My first month in Canada (the calm before the storm)

snowboard

Okay, so one thing I did not realise before embarking on a year exchange, was that my month long holiday before school starts in my new home would be SO jam-packed full of foreign fun activities.

I arrived to Vancouver on the 7th of December, and because my (Canadian) best friend lives in Vancouver, we have been looking forward to this moment for a LONG time. I was picked up from the airport, and after so many hugs/tears and smartfood popcorn (my favourite food on the planet) I slept through the night and the very next day we were set for a trip to the USA. Being so close to the border means it’s something Vancouverites do often, so after a (mildly scary) border cross, we were in Washington. We spent one night in Seattle and the next in Portland, and it lived up to every expectation I had. So many friendly and generous people (I’m talking free Ubers and photobooths just cause you’re ~international~), we went to endless craft breweries and ticked off a few bucketlist items, like the Gumwall and Pike Place Market (and also Olive Garden because you can’t get any more American than a chain food restaurant).

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset(Pike Place Market, Seattle)

Shortly after our USA weekend, we also had another holiday planned to Kamloops (further inland BC) to spend the weekend at Sunpeaks ski resort, celebrating my bestie’s 25th birthday and coincidentally- New Years. There was a group of us 7 girls in a lodge right at the base of the ski hill. We did the usual thing, like go to Walmart and Costco to get enough food and drink supplies for 8 hungry and thirsty girls for a New Years Eve weekend. Our lodge was even equipped with an outdoor hot tub, so we lived our best lives all weekend, snowboarding and skiing by day, relaxing in the hot tub by night (especially relaxing when it is -18 degrees outside).

sunpeaks view(Just one of the views from our lodge).

liftsunpeaks ski hillsunpeakssunpeaks group

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset(Fireworks on New Years Eve, at Sunpeaks)

Another highlight since my arrival and before school starts is I got to see an ice hockey game, another item off the bucket list! My friend got given 2x free tickets to go see the Vancouver Canucks vs the Calgary Flames, this was a huge game and the stadium was full to capacity, unlucky for us the Canucks lost, but the game was so much fun to watch!

flames vs canucks(Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames, Rogers Arena)

Now it’s over a month later since my arrival and I’m already in to my 3rd week of school at the University of the Fraser Valley, in Abbotsford. Everyone has been really helpful and friendly so far, I’m making friends in my classes and I’m loving all the new content I’m learning. I’ve settled in quite nicely, found a waitressing position in Yaletown and my friend and I are moving in to our new home next week. I can’t wait to be settled and to make even more friends ūüôā

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset(View from my favourite place in Vancouver, a 5 minute walk from our new home)

Manchester

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Recently, instead of writing my dissertation I embarked on a day trip to Manchester!

Manchester is a 1 and 1/2 hour train ride from Chester, an easy distance for day trips and concerts. As an Australian, my ideas about Manchester revolved around the industrial revolution; I expected to see factory buildings on each and every corner. I was not disappointed! The architecture of Manchester does not hide from its past and history (nor should it), but I loved that like Warsaw, Berlin, Budapest and Bologna, Manchester is using its historic buildings to support the growth of the city’s art and music scene (i.e. Soup Kitchen).

After arriving in Manchester we wandered through the city and found ourselves surrounded by museums. I highly recommend visiting the Museum of Science and Industry, especially for their Cravings Exhibit. Did you know that the material that our cutlery is made from influences the flavour of the food we eat? Apparently gold spoons taste creamy and are therefore well suited to eating dessert! No matter how many times I think about it, this little fact will always blow my mind.

As well as museums, we also visited the John Rylands Library. This neo-gothic building and its spectacular library rooms, gave me Harry Potter-esque chills. The library had an exhibit while we were visiting called Magic, Witches and Devils in the Early Modern World. If you are coming to Chester or the UK this year, I hope you keep these places in mind when planning trips away.

