live slow, love nature, be adventurous

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Looking For The Calm

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While the past few months have been some of the best of my life, they have also left me feeling more than a little bit overwhelmed at times. I traveled all around Scandinavia, explored the UK, learned to cope with being in a long-distance relationship and just generally loved living abroad, but sometimes things were happening so fast that I barely had an opportunity to reflect on any of it.

Living in Norway has awakened so many interests and passions in me, but with my travel schedule I never seemed to find the time to sit still for long enough to explore anything further. So I am looking forward to living in Germany and even to having an ordered university routine again. I am looking forward to times where buying physical books and stylish new clothes actually makes sense because I don't need to worry about weight restrictions on planes and times where I can update my blog more often than I have lately because I don't have to run around all over the place trying to do see and do as much as humanly possible, because I feel that time is running out.

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In short, I am looking forward to a time in my life where things are more calm and more quiet. I really think that this is what my heart and my mind have been craving secretly lately and while it will be a few more months until I am back in Heidelberg for good, I am more than ready than listen to my gut and take things slowly again. Who knows, you may even finally be able to read about my mind-blowing trip to Iceland in April, so I leave you with two pictures from a cute Icelandic horse. And please forgive me for looking like an unkempt Skater kid: This is totally how I would go to Paris Fashion Week. Not. 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Snapshots From Sichuan Province, China

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I spent the first week of my Asian summer adventure in Sichuan Province in Central China with my parents visiting family. I am half-chinese, but China is still such a mysterious place for me: The tastes, the smells, the sights – everything is so very different from Germany! We stayed in a small town (Chinese small, not European small!) near of Chengdu, the capital of the province, but took a few wonderful trips around the province.

From hiking on one of the holiest mountains in China and staying overnight in a temple with the most sweeping views to meeting China’s national icon, the Panda, at Bifengxia Research Centre this trip really has been a beautiful experience. This visit also gave me the opportunity to take out my new camera on a test run and while I had a few major fights with getting used to the new camera system it has been fun to explore another culture through the viewfinder.

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Photo overload – I know! But I’ll be writing more in-depth about this part of my trip soon. Until then make sure to follow my journey on Instagram! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Goodbye Norway: One Last Visit To Fløyen

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I know I have only said it about fifteen million times before, but Bergen really has the best geographical location I can think of. With both the mountains and the sea right in front of its doorstep, you are bound to see something amazing everywhere you look and in the year I spend in Norway, there were so many places in the area that I absolutely fell in love with that it was difficult to choose just which places I had to revisit before moving back to Germany.

But one place that I knew I definitely wanted to visit again was Fløyen and when my boyfriend Samuel came over from London in my last week in Norway, I took the opportunity to go hiking on one of my favorite mountains for the last time.

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Bergen is said to be surrounded by seven different mountains and while people fight about which mountain is the seventh one since there are actually many more mountains, no one would contest that Fløyen belongs to De Syv Fjell. Fløyen is the mountain that is closest to the city center and with an amazingly iconic view over Bergen that is easily accessible by cable car, it has also become one of the major sights in the city.

But Fløyen is not just a great view point – it is also the home to a vast array of walking paths that lead towards the neighbouring mountains and one of my favorite hiking grounds ever. Most of the hikes are pretty easy and there are definitely other mountains that are more suitable for those looking for a bigger physical challenge, but for a quick escape into nature Fløyen is a perfect fit.

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We took the cable car  - the famous Floibanen -  up to the viewing platform because we were planning to head to another mountain from Fløyen and wanted to save some time, but if you are only planning to go to the view point, taking the foot path that starts just behind the entrance of the cable car is obviously the less lazy choice. 

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Once we had reached the end of the cable car, we had a quick look at the map and decided to head to Blåmanen, another mountain that can easily be reached from Fløyen. I had been once before on an international student event and knew that the view over the surrounding landscape was very spectacular, so I was keen to show my boyfriend just how marvelous of a place I got to live in for the past year.

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Fløyen is covered by a fairy-tale like forest – everytime I go for a walk here I wait for little fairies and large trolls to appear! Growing up in Germany, I am used to always be close to the next forest and I have been feeling the lack of proper trees in Norway, but the forest on Fløyen has always done a pretty good job of reminding me of the surroundings I grew up in.

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I somehow missed taking a picture of Blåmanen as it suddenly appears as a seemingly impassable wall of rock, so you are going to have to take my (inadequate) words for it: It is positively massive! When I first laid eyes on it last year, I just about wanted to turn around and skip conquering another mountain. Luckily, the path up Blåmanen is actually pretty easy as long as you don’t plan to climb up the rock wall. 

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On almost every Norwegian mountain, you will find large piles of rocks. I am not sure what the use of them is (can someone enlighten me?), but they do make for awesome photo props and we took lots of silly ‚We conquered the mountain!’ pictures.

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In Norway, climbing a mountain rarely ever means just reaching a singular peak: Rather, you will find yourself on a plateau that will almost make you forget that you are on a mountain – if it wasn’t for the sweeping views, of course!

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We had started our hike pretty late in the afternoon, but the sun just would not set. I am definitely going to miss those long, long Norwegian evenings where it never really gets dark, though I can’t say the same thing about the terribly short and grey days we had in the winter.

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After taking a detour over Rundemanen, another peak on the mountain ridge that Fløyen lies on, we headed back to the Floibanen and had one last look over Bergen:

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Looking back now and realizing that this was the last time that I was going to enjoy this view for a long time – a fact that I must have been blissfully unaware of at the time, otherwise I may just have had a nervous breakdown – evokes a strange feeling in me: Bergen really did earn a special place in my heart over the last year. I am looking forward to living in Germany again, to not being in a long-distance relationship anymore and even to silly things like finally having an oven again, but I am going to miss seeing the mountains every single day after I wake up.

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