While in Amsterdam, I was constantly shooting everything and couldn’t put my camera away for longer periods. Every few steps you see a new cute house, a bike leaning against a bridge, an adorable café and so on. Wandering through the streets, drinking coffee by the stream and exploring all the amazing little boutiques and shops – it was great. Here is some inspiration for all of you out there :*
Sweden’s capital encompasses 14 islands and couldn’t be more picturesque. There are so many possibilities to have a fabulous time in and around the city and walk away with great memories and a load of nice photos which I would like to share along a few recommendations now.
Rent a canoe and explore the lakes
The whole city is surrounded by water, so you need to get in it in order to get the most out of your stay. It’s super fun to go canoeing through streams and lakes.
Stroll through the little alleys in Gamla Stan
Stockholm’s old town is a dreamy wonderland for all architecture fanatics. Take an afternoon to walk through charming alleys along orange houses.
Enjoy a coffee at Stortorget
Sit back and relax. Do something good for your sweet thooth.
Watch the brown bears play
At Skansen Zoo you can witness cute little brown bears, elks and many other animals. Located on the peninsula Djurgården where you can also find a theme park with cool roller coasters.
Catch the magic hour
All the historic old buildings are enlighted so nicley during the magic hour. Grad your camera and shoot it up.
Take a walk along the water or go on a boat tour
If canoeing isn’t for you that could be an option. You get incredible city views from on a whole new level and with such a large amount of water, I think you would miss a whole lot if you didn’t go in.
Cool off at the ICE BAR
That’s something different. A bar where everything is made of ice – the walls, the tables, the bar and even the glass your drink is in! For the frosty minus degrees you get an extra thick cape before entering. Such an awesome experience and definitely one of my highlights during my stay in Stockholm.
Of almost everything you do you naturally have expectations beforehand. No matter if it’s a new restaurant you try, the result of your new hairstyle after your hairdresser’s appointment or a country you visit for the very first time. You have so many expectations and influences from your surroundings that it’s very easy to get disappointed when the reality looks completely different or on the other hand it can be a blessing if somethings is better than expected. Works both ways.
I’m Lisa from Travellana and I have been fascinated by the United States of America since I can remember. In the summer of 2015, my biggest dream came true: I did an internship in sunny San Diego and fell in love with the Southern Californian lifestyle.
1. It won’t make much of a difference where you are within the USA
Although a lot of people think of the United States as a huge country with a homogenous culture and mentality, this is definitely not the case in real life. The USA are a country of huge dimensions and therefore, it’s obvious that there are cultural differences depending in where you are. Traveling through the United States, you will soon notice the differences between the coastal regions and some remote places in the Midwest. The southern states have an entirely different culture than the the Great Lakes States have. And the famous battle of East Coast and West Coast is not just a fantasy of hip hop music.
2. Entering the United States is super complicated and you hardly get a visa
Let me put it like this: For most nationalities obtaining a visa isn’t that difficult. When I applied for my visa, I had read dozens of horror stories about the application process and the final immigration after arriving at the airport. Of course, I was super nervous and thought that at any moment someone would just say ”No, we don’t want you.”. And guess what: Everyone – from the woman at the embassy to the man at the immigration in Chicago – was very friendly and helpful. It’s true that applying for a visa is complicated but you’ll get help if you ask for it.
3. The United States don’t have a culture
The sad truth is that a lot of people don’t acknowledge American culture as a real culture. Instead, they claim that Americans just stole bits from other cultures and that they have then mixed them in order to create ther own culture. In my opinion, this is definitely not true! Being a country of immigrants it’s inevitable that different cultures intermingle and that’s the point: The American ”melting pot” culture is just as much a culture as it’s components are. The melting pot has created a fusion culture that is ever changing.
