Sunday, 29 June 2008

If it's in the guide it must be true...

Sometimes you read travel guides and the reality is far from the expectation...

This morning we headed to the local pool where they have everything - thermal pools /lap pools / steam baths/ water slides and just after we've done a km or so in laps the front page of the Lonely Planet Iceland guide walks into the pool, sits collectively in one of the pools and over the next half hour or so takes us live into a Pet Shop Boys video.

And this is what they look like - just as on the cover of the guide.

They're even wearing the same shorts - all of them.
They're all over the pool area and we're literally bumping into them, not that we have any problem with that.
And who needs to eat breakfast after this? We've had all the feasting we need.

More details of the Arctic tour can be found here.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Superchilled in Iceland

Iceland so far is all and more than I expected. Sunny, warmish (in the sun it's summery - in the shade it's wintry). And the men are beautiful (not ALL the men mind you...) but we headed to the swimming pool in the mid evening (they're open till 10.30pm) and discovered a distinctly social gathering place. 'Hot Pots' abound with people just soaking in the warmth of pools in varying temperatures (all labeled accordingly) and chatting away. This is where we discovered the really gorgeous men. Lingering looks, everyone checking everyone out, but not a lot of pings on my gaydar - but it's really difficult to tell... which makes it all the more interesting anyway. There are steam baths and saunas too. When you arrive at the pool you have to shower naked before with everyone else. It's a communal feel really, and I could happily live in this life of cute butts splashing about lazily. But apart from all the cuteness the city here (Reykjavik) has a real buzz. It feels very welcoming, has some great architecture, great light (well 24 hours of it) so the colour is awesome and I've been photographing wildly late into the night.

I really do feel superchilled here - so I'm following my blog theme, and I have a feeling the rest of the time here in Iceland will continue in this vein.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Molde - Norway

Right now I'm in Molde - which is on the west coast of Norway. We hadn't planned to stay here - but when the opportunity presented itself - in the form of a spectacular hotel here - we decided to take it. We'd been camping for some days and needed a chance to recharge - mostly our batteries which had been steadily depleting. But also time out for a bit - and The Rica Sail Hotel is it. I see mountains in the distance as I type - the sauna also has a large glass window overlooking the fjord and you sit naked up in the sky watching the water and the mountains beyond. Bliss.

There are more details at the travel blog. And hopefully some photos to follow pending resolving some software issues.

Posting might be a but irregular as we've been busy exploring and in the wilderness... And with all this daylight - there has been no time left for much else.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Absolut Stockholm

As I write it's a little after midnight, the sky is still blue and the horizon deep red.
It's been a Stockholm weekend.
While it has been a little cool, when the sun came out today it was just perfect. I manaed to overcome my hetlag with a swim at Eriksdalbadhuset - though The Frenchman managed to leave his swimming gear accidentally in the hotel. The change rooms seemed to be a bit of a cruising space, but with the standard of the local talent I'm not complaining!

We've been treated like family by our friends of friends Robban & Mats, who met us for the first time on Saturday evening. We've been on the go ever since and the Swedish hospitality has been sensational. A party here, a boat trip there, a picnic somewhere else, night clubs, royal gardens... Klaus & Lars delivered the perfect boating trip, with more endearing hospitality from people we've only just met!
Thanks guys - you're all stars! We've been made to feel at home and I'm not sure I want to leave.

The above photo is from our hotel - we're on level 10 of Hotel Clarion - Sign and it's really been just perfect for us this weekend. Though we've really only spent enough time here to sleep and have huge breakfasts!

There are more photos, but there is no time to edit them just now. So we'll see how we go with those later.

I do feel like I'm on holidays now. Some time I'm going to actually sleep too.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Less than a Day

Franticity: fran-tis-i-tee ; a heightened state of being, not unlike an episode of ER played at double speed.

