The Blog Is Dead, Long Live The Blog

Dear followers and occasional readers of this blog,

yes, ’tis me, in – well, not the flesh per se, but in my full internet form, back after two years of not having posted anything At. All.

Anyone who enjoyed reading this blog (if you even remember anything, because let’s be real, it’s been two years), might be interested to know that, while I’m not picking up Down The Rocky Road again, I have started a new project called Antarctichokes. On there, I will discuss the things closest to my heart – books and bookshops, travel, Ernest Shackleton and other stubborn Polar Explorers that have captured my heart, hazelnut-flavoured Polish vodka, Harry Potter, musical theatre, and more books. It’s exciting and new, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

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https://antarctichokes.home.blog

A lot has changed for me in the last couple of years, and having recently moved to Krakow, Poland, for a semester abroad, I decided it was time to start something new.

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I have loved running this blog, but I feel like I have genuinely outgrown it. It’ll remain online, of course, in case you ever need a recipe for Churros that includes palm-sized, 3rd-degree burns on your forearm. But other than that, this is good-bye, and, as I hope, hello on a new page!

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Last But Not Least: Day Twenty-Two

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Our last day. I was wearing my favourite dress today, and it’s now damp and rumpled; a bit like we are. A bit tired and a bit ready to go home, and a bit sad-looking because we’re not ready to say good-bye. Not to those red doubledecker buses, not to the tea, not to the bookshops. Not to each other.

But, my friend, I have loved being on an adventure with you, loved it so much I wished it would never end. But I think you’re fast asleep, and it’s only another three minutes until tomorrow, and this diary is all that’s left of today. A bunch of words that fail to describe a feeling. Like trying to catch a beam of sunlight.

But, friend, I think we caught it.

So let’s just start again.

(Quote: John Green)

Here’s to all the places we went:

Day One: London
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Day Two: London
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Day Three: London
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Day Four: Winchester
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Day Five: Brighton
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Day Six: Stonehenge
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Day Seven: Oxford
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Day Eight: Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Day Nine: Bath
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Day Ten: Cardiff
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Day Eleven: Bristol
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Day Twelve: Cambridge
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Day Thirteen: Cambridge
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Day Fourteen: Norwich
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Day Fifteen: York
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Day Sixteen: Lincoln
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Day Seventeen: Durham
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Day Eighteen: Edinburgh
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Day Nineteen: Loch Ness
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Day Twenty: Glasgow
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Day Twenty-One: St. Andrews
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Day Twenty-Two: London
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Last But Not Least: Day Twenty-One

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So here is where the fairytale happened. Once upon a time (but really, like, ten years ago) an ordinary London girl (or wherever she was from) met a young and handsome prince (handsome-ish, anyway). They went for long strolls along the beach, they had secret rendez-vous’ on the pier, they went book-shopping at the Waterstone’s store on the main road – and he made her laugh so that she would fall in love with him, but everytime she laughed it was him that fell in love.

I like to believe that’s how it went. That it wasn’t just a pretty girl in her underwear that caught his eye, and that it wasn’t just the prospect of a castle that made him attractive. I like to believe that it was this place that made them right for each other.

I like to believe that today we went somewhere where fairytales are still possible.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

BERLIN STORY (A Berlin Bookshop)

A couple of weeks ago ago I talked about a book called The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell which, in my opinion, is a must-read for every book lover out there!
Some of my my favourite shops I’ve listed in the mentioned post, and everytime I go somewhere new I take this book with me hoping Jen knows a place for me to go. And she nearly always does. (Isn’t that very lovely of her!)

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In May my mum and I went to Berlin for a short holiday, and it was pure awesomeness! The weather was gorgeous, we went out for brunch everyday and I ate more chocolate than I could digest. The bookshop Jen Campbell mentioned in her book is called BERLIN STORY. It’s a store dedicated to books about or set in Berlin. It is located very close to the Brandenburger Tor, so it’s hard to miss if you’re going along the tourist route.

The store, however does not have a very bookish atmosphere to it; it also sells a big variety of souvenirs, so it’s really more of a tourist shopping attraction. However, it’s definitely a go-to place if you’re looking for literature on Berlin.

