Tuesday, 30 June 2009

bye-bye Víðihlíð

This is my last post from Víðihlíð, tonight I'll be sleeping in Kópavogi! The shame of it! No, actually it's quite a lovely area :) Oh, and I finally got to go to Þórsmörk, and it was definitely as beautiful and special as everyone has said. Not to mention lovely and warm - I shocked the hell out of the Icelanders after our 22km hike by lying down for a few minutes in the icy cold river beside the campsite to cool off and wash, while they only lasted a few seconds each :D Photos forthcoming.

Monday, 22 June 2009

June summer holiday

Phew! I've just returned from my 3-week trip to Europe, which is why I haven't been replying to emails. Will work on the photos when I have spare time from moving house and working. Here's a summary of my June so far:

1-6 June: NORMS Linguistics workshop, Hotel Fefor, Gudbrandsdalen in Norway. Highlights:
  • Swimming in a mountain lake, fed by snowmelt from the highest mountains in Norway, at 1158 metres above sea level
  • Playing Cat's Cradle (you know, that string game) for about 4 hours with Gísli on the last night
  • Finding out that some Dutch dialects have subject-complementiser agreeement in embedded clauses, as well as subject-verb agreement (eg 'I know dat she is coming', vs 'I know dan they are coming'.)

6 June: Mark and Susana's wedding just outside of Rome. Highlights:

  • Navigating from the airport to the reception in Italian, where my Italian consists of a few songs about Dario from the textbook Avanti! (Non sono Dario, sono Pino. Sono piccolo fratello di Dario. Dario e i gabinetto.)
  • The bright green kilts worn by Mark, Luce and Matt. First time I've seen groomsmen more eye-catching than bridemaids
  • Susana's family. First time I met them. I'm already disappointed that they don't live in Melbourne.

After that, coupla days: Rome. Highlights:
  • The crazily thin Roman pizzas.
  • The stupendously yummy chilli chocolate gelati near some church near the river.
  • The insane, people-everywhere, churches-everywhere, mopeds-everywhere pace.
  • The Colosseum. I could totally visualise Asterix and Obelix charging and sneaking about there!

After that, 3 days: Naples/Napoli. Highlights:
  • Rosemary (Luce's mum)'s beaming face as she threw herself heart and soul into the pure insanity that is Naples
  • Tango dancing in the posh part of Naples (thank god there was one!)
  • Visiting the ruins of Pompei and seeing Mt Vesuvius
  • The gum trees :D
  • The yummy focaccia-based pizzas

After that, one night: Rome again. Highlights:
  • How truly PEACEFUL the city was. In comparison with Napoli.
  • Gelati

After that, 1 week: Rethymno on Crete, in Greece. Highlights:
  • The totally bizarre driving style. Basically, you can overtake at pretty much any time, which means you drive on the shoulder wherever possible, to allow people behind you room to squeeze past, and to avoid oncoming overtakers on your side of the double lines.
  • The Palace at Phaistos, and the Phaistos Disk
  • Knossos
  • Kafaiti (it's the hairy one, my new favourite)
  • Samaria Gorge - 17kms of white rocks, pink oleanders, orange cliffs, clear streams and the beautiful green of gum trees, starting 1km in the sky, finishing in the super-inviting mild waters of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Down-time, where we could all just kick back and read our books, and continue to regain our sense of self after Napoli

Last 2 nights: Agia Pelagia, on Crete. Highlights:
  • Finally having Luce all to myself!!
  • Snorkelling several times a day
  • The freshly-squeezed blend of pineapple and orange juice, despite the skepticism of the restaurant guy

Reykjavik again. Highlights:
  • It was still light when the plane landed at 11:30pm, and it was still light when I got to bed at 1:30am
  • The tap water is not only drinkable, but it is decidedly yummy
  • High-speed internet on-tap
  • Super-comfy bed and pillows
  • Endless supply of scaldingly hot water at a good pressure
  • The toasty warm inside, refreshingly cool outside
  • I can finally recognise an Icelandic accent on someone's English, and it's beautiful!
  • It's home. And only 4 weeks til I'm back in Melbourne, at my other beautiful home.