In Europe Norway, Denmark, England (particularly Greater London), Netherlands and Belgium have the most visitors. In rest of Europe the number of visitors have grown sharply, particularly from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

More visitors from Asia and Africa

There are an increasing number of visitors from Asia. India, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Enjoy Food & Travel has also been discovered by one visitor in Nepal, Kuwait and on Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Another growth area outside Europe and North America is South Africa, and particular in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area. I have scattered visitors from different African countries and a visitor from one new location in Africa, Algerie.

South America

There are few visitor from South and Latin America. Most are from Brazil, and I've had sporadic visits from Peru, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. In September I had my first visitor from Honduras in Latin America.

White spots on the map

No visitors from the Peoples Republic of China, and Central Asian countries including Afghanistan. There have also been no visitors from a majority of African countries.

Visitors from new countries & territories

In July I am pleased to see that I had visitors from new countries and territories on all continents.

I would like to welcome my first visitors from:

  • Madeira (Funchal, September 2nd 2008)
  • Guam (Aghana Heights, September 3rd 2008)
  • Dominican Republic (Las Lagunas, September 4th 2008)
  • Sri Lanka (Unspec, September 4th 2008)
  • Nepal (Unspec, September 19th 2008)
  • Honduras (San Pedro Sula, September 21st 2008)
  • Kuwait (Unspec, September 23rd 2008)
  • Algerie (Unspec, September 24th 2008)

Share a sight, a restaurant or your favourite recipe on Enjoy Food & Travel

Send an email to johnsen.tor@gmail.com, attach a picture and get your story on Enjoy Food & Travel. Then the other visitors may get to know you! Then we could experience what a true global community may be.

And again, thank you for visiting Enjoy Food & Travel!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A free ticket to Copenhagen after all!

Tuesday evening September 30th 2008

I sent the article of my free ticket to the DFDS shipping company. This evening I went through my e-mail, and I got this answer from DFDS Shipping.

"Hei!

Viser til din henvendelse, og takker samtidig for tilbakemeldingen, som er et viktig bidrag i vårt kontinuerlige arbeid for å forbedre vårt produkt og service. Det er meget beklagelig at du har fått feil informasjon ved henvendelse til DFDS vedr. gavebrevet. Det som er riktig er at en person reiser gratis, mens evt. Ledsager skal betale kr 348,-. Ta gjerne kontakt med undertegnede på tlf 21621003, evt. Pr E-post, hvis du ønsker å bestille reise.

Med vennlig hilsen
DFDS Seaways
Leder Salgssenter og -Support"

A short translation:

Hi!

"We refer to your e-mail, and thank you for your feedback that is a valuable contribution in our continuous effort to improve our product and customer service. It is regrettable that you have recieved wrong information when taking contact with DFDS on your gift certificate. The right information is that one person will travel for free, and another traveller may company you for NOK 348,- Take contact with me on phone or by e-mail if you would like to book your ticket"

Well I thank DFDS for answering my mail. This may end up in a trip to Copenhagen after all. I just have to find a day in my busy schedule in order to book. I will keep you posted in this ongoing story. Shall we call it; Will Tor Johnsen go to Copenhagen in October?

Strasbourg - Rue Saint Helene

During my visit in Strasbourg, I stayed with my friend Øivind in his flat on "Le Grande Île" in the Medieval city centre. He had rented a two room attic appartment just a few minutes away from Place Kléber and the cathedral. The whole city centre is criss crossed by small narrow streets and alleys, and Rue Saint Helene was no exception.

I have never stayed in such an old city house as the one in Rue Saint Helene. As we left the tram near place Kleber, we walked only a few minutes before we stood in front of number 4.

The house did not look very old. On the other side there was another very ornate building built in the local style. Fachwerk is the name of the building technique (in English half-timbered), found on both sides of the Franco-German border.

The wooden beams were beautifully carved, and ornaments were painted on the pink stone walls.

Number 4 was completely different. It was a plain stone building, with two floors and an attic. As we entered through the narrow door, I found that this actually were three buildings turned into one. The oldest part of number 4 was built during the 17th or 18th century.

The long corridor leading into the stairway was dark and mysterious. Floors and stairs were made from dark solid wood. The stairway led up to Øivinds flat, high up in the attic of the back building. Here you could see over the roof of the old city.

It was a charming flat. First you entered a small entrance, and stairs leading up to the attic.

It was a light flat, as the light flowed through large windows on the roof. It was decorated in pink and white with all the wooden structures visible.

One large living room with a dining table, and sofas. One small, but practical kitchen, a beautifully tiled modern bathroom. The bedroom had room for a large bed and good storage. And the rent was reasonable. Less than € 1000 per month - a modest sum, compared to similar prices in Oslo.

And the view! I peeked out of the windows and this is what I saw. The old historic roofs of the ancient city, an old half timbered courtyard.

I never saw such a view before. The nearest I could compare this experience to was the view from an old attic hotel room in Paris, that lifted me up over the dark narrow streets below.

And every hour you could hear the heavy bells of the cathedral from a distance. I had a great time in Strasbourg and this beautiful flat was certainly a great part of the experience.


Monday, September 29, 2008

There is no such thing as a free lunch - or ticket............?

In April I attended a Conference at one of the large ships that daily cruise between Oslo and Copenhagen operated by the DFDS shipping company. I had the most exquisite experience in a Commodore De-Luxe Cabin, and I could not complain on either the service or standard. As the participants at the conference had left a large sum on travel and entertainment to the owners of DFDS, the shipping company offered all participants a free ticket with options to bring one extra traveller for the exceptional price of NOK 348 (€44). As I was to book my trip in October I found that there are much truth in the saying “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, or here “free ticket.”

The ticket clearly states that within the period lasting until November 1st, I would travel for free in an exterior cabin and could bring one extra at a discount price. As I am unmarried, traveling alone is an option, and as I am busy more or less every weekend until November 1st, I had to hurry up and book.

As I called DFDS customer service I found that the price of the cabin was NOK 348,- even if I travelled “free” i.e. by myself. And when the officer started talking of a reservation fee of NOK 125,- it all started to sound too ridiculous. A free ticket for NOK 473,-? That is not free for me, it is a paid trip. A free ticket is free for the one it is issued for. It told her clearly what that was all about, a discriminatory marketing practice intending to mislead a customer that he/she would get something free when he/she in fact would have to pay for it after all.

I am still working to find anyone to travel with me and pay NOK 348,- which is cheap when travelling two. If I am to pay that sum I’d rather book a “free” one-way flight with Norwegian Air Shuttle to Vilnius for the same sum, and pay for the return. That is far more honest after all. No hidden fees or taxes as hidden behind the promising invitation to a low-price boat cruise to Copenhagen. Low price, as you usually pay for food and drinks, and shop for Duty Free goods on board leaving money in the pocket of the shipping company.

We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you posted........

PS: I’ll notify the company that this article is on the net.

More ferry stories

Read on the new super ferries going from Kristiansand and Larvik to the continent

Read more on Ferry Services from Europe to Norwegian ports here

More on DFDS services

Read more on the DFDS Commodore De-Luxe Cabin Experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2008 here

Read more on the DFDS Commodore Cabin experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2007 here

Read more on the DFDS tourist class cabin experience on board Crown of Scandinavia here