Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

My first impression of Bulgaria is that it is an old country. Leaving Burgas Airport we passed farm after farm, sunflower field after sunflower field. The houses are small, made out of rock and have orange roofs. Cosy, calm and inviting.

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Green as far as the eye can see

However, from the the good kind of old, to the “needs refurbishing”-kind. In Sunny Beach, the sidewalk is cracked (suitcase vs sidewalk? Sidewalk), the bins are overflowing, and the four star hotel I’m staying at? Probably not going to recommend it to anyone.

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Now, this impression might be unfair. Sunny Beach is infamous for having people visit only to party, so I suspect this place is different without the tourists.

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A typical beach activity? 

BUT, negativity aside, the locals are helpful (albeit surprised that a tourist would rather find the local bus than take a taxi). They have all the time in the world (except when driving, watch out), and have a general friendliness about them that makes them easy to approach.

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I love big waves ❤

Finally – it’s warm. Oh sweet warmth, I haven’t had much of you in Norway. In addition, the beach is amazing, and I’m here with two good friends. First impressions can be deceptive; who knows what this trip will become? Five (probably awesome) days left!

The Buddyweek

I have told you about our crazy tradition when graduating High School. Now I’m going to introduce you to what it’s like to start university and college.

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Our buddies wear yellow!

Every student in their first year is a part of what we call “fadderuken” – buddyweek. Formally its purpose is to let the new get to know each other with the help of older students – the buddys. To some extent it succeeds, but it also involves a whole lot of partying and drinking. For those who don’t drink this can be challenging.

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Making a K for the bar named Kronbar.

I think the buddies did a good job including everyone this year. Sure, there’s been a whole lot of parties, but they also took us around the city doing different tasks, we had a sports day, introduction to the different student organizations, and we had a barbecue (yey!). I have gotten to know a few people, not well, but what matters now is that it all becomes easier with familiar faces in a crowd of strangers.

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# Playing cannonball like our lives depended on it!

The Happy Food Festival

There’s one festival I go to every summer. In norwegian it’s called “Gladmat” which directly translates to HappyFood. It’s a festival held in my own city, Stavanger, and there’s food from all over the world. From Norwegian to Ethiopian to Indian.

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Omnomnom. Yum ❤

I think food is a great way of experiencing different cultures. If you want to experience Norway, one of the things you would have to try is our fish. We are very proud of it, and before we found oil it was basically how we made a living.

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Not my picture, but it shows the atmosphere perfectly.

Gladmat is a festival for everyone, all ages, and good food brings people together. I don’t think you’ll ever get more smiles from Norwegians of Stavanger, than on Gladmat. Happy eating folks!

 

Southern Norway – far away from France

I’m from the west coast of Norway, so cloudy with a 100% chance of rain is pretty much my reality. This weekend I met up with friends in Southern Norway, in an obscure little place no one has ever heard of. It’s these weekends, these times surrounded  by friends, that truly make summer the warmest season of the year.

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We went sailing and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.

When the sun comes out we can forget. Sometimes only for a little while, but we can foget all the terrible things that happen in the rest of the world. We can close our eyes and feel the sun on our skin. Listen to the laughter of our friends. Feel that it’s good to be alive. France and Turkey becomes so, so far away…

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Pretending that I know anything about mini golf.

I believe we need these moments, these memories. To push the bad out of mind for a weekend. We need to look around and be reassured. We need to be reminded just what we are fighting for. Love is so easily consumed by fear and hate. However it will rise like a phoenix from the ashes – because someone somewhere remembers a weekend like this.

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Close your eyes. Feel the sun. One day you’ll remember that today was a good day, and that will get you through whatever hardship you face.

My Shark Encounter

I went fishing the other day, which to me means that I picked up a fishing rod, found water and hoped for the best. I don’t have any knowledge of hooks or techniques so when I fish it’s all about patience (and admitedly, a little bit of “oh, oh, I’ve got one!! I’ve got one! Must be bi-… oh… Seaweed…”)

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A cold morning in June, Hidra, Norway

Standing there, waiting, I watched the sea. No fish for me. Out of the blue, I remembered. I promised you guys a Great Barrier Reef post when I received the pictures. It’s been a while since I left Australia, but here goes anyway:

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Ready for another adventure!

I snorkled in the Great Barrier Reef for hours. Time just swam past, together with a surprisingly fast sea turtle. The Reef has a surreal amount of pink, orange and other colors we don’t usually associate with the sea. It’s hard to believe that the Reef is dying, that it used to be even more spectacular.

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Sadly, pictures don’t do the Reef justice…

Even though the turtle was great, the corals were beautiful, the highlight of the excursion was my shark encounter(s). I suddenly spotted a Reef Shark. A rash decision later, I swam after it. I followed it around and over corals, through narrow passages, and I enjoyed myself immensely. Until I rounded a corner and met his father.

Please excuse the quality – I was very surprised!

Thankfully, the Grey Nurse Shark didn’t think too much of me – anyone without fins wouldn’t be good enough for his son, and took a u-turn. By the time I dared to breathe again, the Reef Shark was gone. He’ll forever be the one that got away.