Monday, 31 January 2011

Eurostar: London – Paris

I came back to London last night after a few amazing days in Paris. Time sure flies by quick when you’re having fun, but now I’m back in London and the last few months of uni.

It is a saying: it is not the destination but the journey. At least I think this is a great saying and for me this was the case when travelling to Paris. When Kjell Steinar and I talked about going, we wanted to take the train. A train that goes under water between two countries is something I would like to try and it was actually quite special. I thought the train would be under water for quite some time, but in reality it only takes about 20 minutes.

Eurostar has several trains that go between London and Paris each day and the journey is only two and a half hours long. If you’re living in London, like me, or you’re visiting and wants to see Paris as well before returning home, then the train is the perfect way to travel. It is easy, cheap and quick. And you really don’t have to worry about weight limit on your suitcase either, which sometimes (or rather very often) is a problem when flying. On Eurostar’s webpage they say that you can have two suitcases each and hand luggage without paying anything extra, but if you’re travelling with a bicycle, large musical instruments and so on then you would have to pay an extra fee.

Check in is very easy. You have to show up at least 30 minutes before departure so that they can scan your luggage but you don’t have to check it in like on an airplane. You carry it with you on the train and find a place for it. Very easy. And also, you don’t have to worry about any liquids, you can bring drinks and stuff without the staff taking it away. I am perhaps stating the obvious, but you have to remember your passport. In both London and Paris they have a passport security check, you are after all travelling between two countries.

In London you travel from London St. Pancras International, the home of Eurostar. The station is very modern with several shops and a couple of cafes where you can buy a snack and a drink. Our train left very early in the morning so we took a taxi, but it is very easy to take the London Underground to St. Pancras. You can take the Piccadilly, Victoria, Hammersmith and City, Circle, Metropolitan and Northern Line. Then your next stop is Gare du Nord International in Paris. The train station in Paris is very central and you can very easily take the metro to wherever you want to go.

I really recommend taking the train from London to Paris. It is so quick and easy and worry-free and you are in central Paris in no time. For me it was the perfect start of a perfect romantic weekend with my boyfriend. I would definitely take the train again.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bye bye London, hello Paris!

Tomorrow I am going to Paris with the most wonderful man in the world: Kjell Steinar. I am so excited that I am finding it hard to work on my essays and do some reading. I want to go now. Everything is ready. The suitcase is packed, we have printed our train tickets, we have our passports, our Lonely Planet Paris guide book (with many postits on), my book that I have to read for my English Literature class (have to mix business with pleasure) and of course a camera.

When Kjell Steinar asked me last November if I wanted to take a long weekend in Paris with him I could not help but smile. Of course I wanted to! We have been talking about it for a while because it seems so easy to simply take the train. But we are students and we don’t have all the money in the world, and we are in our last semester now which means more work for both of us. We did some research and found out it was not really expensive at all. So we booked the train tickets and a hotel and I have been waiting to go ever since. I realise it has only been two months to wait, but it is Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world. Kjell Steinar has been there before but I can’t really say I have. A few years back I was there with my family and we stayed in Disney Land. It was a lot of fun, but I can’t really say that I have seen Paris. But now I will and I’m so thrilled!

I’m not bringing my laptop so I won’t be blogging for a few days. I will give you all the details about our weekend when I get back and tips about the train ride, hotel, restaurants, sightseeing and shopping. I’m wishing you all a great weekend and I’ll see you when I get back.

The Stylish Blogger Award!

I was so touched when I received the Stylish Blogger Award here the other day. I was nominated by the lovely Come Whine With Me so thank you so much for this. It means the world to me.

