It took me a while to realise that perhaps the most important source of joy in the lives of human beings is the joy of travelling: to explore foreign cultures, to enjoy beautiful breathtaking sceneries and to try out new food. Our world, this tiny dot against the vastness of space, is full of amazing places and things to see and one of my goals in life is to see as many of them as possible.
In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is that if you are lucky enough to be able to afford to travel then you shouldn’t think twice. Do it now, make memories and enjoy your life. At the end of the day, I am sure you’d rather die with a million memories rather than a million dollars in your bank account.
Before moving to New Zealand and while living in London, I managed to put some time and money aside to travel around Europe. Without further ado, here is a quick glimpse of some of the places I’ve been to, along with a couple of useful pointers.
Hope you’ll enjoy it. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Stay: It is worth staying at an Airbnb when visiting Copenhagen, to really feel the Scandi architecture and interior design. That is, when you’re not busy roaming Copenhagen’s streets.
Eat: Unless you are feeling spendy and going super-fancy (ie. Noma), your choices for dining out are limited. Papiroen is however a very good option for lunch. An old factory hall turned into a street-food market, filled with small food trucks. Definitely one of the most cozy places in Copenhagen with a touch of creativity and modern soul. When it rains, you can eat inside, but when the sun is out you can grab a deck chair out on the pier and enjoy the city's best views.
Relax: Copenhagen is a paradise for coffee lovers, with stylish coffee shops in every corner of the city (I don’t recall seeing a lot of Starbucks either which is always a good sign). My personal favourite was Kent Kaffe Laboratorium. The vibes here are homey and relaxed, making it perfect for chilling after a long stroll around the city.
Explore: The national museum is known to be one of the best museums of its kind in Europe. Don't miss the collection of devotional objects that decorated Danish churches before the Protestant Reformation, it might haunt your dreams ever after but it's worth it. The free admission and guide at the information desk is a bonus.
- Get around: To get anywhere is an approximate 45 mins walk max, so unless you are heading back to the airport you won’t need to use public transportation.
Stay: We stayed at Casa Amora guesthouse and we couldn't have chosen a more welcoming place to stay. To this day we still talk about the garden patio and the fresh baked goods we were having there every morning.
Eat: Seafood in Lisbon is the best thing that can happen to you. If you don't mind queuing for a while then Cervejaria Ramiro is definitely worth a visit. Don’t forget to finish off your dinner with a steak sandwich (no matter how stuffed you feel). You may have also heard about pastéis de nata if you are planning to visit Lisbon. Pastéis de Belém is the best place to have one in my opinion, just sprinkle a little cinnamon and you're good to go.
Relax: LX Factory is an old industrial complex that has turned into a great design space with really cool cafes. The street market at Sundays is also visit-worthy with good sounds, people, friendliness and character.
Explore: Belem's hidden gem is the Modern Art Collection called Museu Coleccao Berardo. This is across the main road and sort of behind the castle, towards the monastery. If you have the time you should take the train to Cascais - a small coastal town just 20 miles west of Lisbon, a wonderful village to stroll around.
Get around: A 24 hour city zone pass costs 6 Euros plus 0.5 for the rechargeable card for when you feel like your feet need a break.
Stay: Plenty of options around so accommodation shouldn’t be an issue. We stayed at a lovely little B&B close to the Colosseum and the metro. Urbi et Orbi Roma is situated within a residential apartment block, which might not sound fancy but definitely gives you the local roman experience.
Eat: Marco G restaurant in Trastevere was by far the best restaurant we tried in Rome (the thought of its tiramisu makes me drool to this day). Also, when in Rome, you have to try gelato.
Relax: Bartaruga (right across the turtle fountain, you might recognise it from Woody Allen's To Rome with Love) seemed like the perfect place to unwind with a glass of wine, on paper! We left 10 mins later and we weren't happy.
Explore: The Colosseum and The Roman Forum might sound too mainstream but trust me when I say you will be astonished. It really is a breathtaking place to visit! Don’t miss the free walking tours either (you can always tip your guide at the end if you feel like to), knowing the history of the city really helps you to appreciate Rome a lot more.
- Get around: The magic lies within the alleys in Rome and the cobbled streets won't do your feet any favours.
Thanks for reading