5 cities I wouldn’t mind visiting again

14th September 2017

Some people think it’s ok to visit a place twice or even three times and others believe doing so is the first steps on a path to hell. I believe the former and am here today to talk about some cities I would love to dip my toes into for a second time.

In case you ever wonder if five days isn’t too much to spend in Tokyo, then I can tell you it’s not! Five weeks probably isn’t either. So I have to go back visit the 50 neighbourhoods and do the 1000 things on my list I missed last time. I mean how did I go to Tokyo and not do karaoke? For shame Tea, for shame.

This one time when I was young and could pull an all-nighter I flew back from Stockholm to Holland via Oslo, mainly because the ticket was just €2.99. We arrived at the one of the regional airports at 8 PM and our next flight to NL was from another regional airport at 7 AM. This was on 1st January and there were no hotels within our budget left so we had to walk around Oslo in the night as long as possible before crashing at the busstation. So I would love to go back and see it in glorious day light.

The six months I spent Melbourne had more drama in it than your average soap opera, but I still love the city and would love to go back for a walk down memory lane. I’ve think I’ve seen every corner of the city and most people I hung out with have left so I can’t really justify going back, but if I ever fly to New Zealand I want to make Melbourne my stopover so I can walk around Queen Victoria Market, have a drink at Ponyfish Island and a scoff some chicken salt fries on St Kilda beach.

Ljubljana used to be the last big stop on our family drives from Holland to Bosnia. This was after 12 hours in the car – pre free roaming in Europe – and there was never really time to go out to the city and explore, we would go to family or friends for a coffee before the last 250 km to home. I’ve spend one day in the city itself during my backpack-trip though the Balkans and it just did not live up to the other capitals of the former Yugoslavia, don’t get me wrong … Slovenia is gorgeous, but Ljubljana is just so tame. When I mention this to people they claim I am truly mistaken and that it’s the best one, so I need to go back and explore what I missed out on to prove myself wrong.

I’ve been to Stockholm twice, both times in winter where I spend most of the time cursing myself for not wearing the right shoes and slowly gliding through Gamla Stan on ice. I have made a promise to myself that I will go back in summer/spring and run around to ABBA’s Summer Night City. I guess I could combine it with Oslo for a Scandi trip sandwich.

What’s on your list of places you have to revisit?

On That London Wanderlist

22nd August 2017

It’s been a while since I shared my London wanderlist – so I thought I’d share my progress, you know: just in case you were wondering…

Scoff scones and guzzle hot brown beverages at an afternoon tea

All done! I picked the most Instagrammable one (I hope people know I joke when I say something like this btw) and celebrated 10 years of friendship with a friend at Sketch. I fell in love with the delicious food, the powder pink interior and the spaceship toilets. But the poor service was as almost as shocking as the pink interiors.

Visit the Mapping the City exhibition at Somerset House

All done. And I’ve been to three others since. They’ve been great inspiration for that map wall I planning to make one day – and then charge £10 for people to see it.

Visit the almighty Tower of London. It’s probably the only major tourist attraction I haven’t been to.

We’re halfway 2017 and I still haven’t penetrated that stone fortress. Saving this for a time I can be bothered to wake up at 6 on a weekend.

See anything at the Royal Albert Hall.

Not yet, plus everything and everyone that plays there sells out in 3 seconds so I might as well give up on this one.

Get my culture on at the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre

Saw Much Ado About Nothing, but set in the colourful and musical chaos of the Mexican Civil War. Also I grabbed seating tickets and even got a cushion! Fancy! Had a proper started from the bottom and now I’m here moment. If you get a seat here, get a cushion, your ass while thank you a million times over.

Hit up the cereal valhalla that is Cereal Killer Cafe

All done. It’s a fun gimmick and if you are throwing money on something, why not the Kinder Happy Hippo?!

See The Book of Mormon.

I haven’t seen that many, but this has to be the all round offensive musical ever … and I loved every minute. It’s been advertised as the musical that’s hardest to get tickets for, but now Hamilton is coming to London I assume it might get easier.

