Thursday, 31 July 2014

Pet-sitters

Usually when we travel for longer than a few days we've had the cats in a kennel. Their stay there have never been longer than a week and we have chosen what we believe is the best one, where the cage they are in have access to an outdoor "balcony" so that they get some variation. But still, I have hated leaving them there... Last time, Hugo lost a bit of wight, and the first time he got a stomach bug just the day he came home, probably from something he picked up from the kennel.

So for this vacation we decided to try something new. We didn't want to burden any if our friends for such a long time, a week, because they still help us so often when we are away over a weekend, so we took the help of a professional pet-sitter company! These people have been to our house, once a day, and fed and played with the cats, while we've been travelling. While Hugo (who is a real chicken) probably haven't benefited as much as he could from the playing part, I'm sure cricket has enjoyed the company, and best of all, they haven't been forced to go in a car and stay locked up in a cage. Such a relief. Every other day we have reviewed reports by email on how the cats have been doing (Hugo have mostly been hiding when they have visited) complete with photos of them (yes, a photo of Hugo among the dust bunnies under the bed...). They have also emptied our mailbox and watered our house plants, and watering the garden without me even asking for it! I'm so happy we found this service, it definitely helped me relax more when we were away...



Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I read, I listen

This trip I've been reading one book and listening to another. (Audio-books are great ways to tune out the sound of an hard working AC, just so you know...)

Read: The last four things, by Paul Hoffman
This is the second book about Thomas Cale, the Hand of God. It is a classic  fantasy book, with a plot focusing in religious fanaticism and war, you know, uplifting things like that. In this second book I started liking the characters more, but I still think the language is overly complicated sometimes. Still, exciting and worth reading.



Listened to: The ocean at the end of the lane, by Neil Gaiman
This was a beautiful story, a man suddenly remembers fantastic and terrible things that happened to him one summer when he was seven. There's loads of magic, wonder and moonlight in this book, so worth reading. And in my opinion, even better to listen to, since it is Neil himself that has recorded it.


Monday, 28 July 2014

sea kayaking in Croatia

Here's a summary-post about our trip to Croatia last week! I hope to inspire someone else to do the same some day, we really enjoyed it! 

Why Croatia?
We had never been to Croatia before but had heard good stuff about it. When we were planning out vacation we wanted to go somewhere warm, but not to just hang out by a pool or a beach, we wanted to do something active again, like last year when we took the surf and yoga trip to Morocco. 



What we did
We bought a package trip that included six days of guided sea kayaking in the Adriatic Sea, by the Eliphite islands. The package also included lodging, four nights on the island Lopud and three nights on the island Sipan. Four of the meals were included and so was transfer to and from the airport. The first place we stayed in we really simple but clean and with a nice balcony, but the second place we stayed in was really great, a small apartment with two baths. We might have been a bit lucky with that one, we did not expect such high standard. 










Sea kayaking?
Both me and A have been kayaking before, but the rest of the group we were in were pretty much novices, all but two or three. We were in total eleven people, all grown-ups, and the guides would adjust the pace and length of each days paddling depending on the group. There's room to pack things in a sea kayak, and each day we brought some extra clothes and towels because we'd usually stop somewhere for lunch and a siesta with sunbathing or exploring during the hottest hours of the day.







The last three days me and A got to paddle by our selves with our guide (professional white water kayaker Matija) because the rest of the group had only bought the three day package. Those last few days we did a couple of longer trips, that we're a bit tiring, but nice.






Food
Eating and drinking was really cheap compared with Norway, plus some of our meals were included in the package, but I was only really happy with the food a couple of the times. the best things were when we ate at the restaurant Ouda (?) on Lopud, and in one really small guesthouse that our guide showed us. There we eat fresh fish and vegetables grown in their garden. Generally I would say that the simple food tasted the best. Fish or meat with vegetables, often flavoured with garlic, olive-oil and parsley. My favorite was a starter on the picture below, that I had in a restaurant on Sipan. This is some kind of pancake made of zucchini and potatoes. Yum. Also in this picture - what you get if you order a glass of wine. This small carafe contains at least two glasses. Very generous!




Pros and cons
The best thing about this trip was definitely the great conditions for kayaking. The water was super clear and warm, we had almost perfect weather all the time and good guides. It was also great to paddle in a group and get to know new people. It might have been fun to see a bit more while kayaking, it would have been fun if we'd seen some more animal life, for example. 

We used Adria Adventure, and they were just great. The guides were really helpful and friendly, if someone had any issues or questions everything was fixed very quickly. All ferry tickets and transfers were prearranged and they helped with looking after our luggage while we explored Dubrovnik both on the day of arrival and of departure.



