Travel

Tour Paris in Style!

During our trip to Paris in August 2016, Henner and I went on what I would consider my favourite tour I´ve been on so far; the Citroën 2CV tour.

My parents actually recommended it to us after their trip to Paris, as my mum is tour obsessed and literally did ever tour possible in the day and a half they spent in the City of Love (boat, bus, car and walking all in the same day, plus dinner at the Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge!). If you´re asking yourself how they managed all of this, I have no clue!

Anyway, back to the tour. So, we arranged our with 2CV Tours and they were fantastic. We booked through the website with the owner, Marc, who answered immediately and was very friendly. He let us know that they only had one Spanish driver called Marion and checked her availability for the dates we chose. She was available which was perfect, but the day we were meant to go on out tour, her car broke down, something that I know happens often as these cars are extremely old and we completely understood. So, Marc arranged for Jeff, another driver to pick us up from our hotel as arranged and even threw in a bottle of champagne which was kind of him.

 

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Enjoying a glass of champagne during our tour!

 

The great thing about this company is that they charge per car instead of per person like most of the other tour companies I researched, this was what most inclined me towards Marc and his drivers, it makes the tour much more affordable, especially if you are more that two people.

 

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At the end of the tour being dropped off outside our hotel!

 

Jeff, a student that worked as a 2CV tour guide part-time, was fantastic from start to finish and I would highly recommend requesting him for your tour, although I´m sure the other drivers are great too. He took us on a super interesting tour of Paris, showing us both the famous monuments and cute Little corners of Paris most tours usually overlook. He was extremely knowledgable and told us some great facts about Paris and it´s monuments. He even climbed up onto his car and picked some figs for us from the oldest tree in Paris!

This tour was by far the highlight of our trip and I´ve recommended it to anyone I know that has been to Paris since! It´s such a great way to explore the beautiful city, especially as the car is so tiny which made sure Jeff was able to take us here, there and everywhere, from the most famous monuments to the tiny little streets that tour buses can´t get down. It´s also well worth the price! So, be sure to put this on your Paris bucket list and let me know if you loved it as much as we did!

Lots of Love,

Molly x

 

Restaurants|LA SUCRERIA DE LA PLACA. Javea, Alicante

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went out for dinner as we usually do on Sunday evening. That particular Sunday, my mum fancied going for a walk and I had Heard great reviews about a restaurant called Sucreria de la Placa which is located in the centre of Javea´s old town right next to the beautiful church.

When I was doing my research, reviews of the place varied. Some loved the fact that the menu, which is actually was so small and varied weekly, some did not.

The restaurant is pretty much all about food and it´s beautiful location right in the heart of Javea´s old town. The only downfall (literally!) is that the tables are on a slight slope which meant they were a little uncomfortable, although this definitely should not put you off visiting La Sucreria as the food is totally worth it! The seating area is limited both outside and inside, so I would recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

We started the menu with these delicious mixed Bruschettas; From front to back, tomato and balsamic vinegar; salmon, avocado and red pickled onions and lastly, sausage in tomatoe and pepper sauce.

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What I ordered for the next course was served a bit different and unusual, curried sea bass with couscous and it was absolutely fantastic! I would never have thought to make seabass with curry spices and I´m so glad I got to taste the deliciousness of this dish.

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Henner and my Dad both ordered the restaurants famous smoked barbecue ribs, a dish that doesn´t leave the menu when it´s renewed, with the best chips I´ve tasted in a long time!

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Next on the offering was desert, which I actually didn´t order as I phisically couldn´t fit anymore food in (if you know me, you´ll know this is a first!) but my Dad and Henner did and here´s what they tried; Coconut chocolate cake and Tiramisú. I actually ended up trying both ( no surprise there, typical Molly!) and they were super tasty. I also LOVED the way the Tiramisú was presented, so pretty!

