Archive for the ‘Outdoorsy stuff’ Category

A Glacial Adventure

June 12, 2014 1 comment

This guy’s gonna be a long one because I want my oldie self to be able to remember as much of this as possible, so let me give you the bottom line first (hey. I am an accountant after all, okay) – aka

The Top Line: You should go to Norway. And climb a glacier. Asap. (PS Don’t forget to drink glacier water and eat whale and/or reindeer while you’re there.)

I mean, look where we got!!!

I mean, look at this!!!

As previously documented, although I don’t purport to love outdoor activities, I do participate because James loves them, and I end up liking them in the end anyway. I guess I just like to whine 🙂

James had been talking about wanting to camp wild in Norway last summer when we struggled to find places you’re allowed to do it in England, so I decided that it would be a pretty cool birthday present. One of the hardest parts of planning this trip was probably keeping it a secret until March 13! I gave him a map to figure it out because we’re fun like that 🙂

Anyway, a few Fridays ago, it was finally time to set off. It was nice to be able to fly out at 8:45pm because it meant I could still work a full day, which was good since it’s been a bit crazy over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, when I booked the trip, James hadn’t even applied for the Cambridge job yet, so Gatwick wasn’t the most convenient airport for him to leave from, so he had to take the day off so that he could make it down to London and then Gatwick in time (in a relaxed manner). At work, we ended up getting an email from HR saying we could leave at 3:30 if our work permitted, and miraculously, mine did, so I headed off to meet James at a sports shop so I could pick up some appropriate shoes (unlike other hiking or climbing expeditions) for our weekend adventures. I ended up choosing some pretty quickly because they would serve the purpose, they fit and they were only £20. Thanks, Sports Direct. Had to get the hiking socks to go with, of course, though I didn’t know it was an ‘of course’ until I tried to wear the shoes ‘a short distance’ from my apartment to the train station (a 10 minute walk) with just short socks and ended up with a rubbed raw part on my ankle from a shoelace hole. Lesson learned.

We got to the airport and James shrink-wrapped his brand spanking new Osprey backpack to protect it from the trauma of international travel in the bulkhead. We had time to sit for a bit before boarding, so I gave Mummy (who was conducting google image search research on Jostedal(pronounced: Yosstehdahl)) a call to brief her again on our planned locations and activities. Then we had on-board wifi. Sweet.

With the one hour time change, we landed at midnight and just went straight to bed at the Clarion hotel airport so that we could get our rental car bright and early.


In the morning, we headed to Hertz to pick up our rental car. I don’t rent cars often (actually, I’m not sure if I ever have. I think I somehow always weasel my way out of the actual booking part because I get worried about which extras cover what.), so I was a bit shocked to find out that we had to pay 300 NOK because we had booked the car for 8am, i.e. ‘out of hours’ instead of 9am. So that was annoying. But after that, the car was good (upgraded from a VW to some Volvo) and the GPS worked, so no complaints. We headed to Bergen, but since it was a bit early, not many places were open for breakfast/brunch and we needed to grab a bite and head off so we could make it to Flåm in time. We headed to the Fisketorget on the harbour and surveyed both sides of the row to see what the vendors had on offer—smoked salmon on a bagel; salmon tartare marinated in herbs and spices on a bagel; whale on a bagel…plus fresh fish and eel and giant shrimp everywhere. (Our choices, for brunch and the rest, get their very own post elsewhere.) Not to mention the landscape. So beautiful! Mountains! Water! Blue skies and fluffy clouds!

We took a quick spin around the monthly market that happened to be up that day as well — most notably, I got a giant pancake as big as my giant face and we picked up some reindeer meat for our camping sandwiches — and then we were on our way!

