Three things in a month?

Whatever possessed me to thinking that doing Nanowrimo (I’m norwegianne over there, if you want a writing buddy), Nerdopolis over at Revelry (norwegianne there as well), and continue on my Goodreads reading challenge would be smart to do at the same time in November?

For reference:
* Nanowrimo is about reaching 50,000 words.
* Nerdopolis is about knitting items that match challenge topics and you earn points for your team.
* My GoodReads challenge is to read 669 books in 2015. I am 39 books behind schedule so far.

All of these three things have one thing in common: they’re not easy to do at the same time.

Summer trip #4: Copenhagen and home

On the train from Copenhagen to Hjørring, where I would spend the night, I ran into an old school mate of mine. She had been too busy to meet me in Copenhagen, so it was very nice to randomly meet her and hang out with her for a bit in Hjørring.

   

 Hjørring was basically a stopover – as the ferry from Hirtshals leaves at such times that it made sense to not attempt to go directly from Copenhagen. It’s a sleepy town on Sundays.

Next morning – hotel breakfast – and taking the local train from Hjørring to Hirtshals. Onboard the ferry and buying tax-free candy – and then Kristiansand. A pleasant crossing in sunshine.

   

  

  

  

  

 I had booked all my nights on Hotels.com – and by the time I got to Kristiansand, I had a free night (at least) – so I got an upgraded suite (for nothing more than the tax) and hung out with a sister and had ice cream.

Next day, after the hotel breakfast (where you could make your own waffles) I went to a bakery and shopped for the train home. Pastry cream filled buns, for my Dad, from Geheb.

I could tell that I have become used to sitting on the train, as a 3 hour train ride went by like no time at all.

What I have learnt:
I came back with at least some things I hadn’t worn. A sleeveless dress, (which I had many of with me), a couple of tops and a skirt.

Underestimate the amount of entertainment you will need on the train rather than overestimate it – I brought back things I desperately thought I needed the night I packed, that I didn’t use. Some of which were heavy to lug around.

Don’t underestimate food to bring on the train.

Don’t underestimate the amount of fluids you will need in hot climates.

Get to museums as they open to avoid the queues. Head to parks for the afternoons. (Instead of the other way around)

You don’t need to bring more than two pairs of shoes – a pair of sandals that can (if needed) be dressy and a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. If you need more – buy it there.

Keep the luggage so light that you can put it on the luggage shelf yourself. (as well as take it in and out of the train.)

Summer trip #3: Paris to Cologne, to Hamburg and to Copenhagen

From Paris, I took the Thalys to Cologne. What sucked was that I had upgraded my ticket to include wifi – but of course they had wifi issues on that particular train.

In Cologne it was 33 degrees, which is way too hot for me. My hotel room was fortunately located so I could see the cathedral from my window.

  I headed out to get some food – a salad at a restaurant. And I stopped at McDonald’s for some fries and a sundae to take with me. I then walked down to the Rhine and had an afternoon snack.

   

  

  

 From Cologne, I took the train to Hamburg where I spent the night. I had a late train the next morning, so it gave me time to be a tourist.

   
    
    
   
The next train was from Hamburg directly to Copenhagen. It included a ferry from Puttgarten to Rødbyhavn.

  In Copenhagen my hotel room was directly facing the tracks. 

  Which wasn’t so bad, until the next morning when the train started super early. Fortunately, I got to switch hotel rooms to one that faced the courtyard. (Smaller room, but being able to sleep is more important than the view.)

I headed for the Glyptotek and looked at sculptures. 

   

  

  

  

I hung out with friends. 

I randomly ran into a current coworker of mine who was on a girl’s trip to Copenhagen. In the pouring rain. (So glad for my rain coat.)

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 I had some days in Copenhagen, and I am really happy I scheduled it that way. I had the time to meet friends (sadly not everyone, but a lot) and I had the time to savour what I liked about living there.

Summer trip #2: Germany to France – and Paris

After spending the night in Frankfurt – in a hotel room that had three distinct smells, none of which were pleasant – I went to the train station and McDonald’s for breakfast.

   
 Turned out that there were some works on the tracks in Germany so my train to Karlsruhe and onward to Paris was delayed. It was delayed by 15 more minutes than the train company had set as the layover time. So, instead of switching trains in Karlsruhe – I ended up changing to an entirely different train in Mannheim. Worked out nicely enough.

Getting to Paris – I had booked a two week stay at an apartment hotel there.

(Basically, because of my ever changing energy levels, I don’t know from day to day if I would have the energy to get out of the hotel room. So – spending extra long time, and having a tiny kitchen, so I didn’t have to head out for restaurants to get food – so worth it.)

