So You Want to Date a Scandinavian?

Interesting take on the scandinavian way of relationship.. 🙂

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I have been contacted by more than one person wanting to date Scandinavian people or even marry one of us. My reply? Tough luck! Because Scandinavians don`t date. We hardly even have a word for it. The Scandinavian words for “date” is really old-fashioned and one my grandmother might have used but probably didn`t because I don`t think she dated either. So the few times we have to use the word “date” (usually to describe something foreigners do) we use the English word for it.

And we very rarely get married.

So how do we figure on top of these lists of “most happy people in the world?”, you wonder? And how do we procreate if we don`t date and don`t marry?

From the amazing online cartoon series Scandinavia and the World. From the amazing online cartoon series Scandinavia and the World.

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city of love (light)..

I bet you´ve all guessed which city I´m going to write about..yup, its Vegas.. oops I mean PARIS! 😀 just got back from this old city a few weeks ago and that was my fifth visit to Paris in year 2013 🙂 but still I cant get enough of it. Yes, having a relative in Paris affect my attachment to the city.. but its not only that.. somehow I just loovedd the atmosphere of Paris. Its old majestic buildings, histories, cool jazz clubs, gorgeous gardens (with free wifi :D)..one can just walk around and enjoy the surroundings..

Some people hated Paris because of so many reasons. Some says the streets are dirty, others says there are beggars everywhere, one even told me that Paris is boring (yeah, I rolled my eyes on this one..) well, maybe it is true, I can´t deny that the streets are dirty and beggars are everywhere but still it doesn´t change the strong historical ambience feeling of the city..

I visited Paris multiple times but always with different people every time, so I was bound to visit the must-visit-tourism-site over and over again.. I must have visited sites like Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Élysées, Seine river banks, Opera, Louvre Museum, Chateau de Versailles etc more than 3-4 times.. but I dont find it boring at all. What can I say, I´m a sucker for old historical things.. 😀

Well, I´m not gonna tell you which site that you must visit..seriously, it really depends on your interest and preferences..cause some people came to Paris to see the historical sites, some interest in tasting the delicious wine and food, while other have one thing in mind: SHOPPING!! :p

But if you ask me, the number one site that you must visit is Chateau Versailles. It was the palace of Louis XIV with his wife Marie Antoinette. The place is just amazing, everytime I roam inside the place I always imagine the life of the people in those old days, when I enter the Hall of Mirror (my favourite area in the palace) I instantly imagine the royal ball held in that place, how the people dressed so nice and dance around the area *probably I read and watch too much medieval period stories :D*
And seriously, if you already came all the way to Versailles, do go inside and take the tour around the palace. Because I know some people that went to Versailles just to take pictures in front of the castle, and Iḿ sorry for being rude but to me itś just the most stupid thing to do *-*
Versailles located around one hour outside of Paris, so you don´t travel one hour just to take pictures outside the building, right?!

My other favourite thing to do during summer time in Paris is sitting in the park. Paris have a lot of beautiful big parks, and some of them have wi-fi connection 😉 so if the sun shines you can just grab your book, some food and drinks and sit relaxing under the sun.. it´s just lovely ˆ-ˆ
While during winter, you can sit inside one of thousands of cafes around the city.. sipping your warm coffee while reading a book or just watching people walking around the street 🙂

I´m a big city girl who loves old-historical things. I guess that is the reason I fell in love with Paris.. because you know that it´s a busy-big-city but you can just easily find a quiet-old place to hide and enjoy whenever you want to 🙂
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a salty experience :)

Being a sweet-tooth, I don´t really like salty food.. chocolate, cakes, and all thing sweet is my thing! 😀 but no, I won´t talk about food here, because it will not be so interesting.. like some of my friends said, my taste bud not really that wonderful 🙂

IMG_0258Despite my unlikeness towards salty thing, there is one salty thing that somehow I found quite amazing.. it’s the Wieliczka Salt Mine (or Kopalnia Soli, in Polish) located 25 minutes outside of Krakow. The history around this salt mine dated back to seven hundred years ago, during that time salt was a valuable item, people used salt for trading..those who own salt considered wealthy people. Since 1978, this salt mine listed in UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, and although the mining activity has stopped, but there are still a lot of people visiting the mine because it has become one of the must-see-touristy-thing to do when people visit Krakow 🙂

Yeah, I admit, I am still one of those tourists that visit the top-10-must-see places 🙂  why is that? because I believe despite of  the bad-touristy-place-experience, there must be something unique or historically interesting in those place that put them in the top-10 lists 🙂 so yeah..

