Announcing: An All New Wanderbliss and an All New Ebook!

 

Why hello my lovelies!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season.

These last fews weeks I’ve been glued to my laptop, working on a complete makeover of my former blog Wanderbliss and a brand new ebook!

I’m happy to announce that on April 1st the Wanderbliss team and I (yep, there’s a whole team now!) will be launching the first of several online classes designed specifically for travel lovers.

The first class is called Digital Nomad 101, and is aimed at anyone who has ever thought about traveling the world full-time and working from their laptop.

After April, our second course will be for anyone wanting to live and work abroad (e.g. move to London and work full-time).

If either class sounds like something you’d be interested it, I’m inviting you to subscribe to Wanderbliss’ newsletter below. It will come out monthly (don’t worry, we’ll never spam you) and will include updates on the exact release dates of the classes (along with some very generous discount codes)

As a special bonus, anyone signing up using the form below will get a free e-book entitled “20 Remote Career Resources for Digital Nomads”.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2015 and I’m looking forward to sharing 2016 with you on GirlinLondon and Wanderbliss :)

 

xoxo

Girl in London and The Wanderbliss Team

Escaping to Uppsala

 

escaping_to_uppsala

It’s about a 55-minute train ride to Uppsala from Stockholm Central Station. In that time you witness the busy maze of densely packed Stockholm streets gradually give way to tranquil, verdant countryside.

We got very lucky with the weather on the day of our visit. Despite it already being early October, there was just a hint of autumn crispness in the air and the electric blue sky was perfectly clear save for the odd wispy cloud or two.

Gamla Uppsala

View from atop one of the Royal Mounds in Gamla Uppsala

The first stop on our day trip to Uppsala lay outside the boundaries of the city itself. A 15-minute bus ride away, Gamla Uppsala is best known for its ‘Royal Mounds’ (pictured above and in the top image).

This was the seat of power for the Ynglings (don’t ask me how to pronounce that), Sweden’s oldest known dynasty. The region was also held in high esteem by early Scandinavians, who believed Uppsala to be the home of the Norse god Freyr. Legend has it that under these sizeable grassy lumps rests Freyr, and alongside him Odin and Thor.

Gamla Uppsala

A bit of leaf peeping in Gamla Uppsala

The Royal Mounds are open to the public and free to access. The locals treat is as a park replete with jogging trails and shady trees for family picnics. For tourists like ourselves there is a small museum on site that provides a size overview of the significance of the area.

As much as I found the mounds and museum interesting, I derived more enjoyment from simply walking around, breathing in the fresh air, and admiring the autumn foliage.

Uppsala

Historic Central Uppsala

Uppsala

Uppsala

Following our visit to the Royal Mounds, we journeyed back to Uppsala. It didn’t take long before we found ourselves in the heart of the city’s historic district. Bisected by a narrow river, Uppsala’s two halves are connected by beautiful bridges.

Buzzing with activity on a Saturday afternoon, we stumbled across a riverside cafe with a line out the door – we knew this place had to be good.

As it turned out. We were right. The cafe, called Guntherska Hovkonditori & Schweizeri (again, don’t ask me to pronounce it!), was well worth the wait.

Raksallad, kanelbulle, and other selected goodies

Decided on what to order was difficult, so I was left with only one option: order much more than I needed. My “main course” was räksallad (Swedish shrimp salad) with a side of bread and butter. For dessert, I opted for kanelbulle (cinnamon roll), a Swedish favourite. Then I admittedly went completely overboard and ordered a trio of tiny desserts.

With our stomachs full and the afternoon wearing, we made it a point to stop by Uppsala University.

Uppsala University

Universitetshuset

The university was a short walk from the centre of town and was founded in the 15th century, making it the oldest in Scandinavia. The campus has strong links to the sciences and is best known for its Museum of Evolution and connection with Carl Linnaeus, credited as the father of modern taxonomy one of the fathers of modern ecology.

Uppsala Cathedral

Uppsala Cathedral

The university’s main hall (Universitetshuset) is its most impressive building and stands opposite the towering Uppsala Cathedral. Separating these powerhouses of science and religion is a small park, strewn with rune stones.

In total we probably spent around seven hours exploring Uppsala and were back in Stockholm in time for dinner. With its pointy church steeples, historic sites, and charming centre, Uppsala has all the hallmarks of the kinds of places I like to visit – close enough to a major city to access, but far enough to keep most tourists away.

Getting to Uppsala

Trains to Uppsala Centrum depart from Stockholm Central Station several times an hour throughout the day from Stockholm. The journey takes 55 minutes on the commuter train and 38 minutes on the express train. Find out more information about reaching Uppsala here.

What Lies Beneath: Inside Stockholm’s Amazing Metro Stations

 
Solna Station

Solna Station in Stockholm, Sweden.

Subways are great. They shuffle people around cities with the greatest of ease and relative efficiency. I mean, say what you want about the London Underground (it’s hot, dusty, cramped, I could go on…), but I dare you to try getting across town faster in a car.

That being said, subways stations aren’t typically places you want to linger. They’re simply a part of a greater artificial organism that transports you from point A to B.

That is, unless you happen to be in Stockholm.

Having been fortunate to schlep around many subways systems around the world, I can say with confidence that Stockholm’s T-Bana is the most beautiful I’ve seen.

Stockholm T Bana

Painted tunnel of T-Centralen

I’m no geologist, but it’s pretty clear from riding the T-Bana that what lies beneath Stockholm is solid rock. Tunnelling through to create the city’s subways lines must have been a massive undertaking, but left an impressive network of what are essentially caves.

