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The Start

Hi and welcome to the ‘This Way To Adventure’ blog!

I have decided to start this blog ready for my Summer adventures with my boyfriend, Alfie.

The whole idea came about when my original dissertation plan got thrown out of the window, and so I had a brain-wave that I could link my dissertation to my travels. From this it was decided that, in order to compare my travels to other travel books, it would be beneficial to write my experiences and adventures down on paper during the time we are away. This was when I decided, that in order for my family and friends to follow where we are as well, I could publish these experiences as a blog. Thus, This Way To Adventure began!

We embark on our grand tour (as my Dad has suitably named it) on the 10th July: starting in Copenhagen! From there we travel around Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway, working our way back to Copenhagen ready to fly out to Malta. In Malta we will be teaching with an English immersion camp called Angloville for 10 days. From Malta we will be flying to Gdansk, in Poland, where we will meet up with some friends for a few days before all flying back to the UK.

During the next couple of months keep an eye on this blog for new posts every few days and on mine and Alfie’s  Instagram’s (@nwilttravel and @travelwithalfie) for hopefully daily photos, internet permitting of course!

I hope you enjoy following our adventures as much as we will enjoy being on them!

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Gdansk and Final Farewell

We arrived in Gdansk Airport and collected my bag from the luggage carriers. We then booked an Uber to take us into Gdansk centre to meet up with 2 of Alfie’s friends. The Uber taxi met us outside the arrivals area and only cost £6 equivalent between us for a 25 minute journey which was cheap compared to Uber in the UK! Alfie’s friends had told us they were sat at a café on ‘Long Street’ in Gdansk centre. We soon found them and joined for a drink before going to check in to our apartment.

We all had our bags with us, and walked the long distance to the address we had been given for the apartment. We had agreed with the owner to have a 1pm check in (due to some great ‘Genius’ bonuses on Alfie’s Booking.com account), however when we arrived at the given address it was already 1:15pm and no one was around. We went into what we thought was the building, and found it to be slightly derelict so hoped it wasn’t there! We called and realised that the owner had forgotten, and thought we were checking in at 3pm. Within 15 minutes, someone came over with the keys and led us to the correct entrance and building next door. This one had a security code on the main door to the flats, making us feel a lot safer! When we entered the apartment, it was big in size and was beautiful. It was made up of 4 rooms: an entrance hall/kitchen (with sofa bed), the bathroom, a lounge area with sofa beds, and a double bedroom.

They decided to put the TV on for a bit, and as Alfie and I hadn’t slept properly in nearly 48 hours, I fell asleep sat on one of the sofas, for quite a long time! When I woke up, they told me that we were going back into the main city to get some food, as we hadn’t eaten for nearly 24 hours either. We ended up eating pizzas in a restaurant called ‘Long Street 52’ which was really nice and so much cheaper than what we’d got used to in Scandinavia and Malta!

We then went and found a bar along the canal side, which had a live DJ (who looked so happy to be doing his job…)! I ordered a ‘strawberry woo woo’, which unexpectedly came in a margarita glass, whilst the 3 lads ordered a beer each!


After a drink, we headed back to the apartment, only stopping along the way to buy some coffee, milk and cereal for the apartment from a store, as well as stopping by a pharmacy for me to buy some antihistamine tablets. When we got back, the lads watched the TV and went to buy beer, crisps and Tetley tea whilst I ended up falling asleep on the double bed (which Alfie and I had claimed), not even waking up when Alfie’s other friend arrived at the apartment!

When I woke up, we decided to head into Gdansk to a couple of bars whilst we waited for my friend’s delayed plain to arrive. We started off in a bar with heaters and blankets; however, the waitress told us we only had time for one drink, as they were due to be closing. We then headed to an underground bar which specialised in ales. After a couple of drinks each (or none in my case), we then headed back to the apartment, especially as I was starting to fall asleep again.

We sat watching the TV waiting for my friend to arrive…However, her RyanAir flight from Birmingham Airport was delayed by nearly 3 hours. This meant staying awake until after 2am, although it was really great to see her when she finally arrived, although she was very tired like the rest of us! We all decided to call it a night!

The next day, we all had a slight lie in, however, we wanted to go and explore. We decided to head out for a late breakfast (AKA brunch). We found a restaurant with an extensive menu of breakfasts and pastas. Two of Alfie’s friends ate a dish called “Good morning Gdansk” whilst the rest of us opted for their pasta dishes. We finished there just in time for the Gdansk Free Walking Tour.

The walking tour guide (who we all found to be a great woman) focussed on the history of Gdansk, including a tour of the old town, as well as visiting St.Mary’s church (which is the largest brick church in the world) and the largest medieval crane in Europe, along with the war events in Gdansk and the events during the communist time, ending at the Old Post Office (the location of one of the first acts in World War II).


We then went back to the apartment, and headed out on an adventure to find a hill. On the way, we weren’t entirely sure where we were going, however a kind man stopped and gave us directions which was helpful! The hill had a statue on it, and opened up some good views over Gdansk (depending on which way you looked – look the wrong way and all you see is cranes). The view was made better due to a rainbow lighting up the sky!


After a short while exploring, we all decided we were getting hungry, so we headed back into Gdansk to find somewhere for dinner. We ended up in a restaurant called ‘Kos’. I ordered the most beautiful Pork tenderloin which came with baked potatoes (or what we call roast potatoes), whilst some of the others had a Polish traditional dish of pierogi (Polish dumplings).

After our food, we ended up in an unusual cocktail bar/microbrewery called Cooltura. I ordered a ‘sex on the beach’ cocktail, and everyone else had a beer. We then decided to head back to the apartment, drink canned beers and play Scattergories (if you’ve never played, I highly recommend), before calling it a day!