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One of the reading booths in the John Ryland Library, Manchester.

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The Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester. 

 

 

The little things 

I have recently begun an education placement outside of Chester, and thought I would share some pictures of the Chester area.  

Walks to Riverside campus along the River Dee

This esplanade is full of people in spring and summer (as you can see). There are restaurants facing the river and you can usually find some buskers or bands playing music in the afternoons. I love walking to uni along this path. 

Alleyways of Chester

Chester has so many little lane ways and alley ways with shops, restaurants and cafes! My favorite is one near the cathedral and town hall, there are fairy lights during the summer nights.

Cheshire country side

This is the view from my house, Chester is quite high above the River Dee. You can practically see Wales from this point! 
 

 
 

 

Kickin’ it in Copenhagen

just over a month ago (yes I’m still catching up on blogs), a¬†few of my fellow exchange students and I ventured of to the scandenavian treasure that is Denmark, to me more specific, Copenhagen. A little gem of Europe, located only a stone throw across the water from Molmo, Sweden (literally it is a 20 minute ferry ride from Sweden, very close) .

I have, unexpectedly, incontrovertibly, fallen in love with Copenhagen.

It was a very last minute trip , with most of my fellow exchange students watching sites like ‘skyscanner’ like obsessive hawks, all hoping to snap up cheap ¬†deals for the weekend. So it happened that one of us was browsing flights one afternoon and found cheap flights to Copenhagen, it sounded cool.. so we booked ourselves the flights.

( Quite the novelty to weekend in foreign cities to the extent they do in europe. with most major cities under 3 hours away, it is all too convenient)

Copenhagen city square

Copenhagen city square

Traditionally its not the most popular, nor raved about city in europe its true, being comparitively small and limited in terms of sites and attractions, it was not at the top of my list.  However,its perfect for a weekend trip for this exact reason, you can fit in a lot and leave feeling like you have seen a large portion of the city/culture.

After a two and a half hour flight we touched down, despite it being late at night, the city was alive with people out eating and drinking and being generally merry, quite a nice welcoming. After some midnight Maccas we checked into our accomodation for the weekend, the Downtown Hostel (incidentally, a really great place to stay if ever you are there), a cool little place just left of the city centre.

On the plane to Copenhagen

On the plane to Copenhagen

Enjoying Copenhagen's Night Life

Enjoying Copenhagen’s Night Life

With its own bar and movie area downstairs is very chilled and a great place to come back to after a day sightseeing in the chill for a beer and pizza. Hostel traveling can be hit and miss, finding a gem in one city with cosy beds and fun staff one day, and cold showers and mice the next… so buyer be ware- check out sites like famoushostels.com and read the reviews from fellow travellers. However on the flip side, we met some really cool people staying at the hostel and were able to ¬†compare notes on what cities and sites to see.

The Quirky Down-town Hostel

The Quirky Down-town Hostel

The docks of Copenhagen

The docks of Copenhagen

What a view!

What a view!

The city of Copenhagen itself is small enough that you can walk everywhere. We were lucky that, for the most part, it was sunny for our stay. that being said… it gets VERY cold.. so pack your coat and umbrella!

With a central network of canals, its worth taking a boat tour, they will give you some background info on the city, as well as take you to possibly the most famous monument, the statue of local Hanz Christian Andersons most iconic creation, The Little Mermaid… did someone say photo op?¬†The city itself was an inspiration for many of his fables, with its cobbled stone streets, palaces and generally romantic vibe its not hard to see why.

One of the Many Canals

One of the Many Canals

Hanz Christian-Andersons little Mermaid

Hanz Christian-Andersons little Mermaid

View of Copenhagen from the cities Observatory

View of Copenhagen from the cities Observatory

If the water is not your thing, the staff at our hostel pointed us in the direction of free walking tours that are on offer, although we didnt have time to go on one, everyone we spoke to raved about it and said it was a great introduction to the city and culture.

