So, how is life in Sweden?

I know, I know, in the last post I promised to keep you updated… and then all of a sudden it was months later :/

But, to answer that question up there, life in Sweden is very very good 🙂 Can’t really believe it’s been 3 months already since I came here! Time certainly did fly this summer and only the calendar and the slowly changing nature are telling me that it will be autumn soon.

So what happened in the meantime? I learned how to survive in an all-male household, that would be the biggest change 😉 One teenage boy and his little brother plus their dad did take some adjusting for me who had been living alone for the last 12 years 😛 But now we have worked out a pretty good rhythm and I think everyone is quite happy – I know I am 🙂

With the man in (and of) my life being away at work for two weeks at a time comes a certain responsibility to make sure that the oldest gets breakfast in the mornings and leaves in time to get the bus to school, then taking care of the household chores and cooking our dinner before driving him to and from sports training and church events. Actually, from Thursday on, it’ll be the first time that I have the car to myself since I came here, so I’m training driving it 😉 Should be fine, only the garage is a little bit scary 😉

During the summer, we did a lot of walking around the area and the city, you have probably seen the pictures on fb and Instagram. Yes, we had beautiful weather most of the time and yes, we have forest and water just outside the door 😉 We’ve eaten wild strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and now blackberries straight from the bush, covered a lot of kilometres walking and cycling and it feels like home to me now!

There was a baptism and a confirmation, the most baffling feature (to me, a German raised Catholic) probably being the young, female (!) priest who loves a woman (!!) and also draws people in so much that even I would consider going to church again 😉 Apart from the fact that the Swedish church seems to have taken all the good bits from the Catholics and mixed it with a very modern Protestantism.

We also spent a little time up in Dalarna at his dad’s and I think this country is even more beautiful up there 🙂 Not to mention that granddad has a lake just outside the front door and a big bbq behind the house 😉

Some setbacks have been the fact that pretty much everything is closed for a certain period over the summer, so not much progress with bureaucracy and such, and also I had no luck finding a job yet. But it’s work in progress and I’m sure there’s something out there for me 🙂

If you want to know anything specific, just put a comment and I’ll reply quickly 🙂

It’s back!

Hello my dear readers (if I still have any…) 😉

The blog is coming back, so is the Instragram account and hopefully I will be able to post more in the near future when I embark on yet another adventure 🙂

It’s a little different to the last one, not travelling as much or as far, but still very exciting and I hope you will follow this journey as well. Tomorrow, I’ll leave for Sweden. Yes, I know, been there, done that, so just another round of workaway? No, this time it’s for good (at least that’s the idea) 😉

Do you remember the hiking in the Fulufjället National Park last year and that I was going with a friend? Well, said friend is in fact my boyfriend and I will be moving in with him and his eldest son! We’re based in Kalmar, so Southern Sweden, on the East coast, right next to Öland – where the Swedish Royals spend their summers, so not a bad place at all 😉

To start with, all my stuff that I am taking will have to fit in the trunk of the car tomorrow morning… I am quite positive, but we will have to see how realistic that was 😛 We will have a little roadtrip from Hamburg and should board the ferry in Rostock on Saturday evening, arriving in Kalmar about lunchtime on Sunday – with a high probability of comatose sleep once we get to the apartment. 😉

Then it’s a national holiday on Monday and from Tuesday onwards we’ll tackle the bureaucracy in Sweden – supposedly it’s worse than Germany, but I have my doubts about that 😛 Also, the little son will join us on Tuesday night and we will take it from there.

There are lots of plans for the summer and the boys’ holidays, hopefully we can make it all happen and have a great time! 😀 Thanks to the EU I should be getting jobseekers’ allowance for the first 3 months and after that I am hoping to find myself a job. Not necessarily as a translator, I’m open to anything that will get me in touch with people and will teach me about the society.

So from a travel blog, this will turn into more of an emigration blog, but I hope you will still be interested. And as time goes on, travel will be back on the agenda – but for now it’s all about building a new life 🙂

P.S.: Any EB people who are still undecided about coming to the Summer Party tonight – I’ll be doing my rounds there 😉

Time for a break

Dear followers of this blog, I have to announce that it will take a break until at least the summer. There is a lot of stuff going on and I simply don’t have the time to keep you updated on all of it. Nothing has to do with travels at the moment though, so you’re not really missing out 😉

Hope to see you again when I come back! Thanks for following me up to here 🙂

Merry Christmas and a very happy 2016!

Dearest readers,

now the walkabout has come to an end for the time being! As you are reading this, I have hopefully touched down on German soil again and am on my way to catch up with some friends before I go home to mum’s and sleep off my jetlag 😉 I’m losing a whole day on this trip, somewhere in the air – starting on Tuesday afternoon and arriving on Wednesday early morning 😉

Thank you for reading and following my adventures so far! Thank you for your comments and for sticking around even when the internet wasn’t cooperative and I disappeared for a while 🙂 There will be more, promise, but for now I will take a (hopefully!) well-deserved break and relax for a while, at least when it comes to the blog. On the fb page or Instagram, you might see the odd update with a pic 🙂

My last host had the two most adorable dachshunds, so thanks to the internet for the picture. I couldn’t find out who to credit for it, please forgive me! If it’s your picture, I’ll gladly add the credits, just let me know!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a great start into the new year! May you have a great time and may your wishes come true! Sometimes they just take a little longer…  😉

We will catch up, in person when we have the chance, and there’s plenty more news in 2016 😉

Been a while, sorry – was looking for the Preciousssss ;)

Yes, I know… I spoilt you with my frequent updates and then I disappeared 😉 But rest assured, there’s no part of my journey that you will miss out on!

