mandag 21. oktober 2019

2019 USA East Coast Road Trip

Travelling is always an adventure. No matter how much (or little) you have planned, there will always be experiences you didn't expect. For good and for bad...

But, starting from the beginning. We have seen a bit of the US, but talked a lot about taking a road trip down the east coast, and decided to do it this year. Tollef had some bonus points to use before they expired, and we booked the flights a year ago.

Then, my illness got worse over the winter, and one of my worries was not to be able to go at all. And it was close for a long time. I got a "test run" with a few days on my own in UK this summer, which was tiring but went fairly ok. It's a longer flight to the US and we had a longer holiday planned, but I would have Tollef to take care of a lot more of the small bits that costs me a lot of energy. I also have an electrical travel scooter to use for the typical places when we walk a lot for sightseeing and shopping. And, we are spending the last few days at Miami Beach for rest, sun and heat.

So, off we went.
To my relief, the flight went as good, if not better than, it could have. It was one of the worriesome points of the trip, being a long flight, and airports can be quite tiresome. With wheelchair assistance and plus seating in the plane it was really nice.
Arriving in Newark, we got our rental car and got out on the road. I was a bit confused when Tollef said the drive to our first motel would take twice as long as I had found out earlier, 4 instead of 2 hours. Even if the flight went well, we were on a different timezone and a bit tired and ready for some rest. It was also a lot of detailed navigating in the start. The areas we drove through were very backway and rural, so I wondered a bit. Then, after driving for two hours, I discovered the GPS were set to avoid motorways... Yay. Our first adventure on the trip. At least we got there in 3 hours, and got a good, long nights sleep.


Day 2, Saturday
Waking up, not unexpectedly, early, we found a nearby café serving breakfast. I had a nice oatmeal, and couldn't resist trying their lavender milkshake, which was incredibly good! Then we headed towards Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center, to be educated on the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the turning points of the civil war. We saw a short movie introduction, and then a huge 360 degrees painting of the battle scene, before going through a huge, detailed museum. It was nice and interesting, but too much information and noise (because of several scouts and school groups) for me, so I went through the museum quite quickly, getting the main parts of the preface and days of the battle. After a short round in the museum shop I found a quiet corner to rest and wait for Tollef.
From Gettysburg we headed towards Washington, stopping at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. Being Saturday lunchtime, I had forgotten how loud and busy it could be, but food was good, and I got some discounted bath salts. Getting in to downtown DC took some careful navigating, but we were rewarded with arriving at a quite nice hotel nearby the Capitol. We were too tired from jetlag to do much more, but went to the neighbouring Dubliner pub for dinner before crashing in to bed, more or less.


Day 3, Sunday
A few days ago the weather forecast promised sun and warm weather, so I was disappointed to wake up to clouded skies and a chilly temperature. We had breakfast at a neighbouring café (oatmeal again, this time without the milkshake), and then went up to Capitol hill and along the Mall. It's a really nice area, we walked through a part of the botanical garden, a sculpture park, and up to the monument. We went up to the White house as well, although it was mostly covered by fences and protection, so not much to see there.
I still wasn't quite recovered from the travel and previous day, so I headed back to the hotel to rest, while Tollef visited the Space and aircraft museum. Half a day in bed really helped my form, and we went out for pizza when Tollef came back. We also dropped by Walmart to get a cell phone holder for the car as we use it as the GPS, and they had inflatable dragons there for halloween. I really want one of those!


Day 4, Monday
I had an easy morning in bed. Tollef went out and got breakfast back to the hotel room (pumpkin bagel with pumpkin smear! It is halloween after all), before he went out for a run along the Mall. After returning, we checked out and hit the road.
The first stop was lunch at a brewpub in Richmond, and a visit to the American Civil history museum. I was a bit sceptical after Gettysburg, but in comparance this was almost disappointing. It was very nice and gave a chronological year-for-year overview of events and a lot of information, but not nearly as much as Gettysburg. Which was probably really a good thing.
From Richmond we decided to drive a couple of hours further towards Charleston, and ended up staying at an inn in the town Rocky Mount, after a proper American Diner meal.



Day 5, Tuesday
After a light breakfast we headed south towards Charleston via Myrtle beach. I was quite tired after the previous day's sightseeing, and concluded the museum visit in Charleston had to go. Tollef drove for the first 3 hours, and then I took over just before lunch. We had lunch in Myrtle Beach, a holiday area with lots of restaurants, arcades, amusement parks, playgrounds, and of course long sandy beaches. The temperature went up a bit, and even with wind and clouds we had a very nice walk on the beach, before getting lunch at a greek fast food place.
The last two hours on the road went quickly, and we checked in to a very nice Victorian style hotel in Charleston historic district! The room was lovely, with old style furniture (and modern bathroom and aircon).
I had a short rest, before we went out. First we went though the Charleston historic market. It was very nice and I wish I had more time there. It was also about to close, so a lot of stalls were packing up, but there was also fewer people than in the middle of the day. The place Tollef had found for dinner was closed, so we ended up in a very nice bar and grill place instead.
Still feeling tired, I booked a massage at a spa nearby our hotel, which appeared to be a really good professional hotel spa. It felt really good to losen up some tight spots and just relax in lavender-infused care for a bit. A very nice ending to the day!