Monster Burgers in Copenhagen

Monster Burgers in Copenhagen

Copenhagen, is an odd mix of southern Europe and Scandinavia. Sitting between the two, its not quite either, the buildings echo both the sand-stone look and feel of france- and the clean lines and design orientation Scandinavia is famous for, with a slightly quirky edge. little cafe’s and bespoke stores line the canals, with multicoloured buildings and street art a common fixture.

Copenhagen street art

Copenhagen street art

The people themselves are fantastic, very friendly and open. English being a common tongue, it made it a really easy and relaxed trip, we were able to soak in the city and talk to locals with ease. Of course part of travelling is experiencing the challenge of language and really immersing yourself in a culture, so rolling with those challenges and taking the opportunity to soak in an alternative vocabulary. never the less, hearing your mother tongue in a foreign city makes it a lot less foreign.

The Streets of Copenhagen

The Streets of Copenhagen

Lost In Copenhagen

Lost In Copenhagen

One of the many palaces in Copenhagen

One of the many palaces in Copenhagen

More Palaces!!!

More Palaces!!!

Copenhagen royal Apartments, now THAT is a bed!

Copenhagen royal Apartments, now THAT is a bed!

I would call Copenhagen a must see for Europe, travel and accommodation are relatively cheap, but eating can be a little more pricey. Even so, the city has an incredible history, and night life. There are several castles and palaces dotted around the city, including the royal residences. Most of these are open to the public and well worth the look, especially the royal stables for those horse lovers.

The Royal Horses

The Royal Horses

Copenhagen is the perfect city for wondering around and getting lost ,everything being so close, and with plenty of museums, cultural centres, shops, cafes, bars and parks, for an easy weekend, with a chilled out atmosphere and certain charm. It’s easy to fall in love with.

Waterfalls, whales, caves…and yet another festival.

Well, first semester over in Sweden is now done and dusted, and the time has gone surprisingly fast! And I have been a very bad blogger, in not keeping you guys updated with everything that has been happening here, but one of the reasons it has gone so fast is that I have been astoundingly busy. The last semester has been so rich with experiences (both educational and otherwise) that I have barely had time to stop and take it all in! And has it been fun? Hells yeah! So much so that I have organised to stay here for the second semester also. This is pretty much confirmed, although I am still waiting for the official go ahead from immigration. (the wheels turn very slowly there) There is so much I want to tell you guys about, but before I get too involved in what is happening now, I have one more “catch up” post about Iceland…I actually started writing this over a month ago, so it would be a shame not to finish it!!!

In my last post, I had just finished the walk from¬†√ěorsm√∂rk to Sk√≥gar. After my very lovely lie in the morning after I decided to spend the morning checking out the Sk√≥gar Folk Museum. This is an awesome little place, with an indoor “formal” museum with relics relevant to the cultural history of the area and an outdoor section with reconstructed traditional dwellings, including a church, a schoolhouse, and (my favourite) old farmhouses complete with grass roofs. There is also a totally awesome transport museum – they link everything together really well, so it is more like a journey through Iceland’s history than just looking at old cars.

My favourite room in the Skógar museum.

The reconstructed farmhouses – and you can go inside!

How awesome is this old-school snow mobile?

After getting a fill of some local culture, it was time to head back to Reykjav√≠k for some music culture. The bus ride back had a commentary, which included some history of the places we were travelling through and also some snippets from Icelandic Sagas, which are a collection of historical writings/folk tales written between 1000-1500. And of course we had to stop and check out a couple more waterfalls. ūüôā

On arriving back in Reykjav√≠k I headed straight back to the local campground – I didn’t think it would be worth pushing my luck trying to find accommodation as Culture Night is even bigger than Pride, and once again I had not booked anywhere to stay. So, all set up and showered up, it was time to head into town and see what was going on.

