Architecture is fascinating. I know I always enjoyed checking out beautiful churches or interesting buildings when I was traveling but it wasn’t until I started working in architecture and design PR that I realised how much architecture influences the image of a city. And how much one new building can change the look of a city. This is why I decided to put together a post about my favourite “architectural master pieces” around the world. (I guess this will only be part 1…)
Trolltunga. The Troll’s Tongue. It’s a place you see on Social Media so much, that it somehow had to make our To Do List for Norway. And I am definitely not disappointed that we went. But there are a few things you need to know before going.
Let’s start with the way there: The streets to Trolltunga are very narrow and windy and sometimes only have one lane for both way traffic. So definitely drive carefully if you have your own car, because the Norwegians don’t really.
We tried to go as early as possible but when we got there around 7:30am, we were clearly not the first ones. There are two parking areas, one at the very bottom for 300NOK for a day (there are multiple-days-tickets as well in case you want to camp around the area for a night or more) and then there’s another one that’s around 4km up, which is 600NOK. The higher one opens at 6am and when we got there at 7:30 it was full already. We didn’t really care, because we wanted to hike as much as possible anyways, but in case you are not that keen on it, this might be a good option.
Recommendations say that you need all equipment possible – hiking sticks, a head lamp, all the typical hiking stuff. But to be honest, we didn’t have any of that and we managed alright. We didn’t even have hiking boots which was a bit annoying though. So make sure you bring those, it’s just less slippery and better in case you go on a day like we did and there’s mud and puddles around.
In general, after the first 4 kms up (they go up an asphalted street) the hike’s not crazy steep anymore. There are a few rougher parts, but it’s definitely manageable. With all the mud it was a bit harder, because it got slippery and you sometimes had to walk around and over sticks and stones to avoid it, but still. One important thing to know is, that there might be some parts that still have snow that you have to cross, which can be even more slippery. Try to avoid the edges, since they can break in easily – I fell into a little hole with my leg because of that. Oops.
As you can see from the images, the weather wasn’t too great when we did the hike, it was even raining a few times throughout the day. But somehow I wouldn’t want it any other way – the landscape was so mystical due to the fog, you somehow wouldn’t have been surprised if a troll actually jumped out of a hole all of a sudden.
We got the top after 3 hours and 37 minutes (very precise, I know) and we were welcomed by around 20 people that were standing on the cliff taking pictures and around 15 people standing in line to get on the Trolltunga rock and get their picture taken. It was very weird to go through a hike like that and then run into a crowd of people. I mean, not that we were all alone along the hike but it’s still a peaceful walk. After a bit of thinking we decided that we still need a picture on the rock, just as a proof, so we asked a girl in line behind us to take it for us. After the typical shot, we then climbed down to another “tongue” that was a bit lower than the actual rock formation and took a few more “single shots” for us.
I guess with a hike as famous as that one, you can’t really expect anything else, but it took away a little bit of the magic to stand in line just to get a shot on there. And also to have around 30-40 people watch you pose on that rock – I was too uncomfortable to do anything special and just took the one shot with my friend. But it was worth the experience and the memory.
So all in total, it took us around 7 hours and 45 minutes to go up and down (the waiting time up there not included). So definitely pack water, snacks and lunch for your hike, there’s nothing to fill up water bottles or get snacks on the way (obviously, but just to mention it).
My conclusion to this trip: So worth it! The landscape was just breathtaking, the hike was challenging enough but not too hard for a once-in-a-while-hiker like me and the reward up there was pretty cool as well. So put it on your bucket list and go for it!
Last week I was able to tick another country off my bucket list: Norway.
I am always one to travel far away to explore new things, so that I sometimes forget how beautiful Europe can actually be. I mean, how lucky am I to live on a continent where nature so diverse is only a 2 hour flight away?
On a Thursday night I jumped on a plane to Oslo and landed at broad daylight two hours later, at 9:30pm. It was crazy how I was able to still do some sight seeing after I got to the city center, since it didn’t really get dark. Perfect for a female traveler to feel 100% safe!
