Culture, France, Travel

Euro-roadtrip Day 4: Dijon, France (Part 1)

Though it was sad saying goodbye to Bordeaux after a brief but unforgettable love affair with the place (haha), Dijon was a lovely surprise. It’s again another one of those places where its reputation precedes the actual experience. When people think Dijon, they just tend to think ‘Dijon mustard’. It’s a small city with a lot to offer. The old town, a designated UNESCO world heritage site, is a clean and pedestrianized area full of Renaissance-style houses and distinctive architecture with geometric glazed mosaic roofs characteristic of the Burgundy region. We enjoyed strolling around the picturesque old city. I took plenty of photos here – I may have to separate this re-cap into two posts.

Stay tuned for more pictures from this charming city in my next re-cap post 🙂

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Culture, France, Travel

Euro-roadtrip Day 3: Bordeaux (Part 2!)

If you missed Part 1 of my Bordeaux re-cap, have a look here 🙂

I absolutely love the featured photo for this entry. It was just a quick, random snap on my walk around town. But when I was looking through my travel photos this one stood out to me somehow, and I felt that it brought me back to the feeling of being in Bordeaux and just taking in the life and sights of the place. The image captures the every-day, the banal: running one’s hands through one’s hair, attending to customers. Yet it also captures the meaningful too: a moment of contemplation, chatty vibes with friends, a candid smile, a distracted look of annoyance. Bordeaux was definitely the perfect place to people-watch because of the mild climate and the myriad outdoor cafes, restaurants, and bars dotted around the centre.

There were plenty of young people hanging out by the harbour with their boom boxes, families playing in the Miroir d’eau (the Water Mirror – a shallow reflective pool!), skaters and rollerbladers gliding past.

The two photos below, of the little girl on the scooter, have got to be some of my favourite shots from this trip! Just look at how carefree, how free-spirited, how youthful summers can be – it makes me nostalgic for my own childhood.

I could honestly have spent the entire summer here, and that’s saying something considering how much I love being “at home” in Copenhagen! I don’t think I’ve felt like I could live in another city besides Copenhagen until I visited Bordeaux, but I could definitely give it a go if I had the chance 🙂 I mean, just look at how stunning this city is:

The golden hour photos I took in this city were really something of a vibe too. They look like movie stills to me – walking around the place made me feel like I was in some indie French film.

Yes, you could definitely say I’m really romanticizing this place, like a typical tourist in France 😉 Can you blame me, though? It’s a pity we got to spend only a couple of hours here really. Our hotel for the night was outside the city. But as you’ve seen in this two-part recap, it was a lovely few hours, and we certainly made the most of it. My partner and I will be back here in the near enough future, I’m sure!

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Culture, France, Travel

Euro-roadtrip Day 3: Bordeaux (Part 1)

This travel re-cap will be in two parts, because I just have so many shots I want to share with you from Bordeaux! I fell in love with the city as soon as we got into town. I also immediately got the feeling that it would be somewhere enjoyable to live. There’s just something about it – it’s got all the zest, elegance, and artsy charm comparable to a city like Paris, but nowhere near as touristy, busy, or dirty as France’s capital. It’s sunnier and more relaxed here. It was a perfect day for a good few scoops of ice cream, as you will see.

If Paris is overrated, Bordeaux is the opposite – I hardly hear about people visiting Bordeaux, nor talk about it except in the context of wine, wine, wine. I think this place is totally underrated as a city break – definitely worth a visit! I’ll let you be the judge, but I dare you not to fall in love with the place too… 🙂

Keep your eyes peeled for the next travel re-cap, because there are even more incredible photos I will share with you from this wonderful city. 🙂

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Culture, France, Travel

Euro-roadtrip Day 2: Orléans, France

We crossed over the to the French border from Germany on our second day with no issues. Our next stopover was Orléans, in France. Mask laws were more or less the same in France as they were in Germany (masks in shops, public transport, etc.) but in general mask-wearing was more common in France, and the level of new infections increased quite dramatically in the days we were in France, so I think by the time we left a new rule had been implemented that asked everybody to observe mask-wearing in public spaces in general.

Orléans is not necessarily the most well kept place overall, but the centre had a lively vibe – there were lots of people out to eat, drink, and be merry on the cobbled streets.

The difference in our hotel breakfast really indicated to us that we were in France…madeleines, croissants, pain au chocolats awaited us when we left in the morning 😉

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Culture, Germany, Travel

Euro-Roadtrip Day 1: Köln, Germany

The destination of our first day in the roadtrip was Köln (Cologne), in Germany. It was probably the longest drive of the entire trip. We arrived early evening, but spent around an hour or so looking for (rather, stressing out about…haha) parking.

Afterwards, though, we had the opportunity to meet with some old friends/colleagues I knew in Bristol (who are from Germany originally) because they happened to be in the area over this period. I hadn’t seen them much even when I was still living in the UK, because of the whole pandemic situation this year. So it was truly a blessing to be able to see my friends, and it was lovely to catch up and be shown around town by them. A great start to our road trip!

Most of the photographs I took in this city were in evening/night time. Köln is a great place to walk around in the evening by the river – loved the impressive silhouette of the cathedral. I hope you enjoy these shots!

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Louisiana – ‘Fantastiske Kvinder’ (exhibition)

(featured photo is ‘Tree Pantomine’ by Rita Kernn-Larsen)

It’s another Sunday Museum post! But this one is going to be a little bit different – I’m just going to be sharing with you some photos of paintings and illustrations, mostly, from an exhibition I went to at the Louisiana showcasing surrealist artworks by women (including big names like Frida Kahlo and my personal favourite – Remedios Varo)!

