Author Archives: Cecilie

No crocheting or knitting at a KLM flight!

2014-08-27 17.55.05The last month I have started to do some crocheting again. When I was younger I loved to do knit, croche, sew, everything creative. When I got my illness I found I couldn’t do anything with my arms/hands without getting pain. I tried doing some easy crocheting some weeks ago, and it looks like I can handle it, as long as I take it easy.

I also found it was a perfect timekiller when flying. Because my friend did crocheting on the plane from Amsterdam to Cyprus and the flight-attendant even told her how beautyfull her work was, I didn’t think it was illegal. You are also allowed to take the crocheting-needle and knitting-pins (?) through security…  I was wrong…

On my flight from Amsterdam to Helsinki I was told to put away my crocheting (it’s actually kettle-holders) during the whole flight but they didn’t tell me why. I asked over twitter today and got the answer that it’s illegal to use sharp objects on KLM-flights! I will of course follow their rules, but still think it’s strange…. You are allowed to bring it through security, but not allowed to use it in the air?

I have a friend who is a flight-attendant at SAS, and he said they allow both knitting and crocheting at their flights. Different airline – different (strange) rules!

Helsinki airport to Tampere, with train

Getting from Helsinki airport to Tampere is easy, but it takes some time. Because the price vary a lot (between 25-50 EUR), depending on the time you are traveling, I would suggest to book the train in advance.

The easiest way to get from Helsinki airport to the main railway-station is to take the airport-bus. It goes every 20 minutes, cost 6,60 EUR and takes 30 min. There is free wifi on board. For those of you who dislike to take a bus because there’s no toilet there, there’s a toilet at this bus! However I didn’t try or see it, but at least there is one.

We had booked a comuter-train and didn’t know we had to sit in the front, but luckily we paied attention to the speaker and changed train at the next station. Be aware of this!

The train has a toilet in the back, but I am not sure if it worked or not.



THE road-trip: Bergen – Oslo – Bergen, in many ways more challenging than expected!

IMG_8460We started the trip Thursday, around 11. We used Google-map to get the fastest route: To Voss, the new bridge in Hardanger, over Hardangervidda and Geilo and then to Oslo. It said 6,5 hours non-stop driving and we used around 7,5 hours with some small stops and 30 min. traffic-jam to get from the outskrit of Oslo to the hotel.

Hardangervidda, on the way to Oslo

Hardangervidda, on the way to Oslo

It was easy to use Google-map, both during the road-trip, but also when driving in Oslo. Although there were some road-works, actually quite many, the Google-map recalculated fast and efficient. I have a cheap internet-plan on my phone, but another excellent thing with Google-map is that if you load the map and direction when you have internet, you can turn off the mobile-network, and it will still remember and use tha map!

I drove the most, unless 1,5 hours in the middle. It was surprisingly how much faster the time went on when driving myself than when I am a passenger! Because we were eager to come to Oslo we didn’t stop to get any pictures, just a few. I planned to use more time on the return to take pictures and have a relaxing trip as I knew I would be on my own and needed more stops.

I was relieved when we arrived to Oslo and I had managed to drive that far without getting a migraine and my body seemed to have managed well. For a strange reason I had forgotten that my illness works like this: “Do whatever you want to do, I’ll punish you after”. And this was what happened. The weekend ended in an endless migraine-attack. Luckily the medicine worked Saturday evening and I went to a great party celebrating my brothers birthday, dancing and socializing the whole evening! However, I didn’t do any sight-seeing and the only pictures I got was from the hotel…. Well.. That’s life as a sick traveler, I should get used to it!

On the way from Bergen to Oslo, in the end of the trip, we heard strange noises from the brakes of the car. The strange noises continued while we were in Oslo, and they even seemed to get worse. I spoke to several people who knows more about cars than I do (I know nothing…) and they all said the car should be safe to drive home, I should just be careful to use a low gear instead of using the brakes when going down from Hardangervidda, down Måbødalen to Eidfjord. Note that Hardangervidda is the highest mountain plateau in Norway….

I thought about postponing my return and get the car fixed in Oslo, but because I really wanted to go home, I decided to drive.

The main-reason why I wanted to go home was because my son moved to Tromsø the day I returned back to Bergen. I have been quite cool about his move so wasn’t at all prepared to be Mrs. Sad-Sam, but I was…. We are used to travel both with and without him and we are also used to him traveling alone, and I have never been sad about this.

It’s embarrassing to say, but I cried all night and saying goodby was so much harder than I had thought. Needless to say, I wanted to get home and being alone in the car!

I started the return at 10 and the first two hours went well (sobbing and cried my eyes out…). At 12.30 I was tired, had an aching neck and wondered how I would survive the rest of the trip… However I then decided to press myself and take a longer rest at Geilo, around 13.30, but at 13.15 I felt the urge to let the coffee out so stopped at a bus-shred and went back. After all, although there were a bus-stop, I was in the middle of nowhere and I’m from Norway: We are used to use the nature when the nature calls! (Wearing a skirt is a must on a road-trip!)