Stroll around Columbia Road Flower Market

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but walking through an overcrowded street with sellers shouting wasn’t my idea of a fun Sunday morning.

Find out what Hint Hunt is all about

I made it out with seconds left and few additional escape games followed. I think Hint Hunt is my first pick for the best lock yourself in a room experience.

Hop on the Cable Car and ride it to infinity and beyond!

Thank God it was cheap because it may be high, but there is little there to see, but now I have enough material to support that opinion.

See if Tramshed is worth the hype.

Still don’t know as new and more exciting places keep popping up and distracting me. But I did go to the less tight up and cooler brother at Hixter.

Go on an Underground Tunnel tour.

This is happening in October! Not Aldwych as I had planned but another one of theirs. If this is something you are interested in doing these: the best way to stay updated on this is to sign up for the Hidden London Tours or Transport of London Museum newsletter.

Take a photo at Abbey Road…do I even need a reason?

No, because look no one has time to go that far to just cross the road.

Eat at the London branch of 64 Degrees which I fell in love with in Brighton.

I didn’t and they closed so that a big fail. Guess I need to book another trip to Brighton.

Chow down on popcorn while enjoying a Mean Girls Quota A Thon or Wes Anderson marathon at the Prince Charles Cinema

I have a feeling I’ve been to every cinema in London except this one, but for some reason I missed all events I was actually interested in.

My Totals

That’s a 8.5/15, which is not too bad as I’m not racing to get them crossed off and so many other wishlist moment have gotten in the way. I’ve updated the list and will share the additional ones sometime.
Have you been to any of the above? How’s your wanderlist crossing off going?

Visiting Abandoned Spy Station Teufelsberg

26th July 2017

Everyone always remembers their firsts right? Well, my first was in Berlin, well, my first urban exploring adventure that is…

The first step was a bit of a little dipping of my toe in the water – I hit up an abandoned amusement park that was hosting an alternative Christmas Market – but this was pretty easy to find and more a party than a proper expore. So with my appetite whetted I wanted more and my thoughts turned to Teufelsberg. However, like the market, there was no fences to be climbed or security to run away from – you simply had to pay an entrance fee to gain access to its wonders.

Teufelsberg is a hill home to a former top-secret spy facility and was used as a US Listening Station in the Cold War. Yep – East Germany, the US heard EVERYTHING every hidden call, they heard it all… Anyway, it was originally built to host a Nazi military training school, then it got into American hands after the war and continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall. After that the station was closed and the equipment all taken away. What information exactly was collected will be made public in 2020 – so get your gossip then, and hear what your grandma was really up to…

 


Nowadays it’s not about the history, it’s more an alternative urban street art space that now been made public and will cost you €8 to get in. You can walk around the abandoned complex, enjoy the ever changing graffiti adorning everything, but you’ll really just want to check out the view over the Grünewald from atop the listening tower – it’s pretty mind-blowing and otherworldly.

You can go on one of the many alternative guided tours and learn a bit about the history of the place, but if you are a true explorer and adventurer you might want to go on your own – but remember that you’ll have to pay the entrance fee – unless you of course choose to go after hours!

April – June or Things I’ve Been Doing While Abandoning This Blog

2nd July 2017

It has come to my attention that it’s July. Like, when did that happen? It’s been three months since I did my last ‘Things I’ve Been Doing While Abandoning This Blog’ so here are all the amazing things I’ve seen and done in the past three months.

Been There
Italy: La Spezia – Vernazza – Corniglia – Monterosso al Mare – Riomaggiore – Florence – Pisa: for some village hopping and to catch up with my friends

Austria: Innsbruck and surrounding villages: just to escape for a few days.
Done That

The hiking and going offline-ish in Innsbruck was my favourite trip. Hiking is not something I regularly do or am even made for but being in the mountains makes me so happy.

I’ve never had the urge to visit Italy’s major tourist sites. Rome, nope, Lake Como is where you retire/go to die and Sicily is a hassle to get to. Even the Olsen Twins, Lizzie McGuire and all the history in the world hasn’t yet persauded me. So when Cinque Terre came to me via Pinterest and Instagram I took a mental note and a few years later my friends and me booked a last minute trip and we we 4/5 villages and crammed all the Italian food we could find into our mouths.