Day 6, Wednesday
I woke up, and still felt tired, so decided to take it as easy as possible on a 6 hour drive. Tollef drove most of the way. We stoppet at a Sabatier outlet for cooking knives, and got outselves a couple of new ones to replace some of the old we have at home. I already look forward to cooking next time!
Lunch was pancakes at iHop, just one of those things it is nice to do once during a trip like this. After lunch we took a detour to drive along the beach, unfortunately beach houses were blocking the view most of the time. We stopped at a supermarket and stocked up on drinks and some food for the next few days, and then what felt like a really long day on the road, finally arrived in Disney World.

Is it expensive at the Disney World resorts (at least when you're late for booking), but you also get your money's worth. The service was great, and room very nice. Several pools nearby (that we probably won't have time to use much), and nice grounds. We ordered pizza ro the room for dinner and packed for Magic Kingdom the next day, crossing fingers that I would feel less tired after another good nights sleep.


Day 7, Thursday
Even though we are not particular Disney fans, it felt silly to pass by Disney World without a visit. With my health issues also, I was a bit worried about how much I would be able to enjoy it. I wasn't sure I was able to do more than a couple of hours, or whether I should or would need to go back to the hotel for a rest during the day. I planned on using my travel scooter, brought earplugs for the noise, and had scouted out a couple of places that was supposed to be quiet in the park. And hoped for the best.

We got up early and got the first bus to the Magic Kingdom park, which is the iconic Disney park with Cinderella's castle. The first hour was "Extra magic hours" for people staying on Disney resorts, so the queues and pressure was low and the atmosphere very nice. We had planned by booking some fastpasses, and I had decided to take it easy and relax and enjoy the atmosphere. The time flied, and I actually ended up making the whole day in the park, with some breaks for resting in different places. Using the mobility scooter and earplugs helped a lot. During the last two hours I got a bad headache, probably from the sun and heat even though I had been drinking huge amounts of water. I probably should have cut it after the last ride, but like always, it is too tempting to just have a stroll around the last bit, have dinner, drop by the castle for the mandatory in-front-of-the-Disney-castle photo and some shopping for souvenirs and gifts. By the time we got back to the hotel my body was hurting and exhausted. But I was satisfied and very happy that I actually got to see the whole park and do a lot more than I had expected to. What we did?

  • Peter Pan's flight, very cool and scenic flight over London by night. Possibly one of the best rides in the park!
  • The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was an exciting ride through the Hundred Acres forest, also very good.
  • Mickey's Philharmagic, a 4d movie show, really fun and entertaining!
  • Little Mermaid Under the Sea was nice, but felt a bit "plastic" compared to a lot of the other rides.
  • A small world wasn't really on my list, but as there was no queue and it is supposedly very popular, I went anyway. It is probably fun for children, but had no appeal to me at all.
  • Carousel of Progress was well made, if a bit strange.
  • Monster's Inc Laugh floor was a comedy show that I found to be just ok. I was not impressed. Making up jokes fairly much on the spot is hard, which means you have to be good at it for doing this.
  • Haunted mansion was a disappointment, really. I was prepared to be scared, but it was just a show of ghosts and skeletons. It probably would have been fun if I hadn't expected something else.
  • Seven Dwarves Mine train is one of the most popular rides. I am not quite sure why, because it is a somewhat "light" rollercoaster (but maybe just because that), though still slightly out of my comfort zone. But very nice with the dwarves mining in the mountain and all, and I did scream a lot.
  • Mad hatter's teacups is pretty much a normal teacup ride. I don't recommend doing it right after eating lunch though...
  • The Tiki room, a show with singing birds. Nice music I suppose, but a waste of time for me really.
  • Jungle cruise, here I was expecting a quite boring (and therefor relaxing) boat trip through the "jungle" with animals along the shore, it appeared to be a combined standup show-safari, and a really good one at that.
  • The Dole Whip is not a ride, but a very nice pineapple ice cream which is special for Disney World and a very good way to cool down a bit in the heat.
  • We came upon the Fantasy Parade almost by accident, and I am glad we did. It was really good, and presented both familiar and new (to me) Disney characters, very fetching and impressive show.
  • Hall of presidents is, if you are not tired, a nice presentation of all the presidents in the US. If you are tired, it is also a good place to sit down in comfortable seats and have a rest.
  • Pirates of Caribbean is a nice boat ride through the world of Jack Sparrow. Not terribly exciting, but good fun!

Tollef also did Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain (twice!), Speedway and Aladdin's carpets.

One of the things that I was positively surprised about was the mobility access and service in the park. I had expected it to be quite good, but mostly it was even better than expected. I could either drive my scooter the whole way to the start of a ride (then getting in to a boat, honey jar or whatever), or leave it by the entrance and transfer to a lighter wheelchair for the queue. For theater experiences like the Laugh floor, Philharmagic and Hall of Presidents, there were designated spots for scooters, and the staff was always very helpful.
All in all, we had a fantastic day in Disney World!

onsdag 18. september 2019

Det går opp og ned her i livet

Sakte men sikkert går tiden, og livet, videre. Oppturer og nedturer. I dag har det gått mest ned, men mer om det lengre ned.

