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.

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 -

Back in Scotland: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Two weeks ago, I travelled to Scotland for a long-weekend trip with my boyfriend. First we went to Ayr for one of his friend’s beautiful wedding, then we passed through Glasgow to meet up with my best girlfriends from uni, and at last we revisited Edinburgh - the city where we first met five years ago.

- Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us - Oscar Wilde -

Edinburgh, Scotland was my first home away from home. I was 19 years old when I came here to study my four years undergraduate programme at The University of Edinburgh, and I was completely unfamiliar with the country, the culture and the whole notion of living by myself. I remember so well arriving at my dorm in Warrender Park Crescent with my 80kg suitcases, unpacking my bags and finding the rice cooker that my mom had secretly force-packed because she was afraid I wouldn’t know how to feed myself otherwise (typical Asian moms). Luckily for both of us, I’ve come a long way since then.

Being kicked outside my comfort zone and left with my own devices, I developed as a person. I met people, went places and experienced things that literally changed my life. I have so many wonderful memories from my time in this city… no wonder why I cried my eyes out on the day I left. But looking at the bright side, goodbye doesn’t mean forever.

I’ve been back twice since I officially moved from Edinburgh. Last time was one year ago for my graduation ceremony, and this time I was back as an alumnus. It was bittersweet. I felt like an old soul walking around campus, reminiscing about the good old days… and deep inside, kind of wished I could go back in time only for a split second to relive some of my favourite moments as an Edinburgh student. It seems like feeling nostalgic about my past will forever haunt me, but nevertheless it was the loveliest weekend. I got to spend three days living with my old flatmate in Marchmont and it kind of felt like nothing had changed after-all.

Wedding in Ayr

Apart from nostalgic moments time in Edinburgh, I just wanted to quickly mention the wedding… I mean, how beautiful and I’m so happy for the newlyweds. The venue, Brig O’Doon House, was situated next to the River Doon and the sun was shining despite forecasted rain. Perfect day. I have never been to Ayr before, so it was really nice to get the opportunity to explore a new place in Scotland as well. I also loved seeing Rickie reunited with all his schoolmates that he has known since he was 11 years old - and see how close they are to each other, still after so many years. Good friendships are everything.

Weddings are seriously my favourite type of celebration. I especially love it when it’s quite small and intimate, contra those typical Asian weddings where there are 600 guests and 500 of them are your parent’s friends, heh. Although my own wedding is most likely another few years down the road, I’m so glad we get to celebrate our friends’ meanwhile. Looking forward to another engagement party in a London next month!

Prague: My three-day itinerary

Czech Republic was one of the top countries I wanted to tick off my bucket list this year, so naturally Prague felt like a good place to start. It’s quickly become one of my favourite European cities. The neo-Gothic capital city has loads to offer when it comes to things to do, sights to see, foods and drinks - all within a reasonable budget. Although Rickie and I only spent a long-weekend in Prague, we definitely managed to cover some main highlights and a little bit more. Prepare for a full three-day itinerary of our first time in Prague:

Day 1: We arrived on a Friday night from Copenhagen and London to Václav Havel Airport and took an Uber straight to our apartment located in Žižkov district (Prague 3) - definitely one of my favourite stays so far. At midnight we decided to check out a pub called Pivnice U Sadu nearby after receiving a local recommendation, and oh my I’m so glad we did. In contrast to Rickie, I’m not a pub-person at all. I can’t drink beer (which automatically makes me unsuitable for Prague, right?), I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes and I’m like a grandma by nature so I’m not a big fan of rowdy places - but this place… This place had the best fried chicken wings ever. If a pub could offer me this then count me in every time. Apparently you can “see the happiness on my face” when I eat good food. Anyway, that was a fun night we both enjoyed a lot and a place worth checking out if you’re in the area.

