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!

Upon arrival in Eastbourne, we found The Pilot Inn where we had a well-deserved English breakfast (lunch). A very nice spot with a lovely back garden that I would highly recommend for the summer seasons. Overall, all smiles after 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.

An Evening at Tivoli

- Tivoli Gardens amusement park in central Copenhagen -

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.

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!

Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island

You wouldn’t expect any less than magical sceneries when you’re in a city on the Adriatic Sea! Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, perfectly combined my love for crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, mountains for hiking, good food, culture and history - all in one place. I would’ve definitely stayed longer if I could, however since we had limited time, here’s what Rickie and I managed to experience before heading off to Split. Be prepared for the full 3-days itinerary and loads of photos!

Day 1: We arrived in Dubrovnik airport at noon (I arrived from Oslo and he arrived from London) and we took the bus into Old Town where we had lunch at Barba and roamed around a bit before checking into our accommodation nearby. What really astonished me about this Old Town is how it’s literally encircled by a massive two kilometres long stone wall built in the 16th century to protect against rivals and enemies. And despite a massive earthquake that destroyed most of the city in 1667, the wall still remains today for thousands of people to walk on it.

We made a a quick visit to Banje Beach and Buža Bar, and later that evening when the temperature had gone down a bit (as in below 30°C), we decided to hike up Mount Srd to catch the sunset. It was the steepest zigzag hike I have ever done and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it - but it was so worth it! We sat there for almost an hour just absorbing the view, until it got too dark to hike down so we opted for the cable car. That night we had our first dinner at Restaurant Taj Mahal and drinks at The Bar by Azur, which was located on a steep step in a narrow alleyway just off the Luza Square. Great food and drinks, which I can recommend.

Traveling with Rickie is one of my absolute favorite things to do. We share so many similar views of the world and I think that’s especially important since we’re exploring it together. We for example both love to experience new places on foot, because honestly there is no better way to see a city than to walk it. I can go on and on about all the amazing things we‘ve stumbled upon and discovered along the way. And not to take for granted how lucky we are to be fit and healthy, and capable of moving our bodies. Let’s use it while we can.

Day 2: Balance is key. Since our first day was very active we opted for a relaxing beach day on Lokrum Island, a small island conveniently located a 10-minutes ferry ride away from Old Town port (the same island you can see in the pictures from our balcony). If you have an extra day or half-day in Dubrovnik, I highly recommend a visit. The ferries depart regularly during peak-season and we managed to purchase tickets at the port on the same day.

In Lokrum Island we got to float in the “Dead Sea”, sunbath along the coast of the island, marvel in exotic plants and animals, explore beautiful caves and rock formations, and lunch with cute rabbits running around our feet at Lacroma Restaurant.

We got the ferry back to Dubrovnik at 6PM, went home to freshen up and went back to the port to dine at Gradska Kavana Arsenal where we had made a reservation the night before. And let me just say… What a beautiful location for a restaurant! Lucky enough we were given a seat beneath the arches overlooking the marina as the sun were setting, so that was extra magical. The food was delicious and it was just a very lovely dining experience overall.

Day 3: Our last day in Dubrovnik (nooo). We had booked a ferry to Split departing at 4:30PM so we got up early that morning to seize the day. Sometimes we don’t know what rest is when it comes to maximising short stays, so we decided to walk the Ancient City Wall to see more of Dubrovnik from a different perspective. It was about a two-hours hike because we stopped quite often to take photos, but we couldn’t help it. The views were just incredible from every angle, from Minceta Fortress to Lovrijenac Fortress to St. John’s Fortress, and of course, the city’s red rooftops. Neither of us are Games of Thrones fans, but it was nice to see the real location of “King’s Landing”. After that we strolled around Old Town and enjoyed the city’s best ice-cream from Peppino’s.

We wrapped up our final hours at Port Gruz where our ferry to Split awaited, and lunch at Bon Appetit nearby was the perfect spot to fuel up for the four hours journey ahead. Overall, to say the least, those were some incredible days in Dubrovnik. And although there are a thousand more things to see, I’m really happy with what we managed to experience in such a short time. If you haven’t been to Croatia before, there is a lot to look forward to!

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.

New Years 2018 in Hong Kong

“Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Hong Kong is one of my favourite places in the world. This is where I have shared some of the best memories with friends and loved ones, and perhaps where I've captured the most scenic photos too, yet it's also one of the least documented on the blog for some reason (along with Edinburgh). I've been wanting to post more photos at least, but then I also want to make this blog more than just another caption-less online photo album where "the pictures speak for themselves". I want to write a bit about each place and event, give it some context if you will. But then, how do I put all these moments into words? When there are so many memorable ones, that at the same time literally leave me speechless half of the time. But let's give it a try anyway.

