Bonjour! This post is the result of a naughty break from deepening my understanding of the Arabic language, but I am hoping some holiday snaps will inspire my stubborn European throat to finally pronounce the ح in a way that won’t make the locals here shake their heads in amusement. Well, so, you may have noticed that my favourite motives are probably waves and water in fifty shades of blue. So it was only natural that during a 30-minute ferry ride crossing Lake Garda, I snapped away like there was no tomorrow.
I visited Lisbon in May with one of my longest friends from London, fell in love with the city and still need to show you parts of the giant photo album that I brought back from there. The city has so many different temperaments and vibes, it was the diversity and occasional random mix of both that probably makes it the most relaxing short trip I ever had. We walked up the Castelo de Sao Jorge, took a quick train to Cascais and chilled at the beach, marvelled at the street art in south Lisbon next to the sea and ate so many Portuguese custard tarts. What’s not to love!
Before coming back to London (and kicking off my final year by editing the news section at the Arts London News, the country’s hottest student paper… new issue out today, boom!) I spent five weeks in Brussels to work for a news channel which may well have been the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. Apart from working crazy hours that usually ended with killing a few bottles of wine, running around the European Parliament with a camera team feeling super important, and trying to squeeze in some extra time to write my dissertation on weekends, I did have the odd afternoon off to explore Brussels a little. I tell ya, the city is totally up and coming! During the first few days, I spent about every night sipping different beers and chatting to old friends at the super laid-back Café Belga, which hosts some of the best gigs and club nights in town.
Here’s what I’d do if I had only one day in Bergen, Norway. It would be a pretty darn good one for sure.
1. Get coffee. Bergen is meant to be the place for coffee in Norway. The best I had was at Det Lille Kaffekompaniet, which is actually just next to the paths up to mountain Fløypilen, a light and relaxed hike. But there’s a place from which the views are a hundred times better:
2. Ulriken! You and approximately two hundred tourists will have a breath-taking view all over Bergen and the surrounding mountains and lakes. It gets a bit exhausting at times if you’re not used to hiking (but still want to keep up with all the trained locals that seem to have spent their entire lives in the mountains), but it’s the perfect introduction if you’ve planned some further mountain-climbing in the near future. (There are cable cars going up there too by the way, but that’s cheating!)
In case you’re slowly getting confused with all the different locations I’m talking about here, or if you just recently hopped on the … ehm, blog train, listen up: After a month in the US and Canada, we’re now set in sunny France (although in reality I’m sitting in a small fifth floor room in rainy Brussels with lots of tea) and judging from the photos, it’s been a pretty good summer. We checked out Montpellier, a stunning old town with a bunch of cute and inexpensive boutiques, candy-coloured roundabouts (I may or may not have jumped on one with a happy squeak) and those French houses that I could spend hours photographing. Another stop was Carcassonne, a place that I embarrassingly only knew because of the famous board came, which is probably the most charming and touristy place I’ve ever come across. That’s what Americans mean when they can’t believe how much history there is in Europe: Century-old cobbled alleys, cathedrals that must be aching from all the emotional baggage and of course, crêpe stands. We’re in France, after all.
Are you up for a little trip up the French Pyrenees? No no, you don’t have to walk, a cute yellow train will do the job for you. While the rather ancient carriages might already be enough to get excited, there’s also a stunning scenery ‘rushing’ past at a very chilled pace. So why not hold your head out of the window, close your eyes and let the wind mess with you hair? When it stops after about two hours, you could either go back right away because it’s all about the journey right, or you could get off and explore an old village that’s totally still stuck in the Middle Ages (no joke!) hence incredibly charming. There’s one grocery shop, a boulangerie, a patisserie, and a tiny pizza place that closed down and… barely any people walking around. Perfect for the type of escape that your thoughts revolve around during rainy days in the office, right!? Now go, hop on the train, it won’t wait forever!
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I a) love burgers and b) had an absolute blast in Barcelona when I went there earlier this year. I didn’t expect (but secretly hoped of course) to be back any time soon, but it so happened that we were picking up my Dad from the El Prat airport and then went on a holiday to Southern France from there. We had a few hours left, so I recommended to climb up Park Güell (not fun at 36°C but ever so worth it!), where we bumped into the same musicians that I was photographing back in April. They’re probably playing there every day but it still put the ‘been there, rocked that’ smile on my face. But then we went over to the really important stuff: A burger at Kiosko, one that – after the obligatory Caroline, you even burn rice, why should we trust you with our dinner? everyone loved. Thanks Barcelona for being such a beautiful detour!