Culture Night is predominantly a music festival, and although there are other events (displays, exhibitions) going on throughout the weekend, Saturday night is the “big event”. There were a number of stages set up around the city, and the local music venues also had stuff going on, so there was pretty much something for every taste. Russell Crowe was one of the “guest stars” this year, and one of the other Aussies in Reykjav√≠k told me he turned up unannounced at their hostel earlier in the day for a jam! I started the night in a smaller venue where they had one of Iceland’s young metal bands playing, and then cruised around the town going between stages and venues. The atmosphere was really nice – although they allow drinking in the streets, everyone was really chilled out – aside from the people who where there to party hard, there was also a really big family atmosphere and it was nice to see people of all ages mingling together in the streets. The night culminated with an awesome fireworks display.

Starting out the night listening to some local talent.

Russell Crowe on one of the four “main stages” around the city.

Fireworks signalling the official “end” of Culture Night.

After the fireworks, I spent the rest of the night chilling out at one of the local pubs, where the music continued well into the night. The night ended well after dawn (it was midway through the afternoon when I finally made it home) after befriending a local who had a keen interest in all things scientific, particularly in physics. This man had the most amazing book collection I have ever seen, including first edition texts from many prominent scientists and scientific ethicists and philosophers. His particular interest was disproving G√∂del’s incompleteness theorem by finding a theory of everything (ToE) – certainly an ambitious task! Needless to say, we had a very interesting (and argumentative night) touching on many aspects of current, past, and potential scientific knowledge and philosophy.

My last few days in Reykjav√≠k were busy ones. I spent one day checking out the city itself, now that there was a reprieve from the rain! Part of this included a walking tour through the city. Walking tours are something I really love to do when I get to a new city as I tend to walk mostly anyway, so it helps to orient yourself to the city lay out and you get to learn a bit about the history and culture of the place also. And Iceland has a vibrant and colourful history and culture. ūüôā

I was going to caption this, but I think the photo speaks for itself.

I was going to caption this, but I think the photo speaks for itself.

The colourful back streets of Reykjavík.

The colourful back streets of Reykjavík.

An elf stone. A whole family of elves live in here. Seriously. See the door?

An elf stone. A whole family of elves live in here. Seriously. See the door?

Bikes and flowers. Two of my favourite things.

Bikes and flowers. Two of my favourite things. In the same place. Together. Cool.

The Radhus (city hall). If you look closely there are portholes in the mossy wall, representing the city's seafaring history.

The Radhus (city hall). There are portholes in the wall, representing the city’s seafaring history.

This dude really wanted his photo taken and spent quite some time posing for all us tourists.

This dude really wanted his photo taken and spent quite some time posing for all us tourists.

Looking up the hill to Halgrímskirkja.

Looking up the hill to Halgrímskirkja.

Look - blue sky! A lovely Icelandic summer afternoon.

Blue sky! A lovely summer afternoon.

Looking out over the city from the top of Halgrímskirkja.

Looking out over the city from the top of Halgrímskirkja.

An example of some of the graffiti that decorates this already colourful city.

Some of the graffiti that decorates this already colourful city.

Harpa - the performing arts centre.

Harpa – the performing arts centre by day.

And Harpa in her full glory at night.

And Harpa in her full glory at night. (it looks much better in person)

Any trip to Iceland would not be complete without a whale watching tour, so I spent an afternoon out on the water catching up with some Minke whales. The whale tourism industry is in opposition to the whale hunting industry, and the tour operators asked us all to please avoid whale eating – the other whale oriented tourist activity in Iceland. (most locals are not that keen on eating whale – < 5% actually do) As I wasn’t overly keen on chomping down on some whale carcass anyway this was not too hard to agree to.

The afternoon out on the water was lovely, and we were even lucky enough to see the last of the puffins, albeit from a distance. (it was the end of the season, so they were leaving the harbour, not the planet!)

A Minke whale - for a big creature they are *very* hard to photograph.

