7 Things I still haven’t done in Hamburg

You know how you live in a city and you always say “Look, you can do this and that here, we should defo do it!” – and you never do? This still happens to me in Munich  but it also happened during my time in Hamburg. Which might be even worse, because I don’t live there anymore so it’s harder to tick them off the list. Oh, the struggle of being lazy and “comfortable” sometimes.

Anyways, here’s the 7 things I definitely still want to do in Hamburg. One day.

#1 Kayaking on the canals – or SUP it.

I love water. And I love doing things on the water. But somehow I never got around to rent a Kayak and float around the canals.

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#2 Go to the fish market – sober

The fish market… It’s a weird place, where people, who survived a night out at Reeperbahn mingle with people who set their alarm at 4am to stroll around the market. I always belonged to the first group of people while I lived there. Maybe one day, I’ll be one of the reasonable ones.

#3 Visit the inside of the Elbphilharmonie – preferably at a concert

The Elbphilharmonie is probably the most discussed building around Germany ever. (Okay, the Berlin airport is worse…) It took way more time and money than expected to build this thing. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive piece of art that makes Hamburg even cooler than it was before. And even though I’ve seen the outside of it, I can’t wait to go to a concert in there one day.

#4 Sing Karaoke at Thai Oase

I don’t even know why this is on the list, but somehow I feel like I should do it. Maybe I should sing Karaoke more often in general.

#5 Bike through the “Alter Elbtunnel

I’ve walked through it. But I always felt like biking would be the right thing to cross it.

#6 Watch a St Pauli match

St Pauli is not only the area, where Hamburg’s nightlife takes place but also a soccer team. And they are (for me) the more loveable team in Hamburg. And I feel like the St Pauli fans definitely know how to have a good time. So yeah, watching one of their matches in the Millerntor Arena would be pretty cool.

#7 Take a ride at Hamburg Dom

Another thing to do in St Pauli. I know the Hamburger Dom is seen as a bit trashy from everyone who lives in Hamburg but somehow everytime I pass it I feel like I should jump on one of their rides. Preferably the ferris wheel so I can have a wonderful view over Hamburg. One day, baby, one day.

The Best and the Worst Moments experienced on the road.

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.

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San Francisco, 2013

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!

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Me and Bonnie at Rock en Seine, 2015

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.

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Bintang Time on Bali

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.

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Not the best place for stomach cramps.

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.

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Most shared photo on this blog.

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.

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Full Moon Party, Koh Phangang, 2014

10 Fun Facts about me

It’s been over two years since I’ve started this blog and because of that I felt like it’s about time for you guys to know a few more personal (fun) facts about me.

#1 I’m very superstitious.
Example: There are Lion statues in Munich at the entrance to the Residenz at Odeonsplatz and people say that you have to touch their nose for good luck. I literally can’t pass them without doing it.
I also remember that when my necklace got stolen in Vietnam last year, I was convinced something bad was about to happen. (It didn’t.)

#2 I only drink sparkling water.
Which can be a problem in many countries. But I’m improving!

#3 I start eating new food whenever I go traveling.
I am super picky with food. But traveling helps me overcome that. When I came back from my first solo trip to Canada (I was 16), I suddenly ate salad. After Australia I loved cheese. And so on and so on. (Let’s not get into the fact that I didn’t like cheese until I was 19. I don’t get it either.)

#4 My addiction is Matcha.IMG_1860
I love Matcha Lattes. But you could not get me to drink coffee ever. And trust me, I’ve tried.

#5 I HATE flying but I’ve been on hundreds of planes already.IMG_4398

I actually just found out what’s the reason behind that fear the other day: When I was around 8 years old my grandma said to me before we left to go to the US for the first time that she just hopes we won’t crash. Or something along those lines. And apparently that’s what triggered it all. But I’m working on it and meditation definitely helps.

#6 I’ve had bed bugs before – twice.
Once in a hostel in Sydney, Australia and once in a hostel in Saigon, Vietnam. It’s awful. Can’t recommend it 😀

#7 I’ve been kicked off a campsite in Australia once.
Read the full story here.

#8 I hate hick-ups.
This is something that most of my friends find very odd about me. I’m not the biggest fan of others having hick-ups, but I can handle it. But once it hits me, I need to leave immediately and walk around. Ideally I do that until it’s gone but you know how persistent hick-ups can be but at least I need to handle it by myself before I face others with that awkwardness.

#9 I would choose Asian food over everything.
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Yes, I know, Asian food is a broad term. And if I had to choose a particular Asian food it would be a tie between Thai and Vietnamese I guess. Summer Rolls vs. Pad Thai? That’s tough..

#10 I am a walker.
I always check how long it’ll take me to walk from A to B. If it’s under an hour and I’ve got time, I normally walk. Especially because I just hate waiting around, especially for trains and busses, I’m too impatient for it.

7 resolutions for 2018

I am not a big fan of New Years Resolutions because I think you should just change your life whenever you feel like it and not wait for a certain date to start, but I still made up a list of 7 things I want to try and change about my life in 2018. New year, new life, new me? Who knows.

#1 Do more weekend trips

My ultimate goal is to go away once a month. I’ve already booked London and Dublin for January and am planning on doing Vienna and Milan in the beginning of 2018 as well. Maybe it’ll be more than one trip a month?

#2 Use my days off wisely

I don’t get many days off work. It’s actually the legal minimum in Germany. But luckily we have a few bank holidays that I can use to build my holidays around it to make the best out of my travel year 2018.

