Wonderlost Wednesday: Bath

Let me just state what you’ll later have no doubts about: Bath is one of my absolute favourite cities in England! Located in south west England, this city dates back to the Roman times – actually it was the Romans who founded the Bath we know today. Even though the city was established before that and known for its hot springs, it was the Romans who took advantage of these and build Roman baths. As a result, the city became known for these and has continued to expand since the Roman times. Especially later, when a cathedral was build and the city became a religious centre.

Bath Roman spaBath hot spring

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Bath is still known for its roman baths with hot springs, old beautiful buildings made of limestones and stunning scenery. However, there’s so much more to this amazing city: The Georgian architecture and scenery aside, this city has everything – museums, theatres, cathedral, universities, sporting venues, shopping opportunities, nice restaurants and cafes not to forget a lot of history and culture.
If you, like me, are into history and culture on your travels, you’ll adore Bath. Even if you’re not, this city will steal your heart with its beautiful architecture and scenery. I cannot stress enough how worth your time this city truly is. I believe we spent one day there, however, I could easily have spent several days exploring the city as well as the area around Bath. Next time, I’ll bring a car so we can discover more of this lovely area!

xo P!

Bath CathedralBath city

Wonderlost Wednesday: Bristol

Being a huge fan of the English graffiti artist, Banksy, and his street art, my motivation for visiting Bristol was solely based on exploring the city through his art. As such, my dear friend and I made it a themed trip with Banksy as the focus point. However, as it turned out, the city has so much more to offer than just Banksy, and my friend and I decided to stay a bit longer than originally planned exploring the city and its charm to the fullest.

Bristol City CentreFrom Cabot Tower

 

 

 

 

With a beautiful city centre, habour, parks and gardens not to forget the stunning Clifton Suspension Bridge, this city is perfect to visit during the spring or summer time in order to spend some time outdoors. Needless to say that there, of course, are both cafes and shopping opportunities that we ended up indulging ourselves in. Moreover, we spend quite some time exploring the beautiful city with old buildings and parks – in particular the cathedral was a treat. Furthermore, we also spent time at Brandon Hill with the Cabot Tower, where we had full view over the city – with our sandwiches, this was a really lovely experience.
All in all, Bristol is definitely a city worth visiting (during spring or summer) – especially, if you visit with a car. Because then, you’re also able to visit various estates and castles close to the city. I would definitely recommend that – or join a day tour with a tour operator.

xo P!

BanksyClifton Suspension Bridge

Wonderlost Wednesday: Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

I’ve visited a lot of palaces and castles on my travels and seen them from the inside, however, nothing beats Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, England – not even Buckingham Palace. Never having belonged to royalty but aristocracy (including the Spencer-Churchill family), the palace is the only non-royal residens in England to hold the title of ’palace’ – for good reasons! As such, not only does the palace have the majestic feel of a true palace including the building itself as well as the interior, it also has stunning gardens with sculptures, water fountains and lakes along with spectacular history.
If you ever find yourself in the nabourhood, please, do check it out. I promise, it would not have been in vain.

xo P!

Daydreaming about Future Travels: My must sees

Often, I’m inspired to travel through various means of information sources one of which being the Internet. Online, I can find information on every possible travel destination out there along with pictures, which, let’s face it, always helps because you need to be able to imagine yourself at the destination. Travel communities such as TripAdvisor are extremely helpful for finding specific information in the shape of reviews and personal experiences. However, sometimes it’s best to have a specific destination in mind before using the Internet. Therefore, I like to explore travel agencies, magazines, blogs and books that can inspire me with undiscovered destinations around the world and enlighten me with elaborative descriptions of these. However, I must admit, experiences by fellow travelers are what influence me most – especially experiences from friends with similar interests. As a result, my travel bucket list is full with possible travel destinations that I want to explore.

