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Archive for September, 2009

Couchsurf around the world Sep 16

Have you heard of Couchsurfing? This is basically a network of people that are offering their help and services to other travelers. You register and create a profile and then you can surf other member’s profiles and ask if you can spend the night on their couch when traveling. Sounds too good to be true I guess but I have hosted a few travelers and shown them a bit of Norwegian life and and attractions around Stavanger and they have loved it. You can also use this network if you are traveling alone and just want to get in touch with people for a coffee, a drink or just to learn a bit about the local culture. There are also other similars networks like Hospitalityclub.org. So don’t be shy…register online and help fellow travelers in need :-)

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Is it the end of The World? Sep 15

No, we are not talking about Armageddon here – we are talking about The World in Dubai. As some of you know, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has started some of the most amazing building projects in the world….some examples are Burj Dubai, Ski Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah etc. They also started the contruction of The World a few years back; a man made archipelago of 300 islands located of the coast of Dubai. The project got it’s name as the islands together formed a world map and to start with the there were lots of rumors of celebrities buying varies islands.  According to the project homepage, The World was completed on October 1st 2008. But this week there are rumors that the whole project has been canceled – check this article in TimesOnline. I could see the islands when I was there in May but I don’t think that anything has been built on them yet – I guess the economic crises in the world put an end to the whole thing and maybe this shows that it was just too insane to complete. I’m always fascinated by building projects that are over the top but I didn’t quite see the big attraction in owning a small island of the coast of Dubai. From what I have heard the property prices in Dubai has dropped a lot but I was surprised to see that there were still a lot of construction activities when I was there in April and May. There has been some negative press about Dubai as a tourist destination in the last year and I guess that is not helping either. Anyway, I will write more about my feelings regarding Dubai in the upcoming trip report that I will post on gardkarlsen.com . You can read more about The World on Wikipedia.

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OK hotel if you have to spend a night near Heathrow Sep 09

I stayed at Sheraton Heathrow hotel (not the Sheraton Skyline) for one night in September 2009 and I booked the room on SPG online and got it for 69 GBP (including taxes but excluding breakfast). When I reached Heathrow airport I took the Hoppa H4 bus (costing 4 GBP) to get to the hotel and it didn’t take many minutes. Check in was fast and I was assigned to SPG room 3139. Read the entire review below by clicking on the more link below.
more…

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Visiting the Monument in London Sep 07

We are back home in Norway now after our visit to London. Here is a short video from the visit to the Monument.  This column was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City. Now you can pay 3£ to climb up the 311 steps to get a great view from about 62 meter above sea level. Read more about it on the official homepage.

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View from the London Eye Sep 06

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Some photos from London Sep 05

It has been a hectic sightseeing day in London. I started out by going to the Monument and I went to the top of it to check out the view. From there I went to Tower of London, I walked across the Tower bridge, went through the HMS Belfast on the river and I tasted wine at Vinopolis (as you can see from this video in my other blog). Below are some shots from London.

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SAS Eurobonus Gold recognition Sep 03

There has been some talk about recognition of SAS Eurobonus gold card members on various forums. In the Norwegian way of being I guess there is not a lot of room for recognition of status – maybe due to the Jantelov? When I came to Stavanger airport yesterday I noticed that there was a flight from Stavanger to Oslo at 5.15 PM and I went to the SAS counter to see if I could change to this instead of my 6.30 PM flight. But it did not take long to get the answer…as I had a cheap ticket there was no room for changing this even if I suspect there were seats in economy on the earlier flight. So I went over to check in…back in the old days it was possible to just walk to the counter to check it but now you have to check in on a machine and then go to baggage drop. I did check in on the machine and I followed the sign saying Business class as this normally indicates the priority line for SAS Eurobonus goldcard members. But I guess not…the lady behind the counter told me that the business sign was just for Lufthansa business class check in and she asked me to read the monitor better…thanks for the great guest service lady. So she asked me to get behind the one person that was in the line for baggage drop. Great service indeed.

As I was not able to change the flight I had to wait and of course due to airline controller problems (I hope that you have started the job of fixing this Avinor) my flight to Oslo was 30 minutes late. I think the captain was also a bit pissed off about this as he blamed the delay on the airline controllers several times. So I got to Oslo about 30 minutes late but I did make the connection to London and I guess that’s what matters, But back to recognition for having a SAS Eurobonus goldcard. Don’t get me wrong…I love having the goldcard as it gives me access to the StarAlliance lounges and I can bring more luggage. BUT, I don’t really feel like an appreciated customer with SAS or any of the other StarAlliance members…maybe there is just too many with a gold card these days. But then again…even the ones with a SAS Pandion card complains about recognitions so maybe we are just too focused on treating everybody equally.

The landing in London was pretty exciting as there were strong winds and lots of rain.

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We’ew going to London Sep 02

We are going to London today :-) Over the years we have been there a few times but it was only in 2000 we got to do some serious sightseeing as you can see from this London trip report. This time we only have from Thursday to Sunday and there is just too much to see and do. But we will do our best to cover some of the main attractions at least :-) On the list at the moment is British museum, London Eye, maybe a London walk, maybe the science museum, maybe a gallery etc. Stayed tuned and I’ll try to keep you updated :-)

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The Globetrotter’s handbook Sep 01

I got a copy of the Globetrotter’s handbook a couple of years back and I think it is a fun tool if you are backpacking through lots of countries as you get info on countries, there are maps, you can write down your flights, vaccination register, conversion tables, map showing time zones, pages for notes and a lot more. The book was a lot smaller than expected but I guess it makes sense as you have to be able to bring it along where ever you go. But I have to admit that I have not used it…as a Samsonite suitcase traveler I don’t really have any use for it as I usually bring my laptop and that means that I can find most of the info online. But still…if you are going backpacking this book might be a fun tool for you :-)

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