Welcome! Honest Lies is the personal site of a 24 year old graduate electrical engineer living in the UK. Covering every day life, books and various other randomness. Read more about me and the site here.

Copenhagen Day 3

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Monday 10th October, 10.31pm

Today it was raining heavily, but at least it was slightly warmer. My sister and I started our day by visiting the National Museum. Or rather, trying to. It was unexpectedly closed. My sister was so bummed, because she had done the research and nowhere had told her this would happen. Seeing her feeling so responsible, I tried to cheer her up by suggesting a visit to a nearby church that was mentioned on the walking tour as being worth visiting. Alas, it was closed too. Wet and now both bummed out, we headed on to Rosenborg Castle, which was thankfully open. It is older than Christiansborg, and was much more dour, but still interesting. We got to see the crown jewels!

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Rosenborg Castle from the outside

Then we made our way to Nørreport Station where we would part ways, my sister to go and pack and get ready to go to the airport, and myself to the National Aquarium Denmark. My sister was heading back home to the UK whilst I would be carrying on my holiday in Germany. Before that, we hunted down someplace to get lunch and found ourselves at an amazing cafe “Cafe au Lait”. I had crispy ciabatta with egg, salad, crispy bacon and dressing. It was a hefty amount of food, but utterly delicious. I also broke my diet in four ways (milk, coffee, alcohol and cream) to have a Bailey’s latte which was amazing and probably all the more amazing by being so sinful. The cafe was quiet and the woman who was running it was very friendly. She recommended us the apple pie as a dessert, and we shared it as we were both quite full – but too tempted to say no! We then parted ways which was pretty sad. I was enjoying spending time with my sister and wished she was going to Germany with me :(

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Delicious Lunch from Cafe au Lait

I took the train from Nørreport Station to the aquarium – which was actually pretty close to the airport… really quite far out. The aquarium was amazing though. They had these digital touch displays where you could explore what habit they had modelled the aquarium on and what fish were in it. I saw a lot of fish you can buy as a home aquarist like cichlids, discus and tetras! They, of course, had a shark tunnel you could walk through. I had so much fun. (Also, outside the aquarium you could look across and see, just about, The Bridge to Malmo i.e. the one from the TV show. YES)

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National Aquarium Denmark

Getting back was not as much fun as the train was a little delayed (only 3 minutes, but still this is Europe I didn’t know they could get delays here! ;) ) I went back to the hotel…I was staying in the same hotel but in a different room. The new room in the hotel is so much better. To no one’s surprise a more expensive room is of higher quality. Although being right above the bar meant I would face a lot of noise later on. Anyway, I got to see my sister again! I got back to the hotel and her stuff was there. Which freaked me out a little, as I couldn’t see her anywhere. Then I remembered she said she wanted to go eat at the hotel bar before leaving. I ran down to restaurant downstairs and found her preparing to eat supper. As she has no checked in luggage and the trains are frequent she was having a relaxed start to her travels back/was leaving later. (Imagine trying to pull the same thing off in the UK…no chance! A 3 minute delay would be magical, here.) We ate supper together then I walked her to station to actually say goodbye :(

I am off to Hamburg tomorrow…no idea how the journey is going to work and quite nervous :/

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In a World Without You

A life update.

I went to see Bastille in concert recently. They were supported by Rationale. Thank you Bastille for introducing me to such a powerful, soulful voice. I was disappointed to find out afterward that Rationale won’t be releasing an album until next year, which means the songs I heard are unreleased? I am confused. Anyway, after Rationale Bastille came on stage and played a great mix of old and new songs. They played some of my favourites like Laura Palmer, The Draw and Of the Night. Although they skipped out their fabulous city high cover of What Would You Do?, which made me sad. I went with my sister, who had seen Bastille before they were famous (my sister is an unintentional hipster) and it was interesting to hear her talk about how before they were barely filling the standing area, when now the whole arena except for one block was packed. The lead singer was constantly wandering around stage and weaving into the crowd, which was a bizarre game of where’s Wally, followed by two massive bodyguards. He had nothing before, my sister claims. The concert was too short. It was massive fun. And although I didn’t get a chance to check out their latest album before going, I’ve bought it since, intrigued by what I heard. I’ve been looping the album daily since and I like it, though not quite as much as their first. Though to be honest, the bonus disc of Bad blood probably contains some of their best work. I’ve also been looping my videos of Rationale and waiting impatiently for his new album – which I’ve got preordered. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert, and it was good fun. The crowds were intense though, and I don’t think I could have coped with that aspect without having my sister next to me.

