Went on a quick trek following along the Mesna river and small waterfalls, then stopped near the Winter Olympics ski jump before making our way back to the city centre.
The Maihaugen open air museum is definitely worth a trip while in Lillehammer. According to their website, more than 200 houses are recreated from a number of periods, as early as 12th century.
Part of the trip involved reenactments from period actors in the ‘open houses’. For example, if you go inside a house there would be a person from the period talking about baking cinnamon rolls but she would provide a recipe for the time. There was also another actor from the 80s, including wearing 80s make-up, talking about their life to the visitors. If you ask them questions, they would answer as suitable to the time. For example, ask a 1950s ‘resident’ of the open house a question about fiber optics and they would not know how to answer.
The overall tour took about 2 to 2.5 hours.
Norsk Folkemuseum Open-Air Museum
The Norsk Folkemuseum is most definitely well worth a visit while in Oslo and Norway in general. It is a bit offsite from the main city centre but it is worth the trek either via as part of a tour, via public transport, car, bike, and so on. This area even has some grazing fields where I spotted sheep and horses.
The Sámi people
One of the exhibitions, and mentioned in some of the houses, is of the Sámi people. The Sámi people are a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Murmansk Oblast of Russia. There are still groups today, also speaking the language, but their existence were challenged due to Norwegianization attempts by the government some time ago.
Life in a 1800s farm
In the summer, visitors can see some activity going on around a 1800s farm.
For your amusement, a video I took this afternoon of a group of Smålens Geese aka Norwegian Spotted Geese waddling along with their caretakers at Bjørnstad, a large farm from Vågå, #Norway from the 1700’s.
According to their website, the Norsk Folkemuseum is located at Bygdøy in Oslo and has an Open-Air Museum with 160 historic buildings. The museum focuses on the time period from 1500 until present time, and in-door exhibits feature Norwegian folk costumes, folk art, church art and Sami culture. Temporary exhibits, audience programs and activities for children all year.
Norsk Folkemuseum Buildings
Unfortunately there was too much detail involved with the buildings and the history so I only have photos to offer. I would recommend looking their website to read more on the details.
Finnmark 1950s building
Viking Ship Museum
About a few minutes walk from from Maihaugen is the Viking Ship Museum which is composed of a few actual Viking ships which were discovered as burial ships as well as accompanying relics.
Luckily on offer were full-sized ships that have been restored. So much so that you can really smell the wood and finishings. Unfortunately, other items were already plundered at the time of discovery but they managed to get some bits and pieces – a piece of cloth here, in one case only the nails left.
During the ‘long shutdown‘ CERN opened many of its site to be visited upon by thousands of visitors over a two day weekend on 14 and 15 of September 2019. I was one of those visitors, after having found out about the whole event in June on the morning that registrations opened.
ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a heavy-ion detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) ring. It is designed to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where a phase of matter called quark-gluon plasma forms.
The ALICE Experiment seek to answer some fundamental questions, such as:
- What happens to matter when it is heated to 100,000 times the temperature at the centre of the Sun?
- Why do protons and neutrons weigh 100 times more than the quarks they are made of?
- Can the quarks inside the protons and neutrons be freed?
Waiting for the tour was a process in itself – at least three hours spent standing in 25 to 27C sunny weather somewhere in a French village alongside many other people!
Visiting the Prévessin Site
Unfortunately, I was really tired after ALICE and briefly spent time at the CERN Prévessin site which is named after a nearby French village. I went to an exhibition tent set up which also covered the specifics of LHC. The amount of specifics covered – from the absolute minute right through to the 27 or so kilometre site was amazing.
During the ‘long shutdown‘ CERN opened many of its site to be visited upon by thousands of visitors over a two day weekend on 14 and 15 of September 2019. I was one of those visitors, after having found out about the whole event in June on the morning that registrations opened.
I managed to register at sites, but the way it functioned was that this was more like a registration as to when you arrive. Therefore, if you did not register for the sites that you wanted to visit you can still do so. There were ample opportunities to get registered. The biggest challenge was getting yourself to Geneva in the first place and making it to the sites. I managed to do a tour of two sites – the LHCb experiment (day 1) and ALICE (day 2).
Day 1: LHCb – Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment
The LHCb experiment is one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at the Large Hadron Collider accelerator at CERN. LHCb is a specialized b-physics experiment, that is measuring the parameters of CP violation in the interactions of b-hadrons. The 5600-tonne LHCb detector is made up of a forward spectrometer and planar detectors. It is 21 metres long, 10 metres high and 13 metres wide, and sits 100 metres below ground near the village of Ferney-Voltaire, France. About 700 scientists from 66 different institutes and universities make up the LHCb collaboration (October 2013).