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Overall, the food and service in this restaurant was excellent and I would definitely recommend giving the place a visit whether you are a Javea local or visiting the place on holiday. It´s affordable, delicious and in a beautiful location, what more could you possibly want in a restaurant?! They also have live music on Sunday evenings starting from 8:30pm which is lovely.

If you pay the restaurant a visit, I´d love for you to let me know your thoughts in the comments and don´t forget to subsribe to not miss any of my posts!

Love, Molly x

A day at El Jardín de los Sentidos, Altea 

There are places that can’t be described with words and El Jardín de los Sentidos or The Garden of Senses, is one of those magical locations. It’s a botanical garden and rural house located in the beautiful town of Altea in Alicante, Spain.

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It’s actually 10 minutes away from Henner’s house and we had stupidly never even been, so this weekend we decided to pay the beautiful gardens a visit and we definitely didn’t regret the decision.

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As you arrive, you are told to have a walk around and chose the spot you like the most, then you come back to the entrance where the tea shop is and it’s a price of 7,50€ each for tea and cake, orange cake and green tea for me and apple cake for Henner.  We also ordered a plate of fruit each and Henner a pinnaple smoothie. Everything was delicious.

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There are also hammocks right next to the tables in which you could dose off for hours if you liked. Or beds to lay for the day and read a book. The time you spend there is unlimited for the day which is great. It´s also a beautiful location to take photos, so whether you are passionate about photography or just want a new picture for Instagram,  El Jardín de los Sentidos is the perfect place for you.

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I hope these lovely photos that Henner took have inspired you and if you do decide to give these beautiful gardens a visit, please let me know if you enjoyed the visit as much as we did!

Molly x

 

Brussels on a Budget

Looking for an affordable last-minute holiday? Want to explore a country but don´t have the time or money to spend? If you answered yes to both of these questions, Brussels is the destination for you.

I actually visited the beautiful Belgian capital on a studies related trip. During the spring semester at University, in our History of the European Union subject, a few classmates had been given the task of trying to arrange a trip to the European Parliament for our whole class, which worked out pretty difficult and in the end we only got enough invites for 40 of us. This meant only those of us with the highest marks in our subject could go; Chantal, Marina, Paula, Irene and I were five of those.

So, at the beginning of May we started planning our 3 day trip to Brussels. The European Parliament actually funded our entire trip, the only issue was that we had to put the money forward in advance and then they refunded it, so as you can probably imagine, 5 students don´t have tonnes of money  lying around. For this reason, I thought I would post about how we kept our trip as student budget friendly as possible.

FLIGHTS: 228€ return.

In my opinion, skyscanner is the best place to look for flights. After finding out which airlines are the cheapest for your destination and dates, you can then go to the Airlines official website to book the flights as Skyscanner usually bumps the price up a little. We booked our flights from Madrid – Brussels International Airport with AirEuropa.

There were cheaper flights but we chose the ones that best suited us and helped us make the most of our time in the city (i.e early on our first day and late on our last).

ACCOMODATION: 37€ for two nights.

One of the best ways to save on holidays is by staying in a hostel instead of a hotel. We found ours, Urban City Centre Hostel on Booking.com and it was absolutely perfect for us; affordable (37€ for two nights!), with friendly and helpful staff and most importantly, at least for me, clean. Our only issue in the 3 days we were there was that we were on the 5th floor with no lift (imagine dragging your suitcase and bags up 5 flights of stairs!).So I would suggest that if you ever decide to visit this hostel, that you request a room on one of the first floors.

The location of our hostel was a 5-10 minute walk or a couple of metro stops away from the Grand Place and the Central Station which was perfect for us. There was also a metro stop right outside, for as far as location goes, you can´t go wrong with this hostel.

TRANSPORT

Getting to the city centre: After arriving at Brussels  International Airport, we made our only transportation mistake in the whole 3 days we were there, which was getting the bus (4,50€ one way) into the city centre. We had no clue where we had to get off, the stops were terribly sign posted and the driver didn´t speak much English. I would recommend either making sure you know the exact bus stop before you arrive or taking the train (8,80€) to and from the airport, as even though it´s a little more expensive, it drops you in the heart of the city at Central Station.