A Minke whale – for a big creature they are *very* hard to photograph.

View of the mountains around the harbour - and a gull!

View of the mountains around the harbour – and a gull!

A sparkly, sparkly ocean - such a beautiful place to spend an evening. :))

A sparkly, sparkly ocean – such a beautiful place to spend an evening.

Then it was time for some more outdoor adventures. So I headed out to¬†√ěingvellir National Park for some snorkelling. Now even though it is summer, snorkelling in¬†√ěingvellir is not such a simple thing. We were to snorkel across the Silfra rift, the spot at which the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are (slowly) separating. And we were snorkelling in a glacial lake, to the water temperature was, oh, say 2 or 3¬įC. So all dressed up in thermals, puffy heat suits, and dry suits we were set to go. Being glacial water, it was incredibly clear and clean, but even with only a small part of our faces uncovered it was incredibly cold!

After lunch we headed down into the caves, which was a pretty cool way to spend an afternoon. And the surrounding National Park was absolutely gorgeous. ūüėÄ

The beautiful √ěingvellir National Park.

The beautiful √ěingvellir National Park.

Ready to head down into the cave...

All ready to head down into the cave…

This rock. It looks like fire. I *love* this rock. :))

This rock looks like fire. I *love* this rock.

And that was it. My time in Iceland was over. I could write so much more about this wonderful, diverse little country, but I think it may be time to tell you a little bit about the country I am actually living in – Sweden.

So I am going to leave you with a photo of where I spent my last day in Iceland – sometimes there is something nice about having a late afternoon flight. ūüėÄ

The Blue Lagoon. Tourist central, overpriced, but a totally unmissable experience.

The Blue Lagoon. Tourist central, overpriced, but a totally unmissable experience.

Meeting the President of the University of Regina

Last Tuesday I got the fantastic¬†opportunity¬†of meeting the President of the University, Dr. Vianne Timmons. It was fantastic that she took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and have a brief chat. She was very interested in why I chose the U of R and how I enjoyed my time as an exchange student in Canada.¬†Her daughter is a ¬†student in New¬†Zealand at the moment so she knows¬†what¬†its like as a parent to have their child on the other side of the world. Dr Timmons and the University of Regina are strong advocates for student exchange; She believes in the educational and social¬†benefits¬†a student exchange program brings. I want to thank my parents for allowing me to have this great adventure. Its been a wonderful¬†opportunity¬†and it¬†couldn’t¬†have¬†happened¬†without their love and support.

Dr. Timmons gave me a University of Regina t-shirt and we snapped a quick picture. It was a real pleasure to meet with her.

Dr Timmons and I

Dr Timmons and I

The T-shirts

The T-shirts

Pushing through.

It is rather fitting I am writing this blog post today, because it is about taking opportunities, pushing yourself beyond your limits, and making hard decisions. This has been a bit of a recurring theme with my exchange so far, and this week a few things have happened that have meant once again I have to figure out how to go forward, and, as John Lennon said, to do this you have to know which way you are facing. So many good things have happened to me here – both Really Big Things and Really Good Things – things that I would never have got to do back home, and now I have to decide whether I need to choose between some Really Big Things and some Really Good Things, because I am not sure if I will be able to manage both at the moment. *sigh* But before I get too melancholy about having to choose between the amazing and the awesome (could be worse, hey ;)) I want to take you back to Iceland again…with lots of photos in this one!

At √ěorsm√∂rk, ready to set out – I probably look relaxed because I haven’t tried to lift the pack yet!

