My love letter to the United States of America 


It all started in Florida, but quickly grew its way into East Coast road trips, Route 1 adventures and a trip that brought me halfway across the country. We zigzagged a few states here and there, and before I knew it I needed more than my fingers and toes to count the States I had visited. By the time I was 15 my family and I had travelled to the country 19 times. When my 16th birthday came around my roots were torn up from the familiar Danish ground and relocated to what was to become my 2nd home.

When I turned 21 I had been to 33 states. Some I passed through within hours, others I spent days exploring and a selected few I lived in for years. I grew up traveling the U.S. in the back seat of cars.

I fell in love with surfing on the beaches of Hawaii. I got a picture with Minnie Mouse at Disney World in Florida, not to be confused with Disney Land in California where I met Pocahontas and almost peed my pants on the Indiana Jones ride. I had my first New Years kiss to the sound of the ball dropping at a high school party in Connecticut. I drove two hours with college girlfriends to shop at Trader Joe’s in Orlando. I survived a category 4 hurricane in the basement of a hotel that was falling apart in Florida. I stood on all four in the famous cross where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet, the only place in the country where you can be in four states at once. I ordered room-service in Las Vegas with my sister while my parents were trying their luck in the casino. Forever the biggest piece of chocolate cake I have seen. I danced the day and night away at a music festival in New York City.  I considered eating my way through a meat challenge in Virginia. I flew over Grand Canyon in a helicopter. I got to see my then boyfriend win the national championship running the mile at Harvard University. I slept through the fireworks over Niagara Falls. I graduated high school and got to throw my cap in to the air. I gazed out over Manhattan with my best friends from a rooftop terrace. I spent a weekend learning the ins and outs of snowboarding in Vermont. I got asked to prom spelled out on cupcakes in the middle of calculus class. I saw shooting stars on the beach in Cape Cod, skinny dipping with a Corona in my hand and some of the best people surrounding me. I met a little girl in Central Park that wanted me to teach her how to do cart wheels. I got a tattoo of an airplane in Tampa. I swam around in one pool after another, always pretending I was a mermaid. I got to experience a true Hamptons weekend, and everything that comes with it. I got stopped by a police boat in the Gulf; “According to Florida State Law its against the rules to be outside the railing of your boat.” I drove 1,300 miles down the East Coast to get to my college. I experienced a different world in New Orleans. I watched my first meteor shower on Compo Beach. I drove thorugh Death Valley and was amazed by what I saw. I got a glimpse into space in Houston. I went on endless amounts of walks and was always greeted with smiles and hellos. I met some of the most amazing people I will ever know.

I could continue that list for days, but I bet it got pretty boring after 5 memories, unless you were one of the people that I got to share them with. I have had countless amazing and unforgettable experiences. Many of them I can thank my parents for, but even more I can thank the beautiful people of this country and it’s mind blowing scenery, nature and cities.

What is really interesting (and most of all sad) is that I’ve met quite a few people arond the world who doesn’t have the United States on their bucket list. People that wants to see the whole world, except for the states. The reasons are always political and stereotypical.
Whenever I get asked a question ending with “isn’t it like that in the States?” or people state that “that’s how it works in America” I always make a very clear point about how the country (in term of stereotypes) should really be viewed as 50 small countries, and that because your cousin experienced one thing with an American in Oregan 5 years ago, it doesn’t automatically mean that the 20 million people living 2,800 miles away would’ve have acted that way or said those same words.

Please don’t leave the United States off of your bucket list because of the stereotypes, because of what you have heard, because of what you have seen on the news or because of the election that turned Donald Trump into the president..

The United States is an incredible, beautiful and diverse country. For what it is and for all it has yet to become. Yes they have some serious issues, but what country doesn’t.

Open up your mind; there’s so much you don’t know and so much you have yet to see and experience.

// Annika

Seven hours in New Orleans – Part 2


A continuation of my last post (HERE) on my short trip to New Orleans. 

Street art
I’ve always loved a good piece of street art, and Nola offered many great variations. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

This one is without a doubt my favorite. We spotted this piece when driving around a not-so-nice suburban area of the city. I wish I knew who the artist was!

