Friday, December 13, 2013

Visiting the Emerald Isle

So I could make excuses for this taking too long- I moved countries(twice), didn't have internet connection(and still sometimes it cuts out now that I do have it), and I have been busy working.... but the simple truth is I forgot!

In August I went to Ireland for a week. Ireland is a country I have wanted to visit for a long time. As luck would have it- my friend was getting married there and I was invited.

I spent the first 2 nights in Dublin as well as the last two nights and the 2 nights in between were spent in County Clare near Dromoland Castle.

Ireland I discovered, is a friendly country. It is also very green... and as my luck would have it- very wet.

I arrived in the evening and so didn't see much the first day. I found my hostel with some help from the locals, and I have to say it was probably the best hostel I have stayed in. It's called Jacobs Inn. The staff were great, the rooms have their own ensuite bathrooms(so no need to worry about running around the halls with just a towel around you and being locked out of your room because you forgot your key), and I was lucky enough to get a room that almost shared a wall with the reception area so I didn't need to go to the lobby to get internet.

But enough about the hotel.

The first full day we actually had some sun in the morning, and I did a free walking tour of Dublin with a lovely guide whose name(if I remember correctly) was Ashley. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the company that runs the walking tours, but it was a good tour. The guide straight up told us that she liked history, and if people were looking for a tour guide who would talk about architecture, then it wasn't her. It was great to get to learn a bit about the history of Dublin and Ireland in general including conflict with England. The tour started at the hostel and we got to visit the Temple Bar district, the Town Hall, Dublin Castle and gardens, St Andrew's Cathedral and Trinity College. I realised that I knew more than I thought and less than I would like about Ireland. Unfortunately it did start raining on us about halfway through the tour but we persevered and made it to the end... albeit a bit soggier than when we started.


That evening I did a pub crawl run by the same company. We visited 5 pubs and one club I think it was. I was unfortunate enough to encounter the one unfriendly person I can recall from my trip, in the form of a taxi driver who when it started raining wouldn't take me to the pub where it started. Luckily I also met one of the nicest people in the form of a elderly gentleman who offered to show me what direction I needed to go and then walked with me through the rain to the pub itself. Wherever you are, sir, I can only hope that good fortune comes your way!

The second day was a bit more boring. I didn't do much except catch a train cross-country to Limerick to get to where I was staying the next two nights.

The hotel I stayed at is located on the Dromoland Estate in County Clare, which is also home to Dromoland Castle. I did a bit of walking around both the estate and the castle where my friend's wedding reception was also held. It is exactly what I imagined castles to be when I was a child. It was grey stone with crenellations and towers and corridors inside that were more than a little confusing without someone to guide you. It is GORGEOUS! The grounds were amazing too. They have a very nice walled garden as well as some fabulous views if you are willing to go for a little bit of a walk. It is somewhere I would love to visit again, and hopefully next time I visit I can stay in the castle instead of the inn.




Back in Dublin for the last two days and nights I had an amazing time. After making friends with some other hostel guests, I did my own exploration of Dublin that involved touring St Andrew's Cathedral and the crypts beneath.



I also visited the Dublinia museum which covers Viking and Medieval Dublin. Here I was in my element. I am fascinated by certain parts of history- Vikings and medieval history is something I cannot get enough of. The museum starts off with a section covering the founding of Dublin as a settlement by the vikings as well as a bit of general viking history. We had a very friendly guide for a free tour of that section, but the whole museum is amazing.


 The exhibits are excellent. Often when you visit a museum, everything is behind glass and very boring. Dublinia uses bright colours realistic and/or lifesize reconstructions- want to see a privy(toilet) or a viking burial? They have it. You can walk inside a room made to look like the inside of a viking round house or even down a street of medieval Dublin and past a busy dock scene. The best thing of all is that it is really interactive. There are little games and tests set up through the exhibits so you can test yourself after you read the information- or before if you are like me. There are flaps to flip to explain exhibits. What's this shoe about? Flip it to the side and you can read about it underneath.



There is also a section right at the top of the museum called the History Hunters Exhibition which is about archaeology and how it, history and science are working together to uncover Dublin's past. As I had just finished an online archaeology course it was very interesting for me. I understood a lot of the information included and could guess what things were in exhibits without needing an explanation- like why archaeologists use toothbrushes.

Overall I would highly recommend Dublinia museum to people who love history and are travelling with kids- I think it is hard to be bored when you can get a bit hands on with things.

In the afternoon we also managed to get over to Trinity College and have a bit of a look around when it wasn't raining. Unfortunately we were unable to see the Book of Kells as the library was closed already, but in our wandering around, we encountered a fox. That's right. A fox! In broad daylight in Dublin it was just casually wandering around areas where people were sitting and enjoying the view. It was my first encounter with a live fox and it was pretty awesome.


My final day in Dublin involved what could possibly be the most history laden and awe-inspiring moment I have had ever. Maybe I overstate it, but it really was amazing. I did the Mary Gibbons tour of Newgrange and Hill of Tara. With the aforementioned Mary Gibbons as our tour guide I learned a lot about both sites and the history of the area.

Hill of Tara is the ancient Royal seat of the Irish high kings. 142 kings were crowned here. It is said that on a clear day you can see half of the Irish counties from atop the hill. walking on the hill, you can easily see evidence of structures that would have stood on the hill in the mounds, ditches and other earthworks that cover the area.


Newgrange is a neolithic passage tomb. It is older than both the Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza in England. It is particularly well known for the winter solstice, during which time as the sun rises it shines down the passage of the tomb to illuminate the chamber inside for about 17 minutes. I was lucky enough to go inside the tomb which only limited numbers are permitted to do each day, and although it wasn't the winter solstice, it was still awe-inspiring. To think that people 5000 years ago somehow managed to move these stones and build this structure that still exists to day is mind blowing. It may not have the spectacular look of the pyramids or Stonehenge, but in it's own right, it deserves to be experienced




All in all, I can say Ireland is a country that I truly did not have enough time in. I will definitely be visiting again to see all the things I missed.

Sláinte!

