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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Copenhagen, Home, Uncategorized

Design and Homeware stores in Copenhagen

One of the first things I noticed walking around Copenhagen was the lovely array of design/home/concept stores. Of course I had to make some purchases (or ten) for my new abode here in Copenhagen. I won’t include Flying Tiger (or just Tiger as it is known in the UK), which is the most obvious and well known (and super affordable compared to other stores in Denmark) homewares/decor/everyday items store dotted all over Copenhagen.

Here’s some other places I checked out:

Notre Dame (Nørregade 7, 1165 København)
This is a really cute little shop tucked away close to Strøget, the main “downtown” shopping street. Expect lots of earthy tones, ceramics, flower pots and hanging plant baskets. I didn’t take photos from this shop but the cute little clay flowerpots featured in my banner image for this post are from Notre Dame!

Stilleben No. 22 (Frederiksborggade 22, 1360 København)
This shop is a stone’s throw from Torvehallerne market and Nørreport Station – a very obvious place to drop in if you’re walking about town. I was attracted in particular by the colourful ceramics.

African Touch (Frederiksborggade 20, 1360 København)
A couple doors down from Stilleben you have another eye-catching store, full of bright colours and prints, decorative figurines, accessories, and so on.

Søstrene Grene (Amagertorv 24, 1160 København K)
This place is super cute – has a lot of baby/children’s items, stationery, home decor, and some “fancy” food items (ok actually just fancy looking jams, candies, etc.). I bought a fleecy rug from this place along with some cacti (yeah, I’m basic). Compared to the others, it seems pretty affordable too.

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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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Spain, Travel

Travel Throwback: Granada (2017)

In my previous post, I shared some snaps from Sevilla. Well, the best was yet to come, because after a night in Sevilla I took the bus to Granada and I completely fell in love with the city. It’s a very walkable city, with mountain views of the Sierra Nevada, and it houses the most impressive Moorish palace and fortress complex I’ve ever come across – The Alhambra. The climate was really nice and mild too – I took these photos in the middle of December, but you wouldn’t guess it.

I will only get up at the crack of dawn to see sunrises like these.
I don’t know many other cities where you can get a view like this.
Ha, I don’t remember snapping this Kodak moment. Love it! Also, talk about the dream life, getting your engagement/wedding photos taken inside the Alhambra.
Reflections at the Alhambra.
Amazing courtyard at Generalife palace.
Court of the Lions at the Nasrid Palaces.
I just adore the colourful and geometric tiling.
Just look at those intricate details…
…And one more for good measure.
The view going back downhill.

I like to be an optimist so I’ll say I look forward to visiting again at some point 🙂

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Spain, Travel

Travel Throwback: Plaza de España (2017)

Hello! I’ve got one week of quarantine left officially (read my story here), so I figure now is a good time to share some of my favourite travel snaps from back when travelling was actually a thing. I hope you enjoy them, because from next week, this blog is going to be focused much more on my life in Copenhagen (get in touch if you have any questions about Denmark, by the way).

Also, thanks for all your support on my journey so far and reaching out to me with empathy and kindness. I’m shocked some of you actually read my posts. I started this page with the intention of documenting what is for me a huge life change, maybe sharing with a couple of friends, and also just to have a little corner of the cloud that I can treat like a void for passing moods and thoughts. Anything more is a bonus, and your responses have not let me down on that front 🙂

Anyway, here are a couple of photos that were taken in Plaza de España in Sevilla, Spain. I recall heading to this place just in time for sunset – I was lucky to see it in such a lovely light because I was only staying the night in Sevilla and wouldn’t have had time to visit otherwise!

Golden hour is just magnificent, isn’t it?

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