Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Tommies

Today was my last day of work at St. Thomas Hospital. As a parting gift Heavenly Father gave me some amazing sights and some great people. This was the view when I got to work this morning.
And the view was just as stunning as the sun went down.

This has been my view for the last two months. Probably one of the most well known views in the world. I have been very lucky.

I was also lucky to work with Jon, one of my favorite people to work with.

And Charlie.... We had a good and reasonably busy day. Most of our patients were confused which left us never a dull moment. I have had a good experience here at Tommies. I wouldn't want to repeat it (purely because of the different nursing style) but I am so glad I was able to meet some great people and learn a a new way of doing things.
...won't miss the uniform too much.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spa Day with Lauren

Today I met up with Lauren for our much awaited Spa Day and massages. It was the same spa I went to before with Hannah and this time we got 50 minute massages....amazing! I had tons of knots in my back from travling around, so it was really nice to relax and more than that it was really nice to hang out with Lauren. I haven't seen her in a month and she is great! I am feeling very bittersweet feelings about leaving London. I have some amazing friends here.

After the spa, we went (very slowly - we seemed to be moving in slow motion - very relaxed I guess) to the Hummingbird Bakery in Soho.

AMAZING desserts. I had a chocolate cupcake with cheesecake chunks and cream cheese frosting. It blew my mind! I need to learn to cook like that! Although, it is probably better for my health if it don't....

We were headed back to the tube when we walked by this amazing looking Italian place. It had a glass counter with all this incredible food and it was packed (always a good sigh) so we wandered in for a little post dessert dinner. Again, amazing. I am sure I could live in this city all my life and still find wonderful adventures.
Lauren is fantastic. I had such a fun time hanging out with her today. She didn't just fill a gap in my life, I would have picked her to be a friend. And hopefully we will stay friends for a long, long time. I am really going to miss her.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Swedein

This morning we pretty much just had to pack up and head to the airport. It was a beautiful morning!
The early morning (8am) sunrise cast a beautiful light on the old town.
By the time we got to the airport that beautiful clear sky had turned gray and was dumping big fluffy snow flakes. It was really beautiful.

So on day one we went to the grocery store and bought a package of noodles. We have basically subsisted on those each night. We decided to finish them off today, so we brought them in a plastic bag and had the rest of our pesto on one side with soy sauce we found in the airport on the other was actually pretty tasty, but looks manky.

The last time it snowed was about a month ago, and not a bit of that had melted, so today's snow just added on top of last months. Apparently this is the first time in 15 years that they have had a proper snowy winter with ice on the water and all.....that make for the complete Sweden experience, so I am glad we had snow.

By the time we got back in to London it was about 7pm, time to have some real food....the noodles had worn off by this time so we decided to celebrate our last night together going to our favorite cheap pub Wetherspoons.
I am going to miss Hannah a ton (she is going to Morocco in the morning). She has been such a life saver and we have had so much fun together (as manifested by this trip). But she has promised to come to San Diego, so we'll see if she keeps that promise. Sure hope so!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day

Happy Australia Day! Today in Aus everyone will be having bbq's and running around in bathing suits, not us....

Not sure why it is such a novelty to stand on the ice above water....but it is!

First on the list for today was Skansen, an outdoor museum that details life in Sweden. They had quite a few shops set up as they would have been in the mid 1800's. We watched glass blowing here, very interesting and of course, he made it seem effortless.

In the kiddy land they had these cool sheep made out of rope to play on, so we played.

They had a whole portion of the park for the local animals of Sweden. Reindeer. No sign of Santa though.

One of the bird keepers had these really amazing owls out to show the kids. This one was extremely tame, there were all these little kids around standing really close and it seemed not even to notice them, very interesting birds.

I think it might have been the first time for me to see a moose, don't remember seeing them in a zoo ever.

On our way out of the park we found these classic painted horses. Getting up on them was half the fun. It's harder than it looks.

After Skansen we headed to the island of Gramla Stan, which is their old town, again those classic shop lined streets that are so fantastic for strolling.

