Tag Archives: culture

I’m a big fan of fairytale castles and if I have the chance to visit one, I’ll usually take it. As I researched Slovakia there was an overwhelming choice of castles. All kinds of castles; medieval, fortresses, fairytale, mansions… you name it. Luckily my friend send me a list of recommendations in her home country. Bojnice Castle was one of them. I made a rough trip itinerary and refined it once I was in the country. This gave me the freedom to stay longer in the High Tatras, a place I totally fell in love with. I figured I could just about squeeze in my other top spots and scheduled Bojnice Castle on my way from the Slovak Paradise to Bratislava. I would stay for one night, take a train to Bratislava in the morning and still have some time in the capital. Well… that turned out to be too…

Read more

The train passed familiar places like Biesenthal and Melchow, places I had visited on my 66 lakes walk around Berlin. But today I went a little bit further into the state of Brandenburg to explore the Schorfheide nature area. At Britz I started my walk and I discovered another surprising area not far from the city. I walked the dirt roads that still exist in the town of Britz until I reached the forest. This time I’d remembered to put on bug spray at the train station, so it was a lot more pleasant than the day before. Suddenly the forest gives way to a little swampy clearing. Tall, thin trees shoot out from the bright green tall grasses. I cross a little overgrown bridge that bounces a little when I step on it. Like my guidebook says, it is truly idyllic, but it’s also very small. On the other…

Read more

Taking the bus to the Arkadi monastery Not far from Rethymno stands the beautiful Arkadi monastery. It’s a popular destination for tourists staying in the Rethymno area. If you have a car you can make a great trip visiting the monastery and some other attractions in the area, like the pottery village of Margarites. Well… I didn’t have a car, but I made it out to Arkadi anyway. From the bus station I joined one other man on the bus towards the mountains. Arkadi was the first major stop on the route after about 40 minutes. My bus driver was pretty grumpy this morning. He pointed out I had the wrong ticket and walked back into the station with me. He had the ticket guy print another one, but again it had the wrong destination on it. A conversation happened in Greek and I was sent back to the bus,…

Read more

I just spent two weeks in Morocco and I had a great time. I loved the old medinas, the food, the desert landscape, the mountains and the sea. I will definitely come back one day to see the south part of the country. But throughout my stay in Morocco, one thing was bothering me: the constant attention. It wasn’t a good kind of attention. On my drive from the airport into Fes I immediately noticed that most of the people on the streets were men. Most of the salesmen were men. Most of the people sitting in cafés were men. There were women around, but most of the people I interacted with were men. I was travelling on my own and slowly I felt like I was becoming a bitch, an evil person who couldn’t even give a person the benefit of the doubt anymore. Whenever a man would approach…

Read more

So I haven’t been in Spain in ages and I’m about to lead a tour in an area I have never been to. Ok, it’s walking the camino to Santiago de Compostela, so our main activity will be walking, but I could do with a brush up on Spanish culture. I read up on the pilgrimage online and in books, I talked to a colleague and I’ve got a few days in Santiago to get ready. And yes… I totally think that my day trip to the Costa da morte was research. Since I don’t have a car here, I decided to book a day trip. I was a bit apprehensive since day trips are a bit of a hit or miss, but this one was excellent. We drove for an hour through the countryside and arrived at the seaside town of Muxía. As soon as I stepped out of…

Read more

In my country, the 30th of April is not a particularly special day anymore since Queen’s day changed into King’s day and changed dates. In Finland, they go all out. Vappu, or Walpurgis night, is a big celebration in the streets and parks where people dress up and party. Students wear team clothing in bright colors, wear wigs and crazy hats, and the streets are decorated with confetti. During my exchange in Jyväskylä I was lucky enough to be there for it. Drinking in the streets is no problem at this time of year. Although the party will continue in the bars later, it is first and foremost a party in the streets. When I arrive in the center of the student town Jyväskylä, lots of students are gathered around the church. Spring drawings are being painted on faces and people walk around with colorful flags. I feel like I…

Read more

O yeah! I’m going to be a CEO this summer, leading travelers through Europe. Europe’s my home, my base, and yet there is so much to explore and there are so many differences. I’ve just finished my training week in Italy and body is starting to adjust to Italian time. I now almost think it’s totally normal to eat after 7pm. We’ve been eating at the most amazing places. Italian food is delicious, as long as it doesn’t include cheese, and it is a lot. We’ve had the bistecca di Florentina, ribollita, focaccia, pastas, prosciutto, vino and of course a lot of gelato! There were meals with 4 or 5 courses and you want to eat it all! I think my stomach has adjusted as well, it’s size has now doubled, leaving me constantly hungry. The Italian food is great, but I was very happy to go out of Chinese…

Read more

I always love visiting markets on my travels. From some I come back with a lot of merchandise, from others I return empty-handed, but with a mind full of impressions. Here are three extraordinary markets I found around the world. First up is the market on Greenmarket Square in Cape Town, South Africa. This market is an awesome place to look for souvenirs. Haggling is required. Next is a market in the small city Limbang in Malaysia. The city doesn’t have much going on for tourist, but on the wonderful markets I saw a beautiful part of daily life. This is where people get their meat, vegetables and other ingredients. Not so much a market for shopping, but one for surrounding yourself with culture. And the last market I found in Taipei, Taiwan. This market was indoors and I stumbled upon it. I would never be able to find it…

Read more

When in St. Petersburg, do as the Russians do. I was there with a big group of international Erasmus students and we opted for a traditional Russian night in a restaurant. There were exchange students that came from all over Finland and not just the uni where I was staying at that time. I barely knew the other students from my uni and this night mostly reminds me of how awkward I can be. Above the door hung some Russian dolls and the inside was also over the top Russian, like a true tourist experience. Of course the food tonight would give us an impression of Russian cuisine and a big part of that was a toast with vodka. There seemed to be a toast for everything and whenever someone made up a toast, you had to drink. Not being a big drinker at all, and not a fan of plain vodka, I didn’t feel comfortable…

Read more

One of the young men spoke English. He was to be our guide while we visited the Himba village. Since it is hard to visit an authentic Himba village, we settled for the tourist version of it. These people genuinely live here, but they are used to visitors, questions, and showing their rituals. The first thing was learning how to greet them: “Moro. Perivi. Mauah.” “Hello. How are you? Good.” You said all of this at once, without waiting for a response to your question. Men can be sent to school when they’re 13. Women always stay at home. A Himba man has several wives and doesn’t have a standard house. He could be moving from village to village. This is why we mostly saw women and children in the camp. They had the most amazing hairdo’s and necklaces. The women immediately wanted to know how old we all were.…

Read more

10/15