In Vestfold county

Stavern is an old port favoured nowadays during the summers when its population grows ten fold. Beaches, art displays, open areas and history, combined with events which are organised almost all year around since its opening to public in the 1990s make this little town in Larvik a preferred destination amongst Norwegians. Music concerts are amongst the most popular concurrences which have had such success that even Elton John has come to this little town to stage.

The Gunpowder building is noteworthy; separated from the rest and built of stone and brick (as opposed to wood as the other buildings), just in case things get heated.

Other buildings in the area are wooden and with a colour so particular that it has become its own color name: stavern yellow. Not easily missed!

Practicing skills from 1000 years ago

This is a replica of a viking boat. The original boat was a burial boat for a queen and was found under ground along with many artefacts including a wagon. The boat was reconstructed using the traditional ways used thousands of years ago and the same materials.

A second boat is now being built. It is another replica of a cargo boat that will recreate a journey that will last 4 years to complete. People are invited to join part of the journey and live a true viking experience.

Every little town has a (hi)story

Melsomvik is a cooperative community building a better future from themselves, they came together to create a space to spend their long days in their short summer. Right across the bay from an ex-whaling station they placed their diving platforms.

On the path to the new area, is this antique bell. It was to alert for fires as streets were narrow and locals were worried with the industrial area close by. The industry was to repair ships that chased, found and hunt big whales in the Arctic a couple of hundred years ago.

Unexpected sightings

Part of the enchantment of living in the old country is bumping into old buildings randomly. The church of St Francesc de Sales, patron of journalists and writers, is a prime example. A brick building designed by Joan Martorell i Montells, one of Gaudís teachers. It suffered in the civil war and then, during the 80s, it endured a fire. It has been refurbished and now a great piece of architecture in the streets of this Catalunyan city.

So far, so good

In my short time here it would seem that Craft beers are not such a popular drink of choice. The tap beers are seldom craft and to buy craft beers one must go out of their way and find the appropriate shop that sells them. Finding myself needing to kill time, I had the luck to be near a bar and trial a local brew.

Local commerce

To promote local commerce in the small village of Valdoreix, a small farmers and artisans market is set out every Saturday just outside the train station. 405 meters offer prepared food, produce, clothing, or even a vermut catalan and a nibble. Buy high quality jamon from a local producer and get it vacuumed sealed ready to travel!

A home then a cinema

Exploring Barcelona I bumped into this urban palace from 1887, Palau Marcet. The building on the right, until 1934, was a home, then it was sold and refitted to become a theatre, named Teatro de la Comedia, until 1960 when it became a cinema.

Not the fruit

In 2015, the giant Catalonyan clothing company, Mango, created 838 jobs worldwide with 35% in Spain. Nowadays, the employment force of the retail shop is at more than 16k worldwide.

A labor pool so numerous needs a big headquarters that can manage around 75K clothing items to be sent around the world to many markets. Here, 30mins outside Barcelona, “El Hangar” Design Centre designs 18,000 items of personal wear per year and the 150,000 square meters host many employees, contractors, clients. And me. Sometimes.

An ecological park

Opened in 2002, Mar Park Barcelona park spreads out around a series of paths that branch out in all directions like a tree and long concrete benches that resemble the waves of the sea. The park was built on a disused and old metal factory site where they used to built trains, trams, carriages for the metro, and escalators. The area is divided into seven large area each of which is meant to evoke different sensations. This prt has certainly evoked the sensation of curiosity for me. As I ran past it for the second time I couldn’t help but make a mental note to make a proper visit.