The next morning we took the tram into Old Town where we began our full day of sight-seeing. We started in Old Town Square and made our way up to the top of Old Town Hall for an incredible panoramic moment. Stunning stunning stunning! Unfortunately the Astronomical Clock was under construction during our visit, so that is something we are yet to see. But there were plenty of other highlights to explore around the area. The Havelské market for example was worth a visit.

After spending enough time in Old Town we began making our way towards Charles Bridge, which links Old Town to Malá Strana. On our way there we explored some very empty streets until we eventually reached the Vltava river. It always surprises me how in some places you can literally walk 300 m out of the tourist attractions and there will be no crowd.

Before crossing Charles Bridge, we decided to climb the Old Town Bridge Tower for the second panoramic view of the day. I love the medieval vibe of this city, and this view in particular with Prague Castle in the background really captures that. We didn’t end up going there but instead spent the afternoon exploring more of downtown Malá Strana, having a very traditional lunch in Lokál U Bilé, and just discovering new things along the riverside.

We slowly walked towards the direction of Museum Kampa, which hosts a small collection of Czech and central European modern art. Shortly after we stumbled upon a beer fest garden and took the opportunity to stretch our legs, have a drink and soak up some sun. We spent an hour just lying on the grass, watching pedal boats drive by and enjoying each other’s company. A very relaxing evening!

As the sun was setting, we made our way to the famous Dancing House where we had another drink and watched the golden hour from Glass Bar, situated on the top floor of the building. We contemplated whether or not to have dinner at Ginger & Fred on 7th floor as I’d read some good reviews about it, but we decided to go to a restaurant called Lavande across the river instead. It was more casual, less touristy, but the food was excellent - seriously one of the best meals of the trip!

After dinner it was getting quite late so we decided to go home and watch a movie. From experience we’ve learnt not to burn ourselves out from trying to squeeze in all the activities on the first day (although it might seem like we just did), so this was indeed a sensible decision. As midnight struck, it was Rickie’s birthday and the morning after I had a lot of things planned out for him.

Day 2: I made a reservation for the two of us to have breakfast in Oblaca Restaurant, situated on top of the Žižkov TV Tower and five minutes walk from our apartment. I loved everything about this place: the service, the ambience, the authentic food, the fresh OJ, the view… Bliss! And since it was still quite early in the morning, we had the whole place for ourselves.

At midday we went for birthday drinks at Terasa U Prince. We got a cosy seat outside on their rooftop terrace with beautiful views overlooking the Old Town Square. Later we decided that we wanted to get out of Prague 1 where most of the main tourist attractions are, to explore other places. However, Prague is a fairly large city split into many different districts so there was no chance we could see everything at once, but we did go to Holešovice (Prague 7), a district north of Prague - also named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Europe. A friend recommended us last minute to go to the Street Food Festival that was on the same weekend, which suited perfectly for food lovers like us. We also went to a Vietnamese Food Festival south of the district where there was live Vietnamese entertainment and more Vietnamese food. While in Holešovice we took the opportunity to check out DOX Centre of Contemporary Art.

As sunset lovers, we wanted to catch it somewhere nice on our last evening in Prague. We spontaneously ended up on a romantic one-hour river cruise on the Vltava river where we had a couple of drinks, saw Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and other historical buildings from a new perspective. We were so lucky that timing was on our side and that we managed to book the last tickets for the 7PM-cruise. I had made a reservation at Field Restaurant at 8PM and for our convenience, it was located right by the dock so we made it just in time for dinner.

Field is a Michelin-starred restaurant that I had booked one month in advance for Rickie’s birthday. It was a lovely evening in a really low-key modern restaurant, the food was great (portions were small though, but as you’d expect for fine dining) and the staff did a great job helping me arrange a surprise for him afterwards. In the past five years of celebrating our birthdays together, we’ve rarely given each other materialistic things but rather experiences, whether it be culinary experiences, activities or travels. I love that because whatever the gift, we get to share it. With that being said, we can both look forward to enjoy his birthday present together in Budapest pretty soon.

