England 2019

The Haugen Family's trip to England in August 2019

Image: Due to a massive landslide in Jølster, we had to drive the long way round. This is the view of Kvinnefossen from south of Balestrand. Image: Balestrand from the south. Image: The ferry Ivar Aasen at the ferry quay at Dragsvik. Image: The statue "Fridtjof den Frøkne" at Vangsnes, surrounded by raspberry tunnels. Image: Skrivareika in Leikanger. Image: Sogndal and the new Loftesnesbrui. Image: Ljøsne in Lærdalsdalen. Image: The rock formation known as Jutlamannen. The myth says it's a troll and that he used to have a wife and children who fell down ages ago. Image: Zooming in on Jutlamannen. Image: At the county border with Buskerud. Image: View down the valley towards Hemsedal. Image: This is an old dilapidated house at Strand in Hemsedal which has become a landmark for us. Image: Hydnefossen at the Olavshogget rock formation. Image: Beautiful evening sky. Image: Helen's sister's family has access to a cabin on Golsfjellet, which we were allowed to use. Image: Helen about to drive on the left side of the road for the first time. "What the hell have I agreed to?" Image: We drove by Stonehenge on our way there. Image: Helen liked these "henges" more. Image: Sunset at the A303 somewhere west of Salisbury. Image: The day after we arrived, there was a folk music festival in the nearby town Sidmouth. We decided to visit. Here's the gang heading into the town cener. Image: The Morris Dancers were out in force for the occasion. Image: Yours truly at the Sidmouth Market building. Image: Gazing at the ocean from the Sidmouth esplanade. Image: People enjoying a day off at the beach, even if there's no sun. Image: We took our obligatory fish & chips meal at the Prospect Plaice. I had plaice and Helen had cod. Image: While we were eating, all the Morris Dancers came marching by in a big parade. Image: More Morris Dancers. Image: And the most memorable of them all: Forward-facing tuba guy. :-D Image: The kids went amuck in there. Image: These two bards were playing lovely music at the St Giles & St Nicholas' Church. Image: Helen was fascinated by the big seagulls. Image: Helen had bought a new suitcase for the trip. Here she's painted her emblem in gold on it. Image: Me, Bjarte (Helen's brother) and Marianne (his wife) took all the kids to the beach at Budleigh Salterton after the Sidmouth visit. Image: Meanwhile, Helen was hunting spiders at the cottage we were renting. Image: Enjoying the view and some ice cream after swimming. Image: The cottage we rented. Image: The roads where quite narrow where we stayed. And, unlike Norwegian roads, there's no ditches. So there's zero clearance between the road and the shrubs. Image: An orange elephant and a giant ice cream cone  overlooking the A38 at Kennford. Not a good place to be tripping, I reckon. Image: We decided to go visit the Torbay Steam Fair. But first we had to move past all the veteran cars. Still, there were some interesting exhibits. Image: Oh look, Crazy Frog! Ding ding. Image: More colourful cars. Image: English engineers came up with some creative solutions, like this motor bike apparently built from farm machinery. Image: A veteran Citroën. Image: Me and Bjarte looking at a Heinkle 200cc bubble car. Image: "Unlike other bubble cars, the steering wheel isn't attached to the door." Image: Some… creative custom vehicles were also on display. Image: The festival had hired some entertainment. The music was exactly what you'd expect from the band's name. Image: Some kind of rescue truck. Image: And, of course, a Reliant Regal Supervan 3. Image: Towing trucks were needed in the early days of motorized traffic as well. Image: Some WW2 reenactment group showed off their amphibious vehicle. Image: … and the rest of their camp. Image: Coming through! Image: These guys were hauling passengers in their miniature steam engine. Image: A full-sized steam engine. Image: Some of these engines were quite fancy looking, as they were used to haul fair equipment around, and sometimes to power them. Image: Bjarte and Hans discussing some engine while Gunvor is watching. Image: A good old-fashioned steamroller. Image: Some Dutch family were there with their mechanical organs. This is the small one. Image: And here is the large one. Image: A steam engine used to power a rock crusher. Image: And a steam engine powered thresher and hay baler. Image: The engine powering the thresher and baler. Image: The actual engine. Image: A UK-made engine which had been brought back from Canada. Image: This engine ran really quietly, and its owner was quite proud. Image: Ploughing a field by means of two steam engines, one on either end, pulling the plough across. Image: An asymmetrical tractor. Image: Playing boules at the cottage. We weren't 100% sure of the formal rules, but we came up with something pretty close to the rules for pétanque. We referred