Category Archives: Travel

Ready again 准备好了

In a few minutes I’ll be on a plane heading for Nanjing. These were the thoughts bouncing around in my head the night before I left for China a bit less than two years ago. I feel like the girl who’s getting on the train tomorrow is in some ways a completely different person. I have learned so much more than I could have imagined and my life has taken directions I never thought possible then.

This time I know where I’m going. I know my apartment, I know the city, I have friends there and I have seen my workplace. In many ways I’m prepared for another year. Of course there are situations to come that I can’t prepare for, but such situations occur whether in China or in Norway.

In a book I read this year (unfortunately I couldn’t find any name of an English translation, but the Norwegian title is Et hjerte større enn verden), Magnus Malm describes among many things our fear for the future as one of the hidden, unseen, unreachable concepts that we humans try, with out much luck, to control. Loosely translated, he writes that the future simultaneously fills us with hope and resignation, expectations and panic.

He goes on to describe how Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, repeatedly refers to “our Father, who sees the unseen” (my translation, look it up in Matthew 6) He writes “the unseen is not emptiness. Neither is it a hiding place for hostile forces waiting to attack me. Even if there are evil forces in the unseen, there is also someone stronger than them. Our Father is in the unseen.”

I like to think that God, my Father, who is love, is in the future. It takes away the feelings of resignation and panic and leaves my heart filled with hope and expectations.

I came across this quote a while ago:

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Good-bye

Tomorrow I’m leaving for China again. I feel like I’ve been saying good-bye a whole week already as my dad left for a business trip last Sunday. Leaving gets harder and harder each time, but I think that is a good thing; it means that I realize more and more each time I leave how much I care about the people that surround me. And as the people I care the most about happen to live on more than one continent, I am forced to say good-bye to some of them once in a while.

Saying good-bye to people you care about is supposed to hurt. And I read in a book the other day that “it’s OK to feel pain”. Isn’t it strange that I needed to read that in a book to realize how true it is. But the pain of leaving is mixed with the joy of going and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m exited about another year in Nanjing!

Here are some pictures from a night mum and I walked “the Costal Path” along the Oslo fiord by Åsgårdstrand. We were babysitting Frodo the dog.

 

 

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Bergen, Haugesund and Jamie Cullum 卑尔根,海宁格松和JAMIE CULLUM

Last week I went to visit Tasha in Bergen. The first day I enjoyed my role as a tourist and we spent most of the day sight-seeing. First, we went to see the fish market and the famous wharf. Two of the first things I think of when I hear Bergen (after rain, of course..)

Proof that I was actually there: (me at the infamous Bergen Brygge)

Proof that I was there

Tasha entering the fish market:

Inside the market: (notice the dried fish at the left. It reminds me of dried duck in China)

After catching the scent of fried fish inside the fish market, we became hungry and decided it was time for lunch. What better than a “fish burger” by the seaside? We did, however, leave the market to find food. Norwegian tourist prices are a bit too high..

The view from where we ate our lunch:

Some more pictures of Bergen tourism:

Norwegian woollen sweaters for sale, probably the most bought souvenir/gift from Norway:

Lusekofter til salgs i Bergen

More souvenirs..?:

After walking around down town Bergen for a while, and among other things visiting an art museum, discovering interesting street names and eating muffins at a café named Eat My Muffin, we went to take Fløibanen, which is a third major must-see attraction in Bergen; a “funicular” (a word I’d never heard before..) that takes you up on one of the 7 mountains surrounding Bergen city. There’s an amazing view over Bergen up there.

Tasha by Lille Lungegårdsvannet in the centre of Bergen:

The interesting street sign mentioned above; Nedre Hamburgersmauet (yes, hamburger means the same in Norwegian..). Other funny place names in Bergen include: Florida, Paradis (Paradise). Both are names of districts…

Beautiful Tasha enjoying her muffin:

Pictures from Fløibanen:

And at the top:

There is a troll there, of course:

We walked down to Tasha’s apartment, which is below Mount Fløyen. Pictures taken on the way down:

The next day we to a cable car up the mountain next to Fløyen; Mount Ulriken. After seeing a certain slogan in English on buses in the centre saying “You haven’t seen Bergen until you’ve been up Mound Ulriken”, we simply were unable to stay away. Tasha has been up there many times during her year in Bergen, but this was her first time to cheat and take the cable car.

