Lovely things

A collection of what's inspiring us to think, do and dream, and tales from our travels
#nofilter on image by @arrowphotography (at Marine Rescue Pelican Base)

#nofilter on image by @arrowphotography (at Marine Rescue Pelican Base)

It’s not #throwbackthursday, but 6 years ago on a night with a breathtaking sunset, I married an incredible man. #nofilter on lovely image by @arrowphotography (at Marine Rescue Pelican Base)

It’s not #throwbackthursday, but 6 years ago on a night with a breathtaking sunset, I married an incredible man. #nofilter on lovely image by @arrowphotography (at Marine Rescue Pelican Base)

Someone’s unhappy about the joy that the #winter #sun brings with it! #cheerup #lakemacquarie #newcastle (Tanifa O Tagaloa 2003, by Fatu Feu’u.) (at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery)

Someone’s unhappy about the joy that the #winter #sun brings with it! #cheerup #lakemacquarie #newcastle (Tanifa O Tagaloa 2003, by Fatu Feu’u.) (at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery)

Not a bad spot for some research project development. A glorious autumn day - well played, Newcastle.  (at Estabar)

Not a bad spot for some research project development. A glorious autumn day - well played, Newcastle. (at Estabar)

Reminiscing about our adventures in amazing Norway #chilly!

Reminiscing about our adventures in amazing Norway #chilly!

instagram:

How I Shoot: Levitating with @JunantoHerdiawan

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos. This week, @JunantoHerdiawan shares how he takes photos where he appears to be levitating.

Camera: iPhone & iPad.

Vantage Point: “Levitation is like philosophy. It’s not just a jump shot; it is a floating moment. I like to travel and see many interesting places in the world. My idea is to levitate in any interesting place or interesting moment. By doing that, I feel like I can float or fly in any place in the world.”

Shooting: Using an application that takes multiple photos at a time while you jump makes it easier to capture the perfect levitation photo. “I use the Fast Camera application on iPhone or iPad to capture the moment. It is a continuous-shoot application that can capture every second of my levitation.”

Editing: While Junanto may touch up the lighting or tones in his photos, there are no special apps or programs used to create the levitation effect. “I don’t use editing for my levitation photos, no special application. I only adjust for lighting and other effects.”

Follow Junanto’s levitating adventures in Jakarta, Indonesia, and throughout the world at instagram.com/junantoherdiawan.

Now this is just great!

I promise to finish writing down the tales of our travels!  I think I have been subconsciously protesting the return to routine by not scheduling time to do it, rather, instead looking through photos and reading more widely about the culture and people of the places we’ve been.  We’ve so many wonderful memories!  But it’s great to be home -  really great - we’re reminded how lucky we are in so many ways.  

I promise to finish writing down the tales of our travels!  I think I have been subconsciously protesting the return to routine by not scheduling time to do it, rather, instead looking through photos and reading more widely about the culture and people of the places we’ve been.  We’ve so many wonderful memories!  But it’s great to be home -  really great - we’re reminded how lucky we are in so many ways.  

(Source: soaked-in-cyanide, via fantasticfrankblogg)

Eventual arrival in Helsinki!

14th September.

The Viking Line M/S Mariella!

Helsinki was, partly by chance and partly by design, quite the change of pace for us.  This year, Helsinki is the location for World Design Capital this year (see http://www.worlddesigncapital.com), which meant between events, exhibitions, installations, museums and pop-ups, there was whole lot of creativity, design, and architectural goodness going on for us (me) to oogle over.  Way in advance I’d booked a luxurious night’s stay at Klaus K Design hotel, so we were expecting one night of luxury, but fortune would have it that the best deal I could get on accommodation of any sort for the remaining three nights was a deal on lastminute.com for the four-star Scandic Grand Marina.  4-nights of luxurious privacy it was!  

