Author: izzyfrancesca

Brighton

I påskeuken tok jeg en av mine årlige Londonturer. Nå er det slik at jeg har sett store deler av bysentrum på grunn av mine mange besøk der, så det var artig å prøve noe nytt. Det ligger flere godbiter bare et “steinkast” unna med tog. Denne gangen besøkte vi både Brighton og Windsor, som leverer!

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Brighton ligger en time unna London med tog, helt sør ved kysten i landet. En vindfylt og idyllisk småby i Engelsk målestokk. For de som har besøkt Camden i London, så minner denne byen veldig om det strøket. Du finner spennende gatekunst, musikere, fargerike butikker og spisesteder rundt alle gatehjørner. Byen består av den kjente “Brighton Pier”, som er en lang brygge med tivoli og spillehaller. I tillegg har man den lange strandpromenaden som strekker seg “milevis” med små boder, bademuligheter (om temperaturen tillater det), barer og utesteder.

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Jeg kunne virkelig ha tenkt meg å bodd i en by som Brighton. Den bærer preg av at folk er mer avslappet enn i storbyen og har et stort mangfold av ulike typer mennesker.

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Edinburgh in “One day”

This weekend me and one of my friends went to Edinburgh for a concert. Since we arrived late Friday night and left early Sunday morning we didn’t have much time on our hands for other activities. In other words; We had to plan our day well..

We skipped breakfast at our hotel and decided to find some local place to get ourselves a decent meal at. We chose a full Scottish breakfast at a pub, which included the all famous delicacy of haggis. This was my first time trying it, or at least I think so. It actually just looks like any sausage, and it didn’t really taste as funny as I thought it would. You could have fooled any kid to eat it…

edin1Full Scottish breakfast with haggis, the sausage thingy on the left side…

edin11Pub names, gotta love’em…

Since both me and my friend loves castles and history we went up to the Edinburgh Castle, which  is the most famous landmark in the city and a must to see! You also get a lovely view of the city from up there. I’ve already been in Edinburgh twice earlier, but I have never been inside the castle, so that was a first for me. It’s really recommended! For £16 you get to see a lot of history in one place, exhibitions, museums and the all famous crown jewels (Honours).

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edin3It’s always nice catching a rainbow!

After the visit to the castle we still had some time before the concert. Since we both also love the Harry Potter series and J. K. Rowling we went up to Greyfriars in Old Town to check out The Elephant House (pub) were she wrote much of her early work. We also visited Greyfriars Kirkyard, which is the inspiration to were Voldemort grave was placed. There’s actually a real Tom Riddell buried there. Harry Potter fans visits his grave every Halloween to honor the series.

edin6The Elephant House, were Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter books.

edin7The grave of Tom Riddell (Note, not “Tom Riddle”)

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For dinner we had Italian food at a lovely autenthic Italian restaurant. I had bruschetta for starters, then a lovely pasta meal with mussels, scampi and calamari (squid). After that it was all about the concert. The band playing was Busted, which was my favourite band as a young teen.. It’s quite nostalgic to finally be able to see them live, since it was a dream of the 13 year old me!

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edin12The Natives warming up.

edin13Yet another awesome Busted concert. Tempted to go for a triple next year!

As you can see it’s possible to have a copious experience even if you are short on time. Don’t think you always need a week or two to travel and experience…

Getting the real Kiwi experience

As some people know I went to New Zealand this summer, traveling with the Kiwi Experience all over the Northern Island. The Kiwi Experience is a hop on hop off bus tour that gives you the option to visit many cool places you might now have seen as a more casual traveler. Of course since my main interest of NZ comes from the Lord of the Rings movies and scenery, it was a goal for me to see as much of “Middle Earth” as possible. Some people might have already seen my post about Hobbiton.

Coromandel, Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove

Our first stop with the bus was the North East of the Island, were we stayed at Hot Water Beach in Coromandel. This is a region with windy roads, much green scenery and beaches. Too bad it was winter and a bit too cold to take a bath.

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cathedral-cove_7Some might remember Cathedral Cove from the second Narnia film.

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dsc_0477You know it’s a windy bridge when it says “Max 10 persons at the time”.

Waitomo Caves

A village with a cave system that’s a famous tourist attraction. From here you can also visit the glow worm caves, which looks simply stunning.

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waitomo-glowworm-caves-1We were not aloud to take pictures troughout the boat trip (that was all quiet) inside the caves, but it looks as stunning as on this promo picture.

