Famous Tomb - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett – Russian Around!

Hey there everyone! It’s just going to be a quickie post today… Mostly to clear up the mystery of where in the world Paddy and Plunkett were last week. Did you guess?
A Famous Cathedral - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts BeastiesA good few of you got it right! Plunkett had indeed got his woolly paws on the photos of the short Russian adventure I enjoyed with my good friend and travel buddy, waaay back in 2012. We spent a fun couple of days exploring Moscow, which included wandering through the labyrinthine interior of St Basil’s Cathedral, pictured above.

We also went inside the walls of the Kremlin…
Still Cold - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts Beasties… To see the treasures of the Armoury Museum. That, by the way, includes the Russian Diamond Fund, or “more sparkly things than I have ever seen in my life.”

Oh, and this place?
Famous Tomb - Paddy and Plunkett - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis is Lenin’s Mausoleum, and like Paddy, we went in! The embalmed body of Lenin lies in state inside, protected by some very serious, very armed soldiers. Keeping a respectful distance is… um… encouraged, and lookie-loos will find themselves moved on promptly if they stop to stare. Like us, Paddy was probably in and out in five minutes, so Plunkett wouldn’t have been standing out in the snow too long!

That said, he’s decided he needs to warm up a little this week.

On the Beach - Paddy and Plunkett
Original Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels. Guess who added the Beasties in 😉

I can’t imagine those woollies and tweeds will be particularly comfortable though, so we should probably cut and run while the lads are still decent!

By the way…

If you feel like your own post-lockdown adventures would be enhanced by the addition of a little woolly friend to your travel party, just swing by the Beastie HQ store! There’s a whole host of monsters in there who can’t wait to get out and explore the world.

All-Irish Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesAlso, a quick word about commissions – unfortunately my books are currently full, so I won’t be taking any new custom orders until May 25th. For anyone who has been in touch with me already (through email or social media), don’t worry!  You’re all set, and your Beastification is in progress. And if you’re looking ahead to the summer, and think you’d like to have a Beastie to help celebrate a wedding, birthday or other big occasion, be sure to reach out nice and early so your lil’ monster buddy is ready in time.

We’ll be back next week with a new Beastie for you all to meet… See you then!

Me at the Oslo Opera House - CrawCrafts Beasties

Revisting Oslo

View from the Oslo Opera House - CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s time for another between-the-numbers post, courtesy of Blogging 101!

Since I started this course last week, I’ve been making an effort to actively seek out the writings of my fellow bloggers, rather than simply waiting for them to come to me. One of my favourite finds has been travelmagnolia, whose blog I discovered while perusing the “Scandinavia” tag on the WordPress reader. I especially enjoyed her most recent post about Oslo, which reminded me of my own visit there a couple of years ago. Look, here I am hanging out on the roof of the Opera House!
Me at the Oslo Opera House - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis trip was one of many I made in 2012. I had applied for a sabbatical from my long-term job, and at the end of January that year, I walked out of my workplace with no intention of ever going back. Of course, I knew I would need to look for a new job eventually, but first I was going to have some fun with the savings I had accumulated after five years of working full time and living thriftily. A few days later, I was enjoying the sub-zero delights of winter in Berlin, with some friends who were based there at the time!
Berlin in Winter - CrawCrafts BeastiesMuseum Island, Berlin - CrawCrafts BeastiesI also went to Moscow…
Moscow - CrawCrafts Beasties
…And Tokyo!
Tokyo - CrawCrafts Beasties
But my trip to Norway and Sweden stands out for a couple of reasons. For starters, I celebrated my 30th birthday in Oslo – a hilariously low-key affair in the room I was sharing with my travelling companions, in a budget hotel that our Lonely Planet guide described as “barracks-like”. We picked up cake slices from the 7-11 down the street, and washed them down with drinks from the duty-free at Dublin Airport. We were tired after a long day’s travel, and had an early start in the morning, so the festivities were short-lived, but I don’t think I stopped laughing all evening.
Low-rent Birthday Party - CrawCrafts Beasties
I also finally had a chance to see “The Scream”, a painting which eluded me on my first visit to Oslo in 2001. I can’t remember if it had been stolen (again!) or if it was just on loan to another gallery, but I entered the Munch room that time to find a postcard from the gift shop in the space where the painting should have been. Seeing the real deal was, understandably, a much more enlightening experience.

Our travels took us outside the capital as well – we experienced some particularly Irish weather in Bergen…
Bergen - CrawCrafts Beasties
….Ventured north of the Arctic Circle to Tromsø…
Tromso - CrawCrafts Beasties…And even got to see the Northern Lights!

You will probably notice a surprising (for this blog) absence of Beasties from these photos. When I made this trip, there was only ONE Beastie in existence in the whole world – my prototype, Schnocks.
Schnocks, the very first Beastie - CrawCrafts BeastiesI’d love to say here that leaving my job and taking some lovely holidays to clear my mind was a miracle cure-all, and that when I got home I instantly dropped everything to start pursuing my long-held dream of making monsters full-time. But we all know real life isn’t so easy, so linear or so trite, and those of us who make things for a living are all too aware that it’s a long-term labour of love, not a get-rich-quick scheme. That said, making the break with my old, unsatisfying workaday life was a really important first step on a journey that’s still ongoing, and I relish every opportunity to remember the places I visited while I was trying to figure out a better, more interesting way to spend my days. So thank you, travelmagnolia, for letting me see Oslo through your eyes, and giving me the chance to share my own travel stories!

What about you, readers? Where in the world would you most like to revisit, and why?