Exploring the UK: Edinburgh.

Edinburgh – the city in the North of the UK. With 493,000 inhabitants it is the second largest city in Scotland (number 7 in the UK, apparently). The city is famous for bagpipes & kilts, the castle, the sheep Dolly (the world’s first cloned mammal) and being the birthplace of Harry Potter (the books’, not the boy’). And it seemed to be a very popular travel destination in 2017. A few years ago, during the time when I was living and studying in the UK, a few friends and I decided to take a trip up North to take a closer look at the city ourselves.

The city

Edinburgh is located in the Northeast of the UK, but actually more or less in the South of Scotland, and lies on the Southern shores of the Firth of Forth. The Old and New Town of Edinburgh are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Edinburgh (and Scotland in general) has a rich history, and you’ll be able to find numerous books and papers on this topic. The city’s history began thousands of years ago (around 8,500 BC), and – as it was the case with so many other bigger cities – during the Middle Ages, a hill fort was established and became a royal residence for the Kings of Scotland. Since the 15th century, Edinburgh has been known as the capital of Scotland and used to be the biggest city in the area until it was outgrown by Glasgow at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1707 Scotland was united with the English Crown and from that on it had the same sovereign, flag, and parliament as England. At the end of the 20th century, a referendum lead to the creation of a Scottish Parliament with its seat in Edinburgh.

The sights & stories

I’ve mentioned this before in other city trips, but a great way of getting to know a city and its history and stories is by taking part in a (free) walking tour. This might also be a good way of getting to know other people, and the local tour guide will give you great tips on what to do and where to eat. So we joined a free walking tour and lucky us, the weather was quite alright even though it was January and thus mid-winter. Only a bit rainy at times, but not too cold, and the sun was out from time to time.

We spent some time on the Royal Mile, which is the main street of the Old Town, saw the typical tourist spots like the City Chambers & Royal Exchange, St Giles Cathedral, the Scotts Monument, and so on. The most memorable points & stories of our walking tour were definitely Greyfriars Kirkyard and Elephant House (and a story about the Stone of Destiny).

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As mentioned before, the city is the birthplace of Harry Potter as it is the hometown of J.K.Rowling. There is one café, the Elephant House, where the author spent many hours there to write the first book of the magnificent story of the boy who lived. In this café, one has an excellent view over a cemetery and other great buildings, and if you visit the graveyard you’ll be able to spot many names that were used in the books, such as McGonagall, (Mad-Eye) Moodie, Riddle etc. According to our guide, other buildings of the town were also a great inspiration for her, the nearby school with its four towers is one example which she apparently used as a basis for the school of wizardry and witchcraft.

Despite all the fame the cafe receives, it does not sell any kind of merchandise and there is no Harry Potter theme in there (or at least there wasn’t any back then when I was visiting). So it’s rather a normal café with just many elephants in there (which is not so ‘normal’ I guess). The only probably not regular thing for a café in there was that every table had a drawer in which you’d find pencils and pieces of paper so you could start your own novel there. Many people had left notes, poems, or short stories in those drawers and we joined them with our own piece of paper.

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The graveyard near the café, Greyfriars Kirkyard, where Rowling got her name inspiration, is also associated with the tale of Greyfriars Bobby. He was a very special Skye Terrier, very loyal to his master as he stood guard over his grave for 13 years in the 19th century. Now, the little dog has his own headstone at the entrance of the cemetery, which marks the actual burial place, and a statue of the dog stands opposite of the graveyard’s gate plus a pub with his name. Cool, huh? The dog statue has a golden snout, and rubbing it brings luck apparently. It so happened that on the day that we were visiting the graveyard, it was the dying day of the dog, and a school group, bagpipe players, the mayor of Edinburgh, and other people were there to celebrate the whole thing.

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A visit to the Edinburgh Castle is a definite must if you ever visit this city. The castle thrones over the city, and from up there one has a great view over the city and the nearby sea.

