Just before leaving, on Mon 19 May (which was the Pentecost Sunday holiday), being somewhat perverse I decided to take the train to "Hell" and back. Thats actually a little station on the line by Trondheim fjord, just before the airport - some 50 min on the train. Its quite a nice trip, with some lovely views of the fjord. There's actually nothing at Hell itself (apart from a lovely old station that you have to get a photo of yourself at!). Apart from the name (which of course means something entirely different, and boring, in Norwegian), I mostly went there 'cos several people back in Canberra wanted postcards posted from there. That accomplished, I had a bit of a walk round, and caught the next train back.
On Tues afternoon I headed off to Stockholm, First got a local train up to Stolien (just over the border in Sweden, and some 600m up). Had an hour of so to wander round, and admire the views of mountains with still a fair bit of snow on them, before getting the sleeper to Stockholm. Had a good trip, arriving bright and early at 6am! (the train even had a shower on it - almost made up for the lack of breakfast which you get on Norwegian sleepers). Had breakfast at Stockholm Central station, and relaxed for a bit till heading over to Ericsson CS labs in Älvsjö. Had a very productive 3 days there. I gave a seminar on my latest ideas, and had some vigourous discussions with people there. I'm feeling really pleased because I think we're reaching a consensus on what we're jointly trying to acheive, though we're coming at it from different backgrounds and perspectives. Since I've been back, I've been very busy here at work getting the conclusions down in another paper, and revising my prototype programs. But thats jumping ahead. In Stockholm I stayed at the Hotel Malmain in south Stockholm, convenient to both CSlabs & the city centre (though not cheap - then again, nowhere is) but very comfortable.
On Sat 24 May, I took a day trip by boat to the island of Björkö and the viking settlement of Birka. Its located in the large lake inland of Stockholm city (which actually spans a number of islands). The trip took a couple of hours, and was very pleasant. The island has a world heritage listing, and is being carefully excavated. Birka was the major trading settlement in the region circa AD800 for some hundreds of years. There's not a lot to see in terms of constructions (which were mostly wooden), but there are hundreds of burial mounds scattered around the aera of the town. We were given a guided tour of the sites, and also allowed to walk round. It was mostly a sunny day, and very pleasant. There's also an impressive chapel "Ansgars's", built in 1930 in honor of the first Christian missionary to the island back in AD829.
Come Sun 25 May, and it was time to move on - so I caught the high-speed X.2000 tilt train to Göteborg. It was very comfortable, and travelling first class the service was excellent, including a very nice meal. The speed was deceptive, hard to realise we were peaking at some 250km/hr. That evening I enjoyed just walking round Göteborg in the sun. Just as well, 'cos by the morning it was raining steadily. I spent Mon mostly exploring museums - the Maritime museum and Aquarium (with some very unusual and attractive fish), Konstmuseet Art Gallery (I liked the older realist landscapes and studies as always), Stadsmuseet (City) museum (which had a special exhibition of SE Asian gold ornaments), and the Maritime Center (which has a collection of boats you can actually crawl over - the destroyer Nordkaparen and sub Småland were the most interesting). I also did the Paddan boat tour of the canels and harbour (in the rain, but it was quite interesting). By the end of all that, I was pretty stuffed. On Tues, I had time to explore the city park and gardens, before catching the train to Oslo and then (with an 8min connection which I made with about 2 min to spare) on to Lillahammer.
Had Wed 28 May in Lillahammer - and the weather was gloriously sunny (a very distinct contrast to that most of the way there - its was raining all the way up through Oslo, only fined up in central Norway). In the morning I went on a nice walk up over the ridge behind town to a lake in the hills behind, then looped back to the top of the Ski jump used in the winter olympics - lovely view from there - and 900+ steps down! Took about 3 hours. The afternoon I spent at the Maihaugen outdoor folk museum. They have a collection of dozens of traditional houses relocated into a lovely area with trees and little lakes. Many have appropriate period furnishings in. I really like the way its done, and think its the best of the various folk museums I've been to here (both Oslo & Trondheim have good museums also). Finally caught the evening train back to Trondheim, arriving home about 1130pm (and it was still light of course).