On Tuesday, we woke up early with the aim of going to the World War Two museum, as on a Tuesday the museum has free entry. However, when we got to the museum, the queue weaved around the museum and up the stairs, and someone informed us that once the maximum capacity is fulfilled, it works as a “one in one out” system, meaning we could be stood there for up to 4 hours in the queue. Thus, we decided to not bother, otherwise we would be using up 4 hours of our day just stood in a queue. Instead, we went back to the apartment to grab some things, before ordering Uber’s to take us to the beach.

When we arrived at the beach it started to rain which was not ideal at all. When it cleared we walked over the sand to the water (the Baltic Sea), where one of Alfie’s friends decided he would go for a very cold swim, whilst the rest of us just decided to watch. For lunch, we sat in a bar (inside a large gazebo) and ordered various food items. Alfie and I shared a rather disgusting, ketchup dominated pizza…all I can say is I’m glad it was only cheap. We decided to leave the beach and order taxis back to the apartment.

In the afternoon, we went to the Amber Museum (which was linked with a torture museum/prison tower) and then went to the Golden Wasser restaurant/café. I had a baileys hot chocolate and wow it was good. 


From there we walked 405 steps up the tower in St Mary’s Church; however, the lads walked so fast that when we reached the top, my friend and I felt like we’d run a marathon! Despite this, the views from the top were pretty amazing…until it started absolutely bucketing it down with rain!


After this, one of Alfie’s friends led us to a cocktail bar, which advertised on the window that it had board games. I ordered a cosmopolitan cocktail, and one of Alfie’s friends requested the pack of UNO cards. We all enjoyed a couple of cocktails and a few games of UNO I think! We decided though, it was definitely time for dinner!

We went to another restaurant, where once again I had an amazing meal…however, all of our chosen dishes were covered in cress. Their chef clearly has a thing for a bit of cress! Once we’d all finished eating, I called my mum…or at least I tried. Unfortunately, at the end of Malta I gained a sore throat, so by Tuesday in Gdansk, I had no voice at all. For the people stuck with me in Gdansk, this was probably a blessing; however, my mum definitely struggled to hear what I was saying!

After dinner, we headed back to the same cocktail bar again…but this time we played Scrabble instead. However, the game they had was Polish scrabble, so we had to use slight artistic licence on English words and Polish letters…it was a very interesting but fun game! We then headed back to the apartment, watched TV and the others drank beers, before we all headed to bed.

On Wednesday morning, we all woke up reasonably early, in order to pack, tidy and clean ready to depart the apartment before check-out time. Once again, we went out for breakfast/brunch, this time back at ‘Long Street 52’ where a few of us had eaten previously. They had a good range of breakfast choices, but in the end we all chose the same meal which was: 2 fried eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 white sausages, 2 pieces of toast, a pot of beans, and slices of cheese and ham (I asked for it without the beans…).  However, what made the dish even better value for money, was that the price included a choice of either coffee, beer or a shot of vodka!

After eating breakfast, we decided to go on the big wheel. We must have gone around it about 4 times before they stopped the wheel! There were some amazing views over Gdansk in some directions, however in other directions all that could be seen were cranes and building work!

We then headed for more drinks at the Golden Wasser café again. This time I opted for a plain hot chocolate, but it was still as good as the time before. The only thing that ruined the experience this time round, was the waitress: she was extremely rude to everyone she was serving. I understand we all have bad days, but there’s no need to take it out on polite customers!

After a short while hanging around in Gdansk, we all walked one of Alfie’s friends to the bus station ready for his bus to Krakow! When we said goodbye to him, we booked Uber’s to take the rest of us to the airport. When we arrived at the airport we were too early for check-in, so we found some chairs for a couple of hours. Usually check-in is supposed to open 2-3 hours before your flight, however ours was the last flight out for that day and they didn’t open our check in until nearly 90 minutes before departure time. Myself and my friend checked in my bag and then we swiftly worked through security before finding a shop to buy some food for the plane.

Once on the plane, we all found our chairs (mine in the middle of the plane compared to everyone else’s at the front…thank you RyanAir)! However, I was not on my own for long…The window seat next to me was supposed to be occupied by a woman with her baby, however children are not allowed in the emergency exit chairs. Luckily, the flight attendant swapped her with Alfie so I had some good company! Eventually, we arrived at Stanstead Airport, thus indicating the end of our travels.

I am very sad to be home and back in the real world doing University work and realising my bank hates me. I also walk around now in England expecting to hear lots of languages; it’s disappointing only getting to hear mainly the English language when I’d got so used to a good variety! However, I have had the most amazing Summer travelling with Alfie, seeing new places, meeting new people, and exploring Poland with some amazing friends.  Alfie and I were both in agreement that Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen were 3 of our favourite places in Scandinavia, each having so many different things to see but also being pretty at the same time! I would also definitely go back to Malta and Poland, and would recommend anyone to give them a visit if they get the chance!

I want to thank the friends who joined us in Poland and ended our travels in the best way possible, making some amazing memories! Another thank you goes to my parents for supporting our travels, but also for helping me fund them…! And my final thank you: I can’t thank Alfie enough for putting up with me, looking after me and being amazing company during our time away. It definitely would not have been the same without him!

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”  Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

This is not goodbye…it’s see you later!

Alfie’s YouTube (New videos will appear soon):

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCNi-_VpAMEED2XkeTuFvZuQ

Instagram’s:
@nwilttravel

@travelwithalfie

 

 

Malta: Angloville, bad food and distressed dolphins

I want to start this post by apologising for how long it is……

The end of our time in Copenhagen:

Our hostel in Copenhagen was actually extremely nice, although you would expect so as it has only been open since the start of the year. The staff even offered to keep our gas cylinder because we didn’t know where to dispose of it, and we couldn’t fly with it.