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The bottom line

We stayed a total of three nights and four days in the city, and we took a very cheap bus from Sheffield to Edinburgh. Despite it being a rather exhausting trip (6 hours one way) I’d recommend checking the busses and coaches in the UK if you ever wanna travel there and can’t catch a direct flight to the city. We stayed in a cheap hostel in the centre of the city right next to the Royal Mile. The hostel was nothing special, but it wasn’t bad either. We were really lucky with our room, and as we were spending most of the time outdoors exploring the city anyways, our accommodation didn’t really matter to us (plus, we were all students so we didn’t want to spend too much on it).

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The capital of Scotland is very very beautiful and I immediately fell in love with it. The mix of the gloominess of the winter season and the architecture of the city was what I liked best. I just loved the dark facades of some buildings and the feeling there in general. I definitely want to come back to Scotland to see more of the surroundings, especially the highlands, and I want to revisit Edinburgh. There are a few places in town that I would not go to a second time or activities that I wouldn’t do again (like going inside the castle… a bit too boring for my taste). But back then when I was an undergrad student, my way of travelling and exploring a city was so different to the way I’m travelling now, so I guess I’d be seeing the city from another point of view :D

First real Russian travel adventure: Nizhny Novgorod.

After finally getting my passport back from the international office I was able to travel within Russia. I seized the chance immediately and together with three friends we went to the nearest ‘megacity’ of Moscow: Ни́жний Но́вгород (Nizhny Novgorod).

Nizhny Novgorod is a 1.2 million city (5h biggest in Russia), located 400 km east of Moscow (around 3-4 hour train ride), in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast of Russia. The city’s name used to be Gorky (Горький) from 1932 til 1990, as the writer Maxim Gorky was born there. The city is located where the Oka river empties into the Volga. The main center is the Kremlin, which is home to the main government agencies of the city and the Volga Federal District. The Kremlin has never been captured, and during the Time of Troubles (Polish invasion in Russia, early 17th century), Nizhny Novgorod ‘saved’ Moscow and Russia.

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We took a train and arrived on a Saturday afternoon. Exiting the train station we were already greeted by a totally different feeling than the one in Moscow. It was still busy on the streets, especially near the station, where there were shopping centres and such. However, one of the first buildings that we noticed was a skyscraper that looked a bit shady…

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Our river accommodation

Due to the spontaneity and the problems we had when trying to buy train tickets online (impossible to do that) we booked a place to stay very last minute without having a proper look at it. The deciding factors were that it should be close to the train station, have a good price, and fairly good reviews. Found one, booked it. Upon arrival we realised that we had booked a room on a houseboat. The hostel was on the river. In hindsight I should have comprehended solely by translating the name of the hostel into English. My ‘mistake’. It was a great experience nevertheless – it was super super cheap, the location was great, the rooms were clean, and we had a room to ourselves as there were hardly any other guests. The staff didn’t speak English to (but we managed) and it took them quite some time to have us checked in though.

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Pedestrian street

On our first day in the city we decided just to take a walk along the Rozhdestvenskaya Ulitsa, where many cafes, stores and clubs are located.

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Monument of Minin

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Monument of Chkalov, a famous Soviet pilot

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Panorama of the Volga & the Chkalov Stairs

For dinner we went to a place called Moloko (Milk) which is also located near the main pedestrian street. The interior is very stylish, with sofas and aged wooden panelling. Afterwards we went for beer that did not taste like beer in a beer brewery thing, and later to a British Pub.

Russian Breakfast

As none of us has already had a typical Russian breakfast yet, we wanted to try one in Nizhny. We read about a Russian place, Bezukhov, which was supposedly known for good breakfasts. It is a literary cafe with antique furnishing and a stucco ceiling. However, we were disappointed as they did not have Kasha (more or less porridge). Nevertheless, the scrambled eggs, Syrniki, and freshly pressed juices were still very delicious and nicely presented.

Exploring the city

After having breakfast we actually wanted to take a tram, namely the oldest Russian tram. However, we failed doing so as there was no start or end or station. Or at least we could not find any. So we just decided to walk along the road, which was also fine. It was another big ‘broadway’, the Bolshaya Pokrovskaya ulitsa, which is full of old merchant mansions, theatres and statues. Also, the building of the State Bank can be found there.

