In August 2017, I took a week’s real vacation in the warmth, when I travelled to Alanya, Turkey. This was my second time in Turkey, one year before I went to Side with my brother for a week. This trip was mainly for relaxing and enjoying the sun (that was very lacking in Sweden at the moment). I stayed at a hotel right on the Cleopatra beach with great pool areas and the staff was great. This was a packaged trip with Ving, included breakfast and the hotel had an age limit of 16, which was perfect for me since I was longing for some relaxing days. I mostly spent my days by the pool or the sea, eating close by and reading a lot of books. The weather was perfect (I like when it gets pretty hot) and I treated myself to Hamam and massages during my trip. If you are looking for somewhere cheap to go, sunny and not an extreme flight to go there I really recommend going to Turkey. I haven’t been unhappy with either of my trips there.
Austria & Slovakia- July 2017
In July I went to Vienna, Austria mainly for work, but I made time for some private pleasure as well. The first evening I arrived I walked straight to Schönbrunn, which has always been a dream of mine to visit. I ended up going here once again a couple of days later, it’s incredible and when I walked around the corner from the royal garden and the whole ”backyard” opened up I said -”WOW” out loud. It’s totally amazing and I really recommend you go there while in Vienna.
I had a bit of bad luck when I went there, it was so incredibly warm in the middle of summer it was actually tough walking around in the city after a while, so I took a pause outside of St Peter’s church that kind of reminded me of churches I’ve seen in Rome. The other must see in Vienna is of course the Giant Ferris wheel, Wiener Riesenrad. I actually took a trip in it and the view from the top out of Vienna is amazing.
Whilst in Vienna I took the opportunity to go to Bratislava, Slovakia which is close to the capital of Austria. These are the closest capitals in Europe with only around an hour car ride apart. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this city, but I must say I was surprised about the lovely heart of the city and all the history that has been saved for coming generations, like the Castle of Bratislava build in the 10th century. When you walk along the streets of this picturesque city don’t forget to look down sometimes to see markings in the cobblestones and also have a look at the roofs of many of the buildings which are marvellous. They also have some funny statues around the city that makes the observer stop and take a picture. If you are ever visiting Vienna, due take the opportunity to visit this pearl, if you’re not traveling around Slovakia, then it’s a obvious choice.
Bulgaria- June 2017
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
In June 2017, I went to Bulgaria. I stayed at a hotel in Sunny Beach, the Mecca of tourists in the region. This is not a place I liked very much, but the hotel had a great pool area and perfect for the days I wasn’t on the road. Sunny Beach in itself if like Mallorca, a lot of the same food, crowded with tourists, crammed with market places that sells the same things and a lot of drunk people. If this is up your alley, Sunny Beach will be perfect for you! I tried to stay away as much as possible and see other parts of Bulgaria along the Black sea.
This picture shows the best view in Sunny Beach.
Just a couple of minutes outside of Sunny Beach up on the mountains you can visit Khans tent that gives you a breath-taking view of Sunny Beach from a far. This is definitely a recommendation from me to you.
Just a couple of minutes’ drive from Sunny Beach you have the beautiful Nesebar, this is also a hole for tourists but at least the area has a lot of history in the buildings and it’s totally amazing walking around in this city. Just have a look at my pictures below, perfect! The city is called the Pearl of the Black Sea and I sure get why. It’s separated in two different parts, the old town and the “new” town. Nesebar has on several occasions found itself on the frontier of a threatened empire and as such it’s a town with a rich history. Due to the city’s abundance of historic buildings, UNESCO came to include Nesebar in its list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.
35 km south east of Burgas you can find the city of Sozopol. Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on the Bulgarian part of the Black sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze age. Which makes this city perfect for someone like me who loves history and old buildings that makes you travel back in time in mind. Would really recommend you going to this magical place.
Pomorie, BulgariaI also had a quick stop in Pomorie for some wine tasting and on the drive to Pomorie we stopped outside Burgas for some bird watching, got to make mamma proud! Before the trip to Pomorie we went up to the mountains and the village of Kozichino where we got to see the making of the traditional Bulgarian bread and of course we got to taste some rakia which they produced in this village. On the adventures to Pomorie and Kozichino I met 4 lovely ladies from Norway, 2 sisters and 2 best friends. We hung out and partied for the remaining of my trip. These girls made my trip to Bulgaria even more amazing than it was to beginn with!
