Hjortsprånget

About two and a half weeks ago I went up to SöderÃ¥sens Nationalpark which is a nature reserve here in southern Sweden. It’s a ravine with a brook at the bottom of it. The area around is covered with mainly beech trees. I had the Friday of and it was nice weather so I decided to go take a long walk. If I recall correctly the path I choose ended up at 9.8 km or something similar. It’s not super long, but it’s quite rough terrain with two steep climbs.

I had an other reason beside going for a walk when going there though. It was the first time I went there alone and I have been wanting to do so since 2007 but never gotten around to it. I wanted to visit a special place of the trail called HjortsprÃ¥nget. It’s an outcrop of rock that stretches out in the ravine for about 8 meters. About halfway out it’s very narrow and only about half meter, with a birch growing on one side that you need to get round. Out at the end it opens up to a smallish platform.

In the post The lair from six years ago I wrote “I don’t want to take that step with them watching, so I think I’ll go there someday rather soon, alone. Sit on the edge, think, feel.” The step I refer to is of course the one of the cliff to a fall down to the rubble below. It would be a semi-certain death. So now I finally went there alone to sit on the edge, think and feel. It was quite a short process. My live have improved significantly over six years that has passed and it didn’t take seconds to decide that I do want to live. Instead I spent some time sitting there and reading on my kindle. It’s still a very nice place to sit at.

Included some pictures of the place, they don’t at all do it justice though. Not quite sure if that fence is to keep animals in or out. And definitely not sure which animals.

Gran Canaria

Today I got home from Gran Canaria. I went over there the 6:th of November and it did not start very well at all. When the plane had parked at the gate the personal on the aircraft announced that iberia that handles everything on the airport was unsatisfied with their working conditions and thus had decided to do everything very slowly this fine Saturday. It started with the lack of stairs for the plane so we could exit if. After about 10 minutes we got one for the back door and after about 5 additional minutes we also got a stair for the front door.

That weren’t too bad we though and happiy boarded the bus that took us to the terminal. The bad part was that we had to wait for four hours for our luggage. We picked it up on two seperate belts and it was not announced anywhere where the luggage actually would arrive. At least we were lucky, some people didn’t get their luggage until three days later. After we collected our luggage we tried to board a bus heading towards the hotel. The whole bus departure was very badly organized by Fritidsresor whom we were travelling with. We finally reached our hotel a few hours later than expected.

When we arrived at the hotel we checked in, looked at the watch and concluded that we hadn’t eaten in about 12 hours. As we were on an all inclusive trip we just stashed our bags in the room and headed towards the restaurant. Inside the restaurant it looked great, lots of things to choose from, nice setting and lots of waiters. And that’s where it ended, it looked great. The food on the other hand wasn’t of very good quality and it seemed like the chefs didn’t really care about making good tasting food. Everything was so-so and nothing really impressed us. After a week at this hotel we actually want to cook our own food so we can eat something that actually taste good and isn’t over cooked. The only exception to this was the romantic dinner we attended on the Tuesday. It was not great, not like eating at a restaurant in Sweden, but it was at least better than what we had every other day. After the dinner we fell asleep quite rapidly as we had been awake since three in the morning.

The following days we in general spent sunbathing, bathing and reading. We in short did a whole lot of relaxing. We went swimming both in the Atlantic and in the pools at the hotel. The Atlantic had about the same temperature as Öresund in Sweden has in the middle of the summer. It’s however has a much higher level of salt in the water so it stings a bit in your eyes if you have them open while diving. Back home in Öresund it’s a perfect level of salt in the water for diving, too bad it’s a bit chilly to swim there for quite a large part of the year. One of the days we played 18 holes of minigolf. We were tied at the last hole but I finally won over Annie with a few strikes.

We lived in an area that’s called Taurito. Calling it a village would be wrong as there’s no natives living there. It was tourism deluxe. It consisted of about 10 different hotels, a beach, a splashland, one restaurant and a few shops. We definitely heard Swedish every day. One day we went over to the closest actual village Peurto de Mogan which was about 5-10 minutes away with the bus. There was a bit of the original village and housing left, but it was obvious that tourism had made it’s mark.

