Culture, Spain, Travel

Travel Throwback: La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (2018)

I was going to create one post for my entire Barcelona trip from a few years back, but realised these photos I took at La Sagrada Familia deserve their own showcase.

If you’ve heard of or been to Barcelona, chances are you recognise this impressive Gaudi church by silhouette if nothing else. Construction began in 1882 and has yet to be completed. Inside, you are transported to an other-worldly environment, with the sun flooding in from the outside and the most vivid stained glass tinting the light as it hits the floor. Just take a look at this awe-inspiring place:

Not very much editing done on these photos – the colours are as vibrant in real life as you see them here on screen!

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Travel

The Black Diamond, Copenhagen

First things first. What is The Black Diamond? It’s this onyx-like structure which is an extension of the Royal Danish Library. Take a look below.

It’s got some nice views facing the waterfront:

When you face away from the water, you face the Danish War Museum which is just across the road from The Black Diamond.

Do keep scrolling, because the coolest features of this building are yet to come.

Inside this building is a massive open hall that reaches all the way up…
And up…
And up.
This photo kind of looks like one of those impossible M.C. Escher illusions to me, ha
Really liked all the interesting views from each floor of this place.
The views by the water cycling back out weren’t too bad either.
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Culture, France, Travel

Travel Throwback: Giverny (2019)

Over a year ago, I had the great pleasure of wandering around Monet’s garden in Giverny with my family. Won’t say much more because the photos speak for themselves. See the idyll for yourself…

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

Claude Monet

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Bristol, Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Travel

Harbourside – Copenhagen edition

To those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning (or my friends in Bristol, ha), you already know my favourite thing about living in Bristol, UK, was access to the lovely Harbourside. It’s where I’ve spent much of my time and taken many a walk to contemplate, have deep chats with friends, check out the CARGO eateries, and get sunburnt in the summers. By the way, Bristol recently made national headlines when the Colston statue was dumped in the harbour during the recent BLM protest – a huge moment given Bristol’s maritime history.

Anyway, it pleases me greatly that there’s plenty of that Harbourside living in Copenhagen. I’ve only just begun exploring around Islands Brygge/Sydhavnen. There’s a lot of hanging out and swimming in these areas, plenty of modern buildings, and pedestrian paths by the water are very clean and well-kept.

Have a lovely day 🙂

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Valbyparken, Copenhagen

Goodness, this place was an amazing surprise. A big green park a mere 20 minute cycle ride from home, and with a beach? In the city? Yes and yes.

My cycle going there and back wasn’t very pretty – it was a hot sunny day, I’m very road-shy, I had no idea where I was going and had to stop and check my map every 2 minutes. I also haven’t quite perfected my cool cycle chic look. Regardless, I would definitely brave the trip again to revisit this park.

I’m guessing these are poplar trees?
Either way this long path lined with trees is a distinctive entry point into the park, and very nice to cycle down.
Loved the little peeks of water through the trees.
Plenty of folks windsurfing at this place!
It was an almost blindingly bright day.
I skipped on a few stones by the water 🙂
I can’t say I’ve ever seen people windsurf before, but it looks fun!
Clear water at the beach.
Just beautiful, isn’t it?
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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Reffen, Copenhagen

This post is going to be super visual and truly drool-worthy…consider yourself warned!

The weather forecast wasn’t looking great, but my friend and I were determined to visit Reffen, a food market set up like a little village on the other side of the water from Copenhagen city centre. Thankfully it didn’t rain on the day we visited – we even caught a bit of sun. It’s a short trip up with the bike/bus/water taxi from town – we went with the water taxi, which would be a great option for a sunny day.

To my knowledge, this place is one of the few Street food markets in Copenhagen (apart from the fancy Torvehallerne by Nørreport, which is dangerously close to my workplace…) As someone who used to work in a food stall in multiple food markets back in the UK, I’m a little surprised that there aren’t more of them in the capital here in Denmark. But I’m not complaining – the selection is good.

Reffen has a bit of a grungy vibe with lots of containers around…kind of reminds me of the Cargo project in Bristol (my favourite Harbourside eating area in Bristol basically)
This photo says it all – everything is contactless and there are reminders everywhere to keep up hygiene.
I definitely don’t need to be told twice to get ice cream. The ice cream shop is called “BadHabits” by the way – very fitting.
Honestly, the ice cream here was really good.
Outdoor stalls and seating around the food “village.”
Love how colourful everything is!
More food, more containers…
Cute outdoor dining area right next to the water.
How very Danish 🙂 I did mention in a previous post how difficult it is to take photos here without some kind of a bike in it, did I not?
Now for some food! That’s freshly grated truffle – cost me an arm but it was worth it.
So many options…
There’s also some cute shops around that aren’t food stalls.
Me being an embarrassing tourist.
Hope you’re not too hungry after reading this, ha.
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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Home, Travel

Fredriks Kirke/Amalienborg, Copenhagen

This is another very photogenic area in Copenhagen at golden hour. What I just love about this place is that if you look one way from Amalienborg Slotsplads (the courtyard of the Royal residences) you get a majestic view of the rococo-style “Marble Church” Marmorkirken/Fredriks Kirke; if you look the other way, you get a view of the water and the very modern looking Copenhagen Opera House (Operaen) which was built less than 20 years ago. The opera house was built in alignment with Amalienborg. Take a look below.