Of course there also had to be another ‘Памятник Минину и Пожарскому‘ – monument dedicated to Minin and Pozharsky. It is the same monument that is in front of the St. Basil’s church on the red square.

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A monument dedicated to the heroes of the Volga fleet

The Church of the Nativity of Our Lady can also be found on this street. The coloured onion domes resemble those of the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

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We thought it would be nice to climb a steep 400-meter hill – the Fedorovsky Embankment. Even though the stairs were not safe and it was kind of slippery,  it was definitely worth it. From up there we had a breathtaking view of the city and the river.

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Another cool thing that we stumbled upon was a monument dedicated to Jules Verne, a writer that I happen to like. The bronze-painted plastic sculpture measures around 10 metres in height and was unveiled only in 2015.

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Успенская церковь – Dormition Church

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Kremlin

The kremlin (fortress) of Nizhny Novgorod was built between 1508 and 1515. The city used to be a guard city, where troops were gathered for the war against the Khanate of Kazan. After the fall of Kazan, the Kremlin in Nizhny Novgorod lost its (military) importance. Now, it is home to city and provincial authorities.

Along the Kremlin wall thirteen towers survived. The Tower of Demetrius is the main entrance to the fortress. The only church that survived the passing of time is the Michael the Archangel Cathedral located in the centre of the Kremlin. It is also the oldest building in the Kremlin, as it was erected in the 16th century. In the Archangel Cathedral there is the tomb of Kuzma Minin, who together with the Prince Pozharsky became a national hero after the Polish invasion the the 17th century. Nizhny Novgorod citizens who died in WW II are honored in a memorial site.

 

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A red deer is part of the city’s Coat of Arms

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Archangel Cathedral

Coffee Break

Some of our group were not well equipped for such a cold weather, so we had to take a coffee and cake break. And yes, it was me. As we were fairly close to the pedestrian streets, we just walked and decided for one of the coffee shops. However, as we were unsure how to enter it, a friendly Russian gave us the recommendation to go to another (better) coffee place, so we ended up going to Mishka (teddy bear). Good choice! We even found a photo booth next to it, so we couldn’t just walk past it, could we?

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Cable Car Adventures

Nizhny Novgorod has its own cable car that opened in 2012 which stretches over the Volga river for more than 3.5 kilometres, connecting Nizhny Novgorod with the small city Bor. Before arriving in the city I already knew that taking the cable car across the Volga river was on top of my agenda. The crew was quickly persuaded to do so. We took it already on our first day in the evening, but we also wanted to take a ride during daylight and further explore Bor on the other side of the river.

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Cable car selfie

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BOR

Бор has a population of around 78,000 people. It was founded in the 14th century. The most prominent local industries are shipbuilding and glass-making. Bor can be reached (from Nizhny Novgorod) via car over a bridge, ferry, or the cable car!!

Near the exit/entrance of the cable car station in Bor, there is a Площадь Победы – a victory square. It is in remembrance of the fallen soldiers from WWII, and depicts heroes of the Soviet Union.

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Train adventures

The train ride back was another adventurous part of our trip. The persons responsible for buying our train tickets (not me, hah!) bought the ‘wrong’ tickets by accident so we ended up taking a very long train (6+ hours) back home plus it was a sleeper. Very interesting experience, and not too bad after all :D

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The city trip to Nizhny Novgorod was a great experience (I guess for all of us?). This city is what you’d expect from Russia. Not the polished Saint Petersburg or grand Moscow. We finally experienced a true Russian city, at least that’s what we felt like.

 


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Day trip to a foreign city: Brno.

When I was planning my summer travel adventures it turned out that I would do most of my travelling only during  July as I had to attend a few things in Austria in August. I just couldn’t have one month full of travelling (abroad) and another one without hardly any travelling at all, could I? So I thought about which places I could go to that would only take me little time on the road but would still be ‘exotic’ and new… So Brno here I came!

