The struggle with New Year’s Eve plans – 8 insider ideas on what to do.

New Year’s Eve… It’s a night just like any other except for people making the biggest fuss around it and planning 5 months in advance. This year, for example, I still have no idea what I’m gonna do but I know it’ll be a fun night regardless. And if not, I still have around 364 nights left in 2018 to make up for it.

I’ve asked a few fellow travel bloggers about the coolest – or worst – NYEs they’ve had and put together a list for you. Maybe it’s an inspiration? I guess most of them are not feasible just a month in advance but you might put them on your bucket list for one of the coming NYEs. So let’s go.


#1 New York City, USA

New York City, where the ball drops at exactly 12am on January 1st – sounds like a dream right? It seems like a place where a lot of people spent NYE: Read about a few bloggers’ best nights.

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Photo by Kiyoko from Footsteps of a Dreamer

“My best New Year’s experience was being in Times Square, New York City to watch the ball drop. I’d probably do it again (although probably not for a few years). It’s not for the faint of heart, but I feel like it’s something everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime!” – Kiyoko, Footsteps of a Dreamer.
Read more about her experience at Times Square, NYC here.

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NYC Skyline, Photo by Daniela from The Thought Card

“New York City is one of my favorite cities to celebrate New Year’s. Watch the ball drop at Times Square, head to a rooftop lounge like Lovage Rooftop or have dinner at a cozy restaurant. Nevertheless, a few years ago, I decided to do something a little different. I spent New Year’s at Madison Square Garden (MSG) where I jammed out to my favorite DJ, Skrillex. A ton of surprise guests graced the stage and over 18,000 people were in attendance that night.
I’m still trying to top that epic
night!” – Danielle, The Thought Card


#2 Moscow, Russia

Moscow.. I’ve never been but I always wanted to go. In the winter time though? Maybe not.. But Katie from What’s Katie Doing? did and she had a blast!

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Did definitely look like they had fun, right? Photo by Katie from What’s Katie Doing?

“You might think that choosing a place known for its extreme Winter cold is not the best way to spend NYE, but it’s amazing to be in a crowd of locals and tourists watching the fireworks over the Kremlin! Don’t expect to be able to do this in the Red Sqaure – they close it due to security concerns. But you can easily find a spot by the river to watch the fireworks over the beautiful iconic St Basil’s cathedral and celebrate with some vodka* shared around the crowd!
*Appropriate clothing is required on top of the vodka coat! However we were lucky and it was just above freezing – positively hot for Russia at that time of year.”
– Katie, What’s Katie doing?
Read Katie’s reasons on why visiting Moscow in the winter time isn’t a bad idea at all here.


#3 Sri Lanka

New Year’s at the beach? Definitely always a good idea!

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Sri Lankan Beach. Not too bad for a NYE.

“Last year, my husband and I spent the New Year’s Eve in Sri Lanka. In Dodanduwa, to be more precise, a village close to Hikkaduwa. I was way too excited about it, imagining partying on the beach, having fun with cool people. But although Dodanduwa has a wonderful beach, it is also a quiet one. So no bars or restaurants. We decided to check Hikkaduwa and see if we can arrange something. But all the places were asking for ridiculous amounts of money! And when you are on a one year travelling adventure, you kinda think twice before throwing money on parties.
So we decided to give up and just go with the flow. Before midnight we hopped in our tuk-tukand headed to the beach at Hikkaduwa. We simply wanted to enjoy the beach and the fireworks. We weren’t expecting anything much but it turned out to be one sweet New Year’s Eve. We relaxed on the beach, laughed with the locals who were dancing around, and enjoyed the fireworks. And we didn’t regret not going to any party at all. Because from a distance they sure didn’t look that fun. So maybe sometimes it’s better to let go of your high expectations and enjoy the moment. And make sure to make a good wish on your next New Year’s Eve!” – Andra, Our World to Wander

#4 Istanbul, Turkey

I guess after what happened in Istanbul last year on NYE (and all the shit that happens in the world at the moment), people might think twice about going there. So maybe this will make you consider in case you are hesistant!