This is where I have been this week. Frantic city. Being at work right now is actually the first time I've had to chill out, the afternoon at the surgery and evening at the hospital have been uncharacteristically subdued. I have though brought some Norwegian books in to touch up on my language skills before we disembark in that land of the blondes Saturday afternoon. Of course Swedish isn't exactly the same but it will have to do for now.

For those who aren't regular readers of superchilled, my partner The Frenchman, and I head off for our arctic circle tour of Scandinavia on Friday afternoon. First stop Stockholm. We're both working until we leave - literally - and I am so looking forward to that pushback in my seat that tells me there's nothing more to be done (and if there is it's too late - forget it). Rocketing oil prices have come at precisely the wrong time for us, given we're driving a few thousand km in our expedition to the land of endless sun, including Sweden, Norway & Iceland, exactly the same issue we had when doing a 4WD campervan trip from Perth to Broome in a diesel-guzzling landcruiser a few years back. But we're off regardless, it's all set and I'm so looking forward to it.
Our first long road trip way back in 1997 was punctuated by a number of deathly silent sectors where we had irritated each other so much we couldn't speak. Italy in winter wasn't a great distraction if I recall then, but some 11 years and uncountable road trips later I think we can safely say that's all behind us, and I'm very much looking forward to it all. In fact I'm extremely excited by it. Out in the wilderness, waterfalls, fjords, mountains & valleys and perhaps a few quirky people in the middle of it. I've burnt cd's for it, and have Björk primed for her Icelandic homecoming tour.

I've discovered too late that the USB connection for my waterproof camera isn't so waterproof after all & a new card reader is now on the shopping list. I've re-waterproofed my rain jacket which I originally bought years ago in Norway at the start of a summer school where, after the first 2 days of torrential rain, it was warm & sunny for the subsequent 6 weeks. I'm hoping that again it will ward off the rain.

Who knows what the next 3 weeks will bring, but I'm looking forward to every minute.

It all starts in less than a day.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

iphone therefore iam

I've been holding off buying a new mobile phone waiting to see what the new iphone is like. We don't have the old one here in Australia (not officially anyway) and the closest I've got is the itouch, which had me lusting after it (or was it the cute guy demonstrating it? I don't quite recall) but the experience was good and I'm looking forward to more, and it might even mean I can avoid the need for a notebook computer. If it could replace my keys and my wallet so it's the only thing I need in my pocket then it would be perfect. (I think that's the 2009 edition)

Wild Massage Wednesday

When was the last time you had a massage?

Tomorrow, 'Wednesday' will be the answer to that question, because today it's your wild wednesday challenge to book yourself in for one.
There are loads of kinds of massage, and there's going to be one that is just right for you today. 

I've booked myself in for a remedial sports massage with a therapist who knows where it hurts, and I like it! I come out feeling like I've mastered my pain control and at the same time I've felt great, with muscles metamorphosed into a new me at the end. Fresh, vibrant and totally pummeled.

What kind of massage is for you? Shiatsu, Swedish (maybe I should get into the theme of my trip and go for this one!) Champissage, Bowen therapy, or perhaps you're thinking more sensual, Tantric and the like. I don't mind which way you go; hell the more diverse the better! 

Who will you choose? A guy a girl, a lover, a friend? Your regular masseuse, or perhaps you're thinking complete decadence and want to go for the whole tandem massage experience - ie two masseurs working on you at once - which, I have on good authority, is definitely an out of this world experience!

Pick up your phone and arrange it now. It's a superchilled compulsory activity. 

I know I will. 

Monday, 9 June 2008

Jaffas, Sex & More

A few weeks ago I got this moisturiser "AHAVA Facial calming Moisturizer SPF 15 / dermud..." blah blah because I'd just had the second facial of my life and in the daze at the end of it I said yes to the sales pitch. I have in fact been using it, and I do like it. I'm not sure if it makes me calm, but every time I use it reminds me of Jaffas - (the chocolate balls covered in a crunchy orange flavoured coating) because despite the 'fragrance-free' labelling it smells like Jaffas - which for me instantly takes me to the cinema where traditionally you roll then down the (preferably wooden) floor and you can hear them rolling all the way to the front... down the steps... the works. And so today after applying it, I felt the urge to go to the movies, and eventually after a day full of other stuff, we did. It wasn't The Counterfeiters as we'd planed, but Sex and the City, which the Frenchman
 had felt exhausted by the promotions for already.

