Archive for December, 2010

{LDN} the one where i wake up late.

So after my very tiring night, I slept in a lot on my first morning. Sickness was getting to me a little bit also, so I only woke up at 11.30. Got out of the house by 12 and of course, London greeted me with rain on my first day there. It was only sprinkling though, so it was ok. Caught the bus to North Greenwich, and then tube-ed it to London Bridge.

london bridge station.

Got out there, and since I was due back home for dinner, I just decided to wander around the area. Out of the station, and through Hay’s Galleria, which is situated on the south bank of the Thames and used to be an old wharf in the mid-1800s, before being destroyed by fire, WWII bombings and general dilapidation. It is now a shopping and eating complex.

hay's galleria.

I then walked along the water, what is known as The Queens Walk, passing by HMS Belfast, an old Navy cruiser that was in operation during WWII. It is now home to a museum.

the queens walk; hms belfast.

And of course, I was hit with the iconic image of Tower Bridge, and took plenty of photos, being the wonderful tourist that I am. It seems that I have lost touch with my self-shooting ability…

tower bridge. (thank you self timer and dad, for the mini tripod!)

I also passed what I found out was City Hall… and apparently you can go inside too…

city hall (and random jelly bean...?!)

Before crossing the Bridge, I headed through to Shad Thames, which used to be an old warehouse complex, in the late-1800s.

shad thames. (click for bigger)

shad thames.

There are heaps of nice places in that area, though far too nice for my wallet. But I had fun looking around nonetheless. :) For example, Le Pont de la Tour

le pont de la tour.

Stopped at a sandwich shop for a late lunch (Shades Piazza Sandwich Bar, 4 Shad Thames), and I got a nice chicken/cheese/bacon wrap with a hot chocolate, which definitely warmed up my fingers.

food, glorious food!

Then it was time to cross the Thames, and the Tower Bridge! Didn’t go into the exhibition though…

tower bridge.

OMGOSH! on the bridge!

view from the bridge, via bad stitching job. (click for bigger, messier image!)

I will not mention how a creepy old guy tried to invite me into a hotel to chat, after I took these pictures…

butlers wharf, part of shad thames area.

girl with a dolphin; david wynne (1973).

I then ran away to St Katharine Docks.

st katharine docks.

And then it was on to the Tower of London. Which I did not go in either… It was getting dark already! I think it’s pretty awesome, though, that they set up the ice skating right infront of it!

tower of london, (mostly) from the wharf side.

ice skating in the moat of the tower.

unesco world heritage site.

from the north side.

Made my way to Tower Hill station, and then change and change to get home.

Followed M+C to their friend’s place for a lovely dinner. :)

And then came home to try and sleep early, to wake earlier this morning.


Relevant British news: Abbey Road was yesterday given Grade 2 listing, recognising it as a piece of heritage that is “nationally important and of special interest”. I kind of feel sorry for cars that drive through there though… You’d think they would try and avoid it….?


the one where everything that could have gone wrong, did.

And so ends my exchange… :(

I was supposed to leave Copenhagen on Monday at 18.20, but just as I was finishing up the final touches to my packing, I received an SMS and checked online and found out that my flight was cancelled. I had to rebook, and so I did so for Tuesday, same time.

Later that night, at about 22.30, I received another SMS about a ‘rescue’ flight to London-Stansted at 9am in the morning, but after L’s wonderful 31 hour experience on Saturday… I was not keen to go via Stansted. So I stuck with my 18.20 on Tuesday.

Come Tuesday, of course, everything was fine, until about 14.00. It was just the beginning of everything that could go wrong, actually going wrong, when I discovered that the flight was going to be delayed an hour. But ok, fine, it would still work out quite ok, get to London at 20.30, plus travel time to get to M+C’s… but it would be ok.

So, I was a little slow getting to the station, because I overestimated my skill at juggling all of my luggage. Thank you to all the Danes who looked on as the tiny Asian girl struggled.

The train was delayed, but only by a little, so in fact it was actually quite good, because it meant I could take a little bit of a breather.

