Being a tourist in London

Discovering LDN with family

This weekend has been a family packed weekend. Both our parents have been/are here passing through our home from a roadtrip through the UK or about to head to one respectively.

Usually there isn’t enough time to do touristy stuff in the London, but this time around, my parents stay for 2 days and I became a tourist. We visited Kew Gardens, to which I have only been in winter time when there is a light show, and Camden Market, cause my parents have never been.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens recently opened the newly renovated Temperate House, which my parents were keen on seeing. And since the weather was wonderful, we also had a little picnic with some delicious but questionable looking crumble. I didn’t know that Kew Gardens was as big as it is, as I had only walked a small path in the darkness of winter. There is a treetop walk that is rather knee-melting, if you have issues with wobbly built pathways in 18m height, but the view is definitely worth it.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

The second day we ventured out to Camden Market. I think it has been 2 years since I last went, so I was curious to see what has become of it. It was a Saturday and brilliant weather, so as expected, there were a lot of people roaming the streets and market halls. It’s definitely become a lot more organised and cleaned up since I’ve last been with lots more shops and food. Talking about food, I’ve had a great vegan doughnut and some of the best falafel I’ve ever tasted.

Camden

It’s time to start dreaming again

dream big

It’s honest time today, so please bear with.

My husband and I had a conversation the other day about dreams. Rather, it was more a conversation about how I should (could) make use of my time currently before we start travelling in 2 and a half months time. I am currently not working, so I have time available to me with which I can do something or several things. I could explore something I’ve always wanted to do, could spin some ideas about starting my own business or something else entirely. I also currently drive things that need to get done around our trip and house renovation.

However, I don’t go and explore. I don’t currently take the opportunity of my available time, which I won’t have forever. I don’t do it to the fullest extent and I find myself going back and forth on whether I should or shouldn’t.

I feel guilty that I have this time available, so I do as much as I can for things that “matter”, such as the trip, house stuff and various other logistical things that need to get done in life. I am someone that puts other people and to-do’s first before I eventually (if ever) get to myself, though I have gotten so much better at it over the past year. I also feel that whatever I’d start to explore now, I’d have to stop anyways when we’re travelling and then put all the effort back in after 6 months. Also, there are way too many things I’d like to try out, so I am also struggling with the luxurious dilemma of where I’d even start. It’s all too overwhelming (and privileged) and it is easier, at the moment, to play the ostrich game.

Not only do I feel like I have to take on all this extra stuff because I am not working, I also feel guilty for not using this time to pursue my own interests. Something my husband said during our chat made a penny drop and whilst I still don’t quite know how to tackle what’s in my brain, I know not to dismiss it and tame it. I will also try not to feel guilty about having this time whilst others don’t, but instead learn to treasure it and be grateful that I am given this opportunity to explore and dream. I am certain I will fail at times, but I will try.

I know I haven’t done this kind of real talk since I wrote about my brain surgery journey, but I think it could be a valuable thought process/learning to share. I think a lot of us are struggling with shutting off thoughts about our dreams (however big or small), taking a step toward making it happen or even allowing ourselves to have any. Sometimes, we tend to put barriers in front of ourselves where there don’t have to be any. There are enough barriers in life already, no need to invent them.

And yes, that is the rational part of me talking. Clearly, I have had some very irrational thoughts about this whole process and no, I haven’t stopped thinking them or felt any less doubt, though recognising what is tearing me in different directions mentally and emotionally surely must be a good thing.

Thanks a bunch for reading. I hope this wasn’t too much of a downer and maybe even gave you a little nudge to be better at this whole “do more of what makes you happy and explore your dreams” thing, as cheesy as it sounds. But somebody once said it, so it must be true.

Places we’re going to in Indonesia

Places to go in Indonesia

The last few weekends have been heavily focused on getting some more flights and places booked for Indonesia. Indonesia is the first country we’re going to and it is not easy being “flexible” and have a “let’s see where we’ll end up tomorrow” attitude because it’s all islands. You can’t just catch a car or bus to quickly hop over to another place; you either need to fly or take a boat. I’ve read plenty of posts and comments on taking ferries and boats for smaller distances (Lombok to Bali) and there are quite a few horror stories out there. For most parts, we’re going to take the plane. It’s not very expensive, so it is ok. But taking planes does mean that we have to book now, cause most planes for travel within the country easily book out (so I’ve read). And we’re less than 3 months away from take-off (eek!).

I didn’t think that figuring out places for Indonesia would be quite this hard. I suppose it isn’t, if you only look at the Unesco World Heritage site (ha!). Once you start looking elsewhere and get to reading various blogs and sites, then you’d almost want to ditch every other country on the list and just tour around the islands of Indonesia for 6 months. They have such diversity from one little island to the next big one. It is crazy to decide and give yourself a time limit. So far we’re at about a month.

