Day 13 – Ships and Sculptures

I started today out heading to the Maritime Museum in Oslo. The museum is located on the end of a peninsula, which has a ferry that runs between there and essentially downtown Oslo. I bought myself a 24 hour transportation ticket (bus, tram, ferry) and got ready to go. Turns out, the ferry to the museums is the only thing on the maps that doesn’t work with a normal bus ticket. So bus it was.

Almost everyone else got off at the Viking Ship Museum, but I kept going. The museum had been open for about an hour by the time I got there, yet there was no one in the exhibits. Like really, I was the only one in there for a long time. They had a lot of awesome information about shipping in Norway. Did you know that the largest cruise-lines in the world started from Norwegian Ferry companies? Nope? Me neither. I finally figured out what they meant by the different styles of boat building, which is useful, if I was going to build some ancient boats, or if I’d known it when reading descriptions for the past 6 days.

The view out from the museum, towards the fjord and the islands.
The view out from the museum, towards the fjord and the islands.

The views from outside the museum were quite amazing as well. Turns out lots of people in Oslo own sailing boats. Not sure if you can even distinguish one mast from another in the picture.

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From there, I headed back up the road to the Viking Ship Museum, which was still crawling with people. The museum has the remains of 3 viking ships which were found in Norway, between 1896 and 1904, and have been preserved and reconstructed. The ships were all used as burial vessels for important people of the time (all are believed to have been buried before 920). The first one was assembled from 90% original material! The second one, not as much, and the third one… just scroll to that picture.

First Ship
First Ship
Second Ship
Second Ship
Third Ship!
Third Ship!

The found a fourth around the same time, but that one had nothing left of the actual ship. They found lots of bits and pieces to go with the burial. The Viking people appear to have believed in the after life and that you needed the same material things there as in the living world, so animals, food, tools, etc. were also buried with the person. They believe jewelry was also buried, but the mounds were all robbed (evidenced by broken things) shortly after the entombment.

Hopped the bus back to town and up to the Vigeland Park. This is something I need to read up on a bit more, but I couldn’t talk myself into the museum with how nice of a day it was. Essentially it’s a large park a bit outside the city center, with a ton of Vigeland Sculptures. Some of them are very well known, others perhaps not as much. I, ofcourse, was drawn to the big things, like everyone else. I took some time to look at all the smaller sculptures around, and regardless of the position the people were in, they all just seemed so sad! I could tell some things were clearly happy events depicted, but the faces were so somber and sad looking to me. All of the sculptures are people, with the extremely large majority being groups of people.

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I pretty much just hung out in the park until the massive rush of tourists left. It really is a thing here to just sun bathe and have lunch in the park (which I was happy to participate in). Lots of people were in the park: some groups of friends, some families, some single people. A lot of the groups and families were grilling food. However, grilling here is totally different than home. Since everyone travels by bus/tram or bike or walking, no one owns actual grills. And there aren’t any in the park. But you can buy these one time use grills from the grocery stores! Pretty neat contraptions if you ask me. No long time grilling on them though, and probably nothing that wasn’t pre-cooked.

I was glad I brought sunscreen with me otherwise I would be fried pink! Such a nice day. Now off to my room, where I now have 3 other roommates!


 

Steps: 16,480 (even with a bus pass!)

Floors: 23

Days 11 and 12: Train, Hostel, Oslo!

Day 10

I caught and early, but not too early, train to Oslo. We left at 07:57, right on time. Of course, the first time I’m using a train as my method of transportation to get from one place to another, it ran into problems. Turns out, there were some electrical problems past Myrdal (where we got off to go to Flåm) in the mountains. So we got to spend around an hour and a half at the station in Voss. Lucky for me, I was staying at the end destination for the train, other people had some bigger problems. However, the conductor went around to each person and asked where they were going, and then solved how to get there for them. Pretty awesome as that would be hard to do on the fly.

