My personal review of 2020

2020

2020 was strange, problematic, difficult (or as say it Norway ‘vanskelig’) and demanding (‘krevende’) year of my life. I finished my first year of PhD project at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. I finished the database of Viking Age graves with bird remains. I also wrote two chapters of my PhD thesis and one article concerning waterfowl remains in Viking Age graves (which will be hopefully published soon). Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, I cancelled all my travels to other regions of Norway, Scandinavian countries, and Germany. I was only able to travel to Poland when I visited my family in January. Finally, it was my first year in which I was not able to edit and publish my all photos before the end of the year (photos from September to December will be published soon).

Between January and September, I spent my time in Oslo working on my PhD thesis, visiting close neighbourhoods of Oslo, museums in Oslo and taking numerous photos. I also participated in the EAA online conference. I wrote a summary of my activities in these months, which I published on my research blog Viking Age Birds.

In October, I worked partially at my office and at the home. In this month, I read a lot of articles concerning human-nonhuman animal studies, which are crucial for me in the preparation of the next chapter of my thesis. In the whole of October, I also participated in several online meetings in the scope of theory of knowledge course. During which, in the small group, we worked on presentation concerning issues related to interdisciplinarity in the scope of humanities. I was a fantastic experience to work with such nice and knowledgeable people. Thank you very much for this wonderful collaboration!  

On 7th October, I participated in the online lecture by Neil Price entitled ‘Children of Ash and Elm: a new look at the Vikings’. It was very nice to listen to different fascinating hypothesis on beliefs in the Viking Age. On 12th October, I took part in the Zoom lecture ‘Memorializing 22. July’ by Helge Jordheim, which was part of the Difficult Heritage Symposium organised by the University of Oslo. On 16th October, I took part in another PhD research seminar, this time online. During this meeting, I presented a draft version of my article concerning waterfowl remains in Viking Age graves. I am really grateful for all remarks to this version! Moreover, it was very nice to meet and to discuss various works by PhD students. By the end of this month, I also wrote a chapter of my PhD thesis concerning theory and methods. On 26th October, I took part in online research ethics course, which was part of the PhD course at the University of Oslo.

Furthermore, I took numerous photos of beautiful sunrises over Oslo. On 24th October, I also went to walk on Bygdøy. I visited parts of this peninsula which I was not able to see before.

In November, the situation with COVID-19 again become problematic and unsure. Therefore, I decided again, to move to the home office. This time, however, I was better prepared. I organised a place for my laptops and books. Therefore, it was so much easier for me to finish my work on part of the PhD thesis than in the spring months. In the first week, I finished the chapter on theory and methods. On 16th November, I participated in another PhD research seminar at Zoom. It was very nice to listen about new research projects at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo.

In November, I also took several photos of the nice sky over Oslo. On 21st November, I could memorise a wonderful sunset, which I saw from the shore of Bygdøy.

In December, I continued my work at the home office. On 3rd and 4th December, I participated in the very nice media dissemination of research course. During it, I learned how to present research to the wider public in a more accessible way. Furthermore, I also prepared a short article concerning my PhD project. I hope to publish it soon in the general media.

In the next days of December, I started to revise my chapter on theory and methods. On 21st December, I went to a very nice walk to Østernvann. I walked a different path than, I cycled during my trip to Triungsvanna. I was an extraordinary experience to walk through the moss-covered forest which looks like from Scandinavian film.

I would like to thank you very much for fantastic and unforgettable meetings and captivating discussions in this hard 2020!

I wish you healthy, so much better, and sure 2021!

Godt nytt år!

Triungsvanna

In Friday’s evening, I decided that I would like to spend the first day of weekend cycling to the part of Oslo, which I did not know. I chose the north-western part of this nice city.

In the morning of 15 August 2020, I cycled in the direction of Røa. When I reached the centre of this borough, I turned to Fossum. Later, I cycled past Bogstadvannet and followed to Østernvann lake.

Later, I cycled further to the north-west. The path which I cycled led through the pine-dominated forest with numerous old mossy threes. There are also a lot of blossoming heathers (Calluna vulgaris) and small bushes of lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).

The whole landscape looked extraordinary. It reminded me, locations which I saw in films shot in Scandinavia. I admired the views on both sides of the path, which I cycled. After several kilometres, from behind trees, I saw a lake named Triungsvanna. In it are leaves of European white water lily (Nymphaea alba), small isles covered with long grasses and mosses. This area of water looked like are from Scandinavian folktales or horror movies. I stopped by the shore and took several photos.