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Rotorua

One of the most cultural places we visited was Rotorua. Here we got to see some pretty neat volcanic areas (which NZ has a lot of!), eat and hang out with the native Maori people and this is also were we stayed the night when we visited the Hobbiton set in Matamata.

rotorua_64One of the Geysirs in a geothermal park called Te Puia. This geysir can blow up to 30 meters high several times a day.

rotorua_27The Maori people cook some of their food in ground hot pools. This awesome lady made us some boiled eggs and showed us around the Te Puia site.

rotorua_50The Maori people I met were both kind and awesome. They told us they love it when their culture are shared around the world. We got to take some photos with a couple of guys painted in traditional war tattoos. Some of the tribal tattoos around the world has their heritage from here.

rotorua_8The longest name I’ve seen. I recorded our guide pronouncing it!

rotorua_7At the Te Puia site they have a school were people can study traditional Maori hand craft, like wood working. It’s amazing how much time and thought that is put into these figures.

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Boiling mud pools. The town of Rotorua smells like sulfur, no wonder why!

rotorua_35At night time some of the hot pools looked pretty mystical. I’m just waiting for a fantasy creature to stick it’s head up from the water.

rotorua_58Dinner served by the Maori people, cooked in ground hot pools. Look at the size of those mussels!

Taupo

Taupo is a town located in the mid part of the Northern Island, alongside the Great Lake Taupo, which is in fact not only a lake but a huge volcano. Even though it’s a very quiet town, it had something sweet about it. This is also were I got the best view from my hotel room; Mount Ngauruhoe, or Mt. Doom as us Lord of the Rings fans call it.

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Tongariro National Park

After staying in Taupo looking at “Mt. Doom” we actually got to visit the surrounding area Loads of people from the Kiwi tour went up to see it close up. Since it was a 7-8 hour long tour in pretty cold weather it wasn’t for me. I also catched a cold the day before. The tour in the surrounding area was 2 hours long, and even though I was still sick it was amazing!

tongariro_17Of course it had to be cloudy this day…

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tongariro_12Chateau Tongariro which opened in 1929.

Tawhai Falls

We did a short stop at Tawhai Falls, or the Forbidden Pool as Lord of the Rings fans know it by. This is were Faramir and his men was threatening Gollum while he was fishing and singing.

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River Valley

On or way down to Wellington we stopped at a little holiday lodge called the River Valley lodge. Here we ate a nice dinner with sweet potatoes (kumara as it is called in NZ) and lamb. They also had a bar serving mulled wine, and we stayed up listening to music, playing cards and hanging out. There were no WIFI here, which was actually quite calming. Some of the tour group went rafting and horse riding in the morning.

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Wellington

My favorite place visiting must be Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. It’s such a beautiful city, not bigger than Bergen in Norway. It lies by the sea. The only negative thing is that it’s pretty windy here all year around, which gives some famous flight landings (that you can look up on youtube AFTER you have traveled here). This is also were the first Lord of the Rings premiere was and many of its locations. I also had a blast visiting the Weta Cave.

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wellington_60Hiding from Nazguls at Mount Victoria.

wellington_19…. more Lord of the Rings scenery. Where the Nazguls ride through from the Shire.

wellington_8Weta has worked with MANY great films, not only Lord of the Rings. Some of their other work is the Hobbit, Narnia, Xena; The Warrior Princess, Thunderbirds are Go, Planet of the Apes, World of Warcraft, King Kong, Kingdom of Heaven, Zorro, the Last Samurai, Mad Max: Fury Road and Tintin. You can imagine how fun this was to experience!

wellington_44One of the best moments from the trip was when I got to hold one of Saruman’s staffs (they have several of course) at the Weta Cave. Felt like a child with the biggest ice cream ever! It’s pretty easy to see how tall Christopher Lee was from this.

wellington_42A frightening Uruk Hai inside the shop.

wellington_46I got to see tons of costumes and props from Middle Earth. We weren’t aloud to take photos inside the workshop though, because they are working on new material there. Imagine anyone taking pictures and spoiling new film.

wellington_41Me and one of the trolls Bilbo met on his adventure in the Hobbit. Life size.

wellington_35Azog, the pale orc.

Auckland

New Zealands biggest city is Auckland with a population of about 1,4 million. This was my last stop for two days before leaving the country. I stayed at a hotel called Crowne plaza which was pretty decent. Decided I had to try out some luxury before leaving.

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auckland_11I took a visit to the War Memorial museum in the city, which had so many interesting section, both cultural and historic. Such a huge place. Free for the city inhabitants, but not too expensive for other visitors as well.

Why visit New Zealand?

It’s probably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and as far as you can get from Norway as possible. This country has everything, from huge mountains and volcanos to long beaches, green forests and parks, along with exciting cities and town. The country has less people than Norway in it, about 4,5 millions..

wellington_30This furball is the national bird of New Zealand, the Kiwi… Now you probably know why the people here are called Kiwis, right?

ruakuri_9The Kiwi Experence tour bus! I recommend doing this, especially if you are travelling alone. You meet so many nice people, mostly around the age of 18-30.. and the bus drivers are also pretty cool (at least the ones we had).

Hobbiton – Am I dreaming?