The track is only single wide for most of the trip, so if there’s a problem somewhere, it affects all the trains as the passings are very well coordinated at the specific locations where there is double width track. It’s not surprising that there is only one track when you see what the train goes through. Past Myrdal, we hit the mountains. The top elevation of any station was 1222m above sea-level. People got off with their cross country skis.

Left: see the chair-lift for skiing. Top: just a pretty view. Bottom: Lots of snow.
Left: see the chair-lift for skiing. Top: just a pretty view. Bottom: Lots of snow.

The train then goes down the mountain, and the rest of the trip is pretty much through pretty green valleys. Coming into Oslo, the train runs mainly underground.

I made it to my hostel safe and sound, without getting lost, and they even had my reservation! That’s a win in my book. I got assigned my room and bunk and handed all my linens. Off to make my bed. I thought that having to make a top bunk bed was done the day I moved out of the dorms in school. Nope. Top bunk it is. No one else joined me on night one, but they say to use the bed they assign, so I have been!

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A quick trip to the Tourist Info for some maps and that was that for the day. Spent the rest of the time planning what I’m doing in Oslo.

Day 11

Today was day 1 in Oslo, and the first day that I’ve been traveling on my own. Eek!

I decided to start the day off by heading to the Edvard Munch museum (by way of the botanical gardens). Right now they have it displayed where it compares Edvard Munch and Van Gogh. It was interesting to see where they drew comparisons, because when I just look at their body of work, they seem so entirely different, but when they break down the influences, it was really cool to see the similarities. Most of the Van Gogh pieces were on loan from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, which is also on my to visit list.

I learned the very valuable piece of information, that we should all go back to coloring with crayons. Perhaps the most famous Munch piece is “The Scream.” Which it turns out is a crayon drawing on cardboard. So much for claiming art supplies need to be expensive if you want to be famous.

No pictures allowed. Sorry. You can probably google all the works anyways.

I then meandered down the road back towards city center, with a stop at the grocery store for lunch. Saving up my food budget for places that have interesting food. The top restaurants on Trip Advisor, and on the bulletin board in the hostel are other foreign foods, like Indian or Thai. Weird.

Off to the Opera House because it was a gorgeous day. The Oslo Opera House is a rather new building (2008) and is designed to allow you to walk on the roof. Mind you, the roof also goes into the water on one side, so maybe it’s not so much of a roof in that spot. Either way, it’s something you can’t do elsewhere.

Top: where I was when I took the big picture. Middle: steps and channels in the roof. Bottom: different finishes on the stone
Top: where I was when I took the big picture. Middle: steps and channels in the roof. Bottom: different finishes on the stone

Most of the stone has a rough texture to it. I’m sure that’s designed so people don’t wipe out all the time. But as you can see in the bottom picture, maybe, there’s other textures to it too. I’m not sure what the function of it is, but some was smooth, and some had a wave texture. In the middle picture I tried to capture the fact that the roof isn’t a flat surface. There are lots of channels running down it, and spots where it comes up and you have to step down, but not across the whole area, just part. I’m sure seeing the building in the rain or snow would answer some of my design questions, but hopefully I won’t be doing either while I’m here.

Next up was a tour of the Grand Palace, or Royal Residence. This is where the king and queen live, and conduct business. You can take a guided tour, thankfully in English, multiple times a day. There are a lot of tours in Norwegian as well. The Palace is only open for tours for roughly a month in the summer, and hours are overall limited as it is still used for it’s intended purpose. Did you know that the Norwegian King and Crown Prince meet with the parliament cabinet every week?! Other things I didn’t know was how recently Norway became it’s own sovereign state, having been in a union with Sweden until 1905. There have only been 3 kings of Norway. When they decided that they wanted to have a monarchy, they had to go out looking for someone to be their king, as Norway no longer had a royal family after so many years under other rule. I’m going to have to look up the history of who ruled Norway here soon.

Anyways, the palace is gorgeous, and apparently small (173 rooms, in comparison to 600 or 700 other places). We got to see some of the functional rooms, along with the reception halls and a visitors suite (the nicest one, where only heads of state are allowed to stay). Once again, no cameras, or anything else with you for that matter. We even had to wear booties on our feet! So a picture of the outside is the best I can do. There’s a huge park around the palace as well, that was designed at the same time as the palace, back when the palace wasn’t part of the city (it was finished in 1849).