Day 3: It’s always a bit sad waking up on the last day of an amazing vacation, especially if you’re in a long-distance relationship. But we always try to make the best and the most out of our limited time together. Our flights wasn’t until in the evening so we spent the morning exploring more of the Žižkov district. We visited the National Monument of Vitkov on top of Vitkov hill, built in honour of WW1 and later used to promote the communist regime - a very interesting place. Then we went to Eska for lunch, a must-visit restaurant if you’re in the area. Delicious food and super cool ambience! In the last two hours before we had to rush to the airport, we went back into the city centre because Rickie really wanted to see the Paternoster elevator at Prague City Hall, which was only open during weekdays. So we got to tick that off his bucket list, and I got to see the infinite book tunnel at Prague Library just next door to the Town Hall.

Our long-weekend in Prague was an unforgettable trip. I loved the city, the food, and the people who made our stay so comfortable… I never felt like we were getting ripped off either, which is always a plus, right? With that being said, I’m forever grateful for the chance to travel around in the weekends and then go back to uni in Copenhagen the next moment without compromising my studies (perks of choosing my own courses and only having lectures twice a week). It’s a privilege I’ll never take for granted. For the remaining half year that I am still a student, I hope this will continue to be my lifestyle. I know things will get much busier during Christmas time until summer but I’m ready for the challenge.

Thanks for checking out this long post and for following my journey. Stay tuned for more travel updates… Next stop, Scotland!

Frostbites in Riga

The week after Paris, I was off for a long weekend to Riga in Latvia with my boyfriend, my good friend Jennifer, and her company. This Baltic gem has been on my bucketlist for a long time now, and I was so happy when they agreed to join me to this perfect winter destination. Ok, perfect minus the insane Siberian cold. Rickie's flight from London got cancelled due to bad whether conditions, so he actually arrived one day later than planned but oh well. Despite that, we had a really good time in Riga! 

As you can see, Riga has a beautiful Old Town that is a must-see for any visitors. Most of the main attractions are located here and since our apartment was nearby, we explored most of the city by foot. Some of the sights we explored were the well-known House of the Blackheads, Three Brothers, The Freedom Monument, and of course St. Peter's Church, which offers a panoramic view of the city.

On our last day in Riga we spontaneously decided to go ice skating, so we took a taxi to Lido Atputas Centrs, a nice traditional Latvian themed amusement park. They had a huge buffet restaurant, which was pretty good too. Definitely recommended if you want to try proper traditional dishes to a decent price but personally I think buffets in general are the worst. I just have no self-control...

One of my favourite places to visit was the Latvian National Museum of Art. It houses the richest collection of national art in Latvia and it's 100% worth a visit. 

When it comes to food I must say I'm a fond of Latvian cuisine so I made sure we ate local as much as possible while in Riga. My main recommendations would be to dine at Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs. I loved the atmosphere at this place, the food was good and the beers are apparently really excellent too. And they do live music five times a week. Also, right across the street is Trompete, a cool live jazz bar - another place we enjoyed a lot. Both places is worth to check out.

In terms of accommodation, I can not recommend Riga Lux Apartments Skolas enough. We rented a huge centrally located penthouse apartment with two bedrooms for about 200 Norwegian kroner (20 pounds) each per night. Perhaps we were lucky because it was off-peak season, but still worth to have a look if you're going to Riga any time soon. It definitely made our stay in Riga extra comfortable.

And that's my Riga recap for now! Obviously I have only been there three days so I'm no local expert in giving advice on what's best to do or not but at least these are my personal recommendations. Overall, a lovely (underrated) city in Europe that I think one should pay a visit to.

Valentine's Weekend in Paris

This year's Valentine's Day, my boyfriend and I met up in Paris. What better way to celebrate the occasion than a weekend in the most romantic city in the world? 

He arrived with the Eurostar from London, while I flew in from Copenhagen shortly after. We've actually only flown together twice I think (Edinburgh - Ireland 2014, and Hong Kong - Phuket 2016), which isn't a lot considering how many countries we've been to these past four years. And that's our long distance relationship in a nutshell.

