Friday, 1 November 2013

Heart of Time

Writing is addictive. Especially writing during "Nanowrimo"(i.e. the National Novel Writing Month). The goal is simple: Finishing a 50,000 word novel within a single month. If you have been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I successfully took part in Camp Nano this July, even managing 10k more than planned. However, I never actually got to the end of my novel, which is why I am taking part in Nanowrimo again this November. Another 50k should do the job, unless my characters suddenly decide to do more unplanned excursions to foreign horizons. Somehow, I totally get the idea behind Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, where book characters literally leap from the pages they were created on and develop a life on their own. Mine do just the same. All the time.

A fellow Nanowrimo participant made this amazing cover for me - check out her tumblr page
At the top of the right sidebar you will be able to track my progress throughout the month. Thanks to a large donation of German gingerbread, I already managed to write 2k on the first day of Nanowrimo. Let's keep the chocolate, gingerbread and dried mango coming!

PS. If you want to have a sneak peak at the novel so far, comment or contact me and I'll send you the manuscript so far.
PPS. It's not too late to take part yourself - it's not about winning - taking part is what matters!

Winning is fun - Stirling University Photography Competition

After winning the Stirling Uni Photography Competition in the category "Student Life", our images are now shown in an exhibition at the Macrobert Centre at the university for the next three weeks. There was a nice little ceremony on Monday (see picture below). And I got 150 pounds in high-street vouchers. Happy :)

I took this picture on the top of our local mountain Dumyat (only 418m high, but still a lovely summit to hike up to) after a snow storm - only minutes before we couldn't even see the ground below our feet, and the next moment the clouds disappeared and Stirling's main landmark, the Wallace Monument, was framed quite nicely by them.
The happy winners

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Well, the title says it all... Got two tattoos at Topmark Tattoo in Stirling today, here they are: 

Left wrist

Right collar bone

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Living off the streets

Saturday was spent in Glasgow, hunting for photo opportunities for a university assignment. The topic: Living off the streets - i.e. buskers, homeless/jobless people, fundraisers, painters,... It was a group project, and we had to produce two edited photos each, which were then arranged on a photo board together with a short article on the subject. We managed to photograph quite a wide range of subjects, more than I had thought possible after spending only a few hours on Glasgow's high streets.
Here are my own two photographs (to enlarge, click on them, although somehow they aren't as sharp as the originals):

An accordion band in Stirling.

An Asian tourist filming a Spanish guitarist with his iPhone.
Here the entire photo board.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Postcards Exchange
If you - like me - love to receive snail mail from all over the world, you might want to have a look at Postcrossing. It's quite a simple idea really, you are matched with random people from all over the world, send them a postcard, and in return receive one from somewhere else. A friend of mine has already sent more than 500 (!) cards, and received just as many (thanks to her for showing me Postcrossing). That's probably enough to decorate an entire room with them :)
Postcrossing is free, you only have to pay for your postcards and stamps. Even though I've only just started, I've already sent cards to Belarus, Belgium, Russia and Germany, and received my first one from the USA.
For those people who love statistics and numbers, there's a whole range of ways your postcrossing history can be displayed - in a map, in tables and diagrams - showing how long the cards took and what distance they travelled. Quite impressive, really. And I find it very tempting to follow my postcards and visit all those countries in person one day.

Monday, 23 September 2013

My new room

I just moved into my lovely room in Stirling's Midpoint Apartments. It's the best student place I've lived in so far, especially because of the ensuite bathroom and the lovely big bed.
Here are a few pictures:
View from the door
The amazing 3/4 bed (half-way between a single and a double)
The pinboard, waiting for a few more postcards

The desk, nice and large - and already home to a few plants

The small bathroom - but it's all mine :)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Art in soap stone

Another thing I made in rehab. The sculpture is made from soap stone, which looks a grey boring colour at first,  but after polishing it it becomes a vibrant green in this case. It took me quite a few hours to make this little thing, but I think in the end it was worth it...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A few rehab pictures

Two Shetland ponies - we rearranged their hair for 15minutes, they didn't mind :)
Isabelle, one of the two therapy horses
Me on Kim - without a saddle!
One of the lakes below the clinic

Friday, 16 August 2013

My little sister in Thailand

Since Tuesday, my sister has been living in Thailand and she will stay there for quite some time - a whole year! She's also writing a blog about her experiences, here's the link to it - if you don't speak German, you can still look at the pictures of her new home.

