Category Archives: Europe 欧洲

It’s raining in Copenhagen

Stayed 2 nights in Copenhagen. It was early November, there were pretty autumn trees lining the street but the sky was always gloomy and it rained almost the whole day.

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Late autumn
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Such depressing feeling…
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A lovely church in a park

The Danes were all very tall and they had long strides and walk very fast. There are bicycles everywhere. They commute by bicycle every day regardless the weather.

 

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Commuting by bicycle even if it is raining
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Bike sharing

Amalienborg Palace, the closest we got to the Royals in Denmark.

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The Little Mermaid from the lovely fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen was one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions. The sculpture turned 100 in the year 2013. Perched on a rock in the water at the Langelinje Pier, she stares longingly towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince. Unfortunately, akin to the sad and poignant fairytale, the sculpture was victim to vandalism. Twice she lost her head, once her arm was sawed off and paint poured on her several times.

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The Little Mermaid

One of the best lunch spots in Copenhagen got to be Torvehallerne. There are over 60 stands selling everything from fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruits to gourmet chocolates, coffee, species and cheese. There are also food stalls to grab a quick bite and takeaways.

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Torvehallerne

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Nyhavn with the beautiful and colourful townhouses and old ships lined along the canal. Nyhavn was originally a commercial port where ships from around the world would dock. Today, they are dominated with classy restaurants entertaining people with jazz music and food. It was a pity I did not get the chance to enjoy much of it due to the heavy rain and the short daylight in late autumn.

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Nyhavn at night

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We entered the glittering shop – Greg Jensen at Str∅get and were being presented with glasses of champagne. “What’s the occasion?” “Oh, we are celebrating Friday!” Wow, isn’t this great? TGIF!!! 😀

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Complete your visit with a tin of Danish butter cookies. Yumz.
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Amazing Northern Lights in Iceland

We were extremely lucky and blessed. Almost every night, our eyes were treated to this nature wonder.

远在冰岛的我们是幸运的。第三夜,大自然的奇迹就在我们眼前出现。然后下来的每一夜,它都对我们搔首弄姿。。。♥ 北极光=幸福 ♥

@Fosshotel Nupar, Skaftafell

After a day of glacier hiking at Skatafell with the hail, the rain, the snow… we finally check-in to our hotel — Fossfotel.  At the reception, we saw a log sheet for us to state our interest if we want to be notified if there were any aurora activities. Of course! So we wrote down all our room number on it.

We all headed to our room for our shower and agreed to gather later at the lobby area for a drink. I am the last to bath in our room of 3. As I was wiping down the water on my body and getting to dress in my pajamas, I heard Yin shouting to me to get out fast. Northern lights!! Arrgh… why at this time??? Wearing my clothes in a rush, wear the socks, put on my beanie and jacket, we rush out to the dark. Where?? We were all asking. “Look up to the sky!” We saw the faint green colour slowly light up the dark sky.. Wow…

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Our 1st northern light sighting at Fossfotel

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Northern lights right outside our hotel (Photo credit: Kenneth Boey)

After few rounds of hoo.. ahh… We went back to the hotel and started our nightly routine of drinks and snacks. Not too long later, we saw the reception guy running to each room and shouted “Northern lights! Northern lights!” What? Again? We scrambled back to our rooms to get our jacket and camera, leaving behind our drinks and snacks at the lobby.

This time, the northern lights were way better than the 1st round. I saw purple, pink, yellow, white and green! Oh no! and it was dancing!!

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2nd sighting of the night. (Using handphone)

@Icelandair Hotel Herad, Egilsstaðir

On our road trip day 4, we reached the eastern part of Iceland. It was a long drive from Skaftafell, and it was so cold and windy that we just wanted to hide in the hotel room. On this night, we were treated to an amazing light show right at the comfort of our hotel room.