Anyway, back to salt mine.. we (me&my cousin, again) were lucky.. we stayed in a friend´s house in krakow which located strategically in the middle of everything.. so when we want to go to the salt mine, we can just hop on to the local bus from the bus stop 3 mins away from the apartment 😀 We used bus no 304 (destination Wieliczka) and stopped at the Wieliczka Kościół bus stop (around 300m from the salt mine entrance). The bus ride took around 25 mins and costs (only) 4 pln (I´m still amazed by how cheap everything are in Poland :D)

Unlike the Auschwitz museum mentioned in my previous blog entry, you have to pay entrance fee to visit the salt mine, and it´s REALLY expensive (compared to other expenses in Poland) *fiuuh* Entrance fee will cost you 75 pln, and if you want to take pictures (with your own camera!) you have to pay another 10 pln, so in total it is 85 pln per person. For me, it´s the most expensive sightseeing I´ve ever done in Poland 🙂 just to make it a bit clearer to you, one full course meal (soup,  main course and salad) cost around 10 pln. But anywho, it totally worth it! The view, history and experience that you will get totally worth 85 pln 🙂

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few things to see inside the mine, yeah it´s quite dark so bring your best camera!

Of course, entrance fee will include 2,5hours of guided tour along the mine. From the surface we will go down to 150 meters underground (but still above sea level). From the first entrance, you will go down 350 stairs, before you begin to enter the mine and start the tour, and in total you will climb down 900 staircases along the tour. One amazing thing is that everything inside made of salt.. like EVERYTHING! the statues, the rooms, the chapels, the chandelier, even the floor.. 😀 the tour guide told us if anyone wants proof they can try to lick the floor and taste whether its salty or not.. hahaha.  They have some beautiful chapels that are still functioned, they even hold wedding ceremony and parties inside the mine! The tour guide showed us some mining system from the old days, and tells story about the life of the miner then. There also few salt-lake inside the mine, you will float there if you try to swim. After a 2,5 hours walk (with 15mins break in between), the tour ended in a gift shop where you can buy some crystal-salt for souvenir. Luckily, you can take elevator up to the surface, can´t imagine what will happen if I have to take 900 steps staircase up *_*

It was another interesting experience for me.. and really make me excited to explore other unique places all around the world.. but there´s one thing that we must do before we leave the place.. of course, being a critical individual we cannot just take the guide´s words just like that, right? so we just have to prove that everything really made from salt…

Confirmed! It is salt.. :D

Confirmed! It is salt.. 😀

 

three hours step back into bad memories..

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Recently I went to Krakow, it´s a lovely city in the southern part of Poland. Krakow was a capital of Poland, before Warsaw, and it´s where the kings used to rule. During the Nazi invasion, the Germany (Nazi) invade Poland and created a protectorate with their governor-general’s residence in Krakow. Apparently during the invasion, Nazi captured many Poles (mostly Jewish-Poles) in which the number of the arrested prisoners exceed the capacity of the local prisons. Therefore in 1940, the Germans built a prison-camp in Oswiecim, a Polish city under Nazi territory, and they named the camp: Auschwitz. From a prison camp, Aushcwitz turned into a mass concentration camp and finally it became a death camp.  This 40 sq km camp site can hold around 15.000-20.000 prisoners.

Arbeit Macht Frei, it’s the camp´s motto which means “Work makes you free”. I don´t know what they mean by free..but sadly for these prisoners, probably death is another form of freedom..