Hope you’re all well.

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Expat life, Travel

Sundown in Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Yesterday evening I met up with a fellow photographer/hobbyist to take a couple of shots around town for golden hour. I can’t emphasise enough the fact that Copenhagen on a summer evening is definitely the place to be. The vibes are good: there’s food, there’s music, and the sun takes forever to set. I’ll leave you with some shots from the iconic Nyhavn harbour (which was relatively uncrowded thankfully – not so keen on the place when there’s big crowds)

The promenade down the harbour
Just look at these sun-soaked houses!
I adore all the colourful buildings around Copenhagen – they are everywhere.
Rainbow promenade.
Crossing…
How adorable is this outdoor dining set-up?
I think it’s pretty much impossible to get a shot in the city without bicycles making an appearance 🙂
Shimmering sunset reflected on the windows.
And some more bikes 🙂
And finally a photo with the water 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this photo-heavy post, have a great weekend 🙂

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Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Culture, Expat life, Home, Travel

First impressions of Copenhagen: Then and Now

I confess when I visited Copenhagen for a short weekend trip a few years back with a friend, I didn’t think it was anything special. There was the usual warnings of “It’s an expensive place”, of course, but looking back I think my enjoyment of the city was affected by the dynamic between myself and my friend. I was under the impression we were going to visit this city to explore together and have lots of fun. She didn’t really want to do much, and she spent most evenings texting and talking on the phone with other friends (I mean it was pretty much 24/7 – funny what you learn about your friends when you spend full days with them, I even struggled to vie for her company while we waited around at the airport). To top it off, we had a random but pretty big argument during the trip that soured our moods. All I did on that trip was visit a couple of really touristy spots by myself because I had already bought the Copenhagen Card which gave you access to all the touristy stuff. I thought everything was nice, but also very run-of-the-mill (probably something to do with comparing every European city I visit to the loveliness of Vienna, where I used to live). I probably wouldn’t have visited again.

How things change – and how I’ve changed! I would not in a million years have guessed I’d end up back here, for a job no less, or that I’d be this ecstatic about it. I genuinely don’t remember ever being this happy. I guess regardless of me ending up here in particular, I also just didn’t think I would secure my second academic job less than a year out of my PhD and that everything in my life would be accelerating so fast. This entire situation really is a massive surprise to me and I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it – or that I will ever not feel like the luckiest person in the world.

And well, my ‘first impression’ now is that I’m totally obsessed with Copenhagen. I’m sure some of that magic feeling will settle down eventually, but I feel very differently to how I felt when I first moved to Bristol for example (my previous city). Bristol was a very slow and gradual process of nurturing a kind of fondness – and it was probably around the fourth year that I started really enjoying Bristol. In Copenhagen, I feel a bit like someone who is falling in love for the first time. It’s exactly the kind of place I want to be at this particular stage in my life, that’s for sure. It’s bigger than Bristol, which was starting to feel way too small for me. It’s a European Capital, which fulfils one of my life goals – to live in a European Capital as an adult. But it doesn’t feel massive or overwhelming. It’s a pretty modest size. It’s a good life. It’s a beautiful life. And it’s flat! I’ll happily walk 30-60 minutes at a time to get places (I don’t have a bike yet) since it’s so damn easy to walk around and pretty straightforward to navigate. I’ve been told there are a couple of seedy areas, but that hasn’t been a hinderance on my impression of the city so far – I feel safe walking around. I got lucky with my apartment as well, which is in a central enough location, in close vicinity to shops, cafes, and restaurants. There’s lots of natural light coming in, which makes me feel very comfortable at home. Obviously the weather, my workplace, and how I’ve been welcomed in my job has a lot to do with how I feel in the city as well, but I’ll maybe save the job stuff for another post!

Copenhagen is a pretty amazing place to be in the summertime, and even better if you live and work here as the wages should match the cost of living. I’ve already been begging my friends to consider moving over here since there are certain skills that are needed in the country which should make it possible to find a job (here’s a “list” of job shortages in Denmark, by the way – I went the researcher track but again I can write about that in another post). But I’m getting way ahead of myself. For now, I’ll leave you with some of my first snaps of the city:

My route to and from work.
You can ride on these “swans” in The Lakes, just avoid the real ones as they’re not friendly 🙂
I’d probably get to work 5 minutes quicker if I didn’t take photos on the way, but can you blame me?
I took this photo in Ørstedsparken, which is pretty close to The Lakes (the route I take to go to work)
One more from Ørstedsparken – I really like this park.
A beautiful sunset at The Lakes. Pretty sure it was already past 9.30pm by this point.

As you can see, there’s a sense of serenity and tranquility even in the city (though I’m not sure if that’s because less people are out nowadays because of Covid-19). Even in my limited knowledge of the place, I’ve been able to find plenty of spots to enjoy a bit of nature and found it very easy to avoid big crowds and so on.

More to come in the following weeks – let me know if there is anything you want to see or are curious about! 🙂

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