Getting around Brussels: The metro tickets cost 2,10€ which lasts an hour, so you can use it again within that time frame, but they also have special discounts if you buy various tickets at once.

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Travelling to other cities: We debated whether to go to Brugge or Ghent as they were the cities we had been recommended the most. In the end we decided to visit both in the same day and I’m so glad we did. They were both soo beautiful.

Don’t be fooled by the ticket machines in Central Station where the tickets cost 14,70€ one way. Instead, cue up at the ticket office where you can actually buy a return ticket for 11,40€ to Brugge with a stop in Ghent for groups of 3 people or over. The train doesn´t drop you off right in the centre of Ghent so if you have time, you can walk, and if you are on a time limit like us, you can take the metro.

FOOD: 36,30€

We ate breakfast at our hotel for 5€ each morning which was lovely and had quite a good variety of food for the price. For lunch, we bought sandwiches at the local supermarkets and had picnics in the park or ate fast food. Not the healthiest but definitely the cheapest and it’s only 3 days! Finally, for dinner, one night we shared pizza (8,60€ each) and another night we ate at a Greek restaurant (6,30€), both near the Grand Place.

Oh, and you can´t leave Belgium without trying a Belgian Waffle with chocolate sauce, this really should be considered a crime!

Another option if you are extremely low on cash is to find an apartment within your budget range on AirBnB which will mean you are able to cook and you can avoid having to buy food in restaurants etc.

DRINK

As you most probably know,  Belgium is famous for its beer which meant we couldn’t leave without trying all the flavours on offer! I’m actually not a huge fan of beer at all, in fact, I hate the taste of beer, but I must admit that the flavoured beers, especially the cherry flavour, were actually delicious! As we were 5, one night after dinner we went to a local pub, ordered the 5 flavours they had and we all got to have a little taste of each.

If you are a big fan of beer, then Delirium Café is a must! They have all the beers you can imagine, really cheap and there is a great atmosphere there. If I’m not mistaken, it’s open all day until 4am so you can go at any time of the day. It’s also a great place to meet people from all over the world. We visited the bar on our last night in Brussels planning on only staying for a few drinks and going home ready to do our last bit of sightseeing in the morning. We ended up having so much fun, meeting people from Venezuela to Bangladesh, that we ended up staying until we got kicked out at closing time. We had such a good time. We then went to visit the Mannikin Pis as there would be no queues.

TOURS
We actually only took one tour in the whole time we were in Belgium and this was in Ghent where we went on a boat tour. I would recommend buying a second-hand guide-book to whichever city you decide to visit and skipping the tours if you are an a tight budget. Another option is to book a free tour with a local which you can find on quite a few different Facebook pages; just type in on google: ________ free tours and arrange the one that best suits you.

I would definitely recommend the European Parliament tour, especially considering the fact that it’s free. You learn some extremely interesting facts and everyone that works there is so helpful and caring.


So, these are a few tips on how you can visit Brussels on a budget. I could have even spent less if I was on a seriously tight budget but I had some money saved up from working as an English teacher whilst at uni.

We had a great time during our stay in the European Capital and can’t thank my friends enough for making the trip so enjoyable! Gracias Paula, Marina, Irene y Chantal 🙂

If you have any questions at all or any other tips you think people may find useful then please leave a comment down below!