~~Random Logic~~

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Newsflesh Trilogy Book Review

Title/Author: The Newsflesh Trilogy: Feed, Deadline and Blackout and associated ebook novellas: Fed, Countdown, San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea by Mira Grant.
Publisher/Year: Orbit Books. 2010, 2011 and 2012, and 2011, 2012, 2012 and 2013.
How I Got This: The library and the internet
Why I Read It: I saw the cover for the first book and picked it up, read the blurb and thought it sounded interesting. 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me start with: I'm not particularly a fan of zombies. I don't relish watching zombie movies or tv shows(I still haven't got around to watching The Walking Dead, yet), and I had never until last week(that I can remember) read a zombie book.

The Newsflesh Trilogy books hold the honour of being the first zombie books I have ever read. And I loved them!

When I think of Zombie stories I generally think of something more along the lines of Resident Evil(the movies because I've never played the games)- where the plot is run for your life, the zombies are chasing you. Basically something set during the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse. The Newsflesh Trilogy is not this.

It is set post zombie apocalypse by about twenty years. The world has reached a relatively stable sense of being, with people living for the most part relatively comfortably in highly fortified buildings for the most part and constantly taking blood tests before they go anywhere and do anything to ensure they haven't turned into zombies or been exposed to the virus.

In this world however, there are some other big differences. Blogging is a profession, a lucrative one, as it was shown that they were the ones to tell the truth- and be unafraid to do so, when the zombie apocalypse started. It evolved so that many journalists actually maintain blogs and have licences and all sorts of bits and pieces in their arsenal(figuratively and literally) to stay ahead of the competition- and more importantly, to stay alive. Also pets have become a thing of the past for the most part with any mammalian animal over about 40 pounds(eighteen kilograms) being able to go into spontaneous viral zombie amplification and turn into a zombie form of itself.

Enter our main characters- Georgia "George" and Shaun Mason. A sister and brother who are bloggers, along with their friend and fellow blogger- Georgette "Buffy" Meissonier, who get chosen from a pool of applicants, to cover the campaign trail of Presidential candidate Senator Peter Ryman.

What follows is a fantastic mix of zombies and politics and of course intrigue and conspiracies.

The first book, Feed, is fantastc- once I got past the first chapter I could not put it down.

The second book, Deadline, follows with less politics as the election is over and a hell of a lot more conspiracy, and intrigue. Faked deaths, mad scientists and breaking into government facilities before going into hiding.

The third book, Blackout, has the entire cast of characters in hiding for their lives against government departments. They are offline for most of the book- through necessity more than choice. The events of the previous two books culminate in a fantastic ending to the trilogy. I really am not going to say how it ends because it just wouldn't have the same impact if you knew before you read it.

There are also some ebook novellas to accompany the series which are more of what I would expect of a zombie story.


Fed is an alternate ending to the events of the first book, Feed. It is good but I won't tell you what happens because that would ruin the story. I will be honest, the events in the original ending, made me cry. Who ever heard of a book about zombies making someone cry?!

 

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats follows the outbreak(rising) in the early weeks when it hits San Diego Comic Con. At this point people have heard reports of some outbreaks but as the news outlets are mostly denying it, very few really even have a clue what is going on. It follows primarily a group of Firefly fans who were setting up a booth before the outbreak occurs and they get locked into a convention centre with zombies. The book is told in the format of a blogger interviewing the only survivor of the events in 2014 and I guess almost could be considered flash backs in which she recalls what she remembers and knows.


Countdown is another one of the ebooks. I guess you could say it is the first chronologically speaking in events as they occur, and covers the start and outbreak. I haven't read this yet but it is next on the list.


The final book is How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea and is set in post-rising Australia and from what I can tell from the blurb for it, it follows conservationists and their battle to maintain the natural beauty of Australia until a cure to the zombie plague can be found. I also haven't read this one yet, but the thought of zombie kangaroos and koalas makes me want to read this as soon as possible!

One of the things I love about these books, apart from the story itself, is the brilliant coverart. It was a combination of the title as well as the image more commonly associated with RSS Feeds on the internet that actually made me pick up the first book. The rest of the books have covers that are equally as brilliant with the mixing of imagery that is well knows with grittiness that can be expected from a zombie story. I highly doubt I would have glanced twice at the first book if it didn't have the image of the blood and the grittiness it implied.

All in all, I highly recommend these books. Especially if you want a story that has all the zombie stuff but with a fantastic plot behind it.


~~Random Logic~~

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Books, Travel, Study and Planning a Move.

So I have been planning to update recently with some book reviews but I keep getting distracted by starting to read other good books- I highly recommend the Divergent books by Veronia Roth and the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant- so those posts will come when I hit a wall in the book reading. I have also been very busy on another note.

I started looking for jobs for when I finished being an au pair, and I was looking all over Europe, not just in Finland to find as many opportunities as possible. I ended up applying for a job in Rhodes, Greece, and I got it! So I will be moving to Greece as of the 29th of August... that gives me just under 3 weeks until I move.

I also travel to Ireland next week for a friends wedding! YAY! Weddings! YAY! Travel! I am there for a week and then when I come back, I think I will have two days here in Vaasa before I travel south and visit friends in Turku for a few days and then a day or so in Helsinki. I am tempted to try get in a day trip to Tallinn just for the hell of it before I leave as well. I love Tallinn and I don't know when I will get a chance to visit again. This also means that I have to do most of my packing for the move before I even go to Ireland, so that I just have to really worry about packing what I take to Ireland with me when I get back to Finland.

On top of all that planning, I have been doing the Archaeology MOOC that I talked about a few posts ago. The final exercise was due last week and the results were given this morning. I got full marks for everything! YAY! I'm happy with that because, apart from my language classes which have often been fairly informal in terms of any kind of homework, it is the first study I have really done on anything since high school. It was really fun and interesting too. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in history. It is run through the Coursera website and is called Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets. I will probably also post some more of the stuff I wrote for exercises here at some point. One of the other students had the idea to start a blog for the students to post to with different archaeological themed things and I am going to be a contributor to that as well.

So basically to sum up my life I have been busy. Things are going to get fun and exciting over the next few weeks. I am excited to go to Greece and sad to be leaving Finland. Also I have never been to Greece so I can't wait to see some of the historical sites. At least the history geek inside of me will have fun!

Well that's all for now folks! I will try to post something up between Ireland and Greece at the very least.


