The Seven Sisters

A beautiful Sunday hike at the Seven Sisters Cliffs in East Sussex, a perfect day trip from London to escape the urban sprawl. We took the 7AM train from Clapham Junction to Seaford (via Brighton) and trekked 22 kilometers along the cliff path towards Eastbourne. Breathtaking sceneries (and heavy breathing from hiking up those hills) but we made it to the finish line after four hours and a bit. Great exercise for the body, mind and soul!

All smiles after such a great day spent with the best people. Can’t wait to explore more of England and other new places now that I live in London with my main travel partner… Expect more updates in the future for sure.

London: A New Chapter Begins

After six years of university my student life is officially over! Four years of bachelor’s in Scotland including one year on exchange in China and two years master’s in Denmark while travelling around the world in between. My early 20s well spent and I’m glad it brought me here - to London! Living here as a young professional has been a goal of mine for many years and I’m so excited to see what this next chapter will bring.

Budapest

Made it to Budapest! The final destination of my little Eastern Europe tour. After a couple of days exploring Vienna and Bratislava, I was excited for the real goulash. Having heard so many positive things about Budapest I've longed to tick this one off my bucket list.

We spent three nights in Budapest, which I think was a decent amount of time to cover some of the main attractions - but of course, it’s never enough to experience a whole city thoroughly. Anyway, here’s what I managed to get up to this time:

Day 1: Breakfast at Fakanál Étterem in the Great Market Hall. We stayed at a very cool AirBnb a few hundred meters away from the market so it was quite convenient to get our fresh breakfast here in the morning and simultaneously explore the hundreds of stalls selling food, fresh produce, souvenirs and what not. After breakfast we walked to the Danube river, crossed the Liberty Bridge and headed towards Buda Castle. So for those who don’t know, Budapest is a combination of two former cities, Buda and Pest, which are separated by the Danube river. It wasn’t until recently (well, a couple of hundred years ago) that the cities were unified into Budapest. So, Buda Castle is obviously located on the Buda side, along with Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellért Hill. According to my opinion, you’ll find the best views from this side of the city - naturally - because that’s where the mountains are at.

These views were captured on our hike from Buda Castle to Fisherman’s Bastion. It is a very short hike, so unless you are incapable of walking, I don’t see the point in taking the funicular. Once on top of Fisherman’s Bastion, you can’t miss to check out Matthias Church, Halaszbastya and enjoy the panoramic view from Panoramia Cafe and Bar. Watch out though, the food and drinks here are expensive. If you’re on a budget, avoid this place like the plague.

Afterwards we headed down and towards the Pest side again into the city centre and St. Stephen's Basilica. I craved falafel for lunch and found the best place called Hummus Bar. This place was a dream. I ended up going back three more times. For dessert we went for rose ice cream at Gelarto Bistro.

Towards the evening it started pouring down and Chloe was so ready to go home. Being the person that I am though, I still had so many more places to check out and eventually managed to drag her along with me to see some more sights, including the Shoes on the Danube Bank, a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust. The shoes represented the jews that were lined up and shot into the river. As if that wasn’t dark enough, a couple of hours later there was a deadly tourist boat accident just a few hundred meters away. Safe to say it made the rest of our experience in Budapest feel rather surreal.

Day 2: Starting off the morning at Széchenyi Thermal Bath, another “must-do” in Budapest. How often do you get to enjoy a spa day at a palace? We booked discounted tickets online and skipped the queues when we got there, which was a nice way to save some time and make the most out of the day. The weather was rather grey, but the pools are really hot so there’s no need to worry about freezing! I definitely would recommend this experience to anyone visiting Budapest. My personal recommendation is to bring your own towels and flip flops to avoid extra charges.

After Széchenyi, we walked towards the city centre, stopping by the City Park and the Millennium Monument, down through Andrássy Avenue. Along this road you’ll find the House of Terror museum, the Hungarian State Opera and many other unique Neo-Renaissance architectural buildings of Budapest. Not far away is the famous Dohány Street Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, which is also worth checking out.