Our last holiday together in Berchtesgaden.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Saturday, 10 August 2013

From mountain pastures to lakes: Berchtesgaden Day 2

Having used the first day of our short and spontaneous holiday in Berchtesgaden, nestled in the Bavarian Alps, to get used to walking in mountainous areas once more, our second day was spent on the high pastures of the Jenner. There's a cable car leading up to the middle and the top of the mountain, but when we saw the prices, we decided to instead take the bus to Hinterbrandt and walk up to the mid-station (only takes about 10 minutes).

A beautiful trail took us along the slope of the mountain Jenner, rewarding us with great views over the Berchtesgaden valley.

At the Königsbachalm, an alpine hut, we had some hearty pea soup to lend us strength for the next leg of today's tour. 

My lovely sister :) By the way, you can read her account of our trip here on her blog (in German)

From the alpine hut, the trail soon entered the forest, and on small zigzag paths we descended until we reached the Königssee, the King's Lake.
A first glimpse of the Königssee and the famous St.Bartolomä (Saint Bartholomew Church)

These boats are powered by electric motors

Butterflies love salt, especially on my sister's feet :)

After a relaxing break on the banks of the lake, we took the boat to Schönau and from there walked a bit further along a stream until we reached the bus stop. Not long after, we were finally home.

Evening view from our balcony

Lake/Mountain Panorama

Friday, 2 August 2013

Among the highest mountains: Berchtesgaden Day 1

Having spent the night in a multitude of trains and railway stations, I'm pretty tired, but didn't want to wait before I post some pictures from my latest holiday. I only had the idea to go into the Bavarian Alps about a week ago, but this very spontaneous trip into the mountains was quite amazing.

Berchtesgaden has been my family's summer holiday destination for generations. The small town is close to the Austrian border, and surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Germany. It offers not only opportunities for hiking and hillwalking, but also for climbing or relaxing on calm mountain lakes. Abroad, Berchtesgaden is mainly famous for having been the seat of Hitler's mountain residence.

From our B&B room, we had a direct view of the second highest mountain, the Watzmann (2,713m).
There's a lovely legend associated with this peak:
Once upon a time, there was an evil king, who, together with his wife and their seven children, ruled in this area. One day, he rode his horse over a farmer's family, killing them brutally. Before she died, the farmer's wife cursed him. Suddenly and with a horrible noise, the earth opened under the king on his bloodied horse and turned the evil king and his family into stone. Now, the king is captured within the largest peak of the mountain range (right), and together with his wife (left) surrounds the seven children in the middle (although there are only five little peaks). Some say that the blood of the royal family ran down the mountain and filled up a whole valley, to become the famous Königssee (King's Lake).
The Watzmann range - click on the photo to enlarge.
The beautiful Königssee, according to legend it's the blood of the evil king.

So far, we were always there together with our parents or grandmother, but this time my sister and I did the trip on our own (our last trip before she leaves for Thailand where she will volunteer for a year, here's her blog). It was also the first time there without a car, and it was surprisingly easy to still get to all the places we wanted to see. We only had three full days in Berchtesgaden, but we managed to do a lot nonetheless.

Panorama view from our balcony at the lovely B&B "Marienhäusl" (great room for only 20€/night), the Watzmann is surrounded by clouds.

The first day, we climbed the Kneifelspitze (1,189m), traditionally my family's getting-used-to-hiking-again-mountain. We started our tour in Maria Gern, a part of Berchtesgaden where my family traditionally stayed in a B&B that now unfortunately does not exist any longer. The trail began at the famous pilgrimage church of Maria Gern, one of the most popular postcard subject.

The weather wasn't on our side at first, but the dense forest sheltered us from the rain. After quite a steep ascent, we reached the top of the Kneifelspitze and the inn next to the summit. There, lovely Germknödel (yeast dumplings filled with plum jam and drizzled with butter and poppy seeds) waited for us, yummy!

After we had enjoyed this fabulous lunch, the rain stopped and we had some lovely, but cloud-covered views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

The summit cross on top of the Kneifelspitze.

From the peak, we followed a narrow ridgeway, circling the mountain before descending back into the valley. When the sun came through the clouds, we were rewarded with some beautiful views.

A flower belonging to the knapweeds that we encountered all the time.
From Maria Gern, we took a bus back into the city centre and spent some time looking around the (very touristy) shops. 

But our feet, currently unused to the strains of hiking, decided to carry us back into our B&B pretty soon afterwards. We spent the evening with playing boardgames and reading, before we began to plan the following day's tour.