My sister stayed at mine for the night then the next day we went to see our parents together, where I was to stay for the weekend. I wanted to go back to see my cat…wasn’t there. I needed to see she was gone. It was weird though, being home without her there. I kept looking for her – instinctively scanning every room I entered, looking out the window to see if she was in the garden, looking up at every noise, wondering if that was her, jumping off one of the beds upstairs, or something. I couldn’t find her and I couldn’t make sense of it. I still can’t stop thinking about her, missing her. We received her ashes back from the pet crematorium recently, and we ordered a small memorial stone for her today. It really is tiny, just a little piece of slate engraved with her name. We will bury her beneath the azaleas were she spent her last days, and place the stone to mark the grave, subtle and not fussy, just something to honour her. She was our first proper pet. My first pet. I didn’t realise that I had beliefs about death or what comes next, and I am surprised by how strong some of my feelings are when it comes to how she should be laid to rest. Like, I desperately want to bury her with her nametag, and some of her favourite things. I want her to have them with her for…later. I didn’t know I held that belief. My family probably thinks I am a little crazy.

My sister recently got her own cat, and I am a little jealous. I’m not sure what is too soon for a new cat for myself, but I know I do want another one at some point. There is a cat shaped hole in my heart. I cannot have my own though, due to my rental contract, so I am relying on my parents to want another one. I am slightly jealous of my sister for having her own house now, and having the freedoms that come with it. It can be hard to have an older sibling, to see them ahead in the future, living out the life you are still working towards.

I have really been so gloomy since my cat died. I thought, I wanted, to come back from holiday happy and relaxed, but my cat’s death shook me and uprooted me. I lost my way for a little while, and I am only just putting the pieces back together. I have started my happiness journaling again, I am watching my diet more closely (I stopped eating for a time after my cat died, subsiding mostly on random binging episodes of much junk), and am cleaning up the house, getting that all back together.

I miss her too much.

Copenhagen Day 2

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Sunday 9th October 2016, 9.58pm

Today started out quite late as nothing opens very early here and we were confident our plans didn’t require an earlier start. Today we wanted to go to the National Museum, Christiansborg Palace, do a free walking tour and go to the Copenhagen street food indoor market. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that a museum we wanted to go to on Monday closed on Mondays until this morning, so we had to have a small reshuffle in our plans and include a bit more journey time as we’d have to go out our way to include it. We took out the National Nuseum and decided to go to the other museum today after the palace and before the tour.

We got going, buying a packed breakfast from the hotel and a smoothie from a cafe for brunch. Danes are so health conscious. Salads, alternate diets and juice bars are everywhere. (Even the convenience stores sell paleo bars and gluten free snacks!) I wanted just a normal fruit based smoothie and the menu was packed with green smoothies (even ones with peas!) We found one that was just juice and fruit and it was very expensive and not so great? The juice bar I go to at home mixes sorbet into their smoothies for a thicker, creamier texture. This smoothie was more watery and slightly bitter.

Anyway, we ate huddled on a bench along the way. Which was no fun. It’s so cold here.

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Christiansborg Royal Reception Halls

Then we carried on to Christiansborg Palace where we explored the Royal Reception Halls. It was stunning. The rooms were large, bright and airy. It felt modern and fresh, and honestly you could see people using it and enjoying it. I loved the way that you could see into all the rooms through the doorways, and the way that so many of the items had been repurposed from something else- oak flooring from a sunken ship, dining table from the queen’s staircase of the second version of the palace which burnt down (there were about five previous versions of the palace , all of which had been destroyed) etc. In the great hall they had put up a series of modern tapestries commissioned in 1990 and completed in 2000 (commissioned for the queen’s 50th birthday and ready by her 60th!) And although the bright colours and bold, modern designs weren’t my thing I thought it was a fun touch that added to the sense of usefulness and modernity of the place. Also it took a team of sixty ten years to create them which woa

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More Christiansborg Royal Reception Halls

Afterwards we walked to the David Collection. From the outside it looks like a small museum, but inside was a labrythinth of ancient Islamic art. Unusually, they provided tablets for us to get English information on the items. We hovered over a point on the collection casing or on the wall near the casing and this brought up text to read. We barely even got through one floor in two hours. It was so interesting. I know nothing of Islam or the influence of Islam on western culture so this provided a fascinating insight. The ceramics, tapestries and other cloth work was so beautiful in particular. Everyone else there was quiet and interested. The staff were nice. The information provided was detailed and informative. It was a lovely place and it’s a shame we only got one floor done. But honestly, there’s so much to see (and read!) I don’t think even a full day would be enough to get the whole place done.

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Various random shots from the walking tour

We then walked to the meeting point for the walking tour. The walking tour was quite interesting. They pointed out the statues under the water of the canal- very creepy! – which are based on a traditional Danish fairytale Agnete and the Merman. The statues show the merman and his children reaching out to land, as if calling to their lost wife/mother. Apparently in the winter when the canals freeze over, all you can see of them are their fingers or part of their hands. D: The tour carried on to Christianshaven, where we could see the gamblers church (so called because the German merchants who built it could not get government funding for its construction, so raised the money themselves by opening gambling halls), and the Church of our Saviour (traditionally the church spires are built clockwise as a defense mechanism, giving the defender room to swing their sword but the offender would hit the wall, but this was built anticlockwise in protest) and some of the older buildings that exist there, ending at Christiana Freetown. I didn’t feel comfortable going into Christiana Freetown but my sister wanted to go so I reluctantly followed her. It was uncomfortable. Afterwards we checked out Noma – why not- and then went to get street food at the Copenhagen Indoor Street food market. It was not as cheap as the name would imply but it was tasty. I had bibimbap, Danish apple pie and lemonade. Yummy.