As a traveler by heart, I would like to explore the entire world. So when people ask me where I want to travel, that’s my answer. Discussing this subject with fellow travelers, though, has made me aware that there, of course, are certain destinations we’d prefer to travel over others. Places and cultures that we, simply, have to explore first hand. Forget all about the order of exploring the world (yes, I do have an order for this), let’s concentrate on places that I prioritise due to an emotional connection.
I have eight places in mind that I must explore some time throughout my life. They are  scattered out all over the world with one thing in common – their roots in local history and culture. It makes me thrilled and excited to daydream about these places and the adventures that such a travel experience would give me. These eight magical destinations are:

1) The Lake District National Park, England
Located in the very north of England, the Lake District is said to be the birthplace of the English Romanticism, and it’s not hard to imagine why. With numerous forrests, mountains and green hills with sheep, England’s largest national park is not only rich on wild plant- and animal life, however, is also home to lush valleys and rocky cliffs as well as the two longest and deepest rivers in England (CNP, 2015; Lake, 2015). Oh, how I would love to travel here during spring or summer time, rent a holiday accommodation for a week or two and take in the beautiful scenery. Explore where many well-known English writers such as Beatrix Potter, Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth were inspired. I can easily imagine myself walking around on the many walking routes and hiring a boat to sail out on one of the lakes with (although, I would definitely need a friend with sailing skills for that adventure). Moreover, as a big fan of history (and castles, of course), I would be visiting Muncaster- and Lowther Castle full of excitement first thing. Also Wordsworth’s old house, Dove Cottage, is located here, which would be amazing to explore as well, along with multiple other attractions in the region.

Lake district1Lake ditrics2

 

 

 

 

2) The Inca Trails and Ruins, Peru
Another region I have to explore is the Cuzco Region. The reason for my fascination for this region is due to the ancient Inca Dynasty – its history and culture.
Located on the Andean mountain range from Colombia to Chile in Peru, the Inca Dynasty started as settlements and gradually grew into a dynasty that flourished in the 15th century until it was abandoned in the 16th century under the Spanish Conquest. The ruins of the dynasty weren’t discovered until 1911, and with ancient trails in and around the Sacred Valley and throughout the dynasty, I feel as if there is a lot to be explored – not only scenery-wise but also culture-wise. The Incas was a well-functioning society with a running water system in the Sacred Valley (imagine! In that era!) that appreciated art and architecture, which they are also well-known for today (Ancient, 2015; LiveScience, 2015; Water, 2015). This perfect combination of history and beautiful, dramatic scenery highly interests me, which is why I want to explore the region. Imagine the insight into this ancient culture such an adventure would allow!

Inca ruins1Inca ruins2

 

 

 


3) Northern Lights, Norway
I’m absolutely obsessed with nature and scenery, and the phenomenon of Northern Lights fits right into this obsession. Although Northern Lights can be seen all over the northern and southern hemisphere, I would like to see them in Norway. I have this idea of doing a road trip throughout Norway at some point and see them in that connection. Not only does it look beautiful, there’s something truly magical about it, too. The beautiful ’dancing lights’ as a result of collisions between electrically charged particles are almost divine (Centre, 2015).

Northern lights1Northern lights2

 

 

 


4) The Taj Mahal, India
When I heard the romantic story behind the iconic landmark of Taj Mahal, I knew I wanted to see it first hand – then I saw pictures of it. Located in Agra, the Taj Mahal dates back to 1653 where it was build by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, for his favourite wife who died in child labour (Official, 2015). As a castle and palace enthusiast, this iconic landmark clad in white marble is just so beautiful and massive, which adds to its majestic feel. And this is not to forget about the beautiful gardens. I desperately want to see this palace – for its beauty alone.

