FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) or simply Macedonia is a nation in the Balkans, surrounded by Greece to the south, Albania to the west and Bulgaria to the east. I visited the capital city Skopje a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to experience a completely different part of Europe. Here you can find churches next to mosques and there's a monument of Mother Teresa who was born right here in Skopje in 1910 when all of this was still part of the Ottoman Empire.
During my visit many parts of the inner city were under scaffolding and statues, buildings and roads were under maintenance. It would be cool to go back again soon to see what Skopje looks like these days! But from what I could see it was already a pretty cool city!
Keep scrolling to see my favorite shots of Macedonia!
Malta is an island in the Mediterranean sea just south of Sicily. It used to be part of the British Empire and therefore, besides Maltese, English is also the official language here (like some other colonial remains: there's a Marks & Spencer in Valletta!).
Speaking of Valletta, the capital is probably one of the cutest places I've ever seen in Europe! It boasts one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world, massive city walls and an interesting old town. It's the perfect place to wander around and get lost! That said, this place has a couple of seriously steep streets - so your workout is guaranteed!
As for food I was "only" vegetarian back then and we went to a place called La Mere several times during our stay. It's a cosy restaurant that serves a fusion of Mediterranean and Indian foods. I remember eating lots of hummus, baba ganoush & pita bread!
That's obligatory by now: cats wherever I go!
The Island of Malta isn't super big so I jumped on one of those red hop on hop off double-decker buses and took a day trip out to the megalithic Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples which are said to be older than the pyramids!
Then it was back to Valletta for more old town sightseeing! She's already a beauty by day but when the sun sets this place is just magical, bathed in the yellowish glow of the street laps.
And with that our virtual 5 days - 5 cities trip concludes for now. I hope you enjoyed the tour! :)
My first and only time to Poland so far has been to Gdansk on the northern coast. I didn't do much research beforehand I must admit as I mainly went there for a wedding of friends. Polish weddings are really an experience by the way - people here know how to have a good party! The food, the copious amounts of alcohol and fantastic 90's dance music mixed with traditional and modern tunes... I had a fantastic time (even though I didn't try the vodka)!
I didn't really know what to expect of the city itself but before and after the celebrations we had plenty of time to squeeze in some sightseeing.
The most obvious tourist attraction is simply the architecture in the old town! I mean, look at this...
Then there is the waterfront with countless little shops and restaurants.
Gdansk is also one of the main centers for Amber trade in the Baltic region. There's an Amber lane where several beautiful little jewelry shops sell necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Perfect for buying a souvenir for your loved ones or simply spoiling yourself - I went home with two beautiful pairs of earrings.
And now for the food... as a vegetarian-barely-gone-vegan I thought I'd have lots of problems finding anything to eat. After all, Poland is famous for its meat dishes, right? But let me tell you there's an abundance of yummy veggie food everywhere!
There's a chain of health food restaurants in Gdansk called Bioway and they serve beautiful dishes like these...
My favorite place, however, was The Retro Cafe in the city center. The decor was just super cute and they had vegan cake & hot chocolate! What's not to like?!
And one last tip: try the local specialty Pierogi - filled dumplings. They are oh-so-yum! For a veggie friendly version I ordered the ones stuffed with potato, sauerkraut or mushroom.
Hope you liked this little tour around Gdansk! :)
Just a couple of pictures from a quick trip I took to Oslo in 2011. It was my first time in Norway and I was super lucky: the weather was amazing and there was a festival going on in the city & the whole atmosphere was just amazing. So let me show you around! :)
A tiny little country squeezed in between Germany, France and Belgium, famous for its medieval old town, its own interesting language called Letzebuergesch & home to the European Court of Justice, that's Luxembourg! With barely over half a million people this is one of the smallest nations in the EU. That, however, is a definite advantage for the visitor as you can easily explore the capital, Luxembourg City, on a weekend.
PS: there's also this incredible place called "Chocolate House Bonn" in Lux City (right opposite the Palace) that serves ridiculously yummy vegan & non-vegan hot chocolate & cakes! ;)
Right, here we go...
...of course a day isn't nearly enough to explore Copenhagen properly! But it's a start and since it's super easy to get around on foot or by bike you can cover a lot of ground in 24 hours. From the colorful Nyhavn area to the Little Mermaid there's a lot to discover in Denmark's beautiful capital city. Denmark can also be quite expensive so if you have little time and are traveling on a budget Copenhagen is the perfect place to just wander around, get lost and enjoy the atmosphere. Unfortunately, I didn't stay long enough to see and do everything I would have liked to but I loved the vibe of that place & would like to return one day and see other parts of Denmark as well. So for now here's just a little teaser in form of my favorite photos of Copenhagen :)
Hey guys, a while back I had already shared my obsession with ancient Roman architecture with you in this post. But of course there is way more to see in Rome than just ruins! Let me take you around this cool place with a little picture journey!