Other things I will remember about this trip:

_Takings a nap in the room to the sound of crickets outside.
_The hypnotic motion of the waves and the paddle in the water
_Getting up kind of early in the morning and it's already warm outside
_Walking barefoot on warm asphalt
_Taking a shower after a long day covered in sand and salt
_Still feeling the movement if the waves in your body even if you are lying on your bed at night
_Long dinners with new acquaintances in the sunset
_Having time to think about and plan for the future
_Water so warm you hardly feeling when you go in
_Eating and drinking a lot because your body needs it and because it's cheap


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Right now

I'm really missing this person. But I will see her tonight if all goes well!


Friday, 25 July 2014

Salt, sweat and sunscreen

The Amazing A and I are spending one of our vacation weeks in Croatia, kayaking in the Adriatic Sea. When we are back I'm going to post a whole lot of pretty pictures and more information about this trip, because I would really like to inspire someone else to do this. But here's a few  iPhone pictures to give you a bit of a sneak peak!




Thursday, 24 July 2014

summer food inspiration

For someone who claims to not like cooking I do write an awful lot about food, don't I? Honestly, I feel that if I post about it here, I might get an incentive to actually cook more...

Anywho, here's another post about how to make a super simple dinner, or actually, two variations on the same theme: chicken and "salad".


When it comes to salad, less is more, in my book. I like my vegetables easily identifiable and separated from each other, preferably. This dish, a ready-marinated chicken-filet from the store was grilled and the served with cucumber and a bunch of different tomatoes that I picked up from the farmers market at Utstein Monastery earlier this week. The sauce is yogurt mixed with Heinz BBQ-sauce, perfect for grilled meet, obviously. 



This pale looking dish might look kind of standard to begin with, but is actually a bit more exotic that you might think. The yellow stuff is actually yellow beets, like red beets but, you know, yellow, and after I boiled them I baked them in the oven for a while with some halloumi cheese on top. Yum! The chicken is marinated in what was left in on of those glass jars with feta cheese, oil and various herbs. pretty good! Could have used a bit more salt though...

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Gone fishing




On Saturday we went diving and fishing with our friend O in his new boat. We didn't catch anything, though... But A took some pretty cool pictures with his GoPro, I might show them later this week.

Seriously though, this summer we're having... Best one in years! 



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

sewing sewing sewing

The other day I did something I've put off for a long tome now, namely to sew. My "to mend or alter" bag had become overfull and I'd started to miss some of the pieces in there. I had a couple of setbacks as usual - like with my two secondhand blouses that I experimented with. They where both waaay to large when I bough them, but had nice collars and detailing so I wanted to see if I could do something with them. Turns out I could, and the result looked pretty good, except they where both not waaay to small... Oh well. Good practice though!

My other projects where to mend some holes and re-attach some buttons, but I also shortened three dresses, and in addition cut off the sleeves on one. I found this handsome, folksy dress the other day at Fretex and couldn't resist it. 




Friday, 18 July 2014

work in progress

I've now had my summer vacation for five days, if you don't count the weekend. And, well, I'm not reeeeeally in a vacation-mode yet, I don't think. I have checked quite a few things off from my list of things that I could do if I got bored, but they have mostly been stuff that have felt like shores! I have done a huge amount of laundry and ironing, and I have started a complicated project to re-organize the whole house, where furniture have been moved from one room to another, with the result that it looks more disorganized just now, and honestly just a bit more boring... and today I spent the whole day by the sewing-machine, altering and mending clothes. My plan was to get rid of all of those hard-work things on my to-do list first, so I could relax afterwards, but now I kind of just see my precious free days go by. Oh, well, I have many days left, and days where I can't do anything at home, because I will be traveling!

One of the things I've been working on here at home is the installing of a "new" book-case. I want it to look kind of airy and not jam-packed, but we have so many books.. right now I have left the actual "decorating" of it until I get some more inspiration and have pretty much just stuffed all of the books back in...




Farmers market at Utstein Monastery

Though I feel I've mostly spent time in our house so far this vacation - I have actually made one day trip with my friend K and her family. I tagged along when they decided to visit a farmers market at Utstein Monastery, on the island Mosteröy, 45 minutes drive or so from Stavanger. I've been there before, and it is one of those places I recommend people to visit if they ever find themselves in this region. The old monastery is located on a small hill, overlooking a bay and surrounded by pasturage. I love this landscape, how green and gray and open it is. I want to pet all of the fluffy sheep and climb every singe one of the amazing stone walls.










We were all pleasantly surprised by the market, not only by the products but by the price, so I ended up buying quite a bit of produce there - yellow beets, herbs, various tomatoes, broccoli and some lovely elderberry lemonade...