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That was the end of my day because it started to rain, and I decided I should probably sit down for a bit. Now I’m not moving ever again! (Until tomorrow)


Day 10

Steps: 9,569

Floors: 20

Day 11

Steps: 25,313

Floors: 51 (floors also count steep uphills)

Days 9 and 10 – Sognefjord, Bøyabreen Glacier, and more Bergen

Day 8

We took the Sognefjord Tour, which starts in Bergen and travels from the ocean side in on the Sognefjord. This is the same fjord which has a small inland end at Flåm. We took an express boat from Bergen, which also functions as a ferry, but only for people and stuff, no cars or anything like that. It stops at a lot of towns, but not all of them. Riding in this boat is, as my mom describes it “like being in your living room.” It is an extremely smooth ride and there’s plenty of space. But really, you’re flying through the water. No idea how fast they actually go, but it’s quick.

We spent around 4 hours on this boat, to get off at Balestrand, to get immediately onto another, smaller, boat. This boat took us to Fjærland, which is the town closest to the glacier. We jumped onto a bus that was waiting, and had a brief stop at the glacier museum, before heading out to the glacier. I thought they were joking when they said the glacier was close to town, but it’s no more than a 15 minute drive.

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As you can see, it’s quite a pretty place. The glacier seen here is the Bøyabreen Glacier, which is part of the largest glacier on the European continent, the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. The Bøyabreen Glacier used to extend a lot farther than it does today (even 200 years ago it was essentially in the town). There are so many cool things that I learned about glaciers at the museum that I want to share, but that’s a lot of brain dump and I’m sure not interesting to anyone else. If it is, you’ll just have to make a Norway trip.

We then repeated the sequence to get there, in reverse, to get home. Sadly, we didn’t get to spend any time in any of the towns we stopped in.

Day 9

We spent our final day in Bergen wandering around and looking at the museums we didn’t get to on the previous day in town.

This included a new Fisheries Museum, which was interesting, but could have had SO much more information. Fishing has been and still is a HUGE part of Norway’s economy and I know there’s more information out there than the tiny bit in the museum. The cool part though was that the museum was in an old fish warehouse, similar to the Hanseatic League museum.

Then we went to the Maritime Museum. This had a lot of cool information about ships from the viking age to the modern. However, it was under construction and therefore lacking a lot of information, particularly in English. This could be great to see in a couple years when it is back up and running like normal.

We made it over to the Leprosy Museum for our final stop of the day. This museum is in what used to be the Hospital. This hospital was built specifically to house lepers, when that’s what happened to people. The hospital used to be in the boonies, but is now located right in the city center area. Interesting to see, but didn’t end up covering a whole lot that I didn’t know from the book Moloka’i which I read a bit back. See the link for more info.

After that, it was time for some laundry. I was lucky enough that our Airbnb host agreed to let me do a load of laundry. However, in my poor planning, I did not do this early enough. I forget that Europe seems to not use dryers at all. So not all my clothes were dry by morning. Oops. Lesson learned.


Day 8

Steps: 7093 (lots of boat sitting)

Floors: 17

Day 9

Steps: 16,670

Floors: 40

Day 8 – Bryggen, Old Bergen and the Fløibanen

IMG_3220Bergen

 

Today we got a lazy start to the day being that we were staying in town and touring around.

We started off by going across the way to Bryggen, which is the older part of Bergen. There’s a museum that explains the significance of Bryggen, which was as a major Hanseatic Port for many, many years. It was where all the fish from the north was sent to be traded for goods from around the world. Bryggen is the only place which has buildings remaining from this time (starting around 1200, but many fires took down different parts different times). So there’s actually historical significance to those pretty buildings. I did have to take the classic picture for myself though.

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In these houses, there was no heat/fire because of the fear for burning the places down and they housed all the merchandise to be sold. Crazy because it’s chilly even now and it’s midsummer, I can’t imagine the winter.