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The North Downs Way

May 29, 2014 2 comments

The NDW. The Natasha Dara Way, obviously. James is even the one who said that 🙂 IMG_0659

I don’t think it’s that I didn’t have the foresight to track our 156-mile trek, it’s just that I didn’t have the faith that I would actually follow through and join James on all of it. Is that any better?? But I feel like I’m losing the ability to say ‘I’m a city girl’ even though I still feel that way because now we’ve done five sections of this guy! And I do enjoy it once we’re out there, but I am just never going to be the motivator. So I thought it was as good a time as any (famous last words, hope not) to start tracking the journey we’re taking on Pilgrim’s Way. James has been using a guide to take us through the path, so I’m going to use that guide as a frame for how I keep track. First things first (I’m the realest–though some of us think it’s ‘I’m a realist’ ;)) – The North Downs Way is a ‘long-distance path’ that runs from Farnham to Dover. I thought it was the same thing as Pilgrims’ Way, but evidently not. Still, I like the sign: IMG_9086

Farnham to Guildford

Date: 31/8/2013
Distance: 11.1 miles
Deets: Waterloo station to Farnham station; Guildford station to Waterloo station Walk 1 was great. Really fun, obviously novel for me. We walked 10+ miles today?! Whaaaaaaaat?! Cool!

Guildford to Gomshall to Westhumble

Date: 21-22/9/2013
Distance: ~15 miles
Deets: Waterloo station to Guildford station; Westhumble station to Waterloo station We actually camped this time, so we walked just 2.9 miles to St Martha’s Hill and stayed there overnight in bivvy bags and sleeping bags on sleeping mats (no tents!! “then we can’t see the stars” …mmk) and then started again in the morning, passing Gomshall on our 12ish mile way to Westhumble, where we stopped at a pub, The Stepping Stones, for lunch.

Westhumble to Merstham

Date: 21/4/2014
Distance: 11.6 miles
Deets: Waterloo station to Westhumble; Merstham station to Victoria station This walk started with the aforementioned namesake stepping stones!

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State of my Shoenion

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Heel-o! A warning: today’s post is super frivolous.

Some people accuse me of being a shoeaholic (Hi Papa). This post will probably leave me no room to deny this allegation. But as I broke in my new Blue Shadow Supergas walking home the other night, I thought about how some of these guys have really stuck it out with me (and for some of them, the effort really shows…), so it might be fun (for me) to catalogue them. I do love them dearly after all. So here we go.

The Raindancers

Before London, I had one pair of rain boots that I can remember as an adult. My family definitely remembers those bright yellow guys and tried to pretend to forget me when I wore them. Then I came to London with one pair of rain boots. They were black&white checkered and I have no pictures. They are long gone. Since then, I think I’ve had 5 more pairs. Here are 4 of them, though half are semi-retired unless a guest is in town and needs to borrow a pair (Julie).


Birthdate, city/parents: January 2014, London/Kurt Geiger
Insp/Asp-irations: Sarah G’s wedge rainboots
Greatest accomplishment: trekking up Widcombe Hill in Bath very quickly and then walking downhill through fields #hikinginheels, as they say (Sarah L was simultaneously impressed and not impressed at all)


N is for Natasha, Norway and Nigardsbreen

Birthdate, city/parents: May 2014, London/Sports Direct
Insp/Asp-irations: Panic, emergency purchase before trip to Norway
Greatest accomplishment: CLIMBING A NORWEGIAN GLACIER! One of the coolest (lit and fig, obv) coolest coolest things they (and I) will ever do; getting engaged at the end of the North Downs Way! Are these my most accomplished shoes??

photo 3 (3)

Bows are cute

Birthdate, city/parents: January 2014, London/Dorothy Perkins
Insp/Asp-irations: keepin’ feet dry without hottin’ up the rest of the legs
Greatest accomplishment: having giant mouths but not letting water inside


Birthdate, city/parents: October 2013, London/Aldo
Insp/Asp-irations: people at work have told me I look like someone from some show, but it’s a reference that was over my head that I’ve now forgotten
Greatest accomplishment: attending The Limerick Show


Birthdate, city/parents: Unsure, London/Redfoot
Greatest accomplishment: Being foldable!

The Mile High Club

These shoes, quite appropriately, cradle my weak, weak Achilles heel.


Birthdate, city/parents: circa 2010, Austin/Strut
Insp/Asp-irations: to roam sexily a la Carrie Bradshaw, Season 4 finale en Paris, but without the dog poo
Greatest accomplishment: staying white

Birthdate, city/parents: circa 2010, Austin/Strut
Insp/Asp-irations: I hate peep toes but for some reason couldn’t resist these. Must’ve been a good bargain
Greatest accomplishment: attending a wedding in a Welsh Castle
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