Taj Mahal1Taj Mahal2

 

 

 

 

5) Skaftafell National Park, Iceland
Recently, I discovered the beauty of Iceland. One of my treasured fellow traveler friends visited Iceland a couple of months ago, and, when she returned, she told me all about her experience. In my fascination over her little Icelandic adventure, I began researching Iceland as a travel destination. It was here, I discovered the beauty of Iceland – and also Skaftafell National Park in the south of Iceland. I have now become quite keen on the idea of one day visiting it due to its beautiful rough scenery with mountains, volcanoes, rugged landscape, black sand beaches and glaciers as well as its wild plant life. I can’t imagine a better place to walk in nature, breathing in fresh air and clearing my thoughts.

Skaftafell1Skaftafell2

 

 

 

 


6) The Egyptian Pyramids, Egypt
I’ve always found ancient Egyptian history and culture highly interesting. Exactly because they were so advanced within not only architecture, however, also within math, medicine and agriculture not to forget their art and writing system, I’ve been baffled by and interested in the mystery and stories linked to the era (Council, 2015). Ideally, I would like to explore the oldest and largest pyramid, the Cheops pyramid and the Great Sphinx located in Giza. Although I am aware that it’s a tourist trap, my fascination draws me to this specific pyramid anyway.

Egypt1Egypt2

 

 

 

 

7) Hobbiton, New Zealand
Haven’t we all been slightly in love with New Zealand after Peter Jackson’s filmic trilogy, the Lord of the Rings, shone a light on the country? I sure have, and with the scenery there, it isn’t difficult to understand why the country has become such a popular travel destination. However, as a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan, I would love to explore Hobbiton! Granted! It is a film set but, for me, it’s also a real place – and a beautiful one, too. I would love nothing more than to explore this magical place and discover unseen treasures while imagining myself in the shoes of a Frodo Baggins, ready to save the world. Wouldn’t that just be great!? Absorbing the beautiful scenery of the Shire, walk in the foot steps of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, see their hobbit hole, the Mill and eat a meal that the Green Dragon Inn.

Hobbiton2Hobbiton

8) Auschwitz, Poland
In the hope of history not repeating itself, I find it important for people to remind themselves of tragedies of the past and learn from them. Sometimes it takes dramatic and tragic reminders and, for me, Auschwitz Concentration Camp presents one. Not only does this former extermination camp, located in Auschwitz in Poland, exhibit and focus on the prisoners of the camp, it also gives insight into a hateful society filled with stirred political anxiety, xenophobia and alienation of foreigners. Furthermore, it exhibits how such a hateful world view can influence politics – and in result, innocent people. I mean, from 1940-45, 1,1 million people were murdered there (Museum, 2015). Today, visitors at Auschwitz have the opportunity to acquire insight into the life of the prisoners as well as the life in the camp with exhibitions including personal stories and belongings of the inmates. With xenophobia still existing in today’s societies, I find important to become knowledgeable about tragedies of the past on order to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future – learning to detect certain patterns and signs of a shift in society. This is exactly why I would like to explore Auschwitz.

Auschwitz1Auschwitz2

 

 

 

Now, full of excitement for my future travels, I’ve presented to you my eight must sees. Maybe you were inspired? What are your must sees?

xo P!

Sources
Ancient. (2015). Inca Civilisation. www.ancient.eu/
Centre. (2015). Northern Lights. www.northernlightscentre.ca/
CNP. (2015). Lake District National Park. www.cnp.org.uk/
Council. (2015). The Giza Plateau. www.sca-egypt.org/eng/
Lake. (2015). The Lake District. www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/
LiveScience. (2015). The Incas: History of Andean Empire. 
             www.livescience.com
Museum. (2015). Auschwitz History. auschwitz.org/en/
Official.(2015). Taj Mahal. www.tajmahal.gov.in/
Water. (2015). Water Supply. www.waterhistory.org/

Pictures
Retrieved online

Becoming a Traveler: Following my dream

Once, when I was child, my mum asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course, this is a question that most parents ask their children. Most children, however, will have a specific profession in mind such as a police man, doctor, cowboy or a princess. Not me. I wanted to travel – to be ”a traveler”. My mum, confused about this answer, replied that this was not a profession. I was devastated. How could that not be ‘a profession’? Wasn’t a job something that you spend half of the day doing? I wanted to spend half (if not the entire) day traveling – exploring foreign cultures and their ways of living. Discovering. Learning. Understanding. She comforted me and explained that I had years to figure out what I wanted to spend my life doing and that I didn’t need to worry about it then.