To get to the city center, there are 3 different ways: You can either take a bus, which takes around an hour or longer, the airport link or the normal public R train. The R train is the cheapest one (I paid 110 NOK) and only takes around 25 minutes to the central station.
Right the next morning I met my friend at central station, hired a car and drove off towards Eidfjord, one of the Fjords on the westside of Norway. And trust me, renting a car is the best way to see Norway! It’s one of the most stunning and diverse countries I’ve ever seen and I was so happy to be able to stop along the way for photos and picnics and chills.
Speed limits in Norway are between 60 and 90 km/h and depending on the area you go to, the streets are pretty easy to drive on. There are a few crazy curvy streets along the Fjords, but even those are manageable. And absolutely breathtaking.
In between we stopped around Geilo (which is the funniest name if you are German, even though it’s pronounced Jeilo) and had some food before we headed to what was supposed to be our first hike. Unfortunately the weather around Prestholtseter was so bad (it was crazy rainy and stormy), so we decided not to go. But the nature we saw on our way up there was worth the little detour.
We then arrived at the Eidfjord around 6 hours later. My Lonely Plant told me, that Eidfjord is one of the more touristy places around the Fjords, because many cruise ships stop here during the summer but I gotta say I didn’t see many of them. We really enjoyed our beautiful, peaceful Airbnb right by the water and a short walk around the area when we arrived. Unfortunately it was raining and most places were closed already, so we just went back home, cooked and prepared some lunch for the next day.
The next day we already left that beautiful house again to go on our first hike: Kjeåsen. The hike was a pretty good one for me to start off with since I haven’t been hiking for over six months. It took us around 2.5 – 3 hours both ways and the hike up was pretty good to handle with a few steps, ropes and ladders in between.
If you are really not into hiking but you want to enjoy this beautiful view, there’s also a street up there. At the end of the drive up, there’s a 2.5 km long tunnel (you find plenty of them around Norway), which is too narrow for two lanes, so you can only go up there every full hour and drive down on the half hour.
From Eidfjord we made our way to Bergen, where we stayed at the Marken Gjestehus, a pretty central hostel which had a clean kitchen, bathrooms and lovely staff. We stayed there for one night as well and ended up exploring a lot of the town. It’s a cute little town full of places to discover – cafés, restaurants, shops.
- The cutest little café just at the bottom of the cable car: Det Lillet Kaffekompaniet
- There are plenty of Fish stalls around the Fish market down by the water, where you can either get fresh fish to cook at home / your Airbnb or sit down and have a proper fish meal prepared right in front of you.
- We had dinner and a few drinks at the Zachariasbryggen which is right down by the water as well. We tried some beer from and at the Bergenhus Bryggeri on a heated terrace before we head upstairs to the rooftop for a few more drinks. (Trust me, it’s very weird to sit on a rooftop, drinking and watching drunk people dance while it’s still bright outside.)
But because we mainly went to Norway for its nature and hiking, we decided to also do one of the seven mountains of Bergen: Blåmanen. We started all the way down in Bergen, but you can also take a cable car up to Fløyen, where you already have a wonderful view over Bergen and can start your hike from as well.
If you want to hike up there, it’s around 1 hour. From there you then start the “real” hike up to Blåmanen, which takes around 1.5 hours. The hike is another gem around Norway and brings you up to a very quiet place that looks like another world. You definitely don’t believe that this is just a quick hike away from a big city like Bergen.
After the morning hike we jumped back into our car and took a drive to our next Airbnb in Røldal. Røldal is one of Norway’s skiing areas, which you were able to feel by the temperature, even though it was the middle of June. But no complaining here, it was worth it!
Now on to the biggest adventure of the trip on our fourth day: Trolltunga. Trolltunga was on my bucket list for so long, which is probably due to the fact that you see it around Instagram constantly. We chose to go very early and even though the weather wasn’t what we expected at all (very cloudy and misty), it turned out to be one of the coolest days ever. Maybe the weather was even the thing that made it so special.
But I am not going to go into more detail about Trolltunga here because I am planning to put together a whole post just about useful Trolltunga-tips. So stay tuned 🙂
On our last day in Norway we left our Airbnb in Røldal early again to drive back to Oslo. Obviously we didn’t make it in the time the GPS told us, since we had to stop every once in a while to take photos, but it took us around 6.5 hours all together.