Also, we have to take into account travel time in between places. You’d think that because it’s all scattered, it’d be easy to get from one place to another. Don’t get me wrong, I suppose it is fairly easy and there are a lot of airports and options. Though one trip we booked to get all the way to Papua takes 15ish hours excluding the ferry to get to another tiny island, when a direct flight would be 3ish hours. I am not complaining, it is what we chose and are aware of, but it is making me rethink other locations further down the line when, on paper, we’re already at the end of September and haven’t even left the country yet. Oh the irony when I said “scattered” and “easy to get to places”, ha!

On to the less waffly bit

In case you’re curious, the sites we’ve used so far to book flights within Indonesia are Skyscanner and Nusatrip. I also saw that Tiket is an option (as recommended by Lonely Planet), which we might try for the next flights.

Where we want to go

Jakarta
I think this might only end up being a day or two, as we have a lot of other stuff we’d like to see. At this stage though, I am even unsure, if passing through there is even worth it compared to other places.

Does anyone have any recommendations on what to see/do in Jakarta?

Temples
Hot on the list are the Prambanan and Borobudur temples. Just google these names and then stay in awe for days. They’re also both on the UNESCO World Heritage list, so we figured, if we’re going to see temples in Indonesia, then these two should be it. They are also relatively close to one another on Java island.

Lombok
Most people told us that Lombok would be better than Bali for a beach time out, as it is less touristy and less crowded. There is apparently a pink beach and Mount Rinjani, an active volcano you can hike around and up. We might also make a day trip to the Gili Islands which are said to be rather beautiful (but also touristy, so we’ll see).

Komodo National Park
How cool would it be to actually see a real dragon? I mean, it won’t take me on its back up in to the clouds à la Daenerys, but I’ll take what I can. The time we’re going though is when they usually have their little dragons, so hopefully we’ll still see at least one. From a distance I shall think, as I read that they eat whole deer and young ones can climb trees.

Papua
We’re going to West Papua, more specifically to Raja Ampat, to spend a few days at the beach and snorkel our way through corals and clown fish. Getting there is a bit tricky, so we chose to take the ferry to Waigeo and back. Fingers crossed it’s all going to be fine. By the way, Raja Ampat is an archipelago with one of the most biodiverse marine life.
Also on Papua, we’re going to the Baliem Valley where the Dani people live. It’s quite tricky finding accommodation there, so should anyone have any tips…much appreciated.

Recipe – Carrot soup à la Nordic

Carrot Soup New Nordic Diet Isabell

Last week I started an online course, actually 2, about food. More specifically, one is called “The Science of Gastronomy” and the other “The New Nordic Diet”. The first one is a lot more scientific, as the name suggests and explains more background as to how this whole heat transfer thing works and impacts how we prepare food, how our senses shape how we experience tastes and flavours and comes with some fascinating experiments I wish my teachers would have done back in school.

The Nordic course, talks all about the New Nordic Diet. I didn’t realise that this was actually a proper term coined by the founders of renowned Noma in Copenhagen and probably contributed to the invasion of Scandi food and design over the past 10 years. Besides the course being a bit, erm, flat and not really a course in my opinion, I was intrigued what kind of food that would be. So I googled, got inspired and had an idea. As it so happened, we got a load of carrots and I always wanted to get THE carrot soup right and I might have just done that this time around.

What you need

Serves 4 people.

For the soup

  • about 600g carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil (or other oil)
  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1l water
  • Salt and pepper

Carrot Soup - New Nordic Diet

For the dressing

  • 200ml yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Salt and pepper

This is how you do it

The soup

  1. Cut the onions into small pieces and, in a pot, fry in the oil for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic half way.
  2. Add the carrots (wash/peel and cut them into small pieces) and add plenty of salt and pepper.
  3. Stir everything and add the lid to sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Lower the heat a little, as you have the lid on.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar and vegetable stock, increase to medium heat and let the liquid reduce to half.
  5. Add a litre of hot water (I boil mine in a kettle) and let everything boil for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
  6. Blend it all in a blender (hand blender will also do).

Carrot Soup - New Nordic Diet

The dressing

  1. If you have a blender, add all the ingredients in there and blend. Depending on taste, you may want to add more of a particular herb.
  2. If you prefer, you can also just cut the herbs finely and mix it by hand with the yoghurt.

Carrot Soup - New Nordic Diet

Serving
Simply add a spoonful of the yoghurt dressing on top of the carrot soup and serve it.

Carrot Soup - New Nordic Diet