The tour group that we had was headed by a PhD student candidate in physics, who’s name was Bartosz although I didn’t catch the rest of this full name to give him credit!
The first stop (photo above) was the control room where he talked about a typical day of the scientists and operators involved in the 24/7 upkeep of the accelerator.
Next, we moved on to a few exhibition type of rooms holding a miniscale model of the accelerator, a map overlooking the entire area over some French villages on the Swiss borders.
And then it was time to go underground – about 102 to 103 metres underground! Below are photos of the LHCb experiment:
LHCb data centre
Following the tour underground, we headed overground to look at the data centre processing the results. These data centres are housed in separate containers outside the site and kept cool via the additional containers above it. It is expected that considerable amounts of data will be collected in the next iteration of LHCb and they are also preparing the data centres for it.
Following by two very notable and very interesting sites:
Quality control and assembly (for hardware, parts) site showing Scintillating Fibre Trackers
Unfortunately, I forgot the official name of this site, but they have a separate warehouse which is entirely dedicated to assembling the necessary components for the LHCb accelerator. In this case and during the Open Day, they have the Scintillating Fibre Tracker and paper here.
One of the amazing things to learn about this is that absolute precision that is required, as it requires to be absolutely straight. It cannot be even a few degrees tilt as it would affect accuracy of the results. Even the frame itself has mechanism to avoid condensation, as condensation itself would affect the ’tilt’.
The CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST)
The CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST) is an experiment to search for hypothetical particles called “axions”. This experiment has been ongoing for at least two decades and is set to continue on.
The telescope will actually only power for a brief moment, about 10 minutes, each sunrise and sunset collecting data. It requires immense power to refrigerate to -270C (temperature for outer space) and pictured below is one of the mechanisms to keep it cool:
And that is it for the first day! Coming soon will be all about the second day.
‘Japanmarkt’ or a Japanese themed market at Birgit & Bier in Berlin near Treptow Park. The venue was like a free-roaming type of beer garden with spaces for various shops and food stalls set up. There was a small stage for a kimono demonstration and I also spotted a dance while leaving.
It was such a nice event. I tried some matcha waffles with chocolate and banana (the ones shaped like a fish), some soupless soba with chicken karaage, sparkling sake and bought a matcha liquor. Also some Japanese stationery. I’m feeling really nostalgic of my high school days. In Australia, at least in my high school, you have the option to learn a language other than English and we had the option to learn Japanese.
After Japanmarkt, I went to a “Designer Garden Market” at another venue but it was a bit small, cramped and not really to my taste.
It’s been great!
I’ll still be updating this blog, but it will largely be around life evolving around living in Germany.
This creation is a 360° panorama by artist Yadegar Asisi at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. It captures an experience of the Berlin Wall at around that location in 80s.
When you first enter, you will see a series of black and white and colour photographs taken, complete with descriptions. There were also small videos as well as some map details.
Following that, you enter a very very large room, basically the exhibition itself. It is dark, with a tinge of blue. Soundscapes can be heard in the background of what could have been urban life back then.
The panorama itself is almost lifesize and very detailed. As someone who did digital art professionally (for a short period of time) I was really intrigued and I knew the amount of effort it would have taken to photomanipulate this, realistically, and at the detail and high resolution that it was made available in.
Alas, I was expecting a bit more. For some reason, I thought it was like some sort of real life reconstruction where, once you go inside, you are actually physically transported back to the time.
I really like learning more about the Cold War era. There was a Netflix TV series which covered the escapes by the Germans during that time, including a family escaping via a homemade hot air balloon as well as a light aircraft.
If you are receiving any packages from outside the European Union, you may at some point have to deal with the Zollamt. They levy customs duties and excise duties after importation and import VAT. With them the actual customs clearance takes place. Before a customs destination (ie the receiver) they hold the package for a temporary amount of time for further clarifications.
I’ve had packages received in the past, in one case it had to go through customs (but I never had to be there physically to pick it up) and I’ve also had gifts sent to me that never went through customs even though it was in the UK and EU. In Germany, you need to physically go to the Zollamt.
Before receiving any goods (either as gifts, as commercial purchases or as goods returned back to you due to replacement/repair) you should be aware of what the requirements are before entering the Community, as well as whether or not you need to pay import fees and if you do need to pay import fees, how much.