When it was time for dinner, we wanted to try a local and traditional restaurant and ended up at the nearest restaurant, Drum Cafe. More goulash, lángos, spätzle and you name it. The food was so so, but overall good value for money. For dessert we went to The Sweet by Vintage Garden, where we had delicious cakes and espresso.

Since I have a need to “walk off my dinner”, I suggested we go for a hike up Gellért Hill to the Citadella, crossing the Elizabeth bridge. The trek is not too hard, but a little longer and steeper than the ones up to Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion. This place was one of my personal favourites of the whole trip, so I’m quite gutted I didn’t have my DSLR camera with me to capture better shots. The sunset view from here is supposedly amazing! I guess I just need to come back another time then? On our way back, we walked down the opposite direction, crossing the Liberty bridge, which took us straight back to our Airbnb.

Day 3: Breakfast at New York Palace Café. Let me get straight to the point on this one - the majority of people come here for the beautiful interior and pictures for the gram (guilty) and not for the food. After all, it is one of the most beautiful cafés in the world! However, if you do come for the food be prepared to pay a lot for very average quality. For example, the high tea platter costs €60, coffee and cake starts at €20 and the goulash soup is €10 plus service charge, i.e., triple the price of other places. Chloe’s pasta was €16 and it looked like the microwave meals I used to get on my student budget. Really, if anything I’d describe the food here as resembling the on-the-go meals you’ll find in the British grocery stores. But I don’t regret going, I just don’t think I’ll ever go back.

As this was our last day in Budapest and the sun was finally shining, we went on a Danube boat tour to wrap up the adventures. It felt a bit weird going after the recent incident, but it was also a unique opportunity to see more of the city and the Hungarian Parliament Building from the river. For 5000 HUF (Hungerian Forint) we got a 1,5 hours tour with two complimentary drinks each, which I think was a good deal.

Overall, I had a really good time in Budapest and since there are so many things I didn’t get to see or do this time, I’m sure to come back again in the future. I hope this post inspired you with some sights to see next time you’re in the city!

A Day trip to Bratislava

- A perfect stopover destination from Vienna to Budapest -

After a 50 minutes drive from Vienna, Chloe and I arrived in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. We took the FlixBus which costed me ONE(!) euro (and €8 for Chloe because she booked after me) and honestIy, I am yet to find a pack of chewing gum that is cheaper than my journey to explore this new country. While I must admit Bratislava was never that high on my bucket list, I certainly don’t regret spending a day here. It is a very small city where all the main attractions are walkable destinations from the city’s centre, so a perfect stopover destination for anyone travelling to and from Vienna, Budapest, Prague etc.

On arrival to one of the two bus terminals in Bratislava, you cannot miss the iconic MOST SNP, or so-called UFO bridge. The bridge was inspired by the optimistic futurism of the 1960s, i.e., the communist era. It offers a panoramic view of the city and the Danube river, which also runs through Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine - the latter five countries which I have yet to visit.

A must-do in Bratislava is to walk around the Old Town as many of the main tourist attractions are located in this area. My impression is that there really isn’t much else to do otherwise, except visiting the Bratislava Castle - but of course I did not spend enough time here to claim it as a fact. Although I can say that I managed to tick off 80% of the “Things To Do”-list on TripAdvisor in more or less a day. This included seeing and touring around St. Martin’s Cathedral, Michael’s Gate, Old Town Hall, Church of St. Elisabeth (The Blue Church), Man at work, and Galéria Nedbalka to name a few. Of course I also insisted on hiking up the Castle that is located on an isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians. It was the least touristy tourist attraction I have ever been to in my life, but I reckon the rain played a role in that too.

Indeed, the biggest downside during our trip to Bratislava was the bad weather. It was raining most of the time except towards the evening when we were about to continue our journey to Budapest. Luckily, I rarely let rain stop me from seeing a city especially when I have limited time so I made good use of my umbrella. On the other hand, it was also a perfect opportunity to have a little café crawl: eat cake and drink hot chocolate in cute coffee shops: Štúr Café, Zeppelin, Mondieu, Urban House, Bistro St. Germain, and U Kubistu are some I can personally recommend. The latter is a cosy restaurant where we had dinner. And yes, I drank a lot of tea and coffee on this trip.