Molly x

 

 

 

The best of Budapest

This Christmas, Henner and I travelled to Budapest, Hungary, as a surprise birthday present from my parents. We spent 4 days exploring and eating and Budapest has become one of my favourite European cities I´ve visited so far! From start to finish, our trip to Budapest didn´t fail to amaze me. The city is incredibly beautiful and there is sooo much to do and learn! It’s actually incredibly affordable too which is always a plus. Here are a few of  my favourite places we visited during our stay and a few tips:

Tips:

  1. Be prepared for the cold. We learnt that people weren´t exaggerating when they told us it was extremely cold during the Winter. Whilst we were there, the temperatures varied between -6 and 0 degrees and it really was freezing, especially whilst crossing the Danube River, so be prepared and don´t let the cold hit you off guard!
  2. Walk everywhere. Almost all attractions in Budapest are within walking distance from each other, so I would encourage you to walk everywhere (especially to burn off all the tasty food you will be eating!!).
  3. Try the local cuisine. Hungarian food is delicious, cheap and definitely worth a try. During our stay, as it was around Christmas, there were tonnes of street food spots doted all over the city so we ate there once or twice and the food was amazing! This is also a good tip if you are on a budget. Some of my favourites were Langos (a deep-fried bread), Nokedli dumplings, Goulash, Paprikash and Kürtőskalács (chimney cake made from sweet yeast then spun and wrapped around a truncated cone-shaped baking material).
  4. If you are on a budget, Budapest has a wide variety of free things to do! Most museums also have discounts for european residents under 26 so be sure to take ID with you everywhere!

Top 10 places to visit:

  1. Walk across Chain Bridge, the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest, then take a walk along the Danube and make a special stop at the Shoes on the Danube Bank , to honor the people who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank after they were shot.
  2. Head for the hills. Visit cobblestone streets, narrow alleys and lovely squares surrounded by beautiful buildings in Castle Hill. I would advise you to visit this spot both in the day, to visit all the beautiful buildings (Fisherman´s Bastion, Matthias Church and Buda Castle in which the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum are located) and at night to witness the amazing city´s panoramic view lit up.IMG_1590
  3. Make a stop at one of Budapest´s most beautiful monuments: The Parliament Building. You can also take a tour to learn some super interesting history.
  4. Stop off at St. Stephen´s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest with a very serene atmosphere complete with lit candles and beautiful authentic decor. (It´s also free!). Head up to the Basilica´s dome for some seriously camera worthy panoramic views of the whole city. DSCF0115
  5. Take a break at one of the amazing thermal baths. There is honestly nothing more enjoyable to do after spending all day on your feet sightseeing. We visited the Szechenyi Bath and even went in the outside pools whilst it was – 6ºC.
  6. The House of Terror Museum provides an insight into how Fascism and Communism affected life in Hungary. I would advise to pay for the audio guide, even though there are information sheets in each room, as the information they provide is a lot to take in whilst viewing the museum. You can take the information sheets home with you and read them calmly.
  7. Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum (this really is a must see!). The very well run tour permits to understand an important and tough period of Budapest history and how people there had to face the Siege. Being under ground and hearing the history of the place was very powerful and touching.gozsdu-udvar-2039234950
  8. Gozsdu Udvar is a lively spot filled with restaurants and trendy bars illuminated by colorful strings of lights. Locals set up tables on the weekend to sell jewelry and trinkets. There’s even an arcade! Dont’s sit into the first place you find, go and discover first. You can still go back.
  9. Shop and eat like a local at the Central Market Hall.
  10. Have a drink at one of Budapest´s ruin bars. We only got the chance to visit Szimpla Kert (Simple Garden) which is the best known ruinpub among the the tourists and also the locals. It´s an extremely fascinating place with an amazing atmosphere.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrakech: Surviving the Moroccan Mayhem

In July, my boyfriend Henner and I travelled to Marrakech for Henner’s late 21st birthday present. I loved every second of our time spent in the beautiful city so I thought I’d share a few tips on how to make the most of your experience.

1. Stay in a Riad.

I can’t stress this advice enough. if you’ve never been to Morocco, you’re probably asking your self: What is a Riad? A Riad is a traditional Moroccan style guest house with a courtyard in the centre, hidden behind large wooden doors down the alleys of windy Moroccan streets. They are much more intimate than staying in a hotel and you will definitely be well looked after by all the lovely staff. You won’t believe your eyes as you see what’s behind those large wooden doors. We stayed at Riad Farhan and our stay was incredible from start to finish.

