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33 hours has passed since I landed in Hong Kong yesterday. I’ve already managed to consume delicious food, seen my hair turn into a frizzy mess in the humidity and burst my budget. Business as usual in other words. After a trip by the Korean embassy for some paperwork this morning, we took the Tung Chung line to Lantau Island and hopped into a cable car to see the famous Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha. The 34 meter tall structure sits on a hillside above a tourist village of souvenir shops and Starbucks-es, but is quietly serene in the face of it all.

The statute and the surrounding structures and buildings were quite stunning, and Lantau Island is a perfect hiking destination if I ever saw one. No hiking for me today though.

It’s currently 1:40AM here in Hong Kong, way past bedtime in other words, so I’ll leave you with some photos from my wanderings so far. Hope you’ve all had a great week!

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This week my Facebook was filled with the photos of the mangled remains of what used to be a section of one of my favorite Hawaii hikes: the Haiku Stairs, better known as Stairway to Heaven. Notoriously illegal, and a favorite amongst locals, international students and tourists, the stairways have been a kind of institution in Hawaii since their installation during World War II.

As restrictions became more severe the last couple of years a common ritual included sneaking through the woods at 3:30AM to climb the stairs before the guards showed up, and watch the sunrise from arguably one of the most spectacular spots on Oahu.

I loved this hike, and I have trekked the stairs no less than four times during my 3 years in Hawaii, in addition to trying out the much more dangerous route to the top via Moanalua Saddle.

Last weekend a storm hit the island, and landslides destroyed sections of the stairs (and stranded a couple of hikers at the top). Unless a miracle occurs that will convince the state to reopen the hiking trail, this probably means that there wont be any repairs done, which means that reaching the top of Pu’u Keahiakahoe via the stairs will be impossible.

In memory of the stairs, here are some photos from my trips to the top.

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MUSIC This playlist 
FILM Jane Eyre (2011-movie)
TV_SERIES Agent Carter & Constantine are rocking my world
BOOK The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley
FOOD pancakes, banana and kiwi
DRINK homemade iced coffee
PLACE anywhere that serves espresso and free wifi
WWW my pinterest boards
CRAVE norwegian chocolate
EVENT traveling to Hong Kong next week

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seoul-layover

For the past few months I’ve had no less then 5 friends come visit for 20 hours or so, on their way to another part of the world. As a result I’ve become quite adept at guiding people through the Seoul essentials (the way I see it), and I thought I might share the details with you too, in case you happen to have a long layover in this city of mine. There’s obviously a lot missing from this list, and there are probably people who would argue that other neighborhoods should be prioritized over the ones I’ve chosen here, but this is my “go to”-list if you only have a day in the city.

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A happy belated International Pancake Day, and an early Happy 설날 from Korea! Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, and the city has been bustling with the preparations for the family holiday. Today Seoul is eerily empty (compared to normal), as everyone has left the city to go home to their families. I started the 3-day celebrations by making myself heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast and am now heading out to be a layover-guide for a friend who’s staying in town for 20 hours.

I was thinking I might put together a layover-guide to Seoul, as I know a lot of people traveling through Asia has layovers at Incheon. I’ll be testing out my guide today!

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Back in October I started on a project I dubbed the Seoul Metro Challenge. The ultimate goal: Visit all of the end stations in the Seoul Metro system. So far I’ve only covered two stations (shame on me), but I forgot to share photos from my second excursion. In november I took line 1 from Sindorim all the way to Incheon Station that lets you off right in front of the entrance to Chinatown (fun fact: this is the only formal Chinatown in Korea).

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It’s Tuesday afternoon here in Seoul, and it’s the first Tuesday of my four week vacation before spring semester starts at the beginning of March. The snow started falling yesterday, for the fourth time this winter. It was gone by morning. Snow doesn’t stay long in this city, or at least it hasn’t this season. I’ve stayed in bed all day browsing blogs, reading news articles and talked to friends across four different time zones. The latter is kind of cool.

I also realized that I’ve forgotten to eat today. That’s the beauty and the horror of not having anything to do, that the days blend together and become one mass of time separated by nothing at all. I thought I’d eaten, but on closer inspection I realized that my last meal was yesterday. Now that I know I’m starving, but too lazy to go to the grocery store and too un-trusting of my Korean abilities to try to order food over the phone. The charming problems of a spoiled brat.

In 3 weeks I’m traveling to Hong Kong for a convention, and this time I’ll get almost a week in the city (unlike the 3 days I had to spare last time). Do you have any great tips for things to do, see and eat?

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Every summer for the past 3 years I’ve been covering festivals for Fædrelandsvennen. Two years as a blogger for Sørlandsstil, and last year as a writer, photographer and amateur videographer for KRSby. This year I will once again photograph and film my way through the social events of the summer for KRSby, and while I’m getting ready for this year’s festivities, I’ve been looking through the photos I took last summer.