We arrived at the airport at 6pm, checked in my bag, quickly got through security and then went to find some dinner. We had dinner in Starbucks, where we both decided to have a “breakfast wrap”, which was very nice! Our flight was not until 11:40pm so we spent a lot of time sat around the airport watching all the shops slowly close around us!

Malta

We arrived in Malta at around 3am and got picked up by our AirBnb host, which was extremely nice of him! Despite being so early in the morning, it was still extremely humid in Malta, as they were experiencing a heatwave during our time there; so our host gave us 2 fans to sleep with as he didn’t have any air conditioning in his house.

When we woke up, we were provided with some breakfast and then we decided to head into Valetta to explore. We went to find the bus stop but didn’t know where it was. However, a local woman saw us and clearly thought we looked lost, so she asked us if we needed help. After trying to explain where the bus stop was, she eventually decided just to take us to the bus stop herself which was extremely nice of her!

We got into Valetta, where the temperatures were well above 30 degrees Celsius, and we decided to explore. The interesting thing about Valetta, is that 3 of the directions you go, all end up by the sea with amazing views. Due to the heat, we kept having to stop to go in cafes and bars for drinks. The first one we ended up in was a café/restaurant. We ordered a sandwich/pasty each but the woman got a bit confused and so we were convinced that we would only end up with 1 of them, and then I ordered a sangria whilst Alfie had a beer. When the woman brought over our order, it was lucky there was only one of the pasty/sandwiches, as they were absolutely covered in sesame seeds which Alfie can’t eat. We weren’t the only table that had order issues, we must have watched 6 people walk out the restaurant with issues, whilst others put in complaints. Gordon Ramsey definitely needed to go in and help that restaurant!

We then decided to explore by the water, which happened to have a lot less to visit and see than we thought. However, we managed to find a nice quiet outside bar, overlooking the water. I ordered a cocktail (which was disgusting so I had to order some water too) and Alfie had another beer. The view was absolutely stunning though.


We then decided to head back towards the bus station, as we hadn’t had much sleep and the sun was very hot, and in Valetta there is not much shade. When we finally found our bus stop we went back and found dinner in the only restaurant in Balzan (or so TripAdvisor told us). The restaurant looked like it should have been very expensive, however, it was very reasonably priced and the food we ordered tasted great! I had a goat’s cheese ravioli, whilst Alfie had a risotto, and both of us very much enjoyed what we had. We then headed back to the AirBnb to get some sleep, ready for Angloville to start the next day.

My Angloville Experience

Our AirBnb host dropped us off at the University residence (where he happened to have been a teacher at the school opposite, and a lecturer at the University). We checked into our room and dropped our luggage off, before introducing ourselves to the other native speakers and one of the coordinators.

Angloville is a Polish organisation which happens to be “the biggest provider of English language immersion programmes in Poland, Hungry, Czechia and Romania”, whilst also running international camps in England, Malta and Ireland. Our camp basically entailed talking to lots of juniors (aged 12-18, from Poland, Hungry and Italy), encouraging them to speak lots of English, ultimately improving their English considerably by the end of the 10 days we spent in Malta. Every day also involved playing games, doing group activities (like coming up with our own superhero) and having a “field trip” or sports activity!

Day 1

The first day, we spent a considerable amount of time waiting for everyone’s flights to arrive with the coordinators, so it was a chance for us native speakers to interact and get to know each other for a bit over lunch. After lunch, we had “ice breaker” sessions/games with all the participants so that we could try to learn each other’s names…needless to say, it still took me ages to learn everyone’s names, as an hour isn’t really long enough to learn 70 people’s names!

Day 2

Day 2 of Angloville started with breakfast at 8:30, followed by some 2 on 1 conversations (1 native speaker with 2 participants), group activities and games. After lunch, we had 90 minutes free time before coaches picked us up to do some group activities in Valetta. We were put in groups (in my group there were 4 native speakers and the rest were participants) and the participants had to ask 8 different questions to Maltese locals. Eventually, we decided to let the participants buy ice creams (which became a frequent occurrence on these trips) and go for a paddle in the sea!


Day 3

Day 3 was generally a repeat of day 2, except instead of 2 on 1 conversations, we had 1 on 1 conversations and mentor meetings. We were given our mentees that morning (they had to choose who they wanted to mentor them, with the aim of creating a presentation about a topic of their choice, which was to be presented on the final day to the group). I had two Ukrainian brothers, who both wanted to do presentations about their favourite football teams, with one choosing Dynamo Kiev and the other, Real Madrid. Our first session was really easy as both of them knew exactly what they wanted to do their presentations on so they got straight onto planning and research! The afternoon was then spent at the beach sunbathing, whilst all the participants were swimming. It was a bit of a lazy afternoon, without any interaction with the participants, definitely making it feel more like a holiday.


Day 4

Day 4 we had a mixture of mentor meetings, games, 2 on 1 sessions and a cultural session. This was also followed by sports activities which were a choice of basketball or swimming, due to having use of the residences pool and the basketball court.

Day 5

Day 5 on the timetable included a trip to Mdina for group activities, followed by a trip to a waterpark. Mdina was absolutely beautiful, however it would be nice to do it on a holiday without having to do tasks and look after the participants. The group activity for Mdina was to recreate scenarios and take photos of them, for example: “recreate a Disney scene”, “pretend someone is being arrested”, “make a human pyramid” etc. This was quite fun for some of the group we had, however, there was a far too big a list meaning they found it quite tedious after a while. Therefore, we did end up just taking them for more ice cream…! 


The afternoon they spent at the waterpark…however, I hate waterparks and do have a slight fear of drowning. So, I spent my time eating food and sunbathing with another English native, who happened to have studied at the University of Worcester previously (where I currently study)! However, everyone that did go on the slides seemed to have good fun!