Anyway... in Paris we stayed at a lovely hotel in Montmartre area, so we were only a short walk away from enjoying the city view from Sacré-Cœur every morning and evening. How beautiful is this view though!

Louis Vuitton Foundation, Centre Pompidou and a few art installations were the things we had planned to see in advance, otherwise the weekend's itinerary was pretty open. We saw the main tourists attractions (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, the Louvre, Moulin Rouge etc.) since it was Rickie's first time in Paris, but we made sure to explore less crowded places for the rest of it.

On the first evening I was taken out to a lovely surprise dinner at Terrass" Restaurant with a dining view of the Eiffel Tower, which was pretty amazing. Rickie knows how much I love a good view... On the second evening we experienced delicious French cuisine at Restaurant 52: both places I highly recommend. Not to mention, Hardware Société, a brunch place located just a couple of minutes away from Sacré-Cœur. It's a must-go to everyone visiting Paris because it was so good.

Despite a very brief summary, it was a perfect weekend getaway. Although I've been to Paris a couple of times before, I loved re-exploring the city with my favourite travel companion. I'm looking forward to our next adventures together in the upcoming months!

Meanwhile, here's a compilations of a few of our travels together. Looking back at all these memories I'm incredibly grateful to be able to live my dream, and travel the world with my best friend. Never taking it for granted how lucky we are.

A Weekend in Belgium

My time in Belgium came and went in a flash. We arrived on a Friday and traveled back to London on Sunday, but we still managed to fill the weekend with beautiful sight-seeing, church towers, Christmas vibes, amazing food, and a bit too many Belgium waffles and chocolates. We stayed at Hotel Motel One in Brussels which was really nice and conveniently located in the city centre, with walking distance to pretty much everywhere.

On Saturday we went for a day trip to Antwerp, a city located about 40km north of Brussels. During the weekends the train tickets are half price so that's something to keep in mind if you ever travel to Brussels during the weekend and would like to visit another city nearby. I would definitely recommend Antwerp as I found it really lively, but Ghent and Brugge seems like good options too. Next time! 

Unfortunately, I've been very lazy with taking photos with my DSLR camera as you might have noticed in my previous posts. I promise to be better for my upcoming travels! Until then I'm sharing Rickie's photos mehe.  

Brussels & Antwerp

I didn't really use my DSLR in Belgium since I've been getting too comfortable with my iPhone camera. But luckily I still have some good photos to share from the trip thanks to Rickie who is the better photographer of the two of us:

Brussles

Funny thing is, when I went through his camera roll I found five photos of me and about hundred landscape photos of buildings and railway stations. That is when you know you're dating an architect! Must say the photos look great though.

Antwerp

Istanbul

I love exploring a country for the first time. When I found out I was going to Turkey I spent so much time planning an itinerary, only to realise that two and a half days in Istanbul could barely get me half-way through the city. Especially for someone like Sadia and I who loves to just wander around, accidentally stumble across every sweet shop that offers free tasters, and befriend locals who will seat you down at a table, serve you Turkish tea and literally talk for hours. People of Istanbul are so kind and welcoming!

Anyway, there's a lot of pictures coming up so I'll try to keep it brief with the captions. I hope this post will inspire you to visit Istanbul one day if you haven't already been - and to never let fear stop you from exploring this very beautiful world we live in. 

Grand Bazaar

One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world located in the heart of Istanbul Old City. Grand Bazaar felt like a big maze. It has more than 4000 shops inside it and attracts up to 400,000 visitors, daily! Everything from Turkish tea, spices, lamps and carpets - you're sure to find it here in thousands different varieties. 

Hagia Sophia

Lunch with a view? A few hundred meters from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque is Seven Hills Restaurant, perhaps the best place (for Instagrammers that is) to have a cuppa.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque, also known as Sultan Ahmet Mosque is the most famous mosque in Istanbul. As beautiful as it is, I personally think it's an unfortunate imbalance between religion and a tourist attraction. With so many people and so much noise all around it lost a bit of its spiritualness, but that's just my opinion.