Right now I am sitting in my AirBnb in Wellington, trying to catch up with life and such things. My photos are being uploaded to Flickr while I write this, so feel free to have a peek in there – there were only about 300 to be edited, not all of them made it there though 😉 My Stray journey ended last Saturday with a party at the hostel in Wellington.

It has been a great trip, I enjoyed it a lot and had some of the best drivers out there I think! A few more days here, then I’ll take the ferry and train back to Charlotte’s in Christchurch and from there to Australia via Auckland. There’s less than 3 weeks left on this epic journey now, can you believe it??

Here in Wellington I haven’t really been up to much. The place I am staying at is up up on a hill and the bus takes about 30 minutes to the city centre. It also costs money, so I try go there only every second day, being lazy in my room in between 😉 Hopefully I can do my Christmas shopping here, don’t get excited back home: It’ll have to be very small and light things for you!

I did, however, do the tour of the Weta Cave (for you non-nerds: the place where a lot of the props and creatures and things for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were made) and absolutely loved it! Of course I knew that was not the only thing they worked on, but it was amazing to see how many movies they were involved in! The shuttle I had booked took me out to Miramar, the peninsula that is the centre of New Zealand film-making and dropped me right at the door of the Weta Cave. Here we got to the chance to look around (see the pics!!!) and shop a bit (yes!) before we saw a 25 minute documentary about Weta.

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After that, our guide met us outside and took us inside the place where the magic happens. The guides all work there in different departments, so it is a real insider’s view you get! 🙂 We heard how the design process works for pretty much everything, from weapons to armour to everything someone might want in a movie or on private commission. We also got to watch a woman who was putting hair (real hair!) on a statue of a soldier, a new version of the one that is in the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa right now. Next to her, another woman was painting the cutest things I have seen in a while: a private commission for guinea pigs in LOTR character! Guinea pig Gandalf with a long beard etc… Photography is of course forbidden on the tour, so you just have to imagine them 😉

Speaking of Te Papa: That’s the National museum here in Wellington and an absolute must-do in my opinion! On my way up to Auckland I already went there to see said Gallipoli exhibition. It follows the movements of the New Zealand soldiers in WW I in a very interactive and touching way – Weta has been involved in shaping the whole exhibition. My personal highlights were the statues! I think there are about 5 different ones, each placed in a round dark space, telling their story. They are 2.5 times as big as humans, but every single detail is so real that you think you can hear the blood drip from the wounds… If you have the chance, go see it!!!

The pictures unfortunately don’t do them any justice, silly phone camera…

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The travel episodes that are still missing will be posted one after the other, I just need to write them up 😉

Relax and rewind

Finally I have arrived in a place and a hostel where I feel I can relax. Even though it will be one full day again with a day trip to Cape Reinga and back – another almost 12 hours on the bus… but after that I have all of Sunday and half of Monday to myself. Yay! 🙂

Where I am? In the Bay of Islands, in Paihia to be precise and in the Haka Lodge – which has an amazing view over the bay from the lounge and kitchen and facilities that feel more like a hotel than a normal hostel. There are actual shower cubicles with glass doors and water pressure! The bedrooms have 4 dorm beds out of wood that give the feeling of berths on a ship, very cosy and from the looks of it very comfy as well 🙂

The weather looks absolutely glorious and there is a lot of things to do here (as everywhere in NZ). We’ll see what I can bring myself to do, it might be beach time and some walks or a ferry trip 🙂

It feels like it is time to think about the walkabout so far. After the first really bad experience with workaway, everything else went super smoothly and I met amazing people throughout my big Sweden trip! Old friends, new friends, a lot of new viewpoints and the feeling that I am enough as I am and that there’s no need to pretend certain things.

On the Stray bus, I struggled in the beginning to be honest. People so much younger than me, with very different ideas about their trip and the forced proximity of dorms – all of that was more difficult than I expected it and for a few days I had serious doubts if I really made the right decision. I need my alone times, more than usual now when there’s so much to take in and handle, and I felt I didn’t get enough. :/

The first hop-off in Abel Tasman actually helped a lot – being free from activities and schedules, having a day or even two to do whatever I like, that was what I wanted on this trip. And at the same time, I found myself more open towards the new people and in the following days, I met really good people again. 🙂

The Deep South was a bit of a challenge with the places we stayed at, but because the group was really fun, it wasn’t bugging me too much. Nevertheless, I was very sure I wanted to have the stop in Queenstown, away from any hostels and parties – and it did me the world of good! Again, it was down to the people I met and to the fact that I was able to do whatever I wanted. 🙂