I løpet av mai fikk jeg innvilget elscooter fra NAV, en til hjemmebruk, og en mindre sammenleggbar en til reiser. I tillegg fikk jeg innpass hos en psykolog med hjemmebesøk(!) og psykomotorisk fysioterapeut, som begge er veldig flinke og kompetente, og kjenner sykdommen. For første gang føler jeg at jeg er i noenlunde hensiktsmessig behandling. Psykologen er optimistisk med tanke på at jeg skal bli bedre, målet mitt er først og fremst å stoppe forverringen.
Det jeg hovedsaklig jobber med er en aktivitetsplan der dagene er mest mulig like, energimessig sett. Det vil si at jeg står opp til samme tid (ingen lange formiddager i senga lengre!), spiser til samme tid og legger meg til samme tid. Innenfor et par timer på formiddagen har jeg enten helseavtale (lege, fysio, psykolog) eller en tur med hundene (maks 30 min gange, eller litt lengre med scooter). Aldri to ting på en dag. Samt en kort økt på ettermiddagen (ca 15 min) med rydding og husarbeid. Jeg logger formen daglig, og planen er å øke forsiktig etterhvert. Etter tre måneder har ettermiddagsøkten økt til 30 minutter.

Det er veldig deilig å ha en plan å følge, og slippe den konstante vurderingen av "skal jeg?"/"bør jeg?". Samtidig er det krevende å legge opp dagene og planlegge slik at alt som "må" gjøres blir gjort, og helst litt andre ting også. Men jeg kjenner at formen stabiliserer seg når jeg greier å følge planen, og det er jo godt. Og så er det slik at resten av Verden ikke alltid følger planen, så da gjelder det bare å tilrettelegge best mulig med de hjelpemidlene og kunnskapen jeg har.

Slik greide jeg både å komme meg på fjellet på DNT-hytte og noen dager i England i sommer. Fjellturen ble lagt innenfor "tillatt" gangtid (ca 30 min), men viste seg å være litt lengre enn oppgitt. Med staver og hvilepauser gikk det likevel ganske bra. I England hadde jeg delt opp turen med kortere reisestrekninger og noen hviledager. Det ble likevel krevende nok til at jeg brukte en uke på å komme meg igjen etterpå, men verdt det å få treffe igjen venner og kjente.

Siden Englandsturen i sommer gikk såppas bra satser vi også på å få til vår planlagte ferie i USA i oktober. Da tar jeg med reisescooteren min, og må nok satse på en del hvile på hoteller mens Tollef sightser. Det skal vi få til.

Noe som bringer meg til dagens opplevelse. Etter en uke med litt dårlig form, og dagene i det siste stort sett fylt opp av helseavtaler og hunder, tenkte jeg endelig å få til en bytur med reisescooteren. Både som litt "øvelse" før jeg skal ha den med på reise, og for å komme meg ut litt og gjøre noe "normalt". Jeg har ikke vært ordentlig i Oslo sentrum siden februar, med unntak av et par turer via Oslo S på vei til Gardermoen. Formen var noenlunde ok, fint vær, og humøret på topp. Helt til bussen kom.
Sjåføren ristet på hodet til meg da han stoppet, og mente han ikke kunne ta meg med. Jeg gikk likevel på bussen og løftet over scooteren (den veier 26 kg, og er godt innenfor tillatte mål for rullestol). Han prøvde å lukke døren mens jeg gikk på, og så kom bak og sa han ikke hadde lov til å kjøre med scooteren. Jeg forklarte at det var teknisk sett en rullestol, og hjelpemiddel fordi jeg ikke kan gå så langt, men han nektet. Han skrudde av bussen, og ble stående. Det var 31-bussen på en rolig formiddag, så neste buss kom like bak, og de andre passasjerene gikk over på den, mens jeg ringte kundesenteret. De svarte at det var opp til sjåføren om han ville tillate det, og at han strengt tatt kunne nekte meg å bli med. Så da måtte jeg ta scooteren og gå av bussen igjen.
Bussen bak tilbød meg å bli med, en av passasjerene som hadde gått over kom og ville hjelpe meg, men da var dagen ødelagt, og jeg følte ikke for å kose meg på bytur akkurat. For ikke å snakke om at jeg ikke visste om jeg ville komme meg hjem igjen.
Jeg er veldig klar over utfordringene og diskrimineringen handicappede møter i hverdagen, men jeg hadde faktisk ikke forventet å møte problemer allerede på 31-bussen.

Så nå sitter jeg her igjen da, hjemme i sofaen der jeg tilbringer mesteparten av dagene mine, med hundene sovende i andre enden. Lang klage sendt til NAV, utblåsninger på et par diskusjonsfora. Så håper jeg at jeg orker å prøve igjen en dag før vi skal reise på ferie om en måned. Sannsynligvis da med bil, og prøve å finne parkering i sentrum. Buss frister ikke noe særlig.

søndag 31. mars 2019

Hagen min

Da vi kjøpte huset vårt for 10 år siden hadde det en fantastisk hage med flere bed, frukttrær, bærbusker og mye fine blomster. De som bodde her før hadde definitivt hage som hobby. Jeg har hverken tid, kapasitet eller tålmodighet til å virkelig ha hage som hobby, men noe må jo uansett gjøres når man har hage. Dessuten er det morsomt å få ting til å gro og se pent ut.