I don’t know exactly what motivated me to wanting to be a traveler. It’s not as if we have ever traveled much in my family. Beside for one trip to Turkey when I was three and driving around Denmark (where I am born), I didn’t travel and explore much of the world in real life during my childhood. I had to watch the Television for that. Maybe the Television with programmes from all over the world inspired and motivated me? Anyway, a traveler is what I wanted to become. And with a mature sense of determination and stubbornness, this has become my life goal.

When I was thirteen, the first step of becoming a traveler was made. I went abroad for the first time. I traveled to England with a friend. This was very much against the will of my mum, however, as my friend had an aunt in York, we decided to travel there and visit her. Luckily, my father backed me up, and, as I would be in safe hands, my mum let me go travel.
From when we planned to travel to York, I couldn’t think of anything else. I was, finally(!), going abroad – experiencing another culture and trying out my English skills, which I had been obsessed with practicing from a very early age. The entire week in York was just incredible. Although we were only thirteen-years-old, we explored York to the fullest (in an under eighteen kind of way, of course). And this increased my appetite for traveling immensely. I didn’t doubt it – I was right on track!

When I was sixteen, my then-boyfriend was going on a one-week vacation to northern Germany with his parents. They kindly invited me along, and who was I to miss out on that opportunity. His mum planned the trip in details, and knowing my interest in traveling, she included me in the travel planning process. I was thrilled! We were going to explore the northern coastal region of Germany – ending in Berlin. Oh Berlin! I could just feel the excitement when planning – butterflies in my stomach and the urge of just saying ”hey, forget about planning. Let’s just go and experience. Let’s explore. Discover”.
The week in northern Germany and the metropolis of Berlin was extremely interesting and exciting. Germany has so much to offer: History, scenery, culture, music, art, cuisine, attractions – the list goes on. Returning home after that week, I talked to my mum. She mentioned the story I started out telling above. When she told me, I could recall the situation. At this point, I think my mum was slowly realizing that I wasn’t kidding – I wanted to be ”a traveler”. And I was slowly realizing that it was actually a possibility. I mean, I just needed to continue to follow my dream and chase opportunities of traveling.

As years went by and I had to choose a future after ’gymnasium’ (high school), I felt stuck. If traveling by profession wasn’t an option then I really didn’t know what to do with my future. I mean, I had to make some money in order to live. I still wanted to travel the world and acquire an insight into foreign cultures – an understanding, however, I didn’t have the money to do it. I watched many friends taking a gap year in which they worked for six months and traveled the remaining six months. However, that wasn’t my plan. I wanted to settle in a foreign country for a couple of months and acquire a deeper insight into a culture than the normal tourist experience of a week or two would allow me. Therefore, as I wasn’t going to let money get in the way of following my dream, I decided to combine studies and traveling.
Studying tourism was an option, however, I really wanted to focus more on a culture and communication perspective. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that my future degree was going to be applicable for a company in an international aspect. As such, I attended Aalborg University in northern Denmark where I enrolled in their BA programme, ”English and International studies – Business and Communication”. This programme not only focused on international aspects such as (English speaking countries’) cultures, communication processes and politics, however, it was also conducted in English and had English grammar, translation AND creative writing classes. The best part, though, it included an exchange on the fourth semester. I could just hear Joey (Friends) in my mind, when I read the programme description: ”London, baby!!!” I was sold.