Istanbul

“Istanbul is a great city to spend New Year’s Eve, as the Turkish people really know about good hospitality. Most people stay around the popular Taksim Square and Istiklal Street to celebrate. But the more intimate experience happens in small side streets of Kadıköy or Nişantaşı where people hang out in bars and pubs and just celebrate the moment. Not to forget that Istanbul also offers some great fireworks that are launched from various areas around the city and enlighten the sky over the silhouettes of the big mosques.” – Clemens, Travellers Archive
Read more about Istanbul in Clemens’ Turkey Travel Guide


#5 Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a crazy city either way. I can only imagine how wonderful it is on NYE! Dawn from Grey Traveller had the pleasure of experiencing it – without even having to be pushed around by the hundreds of people on the street.

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Photo by Dawn from Grey Traveller

“My first visit to Asia was to Bangkok and my they know how to put on a great firework spread! We were lucky enough to be staying at The Shangri La Hotel with a balcony overlooking the river, best view in the city without the crowds!” – Dawn from Grey Traveller


#6 Nagoya, Japan

Japan. Also very high on my bucket list. Dinh-Long decided to not stay in Tokyo for NYE but try another city: Nagoys. And he had a very surprisingly good night!

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Nagoy, Photo by Dinh-Long

“December 30th, I decided, on a whim, to take a night bus to Nagoya from Tokyo. Nagoya is mostly known not to be a crazy NYE city: as a matter of fact, it was a bit of a ghost city as most shops closed for the occasion. But I had one of the best NYE of my life! Strolling all day at Osu Shopping District buying random Japanese things and watching street artists, coming back to the Hostel’s New Year’s traditional Soba Soup & Sake party, before following the flow to a J-Pop concert in Nagoya Castle!” – Dinh-Long from DLPlayground


#7 Reykjavik, Iceland

Another cold destination I would love to go to. Maybe I should consider it for New Year’s one day?

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“Icelanders celebrate New Years with community bonfires and a firework display that spreads far and wide across the city. It’s the most incredible experience, so head up somewhere high and take it all in. Every direction you look you will see fireworks and they’re not just let off in the countdown to midnight, it’s a 6 hour affair!” – Verity, Veritru


#8 Sydney, Australia

I love Sydney. It’s definitely one of my favourite cities around and I’m already excited to be back there one day. Maybe gor another NYE, who knows.

Fireworks over the Harbour Bridge, Sydney

“And now it’s my turn. In 2013 I spent NYE in Sydney. And it was definitely worth the experience! Because it was our first (and probably only NYE) we decided to do it the touristy way and watch the fireworks over the Harbour Bridge. We stood in line for a while to get into the Botanical Gardens, where we had to wait in the heat until the first Fireworks went off (there are three, at 10pm, 11pm and midnight). It was a great spectacle but not being able to bring any alcohol in and not really having any shade to sit in made the waiting a lot harder. So maybe I wouldn’t do it anymore. But in real life what I used to watch on TV multiple times was pretty cool after all.” – myself, Anywhere’s Perfect

The picture was taken by my Mum, who celebrated NYE in Sydney the same year I did but a bit more fancy: on a boat overlooking the harbour bridge and the opera house.
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My Berlin Diary – Where to eat, drink, shop

This November I spent 8 days in Berlin for work. I don’t have a full guide for you because I clearly spent most of my time working and not exploring, but decided to still write down the Cafés, Shops and Restaurants I (re)discovered and share some of the photos I took with you in this post. Maybe it will inspire you to go (back) to Berlin!

Update: I’ve been back to Berlin again and I added a few new places to the list!

Berlin Mitte

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I was staying at Motel One between Alexanderplatz and Hacksche Markt in Berlin Mitte. Right across the street was a place called Spreegold where I enjoyed this wonderful avocado bread with a poached egg. They have lots of different breakfast options but also lunch and dinner.

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Warschauer Straße

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Markthalle Neun

This photo is from Markthalle Neun. It’s an old industry hall that’s now a food hall with stalls from all around the world: Asian, Italian, Turkish, Mexican… And they even have a vegan stall. Definitely worth a visit!
On Thursdays they have a Street Food Market and are open longer or you visit it for lunch any of the other days. On weekends you’ll have the best chance to see all the stalls being open!

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Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz

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Museumsinsel

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On the weekend I stayed at my sister’s place in Neukölln. On Sunday morning I just strolled around to find a place where I could grab some breakfast and stumbled upon the Okay Café where I got a hot chocolate and an Omelette with Avocado and was the happiest person. The staff was amazingly friendly and the menu full of pancakes, different type of eggs and cake made it hard for me to decide.