Topkapı Palace

A large museum which was once home of the sultans and harems of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. Gorgeous architecture! 

Bosphorus Cruise

My biggest recommendation if you're in Istanbul is to take a Bosphorus Cruise. I love everything about the sea, but what is so special about this is that you're cruising between two continents, both Asia and Europe. Meanwhile you're passing through unique waterfront palaces and mosques on either side in close-up views. The cruises varies in duration, but we took one that lasted about two hours which was more than good enough. It's cheap too, shouldn't cost more than 5 Lira. Just make sure to buy tickets at the official ticket offices by the dock and not through tourist booths. They're usually ten times more expensive.

Galata Tower

So where do you get the best views of Istanbul, you ask? Galata Tower, just before sunset. You're welcome.

If you enjoy smoking shisha (which I personally don't however), LuLu Hookah Lounge is a really cool place to go at any time of day. Just wanted to put it out there anyway! It has good views, good food and tasty drinks - i.e. mocktails and smoothies for people like us.

Asian Side of istanbul

Located east of Bosphorus and geographically on the Asian mainland. Easy access with either metro (that goes under water) or a five minute boat trip across the waterway. We didn't have much time to explore this side of the city unfortunately other than a quick drink before heading off to Nurs-et. Definetly a place I would've loved to explore more of though.

Nurs-et Steakhouse Etiler

Saving the best for last: dinner at Nurs-et Steakhouse, famously known as #saltbae. We had to take a 45 minutes bus ride to get here from our hotel, but it was well worth it. The steak was amazing and the baklava (famous Turkish dessert), oh my days... the baklava was so good I shed a tear of joy. I can only recommend this place to everyone, or at least to all the steak-lovers out there. Our last evening in Istanbul was made complete.

So, that was my recap from Istanbul! I hope you enjoyed the photos. Since I've been so busy with exams these past couple of weeks I didn't have time to make separate posts, but something is better than nothing, right? Anyway, next month I'm going to Brussels with my boyfriend, which I'm really excited about. I have never been in Belgium before so I can't wait to see what it has to offer. Shortly after, a big celebration in London awaits! Stay tuned. xx

Hagia Sophia

Spanning over two continents, Istanbul was such a special city to visit. The moment I stepped out of the metro station and into the city centre, I just knew this trip would be too short to possibly explore everything. However with the greatest attempt to maximise the duration of our stay, without exhausting ourselves too much, I created a brief itinerary of all the must-visit places which I'll share over the next couple of weeks. 

Hagia Sophia Museum was our first stop on Saturday morning. Formerly an Orthodox Cathedral, the building was later converted into a Mosque in 1453. Today it is considered the world's second largest cathedral and the display of giant domes and mosaic art was an incredible experience for the eyes. We came at 9AM just when it opened its doors to tourists (keen) so we didn't experience any longs queues or overcrowds. With so much to see and so little time, the last thing I wanted to do is to waste my time queuing. 

Hands down, Hagia Sophia is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I've been to (not that I have been to that many, but still a few to conclude so far!) So if you ever visit Istanbul, you know where to go. Entrance tickets are 40 Turkish Lira, which is about €10. Or in my currency, equivalent to about three kebabs.

In the next post I'll share more photos from the outside as well as the Blue Mosque. Meanwhile I have two exams in the coming week, so it's about time I get my priorities straight: stop booking flights and start studying. Yesterday I spent the whole day booking my upcoming East Asia Pacific trip, which I'm excited to share more about later! Until then, good luck to myself, queen of procrastination.