I could name at least 20 things which were different in reality than what I expected them to be, but nailing it down to my top three in this post. What are expectations that haven’t come true in reality. Let us know in the comments below 🙂
1. Everyone is fat and only eats fast food
This is what most people think of the Americans but it’s so far away from the truth! I mean yes, they have a large variety of fast food chains and I cannot say that I didn’t gain some weight living there but I had to try everything so I guess that was that. Especially in the suburbs everyone is working out a lot and I saw a lot of women pushing strollers while jogging. Also in the city center the majority of people I saw was super skinny, so where are all those fat people?! I think that’s just a bad myth.
2. New York is the best city of the States
Often when you ask someone where they would wanna visit in the States they say ‘NEW YORK CITY’. I think the city is just very over promoted and this resolves in too high expectations for the city. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s an great place to visit but I don’t refer it to the best city of all of th US. It’s dirty and full of tourists. You hardly ever meet any people on the street that actually live there. I love NYC because it is extremly vibrant and esciting but there are other cities I like better, like Chicago, San Fransisco or anywhere in Alaska.
3. Everything is better in the USA
It is known as the land of endless opportunities, apparently everything is possible and there is no better place. But take Japan for example, that country has probably the biggest technological progress. Germany has a way better health system than the US. The illusion that eveyerthign is simply better in America is wrong, it’s a country with advantages and disadvantages like every other country as well. There are many things that are great about the US and I love the country, but there are also many things that could be improved.
In the heart of Indonesia there is an island that couldn’t be more vibrant and exciting. From waterfalls and hikes to shopping, massages and yoga – Bali has it all. I completely fell in love with that place and would like to share some of my highlights to do there.
Experience the surf vibe in Uluwatu
No matter if you are an experienced surfer or just enjoying to observe the others in high waves while sipping a cocktail – Uluwatu Blue Point is your spot!
At night you can party hard at Single Fish or for a more chilled evening, head to Angel Martz Sport Bar where you can buy your drinks at the store for cheap money and smoke a shisha.
If you’re not into surfing or in need for a break, stroll along gorgeous beaches.
Don’t forget to visit the Uluwatu Temple right by the water. It’s stunningly beautiful – PROMISE!
Visit the Gilis
Gili Trawangan also referred to as Gili T is the biggest of three island and more for the party crowd. Gili Air is perfect for relaxing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Gili Meno is the smallest and least touristy one. Mostly locals make vacation here.
Enjoy food and shopping in Ubud
In the middle of Bali, you’ll find food and shopping heaven. Perfect for good, cheap local food and you can get your souvenir shopping out of the way.
Also a visit to the monkey forest is a must when in Ubud – Watch yourself, they seem cute but they’re quite aggressive. Pay them respect and give them some space and you’ll be fine!
Chase waterfalls and hot springs in Lovina
Best to rent a scooter and explore on your own. Traffic isn’t as a bad as in Ubud and public transport will cost you much more.
Get a massage in Seminyak
I’ve had many massages so far but none comes even close to the one from this lady on the picture in Seminyak. It’s a super small tent by the pool at Puri Cendana Resort Bali and there are only two masseuse but oh my those women work wonders. I highly recommend to visit them. They are often booked out, so make an appointment for the next day when you arrive!
At night you’ll see sunsets like this! My absolute favorite spot in all Bali when the day ends.
Enjoy some down time in Canggu
This place in west Bali s super laid-back. Learn how to surf, grab good food, do yoga classes, hit the markets and simply enjoy the sunny side of life.
For the ink addicts there’s a special treat in Canggu. Tacco Tattoo Tuesday at Deus. The name already gives it away – iy you buy a Tacco on a Tuesday you get a free Tattoo
Another thing to do near Canggu is visiting Tanah Lot for sunset. It’s quite packed but still a nice sunset and cool temple.
Hire a driver to take you to some temples
That’s a good activity when you’re in Ubud as it’s the middle of the island. Find a group and book a driver from the street for the whole day. Then tell him to take you to the best temples. He will also have some information on the places for you – win win.
Ever since I lived in the USA for two years, I caught the travel bug and completely got addicted to that entire lifestyle. 2016 was incredible and I was lucky enough to have had some terrific adventures which I want to share with all of you!