As mentioned in my previous post, Hong Kong was my first stop in Asia this winter. That's my fifth time in Hong Kong since 2015, which is a pretty good indiction of how much I love it. This time was extra special because I traveled together with my family, something we've been wanting to do since I was little. My dad used to live in Hong Kong for five years way back when, and it's always been his dream to re-visit. It's so amazing that it finally came true. During our trip we went to a park in Sham Shui Po where he once had his photo taken when he was in his twenties, and I managed to get an "after-photo" of him at the exact same spot. It's a long (family hi)story, but it was a pretty special moment that words can't describe it and pictures don't do it justice. 

We spent altogether almost one week in Hong Kong including one day in Macau. We did a lot of city sightseeing and dining in both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (pictures from Hutong Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui), and on one of the days Rickie's family also took us out to the outskirts near the mainland borders where we could see Shenzhen city. I loved the local experience, and the opportunity to visit the Tsz Shan Monestry was definitely a highlight. This was a large Buddhist temple where we had to make an appointment two months in advance in order to enter, since there is a limited daily quota for the general public. I'm so glad Rickie's sister organised it all for us. The 76-meters tall Guanyin Buddha blessed us with a safe and happy journey for the rest of the trip.

We celebrated New Years Eve together as a family, as I have done 22 out of 23 years of my life (except for NYE 2016 in Shanghai). We joined the public countdown and watched the fireworks from the top of IFC. Later after midnight my sister and I went to TST with my best friend, Sammie, for an afterparty at Aqua club. It had the most amazing view of Victoria harbour. 

Towards the end of the week, Rickie and his family traveled to Sri Lanka while we continued our journey to Taiwan. I kind of wished I could join him since Sri Lanka is on my bucketlist, but we have so many more upcoming trips together in the future, while traveling with my parents only happens once in a while. I'm sure they appreciated my company, at least I hope! In the next two posts I'll share more from Macau and Taiwan. There are still many more countries to catch up on after that i.e.: Japan, Philippines and Thailand, and I also have more travels coming up in Europe in the next few weeks so fingers crossed for quicker updates.

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.  

Summer in Spain

- The tan lines may fade but the memories will last forever -

After working three months in Stavanger where it was literally raining six out of seven days a week, it was time for a highly sought-after summer vacation to Spain once again. I travelled with my boyfriend and we stayed in a family apartment located near the city of Torrevieja for four days, and then we spent the last day in Alicante. When we travel together I'm always on new adventures - discovering hidden gems and trying out new things. It was such a lovely holiday, and it's extra nice to have a travel partner who can enjoy a relaxing day by the pool, as well as an active day of biking and hiking around the city. 

Pink salt lake, Las Salinas de Torrevieja

Graduated!

On the 10th of July I graduated with an honours degree in international business from The University of Edinburgh! These past four years of university have flown by so fast and I can't believe it all has come to an end. I've had the best time of my life and I'm so happy and grateful for my student days in Scotland and China. I've been blessed with so many amazing friendships, experiences and opportunities. 

A beautiful graduation ceremony held in the newly renovated McEwan Hall, celebrated together with all my loved ones. What a day!

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. 

Brunching at Madison Rooftop Terrace

On stepping onto the terrace of Madison, you're in the perfect spot for the most spectacular view of St. Paul's Cathedral and the skylines of the City of London. A delicious Sunday brunch accompanied by a fruity mocktail at Madison Restaurant Bar sure set the mood for the weekend. 

Madison Restaurant Bar, London.

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. 

The Pulpit Rock

- When you live life on the edge you see things you wouldn't with a view from the centre -

One of my goals this year before moving to China was to explore more of Norway. Norway hosts some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world, so no wonder it is such a popular destination for foreigners. So often we crave overseas travels that we overlook the beauty of our home countries. This weekend reminded me that the best travels might just be a short ride away. 

Preikestolen, commonly known as the Pulpit Rock has been on my bucket list for so long. The cliff rising more than 600 meters above Lysefjorden is one of Norway’s most visited tourist attractions. The journey there from Oslo is not too far nor complicated as I originally thought. We travelled to Stavanger by flight, because it was the quickest and believe it or not - the cheapest option. From Stavanger port we took the ferry to Tau, and from there there was a bus that took us to the bottom of the mountain where the hike began. The hike itself was much quicker than two hours which we were told. We reached the peak in a little bit over an hour, including all the pitstops to take photos. 

Despite it being extremely windy that day, the sun was shining and I had a great time! 

Florence

Sometimes I plan my travels far in advance, sometimes I get impulsive and book my flights the night before. My trip to Florence was one of those times.

In September 2014 I had just moved back to Edinburgh, while Rickie was in Italy completing a two-months scholarship programme in Florence. I've always dreamt of experiencing this part of Italy and who else would suit for a better company than him. The timing was suitable in relation to my studies, the tickets were not too expensive and hey, free accommodation! So the following week we were adventuring in Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre together - and it was one of the best moments of my life.

In Florence we went on top of the Duomo, in Venice we checked out La Biennale di Venezia (an International Architecture Festival A.K.A. Rickie's DisneyLand), in Cinque Terre we hiked between the villages and much, much more. And don't even get me started on all the delicious food we ate. Overall, an unforgettable week!