So, what do I really think of Bratislava? I can honestly say it’s not my favourite city in the world, mainly because I didn’t feel like there was much to see and do which I personally found interesting. While there is a lot of history in the country, there is only so much time I am willing to spend towards visiting museums and war sites. But I will say it was a very charming city overall and I would recommend for anyone to visit for about a day or two, and even longer if you think there are things here that attracts your interests.

First time in Vienna

My first time in Austria was spent visiting the capital city, Vienna. I spontaneously booked this trip last minute in the midst of writing my master’s thesis because I was longing for a nice relaxing getaway. Additionally, flight tickets were only 150DKK (£17) from Copenhagen! With such an impulsive decision and less than a few days until departure, I was left with no concrete plans whatsoever on where to go, what to do, when to return, where to return from, and who to go with. Basically, I had a one-way ticket to Vienna and a €1 bus ticket to Bratislava, Slovakia with me, myself and I.

I would say I’m quite familiar with solo traveling by now and I’m very comfortable in my own company regardless of where in the world I am, but this time I thought it would be nice to have my dear friend Chloe joining me as our last travel together was our bachelor’s grad-trip to Barcelona. So glad she managed to join me despite my last-minute request.

We both arrived in Vienna around the same time at 6pm from Copenhagen and London and headed directly to our hotel in Messe Prater in Leopoldstadt District. Not a very central location, but perfect if you want to explore different areas of the city and visit Vienna Prater and “Schweizerhaus”, a famous amusement park and beer garden. We spent the evening there and ate a good local wienerschnitzel dinner! Please rely on Google images for this one, as I didn’t bring my devices to capture any photos.

The next morning was a full day of sight-seeing. We got the 24 hour Vienna ticket for €8, which was a perfect way to use the public transportation system to go anywhere we wanted. Usually I would prefer walking from A to B, but Vienna was quite a large city and there just wasn’t enough time for that this time considering the amount of sights I wanted to see.

First stop of the day was a healthy and delicious breakfast at Joseph Brot, before walking towards the unique Hundertwasserhaus, a residential building designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser (which reminded me of Antoni Gaudí’s architecture in Barcelona). From there we explored the city centre, such as Stephansplatz and St. Stephen’s Cathedral etc. If you’re on a kaffehaus hop like we were, Central Café and Demel are two classics not to be missed.

Later we made our way out the MuseumsQuartier, where we visited the beautiful public park, Volksgarten which was close to Justizpalast, Vienna Operahouse and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Unfortunately, the latter was closed when we were there so if you ever travel to Vienna on a Monday, be aware that certain places will be closed.

In time for lunch, we walked towards Naschmarkt, Vienna’s biggest and most popular market for food and vintage stalls. The sun was shining so we took the advantage of sitting outside and soaking up the rays. Big tips: the food is better and cheaper the further into the market you go. The market is quite big so give yourself enough time to explore it all.

Since we didn’t have many more days in Vienna, I wanted to check out the Schönbrunn Palace, about a 20 minutes metro ride from Karlsplatz. After all, it is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country. This place was absolutely huge and it took us a couple of hours to get around - and we were only outside in the free entrance areas. I think we would need a whole day if we opted for the additional full guided tours inside the palace. Overall, a gorgeous place that I’m happy we managed to see during our visit. Definitely put it on your Vienna bucket list if it’s not already on it.

Later in the evening we headed back into the city where we had dinner at a local restaurant. We stayed out for a bit before heading back to the hotel to get ready for Bratislava the next morning.

I liked Vienna and I think there are much more to see, so I’ll probably be back on day for a longer stay. Then I would visit Salzburg and Hallstatt as well, and not to mention the Austrian alps. And who knows, I might attend a classical music concert too.