So, when I left you last time I was in¬†√ěorsm√∂rk, having just walked the Laugavegur trail. Here I had the option of continuing on towards Sk√≥gar (a further 27km) or taking the bus back to Reykjav√≠k. I was a bit torn as I really wanted to do this stretch of the walk (it was reported to be *awesome*) but I also wanted to be back in Reykjav√≠k for the weekend, as they were having their famous Culture Night on the Saturday night (it was Friday). Being unable to choose between the two, I decided to attempt to do the whole walk in one day, and then take the bus back to Reykjav√≠k Saturday afternoon. Never mind I had only been walking 15km max the last four days, and that the walk over the Fimmv√∂r√įuh√°ls Pass involved the steepest and most technically challenging part of the walk so far. I wanted the best of both worlds. (and to set your mind at ease, I did make sure it was possible to camp at the top if both my legs and spirit gave out – the Ranger said it was possible but conditions were exposed, cold and windy) So, I got up nice bright and early, ready to leave at 7am – as it was not geting dark until around 9pm, I thought that would give me heaps of time. ūüėÄ

The walk started out nicely. It was a lovely day and the scenery was beautiful. One last big river crossing (helped by a  strategically placed mobile bridge) and it was time to start the climb. I am not usually the best at hills, but today my legs felt great and I was barreling up the mountain.

A baby fox that was hanging around the campsite in the morning.

The last big river crossing of the journey. (mobile bridge not shown)

Climbing up – looking back from where I had come…

But, as I was soon to find out, this was the easy bit of the trail. The higher I got, the steeper it got, and the more *interesting* the trail became…

This is worse than it looks – it is less than 1m wide and drops off steeply on either side.

A number of spots along the trail had ropes or chains that you needed to use to help get up the steep parts.

And as it got higher I got a glimpse of what the bleak may have looked like with better visibility.

Eventually I made it up the worst of the climb (and by now it *was* starting to hurt) and I started the passage of the¬†Fimmv√∂r√įuh√°ls Pass. This was well above the vegetation mark, and was the closest to alpine walking I had ever done. It was wide and harsh and open and spectacularly beautiful. ūüėÄ

A waterfall on the way up.

Looking across the highlands.

Glacier!

The next stage of the walk took me through where the Eyjafjallajökull eruptions happened in 2010 Рthe ones that so disrupted all the European flights. As they had also had a (small) eruption earlier this year, the lava fields were still hot and steaming! It was a pretty surreal experience.

Steaming lava fields in the snow.

The path through the volcanic dust.

A mini crater amidst the snow.

From about here things started to get tough. I had already walked nearly 15km, with most of this being uphill, and a lot of it very steep. And I was starting to get pretty hungry. A couple of us, who kept crossing paths on the climb, had decided it would be a good idea to stop for lunch at the cabin at the top of the pass, which according to my map *should* have been about 1km from where the lava fields started, but I was soon to learn that maps are not particulary relevant when you are walking through an area that has been rapidly changing due to volcanic action. After walking past the main lava fields, I met up with a group going the other way, who told me I had another 3km at least until the cabin!. Two extra kilometers doesn’t sound like much, but when you are tired, hungry and thirsty it can feel very long indeed! And just because it had stopped going up didn’t mean the walking was any easier. This stretch of walking was through soft volcanic dust, rocky lava fields, snow, and glacial ice.

Some of the terrain at the top. Not easy to walk through!

You should just be able to see the amazing blue of the glacial ice.

I had to walk across this – see the yellow pole in the background?

Eventually I started to feel I was making progress. I found the “new” cabin, where I would have stopped to camp if I chose, and I was also able to fill up my water bottle here. And then, there was the “old” cabin. ūüôā Somewhere to stop, sit down and get out of the wind, which had picked up massively in the last hour. The cabin was dirty and full of rubbish, and had obviously not been looked after for quite some time, but it marked a major point in the day. Here I met up again with some of the people I had crossed paths with on the way up – a couple of Czechs and a Slovakian – who very kindly insisted I eat a hot lunch with them – curried chicken and rice – awesome!

The new cabin – note the rope!

The last stretch of “volcano dust”.

