Thursday, 25 June 2015

Nerdy package in the mail!

Last week I recieved some money and I decided that I deserved some shopping. Yesterday I went to pick up my nerdy package from the post office.

I had ordered the library edition of the Dragon Age comics, the first book in the Dragon Age series, and the first book from Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel Book 1: The Land

I spent yesterday reading through the comics, which I liked but I was done with it so quickly that I felt disappointed. I'm too fast a reader to read comics! :P It was a lot of fun reading about Alistair, Isabela and Varric doing a quest together, though. The comic perfectly embodied Alistair's and Varric's personalities and I loved reading about Isabela's past. Sten is also in it, and a transgender magister from Tevinter. 

I looked through Tales of Tamriel and it seems amazing, lots of lore and other things that I'll probably love just as much as I loved the book that came with the pre-ordered Imperial Edition of ESO

I've been curious about the Dragon Age books for a while so buying the first in the series was a must. It's called The Stolen Throne and tells the story of how Maric and Loghain took Ferelden back from Orlais. Basically a prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, and reading it might give me som insight to why Loghain acted the way he did in the game. 

In any case, I love my new books :)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Busy-bee

I've been a busy-bee since Tuesday last week. But it's been an interesting week.

Tuesday 9th: I got up early to go to Stockholm and my first ever shift at the tourist agency. To my surprise the first customer we got was a Japanese elderly couple, but since I knew nothing yet and was supposed to mostly just watch for a bit while the shift leader showed me the works, I said nothing. I feel a little sad about that, kind of feels like I lost my chance. But on the upside I've seen and heard several Japanese people about town this week so hopefully I'll get more chances! I've been practising my Japanese tourist vocabulary. Anyway, this first shift went really well and afterwards I decided to have lunch at McDonald's before heading back home where I finished reading my book (Eldritch Tales) and watch some more Supernatural S01. I hope it picks up, because I'm not overly impressed with Supernatural yet. Eldritch Tales however was really interesting. It wasn't as good as Necronomicon, obviously, but it had its perks. There was a lot more poetry in Eldritch Tales, and although I'm not very keen on poetry one of my favourite stories in that anthology became a poem called The Poe-et's Nightmare. I also liked The White Ship, Hypnos, Two Black Bottles, and The Electric Executioner. Most stories in the book were too short to really leave an impression, but I still love his style.

Wednesday 10th: I started work at the day centre at noon and had a really nice day. When work was done I didn't go home but went by bus to the train station (halfway there I met up Toni on the bus) and then we went to Stockholm. We were hoping to catch Marilyn Manson playing live at Gröna Lund amusement park that evening. Both of us were skeptic if we were going to make it, since they would close the gates if the amount of people would reach the limit (which isn't all that unusual with big concerts), but we made it. It was terribly crowded and we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we could order food and eat, then we had to wait another 20 minutes to use the toilet before heading off to the stage where we met up another friend. The concert was alright. It had its moments and unlike the last time I saw Manson this time he wasn't high as fuck. But his singing has deteriorated a bit. The songs were still great, though, and the audience was very welcoming. Especially when Manson dared us to throw our bras up the stage. I think he got about 15 bras! xD I was too far back to throw mine, though I seriously considered it :P After the concert I basically fell into bed at 12.30 am.

Thursday 11th: Got up early for a full 8 hours work day at the day centre. Another nice day, especially since I was allowed to leave earlier, which really surprised me. So I decided to use my extra free time to make use of Steam's summer sale. I bought five new games for €7 :P Three point-and-click (Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink, Necronomicon: The Dawning of Darkness, and Vlad the Impaler), one FPS (Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi), and one RPG-ish (Eldritch). I also started up The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II again, which I hadn't played since January-ish when it crashed on me. In the evening Toni and I had our weekly cosy-up-day with sushi, crisps and dip, and a TV show. We caught up on the two Game of Thrones episodes we had missed during prep-for-SRF and Sweden Rock :) And then I fell into bed again at 11.30 pm.