Hagen før:


De første årene gjorde vi en del for å forenkle arbeidet. To-tre frukttrær har gått heden, en bærbusk, det største blomsterbedet. Likevel står vi igjen med kirsebær, plommer (2), epler (2), druer, rips, solbær (2), jordbær, rabarbra, stikkelsbær (2) og tre blomsterbed. I fjor kom også to plantekasser til i mitt forsøk på å dyrke tomater og paprika, og prosjektet videreføres i år og utvides muligens med en plantekasse for salat.

Frukt og bær er forholdsvis enkelt, der er det jo stort sett klipping og høsting (og den evinnelige rakingen...). Blomsterbedene har i stor grad fått leve sine egne liv, siden jeg knapt har hatt greie på hva som har grodd der og om det er blomster eller ugress. For to år siden startet jeg et lenge påtenkt prosjekt med å rense det største bedet fullstendig og plante lavendel der. Det tok litt tid før den kom, men i fjor hadde vi en nydelig lavendelrekke der. Jeg høstet og tørket noe, men det ligger enda mye igjen fra i fjor.

Foran huset har vi to mindre bed der det gror mye krokus, liljer og en del forskjellig annet jeg er usikker på hva er. Og tre store rosebusker som skyter villskudd og vokser langt fortere enn vi greier å ta vare på dem. I år er planen å fjerne de. Heretter blir det potteroser i hagen. Det ene bedet skal helt bort (det er lite synlig og blir sannsynligvis parkerinsskur for elscooteren som skal i hus), mens det andre tenker jeg å fylle med lavendel igjen.
Lavendelen er forholdsvis lettstelt og lettholdt, og krever ikke mye arbeid for meg å holde på. Litt luking rundt, men mindre ettersom lavendelen får satt seg ordentlig. Og duften! Jeg har en svakhet for lavendel, og et av fjorårets høydepunkter var å besøke Norfolk Lavender Farm i England, og jeg ble enda mer inspirert til å plante mer lavender.
Lavender fields forever... Norfolk Lavender Farm

Hittil i år har jeg plantet tomater og paprika i små innendørs-drivhus fra Plantasjen. Tomatene spirer allerede, og vi får se om jeg tør plante dem ut før vi drar på påskeferie eller ikke. Jordbærkassen har vært en utfordring siden jeg fikk den. Kassen er laget av min bestefar på bestilling, og betyr litt ekstra for meg siden han nå er borte. De første årene døde jordbærplantene gjennom vinteren, tross noe skjerming. Spenningen var stor da jeg tok av pledd og presenning i forrige uke og så grønne skudd fra alle plantene! Fjoårets plantekasser:

Odin bak kassene ETTER kjøp av NYE tomatplanter OG nettingbeskyttelse etter at han gravde opp første runde med planteskudd, og forsøket på å redde dem...


Tomatene litt senere på sommeren.

På jakt etter noe helt annet (info om elscooter/rullestol) fikk jeg kontakt med Anne som driver moseplassen.no, en kjempeflott hageblogg! Selv om det er langt over hva jeg både greier og interesserer meg for så er det inspirerende å se hva man kan få til. Inspirert av hennes blogg vil jeg prøve å ta bilder av hagen måned for måned i år. Det er ikke sikkert jeg får til å blogge hver eneste måned, men kanskje en oppsummering nå og da ihvertfall.
Her er hagen i dag:


Langs garasjeveggen:

 Foran huset:


Mysteriet ME

Selv om jeg ikke blogger mer enn noen få ganger i året føles det uendelig lenge siden bloggen om fjorårets bilferie til England. Jeg satte utrolig stor pris på å greie å gjennomføre den turen og nyte den, noe jeg slett ikke var sikker på.

Mot slutten av juli i fjor gikk det virkelig opp for meg hvor mye dårligere jeg var enn for noen år siden. At jeg stadig blir gradvis dårligere, sakte, nesten umerkelig, men når jeg sammenligner aktivitetsnivået for et år siden, to år, tre år, så er det en tydelig endring. Vintrene er verst, så blir jeg gjerne litt bedre utover våren og mot sommeren, men sjelden like bra som jeg var før vinteren. Og selv om noen blir bedre uten at man vet hvordan og hvorfor, så er også frykten og faren der for at jeg sakte nærmer meg den gruppen som stort sett er sengeliggende døgnet rundt.

Jeg var sykemeldt i nesten to måneder, og kom meg på beina igjen utover høsten og tilbake på jobb. Det gir så utrolig mye å jobbe med disse fantastiske frivillige, og selv om det i perioder er utfordrende så er jeg veldig glad i jobben min. Og da vet jeg at når jeg kommer til det punktet at jobben føles som et ork  og jeg ikke greier å få til hverdagslige oppgaver hjemme at det er på tide å sette ned tempoet. I vinter hadde jeg tatt flere forbehold og bevisst satt ned tempoet i januar og februar. Men mot slutten av februar begynte ting (jeg) likevel å falle sammen. I skrivende stund har jeg vært sykemeldt i en måned, og er det ihvertfall i to uker fremover.

