Christmas shopping in Stavanger Norway.

By | Shoping, Stavanger | No Comments

Stavanger is a small, beautiful and very interesting city of Norway. In this city every season has its own pace. Summer is busy and colorful with festivals and tourists while winter is  all about Christmas in Stavanger. Its a cold and wet city as it rains a lot here but time to time the snow takes over.

Shoppers flock to these famous streets all year round in Stavanger center, but during the winter months they are lit up with a spectacular set of Christmas lights, making for the perfect Christmas shopping experience. Complete the festive feeling by admiring the famous Christmas window displays at Audhild Viken/Julehuset i Stavanger.

Don’t miss this store’s giant Christmas shop at 1st floor, with luxury decorations, Norwegian traditional santa and the hugely popular mouth blown and hand painted Christmas ornaments.

There, at Audhild Viken Stavanger you can also pick up presents for just about anyone. They have typical Norwegian souvenir shop which offers different sections of specialties. From Elg to Viking and Trolls to Norwegian knitting patterns.

Before going there my friends use to say that no Christmas shopping in Stavanger is complete without paying a visit to the Julehuset i Stavanger. Which i found true after visiting the shop.

Its very east to reach the shop. It is behind Burger King in the center of Stavanger. There is always a big troll standing out side guarding the shop.

Please share your experience about Christmas shoping in stavanger. Comments are always welcome.

Neighborhood watch – the safety, the inconvenience

By | Neighborhood watch | 3 Comments

Initially, I thought registering my apartment in Sandnes on Air BnB was a great solution to earn some extra money during this summer. I had advertised a long-term rental online without any success, even after lowering the price 20%. Also, I figured I could finally use my MSc in Hotel Management in a practical way.

Then, just 5 minutes after posting, bam! Three reservations were made instantly! How cool! One couple were from Canada whose father was born in Sandnes in 1899. Another couple was arranging their honeymoon (rose petals, champagne, towel swans came to mind) and another from a family of five (we´ll just call them “the family”) Everything seemed to be working out fine. Of course, as with anything new, there are always kinks to iron out and Airbnb, as I would soon found out, is definitely an art that requires some practice to perfect.

The family was due to arrive on Saturday. My boyfriend asked if I was interested in going on a cabin trip, leaving Friday and returning Sunday. “I said sure, no problem, lets go!” I had a trusted friend living nearby who could give the key to my guests. I then wrote to the patriarch about this plan of accessing the apartment.

He replied, “We will be arriving very late on Saturday, most likely just after midnight. But no need to have somebody waiting for us, we usually find the key somewhere by the door when we use Airbnb, and so far never an issue, so not troubling the owners to come around or something. If you leave us exact instructions on how to find the place and the right door, and where to find the key, we should be just fine. “

The check in time for my airbnb clearly states 10 pm and the rules are that if guests arrive outside defined times, they must ask for approval. It is not for granted that I would have approved because this is also inconvenience to me. Arriving that late, I would not even ask my mother such favours. Being new to airbnb as I was, I was also nervous about having people find a key in a public space and never actually meeting them in person.

But, as dedicated as I am to hospitality, I was determined to find a solution, but had to think quick. This family was probably looking forward to this trip and had booked it 3 weeks in advance. As the apartment is in an apartment block, obviously the other inhabitants would not be happy if I drill a hole to hang a code lock box. I can´t use a hotel reception, I am their new competition. After having lived here so long, bribing is no longer a viable option.

After pondering and wandering around in the middle of the playground in the center atrium of the apartment complex, I found a cute playhouse for children, under which most of the balconies look onto. I could tape the key underneath. What a great idea I thought. Because of the wet climate here, I wrapped the key on a Yoda keychain, placed it carefully in a plastic bag and then taped it. I taped it and I taped it, enough to ensure that it would not fall, in rain or sun or wind. I was rather satisfied with this innovative plan and wrote exact instructions to the father of the family.