In Oslo we decided to just enjoy the weather while simply being in Oslo. That’s why we started our time there with a Matcha at Espresso House before we headed to the shops – I can never resist going shopping in cities where they have Weekday and Monki. We then headed towards Grünlokka, the “hip” area of Oslo where we strolled around a bit more before having a beer (or three).
Our first stop was Mathallen Oslo, a big hall full of different food stalls and a bar. After not being able to decide what to get for a while, we ended up getting some Sushi and a beer and sat in the sun (yes, there was sun in Norway!).
Some other cool bars and/or places we went to were…
- Tommi’s Burger: They had very basic burgers but very tasty and not too greasy, which is always a plus for me! And the atmos
- Olaf Ryes Plass: Well, this is not really a bar but it’s a little green square, with a few bars and restaurants lined along it.
Blå: This bar was my favourite place. It’s an open air bar right by the water with a huge creative and relaxing atmosphere. Actually, there was another bar right across from it (on the same side of the river) which looked amazing as well!
And one thing I just couldn’t miss about Oslo was its Opera House. It’s an impressive piece of architecture by Snøhetta, a norwegian but known around the world practice of architecture. (I work in architecture and design PR, that’s why I became a sucker for interesting buildings tbh.)
After watching the sun go down (a little bit) from this beautiful building, we headed to the airport, where we spent the night, because our flight left early enough to do so and save some money on accomodation 🙂
All in all, Norway was wonderful. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. Some facts you have to know though:
- It’s expensive. I guess that’s a given since it’s a Scandinavian country, but it really is. Especially since the exchange rate isn’t great for Euros at the moment. But since we cooked at home a lot, it was definitely okay.
- It can get cold. When we left Røldal at 6:30am, we had around 3 degrees and it didn’t get any warmer until half way to Oslo. So bring warm clothes, even in June.
- The sun actually does go down, but not for long. I guess it becomes dark around midnight and bright again around 2-3 hours later. So it’s perfect for getting up early or staying up late 🙂
- Go as long as you can. 5 days definitely weren’t enough, especially since the distances are pretty long and you don’t want to spend all your time in the car.
Well it’s been over a month since I’ve last been in Milan and I finally get around to write about it – a big sorry, life came in the way.
Anyways. In case you follow my Instagram and/or Facebook you might know that I went to Milan twice this spring – once in March for a weekend to visit a friend and once in April for Salone del Mobile for work. Both times I experienced Milan in completely different ways but somehow I ended up getting a great whole image of the city.
March was rainy, cold, grey and not as „Italian“ as you might imagine it. I had a wonderful time with my friend but I still wondered – is Milan maybe not the city for me? I’ve heard mixed things about it, so I wouldn’t have even been surprised by it. So I went home with the opinion, that it has an incredible food scene but doesn’t come close to my favourite Italian city Rome.
But then I came back in April. Heat, sun, millions of people around, so much to do – and my opinion changed drastically. I might still be a bigger fan of Rome (just because I studied Latin for 8 years in school and am fascinated by the city’s rich culture) but I definitely felt some love for Milan.
During Milan Design Week, Milan is one oft he most vibrant cities I’ve ever experienced. You find parties everywhere, Brera is packed with wine-drinkers and pasta-eaters and you can almost smell the creativity.
N’Ombra de Vin was one bar I really enjoyed. We didn’t even go downstairs but just stayed outside with a glass of wine and enjoyed the busy but positive atmosphere around. Definitely worth a visit! The crowd was really mixed, some rather posh people next to Milan hipsters enjoying their aperitivo – so something for everyone.
But like I said, Milan is a food mekkah, so let’s get to that.
One thing my friend told me before I left was „Milan has the best sushi!“. Okay. I mean it’s Italy. I don’t know. But she turned out to be right, I had absolutely incredible Sushi at Temakinho in Milan. It’s a Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant (hence the name) and also offers different bowls besides their awesome selection of Sushi.
There’s one in Brera, one in Magenta and one at Ripa di Porta Ticinese, an area you shouldn’t miss when in Milan.