The joy and excitement linked to moving abroad from Aalborg to London was filled with pure happiness. I mean, exploring another country as a traveler and having the opportunity to ’dig into’ a culture, discovering and exploring it while simultaneously trying to understand it… When I was accepted at Westminster University for a semester, tears of joy ran down my face. Finally! It was happening. I was pursuing my dream of becoming a traveler – and it worked. Unbelievable!
The fourth of January, 2012, when I landed in London and was taking the train to Wimbledon, where I had managed to get a flat with another girl, I had to hold back both tears and laughter. You know that feeling you get when you’re so happy you think you could just burst into tears and laughter at the same time? Almost like being in love. Actually. Not ’almost,’ but like being in love. THAT was what I felt. I had the biggest smile on my face all the way from Gatwick Airport to Wimbledon. The smile lasted throughout the entire seven-month exchange.

When I left Aalborg for London, I promised myself to soak in as much of the UK as I possibly could, as I didn’t know if it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This resulted in many trips around England and Wales. My most treasured memories of traveling involve getting to know the roots of England – soaking in as much knowledge about England’s heritage, history and culture as possible by going exploring. Discovering. Learning. Understanding.
During the seven months, I undertook 23 trips out of London to other parts of England and Wales and went to 6 big concerts. I, finally, was in a city in which I could explore a foreign culture and its history and heritage to the fullest as well as in a city in which well-known music artists were performing, and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. I was extremely lucky that Coldplay was performing in London that summer. The tickets for their concert were bought months in advance of moving to London. When they entered the stage, I started crying. Normally, I’m not one to show my emotions like that – quite on the contrary (being a cold Nordic person…), however, I couldn’t control it. Tears just streamed down my face. Tears of happiness. The feeling of living out my dream slowly but surely affected my emotions.
A similar feeling was evident on my trips to cities around England and Wales. I remember lying awake the night before a trip with this extreme case of butterflies in my stomach and feeling of excitement. I would get to the bus/train station in very good time just to make sure that I made it in time for the trip. My favourite cities I visited was, among others, Bath. Beautiful Bath! This little city is just so extremely beautiful – the scenery, architecture and relaxed atmosphere. Also Cardiff and driving along coastal Wales is somewhat different from England. The scenery is similar, however, the cities are different in the sense of atmosphere. Of course, this might also have something to do with people living there talking Welsh – and, after all, it is like entering an entire different country! Then there was Brighton with its pier, small boutiques and cafés as well as the Royal Pavilion that amazed me. This is not to forget Cambridge. Walking around Cambridge during summer time, taking a tour down the river Cam and exploring the very lively city made me so jealous of the students who are studying at Cambridge University. It sure doesn’t look anything like Aalborg University. However, as a passionate street art admirer (not graffiti, but street ART), the trip to Bristol was planned months in advance. I was to explore the city but more importantly to explore the work of Banksy. At the end of my exchange, to commemorate my experience and the fact that I did follow my dream and that it was working, I had Banksy’s ”Girl with a Balloon” tattooed on my feet. As a proof to myself and as a reminder to continue to follow my dream and, indeed, become a full time traveler! Even if not professionally.

When I returned to Aalborg after the seven months in London, I had two semesters left before finishing my BA degree. After the two semesters, I still wasn’t ready for the real world. I mean, how was this education – this degree – suppose to get me where I wanted to be. And where did I want to go? What did I want to become – to work with? So I decided to enrol in a MA programme. Because I couldn’t afford studying abroad, the programme, of course, had to include the possibility of yet another abroad experience. Due to my passion for traveling, studying tourism crossed my mind yet again, however, my passion for cultures and intercultural communication made me interested in studying Aalborg University’s MA programme, ”Culture, Communication and Globalisation – Marketing and Consumption”.

In the summer of 2013, when I had been accepted into the MA programme, I was so eager to plan the abroad internship experience on the third semester. What country did I want to live in next? I decided to select various countries and then send out applications to travel companies. Luck was with me. My first application to the travel agency, Abbey Tours, in Dublin was accepted – an entire year in advance! It was unheard of. I was thrilled to say the least. Jumping up and down, out of my mind and filled with adrenalin. I had to plan all things to see in Dublin and all the trips I was going to take in Ireland and Northern Ireland immediately. As a result, I spent much of the summer holiday planning my internship in Dublin, and before I had left Denmark, 33 trips and 9 big concerts were planned. The adventure that awaited me on the Emerald Island was exciting and yet, unbelievable. ”Dublin, baby!!!”