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Brno is with almost 400,000 inhabitants the second largest city of the Czech Republic and is the centre of the South Moravian Region. It is located in the Southeast of the country, more or less right next to Austria. The city is a centre of universities, science, research and innovation, is known for Gregor Johann Mendel (who discovered the laws of modern genetics) and the Villa Tugendhat (modern architecture landmark listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List). Very intriguing – so why not spend one day in this town?

It took us only around 1.5 hours by train (7.50€ one-way) to get to Brno from Vienna – so it was a perfect day trip in August. Luckily, it wasn’t a typical hot summer day – so the timing of our trip seemed to be perfect. It was a bit clouded, which gave the city and its old buildings the perfect edge.

Climbing the tower of a church
Upon arrival we got ourself a small city guide and loosely followed two suggested routes so we could see mostly all of the major attractions of Brno. One of ours first stops was the cathedral of St. Peter and Paul – a Gothic style church on the Petrov hillock. The tower is open to the public for a small fee, so we climbed the many stairs just so we could have a beautiful view at the city. Definitely worth the scary wooden staircase!

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Having a drink in the middle of the day (or not)
Afterwards we just strolled around for a bit, passed countless churches, and then decided to sit down at what seemed like a pop-up bar at the Náměstí Svobody – the main square of the city centre – and enjoyed a fresh lemonade. At 12am we just didn’t feel like having our first Gin Tonic of the day yet even though it was quite tempting ;)

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Unfortunate food failure
After the nice little sit-down our way led us past further churches, along shopping streets, past horse statues (?), more churches… until we decided that it was finally time for lunch. I had already looked up a few places the day before so we wouldn’t be at a total loss when it came to vegetarian places. As we were at the northern part of the city centre we opted for a place called Vegalite. This restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan food at cheap prices. Unfortunately, more or less a total bummer for us – but mostly our own fault. We asked the waitress for an English menu and she only gave us a single sheet of paper that had the daily menus for the whole week (which consisted of a soup plus one out of 3 dishes of which one was already sold out). So we were stuck with two dishes that neither of us really liked as leaving the restaurant was impossible due to growling stomachs. Only after having paid we saw a pile of ‘real’ menus (not just the weekly menus) a few tables down. Of course we had one last look at them before leaving the restaurant… Turned out there were many other dishes available that we could have chosen from – burgers, salads, Bohemian etc. but the waitress had failed to give us the ‘real’ menu and we had been too stupid to ask if there was something else. Definite facepalm reaction from our side! So I guess I could recommend the place after all as they offer quite a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes at a very good price :D

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Špilberk Castle
The royal castle of Brno dates back to the 13th century and was rebuilt into a fortress in the 17th century. It used to be the most notorious and harshest prison in the entire Habsburg Monarchy and was known as ‘Jail of Nations’. Now it is ‘just’ home to the Brno City Museum. It is located on a hill which can easily be reached by walking through a vast park. On top of the hill the view over the city was – again – very beautiful and worth the march. However, they could have put a few more benches along the steep paths… :D

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Coffee & cake break
With still time on our hands we went to a place for coffee and cake. Not just any place but the most hip and trendy place in town according to the interior and the people in there – Skøg Urban Hub :D Nevertheless, quite a cool place with delicious coffee and a quite unusual black forest cake that tasted amazing!

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After having coffee we already decided to catch a train back home. On our way to the train station the sun came out but as we had already set our minds on going home we didn’t want to stay just for the sake of a few sunrays. We had a lovely day in Brno (despite the clouds!) and it’s just perfect for a cheap daytrip – as the (food) prices are very low (in comparison with Austria).

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Adventure in Germany: Berlin.

I went on a little trip to Germany, which I previously mentioned in my last blogpost. I didn’t want to squeeze everything into one single post, as it would have been beyond my personal content limit, I decided to tell you about my time in Berlin in a separate post. In addition, my stay in Berlin was different to the the one in Hamburg as I got to meet my lovely friends from exchange again! Yay to Australia-Germany-Austria Reunion! :)

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TV tower

The day of arrival doesn’t really count as day 1 as Carina and I only checked-in, ate burgers at the restaurant next door and had a relaxed evening. So on our proper first day we met my Australian friend Courtney at the hostel and went straight to a bakery to get coffee & breakfast & to catch up a bit. Then we headed over to the German Historical Museum and spent a couple of hours walking around in the huge exhibition on… German history. It was very fascinating – especially for people interested in World War II and its aftermath.