~~Random Logic~~

Friday, July 5, 2013

Yksi Vuosi Sitten....

One year ago....

One year ago, I left Australia.

One year ago, I was sitting on a plane.

One year ago. I moved to the other side of the world.

One year ago....

That's right folks! If you haven't guessed it already- today is one year since I left Australia for Finland... and what a year it has been.

I didn't really know what to expect when I decided to come back to Finland, especially coming back here and becoming an au pair. It has turned out to be an amazing experience.

When I left Sydney airport, my mum, dad and younger brother were there to see me off. There were lots of hugs. I got on the plane and flew to Finland via Abu Dhabi and Dusseldorf.

The first people I saw when I got into arrivals at Helsinki-Vantaa airport were my friends Veera and Nupur. One greeted me with a sign, the other with chocolate, both with hugs! I almost ran them over with my baggage cart. Nupur drove us into the city centre where we had lunch and chatted for ages and then drove me as far as Salo where she lives.

When I got off the bus from Salo to Turku, I was met by two more friends, once more with a poster as well as chocolate and other Finnish goodies. It was a good day.

I stayed with one of my friends for most of a month before I started working as an au pair, and we caught up often on weekends after I started working. The best thing about some friendships is that it doesn't matter how long it has been since you have seen that person... you still get along and it doesn't really feel that long. And that is definitely the case with Sanni!




This last year has been a pretty amazing experience. I worked for one family until mid-February and then started with a new family in a city called Vaasa at Easter. Both have been interesting, and as with any jobs there are ups and downs.

I have learnt a lot more Finnish than I knew 12 months or even just 6 months ago- especially since I came to Vaasa because I speak only Finnish to the children here. I learn new things every day!

I have renewed my love affair with libraries. In Australia over the 5 years before I had not borrowed very often from libraries as I would just buy the books that I wanted. If there is one thing I do miss from Turku now that I am in Vaasa... it's the library. Vaasa does have one... it's just not as big.




I got to visit Spain last September(yes I know I never did end up writing a blog post on that!), Stockholm in December, London in March, and Estonia last July, over new years and then again in March. I have seen parts of Finland I had never visited before, and seen new things in some places I had visited. In August, I am going to visit Ireland and attend a friend's wedding. I just booked my tickets today!




I have made some amazing new friends in the past year. Au pairs and otherwise. I've made friends from all sorts of countries, who speak all sorts of languages. I've travelled with those friends and introduced them to places I love. I've discovered new places to love and rediscovered old ones.

 




I've been to my first music festival, sunbaked in parks like the locals, eaten new foods, relearned to ride a bike, experienced the aftermath of a snowstorm and the chaos it can bring on a large city(thank you Stockholm!).




All in all I have experienced! I have put myself out into the world and experienced. How long I will be in Finland for, I don't know. What I do know is that I will not regret having been in Finland. I think that if I do leave Finland this year I would like to try and stay in Europe. Maybe I will see if I can find a job in another country and move there. Maybe try and learn another language and experience more but that's for another time! So, sorry to all you people in Australia.... I don't think I'm coming home anytime soon!




~~Random Logic~~




Monday, July 1, 2013

A Little Princess

Last week I went to the library and I was looking through the books for children and young adults in English to see if there were any good books. I came across one book in particular. One I haven't read in a long time, but that I have loved since the first time I did read it. That book was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I first read this book when I was about 6 or 7 years old. It was not long after the newest movie adaptation of sorts had been released, and my dad had taken us out one evening to the shops and we ended up in a bookstore where he either told us we could choose a book each, or I bugged him until he got me a book. Either way I came home with the book and proceeded to read it. I loved it, and read it many times as a child.

Fast forward to last week and I decided to borrow it and read it. I have to say that I love the book as much as I ever did as a child. I'm not sure what it is exactly that made me love this book but I think maybe it's the fact that there is some mystery and romanticism to it. It also has some great imagery and descriptions. Having read it again, as well as having read The Secret Garden over New Years, it makes me want to go and rediscover more books from my childhood that I loved and read many times. I'm thinking I might see if the library has Little Women and borrow that and re-read it.





Friday, June 21, 2013

Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets

So I have been planning on writing a new post recently. I even have ideas for it and kind of know what I want to write, but the last few weeks have been pretty crazy. I started a Finnish course at the end of May, the children I look after started holidays the next week, and I also started an online course or MOOC about archaeology. Needless to say with that and also making new friends and spending time with them I haven't been left with much time to write... plus I would feel incredibly guilty if I wrote a blog post without having done my archaeology course homework.

So anyway.... the course I started is through a website called Coursera. I came across it thanks to the Time Team Facebook page where they recommended the course that I signed up for. The course is called Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets and into the third week now I am loving it! I have always enjoyed history and especially archaeology- I wanted to be an archaeologist for many years, and I am not really sure I've given up on that possibility yet, so it's fun. The course itself is through Brown University in the USA and the Joukowsky Institute which is situated at Brown.

So the course itself consists of video lectures, some required reading, weekly quizzes and weekly exercises or assessments if you want to call them that. The exercises are all peer assessed as with the sheer number of people who enrol in the course as well as the free nature of the course, there is no way that the staff could mark everyones exercises.

I just got the results of my week 1 exercise today and I was very happy. I got a 3- which is the top mark, and some really nice comments. As a result, I thought I would share what I wrote here. I will first post the requirements, then my response, then the comments I recieved.


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Option #2: Archaeological expressions

Find one form of artistic expression (poetry, film, literature, trash fiction, music) that draws on archaeology and archaeological uses of the past*. Write a reaction piece in which you:
  1. Identify and describe the artistic work you have chosen.
  2. If it could be helpful to your classmates, provide a link (URL) to any relevant online content (e.g., YouTube clip, SoundCloud sample, IMDB page, etc.).
  3. Explain why you chose this particular piece.
  4. Critique the piece. Does it convey an accurate impression of archaeology? Is it significant, either artistically or archaeologically? Do you like it? Would you recommend it to others, and if so, who?

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The work chosen for this archaeological comparison is called "The Curse", and it is episode thirteen of season four of the television series Stargate SG-1.

