I made it to Tromsø and walked from the airport into town. Closing in on midnight, I found the very cute hostel I had reserved without trouble. A mix of staff, guests, and pets was sitting in the living room watching the football game. I joined and had a very interesting discussion with one of them about life, the universe, and everything. Around three at night I crawled into my dorm bed after a very rich day.
The next morning I had a stroll through town and bumped into one of the guests playing music in the street. He joined me for breakfast at a café. Him being from Birmingham, we had a nice conversation about his disappointment regarding the Brexit.
After I had bought all the supplies I needed, I walked across the bridge and to the cable car.At the top I first enjoyed the scenic view with a refreshing drink and then hiked into Tromsdalen. At the end of the valley I turned east towards Skarvassbu, a DNT hut. After a long and exhausting hike uphill, I found a beautiful spot on a hill to pitch my tent for the night.
After a long and good sleep, I had a laid back breakfast with beautiful sunshine. The one-minute porridge works very well with milk powder and cold water! During the day, the path back to Tromsø lead me over a plateau and down a very rocky valley with streams, lakes, and waterfalls.
When I got back into town, the owner, employees, and guests were sitting in front of the hostel discussing life, the universe, and everything. The usual 😉 I bought some drinks and olives with feta for dinner and joined them. Later we all moved to the beach at the other end of town for a bbq in the midnight sun.
Last year I heard about the Widerøe Explore Norway ticket which is Interrail for flying in Norway: Choose from three zones and fly as much as you want for two or three weeks. Of course that cought my attention and I decided to do that in summer ’16.
So here I am, I dug out one of my previous packing lists and packed my things for three weeks airplane-backpacking across Norway north of Trondheim. Tent, sleeping bag, mattress, … everything and the kitchen sink (well, a stove): 16kg, not bad.
The planned tour includes 18 flights in 12 segments: Trondheim – Tromsø – Kirkenes – Vadsø – Mehamn – Honningsvåg – Hammerfest – Lakselv – Andenes – Leknes – Røst – Brønnøysund – Trondheim
Today’s first trip to Tromsø includes 5 stopovers in Brønnøysund, Sandnessjøen, Bodø, and Stokmarknes. In Bodø I had enough time to visit the National Aviation Museum. Especially the U2 spy plane interested me, but on arrival the receptionist told me that this section was closed. Luckily she was very kind and helpful and allowed me to take a look nonetheless 🙂
Tonight I should make it to Tromsø where I’ll spend the next days.
Based on a recent conversation, I decided to look closer into Labour Productivity, output produced per unit of labour. My usual go-to site for statistical data on economies is OECD.Stat and as usual, they provided me with the information I was looking for.
In order to nicely visualise GDP per head of population, hours worked per head of population, and GDP per hour worked, I did a brief search for cross-platform data visualisation tools and stumbled onto Orange.
Using this very intuitive tool, I was ale to easily create the diagram I had in mind: A scatter plot of time worked vs. output per head:
This diagram is based on the data for 2013, as it was the most complete dataset with only Australia being an estimate and no gaps. The horizontal axis shows time worked, the vertical axis shows the output, and the size/colour show the productivity.
One of the two extreme outliers is Norway, the place I currently call home. So I looked more into this. One of the first search results was a research paper published by Statistics Norway, the Norwegian statistics bureau, which puts this exposed position into perspective and moves Norway closer to the productivity similar to Germany, USA, or Sweden.
The paper attributes this deviation mainly to the oil and gas income and different possible ways to estimate purchasing power parities.
Another interesting place is France which works very little but at a decent productivity, achieving average GDP per capita. Sounds like a good place, if one values time more than income or things.
A positive note for the countries of low productivity is, that many of them have been leading in productivity growth in the recent years.
Well, enough of this nerdy stuff 🙂
Enjoy your Sunday
After the USB charging converter for my headlight battery packs worked really well last weekend (I got two full charges from one battery pack), I decided to quickly implement a simple 12V to USB charging hack I had in mind for quite some time.
On one of the recent hikes between huts I realised that some of the huts in Norway have solar panel powered 12V power supply. I’ve had a spare car-cigarette-lighter to USB adapter for quite some time and decided to replace the plug with generic crocodile clamps which are more versatile. With these new contacts, I can now attach to any 12V source to recharge USB appliances. For a little protection, I secured the leads with hot glue and covered the circuit board with a bit of yellow shrink tube.
As I’m heading out for a three day snow-shoe hike with friends tomorrow, I quickly hacked an adapter which enables me to charge my phone from my headlight LiPo batteries. This way I don’t need an additional backup for my phone.
In one of my junk-boxes I found a 5.5mm plug which matches the batteries. For the phone end I simply cut some left-over micro-USB cable. I wired it all up with a 5V 500mA Step-Down Voltage Regulator from Pololu and insulated my beautiful soldering job with heaps of hot glue and a silicone cover from an LED strip 😀
During the Christmas market in Trondheim, I spontaneously bought a local mountain goat cheese which was especially tasty [Heidrun below]. So I started googling around and discovered a whole network of ecological cheese farms. Many of these apply setring [transhumance/Sennerei], a style of mountain farming which is also common in the Alps. During the summer months the animals, usually milk cows or goats, are moved to a smaller and simpler farm in the mountains. The grass there is rich in herbs and gives the milk and resulting cheese a distinct rich flavour.
Many of these local farms in Norway also offer visits, showing how their produce are made and often also double as bed-and-breakfasts. The network ‘Hanen‘ [the rooster] gives a good overview of the possibilities.
So today I went to the local farmers market, the Bondens marked i Trondheim, a great source for these tasty local cheeses:
- Heidrun fra Brubekken Gardsmeieri
- Grote Ost fra Hitra Gårdsmat
- Blåmann fra Skånaliseter Gårdsysteri