3 Days in Oslo – A Review

Well, Oslo, I hate to say this…but after 15 years of waiting to visit you, I look back and realize 1 day was all I would have needed to have my fill of your city centre…

This is not to say I hated my time here. on the contrary, Oslo is a gorgeous city with an amazing public transport system and everything within walking distance of one other. That latter point though…turns out to be a pro and a con. After walking to all the sites of interest on Saturday (Opera House, City Hall, Royal Palace, the *Sculpture park), I returned to my AirBNB a little dissapointed. Day 2 thankfully was all about redemption. The Viking Museum and island hopping were exactly what I had imagined when I saw myself in Norway. However, day 3 would turn out to be another drag, as the food market I had been so excited to visit was closed on Mondays. ONLY on Mondays (Of course). I had a nice walk around part of the city with some gorgeous houses, and took a bus to an aamzing viewoint os Oslo, but these 3 days have left me wanting more.

Any reason to return, of course. I want to see Bergen, and of course hike the gorgeous Kjeragbolten fjord. 24 hours in Oslo city would have been plenty of time to see the main buildings of interest, the Viking Museum, and go island hopping. And maybe get to the food markets for a lunch or dinner. But now I know! And this trip is as much about learning as it is about visiting new cities.

I plan to write a post about saving money in Europe, but one thing I want to say right now (to add another voice to the already millions preaching the same thing) is COOK YOUR OWN MEALS. Grocery stores are amazingly cheaper than even pre-made meals at corner stores, plus you control the ingredients of what you make.

In conclusion, next time around Noodles is heading going NORTH. Oslo city will be powered through in a day (If you’re really into museums though and invest in one of the Oslo passes, though, it can definitely be worth it to spend more than one day in the city centre, based on how tiring it can be to jam pack your day with exursions.  

Until next time! Next up: Stockholm!

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Highlight of the trip by far: The Oslo Viking Museum (Pictured: My awkward pose and the Oseberg Ship)

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Old ruins of a 12th century monastery on the island of Hovedøya

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Gorgeous views from the island of Gressholmen

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Wooden houses along the street of Telthusbakken

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More views! This was the view that apparently was the inspiration for the painting ‘The Scream’

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The True Solo Travel Starts

My week and a half in England has come to an end, and this post finds itself being written in my AirBNB in Lillestrøm; a 10 minute train ride from the centre of Oslo.

England was HOT. I don’t mean warm, or sunny…really frickin’ hot. 28-30 Celsius and really humid. I kept joking back in Vancouver that I was going to melt while in Thailand. But the fact that I survived that abnormal weather spell in the UK has made me a bit more confident in my non-melting abilities.

I last visited England 5 years ago, when hair was shorter (no you’re not seeing pics) and I had just completed my first year of university. Going back 5 years later, solo this time, was a good way for me to start off my travels. Seeing and staying with family made the beginning of my adventures seem a little less daunting right from the get-go.

So a bit of a recap…I wore leggings on the plane, thinking oh how smart I was to wear something stretchy.

Then we landed in Heathrow where it was 24 degrees. Then I took the tube which felt like 35 degrees with no air circulation. Thank goodness I was only on it for 45 minutes. I (surprisingly) remembered which line to transfer to and thus arrived at Euston station with time to spare. The countryside that whizzed by while taking the train to Chester seemed familiar as well. As I walked around the city of Chester the next day, I was surprsied again at how much I remembered from my previous visit.

Everything else was new.  Beeston Castle, Llandudno in Wales, Liverpool, and a day trip to Birmingham all presented new sights to see (and preserve, with my new camera that I’vebeen dying to use for travel photography since the moment I’ve opened it). Prior to flying out of Gatwick to Oslo I had the chance to spend a few hours in Oxford, somewhere I could easily spend a day or 2 (next time! Any reason to return).

There’s loads more places I have yet to cross off my “to-see” list for England: Bath, Bristol, Dover, Kent, Stratford-upon-Avon…and everything in between.

Completely unrelated, but I’m quite happy with the style of photography I post on my instagram page now. I’ve figured out a way to make my photos have a consistent look, and if you’re curious feel free to check out my profile @noodleyhsiung (hopefully this gives an answer to why my hashtag for this trip is #sendnoodsaroundtheworld).

I just finished my first day in Oslo…consisting of way too much walking, having to sneakily shimmy out of stockings when I realized it was way warmer than I realized (that’s gonna be a recurring theme here, I can already tell…), and spending way too much on lunch ($24.00 for a  panini and smoothie…whyyy). Thank goodness I bought groceries for breakfasts and dinners which almost totalled the same amount as one meal. Norway I’ve wanted to visit you since I was 9 years old and this is how you welcome me? Aiya.