In this episode, one of the team members - Dr Daniel Jackson of SG-1, discovers that his archaeology professor from college - Dr David Jordan was killed in a lab explosion that has been attributed to the Curse of Osiris as he was working with artefacts recovered from a shipwreck of an expedition carried out in 1931. He attends the funeral and catches up with former colleagues he has not seen in five years. He stays behind after the funeral and discovers that items from the collection have either been stolen or misplaced, and works to help discover what has happened to them.

I chose this piece because it shows some of the issues that archaeologists and institutions face with regards to artefacts and ownership once recovered as well as the storage, testing and treatment of artefacts. It also addresses the beliefs of many people in curses being placed on items from tombs especially those of Egyptian mummies.

The episode starts with the characters of Dr Jordan and Dr Steven Rayner discussing some artefacts that had been recovered from a shipwreck of an expedition known as the Stewart Expedition undertaken in 1931. Dr Jordan lets Dr Rayner know that the opportunity has come up to have scans done on a canopic jar. Dr Rayner suggests that they just crack open the canopic jar to which he is told that the Egyptian government expects the items to be returned intact. He expresses some disagreement with this pronouncement stating that it is the find of a lifetime and they are "just handing it over".

This reflects on an issue that is facing the archaeological community and institutions around the world more and more often these days. Many artefacts were taken at times in the past when countries were either colonised, under occupation or before there were laws regarding what could be taken or even what could be excavated. As a result more and more countries are trying to recover items that they consider to have been looted from their past causing much controversy amongst those who believe they have a right to the items who make arguments on both sides of the divide as is the case with the Parthenon Marbles.

When Dr Jackson discovers the report of the death of Dr Jordan, the article states that the Curse of Osiris has returned. This alludes to the belief that curses will afflict those who disturb the tombs and holy places of ancient civilisations- in this case those of ancient Egypt. Later in the episode when Dr Sarah Gardner is showing Dr Jackson the artefacts, she says that they are supposedly cursed and that all the members of the original expedition died within a year of the discovery and Dr Jackson says that it had been attributed to mould spores. Her response states that mould spores do not make front page news.

These instances as well as later deaths of two more people show the pervasiveness of beliefs in "Mummy curses" which started in the 19th century with very little truth behind them as well as their common use as a trope in television and movies to make a plot more interesting or entertaining.

When Dr Jackson goes to find the museum curator in the storage area for the artefacts, she blames the state of the storage area on budget cuts. She also states that the crate in which another item was stored, was mislabelled and, that she had therefore only discovered the item a few days prior. She appears to be the sole person working in the department possibly due to the budget cuts she has stated and has a large number of items to catalogue. The sheer number of items shown to be in storage show the fate of many archaeological finds today with many artefacts remaining in storage for long periods of time after discovery and initial study, if study commences at all.

On a whole I believe this piece to show a somewhat accurate depiction of archaeology. It shows that not all archaeologists work in the field and that there is more to archaeology than digging up treasures and, that there are issues faced by those who work in the field of archaeology. I enjoyed it and would recommend this piece to people who like history and science fiction as well as people who like to see fictional archaeologists on film and not blowing up temples.

Gateworld: The Curse - http://www.gateworld.net/sg1/s4/413.shtml - Last accessed 9 June 2013

Wiki: The Curse - http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/The_Curse – Last accessed 9 June 2013

National Geographic: Curse of the Mummy - http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/archaeology/curse-of-the-mummy/ - Last accessed 9 June 2013
 
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Peer 1 → You completed and clearly expressed your response. Very well done.
 
Peer 2 → Having watched a few episodes of SG-1 in the past I was familiar with it's format and the the origins of some of its ideas in ancient Egypt. I found the piece both interesting and well researched. Although fictional representations of archaeology and archaeologists are often ridiculous you have pointed out that this does not necessarily always occur and that they can sometimes put forward ideas and concepts that are very representative of the truth.
 
Peer 4 → Good use of an excellent episode from SG1 to illustrate the required topic. Certainly original and clearly expressed. Do you watch the Abydos videos with the same slant as I do? Thanks.

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I hope you enjoyed, let me know what you think.

~~Random Logic~~

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Speak Up and Be Brave!

I've been thinking about what I wanted to do for a new post here for the past week or so. 

A few days ago I came across a video for a song by Sara Bareilles. I had heard the song before but thanks to a post she put up on Facebook I saw the official video for the song and I fell in love with the song even more.

The song is called Brave, and the basic message behind the song is to not be afraid of who you are or what you do. Don't let others decide who or what you should be and stand up for what you believe in and your own desires. The video shows this message through a series of clips they rotate through of people dancing in public spaces outrageously without any thought of what others think. It shows people being who they want to be. I think it's a great message. It's a message that I think needs to be told more and more often in today's society. 

It's a message that hits fairly close to home for me.

When I was younger and to a much lesser extent these days I was a very shy and quiet person. I didn't have many friends in primary school. Not so much because I didn't want to have friends, but more because I didn't really know how to connect with most of the people I went to school with. I always felt like an outsider and putting myself in the spotlight was something to be avoided. Not only that, but I was also I guess a bit more of an I guess intellectual child compared to most of my classmates. I spent a lot of my time reading as a child, which is something I am not ashamed of by any means, and I spent many lunch times in the school library both in primary school and high school. 

The problem was not my being ashamed of who I was and what I liked, the problem was other kids making fun of me for those reasons. I was teased for wearing glasses as well as reading and had books snatched from my hands and thrown across the playground on a few occasions as a child. Because of these incidents I ended up with pretty low self esteem. I used to pretend I was sick at school so I could go home because I didn't want to be at school. It was my way of trying to avoid the bullies because the school wasn't doing anything to help with a problem they had been told about.

As I got into high school things changed for me. I went to a high school where there were very few people from my primary school and they were people that I could and did get along with mostly. One of my first moments in high school that I remember was being asked by someone I had known when I was quite young what I was interested in. I told them that I loved Star Wars. The response I got was along the lines of "Star Wars? That's for boys!" She then turned to a random girl behind her and tapped her on the shoulder and asked her "Don't you think Star Wars is for boys?". The response was unexpected by both myself and the girl who asked. "No, actually. I quite like it myself."