Day 6

Day 6 was another mix of 1 on 1 conversations, mentor meetings and sport activities! The 1 on 1 conversations each day were really useful in order to get to spend half an hour each with 4 different participants, getting to know them and hearing their English improve!

Day 7

Day 7 was basically the same again….(notice a pattern with every day yet?), however the afternoon timetable said “Boat trip to Sliema”. This actually happened to be nothing to do with Sliema. We got dropped off in a town (somewhere, who knows where) on a public holiday, so barely anyway was open, and had to take the participants around. Once again this just meant letting them go in a souvenir store, and eat ice cream. 


We then caught a 10 minute boat from the towns harbour, to Valetta, which they’d all already seen anyway. Once in Valetta, we all went up an elevator to the highest point and saw some amazing views over the water. Once again, we then took our groups for more ice cream, McDonalds and henna tattoos.


Day 8

On day 8, we had the same morning again, however the afternoon was used for group activities and archery sessions. They used the afternoon for mentees to have a final mentor session if they wanted to (mind didn’t need or want one) and they rotated a signed-up list doing archery. Us natives had to pay 5 euro to partake, so as I’ve done archery before, I decided not to! Instead, we were given free time, which I spent with some of the other natives by one of the pools!


Day 9

Day 9 we all had to be up really early for breakfast ready for a day trip to the island of Gozo. They had hired a couple of tour guides to take us round on coaches to see various parts of Gozo, with churches appearing to be a strong favourite of the tour guides. 


We also visited some blue caves which could be explored on boat trips. This was an amazing experience! Lunch was spent in a bay where people could explore and swim in the sea, as well as buy lunch and ice creams, or sit on the tiny little pebble beach area (which happened to be what I did).


Day 10

Day 10 was the final day, which consisted of the participants doing their presentations. I was really proud of my mentees, they did an amazing job presenting! Even watching the other presentations, you could tell a difference in their English from having speaking sessions with them during the rest of the week! My mentees went 13th and 14th, and at the end made a special thank you to me which was really nice of them and did make me blush massively!

Warning: Rant

In the middle of the presentations, there was a break, in which 4 natives and a group of participants went to the Mediterraneo Park. Now I want to make it clear that I do completely disagree with dolphin shows and keeping huge sea animals in tiny captivity; however, I went because I saw how few natives had agreed to go, and thought it was unfair on the participants to lack interaction with us, when their parents have all paid to send them away to Angloville to interact with us to learn English. So, I watched the dolphin show…and was really upset to see that to the side of the “performance pool”, was a tiny round pool with a dolphin trying to injure itself by whacking itself off the pool edges and the water, clearly in extreme distress! What also made this such a difficult viewing was that the 2 dolphins in the show both had lots of scars on them in weird shapes, some like stars. If humans are given a choice to perform dance or gymnastics, why should dolphins be forced to perform just for our entertainment? It didn’t help, that the “performance area” itself looked out over the sea, which is obviously a vast expanse of water compared to the tiny areas that these dolphins are being kept in. After the “show”, we went and found the seals…to our disappointment and disgust, they were being kept in a tiny windowed box with a really tiny stream of water running through it. I just don’t understand why any company can think this is an acceptable way for them to make some money.

When we got back, we had lunch and then finished watching everyone’s presentations. We were told that the box of certificates had been stolen, so the certificate ceremony involved them calling us up with our mentees to have a photo with them, as well as giving them their feedback forms (we had to write feedback forms about our mentees for them to take home). After this, they had a Belgian dance and a mini disco with Cotton Eye Joe and the Macarena, before letting them have a pool party. The pool party ended with everyone taking lots of photos together and hugging goodbye…a lot of the participants were in absolute tears!

So far, I haven’t mentioned any social times. Social time occurred at the end of every day, and usually consisted of fun games (such as mafia/werewolves), sports, and on one occasion a pool party with music which was good fun and a great way to end the long days! There was also a talent contest (Angloville’s Got Talent) that was definitely very entertaining and amazing to watch too! 

However, I may have portrayed this experience to be a really great one during this blog post, but I have to be honest and say at times I hated it (and ended up crying at least once a day), and at times I loved it, and have met some amazing people. By the end of the week it did get easier, because everyone got to know each other that bit better. I also could not have asked for better and more polite mentees; they thanked me multiple times at the end of every single session which was an amazing feeling and they were an absolute credit to their family! 

However, my bad experience was not helped by absolutely appalling and sometimes inedible food (one night I just ate a pile of rice because I couldn’t eat the meat), a lack of sleep during the 10 days and sometimes a fair bit of disorganisation by the coordinators! Looking back though, it really wasn’t as bad as it felt at the time, and I would definitely go back to Malta on holiday so I can explore it better!

Our final day in Malta

On Saturday (19th) all of the participants left at varying intervals during the day with the coordinators to the airport to fly home. This left us natives to do as we pleased before our flights out of Malta. 4 of us had flights out of Malta at around 7am on the Sunday morning, so we decided to spend the afternoon together with an American native, watching the football in a sports bar. We then invited the other natives still in Malta to go out for dinner (back at the same restaurant Alfie and I had previously eaten at in Balzan) before we headed back to the airport. This was a nice opportunity to say goodbye to the other natives before our flight to Gdansk!

Alfie’s YouTube channel:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCNi-_VpAMEED2XkeTuFvZuQ

Oslo – A tiny piece of Norway

On our second full day in Oslo, we decided it best to buy a 24 hour travel pass, because we had decided to visit the Fram museum (on the recommendations of my Dad and TripAdvisor). The travel pass would enable us to get the bus all the way to the other side of Oslo to the doors of the museum without paying the ridiculous prices the driver would charge (55NOK for a single trip…you must be joking!). 