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2. Try Morrocan cuisine.

Anyone reading this who knows me well will know I loove trying new things, especially when it comes to food. I’d already eaten Moroccan food from a Moroccan family restaurant back home so I knew more or less what to expect but Henner hadn’t and he loved everything he tried.

I’m not a huge fan of breakfast, unlike Henner who can’t function before it, but I must say, I woke up every morning excited for the breakfast at our Riad. We were served typical Moroccan bread with butter and strawberry and apricot jam, fruit salad served in cute little mini tagines, orange juice, tea and coffee and depending on the day, coconut cake, chocolate cake, croissants or pancakes.

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On our second night in Marrakech, we went to a restaurant called Marrakechi at Place Jemma Fnaa and ordered the tasting menu for 2. There was definitely waaaay too much food but it was all delicious and we left feeling like we’d tried pretty much everything. My personal favorite was the vegetable cous cous wth the Lamb and prune tagine, soo tasty!

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3. Always have a map with you, walk confidently in the search for your destination and learn to say NO thanks.

There are so many streets in the Medina (the Centre of Marrakech where all the souks are) so it’s super easy to get lost as most of them look so similar. The best way to get around is using the Place Jemma Fnaa as a point of reference and finding everything else from there. If you look lost, within 2 seconds you will be surrounded by people offering to show you the way to your destination, always in exchange for a tip. The best thing to do is ignore these approaches, something we learnt on our first day on our way to the Medina. A man approached us offering to show us the way to the Colour Festival that was taking place for Ramadam as he was going that way anyway. We stupidly accepted his offer and ended up at a leather factory that smelt awful and had to give him a 10€ tip. So, as I said, walk with confidence and say no thank you to anybody offering to do you a favour and show you the way.

4. Be aware and try not to be overwhelmed by the mayhem.

When you think of Marrakech, you imagine beautiful spice souks and large open terraces with people drinking mint tea and smoking shisha. That is exactly what you can expect, but there is also a chaotic side of the city, with packed streets, people shouting in various languages trying to sell you souvenirs, children running around, motorbikes coming in all directions giving you a little beep before nearly running you over… It can be very intimidating at first but don’t worry, within your first few hours you will soon be used to dodging motorbikes and saying no to the shopkeeper that keeps offering you that leather bag that you just don’t want!

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5. Haggle, haggle, haggle.

As you wander through the medina, you will see a huge variety of lovely things on offer at the souks, ranging from spices to imitation designer sunglasses. In Morroco it is typical for everything to be on sale for a much higher price than it should actually cost, so don’t be afraid to negotiate, the shopkeepers expect it. Go two thirds down and you will most probably be closer to the actual price. I personally really enjoyed haggling the prices with the shopkeepers, it’s like a game for them. In one shop, I bought a chess set for a quarter of the asking price and the shopkeeper told me I was a hard bargainer. I definitely got that trait from my mum, haha!

6. Taking photos.

In most touristic areas, taking photos is perfectly fine, but in others, be prepared to be asked for a small tip, especially within the souks. There may also be scenarios where people just don’t want you to take a picture of them or their shop, so always be respectful and ask politely first.

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7. Dress code.

Absolutely anything is acceptable in Marrakech as it’s a very touristic city. Obviously if you walk around half naked you’ll get the odd stare or whistle, especially if you’re blonde, but showing skin isn’t a big deal. I would advise all men to take a pair of long trousers/jeans, despite the heat, as in some locations (Hotel Mamounia for example) it isn’t acceptable to wear shorts.
8. Last but definitely not least, have fun, enjoy and embrace the MOROCCAN MAYHEM, you may only visit Marrakech once so make the most of it!!!

Destination Unknown: Waynabox

In need of a short break away but can’t decide where to travel? Waynabox is your solution.