Det første som skjer når jeg begynner å kjenne på den virkelige utmattelsen er frykten. Frykten for å miste hverdagen min, frykten for å bli verre, frykten for å ikke kunne dra på den planlagte ferien, svikte jobben, bli en belastning for familien... Når kroppen verker og utmattelsen virkelig slår inn så mister jeg all form for mestringsfølelse og mening i hverdagen. Men jeg vet også at bare jeg får NOK hvile så er alt lettere å takle. Jeg må bare justere aktivitetsnivået. Igjen. Kutte ut litt mer. Gå kortere og færre turer med hundene. Finne flere mulige måter å avlaste hverdagen på.

Etter noen uker med sykemelding har jeg fått hvilt nok til at jeg ser klarere framover. Jeg har søkt NAV om el-scooter for å kunne ta hundene på tur. Søkt kommunen om handicap-parkering slik at jeg slipper å være helt gelé i bena når jeg kommer til fysioterapi. Og ikke minst, sørger for å legge meg ned og hvile mer i løpet av dagen.

Det er noen terskler å forsere, og jeg er forberedt på at jeg framover kanskje må tilpasse enda mer. Så lenge jeg greier å gjøre litt hver dag, og ikke for mye så utmattelsen tar helt over, så takler jeg det greit. Når jeg gjør for mye og tipper over grensene tar det noen dager eller uker igjen før finner roen igjen. Heldigvis er våren i anmarsj, og jeg veksler mellom å gleder meg til den forventede bedringen kommer og å ikke håpe på for store mirakler.

Fortsatt skjer det mye spennende på forskningsfronten, selv om enkelte forskningsmiljøer bruker mer energi på å krangle enn å forske. Både i Norge og andre land forskes det masse, og det oppdages stadig nye ting. Det er ikke så mye å gjøre annet enn å hvile nok og håpe at de finner noe som kan hjelpe flere snart.

tirsdag 3. juli 2018

East Anglia road trip 2018

Time for another road trip to England. This time we decided to explore the last bit that we didn't do the year we lived here, East Anglia. For the first week we rented a cottage in Southwold, a small seaside town in Suffolk. Then we went around the coast up to Norfolk, and down to Cambridge for a few days to see friends there. The drive there and back again also takes a couple of days each way, and becomes a part of the trip.

Night/day 1, Sunday
Oslo - Eindhoven (NL)
First time in a pet cabin on a ferry. The interesting part is that you are in the corridor with all the other dogs also. It was an operation getting in, but after that it wasn't really a problem, even thought the dogs was obviously aware of the other dogs, particularly some not very quiet ones.
After 5 minutes in the cabin, Kovu was asleep in the dog bed provided. Odin walked around and started licking the floor, and for a couple of minutes I panicked that he would be seasick the whole night! We took a short walk on deck (two floors up, as the dog walking area on our deck was closed for some work), and after that he was fine. Dogs are not supposed to be left alone in the cabin, so Tollef got some snacks and drinks and we had a quiet evening.

Our first day driving took a lot more time and energy than planned. We started out from the ferry about 8 am, and didn't arrive in Eindholven until 8.30 pm. Including three stops for a total of about 2 hours, the expected 8 hour drive was over 10 hours, mostly due to queues around Hamburg. We are definitely changing some plans for the return to avoid this (can't miss the ferry!). Deciding to have dinner before checking in we had a surprisingly good meal at a service station a couple of hours before reaching Eindhoven. Finally there, the hotel was very nice and at least we got a good nights rest. The dogs, ever patient with driving and short stops, were also really tired and slept quietly the whole night.

Day 2, Monday
Eindhoven - Southwold
Arriving in Dunkirk in good time, we were the first car NOT to get on the ferry just leaving. Having booked the ferry after we hoped getting on early, but no such luck. With half an hour delay on the ferry, and then straight into the rush hour queues around London, we ended up using far longer to our destination than planned this day also. At least in the end we easily found our cottage and the key, and (almost) everything was fine. We organised where the dogs were allowed to sleep, and made it an early night. I slept for 12 hours straight!

Day 3, Tuesday
Southwold
No driving!
For me, a late morning, after having stretched myself too far two days in a row. I got a much needed shower, a late breakfast, and then some rest. A bit later we took a short walk down to the beach and let the dogs run for a bit (even though they were more intent on just sniffing around). We had a late lunch/early dinner on a pub just around the corner from our cottage, and then another early night for me.

Day 3, Wednesday
Southwold
Today's expedition, The Pier. Southwold has a pier with some eating places, shops and entertainment. After Tollef had given the dogs a good walk along the beach, we left them and headed to the pier. Dogs are allowed there, but it can be crowded, and not the least a lot of dogs, so they would be happier resting at the cottage. The pier has a lot of funny arcade machines and a water clock machinery that was fascinating to look at. We had lunch at the pier and then walked around looking at everything, and even tried our luck at the more modern arcades. No win, of course.
On our way back we walked by the post office to get some stamps, and then back to the cottage for a quiet afternoon.