We arrived at the Fram museum and noticed that a student ticket was 40NOK compared to the 100NOK Adults ticket; so we decided to see if they would let us have student tickets using my ISIC (International Student Identity Card) and Alfie’s University of Worcester pass…Sure enough they did, so we managed to save 60NOK each!! The museum was really quite fascinating, and a geography students heaven (lucky me, not so lucky Alfie), discussing glaciers and climate change as well as the Fram ship (which you can go on and inside). However, we both thoroughly enjoyed it, and very much enjoyed their informative film. It is definitely somewhere I would recommend to anyone visiting that area of Norway! 


We decided, due to absolutely awful rain, to head back to Grünerløkka and get a drink before calling it a day. We found a small cafe and ordered a hot chocolate and a mocha…little did we know, the drinks would be given to us in what was essentially a bowl! However, the drinks we’re absolutely heavenly..I feel like we are very good at choosing our Scandinavian coffee shops! After buying some food for dinner, we then headed back to the apartment and called it a day. 


The next morning, we woke up early as we had decided tot visit the ski jump and museum at Holmenkollen and knew that it could potentially be busy on a Saturday. We got the bus to the city centre and then got the metro to Holmenkollen. It was then a bit of a walk up a steep hill to get to the museum and ski jump, however we finally made it! It was absolutely fascinating and we enjoyed the interactivity of the museum. Although, we did think they were not providing as many resources for international tourists (other than British), unlike the Fram museum who had language screens everywhere for multiple languages. Despite this, we really enjoyed it and found the views from the top of the towear were magnificent. It’s definitely worth a visit, however it is not the easiest of attractions to get to. 


It started to rain (again!) whilst we were at Holmenkollen so when we got the metro back to the city centre, we decided to go for a meal as we still had plenty of NOK left. We went to a beef/steak house, that was reasonably cheap and is a well known brand in Scandinavia. Both of us really enjoyed what we had, especially for the price we had. We left there, and decided to go to a supermarket to buy some cakes for later in the day after our dinner, as well as buying some bread for dinner. We headed back to the apartment and sat on the balcony resting before making dinner and our sandwiches for our bus journey the next day, packed and tidied up. After packing and eating, we decided to watch some TV and then call it a day as we knew we had to be up early.

This morning we got up at 7:30, showered, ate breakfast and then left to catch the bus into the city. When we got into the city we had a drink in Espresso House, and then went and waited for our bus back to Copenhagen. We enjoyed our time in Oslo, especially getting to explore some museums, but we definitely feel like we need to see other areas of Norway like Voss and Bergen to appreciate Norway’s beauty, which we didn’t feel here in Oslo. 

We are now on our bus to Copenhagen, which has screens on the chairs in front, with access to films, music, tv etc. (it’s like being on a long haul airplane!) and even free hot drinks! I’ve even managed to watch ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (I promise I’m 20, not 10)! Once in Copenhagen we have a hostel/hotel booked for the night before our flight out to Malta Monday night! We are sad to be leaving Scandinavia so soon, but are looking forward to our next adventure in Malta! 

Alfie’s YouTube Channel: 

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCNi-_VpAMEED2XkeTuFvZuQ

Daily photos on our Instagram accounts:

@nwilttravel

@travelwithalfie

Stockholm (Round 2: Part 2) and Oslo!

So on Tuesday we decided to check out the metro station’s as they feature some amazing artefacts, art work and underground treasures that you wouldn’t expect to find – it even features a ceiling painted like a piano above the travelator! Surprisingly, TripAdvisor lists it as one of it’s things to see and do, and it even features as a whole organised Free Walking Tour(although you would need to buy a metro pass/ticket)! The subway system itself is said to be the world’s longest art exhibition, with over 90 of the 100 subway stations being decorated! We mainly focused on Kungsträdgården which looks like an archeological excavation, and includes the remains of Stockholm Makalös Palace. -Keep an eye out for Alfie’s YouTube video about ‘Kungsträdgården’ to see some highlights of our trip! 

When we’d finished in the metro stations, we headed to Gamla Stan to find somewhere to have lunch; as we decided it would be nice to have a meal out on our last full day in Stockholm and even Sweden! However, on the way we stumbled across the changing of the guards ceremony, which occurs every day at 12 noon. In Stockholm this is a huge thing with all the new guards riding horses and even the brass band were on horse-back (I admire them for playing a trumpet and staying on a moving horse)! We followed them through into the square of the Royal Palace and watched the parade, amongst thousands of eager tourist spectators with selfie sticks! – Alfie’s ‘Changing of the Guard’ video will be posted in the next few days on his channel, so keep an eye out! 

We found a restaurant in ‘Järntorget’ (The Iron Square), where their ‘Today’s Specials’ seemed reasonably priced. We both ordered a lasagne, whilst Alfie drank a beer, and I drank the locals favourite ‘Aperol Spritz’. We’d noticed everyone drinking these during our time in Sweden and Finland so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. After a bit of research (thanks Google), I found out it is a wine-based cocktail, made out of Prosecco, Aperol and Soda Water. It happens to mainly be drunk as an aperitif in Italy: however, the Scandinavians have really grown to love it! Our dinner was absolutely delicious, although possibly too small for the price!

We then decided to go for a walk around and find something for pudding! We ended up in a small, quiet little sweet/ice cream shop, that was also very cheap! I ordered a lemon curd ice cream scoop and a scoop of chocolate ice cream…they were absolutely heavenly – England definitely needs to up it’s ice cream game! We then decided to head back to the AirBnb and sort our things out ready for our departure Wednesday morning!

So Wednesday, we spend a lot of the day on a train heading to Oslo! We accidentally ended up spending most of the journey watching Gordon Ramsey’s Costa Del Nightmares, which kept us thoroughly entertained! The train was actually a very pleasant one, with plenty of leg room, internet, electricity points and rather nice toilets! 