Summerfjord

A lovely week spent at home after my trip to Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. “Home” has been many different places over the years, but no where is more at home for me than in Sandefjord where my parents are and my dog is! This weekend we had a full house celebrating my nephew’s birthdays, gaining kgs from all the food and BBQs and enjoying time out at sea on the boat.

Sandefjord is a really beautiful and idyllic city, especially during the summers - something I definitely took for granted growing up here. To be back after “travelling the world” has given me so much appreciation of my own hometown and Norway in general. Can’t wait to explore more of it one day.

Two months in Vietnam: A Recap

First things first, this is going to be a long post filled with loads of photos from my trip to Vietnam back in January/ February. It’s crazy to think about that it has almost gone half a year already because to me it still feels so fresh. But to be fair I have been so busy that time has just flown by without me even noticing. I recently submitted my master’s thesis, so it’s not until now that I’ve finally had the time to sit down, sort out my albums and reflect on the moments passed. But better late than never, here’s a recap of all my adventures back in the motherland. I hope you make it through till the end.


SÀI GÒN

Sightseeing and food-wise, I really wanted us to experience ‘real Vietnam’ and not just go to fancy, touristy places. I know that that is very common for Westerners as the whole market vibe can be quite overwhelming if you’re not used to it. But local Vietnamese street food is seriously one of the best cuisines in the world and you’re doomed to miss out on the good stuff if you’re not giving it a try. A little biased perhaps, but really though. Dining on small plastic chairs on the road side was much more of an authentic experience than fine-dining on top of a skyscraper. While we had a mix of both, I definitely preferred all things local (as long as it didn’t result in food poisoning).

In a nutshell, Saigon is chaotic but charming. People work from early in the AMs to past midnight which is such a typical reflection of the Vietnamese culture and lifestyle; to hustle hard and be all over the place and make the best out of available time and resources. At least that is my perception of it, having grown up in a Vietnamese household to very hard-working family members. Another reason I love my Vietnamese heritage.

(Photos taken by Rickie, Canon EOS 5D Mark III)

As you might know, one of the main reasons I was in Vietnam in the first place was to do research for my master’s thesis about the Vietnamese textile and garment industry. My partner, Jennifer and I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Nike/ Adidas/ Patagonia-factories in the Mekong Delta region, so we took full advantage of it and squeezed in as much adventure as possible. Jen arrived in Saigon shortly after Rickie and I came back from Phu Quoc and we spent two weeks together travelling around the South.

During our stay in Saigon, we rented different Airbnbs in District 5 and Vinhomes Central Park which had incredible rooftop facilities and close access to the city centre. These two views were from The Tresor and Rivergate apartments just across the river from District 1 and Ben Thanh Market.


PHÚ QUỐC

The next place on the itinerary was Phu Quoc Island, a nice city break from the hustle and bustle of Saigon. Rickie and I spent four relaxing days soaking up the rays as well as discovering some new exciting places. Did you know that the longest cable car ride in the world takes you from Phu Quoc to Pineapple Island? Neither did we, but I’m glad we took the opportunity to experience it. Picture perfect views from the gondola!

We stayed in Sol Beach House, a beautiful resort with tropical gardens, infinity pools and a private beach with stunning sunset views. It was very conveniently located on the island, close to the airport and with free shuttles going daily to and from the city’s night market.


PHÚ YÊN

After two weeks in Saigon and Phu Quoc, Jennifer and I travelled to Can Tho and Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta region to conduct field work for our thesis. We stayed there for three or four days if I remember correctly and I was sick during the whole time, so not ideal. After that I went to Siem Reap in Cambodia, which I wrote about here. Then after that again I went back to Saigon for another week before flying to Phu Yen to my parents hometown where I celebrated Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) with the family. Basically, I was never still for a moment.

I was based in Phu Yen (Sông Cầu) for almost three weeks, in which included travelling to and from different cities during the time. I stayed at my grandparent’s house in the village which is where my parents grew up and where half of my family still lives today. It was a really busy period preparing and celebrating Spring Festival but so nice to reunite with everyone during the most festive season of the year.