Unfortunately I am not good in recognizing the Norwegian fauna and I didn’t know I had been in the middle of a meadow of nettles before I returned to the car! Luckily I hadn’t put my behind in the nettles, but my left leg stinged and hurted a lot! I think my body was pumped with adrenaline because I woke up quite quick and didn’t feel the need to stop at Geilo! I rushed past it and over Hardangervidda.

Because I was eager to get past Måbødalen I didn’t stop at Hardangervidda either and started to climb down Måbødalen on the second gear. The brakes made very loud noises and I think I got a new “dose” with adrenaline at this point. I think I drove in 40 km/h, but was so scared I didn’t dare to drive faster! When I got the the end I was so relieved, happy and full of adrenaline that I didn’t feel for a break. I drove to Voss, had a small break and came back home at 17.30.

The trip from Oslo to Bergen is spectaculare and I wished I had taken pictures. Next time! (BUT I will not drive all the way myself! I have proven to myself that I can do it…. )

Road-trip in Norway, Bergen – Oslo – Bergen

As much as I love flying I also like the freedom of taking the car and drive. We have been on several road-trips from Norway, through Europe and to Italy, France and Spain. Usually Mr. No-Backpacker is the chauffeur while I drive the odd hours when he is tired. 

This road-trip, beginning Thursday, from Bergen to Oslo and back home to Bergen will be different in many ways. Mr. No-Backpacker is not going with us so it will be me and our son who will divide the driving in between us. This is also the first road-trip after young Mr. No-Backpacker got his driving-licence. Quite exciting to have a son who can drive eh? Although the most exciting is that he will not go back to Bergen with me as this is also his moving out to study in Tromsø, the very north of Norway.

To return back home alone, driving 8 hours from Oslo to Bergen, is going very far out of my comfort zone, a big step. I like to drive, but I have never driven more than two hours by my own. However this is something I have been thinking of for a long time, that I want to challenge myself to do it and now is the time.

I know a lot of women who take the car beween Oslo and Bergen without doubts and I have always envied them. Not because they actually do it, but because the know they can do it, they know they are not dependent on others, and I think that is the feeling I want to get too. I travel all over the world on my own so why not driving alone too?


Traveling beauty: Skincare and makeup

Ole Henriksen skincareMy previous job was working, as self-employeed, in the beauty-business. I started as a nail-technician 16 years ago. Continued with importing beauty-products: Essie nailpolish, Ole Henriksen skincare and Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics. The last 4 years of my career I traveled all over the world competing in nails, attending tradeshows and networking. I even worked backstage at London Fashion Week!

My profession was nails, but I read a lot about makeup and skincare and even did some courses. Because of that friends and family often ask me what skincare and makeup-products I prefer and about my routines.

Before I started working in the beauty-industry I didn’t know anything about skincare, makeup and even nailpolish and I didn’t wear anything myself. I liked it natural, and I still do.

When it comes to skincare and makeup I would say (just remember that I am not an expert)  it’s more important to think about what to avoid more than “all the good stuff” the manufactures promise to do with your skin. After all it’s limited how much better your skin can become as long as you don’t do any “operations”. If the products contain mineral-oil and/or talc, I can assure you, your skin will not look the best.

I started using Ole Henriksen skincare and Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics. I have tried other products in between, but always return…

I love Ole Henriksens Herbal Day Creme, for both night and day. The best thing is that it contains SPF15. The sunprotector is fysical and one of the best I have ever tried. I never use any other creme in my face as I use this as a sun creme too. Just be aware that if you swim and/or get water in your face, like dripping in your eyes, it will “sting” in your eyes.

For cleanser and tonic I use On The Go Cleanser and Pick Me Up Face Tonic. I like the “clean” and fresh feeling I get after using these two.

The last skinproduct I always use is Total Truth Eye Creme. I know some people swear to use different routines for night and day and I used to do that. However I find it extremely complicated to travel with too much toiletries so I decided to get rid of the “night-routine” to minimize what to pack when traveling.

Ole Henriksen uses cool packaging for his products, but they are not at all travel-friendly. The jars will, sooner or later, crack and so will the bottles. Even the travel-kit jars and bottles. I have bought some small containers from Muji and I always pack my toiletries (and makeup) in my handluggage when traveling.

On long-haul flights I use to “fresh up” before landing: Brush my teeth, wash my face and redo the makeup. I will tell you more about makeup in the next blog-post. Stay tuned!



Vet du at du kan få dekket fysioterapibehandling innen EU og EØS etter samme regler som i Norge?


HELFO sine hjemmesider kan du lese reglene i detalj. Kort fortalt gjelder de samme reglene som hjemme. Dvs. at hvis du har krav på å få dekket fysioterapi helt eller delvis i Norge, vil dette også gjelde om du tar behandling i utlandet. Den eneste ulempen med dette er at du må legge ut for behandlingen selv og deretter søke om å få refundert behandlingen etterpå. (NB! Jeg kan ikke garantere at du får behandlingen din dekket, men iflg. HELFO skal du får det dekket.)

Jeg vet at det er flere fysioterapeuter i bl.a. Spania som dekker opphold om du tar behandlinger hos dem og holder på å undersøke litt nærmere om opphold i andre land innen EU/EØS. Jeg kommer til å oppdatere med informasjon så snart jeg vet mer!

