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

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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

Goodbye Copenhagen, Hello Gothenburg

So our final day in Copenhagen was a quiet one. After spending the morning with our Airbnb host; chatting about camping, and people being pushed down stairs…we headed into Copenhagen on the bus for the final time (😪)…with an added extra gift of rain.When we reached Copenhagen we found a quiet coffee shop (Espresso House), which specialised in organic ingredients, and ordered a mocha and cappuccino whilst Alfie edited his first travel video for YouTube (Link available later tonight 🤞🏼 ).

Somehow for lunch we ended up back at Torvehallerne eating Croque-Monsieur which, despite being French and not Danish, was absolutely deicious!

From here we ended up in Denmark’s equivalent of the outdoor store “Field and Trek” to collect a gas cannister for our burner (which we have borrowed from my Dad for whilst we are camping). The shop assisstant was really friendly, and was even telling us that he’d just been to the Lake District and Manchester…however, he somehow managed to get lost and ended up in Liverpool instead!

We then found a souvenir store (typical tourists 🙄) where Alfie bought a post card for his placement school for next year. He aims to collect one from every place we go to.

Sadly, it was then time for us to take the bus out of Copenhagen and into Gothenburg! 

After a smooth bus journey we arrived at 9:55pm at Gothenburg Central, where our next AirBnb host was kindly waiting for us. She chatted to us and pointed key locations out whilst we waited for the local bus to take us to her flat. When we finally reached her apartment, she gave us a map and a list of things to do which was really useful! She then left…and we soon realised that she had no working TV signal or Wifi…so we went to bed.

This morning we got a bus (for free) into Gothenburg, where our first mission was to find Haga. Haga is known for it’s one street that has lots of cafes on it, mostly all selling coffee’s and cinammon buns. However, with heavy rucksacks, this seemed very far away! We were relieved once we finally arrived and could stop for a drink and some food. Despite Haga’s tourist attraction being the cinammon buns, we opted for a hot chocolate, espresso mocha and a slice of brownie. The brownie wasn’t what we would typically call a brownie…it was essentially chocolate cake with a thick fudge frosting on, but it was delicious!

On the way back into the centre we walked through a park along the waters edge, and decided to stop for half hour or so to rest our shoulders, take in the sun and to call my mum which was really nice to do.

We then continued on to find a beautiful area of water, boats and park land, before trying to find a supermarket to buy food for dinner. However, unlike UK cities which have a small superkmarket store, like Tesco Express or Sainsburys, Gothenburg didn’t appear to have a single small supermarket, only cafes! Once we reached the train station, as well as eating Pringles that we already had with us, we managed to buy some macaroni pasta and tinned meatballs for dinner as well as a fresh hot dog each to eat whilst we waited for our train.

As I write this we are travelling to Jonkoping on the train, past typical swedish views of big lakes and beautiful woodlands, overall making up a beautiful scenic view!

48 hours in Copenhagen

​Greetings from Copenhagen! (it sounds like I’m about to give the UK nil points from Denmark…!). 

After months of waiting, ‘The Grand Tour’ finally started with us safely arriving in Copenhagen Airport! We got our luggage and somehow managed to work out how to use the ticket machine to buy  metro tickets in order to get to the centre of Copenhagen. However, despite getting instructions from our AirBnb host on how to get to his place in Gentofte, we still managed to get ourselves lost…😌! We got the metro in the wrong direction (even after speaking to a friendly and helpful member of security staff in the train station who gave us directions and showed us how to buy tickets). Once we got on the metro which took us in the wrong direction, we realised we couldn’t turn around and get back to Copenhagen centre because of rail works! So…. we had to ask some MORE people for help! They told us to get a free bus to a place called Hellerup, and then get a train to Gentofte. 

Eventually, after a further 2 mile walk and a climb up 4 flights of stairs in the wrong building, we made it to the AirBnb! Needless to say we were exhausted! However our AirBnb host was really nice and welcoming!

After sorting ourselves out, we got a bus into Copenhagen centre (the correct one this time). The first thing we found was a really cool street food market called ‘Torvehallerne’ tucked around a corner in Norrebro, selling all sorts of foods, coffees and pastries. We then headed to Nyhaven, a must see in Copenhagen! It was absolutely beautiful and we would recommend it to anyone visiting Copenhagen; with it’s colourful buildings, al fresco dining (where all the restaurants supply blankets!!) and the peaceful street drinking. While in Nyhaven, we even saw the Japanese Prime Minister in his car with police escorts (someone thought it was Donald Trump)! 

After some more exploration, we decided to call it a day.

For dinner we decided it was easier to just buy pizzas from Aldi and have a quiet evening in the AirBnb. Although, despite being a geography student, on our way back, I did manage to get us lost trying to find the bus stop…definitely not my smartest moment! So after walking 12 miles in total, and eating 3 pizzas between us, it was definitely bed time!

So Day 2…we got the correct bus again today (miracle!) to Norrebro. We decided to go back to Torvehallerne and ordered coffees and mini pastries (they were absolutely adorable)! However, Alfie thought he had ordered a Chocolate roule pastry, but was left disappointed when he bit into it and realised it was date and cherry….😂. Turns out they had labelled the pastries wrong (he didnt find it too funny)…! 

By recomendation of my grandma (and her threat to Alfie telling him to take me there…), we decided to find ‘The Little Mermaid’. On the way to ‘The Little Mermaid’, we found a park called Rosenborg Castle Gardens which featured a beautiful castle and a Hans Christian Andersen statue…..as well as lots of topless men and women in bikinis despite the weather not being particulary hot! Whilst I was taking photos of the statue, a foreign guy asked me where the Hans Chrisitan Andersen burial is, so I must either look Danish or full of knowledge! 

We left these gardens and discovered the Royal Palace which was absolutely beautiful and surrounded by tourists! I did question why cars were allowed so close to the palace; although I wasnt complaining too much as one of them was a red Ferrari! Opposite was Amaliehaven, a really small but beautiful garden, featuring a big waterfall by the waterside. 

Carrying on we found the Gefion Fountain, the largest monument in Copenhagen, followed by ‘The Little Mermaid’ itself, surrounded by way too many tourists. I must admit, despite now being able to say I’ve seen it, it wasn’t quite as special as I expected it to be. After stopping for a picnic in the sun on our way back to the city centre, we sat and had a drink (an expensive one) at the Royal Theatre, where we sat on deck chairs by the water looking out over the Copenhagen Opera House.

 From there we headed to Freetown Christiania. However, we decided this wasn’t the right place for us! After we realised it was known for it’s selling of weed, and a worker warning Alfie not to film anything as some of the other workers would get angry (incase any selling of cannabis was seen), we swiftly left. 

After, we found a square that had some Jazz musicians playing as part of the Jazz music festival, so we sat and took in the atmosphere whilst Alfie rested a painful foot. From here we found dinner in a nice restaurant and were served by a smiley, friendly woman…confirming to us why Denmark is one of the happiest countries! The meal even worked out super cheap as we hadn’t realised it was 2 for 1 on meals on a Tuesday! 

Getting the bus back to our AirBnb, the bus driver lady thought that 32 DK (danish kroner) was 72 due to a language barrier buying our bus tickets, however was very apologetic about it when she realised her mistake. 

Once again our day has ended watching English and American TV ready for our journey to Gothenburg tomorrow evening. (Written 11th July)

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!