And so another year has come to an end

Personal, Travels

2017 felt like a year of few travels, but after going over the trips I went on I have to admit that that is complete nonsense. I guess I feel that way because 2016 was so insanely filled with travels that any year following that had a whole lot to live up to. 

January 1st I woke up with some of my best friends in New York City in a beautiful apartment on the 44th floor after ringing in the New Year in a warehouse in Brooklyn. 

In April I journeyed to China with an amazing coworker/friend of mine, a trip that turned out to be one of the best I’ve been on. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as much in 10 days as I did on that trip. 

In May I travelled to London to visit family. I had only visited London when I was a little kid, so this trip felt like my first London experience and I fell in love with the city. It has so much more charm than I had expected. 

I moved in to a new apartment in one of my favorite areas in Copenhagen in the beginning of the year, why I decided to stay home for the summer and relax completely and just take in what Denmark had to offer. Despite the fact that it was a historical bad summer weather wise I had an absolutely amazing summer filled with best friends and festivals. In August I left the country shortly for a Swedish festival where I got to see a bit of Gothenburg and a few of my favorite artist. 

In September I was back in London on a trip with my favorite coworkers to try the Gin Experience at the Portobello Road Ginstitute. Once again London had me. 

In September I also went on an incredible weekend trip to Iceland. A country I hadn’t visited before (other than countless layovers at the airport). It blew me away and I’ve decided to return on a two-week trip sometimes soon. 

In November I travelled to New York to visit a bunch of my high school friends. I had an amazing week in the city that never sleeps. I stayed with my friends in their apartment, so for a week I got the true New Yorker feeling and actually ended up feeling like I had moved in. It was perfect. 

In November I also went on the infamous “Oslo båden;” a ferry that sails from Copenhagen to Oslo over the weekend, leaving you with seven hours to explore Oslo. A full weekend in Oslo would’ve been perfect, but despite the short amount of time I got to see quite a lot of the city. The main attraction for me was seeing the beautiful opera house. 

In December I went on a short weekend trip to Malmø in Sweden. Malmø is the third largest city in Sweden and is just a short 40 minute train ride from Copenhagen, making it a perfect trip if you don’t have too much time on your hand but still want to leave the country. The city is very cute and cozy and I’m in love with the area out by the Turning Torso building where you have a view over Copenhagen and the Øresund Bridge. 

All in all it’s been an incredible year of travels. Traveling and experiencing other countries is still without a doubt my biggest interest and I feel incredibly blessed that I am able to travel as much as I have been. 

For 2018 I definitely want to go on at least one trip by myself, something I didn’t do in 2017. 

I’ve started dreaming about my trips of 2018 and am currently thinking the following:

– A trip to Turkey in the spring. I want to spend a few days in Istanbul and then go to Cappadocia to hike and fly in a hot air balloon. 

– A trip to Nicaragua in the summer where I want to work at a surf and yoga hostel so I can get back to surfing on the daily. Potentially this trip could be mixed with a stopover in Costa Rica 

– A weekend trip to Budapest have been on my list for way too long, so I’m thinking 2018 is also the year where I get to experience the city

– A trip or two to the United States. My best American friend is throwing a wedding so ideally I’ll be visiting for both the wedding and the bachelorette party 

In 2016 I made a deal with myself that I have to go on at least three weekend trips, which also makes room for two other European cities on that list. Maybe Edinburg and Vienna? Who knows. 

Knowing myself I know very well that what’s on the drawing board today probably won’t be in a few months, but for now those are the trips I’m dreaming about. 

Also my life is going to change radically in 2018 as I’ll return to school and thus put life with a steady income behind me, so to make all of these trips happen I’ll have to get real creative.

I can’t wait to see what places 2018 takes me to. 
// Annika


Hit me with your Best Shot

Adventures, Travels

“Hit me with your best shot, why don’t you hit me with your best shooooot” I was belting out as we drove towards the parking lot down a dusty road. The destination was Best Shot Range and the daily adventure was our new family christmas tradition, shooting.

Since I’m currently spending my christmas break with my family in Texas we’ve been up to a few different things. The usual family activity would be something like long walks on the beach, hiking or maybe even shopping, but since my parents are now permanently living in Houston, Texas, we decided to mix things up a bit.

When we first talked about shooting at christmas I thought it sounded like an awful and morbid idea, but the more I thought of it the thought of holding a gun in my hand during the celebration of love and family grew on me. I’m always up for trying new things, and this was so abnormal compared to our usual traditions that it somehow fit right in, so off we went.

The “view” seen from the waiting room at the shooting range. I stood here and crept myself out as I was waiting for it to be our turn

When we arrived to the range I could tell that I wasn’t completely comfortable with the situation as my body felt a bit uneasy. People ran in and out of the place carrying more guns and riffles than I have seen before. A family walked out of there carrying 10 different guns. Now this sort of scene might be normal in Texas, but it was all very new to me.

I think everyone in my family felt a bit misplaced in there as my dad explained to the man helping us out that we were all completely new to this. Luckily the staff at the range were incredibly nice and helpful, even during one of their busiest times on a saturday afternoon.

Split in to two groups we got lane two and three, 2 Barrett guns, 4 targets, 100 bullets, 4 pair of glasses and 4 set of ear muffs. We put on our safety gear, walked through two doors and boom, we had made it in to Texas heaven.

The gun my dad and I shot with. So incredibly weird to be holding a gun

My first thought was “Oh it smells like fireworks” then a parade of shots were fired and I really just wanted to get the hell out of there. I felt extremely uncomfortable and had to focus on not screaming every time a shot was fired.

My dad and sister shot the first round, and even after they had finished their first shots I still didn’t feel too good about the situation.
I told my dad that I really didn’t feel comfortable shooting, but knowing that I would have huge regrets if I didn’t I took the gun into my hands and got in position. “Are you sure it doesn’t hurt?” “How does it feel after you pull the trigger?”

After my dad had answered my million of questions I eventually ended up pulling the trigger. My first shot ever was around two cm from the X in the very middle of my target.

The thought of how many shots are fired in Texas every damn day is absolutely CRAZY

Very focused. The first shot I took hit right in the middle. My dad and I looked at each other both very impressed with my newly acquired skills as a shooter. For a second there we might have even reconsidered my future as an auditor, since I was obviously meant to have a gun in my hand. But as I shot the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time it was pretty obvious that it was just an impressing case of beginners luck – too damn bad

Best father and daughter selfie yet – The protection glasses and ear muffs did wonders to the shape of our faces

Overall it was an absolutely awesome experience. It was definitely way out of my comfort zone, but I love crossing my boundaries.
Definitely an experience everyone needs to have if they ever stop by Texas or any other southern state in the U.S. Or anywhere else really.

The best part is that I now have an awesome, personal, pink art piece (my target) to hang in my living room.

// 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