I went up to Edinburgh to visit Bex and James who arrived from NZ about 2 months ago. I had no idea when booking tickets that the Fringe festival would be on at the same time, so was pretty excited to be there for such a huge, world famous event. The map of the city was abandoned within about 2 minutes of arriving and the next three days were spent wandering, exploring, visiting the museums and galleries and catching some free fringe shows. I decided by the end of the first day that I wasn’t going to go to the castle – but I saw it from all angles and at night heard the canons go off at the end of the Edinburgh Tattoo like I was standing right next to them.
It really is the most beautiful city and would love to live there – it feels like Wellington but looks so completely different – so many amazing and old buildings, not to mention the fantastic coffee!
Headed back to London for one night and then was back on an overnight bus to Amsterdam. To be honest I hated it when I first arrived – everyone assumed i could speak Dutch and i would look at them blankly before having to admit that i had absolutely no idea what they were saying. What with having a Dutch passport in my hot little hand I had the serious guilts of not being able to speak or understand the language, even though absolutely everyone there speaks fantastic English. Eventually though I found the city more and more appealing. Sitting in the window of a cafe with my coffee watching the world go by led to a conversation with a retired dutch man who proceeded to tell me his life story – he was so lovely and told me all the places i should go and left me with a stupid grin on my face thinking that this is what travel is all about – meeting strangers and finding some obscure way of connecting with them.
After the requisite trips to the Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh museum (SO busy!), I finally made it up to Volendam, the small fishing village where my Granny grew up. It was completely surreal being in the place that i’d heard so many stories about and imagining her walking the streets, skating on the dijk in winter, and the place being busy with the general hustle and bustle of a fishing town. Now instead of fishing boats there are big tour boats that go out to Marken, and the main street is lined with tourist shops. It is a picture postcard town though – it’s gorgeous.
My last day in Amsterdam i was tossing up about if i should go out to Haarlem for the day. Instead I was distracted by more coffee, and spent a day doing what I would do with a completely free day in Wellington – mooched around, did some window shopping (had to seriously restrain myself over the most beautiful leather bag in the whole wide world), treated myself to cake (and more coffee), sat in the Dam square and watched tourists watching street performers and read my book. Ended up having a very random conversation with a guy from Italy who started talking to me because he knew i wasn’t dutch – because i was reading in public. Not quite sure how that logic works but he told me about how hot it will be in italy when i get there (uh oh!).
A girl can dream…if would be one happy lady if i arrived back in NZ with this lot in my luggage…here’s hoping! All can be found at the yarn shop I have the pleasure of hanging around in on the weekends…
In bullet points:
- water (see rain)
- old town
- mmmmmm cake! and good coffee!
Stockholm is number 2 on my favourite european city list now. It really was absolutely gorgeous, and full of life. But it rained, the entire time I was there. Put a bit of a dampener (haha) on things.
Versailles was absolutely incredible. Lauren and I spent a wonderful day wandering around and lamented not having another day to spend there. We also took copious photos of wallpaper (and all the other beautiful things).
I almost cried in the Louvre. Finally making it there was surreal, and stumbling through crowds of tourists to see some of my favourite art works was a dream come true. I finally met Mona, she smiled, i smiled, we parted ways. I spent more time with some of the divine Venetian portraits and Michelangelo’s slaves, and left very happy indeed.
What is your current obsession?
Morocco, and snow (or lack thereof).
What are you wearing today?
Black short sleeve v neck, bubble skirt, and pink and black tartan flats. Oh and my pounamu (for some much needed grounding) and my silver ring i picked up from Craft 2.0 last year.
What’s for dinner?
I have no idea!
What would you eat for your last meal?
Something seafood. And cake. The most decadent ridiculous chocolate cake with ganache and raspberries
What’s the last thing you bought?
A latte from Starbucks. Yes, i know, it is sacrilege but it’s the closest place to work with ‘real’ coffee (though i’m still not quite convinced)
What are you listening to right now?
People on the phones around me at work
What do you think of the person who tagged you?
i kinda tagged myself from a pile of other blogs – and they are all the awesomest people. I really need to sort out my blogroll on this blog …
If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
I think the question is more about who else would be living there. Though Paris would be wonderful – my favourite city so far. Stockholm isn’t far behind though.
If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Which language do you want to learn?
I’d love to brush up my French, and I HAVE to learn Dutch for when I get to Holland and don’t embarrass myself for the fact I have a Dutch passport and can hardly speak a word…
What’s your favorite quote (for now)?
‘It will all be ok’
‘Keep Calm and Carry On’
What is your favorite colour?
yellow – happy happy yellow
What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
My giant grey scarf and my leather elbow length gloves
What is your dream job?
Having my own yarn shop/workroom and my own line of hand dyed yarn (watch this space)
What’s your favourite magazine?
Frankie! I haven’t seen an issue in over 4 months and i’m going into withdrawal.
If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?
I’d put it towards the next trip – a choice of Morocco or Italy
Describe your personal style?
Simple with a twist – my shoes tend to define the outfit
What are you going to do after this?