Day 4, Thursday
Framlingham
The first bit of driving after getting here. It still surprises me how easy I find it to drive in England, even if it has been a long time now. We went to see Framlingham castle. Dogs are allowed, but the main attraction was the wall walk, and as Kovu is afraid of heights, so we left the dogs in the car (parked in the shade) and did the castle first. Afterwards we got the dogs and did the walk around the meer (lake) by the castle, which was very nice. There was also a big park next to the castle, where we let them run free. Unfortunately Odin, and then Kovu following up, decided to run off to greet a small dog. I hate others letting their dogs approach us like that, and it's very embarrassing when it happens to us (although obviously there is a difference whether people just don't care or if it was a mishap). The owner was fortunately very good about it.

Day 5, Friday
Last day in Southwold
As planned, we started out with the brewery tour at Adnams. It was interesting enough, but I was a bit too tired to really follow the information. The beer tasting was fun though. Afterwards we wandered around a a bit and ended up at the Lord Nelson for lunch. My first burger in England this time, and a very good one!
After lunch we did the Southwold museum. It's quite small, but interesting, and we used a good half hour there. They have a rather varied selection, from hundred of thousand years old fossils, to suffrage posters, lighthouse lightbulbs and stuffed birds. As Southwold is a coastal town having a history with fishing and sea industry it was interesting to see the similarities with Molde.
We did a bit of shopping at the Adnams store before heading back to the cottage for a bit of rest.
In the evening, we headed out on the beach for the last time, and let the dogs run free. Age is getting to them and they mostly wander around sniffing anyway. :P
Tomorrow we are heading north towards Great Yarmouth, and then to the northern Norfolk coast and to King's Lynn to stay one night.
Weather reports looks good and it is supposed to be a lot warmer. Yay!

Day 6, Saturday
Norfolk
We headed out to Great Yarmouth, with a stop at Pets at Home to browse and get a bit of cheap stuff that is hard to find at home. In Great Yarmouth we parked at the marina, left the dogs in the car (well aired and with the silvershade on), and walked along the sea. It was like a big amusement park. And it is I suppose, only split up between smaller parks for kids, crazy golf, arcades, cafès and ice cream booths and all kinds of entertainment. We didn't really do or get anything, just walked along the marina and back.
Afterwards we went up to Fleggburgh and had lunch at the King's Arms before heading out to explore the footpaths in the area. We walked along dirt tracks and fields, and saw a munjac at one point (luckily the dogs didn't). Back at the Village Hall where we parked, we fed the dogs and then drove north towards Cromer and along the coast. It was really beautiful to see the marshes and beaches from the road, and going through all those small villages. In Brancaster we took off down to the beach and made a short afternoon walk with the dogs.
We found Snettisham and the Queen Victoria where we were staying, quite easily. The room appeared to be in a separate building behind the pub, and accessible, so no narrow stairs, and a spacious, nice room.

Day 7, Sunday
King's Lynn to Cambridge
Before going south, we decided to visit the Lavender farm nearby Snettisham that we noticed the day before. It was very nice to see all the kinds of lavender there is, and not the last to smell it. I went a bit crazy in the shop, and bought bath bombs, lotions, and lots of lavender stuff.
Then we went south to King's Lynn, and followed a short historical walk there. We ended up returning to the car park along a pedestrian road, and I dropped by a couple of shops and got a few more bathbombs (of a brand I know and like) and candles as well.
Arriving in Cambridge, we checked in to what appeared to be a small guest house in someones garden. We had an hour of rest, then went out to meet friends at a nearby pub. Unfortunately the pub was closed, but that meant we got to go to another pub nearby that has a very nice park across the road and is good for bringing the dogs. It was nice to see people again, and just relax in the shade. The dogs also relaxed fairly well, especially Kovu being a natural pub dog.

Day 8, Monday
Cambridge
Resting day. Having overdone it for a few days (and expecting to), I planned Monday to be a resting day. I spent most of the day in bed, only heading out to have pizza with some of the crowd from Sunday (dogs included, got another pub trip). We had planned a trip via Pets at Home, but decided to postpone. Fingers crossed for one day being enough to recover for the rest of the trip.

Day 9, Tuesday
Cambridge   
Still not in best shape, Pets at Home postponed again. At lunch we went to our respective lunch appointments. The dogs and I had a nice lunch at a café with Jo, before catching up with Tollef in the city center. There we walked around for a bit, doing some shopping for things I had planned to (or needed to) buy. I was tired, but at least got most of the things on my list. After that followed a quiet evening, only doing a bit of packing for next day's departure.

Day 10, Wednesday
Cambridge - Lenham
First stop at Pets at Home. I was hoping to get the worm treatment for the dogs for our return there, but they couldn't do it without us registering there and making an appontment later in the day. On our way south, it wasn't doable, so I ended up calling two Pets at Home clinics south of London to sort out an appointment for the next day, our last day in England. I also managed to do a bit of shopping for the dogs, some things necessary and some not...
We continued on through London and to Orpington and Down House. I was not on my best, but managed to enjoy the visit of Charles Darwin's home and garden, and even learned a thing or two. The weather was sunny and nice and it was a good day out.
From Orpington we drove down to our bnb in Lenham, making a detour because we (I) thought we might know better than google maps and the GPS. Right. 15 minutes later than expected we arrived, and was checked into a nice room with a private patio! Very nice place, although we didn't have much time to enjoy it.