My friend´s cabin was in the middle of a forest about a 2-hour drive away (with a ferry trip included). We enjoyed the day, hiking and in the evening we sat around a fire, drank wine and ate delicious food cooked over a coal flame. We played one hand of poker. I kept my phone handy. As a concerned host, I wanted to know if they managed safely to get there.

Then, at 12:34 am, my guest called. The key was not there. A man, his wife and three children were wandering around in Norway in the dark and cold. I did not know how to help them or what to do. The key must be there I thought. Just the day before, I tugged on it and it would not come off! Eventually found a hotel. I was anxious but everyone was telling me, “the key is there, don’t worry.” “He just can´t find it” “it must be there”. I was relieved they found a place, but more questions arose. Where was my key?

The next morning we drove early back home and low and behold, it was not there, not even in any garbage bin. I did see some coke bottles that looked like a party had gone on under that house and I got nervous. Was this the modus operandi of a serial key stealer leaving his signature? Did it actually fall off? Did some toy unboxing-inspired child find this random package and decided it must be opened?

The next day, I went to the police and reported a missing key. I gave them my identification. Eventually an envelop was brought out of a cabinet. My key! Instead of handing it to me, the lady at the counter just nodded, smiled and said “one moment” then gave it to an officer in uniform where he entered my ID though a system. I had my key back.

But instead of handing it to me, the officer summoned me, looked at me angrily and said “what is this key doing here?” I knew then that he knew what had actually happened and all the excuses that I wanted to use (I taped it to my bike and it fell off, I was playing with my friends child and it just disappeared, etc) were never going to work. So I told him the truth. Having Yoda on a keychain also didn’t add to my credibility either. Then he replied “Don’t ever do this. Your neighbours think you were storing drugs”. I apologized sincerely, said it would never happen again and left.

As I walked home, I thought about this incident and wondered what the neighbor was thinking when he was looking at me place this key in broad daylight. I was thought about if I were the neighbor, what would think if I saw myself doing that. Personally, I thought it must have looked more like doing warrior pose in yoga, than hiding Yoda. Despite motivations being totally innocent, I openly admit I should not have hid the key in a public place.

Even if this reveals a lack of trust among each other, this incident shows the immense trust in the system. My neighbour waited until I left the scene of the “supposed crime” and then called the police, instead of yelling at me directly “what the heck are you doing?!?!?!” (something I probably would have done) which would have most definitely scared me away. But, it was not that they wanted to scare me away from that location, it was essentially to eliminate any possibility of anything similar in the future in the community. If someone had just told me directly, and if I was in fact hiding illegal substances, I would have perhaps found another place to hide it and then society as a whole would not have been protected.

Now I have a code lock box and so next time my guests will be able to find the key at anytime by themselves. And yes, this was inconvenient me for a couple of days, and most like not the most pleasurable experience for the family who had to find a hotel at 1 am. But, I am grateful for such concerned neighbours and now I know I live in a safe neighbourhood. Thank you to whoever you are and please stay vigilant.

Today when i took the bus in Norway

By | Travel | 4 Comments

Today when i took the bus in Norway

It was a usual day as always. I scanned my travel card and found a seat to sit in middle of the bus. It was that time of the day when little ones were at schools and elders were at college, universities or at their jobs. At that time of the days in middle of the week when its a busy working day, you will find busses less crowded and a number of senior citizens traveling from place to place. To have some activities, to kill their loneliness and to meet fellow seniors. So this is the perfect time for them to move around. I am talking about the retired ones, who have spent their life building current system and make every this as it is now for the current growing generation.

And of course the people like me who are foreigners, settling down in this beautiful country and the ones who are here to visit, on a work trip or to spend holidays are there too. Also a number of refugees can be spotted.

Suddenly the silence broke, an old voice could be heard from a nearby seat. I could tell the gentleman in over 80 by the sound and pitch of the voice. He spoke some words in Norsk as i paid attention he was trying to approach a small little arab princess. He got the attention of most of the travelers in the bus. I guess he had some issue with his hearing because he was a little louder than usual norwegians. I should say norwegian are so kind when they speak, especially when it come to address an unknown person. They have their own way of using different polite words in their language.

