Värmland county of lakes

Sweden, Värmland, Sunset. Fire in the sky. Colourful sunset at a small lake in Värmland, not far from the Norwegian border. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Sweden, Värmland. Fire in the sky. Colourful sunset at a small lake in Värmland, not far from the Norwegian border. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Värmland is maybe one of the most scenic landscapes in Sweden, and has inspired painters, writers and musicians for centuries, like Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, many of her novels take place in Värmland. Värmland is both the name of a landscape and county. Landscapes no longer serve any administrative functions in Sweden, but often has the same borders as a county.

The county has 10512 lakes, including Lake Vänern which is the largest inland lake in Western Europe. Other large lakes are Fryken, Glafsfjorden and Värmeln. The Klarälven river is very important, 460km long from it’s sources in Norway, ending in Lake Vänern.

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Winter sunset

Norway, Stoksund. Winter colours. An ice and snow covered landscape at sunset. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Norway, Trondelag, Stokksund. Winter colours. An ice and snow covered landscape at sunset. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

It’s always fun to look through old photos. I captured this scene more than ten years ago. It got me a price in a photo contest held by Trondheim’s largest newspaper. This was back in the “old” days, while film based cameras were more common than the digital wonders we use today. Most of us who shot film know the feeling; you think you have a nice shot, but will not know the result for several days, or weeks in worst case.

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Sakhalin, Russias largest island

Russia, Sakhalin. Okhotskoye is a small village at the south east coast of Sakhalin, not far from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Residential buildings are mostly made of wood. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Russia, Sakhalin. Okhotskoye is a small village at the south east coast of Sakhalin, not far from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Residential buildings are mostly made of wood. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Sakhalin island, just north of Japan and off the east coast of Russia, has led to many bitter disputes between the two countries. The island is today part of Russia, and is Russia’s largest island.

I visited the island last year, and have added several images to the photo gallery.

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Winter in Grand Canyon

United States, Arizona, Grand Canyon. Sunset at Lipan Point, with sunrays hitting some of the peaks. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

United States, Arizona, Grand Canyon. Sunset at Lipan Point, with the last sunlight hitting some of the rock formations. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

I recently came back from a trip to western United States, including a couple of days at the Grand Canyon. It was still early February, so I was afraid we would meet some really bad weather up there. To my delight we had cold but nice and sunny winter conditions, with some snow in parts of the park.

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Java:: Madura

Java, East Java, Madura. Small village in the Sampang regency on south Madura with traditional vessels (from helicopter) (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Java, East Java, Madura. Small village in the Sampang regency on south Madura with traditional vessels (from helicopter) (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Madura is a large island outside East Java, 5.290 square kilometers, about 160 km long and 35 km wide. It is separated from Surabaya by the narrow Madura strait, and is administered as a part of the East Java district. Main income is fishing, salt, cattle and agriculture. The local capital is Pamekasan. Number of inhabitants is about 3-4 million, and the population is considered to be an unique ethnic group like Javanese and Sundanese. Madurese is also a separate language.

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Bali:: Goa Gajah – The Elephant Cave

Bali, Gianyar, Goa Gajah. The elephant cave. The cave entrance area. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar, Goa Gajah. The elephant cave. The cave entrance area. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The mysterious Goa Gajah (elephant cave) is one of the oldest relics on Bali. The exact time of origin is uncertain, but archeologists estimate the cave to have been built around year 1022 AD. This was long before Majapahit entered the island, and also hundreds of years before the first Europeans set foot here.

The site is a mix of Hindu- and Buddhist symbols, among them the cave with the entrance in an artistically carved cliff, a bathing pool with fountains, a statue of the Buddhist goddess Hariti, as well as several other Buddha figures.

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Java:: Surabaya, city of heroes

Java, East Java, Surabaya. These ships, called Pinisi, are unique to Indonesia. This is still a common way of transport. Kalimas harbor. (Bjorn Grotting)

Surabaya. These ships, called Pinisi, are unique to Indonesia. This is still a common way of transport. Kalimas harbor. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Surabaya is East Java’s largest and Indonesia’s second largest city with a population somewhere between 2 and 3 million. Traditionally the city is one of the most important commercial port and trading centers in South East Asia. The harbor is Indonesia’s second largest after Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, protected by the Madura island just east of Surabaya.

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Baku, capital of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku city view with tha harbour and the Caspian Sea in the background. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku city view with the harbour and the Caspian Sea in the background. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Click here to see some newly added images from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. I visited the country last year to do a job there, and had a few hours to spend in the city. Baku is probably derived from the old Persian name Bād-kube, meaning “Wind-pounded city”. It can also mean “Mount of God” from Baghkuh, which one also can compare to Baghdad.

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Maluku:: Wetar and Liran

Maluku, South East Maluku, Pulau Liran. Liran is located just north of East Timor. The larger island Wetar in the background, looking east (from helicopter). (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Maluku, South East Maluku, Pulau Liran. Liran is located just north of East Timor. The larger island Wetar in the background, looking east (from helicopter). (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Wetar is located just 56 km north of Timor’s northeastern coast. The island is 80 km long in east-west direction and 45 km wide in north-south direction, area about 3.600 sq. km. The interior of the island is mountainous and covered by rain forest, highest mountain is 1.412 m. The climate is in the wet season humid with lots of rain, while the rest of the year there can be long periods of drought.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Sumba island

East Nusa Tenggara, Sumba, Pulau Mangudu. Pulau Mangudu island south of Sumba (from helicopter). (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

East Nusa Tenggara, Sumba, Pulau Mangudu. Pulau Mangudu island south of Sumba (from helicopter). (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

South of Flores, between Sumbawa and Timor there is an island where the traditional customs are among the best preserved in Nusa Tenggara. This is Sumba, a relatively large island, 11.153 sq. km. with a population that reaches about 600.000, the name of the capital is Waingapu. Much of the island consists of a flat, elevated plateau about 600m above sea level, where the coast is mostly steep and rocky. The island is divided in two regions, west and east, along ethnical and cultural borders.

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