I made new friends in high school including the girl who also liked Star Wars, friends who liked to read, who liked science fiction and fantasy and I could talk to them about these things. We shared books and spent as much of our lunchtime in the library as we did out of it. Just from having those friends and being able to talk to them about things I began to truly feel that I wasn't a freak and I wasn't so strange. I began to embrace my "weird". I still got bullied on occasion but I didn't let it get to me as much as previously because I had a support system in my friends with similar interests

At around the same time as this I started to get into online forums and message boards associated with my fandom of Star Wars. It was a very liberating thing because I began to connect with people who had similar interests. Many were around the same age as me due to the resurgence of the series with the prequels. Some of my best friends to this day I made through fan sites.

So when I heard the song for the first time I really felt close to the message of the lyrics. I know what it's like to have words thrown at you so as to belittle you. I know the feelings that you feel when that happens. I know what it feels like when the adults who are meant to be your support system and and guidance don't do anything to stop it or help you. I hate to see bullying.

Most recently as I have mentioned on several occasions I have been working as an au pair. In the first family I worked for the children would often call each other names and I really hated it. One day when it was getting particularly bad I got the three children together- even the four year old, because I think you are never too young to learn not to be a bully. I had them in a circle and I asked each of them what they felt like when someone called them names. I asked each of them what it felt like when their brother or sister called them names and I asked them what they think their brother or sister felt like when they called them names. The response was they they felt horrible and that their brother or sister or anyone else they called names felt horrible too. I told them I knew what it felt like. I was bullied as a kid. It is NOT a nice feeling. After that day I do believe I saw and heard less name calling and teasing between the kids. Maybe I was just imagining it or maybe I really did see less of it. Either way, it is better to try than to let bullying go on.

So I just want to say if you are reading this. Watch the video. Listen to the lyrics and if you have children, work with children or just know children- then share it with them too. It's never too soon to teach children both not to be afraid of bullies, but also that it isn't right to be a bully.




~~Random Logic~~

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Da Vinci Code Book Review

Back in 2003 when I was still in high school a new book was released to great publicity and popularity. That book was The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Now I love to read but I often don't read books that are subject to a lot of hype because I find I often don't like them. If I do read them, then it usually happens much later once all the hype has died down.

So, last weekend, just over 10 years since the book was first released, I borrowed it from the local library. I was hoping that it was going to be a good book- the premise isn't a bad one, and I like thrillers with a religious and/or historical twist to them. Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed by the book.

Dan Brown is definitely not the best writer. Even before I got too far into the book I was finding that I was getting bored and forcing myself to read more hoping it would get better. It didn't really. There are many pages where I found myself wanting to skip the page, but also the rest of the chapter.

Another issue I had, was that I often felt like I was reading the same things over and over again and that added to the boredom factor. I think the main issue with the writing beyond the style itself was the flow of the story. I found myself guessing the plot twists(who is the mysterious 'Teacher'?) or answers to the little riddles(the answer to the second cryptex) throughout the book, well before they occurred. I felt many scenes just dragged out and that it could have been a much better book if the pace was picked up. The events of the book itself take place within a very short period of time, but there isn't a massive amount.

All in all I wouldn't recommend this book to someone looking for a novel with a bit of vatican/religious or historical conspiracy thrown in. I would recommend books by authors such as Charles Brokaw, Andy McDermott, Raymond Khoury and James Rollins. All of these authors have novels that are well written, thrilling and most importantly not boring to read.


~~ Random Logic ~~

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Castle Season 5 Finale Time!

Ok so it's that time of the year again. The time most of the tv shows that we have been watching since around September last year have their season finals. This week was the final of Castle. A friend requested that I write a post about the finale. I agreed, but it's going to be a bit more of a season retrospective I think.






---- WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW ---- 






Now, if there is one thing I can say about the season finals for Castle, it's that they are good ones. In particular the final for season three- in which Kate got shot and the final for season four which I wrote about here, where Castle and Kate finally admitted they liked each other and got together.

The past season has been a pretty great one for the show and the characters. Whilst we didn't have any of the tension of the previous season where Kate was hiding her knowledge of Castle's feelings, there was a different kind of tension. Their secret relationship added some great moments to the season.

One of my early favourite episodes ended up being Murder He Wrote (5x03) in which Castle and Beckett went away for the weekend to his house in the Hamptons and ended up having a murder disrupt their weekend. This episode did many fans a great service when the characters gave themselves the shipper name "Caskett", by which they have been known on fan sites since very early on.

Following hot on the heels of that episode a few weeks later we got The Final Frontier(5x05) in which a fan is murdered at a big fan convention. We find out a bit more about Beckett who was apparently a huge fan of a particular sci-fi show as a College student, even going so far as to cosplay one of the characters. As an attendee of conventions and a rather big geek myself I have to say that this was an extremely fun episode.

We also got a little bit more in the case of Beckett's mother's murder. In the first episode of the season Beckett was able to find out who was in charge. It turned out to be a senator. She confronted the senator and threatened that if anything should happen to her then the details of what happened to her mother would be released to the press. Later in the season he became the target of an assassination attempt and she ended up having to protect him which was also an interesting turn of events.

By far the most tense episodes were those of the two parter. In the first half- Target(5x15) we find out that Alexis has been kidnapped, along with another girl they manage to escape briefly and contact Beckett and Castle. They soon find out however that they are no longer in New York, instead they have been taken to Paris.

In the second half- Hunt(5x16), Castle has decided to take matters into his own hands where he makes contact and teams up with a character by the name of Jacques Henri(Christopher Heyerdahl). As a fan of Heyerdahl from previous shows he has starred in I just about hyperventilated when I heard his voice. All I can say is that his voice is just one of the many things I love about his acting. It has the ability to change his character from one incredibly nice one, to one incredibly evil. Heyerdahl aside, this episode introduced the fans as well as Castle himself to his father. It was a great moment and ultimately the two of them managed to rescue Alexis.

Now the creators of the show promised that the relationship between Castle and Beckett wouldn't be all smelling of roses and that they would have their troubles. That finally started to show in some of the final episodes. In one episode, Beckett feels ignored, then because of the case Castle feels threatened by another man (Ioan Gruffudd).