to it as boccia though. Image: New day. This time we went to Seaton, from where we were planning on walking to Beer. Step one was agreeing on where to park. The car I was in parked where we'd initially suggested, at the esplanade, and the others parked at a bigger parking lot a bit further in. Image: Grete at the beach at Seaton. Beer is visible in between the white cliffs. Image: Gathering the troops. Image: The red sandstone cliffs of Seaton giving way to the white limestone cliffs of Beer. Image: A moss fish? Image: Our first milestone is the stairs where the white cliffs start. Image: As at most public beaches in southern England, there's a long row of beach huts. Image: An especially colourful beach hut. Image: From here we have to walk on pebbles. Which is surprisingly tough Image: The girls and their grandma posing at some old dead tree. Image: Whitecliff, aptly named. Image: The gang struggling on the pebbles. Image: Posing at the top of the stairs. Image: Panorama of Seaton from Whitecliff. Image: Seaton. Image: View across a field towards Beer. Image: A lovely home by the field. Image: Beer beach from the cliff above. Image: I found a heart where I insisted on photographing Helen. Image: The town of Beer. There's two main types of stone in the area: Cheap flint, and expensive limestone. So buildings are usually built from a mix of both, where the ratio tells you how expensive they are, and thus how wealthy the owners are. Image: I didn't though; I had a cider along with my Ploughman's lunch at the Anchor Inn. Image: The open ditch runs through the town. After our meal we decided to walk to the quarry for the tour there. Image: Beer Quarry Caves information poster. Image: Peasants in town. They had thick ponchos available for people who didn't bring hot clothing. Image: Getting a clear picture in the caves without using flash is challenging, but this one gives one an idea of what it looks like. Image: The outskirts of Beer on our return trip. We had decided on hiking there and back, which took a while. Image: A fine example of the limestone and flint style of construction. Image: Heading back down to the pebble beach at Seaton. Image: Erosion at Whitecliff being exploited for nesting. The rockface is cracking though. Image: I have questions… Image: A seagull chick. Image: Today we're in Cornwall, at the Eden Project. Here's the site map. Image: View from the scenic viewpoint towards the outdoor gardens. Image: View from the scenic viewpoint towards the scene and the biome domes. Image: Figures from Greek myth frolicking in the vineyard in the Mediterranean Biome dome. Image: Entering the chilies section. Image: Various common garden herbs. Coriander is a favourite of mine. Image: Moving further into the chilies section. Image: A note on Thai chili use. Image: More on chilies. Image: Gotta love goulash. Try a spicy one in Budapest if you can! Highly recommended. Image: Cork is a wonderful plant. Cork oaks are also pretty. Image: I didn't realize there was an actual plant named broom. Now I know. Image: The poster at the cork oak. Image: Apricot and strawberries. Two of my favourite things to eat. Image: A Nelson Mandela quote on Ubuntu. Excellent, even if I wouldn't personally touch that Linux distro with a 12ft pole. Image: Having a rudimentary grasp of Dutch, this sign caught my attention. It's an Afrikaans word, but perfectly intelligible to a Dutch-speaker. Image: Some interesting sculptures. Image: A nice picture of Helen. Framed. The big trunk at the left edge of the frame is an ancient olive tree. Image: The ancient olive tree. Image: Poking our heads into the rainforest biome. Image: A hand made out of old mobile phones. Image: A poster on lavender. Image: They have a giant bee in their gardens. Pretty neat. Image: Back in the rainforest biome, we ran across these crested partridges. Image: Some pretty plants outside the Malaysian House. Image: They'd made room for a small rice paddy. Image: The Malaysian House seen from further up the hill. Image: Colourful leaves in the canopy. Image: Getting close to the air ducts near the top of the dome. Image: From up here, we can see showers strategically placed to induce that rainforest atmosphere. Image: There were several rock paintings near the top. Here's one. Image: Helen posing by a cola plant. Image: They had cocoa plants as well, naturally. Image: Pretty dense foliage down here. Image: Palms. Image: A small sugar plantation, along with a truck used for hauling sugar roes. Image: Passing some banana palms as we're approaching the baobab kiosk. They sold beverages made from baobab. Image: Some info on baobab. Image: Some butterfly statue in a bed of flowers. Image: The pond near the butterfly statue. Image: There was an art exhibit where someone had used analog robotics to create some art pieces. That particular one emulated straws of grass moving in the wind. The