This one is probably classified more as a sign than street art, but the color combination was so beautiful that I couldn’t help myself

Beautiful gable piece found in the Warehouse District

Warehouse District
Daydreaming about an industrial loft apartment in an old warehouse have become a part of my daily routine, so naturally when I saw that a part of the city was named the Warehouse District I was compelled to venture in there.
Most of what we saw was pretty uninteresting, but there are definitely parts to the area that has a lot of charm. We named the area up and coming as there was a lot of construction going on to a variety of beautiful old buildings. The area is filled with galleries, but as it was before 10 pm on a Monday morning when we were there, there wasn’t much to see. Another place to return to! I bet you it’ll be the shit in 10 years.

Buildings like this has so much charm

Other experiences
Even with just 7.5 hours of exploring we still got to experience quite a few things.
Before arriving to the city I had done a bit of research on different things I wanted to see. One of these was the French Market Place, a big market that stretches over 6 blocks right next to the river that goes through the city. I had read good things about the market, but it ended up being quite the disappointment. The first section I liked. This part was filled with small food stands, cooking food from all over the world. The second part however, the flea market (the one I was the most excited about) was basically just a whole lot of junk. It was hard to tell if you were in Nola, China, Thailand or France since most of the things being sold were very generic. I did end up buying a scented New Orleans Creme Brûlée candle from a nice lady who had a little candle booth with 196 different kinds of scented candles. I obviously had to bring some kind of a souvenir home, so I figured it might as well be an interesting smelling beautiful candle. If you have a week to spend in Nola, I’d say go for it, but with 7.5 hours the market definitely isn’t worth a visit. 

As mentioned above French Market Place isn’t really worth a visit, but this sign is still beautiful

I am always on the hunt for a good thrift/vintage store, and I when I spot a good one there is no stopping me from going in. In Nola I added a new favorite to my little black book; Gregs Antiques and Other Assorted Junk located on 1209 Decateur.
I don’t know who Greg is but he sure has the most amazing collection of junk. I could’ve spend hours in there looking through it all, but with a set of parents that doesn’t exactly share my excitement for rusty iron letters and a suitcase that would never fit an 1850 mahogany cabinet, I gave up on my hunt and continued down Decateur.

HEAVEN for my beating thrift heart outside of my new favorite Nola store

Incredible glass bottle collection inside the store

On our walk home from dinner we all of a sudden was accompanied by trumpets playing. The few seconds of thinking they were playing just to welcome us to the city was replaced with the feeling of joy when we saw that the were leading the way for a wedding party. We walked along them for a solid 10 minutes, all of the way back to our hotel.
Along the roads people were filming and taking pictures, everyone was loving the little parade of joy. 

The bride leading her wedding guest through the streets of Nola

The wedding party was accompanied by two police motorcycles and one police car. My dad was convinced that it had to be the chiefs daughter since they were able to shut down as big of a street as Canal Street just so they could walk through. It was awesome regardless

Beautifully lit up palm trees made their way down one of the main roads of the city, Canal Street 

I passed by a window filled with notes like these, all in memory of what the city went through during and following hurricane Katrina – so sad to see

The city is located on the Mississippi (did I spell that right??) River, so you can stand on the shore and see tanker after tanker sail by 

Almost better than New York City – almost!

That’s all I got to see/experience. If I say so myself we accomplished quite a lot in just 7.5 hours, but as mentioned in the last post, I will definitely have to come back. Maybe for Mardi Gras one day! 

// Annika

Seven hours in New Orleans – Part 1


At this very moment I’m sitting in the backseat of my dads black jeep, typing away. We are four and half ours into our road trip driving on I10 with two hours and 20 minutes to go.

I am currently in the United States for the holidays as I am visiting my parents who just moved to Houston, Texas. Within my 12-day stay we’ve found room for a few smaller trips.

We just had an overnight stay in Nola (am I local enough to call it that?), better known as New Orleans. We got there at 3 pm yesterday and with me and my sisters jet lag we were back in bed by 8:30 pm. Leaving the next day at 11 am gave me a total of 7.5 hours exploring the city, meaning I definitely need to go back some other time.
However, like my parents would say, I got a nice taste of the city. And I liked what I saw.

To tell the tale of my short rendezvous with Nola I’ve divided my pictures and short stories in to six different categories. Three of which will be presented in a second blog post as I apparently know no limit to the length of my writing. Enjoy.

