A Beginners Guide to Bergen 

The first time I stepped foot on Norwegian soil was in this little tiny city at the gateway to some of the world’s most beautiful fjords; it happened to be Norwegian Independence Day, so the streets were chockablock full of young folk dressed up to the nines in all manner of traditional costumes, hair braided and skirts bustling. It was uncharacteristically warm, fairground rides were flashing and whirring and the smells of fish, cinnamon and donuts all competed for airspace in the hubbub of people. It was all a bit olde worlde weird and wonderful, and perhaps ironically on this busy day of celebrating Norway in all its glory, I stumbled upon an Englishman from Cornwall selling pasties out of a van (called Pastyworld) and decided that as much as I appreciated Bergen and being in a new country, I was feeling rather homesick and a pasty was a perfect solution.

Moving swiftly on from the inclusion of a Cornish pasty in a post about Bergen, I spent approximately three and a half months visiting Norway’s second city on a regular basis, and although it’s on the small side managed to find a selection of hotspots to keep me entertained during that time.

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The Beginners Guide to Reykjavik

I watched a film a few days before we arrived in Reykjavik this Summer, and that film was called ‘Bokeh.’ You might have heard of it. Although you probs haven’t. It’s rather a low budget kind of film, in which not a lot happens; a young American couple go on holiday to Iceland (staying in Reykjavik, to be precise), and a couple of days into their holiday they discover that everyone else in the entire world has vanished. And that is IT, no reason given for the mass disappearance and no other massive developments in the plot after this mysterious event. Just two younguns, adjusting to life alone in one of the most isolated but beautiful parts of the entire world. I recommend watching it just because it showcases so much of the weird and wonderful scenery this country has to offer, though be prepared that it’s not your normal end-of-the-world Sci-fi blockbuster. What is striking about it is that it really hammers home just how isolated the country is; although technically part of Europe, it’s location is rather a long way away from every single other European country, and Reykjavik itself is the Northenmost capital city in the entire world, situated not too far from the Arctic Circle and therefore even before the fictional disappearance of humanity one of the quietest capital cities you are ever likely to set foot in. In the height of winter, the sun is up for a mere four hours, and in Summer (around the time I was there), it’s only set between midnight and around 3am. It is freaky you guys. Freaky, but pretty full on awesome at the same time, so here are some of the awesome things you can see while taking a visit yourself.

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What to do in Rotterdam (or, oh my days that is one full on cool city)

Most people head straight for Amsterdam when they take a trip to The Netherlands, which is understandable- it’s an awesome old city with a tonne of stuff to see and do and which is famous round the whole world. (For various reasons, know what I’m saying? Wink wink, nudge nudge and all that) But Rotterdam has a completely different vibe; Europe’s busiest port, it’s filled with abstract architecture and sleekly designed cafes, shops, bars and restaurants, as well as museums and galleries galore, all strung together with a series of bridges across the water. Truth be told, this place is just plain, downright cool, and the people are even cooler; I’m not gonna lie here guys, coolness is something that I often find rather intimidating, but fear not! In my experience, as a general rule Dutch people may be super cool but they are also super friendly and open to conversation. It’s a nice quality to have. Good on you, people of The Netherlands! I was able to explore the city when life just took me there by chance due to many overnight stays whilst our ship was docked there, and all I’m saying is, it is one full on interesting place with a completely different atmosphere to it’s more famous neighbour- far less touristy, way more like a living breathing bunch of people all being awesome together.

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What to do in Hamburg

I’m going to be honest here pals: when I first arrived in Hamburg, I was not a fan. I was staying on the Reeperbahn, a notorious red light district road with such an array of sights to see that I don’t even know where to begin, but I’m pleased to say that since then I managed to find my feet, got stuck into things and life carried on. I also managed to see past the needles, blood and smashed bottles spattered across the streets of Sankt Pauli in the early mornings (I’m really selling Hamburg to you, aren’t I!?), to the silver lining that lies beneath. Despite elements of the city that are kind of unpleasant, this can be said for probably any city in the world, and there are places here that are actually pretty awesome having given it time to acclimatise to.  Every cloud does have a silver lining, I’m sure of it. Here is what I think you should be doing if you ever find yourself in Hamburg and wondering what on earth to do with yourself…

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