The formula to calculate customs fees: ((Value of goods + shipping costs) * inches) * import sales tax
For more information please go to https://www.zoll.de/
Waiting for Zollamt notice…
It took me about 6 weeks after I got noticed that my package was sent to get an email from the Zollamt.
In the mail, you will receive a letter most likely three pages of information:
– One page will detail that your package is at the Zollamt with information of the opening hours and days as well as until which date they will hold the package.
– One page will detail that the postal carrier (in this case, DHL) will charge some sort of ‘handling fee’ and that your signature, mobile and date/place is required.
– One smaller page will have some details and numbers.
Sign the required page and bring that, also bring the smaller page with you at the Zollamt.
What to prepare if I am picking up goods returned to me because of a warranty repair/replacement?
According to zoll.de: “Goods exported from the customs territory of the Community can be accepted as returned goods if their re-import was already intended at the time of export, or where re-import was not intended but takes place owing to particular circumstances. If these conditions for the acceptance as returned goods are met, the goods can be released for free circulation under relief from import duty.”
This means that you don’t need to pay anything. However you should now that burden of proof that this is actually a valid return is dependent on yourself. Therefore the following are needed to show proof:
- The receipt (die Quittung).
- Email sent to the company that you are sending the product to them due to it needing replacement/repair.
- Email confirmation/s back from the company saying that they are OK with the replacement/repair and that they have actually sent these back to you.
To make it easier I had the emails printed up already translated from English to German.
Also you cannot show them screenshots. There is a computer in place where people can log in to their email accounts and print up. You cannot print from a USB. I did see a sign for the Zollamt email address, I’m not sure if you can send the Zollamt your own documents though and how that works out exactly. But, there you go.
If you don’t have said documents, you run the risk of not showing proof that it’s an actual return and paying the import tax.. or at least having an uncomfortable time with the officers there.
Anyway, they give you a waiting number and you wait. So, even though the room was sparse, I waited for 40 minutes. I think it’s because other people had to go in and out of the waiting and customs inspection rooms (where the officers are located). You have a bluntish instrument to cut the package open and show the contents to them.
Anyway, that was it. The whole ‘experience’ took up at least 3-4 hours of my time though because of the travel (and the various SBahn work) but now I got my lovely package from Australia! (Which by the way was a pair of $900 prescription glasses that I needed fixed, and some lens cleaner that was sent to me)
((Also shoutout to the Zollamt lady with the awesome holographic nails working there!))
Disclaimer: I bought some cheap tickets online and decided to go for completely novelty reasons but also because I was curious as to what the whole industry is like. I don’t smoke or vape, nor do I grow or invest, nor do I partake in anything pretty much related to this nor do I have any need for medical marijuana.
So, I am back from the Mary Jane Cannabis Convention in Berlin at Arena Berlin. It was a really interesting event although I was probably only there for about 1-2 hours before deciding to leave. It was crowded – the site listed out 250 international exhibitors, 25,000 visitors and 30,000 products. Interestingly enough there was no age limit but people under 18 needed to have their parents there and I did see a few kids there with their parents.
Most of the people there were pretty much the demographic that you’d expect here, with some I guess what you call dabblers or tourists. It’s a convention, so you have all sorts of thing that you’d expect going to a convention – ie checking out items from fertilizers to growers. And then you have the various suppliers on board for vapes, rolling papers, rolling kits and whatnot. And of course there is the produce – anything from edible hemp and CBD-infused products right through to CBD crystals and so on. Oh and weed.
Ok, I came out with a few items though largely around CBD-infused products – tea, coffee, a lightweight oil, a couple of lollipops and someone gave me some CBD-infused dog treats.
I largely stayed away from stuff that I felt just really gimmicky and also a lot of the sugary stuff, except for the two lolly but they were only 50 cents each..
Enjoyed myself at the Italian Street Food Festival in Berlin! I went on Sunday at noon. Get off at Ostkreuz station, walk down Markgrafendamm including the ://about blank which still had music blaring and a small line-up outside and then you reach Osthafen where the Italian Street Food Festival is.
Since I arrived at around opening time it took about 15-20 minutes for the vendors to get ready a bit but I took advantage of there not being a lot of crowds.
I have to say that I really need to make sure to go to Sicily since I love the cuisine there!
You can read the full article here.
I spent 4 days in Hamburg in Germany. Really amazing city and the second major German city that I visited other than Berlin.
