9 countries in 1 year! – My year in travelling

I know, I know, we’re already on day 15 of 2017 and I’m just now coming up with my last year’s travel roundup because, you know, stuff got in the way so I’ll make this quick and mostly visual. šŸ™‚

  1. Stockholm, Sweden / February 24-28, 2016
    Tour of the city in celebration of my wife’s birthday.

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    Stockholm, Sweden
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark / April 29 – May 1, 2016
    Weekend city trip in celebration of my birthday.

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    Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Zadar & Plitvice, Croatia / May 5-9, 2016
    Exploring Zadar with a day tour to Plitvice Lakes as extension to my birthday celebration.

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    Plitvice, Croatia
  4. Bratislava, Slovakia / July 26-29, 2016
    Exploring the city as first leg ofĀ Donauwelle.

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    Bratislava, Slovakia

  5. Vienna, Austria / July 29 – August 1, 2016
    Exploring the city as second leg of Donauwelle.

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    Vienna, Austria
  6. Budapest, Hungary / August 1-4, 2016
    Exploring the city as thirdĀ leg ofĀ Donauwelle.

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    Budapest, Hungary
  7. Luxembourg, Luxembourg / August 20, 2016
    Family day tour of the city.

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    Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  8. Transylvania, RomaniaĀ / October 19-25, 2016
    Road trip through Transylvania starting in Timisoara, ending in Bucharest.

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    Hunedoara, Romania
  9. Mallorca, Spain / December 24-27, 2016
    Road trip on the island of Mallorca in celebration of Christmas.

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    Mallorca, Spain

As you can see, itĀ had been a very hedonistic year, one we won’t allow ourselves to have again in a very long time but it was good while it lasted and we will treasure these memoriesĀ for a lifetime! It was a year that has inspired me to blog, to travel and see the world, and to learn. It has left me curious for more places and sometimes frustrated because there is only so much to see and we can’t always have enough resources to just go, let alone have the time. But I do look forward to our trips we got planned for this year and we’ll just have to make the most out of it. šŸ™‚

So which one of these places do you guys think I liked best? And which ones appeal to you the most?

Exploring Copenhagen in One Day

We just got back from our weekend trip to Copenhagen. But because we arrived rather late on Friday and left early on Sunday, we only had the whole of SaturdayĀ to go around. We did quite a lot for just one day and when we got home some time in the afternoon, I was dead tired and just curled up and slept for a few hours. But it was so fulfilling to have seen so much in just so little time!

So I guess I’ll just start with our transfer and accommodation:

While we were in StockholmĀ last February for my wife’s birthday, she thought she’d just book a trip for my birthday and there, she chose Copenhagen. Again, we booked our accommodation via our go-to medium, Airbnb, and our place was in NĆørrebro, only 15 minutes away from the city centre by bus and only Ā 30 minutes away from Kastrup Airport (CPH). But because we were to arriveĀ rather late on Friday night and because we found a good deal on a rental car, we took it so we could also drive around to the outskirts. Local transportation is fine, though, for you can get to pretty much anywhere within the city really easily.

EasyJet flights from Berlin SXF – CPH (roundtrip, for two): 76,19 ā‚¬
Airbnb whole apartment for 2 nights: 127,- ā‚¬
Rental car for 3 days: 44,90 ā‚¬

April 30, 2016

My birthday. We got up early because we had ourĀ Copenhagen Canal TourĀ scheduled at 9:30AM. The weather wasn’t really idealĀ because it was cloudy and it looked like it could rain any time and I know this isn’t probably the best time to be on water for a whole hour but it was the only schedule they give out in their deal to get aĀ skip-the-lineĀ entrance ticket to Tivoli Gardens at the same time. But it was, after all, a good way to get your day started. We embarkedĀ in Nyhavn, which is also one of the most famous landmarks in the city. And because it was so early, the place wasn’t full of tourists yet.

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Yes, theĀ place you see on all the photos is in fact Nyhavn.

I’d say it’s informative to people (like us) who don’t know much about the city yet. We disembarked at Nyhavn as well then we went to the statue of The Little Mermaid. We had seen it briefly from behind while we were on the boat and our tour guide even called itĀ “probably theĀ most photographed woman in the city” which I’d say is true because we saw what was going on there at 10:00AM and we thought we’d never get a decent photo.

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Oh, but we did. Nobody actually got too closeĀ because of fear that their shoes might get soaked.

We then took the harbour bus to get to Christiania, which is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood right in Copenhagen. We first walked around the residential area which was pretty quietĀ or ratherĀ recreational. Despite its status, we’ve felt pretty safe walking around. Then we got to the centre of pusher street and there we’ve seen a bit more of what makes the place so famous. Taking photos is not allowed by the community of Christiania so I’ll just leave it to the imagination.
P1000877.jpgThere are also some stands there selling souvenir items, clothes, and accessories. I bought a sling bag from one of the stands there for only 40DKK (that’s about less than 6 ā‚¬), and then I found another bag of the same kind that was sold at the stand next to itĀ for 120DKK. I don’t really understand why it was 3x the price of the one I got but I’m not one to complain anyway.

Our next stop was TĆ„rnet, which is the tower of the Christiansborg Palace. The best thing about this place is that you can get a nice panoramic view of the city and entrance is free! You may have to wait a few minutes to get inside but that’s okay because you will get to the viewing platform shortly, thanks to the lifts.