If pictures of paintings is not your cup of tea, no worries, I’ve got plenty of museum posts that showcase others. Also, my camera is annoyingly bad at taking photos of paintings – so some of these images may be a bit blurry. But if, like me, you are fascinated by art and perhaps take an interest in surrealism, I hope you will keep scrolling to see what this fantastic exhibit was all about.

I am the first to admit that I don’t “know” anything about art. But I love the way that artistic expression stretches the human imagination, I love that art is a creative process, I love that art is a narrative, and, well, I also like how it reminds me that the human brain is a weird, beautiful, and profound place. I often walk around worried that everybody else is normal and that I’m not – and art can be a real consolation in that respect. It helps me understand that I am not necessarily a lone weirdo in existential free-fall, but rather that the world is full of weirdos, each of us bound to one another through shared yet unspoken passion, sadness, frustration, rage, dreams, nostalgia…and that we are all here with something to say, something to express, no matter how little, big, trivial, or meaningful our message, and no matter how quiet or loud our voice. That moment of connection and understanding when I recognise that shared experience in art moves me. Just how certain artworks evoke these feelings seem totally mysterious, yet at the same time artworks demystify life for me as well – as if a clearing fog, art presents immortal, priceless, and lucid moments that stand out in the nebulous tangle of human experience. But enough from me on my personal take on the value of art – it’s one of those things I might ramble about forever.

Anyhow, I feel like this exhibit really ticked all the boxes for me – all these aspects of art that keep me going back to museums and galleries. It was really inspiring to see some of these pieces. Even though I’m no artist, the sudden feeling of inspiration, and wanting to create something, is just so rare and wonderful. I can only hope I can return to these sources of inspiration for time to come. What are your sources of inspiration?

Below, I’ll leave you with some of my favourite works displayed in the exhibit – ones that I found thought-provoking, strange, funny, or just nice to look at. As usual I tried my best to credit the artist.

Remedios Varo, Creation with astral rays
Remedios Varo
Bridget Tichenor, The Surrealists/The Specialists
Rachel Baes, Le Leçon de philosophie
Rachel Baes
Elsa Thoresen, Surrealistic Composition
Rita Kernn-Larsen, The Party
Valentine Penrose
Edith Rimmington, Museum
Eileen Agar, Ladybird
Leonor Fini
Valentine Penrose
Frida Kahlo
Valentine Hugo, Paul Eluard and Greta Knutson
Meret Oppenheim
Meret Oppenheim
Meret Oppenheim, Mona Lisa’s Eye (I recognised it straight away, ha)
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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark

Broens Gadekøkken (Bridge Street Kitchen), Copenhagen

Broens Gadekøkken is basically a mini Reffen, a street food market. It’s smack dab in one of the nicest areas to stroll around in the city centre – a short distance past Nyhavn and right across the bridge from The Playhouse. As it so happens it’s walking distance from my workplace as well. All I need to do is get out of my building and walk in a straight line down the road. Working in the heart of the city makes it almost too easy to get distracted by vibrant places like this, especially on a sunny day!

The food I tried was pretty good, though there aren’t as many options as you’d find in Reffen – so I suggest you do your research on the various stalls before going. It’s definitely a nice place to stop over for a quick lunch or refreshments, and I look forward to trying out a few more stalls when the city gets sunny again.

What lovely views crossing over the bridge to the street food market!
The stalls are bright and colourful.
Hygge.
Dumplings for appetiser.
Greek-style veggie pita for my main. I think having experienced cheap fresh Greek food in Greece spoiled me. This is the problem with trying new food in Denmark – I keep comparing to food I’ve had for cheaper and fresher elsewhere!
Coconut-based vegan ice cream from Nicecream – everyone I know who’s tried this place, vegan or not, speaks highly of this place.
You face some nice canal and harbour views from the market…
…like so.
There seem to be other venues worthy of a visit nearby too.
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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

ILLUM, Copenhagen

ILLUM is a department store smack dab in the middle of Strøget, one of the longest pedestrianised shopping streets in Europe. I’ve been to a fair few fancy department stores (hello, South Korea) and ILLUM strikes a good balance – it’s not intimidatingly big (it’s almost cosy!) and there’s a decent selection of stuff to browse, ranging from clothes and accessories to quirky trinkets and household items. And though this particular department store doesn’t make a point of having a massive food court or anything, there are a couple of cafes/restaurants to stop by for a bite or drink on the top floor, where you can get some really nice rooftop views of the city and the busy streets below. Keep scrolling to take a look at my aerial shots!

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (outdoors)

It’s another museum Sunday post, and I’m thrilled to share this great place with you today!

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, situated near Humlebæk (a 40-minute train journey from Central Station Copenhagen) is worth a visit for the forest and proximity to beach alone. It definitely helps that it so happens to be an awesome museum as well – a complex of glassy halls surrounded by forest and an outdoor sculpture gallery. It makes for a great day out, with an immersive indoor-outdoor experience, and there was also some experimental live music outside when I was there! I saw a wonderful exhibit here on surrealist women painters, which I’ll post about separately on next week’s Sunday museum. For now, I’ll share the outdoor sculpture gallery and natural settings alone – you’ll see the place is quite vast with lots of different scenes to view when walking about. I especially loved the silver balls (?) floating around in the museum garden pond.

Enjoy!

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Travel, Vesterbro, Vesterbro

Tivoli, Copenhagen (Part 2)

If you haven’t seen my first post on Tivoli, I suggest you have a look here 🙂 In this post I will share another set of pictures from Tivoli, with captures of the marching band, arcades, restaurants, and funny little items I saw in the cute shops dotted around the place.

Isn’t everything absolutely adorable?

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