The last day before we were to go home we decided to go on a trip up in the mountains. We were picked up by the bus close to our hotel at 7:40 in the morning. We hadn’t been up this early for several days. The bus then drove around and collected about 35 people from various hotels along the coast. Our end stop with the bus was a small village called Santa Lucia. The trip there went on the edge of the cliffs for large parts and Annie didn’t really like the bus ride up there. When the bus went around corner the driver honked his horn to let people on the other side know that he was coming, it was impossible to see.

The village of Santa Lucia was an authentic Gran Canarian village about 800 meter above sea level. Here we had a stop for people to go to the loo and have a drink. I had some freshly pressed orange juice, which was a nice change from the juice I got from the machine in the restaurant at the hotel. From Santa Lucia we started walking up in the mountains. We had our lunch that we had brought ourselves at a height of about 1250 meters with a splendid view.

We continued pushing a bit higher and crossed the ridge at somewhere between 1300 and 1400 meters. It was a steep climb and quite an effort to walk 500-600 height meters. On the other side of the ridge we continued on the side of the ridge down into a valley. It was quite steep and quite beautiful. Annie had her new camera with her and all the pictures below is taken with her Nikon. When we reached the floor of the valley we could not believe the path we had walk down, it seemed impossible to walk on a slope that steep.

We finished up with some drinks and ice cream at a restaurant in the valley. The restaurant was cut into the mountain and was the work of a single man. He had help of two others a few times but overall it took him between 11 and 13 years to cut out the restaurant. The tables were made of stone and were actually leftovers of the original rock and thus not possible to move. The bus back was less thrilling as it was just at the bottom of the valley and then on the highway.

Today we left the hotel shortly after 9 and now I’m sitting at the airport waiting for a go to gate announcement on the monitors. I don’t look forward to the 5½ hour flight at all. I’ll post this when I get home where I easier can resize the pictures and actually have an internet connection.

Over all, I had a great week with Annie on Gran Canaria!

Redwood Shores

And as we noticed, I didn’t write the following morning. I have been writing on this post for 3 days now. Quite a lot of the time went into fighting with the pictures. I tried many gallery plugins but didn’t find any I like, so finally I fixed it with some html and css instead.

Four weeks ago, about this time of the day, I got a text from my manager at work asking if I wanted to go to our office in Redwood Shores in California as soon as possible. After asking for how long and then asking Annie for approval I decided that I would go. I thought it would be a good opportunity to develop and also to show my manager that I am flexible so that she might use me for other interesting things in the future. The 30:th of August which was the following Monday I left for US together with one co-worker and my project manager. The project manager went home after one week though.

The travel started about 9 from my apartment to go down to the train station and catch a train to Copenhagen. From Copenhagen we went with SAS to Washington Dulles where we would change plane to a United bound for San Francisco. The trip was not great as I started to become ill, Annie had been nice enough to give me a proper cold. My project manager decided to have some bad pizza and threw up while we were waiting in line for security in Washington, then again at the domestic flight, twice. I didn’t sleep much on the plane so I was pretty tired when we arrived at our hotel around 22. This way I could shift my day right away to pacific time which I managed to do. So no jet lag on the way there!

Work there was to help out with the multimedia parts on the product they’re developing. The guys in Redwood are very talented and highly skilled with their specific area, but they lack people with multimedia competence. While there we worked quite a lot but we also had a few days off. The first Monday was labour day, which we worked on, and the second Sunday we also worked. There was a whole lot of things to do at least. I would have had no problems staying longer if Annie had been with me there. I missed her a lot throughout the trip.

Some things that are different between the Swedish office and the one in Redwood Shores. First of all, they work a lot over there, pretty much all of them. They are in general also more competent than the people in Lund and they get more done in less time. At the office in Lund, there is fruit for the employees. At the office in Redwood, there is crisps, pretzels, sodas, cookies and some candy. The people at the office is not overweight in general though, about same as in Sweden. Many of them are swedes though. There’s also 24 hour service at the reception, always security guards sitting there, good for when you need to order a cab and only have an international phone number. The picture facing the front of a building is of the Sony Ericsson office. The other picture is of Oracle’s buildings. They were located close to the hotel and they look awesome.

