sarahblack: (Haaapppeee Audrey)
There really is nothing quite like staying with my grandmother and Lindsay in their house in the Middle Of Nowhere, Australia.

You never know when some interesting animal might decide to pop over for a visit. My grandmother likes to feed the goana lizards that live in the neighbourhood, and they will come up to the porch and practically eat right from out of her hand.

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Animal invasions and other things )

In the evenings, before dinner, a glass of bubbly with some strawberries thrown in is not an uncommon sight. (Beers, or even glasses of Gin and Tonic can sometimes be spotted by the keen observer.)

Avid readers will find themselves in paradise. Books full of murder mysteries, politics, history, Australian wildlife, Icelandic geography, famous literature, short stories, poetry, photographs and anything you could possibly want to read about, abound.

Would-be farmers would be happy here. Last week we were invited to go with Lindsay to the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute to observe the annual Field Day. This consisted of eating delicious barbecued food and looking at a lot of wheat. We heard Lindsay give a talk on the history of the different wheat species that the University of Sydney has been involved in breeding, and heard about a lot of different research projects that Ph.D. students are working on. Wheat is being made to need less water, resist disease, resist heat, become more nutritious and generally do whatever we want it to do. It's fascinating!

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On Saturdays a market springs up alongside the river in Narrabri - perfect for bargain-hunters. This weekend Þorri and I went with my grandmother to have a look. There was a man with an ice cream machine! He put scoops of vanilla ice cream inside, along with a scoop of raspberries or strawberries or whatever kind of berry that you wanted, and out of the machine came perfect berry flavoured soft serve ice cream! I want one of those machines.

I bought honey from a nice lady who first tried to get me to taste all the different kinds of honey she had for sale, and Þorri bought a lovely straw hat. (No-one tried to make him taste all the hats first.) My grandmother bought some beautiful flowers.

Life in the country is definitely something special. Plenty of animals and plants to keep you company, books to read, naps to take, bubbly to drink and all kinds of activities to keep you occupied.

For example, tomorrow me and Þorri have been invited to see the cotton crops get planted. I've never seen anything like that. (Iceland is not exactly famous for its agriculture.) Apparently there will be huge machines involved. I just hope my hey fever doesn't give me too much trouble.
sarahblack: (Glam Rose)
Since my last update I have done a lot.

- I visited the Chateau d'If and said goodbye to Laufey and Marseille.

- I jumped on a train to Geneva, where I ended up drinking Swiss white wine aboard a boat on the Geneva Lake within hours of my arrival. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love the couch surfing project?)

- Visited CERN and saw physicists hard at work, analysing fresh data from the LHC.

- Spent more than 10 hours on trains getting myself to Rome. This included amazing views of Switzerland and Italy.

- Saw the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, the Castle d'Angelo, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Fountain of Four Rivers and many many other famous and important things.

- Watched The Artist under the stars.

- Ate the best gelato I have ever tasted. (Banana and dark chocolate flavours mixed together with whipped cream on top!)

- Went on a road trip to see the pope at his summer house (he totally blessed my hat) and then to see a small town called Palestrine, where there was a pretty cool museum with stunning views of the surrounding area. Ate at an awesome restaurant along the way - was the only tourist in there!

- Tasted real Italian coffee in the tiniest cup I have ever seen. (It was probably 50% coffe and 50% sugar, though.)

I wish I had time to go into detail about all of this, but I feel like I'm hogging my host's computer enough already. Maybe next time? Although by then I will hopefully have accumulated new and exciting stories to tell you.
sarahblack: (Phantom Rose)
Phew! Finally a chance to post!

I've made it to Marseille in one piece after a wonderful week in Paris with Thorri. It was horrible to say goodbye to him yesterday, but I'm trying not to dwell on it. I have a month to see Europe, and then we will be together again! Two whole months together in Australia before Real Life takes over again.

Last time I updated I told you about the Louvre and some other stuff. I'm going to give you a brief overview of the other sights that Thorri and I took in while we were in Paris.

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Oui oui, tell me more! )

Yesterday was truly our last day. Thorri had to leave for the airport soon after we woke up, but I was able to stay longer since my train left in the evening. Paris said goodbye to us by giving us beautiful weather, almost as if it were tempting us to stay. I tried not to miss Thorri too horribly (although I let myself wallow with a cocktail for a while) and did some tourist stuff. But eventually the weather tempted me to settle down in the gorgeous little park next to the Hotel Esmeralda - where Thorri and I stayed for our last two nights in Paris - to read and enjoy the view.

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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