Friday 12th: Got up early for another full 8 hours of work at the day centre. This day was tough. It was just me and another substitute and one of them just wouldn't listen to any of us. At some points during the day I just wanted to crawl up in a corner and cry, but of course I couldn't and didn't. I felt so proud when the day was over and we had made it without any incidents despite the no-listening thing. When I got home I picked a new book to read, another anthology called Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories. It was released for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary back in 2013. I only read the First Doctor story and although I appreciated the references to Peter Pan, I really didn't feel like the story captured the essence of First. So I played some more Van Helsing II and watched some more Supernatural S01, until Toni got home and we watched an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. together before going to bed.

Saturday 13th: WEEKEND! I woke up at 11 am after having slept for 12 hours (working is tough!) and then spent most of the day reading Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories. I really liked the stories for Second, Third and Fourth, then it went downhill again. I did some shopping and laundry and cooking and then continued playing Van Helsing II. When Toni got home we watched two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then we went to bed.

Sunday 14th: Got up early and then read the last three stories in Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories. I really liked the stories for Eighth, Ninth and Tenth. The Eleventh story was written by Neil Gaiman, but I had already read it in his compilation Trigger Warning so I skipped that one. Wasn't too fond of it anyway. Then I watched some more Supernatural before going to bed at 8.30pm.

Monday 15th: Got up at 1 am (yes, not kidding, I do this every week), put on my work clothes, had a sandwich, watched an episode of Supernatural S01, and then went to catch the bus at 2.30 am. I arrived at work at 3.20 am and immediately noticed that the coffee machine was broken, as well as the soda dispenser, and the soda streamer was leaking. No coffee, no sodas, and water on the floor, great. Then I started reading Stjärnklart by Lars Wilderäng. A Swedish post-apocalyptic novel, which starts out with every electronic device getting broken and unfixable. The books selling-phrase on the cover was "Electronics have no immune systems." So there I was reading about society as I know it falling apart due to no electricity and no electronics, while being in a room with broken appliances... The book was suddenly a lot scarier! Work started at 5 am and it went great, and already at 10.15 am we were done and free to go home. As soon as I got home I continued reading. I just couldn't put it down and the next time I looked at the clock on my phone it was 5pm, and I reluctantly put the book down to grab some food and watch an episode of Supernatural. As soon as that was over I went back to my book. Around 8pm I had finished it. Despite figuring out the end punchline in the very beginning, and despite getting sick of the occasional military and wepons drivel that I understand nothing of, and despite the fact that I hated how he killed off characters towards the end, I really liked the book and I can't wait until the sequel is released next month. I watched some more Supernatural until Toni got home. As soon as he was home I fell into bed at 10.30 pm.

Today: Got up early to go to Stockholm and my second ever shift at the tourist agency. Started off great with the new guy not understanding what I said when I introduced myself. Maybe I should just start getting used to being called Ellen, because apparantly that's what it sounds like to stockholmers when I say Elin -.-' Other than that the day actually went impeccably great. We had lots to do and sold lots of tickets and sightseeing cards, by the end of the day the shift leader told us we had the best cash results yet of this season. Felt amazing! Both of us also got complimented on our work so I felt really happy when I headed back to the metro. Instead of going home I took the tube to the university. I had a resit at 4pm and wanted to spend those four hours to last-minute-study like crazy. They're not gonna do that course anymore so this was the last chance ever to resit. I'm hoping I passed, but if I don't it's not the end of the world. It was just a part time thing and I never went to the seminars anyway, because the teacher was not very good at getting her message across. What I failed last time was the seminar part, the part based on the literature went well and I was only 1 point away from passing the damn thing. Hopefully I got that damn point this time. I got home at 7.30 pm and have been clicking around the internet since then, checking out E3 announcements. Still a little annoyed that Bethesda apparantly manages to make Doom, Dishonored 2 and Fallout 4 at the same time, but they can't find time to make Elder Scrolls VI. Guess it won't be around for another 2-3 years then :( At least they announced the Dark Brotherhood for ESO :) And I can always be excited about Dishonored 2 :)