We went to this cool cafe that had a cellar for some Swedish desserts. Hannah just got a new camera so we were trying out all the different colors.

Our last stop on Australia day was the Absolute Ice Bar. Complete contrast from what Hannah would be doing at home right now.

It was the very first ice bar ever created, everything but the floor and ceiling are made of ice. We had to put on these special parkas not only to keep us warm but so that our body temperature wouldn't melt the ice.

Even the cups are made of ice... we got some lemonade sort drink...which was glowing, tasty but suspicious.

Not terribly comfortable, but we "chilled" (excuse the terrible pun) in these ice recliners....just long enough to take a picture really.

And of course, to end our Australia day celebration, we had to run around in our t-shirts and freeze on the deck of the boat. Nothing like shrimps on the barbie at the beach like all other Ausies were doing today, but much more memorable.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweden Day 2

Breaky ( as Hannah would call it) We found some really yummy hot chocolate and had that to warm us up morning, noon and night.

Toast and jam every morning kept us going.....Hannah still calls me wifey since we shared breakfast in Oxford. She is so funny with the nicknames.

The first order of the day was a winter boat cruise through the Stockholm Archipelagos. I guess there are more than 100 islands that make up the city and they are all connected by bridges. We are sitting on reindeer skins here... classic.

One of the greatest parts of the boat tour was busting through all these chunks of floating ice in the water. Very cool.

Check this place's a nursing home. Not bad.

This is a home owned by one of the richest families in Sweden. They own many different companies including Saab....thought of Daren when I saw it.

Had to have a quick Titanic moment....

After the tour, we dropped into McDonald's to warm up and to see if they had anything country specific. They did have blueberry and cream pies, which are apparently very Swedish. Tasty - for McDonald's anyway.

We spent most of the afternoon wandering around all the little shops in town. Found some sweet I look tough enough to be a viking???

Does she look nutty enough to be a moose????

We also found out that Pippy Longstockings is Swedish!

Hannah and I bought these sweet t-shirts with the Swedish flag for about 2 pounds...score!

We sported our t's and ran around on the deck of our ship taking photos. What is it about being extremely cold that makes you giddy anyway???


Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Day in Sweden

This is our hostel....rad! It was built in the late 1800's and used as a training ship for the navy. It made several trips around the world before serving as WWII bunkers and was then converted into a youth hostel. So fun!

So as the pictures show, it was really freezing. Hannah is wearing about 16 layers and looks like a hybrid between a bag lady and a Japanese tourist! Haha! I had a map to the church, so we inquired about it, but turns out that the closest church is about 250 miles away....too bad, it would have been fun to attempt to sing the hymns in Swedish.

We figured out the bus system and got some yummy Swedish hot dogs from a street vendor ( how he is street vending in this weather I have no idea) and headed to the Vasa Museum.

This is the Vasa. It was a 17th century war ship that tipped over and sunk after sailing for about 20 minutes. It sat at the bottom of the Baltic sea until the 1960's when it was recovered. Because the Baltic sea is not very salty there are no barnacles here, so it able to be easily restored to almost it's original state. Extremely impressive.
This is the extremely elaborate stern of the ship. It is covered with elaborate crests and statues of roman gods. All these were meant to show the Swedes power....ironic that it sank in 20 minutes....must have put quite a dent in their ego.

This is an old diving bell. You would have stood up in there and been lowered into the water. The air trapped in the top of the bell would have allowed you 30 minutes of oxygen under the, but creepy.

After the Vasa museum, we decided to come back to our ship and relax, we were really tired after the long journey and working night shifts. Hannah actually fell asleep in the movie about the ship and slept for about an hour and a half. Hehe. Our room is fantastic, very nautical, and the showers are great which is a huge plus for Hannah. The camera timer caught us here quicker than expected...

We had dropped by the grocery store for some food and found these little coconut covered puff balls. Can't really explain what they are....just heavenly balls of goodness. Some kind of melt in your mouth marshmallow goodness. Nice one Sweden.