In the following episode she almost dies when she steps on a pressure sensitive bomb linked to a timer and Castle stays to keep her company. The end of that episode was particularly good and something I did not see coming. Captain 'Iron' Gates revealed that she's known all about their relationship but wanted to leave herself with plausible deniability when she tells them to just kiss already.

This all leading into the finale left me curious as to what was going to happen. We had a bit of a break last week with the relationship stuff with a case that had the team being stonewalled by the Attorney General's office. The big moment of the episode I guess, came at the end. Beckett was pulled aside by the man who had been stonewalling them and offered an interview for a position in DC.

So that brings us to the final. At the start of the final, Kate was standing in front of a window looking out over DC. She'd decided to go for the interview. Later on she is running late to the crime scene we find out she hadn't told Castle about the interview or going to DC. Gates has given her a glowing recommendation and a heart to heart with Lanie leaves her thinking hard....

...Then Castle finds her boarding pass stub for the plane after it falls out of her jacket pocket. Cue the discussion/argument over trusting each other and not telling each other things. Beckett says it's just an interview and it doesn't mean anything.

The next day Castle has a heart to heart with his mother which makes him think hard about his relationship and where it is going.

Kate gets a phone call. She got the job in DC. She decides that she is moving up to bigger and better opportunities and that it will be the last case for her. She solves the case with the boys and then tells them there is something she needs to tell them, but that she has to speak to someone else first.

And the final scene. It all comes back to the swings where they had the fateful discussion about brick walls in season four, and where she sat in the rain in the final of season four.

But what happened you ask?

Well I will leave you with this reaction I posted to Facebook last night:


THEY DID NOT JUST END THAT SEASON OF CASTLE LIKE THAT! OMG! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


 
Okay.... so maybe I won't leave you like that really... but if you want to know what happens, you either have to wait a bit longer or watch it yourself. 

Whatever your choice, it won't change the fact that season 6 is going to be VERY interesting. I can't wait to see how it starts and I really don't want to have to wait until September... but if I have to wait, then at least I will have some Rizzoli & Isles to watch when it starts at the end of June!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

0.4 Book Review

 'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.' 

So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on to old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world...

If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. 

And if everything we know is a lie does that mean that we are, too?

 ---

Have you ever picked up a book just because the title intrigued you? Ever read a book like that, and been glad that you got your hands on it? I did just that last Saturday at the library. I decided to see what books they had in English for younger readers and came across a book called 0.4 by Mike Lancaster.




Even though I had read the blurb on the back, I didn't really know what to expect. It has one of thost intriguing blurbs that doesn't really tell you what is going to happen but makes you want to read.

Opening it and reading the first page only confirmed what a good idea it was to pick it up.

WARNING

THIS DATA STORAGE UNIT, OR "BOOK", HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO REPROGRAM THE HUMAN BRAIN, ALLOWING IT TO REPLICATE THE LOST ART THAT WAS ONCE CALLED "READING". IT IS A SIMPLE ADJUSTMENT AND THERE WILL BE NO NEGATIVE OR HARMFUL EFFECTS FROM THIS PROCESS.

WHAT YOU ARE DOING: "READING" EXPLAINED

EACH SHEET IS INDELIBLY PRINTED WITH INFORMATION AND THE SHEETS ARE VISUALLY SCANNED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, AND FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.

THIS SCANNED INFORMATION IS PASSED THROUGH THE VISUAL CORTEX DIRECTLY INTO THE BRAIN WHERE IT CAN BE ACCESSED, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER DATA.



With a first page like that, it is the perfect book for someone who loves to read.

The book is from the point of view of a boy called Kyle Straker. It is revealed that the story was found recorded on old cassette tapes belonging to his father and that it has been released in book format for a reason. A reason that will become clear to the reader, as they are reading.

It is a fast book by nature of the story. Whilst recounted after the facts, almost the entire story takes place in the period of a single day.

We find that on this normal day Kyle woke up and went to watch the annual talent show in his village. He volunteered to be hypnotised and by that simple action decided his future. When he wakes up after the hypnotism he and the other volunteers find everyone else frozen in a moment of time. It is at this point that the story really starts.

I won't say anymore of what happens but I will recommend this book to anyone who doesn't mind teen fiction and likes a bit of dystopian sci-fi. It is definitely worth reading and will make you think at least a little bit.



Random Logic
‘My name is Kyle Straker and I don’t exist any more.’ So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world . . . If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. And if everything is a lie does that mean that we are, too? Plug into a gripping new generation of sci-fi.

Read More at http://booknerd.ca/review-0-4-by-mike-a-lancaster/, Written by Giselle, Copyright © BO-OK NERD CANADA
‘My name is Kyle Straker and I don’t exist any more.’ So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world . . . If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. And if everything is a lie does that mean that we are, too? Plug into a gripping new generation of sci-fi.

Read More at http://booknerd.ca/review-0-4-by-mike-a-lancaster/, Written by Giselle, Copyright © BO-OK NERD CANADA
‘My name is Kyle Straker and I don’t exist any more.’ So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world . . . If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. And if everything is a lie does that mean that we are, too? Plug into a gripping new generation of sci-fi.

Read More at http://booknerd.ca/review-0-4-by-mike-a-lancaster/, Written by Giselle, Copyright © BO-OK NERD CANADA
‘My name is Kyle Straker and I don’t exist any more.’ So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world . . . If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. And if everything is a lie does that mean that we are, too? Plug into a gripping new generation of sci-fi.

Read More at http://booknerd.ca/review-0-4-by-mike-a-lancaster/, Written by Giselle, Copyright © BO-OK NERD CANADA

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Stormlord Trilogy Book Review.

Title/Author: The Stormlord Trilogy: The Last Stormlord, Stormlord Rising and Stormlord's Exile by Glenda Larke
Publisher/Year: Orbit Books. 2009, 2010 and 2011.
How I Got This: The library
Why I Read It: It looked interesting and I enjoy fantasy novels
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

------

Ever get one of those moments when you read a book and finish it and then just want to tell everyone about it?

A few weeks ago I started reading a trilogy of books called The Stormlord Trilogy(Goodreads lists them as the Watergivers trilogy) by Glenda Larke. The books are The Last Stormlord, Stormlord Rising and Stormlord's Exile. They are about 600 pages each and tell the story of a parched land(The Quartern) where those who have water have power. Some are born with the ability to manipulate water and they, at their strongest are- The stormlords, rainlords and reeves. They each have their roles to play in society in order to ensure the lands of the Quartern recieve enough rain to fill their cisterns and to make sure nobody wastes that water.