Magical Moments

- in Istanbul, Turkey -

My flatmate, Sadia, and I made an impulsive decision the first week we moved in together in Copenhagen: We booked a trip to Istanbul! Last time we felt spontaneous like that we ended up in Taiwan, and I count it as one of my favourite trips per date. I love having a travel partner, friend and flatmate who are as wanderlust as me. On top of that she radiates so much positive energy and good vibes so needless to say, Istanbul was an amazing experiencing. I never thought about traveling to Istanbul before, but I'm so happy I did because I fell in love with the city. Can't wait to go through all the photos on my DSLR camera and share more about my first time in Turkey very soon!

Exploring Bergen

My internship this summer sent me on a business trip to Bergen, so I took full advantage and set out to explore the city during the weekend off work. I stayed at Hotel Scandic Strand, situated only 200 meters away from the picturesque Bryggen and overlooking Mount Fløyen. I couldn't have asked for a more central location to maximise my four days of solo-exploration.

Bergen is known as the rainiest city in Norway. While I was there, it had been raining 138 out of 175 days. It rained every single day in the whole month of June! Surprisingly not my visit was no exception, but for some miraculous reason I managed to stay dry during my entire hike up to Mount Fløyen. I even got some sun as I reached the peak. On the way down I took the famous Fløibanen funicular for the sake of experiencing it, but I enjoyed the hike better - less crowded, and free.

Mount Ulriken was next on the itinerary. Ulriken643 Panorama Tour took me to the top of the mountain by cable car in 7 minutes, and the full view of Bergen from the top was just beautiful. Sea, fjords and hills in one scenery easily make Bergen one of the prettiest countries in Norway. 

I hiked all the way down instead of taking the cable car, which I realised half way wasn't the best decision this time. It was a long, tough route covered in slippery mud and it was pouring rain too - definitely not ideal when traveling alone after 6pm. In other words, these were the moments my mom always warned me about. Nevertheless I'm glad I was accompanied by two other hikers who made the experience feel a little bit safer.

The Highland Experience

Last September I got to travel with Highland Experience Tours to the Scottish Highlands as a social media contributor. On this 1 day-tour I discovered Cairngorm Mountains, drove through Inverness (the capital of the Highlands), cruised the Loch Ness, saw UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and enjoyed the scenery and learnt about the history of Glen Coe. The tour also took me to Stirling where I got to see Stirling Castle, as well as giving me a quick glimpse of the famous Wallace Monument. All this in one day!

Dundee with VisitScotland

In collaboration with VisitScotland and Campfire -

This summer I've had the privilege to work with the talented Campfire Agency to create videos for Visit Scotland's next campaign. I had a great weekend exploring a new city in Scotland and experience some of the best things that Dundee has to offer. And yes, that's me in the video!

48 hours in Copenhagen

The happiest capital city in the world. The place to be if you appreciate arts and culture, design, architecture and sustainability. The biking-friendly city of all-black fashion. I fell in love with Copenhagen, so here's a few of my personal recommendations for you to enjoy the city too!

Wander around Nørrebro

TAKE A BOAT TRIP

For 40DKK you can join a boat tour along the idyllic harbours and charming canals. It's a nice way to see the city from a different perspective, and I love the waters so when we passed a departure port I joined the tourists crew and gave it a go. It wasn't more than 30-45 minutes and I learnt some interesting things from the tour guide who spoke in English, Danish and German. 

RENT A BIKe

I can't really speak for myself as I never got the chance to rent a bike and bike around the city (although that was the initial plan), but Rickie did and so do almost every single person in Copenhagen. Denmark, in big contrast to Norway, is mountainless and flat out flat. Biking is ideal because there's rarely any uphills hence no resistance - so basically it's not a dreadful experience even for the laziest. Rather, a cheap and active method of exploring Copenhagen!

WALK/ Jog/ Hunt Pokémons AROUND PEBLINGe LAKE

Amongst the real wedge of swans floating in the lake, you can join the water fun by renting your own swan pedalo boat. Woho! The ostrich gondola. Although I passed this time it's a fun way to explore the waters during the summer, no? The option's there. Meanwhile we strolled along the waterfront, enjoyed the view and the colourful building. Maybe next time there won't be crowds of Pokémon-Go hunters everywhere. Crazy!

