Tuesday, 30 September 2014

North Cape | emmainlapland

Hey guys!

So this blog is going to be about the awesome weekend I had in Norway.

I don't have much planned for this week other than going to uni and doing laundry so my next update will be next week upon my return from St Petersburg in Russia!

But first... North cape!

So we left at around 11.30am on the Friday morning and began our long, long car journey north. There was 16 of us going to north cape and so we had rented 2 people carriers to take us there. I was in an all girls car with 8 other people and it actually wasn't too bad!!

On several occasions during our 9 hour adventure, herds (is that the right term?) of reindeer crossed our path and I got far too excited about it!

When we eventually arrived at our cabins we set out to make a gigantic meal for all us which consisted of pasta, meatballs and suace. We also began the military operation of making sandwiches... Lots and lots of sandwiches for our lunch the next day, before we chilled out in the huge sitting area playing piano and watching the northern lights. It was a really nice end to a long day.

This place also had a mini museum style area in which there was loads of Norwegian history and culture set in a kind of gallery. It was pretty cool for a little camp site! 

The following day we woke up to a beautiful and stunning morning. The view was amazing and pretty breath taking.

We then began our adventure to North Cape on another long car trip. On the way we stopped at some nice places to take photos and just enjoy the scenery which was really good! Plus it split up the travelling and it was great just to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. 

After about 5 hours on the road we had finally arrived at our destination. North Cape is the most northern point in Europe as well as being a place with some gorgeous scenery and beautiful mountains. 

I took several photos whilst there but here are some of the best ones 

On our journey back to the camp site we stopped at a place called Trollholmsund. I'm not entirely sure on why it's called that... Something to do with trolls and perhaps to do with the shape of some of the rocks? In any case  we went on a short hike up this troll place (I am truly amazingwith words, I know) and the views there were just astounding. There's not much else I can say other than to tell you to look at the photos. Breathtaking. 

By the time we reached camp it was pretty much bed time. We were all too tired to do much other than grab a quick bite to eat and then sleep. 

Our journey home was another long day but it was split up with a few stops for photos and to see the rock art at Alta. 

I think, particularly in Alta, where the ancient rock carvings were, the scenery looks an awful lot like Scotland... Scarily so. 

There wasn't really much to be said about the rock art. It was pretty cool that it was created over 9,000 years ago but other than the carvings done in red, a lot of the art you couldn't really see and so it wasn't exactly exciting. 

We later stopped at a gorgeous waterfall/rock/mountain thing... Again I'm so great with my words. Have more photos! 

By the time I got home on Sunday night I was beyond knackered! But it was overall  and awesome trip with brilliant people and stunning views. I would definitely recommend anyone who is thinking of visiting Norway to do so! 

Catch you all next week with my Russian  adventure blog! 

Thanks guys :)

Emma x

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Week 3/4 in Lapland! | emmainlapland

Hey guys!

First I have to apologise for taking so long to write this... Now that I have no laptop blogging is a little more difficult. 

It has been a while since I last wrote anything and I have to say my memory is not great so this may not be totally chronological nor will I be particularly specific about when it actually occurred like I normally do, mainly because I'm not sure.

Firstly, can we all just take a moment to bask in the glory that is my 5€ rain jacket purchase from a second hand shop in the city centre.

Ignore my face and focus on the bargain. 

Last Thursday was the Scottish referendum and I was genuinely gutted that I wasn't in Scotland for it. However, I did wear my tartan scarf, saltire socks and yes badge to uni so that's almost good enough. On the Friday morning I headed round to my Scottish friend's house and we watched the votes come in live. Obviously I was disappointed in how it turned out but Scotland made a democratic decision and although it was not one I necessarily agreed with, I respect the fact that it was made. 

Moving on to my weekend. On Saturday I went out for coffee with my friends and went to the cutest place EVER. It had a bed in it but nobody would sit in the bed with me. Sadly I didn't get a photo of said bed. I like to say bed. Bed.

On Saturday night there was a garden party in Kuntotie (basically in my garden) and so I turned up with one cider and my comfiest clothes. It was pretty good fun but I had to call it an early night as on Sunday I was up early to go to the zoo!

On sunday we all left super early to cycle to the bus station to take us to Ranua Zoo! The zoo was an arctic zoo and so there was no giraffes which was rather disappointing but I had a pretty good time anyway!

Now I have to admit it's from here that it gets a bit hazy and I don't remember exactly what happened on what day. But I think on Monday I cycled to lidl which was great until it came to cycling home with a giant rucksack full of food. However I did make it and later that day I went into town and got a stand put on my bike (eventually)! Not that it was much use as it decided to start snowing 2 days later but I'll get to that! 

Here's some food that I made from my lidl shop... Yes, I am talented.

On Tuesday (I think) there was a blackout for an hour that evening. It was a schedulled affair to ensure that things work... Or something. In any case, my friend came round and we sat by candle light listening to music and painting our nails which was fun. I'm quite impressed with my painting skills!