January – March: Thailand
The year started off with a teaching gig in amazing Thailand (read more about this awesome job!). I got to spend a good amount of sunny days in all party of Thailand while it was winter in Germany. The best thing was that I got paid to travel to non touristy cities and areas of the country through my job.
Even better were the amazing people I met, both work colleagues and students. It was so insiring to meet all these kind and cheerful kids that treated you like a rockstar 🙂
After a great adventurous time in Thailand I found somewhat cheap flights to Chicago and just HAD to go see my friends and host family for a few weeks. I had a blast! I consider this my second home, first being the world itself hehe
June: The Netherlands
My friend Christina and I explored beautiful Holland for one week and visited Amsterdam, Zandvoort, The Hague and Rotterdam where met great people and enjoyed a good time in every place.
& Tarquinia, Italy
Another place, another job. The summer of 2016 I spent working as a kids tour guide in Italy and Spain.
5 awesome weeks that summer just playing games by the beach and dancing in the clubs – all paid for!
Read about my summer job as a party guide here 🙂
After settling in at college I took a long weekend trip to Belgium and explored the beauty of Brussels, strolled through Ghent and met up with a friend in Bruges. The small size of the country and good train connection makes it so easy to hop from city to city in no time!
After that trip I concentrated on a new chapter of my life, college. For the next four months I was having a routine with going to work and studying but of course this didn’t last long and I started on a new adventure through Asia in the beginning of 2017 🙂
I’ve got a feeling that this year will be even crazier with many fabulous trips and both new as well as familiar places – soooooo excited!
Hope you all follow along the journey and maybe I can inspire some to visit new destinations as well :*
I would say cherry blossom time anytime you ask me. It is easily the most touristy time but also the most beautiful one. Walking around Tidal Basin in center D.C. when everything is blooming in the prettiest pink is simply amazing. But see for yourself:
But not only the cherry trees are blooming wonderfully.
The center of Washington D.C., where all the magic happens, is also super walkable. Stroll along the impressive US Capitol Grounds and pick a couple museums to visit – they are ALL free of charge!
If you don’t feel like walking, get yourself a bike and explore further distances
And if you happen to visit on a Sunday, definitely head over to Meridian Hill Park better known as Malcolm X Park to watch the drum circle!! People from all over meet to play the drums and other instruments, some people dance to the beats. It is soooo much fund to watch.
Last but not least: Have a delicious burger at famous Ollie’s Trolley
I visited Washington D.C. in the second week of April back in 2015 and hit just the right time to see all the blossoms but be sure to check in advance when they’re supposed to bloom because they could be earlier. Whenever spring decides to set in.
The Kopi Luwak Coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world but I believe it’s even more famous for its’ manufacturing. We’re talking about the ‘cat-poop-coffee’. Now this probably sounds off-putting for most people but the coffee is worth trying before you judge and I assure you it tastes pretty normal.
How is the coffee made? The civet cat eats the coffee bean which is the pit of some cherry fruit. They just digest the flesh of the cherry and poop out the coffee bean which then is being washed several time.
The precious beans are being sun dried and hand sorted before they are roasted.
In most party of the world you would pay a small fortune for a cup, I sampled it for 50k Rupiah (3,50€). My friend bought an 80g pack of the beans for 100k Rupiah.
I know it sounds disgusting but you should try it when you get the chance because after all it is the most expensive coffee and there are probably many people that would love to taste it.
In my opinion it tastes pretty normal and I couldn’t make out a big difference from regular coffee exept for it being really mild maybe.
While traveling in Indonesia for the past month I was able to try a lot of local dishes which in my opinion is a great way to experience a country – food!
The Indonesian cuisine is not only Nasi Goreng (fried rice) which I honestly couldn’t get enough of. But there are many more dishes to explore, mostly consitent of either rice or noodles. Don’t worry, you still get a big variety of different tastes.
