Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I've just had my first orientation week at architecture school, and between all the Danish, the different school system and so many new people, my mind is feeling pretty boggled. It's all good stuff, it's just, you know, a lot. So back to simpler times, yes? In the beginning of July, Mark and I spent a week hiking and camping in Norway. I was a bit nervous, to be honest, since I'd never gone on more than a day hike and the mountains of Norway can be pretty rugged and it's, well, cold and stuff. I can't say I was a total trooper the whole time (I'm not a morning person, and even less so when I'm camping), but it ended up being such a great trip. The nature in Norway is pretty spectacular (obviously) and there is something about having everything you need on your back. Just having so much time and space to think and to talk, and not having to be running around or checking our phones constantly was such a nice change of pace. We split the week up by taking a road trip from Oslo around the fjords for the first few days and going on day hikes and camping wherever we ended up at night (in Norway it's legal to camp anywhere which is amazing). Then we drove to Hardangervidda, a national park, and spent a night in one of the adorable, not-changed-since-the-60's style lodges so we could have hot showers and a night in a real bed before starting our trek. The photo at the end is when we made it back to the lodge after four days of being out on our own (with our sheep buddies) in the relative wild. Celebratory waffles, ftw. 

Updates, etc.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just to take a little break before overwhelming you with more of my travel photos, here are a few updates and other things that might be of interest.

+ In preparation for back to school times (more on that later), Nicola and I did a little fall shop update featuring beads in this new robin's egg blue/minty colour that we are loving.

Since I've been sorely neglecting taking photographs of the loveliness that is Copenhagen in the summer, I'm so glad I have such talented friends that can capture it so well. If you aren't reading their blogs already, you really should be. They have also been travelling a lot this summer, and their work puts my snapshots to shame.

+ Susk and Banoo's visit to Copenhagen here, here, and here. They were such troopers to help out with Tolmie while we were off in Norway, and we owe them big time. I've said it before, but these two kill me with their kindness. The internet is a weird and wonderful place. Thank you again, guys!

+ My childhood pal from our baseball playing days (we were the least sporty girls on the team), Blythe, visited this summer as well and took some gorgeous photos. It was so great being able to reconnect with her and to discover just how much we still have in common, including a love for tea, marshmallows and Arrested Development. Same! Same!

Vegan Orange Creamsicles, two ways

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I've been really into making smoothies and popsicles this summer. It's been a hot couple of months, and since we have an insane kitten, we can't open the windows all that much without her trying to inadvertently commit suicide. Which means I've been pretty desperate for anything to cool down a bit. I've made lots of tea pops but I wanted to try a non-dairy version of homemade orange creamsicles, and found this recipe which I used. It basically just replaces the yogurt or cream with coconut milk, but I found that it separated in my popsicle mold, with all the creaminess at the bottom and the top with the juice and pulp. It still tasted great, but I liked it better blended up with a banana to make a creamy smoothie. The perfect end of summer treat.

Turkey: Ephesus

Monday, August 12, 2013

For the last leg of our trip, we took the train further south to Selçuk to see the ancient ruins of Ephesus. We stayed at Atilla's Getaway, a "backpacker's resort", which ended up being a lot nicer and cozier than I had imagined. I guess Contiki Tours don't really end up in Selçuk. The hostel had a great "chill out" area, basically a shaded corner of the patio with tons of floor pillows and rugs, and served cold, local wine which was pretty much exactly what we wanted after being out in the heat all day. They also cooked communal dinner at night, which was a nice way to meet other travellers and hear about their adventures. Since we were only there for a couple of days, we decided to book a tour to see the ruins, which was unfortunately pretty disappointing. We had figured that it would be the best way to avoid being out all day in the baking sun and wondering what the rocks we were looking at had originally been. We definitely learnt more than if we had just brought a guidebook with us, but it wasn't worth the money to be dragged around by a guide who was repeating lines she had obviously said too many times to act enthusiastic. Anyway, the ruins were pretty impressive despite it all. Seeing something so ancient and that had such historical importance was so interesting, and I always find it fascinating to see bits of how life would have been back then. 

Turkey: Izmir

Friday, August 9, 2013

After a few days in Istanbul, we took a ferry and a train to Izmir. I would highly recommend travelling by train in Turkey, over the more popular (and actually cheaper and faster) buses. Even if you don't get motion sick like me, trains are so much more pleasant to travel by. Because trains in Turkey are a bit older (but still in good shape) and move a bit slower, it's a great way to see more of the country. Pack a little picnic and a good book and it's a lovely way to spend a day, watching tiny towns, orchards and trees move by. The slow pace set the tone for our time in Izmir. After the hectic pace in Istanbul, it was so nice to have less of an agenda and to just wander around the city exploring. There isn't a ton to do in Izmir in terms of tourist sights, but it's a great place to see regular Turkish life - in the bazaar, the squares and along the gorgeous harbour. The Ethnographic Museum, despite being hilariously outdated, is also definitely worth a visit. 

Turkey: Istanbul

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I'm finally getting around to posting some photos of the trip I took with my mom to Turkey in June. It's been too hard to decide which photos to post, since Turkey is incredibly photogenic and around every corner is another beautiful sight. I was really blown away by this country. The history, the atmosphere, the food, and the people, were all so amazing. I was a bit nervous at first, coming into such a huge city filled with labyrinth streets and where the air was heavy with a sense of agitation and the sound of the adhan being called from the mosque. People were so kind though, and make us feel at ease quickly. There is just so much to see in Turkey that I feel like we barely scratched the surface. Luckily my mom was happy to spend most of our short time in Istanbul looking at the architecture and going to museums, but there are also markets and boat trips and hammams, etc. I'm hoping I'll be back before too long. Here are my recommendations, if you are planning a trip. It's nothing off the beaten trail but you wouldn't want to miss any of it.

Aya Sofya
The Blue Mosque
Topkapi Palace
Suleymaniye Mosque
Basilica Cistern
The Archeological Museum

The Grand Bazaar
The Spice Bazaar

Hafiz Mustafa (for tea and treats)
The little stalls down by Galata Bridge

Marmara Guesthouse

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