Monday, 30 January 2012

Nordic Action!

I know this is a little overdue! So I am sorry for the delay in posting! But I have put together a few pieces of footage I took with my Go Pro while Snowboarding in Sweden and Quad-biking in Iceland (me filming, my sister driving). You can see how crazy beautiful it is here! Snowboarding into the sunrise in Sweden was one of the best things we did while on our trip, and the sunrise at the start of this was easily the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen, with deep oranges and purples, some weening moon action and the most crystal clear air you have ever seen. Now even if you don't have the time to watch this video, at least listen to the music on it; the artist Grimes has been releasing some stunning stuff lately and this track "Vanessa" is no different; check it out!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Reykjavik: Iceland

And the final leg on this trek; dreamy Iceland, the most northern capital city in the world. This place was full of energy, snow and adventures; and we got involved in the lot! Soon I will post a video of us Quad biking along the frozen coast line, which was amazing! Alas, I need more time to get that ready, so here are the still frames;

Iceland loves its viking heritage, and on the waterfront they have this cool stainless steel viking boat statue;

Throughout Reykjavik there are brilliant wall murals; this one is no doubt titled "how to tie a tie while wearing a cracking moustache"... (As a disclaimer this is only about half of the wall, so don't use it for instruction!)

The truly amazing thermal blue lagoon, which our American bus partners liked to remind everyone is "really blue"; I mean seriously do people from this country get points for opening there mouths and double for saying something obvious?

The New Years fireworks display here is unbeatable. Every family in Reykjavik spends between US$500-$1000 on fireworks for this one night alone! Warm-up starts around 6p.m when there are sporadic explosions all over the city and builds up until 10:30 at which time everything stops and the Icelanders go and what a special TV program and at 11:30 everyone runs out on the street and the sky explodes insanely until about 1a.m at which point it trails off and finishes sometime after 7am (although there are more explosions the next night from people that forgot the had more). to give you an idea this photo below is about a 4 second exposure in one of the parts of the city. I would recommend for anyone that like fireworks this is a must!

And the other thing they do on New Years is build massive bon fires  at points around the city and drink and watch the fire. These usually start at 830, and the fire below had nearly burnt out by 1030 when this photo was taken;

Berlin: Germany

Part two of our trip takes us a little south to the ever cloudy Berlin, a city that has two distinct parts of life; one of which I can show you and one of which I may tell some of you about. The first part side of Berlin is the tourism side which is based a lot around the events of the second world war along side the typical attractions. In this respect Berlin is entirely unique in the fact that it has memorials everywhere to atrocious acts in war that it itself inflicted, which deserves a heap of praise, no doubt. The flip side of this is that there is so much to this place and you get the feeling that Berlin would like people to see it for what it is now, which is a phenomenally cultural hub that has some awesome around almost every corner!

One of the first attractions we checked out in Berlin was the famous Berlin zoo, which was the most depressing thing I saw the whole time I was there (which sounds weird I know), but you can imagine African animals in small enclosures at 0 degrees. This elephant honestly looked like he was trying to jump for a good couple of minutes;

At this time of the year the Christmas markets are in overdrive, with chocolate, trinkets and of course Bratwurst!

And cool model trains;

This legend just casually solving equations at the wax museum;

The architecture of the memorials is insanely creative throughout the city, the memorial to the book burning is an empty room with enough space on its shelves to hold all of the books, while this memorial to all of the Jews lost in WWII was very impressive; basically there is 4700 odd concrete blocks that are small at the edge and go over head as you head in to the middle, the ground is constantly undulating and it is very repetitive and disorientating. The symbolism is supposed to represent the path into the disorientating depths for Jewish livelihood during WWII;

Under which is memorial with several rooms about the history of the time, this 6 individuals represent the several million lost during the time;

Different parts of the Berlin wall are memorialised in different ways, but this was one of the coolest;

And the memorial to "All the lives lost". Probably one of my favourite photos of the trip;

And tourist photo;

Åre: Sweden.

What better way to recover from some sensational jet lag then doing some photo editing and posting of the trip that caused the jet lag in the first place! As is sensible I thought I would post these in chronological order, by country, starting with Sweden. Firstly I would like to say that the Swede's are insanely nice and were by far my favourite nationality of people that I met while i was away (even better than the USA if you would believe?) and I certainly look forward to returning there soon!

Anyway to the pictures! Most of the photos I am posting here are from the ski resort of Åre (pronounced "Or-a"), which is just on the Sweden side of it's border with Norway and about 45 mins from Östersünd in Sweden. This place is phenomenally beautiful and is certainly a significant change in temperature from Queensland in December!

Ok the very first image her is actually from Stockholm, but I just thought all these knight statues were awesome;

This is what Christmas is supposed to be about;

Gorgeous houses on the hillside;

The view from just above our building every morning (someone has to do the hard jobs);