Eventually we arrived in Oslo! We then managed to get lost trying to find the bus to our next AirBnb host. Really we didn’t have to get the bus, but it would have been a half hour walk with extremely heavy bags, so a bus was definitely preferable! However, we finally found the bus, and made it to our AirBnb!

The host greeted us and showed us our room and where everything is. Their place is absolutely beautiful and so clean…and our room even has a balcony!! We then went and bought food for dinner and cooked, at past 9pm! We were definitely then ready for bed.

Today, we had some breakfast (sat on our balcony in the sun…) and then headed out to explore what Oslo has to offer! We firstly decided to check out the area surrounding our AirBnb, Grünerløkka. It is known as the hipster/vintage/bohemian area and we could definitely see why! There are lots of vintage boutiques, coffee shops, graffiti/street art, and even a huge chandelier is hanging outside of the nightclub Blå! We decided to stop for a drink, and chose a retro coffee house. Inside every wall was covered in retro and vintage signs, as well as old items! I ordered a peppermint chocolate milkshake, whilst Alfie had an ice latte, which definitely had plenty of coffee in it!

When we left there, we decided to find the main centre of Oslo and the waterside area. We walked through the old town and found the Akershus Fortress. This Provided us with some beautiful views of the surrounding islands and fjords, as well as of a huge cruise ship! After spending some time wandering the grounds, we decided to head into the main centre.

It started to rain quite heavily, so we dived into a shopping centre and explored what they had to offer, before jumping into a second shopping centre! In the second one, we found a supermarket that had some beautiful bakery goods, so we decided to buy some; and as a bonus it was 3 for 35NOK! We ate our cake/doughnut and then decided to call it a day. On the way back to the apartment, it decided to absolutely bucket it down with rain, which wasn’t ideal! We managed to stop off in a supermarket and buy some food for dinner, and also managed to chat to the guy serving us at the checkout, who asked us all about our travels!  

We have now met the host’s boyfriend, whom she lives with and he chatted to us about our day and what we plan to do in Stockholm. We have now had dinner and will probably watch something before we head to bed ready for the next few busy days in Oslo!!

Alfie’s “7 Things to do in Stockholm” playlist:

Alfie’s YouTube channel:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCNi-_VpAMEED2XkeTuFvZuQ

Our Instagram accounts for daily updates:

@nwilttravel

@travelwithalfie

Stockholm: Round 2 – part 1!

We decided that in Stockholm it was best to buy an SL Access Card and pay for a 7 day pass to be added to the card, as we were well aware that we were going to have to get the metro into the city every day; so for 335 SEK (32.17 – incuding 20 SEK for the Access Card that can be topped up again in the next 3 years) we were free to use the Stockholm SL transport! I would recomend this pass to anyone visiting Stockholm, even for just a short time as they offer different length passes, whether it be 24 hours or 7 days!

After buying our pass, we got the T18 metro line to our next AirBnb hosts place! We managed to find their flat, and the host showed us around, even telling us that he’d provided us with a few basic bits of food for breakfast (we were very grateful!)! He then told us he was leaving for a couple of hours and would then be leaving for potentially the duration of our stay, to visit his mother, son and dog elsewhere. 

We decided to nap as we hadn’t slept properly for 24 hours or something horrible! Luckily we had already picked up food for dinner when we were in Umea, so when we woke up, all we had to do was cook the food. We had pasta and then decided to head to bed to rest up ready for the following days explorations.

So day 1 back in Stockholm: We found out there was a free festival called Putte I Parken, hosting some of Sweden’s popular music talents, so we decided to drop by and see what it had to offer. By the time we’d woken up and got into Stockholm, we managed to catch a duo called “Good Harvest” and we were not disappointed! Taking their inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchel, they had a sort of Simon and Garfunkel and First Aid Kit vibe, with beautiful harmonies and a folk sort of sound – as you can tell, I was very impressed (I would definitely recomend giving them a listen – link at the bottom!).

When they had finished, we left and headed back to the flat, with very much the intentions of going back to the festival in the evening for Friday nights headline band. However, when we got back we gave the band a listen, and decided we were not interested. Instead, we had dinner and decided to call it a night after watching a bit of TV. 

On Saturday, after another relaxed morning, we managed to join a Free Walking Tour Group around Gamla Stan. I would definitely usually reccomend free walking tours in cities as they are really interesting and give a good brief insight walking around; however, there were so many people on this one that most of the time we couldn’t hear what the tour guide was saying! In the end we decided to leave the group and go souvenir hunting and ice cream eating (I thoroughly recomend marzipan, texan fudge, or hazelnut bueno ice creams)! 

Once again we came back to the flat, ate dinner, watched TV and slept…As you can tell, our evenings are very exciting! 

So Sunday, we decided to visit the ABBA Museum!! (much to Alfie’s delight…)! To do this, we had to get the metro to T-Centrum, another metro to Kungsträdgården, and then a tram to Gröna Lund! We arrived, had no trouble paying to get In, and then had to find the actual museum entrance within, which was hard when there was a big German tour group trying to sort their audio guides out! When we finally managed to get in, both of us were extremely happy to see the Eurovision museum area first! This featured lots of contestant and winners costumes (including Johnny Logan, Lena, Bobby Socks and Lordi and Måns Zelmerlöw), a karaoke area, lots of video and sound clips and an interactive quiz! We did give the quiz a go, and I feel like we did fairly well considering our ages! Then came the ABBA museum!

In the ABBA museum (which they needed to sign post slightly better, as we went in by the wrong entrance), there were lots of costumes, original items, interactive quizzes and activities, a stage people could dance/sing on, dress up areas and dance floors! It’s fair to say my mum would have loved it even more than I did! It is definitely a must-see in Stockholm! In the gift shop, I decided to buy a small gift and souvenir to take home for the family (mum mainly of course). I did search for items with the song title ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’ because that song makes Mum and I cry every single time we hear it, however at no prevail, I ended up buying something else instead (sorry, that’s a surprise for my parents!)! 