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Berlin Cathedral

After that we headed back to the hostel to meet the rest of the crew – Lisa from Germany and her boyfriend Christoph :) Unfortunately, Carina’s health wasn’t the best so she stayed at the hostel for the remaining day. The rest went out for delicious and relatively cheap burritos at Dolores and spent our evening at the Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz.

As Lisa’s boyfriend has to have at least on piece of cake per day, we went to a nice place and had a few pieces each. Actually, we only ordered two “taster” plates, where there was supposed to be an assortment of small pieces so you can try a few different cakes, but every piece was the size of a normal piece of cake. So we had 8 pieces for 4 persons. Way too much cake! But delicious and worth the money (and kind of cheap because of the size and everything). In the evening we went on a Pub Crawl to see a few different pubs and just have fun.

On day 2 Carina was finally feeling a bit better again, we all had breakfast and went to the Brandenburger Gate and the Reichstag. The architecture around the Platz der Republik was really impressive!

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Reichstag

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Selfie in front of the Brandeburg Gate *

While traveling during exchange we enjoyed going on free Walking Tours and I’ve continued doing so on other city trips as well as I think it is:
a. a good way to see nice places of the city,
b. you get to hear nice stories about the buildings/places (not the usual historical stuff, but real people-stuff),
c. you sometimes get to know people,
d. you can ask the tour guide to give you pieces of advice on where to have lunch/dinner/whatever that are not known to tourists, and
e. you can pay whichever amount you want or even give them nothing in case you were unsatisfied with the tour.
Besides, you can always leave the tour whenever you want to.

On our three hour walking tour (which was Sandemans New Berlin Free Tour) we got to see the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler’s Bunker, Gendarmenmarkt and many more. We saw very beautiful, very thought-provoking buildings.

Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, it was very windy and very very very cold :( However, the tour was really interesting and we got to see many interesting places.12351192_10208311586377312_743306115_nAfter our tour we had dinner at an Italian place, went to Potsdamer Platz to have a look at this Christmas market and enjoyed a cup of Glühwein.IMG_3223

Berlin was full of Christmas decorations as well! Beautiful but slightly too much for my taste :D

On our last day in Berlin we had an enormous breakfast at a place near the East Side Gallery. It was definitely worth our money, but unfortunately, I forgot the name of the place :( IMG_3227.jpgAfter stuffing our bellies with delicious breakfast treats, we went to the East Side Galleries to find out that it was being renovated at the moment, so most of the ‘gallery’ was behind barriers :( However, we still got a few nice shots and got to see interesting & beautiful art.IMG_3230

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IMG_3248We also went to KaDeWe – the biggest department store in Europe – to look at all the expensive and non-affordable stuff ;) Later, Carina and I went back to Alexander Platz to have a last look at the Christmas market there, while the rest of the gang went to the DDR museum. We met later again at our hostel where we had to say goodbye to everyone as Courtney had to catch her train, Lisa and her boyfriend a bus, Carina and I a plane.

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Alexander Platz

Berlin is a beautiful city, I definitely want to go there again (when it’s a bit warmer maybe?!). I also recommend anyone to go on a free walking tour and to have a look at the German Historical Museum, to learn more about Germany’s history. I really enjoyed my time in Berlin with my friends from exchange. :)

* Credits: Courtney Bergersen

Revisiting Stockholm.

I don’t like flying with budget airlines as so far I have almost always had problems with them. Usually, they are not as cheap as they seem to be (additional costs for everything) and they are super uncomfortable. However, if there are tickets available for only 10,66 EUR (return tickets!!) and I have a spare weekend to fill with an adventure, I’m definitely in. So Carina and I booked our flights and we went to Stockholm right after the last exam (which was about Joe & the Juice, very hipster). As I have mentioned in another blogpost, I really really like Sweden and I have already been to its capital before, so I had good reasons to go there again.