Lunch stop! *grin*

The lunch stop was also going to be the place where I made the decision whether to keep going or cut my losses and set up camp. Now, when I say “lunch”, it was already after 4pm by the time we finished lunch, so it had been 9hrs since I left that morning, and from our calculations it was about 12kms further until we got to camp. But as there was still 5hrs of good daylight left, the rest of the walk was all downhill, and the top of the pass definitely did not look like an appealing place to camp (especially the cabin!) I decided to give it a go. Worst case, I had a tent and I could just find a place to camp on the way down. ūüėÄ

I am not going to say too much about the walk down, except that it was tough. Really, really freaking tough. My feet were hurting, my shoulders were hurting, my back was hurting – in fact, most of me was hurting. I have done a fair bit of endurance stuff in my past, and it had got to the stage where the body had had enough and now it was up to the mind. I now had to set mini goals – if you make it to this landmark you can have some water – if you make it to this spot you can take off the pack for 5 minutes – if you make it to there you can have something to eat. Then I started counting my progress by poles instead of landmarks. And then by steps. And finally, I sang out loud but I kept losing track of what I was singing – I think at one stage it took me about 30 minutes to get through one complete song. :/

On the bright side the walk down was very beautiful. There were two alternate paths to take down – one that was a trail that took you past around 15 waterfalls, or the main track, where you went past around five of them. Considering I was walking alone and pretty buggered, I decided it was the safer option to take the main track. But really, who is going to complain about only seeing *five* waterfalls? ūüėÄ

A bridge I stopped at on one of my rest breaks.

Following the river along the trail to camp.

One of the many awesome waterfalls on the way down.

Finally I made it into camp just after 9.30 at night. I don’t believe I have ever finished a walk in such bad shape as I did that night. I had been on my feet over 14 hrs and had not eaten or drunk enough and had been carrying a pack that was way too heavy. Seriously. Bad. Planning. But I had made it. :)) My first task was taking my shoes off, and to my dismay my feet felt just as bad – if not worse – outside of my boots. Unfortunately I had scored a pair of massive blisters on my big toes which made it extremely painful to walk – even without shoes on cold soft grass. After getting my shoes off, the next step was to set up the tent, fill up my water bottle, get off my sweaty clothes and crash out in my sleeping bad and try and get some food into me. I was shivering like anything, but my skin was dry and burning hot to touch. Not good. It took me a little bit to realise I had managed to get myself rather dehydrated and probably had a mild case of heat exhaustion. That totally explained my difficulties on keeping enough concentration on the way down to even finish a simple song. ūüė¶ I decided not to cook, but made myself get a decent (but not massive) amount of water down, and finished off the rest of my scroggin to get my sugar levels back up somewhat. Then I fell into a deep, deep sleep.

*Disclaimer – the next bit of the post involves images of my feet, which are not pretty at the best of times – let alone after 5 days of hiking – feel free to skip it if you want!*

Some blister fluid post “op”.

I woke the next day feeling substantially better, having slept for over 12hrs. Unfortunately my feet were still buggered, and there was no way I was going to be able to walk properly, let alone wear shoes, in the shape they were in. So there was only one thing to do. Pop the blisters. So I set out to work, sterilising some safety pins and my skin (with alcohol wipes, and squeezed the fluid out of those nasty buggers. Strangely enough I had only managed to get blisters on my big toes, and they were so full of fluid my toes looked deformed. But releasing the fluid made a world of difference – an immediate release of pain. ūüôā And of course I remembered to leave the skin intact to protect the delicate tissue beneath. ūüėČ

So would I recommend the walk from¬†√ěorsm√∂rk to¬†Sk√≥gar? Abso-freakin-lutely – just make sure you are more prepared than me and have a much lighter pack – or are craploads fitter than I am! It was some of the most spectacular and diverse scenery I have ever walked through. And as a reward for those of you who got past my feet (well done!) I will leave you with a picture of one more waterfall – the one at my final campsite, which was the first thing I saw in the morning after waking up – the beautiful Sk√≥gafoss. :))