When we left, we went for a wonder around, and found Djurgården, so we decided to go back the next day! We then took a scenic walk along the waters edge, before stopping for a nice ice cream (with toffee sauce on, of course!) sat by the water! After this short break we decided to get the metro back to the flat and call it a day. 

Monday, we had breakfast, and made a picnic before heading back out to Djurgården again. Here, we had a picnic overlooking the water and boats. We then went for a walk around Djurgården: however, there’s not much to see unless you visit Skansen or the various museums! So we decided to head back to Gamla Stan and pick up some souvenirs and a drink. My parents will be delighted to know that I bought a mini Swedish stein, and a soft toy moose…I couldn’t resist it! We then went for a drink (an expensive one)…I asked for a cocktail and I swear it was more rum than anything else! 

We have now spent the evening with Alfie editing videos (he is creating a mini series called ‘7 Things to Do in Stockholm – I will link part 1 below), whilst watching the TV, before our last full day in Stockholm of our travels begins tomorrow!

Good Harvest:

https://m.youtube.com/user/goodharvestmusic

Alfie’s ‘7 Things to Do In Stockholm’ series (part 1): 

Our instagram’s:

@nwilttravel

@travelwithalfie

Oulu, Jyväskylä, Vaasa and Umea: Travel, travel, travel, travel…

We left Oulu at 5am on Sunday morning, with a long walk from our AirBnb’s place to the bus station. Luckily we then knew where we were going. 

We arrived in Jyväskylä at 10:20am, where luckily our next AirBnb host had said we could go straight to his rather than hanging around with our bags. However, yet again,the host hadn’t quite been accurate about their location, so it was another long walk!! When we arrived, his room mate and her boyfriend (we assume) were there to welcome us and show us around. They left the house and we followed shortly behind to find a store/supermarket to buy food for dinner from…The slight issue with that was their flat was in the middle of nowhere in relation to the city, so we found all the supermarkets were closed on a sunday, or had shut down entirely. So, we took another long walk into the city. Just outside the supermarket, they were setting up for a World Ralley HQ site, so there were racing cars for Hyundai, Ford, Toyota etc! If we would have known, we would have tried to coincide our trip to Jyväskylä with the World Rally event.

In the supermarket, we bought pesto, chicken nuggets, hot dog sausages, cheese, juice, chocolate, biscuits, cappucino sachets, and macaroni pasta! So we headed straight back to the flat to put the items away, which very helpfully, the room mate had made us some space in the fridge. When we got back, for some reason, we couldn’t get the key to work in the door. Luckily, someone let us in, who happened to be the room mate’s sister. She was really friendly, and asked us where we’re from and also tried to help us get the wifi working (at no result) and offered us help with where things were to use in the kitchen. 

When she left, we made chocolate cappucinnos and ended up napping (which we seem to be doing a lot of). When we woke up, we showered and made dinner before falling asleep really early…once again, we really needed our sleep!

Monday morning, we allowed ourselves to have a bit of a lie in, before walking into Jyväskylä for the day. We explored and then found a really nice coffee shop (as recomended to us by tripadviser). I had a hot chocolate (which really wasn’t very nice) and Alfie had a macchiato, however the highlight definitely had to be the cakes. We both had their signature chocolate mousse cake, and wow it was good…and a good job it was so nice at the price! 

We then wondered and came across a woodland park which had the stadium in, as well as the Natural History Museum with a nice clock tower, which unfortunately was closed when we passed. However, we still spent some time resting in the park before wondering around a bit more. Wondering eventually ended up with us in another supermarket (as usual), buying garlic bread, doughnuts and our favourite Finnish pastry of all, Pirkka Lihapasteija (we think it’s like a sausage roll but with more flavourings plus rice – if any one knows exactly what it is, please comment below!!). We sat and ate these by the waterside, making the most of the pastries as they will most likely be the last of our trip, as our time In Finland was soon to end. 

We slowly headed back and, yet again, ended up napping, eating dinner and showering. The only difference this time was that we also had to pack our bags before going to bed for the night.

After another reasonably early start, we made our way into Jyväskylä ready to collect our next bus, to Vaasa with a connection at Seinajoki, where we had 5 minutes to get off the first bus, collect our stuff and get onto another bus. 

When we arrived in Vaasa, we had to kill some time, so we started off by exploring the market in the main square. Yet again, we ended up getting a coffee in a small little cafe, where I watched them make our drinks using powder and a kettle…Very fancy…! From there we went and sat down for a while before finding somewhere for dinner. We decided to opt for a pizza place called Koti Pizza that originated in Vaasa, and buy two takeaway pizzas for us to eat before catching a transfer bus to the ferry port. 

Once we had checked in, we got onto the ferry and made our way straight to the bar where there was an abundance of chairs free, because everyone else was queuing for the various food outlets. I ordered a mocktail and Alfie ordered a beer and then a man with a few guitars and a harmonica started performing which added to the atmosphere of the bar. Another mocktail and beer later and the ferry was starting to dock. 

We got off and had to catch another transfer bus into Umeå Central where we had absolutely no idea where we were getting off…We made a good guess though and only had a 5 minute walk then to the hotel (yes we decided to get some luxury for one night). Our room was a standard, nice hotel room, which we ended up falling straight asleep in!

Yesterday morning, we woke up and went down for our buffer breakfast which even included bacon, pancakes and eggs…a much better selection than the Stockholm ship! I even had my first cup of tea since our travels started! Once we were ready, we headed back to our room. Luckily, we had requested a longer check out because of our next bus not departing until after 8pm, so we didn’t have to leave our room until 1pm. This allowed Alfie to upload his next video (link at the bottom) and for me to shower and pack the final bits. 