The first book starts with the land in grave peril. There is only one stormlord left in the land with the ability to bring rain to the Quartern and he is old and ill. The rainlords are sent on a hunt to try find more people with water powers. It does not however remain as simple as that with not all the rainlords being content to do what they are told. What follows are power struggles as the different peoples in the land fight for what they believe and to have power over the sole stormlord in the Quartern once the previous one has passed away.

Cities are burned, enemies made and destroyed as easily as friends are made.

Into this all comes mysterious new power giving a rainlord the ability to shift sands after a near death experience as well as a man with a mysterious painting talent and a girl who he claims is his great granddaughter and both with the ability to change the future.

But the most important character of all is the waterless (born without the right to free water), outcast, son of a man who may turn out to be either the saviour or the death of the Quartern. Born with water powers his story intersects in the lives of every character in the books. Imprisoned by a rogue rainlord after his town and family are destroyed and/or imprisoned he is educated and taught to use his water powers but not expected to think much for himself. He rebels against what is expected and forges his own path that changes everything.

My favourite thing about these books is although different chapters will focus on different characters you are never left to read about the same characters for long enough to get bored and really just want to see what is happening to another character (something that I occasionally have felt whilst reading The Wheel of Time series).

My second favourite thing about these books is the pace. The first book is over 600 pages long and the other two are just on and under 600 pages but they don't drag. They are fun to read- I read the second and third books in the last four days without getting bored.

And last but not least- as a trilogy that is complete, you aren't left waiting months or years to read the next book that might be written. You aren't left with an annoying cliffhanger ending that makes you want to cry because the next book is nowhere in sight. Anticipation is great and all but with fantasy books that run to 600 pages the wait can just turn a person off if it all drags on too long!

If you are looking for a great fantasy read then I would strongly recommend these books. I would not hesitate to reread them in the future myself.



Tuesday, April 30, 2013

55 Bookish Questions

In trying to decide what I was going to write for my blog and looking for bookish memes I came across this booking quiz here. It turned out to be both easier and harder than expected. I hope this gives a little insight into my reading habits.

~~~

1. Favorite childhood book?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

2. What are you reading right now?
Well I literally just finished Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke. The next book I read will be Stormlord's Exile by the same author.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None at the moment.

4. Bad book habit?
Buying books when I am overseas and knowing that I will have to sacrifice some when I leave.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Stormlord Rising and Stormlord's Exile by Glenda Larke
Sacrifice and Heretic by Sarah Singleton

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yup. A Kobo. I don't use it very often though. I prefer to read actual books and I bought the Kobo mostly for travelling.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
It depends on my mood and the book. Often I will have several going but across varying genres so that I can match my book to my mood.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
No.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
This year... Oh wow. I can't really remember all the books I have read this year... maybe Time Riders by Alex Scarrow. I managed to get about halfway through I think but it just didn't hold my interest.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
I'm gonna go for The Stormlord Trilogy by Glenda Larke but I also really enjoyed reading The Judas Strain, The Devil Colony and Bloodline from the SIGMA Force series by James Rollins, not to mention The Sacred Vault by Andy McDermott.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Well I guess it depends what is out of your comfort zone. I like to read a wide range of genres so I don't really have much of a comfort zone.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I don't know.

13. Can you read on the bus?
All the time. It makes the trips go by so much quicker.

14. Favorite place to read?
In bed.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
It depends on the person and how much I want them to read the book. If I know they love and respect books then I am more likely to lend.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Never!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Nope. I've never had an urge to.

18. Not even with text books?
Well maybe a little bit of writing but mostly it was highlighting parts I needed to pay more attention to.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English... I'm not quite at the read in Finnish level yet.

20. What makes you love a book?
Characters, plot, and the writing itself. You can have a great plot and characters but if it isn't well written it's horrible. I think you could have any two of these three and without the third the book just wouldn't be good enough for me to love.... Epic heroics also help.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
See above ^^^ Also if the book has stuck in my head then it has done something right.

22. Favorite genre?
I don't have any one genre that stands out above the rest. I would have to say that Fantasy, Science Fiction and Action/adventure would be at the top.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Non-Fiction... I do read some but not as much as I would like.

24. Favorite biography?
The Happiest Refugee by Ahn Do

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
No.

26. Favorite cookbook?
I've only ever bought one so it would have to be The Food & Cooking of Finland by Anja Hill.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden... Everytime I read it it makes me think hard.

28. Favorite reading snack?
Anything that's tasty and I don't have to concentrate on to eat.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Harry Potter. Everyone loved it but I really didn't.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I rarely read reviews on books so I can't really say that I ever agree or disagree.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I don't often dislike books but when I do there is no point in pretending that I do like it. I just say that I disliked the book.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Finnish... because if I am reading in it then I'm probably speaking it fluently! (I hope!)

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I don't think I've ever truly been intimidated by a book that I can remember but if I had to choose probably reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
 
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
The Hunger Games in Finnish. I will get there! I will read it!

35. Favorite Poet?
Dorothea Mackellar or William Blake. I can't decide.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
About 10.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Rarely. Maybe 1 in every 50 books I borrow.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Ellie Linton or Alanna of Pirates Swoop and Olau.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
This was hard to think of but I will go with Duke Roger of Conté from the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. Honourable mention to President Snow of The Hunger Games.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Tomorrow, When The War Began and in general action/adventure and crime novels.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
A week? I read every day if I can whether an actual book or just some fanfiction.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Emma by Jane Austen. I had to read it for school and just couldn't do it.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Food? I can really get into books and block out the world all around me.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Tomorrow When The War Began

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
The Lovely Bones. I loved the book but really really didn't enjoy the film.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I think I spent about $80 when the last Borders store was closing in Sydney.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Rarely. I usually just read the blurb and make a decision from that.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If it was boring me and I was having to force myself to read it.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Well I try but it's hard when you don't have space for your books or you create piles of books to be read.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep. I don't like to give away books.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice

52. Name a book that made you angry.
No book has ever made me angry, but many have made me sad.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Sahara by Clive Cussler. My dad was constantly going on about how good he thought Clive Cussler was and how much better than the movie the book was. Usually this means I don't like the book but I really enjoyed it. I am also now a massive Clive Cussler fan and dad probably regrets telling me about him because I permanently borrow his books.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Emma by Jane Austen. I had to read this for school. I was excited to read it. I really tried and started reading it early and it made me fall asleep on the first page. I forced myself to read 12 chapters but still couldn't get into it.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Tomorrow Series by John Marsden, and anything Star Wars.