IMG_0091Nearby, around 3km from Auschwitz I, stood a larger concentration camp called Auschwitz II-Birkenau. This place spread across 175 acre land, and can hold 125.ooo prisoners.It  was mainly used as a women prisoner camp, and also the centre for Jews extermination. This camp has several gas chamber and crematorium, where it functioned as extermination area for the women, children, jews and handicap people. But nowadays we can only see mostly ruins of the old buildings, only few original barracks still stand there. 

For more history on the camp, you can take a look at the museum´s website here. Now, I think its gonna be easier for me to talk about my experience, instead of trying to re-tell the history.

IMG_0001We (me & my cousin) started the journey from Krakow, we decided to travel on our own instead of using some tour service (Auschwitz is one of, if  we don´t want to say the number one,the must visit places in Krakow). So based on information given by our host-friend, we decided to take the public bus from the main station. Actually our friend told us to take the RNA bus, but somehow we can´t find the location of bus :p (they have three bus station, and we don´t know in which bus station we were.. haha) but after few minutes of Q&A session with some people, we got information that bus to Oswiecim will leave from platform 8, ok, so we shall wait at platform 8! After sometime, finally the minibus came, luckily we somehow standing in front of the line, so we managed to get seats inside. The ticket cost @12 pln (Polish Zloty), which I think it’s quite cheap for a 1,5 hours ride.  Finally we´re on our way.. and we used our 1,5 hours on the bus by sleeping.. hahaaha

We arrived in Auschwitz I around 11.30, there is no entrance fee to enter the museum, but they will recommend you to use the tour-guide service (provided in several languages) which you have to pay quite expensive (at least for a student ;)). Having read some reviews that you can just get a guide-book in the museum´s book store and do your own tour, I tried to find the book (5 pln), succeed and off we go!

IMG_0033There are a lot of barracks there but not all of them are opened for exhibition, we go to all the opened barracks, read some horrifying stories, saw some heart-breaking pictures, saw some remaining items found (shoes, clothes, kitchen utensils etc), entered the death-wall area (where they executed the prisoners), take-a-peak at the underground prisons (they even have prison where prisoner can only sit, no room for lying down).

One of the most heart-breaking part for me there is when we enter one room where it displayed the remaining hairs of the prisoner 😦 so there are hundred kilos of hairs (mostly women). apparently after they exterminate (in the gas chamber) the prisoners, they take the hair and sell it to a textile factory, where it used as raw materials to make fabric 😦 we are not allowed to take pictures in that room.

After a few hours walking around the area, we decided to move to the second camp. The museum provided  free shuttle bus from/to Auschwitz I-II. From Auschwitz I the bus goes ever .30 (past thirty every hour), while from Auchwitz II the bus goes every .00 (every hour). The trip only took 5 minutes, so if you don’t want to wait for the bus back from Auschwitz II, you can just take the taxi it will cost only 15 pln.

IMG_0072Like I said before, camp II even though bigger but most of the buildings are destroyed, so we can only see ruins here and there. We can see few women barracks with its original sleeping area and also some ruins of the crematoriums and gas chambers The Memorial Monument stood in the middle of the camp, as a reminder of the dark history in humanity. We didn’t spend a long time there, not only because there are not really much to see, but we have to catch the next bus back to Auschwitz I.

Back in Auschwitz I, we were trying to take another bus to Krakow, but apparently it’s not easy to get information.. so we decided to go back where our minibus stopped and dropped us earlier (on the car park area, outside of the museum). Fortunately we saw some tourist at the bus stop nearby, so we decided to wait there also. Not long, came one minibus destination krakow, luckily (again) the bus stopped right in front of us, so we can go in and get some seats.. and off we go back to Krakow!

Personally, I really enjoyed visiting Auschwitz I&II, I cannot describe it in words, but you just have to experience it yourself. You can feel the sadness, hopelessness,wickedness, pain and hurt.. this place has become a reminder for me of how unbelievably cruel human can be..

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Going were the wind blows..

 If I should stumble on my moment in time, how will I know? If the story’s written on my face, does it show? Am I strong enough to walk on water, smart enough to come in out of the rain? Or am I a fool going where the wind blows..

