I finally consider summer to truly be here. Not because of the weather, but because the last exam results are in and the spring semester can finally be called a closed chapter. I've already had the time to squeeze in two vacations, even though one was more of a work thing and quite exhausting. Pictures from both will naturally be presented in this post!
Sadly, my reading was slowed down significantly towards the end of the semester. I'm slowly getting back to it though, in particular by the help of some fantasy. I haven't read fantasy in years, but a friend recommended some books to me on the basis of our mutual appreciation of George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones (2nd season please come quickly). The series in question is Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy, and I have so far read the first book and a third of the second. It's both interesting and amusing. Abercrombie is not hiding the fact that he is borrowing things from all over the place. Some things are actually taken directly out of of Martin's books, some from traditional fantasy, and others from our world. A group of mismatched people setting out on a mission, a center land threatened both by forces from the South and from the North; racism, colonialism, cultural differences, south/North oppositions - you have it all but it does not feel old. I'm reading these books on my Kindle, which suits me fine since they are something like 600 pages each and I prefer not dragging books that size around in my bag.
I really have the impression I read something in French recently. But what was it?
But yes, we went on an unplanned vacation to Berlin. I fell in love with the city and got very much inspired to learn German. Of course, I bought at least one book and a magazine. I thought I'd keep it quite simple and got myself a Marian Keyes book. I'm really looking forward to reading it- whenever I find the time. My two summer jobs - Old Church Slavonic text analysis at the University and Oslo Tourist Information - are proving quite time-consuming. But in July, everyone I know leaves Oslo (including myself - going to Sweden for a couple of days), so then I will have somewhat less to do.
Not only have I finally visited Germany for real, I have also seen the postcard version of Norway. It is somehat odd to have lived in this country for four years without having seen the fjords, but getting to said fjords is a rather expensive affair. It is not when work pays for it. So with a group of 10 people from the tourist information I went on a tour called Norway in a Nutshell. The schedule was very tight, but as you can see from the photos you get to see some quite spectacular scenery (the funniest part of which is that you actually find houses in some of them!). Of all the things we did (various boats, trains and buses non-stop for 2 days) and I would say that that bus trip out of Bergen among the mountains through countless tunnels (which is, as a matter of fact, how you travel across Norway) early in the morning was the most impressive by far. Quite appropriately, most of the members of the group fell asleep :-)