HỘI AN

One of my goals for this trip was to explore new places. Hoi An was definitely on my bucket list and I’m so happy I got to thick this one off. My parents and I hired a driver for four days who drove us directly from Song Cau to Hoi An and Da Nang, and took us around all the places we wanted to go. Super convenient in terms of seeing as much as possible in a short amount of time.

Known for its yellow UNESCO Ancient Town and lanterns that adorn the streets, Hoi An was one of my favourite destinations. I loved the Old Town vibe, walking along the riverside at dusk, the colourful wooden boats, and just the whole atmosphere! I regret being too lazy to bring my DSLR camera, because these iPhone snaps just don’t do justice.


ĐÀ NẴNG

Next stop on the itinerary was Da Nang, a 40-minutes drive from Hoi An. We spent in total three days in this city, which I personally think was a pretty decent amount of time to explore the main attractions, including the Marble Mountains, Linh Ung Pagoda (Chùa Linh Ứng), Han River, the Dragon Bridge, and of course, the new famous Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills.

The Golden Bridge is 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge that opened in June 2018 as an extension of Ba Na Hills Sun World. You have to take a cable car to get there, and once arrived there’s a huge amusement park on top of the mountain. The entire place was founded in 1919 by French colonists hence the French villages and European vibes. Quite an interesting place to be honest. Not sure if I loved it, but certainly worth the day-trip.

Sun World is located 1414 meters above sea level, so once we got to the top it was super foggy and chilly. I had priorly read many reviews from visitors that couldn’t see anything due to the bad weather so I was a bit nervous about that, but luckily we got some sun throughout the day - and we actually saw the bridge.


Nha Trang

After Da Nang, we travelled back to my grandparent’s village for a few days before setting off to Nha Trang for a relaxing vacation. Again we rented a driver to take us around during our three days stay. My parents spent most of the time visiting friends in Champa Island while I went around exploring by myself. One of the days I asked the driver to drive me to Da Lat, which he happily did. The two of us went on a little road trip, which I didn’t tell my parents about until we got back because it was such a long drive and they told me not to bother the driver more than necessary haha. But hey! If not now, when?


ĐÀ LẠT

Da Lat is a city in the Central Highlands region located 1500 meters above sea level, which you can imagine meant it was really cold compared to other cities - especially coming straight from tropical Nha Trang. I was not prepared for it as you can see. Anyway, it was a very fun and spontaneous trip and I’m glad I got to experience “The City of Eternal Spring”. The drive there was half the experience itself and I just loved seeing the way people lived in the villages because it was so different from anywhere else I had been. Cows were casually blocking the roads, kids were playing out in the streets, at night it was pitch black with no signs of electricity and technology… I felt like we had travelled back in time.

Although I visited a few more places, these were the main highlights I thought were worth sharing. Thanks for making it to the end of this post - I hope the photos inspired you to visit some of these places! Overall, my experience in Vietnam was amazing and I’m glad I got to document a little bit of it. Of course there is only so much I can share from a two-months adventure, but something is better than nothing right? Looking forwards to what’s next!

Siem Reap, Cambodia

When I was younger, I always used to visualise myself in different places around the world. Stand on top of the Eiffel Tower, swim in the Mediterranean sea, walk on the Great of China, eat sushi in Tokyo… Throughout the years, these visions have turned into reality and every time I’m in that moment I feel so happy and grateful, because it feels like everything and everywhere is a reachable destination. For me, traveling to Cambodia and watching the sunrise in Angkor Wat felt a little like that again.

Although there are still so many more places in Cambodia I want to see, three days in Siem Reap was a good place to start. We (my best friend, Sammie and I) experienced the sunrise, received blessings from the temple runs, tuk-tuked around the city with the sweetest driver, ate with locals in a rural village, feasted at the night markets, visited endless museums and sights to learn more about the unique history of the country, met interesting people from all around the world, and the list goes on. An unforgettable trip is so many ways. Short, but sweet.

