I visited Taiwan and learned of the Sunflower Movement in September 2016
‘Oh yeah,’ he said as I showed him the picture. ‘There is always some kind of protest going on now. Many people oppose the stance the government has taken towards China’ he continued. His English quite good for a Taiwanese. Sometimes he searched a little for what to say, sometimes he had to ask his girlfriend for a word in English, but most of the time he had no problem conversing.
I visited The Ukrainian Genocide Holodomor Memorial in January 2017
It was so cold. The temperature was slowly creeping down towards -20° Celcius. Every now and then a gush of wind would come, making it even colder. I tucked myself as far into my jacket as I could, wrapped my scarf around my face, only my eyes were uncovered. Kept walking down the snow covered road. I was on my way to the Ukrainian Genocide Holodomer Memorial, a 45 minute walk from my apartment. I could have taken the bus but just love walking through new and unexplored cities. Even in freezing temperatures I refused to take the bus. There was just so much to see.
I would start every day with an espresso at Caffe’ del Duomo on the square just outside our apartment. The sun was up, warming up the air slowly. It was so nice to sit down in a chair, relax, enjoy a cup of coffee. The town was still quiet, but starting to wake up. A few people hurried by on their way to work, tourists waking up early passing by on their way to the next site. Walking the old Via Appia, that old Roman road. It was not that warm yet, but you could feel the temperature slowly rising. Eventually I took my jacket off, a t-shirt was enough. A coffee in the morning, outside, watching the city come to life. What a great way to start the day.
Iceland, that small island all alone up north in the Atlantic ocean. A country of vikings, sagas, volcanoes and geysirs. A country that almost took over the financial world before being dragged back down by the 2008 market crash. A country where a volcano grounded almost all European air traffic for weeks. And a country where one of the great showdowns of the Cold War happened, over the chess board that is. It might be a small country but it is a country with a long and proud history.
Balkan Ghosts: a Journey Through History by Robert D. Kaplan
I read Balkan Ghosts by by Robert Kaplan in October 2016
Balkan Ghosts is part travel book and part history book. The author, through his travels, is able to tell the history of the Balkan area, mixing his own experiences in with the story of this fascinating region. Completed in 1990 and published three years later, it is a book about the Balkans before the horrible wars of the ninetees, when Nationalism and corrupt politicians set old Yugoslavia on fire. The book did not sell well at first, but saw an increase in popularity when Presiden Clinton was seen with the book. In fact, the book is said to have made up Clinton’s mind not to deploy troops to aid the Bosnian Moslems, a choice the author actually disagrees with.
I visited Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei in September 2016
I had seen the building from the Observation Deck at Taipei 101. A large, traditional Taiwanese building. A shrine or a museum or memorial to something I guessed. It was not far from the tower, it was still early in the day. I had plenty of time to go and see what it was and decided to do so. I love to travel without plans, just do what I feel inspired to do in the moment. This time my inspiration took me to the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
I visited Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei in September 2016
It was hard to miss the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. A massive building towering over the park around, clad in shining white stone that sparkled in the sun shine. The Memorial Hall shone like a beacon, beckoning me to come closer, come inside. It would be cooler there as well. The heat was almost unbearable by now. Way too hot for a Norwegian.
In 1756, seven bottles of Japanese soy sauce were imported to the city of Trondheim, Norway. These bottles, made at Arita kilns, stamped with the words JAPANSCHZOYA, were brought to the artificial island Dejima in Nagasaki bay, where they were bought by the Dutch East India Company for export. Eventually they ended up in Trondheim.
In 1991 Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia seceded from the Yugoslav Federation. In response the Yugoslav Army (JNA), by then mostly run by Serbs, started an offensive on the three countries. The pretext was to protect local Serbs living in in of the three countries. The war in Slovenia, JNA’s first target would be over in days, Slovenia successfully claiming its independency, while the war in Bosnia and Croatia would drag on much longer.