Later, I decided to follow the path further. It leads along shores of the lake and further to the forest. It ends in the swampy area. This place looked malevolent to me. I decided to turn back. On my way back, I found a nice place by the shore of Triungsvanna. I decided to have lunch there. Later, I cycled back.

To conclude, it was a fantastic but demanding trip (it was a lot of cycling uphill). I enjoyed my time spent together with gorgeous, wild Norwegian nature.  

Soloppgang i august

On 8 August 2020, I waked up very early. Therefore, I had the possibility to memorise a nice late summer sunrise.

Sognsvann

On 1 August 2020 together with my neighbour, I went for a long walk to Sognsvann (which I visited during my vacations). We decided to walk a longer way along the harbour and to go to the north-west from the centre of Oslo.

When we reach the lake, we decided to have lunch and to have a rest. During this very nice break, I had the possibility to observe birds and dragonflies, flying or swimming by the shores of the lake.

After the rest, we walked roads leading through Ris to Lysaker. It was a very nice and calm walk.

22. juli i Oslo

22 July 2011 was one of the tragic and saddest days in the modern history of Norway. On this day happened terrorist attacks during which 77 people were brutally killed.

In the afternoon of 22 July 2020, I visited the Government Quarter (Regjeringskvartalet) where is the temporary memorial dedicated to all victims of these tragic events. I observed that numerous people stopped there, leave flowers and spent some time in silence.

Natur og architektur

Next day of my vacations (17 July 2020), I spent cycling and enjoying beautiful nature in Oslo. I visited forests located near Sognsvann, one of the laces in Oslo. During my trip, I had the possibility to observe some species of birds and to enjoy beautiful summer weather.

I also had the possibility to observe some species of birds, including common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and greylag goose (Anser anser).

On my way back, I saw beautiful street with architecture similar to this from Damstredet (which I saw on 15 June 2020). By Telthusbakken are several charming colourful wooden houses and nice allotments. When I walk and cycled along this short street, I felt like in some parts of Bergen full of wooden charming buildings.

Barcode

By the end of my bicycle trip on 16 July 2020, I visited Bjørvika and photographed modern architecture. High buildings of the Barcode Project have very photogenic forms and façades. For me, the most fascinating and nice to photograph was the dark grey building which looks like a giant ‘Tetris’.

Further beyond tower blocks are beautiful bike stands in the shape of these vehicles.

It was a nice experience to photograph this interesting modern architecture of Bjørvika.

I skulpturparker

The second day of my vacations (16 July 2020), I decided to spend cycling and admiring art placed outside. Firstly, I cycled to the well-known gorgeous Vigeland installation (Vigelandsanlegget) located in the Frogner Park. In this part of Oslo, are presented numerous sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, depicting humans in the different ages in very specific poses. This installation consists of the four parts entrance (huge gate decorated with xenomorph-like creatures), bridge (with numerous sculptures placed on both sides), fountain (with sculptures of humans. Animals and fantastic creatures) and majestic Monolith (Monolitten). For me, not only sculptures on the bridge were fascinating but also numerous details of the fountain. They are showing peoples in the very strange and peculiar interactions with animals and fantastic creatures.

Porten

Broen

Fontenen

Monolitten

Later, I followed the road along the harbour to Bjørvika and later turned in the direction to Ekeberg park (Ekebergparken). This park is beautifully located on the hill close to the eastern part of the harbour. This place is another part of Oslo in which could be seen numerous sculptures exhibited outside. There are place among trees or glades and sometimes hard to find. I photographed several fascinating artworks, including ‘Levitating woman’ by Matt Johnson, ‘The Couple’ by Louise Bourgeois and ‘Anatomy of an Angel’ by Damien Hirst.

‘Levitating woman’ by Matt Johnson

‘The Couple’ by Louise Bourgeois

‘Anatomy of an Angel’ by Damien Hirst

After my very nice visit to Ekeberg park, I photographed the wonderful sculpture ‘Helhesten’ by Gunnar Utsond, located in front of the building of the former Sjømannsskolen.

Later, I cycled downhill in the direction of the centre of Oslo. I stopped in the Bjørvika to photograph the modern and interesting buildings of Barcode.