And now I'm going to sleep. Work at noon at the day centre again tomorrow!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Sweden Rock Festival 2015

I've been home for one whole day now, which feels amazing because although you really enjoy it and have lots of fun it's always nice to come home. It's nice to come home and sleep in your own bed, eat things besides fast food, not be outdoors 24/7, not queue for the bathroom, and actually be able to take a shower :P

When I went there I had a lot of bands I wanted to see, in the end I think I saw half of them - but that's the way it is. There's always so much fun crap going on in the camp that you don't really want to leave unless it's a band that you really, really like.

We went there on Tuesday and the weather was shitty. Rainy and cold and windy, but we managed to get the tents up. We left the marquee for some other day since the wind would've destroyed it in a matter of hours anyway.

On Wednesday we went to see Evergrey, but the sound really sucked from where we were standing so we left again after only a couple of songs. Later in the evening we went to see D-A-D, which were okay, but we only knew a few songs so when those songs had been played we left again. There was also a class 1 storm warning for this day and we saw several tents rolling down the lane next to us, having gotten loose from their tethers.

Thursday was my busiest day concert-wise, it's also the day when I managed to burn my face really badly. This day I got to see All That Remains, Steve 'n' Seagulls, Children of Bodom, Slash, Airbourne, and Toto. I had planned on Def Leppard and Ghost as well, but we had so much fun in the camp that I decided against it later. I only knew one song from each band anyway.

Friday we finally got the marquee up and I could sit in the shade all day and cool my burning face. I spent the entire day in camp - the only band I saw was Mötley Crüe in the evening. There were other bands I had heard of playing this day, but I didn't want to risk sunshine for a band I only knew one song by or of whom I had only heard, so... But getting to see Mötley on their final tour was really special, although it wasn't the best concert I had been to and it was really obvious by how much Vince let the audience sing that his vocals really couldn't keep up with the songs anymore. But this is still a milestone in my concert experience.

Saturday we were all very haggard and done with the festival. It was the hottest day yet and we were sleepdrived after only getting 4-5 hours sleep each night. So while I had planned on seeing Judas Priest this evening, we decided to go home early instead. I saw Hardcore Superstar (which was great) and then when the boys left to see Avatar and Five Finger Death Punch I packed mine and Toni's stuff together, so that when they came back from the concerts we were ready to go to the car.

We got home at 2.30 am and just fell into bed.

This year was really good. Last year was better obviously - it let me see Alice again :3 But I had a really great time this year too.

Monday, 1 June 2015

A proper update for once!

This whole getting my blogging business up and running again didn't really work out. But I'm gonna try to make random posts again about my uninteresting life :P Maybe someone will enjoy it. In any case here's something similar to a proper update about what I've been up to the past two months.

I'm tired as all hell. I've been up since 2 pm yesterday. Being up for 29 consecutive hours will do that. And it's no good! I wanted to finish reading my book before tomorrow and that's most probably not going to happen while I'm this tired. Instead I'll probably start up the next first season of some random TV show that I have lying around on my old hard drive, from when I got the ambition to see every show I heard people talk about + some that I hadn't watched in ages. That hasn't been going well, although I'm still trying to catch up and go through everything I have on that hard drive. Thus, explaining the list to the right, I assume. This far, Falling Skies, Orphan Black, Under the Dome and Sleepy Hollow seem the most promising. Most episodes of the first season of Grimm are either boring or laughable. I can't decide if Pretty Little Liars is too girly for me or if I actually like it. After watching an entire season of Merlin I still don't understand what people love about it. I'm still waiting for the 'horror' part of American Horror Story, Fringe was scarier than AHS at times. And Buffy is still as amazing as she was 12 years ago.