Grab a Danish pastry on-the-go

Danish pastries... What else do you actually need sometimes? Maybe a coffee to complement, but that's pretty much enough to highlight my day. Bakeries are as common as 7/11s - literally on every street corner. Grab a cinnamon bun from Lagkagehuset and enjoy while you make your way to the next pastry house. Did I mention the 'smørrebrød'/ sandwiches you have to try. And speaking of food, Møller Kaffe og Køkken offers amazing brunches. Oh! Also a very popular place I need to mention is Bertels Salon, which offers cheesecake and coffee. The pistachio cheesecake took me to heaven and back, haha. A definite must-try!! 

A photo posted by Martha Huynh (@marthahuynh) on

Dine at the World's Best Restaurant

So while checking out the Danish Architecture Centre, we found ourselves next to Noma - a two-Michelin-star restaurant ranked as the best restaurant in the world four times for its Nordic Cuisine. Situated by the waterfront in the Christianhavn neighbourhood it's a guaranteed fine-dine with a view. Next time when I get that one-month-in-advance-table-reservation accepted, I'll let you know more. 

Grab a pint at Papirøen Island

Across the bridge from Nyhavn and facing towards the Royal Opera House, "Paper Island" is a super cool venue for music, food, drinks and chill. It's a large warehouse filled with international street food stalls and the perfect place to hang out on summer evenings. Not to mention, the sunset from here is epic. Overall great vibe - a must-go, guys! 

Photos by Rickie C.

PEOPLE-WATCH AT NYHAVN

Picturesque Nyhavn harbour is a must-see in Copenhagen. It's colourful and lovely, even on a rainy day - and it's what makes Copenhagen extra charming. Nyhavn is filled with bars, cafés and restaurants and attracts tourists from all over the world all year round, so don't be surprised to get ripped off. Afterall, you're paying for the view (and the hype).

Explore Freetown Christiania 

This is an interesting place. Christiania is a self-proclaimed free state in the heart of Copenhagen, most commonly known for its open trade of marijuana and hosting some of the most hippie citizens in the country, if not the world. The 'state' has its own laws, own currencies and claims that once you exit - "You're now leaving the EU". It's a hard one to explain, as photography is prohibited once you enter - but do check it out.  I wouldn't recommend going alone though, and I'd aim to go during day time - but overall it's a safe place to explore. You wouldn't be the only one!

A photo posted by Martha Huynh (@marthahuynh) on

VISIT THE LITTLE MERMAID

Ok, an honest opinion here. I have never understood the hype over this tiny little (may I even say, very average) landmark of a mermaid. Yet, time after time is as crowded as ever. Sure it's one of those "must-see" things in Copenhagen, at least they claim. But I must say I'm not too impressed. I appreciate the story behind it and all but man, of all places to locate one of the most famous sights in Scandinavia... It's almost ironic. Nice flue-gas stacks in the background there.

A photo posted by Martha Huynh (@marthahuynh) on

CHECK OUT SUPERKILEN

This is a public park in Nørrebro district close to where we stayed. Loads of architecture, urban design, cycling tracks and everything that Rickie loves. I liked the celebration of diversity and exposition of the local habitats. Objects from all around the world are exhibited around the park in different forms and artefacts. It's pretty cool, definitely worth checking out! 

Join A Free City Walking Tour

During my previous visit to Copenhagen, my friends and I joined a three-hours long free walking tour with Copenhagen Free Walking Tours starting at the City Hall Square. If you have time and would like to see the main city attractions with a professional guided tour - this is highly recommended. We really enjoyed seeing all the sights and getting to know the history behind every location we visited, including Christiansborg palace, the Old City Center, Nyhavn houbour and the Royal Palace Amalienborg. The guides are monetised by donations, so by the end of the tour you decide how much you want to give based on your personal experience!