We met our tuk-tuk driver on our first day of arrival and he took us around everywhere we wanted to go for three days straight. He drove us to his family’s village and we ate local food, prepared in a very local way as you can see. He shared so many stories and perspectives on life that made me really reflect on myself and my life. This part of the trip was definitely the most cherishable one. I can’t quite describe it. Just experiencing this trip and my two months in Vietnam… I mean, wow. What a life you and I are living.

There are still so many other stories I haven’t told (like how I was literally half-blind the whole time in Cambodia), but I’m going to keep this post short. The fact that I managed to squeeze out a few sentences and not just upload a bunch of photos is already progress for me and my blog. Stay tuned for many, many more. P.S. The story behind this photo is pretty surreal. Need to finish the book I’m holding in my hand, and then you just might hear about it later.

Around the world 2019

Hello, April and welcome spring! The most beautiful season.

I just wanted to make a quick update on my travels. 2019 has been a pretty fulfilling year for me so far with many different things going on in different places. I have loads of pending updates from Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia and my layover in Qatar, as well as more recent events happening in Norway, Sweden and Denmark during March. Currently, I’ve been spending the last couples of weeks in London (more to be announced) and I have an upcoming trip to Hannover and Braunschweig (Germany) later this month. There will also be some exciting events coming up later this year but first things first: to see what to definitely expect on the blog in the near future, here’s a little picture-summary/ itinerary of recently visited places.

Copenhagen - Doha - Melbourne

Melbourne

Sài Gòn - Cần Thơ - Vĩnh Long


Phú Quốc

Siem Reap



Phú Yên (Sông Cầu & Tuy Hòa) - Đà Nẵng - Hội An - Nha Trang - Đà Lạt 

Oslo - Copenhagen - Malmö - London - braunschweig

Considering the fact that I’m currently writing my master’s thesis, I don’t have time to blog about each place but I’m happy to share more photos slowly but surely. Thanks for those who actually visit my blog and find it inspiring, even though I’m a terrible blogger. Sharing about my adventures is definitely something I enjoy doing, but the timing isn’t great right now so don’t expect too much (hehe). Happy Monday!

New Year’s in Australia

Hello, and welcome 2019!? It’s been a while. Since my last post I’ve been jet-setting from Denmark to Qatar, to Australia, to Vietnam, to Cambodia, and then back to Vietnam, and now I’m finally resting at home in Norway for a bit before flying off to Copenhagen again. I just wanted to make a quick update to say that I’m still alive, although this blog is basically dead. While blogging certainly isn’t my first priority at this point in time, I’ll try to post some more pictures from my travels once I find the time and motivation to go through the thousands of photos on my phone. Maybe next week, next month, next year? Who knows. Meanwhile I’m more active on Instagram so follow me there instead.


London ChrIstmas Spirit

Kicking off December in what has become one of my favourite cities! The place to visit if you want to get into the festive spirit, even if it’s finals season. Knowing very well I have three exams left this month I still took the weekend off to visit London and enjoy my study break. These past couple of years have taught me so much about time management, work-life balance and taking advantage of opportunities. And after almost six years at university and travelled many countries in between, I know for sure that it is possible to do both at the same time.

Having said that, London never disappoints. R and I attended a lovely engagement party, and another Christmas houseparty on Saturday evening with good friends, foods and drinks. We also spent the weekend doing some sightseeing around the city, following Christmas markets in Leicester Square and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. I love how there is always things to do in London all year round, and on top of that, most of my closest friends are based here too. Hmm, now I think I really need to consider my next move…?

The streets are lit

Overall, a lovely weekend with this one after our Copenhagen reunion last week. Unfortunately, we won’t be celebrating Christmas and New Years together as I’ll be in Melbourne and he’ll be in Hong Kong, however our next reunion will be in Vietnam! Stay tuned x

An Evening at Tivoli

- Tivoli Gardens amusement park in central Copenhagen -

Last Week in Copenhagen

Christmas season is here! The Danish capital is slowly but surely turning into a winter wonderland. One can tell by the smell of mulled wine and apple cake taking over the city. Although I’m currently in a stressful exams-period, I make sure to give myself a mental break every now and then. So last weekend my sister visited me and we spent some quality time together sightseeing Copenhagen and eating delicious food. I took her to my favourite restaurants, cafés and bars, and we visited a couple of museums.

