Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tag Zwei

Orkney had arrived in Vienna in all it's glory; wind and rain, the lot. Esti and I had to try and decide what to do, and I thought meh shops are indoors and I need some new shoes. Bad plan. Turns out I am quite picky when it comes to trainers. So dampened spirts and dampened shoes and hair we headed back to the house with the plan to make Stuart a birthday cake, a rainbow cake. Unfortunately its hard to find food colouring in Austria and we thought the dye used to dye eggs at Easter would do the same job. Not quite since you have to add vinegar(although i did say lemon juice was a suitible, tastier, alternative) and it is actually inedible.

Back home we were greeted by friends of the family and their young, very brave little boy. Esti and I had to keep and eye on him as he pulled a ladder into the living room and dangled of it. Turns out he is pretty good at it and had a lot of natural instinct so his parents weren't too worried.

We waited for Maria to get home before making the cake since she had a clearer know-how. In the end though Esti piled in the ingredients to make a mass of curdling slop. While it "cooked" Esti dyed some eggs So in the end it was a classic Macinnes flat cake with some odd sprinkles in it turning it skin colour... We poured the melted chocolate on, not really noticing how much was going on, and then esti worked her magic witht the rainbow sprinkles.

We got ready and headed out to Flanaghans but it was packed out as their was a football match on and so we passed the message on and the group had a change of plans and went to crossfields. The reaction to the birthday cake was not unanimous but it wasn't warming and this left Esti less than cheerful... In the end we headed back with Alex as she was leaving for Limerick in the morning. We headed back to the apartment and were going to have a chat and watch a film, but that didn't really happen, instead we just conked out in bed. How exciting are we!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tag Ein

So you know how holidays are meant to be time spent away from school? Well not in my books! I spent most of my time in Vienna International School doing a variety of strange things. We'll come to that later and do this properly. My day technically started at 4am when I got up, turned on my light and thought it was a school day and had o go to school. A kind of semi-conscious sleepwalk. Anyway then I got up a few hours later when Maria was woken up by her mum, even though her mum had actually forgotten to waker her up in the first place, as she replied with continual groan of "Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum.......................Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum" After about 15 minutes I was out of it again until she began rumaging in her room, well I didn't know this at the time since it was 9:15 and I assumed that she would be in school and so I thought it was the cat or something. Finally, I actually got up at 11ish and attemped a shower. Their shower is well broken and to actually have a shower you have to sit in the bath and have one, its an odd sensation anyway. However, all i did was touch the shower and BANG everything fell down and I had broken the shower, two years ago it was the tap and now it was the shower. Thankfully it was easy to fix and happens all the time. Well there was the ridiculously long and pointless lowdown on the shower.

Eventually, Esti got in gear to head out and go outside for her first time in the daytime since Friday... Apparently the rest of the household wasn't as keen for us topping up on vitamin D as the had locked us in and hadn't left us a key. Cue a manic search for keys in coat pockets and in every drawer in the house. Thankfully someone else agreed that i need some vitamin D as we got a key and went on our way, to where though, we weren't sure. It is now when we ended up at school, we seemed to have timed our trip to be during lunch break and so we met Aunt Var for lunch and chilled at what is known as the ampitheatre in the sun for lunch. Then in some moment of insanity I suggested we help her in the Drama department. Then we were handed two boxes of textbooks and scripts to organise. Bad choice Rose. Soon after wards we escaped to the DZ but were just not in a shopping mood. It was bizarre, we tired but we just werent feeling it. The plan was to meet Alex at the school since she was helping to set up Bingo, which Esti had suggested we go to. The prizers were bangin' THE FLYER WAS AN IPOD TOUCH! :O Next we had to find Maria so we at least had one person with us who actually still went to the school but she is a pretty hard lady to find. We managed to convince her to abort homework plans and come and play bingo, if we went to the DZ first for a frappichino . Sounds like a fair deal.

We went for the full nine games but our bingo cards dwindled quickly as Andreas and Filip obviously realised bingo was the place to be and we then spread the fun around. We had our eyes on the basket of baking mixes since every year when I come we have a bake-a-thon of at least seven cakes. As soon as some little kid won this all enthusiasm was lost. It took a while for Maria to get into Bingo, probably becuase we were the oldest people there, and I know to you britons out there are thinking "WHAT? YOU WERE THE OLDEST? ARE YOU SURE THAT WAS BINGO?" Yes we were. It seems that little kids love bingo here and its also really loud there is no silence and so hearing a bingo call was ridiculously hard. But I think I prefered it this way, there was more time for mid-game banter. Anyhoo. By the final round for the ipod touch we all had at least 3 tickets and the hall was actually silent and by the end each of us were SO CLOSE. Then some little kid had to ruin our fun and win. LAME. It was one of the most tense situations of my life, mainly because an Ipod was involved not just a free trip on Northlink(oh how materialistic of me).