Now there’s lots of little shops housed on the main floors of the buildings and you still get there by little alleys, like the one below. Notice that one of these houses wanted to add a stair case, and so just added on a bump out for that stair case! In case the leaning of the houses wasn’t scary enough, now there’s just a random staircase attached.

That yellow house on the left has the staircase added. There's stairs and walkways across the alley too.
That yellow house on the left has the staircase added. There’s stairs and walkways across the alley too.

From here we went on to check out Bergenhus, which is the castle in Bergen. It was built in bits and pieces, starting around the same time as the houses. Norway is trying to return all their unused fortresses to public use, now that the Navy doesn’t need them. This one has some of the old rooms restored and displayed, and then other buildings have been turned into gathering halls.

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Next we grabbed lunch before hitting up the funicular train. It is appropriately named the Fløibanen, as banen appears to mean train, and the mountain is Mount Fløyen. Not so original in the naming. Check out the link for more info on what a funicular train is and how it works. Super interesting. The picture at the top of this post is the view from the top. Gorgeous. For some reason the trip up and down the funicular was less terrifying than yesterday’s bus ride down the twisty road.

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I don’t have much else for you beyond some other quick stops. Check out the couple pictures below.

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Steps: 17,500

Floors: 47

 

Toilet Paper

This is part of my trip, just not worth including in the day summaries. So here it is for you instead.

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This sign was posted at the Myrdal train station. I thought it was insanely odd that they would have to post something like this, I mean, where else does the toilet paper go? Then when I went to use the WC (Water Closet from the UK, how everything here is labeled) in Flam, I noticed that there was a distinct smell going on. Like what I would expect from a latrine or hole toilet. So I guess that TP goes into the toilet must not be a normal thing in some parts of the world.

Just thought you all should know.

 

 

Day 7 – Norway in a Nutshell

Today we got up nice and early because we wanted to go on the circular Norway in a Nutshell tour and the train with space left at 6:51. Not too horrible since that was sitting and looking out the window for a few hours to start.

People aren’t lying when they tell you that the Bergen/Oslo and Flåm railways are the most beautiful. We got off the Bergen line at Myrdal to wait for the Flåmsbana. This trip was billed as the most beautiful train ride in the world. That’s pretty big hype. But even the start of the train was gorgeous.

This is the Myrdal Station. Yes, there's snow.
This is the Myrdal Station. Yes, there’s snow.

I’ve only got a couple snapshots for you from the rail line. Tough to take pictures, this is why you should go on the trip yourself. You can also chose to bike or hike from the top to the bottom (or the bottom to the top if you’re really crazy) which would allow for a slower viewing. But remember, snow. In June.

First stop: this roaring waterfall
First stop: this roaring waterfall
This is the road that was used before the rail line was put in.
This is the road that was used before the rail line was put in.

The train ride takes around an hour, and goes 20km. The incline varies, but is really steep. The museum in Flåm tells you that the engines that run on this line have been specially built and contain extra braking mechanisms.

From Flåm, we hopped on a boat to cruise down the Sognefjorden. This is the longest ice-free fjord in the world. I didn’t understand how beautiful the fjords actually were until getting here and seeing this. We also seem to have lucked out that the water seems to be very high right now, and all the rivers and streams are flowing at capacity. This makes for some amazing waterfalls.

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Now, there were some things I didn’t quite understand about the fjord life. One was how on earth you get to some of the houses you see. I mean, really. Check out this house below.

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That’s another fjord cruise boat.

There is NOTHING around this house. For a long way. And it’s not like you’re going to climb that cliff. There must be a road I can’t see, but still crazy. There was also some of the most interesting electrical wiring I’ve ever seen. It was strung along the side of one mountain for a while, then went all the way across the fjord to a tiny town on the other side.