The train was packed like sardines and I almost didn’t get on but for the girl who pretty much pulled me and all my stuff on to the train. I had to stand off balance for most of the time, but fair enough.

The trusty Tan family ‘blue bag’ presented a slight tear upon arrival at the station. But that was not the main problem. It seemed that I had misplaced the lock and keys for the suitcases. But check in was required first. So I checked in, and then proceeded to attempt mending of the blue bag. Luckily I had a number of safety pins and a stapler on hand. And then I found the keys. Then I checked in, things were fine, then went through security. No problems again.

No gate had been allocated for the flight. So I just sat around waiting for some sign of a gate to appear. Finally, at 18.30, a gate number appeared. So I headed over there. Got to the gate, waited a little while, and then we were let in. Of course, we could only just sit there, waiting for some sign…

gate d101...

An announcement finally comes at 19.30… informing us of another hour delay. Not happy Jan. What I did find slightly amusing was that Norwegian decided to send me another SMS informing me, as if I wouldn’t have been at the gate yet… So it was time to sit some more. Finally, at about 20.00, we started boarding. No problems, no nothing. 20.30 and boarding was complete, but we weren’t moving.

Of course, an announcement from the pilot, something about the congestion etc etc… And then finally, we started taxi-ing. We had to get the wings de-iced, but ok, I will allow time without complaint for that, because I cannot imagine that iced wings make for very good flying…

de-ice-ing. (de-icing just makes me think of icing on a cake...)

But of course, just as we were in place for take off, another announcement from the cockpit. Due to the high traffic into London-Gatwick, we were not allowed to take off for another 10 minutes. And true enough, 10 minutes later, WE HAD LIFT TAKE OFF! No problems with the flight. I pretty much just slept because I was still feeling a little bit sickly.

leaving = sadfish.

farvel københavn. :(

Landed in Gatwick with no further delays. Then went through immigration, and no problems.

:O in london?! no wai!

Then went to collect luggage. Waiting and waiting for the carousel number to appear on the board…

Until an announcement was made that said that, since the flight had arrived out of time, there were not enough ground staff to unload all the luggage from our flight, and also another flight from Billund. After waiting for over an hour, finally we were directed to carousel 3. And there was our luggage! It was already 23.20, and I was really worried that I wouldn’t make the tube after the train. Spoke to M and then went to buy my ticket.

I got stuck in the queue for the tickets for 20 minutes. It was a little bit ridiculous that there was only one counter open at that time… And I was racing for time to catch the 23.51.

Of course, at about 23.47, I noticed that the 23.51 had been cancelled because “No driver could not be found”. I have no idea what that means… but then I was set for the 00.21. Ok, no problem. So I went down to Platform 4 to wait for the train.

At about 00.10, an announcement is made that says that the platform has been changed to Platform 2. So there I go, with all my luggage… up the stairs. Yay. :(

FINALLY, the train arrives.

finally on the train! (sleepy smile)

And I get to London Bridge Station. Thanks to M+C for picking me up from there, seeing as by 1.10, the tube wasn’t running anymore…

LOOK RIGHT! (london bridge station, 1.08am.)

And then finally I got back to their place. And finally got to rest a little bit.

And that is my epic, Getting to London story. I think this beats the St Petersburg day…!

I will post about my first few days in London soon. I don’t want things to pile up too much. :) But it is fantastic. :)


københavn, jeg elsker dig.

sunset from ørestad station. (photo: me)

I wrote this post back in early November, shortly after Beck left. I felt weird to post it that early on because I wasn’t that close to leaving yet. But now that I am leaving, or at least, I am supposed to have left, I thought it was about time that I did. I’ll edit it a little bit though, and add a few things… :)

It was good to have Beck here when she came, not only to get me out of my post-Russia, I-don’t-want-to-be-in-Copenhagen funk, but to remind me just how much I love this city. Taking her around and talking about living here, I realised how much I enjoy this little life that I have built for myself. Sure, a lot of it is spent pandering around on my own, but it’s just… I’ve definitely adjusted to it, and I almost don’t want to go home.

