Leg 7: Oslo to Krakow

12May10

This was a meandering trip from Norway to Poland. It began in the rugged terrain surrounding Oslo and ended in the scatterbrained farmland around Krakow. Those Europeans know how to make their continent diverse. More from the trip is after the jump:

View from the sky…

Stockholm from above

From rocky, melancholy Sweden…

Farmland in Gotland

To farmland on Gotland, which is the largest island in the Baltic Sea. I landed at an airport in a place called Visby, the hometown of Swedish death-metal band Grave and an inventor who is featured on the back side of the 500 Swedish kronor bank note. Oh, it also spawned a 50-goal scorer in the NHL named Håkan Loob. He played for the Flames when he scored all those goals during the 1987-88 season. Don’t trust me, though: read about it here.

Also of note: Remember I said you should stay tuned for more on sister cities? Well, in 1999 Visby entered such a relationship with none other than Lübeck, Germany. We were there not too long ago.

My next stop after Sweden was an old Cold War outpost, and I hope the next few paragraphs don’t land me in the bad books of any Russian authorities.

Those are fighter jets

As far as I can tell, the pictures immediately above and below this paragraph immortalize satellite images at Khrabrovo Airport, a landing strip used by the Russian military north of the city of Kaliningrad.

Kaliningrad is a fascinating geographical anomaly. It’s part of Russia, but it’s cut off from the motherland. That’s because it’s stuck between Lithuania and Poland, where part of East Prussia used to exist (back when that was a country). A book I own, which you can trust because it’s called Russia, tells me that the Russians really care about Kaliningrad. It’s a Baltic port, you see, and it means they maintain clout in the region. They held on to it in 1945 and 1991, both times of upheaval for the old Soviet empire, and they maintain that control today.

As far as these pictures show, the Russians still treat this as a suitable spot to store some powerful airplanes. If anyone can identify these particular models, please do so (Edit: According to a reader, those planes below are bombers of the supersonic variety — Tu-160 Blackjacks, apparently). I’m quite curious. Check out the helicopters in the picture below. They’re so ready to fight a war.

Those jets look like they can wreak some havoc

The more you know…

Long, narrow farm plots reminiscent of Quebec

This farmland fascinates me. The plots are long and narrow, much like the Seigneurial system entrenched in Quebec. The Internet has provided some kind of explanation for these patterns. Generally, it goes like this:

1. The fields are long and thin because it “reduces the number of times you have to turn the plough team and minimises the land wasted for this operation.”

2. During the nineteenth century, the fields were made even narrower than before. “The road system has grown as well, as fields become divided in length as well.”

3. The fields “were often cropped as three or four naorrower strips, each strip growing a different crop. This enabled each farm to be self sufficient as each grew what it needed, plus it meant that the work of harvesting was spread through the year, not happening all at once. This also had the advantage that if one crop failed, there was always the chance of another succeeding. The final most significant advantage is that it enabled some kind of crop rotation to be undertaken and thus keep the land fertile.”

So there you have it. That’s a partial explanation of why Polish farms look like they do. There’s much more to it, but that’s a start. Thank the Internet for that enlightening moment.

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2 Responses to “Leg 7: Oslo to Krakow”

  1. Could those be the Sukhoi Su-30 with retractable in-flight fueling probe? The choppers could the Mil Mi-24 Hind, though these look a little narrow for transporters. Looks like Bob’s 1989 Christmas gift to me ultimately proved useful.

    Do you remember the title of that tome?

  2. 2 Peter

    I say you loop back around south to Athens, Vatican City, Madrid, Casablanca, Lisbon, Paris, The Hague, Torshavn (Faroe Islands), Reykjavik, Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Helsinki, and on to Moscow and then back into Southern Europe. Double back to get a taste of the Arctic Circle.


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