It was so nice to have her company, because this month has been mentally and emotionally draining. I already wished for this month to end before it even started, for so many reasons. The weather is darker and colder, work keeps piling up and everyone’s busy too. Fortunately my boyfriend’s coming to Copenhagen today - and it’s only eight days left till December, so better and brighter days are ahead (literally ☼).

The best is yet to come

Although November feels never-ending, this semester went by in a flash. In a way it’s sad that my time as a student is coming towards an end, but after almost six years at university I’m ready for a change. Next week I’m packing all my belongings, moving out of my apartment in Copenhagen for three months, flying off to London for a bit and then going home to Norway to spend time with my family. After that I’m traveling to Melbourne to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve, and then I’m off to Southeast Asia where I’ll be based in Saigon for two months for some very exciting reasons, which I’ll probably blog more about later. Thanks for following and stay tuned for more!

Marsaxlokk & St.Peter's Pool

- Malta’s traditional fishing village -

About a half hour bus ride from Valletta is Marsaxlokk, a beautiful fishing village that is famous for it’s Sunday Fish Market and colourful luzzu boats. This is the perfect destination for a day trip to explore the southern shores of Malta and feast on fresh seafood. Along the harbour are stalls offering souvenirs and local produce, and it’s a lovely way to experience everyday Maltese life. There are also plenty of restaurants offering authentic Maltese food so make sure to stay for lunch or dinner once you’re there.

St Peter’s Pool

A beautiful natural pool carved into the Maltese coast can be reached in 30 minutes if you’re willing to hike from the fishing harbour, or just a short drive away by taxi. We personally opted for the hike as we wanted to see the views of Marsaxlokk village from above and experience a different side of the city. St Peter’s Pool is a lovely spot for swimming and sunbathing, and the blue waters makes the spot extra picturesque. Definitely not a place to miss if you’re in Marsaxlokk!

The Azure Window

- Gozo Island Excursion pt. 3/3 -

After we visited the Xwejni Salt Pans, our driver took us to the Azure Window Memorial located west of Gozo Island. It’s a “memorial” because the famous arch is nothing but ruins at the bottom of the sea after it’s tragic collapse during stormy weathers on 8th of March last year. In the beginning I was hesitant to go because I was quite tired, and I thought I’d just get underwhelmed by the sight. But Rickie was determined to go and so we did because when he says, “there’s always other things to see around the area”, he's usually right:

Traveling can be exhausting, especially with jam-packed one-day itineraries and an active boyfriend who loves to spend time on his feet. Whereas I like to take things slow and be more spontaneous, Rickie is a organiser who wants to see everything. Sometimes it tires me out and makes me one grumpy girlfriend, but grateful - that I am always. Every time we reach our destinations and (I) get to sit down and soak in the impressions and the beautiful views, I remember why it’s all worth it. Had I not had someone who pushes me physically and mentally to see and experience more of the world, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Speaking of cheesy photos, I love this heart-shaped cloud:

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Gozo Island Excursion pt. 1 and pt. 2.

Gozo Salt Pans

- Gozo Island Excursion pt. 2/3 -

The Xwejni salt pans are a hidden gem, and a must-visit if you’re in Gozo. It’s believed that these pans have existed since the Roman times, but currently it’s a family-run business, and it’s been so for the past six decades. If you’ve watched the Apprentice U.K., you might’ve heard about it as this place appeared in one of the episodes. I spoke to the owner of the salt shop just across the street, whose husband and father have worked every summer of their lives harvesting the salt. She gave me a brief history of the business, and was very kind and accommodating, and somehow I ended up with bringing home more salt than necessary.

As you can see, it’s got a very unique geologic landscape. And of course I got Rickie to take some photos of me here because #saltbae. At the button is the tiny salt shop I mentioned earlier, where visitors can buy small gift bags of salt, postcards etc. Quite a funny location, kind of reminds me of a house in the Hobbits. Anyway, definitely a recommended place to visit! Just a heads up, I don’t think there are any buses that goes here so you might have to walk for a bit, or opt for a car/ ATV. The place is of course free to visit, but if you have the chance I would encourage you to support the local business by purchasing something from the shop.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Gozo Island Excursion pt. 1 and pt. 3.