When we left, we found the main square where an act was performing as part of Umeå Live, so we sat and listened for a while before finding somewhere to have a coffee. We ended up having vanilla latte’s at ‘Wayne’s Coffee’. After ‘Wayne’s Coffee’, we went to explore and found a sunny grass area where loads of people were eating picnics and sun bathing, so we decided to join them and pass the time for a while. 

After ‘catching some rays’ for a while, we headed to a supermarket to pick up some food for the overnight bus journey, before once again sitting to listen more musicians as part of the Umeå Live event. By this point, a big crowd had joined the front of the stage and were singing along…Unfortunately for us, all the lyrics were in Finnish and we didn’t know the songs, but we did appreciate the sound of the music!

We decided to have dinner in ‘MAX’ as an alternative to McDonalds, and by recomendation of one of my friends. I throughouly enjoyed my chicken and bacon burger, however Alfie had to be more selective of his choices due to allergies, so he wasn’t quite so impressed! 

After dinner we went back to the square and chilled out for a short while before finding the bus station to catch our night bus to Stockholm. 

We arrived back in Sweden, in Stockholm this morning, just after 5am, with very little sleep! We’ve spent the morning sat in the central train station, people watching, and also drinking coffee’s in Espresso House. Our next AirBnb host has kindly let us check in at 12 so we will soon be heading there.

Alfie’s latest Travel Video:

https://youtu.be/1UHFhCjKqfc

Or view all of his videos in one playlist!:

Our Instagram’s for more photos: 

@travelwithalfie

@nwilttravel

Helsinki and Oulu = More coffee!☕️

On Wednesday, we woke up, showered and headed out into Helsinki once again. The first place we visited was the Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral – it was absoluetely beautiful! The inside didn’t have any pews, but it was covered in candles and religious artwork!

We left there and wondered around by the waters edge into a different area of Helsinki…although we’re not really sure where we were. All we know is that there was nothing of interest there! We then walked back through the outdoor market and explored more of Helsinki. It started to rain, so just off Senate Square, we found a cute little cafe tucked away, that was reasonably cheap; I ordered a hot chocolate and Alfie ordered an Argentinian Mocha…It’s safe to say we both thoroughly enjoyed them and they’d disappeared in no time at all! 

Once we’d left the cafe, we headed to a supermarket and bought finnish pastries to snack on then, and snakcs for later on with dinner. When we got back to the apartment, we chilled watching the TV (notice a pattern here through these posts?), had dinner and decided to sleep. 

On our final day in Helsinki, we started the day off by visiting the ‘Temppeliaukio Church’ (aka the Rock Church). This is a round church that has been built into the ground, and it was absolutely beautiful! The atmosphere was also added to as there was a pianist playing during our time in the church! 

We left here and once again it decided to rain…Despite this, we carried on and decided to head back to the same cafe as the day before (we just liked it that much!). Once again I ordered a hot chocolate because it was so good, whilst Alfie ordered a standard mocha. Once again, they were delicious! After leaving there, we headed to the supermarket and bought more food for our overnight bus journey, and then went back to the apartment to pack. The host had been kind enough to let us have a 5pm checkout because of our late departure from Helsinki; this meant we didn’t have to carry our bags around with us all day!

We went and packed up, made sure we had everything (we really are trying to avoid leaving anymore folders or shampoo anywhere) and ‘checked out’, before heading to Espresso House (another coffee shop…) to pass the time before finding dinner.  

After spending a good hour or two in Espresso House, we went to McDonalds and had dinner there…It was the cheapest option! We managed to kill a good few hours in there, which meant we had less time to then wait around outside. However, we then had to find where our bus was due in the bus station. We must have walked up and down the bus station’s different floors about 4 times, until eventually we found the correct place!

Our bus turned up, and at 11:59 we started our long over night journey to Oulu…a place we knew nothing about!

When we arrived in Oulu at 8 something in the morning, we then had the difficult task of finding our next AirBnb…however it was further out of the city than we thought! After a 30 minute walk we finally found it! When we arrived, our host met us out the front of his ground floor apartment and showed us around his place. However, there was a slight language barrier, as he didn’t speak or understand much English!

We napped for a few hours and then our host brought us in our clean bedding that he had provided…Children’s football and cat bedding…! We watched some Catfish (we clearly love our American TV) and then walked to the local supermarket to get dinner. When we got back, we wanted to cook our pizza and garlic bread, however the host had a friend round so we waited for them to finish in the kitchen rather than interrupting them!

We finally made dinner, and realised, that although the host lives in this house, his kitchen is absolutely bare, with only the bare minimum utensils available! After eating our food (which luckily didn’t need to be eaten with knives and forks), we watched ‘Death in Paradise’ before having a long sleep! 

We woke up this morning, and went into Oulu…which much to our delight was a 40 minute long walk! The first thing we did was head to a market and an indoor food market where we we went to a cafe (once again), where I ordered another hot chocolate and Alfie ordered an espresso macchiato…once again they were delightful! On the way here, we got a message from our AirBnb host saying that he had gone to his native home in Russia so we would have the place to ourselves…Needless to say we were a bit shocked as we’d seen him that morning and he had not said a word! After our coffee we did some exploring, and managed to get ourselves onto another island which featured a castle ruin and a stadium. 

We chilled for a while and then decide to head to Lidl and pick up dinner and some finnish pastries, and then to head back to the flat! 

We are now about to eat a Macaroni al forno dish with garlic bread…Hopefully we have enough utensils for this one! 

Alfie’s YouTube:

Our instagram accounts:

@nwilttravel

@travelwithalfie