Until next time!

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Black and white architecture, characteristic of Chester

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Llandudno is full of gorgeous pastels. This green was hands down my favourite!

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Looking over Birmingham from the Library (lots and lots of construction…)

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Oxford! Can you feel the elitism wafting through your screen?

Back to the Present

It would seem that unless an event of importance occurs that this blog remains untouched until the next monumental occasion in my life (OK yes my last blog psot was about shopping but you know what I was super proud of myself for cheating the system).

So what’s up with this new period of activity?

Well…I’m sitting in YVR as I type this…about to fly off to London…to start 6 months of travels around the world. Quite literally, as I travel Eastward with a few detours North and South every now and then.

Things don’t always go as planned, and you can only plan for so much. Two things this trip is meant to teach me (AKA I’m too impatient and plan things too far in advance Nathalie stahp).

For those who happen to stumble upon this site, or those who are unfamiliar with the fact that I lightly dabble in blogging, welcome. By all means, please read over the cringeworthy posts of Nathalie Past. They’re…something, that’s for sure.

But I’m also treating this as a way to get back into writing, something I used to hold near and dear but have forgotten slowly as I traded the creativity of words for the creativty of music and the writing of a scientist. But with 6 months ahead of me of who knows what, this is prime opportunity to once again…

Damnit all I have no idea how to finish that sentence so screw it (yes I do this a lot yes I think I’m hilarious but you’re the one reading this all the way through SO PLEASE CONTINUE TO VALIDATE MY HUMOUR).

I thought very long and hard about the hashtag to use throughout this trip. As I write this I’m still struggling, but by the time I post I trust myself to have settled on something very fitting and food related (those who know my nickname will understand).

Until then…,

N

You Are a Tourist

Maybe?

Maybe not?

Either way, I’ve been wanting to write a post which details the top ten places/things to see and/or do in and around my (almost) home city of beautiful Vancouver for a while now.

Now for those of you who follow my blog or stumble upon this post you know that I am not a certified travel guru or anything of the sorts. However, I do feel that if you are looking to spend a week or two somewhere in Canada or British Columbia (WE ARE PRETTY COME VISIT) then there are quite a few things available for your entertainment in (and around) Vancity.

Keep in mind that when planning out this post the brainstorming process gave out things that I myself would find appealing in a city I wanted to visit. Below are my top ten to-do’s in Vancouver, with an emphasis on outdoor excursions and the arts scene.
*[Please note that these are in no particular order. I didn’t know how to impose a ranking system on this list].

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1.) Gastown
Say what you will about the fake steam clock, Gastown was Vancouver’s first downtown core and has a lot to offer in terms of the history of the city. Take an afternoon or evening stroll around this part of historic Vancouver and admire the beauty of the architecture and enjoy one of the many wonderful places to eat. Walking tours are also available.
(Okay so I’m a tacky tourist get a picture of/with the steam clock and if you’re looking for souvenir shops there are some decent ones in this area).

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2.) Chinatown
Being a halfie, I’m biased.
No seriously, Canada’s largest Chinatown is listed as a National Historic Site of Canada and is full of whimsical shops (Full of lovely cheap goods. Grab some pretty fans or a qípáo, a mandarin gown, for a very reasonable price). Walking tours of Chinatown offer a history lesson of this area for those who like to describe what it is they’ve photographed on their vacation.
*Hot tip! — vancouversightseeing.com offers a “kill- two-birds-with-one-stone” combo (of sorts) with a walking tour that encompasses both Gastown AND Chinatown (Cue “HEYOOOO”‘s)

canada-granville-island3.) Granville Island
Okay, first things first: I love love love love LOVE it here. The shops themselves are a bit pricier than desired for someone on a vacation, but simply taking a day to stroll around the harbour, window shop, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the public market can fill up your day. Take an aquabus around the water or head on over to the Granville Island Brewing Company (If of legal age, of course) if you go with the purpose of spending some cash in the place which was once an industrial manufacturing area.

bridge_header1-14.) Capilano Suspension Bridge
Whether you decide to come to Vancouver in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, Capilano Suspension Bridge is customized for each of the seasons. 140m long and not for those afraid of heights, at 20 years old I still get a thrill from walking across it and reaching the other side. The view is absolutely gorgeous from the bridge, and the Treetops Adventure (in which you walk along paths built up in the…well, the treetops) is a must. Nature trails and totem poles throughout the area offer something that is unique to BC.

seawall5.) Stanley Park/Biking (Or a different form of getting around) the Sea Wall
I JUST got around to rollerblading the seawall last summer, and that was for the sole purpose of timing myself. The next time I go around I will go at a more leisurely pace in order to take in the astounding seaside views that go along with it. You can rent a bike if you’d prefer, or go for a jog or a (very very long 22km) walk (although you do not need to complete the entire seawall if you choose to walk). Afterwords relax in one of the multiple green spaces or beaches. Or make a day out of walking around the park itself. It will not disappoint.

grind6.) Grouse Grind
Not for those who despise stairs with every nerve of their being. It’s nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” for a reason. Approximately 1.5 hours of roughly outlined stairs.
Motivation?
Beaver tails at the top (Or if you’re a health nut you can appreciate MOAR SPECTACULAR VIEWS) and then take a gondola ride down the mountain.