Now when he said some words to the little arab kid, she was around 7 or 8 as per my guess, it created an environment that made me think about saving the situation in my words. The little girl looks at him with a curious but fearful eyes and then looked at a lady sitting next to her and then looked at him again. As the old man got her attention his words flew out of his mouth and broke the silence once again. This time the women sitting next to the little girl wrapped her arm around her daughter and moved closer to her.

It got to see the impressions. She was a bit confused and kind of lost. It was like some one switched her protection mode. As an eagle spread her wings when they feel danger around their eaglets. Just like that she reacted.

At once the old man had a strange confused look at his face too but he attempted again to say few more words. Sounded loud as before but few more words than earlier. He got up from his seat, little shaky, holding poles and seat, moving towards the door and as bus reached to a stop, he went off.

today-when-i-took-the-bus-in-norway

I could see both of them , the little arab princess and her mother they felt quite relaxed now. Mother hugged her daughter and gave her a little smile to cheer her up and spoke few words in arabic.

I could understand the old man and the woman. Old man said first time “Hello, you are pretty“, and there were exchange of impressions from the other side. Then he said in 2nd time “Do you speak norsk? I have grand daughter just like you.” Oh this time the mother reacted and wrapped her arm around her daughter. She muttered in confusion and a little frustration “I don’t understand.” “Come closer my darling.” Finally before he got off the bus he said “I just wanted to say hi, nothing to be afraid of in my country, good bye.

 

What i saw, was a remarkable piece of misunderstanding. They were not able to understand each other, they were speaking two different languages, which lead them to an unpleasant and confused situation. As being so old he was not able to express his expressions as his words. The little girl along with her mother were not able to feel his welcoming gesture. I felt as he was trying to welcome them to his country and wanted to say that they are safe here. His sound and faded impressions were not able to translate his feelings. So the mother and her daughter could not understand.

This situation made me think that how important and useful it is to understand each other. If you move to other country where the language is a barrier, you must try to learn it. If the woman could understand few words of kind old man, the situation would have been pleasant and the little girl would never have been afraid. That would have given a huge smile and satisfaction to the kind old man.

well it was my bus ride from school to home today and I learned something new. I felt to share with you guys. Some of you might have witnessed such situation. If i ever be in such situation specially around seniors where i can not understand the other person, best thing i like to respond with is a big smile and pay a little attention to there words so they won’t feel neglected/ignored. Good luck with your daily travels and observation 😉 write down if you have some thoughts.

Click here to read about Stavanger Norway

Click here to read about STREET ART FESTIVAL STAVANGER NORWAY

Play board game with me!

By | Board Games, Play With Me | No Comments

Lately we had a lot of fun playing different board games. The classic ones like Monopoly, Risk, and rummy are still great fun. But the number of new games has exploded in the last several years as designers dream up space adventures, deck-building sagas, and zombie survival games. So order a pizza, invite over one to three friends, and try out the best board games released this year

I will give you few examples:

the-voyages-of-marco-polo

Players:              2-4

Playing Time:    40-100 min

Age:                    +12

 

Marco Polo started on a journey to China with his father and older brother. After a long and grueling journey that led through Jerusalem and Mesopotamia and over the “Silk Road”, they reached the court of Kublai Khan in 1275.