Instead of smoothing out the rough edges, painting the walls a soothing neutral colour or plastering them with tiles, Stockholm took a more artistic approach to its subway stations.

A few, like T-Centralen, stick out in particular.

Stockholm T Bana

T-Centralen

The T-Bana is a pretty extensive network, but I managed to photograph a few of the most notable stations during my recent trip to Stockholm.

Stockholm T-Bana

Radhuset Station

Stockholm T-Bana

Solna Station

Solna Station was one of my favourites. I love how deep the red is and how it contrasts with the green landscape.

Stockholm T-Bana

Stadion Station

This archway connecting the two platforms at Station Station really show off the texture of the rock (and the rainbow is a nice touch too!)

Stockholm T-Bana

Thorildsplan Station

The artwork didn’t stop above ground. Thorildsplan is an overground station featuring a Nintendo theme.

If you only have time to visit one of these stations during a quick trip to Stockholm, make it T-Centralen. For a complete list of notable stations, check out this page from Visit Stockholm.

You can purchase subway tickets at designated machines inside each station or at a ticket desk. Prices are as follows:

SEK 115 (9 GBP) for 24 hours
SEK 230 (18 GBP) for 72 hours
SEK 300 (24 GBP) for 7 Days

 

That one time I ate horseshoe crab eggs…

 

One of the true joys of travelling is getting the opportunity to try new foods. For most of my life I’ve been anything but an adventurous eater. If you sat me down in front of a plate of spaghetti or teriyaki chicken and I would be set. However, this year in particular I’ve made a concerted effort to get out there and test out new foods during my travels.

I few weeks ago in Iceland I tried fermented shark, puffin, and guillemot. And on my most recent trip to Thailand I added to horseshoe crab eggs (roe) to my lists of adventurous eats.

horseshoe crab eggs

Served at a popular seafood restaurant in Pattaya, the dish came in its very own horseshoe crab plate. You know, just in case you needed a reminder of where the roe came from.

Yes, yes, but what did it taste like?

Well, let’s just say horseshoe crab roe falls short of earning a ringing endorsement from me. It didn’t taste bad, but the problem was that it didn’t taste like anything at all. If I had to compare it to something, it would be undercooked pasta. Kind of hard, kind of dry, and kind of not that tasty.

So the horseshoe crab didn’t go down as a winner in my books, but it was certainly worth a try. It’s not everyday you get a chance to chow down on the eggs of a living fossil.

Plus, I was in Thailand, a country where you can never order just one dish. You need at least three or four different items to make up a proper sit down dinner here,  and that’s where a few seafood staples came to the rescue.

Fresh crab and fish are in abundance along this part of the Thai coastline, and the restaurant I visited near Pattaya proudly served up the day’s catch alongside a bevy of tantalising sauces and dips. Add to that a little steamed rice, a bubbling bowl of tom yum, and you’ve got yourself a feast!

I’m back in London now, which means I’m back to eating my regular, boring food. However I’ll be in Stockholm in the beginning of October and am keen to take my tastebuds out for a spin again. If you have any suggestions on what to try over there, let me know!

 

Iceland Circumnavigation Cruise: My First Impressions

 
featured_image

Sunset on Day 1

After nearly three hours of driving through central London to reach Heathrow Airport followed by a two-and-a-half hour flight to Reykjavik, the BF and I finally arrived at our home away from home: The MS Ocean Diamond.

On the itinerary for the next nine days was a series of port stops and excursions around the whole of Iceland – there will be much more about that to come. But first, I’d like to share with you my first impressions of my first cruise.

Cruises come with their stereotypes. They tend to be associated with older people who prefer a more leisurely form of travel. This cruise, in which optional excursions included trips to far flung glaciers, I thought would be different.

I was wrong.

Continue reading

What to Pack for Iceland

 

ICELAND-whattopack

In a few days I’ll finally be setting off on a cruise around Iceland. The great thing (I’m hoping!) about cruises is that you pretty much have your transportation sorted for you – there’s no need to worry about missing a train or catching a taxi, or getting lost. The less-than-great thing is that you’re basically trapped on a boat with no access to the normal stores you’d find in a town or city.

In other words: you better pack well.

Luckily this is my second trip to Iceland, so I’ve got the benefit of experience. With that in mind, here’s a list of the bare essentials I’m bringing along with me. This is for a summer trip to the island, so I’ve focused a lot on clothes that I can layer. If you’re visiting in the autumn or winter, you can still use this list as a base – just bulk it up a little.

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My New Panasonic Lumix GX-7!!

 

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

Ok, I’ll admit this is a bit of an odd follow up to my previous post which was all about how smartphones come with really impressive cameras these days. But, hey, what’s a girl to do when she gets an early birthday present from her boyfriend?

A New Camera – YAY!

After almost two years of smartphone-only photography, I finally have a brand spankin’ new camera with some manual features that should allow me to take better shots. It’s a Panasonic Lumix GX-7, and it’s super cool. I just got it yesterday so all its little feature and doodads are still new to me, but so far I’ve been really happy with the snaps :)

Panasonic Lumix GX-7 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Earlier I went out and took some test shots using the Panasonic as well as my Samsung Galaxy S5. Both cameras take 16MP photos, but I definitely saw sharper quality photos with the Panasonic.

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Why Now?

Well my readers, I’m glad you asked. I find myself in the possession of this nifty new device in preparation for an upcoming adventure. Next week I’ll be embarking on a cruise trip around the whole of Iceland, stopping to take in the scenery along the way. Needless to say I’m pretty excited to get out there and start snapping photos — there will be much more on the Iceland cruise to come!