Palmesus in particular is a show like no other, as the self-proclaimed “largest beach party in Scandinavia”, inspired by such giants as Nikki Beach in Miami, St. Tropez and Ibiza. It’s still got a long way to go to be counted among those party scenes, but for two days every summer we get a beach party in Kristiansand that somewhat resemble that feel, especially considering the location is a city of 80,000 people.

Last year saw artists like Steve Aoki, Icona Pop and Jason Derulo, in addition to Norwegian favorites like Bernhoft and Gabrielle. And even though the rain showed up in full force on Saturday night, people were either too drunk or too stoked to stop partying as Fedde Le Grande ended his set around midnight.

Here are some photos from the beach:

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The first day as captured on a shake handheld camera by yours truly:

Are you a festival person?

 

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While reorganizing the blog a little bit I realized that one of the many things I haven’t gotten around to showing you from my time in Hawaii is one of my all time favorite hikes: Kahekili Manana. Unlike a lot of my other favorites, the Kahekili-Manamana trail is actually legal, albeit just as dangerous as the rest of my favorite ridge hikes.

This hike really has everything! Cool and dangerous ridge lines with 200 meter drops, a waterfall, photogenic scenery on every side, some nice climbing bits and a jungle to fight your way through. On average the trek will take you about 5 hours, longer if the wind and the weather is working against you (I would strongly advice you not to do this hike if the wind or weather gods don’t agree with you).

The first time we headed out on this trail, that starts and ends in Ka’a’Awa, my brand new Canon 6D committed suicide by throwing itself off a cliff (aka. freak accident). It’s probably still at the bottom of the valley somewhere if you feel like going for a treasure hunt. I was in shock for the remainder of the hike, and then in a sort of camera celibacy for about a month until I got my insurance money and could get a new one. Thus, the photos from our first trip are courtesy of my friend Hallvard.

As a result of this mishap, my second and third trips to Manamana via Kahekili ridge was executed with my iPhone 5S as my trusted camera-sidekick, as I have convinced myself the trail is now cursed. The photos with great quality in this post are Hallvard’s, the grainy/selfie ones are my iPhone-photos.

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You start by walking quietly through a residential neighborhood (Huamalani Road), making sure not to disturb the people who live there. At the end of the road you’ll see two houses, the trail starts into the woods between the two. From there you’ll be guided by the beautiful pink ribbons that mark trails in Hawaii, as you climb up the steep hill that leads to the Kahekili Ridge. Expect climbing and loads of ropes to help your ascent (yay!). You should also expect to see a lot of makeshift rope, meaning “whatever people could find to make ropes from”, including cables and cords.

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From my third trip through Kahekili-Manamana with Anders, Christoffer and my sister Benedicte.

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Walking through the woods along a 100 meter drop is no joke. While scaling one cliffside, my camera detached itself from the specialized  camera strap I’d bought specifically for hiking, and tumbled off the cliff. I can still remember the slow motion moment where I felt it leave the strap and the thuds as it gained momentum down the hillside before it dropped off the cliff. It was awful. I’ve had trust issues ever since.

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Camera strap sans camera. Still in shock. Everyone else were making fun of me. Those bastards.

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The crew from our first trip to Kahekili-Manamana: Susanna, Kim, Karoline and me (and Hallvard behind the camera). This is at the top of the waterfall that drops into the valley below the trail. I’m guessing it’s beautiful during the rainy seasons.

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From the waterfall up to the place where Kahekili and Manamana meet, you’re basically traversing through a thick but low jungle of weeds and thorn bushes. There’s a clear trail, but the surrounding bush is still going to make you look like you’ve been attacked by a pack of deranged cats unless you cover up your arms and legs for this bit. Eventually you’ll get to a fork in the road, where the trail to your left will take you to Pu’u Manamana (and the so-called Valley of Death) and the trail to your right will take you down the Manamana ridge line (which is what we did on all occasions). Then you get to my favorite part of the hike:

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The Manamana ridge line is razor-sharp and filled with fun climbing bits, and probably a little bit dangerous if you’re not used to the wonders of Mother Nature.

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You climb over boulders (with 200 meter drops on each side) …

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… and through real-life jungle gyms (with 200 meter drops on each side) …

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… and then you pose for pictures sitting casually on the ridge line (with 200 meter drops on each side) …

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… before finally balancing across the last razor-sharp edge while the wind is howling at you.

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And then you climb, slip, slide and jog the last part of the trail down to Crouching Lion…

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… and climb onto a ledge to hide from the wind and pose for a photo.

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And then you continue to jog back down to Kamehameha Highway, and back to the car/bus.

If your interested in seeing more photos and “guides” from my hikes in Hawaii, and across the world, I’ve added a “Hiking”-tab in the sidebar. Hope they’ll inspire you to get out in the wild!

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“This time I’m not going to tell you a story. I’ll just say that insanity is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there.”

I read this novel back in 2008, when I had just started working in a bookstore and discovered the glorious world of buying books with employee discount. I was studying English Literature at the university, and my apartment was filled with every book I thought I might want to read at some point. The consequence was a little bit of chaos, a lot of reading, but also a lot of books left unread. Luckily, Veronika Decides to Die was not one of those books.

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