Ripa di Porta Ticinese is a street (or more like to streets) along the water, without cars and lined with restaurants and bars. Warm, mild nights there are just wonderful, because you ca sit outside and watch the different people – tourists and Italians – pass you, doing their thing, enjoying life, while having a glass of wine. It’s perfection. And while you are there, go to Rinomata Gelateria and try their delicious Gelato!
The most authentic Italian food I ate was at Salsamenteria Di Parma. Somehow you step into the restaurant and you feel like you are somewhere in the middle of Italy, in a small town and their local restaurant. They serve different types of bruschetta and pasta dishes and all of it is super delicious!
And since my blog now has the tagline „On the hunt fort he best matcha“ I obviously I need to share this with you: MACHA. It’s a matcha café full of delicious Matcha bowls, cakes and lattes. I had one of their Matchas and even though it wasn’t the best one I’ve had so far, I still felt like I found a piece of heaven there.
Other restaurants I tried and loved.
- Felice e Testaccio. Famous for its pasta Cacio e Pepe, a pasta with creamy cheese sauce and pepper.
- Drogheria Milanese. Just like an Italian tapas place.
- Miscusi. Me and my colleague just coincidentally stumbled into this restaurant, because it was close to our AirBnb. Turns out it is a pretty “in” restaurant in Milan. It serves different types of Pasta, some starters and desserts. Definitely worth trying!
What else to do in Milan? Obviously, Milan is a great city to shop. They have shops I’ve never heard of or shops we don’t get in Germany. There’s Oysho, which I love, there’s Pull&Bear, Urban Outfitters, Bershka, there are smaller boutiques around Brera – there’s everything.
Other than that I walked around a lot. I mean, you know this by now, walking around is my favourite way of exploring the city. Brera was great, you will find so many photo opportunities around there and you won’t get sick of them. There are cool shops (Check out Il Cirmolo, a fascinating antique store where I was wishing I had more than hand luggage and a bit more money to myself as well), great restaurants and so much more to see.
Fondazione Prada is a cool museum to visit. They have a permanent exhibition, but also a few changing ones, so check out which one is on during your visit, but don’t miss the cool architecture of that place.
When we researched places you NEED to see during Milan Design Week / Salone del Mobile, 10 Corso Como popped up. It’s somehow a mix of everything – roof top, shop, café, museum. Not that I could afford any of the clothes in there (they sell high priced brands) but the place itself is pretty cool. The gallery is very small, so you don’t need much time to go through it, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
So, like you see, I discover cities one restaurant at a time. And by foot. And because Milan is full of beautiful streets and buildings, you don’t really need to go see the “musts” to have a good time and enjoy the city!
Festival season is coming closer and I couldn’t be more excited for it. Drinking beer out of cans, no matter what time it is, playing Flunky Ball all day, listening to live music while lying in the grass, enjoying the sun (hopefully) and spending three days away from reality with friends and good energies – it’s the dream!
This is why I decided to get you festival excited with a new Photo Friday. Enjoy and happy weekend! x
Milan might not be the city everyone thinks of when thinking about street art, but believe me, there’s plenty around! And it’s crazy how diverse the art around this city is!
And since I went to Milan during Milan Design Week, I’ve decided to also add a few of my favourite installation to this mix because why not? It’s art, too.
Coachella is just around the corner. I, myself, don’t really care about it and it’s not really on my bucket list of MUST DO things on this planet, but I know it is for many of you. And I also think that the acts performing at it are definitely some very talented people that I love listening to. That is why I decided to make a new 10 songs I can’t live without Special Edition: The Coachella Edition.
#1 SZA – The Weekend
I already introduced you to one of her songs (Love Galore with Travis Scott) on my last 10 songs post and since I didn’t want to repeat myself, here’s another one of her songs. She’s definitely one of the best new R&B artists out there!
#2 Léon – Tired of Talking
This is actually the third time that you can find Léon on my blog. But she is just too amazing and talented. Can’t wait to see her live at one point!