Hey guys, I'm now back in Dublin after an adventurous 2 weeks in Africa - I'll tell you all about it in the coming weeks! On my way from Dar Es Salaam back to Dublin I had the chance to spend a whole 22 hours in Istanbul and as I had never been to Turkey before (embarrassing, I know!) I was very excited to check out the city even if it was just for a day. And what can I say? I loved it and certainly want to go back to see more of it! Unfortunately, I was there on Easter Sunday and the Grand Bazaar as well as the Spice Market were closed. :( So that's certainly a reason to return one day. What's also quite high on my bucket list is Cappadocia in central Turkey and the ruins at Ephesus near Izmir. Some day... ;)
We arrived on a mid-morning flight at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul and after queuing for over an hour at passport control finally made it through to collect our bags. We were looking forward to our free night accommodation that we should have gotten through the airline as our lay-over was quite long. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up with some flight details and we ended up without complementary accommodation. The lovely people at Turkish Airlines, however, promptly sorted us out and we were checked into a beautiful 4-star hotel near Sultanahmet Square in no time. We had to pay for it ourselves but at least we had somewhere to sleep & leave our bags.
And off we went exploring... I was blown away by the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya - meaning "holy wisdom"). I have a thing for cathedrals, mosques and temples - the incredible architecture gets me every time!
The Hagia Sofia was originally built as a church in the 6th century in the same place where two churches had stood before, built in the 4th and 5th centuries respectively. In the 15th century minarets were added and it was converted into a mosque. Today it's a museum celebrating both Islam and Christianity (the entrance fee at the time of writing was about €11).
The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built in the early 17th century and still functions as a mosque today. It's free to get in but visitors should dress respectfully. Scarves, long skirts (for people like me who rock up in skinny jeans) and full length gowns can be borrowed free of charge for the time of your visit.
And then there's of course the whole city center to explore from some major shopping streets to the Topkapi Palace grounds and museums. As for food there are so many good restaurants serving wonderful veggie-friendly food like hummus, flatbread, stuffed vine leaves (my personal favorite!), eggplant salad and for desert just check out any of the numerous Turkish Delight shops! Traditionally Turkish Delight is made with corn starch instead of gelatin so it should almost always be vegan. If you're vegetarian and don't mind honey then Baklava is a yummy and seriously sweet treat. For dinner try to book a table in one of the many restaurants with rooftop terraces. The view can be incredible at sunset!
Did you have a good Paddy's day? :)
The St. Patrick's festival is still in full swing here! I been living in Dublin for the past six years and have taken tons of pictures here. So I thought I'd share some more impressions of my current home town with you!
So without further ado, here's my Dublin picture book!
Reykjavik and the Northern Lights were awesome and certainly bucket list worthy but nothing could have prepared me for the Icelandic countryside – in winter! We took a day trip around the Reykjanes Peninsula visiting a horse center, checking out the old fishing village of Eyrarbakki and wandering around geysers and cliffs and - my personal highlight - walking over the bridge between the continents. Come with me, I’ll show you around!
We set off early morning to visit the Fakasel horse park just outside Reykjavik where we got some insights into why Icelandic Horses are world-famous.
Often also called Iceland Ponies, they are technically listed as horses, they just happen to be a smaller, sturdier breed that often reminds people more of a pony. Their special trait? They can move in five gaits! Most horses know the three basic gaits which are walk, trot and gallop. Icelandic Horses, however, know two more: tölt and “flying pace”. Especially the unique “flying pace” is often used in competitive races with some horses reaching speeds of up to 30 mph
(48 km/h)! They are also the perfect all-round horse - they’re used as show horses for racing & jumping, they make perfect family companions and are considered great therapeutic horses.
Fun fact: Iceland does not import horses and once a horse leaves Iceland it cannot re-enter the country. This is to keep the genetic pool pure.
Next we were off to Eyrarbakki, a small fishing village on the south coast. For several centuries this tiny town had been one of the most important harbors in the country. Today it looks very much like an open air museum taking you back in time with lovingly preserved timber houses that date from as far back as the mid 18th century.
Our next stop was at one of the most iconic sights in Iceland: the Strandarkirkja - the church by the beach.
According to legend, some time in the 12th century a group of sailors was in distress out at sea. They prayed to God and asked Him to protect them vowing that wherever they would reach the shore again they would build a church.
And then we were off to see some quintessentially Icelandic geysers!
We also went to another area with some major geothermal activity and on the way there we stopped for lunch at the cutest little fisherman's restaurant and had the chance to explore the beautiful coast a little bit more.
Another interesting fact: Iceland is full of big rocks and boulders that you can't just move or destroy if they're in your way. Why? Because of the "huldufolk", or elves, that live there of course! So if a road is being built in Iceland, special care has to be taken and construction usually winds around the scattered rocks as not to anger the mystical people!
And off we went further along the coast to visit the last great auk monument...
...and to check out the incredible volcanic coastal landscape in this part of the country. I mean look at this stuff...
Our last stop before heading back into Reykjavik was the bridge between the continents - the continental rift between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. You can walk over the bridge, wander inside the rift on land and even snorkel and dive into it out at sea! Since it was late December and I'm generally not very brave when it comes to cold water we skipped this experience this time around and left it for another summer trip to Iceland. So for now, we just walked back and forth between America & Europe... as you do! :)
And with that spectacular view our day tour ended and we drove back into the city. The Reykjanes are just a relatively small part of Iceland and there is so much more to see! I haven't even been to the blue lagoon yet (shame on me!) nevertheless to the East coast or further up to the North. I guess another trip is due some day - and since we've experienced snowy Iceland already - preferably in summer.