Milan & Venice, Italy- May 2017
To celebrate my birthday in May 2017, I went to Italy. I started off in Milan and then went for a trip to Venice. I was very lucky with the weather the days I spent in northern Italy, it was really warm already by the end of May when I went there. I managed to get a sunburn on my shoulders as I didn’t think the sun was that strong.
My first day in Milan I spent doing sightseeing in the city with a visit to Doumo di Milan. This church is so spectacular! Not only the exterior, but also the interior and the roof. I was lucky to be able to come up on the roof of the church as well, I do really recommend going up to see all the details up close.
The next stop was of course Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which is located just next to the church. The beautiful ceiling of this building is totally amazing, so don’t forget to look up! I had so many great dishes to eat while in Milan, they are very good with their risotto- so don’t miss out on that!
The next day I took a bus to Venice, the ride there is quite long, but the end result was amazing and I’m so happy I did this despite the long bus ride. Venice in itself is so beautiful and just walking around in the narrow alleys looking at the amazing buildings and houses. The downside with Venice is the big number of tourists and people, unfortunately it takes away from the magic a bit. Try to walk a bit away from the San Marco square and the hordes of people get smaller. Even though the city is like a maze, they have made it quite easy to navigate around with signs to San Marco’s square around every corner you pass.
A must in Venice is of course to ride a gondola and sure I did! It was actually very cosy to glide around the city on these historical boats. It’s an own experience in itself, so make sure to enjoy. In my gondola, I was accompanied by two other girls, who’s only goal was to take as many pictures and selfies as possible and I think they forgot to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Athens, Greece- March 2017
In March 2017, I took my mum with me to Athens, Greece to enjoy this underrated city of history and architecture. Athens has a reputation from decades ago to be a run-down city with very little to offer tourist. But I realised a lot has happened in Athens the last 30 years and they have renovated large areas of the city and got rid off all the pollution that was in the air. My mum visited Athens around 3 decades ago and what she remembered from then, was the pollution and how it affected people and of course the view of the beautiful buildings in the city.
A must in Athens is of course to visit the Acropolis with the marvellous Parthenon on the top. There’s so much history on the hill of Acropolis and you can feel the wings of history while you walk around. It was quite a bit of walking to get up, so don’t wait with visiting the Acropolis until your 90 years of age.
An area in Athens you can’t miss (pretty hard to miss though) is Plaka. Narrow streets, spectacular buildings and monuments that turns up around every corner and cosy squares with amazing food awaits you. Spend a couple of hours just walking around and explore this part of the city, it’s amazing.
So if you are thinking about Athens, but are bit taken back of old tales, forget about the tales and go!
One day we took the bus just outside of Athens to visit the sea town of Piraeus. It’s located just 25 minutes outside the city and stretches out along the bay, you can literally have lunch almost on the water here. It’s pretty expensive to eat in Piraeus if you compare to many places in Athens, but it’s so worth coming and enjoying the calmness of the ocean.
Finland, Denmark and Sweden
2018-01-04 During the year I have made some smaller trips to for example Tampere in Finland, Copenhagen in Denmark and Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.
I went to Finland mainly for work where I participated in a work fair in Tampere, which is a city north of the capital Helsinki. Tampere is the third largest city in Finland, but still pretty close to the capital. Tampere was founded as a market place on the banks of the Tammerkoski channel in 1775 by Gustav III of Sweden. Because of the Swedish ancestry I expected to meet more people who spoke or understood Swedish, but it turns out it’s a pretty small part of the population of Tampere that actually speaks Swedish. This was my first time in Finland and I was hoping for some winter feeling when I went there in January 2017. I sure got my snow as I wanted and it was so very cold.
In May, I travelled with some colleagues to Stockholm for a meet and greet with some of our colleagues up there. We met to prepare for an upcoming football tournament in London arranged by Playtech. It’s not that often that I get to go to Stockholm even if it’s the capital of the country I live in. But it’s a very beautiful city and it has much to offer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend so much time in Stockholm this trip, but I look forward to the next time I will visit our capital.