The French Quarter
The Vieux Carré, also known as the French Quarter or simply just the Quarter, in Nola houses an architecture that is rare to come across in the United States. I gathered too many pictures of beautiful balconies filled with luscious greens on my phone, but everywhere you looked they caught your eye.
We mostly just walked around the neighborhood and took it all in. Personally I would love to have gone to a museum to learn more about the rich history of the quarter, but when traveling with other people compromises have to be made from time to time. For now a quick Wikipedia search will have to do, but next time I’m heading for the museums for sure.

Everywhere you looked they had jungle like balconies. I’m definitely bringing some inspiration back to Copenhagen 

All over the French Quarter they had these amazing metal horses standing on the side of the streets. Guess what they’re for? That’s right – tying your horse up while you go and do your thing

It’s always nice to know that the apartment you’re renting isn’t haunted

Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is a part of the French Quarter, however this street have a life of its own. I’ve never experienced a street quite like this, with so much life and alcohol gathered. Everywhere you turned loud live music was blasting of a bar. “When we were here in the summer years ago, people walked around with no clothes. Oh, just like her!” my mom said, as she pointed to a beautiful twenty something women walking around in denim shorts and orange stars painted on to her naked boobs. This was in December. On a Sunday afternoon at 4 pm. “Everything is allowed in this street” my mom continued, and I already loved it.
You’ll never see me walking around the street naked, but any place where people are allowed to do as they please I generally like.
Basically the street is one long madness of bars, restaurants, live music and a whole lot of partying. New Orleans is one of the few places in the states where you can drink and carry around open alcohol in the streets. People took advantage of this and were dancing around the streets on a sunday afternoon with neon colored cocktails in their hands. When we walked down the street again a bit later in the day it felt a lot more like friday night at midnight than sunday at 8 pm. I’ll definitely have to return to here one to join the party.  Something else the street had that I had never experienced before was tiny little stores just for buying drinks, no seats and no bars to lean on, just a register and a whole lotta booze. People would then carry around their drinks in big bright colored cups with matching plastic straws. The restaurant we had our mandatory gumbo at had a sign outside saying “We do cocktails to go,” like my sister said, “you know it’s a classy restaurant when they do cocktails to go.” 
Having just one day in the city we decided to split our dinner into three to try as much different food as possible. Gumbo, oysters and dessert. We started dinner before the clock had hit 5 pm with gumbo, a classic New Orleans dish that is mandatory for you to try if you’re there. The place we choose was a “we need to sit down now and hey look, they have gumbo” kind of decision. The Gumbo tasted great, but I wouldn’t really recommend the place since the one shrimp I found in there didn’t really live up to the name “Seafood Gumbo.”

Regardless of how many filters you apply to this dish it will never be picture friendly – so here you have it in all of its natural beauty – gumbo

On to our second dinner we found an Oyster bar on Bourbon street. On their menu the claimed to be the “longest oyster bar in town” which seemed a bit ought compared to the usual “best oysters in the world” signs you’ll meet. These guys weren’t trying to lie to anyone, and the very long oyster bar ended up being great as we got a table in the way back where we couldn’t hear the noise from the street.
Anyhow, the oyster might actually have been the best and freshest I have ever had, and the grilled ones with parmesan on them truly was like eating a little piece of heaven. So if you ever do stumble upon Nola for just a few hours with a craving for oysters, this could be your place. They also made a GREAT Hendricks G&T, a personal favorite of mine.   

The sign you’ll see from the street when walking down Bourbon Street. Do yourself a favor and head in there 

On to our third and last dinner I decided to use a little 2015-trick to find the best dessert in town, after all we only had one night to get this right. After a few seconds of googling I had located Sucre (I think it means sugar in french?) as not only being the best dessert place in town but also only 200 meters away from our current locations in oyster heaven.
We managed to chose four different cakes who both looked and tasted like competition worthy little creations. After trying each others choices we all four thought that what we ourselves had chosen was the best cake. This means that we’re either extremely good at choosing our desserts or stubborn enough to spill a little white dessert lie, we’ll never know. The place also had macaroons and little homemade chocolates and is definitely worth a try if you like sugar as much as my family does.

Part of the selection of beautiful cakes at Sucre

That’s it for now.

// Annika