OrpheumTheatre7.) SEE A FORM OF THE ARTS
Whatever is argued at one point or another if you want to have a day enjoying all forms of art then you have a load of options at your disposal. My recommendations are the Vancouver Art Gallery (Admission by donation on Tuesdays) a concert by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Drool. Yes. Go. NOW.) in the beautiful Orpheum, or a concert by the Vancouver Opera. During the summer months come down to the waterfront in Vanier Park to enjoy one of Shakespeare’s plays at Bard on the Beach.


56540792.BurrardStreetinVancouver8.) Walkin’ around Downtown
The buildings, people-watching, a growing number of food carts, window shopping, the waterfront…the possibilities are endless and it’s pretty difficult to get lost in the downtown core. Pack a water bottle, wallet, and camera and get going!

Whistler-Village9.) Okay this isn’t technically in Vancouver…
An overnight or weekend trip to Whistler is something I highly recommend if you find yourself with a few days extra and feel exhausted from all the Vancouver-ness you’ve taken in over the last few days. The Sea to Sky highway in itself is worth the 1 hour 40 minute drive. Stop along the way to take in the amazing west coast scenery (Warning, take a gravol before heading up as this road is fond of twisting). Once you get to Whistler…I don’t even have the time to list all the things to do. If it’s winter, you will obviously ski or snowboard. If it’s summer, you will obviously zipline, go on a trail ride, go for a hike…oh my gosh three suggestions in and I’m exhausted.

10.)…..
Okay I’ve lied, I actually don’t have ten things to suggest and in all honesty I’ve been stuck on the tenth thing to see or do for a few weeks down. I’ve decided to list a bunch of things that hopefully can satisfy any type of tourist; whether you’re like me and like to walk and take pictures or you have a family or loved one you are bringing with you, here goes…
For a more quirky Vancouver, walk down Commercial Drive and grab a bite on one the many cafes and look into the stores; most of which sell unique, reasonably priced jewellery. If you’re here in the summer or early fall check out the Richmond Night Market for its many stalls of goods and food. Food. Did I mention food?
If you’re bringing around a family we’ve got a zoo, an aquarium and Science World (It’s called Telus World of Science now but I grew up calling it by its original name), an amusement park and a fair in the last two weeks of August.

Wow…a  lot to take it, I’m sure (It was a lot to write). This is in no means mandatory. Do some personal research, you may end up finding an outing that you cannot stop thinking about and that in itself is a sign to either fairly soon or one day come see what Vancouver and beautiful BC has to offer.

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About Me..Kind of

A short but sweet post that will address the most miscellaneous of facts regarding moi.

1.) With the exception of the two minute walk from my school locker to the gym change-room, or in the privacy of my backyard garden I will not be caught wearing flip-flops in public. They make weird sounds, they make the heels of your foot dirty (which then everyone can see), they’re tacky and, for me, they are a big big big no-no (Which has to do with the fact that they make my feet hurt).

2.) Leggings aren’t pants.
For the love of…everything…just cover your butt. Please. They are not pants. No. Not ever. Stop.

3.) I kid you not, I didn’t really discover the internet until this year. I now spend hours flipping from tumblr to facebook and and photography sites and imgur and (now, at least) wordpress and help me I need help.

4.) I will willingly wake up at 6am to catch a 7am bus to go to gym at 8am before my 9:30am class.

4a.) I feel like I’ve wasted half my day if I sleep in anytime past 10am. 9:30 is the threshold of my comfort zone for sleeping in.

I hope these help you all in your future endeavors.

Hello again!…I know it’s been a while…I’m sorry…real sorry…OH HEY CONCERTS!

Well as the title suggests, I am deeply deeply sorry for the lack of blogging that’s occurred with Pertaining to the Present. I can plead insanity due to school and work and volunteering but let’s face facts; pure laziness is the true villain in this story. For the sake of all things beautiful (like cake) let’s hope it’s been put to rest (at least for the time being) because, as a giant fat apology to you and giant kick in the butt to me as motivation to get back into action, I will be posting back to back blogs today and tomorrow, and then intend to make posting a once a week event.