These are the rules:

  • Link back to the person who awarded you
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Link it forward to 15 recently discovered bloggers
  • Contact those people about the award

 So here is seven things about me:

  • My biggest passions throughout my life has been reading and travelling. If I were rich and had unlimited time to do whatever I wanted to do, then I would probably travel and read as much as possible.
  • I’ve always been trying to follow my dreams, it doesn’t matter how big or small they are. And because of that I am now living my dream; I’m studying journalism and English literature in London.
  • I used to love to watch scary films, but after I saw The Grudge at the movie theatre I get scared extremely easily and cannot stand scary movies anymore.
  • My favourite TV show has always and will always be Sex and the City.
  • I’m only 159 cm, but at some point in my life I was the tallest person in my class (yes that was many years ago).
  • I love to watch films and TV shows. I could probably sit the entire day doing nothing else.
  • I have two younger brothers who are seven and ten years old and I think they are the coolest kids in the world!

That was just a little something about me. And here are the blogs I am nominating:

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Alcatraz Island

Some of you might have wondered why I didn’t mention Alcatraz yesterday when I wrote about San Francisco, but that is because Alcatraz was so amazing I decided it deserved its own post. In my opinion, it is compulsory to visit Alcatraz when you’re in San Francisco. It is absolutely amazing to walk around and the audio guide was spectacular.

Alcatraz Island is a small island located in the San Francisco bay only 2.4 km offshore from San Francisco. The Rock, as it is also called, is one of the main sights of the town that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Because it is so popular I would recommend buying tickets about two weeks before you arrive. Then you are certain that you will experience this famous old prison.

Like I said, Alcatraz is an old prison and one of the reasons why it is so famous is because of the many escape attempts. Some of America’s most wanted inmates served their time behind the walls, such as Robert “Birdman” Stroud, George “Machinegun” Kelly and Al Capone. And because of all these bad inmates it is no surprise that some of them attempted to escape. During 29 years, 36 people were involved in 14 attempts; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escapes and three were lost at sea and never found. Those last three, Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin, have actually become famous because of their escape because no one knows if they survived. It has been made several films based around the prison itself and the escape and the most famous one is perhaps the 1971 film Escape from Alcatraz starring the legendary Clint Eastwood.

Walking around the prison was quite powerful and we could actually see the cells where the inmates had escaped. It must have taken them forever to dig through those walls but apparently they thought it was worth it. Now they are down in history because of what the escape.

When walking around Alcatraz you have an audio guide who talks about the cells and the dining hall and how it was like to be a prisoner there. Some of the people talking are previous inmates and correctional officers. Hearing them talking and explaining about the old days were very powerful because I knew they knew what they were talking about. I also believe that this is one of the best audio tours in America, and for good reason. The tour takes about 45 minutes, but you can pause the guide and walk around and read the posters and take your time. I learned so much and I am very glad we got to experience this when we had first travelled so far.

I really recommend visiting Alcatraz, it was absolutely amazing!

If you are interested in travelling and to see some tips of the places we were this summer, then I have covered Los Angeles, Celebrity Tour, Disney Land, Universal Studios, San Diego, Ghost Tour, Sea World, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

All of the pictures are my own.

Monday, 24 January 2011

San Francisco

After spending a few days in Las Vegas it was time to drive to our final destination in America: San Francisco. It took about 9 hours so it was quite a long drive, but we got to our hotel in one piece but we were all quite tired after sitting in a car all day. We stayed at the Larkspur Hotel, which is on 524 Sutter Street, in the heart of San Francisco’s shopping district: Union Square. Here you can find Macy's, Saks, Westfield and Levis store just to mention a few. Also close to this hotel you have the Financial District and the famous Powell Street cable car line.

I have always wanted to go to San Francisco and I have to say that my first visit to this spectacular city did not disappoint me. We got to see and experience so much that I actually feel like I have seen San Francisco. We bought tickets for a hop on hop off sightseeing bus where our ticket lasted for two days and I totally recommend doing this. It takes you everywhere worth visiting, and it also drives across the Golden Gate Bridge. A little tip: don’t wear a hat as it is extremely windy to drive over the bridge.

Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest in North America. I really liked it here and you could buy t-shirts for less than half the price of what you could find in typical tourist shops. Totally worth it. There were also several restaurants and of course we had to have Chinese food for dinner one night. And it was amazing and cheap. Next to this we also found out that one of the side streets in Chinatown have been used in several movies, such as Indiana Jones and the Karate Kid. It was nothing but a small street really, but it is fun to have been there because we know the history.

One sight to not miss when in SF is Lombard Street. It is one of America’s most crookedest streets surrounded by beautiful Victorian mansions. It was absolutely amazing to see this street and see how slowly the cars were driving down. I am so glad we didn’t try it. But the neighbourhood was beautiful and quite idyllic.

If you want to see some more Victorian mansions, then you should definitely visit the famous Painted Ladies in Alamo Square. They were absolutely beautiful and we got to see the famous postcard houses and take our own photos of them. These houses were in the intro to the TV show Full House.

Fisherman’s Wharf is also a must. It is known for its seafood restaurants, Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. We had lunch at Boudin Bakery who is known for its famous sourdough French bread. We bought an amazing bread soup, one of their specialities. I would recommend Boudin if you’re looking for the perfect place to eat lunch or a light dinner.

Like I said, there is a lot to see in this amazing city. Coit Tower is one of them and from this tower you’ll get a great view of San Francisco. It is a monument for the firefighters and is now a popular tourist attraction. Japan Town is also an interesting part of SF and if you’re interested in eating sushi then this is the place. There were sushi restaurants everywhere.

I loved San Francisco and I would love to go back someday. It had everything; shopping, great dining and many fabulous sights. This city has something for everyone and it truly was the perfect ending of our seven week journey around the world.

PS: I have only written about our three weeks in America, but I will soon start on the beginning of our journey. Stay tuned for an insight treat to China, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

All of the pictures are my own.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

iPilot at Westfield shopping centre in London

Flight simulator experience

My boyfriend has always been interested in planes and his secret dream is to one day become a pilot. So for Christmas I decided to buy him a gift voucher for iPilot, which is a flight simulator experience, where you can be the captain and see what it is like to fly an airplane. And it was a huge success.

It is a bit expensive, but it is so worth it. Kjell Steinar has been walking around with a smile on his face all day and I was so happy to see how much he enjoyed being a pilot. The program is fantastic and iPilot has become extremely popular. We were at Westfield last weekend as well and we tried to book a slot on that day but they were full. We then decided to book a slot for today and they only had two available. That is saying something.

iPilot simulator flights comes with a fully qualified pilot instructor. Before takeoff he is explaining how a plane is working and what all the different gadgets are inside the cockpit. This flight simulator is exactly like the ones that are being used by people who are educating themselves to be a pilot, so it is pretty spectacular.

After being instructed on how to fly a plane, then it is time for you to try it for yourself. Kjell Steinar looked very comfortable in the captain’s seat and I was impressed with how quickly he understood everything and how smooth his takeoff and landings were. You can choose whichever airport in the world you want to takeoff from and take your landing and Kjell Steinar chose to takeoff from Gardemoen (Oslo, Norway) and he did his landing in both Heathrow (London, UK) and LAX (Los Angeles, USA). He had a great time and time went by so quickly. There were some technical problems when we came; there were no sounds. But because of this, Kjell Steinar got a gift voucher for 15 free minutes for another time. They were very professional and said that it was not supposed to be like this and they wanted to give him the gift.

After looking at how much responsibility a pilot has, I have a lot more respect for what they do. They have a very important job and I think it is easy to forget just how important because we all fly some much these days.
So if you are looking for something special to do or a special gift, then iPilot is the thing. It is totally worth it and it is something out of the ordinary to do while in London. I think this is the best present I have ever
bought to someone. If you want some more information and price lists, then you can visit their webpage here

All of the pictures are my own. 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Celebrities: the fascination

Celebrities are a huge fascination for people around the world. We are interested in what they are wearing, what they are doing on their free time, how they spend their holidays and their most intimate secrets. Celebrities are highly aware of this, but they are still creating scandals and putting themselves out there simply to complain about it later. My question is why?