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is home to about 2 million people. It is a city that is built on so much history, as many European cities are. It’s a rather quiet city, and things happen at a relatively slow and relaxed pace. I wasn’t expecting the big city kind of life when I came here, and I’ve gotten quite used to the quiet-ness, so much so that when I went to Stockholm last weekend, I found myself having to get used to being in a city-city again, and Stockholm is by no means the size of home. One of the things that I find quite strange is what seems to be a complete absence of people rushing in their business suits, although this may be due to the fact that I am hardly ever out and about at that kind of a time. There are always people just milling about, not so much lost, but just enjoying themselves, wherever they are, on their way to wherever they’re going.

Before I came here, people told me that Copenhagen wasn’t very exciting, and there wasn’t so much to see and do here. I’ve found that I don’t crave the excitement, or having things to do, or being busy at all. I’m quite content to wander down Strøget, explore the various palaces and gardens that are dotted around the city. I wouldn’t say there are that many actual tourist attractions to see, but wandering around and getting lost is always fun, and can sometimes be very rewarding. I still have to go back and visit the streets that I got lost in the other day while trying to take a shortcut… Needless to say, it didn’t end up being so short. :)

Other things about Copenhagen… I like catching the free S-tog on the first Sunday of the month and visiting a random place in the outskirts. While I do not like how things are not open on Sundays, except for the first Sunday, I guess it’s nice to have a day where you aren’t obliged to go out. I love the harbour, and walking that stretch along the water between where the Little Mermaid should be, down towards Nyhavn. It is no Sydney Harbour, and there is no Harbour Bridge, but it’s Copenhagen, and I love it. The entire bike culture, and hygge, and hearing Danish and the small joy in being able to understand every odd sentence now and then…

I have definitely enjoyed being able to live on my own, keeping my room as messy or as clean as I want it. I won’t miss having to cook for one, but that has been an experience in itself.

I guess you could say that Copenhagen has made me a much more relaxed person. I don’t stress out as much while I am here, not even about uni and classes and all that (which may be a bad thing…!)

I really will missing living here though. I still have two months or so, yet I am still thinking about when it comes time to leave…

Since it has been leaving week, and I’ve spent last week saying goodbye to people, and goodbye to the city, it made me really realise just how much I had here. I know that I am not the most social of people, so I did not expect to make as many friends as I did. I really hope that we remain in contact with each other, and I’m so glad that we have the wonderful interwebs now, and Skype and Facebook… :)

It really is the people that make an exchange experience. Sure, your aim is to mix with the locals, but being an international student, you are far more likely to run into people from people from every single other country, but the one that you are staying in. But either way, it is what it is. And that’s all there is. :)

I guess a post is required re: leaving and London failure and all that, but I think I am just relishing the fact that I have one more day here. Even if it will mostly just be spent at home refreshing the Norwegian website to make sure that my flight is still on schedule…!



So, as always, I will apologise for being (a) fail with updating; (b) fail with catching up on old posts; (c) just generally being fail at posting anything at all.

Since coming back from Norway, Toby came to visit, and that was fun, and good to see someone from home again. :) It was also nice to see a bit of Copenhagen in its winter-y goodness and experience a little bit of jul-tide fun. Of course, posts to come later, eventually…

Copenhagen has been full of lovely weather… aka SNOW! While it is certainly very exciting, and very pretty, I am rather over it already… It is cold, and it is slushy and… it’s cold!!

And of course, as you can see from the subject, I am into exam period. In fact, I started today, with my 24 hour take home exam…

In the meantime, I’ll do you one better than photos. I took these videos yesterday when it was snowing. Of course, the day that I am stuck inside ended up being a nice day, and over zero degrees too, because the snow on my balcony has all melted away. But now it is dark, so I don’t care. :)

Now, I am going to make some salmon for dinner, and settle in for a nice all nighter…!


(I didn’t intend to post these, so excuse the talking…!)
enjoy :)