The entire city is quiet compact and pretty much a lot of the major sites are walkable from each other.
- Seeing the ships and port at Baumwall and walking alongside it from Baumwall U-Bahn to the Fischmarkt area.
- Walking along HafenCity Hamburg where the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is located. Also a very nice area to take in the buildings and other sites.
- Having an Erdbeeren Prosecco overlooking the area at Jungferstieg overlooking the Alsterfontäne, especially when it is sunny. On Sunday there was an outdoor music setup but I had to leave.
- Going on Sunday morning to the Fischauktionshalle – I went later (around 10am to 10.30am) to get away from the crowds of people there in the morning and went for one of the local specialties, Fischbrötchen, inside. They also had live music playing as well as a lunch buffet on the upper level. You can also buy these outside in the food vans parked outside, but I found the quality is not as good.
- Going shopping and a coffee in the nice cafes around the city area.
- Watching a wedding in Hamburg take place outside the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg.
- Walking along the Alter Elbtunnel from one side of the canal / river to the other and seeing the city from the vantage from the other side. Also exiting via the larger elevators which had a loading capacity of 6 to 10 tonnes each.
There are lot of things that you can do in Hamburg – I’d love to come back and go see a theatre or show and also see the museums. Maybe next time!
Sehr passend, dass ich einen Tag nach der Nachricht über die Genehmigung meiner #Deutschen Aufenthaltserlaubnis nach Karneval der Kulturen #Berlin gegehen bin. Ich komme morgen wieder!
Ich hatte eine Mandel sizilianische Granita und am besten gegrilltes Hähnchen aus einem afrikanischen Stall. Morgens, vielleicht Lebensmittel aus Russland, Polen, usw. Lecker!
Very fitting that one day after the news about my #German residence permit being approved, I went to Karneval der Kulturen #Berlin. Coming back again tomorrow! Had a almond Sicilian granita & best grilled chicken from an African stall. Tomorrow maybe foods from Russia, Poland, etc. Delicious!
This post is a short follow up to my much longer entry about the process of obtaining the German freelance visa. You can read the entry below:
I was expecting a slightly longer waiting process, having read various timeframes. Anything from 3-4 months (developer already living in Berlin), more than 6 months (a programmer), 3-4 months (a travel blogger).
You get notified via email and they present you with the documents that you need to print out, the money that you need to pay the visa fee and further instructions.
I had to get another appointment at the LABO though, unfortunately (and as usual) appointments are blocked with the next appointment time available all the way in August. Of course, you do the usual – either refresh the appointments website trying to get an earlier appointment or you basically show up, wait for a long time (ie hours) to get a waiting ticket, wait some more for your actual appointment and so on.
I managed to get an appointment in just under two weeks – largely due to a mix of luck and also travel.
In your final appointment, you bring all the documents that they need to finalize things.
Now, one thing is that I actually stated that I wanted two years for my freelance visa, not knowing that I could actually ask for three years. The Ausländerbehörde case worker gave me three years! I was really ecstatic about it.
The case worker also spoke all in German and I’m glad to say that I also understood her and that I also spoke in German back (the understanding was also largely because I already was aware of the procedure and rules anyway).
I was not as busy as I would have liked during that time – most of it language learning, some reading, looked into other paperwork that I need (from looking into German driving schools and drivers licenses, right through to the pension system and requirements for the permanent residency). I also actually decided to buy a study guide for this professional certification and start going through it. Actually, I wished that I was a lot more busier and did a lot more, but the time has been productive. Now that my longer stay in Germany is confirmed there are more opportunities involved which is great.
Anyway this is just the entry step to freelancing and running your own business in Germany. There is a lot more things involved now – from tax to pensions and health insurance..
I’ve been using Lingoda since January and I’ve been an avid user since then because I took part in their three-month daily language learning Marathon for German and French. I noticed a link to the Community beta and decided to sign up.
I’m pleasantly surprised to see that they are using fediverse software*, specifically Mastodon. Attached a few screenshots though note it’s in BETA so things will change a bit over time.
The Fediverse* (a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”) is the ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, macroblogging, or websites) and file hosting. On different servers (instances), users can create so called identities.
I’m currently using software based on Mastodon, Pleroma, GNU Social and there is also Pixelfed (for images) and PeerTube (for videos).
I will do another update over time to see how the Community goes, maybe, depending on how much things over time change.
Ah I see that they are now using the Mastodon front-end column layout which is much better since now I can see all messages and notifications!