Next time I’m in Bergen I’m definitely bringing hiking clothes so I can walk up/go hiking in the landscape up there! It really makes you forget that you’re 15 minutes from Norway’s second biggest city.

The weather wasn’t really too good for photos, but look it up! There were also sheep up there, adding to the charm:

That evening Pernille and Veronica came over for dinner. I had not seen them in a year, so it was great to catch up!

Puh, long post! Sorry.. It was such a good trip full of write-worthy moments! And it’s not over yet…

My excuse for going to Bergen was that Tasha and I had tickets to see Jamie Cullum at Sildajazz in Haugesund! But getting there from Bergen (or rather getting back) proved to be less that easy, as the last bus left at about 8 pm. So to make a long story short, we ended up renting a car and it became slightly more time-consuming and expensive then expected. (we even ended up getting a parking ticket, which really didn’t help..) 

But the concert was absolutely amazing and it was more than worth it! Want to say more to describe it, but words simply won’t do.. You should have been there!

Blissfully we drove back to Bergen, and we didn’t arrive Tasha’s apartment until 3:30 am. (That is, I fell asleep half-ways and poor Tasha had to drive with nothing but the sound of my iPod’s loudspeaker playing Jamie Cullum (of course) to keep her company).

The next day I met Johanne, another friend I haven’t seen in a long time, and in the afternoon I was on the train headed for Tønsberg after a great few days in Western Norway, filled with wonderful people, marvelous scenery and a fantabulous (it’s a real word, it’s on Wikipedia!) concert.

Finally, some scenery snap-shots from the train-ride:

 

Finse station; the train station between Bergen and Oslo with the highest altitude (at 1222 meters). Notice the glacier at the back!Finse train station

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Summer in Scandinavia 夏天在斯堪的纳维亚

First thing first: I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long!

I’m home in Norway for the summer, enjoying the sea, the sun and the blue sky, but most of all enjoying spending time with my family and with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s good being here.

This week, I went to Skagen (the most northern part of Denmark) with the family. Skagen, or “The Skaw“, is known for it’s sandy beaches, beautiful light, pastel colours and more than anything the Skagen painters.

We took a ferry boat there, and had a few great days with reading on the beach, swimming in the ocean and looking at galleries. Here are some more pictures:

Your animation

I’ll post a few more pictures from my summer tomorrow 😉

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云南 – Yunnan

A few days after I came back to China, I went travelling. I went with three friends from school (Rosie, Anne and Matthias) to Yunnan province for more than two weeks, and it was wonderful! Yunnan is such a beautiful province, it has everything from tropical forests to valleys and high mountains. We decided to go to mountainous North-west Yunnan, to Kunming, Dali, Shaxi and Lijiang. Here‘s a map over our trip.

Anne in the pagoda

It was truly a holiday of moments! Moments at pagodas halfway up mountains, moments at markets, moments eating brunch in coffee shops, moments walking up mountains off the path, moments playing card with the guest-house owner and his daughter, moments climbing along a small waterfall, moments on buses, moments reading The Little Prince out loud, moments reading in a sun-trap outside our rooms in a guest-house in a village surrounded by mountains and fields with donkeys on them, moments eating real Italian food in a restaurant with red-and-white-checkered table cloth, moments cycling to a village with a Korean friend we met the day before, moments eating Tibetan food while sitting on the floor,moments eating Norwegian waffles in a bakery run by an Indian, moments going up a mountain on horse back, moments in the sun and the fresh air, under an unfailingly blue sky.

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杭州 • Hangzhou

As mentioned, Isaac and I went to Hangzhou for a couple of days last week. Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province and is one of the “seven ancient capitals of China“.  It is famous for its long history and beautiful scenery.

Most famous is the West Lake with its traditional Chinese boats, surrounded by mountains, forests and pagodas. A large part of the lakes surroundings has gardens and green spots ranging from tropical and wild-looking forest areas to beautiful, paved tourist spots.

We rented bikes and biked halfway around the lake. It is possible to rent bikes at a very low cost; you pay a deposit of 300 yuan and get a card. When you had the card back you get most of your money back. I paid 30 yuan for two days. This card can be used at bike stations all around the city. When you use the card it unlocks a bike and this bike can be returned at any bike station. Very convenient!