Now I am really looking forward to the “remainder” of my time here! There will probably be some hiccups again, but I have pre-booked all my accommodation for the longer hop-offs and am quite hopeful there are some more gems like this one 🙂 With that in mind, I think I can handle nights in places that are maybe not my standard 😉

Will I do the Tongariro Crossing? A very good question that I cannot answer right now. I have 3 nights planned for the National Park so that I have another chance if the weather is not good on the first day. At the same time, it is quite a challenge and I have two issues that might win: I twisted my ankle in Abel Tasman and even though it was a while ago, it still isn’t happy with me. The other issue are my hiking shoes which are actually a bit too small – ok for smaller to mid-length walks if I can rest my feet after. But do I want to do almost 20 km in them? It’ll probably be a spontaneous decision – stay tuned 😉 In any case I now have a good sun protection hat – see FB 😛

A lot of fun – and long bus rides

Leaving Mt Cook, I got on the bus with Lantern, my fave driver so far! Back in the Loveshack we went to Lake Tekapo for the famous church and then on to Geraldine and Rangitata for the Peel Forest Horsetrekking and the rafting. Guess what I chose? Exactly, the horses! Once again I was the only one, but Freya, the German girl leading the trek and me had a great time 🙂 We went through forest, water, fields and more forest for about 2 hours in perfect sunshine!

When I got dropped off at the accommodation afterwards, it was the first time I saw triple dorm beds! Those were high, but thankfully no one had to actually sleep in the top bunks 🙂 When the rafters came back, they got their BBQ and afterwards we could get ours too, my first steak in NZ and it was all so good – might be because we were really hungry at that point 😉 After that, we went inside where a fire was warming us up and we had a rather drunk, but very fun game of Monopoly 😉 It got cut short though because we were getting up really early the next day – the Rugby World Cup final was on at 5 a.m. between the All Blacks and the Wallabies (for non-rugby speakers: between New Zealand and Australia).

So we did get up just in time for the haka and the game, which was really tight for a long time, but the All Blacks did it in the end 🙂 Breakfast was during the game as we were leaving right after it to make it to Christchurch in time for the pick-ups and drop-offs. The bus has never been so quiet as on that particular trip 😉 In Christchurch we said goodbye and hello and then we were off to Kaikoura. This was the bit of my trip that was a bit unplanned – as I had done that stretch already, I could not be confirmed as a passenger and had to hope for a space on the bus. Thankfully, there were plenty!

Kaikoura was therefore a quiet one, we got fish and chips at what is to be the best place in all of NZ (it was very good!) and took these up to a viewpoint before going to the seal colony. They are just too cute and silly, in my next life I want to be a seal 🙂 You get a fur, nobody calls you fat and all you have to do is look cute and move funny 😉  In the evening, we just sat out on the grass, having a great time!

From Kaikoura it was off to Picton for the ferry – only 4 of us and Lantern were actually taking it, the others were just starting their South Island trip. It was a very sunny, but also extremely windy day – the ferry moved A LOT! So much that the horizon line was no longer visible in the window at times… I got through it quite well though, though I hope it will be a bit calmer on the way back in December 😉

After the ferry it was off to the hostel and goodbye to the others, only Tabea, a German girl, and me were staying in the same hostel and for 3 nights – the others were off the next morning. We got into an all German-speaking 6-bed-dorm and got to relax a bit, very useful to have Domino’s pizza and the supermarket just around the corner 🙂

One day we took the cable car up the hill and walked back down through the Botanic Gardens, then around the city and finally back to the hostel – 13 km that day! The day after Tabea wanted to do Te Papa – which needs at least one full day because there is so much to see in that museum. I stayed in the hostel, catching up with my pictures (which aren’t up on flickr yet due to bad internet) and relaxing.

We met up for coffee at Te Papa in the afternoon and I wanted to make a start on it at least, so I went to see the special exhibition about the Anzac (Australia and New Zealand) troops at Gallipoli. Having just seen the TV series Anzac girls on Netflix while I was in Queenstown, I had a vague idea about the events. But the exhibition really made everything come to life, using huge statues of people to make them tell their personal story and a lot of interactive material. It said that Weta Workshop had been involved in making this and it was visible everywhere – the details on the statues were incredible, the wounded soldier was so realistic that I expected the blood to drop from his knee wound… It was a very good example of what war means and why we should never let it happen again! Lest we forget!

Today, we spent about 10 hours in the bus, going all the way from Wellington to Auckland. At least we stopped at National Park and saw the snow-capped Mt Doom 😉 My hostel is on the steepest street in all of Auckland (I thought the driver was joking…) and of course I came the wrong way, so I did walk UP said street, with all my luggage. Had to take some breaks and was quite short of breath once I reached reception, but at least I got a nice room – and by the looks of it I’m alone in it for tonight 🙂 A female 2-bed-dorm for the same price that the 6-bed somewhere else would have been – happy me 🙂 Tomorrow we set off early to go to the Bay of Islands – beaches!!!!