~~~

Random Logic

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beautiful Tallinn


I really meant to write this a few weeks ago! Better late than never!

Last month I went to London as mentioned in my previous post, but I also got the chance to head back over to Tallinn, Estonia for a trip the following weekend. It was the fifth time I had been there and definitely a different experience to previous trips there.

First off I went over with a friend and fellow au pair who was leaving the country the following week. Her original planned stay in Finland had been cut short and she had definitely been planning to visit Tallinn before that happened. As a result she decided to spend her last full weekend in Finland in Tallinn. As I love the ciy I volunteered to go along and show her around and stuff like that.

Now I have played tour guide to people in other cities including Turku, Finland and Sydney, Australia where I have spent significant amounts of time and lived but I have never lived in Tallinn so for me it was just as great to go and show her the things I love there as to visit places I hadn't been. It's also the first time I've been any kind of guide in a place where there is so much history.

We stayed with my cousins in Tallinn. They live about 10-15 minutes walk from Vana Linna or in English the Old Town. It is a medieval town centre and not much has changed in the buildings since that time.

By the time we got to Tallinn on the Friday, we had actually already been travelling for over 6 hours by bus and boat. We ended up spending most of the first day in the Old Town wandering around, looking at churches and trying not to get too confused in the sometimes maze-like streets.The best thing about getting lost though, is that you get to see the amazing architecture that has survived to this day and the many buildings that have been restored. There are also some amazing doors!

There are many churches in this part of Tallinn, including two Orthodox churches, and at least one Catholic church not to mention several Lutheran churches. One of the Lutheran churches (St Olav's/Oleviste Kirik) was actually the tallest building in the world for a time when it was constructed with a spire that stood at 159 metres. It burned several times however, after being struck by lightning, and the current spire stands at just 124 metres.

For lunch on this day we decided to stop in at the Reval Cafe in the old town centre. I have been to at least three different Reval Cafe's in the time I have spent in Tallinn and I have to say that every time the food has been fantastic, as well as the service. I also think that it is extremely reasonably priced.

We also spent some time in Tallinn City Museum (Tallinna Linnamuuseum). It is definitely a museum worth visiting. Whilst not so large as many museums it tells the story of the history of Tallinn quite well and in an easy to understand fashion. I definitely learned things I hadn't known about the Hanseatic period(Tallinn was a major city and trading port for the Hanseatic League and was known as Reval during this time).

Saturday we got up fairly early and decided we would walk into the Old Town. It is a nice walk and the way we went took us up and over part of the walls that still stand to the top of Toompea Hill which is the upper part of the old town. You end up with some fantastic views of the old town from there and it's great for taking photos.

First thing on the agenda for the day was to head up onto the city walls. One of the fantastic things about the Old Town and the fact that it has been so well preserved is that it actually means you can get up onto the town walls where they still stand at some points. It is interesting to see the town from this perspective and makes me glad that I'm not a guard for walls and living in the middle ages. The walkway is not actually very wide and there is never anything pleasant about looking straight down to the cobblestones below when all that stops you if you slip is a wooden railing.

After the wall we took the opportunity to do a sightseeing bus tour of a bit of the rest of Tallinn. My cousin had been amazing and bought us some 24 hour bus tickets for a sightseeing bus that goes around Tallinn on three different routes. We took the green line tour which took us to the Pirita beach district where there are the ruins of Pirita Monastery(dedicated to St Brigitta) and past the area which was built for the 1980 olympics when Tallinn hosted the yachting events for the olympics.

In the afternoon we decided we would try to see some more museums. First we headed off to Kiek in de Kök, which is situated in one of the towers along the wall. We also wanted to visit the Bastion Passages but hadn't realised that we had to pre-book so we ended up missing out on that part. It was the second time for me to visit the museum however and I loved it just as much as the first time. It has changed a fair amount in terms of the displays and I think the quality is even higher. It covers a lot of the history of Tallinn and in particular focuses on the military history and the fortifications of the city.

We also ended up visiting the Estonian National Maritime Museum (Eesti Meremuuseum) in another tower known as Fat Margaret (Paks Margareeta).

For dinner that night we went to a restaurant know as Olde Hansa. It is a medieval themed restaurant and it definitely has some great atmosphere. It isn't somewhere I would recommend anyone go to if you are a picky eater, nor if you are trying to save money. The most expensive single dish on the menu is Bear and it costs 55€. We both went for something a bit cheaper and split the dessert which was a sort of apple pie with almond milk. It was amazing. So was the Warm-Up drink which we had. It was some sort of spiced apple cider type drink. Om nom nom!

Sunday was our last day in Tallinn and we did our best to enjoy it. We took one more of the sightseeing bus tours, this time around some of the older suburbs of Tallinn. Afterwards there was some more wandering around the city for some last minute photos, souvenirs and postcards which resulted in me finding a Star Wars babushka doll, as well as a stop for lunch once more at the Reval and a hot chocolate at the Chocolaterie de Pierre Cafe in the Old Town. My cousin first introduced me to the Chocolaterie in 2007 when I visited. It is a cosy cafe that makes you want to do nothing more than sit down and relax with a nice warm drink and maybe a bit of dessert too.

All in all it was a fantastic, jam-packed weekend in Tallinn and it definitely made me realise how much I haven't seen and want to see when I next visit.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with Tallinna Toomkirik in the background.
Taken from Kiek in de Kök tower.

View of the lower part of the Old Town from the viewing platform on Toompea Hill.
 
Where would you like to visit?

Entrance to the Old Town.
 
The old Town Hall.

Photo credits go to my friend Christina who took some great photos whilst we were there.


~~Random Logic~~