I’m not sure about you, but I definitely feel that one blog post a week is not only manageable but a brilliant way to keep up the good ol’ writing skills. As a student of the sciences my writing is limited to lab reports and academic journal discussion.

SO as the title also suggests this day’s feature will be a review of the concerts I have attended, and those I am beyond stoked to be in attendance of.

To date, 2013 has been an amazing year for me because it’s the first time I’ve been going out to legit concerts. I’ve finally been to outdoor venues and legal 19+ venues and it’s been a huge rollercoaster of excitement pre-concert, dance-mania in concert, and euphoria post-concert (and repeat).

March 2013
March 16th was the day me and four other friends went for the St. Patrick’s weekend party aka Spirit of the West and Good for Grapes aka PARTYTIME which was also the first time I had been to the Commodore Ballroom. I was not disappointed. The venue was absolutely gorgeous, the people were loud and drunk and friendly, and the music was the perfect dose of folk and dancing for the melancholy spring semester I had been experiencing.

May 2013
May 24th.
Okay. This was the big one. Mumford and Sons. My last blog post addressed all the feels pre-concert so you all get a 1.5 month late review of what went down during the concert.
My friends and  got very close to the front, having been in line a few hours before gates opened. Best choice we made. Every minute from 5pm to 7pm was one minute more before I got to witness and experience my favourite band in my home province. They did not disappoint. From the opening chords of “Babel”, the manic dancing to “Little Lion Man” and “I Will Wait”, to the complete and utter happiness that engulfed me as I and 24999 other fans danced our hearts out to their encore performance of “The Cave”, I still smile to myself when I recall the euphoria I felt on the evening of May 24th.
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June 2013
A few months back I clicked on a youtube video that had been hovering around the corner of my vision for the past few videos I had been watching. I clicked, not expecting too much (youtube tends to disappoint me). However, I was NOT disappointed by the band I had just stumbled upon: The Staves, a trio of three sisters from England, and their poetic melodic song “Winter Trees”. June 17th they graced Vancouver with their presence and me and my group of friends had the luck to experience a 1.5 hour serenade of the most lovely harmonies and melodies I have ever heard from a band.
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July 2013
Hoo boyyy
 July is/was a doozy. First up there was the Canada Day Cloverdale celebrations July 1st and the Khatsahlano Music + Art Festival July 13th. Both featured one of my favourite local bands, Good for Grapes. [SIDENOTE: if you are in the lower mainland check them out; they are in the Peak Performance Project Top 20 and you will not regret it. http://www.facebook.com/goodforgrapes ]
This group is full of life and energy on stage, and their style of folk is phenomenal. At these two separate outdoor events me and my friends were dancing our hearts out, which is exactly what summer music events should be all about.
And now, for what’s to come. July 26. I am beyond excited for this date. Caravan Palace, a french electro-gypsy-swing group I was introduced to recently, will be gracing Vancouver with all their class. This is my scene. The joint will be jumping.
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September 2013
A break in August before Murder by Death comes by September 2nd to mark the end of a other successful summer break. And then Sepember 19th will be here. And with September 19th comes The Lumineers. Another obsession of mine due to their simplistic, catchy, upbeat, folk sound.
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And (for now, at least) that is all! All the music that has come and has yet to come will keep this girl dancing ’til the cows come home.

The plea of a democratically-abled

As many you BC’ers know, we are soon to be engulfed in a provincial election on May 14th. I sincerely hope this is not unknown knowledge the majority of young adults in BC who may stumble upon and read this blog by chance.

And I don’t mean to sound like I’m stereotyping but I know that out of all age groups MOST young adults, especially those who have just turned 18, will not vote. Heck, even some 20 year olds I know aren’t voting.

All this for a variety reasons; I didn’t research, I don’t have time, I’m working…but the most frightening one, to me, is this:
“I don’t really care.”

This is frightening to me. Because as the youth grow older and continue to not care and as those who turn legal voting age also continue to not care the time may come where only the voice of handful of people will be heard. These people will elect the government in power. And as the number of voters dwindle, so does the chance of changing the government in power.

And not everyone is going to agree with this government.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN.

On May 14th, vote. Please vote. Please exercise your democratic right. Having taken a political science course I can fully appreciate the freedom of having the privilege of anonymous voting for whomever you choose. I don’t know if its appropriate to beg anymore than I am, because I wish I could make younger adults realize the power they have over who is elected, and I realize that the pleas of a university student may fall on deaf ears but even if that may be so I will still be voting (2nd time!) 😀

Even if you haven’t researched a lot, there are so many sites which give a brief rundown on where each candidate/party stands on specific issues. Look at the ones that matter to you. Not your friends, not your parents, but you. 

And on May 14th, please remember to vote.