The book I mentioned is the second H.P. Lovecraft anthology by Gollancz: Eldritch Tales. I have a little less than 200 pages to go, which I could manage in less than four hours if I wasn't this tired. The last few months I've been reading too little for my liking. I devoured The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith a.k.a J.K. Rowling, which came as a surprise since I wasn't too fond of her first crime novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, but I just couldn't put The Silkworm down and I finished it in a day. Then I decided to take on a challenge (which is probably the reason why I haven't read as much as I'd like): Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Japanese. It took me a month and I kept having flashbacks to being 8 years old. I had decided long before that I wanted to read a proper book in Japanese, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so the obvious choice was a children's book. Stone is by no means an easy book although it's a children's book, but because it's a children's book it has furigana next to every single kanji, which makes reading a lot easier since my kanji is a little rusty. Reading was also made easier by the fact that I've read the same book in English and Swedish about 20 times (not kidding), so even if I didn't completely understand a sentence I knew what it meant either way because I knew exactly what that sentence said in the English and/or Swedish versions.

I've come across a rough patch in ESO, otherwise I'd probably start that up and just lazy play. But as much as I love running through Morrowind, Black Marsh and Skyrim in the Ebonheart Pact, and exploring Summerset Isles, Valenwood and Elsweyr in the Aldmeri Dominion, I am 100% absolutely bored by High Rock and to some extent Hammerfell in Daggerfall Covenant. I don't even know why, but every time I get to Glenumbra my game time wanes, because I get so frickin bored there. I have finally managed to get to the Alik'r Desert, which means I'm through more than half of boring DC. Can't wait to get to AD. Even Craglorn and Cyrodiil are better than DC... I think I'm starting to rethink my goal of having a max level toon in each alliance... I think I'm just gonna go with max level EP and AD. My EP is Veteran 5, and my original AD is Veteran 13, though I'm working on a new AD which is currently on lvl 7 :P I still considered my old AD toon important enough to get to be in a guild group shot at least :)
 Old screenshots of Summerset Isles, Skyrim, Hammerfell, Morrowind, Valenwood, and Elsweyr

In other news I have two new part time jobs. I now have packing boxes on Mondays, then there's a job in health care for mentally disadvantaged people, I'm at one place until Midsummer then I don't know where I'll end up, but hopefully at a place I like! I also got a summer job at a tourist agency, which I'm really excited about and I'm hoping that I get to make use of more than my English this summer. Getting to speak Japanese with Japanese people again would be amazing. And these past few weeks I've actually had to turn down three job offers for more part time jobs. I just don't have enough days in the week anymore. Would you look at that?! Completely unemployed for 1½ years (which I've discovered isn't even considered a long time, but it sure feels like it!) and then the jobs just keep pouring in :P I'm just hoping that my silver lining will be getting my book published, but it's looking rather bleak.

Now I'm off to do some packing. Will spend several hours in a car tomorrow with way too excited people travelling south to spend a total of 6 days on Sweden Rock Festival - camping, drinking and rocking. It's gonna be awesome! :D

Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Book Questions

I need to start blogging more, and what better way to do that than to answer a bunch of questions shamelessly stolen from this blog and freely re-translated into English?

1. If you could travel to a place you've read about in a book, what place would it be?
You have to ask? I'd go to Hogwarts. Besides, by the time I would start there, in 2002, Voldemort and all that craziness would be long over. Too bad I'd just miss Teddy Lupin starting - I'd graduate in summer 2009, and he'd start in September 2009.

2. If you could be best friends with an author, who would you pick and why?
I've answered a similar question before, I think. It's still my firm belief that we never get to see the real people behind the work face, but if I were to go after what I knew of my favourite authors from their social media output - I'd say that Neil Gaiman seems to be a badass awesome dude, and if nothing else our taste in music would definitely match.

3. Is there a quote from any book that has inspired you or changed the way you see things? If so, what's the quote?
I remember crying when I read this for the first time, but I'm not sure if it was because the book was almost over or because I loved it so much, but it has definitely inspired me:
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

4. If you could marry a fictitious character, who would it be?
I always had a thing for Silk in The Belgariad... But I did have a childhood crush on Charlie Weasley as well for some reason. And I think I'm gonna stick with Charlie :)

5. If you could delete a character from a book, who would you like to get rid of? Remember that it might change the whole story.
This is a very hard question, because I can't think of any character that's obsolete. But possibly Sam from American Gods. The book had so many sub-plots that I couldn't keep track of them all, but I don't think Sam was all that important...