#3 Do more daytrips

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Just a daytrip away from Munich – Eibsee

Daytrips are the best anyways! And Munich has so much to offer. Hiking, Skiing, Lakes, you could do a different trip every weekend. So I have to take advantage of that!

#4 Try new things at least once a month

No matter if it’s food, sports or other activities. This might be the hardest resolution to fulfil because I’m doing three different sports already and I’ve tried a lot of different food in my life. But maybe it’ll just be a new restaurant or a day playing paint ball? We’ll see.

#5 Get back into photography more

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Analog Camera (by Conal Gallagher via Flickr)

I used to love taking photos. And then reality happened. So I need to get back into it. Just grab my camera and walk around my neighbourhood in the search of great shots. We’ll see. And maybe I’ll buy myself an analog camera?

#6 Take less planes

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Plane Views

Okay I take it back, this is the hardest resolution to fulfill. Of course Europe is very easy to travel by car, train or bus but it also takes times. And without the right amount of days off, it’s just easiest to take a two hour plane ride then a 20 hour car journey.

#7 Continue learning Spanish

I started Spanish when I came back from Chile in December 2016. And then I got a job and it got harder to keep up with it. But I really want to start again. Maybe with actual classes, maybe with a tandem partner, but definitely somehow.

 

Other than that, I am just going to try to make the best out of every day as it comes. Shit happens but I’ll try to overcome it and be positive. Because there’s no space for negativity in anyone’s lives!
Have a few great last days in 2017 and the best start of 2018 possible!

A first aid kit for traveling – The 7 essentials

I guess we’ve all heard with a heavy heart what happened to the two girls in Cambodia last month. Reading this, I remembered once again how important it is to take all the essential medicine with you. It might be a pain in the ass because it’s an extra weight but as you can see, it might be life saving.
And even if it doesn’t go that far, it still saves you money. I remember when I had bed bugs in Vietnam (well my hostel claimed it wasn’t bed bugs, but whatever it was, it was itching badly and I had bites all over my body), I went to the pharmacy and they sold me two things, one of them were actual pills. Turns out they were not for anything close to bites but for something to do with your nose. While it might not have killed me it wouldn’t have been helpful at all either. So lesson learned, I’ll bring my own first aid kit with me from now on.

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Travel First Aid Kit via Flickr (Credit by The NRMA)

But what does it have to contain? Let’s go through the essentials.

#1 Aspirin

It doesn’t have to be aspirin, but anything that helps with a headache or maybe any other type of pain you might have, such as sore muscles. Or maybe even the start of a cold.

#2 Aloe Vera creme/gel

Especially in all the typical backpacker countries around South East Asia or South America, I saw plenty of sunburnt girls walking around. Clearly, you are on the beach all day, going in and out of the water constantly and you might forget about putting on sunscreen all the time. Try not to forget, since sun burns are very very bad for you, but if you end up having one, it’s such a relieve to put some aloe vera on it!

#3 Medicine for your digestion

I want tell you any brand here, because it depends on what’s helped you before. But definitely take something for your stomach! Because no matter how careful you might be while traveling, you can always get some type of stomach problem, either from drinking the water, eating something that wasn’t cleaned properly or swallowing dirty ocean water (that’s what happened to me on Bali for example).

Tip: If you have a sensitive stomach as it is, always wipe your cuttlery with a clean napkin before you eat, make sure you don’t drink anything with ice in it, wash off the fruit you buy on the street with bottled water and only eat where lots of people are eating. Just to make sure.

#4 Anti-bite creme

Yes, bites. It doesn’t have to be bed bugs it can just be any type of bites. So take any creme with you that you can put on them for you to stop scratching and for them to heal more easily. And if you are at it, take bug spray as well.
And maybe take something a bit stronger on top of it, in case you’re as lucky as I am and get bed bugs!

#5 Any medicine against a cold

That’s probably a pretty common thing. You might think you’re in a hot country and you won’t get a cold, but there are always things that might trigger a cold – ACs, swimming in the cold ocean, sleeping with wet hair.. You name it. So make sure to pack something that helps you with a cold every time!

#6 Band Aids

No matter if you’ve walked too much and got a blister, stepped into a shell or cut yourself with a knife – Band Aids are always useful!

#7 Anti-inflammatory medicine

Okay, I would have not thought of taking that before my last trip, but now I’ll definitely think of it every time.
When I was in Australia last year, I got bitten by a fish (don’t laugh, I might tell that story another time) and it got infected pretty badly. Lucky enough I was still in Australia (left for Vietnam a few days later), so I just went into the pharmacy and got the right medicine. But who knows what they would have given me in Vietnam?
It doesn’t have to be pills, I just used a creme and it helped perfectly!

Other than those 7 essentials, make sure to pack medicine against any issues you might have a lot. I, for example, always have problems with my sinuses whenever I get a cold, so I try to take my medicine for that with me. And never forget the protection you are using – birth control pill, condoms, whatever you need and use.

AND always make sure to get all the shots you might need for your destination. Check with a doctor or a specialist a few months before your trip (or at least a few weeks, depending on how spontaneously you planned it) what shots you might need to cover. Because trust me, you’d rather be safe than sorry.

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.

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.

Thursday’s Tipp: Diving

Ever since I watched „Finding Nemo“ (or maybe even before that) I was thinking about trying out diving, just because life deep down under the surface of this great wide thing we call ocean seemed to be so beautiful. And it is!

I had my first experience with diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and it was just stunning.Diving is like leaving reality and stepping into a completely different world. The silence around you once you are under water, no noise at all. It just makes you feel like you are the only one down there, even if there are other people floating around you. Continue reading