Lamely attempt to do some work, but my head isn’t cooperating today
What are your favourite films?
oh, i can’t decide! Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, The Princess Bride, Frost/Nixon…
What’s your favourite fruit?
raspberries at the moment – so much cheaper over here!
What inspires you?
colour, colour and more colour. And texture.
Your favourite books?
Pride and Prejudice will always be top of my list. And anything by Oscar Wilde. And the Golden Gate by Vikram Seth…
Do you collect anything?
postcards of favourite artworks once i’ve seen them in real life, yarn, fabric
What are you currently reading?
Six Wives by David Starkey – continuing my obsession with the wives of Henry VIII
What makes you follow a blog?
I usually find blogs as they are crafty or arty or pretty – and some of the bloggers I follow have become good friends – lucky me!
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people.
I am keeping up with some things on the political front at home – such as the issue of ACE funding, so well described by Mindy over here
And got to suffer the joys of a tube strike in London today. It isn’t set to cease until tomorrow night, however there are some services running. Everyone has their opinion of course, but most people on the buses, tubes and sidewalks that i encountered today were simply shaking their heads at each other, sighing, smiling and carrying on. Hardly any aggro at all.
Off to Stockholm on Friday for a long weekend, and was looking forward to wandering around the streets at 11pm in the summer sunshine – it’s meant to rain all weekend. Never mind – i may just spend all three days hiding in yarn shops…
Just a few photos from the past few weeks – Borough Market, Portobello Market (where i found a coffee that made my heart melt), my knitting (the green ones are the beginning of Twinkletoes for Ana in Norwegian Alapaca), a hand knitted baby gown at the V&A Museum, and the Sevens at Twickenham last weekend.
And i’m back off outside to enjoy the sunshine (though i am a little upset to be missing all the SNOW back home!)
I think you should all go here and send a postcard to Mr Key.
And the former boss and his colleagues are now running with their own blog – making for some interesting reading thus far.
Needless to say all the political news filtering through from back home is making me a bit grumpy. If my hands weren’t full of constant knitting I could say i’m more informed about it, but for now I feel that a level of ignorance is bliss.
So instead of ranting, next on the needles shall be Baudelaire and Twinkletoes. They are both much nicer things to think about than Christine Rankin, the Auckland Supercity and the Waterview motorway, methinks.
One’s first instinct when asked about any recent trips is to simply reply ‘it was fantastic’. Saying that about Oslo doesn’t sit quite right, though. Oslo was lovely – having two and a half days of relaxed wandering was a relief from the intensity of London. Duncan and I constantly had to remind each other to slow down – there was no reason to rush anywhere.
I haven’t done a lot of research on Oslo itself, but my guess from the architecture was that it had it’s economic boom during the 70s and 80s – the city is littered with hideously ugly 70s and 80s office blocks. The strange thing is these ‘one size fits all’ buildings are completely contrasted by the beauty of the suburban streets, lined with chocolate box houses painted the colours I associate with French macaroons. And then the parks – oh, the parks. They are filled to bursting with sculpture – and not just homages to historical figures, but straight and simple (if one can possibly say that about art) art sculpture.
Oslo is a port town, but they haven’t planned it quite so well as, say, Wellington or Auckland. The cranes and containers sit right next to the waterfront restaurants and cafes, and are as much an eyesore as those vile office blocks. We were told countless times that the plan is to move the shipping elsewhere so that the water can actually be appreciated. Once you’re out on the water though – it’s glorious.
I did get rather excited standing at the Palace, looking down the hill towards the central shopping area and imagining the whole place under snow – and the prospect of snowboarding down it. Then I got told that Oslo has over 2600km of ski trails, and in winter you can catch the metro to the top of the hill and ski down…i’m so there.
I also had this big dilemma about being a tourist…but i think i’ll go into that another time. I feel some strange need to define the kind of tourist i want to be.
Oh, and Norway is famous for alpaca fibre. So I stocked up my stash quite nicely with a splurge on alpaca yarn – it is absolutely gorgeous. The knitting action is certainly not slowing down there – but i do need to get OutdoorKnit back up to speed. Watch this space.
Dr Cullen was one of my favourite people when I worked in the Beehive. There are many fond memories of heading across the foyer into his office, normally to chat to Rach and gossip or generally complain about my day. More often than not i’d be sitting there having a big whinge and Dr C would bowl in with a giant smile on his face.
There were other significant moments – walking through the office when it more closely resembled a mosh pit after the 2008 budget, watching Obama win the US election while drinking champagne, and seeing Rach’s office all packed up post the NZ election.
I would wax lyrical about all the great things he’s done but Jason does it so much better than i ever could over here.
Other life-ish things – the new flat is great. And am off to Norway on Saturday morning for a long weekend, which means trying to figure out how to get knitting needles onto the plane with me. Also hope to do some more knit graffiti while i’m there and maybe even spot the tags of others.
Knitting rules my life more than ever – am completely hooked on knitting socks now and love love love knitting on the tube to and from work. Should have photos of the last project soon…