September Challenge – how did it go?

As I wrote earlier, I set myself a challenge to read more books in Norwegian. So, how did my challenge go? How many books in Norwegian did I manage to read?

1. Hålke, written by Helene Uri

I was fortunate enough to win a ARC of Helene Uri’s new book, Hålke. It was published early in September, and is a book on an elderly couple who early in January don’t get to leave their flat due to it being icy outside. With only a little food to get by on, and the coffee running out, we get to know this elderly people. What’s their marriage built on? Why do they still keep together after over 40 years, in spite of unfaithfulness (her) and violence (him)? It was a really interesting read, and I really enjoyed it.

2. Odinsbarn, written by Siri Pettersen

This was actually a reread. I first read Odinsbarn (meaning Odin’s Child in English) shortly after it came out, and it’s the first book in the Ravneringene (meaning “The Raven Rings”) trilogy. I love this trilogy, and thought Odinsbarn was even better the second time around.

3. Et norsk hus, written by Vigdis Hjorth

This was my first book Vigdis Hjorth, and I borrowed it from the library’s ebook app. I enjoyed reading about this middle aged textile artist who rented out a part of her house to a Polish family and the conflict between them. And even though this lady is a weird woman with many faults, I grew to love her… I am definitely going to read more books by her!

4. Forbannet, written by Tonje Tornes

This was the second book in the Kire series, and it has been a while since I read hulder, the first book in the series. I am loving this series, and I liked the second book even more than the first – it’s darker and there’s more magic! I can’t wait for the third book, even though I have no idea when it will be published.

So, I ended up with four Norwegian books in September, which wasn’t so bad. I also read On Writing by Stephen King, which is also a very good read. I think my conclusion is that this challenge was good for me, even though one of the books was a reread. I will try to read even more Norwegian books, and am hoping to get some more read this year.

Did you succeed with your September challenge?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

It’s Monday, what are you reading?

I finished Et norsk hus, written by Vigdis Hjorth yesterday, on the plane back from Oslo. I had a nice week end with the boyfriend, even though I wasn’t feeling too well. The plan was to run the 10 km run during the Oslo Marathon, but I wasn’t well enough to participate.

I am kind of reading Dronningens løfte, but I can’t seem to focus, so I have decided to put it aside for now, and read Forbannet, which is the second book in the Kire series written by Tonje Tornes. I enjoyed Hulder, the first book in the series. I have a signed copy of both books in the series, so they’re not leaving the house. I have borrowed the ebook version from the library ebook app eBokBib, which makes it easier for me to read.

What are YOU currently reading?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Travelling east…

People who know me, know that I am vegan. I have been fully vegan since January, and I haven’t eaten meat for over 20 years. Though things have gotten a lot better, especially the last couple of years, travelling can still turn out to be a challenge. Especially at Norwegian airports.

One of the airports I travel from the most is Stavanger airport. I often go there right after work, and pretty much every time I wish there was a place at the airport where I, as a vegan, could get a hot meal.

To be honest, I don’t get why they can’t have, for example, a simple pasta dish with a simple tomato sauce of tomatoes and herbs. I would have been thrilled! It’s easy and cheap to make, and I think even kids would be happy to eat it… There’s so many people travelling, I am sure many would buy it, vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike.

Os there something that bothers you when you’re at an airport?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Busy airport…
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

The best way to start the day…

Autumn is here, and the light summer mornings are gone. Getting up in the mornings aren’t as easy these days, and getting out of bed before 6 is a struggle. Knowing I can start the day with lighting a candle and having my breakfast with a good book and coffee helps, though. In my opinion, the best way to start the day os with reading a book. 

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Rome 2016: Thursday 

I realised I never got around to blog about my last full day in Rome. The Friday was spent travelling, and was fairly uneventful, so I will not be blogging about that day, but on the Thursday I went to what’s called “Ancient Rome”, which is worth a visit if you visit Rome.

I went up to Colosseum by public transport, as I had bought a 24 hour travel card (very handy, can be used for trams, busses, and the underground). I was amazed by the huge queue outside both Colosseum and Forum Romanum, but didn’t really care too much, as there’s a lot to look at in the area. You can even see quite a large part of Forum Romanum without going inside!

Colosseum is quite impressive to look at from the outside. This round amphitheatre was built of concrete and sand in 70–80 AD, and it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles, and is estimated to have been able to hold up to 80 000 spectators!

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Right by Colosseum is Forum Romanum, a rectangular forum, or plaza, surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city. For cenuries this was the centre of the public life in Rome, and this was where statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

There’s a lot to look at in the area around the Colosseum and Forum Romanum, so walking around looking at so much history was something I really enjoyed. And it took most of my day.

I had dinner close to the hotel, and did a bit of walking around before I headed back to pack my things and get ready for travelling the next day.

September Challenge 

I recently went through the list of books read so far in 2016, and I had read very few books in my native language, Norwegian. 

