Spring Favourites

It’s official! My favourite season has come to an end but I did not waste any time this year and made it probably my best one yet! Here, let me give you a recap:

I spoke up about my PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and have received some good feedback from people who are going through the same. I’m also happy to have found a way to reduce the symptoms which is by going on a Ketogenic diet and it has been working wonders! I had been on the diet for three full months when we went on holiday to the north of Spain and had to break our Ketosis to fully experience the Basque culinary goodness but I decided to jump back on, turns out I’d rather live without bread and sugary food than feeling bloated the whole time. My menstrual cycles have become relatively stable since and I even lost up to 6kg in the process. Not bad, yeah?

At the beginning of spring, I received my first birthday present, way ahead of my birthday. I’ve always wanted a record player so the wife decided to get me one, just in time for the beginning of flea market season so I can start haggling for vinyls. As of now I have found a few from different sources to add to my growing collection.

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The reason why spring is my favourite season is because it’s the time of the year I celebrate my birthday. Sometimes it also seems to me like I celebrate it the whole season. This year, though, it was probably a whole season’s worth of events that we made happen in just one week.

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Winter had been hard. I remember some extremely cold nights so it was exciting to see some colour, flowers in full bloom. I even planted some lavenders on my balcony (something I have been trying to do since we moved here two summers ago) and they did not die on me! I also bought some lights and new furniture to complete the balcony make-over.

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As you can see, we also decided to put up our Pride flag.

Did anyone say strawberries?! Part of this season is the excitement for the freshest strawberries we have missed all winter. I have wondered my whole life why I always hated strawberry-flavoured candy or ice cream or anything, really. It’s because the only way I can enjoy them is if they’re fresh! And what better way to get them than to pick them yourself straight off the field? That’s right! Though we live in the big city, we are still close enough to the best strawberry farms that allow you to pick the fruit yourself and buying them by the kilo.

As I have mentioned earlier, we went on holiday to Santander and Basque Country and it was gorgeous! It was our first time going on a camping trip. Nature is just wonderful, isn’t it?

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So peaceful, so green.

But because that holiday was too short (the flight schedules are just really inconvenient), we were back in Berlin on a Friday and we still had all weekend to find something to do. My friend Jannah so happened to be traveling around eastern Europe at the time and was on her way to Kraków for the weekend. We thought, what the hell, let’s just get in the car and go meet her there. I haven’t seen her in seven years and it was a chance for Joan to meet her as well. So Jannah was supposed to go to Warsaw after her stop in Kraków and then take the bus to Berlin from there but, with little convincing, she realised it’s probably much too exhausting to pursue that trip to Warsaw and we were going to back to Berlin anyway so she decided to skip it and we took her across the border and to the best city in the world (but that’s my humble opinion).

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And here’s a photo of the three of us taking a picture of each other.

And a trip to Kraków is never complete without a day trip to the Auschwitz concentration camps. There are no words to describe the experience of being in such a place, some people even got very emotional just being there.

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But the best part about this weekend is that we were in good company. 🙂

Speaking of trips, the next one in store for us will be this month! My cousin, who is currently living in Malaysia, married an Englishman last April and she is coming to the UK with the whole family for a small gathering. Many of us living here in Germany were not able to come to their wedding so we are all coming to this event in the UK together. Even my mum’s coming with us because her visa just got approved! This is something I am absolutely grateful for because she is about to go back to Philippines to stay there for good and I would really love for her to see a bit more of this part of the world before she leaves. I also have a few other short trips planned for her so summer will definitely be just as exciting as spring. ❤

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Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

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 Saturday 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 Stockholm 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 Nørrebro, only 15 minutes away from the city centre by bus and only  30 minutes away from Kastrup Airport (CPH). But because we were to arrive 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.

April 30, 2016

My birthday. We got up early because we had our Copenhagen Canal Tour scheduled at 9:30AM. The weather wasn’t really ideal 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 a skip-the-line entrance ticket to Tivoli Gardens at the same time. But it was, after all, a good way to get your day started. We embarked 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, the 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 it “probably the 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 close 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 quiet or rather 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 €), and then I found another bag of the same kind that was sold at the stand next to it 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 Tårnet, 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 Sliders 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,- €

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 €
Three tickets are required to get on the Star Flyer. Price per ticket: 25DKK or ca. 3,40 €

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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 is actually 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!

Panoramapunkt, Berlin

 I skipped lunch yesterday for this view.

I’ve been meaning to get to the top of Panorama Punkt for quite some time now. I’ve always procrastinated because my office building is just right across the street and I have been waiting for perfect weather. But because of the news I have received last week, the one that said I will be working somewhere else starting next week, I felt pressured to go see Berlin from the top of this building.

Panorama Punkt is located at the 24th & 25th floor of Kollhoff Towers, Potsdamer Platz 1. You will reach the top by elevator – the fastest elevator in Europe, in fact. This means, in just 20 seconds, you will get to see this:

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Leipziger Platz / East Berlin

Just for everyone’s info, it’s quite tricky to take photos from this point, especially if you are going for a panorama shot. There are railings all around (for your own safety, of course) that might get in the way. I do believe it could work out using a small tripod or a monopod and just reaching one arm out of the railing, holding the stick with one hand and turning it a little bit to capture the view but I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t really say for sure that it’s a good idea. What’s important, of course, is being able to see it for yourself.

Entrance fee to Panorama Punkt: 6,50 €
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Roof of Sony Center / Tiergarten / West Berlin