#3 Alt-J – Taro
Choosing one of there songs was probably one of the hardest things. I am just in love with their music. It’s so soothing and energetic at the same time. I can’t explain it but it instantly makes me melancholic and happy at once.
#4 Tash Sultana – Notion
Another talented young woman that you might have seen on my blog today. Whenever I listen to her songs or watch her perform, I’m always in complete awe. How can someone be so freaking talented?
#5 First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining
I’ve seen the two sisters of First Aid Kit at Southside Festival before and they are just wonderful. They reminded me of Julia Stone on stage, so graceful and hippie-esque, floating around as if it was not hard or stressful at all.
#6 HAIM – We want you back
I have a very mixed taste in music. This is a good example of that. But I’m proud of it.
#7 Vance Joy – Call if you need me
I just saw Vance Joy live in Munich 2 weeks ago and whenever I listen to his music, I am transported back to the most amazing time I got to spend in Australia. So it’s a little bitter sweet, but it doesn’t make his music any less great!
#8 Ibeyi – River
Oh Ibeyi ❤
#9 Jacob Banks – Chainsmoking
I shared his music in my last post as well, but that doesn’t stop me to do it again. Because, I mean, that voice!
#10 Beyonce – Hold up
Okay, Queen B has to be on this list. And I could post her whole Lemonade video here, but I’ll just leave you with one of the amazing songs on that album.
P.S.: Well, this was harder than I though. There are still so many amazing artists missing! But I guess 10 it is for now.
Cover Photo: by Thomas via Flickr
Traveling is not always fun and great times. But a lot of times it is. This post is supposed to show you how wonderful but also how awful my travels have been at times – and that I survived all of this and learned some valuable lessons from it.
The worst homesickness: The most homesick I felt in San Francisco. This had two reasons I guess, number 1 is that it was one of the first stops on my Around the World Trip that I was actually by myself, and number 2 is, that The US is not really a place for lonely backpackers, especially the big cities. I experienced the same thing in L.A., hostels are more for people who just quickly stop over or for groups of friends that go on weekend trips. So it was very lonely for a bit, but I got over it, because like this post is supposed to show you: There are ups and downs on the road.
The best friendship made: That’s a very tough one. There’s one girl though, that I instantly felt connected to and we are still friends and visiting each other, even though it’s been 4 years now (Love you, Bonnie!). I met plenty of wonderful people throughout my journey and I try to keep in touch with most of them, but she’s definitely someone special. And we even only had about a week together on Bali!
The worst sickness: There are a few. But I guess my bed bugs in Vietnam were the worst. Vietnam in general wasn’t great for my health, I remember one night in Da Lat, I stayed in bed crying, while there was a big family dinner feast happening downstairs because I had stomach cramps. But the bed bugs where something else, especially since I didn’t really know what to do and I got blisters all over and they started swelling up immensly. But luckily it was at the very end of my trip, so I knew if it got worse, I was home soon enough to have someone I actually understand take a look at it.
The time I felt most proud of myself: This is easy, it was on Gili Trawangan. Bali was the first country on my trip that I ended up being by myself for longer than a few days. And especially coming from a surf camp where you have people around you 24/7 and easily get to know them, it was hard for me to arrive at a hostel and come into a completely empty room, not knowing how to meet people. So I had a whole day by myself on Gili T and by the end of it, I was feeling pretty lonely. So I got back to the hostel and heard people upstairs in the bar/common room. I didn’t really know what to do, but I just got upstairs, grabbed a bear from the bar and asked the group to join them. It ended up being a pretty fun night!
And yes, this might sound very “normal” for some of you, but I have a little bit of shyness inside me and things like that require a lot of courage for me.
The worst hangover: Not sure. When I was traveling I was 23/24 and I never really got a hangover. I was basically able to go out 7 days a week. And when I was in Vietnam in 2016, I didn’t get completely wasted since I really wanted to enjoy every day of the two weeks I was there.
The best night out: That’s a tough one. One of the best nights I had traveling solo was on Bali, when our surf camp had a huge party one night. The main thing why it was so good had to do with the fact that I knew almost everyone at the party so it felt like a great night out with friends. And we all jumped into the pool at one point and I mean, is there anything better than a party that ends with everyone in a pool?