From January to August I read a total of 43 books, of which only 10 were in Norwegian. My challenge is therefore to read mostly Norwegian books in September.

I just started reading a book I have had on my shelf for ages, Dronningens løfte (meaning “the Queen’s Promise”), written by Margit Walsø. This is her second book, and like her previous book it is based on European history. I really liked her first book, so I hope I will like this too.

Do you have any challenge for September? If so, what is it?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Rome 2016: Wednesday

I had a soft start of my day this day, and my first “task” was sitting outside at a café drinking espresso and writing postcards. The temperature was around +30°C, which felt beyond wonderful knowing that at home it was about +10°C and probably raining… Sitting outside in the shadow with coffee and postcards felt perfect!


Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016


When I was done writing postcards it had gotten several hours since my breakfast consisting of fruits (the hotel isn’t good at vegan stuff), and I went to Universo vegano for a lovely and filling lunch. I had a Veghina Incas (wrap with quiona falafel, lettuce, vegan mayonnaise, tomatoes, and vegan cheese), and a vegan raspberry cheese cake for dessert. The meal kept me full for HOURS! Probably the best meal I’ve had in Rome so far!

Well fed, I went off to hunt down a post office. The first one I went to turned out to be closed. To my surprise, it closed by 13:25 – a very odd time in so many ways. So I had to figure where the next close post office was, which fortunately wasn’t too far away. It turned out this was close to the Spanish Steps, so I went there to have a look. The steps themselves were closed off for rehabilitation, so I wasn’t able to climb all the 135 steps this time. They were still beautiful, though, and the piazza with the nice fountain at the bottom was, needless to say, crowded with people.

The steps were finished being built in 1725, and were disigned by Francesco de Sanctis. The fountain the bottom of the steps is called Fontana della Barcaccia, which means “Fountain of the Ugly Boat”. I find this a bit silly, as it’s not ugly at all!


Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

The Spanish Steps.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016


After looking at the steps, I headed back to the hotel where I read until it was time for me to have dinner. I had dinner at the raw vegan restaurant Écru, and had a nice meal there, before heading back to the hotel for an early night.

Rome 2016: Tuesday

I set out after breakfast to visit the Castel Sant’Angelo, which is only a 15 minutes walk from my hotel. I was fortunately early enough to avoid the huge queue I saw on my way out, and after a bit of queueing I was inside.


Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Castel Sant’Angelo
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016


Castel Sant’Angelo, or the Mausoleum of Hadrian, dates back to 139 AD, and is the tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian. Hadrian is known for building Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia, and was a Roman emperor from 117 to 138 AD. Much of the tomb contents and decorations have been lost since the building’s conversion to a military fortress in 401, and at the beginning of the 14th century the popes converted the structure into a castle, and the Papal state also used it as a prison. The Castel Sant’Angelo was made into a museum in 1901.

Here are some of the photos I took inside the Castel Sant’Angelo:


Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016


After visiting the castle, I headed for lunch, and had what probably was the most expensive roasted potatoes I’ve ever had, and then back to the hotel. I spent most of the afternoon in the rooftop garden, reading my book, which was very nice and relaxing.

In the evening I met up with a couple of bookcrossers for dinner, which was nice. They were an italian lady, and an American lady that have been living in Italy for the last 30 years. It was a fun evening, and I got back to the hotel fairly late (for me).

Rome 2016: Monday

After all the walking around on Sunday, I decided that my Monday was going to be more quiet and relaxing. I started the day with reading in my room (I had a book I wanted to finish) before heading outside. I was mostly strolling around, and ended up at the Piazza Navona, which was actually quite nice with its fountains.

Piazza Navona was built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, in the first century AD. The Stadium was mainly used for athletic contests, and was a gift to the people of Rome from the Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus.

One of the most dominent builtings at the piazza is the Sant’Agnese in Agone, a 17th-century Baroque church. There are three fountains in the piazza: Fontana del Moro at the southern end, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at the centre, and Fontana del Nettuno at the northern end. Of these three, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or the Fountain of Four Rivers, is probably the most famous one.

From Piazza Navona I continued my stroll, without any particular goal, and ended up at a shopping centre, Galleria Alberto Sordi, where you find the bookshop laFeltrinelli Libri e Musica. The bookshop is probably he largest shop in the centre, though I must admit I didn’t really go into any of the other shops. This bookshop even has books in English, as well as a few in german, Spannish, and French.

After browsing (and not buying any!) books, I headed back to the hotel, where I got a coffee, which I brought up to the rooftop garden, where I sat in the shadow and read for a while. I then went back to the room “too cool down” and do some more reading.

The afternook was then spent on an nearby restaurant, where I first ordered sparkling water and an espresso in Italian (go me!) and sat and read for a while before ordering dinner. When my dinner was consumed, I headed back to the hotel, and had an early night.


Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in front of Sant’Agnese in Agone.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016