Yesterday was one of our friends birthday, but because we had so much going on that we decided to throw her a surprise get together a day early! (Wednesday) We all drank tea and coffee, ate too much vegan apple pie and played a rather fun game of charades. Some people even pretended that they were sitting on invisible chairs. 

This was after 5 minutes of us all sitting around the tray of apple pie on the floor with spoons acting as though we had never seen food before.

It also decided to snow yesterday but it wasn't until Wednesday evening that it really snowed. I generally am a fan of snow but not in September. 

24.09.14 - this is not okay Lapland.

Yesterday I headed to the bank again with my tutor (to no avail... I will open a bank account one day) and also went to the police station to see about getting then permit I needed. That also failed as I turned up too late. 

So instead I went to uni, had some lunch, attempted to study a little bit and watched Great British Bake Off... Because why not!

At 6pm a few of us were going to the Finnish Friend program event where we got to meet our new Finnish friend(s). I met a lovely woman and her daughter who I can't wait to get to know better! 

Today I am going to North Kape, which is in Norway, on a road trip with my friends and I am sure I will have a ton of fun things to say about it so there will no doubt be another blog post soon!

Thanks everyone :) 

Emma x

Monday, 15 September 2014

A great weekend | emmainlapland

Hey guys!

So I just wanted to write a little something to update you about what a great weekend I had!

On Friday I said I was heading to the bank to try and open an account. To cut a long story short, I didn't manage to open one because, after arguing with the woman who didn't speak much English, I discovered I needed to have a residents permit in order to open an account.

I didn't really see why I had to have a permit in order to open an account since, as a member of the EU I am entitled to work, live and study here freely but it's apparently Finnish law. 

On Friday night myself and some friends climbed to the top of a hiking trail (believe me, I'm as shocked as you are that I made it all the way there) to see the northern lights. 

Now, I thought I had seen the lights before. I thought I had ticked that item of my bucket list. But before I had only seen them in a busy housing estate with lots of street lights. This time I was in the middle of nowhere with no artificial light. 

What I saw was beyond amazing.

It is truly and utterly breathtaking to see the most beautiful and unpredictable natural sights. 

Here are a few pictures from what I saw. I didn't take all of these but some belong to other students who posted them on our Facebook group on the same night.

I have no words. 

The last photo doesn't even look real. That's how gobsmacking the aurora really is.

On Saturday I went to a Chinese buffet with some of my friends. It was pretty similar to the Chinese you get back home but there was less of a selection and no chips which upset me greatly. 

Saturday night I spent teaching my friend how to cycle. As it turns out, I'm not too shabby a teacher! 

She's getting there!

On Sunday a group of us went for a picnic at the beach... Yes, the beach! Who knew Lapland had a frigging beach?! We just chilled and ate food. Lots and lots of food.

And that was pretty much my weekend!

I'll post and other blog at the end of the week with more of my Lapland adventures!

Thanks again everyone :)

Emma x

Friday, 12 September 2014

Week 2 in Lapland

Hi guys! 

So to keep you guys up to date here's a wee run down of my second week in Lapland. 

At the end of last week I went to see a fire show in the city centre. It was actually pretty good! It was basically just 3 men waving about firey sticks and making it look pretty but it impressed me none the less.

On Saturday it was one of my friends birthday. So to celebrate we had an "international food" style lunch in which I of course made haggis! There were also cakes and wine and pasta and chicken and it was just great! 

In the evening we went out for drinks and walked home seeing a slight glimpse of the Aurora Borialis again.

On Sunday we went bowling at Santa Sport (I know!) 

It was really good fun but I'm utter rubbish at bowling and obviously came last. It was still great fun regardless and it wasn't particularly expensive so I would probably go again.

The start of the week was pretty uneventful. I haven't got classes yet because most of my studies are self taught... Which kinda sucks and is a bit strange, so I don't have classes lectures until October. In the mean time I've taken to eating the cheap uni lunch every day but I do plan on going to the library to study every day too.

Wednesday saw the Fuksiaiset party which is the freshman party. This was the most fun I've had since arriving in Lapland. The idea is, you are split into groups mixed with new Finnish students and you follow a map leading you to checkpoints. It's pretty much just a drinking orienteering thing but it's great fun and I met even more lovely people. Some of the tasks we had to do were hilarious including creating a rap, creating a play, running around in a circle with a giant stick and using a pair of tights with a tennis ball in them to kick another tennis ball across a line. There was an after party at the local night club too which was probably overpriced and definitely had terrible music but a laugh regardless. 

The sexy blue overalls that a few of us are wearing are actually a big thing at the university. They have different ones for different facultys but mine are for exchange students. You apparently collect badges over the year and the more you have the more cool you look... Or something. 

Yesterday I was pretty hungover but I still managed to do my laundry and eat pancakes with my friends so it wasn't quite so bad! 

Today I plan to set up my Finnish bank account and there's also apparently a garden party tonight! 

Thanks for reading guys, I'll be sure to update you on more of my Lapland adventures soon!

Emma x