Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

The Oddity of Time

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I have fond memories of pointless, rambling, never-ending conversations in my university cultural studies classes where we would discuss a topic of grandiose proportions, ducking and diving between ideas, concepts and beliefs. I used to love these discussions because they would take up the entire two hour class and we wouldn’t really have to do anything. The topics would range from the meaning of life; the impact of gender; religion; whether or not nudity was bad… Strange things, really. One topic of discussion that was quite frequently raised was the concept of time and space, and over the last two days I have had moments of “Time is a weird thing.” Let’s discuss.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, France changed back into winter time. Before I went to sleep on Saturday night, I turned my clock back and instantly gained an hour! What surprised me was before I went to bed, I googled to see what time the the big all-knowing, official clock would actually change, and discovered that it depended entirely on what country I was in. There wasn’t a single hour where all clocks across Europe and America would shift. It was 3am for France and Germany but 1am for Greenland and some of Portugal. The rest of Portugal changed at 2am. Jordan changed their clocks last Friday. I then read a news article stating that Mr Cameron is contemplating setting Britain’s time to be the same as Central Europe. But England has Greenwich mean time! They can’t change! That would be weird because would Portugal and Spain change as well? How can humans fiddle with time so easily? I guess we invented the idea, so we can decide how it works.

We spent Sunday in a state similar to jet-lag. Now the sun is up at 7am (I could see where I was going this morning on my run) and it sets by 5.30pm. I wanted to eat dinner so much earlier than usual and I had to sit around and wait until it was an appropriate hour. By 4pm, it had started to get dark and I felt the urge to return home. Considering only a few weeks ago, we could sit outside in the sunshine until at least 8pm, this change is quite dramatic. My entire system is confused and I know it will take a few days to get back into a rhythm.

To push things even further, this time fluctuation has clearly played with my mind so much that not only did I gain an hour yesterday, but I appear to have gained a day today. I spent all of yesterday CERTAIN that it was the last day in October and that (Monday) would be the first day of November and I would therefore have to start writing my 50,000 words for Novel Writing Month. Not the case! The old 31st October has crept up on me and surprised me with ghouls and ghosts and pumpkins. Not that I mind. Any extra time is always welcome when long plane flights back to Perth are looming in the distance.

Highlight #2

Monday, June 20th, 2011

I promised three highlights and so far have only delivered one. That’s shocking. Here’s your second:

Germany

Our trip to Germany involved staying at Tom’s Oma’s house in a suburb of Koblenz with his Oma (we didn’t kick her out) and his parents who are currently touring Europe. Koblenz is in a particularly nice location – Nero Claudius Drusus picked a good spot when he established Koblenz as a military base in 8BC (information stolen from Wikipedia.) It sits where the Rhine and Moselle rivers join so it is surrounded by water and green valleys full of castles. Hence my highlight of Germany was our daily drives along the rivers.

We hired a Hyundai I20 and everyday we’d pick a place to go and drive there, spending as much time as possible avoiding the autobahn and driving along the rivers. The views are just spectacular – driving along the curving river edge with green hills on either side, blue skies (generally) and then the odd castle scattered high up on the hills. One of the highlights of this highlight is when we went to a town called Boppard and took a chairlift to the top of one of the hills. The chairlift took 20-odd minutes to reach the top and you had plenty of time to take in the views.

chairlift
Check this out!

The rivers are very well used – the sun was shining so there were people out and about on bikes or walking, hundreds of boats were going up and down the river and every town has cafes and bars open for visitors. Plus there are castles on every side of the river that are open to tourists. Slightly different to the Swan river. One day we sat and had a beer at the top of a castle and watched the sun slowly going down. The castle was built sometime around 1300 and the beer was brewed locally. Now that’s good stuff.

Beer and castle

Ahhh...

Crete, Glorious Crete

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

I’m feeling a bit ‘bler’ at the moment, largely due to the fact that my three-week holiday is about to come to an end. Sure, I’m going to be flying back to Paris which is hardly the end of the world, but it was nice to escape the craziness of that city for a little while. We’ve spent three weeks travelling between three quiet, calm and generally relaxing places – a fishing village in Holland, a city full of old people in Germany, and a beachside/mountainside/resort town in Crete.

Crete is always a highlight – no where in the world wows me with its landscapes as much as this island. From powerful, impressive gorges and cliffs to oceans the colour that you only thought appeared in high-definition movies. In between you come across scraggy rocks with tufts of spiky grey-green plants and then lush forests with waterfalls and bright flowers. Considering they had snow here in winter, Crete seems to be where all possible landscapes and weather conditions join.

We have to catch a plane first thing tomorrow morning so we are spending the night in Heraklion, the capital city of Crete. We’re avoiding spending too much time there as it is hectic, hot and full of tourists. I think we’re leaving at a good time though – the European tourists are starting to arrive in full swing, ready to drink cocktails and get their summer tan. Time to head back to Paris where everyone is leaving for their holidays at the beach. Plus I have a job interview on Tuesday morning so I have to get back and face reality. Let’s just say the idea of talking about how good a writer I am in French is somewhat daunting. I figure if everyone reading this crosses all of their fingers and toes then that should be enough crossed digits to get me through. Thanks.

Location Update

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Greetings to all.

I am currently sitting in a sunny upstairs bedroom at Tom’s Oma’s house in Koblenz. I have already spent one week in Medemblik, Holland, with my parents and have a few more days in Germany before we head to Crete. Much fun has been had, bikes have been ridden, trampolines have been bounced and mud has been walked. One of the highlights that I will have to write about later is when my mum’s cousin and his family took us to the most northern point in Holland and made us (yes, FORCED us) to walk out into the North Sea. Thankfully, the tide had gone out, but it left behind a very muddy seabed which completely ruined my shoes. It’s a long (and good) story that needs to be told at a later stage when I’m not hungry and thinking about breakfast. In the mean time, I invite you to visit my Flickr site to see my photos. I’m putting them up slowly when I have free moments and access to internet.

Ooh breakfast calls!

And the Times, They are a Changin’

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

It is currently 11.21pm on Saturday 26 March. In two hours I will be asleep AND time will jump forward by an hour like some sort of time warp. Tomorrow is the start of summer time, which is exciting because it means the start of long evenings, glasses of wine and evening picnics by the canal. What more could you want?

Of course, if I were to start thinking like a typical Perthian I would be scared of this impending time change and be worried about the INTENSE HEAT that I will now be exposed to and the INCREASED RISK of cancer due to more time in the sun. Perhaps I will just spend all of summer inside so as not to put myself at risk. <—- That was sarcasm, by the way.

Oh Dear.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

I like snow and all but I’m crossing all of my digits that the extreme European weather calms down a bit in the next 41 days. I’d quite like my plane to be able to land safely at Charles de Gaulle airport rather than not. I’m not sure what is worse – an excessively white Christmas or the current forecast for Perth of 38 degrees on Christmas Day. Hmm… bring on the hot weather, I say.

Paris Snow Dome

Why can't it just be oh-so-pretty like this?