(Because this information is only for Norwegians, it’s written in Norwegian. Use the Google-translate if you want to read it in English.)



Do you dare to bring your own car to France?

IMG_8286Some years ago friends of us were living in France. When they were visiting us in Norway they told us they had sold their car because they were fed up with being anxious of being hit by either other cars or even trolleys at shopping-centers. They said that people just don’t care about their own car, or others. They simply drive until they hit the car in front/back of them. I couldn’t believe it, but I do now…

An hour before the above picture was taken I saw the “French trick” in action: A car reversed until the car in the back rolled and moved around 20 cm!

Our initial plan was to drive our car to Toulouse, but I think I am now happy we didn’t! (However we have had road-trips to Italy, France and Spain, and never been “hit”, so we might have been lucky?)

I have seen parked car like the above in Spain too, so I take it the “French trick” also apply to the Spanish drivers, and maybe Italians too?

Soon to be expat in Hangzhou – China!

IMG_2315From a marked in Beijing

I’m writing “soon to be”, but we are not moving before May/June 2015. However, time flies and in my mind I have started to make a plan. Mostly because we are going to Hangzhou in November and I want to prepare if there is anything I can do/check/bring/whatever regarding the move 6 months later.

“Moving” is not true either. We will be in Hangzhou for Mr. No-Backpackers sabbatical (in Norway the university professors have 1 “free-year” every 7th. year) and the stay will last around 14-15 months. I don’t know where we will live, but it looks like we will have an apartement close to, or at, the campus at Hangzhou Normal University.

Although we have both been to China before, it’s going to be very exciting to stay for such a long time and I must admit that I am also concerned about it. Mostly because of my health-problems. Will my stomach go bananas? Will it be possible to find low FODMAP-food and will I be able to comunicate my needs? What about all my medicines and what if I need a doctor and prescriptions? And at last, since I will not be working: Will it be difficult to get a network, something on my own, not only Mr. No-Backpackers?

Luckily it looks like the weather is better in Hangzou, than at home, in the wintertime. The cold months here in Norway is not good for my joints, tendons and body in genereal, so that is a good thing. If I get a multi-entry VISA I will go home every now and then and that will solve the problems with medicines and prescriptions. We also have Chinese friends in Hangzhou, people who have lived in Norway and speak fluently Chinese and English, so I bet we will be taken care of if anything happens with me.

All in all, I think my main-concern is that I will be lonely and without a network on my own. I have been searchin the internet and it looks like there are several Norwegian companies operating in, or around, Hangzhou/Shanghai. Because of that I assume there will be a small’ish community with Norwegians relatively close to me. I’m on the mission to investigate this topic further.

No, I don’t have a plan on using my time in China only with other expats, but I know, from when we lived in Liverpool, that it can be great to get help and ideas from other expats.

Have you, or are you, an expat? Please tell me about it in the comments!

Restaurant review: SushiShop Toulouse

2014-07-02 18.31.13This, Sushishop, is one of the worst sushi-restaurants I have ever been to.

2014-07-02 18.21.56It’s obvious a take-away restaurant, but they could have offered soya-saus from bottles and cheramic soya-saus trays (these were in PLASTIC!) for their guests eating at the restaurant. The salmon on the nigiri was so thin you could see the rice through the salmon… And the wasabi was thin and had a strange consistence (from a tube?). 2014-07-02 18.22.00This is maki with scampi. Oh Lord (sorry) this is the cheapest (in many terms) scampi-nigiri I have ever seen! Half of the scampi were bread-crumbles and on top of this they had cut the thing in two! You can hardly see any scampi there.

And the worst? It was not a cheap meal…. My advise: Don’t go there!


Restaurant review: YokoSushi in Toulouse

2014-06-29 21.27.42As in Paris, you can find a place to eat sushi on every corner. The first night we had sushi at Yokosushi, very close to our hotel.

As with many sushi-restaurant, this is a small, but busy place. It looks like most of their orders are take-aways. Good for them, but the customers “in-house” suffer because they don’t have time to take orders, make the food and generally look after their guests.

With that said, the sushi and makis are good, but the rice was not “tight” enough (maybe because there were not enough vinegar and sugar?) and because of that it was difficult to eat.

This restaurant has, as many Norwegian sushi-restaurants also have, some strange makis on their menu. Maki with cheese (which has become so common that some people think it’s a real maki….),i with fried onion and for dessert maki with banana and Nutella…

2014-06-29 21.28.05Since I can’t eat onion I didn’t try the maki with fried onion, but Mr. No-Backpacker and his coleagues said it tasted… hot-dog… 🙂

We all had to try the dessert-maki. How it tasted? Well…. Not horrible wrong, but I will not reorder it either! It might have been slightly better if they had used rice without vinegar and sugar because the sourness from the rice  didn’t go with the sweet Nutella.

(Somebody asked me what the dessert-maki was wrapped in. I tried to figure it out, but I didn’t find the answer. It looked and tasted like some kind of very, very thin pankake, but I am not at all sure.)