Since this post is about Lingoda, feel free to use this code FYUVJH for 50 euros off the first month!*
Note: This is not like a PR thing and I’m not being paid or prompted by their team to write about them!
If you enjoyed this series, or found it helpful please let me know (or even better… use the discount code if you like the sound of Lingoda) where you can sign up for a trial.
Read my Marathon posts also for a breakdown over three months (and more) learning French and German.
The history of the first harbor festival of Berlin dates back to a document from 1298! Today it’s a bit more modern and it’s very nice to see something like this still being celebrated.
At the harbor festival in the historic harbor on the Fischerinsel in Berlin-Mitte there was a free event featuring a small concert stage, food / drinks trucks serving German fare, Spanish food, beers, mojitos and more. It was a small event but a nice day out nonetheless!
I had pommes des frites with a quark-based dip.
A bit of history of Berlin…
In 1922, the railway system, that connected Berlin to its neighboring cities and villages was electrified and transformed into the S-Bahn, and a year later Tempelhof airport was opened. Berlin was the second biggest inland harbor of the country. All this infrastructure was needed to transport and feed the over 4 million Berliners
This is a follow up post to all my previous posts doing a marathon via Lingoda. You can read the previous posts below.
Just a note that I did both the French AND the German full marathon at the same time.
Previous post nearing the end of my marathon!
Progress so far in the middle of the marathon…
Starting the first month of the Marathon…
Did I get a refund?
Yes! I did in fact get a refund for the German because I fulfilled all of the conditions. Therefore I will be getting about 807 euros back!
Did I get two refunds for doing two languages?
Actually, this question I will never be able to answer because I didn’t meet the conditions to succeed the French part of the marathon due to a few reasons! One of those reasons was that I booked two classes on the final day – thinking that it should be ‘fine’ but I should have waited until the day after. The other reason was that a teacher was not found for one of my classes, I did not get a notice about it until it was too late and, thinking that I forgot to book for that day, I booked another class. I then decided to cancel said class when I saw email.
Anyway, rules are there for you to read – highly recommended that you check the rules very carefully and check your emails.
Am I still using Lingoda?
Well, yes and no. The yes part is that I decided to re-subscribe after a two week break but on a ‘lighter’ plan.
The no part is that I decided to look for a local language school to take up most of what I am learning – largely because I wanted something a lot more intensive with a set schedule of 3 hours per day in one block, 3-4 days per week.
How did I move from learning A1.1 to learning B1.1 since January?
First of all, I didn’t meet the lessons to reach the CEFR certificate requirement because collecting CEFR certification is not my goal. I did some A1.1 units, some A1.2 units etc and now I’m doing A2.2 units. My goal is to challenge myself just enough that it does not feel like I am reviewing a concept (unless, I want to review) while not feeling like concepts are out of reach.
And, to be fair, I decided to do a placement test for a language school. I placed at B1.1 level to start with for my courses. I also did sign up to go to a language course (not Lingoda) for A2.2 but found it more of a refresher and decided to leave the course.
CEFR certification (or TECL or something else) may be my goal when I am learning B2/C1 level.
Discount code for new users…
Feel free to use this code FYUVJH for 50 euros off the first month!*
*Don’t worry this is not a sponsored post…and to be transparent, I get free classes in return also.
If you enjoyed this series, or found it helpful please let me know (or even better… use the discount code if you like the sound of Lingoda) and for my next post I will do a comparison with intensive course and how it fares.
Today was my first time going to a Maker Faire and it was in Berlin at an area called FEZ which turned out to be this huge type of indoors and outdoors area just for children and young people to have fun. It’s actually my first time seeing this and it was pretty cool.
I only spent one hour at the Maker Faire and it was quiet enough for me as I didn’t intend to purchase anything there.
And left with a few German magazines to practice reading comprehension!
Some of the other stalls that interested me were, interestingly enough, most had nothing much to do with technology and more to do with ‘making’
- Blacksmithing demonstration where I can actually watch a few blacksmiths at work. Very hot and physical type of work! Don’t think I’ll be taking up blacksmithing any time soon…
- Making your own canoe, with a few canoes on display.
- Very interesting sculpture made of light and wood with some LEDs – but the LEDs where more like icing on a well-done cake and the sculpture work itself was far more interesting.
- A project featuring a robotic arm playing drums.
Thankfully not a lot in terms of ‘commercial’ type work, there were a lot of kids and families there though.
Personally, I’d love to go to a much larger fair – perhaps in Shenzen or New York, even London.