But we had to find it first, and partly due to delirium but probably mostly due to Google-maps instructing us that the Viking Line’s port was on the opposite side of the quay than it actually is, we walked, with luggage, a decent half-hour in the incorrect direction before realising both that it was the incorrect direction, and that they street signs are both in Finnish and Swedish.  Why?  I mean, sure, that sounds quite friendly and all, but one name ought to be sufficient, no?  Our Google-map was in English.  Who’d have thought the street names would be translated three ways?  I’m not sure what the Swedish or Finnish translation for thunder-storm is, but then there was a cracker.  Imagine our surprise, when after we were “sure” we were again heading in the correct direction, wet and disheveled towards the elusive schwanky “design hotel”, we turned a corner, and there, bodly, glistened the bough of M/S Mariella in the rain.  Ha!  Not as close to our intended path as we thought we were.  It was more than a bit lucky that next to the port was the Scandic Grand Central Marina, and at this point I marched straight in there and begged for assistance to find our way to a different hotel than theirs, pretty please and seeing as thought we’ll be back the very next day.  The extremely lovely, obliging staff armed me with a Finnish map, and we speedily made our way to the warm, comfortable (swanky) bed at Klaus K, for a well-needed nap!  

Stockholm to Helsinki, the Scandinavian Way

Fresh and vibrant, we arrived at Oslo Central station, with an hour to calmly change platforms and board the train to Stockholm, which of course I could never manage and decided to add some excitement by leaving my mobile phone amongst the (very comfortable) bed sheets of the night train.  (Shock, horror?  No.  No-one reading is surprised.)  Phone retrieved, we set off on an uneventful but scenic day train-trip to Stockholm. 

From Stockholm Central to the port of the Viking Line “Ferries”.  In hindsight, I don’t really know why I was expecting a vessel (I swear, named a “ferry” in all the booking documentation) to carry us 14-hours across the sea to be similar in stature to the Manly-ferry; maybe because our private-sleeping-compartment tickets only cost a $38 supplement each to our Eurail pass.  I did enough research to know that we would arrive in Helsinki, eventually.  I didn’t do enough research to have been able to anticipate a massive 1980s (original décor!) booze-cruise-liner, complete with casino, sundeck (alas, no sun), spa, multiple bars and discos, restaurants, cafes and all night duty-free shopping  - populated by, as far as we could tell, a significant proportion of the still-mobile senior citizens of Scandinavia (yet again, not the blonde Swedes Sean was wishing to encounter), and a smattering of other just-as-stunned backpackers.  We boarded the ship ridiculously early (true to my new-found punctuality), chucked our bags in our cabin, conveniently located two levels below the cars and trucks (convenient to the bottom of the ocean, should we need to evacuate) and headed up for a look around.  Still sixty minutes before departure, the window-seats at the bar were all occupied by sixty-plus Swedes, clearly brimming with both experience of and enthusiasm for the journey ahead, pre-priming themselves with the 3 beer-and-shot offer before hitting the buffet, soon-as.  Oh dear! 

We gave it a real good go, being sensible, eating our pre-organised food we’d brought with us, getting a good night’s rest and the like, but indeed the nostalgia of our Spanish travels got the better of us (we’ll run with that excuse!), and before we knew it we were a few cheap tapas and wines down, buying duty-free shoes and side-stepping festively-wielded walking frames.  Not a word of a lie - there was a Tina-Turner tribute concert on board. Oh dear indeed!  

I just checked by trip-advisor.com, to see how well-advised we ought to have been before making arrangements.  I’m not sure if I’ve already mentioned it, but when we’ve been bored, Sean and I have been reading the reviews of places we’ve been and things we’ve done.  We do this purely to laugh at the bad ones, at people’s petty complaints and “different” perceptions of things.  Or in the case of our Venice hostel, to puzzle over the (two?) positive reviews.  One quite disgruntled reviewer of the Viking Line, I reckon, put it perfectly, Imagine a gas station restroom, a trashy casino, and a city bus: all in the same horrible place, but on a boat”. Ironically, those were precisely the aspects that made this trip so awesome for us - it was hilarious! 

In the morning, over our headaches, we ate our fruit for breakfast and admired the lovely view through past the Finnish archipelago before bemusedly disembarking in Helsinki and realising that we forgot to photograph the fantastic interior of this ship!  Shame – but also probably best that what happens on the M/S Mariella stays on the M/S Mariella.

For a laugh (and also to confirm that I was not the only traveller surprised by this experience), read also  http://manhattan-nest.com/2012/07/14/the-end-of-the-trip/

and then also about the Viking line’s other vessel, Cindarella,

http://www.iamstaggered.com/featured/stag-do-idea-fear-and-loathing-in-stockholm/.  As a savvy user of the internet, there was no excuse not to be properly informed!  Ha!