After we got off the boat, we were on to a bus for the trip back to the train. I wish I had gotten pictures to do the bus ride justice, but I was too terrified to get my camera out. Below is the road that we went down. This was on a full size coach bus. The road sign said maximum length for a vehicle was 13m, which is pretty close to the bus length. Normal slopes you see warnings for are around 8-10% grade. This one was 18% and making hairpin turns. About half way through I got over being terrified, and determined that this was in fact a really pretty view. Too bad I had to about shit my pants to see it.

Windy Road

Dinner back in Bergen and to bed for another adventure the next day.


My new section for you is going to be a quick summary of the days steps and flights of stairs (which also includes walking up steep hills), per fitbit. It’s been amusing to me to see.

Steps: 12,475

Floors: 28

Days 3-5: Reykjavik and the Start to Bergen

The remainder of our days in Reykjavik were spent around town.

We checked out the Whale Museum (not worth a visit if you’re there, I was expecting actual whale specimens) in the morning, then headed over to the harbor area to check out our tour options to go out and see the Puffins. Mix in some lunch, some coffee, the Volcano House and then we were off to see the puffins. Sadly, there weren’t too many around for our tour. No pictures as they were small and far away and I was on a rocking boat with my not so nice camera… wouldn’t be even worth the space. Cute little things they are though. However in it’s place, a picture of my mom in her, as she calls it, “rockin puffin hat”. Finished our tour and hit up Valdis Ice Cream for an afternoon snack. Delicious.

The "rockin puffin hat" from  Nova Scotia
The “rockin puffin hat” from Nova Scotia

Monday we went for the museums (and a bit of shopping). I would say that no trip to Reykjavik is complete without a stop at the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Totally worth the 2000isk to go. Just tons and tons of random penis displays.

Crazy right?
Crazy right?

From all sorts of different animals, and in lots of different types of preservations. Rather amusing are the people who have requested/plan to donate their own jewels to the museum. Or perhaps the casting people did and submitted. Whatever, it’s an odd place totally worth checking out.

We then went to Hallgrimskirkja and took a look inside and a trip to the top of the tower. It’s a great spot to look out over all of Reykjavik, as the tower is tall and the church is on the top of the hill. It was cloudier this day than others so everything was a bit more mute in color.

Looking towards the ocean from the top of the tower. Reykjavik looks much more classic scandinavian from up here.
Looking towards the ocean from the top of the tower. Reykjavik looks much more classic scandinavian from up here.

Stopped for lunch before some more wandering. I think I’ll be eating plenty of fish on this trip if these first few days are any indication. So delicious and such a great deal!

Wandering down near the city center we saw a tall ship in the harbor. Of course we had to go check it out. Turns out the Danish Navy training vessel was in town for a few days. Such a cool looking ship. Also the building behind the ship is the new theater and shows awesome colors when there is light reflecting on it.

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(We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather)

I almost came home with a new winter jacket. Lucky or sadly, they didn’t have a normal color of the coat I wanted, in my size. I wasn’t a fan of the blaze orange for an every day winter coat. Came very close to buying a fall coat as well, but that’s just so impractical in Minnesota.

Today/Tuesday we headed off to Bergen. Walked ourselves to the bus station bright and early to catch the FlyBus to the airport for our 8am flight. No cutting it close this time. Plenty of time for coffee and breakfast before we left the airport. Repeat on the other end at Bergen.

This is the bathroom sign in the Bergen Airport!
This is the bathroom sign in the Bergen Airport!

Found our new place to stay (so cute) and headed down to the train station to book our trip tickets and the information center for other things to check out in town.

This hill looks less steep in the picture than it really is
This hill looks less steep in the picture than it really is

Grabbed some Linner (Lunch/Dinner) at the food stalls by the harbor. Some more great fish. I went for the Salmon plate. They managed to forget that I had ordered that, and so when I went back to ask about it they felt horribly. The upside of this was that I also got some shrimp and some smoked salmon along with a GIANT serving of grilled salmon. Turns out I was hungry as I managed to eat almost all of it (too many shrimp for me to eat).

