I don’t know why, but I have the tune and lyrics from Dreamer by Supertramp rattling around in my head – especially the line that goes "Far out, – What a day, a year, a laugh it is!" (Click Here to see the full lyrics for the song).
As an aside, I saw Supertramp live in London way back in the mists of time – circa the late 1970s – they performed Crime of the Century (plus a bunch of other songs) and all I can say is “Wow!” But we digress…
I think the reason I’m humming “What a day, a year, a laugh it is!" is that I’m currently having such a good time. Following my Previous Blog, my 17-year-old son, Joseph, and I had an absolutely amazing evening at the official conference dinner, and we’ve also had an incredible day today.
Let’s start with the conference dinner. Everyone attending the conference stayed in the Britannia Hotel in Trondheim, which is where the conference itself was held. The Britannia is a fantastic hotel. I bet it’s not cheap, although I’m sure there was a special rate for the conference, but my room was covered by the conference itself, so I never saw a bill (no wonder I’m having such a good time :-)
All of the food in the hotel has been really tremendous, but I have to say that they outdid themselves for the dinner last night. Joseph and I were invited to sit at the head table with the committee, which made both of us feel very special. As great as the food was, however, it was overshadowed by the entertainment. Earlier in the day, someone had mentioned to me that “The students will be providing some entertainment.” Since there were a few students attending the conference, I had vaguely assumed that these were the ones we were talking about, but this was not the case. Following the fabulous fish course (just before the mouth-watering steak course), the doors to the dining room were flung open and a line of male students dressed in traditional garb and singing at the top of their voices threaded their way between the tables up to a small stage.
It turned out that this was the male choir from the University of Trondheim
. I understand that this choir has been in existence since time began (or at least since the university was founded) and it has a famous tradition. Their voices were incredible – it reminded me of a Welsh Male Voice Choir – but all in Norwegian. All I can say is that the entire show was amazing – a mix of acting and singing – it was almost like watching a musical – I only wish I could understand the words, because several times the lyrics caused the native speakers sitting at our table to cry with laughter.
In the speeches following the meal, I was delighted to hear that this year’s attendance was one of the highest ever (just one person shy of the all-time record); also that there were more exhibiters than ever (personally I put this down to the fact that everyone had heard I was to give the keynote [grin]).
Joseph and I elected to skip the second day of the conference, because there’s only so much you can do when the presentations are in Norwegian. Thus, after breakfast this morning, we took a taxi to the Trondheim Train Station and caught a train to Oslo. This was a six-hour journey
through the heart of Norway.
The scenery was magnificent. Sad to relate, however, my pictures don’t do it justice. As you can see below, most of what we saw was mountains covered in trees which were themselves covered in snow. When you see these things in the real world they are breathtaking; my photos offer only a pale reflection…
We arrived in Oslo a couple of hours ago as I pen these words. We dumped out bags at the hotel and then took a walk around the town center – grabbed a bite to eat – wandered up to the Royal Palace – meandered around some interesting side streets – and eventually blundered across our hotel again.
Tomorrow we are visiting the engineering department at the University of Oslo where I am to give my guest lecture. And then, on Friday, we’re going to visit the Kon-Tike Museum. Life is good… more soon… watch this space…
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