Day 11, Thursday
Dover - De Lutte
First thing we headed out quite early to catch our appointment at the Pets at Home in Whitfield/Dover. Luckily it all sorted out nicely (although their stamp was too big for the passports. If you are travelling with pets and need vet confirmation on something, make sure you get a stamped confirmation!).
We even had time for a nice walk along the cliffs before catching the ferry. Luckily we took a ferry earlier than planned, as it was half nine in the evening before we arrived at the hotel. There was a lot of queues around Antwerpen, and we ended up taking the scenic route helped with google maps, which saved us at least half an hour of slow driving, if not more. For the night, we chose a Fletcher hotel because of the positive experience on our way to England, and wasn't disappointed this time either. Very nice place, and we got a good nights rest before the last hours of driving to Kiel.

Day 12, Friday, De Lutte - Kiel
After the delays on our way down we decided we needed good slack on our time to get past Hamburg to Kiel. We left early, and was past Hamburg before the midday rush started, and arrived in Kiel three hours before the latest check in. First we had lunch, and then brought the dogs for a walk in the park and through the old town. Then we checked in on the ferry early, and had plenty of time to get the dogs settled before dinner.

Day 13, Gothenburg - Oslo
After a good nights sleep on the ferry, we headed out of Gothenburg in the morning. We made a short stop at a bakery, getting breakfast and feeding the dogs. They relaxed well on the ferry, but don't care for the dog walking area there, so they appreciated the break.
We stopped at Nordby shopping center at the border to get some basic food, and some things we needed for an opcoming barbequeue. A lot of things are cheaper in Sweden than in Norway, but on second thought we might have been better off taking that extra cost doing the shopping later. At least it is done with now.
Four hours after leaving Gothenburg we arrived home. House not burned down, everything in order. I even had the energy left to sort out a lot of our baggage first thing.

The next few days will show the backlash of the holiday, it might be hard and it might work out well. I don't feel very bad, but exhaustion often hits after a couple of days. I also realise I have about 1000 steps more than normal on my fitbit average for the last two weeks, even though I have been careful to make walks slowly. Nothing important to do in the next couple of days anyway (except for my birthday tomorrow!)

It's been a another great trip to England. Bringing the dogs makes the travelling more of an effort, but is also very nice. It also affects what we can do, as I don't like to leave them in the car for long when visiting places that doesn't allow dogs. There are pros and cons, and next time we might go without the zoo, taking in some of the less dog-friendly sights.
Photos from out trip to East Anglia: https://www.simira.net/gallery/Reise/20180630-EastAnglia/


tirsdag 29. mai 2018

Reunion

I helgen har jeg for første gang vært på en "ekte" reunion. "Ekte", fordi vi også hadde 1- og 5-årstreff. Men 1 år er kort tid, og mange hadde holdt kontakten, det hadde ikke skjedd så mye i mellomtiden. 5-årstreffet var i en periode jeg husker lite fra pga sykdom. Jeg vet jeg var der, men husker absolutt ingenting av dagen.

I fjor en gang fikk jeg melding om de hadde riktig kontaktinformasjon, og det setter jo i gang tankene. Skal jeg dra? Er det verdt tiden og energien? Får jeg noe ut av å dra? Er det noe poeng i å møte folk jeg ikke har hatt kontakt med eller sett på 15 år? Livet mitt har gått i en retning, deres i en annen. Jeg er ikke den samme nå som jeg var da. Ikke de heller. Har vi noe til felles, annet enn et år på Fredly?

Jubileet markerer også at tiden har gått. Mye tid. Det betyr også at det er lenge siden jeg gikk ut av grunnskolen. Vi var samme klasse i 9 år, men jeg har ikke hatt nevneverdig kontakt med noen i ettertid, og ikke savnet det heller. På mange måter var jeg outsideren i klassen og hadde ingen nære venner der da vi gikk ut.

Folkehøyskolen var annerledes. For meg var det en ny start et nytt sted, et år for å bli bedre kjent med meg selv og finne ut hva jeg ville videre i livet. I ett år levde jeg sammen med ca. 100 andre på skolen, i vår egen lille boble. Vi bodde sammen på internat, vi spiste alle måltider sammen, hadde linjefag i klassene, fellesfag på tvers av linjene, vi reiste på turer og utflukter sammen. Selv om vi formet grupper og var mer sammen med noen enn andre så ble vi alle ganske godt kjent, og jeg regner samtlige på skolen som nærmere venner enn noen av de jeg gikk sammen med i 9 år på grunnskolen. Jeg bryr meg om hvordan det har gått med dem. Og hvis jeg ikke hadde dratt på 20-års reunion ville jeg nok alltid lurt på det. Så jeg satte av denne helgen til å møte igjen mennesker jeg kjente en gang for 20 år siden.