Exploring Gozo Island

- Gozo Island Excursion pt. 1/3 -

Did you know that The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino? Malta is the main, and largest island, and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, and characterised by fishing and agriculture. And then there is Comino, which is a small island between the two that is more or less uninhabited. It’s got one hotel, and the main reason people go there is to see the Blue Lagoon.

While in Malta, we decided to spend one full-day exploring Gozo, which was quite the journey. We took a two-hours or so bus ride to Ċirkewwa and then a ferry over to Mġarr (Gozo). We wanted to see as much as possible, and since we were quite time constraint we decided to book a private taxi for the day who took us around the whole island, to all the places on our “Gozo bucket list”. At the end of the day the driver drove us back to Mġarr where we managed to catch the next ferry back to Valletta just in time. I don’t think it was a cheap choice, and I personally wouldn’t recommend it if you’re traveling on a budget, but I’m still happy we did it as we got to see so much considering the time that we had. It was also a nice way to avoid bus queues, big groups of tourists and just explore each attraction at our own pace and in our own company.

First stop from Mġarr was Victoria (also known as Rabat), which is the capital of Gozo Island. I swear I felt like I was back in the knight and shining armour-era. Wandering around the streets felt like browsing through the history books from middle school.

We had lunch at the rooftop of Ta' Rikardu Restaurant, situated in the centre of Cittadella before we explored the fortified city itself. Amazing views all around, and a unique history attached to the place. After that we drove to our second stop, which was Marsalforn Bay. I had no idea where or what this was, but the driver insisted it was the most popular resort on the island - well, good to know anyway I guess. Onto the next place: the salt pans!

Sunset in Birgu

- Città Vittoriosa -

Birgu, also known as Città Vittoriosa, is an old fortified city on the south side of the Grand Harbour. We wanted to explore as many places in Malta as possible, so one evening we decided to take the bus from Valletta to Birgu. For less than two euros and a thirty minutes bus ride we got to witness the most beautiful pink sunset.

We were only in Birgu for the evening with the original plan to attend the annual Candlelight Festival. It’s an event that only take place for one weekend (12/10/2018 - 14/10/2018) during the whole year, where all the streets and houses are lit up with candles, chandeliers hang in the streets, and live music is played in the town square. Unfortunately, due to the rain the whole event got cancelled. Super gutted, but nature - what can we do. Looking at the bright side, we enjoyed the evening with lovely candlelit dinner instead.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

- Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures -

A short walk from downtown Valletta is The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens where you can admire a panoramic view of Grand Harbour and look at the Three Cities on the opposite side. The Three Cities consist of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua, and is a collective description of the fortified cities in Malta.

The Streets of Valletta

Sometimes life takes you down roads you never thought you’d wander, literally. Going to Malta was, to be honest, never a place I thought I’d go any time soon. Not because I didn’t like it, but for the similar reason as many, I hadn’t heard much about it. But when I got invited to explore the island nation I didn’t think twice. With my constant state of wanderlust, nowhere is too foreign.

Valletta is perhaps Europe’s most underrated capital city. With a population of barely 6000 people, it ranks as the second smallest in the continent. Despite being located in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily, Malta isn’t as well-known nor touristy as Italy. For sustainable reasons, I think that’s a blessing in disguise. I arrived in Valletta at night, so it wasn’t until the next morning when I looked out of our apartment window in St. Christopher's Street that I realised how mesmerising this city was. The colourful wooden Maltese balconies are truly unique, and wandering around the streets on a gloomy day felt like going back in time.

- All roads lead to the sea -

It’s common to get lost in foreign places when you’re aimlessly walking around. However, getting lost in Valletta won’t be a problem because there is only so far you can go in one direction before you reach the seaside. In other words, it’s a small city!