movements looked pretty realistic. Image: View of the area from the bridge between the Core building and the Visitor's Centre. Image: Helen outside the Visitor's Centre. Image: Hege and Gunvor making breakfast. Image: Today was relaxation day. Some of the girls went to Exeter for shopping. The rest of us stayed at the cottage. But first some boules. Image: Hans showing off his throwing technique. Image: Gathering the troops at the cottage before heading to the pub for dinner. Image: Dinner at the Bowd Inn. I had some Otter Ale. Pretty good stuff. Image: Visiting Kents Cavern in Torquay. Of course there was a caveman toilet… :-D Image: Kents Cavern. Image: More of Kents Cavern. Image: Our guide showing off a replica Neanderthal skull and a trumpian toupée. Image: At the end of the tour, I took a couple photos with the flash enabled. Image: The entrance to the caverns. Image: The Chief Seagull of Torquay Marina. Image: Maybe there's something interesting in here. Image: Everyone were a bit peckish after the cavern tour, but we couldn't agree on where to eat. In the end we bought hot dogs and burgers at the fair. Image: Strolling along. Image: The bridge across the railway at The Grand Hotel. Image: Torquay Station. Image: View from the bridge to a nearby older bridge. Image: Someone ran a veteran bus sightseeing service from the station. Image: At the King's Gardens. Image: Swans and their chicks slacking on the grass. Image: Gunvor walking along the pond. Image: Torre Abbey. Image: Helen and Gunvor at the steps at the abbey. Image: Hulk smash! Image: Helen decided to stroll on the beach. Image: I thought the posts were cast iron. Turns out they're plastic. Image: Walking onto the pier. Apparently Agatha Christie liked roller skating here. Image: Gunvor posing for us at the end of the pier. Image: Helen's nephew goofing around. Image: Heavy fog in Torquay. The ferris wheel is almost obscured. Image: Nifty wave breakers in the marina. Image: The Princess Gardens. Image: We found a bust of Agatha Christie. Gunvor posing at it. Image: The Agatha Christie bust. Image: Some clock tower at what now appears to be a bar. Image: Yours truly at the clock tower bar. Image: St Luke's Parish Church. We passed it as we approached the parking lot after a long detour through Torquay on our way back. Image: We stopped at the Halfway Inn on the way back. I had some lovely bangers and mash. Image: A snail on the side of the car. Image: Getting ready to depart. Image: Me and Helen along with Helen's niece and brother-in-law drove to Portsmouth. We dropped off the others at the train station at Cosham and then turned in the rental before taking a cab to our inn in Southsea. After that we decided to go sightseeing. This is the D-Day Meorial flower beds. Image: The various landing beaches were spelled out in green plants. Image: View north towards Southampton from the old fortifications at Southsea. Image: A information poster on the history of Southsea Castle. Image: A plastic recycling fish. Neat idea. It's called "Pompey Against Plastic Trash" Image: Spitbank Fort, which used to be part of the coastal defences. I learned later that it has been turned into a luxury spa hotel and retreat. Image: The Royal Navy is still patrolling though. This is the HMS Westminster. Fun fact: Westminster was used for interior frigate shots in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. Image: Mural of a map of Portsmouth on a wall. Image: Ambling around in the streets of Southsea, we found some more murals. Image: The inn we stayed at for the visit: The Jolly Sailor. I liked the room, but Helen was less than satisfied, mainly due to the bathroom which was 3m long and .5m wide. Image: Time for some more sightseeing whilst looking for some place to eat. This is St Jude's Church. Image: We ended up at Burgerz 'n' Brewz. Great food and excellent craft beer. Reccomended. Image: New day, and Helen insisted on getting hot chocolate for brunch. Interesting cup designs. At Aurora Southsea. Image: She smiles! Image: Former Southsea United Reformed Church. Image: The Festing pub. It caught my attention because "festing" means "partying" in Norwegian. It also sounded a bit like "festning" which means "fortress". Image: Someone's fond of decorating their home. Image: The pub at the inn we stayed at. Image: The reason we came to Portsmouth (instead of meeting in London): Celebrating Al's birthday at The Merchant House. These are my old EQ guild mates Debbie (Al's wife), Anton and Rob. Image: Me and Helen had planned to take the train to Heathrow, but Rob offered to drive us. Image: Some kind of kite gathering going on. Image: The return trip didn't go exactly as planned. We'd messed up the logistics somewhat, so we ended up taking the bus from Oslo Airport to Fjærland - at night. Helen's car was ready for us when we got there, after which we drove directly to work in Dale.