The Air Bnb in La Spezia was idyllic. A garden house next to a mansion on top of a hill – very Ryan’s poolhouse from the OC, but without the pool. We arrived later in the evening and as the bus wasn’t running we decided to walk up, but not before we grabbed pizzas. The climb turned out to be around 180 stairs + 10 minute walk down the road, so you can image the circular bits of cooked dough were very welcome.

On the last full day in Innsbruck I did a little hike that started in a small village and took you on a scenic walk back down to the city. Walking through the little village, seeing farm animals and crops growing very much reminded me of home in Bosnia. Which always makes me slaps a smile upon my face.

For a lot of people Rome is the symbol to Italy but for me it has always been the Leaning Tower of Pisa and I was so happy that it didn’t disappoint. Watching the people for posing inspiration, taking a cheesy photo and sitting down at the McDonalds (if you still watch The Simpsons this is actually a bucketlist moment).

In London I didn’t sit that still and next to the usual social gatherings I escaped a room at Lock’d, hid from the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park and visited some great, and some not so great, exhibitions. But my favourite bit was walking around the deserted South Norwood Country Park on a Sunday morning. Not for the place itself necessarily, but for the peace I found there, it was an out of London experience, if you’d like.
Bucketlist moment?
How about having pasta and/or gelato every day in Italy.  And then taking back as much pecorino cheese and pasta would fit in my suitcase so I could continue the holiday at home?
Lowlights
I’ve written about some most of the frustrations in the Cinque Terre high and lowlights post.
The Imagine Moscow exhibition at the Design Museum was a missed chance and a complete rip-off for the price. I don’t mind paying for a well-curated exhibition, but £10 for a poorly-curated one was a crime. The main museum is free, but with random stuff cramped in a little space without a real goal or context. It’s a shame as it’s a really interesting space with a bit of history behind it too.
Online
If you missed the posts, they are: on daytrips from London (that are not Brighton, Cambridge or Oxford), some random thoughts on Cinque Terre, a round-up with London posts I’ve written, Part One and Part Two of my trip to Innsbruck, what (not) to do in Florence, some of my favourite Tokyo memories, ways to cool off in London and photos to inspire you to visit Kotor.
What have you been up to?

35 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Kotor, Montenegro

21st June 2017

My first time in Kotor was super short and very last minute. We were on a Balkan backpack trip and arrived in Podgorica after a 13 hour train trip from Belgrade. One of the girls we met on the train told us there was nothing going on in Podgorica and recommended Kotor.

After 3 hours in Podgorica we had seen it all, so we took a bus to Kotor and arrived in the late afternoon, and knew this was the best decision we had taken: ten steps in we learned that Kotor was picturesque, historic, and just plain beautiful. The one hostel I had written down was full (this was way before the Hostelworld app!) but the staff managed to find us a room that an old lady rented (this was also pre Air BnB). Sadly, by the time we dumped our luggage and wanted to hike up the fortress we learned it was closed and the bus we HAD to take was leaving at 7 AM the next morning. I knew one day I had to come back.

And I did, five years later I woke up at 6 AM to walk up to the fortress and to see what the fuss was about, it was well worth the wait. I grabbed a watermelon on the square where my friend had lost her earring and 10 people helped us search for it. I made friends with new cats, probably related to the ones I saw years ago. I noticed the restaurants hadn’t changed at all and they still offered pasta, pizza and schnitzel. I challenged myself to walk up the Ladder of Kotor, stopped for homemade grapefruit juice and cheese at this tiny farm house halfway in the mountains and stayed for too long and listened to stories from the couple that live up there.

And I still think I would go back, but more importantly: I want you and everyone I know to add it to their wanderlist. But if you’re like me and have a wanderlust for pretty much everywhere, it won’t be too long, but just in case here are some photos to inspire you to visit Kotor.

I’ve heard a lot people say that the city reminds them of entering another world and I hope this comes across in the pictures.