Back home Esti tried to convince me to go to Flanaghans, which i eventually agreed to do just to stop the moaning but we came back immediately since Man U vs Bayern Munich was on and it was packed. Well as we said it was a nice walk, made us and Alex smile, saved our lungs and livers and saved our clothes from another wash. So overall, a success.

Now Esti is asleep on the floor(photo Op) and Maria is typing like a mad woman, not doing her spanish though. Tut tut.

BTW - Max temp today was 20 degrees C :D

Also for Esti : Summary Song of Today - Love Story - Taylor Swift ( Ask her...)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Destination Vienna

Esti seems to think I write blogs all the time from Vienna, but I am pretty sure I don't but hey, might as well start! So far I have made it through Aberdeen even with my personal vendetta against it, and made it to Amsterdam. I thought I would take a wee gander( short walk) into the city centre. Now well before I had set foot off the plane I had decided to go on a quest to get some real authentic Dutch tijgerbrood. I thought a good place to go would be the well known Albert Cuypt Markt, so I hoped onboard tram 16 and managed to hitch a free ride. Now I walked all the way down this rather long market in the vain hope there would be some kind of bakery stall. None. There was no way I was leaving Holland without getting some of my favourite bread! So instead of getting the train I decided to walk back and intricately searched the streets for a bakery. Eventually I found one and ordered two rolls. Here was another example why the Dutch are the nicest people in Europe at least, its in the simple things they do like in shop transactions. Instead of the plain old "Ok" as in Britain they reply with "it's a pleasure" and "of course I can." It was a nice simple touch that goes along way with me. I headed back to Dam where it began to honk of marijauna and stag do's. It was weird, most people I walked past seemed to be English or American. After a good old wander about in awe of the houses, canals and bread I headed back to central station to get back to Schipol for 6. The best thing about growing up on an island is that when you leave everything becomes exciting, for example sitting on the top of a double decker intercity trains was like going to the moon.

The flight to Vienna was smooth and I just read my book for most of it. Again though I was surrounded by English people, the two stewards were proper english and it seemed like they couldn't speak a word of German or Dutch, there is hope for me getting my childhood dream job as a KLM stewardess yet! It was only when they dimmed the lights for landing and I could see out my window did I begin to get a smile on my face that wasn't going to be rubbed off easily. The view out the window was something else, the city was lit up and so miniture that the moon looked like a giant car headlight. My camera was pretty shoddy at capturing it unfortunately. As soon as the steward said "Welcome to Vienna" ( even if in a in a midlands accent) I got ridiculously excited, I was here again WOOOKMODSKDOKSNoksjinls. My bag was even pretty much first off the belt and so I was out pretty early. I scanned the arrivals hall and Aunt Var and Aviott were nowhere to be seen and I thought, oh god, she has actually done it. Aunt Var is going to make me order my own taxi and get there myself. I scanned all the men with signs looking for a bizarrely spelt version of my own name. But there was none. I waited a bit longer, just incase they came. And they did, sorry for the anticlimax there guys.

The rest of the night is kinda predictable, catch up with the cousins, watch Venus Willams play tennis is a ridiculous dress and commenting on the players legs. You know, the norm.

Friday, March 26, 2010

28th July

We had a leisurely start to the day today only rising at about half ten to eleven o'clock after our climb yesterday. Today was mainly a training day practicing out ice belays, bucket seats and ballards. We also tried new ways of travelling on the ice in particular the newly exposed blue ice on the surface. This included the French way: flat footed, the American way: one flat foot and one pointed foot and the German way: both feet pointed and you run straight up. The German way was obviously the most daunting but actually when you bit the bullet and did it, it was really easy and fun!

Some people did some abseiling but after the explanations and the majority of people having a shot it began to get to cold to have people sitting around. I decided to cook tea and I think everyone appreciated it being cooked on time and all at the same time... As a thank you from Gabby I got my first hot chocolate of the trip by borrowing her mug. Oh my god the hot chocolate was like a party on my taste buds compared to the usual foot. Especially because we put about 3 sachets in one cup...
There was a group meeting to discuss whether to go up the mountain tomorrow again to climb to the highest rock point in Finnmark. The general consensus was yes but a few would prefer to stay down due to injury. We drifted off to the leaders chatting away and getting rowdy, in particular Rob warning us girls to look away as there is going to be a naked man...

Oh Rob.

27th July (Dad and Clem's Birthday)

After a wonderful night biving, well except for the sudden midnight rain putting out bivi-bags to good use, and a lie in from everyone in camp(even the leaders) it was the day of the big ascent up Oksfjordjokelen. The wind had picked up so packing everything up for the day was very difficult, as was lighting the stove and preparing breakfast in general. Therefore I ended up with very watery porridge. There was another eventful toilet stop for Tasha, she managed to let a massive rock crush her thumb. We just can't let her go anywhere alone, well anywhere for that matter.