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Selfie at the airport in CPH

As already mentioned the tickets were really cheap; however, we had to deal with the fact that we had to fly with Ryanair. One of the flights was in the middle of the day, the other was very early in the morning plus both times we flew to/from an airport which was 100km south of Stockholm. A bit annoying but hey – 11 EUR for the tickets! And as we were only staying over the weekend (2.5 days in total) we decided not to check-in a suitcase = no additional costs for us. So off we went the week before this week on Thursday at 2.20PM.

We arrived at Skavsta airport – in the middle of nowhere (why do they even call it Stockholm-Skavsta?!) – at around 3.30PM. The weather was nice, a bit cold in comparison with Copenhagen (fortunately we brought our winter jackets), but the sun was still shining (only for another half an hour longer though).

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Mini airport *

The first “day” was rather uneventful as it was already quite late when we arrived in the city centre of Stockholm (6PM). After checking-in at our hostel we went out for dinner at… Pizza Hut. Haha. Delicious, yet somewhat expensive. After very careful consideration, we also decided to treat ourselves to a piece of cookie dough cake with ice cream. The “cake” was around the size of our pizzas :D No picture available tough. But here’s one of it from another page, in case you are interested ;)

The first night at the hostel turned out to be a real horror. One of the people who were also staying in the same room with us came in late in the night, reeking, rumbling around and after a few blissful quiet minutes, he started to snore. Like a buzz saw. Yay to a night with roughly 2.5 hours of sleep.

Nonetheless, we stood up rather early in the morning and had breakfast at… McDonalds. Very unspectacular, I know. But we did not make the conscious decision to have breakfast there, we only wanted to know how cheap/expensive a classical cappuccino would be (we always do this in another country) which lead us to getting “breakfast” as well: porridge/muesli and a croissant – so at least we went for the slightly ‘healthier’ options.

Afterwards we just walked around for hours. First, we went to Gamla Stan (Old town) on the island Stadsholmen. Many old buildings can be found there, as well as the Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral) and Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace).

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Bridge to Gamla Stan

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Just to pump out a few facts about the city: Stockholm has around 900,000 inhabitants (1.6 mio in the urban area and 2.2 mio in the metropolitan area) and is Scandinavia’s biggest city. The city is spread across 14 islands, it lies next to the Lake Mälaren and is surrounded by many many islands (skerries), which is called Stockholm Skärgård (Stockholm archipelago). Around 30% of the city area is made up of waterways and another 30% are parks and green spaces. So to say – the city is very blue and green.

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Being very touristy in Gamla Stan *

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After Gamla Stan we crossed a bridge to get to Södermalm (south of Gamla Stan) so we could walk around in another part of the city for a while. Right on Södermalm is the Monteliusvägen, a 500m long walking path with a beautiful view of the City Hall, Riddarholmen and Lake Mälaren.

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on our way to Södermalm

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Statues with scarves in Södermalm

 

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View from Monteliusvägen

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Bamboo bicycle. why not.

After Södermalm we went straight back to Gamla Stan so we could have a small break, sit down in a Café and have some food and coffee. We did not even have to pay for the coffee…

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Södermalm

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Before our trip we read online that there is a photography museum and as we are both very interested in this type of art, we decided to have a look at it. It turned out that it was definitely worth the 90 SEK.

After spending a couple of hours at the gallery, we went back to our part of the town (Norrmalm) and had dinner at the London Underground Pub. Yes, we know – probably not the best place if you want to try Swedish food.

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Another Selfie that I had to ruin ;) *

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*

On our way back we also saw that the whole town was decorated in Christmas town. Okay, probably not the whole town, but many busy streets. Very beautiful. We even found an ice rink.