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This was at the East Side Gallery, a part of the Berlin Wall that’s been painted by artists in 1990 (and repainted in 2007). You can find a post about the Street Art I found around Berlin here.

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Thanks to my colleagues I found the Café What do you fancy love? in Berlin Mitte. They have wonderful cakes and cookies, but also savory food. And super delicious juices!

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This is the staircase at the Helmut Newton Foundation / Museum of Photography. The museum at Zoologischer Garten has changing photography exhibitions plus an ongoing exhibition about Helmut Newton showing his best pieces. Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take any photos but it is definitely worth it, if you are a fan of photography.

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Mauerpark on a sunny Sunday

For the summer, probably one of the best parts about Berlin is, that it has plenty of different parks – Görlitzer Park, Mauerpark, … the list probably never ends. It’s pretty busy there but I guess that’s just how it is in big cities when the weather’s great. So definitely get a beer at one of their Spätis and go enjoy Berlin’s parks!

What else?

  • Check out Zeit für Brot, my absolute favourite bakery for a coffee around Mitte.
  • If you are a fan of flea markets go to Mauerpark Flohmarkt. It’s happening every Sunday and you can find treasures such as furniture, clothes, jewelery and many more.
  • And if you are around, go and have coffee, a sandwich or one of their delicous looking cakes at Café Krone. Make sure to bring some time because you might have to wait a little bit for a table.
  • Mister Vuong is a Vietnamese place you should definitely try if you are into Asia food. But bring some time here as well.
  • The cool thing about Berlin is that they have so many different cultures and therefore food from all around the world. Something I’ve never tried but fell in love with: Bibimami! Apparently Bibipapi is even better, but they only serve that after 5pm. So go check out Bibimix in Berlin Mitte if you want to try this popular Korean dish!
  • Yumcha Heroes in Berlin Mitte, close to Rosenthaler Platz, had some of the best dumplings I’ve ever had – and they are not even that expensive.
  • There’s a healthy place close to Weinmeister Straße (Berlin Mitte again) that blew me away with their Sweet Potato Glass Noodle Salad – Klub Kitchen.
  • And because I’m addicted to Matcha, this Café has to be on the list: Mamecha. It’s a Café devoted to Matcha – you can get everything from sweets to plenty of different matcha drinks. Yum!
  • 1990 Vegan Living is a (surprise!) vegan place in Friedrichshain. The great thing about it is, that their dishes come in small bowls, so you can easily try 2-3 different dishes. Definitely worth it, not only as a vegan!
  • Broke+Schön is a place that stays true to its name: The clothes are affordable and still very beautiful! Definitely go check it out.
  • Berlin has lots of great shops in general. Some of my (well-known) favourites include Monki, Weekday, COS, Made in Berlin and Pick & Weigh.
  • Berlin Mitte, especially Alte Schönhauser Straße, has lots of great interior shops as well, for example Granit, one of my favourite shops from Scandinavia!

If you need a few more inspirations, here’s another guide to hidden (food and shopping) gems in Berlin.

The Power of Color – Streetart around the world Part V: Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a pretty grey city, especially around this time of the year. But luckily Berlin is famous for its street art scene and there are plenty of artists from all around the world that spread patches of color around the city. During my time there last week I’ve tried to take photos of a few of them to share with you. There might be a Part Two one day, because there’s definitely more streetart to explore!

The best places to find street art in Berlin are Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Friedrichshain and Berlin Mitte. If you are interested in that type of art definitely see if you can do a Street Art Walking Tour. I’ve done one in London once and I loved getting all the background information.
And if you are in Berlin on a very cold day and you just don’t feel like walking around these places but still want to find out more, go and visit Berlin’s new Street Art Museum Urban Nation. It’s has pieces from some of the biggest artist around the world and you can find changing art outside of the building as well.

#metoo – Where does it start and where does it end?

I might have a few enemies after this post or at least I know I have a few people disagreeing with me on this. But I like speaking my mind so I’ll just do it.

You’ve all heard about the #metoo-discussion that’s all over Social Media, online magazines but also in print already (one of the last editions of the german GRAZIA wrote an article about it, for example). And yes, I posted a photo in my Instastory as well. Because yes, I’ve been sexually harrassed by a guy.