6. Have you ever read a book where you wanted more answers and almost wanted to kill the author for leaving the book so very open? If so, what book?
Not really, no. The only times I've felt even remotely close to that is when I finish a book that's in the middle of the series and I'll have to wait months, if not years for the next installment. Otherwise, not that I can remember.

7. What is the coolest name you've encountered in a book? Would you name your kid after a fictitious character?
Jimena. For the longest time that was the coolest name teenage me had ever seen. It's from the Daughters of the Moon series. As for naming a kid after a fictitious character - yes, I'd do that. At the top of the list is Luna.

8. Which is your favourite among classic novels?
The Picture of Dorian Gray.

9. Which was your favourite picture book as a child?
I was a series person already as a child and I absolutely adored a Swedish children's book series about a boy named Alfons. I also loved the classic Elsa Beskow books.

10. Do you buy your own books, borrow from friends or from the library?
I buy them. I always want to keep them after I've read them, so nowadays I just buy books xD

11. Have you ever stolen an insult from a book and used it in real life? If so, how did it go?
Can't say that I have. Except mentally.

12. Which is your favourite insult from a book?
Hah! I'm sure there are some great ones that have made me laugh from time to time, but it's nothing I put to memory.

13. Have you ever tried to send an email or a letter to an author? How did it go?
If I remember correctly I think I sent a letter to JK Rowling when I was about 12-13. I didn't get an answer.

14. Do you have a pile of books you want to read? How many is in it?
A large portion of my book case is in that pile. When I started uni I sadly read a lot less, but I kept buying books. Now that I'm out of uni I'm working hard to catch up on my book case.

15. How many books do you own?
Not as many as I would like ;)

16. Are there any songs that make you think of certain books or scenes from them?
This is War by 30 Seconds to Mars always makes me think of Harry Potter. But that's completely due to this video:

17. Can you name 5 characters whose names startes with an H without looking them up?
I bet you I can name 5 from the same series: Harry, Hermione, Hagrid, Hedwig, Horace, Hepsibah. Done. Oh, that was 6....

18. Do you like the smell of new books? Or old books? Or both?
Old books *_*

19. Do you mark quotes and paragraphs in books with stickies?
Not ordinarily. Sometimes, though.

20. Have you ever destroyed a book by mistake? Or have you actually destroyed a book on purpose?
No, and no :)

21. Have you had a friend who've ruined a book you loaned him/her? How did you react?
Nope, I haven't!

22. Have you ever read a book that affected you so deeply you couldn't start a new one until days later?
The Casual Vacancy, surprisingly had that effect on me. Also American Gods.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

I'm back in love with Elder Scrolls Online!

Sorry for the inactivity here, but I've been keeping very busy. Mostly with work stuff, interviews to go on, part time jobs to go to... But for the past month Elder Scrolls Online has been taking up all of my free time (again)!

When ESO became free to play on March 17th I decided to pick it up again. I played some on my old character, but I soon realised that I felt completely lost with that character, and so I decided to create a new one that will start to serve as my main.

I was seriously worried about F2P and when it was first announced I was angry. I was worried that F2P would ruin the game, that all the little 12 y/o would come rushing in and destroy the game, I was worried that the game would lose its dedicated fans and start to attract people who only play to play and not because they love the series. But I'm so happy to admit that I was wrong. It seems like F2P saved the game. It's amazing to see areas populated again, there are players everywhere and the zone chat is always busy (which wasn't the case when I stopped playing in October last year). Instead of having to wait ages for groups and help with public world bosses, there are always players who respond (though Healers still seem to be in short supply), and that was not the case in October. I'm in love with this game again!