Here are some of the more common dishes you MUST try during your trip:
It’s a toasted sandwich with mashed up bananas or other fruits inside and a delicious breaktfast dish
RAMBUTANG and all the other fruits
Indonesia equals fruit heaven! Walk up to a local market and get your fruit dose for the day: Bananas, Dragon fruit, Mangos, pine apples and many more. This one on the pictures is called Rambutang and they also make a spicy salad with it consisting only of the fruit itself, limes and chilly (see below).
BUBUR RAYAM (balinese rice) Balinese rice in soup topped with chicken and peanuts, very yummy. I only found this dish one time in a really small stand in northern Ubud. Actually it was a kiosk and we asked if they cook there, too. Not even sure if it was a Warung (Indonesian word for restaurant) or if they just cooked for us haha
Pancakes made out of palm leaves, yea you heard right. The green little things are the pancakes with palm sugar and grated coconut on top. Served with fried banana. We had that on the way to Sekumpul waterfalls, near Lovina in northern Bali.
Mixed veggies with spicy peanut sauce, rice and tempeh. The last is a traditional soy product, basically a cake made out of soybeans, super healthy and extremely tasty.
Served in various combinations it is a mixed plate with all sorts of yummy things on it. Mostly rice, different choices of meat, veggies and tempeh.
KOPI LUWAK COFFEE
YES, this is the ‘cat-poop-coffee’ but seriously you NEED to try it before you judge. After all it’s the most expensive coffee in the world! Read about my experience here.
This soup is one of my faves. Noodle soup with meatballs and green veggies. Nice change from all the rice!
BABI GULING (Suckling Pig)
This dish on the other hand wasn’t for me at all. I still tasted the suckling pig since it is very traditional and if you have a strong stomach I recommend to try it as well and share your experience because tastes are very different!
BLACK RICE PUDDING
A Indonesian dessert which, if made properly, is very very tasteful. I had one bad one first and thought I just don’t like it. My friend told me to give it another try. So I did, and the second one was so different!
It is a COLD (first one I had was warm..) dessert: Black rice in coconut milk, sometimes topped with ice cream.
PIA (Black Bean Cake)
You’ll need to keep your eyes open wide if you want to find this little treat. It is a a cake with a black bean paste inside and kind of sweet tasting and super filling, ideal for long travel days. Look out for boxes in local kiosk stalls that resell the chips and soft drinks which they bought at the grocery store.
ACAI AND SMOOTHIE BOWLS
Best on a hot beach day!!! No more words needed, I think.
I feel like I overloaded this post already, so I’m going to stop myself here and now! Eat and explore as many dishes as possible because Indonesia truely is a food heaven on earth.
Okay one last thing, actually two 😀
OVERDOZE ON COCONUTS!
Now I have nothing more to add other than: ENJOY YOUR MEAL :*
When I visited Alaska, my friend and I flew into Seattle and took it from there. We had roughly six hours to explore but man, those six hours were a great start into an exciting day.
We started off with a hearty breakfast right after sunrise at a great seafood restaurant called Athenian, located by the Pike Place Market.
After we were full and satisfied, we strolled through the famous Pike Place Market and watched the men throwing fish around. Since it was still very early we had the Market almost to ourselves.
After a nice 20 minute walk we were standing in front of the Space Needle which some of you might remember from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. We didn’t go up and invested the money into a fast ride back with the Seattle Center Monorail instead.
Back at Pike Place Market were the crowds had arrived we hit the original Starbucks for a coffee and a souvenir mug and went by the Gum Wall (Yes, it is a wall, you’re encouraged to stick your chewing gum on to haha).
And last but not least, on our way back to the train station, we walked through Pioneer Square and all its bizarre and beautiful statues. This is the birthplace of Seattle by the way.
Alaska was probably one of the best choices I made while I lived in the USA. The state is so different from any other and stunningly beautiful. And since a picture says more than one thousand words, I’ll share my favorite captures here to hopefully inspire you to add this place to your bucket list.
By far the coolest way to get to Alaska is taking the Marine Highway Ship from Bellingham, WA. Here you can read more about that option!
I hope to have inspired some of you that Alaska is worth a visit!