In one month we have read the stories about Rihanna and Christina Aguilera who is furious because private pictures of themselves have been spread around the internet. In December 2010 Aguilera was infuriated because pictures of her wearing nothing but jewellery were spread to the public because someone hacked her computer. The NYDaily News wrote this: “The photos were taken in the privacy of Ms. Aguilera’s home and were used only in personal exchange between the star and her stylist”.

Then this January Rihanna was in a similar crisis. Someone took photos of her while tanning topless, but the photos that are worrying her the most are some naked pictures that were leaked right after her split with her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown.

I am then wondering this: Why do first class celebrities allow themselves to be put in a situation like these two? They know that they are in the spotlight all the time and people want to see them, and clearly all of them. If they are so worried about their personal life, then why take the photos to begin with? They are putting themselves in uncomfortable positions where they clearly do not want to be. Is it some desperate cry for more attention?

What is your opinion?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Don't you ever interrupt me while I'm reading a book

I just thought this song was funny so I simply had to share it with you. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A woman’s right to be sexy

As a female you have an enormous amount of power without perhaps even realising it. The way you dress, walk and your smile can make a man walk into a wall without you even realising what you are doing to him. Some people think this is just for Hollywood and that it does not happen in real life, but the truth; it does.

Some people say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and I guess that applies to sexy too. It doesn’t matter if you’re skinny or have some extra pounds on you; everyone is sexy in one way or another. Females are blessed with sexy curves and it is how we use them that determine how sexy we are. There are so many celebrities who are famous because of their curves but we must not forget that we ordinary females can have it too. Like I said; it is all in the eyes of the beholder. 

Kylie Minogue is one of those celebrity women who are extremely sexy and she knows how to use it. In 2009 she was in a commercial for the most erotic lingerie there is; Agent Provocateur. The commercial was not allowed to be shown on tv, but it was voted the best cinema commercial of all times. You can see it on the youtube video below. For some men, this might not be very sexy to you, but if your girlfriend were to do the same then it might be the sexiest thing you have ever seen.

And now, for the proof. Would all the men in the audience stand up? No? Didn’t think you’d be able to

Female sexuality is very powerful and if you see a beautiful woman you cannot help but stare. Women are a mystery and that could actually be a factor to the sex appeal women have. A beautiful woman is often not liked very much by other women, but that could be because she has a strong sex appeal and others are jealous of that. This is simply facts, but it doesn’t mean that she has a lot of confidence. Megan Fox has several times been on a list of the world’s most sexy women and she is in an Armani commercial wearing nothing but lingerie. But after the commercial was made, she said that there are women who can wear lingerie and look glamorous and respectable, but she does not feel like one of those women. For me I cannot understand why she would say that, but then again; she is the proof that in the end it is all in the eyes of the beholder.  And I bet that her husband Brian Austin Green thinks he is the luckiest man in the world for having her.

Everyone is different and so are people’s opinions. I believe this is a good thing as this again means that people are looking at others with different eyes. A person can find a woman extremely sexy whereas another person might find that same woman just adequate. We are all different and we are all sending out our sex appeal and hoping to find the man who cannot keep his hands off us. In the end, we just care about what one person thinks of us and it is that opinion that truly matters.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The butterfly effect

I have heard some many wonderful things about this film, but for some reason I have never seen it before. That is until last night. And I have to admit that the psychology behind this film was kind of scary and it made me think of how important one person or an object can be in your life and how that life develops.

The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. The butterfly effect is a common trope in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with “what if” cases where one storyline diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes. (Source)

As I was reading about what the butterfly effect actually is, I could not help but wonder about everything that is happening in this world. People are meeting someone on the other side of the world and several years later they meet and some amazing secrets are revealed, or a person who is perpetually ten minutes late are not one day and because of that she is not involved in an accident. Perhaps this is too Hollywood but I cannot help but wonder if there is something to it. Is there really a destiny or can we change the past in order to make the present/future better?