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Berlin is one of my favourite places on earth, mainly because so much has happened to and in this city, and it’s still standing strong. It has been the center of German social and political life for centuries now; every important person in history has visited at least once, every story told is unique. There used to be a wall separating families and friends and lovers, and in the end they didn’t tear it down – they used it as a gallery and they sell ist pieces to tourists. There is so much life to Berlin. Like a wallflower desperately blooming in the shade and growing through cement. I don’t know how anyone can not love it.

BERLIN STORY is a fine representation of what the city itself holds. There’s autobiographies from people who had breakfast with Prussian Emperors over Jewish women who tried to hold their families together during the Nazi regime, up to modern-day fathers who describe their everyday life putting up with sodding toddlers in the roaring city of Berlin. There’s crime, romance, YA novels, guide books, photography bibles, history books – it’s everything that makes Berlin. It’s the past and the present, it’s the drug-dealing children at the Bahnhof Zoo and the man who lives with a communist kanguruh – it’s everything, and there’s a lot of it.

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I could tell you endless stories about Berlin – Döner tours, attempting to drown a friend in a fountain and having ice cream at midnight with Anna… but for tonight I’ll leave you with this one. The BERlN STORY, if you so will.

What is your favourite city? And is there a favourite bookshop of yours?

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Twenty

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All the people that we watched from the inside today;
Where were they headed? Where do they live? What did they think of the weather, ever changing, ever so unreliable?

All the people that walked past us this afternoon;
Do they think happy thoughts? Have they ever read a story by Dr. Seuss? Have they laughed today?

All those people that we saw and that will never know they were seen;
Maybe a friend walked past, one which I haven’t yet met. Maybe the tired-looking woman with the groceries knows the secret of life; but now she’ll never tell. Maybe the school children would have listened to my stories; now they won’t care.

And it makes me think of all those chances that we miss
By not talking to the people that pass us by.

(Quote: Mike Rosenberg)

Last But Not Least: Day Nineteen

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It’s the Highlands. They make you think there might just be a monster lurking somewhere. They make you think all sorts of things beyond reason. The names of the towns we pass sound like magic spells. It’s wonderful.

Last But Not Least: Day Eighteen

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You’d think The Elephant House were holding more magic.
But apparently the magician was finished with her spells and took her wand and wonders with her when she left. Not even the faintest trace of pixie dust stayed on the old wooden floors, and even if there had – it would be gone now. Stamped down by Japanese pilgrims, by hordes of noisy tourists, by trompeting Potterheads, all in search for something, anything to prove that magic has been created here.

We didn’t see any of it there. I think we found it an hour later at a small bookshop called The Edinburgh Bookshop. Magic needs the quiet, I think. It needs the pages of a book to come to life.

(Quote: Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Last But Not Least: Day Seventeen

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There once was a boy named Harry destined for greatness.

There once was a girl named Inga trying to see the light.

There once was a girl named Noemí desperate to find the magic.

There once were oh so many spells and books and forests filled with magic and wonder, and there once were castles full of stories, and there once were fortresses full of mysteries.

There once were. There are. All the children loving fairie tales and yearning for the pixie dust to take them.

There once was a boy named Harry and he spread light and he promised magic, and it was that which made him not a hero, but a friend who would always be waiting.

(Quote: J.K. Rowling)

Last But Not Least: Day Sixteen

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Today there was a steep hill and a castle. There was a shop that sold dust from space and Berty Bott’s All Flavoured Beans. There was a girl from a Spanish beach, and there were stories. Today was made up of Once Upon a Times, of things that happened a long time ago and have stopped happening, and some things that are still happening. Memories becoming dreams and dreams becoming memories, and a reality interwoven with stories and histories.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

Last But Not Least: Day Fifteen

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I’m wearing a T-shirt that says Buy Me Some Peanuts And Crackerjacks. We’re walking along the moat and we find the ruins of a cathedral. I think I like ruined cathedrals much better because you can actually see the sky, and maybe god sits up there in the clouds or maybe he doesn’t, but the sky is so big and vast and full of wonder that it makes me feel tiny and giddy with joy to be alive. We’re dancing tot he music on the street. We find a bookshop. We have lunch in the backyard of a tiny café. Our laughter is still ringing in my ears. I finally buy my own peanuts. And ice cream. I’m sure heaven is paced with ice cream.

(Quote: J.R.R. Tolkien)