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Some more wandering around and a restful evening at home now. We are off bright and early for our “Norway in a nutshell” tour. 6:51 the train leaves! We are training to Myrdal, then the scenic train to Flam, then a fjord boat tour, a pretty bus ride to Voss and the train back to Bergen. I’m getting my camera all charged up as this is supposed to be a gorgeous trip (glad to finally get it to charge, it’s been easier said than done. Only the camera is giving me troubles, none of the other electronics).

I’ll update you more later!

 

Day 1 and 2 – Iceland!

We made it! Mom and I decided to cut our flight a little close as we were sitting and having a relaxing glass of wine at the airport, but we got on just fine. Oops. I’m always a fan of uneventful flights, this was one of them. Some sleeping, some trying to sleep, and then we were magically in Iceland.

Off we go to the Blue Lagoon!
Off we go to the Blue Lagoon!

Stop number one was the Blue Lagoon. Perhaps not the best at handling groups all arriving at once, but once inside it was worth the waiting. I’m not crazy enough to have brought my camera into the pool with me. I thought the photos of the blue water were lying however, so had to take one at the entrance.

Yep, it's really blue.
Yep, it’s really blue.

Off to lunch in Reykjavik before heading to meet up with our Airbnb host. We made a quick stop at the Hallgrimskirkja as it was close by. I hope to make time for an actual visit. This is the church on the highest point in Reykjavik, which at least means we can look to it to find our way home if we get lost.

Hallgrimskirkja

A little walk by the harbor side on our way to dinner and a nice walk home afterwards. Sleeping time as traveling is never restful.

Today (Saturday) we were booked for a Golden Circle Tour. Pick up was “bright and early” at 830. (Mind you, everything is bright here, regardless of the time)

This tour was absolutely amazing. We got to see some water falls, the geysers and the transatlantic ridge (where the two tectonic plates are separating). We lucked out with some extraordinary weather. Even the guide was commenting this was the nicest day of the year so far. Check out all the pictures below. Too many to add them all separately!

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Back home and off to dinner in a bit now. It looks to be as amazing of weather tomorrow as it was today.


Yes, I know some of those pictures are showing up sideways. I’m sure I could fix it, but I’m going to enjoy my travels instead. Too much work!

Packing for my Europe Trip

Let me start by saying this is going to be a long post. There’s lots of fun stuff in here (at least to me, so sorry for everyone else who doesn’t think packing is fun). I’m heading to Europe in 3 days, and I’ll be gone for 66 days. My itinerary was detailed previously here.

I decided I should pack a couple days before I leave, to make sure everything actually fits. I’m a very classic “well, maybe I need this” type packer. Usually this isn’t a problem because I’m packing in a carry on for a weekend. This time, I’m packing in a carry on for 2 months. This is something I’ve never done before.

To get started, I read lots and lots of blogs that I found from pinterest. I’m wishing now that I’d actually pinned a couple of them along the way instead of just looking so I could direct you to much better lists than mine. When I was reading, I thought people were crazy for being able to pack in 30L bags; now that I’m done, I realize if I wasn’t diabetic, that wouldn’t be a problem.

Everything

I’m using an Ospry Porter 46 as my main bag. My coworker offered to loan me one, and once I saw it, I knew I had to have one. The upside is the newer bag I bought (2015 version) has an awesome space for laptops and other small bits in the front that previous versions were missing. It took me many many stores to find someone that had this bag in stock, so I’m sure I’ll see many other on my trip.

My shoulder bag/purse is a North Face bag that I found at Marshalls. I saw it and was in love. No idea what it is any more. I’ve been using this as my purse for the past couple months at home and am pretty sure it will serve me well on my trip. The purple insulin cooling thing will be going into my carry on (it functions best with air circulation).

Now on to what I’ve managed to fit into these bags. It will be interesting to see what I come back with in comparison to what I’m packing now, so I want to be sure to document what I’ve packed.

Let’s start with the easy things. This is my travel outfit. Going with the “wear your largest items” idea.

