Serotonin is both a classical neurotransmitter and a signaling molecule. To simplify things, it is a brain chemical that also can be found throughout the body (primarily in the digestive system). Its functions are among other things to help control happiness, sleep, aggression, impulsiveness, appetite, sexual lust, body temperature and metabolism. Due to a condition of mine, I have lower serotonin levels than most people. To fix that, I decided to add some of my own. 😉
I have stylized the molecule by replacing the letters HO, HN and NH2 with rings. Aside from that, I have thickened the lines and changed the angles on the inner parts slightly. If this should be entirely correct, I should replace the corners with rings as well, as they in this case represent carbon. But I chose style over substance, everything is still explainable and it looks much better this way. Big thanks to Micke Lind for the input on the molecule design!
Tattooing the elbow is probably the most painful ink I’ve done so far. The hearts on my inner upper arms did hurt a lot (and longer), but there were more twitching involved when doing the elbow.
Yesterday we went to Mercat Del Encants, a huge marketplace with many hundred (maybe thousand) of stands where absolutely everything was sold. From young men selling brand new furniture to old ladies selling used adult magazines. Lots and lots of plain junk, and often the seller had just poured everything out on the ground. It was very crowded and stressed, and we didn’t really find anything of interest.
After a few hours we took the metro and decided to jump of at Arc de Triomf, built for the 1888 world fair. Therewe first encountered musicians that we at a distance thought were protesters for something (lots of banging drums and whistles), but when coming closer we realized they were kids from a local school or something.
On the other side of the arc there was another marketplace. The contrast to Mercat Del Encants was however huge. Here everything was extremely calm, not at all crowded and the loudspeakers played soothing music. The market seemed to focus more on handcrafted items and there were also plenty of food (like an entire sausage stand) to be seen. We stopped for a while and had delicious falafel pita while sitting in the grass. About halfway through, the marketplace changed direction and started to focus on animal rights, new age, help organizations and such.
After stopping by for a while at our apartment, we did some more alley-walking in old town. Since it was Saturday, a lot more street performers was there, taking advantage of the extra crowd of people coming in over the weekend. We also crashed another wedding, saw some ancient roman pillars, had some food and later some dessert and did some final shopping.
Today we are going home, and I better finish packing now. We will wait in Frankfurt for about 3½ hours. Good thing I have plenty of movies on my Eee. 🙂
Today we started the day by visiting the 60 meter high obelisk/statue of Christopher Columbus. We paid the 2.50 € fee and took the elevator up to the top, where we got a good view of the heart of Barcelona, the old town. After that, I tamed a giant metallic lion and rode it. 😉
The rest of the day we spent alley-walking in the old town (where we live). We walked for hours and still didn’t covered half of it. Some fun shopping and surprisingly good and cheap meals were also included in the day. When the cold hit and we were both tired and with aching legs, we retired to the apartment for some relaxing.
When getting hungry again we went out for dinner and found an Italian restaurant where you could get a three-course dinner for 6.95 €. The female bouncer was very nice but the male waiter was very unengaged and almost rude. Dessert consisted of an apple.
On the way back we bought some snacks, and now we are going to watch a movie. 🙂
Today we went sightseeing in Barcelona. First stop was the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, an enormous church that has been in construction since 1882 and is expected to last until at least 2026. We never went inside due to the extreme long line youn had to wait in. After that we walked around, ate bad expensive paella and watched buldings for a few hours or so. Getting close to our apartment, we jumped on an overpriced sightseeing bus and took a tour around parts of Barcelona. After almost two hours we were back were we started and decided to walk some ofe the back streets and alleys near our apartment in old town. We started to get hungry again and had some good and fairly cheap local pan pizza.
By this time we were getting cold (it had rained twice earlier that in the day) so we went back to the hotel for a while to relax and warm up.
After some time we went back out again in a new direction. Walked for a few hours, found a giant cat, had a drink and bought some snacks on the way back. Now we are going to watch a movie: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. 😉
My mom has a nice tradition. Whenever we kids turn 30, she takes us to a destination of our choice in Europe, just the two of us. Since I turned 30 just over a month ago, it was my turn. I picked Barcelona.
My brother gave us a ride to the airport at 7 in the morning, and checking in went fine. We changed plane in Frankfurt and spent time watching two movies on my Eee: The Heroes of Telemark and The Good Thief. Both were surprisingly good!