As many people already know I was in New Zealand (North Island) this summer for two weeks, which has been a dream for quite some time now. As a HUGE fan of Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s adaption of “Lord of the Rings” and “the Hobbit” I simply had to visit as many filming locations as possible. Of course the most important one being Hobbiton, in Matamata, which is the only complete set there is. They had to remove the other outdoor sets after the filming was over….

Hobbiton was AMAZING. I think I’ll let the pictures and my smile in them speak for itself!

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There is nothing inside the Hobbit holes, but stone and wood. Interior shots were filmed on a different set.

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Most gardens in Hobbiton are real, but the potatoes in the picture are not. Just an amazing sculpting and paint job.

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The most exciting Hobbit hole we got to see was Bag End, where Frodo and Bildo lived before their journeys.

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At the end of the two hour long tour (could have spent a day there) we got a free ale at the Green Dragon inn, were you could also buy soup, cupcakes or scones. The ale is only made in this area, so it’s unique for Hobbiton.

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I really recommend every fan of Tolkien/Jackson to go here. They say that 44% of the visitors haven’t even seen the films. I bet they will though.

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#visitGeiranger

A couple of weeks ago me, my cousin and her boyfriend went on a road trip to Geiranger. I can’t believe I haven’t been there more than maybe once, or twice, before. The road trip from Ålesund takes around 2 hours, so it’s not even that far… I guess I’ve always just imagined it as a tourist trap, though it’s far from (at least before and after summer).

Since we went in mid May, the tourist season hasn’t fully started yet. There were no cruise ships, and we were able to walk around taking pictures without a huge crowd around us. The weather was BEAUTIFUL as well.

When first arriving in Geiranger you will drive down “Ørnevegen” (the Eagle Road), which is a slope with nine U-turns. Pretty scary if you are used to straight highways…  I recommend to stop at “Ørnesvingen” (the Eagle Turn) to take some good overlook photos. All buses will definately stop here!

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These photos are taken at Ørnesvingen, and shows the amazing view of the Geiranger Fjord. The view looks even better when tourist ships are arriving around the corner of the fjord.

The centre of Geiranger isn’t really big, but it has a few cafès, a bakery, some souvenir shops, a chocolate shop and a Moods of Norway store, so it’s fully possible to get your hands of some Norwegian overpriced pieces here. There’s also a hotel with a view towards the fjord.

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Since we arrived quite “early” we had some time for our visit. We therefore decided to go on a hike to see a famous waterfall called Storseterfossen. It’s a 2 km long trip from a mountain farm called Vesterås, were you are actually able to walk under the waterfall. It’s truly amazing. You’ll follow steps all the way up there, so even slackers like me survives.. almost. Don’t forget to take a sip of the refreshing water! April/May is lamb season, so we were lucky to meet some cuties.

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Geiranger was actually featured in a movie called “Bølgen” (the Wave) that was released in 2015. It’s about a big mountain side called Åkerneset, further into the fjords, that can collapse into the water and make a tsunami at ANY TIME. If so happens, many counties surrounding Geiranger will suffer. I do recommend to wait until you have been here to see the movie..

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Feel free to share photos, but do not claim as your own.. or I will haunt you into eternity! 

BUSTED in Scotland

This weekend me and my friend Karoline went to Glasgow to see one of the Busted reunion concerts. I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since we were UBER fans! I felt like a 14 year old girl again for 1.5 hours, when the band played all of their classics. They had even made some new ones, which I hope will be released soon!

Before the concert we had a day in Aberdeen, since it was easier (and cheaper) getting to the airport there. We stayed at Jury’s Inn, which is a decent hotel inside the Union Square shopping centre. Since we were only in town for a day it was nice to have everything around is. Especially YO! Sushi. I have never tried eating sushi from a traditional Japanese ‘kaiten’conveyor belt before. And I have also never spent £24 on sushi before. It’s highly recommended though!

After eating lunch we went out for a small stroll in town. It’s almost completely made in granite. Even though I prefer colors, the granite gives the town a very authentic feel to it. We passed by a church with a beautiful graveyard. I took a picture of a headless statue that I think looked both creepy and interesting.

Like always, we visited Primark to do some shopping. Filling up our bags with geeky pieces of clothing! I simply love the Cherry Coke t-shirt! I have been looking for a nice Coca Cola tee for some time now. Outside one of the shopping centres we also met a group of cosplayers collecting money for charity.

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… also look at this fun Star Wars cake from a shop window. Something for geeky weddings!

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This weekend didn’t bring too much sleep, as we had to wake up around 5.30 to catch our 3 hour bus to Glasgow. We travelled with a company called Megabus which was decent enough. Because we were tired, we were able to kill some time by sleeping. The bus also had WIFI, and I had a bag of Skittles.. No complaints.