Travel Clothes

  • Sweatshirt (An oldie but goodie, won’t be too sad if it goes missing)
  • Maxi dress
  • Scarf (it’s solid grey on the reverse side)
  • Tennis Shoes (I hope to run while I’m gone and was told by enough people I need to bring them for walking around, we will see about that as I go)
  • A set of underthings

Purse

Lots of good things in this bag. I wanted to call it a carry-on, but everything is a carry on this trip. Some things have numbers, the others are too obvious to need them. Roughly listed left to right, top to bottom.

  • Book (From a little free library near me, to be returned to one abroad. Or some other book exchange.)
  • Headphones (yes, they are giant. I figure worth it for good sound and noise cancelling-ish.)
  • The small bag packed previously with back up diabetes supplies (1)
  • Meter with extra lancets (2)
  • Lip Balm (3)
  • Padlock (3) (I’m also locking my bag, but that’s too flimsy for a communal locker space)
  • Honey Stinger (3) (delicious fast acting sugar that’s easy to carry)
  • Mini Moleskin books (4) (for on the go notes, handing things to people, etc.)
  • Camera
  • Wallet (this one isn’t coming with me, but one will be)
  • Moleskin journal (with pre-trip notes, also intended to be used as a trip journal)
  • Item 5
    • Pens
    • Eyeliner
    • Mascara (those two items are it for make-up for me)
    • Mini mag light flashlight (I’ve heard I’ll need this, it’s small so I may as well bring it)
    • Body Glide (never know when you’ll need it, nice to have on hand)
  • A small coin purse (6) (I use this for money in places that use a lot of coins – pretty much everywhere but the US).
  • A shopping bag (7)
  • Baby wipes (8) (Good for showers without a shower, cleaning up messes… lots of things)
  • Sun Glasses
  • Reading Glasses
  • Travel Wallet
    • Passport
    • EuRail Pass
    • Hostel International Membership Card

This makes for a pretty full bag, but that’s okay.

Now moving on to the main bag. This is what’s in the outside pockets, one at the top and the front pockets.

Outer Pockets

Left Picture:

  • Swim Suit (1) (packed on the outside because stop number one is the Blue Lagoon)
  • Computer (2) (a light ultra book)
  • Empty Envelopes (3) (to keep all the things I want to keep from places I visit)
  • Grid it organizer (4)
    • Fitbit charger
    • Travel power charger and travel power thingy
    • iPhone charger cable
    • Camera charger
    • Wall connector (this one is from Apple, with changeable connectors that I’ve had for a while. Everything uses USB power, so I’m only bringing this one wall charger)
    • Computer charger
    • Plug converter (you can’t see this because it’s grey, it’s only for my computer charger)
  • Printed prescriptions (5)
  • Printed copies of the celiac cards I talked about here (6)
  • My toiletry bag (7)
  • Randoms (8)
    • Deoderant
    • Comb
    • Pepto container (with pepto and ibuprofen inside)
    • Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss
    • Stick sunscreen

And on the right is the contents of the toiletry bag (a small sea to summit bag).

  • Bandaids of many sizes (1)
  • Q-tips (2)
  • Mirror and rubber band (2) (rubber band for using the hanging hook with things that are too-big for it to fit on – which is almost every thing)
  • Nail things and razor (3)
  • Moleskin (4) (can you tell I’m worried about blisters?)
  • Antiperspirant (5)
  • Other Drugs (6)
    • Decongestant
    • Antihistamine
    • Imodium
    • (All things I hope to not need)
  • Shampoo and Conditioner (7)
  • Bag and Ziploc for liquids and TSA (8)
  • Other liquids (9) (All GoToobs – can someone explain why the orange one is bigger than the rest when they say the same size?)
    • Face lotion (orange)
    • Face wash (clear)
    • All purpose soap (green) (for laundry)

And finally, what I’ve got in the main part of the bag. Most things are packed inside packing cubes, but there are a few pockets on the inside of the bag as well.