There's something, though. I think they may have made the game easier. It's either that or I have become an impressively better player without playing the game for 5 months. I've encountered quest bosses that I had major problems with on my last character, which I know manage to kill on my first try. It's actually fun that there are so many brand new players now. I used to be the one without any clue how anything worked, now I'm the one giving advice, I'm the one helping people out in the zone chat. That's progress from my side!

It's my goal to have one max level character in each alliance. I still love Aldmeri Dominion, but I created my first new character in Ebonheart Pact, because of the nostalgia value. Running around in Morrowind and Skyrim is wonderful.

My new character is a dark elf templar dps with some support healing skills named Secchan, and she's also a vampire :)

The game has improved a lot. Battle is more alive. No bugs, no gold miners, People are nice and the game is so alive again. And there's more endgame content coming after the game has been released to console. I know that last autumn they talked about adding more single player based content for endgame, so that people would have more to do than just group based Craglorn or PvP in Cyrodiil. Based on the name of the area I'm guessing they will place it in Skyrim. And with ESO Plus they are promising a lot more content. I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Hanami flashbacks

The sakura are currently blooming in Sweden and all my friends are posting pictures of it on their blogs and Facebook walls, and all that does to me is giving me flashbacks.

Flashbacks to the hanami we went to in Ueno (twice):

Flashbacks to the hanami we went to in Meguro:

Flashbacks to the hanami we went to at the Imperial Palace:

So mostly, all those pictures of sakura are making me nostalgic.

Press subtitles for actual English subs :)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A week in Spain!

I got home about 2 hours ago. On Sunday, April 5th, Toni and I got on the train to Malmö. This year my mum turned 50 and she didn't want all the attention. So instead she took my dad, my sister, me and Toni on a trip to Spain to get away from all the fuss. It has been great, except for the bad luck we had with the weather. Murcia, the place we went to, generally has about 25 degrees and sunshine at this time of year (that's Sweden in three months' time). We arrived to a week of 15 degrees, clouds, wind, and rain (that's us in a few weeks-a month).

Monday, April 6th: We got up at 3am in the morning. At 4am we packed ourselves into a taxi and went over the bridge to the airport outside Copenhagen. At around 6.30am our plane took off for Spain and we arrived without any fuss less than 3 hours later at Alicante airport. From there it was about 1 hour by taxi to Murcia. Apparantly they don't have big taxis in Spain so we had to take two cars. For some reason I was deemed the most proficient in Spanish out of my, my sister and Toni so I had to be the one to sit next to the driver. (I took one semester of university level Spanish at 50% in evening time). We had some communication problems. We soon figured that I, in no way, knew enough Spanish to hold a conversation. The driver knew no English and his French was really bad. So there we were. He tried to say things with words that he knew were similar in French and English and I tried to say what little I remembered. In the end our entire conversation covered the fact that we were from Sweden and that we had been in Spain once before (apparantly the Canary Islands don't count as Spain). We arrived at the hotel around 11am, and managed to check in a couple of hours early because my dad knew the receptionist. He has been to Murcia about 12 times by now :P So we got to our rooms and then we had a couple hours' rest. Well deserved, but apparantly not enough because after we arrived to the hotel my memory of what we did with the rest of the day has vanished. But I believe that this was the day I found amazingly beautiful notebooks in a shop called Ale-Hop for €5 each. I bought two. One of those books would easily cost over €10 in Sweden.
This is probably also the day our meal times were completely jet lagged. In Sweden we usually have lunch between 11am and 1pm. In Spain they tend to have lunch from 2pm. In Sweden we usually have dinner between 5pm and 7pm. In Spain it's apparantly early to want to eat at 9pm! We held off until 7.30-8pm, but then we managed to find a restaurant that was open. We asked if it was ok and since they said yes we went in and ordered paella. I love paella. In the end of the 90's when we were at the Canary Islands once a year I remember eating it every single evening. We were done eating and going back to the hotel by 9pm. I fell into bed almost immediately.