As a 90’s kid I know this song really well.. somehow those 90’s songs lyrics just stuck in my head and when something happen those lyrics are the first thing that came up in my mind 😀

Anyway, no, this post is not about 90´s period nor about Mr.Big who sings that nice song. Since this supposed to be somewhat-travel-blog, I would like to tell you about my recent trip to Norway´s third largest city, called Stavanger (for complete info about the city just check mr.wiki).  Although it´s considered as the 3rd largest city, but no, it is not that big.. specially for someone like me, who came from a huge city. Maybe the whole area of the city itself is quite big, but the city center, where all the buzzing happens is quite small and in walking distance.

Stavanger lies in the norwegian west-coast, where it opens up to the Atlantic ocean, and makes it one of the most windy city in the country. The small yet beautiful city-center filled with old-wooden houses, small alleys shopping area and long line of seaside cafe & restaurants area.

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Stavanger domkirke (cathedral)

Stavanger also have several interesting sites outside the city centre, such as the Sverd i Fjell monument and Sola beach.

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Sverd i fjell (sword in mountain), a monument built to commemorate the historic battle when Norway was gathered under one kingdom

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Sola beach.. with massive wind..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling in Norway you won´t find historic castles, grande-buildings and lots of historic sites to visit. No, don´t come here if that is what you´re looking for.. you can visit Paris or Rome or other old cities in Europe. But if you´re longing for nature beauty, to see the mountains and clear skies and untouched nature.. yeah baby, you´re coming to the right place!

Norwegian loooovveeeess nature.. I repeat, they L.O.V.E nature!! It´s all about outdoor sports, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing etc etc. They have hytte (cabin) on the mountains and sailboat on the fjord.. during summer everybody go sailing and camping/hiking. But I can see why they´re like that, because they really have gorgeous nature. One of the main tourist attractions in Stavanger is the Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) is basically a rock cliff that rises 600m above the fjord (fjord is a long, narrow inlet of the sea, which goes all the way to the land, it looks like a river but it actually sea-water). From the cliff you will find a breathtaking view of the fjord and mountains around it.. simply gorgeous!  The cliff is like hanging above the water, and you can try to sit on the edge of the cliff if you dare, I did! 😀 You have to hike up to the cliff, which takes around 2,5 hours.. tiring? yes, but it´s worth it!

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There are other places in Stavanger that I want to see, such as Kjeragbolten (a 5m stone located between two rocks, hanging 110m above the fjord) in Kjerag. So, maybe I will go back there  again someday.. I have to! 🙂

study vs sleeping..

This post produced in a university’s reading room on exam preparation period.. yes, I write this because I was frustrated by how sleepy I get while studying.. oh ok, now you’re laughing.. but seriously, it annoys me.. I want to read this “important” material that the teacher had put together nicely..but my eyes just won’t agree with me and decided to stop working, tell it’s friend the eyelid to close and take me to the dreamy land… pfft!!

There are two things in this world that I can’t say no to.. one is peeing (yeah, you read it correctly.. I can’t hold myself when I need to pee.. I just have to go!) and the second one is sleeping…I can sleep anywhere, anytime, any condition and any position 😀 either its in a comfy bed, sofa, on the grass in a garden, lights on, lights off, in a car/train, while standing in a bus, and last but not least on a motorcycle ride (its true, my friend almost had a heart attack because I was sleeping and making the motor unstable..Thank god I’m still alive now!).. I aways say to my friends that I have the gift of enjoying sleeping 🙂 good excuse, huh?! While my ex-boyfriend always mad at me because I (almost) always sleeps in the car whenever we go out 😀 but at the end he understand my “gift” or maybe he just gave up because I can’t resist it hahaha.. so, no that’s not the reason we broke up :p

Well back to studying.. now I have a huge problem! between my special “gift” and  boring material.. I see no probability of finishing this reading.. hwaaa…what should I do????

Hope by writing this post, my mind get distracted, a bit freshened up and ready to swallowed these boring readings..
One tip for teachers out there, please be kind and make your presentation or notes in an interesting way, trust me it will be a huge favor for your student and they will enjoy reading it.. and there’ll be bigger chance they will succeed in the exam! Horaay..what a win-win solution!  😀

even panda knows the best thing to do ;)

even panda knows the best thing to do 😉