I was 14 and on holidays in Croatia with two friends. It was a youth-holiday kinda thing, so we were never really alone but always watched over by people. One night we all went to a club and while me and my two friends were dancing, this guy creeped towards me from behind and grabed my ass – with both hands. I was 14 and VERY confused and overwhelmed by what just happened and I actually didn’t even turn around properly. My friend told the group leader and the guy was thrown out of the club. I never really saw this as sexual harrassement since back then I probably didn’t even know what sexual harrassment really was. But it happened. And today I know it wasn’t right.

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Photo via Victoria Siemer (@witchoria)

But also, I don’t know where sexual harrassement starts and where it ends. For me, it’s not that bad if someone walks up to me on the street and tries to talk to me. Or when someone whistles from across the street. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a compliment but I also wouldn’t complain. It happens and I ignore it. Because, really, do you think those guys from across the street would ever come up to you and actually do something? Or do you think that the guys who ask for your name and tell you you’re pretty actually plan on doing anything else to you than just talking? (Clearly, if they do, kick them in the balls, but if they don’t…)

Call me naive, but I truly believe that some of those guys just mean nothing else by it. They might actually be very shy and because they were blown away by a girl’s beauty they just needed to say something. And it might be in a very awkward way and they might not understand the very first no but cut guys some slack. Because on the other hand, I know from a lot of people that they wish guys were more open and came up to them more often. Because the idea of meeting someone in real life is still a romantic notion in girls’ heads. But how will a guy ever come up to us again when they see, that literally EVERY girl out there posted #metoo-s on their social media platforms?
At least I think if it was the other way around and guys started posting things like that I would never EVER dare to go up to a guy anymore.

I’m not saying that the stories that are out there aren’t bad. The stories about rape. The stories about men feeling girls/women up for their own pleasure even though they’ve been told No (probably more that once). But I’ve heard a saying the other day: “Don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about something that won’t matter anymore in 5 years”. And in a way that’s what this should come down to: If a guy whistles at you from across the street or if a guy slides into your Instagram DMs with a creepy message, will you really care about it in 5 years? No? Okay, then let’s forget about it and just think to yourself that guys are dicks.

I hope you know that I still stand with all the women out there who went through horrific days and nights with guys that didn’t understand where the line was. Because I am a women too and I hope nothing like that will ever happen to me or my loved ones. Because it’s immature, awful and can change women in a very negative way. 

Citytrips during winter – why not?

November’s here. And that means that days are getting shorter and colder. I am not really one to complain about weather but it’s clearly more fun to go and explore places when you can still feel your nose and fingers after an hour outside and you don’t have to try and take in all the daylight for photos before 4:30pm. But still.. There are some perks to traveling and exploring in the winter time. So if you need some convincing, keep on reading.

The biggest reason for me probably is that there are less tourists around in the winter time. I’ve been to a lot of places around Europe during winter, such as Belfast, Stockholm or Amsterdam and I’m not saying it wasn’t freezing cold but I also wasn’t sharing all the sights with a trillion other tourists.

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Stockholm, March 2015

But also, a lot of places have a special charm about them in the winter time. Christmas lights, snow, all the hot chocolate you can drink… it can be quite nice actually. And if you feel like you’d enjoy the place more in the summertime you can always come back!

Which brings me to the next point: How stupid would it be to waste all the winter months (and there are quite a few of them here in Germany) on spending the weekends inside and not really leaving the house to explore?
Ever since I started working full-time (I have been doing internships before but it’s a different things), I realised how precious weekends, bank holidays and all the days you get off actually are. And I try not to waste them inside – no matter if it’s summer or winter.

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Amsterdam, February 2017

I am a big sucker for food and drinks and therefore for cool/cute cafés and restaurants and bars. So if the weather’s shitty outside you at least have a reason to try as many cafés and restaurants as possible. I went to Stockholm in February this year and it was freezing cold, my face burned constantly from the cold. So I decided to stroll around the city for 1-2 hours at a time and then sit at a café for a bit to warm up. Obviously, it might get a bit expensive but there are other options too. What about a museum for example?

There are so many great galleries and museums around the world. I have to admit, a lot of times I don’t make it into them when I travel because there’s so much to see but when you go during the winter months you have the perfect reason to visit one: you can warm up inside while looking at impressive art, photography or whatever you are interested in. It’s a shame to miss some of the great museums, like the Victoria and Albert Museum in London or Fotografiska in Stockholm, just to name two.

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Dublin, October 2015

That being said, I am getting VERY excited for my upcoming trips to Lisbon (November/December), Prague (December) and London (January) and for exploring the magic of that time of the year in different cities around Europe.