Museer, architektur og natur

At the beginning of July 2020, I finished the first draft of my article concerning Viking Age graves with bones of waterfowl. This work will be base for one of the chapters of my PhD thesis on the meaning of birds in Viking Age funerary practices. On 15 July, I started my vacations. I decided to spend several days visiting placed which I was not able to see in 2019 or the late winter and spring of 2020.

On the first day of my vacation, I went for a long walk to visit some museums. I walked from the centre of Oslo to the east. I walked past Cemetery of Our Saviour (Vår Frelsers gravlund) and I end up on a beautiful street with many colourful, charming wooden houses. Street named Damstredet is one of two streets with this kind of architecture in Oslo. It seemed to me like from the different world. It reminds me also numerous gorgeous parts of Bergen, which I had the possibility to see in 2019.

Later, I walked to the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisk Museum), which is surrounded by a botanical garden. Exhibitions in this museum are presented on several floors and are devoted to the different branch of natural sciences. The first exhibition concerns geology and palaeontology. On it could be seen rocks, crystals and fossils. In the centre of the room is a reconstructed skeleton of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.

Assisting room, with a huge map on the floor, is devoted to the presentation of the different kinds of rocks in Oslo and its neighbourhood.

In the following rooms are numerous dioramas presenting flora and fauna of the North (there are many bird specimens in them!).

On the next floor, we can see different exhibitions concerning exotic species and their natural environments.

Further, there is also a beautiful room with a modern exhibition presenting the tree of life and explaining issues related to the evolution of species. I really enjoyed it!

After spending a while in the nice building of the Natural History Museum, I walked to the Munch Museum (Munchmuseet) to see artworks of one of the famous Norwegian artists.

In this museum are two exhibitions presenting works of Edvard Munch. First dedicated to the photographs and second presenting some paintings (including well-known ‘Scream’). Exhibitions are nice but very humble because currently Museum preparing for moving to the new building in Bjørvika and many of paintings are in the conservation. It was a fantastic experience to see ‘Scream’ (and other works by Munch) and to closer look on strokes on canvases.

Mørk granskog

Naken mann og kvinne i skogen

Solen

Badende mann

After I visited the Munch Museum, I walk through the Botanical Garden (Botanisk hage). I saw there numerous flowers from different parts of the world. Unfortunately, building with cactuses (and other more temperature-sensitive plants) were closed for the public due to COVID pandemic. However, I saw some of them through the windows.

Later, I followed the road along the harbour to my home.

Til Malmøya

In the middle of June on change happened in my life. On 19th June 2020, one of my colleagues kindly lent me a bike, which stayed at home unused. Having a bike allowed me to move faster and more convenient to my work, to do bigger shopping and to see other parts of beautiful Oslo. I would like to heartily thank for lending this nice bike!

On 27 June, I dedicated to going for a short trip to check bike on longer distance and to enjoy beautiful weather. My first destination was the end of the Harbour Promenade. I cycled from the western part of Oslo through the centre. In the centre of Oslo, I stopped by the main building of the Museum of Cultural History, which designed by Norwegian architect Henrik Bull. It was covered for a long time because of the conservation works. The whole covering was removed at the beginning of June. During my walks to the library, I had the possibilities to see how it is uncovered part by part. Unfortunately, I had no time to see its details. During my trip, I saw that above the main entrance are beautiful sculptures of the owls. What is more, owl-motifs are also below windows on the first floor.

Later, I followed the Harbour Promenade. When I reached the final part of the above-mentioned route, I thought that the distance which I cycled was too short. It will be a pity to come back so early, in particular, that the weather was beautiful. Therefore, I followed the road up to the bridge and further. After some time, I end up on the nice isle surrounded by piers with numerous boats and sailing boats. Later, I cycled a narrow, steep, winding road among the charming houses. I ride through the forest with camping place (named Solviks Venner) and to a small beach. Because road ended here, I decided to turn back.

When I reached the height of Bygdøy, I thought that it will be nice also to see western harbour of this peninsula. I cycled a path leading through nice forest. I ended up on a beautiful rocky shore close to Huk. There, numerous people bathing, relaxing. I briefly looked on the nice landscape and turned back.

During this day, I cycled 40.42 km. It was my longest trip for many years. It was wonderful to spend this nice day actively.