Tuesday, April 7th: We had breakfast at the hotel around 8am. Bocadillos, green tea and orange juice. Then we took a small rest until about 11am before going out to see the town. This day there was a spring festival going on and so there was a lot of festivities all over town. The festival was typical to the region of Murcia and wasn't happening anywhere else, which is cool.  The first thing of note we saw was this group of people playing drums:
video
Then we went to the plaza by the cathedral to have coffee and found them carrying this big doll/statue/thing up the stage placed in front of the cathedral. I got up to take pictures when they started to carry it inside the cathedral.
For the rest of the day we walked around town. Had tapas for lunch and as far as I remember more tapas for dinner. Then we went to wait for the parade. It was supposed to start at 5pm according to the paper. We were placed somewhere halfway through. It was so cold to stand around and wait in the wind and occasional rain. A full hour later we saw the parade in the distance coming closer. It was really cool to begin with and I was really excited. I used up my last five frames on my Polaroid camera. But it turned dull. It just went on and on. Seemingly without an end. A whole hour later the parade still wasn't ending, but by then it was pretty much just horses and mules, and the novelty of mules wore off quickly, so we decided to leave it there and return to the hotel to get warm. Here are some pictures and a short video from the parade:
video

Wednesday, April 8th: Today we were awoken by a whole marching band orchestra tuning their instruments outside our room window.
My dad had a business meeting in the morning this day so the rest of us had to entertain ourselves while he was away. We went to El Corte Inglés where my sister found a new spring jacket and Toni found some new spring shoes. I tried on an awesome skirt, but apparantly Spanish women are very tiny -.-' Anyway, around lunch time my dad caught up with us outside El Corte Inglés and after dumping our stuff at the hotel we went to check out the covered market. I find those really cool, with lots of meats and fish publicly displayed. I'm fascinated by the whole octopuses and the whole by flayed rabbits. I'm weird like that, I guess. Then we went outside to explore some more - like the old Murcia city wall and the Botanical Garden. Inside the Botanical Garden we found some machines for exercising that we had a lot of fun with. We also had lunch there.
1) Old city wall, 2) Botanical Garden 3) & 4) Exercise machines
In the evening we met up with my dad's friend and his wife and had dinner with them at the restaurant just next to the hotel. It was another tapas evening, but the friend ordered everything he knew was special to the region of Murcia and made sure we got to taste all the specialties. The star of the evening was most definitely leche frita - "fried milk".

Thursday, April 9th: Toni and I wanted to sleep in today so we skipped hotel breakfast and went to buy drinking yoghurt and crackers from the supermercado close by. For this day and the next we had rented a car and today we went up the mountains to Archena, to visit Balneario de Archena. It's a huge spa place, but since we didn't manage a booking we didn't get to take part in the massages and saunas, but rather were stuck in the swimming pools. But they were really cool. There were two of them, both partly outdoors and partly indoors. The larger one had jacuzzis and relaxing spots in it, but my favourite part was where they had added fake streams in the pool so you could practically just float/glide along a decided route. I float/glided a lot that day.
On our way back home we decided to stay in a village called Molina de something something to have lunch. We found this cute little place owned by an old man. He was very delighted to have tourists in his restaurant and every time we said we liked something he wanted us to try something else, so we had to tell him to stop serving us food xD But his tortilla de patata was amazing. He also served the best calamares I had ever tasted.

This morning I also discovered that two gateways close to our hotels had been painted as Van Gogh paintings. The first one I saw was only because it reminded me of my absolute favourite 11th Doctor episode: Vincent and the Doctor. I obviously had to take pictures.
In the evening when we tried to find a place to eat we discovered that it was very difficult to cross the street. Another parade was happening. And that's where the marching band orchestra came in. A Russian and a Czech marching band were both staying at the same hotel as us.