Main Pocket

  • Blue ebags – previously packed diabetes supplies
  • Shoes:
    • Flip flops for showers
    • Black Toms
    • Birkenstock Sandals
  • Rain Jacket (1)
  • Travel Towel (1)
  • PJs (2) (consisting mainly of work out clothes for quick drying)
  • Sink Stopper (3)
  • Elastic clothes line (3)
  • Flip Belt (4) (for running and perhaps hiding things under my clothes)
  • Pink Medium ebag packing cube (I thought I would be using multiple of these, oh was I wrong)
    • 1 pair jeans
    • 1 pair leggings
    • 1 pair shorts
    • 1 knee length black skirt
    • 1 black tank dress
    • 1 bright pink tank dress (need to have something other than black!)
    • Extra bra
  • Grey small packing cubes
    • A
      • 8 underwear (wayyyyy too many to most light packing people, I know)
      • 4 pairs socks (also probably too many, but most are cotton and will be slow to dry)
      • Work out clothes
        • 1 t-shirt
        • 1 pair capris
        • 1 sports bra
        • 1 headband
    • B
      • 2 tank tops (1 cotton, 1 tech fabric)
      • 1 t-shirt (cotton)
      • 1 extra bag for dirty clothes
      • (this bag isn’t full, space for fun things I buy on my trip!)
    • C
      • 2 long sleeves (1 cotton, 1 smartwool)
      • 2 3/4 sleeves (1 cotton, 1 tech fabric)
      • 2 t-shirts (1 cotton, 1 tech fabric)

I’ve got a mix of tech fabrics and cotton because I wasn’t going to buy all new things, and don’t want to look like I’m totally walking around in exercise clothes. We will see what I think about this as I go.

I layered all the things into my bag, and took pictures to show you in case you don’t believe this would all fit in the bag!

PackingEuro2015

Diabetes things took up a lot of space. It will be interesting to me to see if I replace all the things I use on the way with new purchases. I’ve got a couple items in my bag that I don’t intend to keep for the entire trip (they are on the end of life and will get tossed most likely… too used for anyone else to ever want).

I am sure everyone will be able to identify everything I’ve packed pretty quickly and will probably recognize the new items I pick up :).

I’ll toss up links to some of the items I bought specifically for this trip as I determine if I actually like them. No point in sending you to “my favorite item” unless it’s actually my favorite! For things not bought for this trip, chances of me finding a link are probably zero so I hope no one is lusting after them.

Whew! I’m impressed if you made it all the way here!

66 Days of Diabetes Supplies

Have you ever wondered what two months worth of diabetes supplies looks like? Well now you can see.

I did a “test pack” two months ago to see how much stuff I actually use. Turns out I had a pretty good guess already, and didn’t change much from that packing to this packing.

I’m sure I could get by with a lot fewer things, particularly if I decided to not use my pump or sensor. But I have decided that I am going to continue using both, assuming all goes well and nothing breaks.

This is everything I'm bringing
This is everything I’m bringing (let’s ignore my extremely poor spelling)

My packing list is the following:

  • 30 Infusion Sets
  • 27 Reservoirs
  • 10 Sensors
  • 600 Strips
  • 5 Bottles of Novolog
  • 10 AAA Batteries
  • Sensor Supplies
    • Lots of Tapes
    • Insert
    • Charger
  • Back-up Supplies
    • 15 Syringes
    • 1 Bottle of Levemir

Not pictured is 2 meters and associated pokers and strips, as well as things that are currently attached to my body which is a sensor and transmitter and pump.

I’ve got 3 of the slim ebags that I used to pack all this stuff into, plus one small bag that I’m using for an easy to access option to hold one set of everything. Packing is always an art. Sensors on the bottom, infusion sets and strips next, topped off with all the randoms and reservoirs. The insulin went back in the fridge to be packed closer to leaving. It will be packed in a Frio Insulin Wallet to stay chilly.

Pump Supplies

My little bag of extras
My little bag of extras

The end result was more compact than I expected, also heavier than I expected.

Neat and Tidy!
Neat and Tidy!

Up next is packing the rest of my bag! That will probably be more difficult as everything is subjective and almost nothing is a “need”.

 

*These are amazon links because I think the products are cool. I’m not someone who has the amazon advertising deal or anything fancy.