We walked back to the underwater statues to see if they would be lit up. They were, but not particularly dramatically. Then back to hotel. Last day tomorrow…
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Taking pictures of fish doesn’t get any easier the more fish you have

I got new fish today! My big tank is extremely stable. I was worried about my tanks when I went on holiday, but it turned out to be needless. The ammonia in my little tank spiked briefly, and I got some algae in my big tank, otherwise everyone was alive and well. Regular water changes (and for the big tank, gravel cleans) since and everything is back to normal.

My big tank had zero ammonia and zero nitrites and low nitrates even after going away, so I figured it was time to add more fish. As it was, my danios were being a little too boisterous as well, and I thought a larger community may make them calmer. I went to the pet shop and I talked to the guy there who said with my size of tank, I could get 50 small fish in there. That can’t be right, can it? He also said I could add 10 more fish today, as long as I kept a close eye on things in the coming weeks. I was wary, I had come there with the intention of getting 5 or 6 fish, but I let myself be persuaded. After all, they have discounts the more fish you buy. Thus I bought- 3 leopard/snow danios, 2 hi-fin zebra danios, and 5 silver white cloud mountain minnows. I tucked their bags into an insulated cooler bag, in the hope they wouldn’t freeze before I got them home, although thankfully I managed to get the bus quickly, and a limited stop bus at that, so it was ok. I got them home, cleaned the tank, changed the water, then put them in. Everyone is now shoaling beautifully. My new minnows are absolutely tiny, barely a centimetre long (so so tiny!!) and I hope the danios don’t bully them, but thus far everyone looks happy. It’s kind of amazing to watch them swimming around. There’s just so many of them! There’s 19 fish in the tank now…

I also picked up a new fake plant whilst at the store. The nymph episode has put me off real plants for life. I want to build up a more dense ‘forest’ in my tank though, as I’m hoping to eventually get some cherry shrimp. As shrimp are essentially fish food, I want to give them place to hide/escape. My minnows probably won’t care about them, they are extremely lethargic and indifferent fish, but my danios are very inquisitive and active and I am not sure how they will be around shrimp. I’m very pleased with this plant – its the huge bamboo one in the center. Yes, it’s nice and large and dramatic. Plus, it fits my Japanese theme nicely. I’m hoping to get some more medium sized plants to line up in front if it. This plant is unfortunately not silk like I wanted, but it’s a nice soft, gentle plastic. I’m hoping to get some silk plants for those medium ones. They have a softer, more realistic look. My Betta tank is silk only and it looks too pretty .

As for my betta, the only addition to his tank is a cut up coke bottle. Wait, it’s actually a thing called a baffle that you use to reduce the flow of the filter. My Betta was getting blown about by the outtake of the filter, and he seemed to be cowering in one part of the tank. So I googled about, found about the “water bottle hack” and did it. His water is a lot stiller now and he can explore his kingdom quite happily now without all those pesky bubbles. :) I’m not putting more fish in there, as he seems very content to lord over his kingdom all alone…

“Please tell me this is only the story of the continuing dream and that I’m not yet awake”

Last Tuesday I phoned my mother up, distraught over my cat. It had hit me that day that my cat was going to die. Although I knew she was dying, I felt a terrible certainty that there wasn’t much time left. The rest of the week passed with the same awful feeling spreading its weight over my shoulders. I was late for work every day; I couldn’t sleep, was struggling to eat, and had no energy. Tears kept welling up in my eyes at random, inappropriate times. All I could think of was going home to see her, all I could worry about was that I wouldn’t be able to hold her one last time. I clung to the fact that the last time I saw her, she had climbed onto my lap and I had shoved her off, and kept beating myself over it. This weekend I went home, determined to reassure myself that I was being irrational. But my cat was not in a good way at all. My parents had decided that they were going to take her to the vets on Monday. Today. On Sunday I held her for the last time. She was light and bony, her heart was pounding with the effort of staying alive. I told her how much I loved her. I didn’t want to let her go.

Today, she went to the vets.

She went to sleep for the last time.

I received the message from my parents at work. I couldn’t get away from my desk fast enough. I sat outside the office in a private area, fighting back tears. Then I took several deep breaths and went back inside to work. Even now, I am trying not to cry. I do not want to accept this reality.

I do not know how to process this. My top coping method for when I am feeling this sad is to go home for some cat therapy – to cuddle her, to play with her, just to be around her. I’ll never be able to do that again.