Handy Jan

‘I have an interest in food, diners, tiki culture, and ­brewing. Suddenly there I am, owning lots of places’ - Jan Vardøen. Facsimile - Scandinavian Traveler, june, 2015. Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen

‘I have an interest in food, diners, tiki culture, and ­brewing. Suddenly there I am, owning lots of places’ – Jan Vardøen. Facsimile – Scandinavian Traveler, june, 2015. Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen

Text: INGA RAGNHILD HOLST | Photo: HANS FREDRIK ASBJØRNSEN

 

(SCANDINAVIAN TRAVELER) Entrepreneur Jan Vardøen built a business empire from scratch and went on to transform the old working-class neighborhood of Grünerløkka.

 

Jan Vardøen breathes in the scent of the old streets of Grünerløkka, Oslo. It’s a heady mix of wood lacquer, leather and freshly baked bread. Within just a few blocks are no fewer than ten businesses he’s built up literally by hand. Sporting a black shirt that Johnny Cash would have been proud of, he walks between his bars and restaurants. Style comes naturally to Vardøen, and you can see inspired vintage touches from the 1940s, 50s and 60s in all the places he’s touched.

Vardøen, who split his time between his father’s home in England and his mother’s in Norway until his 20s, arrived in Risør in 1988, having talked himself into a boat building course.

“Boat building is a fine skill,” he says, “one that everyone should learn. It teaches you problem solving. You’re also working with aesthetics, so you develop your personal style. And you need to be precise, or the boat might sink.”

Risør soon felt too small, so it was off to Oslo and Grünerløkka. Back then, Grünerløkka was a downbeat working-class area. There were still residential buildings where several apartments shared a communal bathroom. People were poor, and living on Markveien or Nordregate was not something to boast about.

But Vardøen has a thing for rough neighborhoods. In London, for example, he lived in a Brixton squat. He was quick to see the potential of Grünerløkka.

“It’s a soulful neighborhood,” he says, “with a nice mix of parks and old buildings. Everything is very relaxed here and there is a sense of unity. It suits me well.”

Read more stories published in Scandinavian Traveler »»

Continue reading

Madrid | Grådig på livet

AV WANDA KRISTIANSEN | FOTO: FRAN FERNÁNDEZ

(VG) Gjennom en kilometers luntende tur i vårsolen på byens unike kunstaveny Paseo del Arte reiser du gjennom et årtusen av verdens fremste mesterverk.
Men trå videre ut i gatene og parkene, for dette er bare oppvarmingen: i spanjolenes viktigste by er nemlig menneskene og livet selv det største kunstverket.

Få, om noe sted i verden, lever den slående høykulturen og den fengende lavkulturen så vakkert sammen som her, i de rike, fattige, mektige, desperate, hatende og elskende spanjolenes intense hovedstad. En by skapt på tilrøvet makt, en historie om grådige regenter og om de små livskunstnerne som levde så inderlig i dens gater.

Ta en gåtur i Madrid en varm lørdagskveld i vårlige mars. Musikk i ørene, matos i nesen, en mild bris kiler huden, latter, kysselyder, sladder, banning og krangel. En møkkete boms som ligger og sover med pappkartong som pledd rett ved inngangen til luksushotellet Palacio Hotel.

Denne reportasjen ble publisert i VG 3, mai 2008. Les artikkelen i pdf

Download pdf

Ti på thai

AV INGA RAGNHILD HOLST | FOTO: FRAN FERNÁNDEZ

(NTB TEMA) Mange tusen barnefamilier velger seg Thailand som lekeplass i ferieukene. Her er ti grunner til Thailands popularitet.

 

1. Snorkling

Juvelkråkeboller og fisk med vinger som svever som romskip. For ikke å snakke om sverdfisk barrakuda og hai. Men snorkel og dykkebriller får man en fabelaktig utsikt til dette karnevalet under vann.

Fra charterdestinasjonene er det mange turselskaper som tar med seg turistene ut til øyene, blant dem Kon Tiki Diving. Selskapet har svensk- og engelskspråklige, dykkekyndige guider (tlf. + 66 76 280 366, www.kon-tiki-diving.com).

 

Se flere saker skrevet for NTB Tema her »»

 

Continue reading