In The Voyages of Marco Polo, players recreate this journey, with each player having a different character and special power in the game. The game is played over five rounds. Each round, the players roll their five personal dice and can perform one action each turn with them. The five main actions are shown on the bottom part of the board:

  • Get resources with 1-3 dice, depending on the value of the resource (camels, pepper, silk, gold). The first player for each resource gets them for free; the later ones have to pay according to the value shown on the dice.
  • Take one resource of your choice and two camels. Each player sets the minimum value for the future dice.
  • Earn money, with any one die netting you five money.
  • Purchase orders: The value of one die unlocks the orders up to that number (shown on the spaces) and allows you to buy one or two of those orders. Orders are refreshed and placed at the beginning of each round. To fulfill an order, players have to spend resources for victory points, other resources, camels, and more.
  • Travel: Two dice are placed to unlock the distance that can be traveled on the upper part of the board, that is, the map. Here, the traveler piece of each player starts at Venice and can decide between several routes eastward, all the way to Beijing. When a traveler stops at a city, they place a marker there, giving them access to a different additional action for the rest of the game.

After five rounds, the game ends with players receiving victory points for arriving in Beijing, fulfilling the most orders, and having reached the cities on secret city cards that each player gets at the start of the game; these points are added to the VPs gained during the game.

jarl-the-vikings-tile-lying-game

Players:              2

Playing Time:    15-25 min

Age:                    +13

Game description from the publisher:

In the long winters between raiding seasons, warriors keep their intellect sharp through games of wits and chance. Ragnar, Rollo, Floki and even the Earl challenge each other to this game of stone placement filled with tactics and subtle maneuvering for victory.

In Jarl: The Vikings Tile-Laying Game, players move their warriors (tiles) around the board and flip them over after each move. Each tile’s side shows a different movement profile. If you end your movement in a square occupied by an opponent’s tile, you capture that tile. Capture your opponent’s Jarl to win!




myth-myth-game

Players:              2-5

Playing Time:    120 min Around

Age:                    +12

Myth is a fully co-operative fantasy game. Players take on the role of one of 5 different heroes working together to defeat the Darkness. Each hero has a different skill set which represented by a unique deck of cards. Players spend Action Points by using cards. Once a certain amount of Action Points have been spent the Darkness fights back by activating monster lairs, spawning monster captains and eventually the Boss.

A complete game in Myth is called a Story. Each Story is played over three Acts. Acts can be played sequentially, or can be split up over three different game sessions.

Players’ avatars within a Story are called Heroes. Myth Heroes are clothed in immense power, able to reave all but the mightiest foes. However, this power must be balanced lest the Darkness take too much notice. Players must weigh their actions against the Threat each will bring, with the consequences of awakening more evil and bringing doom on the party’s endeavors. And be careful they must, as the Darkness is formidable and eager to snatch glory from the valiant.

Heroes are controlled through an intuitive Hero Deck (videos for each Hero can be found in the Game Play Videos section below). Each deck plays uniquely and allows players more freedom of action and the ability to truly impact the Story each and every Act. Yet, cooperation is the key to victory and bloody fortune. Players must communicate, interact, and assist each other or surely the Darkness will cover all.

Myth is a fully cooperative game. There is no player controlling the Darkness. The Darkness is governed by a set of rules unique to each Boss Deck and is activated through Hero actions. If the Heroes get overzealous, then the Darkness pushes back by activating Lairs, spawning Captains, and punishing the Heroes with devious Events. If the Heroes take a more subtle approach, then the Darkness reacts by reducing the potential for treasure and rewards. Without the treasures and equipment to upgrade, the Heroes will find each Act more difficult and eventually fail. The dynamic nature of the Darkness really lends a more fluid feel to the Story. Players aren’t being driven by properties out of their control, nor are they being shepherded by a person whose skill has a direct impact on the enjoyment of the game.

Myth is a fun fantasy romp where players feel truly heroic. In the playing of the game, the players are creating their own mythos. These stories are the ones carried away from the table, becoming myths themselves. And these are the myths, with friends and family, that we carry with us; telling and retelling our endeavors at the mead benches, earning treasured smiles and laughter.

quantum-game

Players:              2-4

Playing Time:    60 min

Age:                    +13

Send out the scouts! Position the Flagship in tactical orbit! And reconfigure that Battlestation into something new! Your fleet of loyal ships, powered by the might of quantum probability itself, carries your empire to the far-flung stars. How will history remember you? As a ravenous destroyer? A clever tactician? A dauntless explorer? Command your armada, construct world-shattering technologies, and rally the remnants of humanity for a final confrontation.