This March, my friend Maria and I were scrolling through our boring FaceBook home pages when we came across Waynabox, and became extremely intrigued. So, by now you’re probably wondering, what exactly is Waynabox? Well, Waynabox is a spanish company that offers weekends away for only 150€ each, a fixed price, including flights and accommodation, and the best part, the destination is a surprise!  (At the moment they only offer their service from 3 airports, Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga, but they are working hard to expand their options.)

The company offers you a list of 12 european destinations, one of which you can remove from the list free of charge (maybe you’ve already been there or just don’t fancy it) and randomly chooses your destination for you, which you don’t find out until 2 days before your travels! Seeing as we are both extremely indecisive travel addicts, we thought, why not give it a go? So thats exactly what we did. Impatiently, in the middle of a lecture at uni, we booked our Waynabox getaway. Our destination options were: Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Tangier, Brussels, London, Dublin, Cologne, Lisbon, Budapest and Turin.

After booking I started having my doubts… 3 days, what if our flights are terrible and we only really get a full day or a day and a half? What if our hotel is in the middle of nowhere and we have to spend a fortune on transport to the city? And all I can say is boy was I wrong!

On Wednesday at 12:00pm, 2 days before our getaway, as promised, we received an email from Waynabox announcing our destination of travel: FRANKFURT! I was so excited as I had never been to Germany. Included in the email were our flight details, the hotel booking and a guide to the city. The flights were great, flying early Friday morning at 7:00am and returning late Sunday evening at 20:00pm and the hotel was right in the city centre, in front of the central station.

Overall, our experience with Waynabox was perfect, they were extremely professional and I don’t have a bad word to say about their service. WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MY REVIEW OF FRANKFURT! 

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My first post: 2015

Hi Everyone!

For my first ever blogpost, I thought I would take a walk down memory lane and tell you all about what I got up to last year. 2015 was by far the best year of my life for sooo many reasons; I finished Bachillerato (spanish equivalent of A-Levels) with great marks, got accepted into university to study International Relations in spanish, met my boyfriend Henner, moved away from home to study in Madrid, I volunteered abroad for the first time, met some amazing people… But best of all, I got to travel, A LOT!

All the traveling I got to do made me realize how exciting life really is and how much I would like to share all my experiences with other people. After being asked to write a blog post for an organization at Uni and from some encouragement from my mum, I finally plucked up the courage to start a travel blog and here I am!

Now, back to my walk down memory lane. In April, I spent a week in Italy with my family visiting Venice and Rome. I loved Italy and it’s culture so much that I’ve actually started learning Italian with the hope of going to Italy as an exchange student in my 3rd year of uni.

In May, after having a nightmare with my passport running out a week before my exams, my mum and I had to make a quick trip to Belfast (the only passport office with an appointment available). We went on a great tour of the murals, learnt a lot about irish history and had a lovely afternoon tea at Belfast castle, yum!

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In August, I traveled alone for the first time ever to Ghana as a volunteer (blogpost about my experience coming very soon!). The time I spent in Ghana really opened up my eyes and I can’t wait to go volunteering again.

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For my 18th birthday, Henner took me away to Majorca. It was so nice to chill and spend time together just before I moved away to Madrid, seeing as we wouldn’t be seeing each other for months at a time.

In December I traveled to Hurghada, Egypt, with my family for Christmas for a nice break, especially for my parents who work a lot. It was lovely to spend quality time with my family, something I don’t get much time to do now that I don’t live at home. My mum and I also visited Luxor, which I loved and will definitely be writing a blog post about soon!

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Last but not least, for my 18th birthday, my parents, seeing as they know I love to travel, instead of buying me a materialistic present, decided to send me away on holiday with my boyfriend Henner. Seeing as it was late December and we live in a hot country, they thought we would enjoy a nordic country. We spent 3 days in Stockholm, Sweden and 3 days in Copenhagen, Denmark. We had a great time, despite the cold!

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So, there you go, these are all of my 2015 destinations! Like I said, 2015 was a blast and 2016 is turning out to be just as exciting. There are various destinations I already have planned to leave my footprint on and I can´t wait to tell you all about them!