Yet another seven months with a permanent smile on my face was evident. I felt like I was living the dream – and truth is, I was! Exploring a foreign culture, meeting new, interesting friends from all over the world and a more pracmatic approach to studying culture and communication than university offers. Any student that has undertaken an internship whether abroad or not will, most likely, agree with this: It’s an opportunity of a lifetime – for good and bad. I mean, studying is this theoretic approach to everything, but an internship offers an opportunity to test theory in practice. I was lucky, and the Chairman of Abbey Tours agreed to collaborate with me on my semester project. Studying intercultural communication and working in an intercultural company – come on, I had to test theory on intercultural communication. All in all, I learned SO much from my internship placement in Dublin – both professionally, as an academic, as well as personally, AND I got to follow my dream once again.
Of the many trips I was on during my stay in Dublin, the region of Connemara, Giants Causeway and Galway stand out. Connemara is this very rural, green region with mountains (or hills really), lakes, romantic bridges and wild flowers as taken out of a post card. Soaking in the scenery that is very different from the Danish scenery was an experience worth while. And going to coastal Ireland seeing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Giants Causeway was unbelievable. I mean, this landscape not only presented dramatic cliffs that have inspired artists for centuries, however, also presents this interlocking columns of ancient volcanic eruption that seems out of this world. Galway, on the other hand, is this cosy small city that has an amazing atmosphere. I cannot explain it – you have to experience it for yourself. It’s a rather old city with old houses and a romantic twist that has everything from restaurants, cafés, pubs (of course! It’s Ireland), churches (of course! Ireland…), museums and the lake, Corrib. It has everything you need in a city – also a tranvistite club (yeah, when you don’t read the club sign before you enter a club, surprises await).

At the end of my stay in Dublin, only one semester of my MA degree was left. The final semester – writing the MA thesis. As I soon realized that I didn’t have any classes on the final semester, I was planning my next abroad experience. I mean, I could write that baby anywhere – all I needed was a computer and a public library. Where would I like to move to next?
Growing up close to the boarder to Germany and having grown up with German Television as well as the vacation I was on in northern Germany when I was sixteen, the thought of moving to Berlin to not only brush up my German skills, however, also explore the wonderful city made my choice easy. ”Berlin, baby!!!”

In January, 2015, I moved to Kreuzberg, Berlin. As I write, I’m in the middle of my new adventure. Following my dream. Again. Proving to myself once more that I can do it. Become a traveler. If not a traveler by profession, then, as a lifestyle. And I can do it. I mean, I am doing it. And what better city – or metropolis – to do this in than in Berlin!? Berlin has it all. I’m thrilled with the Berlin culture – it’s so… free. And open-minded. Welcoming.

Traveling is for me a source of pure happiness. Just like music. It’s that simple. It’s a way of not only exploring foreign scenery, culture and meeting lots of new friends from different countries around the world and learn how to communicate with these from different cultural perspectives, but it’s also a way in which to explore myself. Discover myself. Learning about myself. And other. Understanding differences and similarities and why there are no right and wrong, per se. Not only do I fall more and more in love with this, in many ways, imperfect, yet perfect, world with beautiful scenery, cultures, experiences and people but also find myself more and more. Or develop myself? Who knows… All I know is that my lust to wander somehow will lead me where I want to be. And help me become who I wish to be. But most importantly, make me a happy person. It makes me smile… Traveling makes me smile! As such, I can’t wait for my next abroad experience, once I finish university in June, 2015. Until then, I will enjoy every moment and every cultural aspect as possible of Berlin. Beautiful Berlin!

xo P!

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