After arriving in Barcelona we took the aerobus in to town. instead of taking a taxi to our hotel we decided to walk. Strolling through La Rambla, we arrived at our apartment around 4 in the afternoon.
Shortly after, we went for a walk, did some minor shopping and had tapas.
Monday morning we got up at around four in the morning, really tired. The first thing we noticed that there were a lot of noise outside.
What the Icelanders do when they party is that they have warm-up parties at home before going out, meaning that the night life doesn’t start in Reykjavik until around midnight (or 02:00 Swedish time) and continues until late the morning after.
We noticed this very much, as our hotel was located at the main street of the city, our room faced that street an there were plenty of clubs and bars around. This meant a lot of thumping bass and shouting people every time you tried to get to sleep, and sometimes still there when you woke up. Good thing we brought earplugs.
We got to the airport allright and the security check was a breeze. Did some taxfree shopping and had some breakfast before boarding the plane. Flight was nothing special but we had to wait for 10 minutes or so before we could get off the plane due to missing ground crew.
When we finally got out in the open it was warm. 15C and no wind compared to 2C and lots of wind makes for a big diffence.
On sunday we went to the famous Blue Lagoon, a big spa resort with a great outdoor pool/constructed lake. The water was hot (almost too hot in some places) and milky. Under the water was black sand and all along the “shore” there was white mud that had a really strange consistency to it. There was also a waterfall with hot water and a couple of steam baths and saunas.
From being frozen a great deal of the time we’ve spent in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon was a great contrast. Even though it was a but crouded at the entrance, it was so big that you could simply swim out for a few minutes, and suddenly you were all alone. And due to the thick fog (hot water/cold air) there was not a human in sight for some moments.
Exiting the Blue Lagoon, we saw Dave Growl, singer in Foo Fighters. I didn’t talk to him or even take a photo, trying to respect his privacy. But a part of me regrets it today. 😉
After going back to Reykjavik, we spent some time in the hotel room and then went out to Balthazar Bar & Grill for dinner. Having to get up around 4:00 the next day, we made it a short evening and got back to the hotel fairly early.
Yesterday we spent the entire day in Reykjavik to do some shopping. It is a nice little town with interesting architecture, many restaurants and nice people – but it is not a town where you go shopping. During our stay here, all I have bought is two t-shirts and two comic books (Wolverine: Weapon X and Zombie Stories: Good Eatin’).
Anyway, yesterday we walked around for a few hours trying to find something interesting to buy. Failing that, we then took a bus out to Kringlan, the big shopping mall outside the city. A lot of stores but not much of interest to us. After that we met up with my brother and we had some dinner at the Mexican restaurant Santa Maria next to our hotel. A Mexican restaurant where you had to make a special request to get a Mojito, since the waiter didn’t even seemed to know what that was. Anyway, the food was quite good and the prices low (or odyr, as they say here in Iceland). We went on to Kaffi Zimsen, a pub that seemed to have a nice atmosphere, but turned out to have very expensive drinks and a busted-up bathroom. After a while four women that Fredde had been diving with turned up. After chatting with them for a while we went back to the hotel after a quick stop at our favorite pyslur (Icelandic hot dog) place.
Yesterday wee took the Golder Circle Tour, a guided bus tour to different parts of southern Iceland. First, we went to a geothermal plant to look at how the hot springs brings hot water and electricity to practically all of Iceland.
Next stop was the Gullfoss waterfall. Absolutely stunning! That was probably the most intense nature experience I’ve had, and is strongly recommended if you ever go here.
After that, we went to the geysir area, “where hot springs are in abundance, geysers explode and pools of mud bubble”. Cool experience – got some really nice photos as well.
Last stop was a visit to the Thingvellir National Park, the site of the oldest existing parliament in the world. It is located between two tactonic plates (North American and Eurasian), which has created a huge rift in the ground, still drifting apart with a few centimeters per year.
We got home to the hotel at about 17:00, where we met up with Fredde who had been diving in two degrees cold water (but with at least 60 meters of clear sight!) during the day. We went to a restaurant to have dinner, and did some barhopping after that.
Pictures and further updates will come when I have time, now we will do Reykjavik!