Enough about work, the first Saturday we went in to San Francisco together with one of the guys from the Lund team who had been there for three months. In the city we went up to the Golden Gate bridge. I had heard earlier in the week that it was always cold in San Francisco and one should always bring a sweater no matter how nice and sunny it was in Redwood. Of course I forgot all about this and went in a t-shirt. At the Golden Gate bridge I think it was about 20 degrees celsius in the air. But it was so very damp and very windy. In short, it was cold. At the time I already had a cold so it probably didn’t help much with curing that. We took some photos of the bridge from a viewpoint. Then we walked up to the gift shop where I got a postcard for my niece. I in general do not send postcards ever when I’m on trips, but as it was her birthday I thought she could get one. One thing that is cool with the Golden Gate bridge is that even though the amount of cars that want to cross it each day, they still have a lane each side for bikes and pedestrians. We walked about to the first column took some photos of Alcatraz Island and headed back to land.

A large part of the rest of the day we spent driving on the 49 mile drive. This is a 49 (about 79 km) long scenic route that goes through San Francisco. As we were going by car it was not optimal for taking pictures, but we got to see a lot of the San Francisco city. Due to some construction work and we in general being a bit tired of driving around we didn’t do the whole 49 miles. The part I found the most fascinating was the tour through the Golden Gate Park. The park is about one km wide and starts down by the Pacific Ocean more or less and stretches for a few kilometers into town. The fascinating part about this park is that you don’t go there to walk around in the park. You drive there, to drive around in the park. If you leave your vehicle it’s to get your BBQ and games out. Then you perhaps walk a few hundred meters to a good spot. This is very different from parks in Europe where you usually go to walk around. Very weird!

The following day we drove our project manager to the airport and then headed for Muir Woods. To get there we had to cross the Golden Gate bridge. This day it was clear weather though so we took the opportunity to take some new photographs. Best pictures of the bridge you get from the other side though, so on the way back we took a small detour. It was very windy this day as well and when we were at the viewpoint on the north side of the bridge we met some suicidal dutch people. If she would to fall backwards, she would most likely die. After I took this picture, her friend asked me to take pictures of the three of them standing on one pole each. Crazy people….

Muir Woods was a really amazing experience. I normally like to go out into nature, but this was something else. The trees were so magnificent and large. Been standing there for hundreds of years and to stand there hundred of more years hopefully. After crossing the bridge we parked the car and took a shuttle to Muir Woods. When we arrived we concluded that this was a good move. There was about 50-100 slots for parking at most and there was about 1000 cars which wanted to park there. The cars instead parked at the side of the road, for a few hundred meters back at least. National parks in the USA isn’t like in Sweden, they’re not open and free to explore as you like. You have to pay an entrance fee and you have to stay on trail.

In the park there was 4 loop trails crossing the broke on 4 different places. I wanted to go the long route but Jan Olof who was with me thought it would take too much time. After we reached the third bridge we concluded that the time estimates on the map was on the high side, for fat Americans I guess, so we did the longest loop. There were some trails leading away from the park further on up the valley as well, which would have been nice to do if I were to go there again sometime, but it’s more of a project.

One of the reasons it would be nice to go on one of those trails is that they would probably be less maintained and more natural. With the amount of people coming there each weekend the trails are more like roads. Some of it is covered with asphalt and a lot of it is board walk. The best part was after crossing the fourth bridge, then the trail went up on the slope and there they couldn’t do much with it, so it was a nice small natural trail. Still way too many people to make it feel natural though.

Two things that are quite cool with redwood trees. Redwood trees can absorb as much as 50% of their daily need of water from the air. This is one of the reasons they only grow at certain places. In the valley where they live in California it’s very damn, it rains a lot in the winter and in the summer huge amount of fog and mist rolls into the valley. On the roots of redwood trees there are lumps that are waiting for the tree to become stressed. When the tree becomes injured or stressed these lumps begin to grow. This can be seen afterwards when you have a stump of a redwood surrounded by a ring of healthy new redwood trees. This is known as a Redwood Family.

After we had our walk we had something to eat and I bought a Redwood in the gift shop. It’s now standing in the windowsill of my kitchen window waiting to getting planted in a proper pot. Got it in a plastic tube and packed it in my suit case for the flight cross the Atlantic, seems to have survived without trouble.

The following weekend we went across the worlds 25:th longest bridge, but it’s not spectacular in any way, just long. All other moments of free time went into resting and relaxing at the hotel. I had prepped the laptop with a bunch of movies and tv episodes to watch while being at the hotel. Also went for a swim in the hotel pool and a bit of hot tubbing.