Even if I live very close to Copenhagen, it’s only 20 minutes by train from Malmö, Sweden where I live, I’m very bad at visiting this wonderful city. I really love Copenhagen and this year I got to spend my birthday there with my brother. The evening before I had a birthday party with my friends, so I was a bit tired when I woke up, but my brother was in a good mood and that rubbed off on me. We had a walk along Ströget to start with and stopped for a beer in the sun. Then we went to Tivoli, which is just as lovely during summer/spring time as during Christmas. When we were there they had a gymnastic competition going on, so we had a seat at a restaurant and had a look at the performances. Since it’s an amusement park of course we tried our luck in various games and I won a panda bear!
Paris, France- January 2017
I started off 2017 with a trip to Paris, France. Mainly I was going there to watch handball, since the World Championships were played in France in January. I’m a huge handball fan and luckily the Swedish team had their matches in Paris, so it was a great opportunity to get to know the city some more.
As soon as I stepped foot in Paris it was love at first sight. The buildings, the atmosphere, the people, everything was amazing and I totally fell in love with Paris. As Audrey Hepburn once said – ”Paris is always a good idea” and I totally agree with her. Even if it was January and the weather was actually not that good, I was walking around the streets with a smile on my face. So much to look at and it’s the absolute perfect city to travel to by yourself. I had my pocket book in my bag, walked so much and had a lot of breaks at different cafés. Just looking at people passing by or reading my pocket book, so cosy.
I still have so much more to explore with Paris, but for a first time there, I couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, Sweden lost against Denmark in AccorHotels Arena, but the game was so good and the feeling in the arena was amazing. The only thing I wish I could have undone was the fact that I decided to walk to the arena, the next time I’m so going by taxi!
I must say 2017 has been one of the best years in my life. I have been able to travel, meet amazing people from all corners of the globe, grow as a person, see incredible sites and explore the world. I have been traveling a lot by myself this year and it has been really developing for me as a person. I have learnt I can take care of myself and I manage more than I think I do. Traveling has given me so many new contacts and given me a new outlook on life. I still have much more to explore and see of the world, but I feel so grateful in having this wonderful year behind me and a suitcase filled with so much more knowledge than I could have ever imagined.
I feel thankful for every one of you who made my year special and made me feel loved and liked. I’ve struggled with low self-esteem for quite some time and this year has given me new strings to my guitar and I feel more secure in myself. I still have many moments of insecurity and a feeling of loneliness, my first trip of 2017 was my second time ever traveling by myself. It’s been challenging to handle being by myself, but I’ve become better and better at it. I actually feel the most lonley when when I’m back home between trips. Something to work on next year! I wish you all a Happy New Year and let’s make 2018 just as amazing (or even better) than 2017!
Some fun facts about this year:
- Visited 14 countries
- Visited 31 cities or villages
- Been on 34 air planes
- Been away from home for 52 days
- Posted 246 pictures or videos on Instagram
- Travelled by myself on 9 trips
- Had my fingers in 5 seas
- Been on 2 continents
- Been in the top of 3 churches
- Crossed 1 rope bridge
- Rode 2 ferris wheels
- Went on 1 donkey ride
The coming few days I will write one post a day about my trips during the year 2017 (except from Latvia and Ireland, since I have already posted about them). So keep checking in my blog for upcoming exciting posts ☺
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Christmas in London
2016 one week before Christmas I made a trip to London, mainly for work, but I had some hours to spend on my own. London is really beautiful during Christmas, even if there’s no snow it’s all the lights that totally lights up the whole city! For a winter-feeling, visit Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, but be prepared for a lot of beer and sausages of various sort. A must in London during Christmas is walking around on Harrods, yes it will be crowded, but there’s so much to see and it might be nice to get inside for a while if you have been walking around outside for a while. Merry Christmas!
Christmas in Brussels
Christmas 2016 me and my brother spent in Brussels, Belgium. Might not feel like the obvious choice to spend Christmas but the city is really nice during this time of year and they have a great Christmas Market with all sort of stuff. When we were there for a couple of days, we walked a lot to see as much as possible in a short amount of time and still make time to relax and enjoy Christmas. We got to see the European Union headquarters, the Royal palace, Grand Place, the Town hall and so much more. We took a walk through the large beautiful park, but I guess it looks so much better during summertime with spotted flowers and green trees. We really had a great Christmas in Brussels and it’s so very impressive how they deal with three(!) official languages in this small country.
My brother with some Leffe in the mustache.
Here’s the Hallbäck’s!