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View from the tower.
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Christiansborg Palace

We were ready for our late lunch/early dinner so we went to SlidersĀ for burgers (it’s our celebratory choice of food and I guess also an alternative to a birthday cake). You would have to choose three burgers from the menu and you will get them in small sizes. I like the idea a lot because then, you get to try out more from the menu. This, again, I’ll leave to the imagination because they didn’t really make for appetising photos but they were really good.

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Instead, here’s a photo of me aggressively checking birthday greetings on Facebook.

We went back to the apartment and got the car so we could drive to Bakken, which is the oldest amusement park in the world. It’s a 10 minute drive from Copenhagen but it is also reachable by local transportation. Entrance is free but you would have to pay for the rides and games individually.

Entrance fee to Bakken: free of charge
Parking: 60DKK or ca. 8,- ā‚¬

Driving back to the city, we stopped at Skovshoved Harbour for a few minutes to see some boats then we headed to Tivoli Gardens. Much like Bakken, it is also an old amusement park. In fact, the the second oldest in the world and it is located right in the centre of Copenhagen, across the main train station. The only ride we went on was The Star Flyer.

Entrance fee to Tivoli Gardens (regular price): 110DKK or ca. 14,80 ā‚¬
Three tickets are required to get on the Star Flyer. Price per ticket: 25DKK or ca. 3,40 ā‚¬

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The Filipino Connection

I guess it’s true when they say that wherever you go in the world, you will probably find Filipinos. In our case, though, we were in the bus on the way to Nyhavn the morning of my birthday when the woman in front of me smiled and asked if we were Filipino. I said yes and soon noticed that she was wearing a habit and figured she isĀ actuallyĀ a nun. She then asked if Joan is my sibling. I politely said, no, she’s my spouse (this was all in Filipino language, hence, the gender neutral terms). She looked at Joan a bit more closely and started saying “oh, I really thought he/she was a girl”. I corrected her and said that she is, in fact, a girl and we’re married. She found the thought so strange and eventually she said that man was made for woman etc etc and that God loves us and we should start thinking about what we’ve done and all that. The whole spiel is, of course, familiar and I just didn’t let myself get affected by it as much as it should I guess because, well, she is a nun and I guess it’s her job to get preachy, not to mention her whole life is all about deciding what’S sinful and not. We reached our stop and got out of the bus and went on with our lives. But, hey, what a great way to start one’s birthday, am I right?

On Misfortune

I don’t want this to become a regular section of my blog posts but we were just so unlucky last Saturday, we couldn’t even enjoy our time at Tivoli. The thing is, when we got out of the car, we noticed that there were some scratches on it. And, pretty surely, someone keyed it. We’ve no idea why someone would do that and we’re not even sure where it could have happened. It’s either in front of the apartment when we were parked there over night, or on the parking lot of Bakken. It just really stressed us out because it is, after all, a rental car and even with insurance and all, it can just drive you mad. And, for this reason, we didn’t stay to watch the Tivoli Illuminations because by then we were just tired and not really in the mood for much else but sleep. The next day, before leaving, we went to the police station to file a police report but the officer dismissed us and said they don’t do that and we should just discuss with the rental company. We just hope everything works out fine from here.

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Seriously, why
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Nevertheless, I had a great time with my wife and we just look forward to our next adventure which starts on Thursday!

April, the weather, and turning 25

Ā ā€œApril is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.ā€
ā€• T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Aprilwetter. Literally, it means “April weather”. We have a word for it here in Germany, sinceĀ we have a word for anything, really.Ā It usually describes the unpredictability of the weather during this time of the year. I see the frustration among my colleagues when they go out for their lunch break, sunglasses on, and then they come back after an hour soaking wet because it had started to rain while they were somewhere in the middle of Tiergarten.

I, on the other hand, especiallyĀ love April because my birthday is on the 30th, which means I have the whole month to get excited about it. This year’s will be extra special because while we were onĀ ourĀ holiday inĀ Stockholm last February, my wife (almost impulsively) booked us a weekend trip to Copenhagen for my birthday! She thought it only fair since she was having her Scandinavian birthday weekend during that moment and I guess she was having such a great time she thought I should have my ownĀ as well (or at least that is what I like to believe what happened). Also, flights were cheap,Ā obviously.

But, there’s more!

Back in November I saw this post on Tumblr about a sea organ on the coast of Croatia that is supposed to make music whenever the waves crash into its tubes. I searched for the exact location of this architectural magic and found out it is in a city called Zadar. Back then, Ryanair was still pretty new to Berlin SXF airport soĀ I was suprised to find a direct flight going to Zadar! Again, for a very low price!

To cut the story short, our flights were booked that same day. We are leaving four days after we get back from Copenhagen. I know, it almost sounds ridiculous how close these dates are, but these are all just weekend getaways so we don’t miss work. It’s important to earn some cash for more (cheap) adventures like these.

And because I’m excited, and because this post started with a talk about the weather, I’ve been trackingĀ the current weather in the cities we will be visiting this year.

I don’t know but just the idea of going to these places very soon has left me curiousĀ to know what it would be like to be there right now.

Bratislava – Vienna – Budapest are the legs of our trip along the Danube this summer. The sunny weather of the Spring keepsĀ reminding me how close we are to those days. šŸ™‚

I am especially excited to be writing about all these very soon!

Until then,

Kathae