Two and a half hours later we stumble out, and we actually had a surprisingly good time of it. Some glitz and glamour, beautiful places and made up faces... And a sprinkling of cute men and gay kisses to keep us awake. The story actually meant something too, which was nice, and I felt in the mood for being creative again at the end. And I like that. 

The best thing about getting out of the movies late on Sunday night - is when Monday is a public holiday! It feels like Saturday night, only better. 

And today's phrases in Norwegian are: 

Hvor er kinoen?
Where is the cinema?

Vi snakkes.
Talk to you later.

And I will.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

swimming, working and Norway

On thursday night in between work and work I dash to the pool for training with the squad, though I'm a little late, too many sick people keeping me back! They've started already, of course, but in the fast lane the regulars have disappeared into the cold weather and I get a personalised training session. It's too cold to start with so I go faster than planned, and keep up the pace until in the end I'm doing 50m swims every 35 second interval. It's intense but in this weather, and seeing it's been shortened for me, it feels great and I feel invigorated. And then I rush out and go to work, again. Because isn't that what everyone does?

At work I'm asked to stick needles into almost everyone it seems - often more than one. And I think of a friend who likes the idea of sticking needles into people and realise that it's good he doesn't have my job, or he would be entirely unpopular. Staff talk to me about stresses they had with a cardiac arrest that morning and how unimpressed they were with the doctor who attended. So I'm debriefing them and trying to keep out of the storm myself, while trying to avoid having to stick more needles into people because you can only push people so far before they crack. (I know).

The kitchen staff at the hospital realise they have no meal for me (I'm starving) but rather than me turning up to find nothing, they call me and ask if they can cook me something - this has NEVER happened before. I'm very impressed, though the options I have for my evening meal are somewhat limited, but still it's been made for me personally so I heartily thank them ( I don't think the other doctors actually speak to kitchen staff) and walk out with a tray so full of food I could survive in remote Iceland for weeks.

And as I'm in my hospital room reading about where to go in Norway (yes we're going there too) I realise how terrible my Norwegian is right now - but the more I think about it the more words come back and think I might be able to pass as a somewhat informed traveller when I make it back there.

And the Norwegian phrases for today are:

Jeg elsker deg.
I love you.

Jeg leser bloggen din hver dag.
I read your blog every day.

Of course you have to pretend you're singing when you say these and people will love you for it when you do. Especially me.

And when we get lost in the mountains in Never-Dark-Norway, this is the man who is going to come along and give us a hand, or a foot, or whatever it is that seems most appropriate at the time. And I will come home wearing his jumper (genser in Norsk speak).

Thursday, 5 June 2008

a grey grey dey

I'm wrapped up inside looking out at a stormy grey ocean. It's the middle of the day but it's dark, and the distinction between the horizon and the sky is grey too - very grey. Last night the power was cut, probably a tree falling on the lines, and at 2am I figured it's time to go to bed anyway, But I couldn't sleep, perfect darkness, warm bed, cold feet. So when the power finally reappears and those lights we thought had been switched off came back on, I'm still awake, and get up and having taken the opportunity of no power to move the imac to a table that's actually ergonomically sensible, I get back online and continued where I left off. This time searching for swimming pools in Sweden and Iceland. And who'd have thought it but Iceland has more pools than Australia, it would seem. There's at least one in every village. I think I'm ready to move there already - though I'm not sure how I'd cope with winter. And to give you an example you can see this website which shows the pools in just the capital (and remember it's not a very big capital city). They are all filled with geothermally heated water and mostly don't have chlorine - they just pump the water right through, and so you're watched showering with soap naked before you go in - (I wonder if they have any job opportunities there...)