This is just my small take on Copenhagen. There are plenty of more things to see and do - but bottom point is, it's a place worth going even for a brief weekend. 

Hygge

Simply translated into coziness, 'hygge' is a heart-warming lesson from Denmark that places Danes on the list of the world's happiest people. Their attitudes to life is felt through the 'hygge'-way-of-living - a contagious feeling during our weekend in Copenhagen. We attended our friend's beautiful wedding and the timing worked out perfectly for us to explore a new destination together while we're at it. Although both have been in Copenhagen once before, it was our first time together. 

Nyhavn, Copenhagen. 

Airbnb

We stayed in Nørrebro, a hip area centrally located and perfect for people like us who love a good selection of food places at any time of day. We got a lovely private Airbnb and a good three days to fully enjoy the city. Airbnb is such a great concept and I recommend it to everyone who wants a little different experience than what you would get at a hotel or hostel, or whatever it might be. The website is peppered with accommodations of all styles and I'm sure everyone can find one that fit to theirs. So far I've stayed in one in Tokyo,  Shanghai and now Copenhagen - and each time I''ve been really satisfied as each was entire home bookings - where we had the whole place for ourselves. Not to mention, if you're extra lucky the host will give you plenty of local recommendations and useful information to maximise your stay before they hand you over the keys - and the satisfying feeling of being home away from home. 

A Long Weekend In London

While the memory is still fresh, here's a little recap of my past weekend in London. This was my first time back in the UK since last summer and my first destination of this year's European itinerary. From sightseeing, shopping, steak dinners and bicycle trips around the city, to chasing the best rooftop bars and photo shooting fashion campaigns - my eight time in London was undoubtedly packed with exciting moments! 

I arrived quite late on Thursday so Rickie and I just spent the evening watching the football and eating fish and chips at The Nine Elms Tavers. Probably one of the best ones I've had so far, just saying. On Friday I was mostly wandering around sightseeing by myself while R was at work, so I managed to revisit a few sights to take some photos, get some shopping done and get hungry for our dinner in SOHO. We went for ramen noodles at a new restaurant that I can't even recall the name, before heading to a pub nearby and to watch Wales vs. Belgium in the UEFA Euro 2016 quarter final. I love watching football (I've been playing it since I was 11 years old), but I hate drinking beer, so I'm not fully immersed into the British pub-culture quite yet.  

On Saturday the 2nd of July, I was invited to attend the photoshoot for NewYorkers Fashion's upcoming fitness campaign. It was a completely new experience for me and I felt very honoured to be able to take apart of it. I won't say too much about it, but it was a fun day and I'm pretty excited to see the final results.

After the shoot I met up with Rickie in Broadway Market, a lovely street filled with food stalls and everything vintage in the heart of Hackney. I was so tempted to eat everything, as usual. From here we rented the city bikes and biked along the Regent's canal, which gave me flashbacks on our time in Little Venice back in September 2014. Time flies in good company! 

In the evening we decided to go to Frank's Café in Peckham, a pop-up on the roof of a multi-storey carpark. I was told the view there was amazing and I couldn't agree more when we finally arrived. Definitely one of the many highlights of this trip! The food and drinks were delicious too. Nothing but good vibes with my bestest. 

When in Paris

A week before I flew off to Shanghai, my sisters and I went on a all-girls trip to Paris. It was only for the weekend, but we had a great time sight-seeing, shopping, indulging macarons and spending quality time together before my departure. It took us twenty-one years to finally travel together, can you believe...

So with a mix of interests between the four of us, we managed to experience a good balance of different sights and activities. The mandatory Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, Notre Dame and Chateâu de Verseilles to name a few. The latter is definitely a recommendation for anyone visiting Paris in the future. The details were amazing, both on the inside and on the outside of the jardin/ garden. Meanwhile, I couldn't be happier to finally tick Sacré-Cœur off my bucket list, which I never got around to visit back in December '13. As expected the view from Montmartre was stunning!