Because we arrived early in Glasgow we also had some time to explore there as well. We were a bit tired though, so we ended up eating some lunch, checking out a unique backyard, then went back to the hotel for a 3 hour long rest. We wanted to be well rested before the concert started, so no big sightseeing this time. I were able to take a few pictures though.

… some street art. The less artistic kind.

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The Busted concert was at SSE Hydro. We stayed at Premier inn, which was on the other side of the river from the arena. A rather short walk luckily. The arena was huge, but even though our seats were far in the back I felt like we got a great experience. We also bought some tour tees. Even though all songs were some kind of highlight, I think the song we yelled loudest to were definately “Year 3000”.

Warming up for the band was Wheatus (with “Teenage Dirtbag” and a woman called Emma Blackery (that I honestly haven’t heard about before).

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Arthecon – En dag i Tolkiens fotspor

Jeg burde vel egentlig ha lagt ut noe om dette for flere uker siden, men tiden har flydd av en eller annen grunn. 24. mars var jeg på Arthecon, som ble arrangert på Deichmanske bibliotek i Oslo. Dette er en festival for Tolkien-fans, hvor man i likhet med større cons har foredrag, art stands, utkledningskonkurranser og diverse aktiviteter (som f.eks dans og sying av kapper).

Selv var jeg kledd ut som Saruman den hvite, et kostyme jeg alt bestemte meg for i fjor sommer, etter Christopher Lees død. Materialer er som tidligere, kjøpt på Fretex, og kostymet er 90% selvlagd (skjorte måtte jeg skaffe i siste liten pga. feilberegninger). Staven var min første prop, og derfor litt ekstra spennende å lage. Her fikk jeg eminent hjelp fra familie, og jeg ble veldig fornøyd med resultatet. Tenkte jeg skulle legge ut litt bilder av prossesen denne gangen, så et par bilder fra selve connet til slutt.

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For å lage ermet har jeg brukt en mal som tilhører Cersei Lannister-kjolen jeg holder på å sy (typisk for kjoler og kapper i middelalderstil). Selv om jeg ikke er opptatt av at broderi osv. skal se 100% likt ut, så liker jeg at f.eks detaljer og border er tilstede, som på den nederste delen her. 

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… ok da, en form for broderi. Enkelt mønster på baksiden av kappen, som jeg dessverre brukte rosa kritt på. Går nok bort i vask, men en generelt dårlig ide til å begynne med.

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Beltet ersatt sammen av gardindekorasjoner og restestoff. På baksiden har jeg sydd på trykknapper, slik det enkelt kan tas av og på. Det er viktig med praktiske kostymer.

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Sarumans stav er min første prop, som jeg i grunn ble fornøyd med til slutt. Den er satt sammen av en 1,8 m lang trestav som er kuttet i fire deler (med skruer til å montere sammen). Kulen i isopor, og ble dessverre litt herpet av superlim så jeg måtte skjule den i plast (prøvd å få det til å ligne glass). De spisse delene er skjært ut av en foamplate, og deretter malt i sort bengalakk.  

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Siste finish på skjegget. Kjøpt på eBay, men siden fargen ikke var helt spot on så ble det litt svamping for å få det til å ligne mer.

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“Against the power of Mordor there can be no victory”.

Legger som sagt også med et par bilder fra selve eventet. Traff så utrolig mange flotte mennesker, i NYDELIGE kostymer. Man blir jo helt svimmel av slikt! Etter connet dro mange videre til en bar Arthecon hadde leid. Der ble det drinker og dans. Gjett om Saruman ble glad når “White wedding wizard” kom over høytalerene. Mye moro, og lite eleganse, med dans i kostymer… Kvelden ble avsluttet med en baconburger. Mon tro hva folka på Max Burgers tenker når de får besøk av all slags pakk etter hvert con 😉

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Duell mellom alver og dverger. Bestod av musikkquiz, sjekking og tårnbygging.

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Produksjon av kapper.

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Foredrag av Nina Denney Ness om Tolkien, Peter Jackson og deres påvirkning av Snorre Sturlasons kunst og materiale. Veldig interessant! 

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Legolas-power!

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To  Arwen på hver sin side, med en av forfedrene, Melian i midten. Rett og slett nydelige!

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Tre spreke og flotte damer som Arwen, Eowyn og Tauriel. Girl power til de grader!

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Noe av det morsomste med kostymer er at man kan være hvem som helst! Her er to råstilige kostymer av Bard og Gimli. Folk er utrolige flinke med detaljer!

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Dagens mest sassy Thranduil, på tronen sin.

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Kunne jo ikke la være å ta bilde med en gammel venn, Gandalf.

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Et lite blinkskudd fra dagen: Saruman fotograferer Legolas.

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… og så et gruppebilde til slutt (ikke tatt av meg). Måtte jo velge et vi gjorde grimaser på!