Last night I saw the film called the butterfly effect starring Asthon Kutcher. The film is about Evan Treborn (Kutcher) who blocks out harmful memories of significant events in his life. But as he gets older he discovers a way to remember these lost memories and he travels back in time to redo parts of his past in order to make his future better. This does not turn out like he wanted to, and the consequences to his actions are less than desirable.

Even though this is a Hollywood film I cannot help but believe that there is some truth to it. There is a reason why we cannot change the past because one small insignificant object can turn out to not be irrelevant for a person who is crossing its path. Perhaps everything happens for a reason and we are to accept that. The people you meet and the choices you make are shaping your future and the forces outside of that should not be played with. Perhaps I am being naïve but I believe there are some truths to this. Maybe we should stop dwelling on what happened in the past on concentrate on what we want to happen in the future. After all, we do have the ability to choose our own paths in any direction we want. 

Friday, 14 January 2011

Las Vegas

On our way from Grand Canyon we stopped at the famous Hoover Dam, and from there it was just a short drive to Las Vegas! I was really excited about spending a few days here as I had already been to Vegas four years earlier. A few things had actually changed; a couple of hotels were no longer there and it was a lot warmer this time. July is a very hot month in the desert and from my personal experiences, I would probably say that May/June is the perfect months to visit Las Vegas.

The major attractions to find in this city are hotels and casinos. The most famous hotel casinos are located on Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the Las Vegas Strip. As this is the place to stay then of course we had to as well, and while we were in San Diego we booked two hotel rooms at Sahara Hotel and Casino. We had a GPS in our rented car and had no problems finding the hotel and it was so nice to think that we were just going to relax by the pool for the next few days. One thing I have to mention about this hotel is the location. It is located fairly far down on the Strip and it is therefore quite a track to walk up to the more famous hotels, which is where everything is happening. So if you are going to Vegas, just think about where your hotel is located, because it took a while to walk up the Strip in 45 degrees Celsius.

The hotels down the Strip are known for more than just their casinos. It is actually very entertaining to walk the Strip as the hotels have shows that you can witness from the streets. Bellagio has a great fountain show every night with a combination of music, water and light. It is absolutely spectacular and the show is every 15 minutes so you can’t miss it. The Mirage hotel is another entertainment hotel which is famous for its volcano. You can feel the heat as the lava is coming out of the volcano. This show is amazing and starts on the hour.

These were just a couple of examples of what to see down the Strip, but it is so much more. Vegas have an atmosphere like nowhere else and a city everyone should visit during their lifetime. You can relax during the day and party, gamble or see a show in the evening. The shopping possibilities are also very good. This is another city in America that never sleeps.

We were spending 4th of July in Las Vegas and because this is Americas Independence Day, we decided we should celebrate as well. We then ended up seeing The Magic and Tigers of Rick Thomas at Sahara hotel. I had never seen a magician before and I really liked the show.

When the show was finished, Kjell Steinar and I decided to take a trip to downtown Las Vegas. It was just a short bus ride away where we passed several drive thru wedding chapels. The downtown area was the focal point of the city’s gaming industry in its early days. Downtown is centered on Freemont Street and several films have been shot here. Freemont Street is also now famous for its state-of-the-art sound system, and we got to experience We will Rock You with Queen while we were there. I would definitely recommend visiting downtown while in Las Vegas.

I had a great time in Vegas and after a few days there it was time for our last stop in America, and on our around the world trip. There is a lot to do in Vegas, but I would say that the most important thing to remember if you’re visiting Vegas during the summer is sunscreen and a lot of water. 

All of the pictures are my own. 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

My favourite pictures from around the world – Part Two

As I was travelling this summer, I got to visit some amazing countries with my good friend Johanne. I’ve already written quite a lot about the time we spent in America, but I haven’t started on our first part of out holiday, which was Asia and Oceania. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite pictures from the countries we visited there and give you a little preview of out first four weeks around the world. Hope you’ll enjoy them. 


New Zealand
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