Half an hour later than planned everyone was down at Crampon Cove sorting their gear and we began to tie ropes to each other. Ropes were made up of about four or five people. i was on Markie Mark's rope at the end with Laura and Callum in the middle. Each leader did their job and took us up the glacier to the "coffee shop", why it was called that, I don't know! As we ascended the wind grew stronger and strong her to at least force 7 and would keep increasing the closer we got to the summit. We waited a while until the leaders came to the decision to take us to the summit, as by the time they had decided the wind had died down.

For the first time on the trip I felt I was truely pusing myself as it was really tough on my knees and ankles and I had to travel very slowly but ever time we stopped my knees would buckle and this added to the danger of crampons slipping. However in the end of all the muscles I could pull I pulled the pecks muscle... We sat on a on a nun attack at the top of the snout for an energy boost and come ice cold non-gritty water. 2km on and a 100m ascent later we had reached the summit of Oksfjordjoklen, the highest ice point in Finnmark. The view at the top made the whole walk Worth it. It can't be described in words, maybe a photograph, but not entirely as the view went on forever as did the clouds. It was something I had never seen before, the pure untouched white snow, blue skies, tumbling sheets of clouds and mountains skimming the horizon. My journal says it all really, it just says BEAUTIFUL, underlined many times.

There was another toilet stop over by moraine for the girls to pee but because of some meandering boys, most of us didn't get a chance. I spent the journey towards the descent finding red algae. Ignoring the obvious difference between the ascent and descent, the main difference for us, th YE's, was that we had to lead everyone down, well those who were at the ends of the ropes, including me. It actually wasn't as scary as i thought since I only had a minor slip, but even minor slips made your heart skip a beat. I don't think those on my rope felt in safe hands as I seemed to be more occupied in taking photos! Many found this first challenge difficult for a variety of reasons but we also so we saw each other really working together for the first time.

Back at crampon cover, I finally got to the toilet and we got tea on the go, well Alistair got his tea on the go but not anyone elses. Instead we made him go up the glacier for water. The swine. I had a good tea of chili con carne and chocolate chip dessert. During the ascent I had noticed something in my eye, like grit. Mary sorted it by iving me eye drops, well more of an eye paste, it was pretty hardcore touching eyeball stuff. We all settled into another night under the stars/sun in our cosy little bivi site.

26th July

Rockfalls, natures form of a wake up call. However this possible near death experience could make us move from our "beds" until a good half hour later. Next on the agenda was sorting out the nests we had aquired on our heads by washing them in a glacial stream. Now, if the mountain had decided to threaten us with water rather than crushing us in a rockfall, we would have probably got up...

Hair tamed and pleited we prepared breakfast of hot cereal start, which was slowly becoming too bland for my already supressed taste buds. The original plan for the day was to spend it on the glacier doing ice axe work for the whole day but as well as doing that we decided the weather was good enough to head up the glacier to make a bivi site and stay there for the rest of the mountaineering phase.

The morning was spent packing which was harder than we thought since the weather was a scorching 30˚C and time had to be set aside to applying suncreen. The sun was definately much appreciated by all though! With everything we needed for the next few days on out the glacier on our backs, we headed up to "crampon cove" and the sudden temperature drop reminded us of where we were.

On the glacier we carried out more ice work including cutting steps, building bucket seats and belays. All didn't go too smoothly as my crampons were on the wrong feet and so fell off halfway through...That was interesting anyway and having a slight asthma attack on my way up to the designated water point didn't really help.

We headed back onto "Crampon Cove" and the area above it proved to be a suitible bivi site so we began to clear spaces for our beds for the next few days. Biving was an entirely new experience for most of us as was carving out our own bed, which was compared to digging a grave... This was suitibly followed by a rockfall just above our newly built bedrooms meaning we had to move. It was getting late but we had to wake up the other group (which as we have previously noted, had all the strong men) to help us dig out new beds at epic speeds. I rather liked my new bed, Gabby and I had made our own little cradles to snuggle into. Only the occassional misplaced rock made it uncomfortable.

We made a trip to our new toilet spot pretty much half way up the mountain but with a fantasic view. By now all bowel motions and everything related had become normal and was openly discussed with everyone, not just the boys. Back in the real world the discussions us girls had would make our other friends disown us. On the way back from the loo stop Natasha hurt herself, by now we stopped getting surprised ;) She had dislocated her knee and then relocated it simultaneously it seemed and after some reassurance and drugs from Mary she was almost ready for bed, but not until Rob gave us a short science lesson now we were all out of bed. Here we mapped the snout of the glacier but more importantly learnt about "Birch 1, Birch 2..."

Now here the last part of my journal before I fell asleep:
"Now I am about to go to bed on this bit of rock with a giant mass of ice a few metres below with the the most beautiful sunset you can expect to get in the "land of the midnight sun." I almost don't want to go to sleep. I love Biving!"


Slowly and steadily I plan to get my journal from Norway transferred from paper to electronic form.

Bare with me.