In Quantum, each player is a fleet commander from one of the four factions of humanity, struggling to conquer a sector of space. Every die is a starship, with the value of the die determining the movement of the ship, but also its combat power – with low numbers more powerful. So a [ 6 ] is a quick but fragile Scout and a [ 1 ] is a slow but mighty Battlestation.

Each type of ship also has a special power that can be used once per turn: Destroyers can warp space to swap places with other dice and Flagships can transport other ships. These powers can be used in combination for devastating effects. You’re not stuck with your starting ships, however: using Quantum technology, you can spend actions to transform (re-roll) your ships. Randomness plays a role in the game, but only when you want: Quantum is very much a strategy game.

You win by constructing Quantum Cubes – massive planetary energy extractors. Each time you build a new one, you can expand your fleet, earn a new permanent ability, or take a one-time special move. The board itself is made out of modular tiles, and you can play on one of the 30 layouts that come with the game or design your own. The ship powers, player abilities, and board designs combine to create a limitless set of possibilities for how to play and strategies for how to win.

With elegant mechanics, an infinity of scenarios, and easy-to-learn rules that lead to deep gameplay, Quantum is a one-of-a-kind game of space combat, strategy and colonization that will satisfy both hard-core and casual players.

five-tribes-game

Players:              2-4

Playing Time:    50- 90 min

Age:                    +13

Crossing into the Land of 1001 Nights, your caravan arrives at the fabled Sultanate of Naqala. The old sultan just died and control of Naqala is up for grabs! The oracles foretold of strangers who would maneuver the Five Tribes to gain influence over the legendary city-state. Will you fulfill the prophecy? Invoke the old Djinns and move the Tribes into position at the right time, and the Sultanate may become yours!

Designed by Bruno Cathala, Five Tribes builds on a long tradition of German-style games that feature wooden meeples. Here, in a unique twist on the now-standard “worker placement” genre, the game begins with the meeples already in place – and players must cleverly maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you dis-place these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure.

As befitting a Days of Wonder game, the rules are straightforward and easy to learn. But devising a winning strategy will take a more calculated approach than our standard fare. You need to carefully consider what moves can score you well and put your opponents at a disadvantage. You need to weigh many different pathways to victory, including the summoning of powerful Djinns that may help your cause as you attempt to control this legendary Sultanate.

camel-up-game

Players:              2-8

Playing Time:    15-35 min

Age:                    +8

In Camel Up, up to eight players bet on five racing camels, trying to suss out which will place first and second in a quick race around a pyramid. The earlier you place your bet, the more you can win — should you guess correctly, of course. Camels don’t run neatly, however, sometimes landing on top of another one and being carried toward the finish line. Who’s going to run when? That all depends on how the dice come out of the pyramid dice shaker, which releases one die at a time when players pause from their bets long enough to see who’s actually moving!

splendor-game

Players:              2-4

Playing Time:    25-35 min

Age:                    +10

Splendor is a game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you’re wealthy enough, you might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which of course will further increase your prestige.

On your turn, you may (1) collect chips (gems), or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. If you collect chips, you take either three different kinds of chips or two chips of the same kind. If you buy a card, you pay its price in chips and add it to your playing area. To reserve a card—in order to make sure you get it, or, why not, your opponents don’t get it—you place it in front of you face down for later building; this costs you a round, but you also get gold in the form of a joker chip, which you can use as any gem.

All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a permanent gem bonus for later buys; some of the cards also give you prestige points. In order to win the game, you must reach 15 prestige points before your opponents do.

codenames-game Players:              2-8

Playing Time:    15-20 min

Age:                    +14

Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

Codenames: Win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues.

Which one is your game? Do share your thoughts, post comment or share with friends 😉 Enjoy your game night.