Monday, October 10, 2016


I was so looking forward to the Norwegian leg of my journey; how many Kiwi's can say they have been north of the Arctic Circle? My trip was a bit like a mullet: business up front and party at the back!


The first part of the visit was spent in Oslo. First up was a visit to the Oslo public library who were 2 weeks out from going live on Koha (of course). 

They are doing this themselves and have a great development team who are doing all sorts of cool stuff with the Koha API and the semantic web and recommendations.  My understanding is that it is basically a standard Koha install with all sorts of magic done using the API - and all their work on github so the community can share here which is awesome :) This will be an install to watch I think.

Design University, Oslo
They also have a new building in the wings - a spectacular building that will look right at home beside the new opera house down at the harbour front , but in the meantime they are doing great things renovating their existing 1930s building. It's a big old solid thing so really hard to knock walls about but it has great bones and features including huge windows and they are working wonders with colour. Convinced me again that all you need are clever librarians with great taste to transform a space into a perfectly acceptable public library. 

Fab youth space upstairs in the oldest purpose built
public library in Oslo
This was confirmed again when we visited the first purpose built public library in  Oslo. A WWI era building (I think) and while the downstairs is unashamedly a step back in time (as in 100% authentic) the upstairs youth area is stunning.

Magnus and a VIKING
ship - a real one!
We also spoke twice at a university in Oslo, once to library students, and visited a private university for arts and design that has recently opened in a refurbished warehouse. We had a tour of all floors and this building is not only truly beautiful but has a range of great student spaces to suit the collaborative way of working and flipped classroom trend.


Ok - not quite party but certainly pure pleasure. Before Magnus took me to stay with his family for the night in Bodo we visited the Viking Museum and a collection of historic Norwegian buildings included an amazing traditional church. The weather was sooo cold in Bodo and so wet and simply perfect - given that we were north of the Arctic Circle (I'm going to try and say that at least 3 more times because I can!)

After a day sightseeing in Bodo (north of the Arctic Circle) including the remarkable narrow tidal strait and the new library we headed off to the ferry for the trip to Lofoten Islands (even further north in the Arctic Circle). It was dark when we arrived and then an hours drive to the house we were sleeping in. So, the next morning: WOW! What a stunningly beautiful place! 

We made an early start to the day because Magnus had an itinerary and we had so much we wanted to see; in fact that night when we were heading home on the ferry it was hard to believe how much we had seen in a day. If you ever get the chance to come to Norway or head to Lofoten: do it. I would rate Magnus 10/10 as a tour guide - would definitely book again! 

The landscape and the weather are so huge and the towns and buildings and people seem so very small. So, to honour that these last photos are huge!

Fish drying racks in front

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