(Video credit: Kenneth Boey)

@Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, Lake Myvatn

This must be the best place to see northern lights! The lodges were situated by the lake. When the sun set for the day, it was total darkness. After our sumptuous home-cooked dinner, we noticed the faint green glowing outside. It’s time to go out for some light show! Gosh… when we stepped out of the lodge, the wind blew ruthlessly at us. Cold~~~

When we walked toward the lake, it got worst. No, we had to endure it, the lights were so amazing. Oh, we need to take picture of it… and of course, take a picture with it!

This must be a night of high activities for the northern lights. Throughout the night we saw the green light lit in the sky. In the middle of the night when I got up for the toilet, I saw it through the windows too. If only if it was not so cold, I would just laze on a lounge chair outside and feast my eyes the whole night 🙂

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Us with the northern lights. Our lodges at the back. (Photo credit: Kenneth Boey)

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Northern lights at the lake (Photo credit: Kenneth Boey)

@Akureyri

In northern Iceland, Akureyri their 2nd largest city. Expecting snow, extreme cold and more light show at night! Haa, we just cannot get enough of it!

After dinner, I peeked out of the window trying to see if there’s any greenish happening. the bright-lited street lights were blinding me. I saw.. I saw this faint green light out there. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? I went downstairs and open the door to see.. oh no!! It’s there, really! The girls were all dressed up and all ready to go out to see. Sensing our excitement, Kenneth decided to take the car and we drove out to the other side of the mountain to catch yet another amazing light show.

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From our house at Akureyri town (Photo credit: Kenneth Boey)
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At the mountain looking towards the town (Photo credit: Kenneth Boey)

Rail Travel in Europe

Within 2 months, I’ve cover about 27 cities and towns in 12 countries. Taking the plane will save you the time, but is very expensive. The bus is the cheapest but very uncomfortable especially for long hours. Rail travel took the best of both and bring you to almost everywhere in Europe.

Europe has an extensive rail network coverage. The rail service alone covers almost all possible destinations. As such, getting the Eu rail pass is considered to be of excellent value and convenience.

Most countries in Europe participate in the Eu rail offer. In these countries in which the pass is valid, allow pass holders to unlimited first or second-class travel on the national railways and of some private railways, bus lines and shipping lines. the pass also offer generous discounts on Eurostar tickets through the channel Tunnel (Gateway between UK and Europe).

However, the Eurail pass does not guarantee you a seat. Reservation is compulsory in certain trains and is recommended when it is the peak travel periods or very long journey, if not you risk standing for the rest of the ride. The cost of a reservation made at a European railway station may vary widely depending on the country (different from the Japan Rail pass that I am so accustomed to). Thus, if you are travelling on a budget, do consider this extra cost.

Rail travel offers you to awesome scenery. Sitting comfortably and listening to your portable music, your eyes are given a feast of shimmering lakes, plunging gorges, snow-capped mountains and coastal splendors.

 

Interesting stories do happen on the train too.

 

WWII in Rome

In the early morning, we went to Rome train station, intending to take a train to Naples. The train stated on the timetable which will get us there in about 2hrs time was no where to be found. When we finally found a train that goes there, it was an overnight train from Munich and it was already packed with travellers. Many are standing along the corridors. Heard that this train was late. We were lucky when a German couple offered to share their cabin with us. However, this train ride took us more than 3hrs to reach. Well, what we did not foresee was that this delay was not the last for the day.

It was about 9pm when the train from Pompeii finally pulled into Naples train station. We saw the the train bounded for Roma Termini was still there and so we use all our might and ran towards it. We were lucky to be able to board this train which apparently was late. The cabin we hopped on was deserted.

Just as we were relaxing ourselves after a tired day trip to Pompeii, the train conductor came in to check our rail pass. Using his not very good English he asked whether our final destination was Rome. We answered yes and he started trying to tell us something using a language we don’t understand. He gave up and told us to wait. Later he came back with an Italian guy who knew some English to explain the situation to us. Apparently, along the route to Rome which this train was using, a WWII bomb was discovered and the route was closed! So, this train will only stop at a particular train station and we will have to alight, take a bus to another station and change to another train before we can reach our destination. What a day, what was suppose to be a 3 hours ride back took us 5 hours to reach Rome.