Ultimately I head to bed but when I wake up it's just as dark, and getting out of bed takes a while. But there is work to be done - and now I'm off to do it.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Wild Wednesday in 15 minutes

What can you do in Fifteen (15) Minutes?

This Wednesday has 1440 minutes, that's one thousand four hundred and forty minutes.
If Madonna can save the world in 4 minutes what do you think you can manage with 15?

The challenge is to take a 15 minute segment out of your day and do something that rocks your socks. Escape work and see if you're noticed, do it on your way home, do it at home, invite someone around to do it with you. It doesn't matter when you do it, just make it happen.

But what can you do in 15 minutes?

Buy a new outfit.
Run 2-3km.
Soak in a bath.
Have fast & furious shag.
Write a short blog post. (titled 15 wild minutes?)
Meet someone for a coffee (and a decadent snack)
Swim 1 km
Take time out on a park bench... 
There are endless possibilities, just make it something out of the ordinary. Something you won't forget.

Whatever you do, remember it's just 1% of your day.
What will you do?

tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock

Blast from the past... Somewhere

Having worked as a dancer and fashion model Efua (pron. Ef'wah) Baker released her only album in 1993. She co-wrote all ten tracks on Dream Juice which was released under the name EFUA. This single got to No. 42 on the UK singles chart and 18 in Australia, and I like it a lot - loads of tongue-in-cheek all round. She's now a personal trainer to the stars I believe (including training  Christian Bale for Batman Begins... ) I like her diversity.

EFUA: Somewhere     4min 14sec

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Tuesday Man

Is there anything in this image that I don't like?
Not yet - but I'll keep searching...

Monday, 2 June 2008

Hit the ground running

"I'm bored"

As a kid it was my catch cry, with its cousins "are we there yet" and "I'm hungry".

Now I have so many things to do, both things I want to and thing I have to do, that bored is a fond memory. Though really, even if given the chance to have nothing to do, I'll fill it up with a thousand things, plus one or two more, because I'm sure I can fit it in, somewhere. And then on the way too or from wherever I'm going I can be doing things too, whether it's texting, calling, reading, or even mobile internet surfing. Every minute of my day has something planned for it. And some things unplanned; they just get thrown in and somehow manage to get done - most of the time. It's a 'hit the ground running' world.

Down time? 
I guess for me that's swimming or running, or gym. The more intense that is, the more relaxed I feel. Occasionally TV, but I try to avoid too much of that- and when I'm watching I'm constantly analysing - "is this really what I want to be doing with my time?"

But I love it. I thrive on doing things - getting things happening - interacting and creating. And while I love sleep - if I could skip it completely I would. A luxury for those times when, well I don't know - just a luxury that isn't in my diary just yet, but I'm sure I can find time for it, how about next month?

So what's on this week's agenda?

I need to start up a new business. The photography one I keep talking about. People keep wanting to buy my photos. Need to chat with the accountant about that one. Perhaps a few government bodies as well to get it registrered. See if I can create a website with the name I want. Finalise a logo...
Book accommodation for Stockholm & Reykjavik, and look into a few other accommodation options within Iceland too... Oh and then for another trip OS later in the year. (Yes Jed if you're out there - it's happening).
Upload the last of my pc photos to my imac and organise them. 
Take Norten for a walk or 7.
Swim 5-7 times. Cook a few times more.
Run if my foot tendinitis is settled enough. 
Chat to the builder about some renovations. Oh and to the estate agents too.
Write an interesting post or two on superchilled. One that people will want to read and make some kind of difference to the world.. maybe. Oh and find a wild wednesday theme.
I have a few people to catch up with too, and I think I need a haircut. 
Ah yes, and then there's work, and we're 1 doctor short this week - so it will be especially busy for the next 2 weeks in fact. And there are a few review articles I want to read.

I'm very not bored.
But I'm still hungry...