We had a great time and I have a feeling this was not the last time I visited this beautiful city. We had planed to stay for only one night, but as we arrived late Wednesday night, we decided to stay one more night so that we could have an evening in Hangzhou. This was a good decision, cause how ever beautiful Hangzhou is by day, it can not compete with the way West Lake looks at night, when there are fewer people and the lights are on. Here are some more pictures from Hangzhou:

I’d like to end this post with a story about how God provides for His children:

We took a train from Nanjing to Hangzhou, and when this train reached Shanghai (after 4 hours – this was a slow train), a lot of people started getting off the train and  me and Isaac were convinced that we had reached the final destination of the train; Hangzhou. So we got off.

It took us a while to realize that we were not in Hangzhou. I was surprised that the Shanghai Metro went to Hangzhou, and the train station was bigger, busier and newer then I had expected. It was also very strange that they had named their train station Shanghai South Station…

Finally it started to sink in: we were in Shanghai. We had no idea how it had happened cause we didn’t think our train went by Shanghai. But that was where we had ended up.  It was about 7 pm by now, and getting a train ticket to one of the most popular cities in this part of China in the middle of a national holiday seemed unlikely. But we went to the ticket office, and this is where God enters this story. There were tickets that evening and we only had to wait about an hour. They were, naturally, no-seat tickets, but that’s always an adventure.

So we arrived Hangzhou at about midnight. We had booked a room at Hangzhou International Youth Hostel and I had written down the name and address of the hostel in characters and pinyin, so we assumed the rest of our journey would go smoothly. But it turned out our taxi-driver had no idea where this hostel was, and the address did not help. So we told him to let us off when we got to the right street, thinking “it shouldn’t be too hard to find, we’ll walk the rest of the way”.

Well, we were wrong. After walking around for about an hour, carrying our bags, all we wanted was a place to sleep. Even the benches looked comfortable. As a last attempt to find the hostel, we walked up to a gate leading into a street that we thought might lead us the right way. We asked, in stuttering, tired Chinese, the guard at the gate whether this was the right place, showing him my note with the address. It was not.

We must have looked very lost and tired, cause he asked us if we wanted to sleep. We sighted and nodded, and he took up his phone and called some hotel for us. It was a bit more expensive than we had planned, but it was a place to sleep so we gladly accepted and he said he would take us there. So we walked for a couple of blocks to this hotel. But they did not take foreigners. So this god-sent Chinese door-guard took us to another hotel and when they gave us an even higher price, he took us to yet another two hotels. But they were both full.

All the while he was smiling more than most Chinese I’ve met and he kept telling the people working at the hotels that they should help us and give us young, lost foreigners a good price. We ended up going back to the one hotel that would take us. The door-guard made sure they gave us the same price they had said earlier and then he left, smiling and waving at us. If there are angels here on earth, he must have been one!

God also provided us with the chance to stay another day, a wonderful youth hostel to stay at the next night and train tickets home even though the train station was packed. God is truly a providing God!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:25-34

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苏州 • Suzhou

I went to Suzhou with my French friend Lise yesterday! We have a few days off from school this week for the Mid-Autumn Festival so we decided to go to the city refered to “Venice of the East” or “a reflection of heaven”. Unfortunately, it was raining, so we did not pay to see any of Suzhou’s famous gardens. But we still found things much worth seeing and we had fun. Here are some pictures from yesterday:

Before we were about to head home, we stopped by an ATM so I could withdraw money. As we were leaving the ATM, I managed to forget to take my bank card. So as we were walking away, a Chinese man came running after us and I got to experience once again how helpful Chinese people are to us “foreign guests”. When we came back to the ATM, it had swallowed my card. So, after calling the bank a few times, talking both in Chinese (with the help of the helpful Chinese man) and in English, I still didn’t know what to do to get my card back. Remember, this was Mid-Autumn Eve and that’s a time for family dinners, not for helping foreigners who’ve lost their bank cards.

After a while a security guard came by on a routine check of the ATM. He called the bank for me and as an important man he naturally got his way. After another 15 minutes of waiting, a bank man came and gave me my card. I’m so thankful that I got my card back and that we had enough time to catch the train. God surly answered my prayers and made this a funny story rather than a nightmare. And I’m sure we gave a few Chinese walking by the ATM a good story confirming that laowai are crazy, as they saw the two of us sitting inside the ATM laughing at them staring at us.

pimp myspace - Gickr

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