The worst day and/or night: I don’t know if I ever had an over all bad day, but I definitely had one day that I’ll never forget. One day before I left Sydney to go to Bali, I thought I lost my wallet. I looked everywhere for it, even went back into the stores where I last had it – NOTHING. I unpacked my whole backpack – NOTHING. I searched my friends’ house – NOTHING. I already gave up, when my friends said they needed to go back to one of the stores where I thought I had left it anyways and they would just ask again if it wass there. And yes, it was. The guy I asked before just assumed it was one of the girls’ that worked there and not mine. So awful day turned into a lucky day pretty quickly.
The worst journey: My worst journey was definitely the one from Hoi An, Vietnam to Da Lat, Vietnam. I had a stomach bug and felt sick all throughout the bus rides – that were around 18 hours long in total. And the worst thing about it – all the toilets on the road where literally holes in the ground, so that didn’t help at all.
The most amazing journey: Without a doubt the flight from Sydney to Lord Howe Island. When I left Sydney, I had the best view over the beaches and when I got to Lord Howe Island I had the most beautiful view over the most breathtaking island on this planet. And all this even though I thought I might die throughout the whole flight. So, you see, it’s definitely worth it.
The biggest disappointment: The Full Moon Party on Koh Phagnan, Thailand. I really wanted to go there, because you hear so much about it, but I just didn’t really have the best time. I enjoyed seeing all the madness, but I didn’t feel like being part of it. It probably had to do with the fact that I wasn’t with great friends but with girls I met two days before that and it’s definitely a different thing. But still, not my cup of tea. But I’m sure I crossed it off my bucket list.
I probably say it a million times, but my favourite thing about Munich truly is the proximity to the mountains, to lakes and to beautiful nature. I don’t take trips to explore the Bavarian countryside enough, but I’ve made it out there again last weekend to a place that I’ve shared with you before – Partnachklamm. But even though you’ve seen it before on here, it’s a completely different experience in the winter.
It’s a gorge in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a place that is around 1.5 hours from Munich by car. There’s also a train connection but it obviously takes a little bit longer and you have to get from there to the Olympic Stadium, where you can park to walk up to the gorge.
The entrance for the gorge is €5. In the summer, we were able to walk up to a restaurant on the mountain where we had a stunning view over the alps, but unfortunately (or maybe lucky, considering all the snow and slippery stones), the way up there was closed this time. But the gorge itself was impressive enough!
In most parts of Munich, it was freezing cold the last couple of weeks, and Germany was no exception. We had around -20 degrees (especially in the more rural areas, like Garmisch-Partenkirchen), so the most beautiful icicles formed. But see for yourself!
A few things you might have to consider, when visiting the gorge.
- Parking spots are “limited”. So it really depends on what time you get there. We arrived around 2pm on a Sunday and had to drive a bit further down to the hospital to get a parking spot. In the end it’s only 5 minutes more to walk, but you gotta know that that’s a possibility – so you’re welcome.
- In case you were thinking about it, don’t bring your dog. There’s only one way through the gorge, which is pretty narrow and people are walking there in both directions, so it would just be annoying for dogs. And the river is pretty heavy, so it would be dangerous if they decided to jump in or anything.
- You shouldn’t be claustrophobic. Since it’s a natural gorge, the path is sometimes built into the rocks, so at times you walk through a small, very very dark tunnel and can barely see the person in front of you. It’s not for long, but it’s good to know, just in case.
And now, just to compare: That’s what Partnachklamm looks like in the summer time.
When I was flying from Australia to Vietnam in 2016, I was lucky enough to find a cheap deal with Singapore Airlines, that allowed me to spend two nights in a hotel in Singapore (and with that tick off another country of my list – yay!). Also included in the deal was a Hop on Hop off-Bus-Ticket, which I used excessively. I am not the biggest fan of big cities, where it’s easy to get lost in (I have basically no sense of direction whatsoever) and where you never really know what the right spots to visit are. Especially in a short timeframe like I had over there. That’s why I loved that opportunity!
During the bus tour and my Hop Offs, I tried to fit in as many sights as possible! And here are my favourite photos.