Day three started off a bit more relaxing than the previous one as we had a slightly better night – still some snoring involved but I found my earplugs in the depths of my vanity bag! We decided to have breakfast at Espresso House, apparently the largest branded coffee chain in the Nordic region. I am a sucker for bagels, so I had a cream cheese bagel which was sooo delicious. In addition, Carina and I split a cake and a smoothie and we each had a huge cup of coffee. So all in all, I think we spent around 1.5-2 hours sitting in this coffee house, eating bagel & cake, drinking coffee and listening to all variations of Christmas music. Ergo a relaxing start in the day. :D

Then we took a tram to get to Djurgården. It is a very beautiful island and home of various sights and museums like the Vasaamuseet (maritime museum), Abba museum, Skansen (open air musem) or Gröna Lund (amusement park). As I have already been to the Vasa museum before, we decided not to go there again and wandered around for a bit. Actually, we wanted to have a look at the Rosendals slott (Rosendal castle) but we just could not find it. Instead we found a very cute green house instead.

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This is a corner of a larger field.

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*

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A bewitched house.

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On our way back we got off the wrong tram station so we had to walk a while to find the ferry boat that we had to take to get to the island Skeppsholmen. Of course it would have also been possible to take a bus or to walk there, but ferries are cool.

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Amusement park

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Skeppsholmen

Skeppsholmen was formerly used as a military station because of its strategic location (Baltic sea and everything). Now, several museums are located there, such as the Modern Museum of Art. Our main reason for going there was because you also have a beautiful view over the other islands.

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Amusement park.

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Vasa museum

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A very windy day ;)

 

 

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Ferry again.

After walking around on Skeppsholmen for a bit, we took another ferry back to Gamla Stan so we have a cup of coffee and food somewhere and warm ourselves up.

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Our ferry excitement. *

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We had such a tasty snack in a coffee house on Gamla Stan. Unfortunately, I have already forgotten all the ingredients… but something like cream cheese, honey and walnuts. Delicious combination. And again – free coffee. :D

After staying there for a while and just trying to get some feeling back in our frozen fingers and toes (it was rather windy and cold on that day and we’ve done quite a bit of walking) we decided to go shopping for a while, because what else was there to do?! Yes, there would have been many other things to explore and see and go to, but we’re gals and we wanted to have a look at some shops and see how the prices were in comparison with shops in Copenhagen. After shopping until the stores were closed, we went to the hostel, packed our bags and headed out again to get dinner somewhere. We opted for an Italian restaurant and went back to the London Underground Pub to get drinks and dessert (banana split!). Adventurous as we are, we ordered a cider that we’ve never had or heard of before.

The name of the cider was ‘Xider’. Actually, we tried to order it the last time in the pub but the waiter somehow misunderstood us und just brought us good old Summersby cider. So after getting the right drink this time, we found out that Xider is a brand that belongs to the Carlsberg group. We were definitely not part of the target group of the drink as it reminded us a bit of alcopops… :D In addition, the flavour was cactus/lime and the colour was bilious green. However, the banana split was delicious ;)

We went back to the hostel and had a good night’s sleep of around 3 hours as we had to get up at 3.30am and take a bus to beautiful mini airport Skavsta again. By the way – the airport has 4 gates. F o u r. Cute.

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We also spent almost all of our last kronor at the airport and got a lot of sweets. The flight was rather uneventful and of course very short. Unfortunately, we got to share the plane with a few hungover/still drunk people who have apparently been to Stockholm to watch the Sweden-Denmark football match. They were still wearing the clothes and things that people are usually wearing when watching a match. However, we got to see a beautiful sunrise!

 

Learning outcomes of the journey: I can look very very ‘beautiful’ (creepy) in selfies ;)

I would definitely recommend going to the Fotografiska museum. In addition, taking a ferry to any of the islands is such a nice way of looking at the city from a different angle.

Although the weather was not the best and it could have been a bit warmer, it was such a lovely trip and we had so much fun. The city is so beautiful, even when it’s windy, rainy and cold. I would have loved to go to a Christmas market there, but unfortunately, none of them have been open yet. So I will have to revisit Stockholm/Sweden again. and again. and again ;)

* Photo credits: Carina Wiesinger