Det ble en opplevelse både mye som forventet og ikke. Mange av oss møttes for å spise middag sammen dagen før treffet. Det tar mye tid å bli kjent igjen med et tyvetalls mennesker, og jeg er glad for at jeg prioriterte å bli med på middagen. En håndfull kom også bare på fredagen, ikke dagen etter på selve jubileet.
Det første som slo meg var at ingen har forandret seg. Med et par unntak var det ikke noe problem å kjenne igjen vennene mine fra 20 år tilbake. Det var nesten lett å glemme at vi er 20 år eldre. De var seg selv, og kanskje betyr det at jeg også fortsatt er meg selv, bare eldre og erfaringer rikere. Det var ingen veldig store overraskelser, hverken blant de som var der, eller de vi fikk oppdateringer på via noen som hadde hatt litt kontakt eller bodde i nærheten av hverandre.

Men livet har skjedd i mellomtiden. Det forventes ofte et visst prestisjepress på en reunion, hvor bra man har gjort det, hvor vellykket man er. Da jeg pakket klær ble jeg nesten fristet til å pakke turklær og slaskete joggebukser for å protestere mot forventningene (men gjorde det ikke). På mange måter føler jeg at jeg har vært heldig med livet. Jeg har et bra, solid ekteskap, mye familie rundt meg, en jobb jeg trives i og grei økonomi. Men så var det sykdommen da. Sykdommen som hindret meg i å studere i utlandet, tatt fra meg mange av hobbyene mine, begrenset muligheten til å reise rundt i verden, og stoppet ethvert håp om en karriere (som jeg har ønsket meg) eller barn (som ikke har vært viktig, men en mulighet man tar som en selvfølge). Misunnelsen sitter ofte dypt når jeg blir kjent med folk og de forteller om årene med studier i Australia eller andre spennende ting de har gjort som jeg selv har drømt om.

Er prestisjen viktigere på andre typer skoler enn folkehøgskole? I løpet av de første få samtalene med de andre innså jeg fort at ingen lever i 20 år i "voksenverdenen" uten å møte på utfordringer. Og det var jeg glad for å høre. Ikke for å høre at vennene mine har opplevd mye vanskelig, men for å høre at ikke samtlige andre har tatt full utdanning, reist jorda rundt, fått et passelig antall barn i et godt forhold og har en godt betalt fulltidsjobb. Jeg tror ingen oppfylte den beskrivelsen. Vi delte erfaringer og historier. Noen har opplevd lignende ting som meg selv, andre har opplevd helt forskjellige ting. På godt og vondt. Det var godt å kjenne at ja, jeg bryr meg om disse menneskene, de bryr seg om meg, og vi kjenner fortsatt hverandre, selv om vi har vært lenge uten kontakt. Og kanskje er det 10 år til noen av oss ses igjen, men vi vil alltid ha det båndet vi har fra Fredly.

Da jeg begynte å tenke på reunion hadde jeg blandede følelser for å treffe igjen folk etter 20 år. Men det folkehøgskolene sier om at man får venner for livet er virkelig sant, årene forsvinner fort når man er sammen igjen. Så ses vi kanskje om ti år?

søndag 26. februar 2017

Sri Lanka

This year's choice for our winter holiday was Sri Lanka. Last year's trip to India was a success, and hopefully Sri Lanka would be as good. Research done, as usual, but a lot less planning and mostly looking forward to rest this time.
The start of our trip was not ideal, with a 3 hour delay and a long wait at Heathrow between the two flights. It also got my day (or should I say sleep-) rythm ruined and I used the first few days just to recover from the travel.

We didn't live near any town centre, which probably made a lot of the difference I felt from my trip to India last year. There were few restaurants and shops nearby the hotel, some along the beach but a good walk or tuk tuk trip to the nearest actual town. In addition, our both having a cold during our holiday, we ended up staying alot in the hotel area soaking up the sun (and the warmth when it was clouded), with only a couple of short trips, one for lunch in the nearest town, and a day trip to the southern town Galle to see a fort from the time Sri Lanka was a Dutch colony.
We went out to different beach restaurants near the hotel for lunch, and soon learned that food takes time. After a couple of days we stopped expecting orders to be taken shortly after sitting down, and knew that food would appear eventually. The fare was typical Sri Lankan with some European choices, and we had a lot of curry, rice and noodle meals.

We made one longer trip, and that was really cool. It was a two day trip to the Uda Walawe national park with a safari there. We got to see loads of elephants, birds, crocodiles, monkeys, buffalo, deer and peacocks. The drive across the mountain to get there was also nice, and we got to taste some local food. Because of my cold I was a bit too tired and didn't get to enjoy it as much as I would have, but it was still a good experience. The hotel we stayed at for one night was actually luxurious cabins, with a modern bathroom outside at the back of the cabin!

After the excursion to Uda Walawe we ended up spending the rest of our time relaxing in the sun, only heading out to the beach restaurants for lunch. The last day was actually spent mostly inside because of rain, and it felt like time to go home. The return trip fortunately went a lot better than the outbound one, and we arrived home fairly rested and ready to face a few days of freezing temperatures before spring.