Friday, April 10th: Today we took the car to Cartagena. First we went to Museo de Naval, which I found very exciting. I love naval history, old sailing ships and stuff! Although, very little was in English I learned some new things about submarines! And I also discovered an old-fashioned diving suit that looked ridiculously like a Big Daddy from BioShock.
 Big Daddy old-fashioned diving suit + Big Daddy art
Beginning of submarine timeline + awesome model of sailing ship
Next we went to the old Roman Theatre. Also in Cartagena. This was really cool! I had never seen any Roman structure IRL before so this was something I was really looking forward to. I find it amazing that so much of it is still standing well over 2000 years later. I managed to find a loose stone in the wall surrounding it and brought it with me home.
 The most inclusive picture I took of the Roman Theatre + brochure & rock
We then had lunch at an Italian restaurant (I have never appreciated pasta so much after several days of tapas), got back inside the car and moved on to La Manga - also known as the only place in Spain where they have commercials in Russian and Danish. La Manga was a bit creepy due to there not being many people there. But it's probably due to the fact that a lot of the houses there are owned by other Europeans who might not live there full-time. The lagoon was really nice, though and we found lots of pretty seashells. Also took some shots of the Mediterranean since it was just on the other side of the road. La Manga is built on a slim sleeve of land that stretches between said lagoon and said sea.
 The lagoon + the Mediterranean
We then got back and tried to find some place to have dinner. Which proved difficult due to yet another parade. (Yes, we were pretty sick of parades when we got home)

Saturday, April 11th: I really don't remember much from this day except that we celebrated my mum's birthday in the evening. I think we just went about Murcia. I remember having tapas for lunch and I got to taste pulpo for the first time. I also managed to catch a few things from the carts in a parade from which they threw tiny toys (mainly whistles which the kids terrorised the city with).
In the evening we went to the same restaurant next to the hotel where my dad's friend took us. Dad had told them on beforehand that it was my mum's birthday. So we had a nice shrimp/avocado/salmon salad/cocktail thing for entrées. It felt like the most Swedish dish we'd had in almost a week. Then we each had meat for main course. Mum and Dad had pork, my sister and I had lamb, and Toni had beef. A whole farm on the table! Here's my mum looking pretty in the prank glasses my dad bought her :P

Sunday, April 12th: Today we did some last day shopping. I found an awesome skull shaped bottle of vodka at a gourmet shop that I absolutely had to buy. At that same place I also found strawberry daifuku which I was ridiculously happy about.
 Strawberry daifuku + the final harvest of alcohol from this trip: my fancy skull bottle in the middle.
After our shopping we went to the cathedral to have a look inside. It was extremely majestic, and very different from what churches I've known. Mainly because Spain is Catholic and Sweden is Protestant. I had never seen a confessional IRL before for example. A service started while we were there and I was so hoping for swaying incense and choir boys. But no. We stayed to watch for a while, though, but it was not so different from what I had seen in Sweden without the incense and all that fluff :P It's too bad that photography wasn't allowed inside the cathedral because it was amazing. Here are some pictures from the Internet:
In the evening we repacked our bags and fretted about over-weight luggage on the plane. Then we went to bed early because we had to get up before 7am the next day. I also started to feel sickly this evening.

Monday, April 13th: We got up early and had a last breakfast at the hotel. The same taxi dudes from the first day came by to pick us up again and drive us to Alicante airport. I nodded off on the way and slept most of the time. We bought some more things at the airport, but our gate was announced pretty quickly and we got on the plane very soon. I munched on sour Skittles the whole trip, except when I was sleeping. We got back to my parents' place in the late afternoon and immediately left again to pick up the family dog from my dog-sitting grandparents. Apprantly the dog had been very mischievous while we were gone :P Being on the road almost the entire day had made Toni and I very tired and so we went to be early.

Tuesday, April 14th: Got up, repacked, put away our beds, watched a lot of TV, went to the bus, had beloved and much-awaited sushi for dinner, re-exchanged currencies, got on train, got home, unpacked, and now here I am. I'm feeling more sickly then two days ago. My head is all foggy and my nose is all stuffed. Great :/ Just my luck to get a cold as a souvenir!

Upside is I get to spend the whole day tomorrow playing games. I got ideas for awesome new characters!