The hotel was located super centrally, and almost everything was within walking distance. My goal for spending the two weeks in Paris wasn’t necessarily to see everything, or to shop like crazy – but rather to get the atmosphere and slow myself down.

A lot of pictures:

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 My sister came down for a long weekend. Unfortunately, I was flat in bed for a lot of that. But it was nice to have company. And we went out to the fountain nearby, and had gelato.

After she left me, I headed for the botanical gardens at Jardin les Plantes. Beautiful even though I was there in the late bloom season.

I visited one museum in Paris – Musée d’Orsay – which I hadn’t been at before. I went almost as soon as they opened to avoid the queues. Afterwards, I took the bus past the Eiffel tower – and stopped to get some food. I then took the bus to the Luxembourg gardens and ate it while I read a book.

I took the bus quite a bit. The metro got too warm and crowded. With the bus I got to see things.

I used Yelp to find nice ice cream, and nice pastry.

Generally, just walking around, slowing down. Not rushing to be anywhere.

A very nice summer vacation.

Summer trip #1: Norway – Denmark – Germany

My summer trip this year was a bit late. It was almost all about trains, trains, trains this year. My suitcase was slightly bigger than a carryon – I packed clean clothes for two weeks, and planned to do laundry on the way. 

 

my very distinctive suititcase
 
I started out on August 15 – taking the train to Kristiansand and the ferry across to Denmark. Taking the train from Hirtshals to Århus, and spending the night in Århus. 

    
    
 It rained the morning as I was leaving home, and that prompted me to bring my raincoat – which I would have good use of on the rest of the trip. When I got to Århus, it was pouring down.

The next morning, I got up – had hotel breakfast and stopped at the local Baresso for my favourite SmooTea for the train ride ahead. (I swear, my thesis was practically written on this stuff.)

   
 That day’s travel went from Århus in Denmark, to Middelfart. I changed trains there, and the next train took me to Flensburg in Germany.

I had scheduled a bit extra time for the stopover in Flensburg, but was fortunate enough that the earlier train for Hamburg was in the station waiting to depart as we pulled in. I was allowed to get on that with my ticket. Of course, as the person I asked pointed out, that meant I had a longer stopover in Hamburg. Hamburg is a bigger station, with more happening – so waiting there was preferable to waiting in Flensburg.

   
    
    
   
From Hamburg, I took the train to Frankfurt. I stayed the night there.

Lessons learnt:
Have flexible tickets so you can take the earlier train if the one you’re on does make it in time.

Sometimes paying for first class is worth it (especially if the price point isn’t too different). Sometimes it isn’t. (In Denmark, for example, there is typically power outlets around the whole train, not just first class as in Norway.)

Don’t schedule long stopovers on tiny stations.

Bring tasty food and drink on the train with you. Not all trains have catering services.

Bring a light rain coat.

Garden life

I have planted out the kale, brussel sprouts and beets that I started indoors in March. So far, it has been a cold spring and a cold summer – so everything else in the garden is taking its time to pop.  
I am leaving the tomato and cucumber plants inside. It is too cold outside.

May 17

The Norwegian National Psalm:

You can catch the television transmission from all over Norway, including the royals at Skaugum and at the Palace, on NRK from abroad. Some years they allow the viewers from abroad on this link – http://tv.nrk.no/direkte/nrk1 other years they restrict it to a specific transmission.

Status for the resolutions of January

Overall, January has been marked with a lack of energy and bad weather, and just wanting to be inside.

In January, I wanted to…

  • Read more paper-books and less e-books.
    • Have definitely done this. I have taken to heading for my own shelves when I am home and done a lot of rereading.
  • Visit a couple of museums.
    • Nope. I have thought of it a couple of times, but have been low-energy and really not done much leisure time activities at all save for  reading and watching television.
  • Print outmyNanowrimo novel and start editing.
    • Printed half of it before the printer stopped working. Have not got started on the editing.
  • Make the BBCGoodFood Calendar recipe for January.
    • Nope.
  • Invite friends for a tea party.
    • They were invited, but as the party was to be today, and my grandmother was admitted to the hospital last night for falling and breaking her hip, and is having surgery today, I cancelled. Will try to get this back on the schedule at some point.
  • Walk to work at least once a week.
    • I did not walk to work once. Mainly because I was hit with a gigantic lack of energy/downer, and it really took a lot out of me just to get out of be in the morning. I went on a couple of hikes in the weekends though.

Review: The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It Into the Twenty-First Century. Peter Conradi

The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It Into the Twenty-First Century. Peter Conradi

The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made it into the Twenty-First Century
was recommended to me from a friend as we talked about the future of the monarchies. It gives a good, and easy, overview of the various monarchies in Europe, and the history behind them.

Continue reading “Review: The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It Into the Twenty-First Century. Peter Conradi”