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Germany, Hotels, Reviews

Dropping Anchor at Hamburg’s 25Hours Hotel Hafencity

October 20, 2015

I’ve lived in Berlin for two and a half years. How had I not managed to visit Hamburg, Germany’s second biggest city? When I learned that my flight from Germany to Portugal would be departing from Hamburg instead of Berlin, I just knew that I had to use this opportunity to at least see a little of the city before I left. So I took a three hour bus from Berlin the day before my flight, arriving in the afternoon on a beautiful, sunny autumn day with less than 24 hours to get a feel for the city. When deciding on which hotel to stay overnight in, my first choice had to be a design hotel (always my preferred accommodation option) so I booked a room at one of Hamburg’s most impressive design hotels and one of the design hotels of the world: the 25Hours Hotel Hafencity.



The 25Hours Hotel HafenCity is the first hotel located in the centre of Europe’s largest inner-city developmental project of the 21st century: HafenCity. The hotel is easily accessible from both the Hauptbahnhof (central railway station) and the ZOB (central bus station), which are both only 1 km away. I arrived by bus from Berlin and so all I needed to do was cross the street to the Hauptbahnhof to take the new U4 subway line from Hauptbahnhof Nord to Überseequartier in HafenCity, which was only a 6 minute journey. The U-Bahn station was directly in front of the hotel. Too easy!

When I went for a walk in the late afternoon on my day of arrival, I discovered how easy it was to get around to some of Hamburg’s prized attractions including the International Maritime Museum, the cruise terminal, the Elbe Philharmonic Hall as well as being only within 10 minutes walk to the Speicherstadt around St. Katherine, so I can definitely recommend the location of the hotel.


Design concept

The 25Hours Hotel concept is to adapt each of its hotels to its specific location and this hotel is no exception. Drawing strong inspiration from Hamburg’s maritime history, the design of the 25Hours Hotel HafenCity is woven around the story of a seafaring narrative. The location of the hotel — between the traditional harbour quarter and the ultra modern HafenCity — inspired the hotel’s creators to interpret the contrasts of harbour and sea, of homesickness and wanderlust. All throughout the hotel, the well-chosen design elements keep returning to these themes. The cosy atmosphere of a ship’s living quarters was immediately apparent and comforting to me when I first stepped into the hotel.

sailor_photographChecking in

As soon as I entered the hotel, I knew I had made the right choice in choosing accommodation in Hamburg. The entire ground floor seemed to represent the raw world of harbour living but with a cosy and inviting living room feel. The space made use of various materials from the shipbuilding industry to create an inviting environment; shipping containers created semi-separated spaces and the richly decorated lobby area was filled with comfy leather chairs, magazines and cosy rugs. This was definitely a place I could call home if only for a single night!

Checking in was an absolute breeze. The reception desk was staffed with a number of personnel so I was helped right away. After surrendering my credit card number for incidentals as well as my passport as is standard in Europe, I found my room key and Wi-Fi password in my hand and I was up on my way up to my room on the 6th floor in no time at all.



Designed in the style of a sailor’s home in foreign ports, each of the rooms at the 25Hours Hotel Hafencity feels like a cosy cabin aboard a ship. I stayed in a M-Cabin + and even though the rooms are designed to replicate cabins, they were far from pokey! My room was spacious and contained a comfy queen size bed, corner desk area and roomy bathroom. I loved the maritime theme of the room and the little features like a pilot’s (rope) ladder, globe lamp, logbook and sea chest, which made for one of the most unique hotel experiences I’ve ever had! Cute touches like the cuddly Schlafschaf (sleep sheep) and hot water bottle by the bed to help with sleep added a comforting and homely feel. The mini-bar price list was housed in a glass bottle, replicating a ‘message in a bottle’ and the mini bar itself, hidden behind a wooden chest exterior, was stamped with the reminder that ‘being thirsty is worse than being homesick’. Aye aye cap’n!

Each guest room also tells the stories of 25 sailors whose stormy voyages, rough ways, easy women and faraway destinations form the backdrop of each room, with the full stories to be discovered in the logbook. You can see the sailors’ striking portraits in the hotel hallways.

Film set designer Conni Kotte scoured flea markets for the vintage furniture and naval accessories to furnish each of the hotel’s 170 rooms, which are conceived as personal cabins. I was so impressed by all of these little touches and really felt like I was on board a ship destined for faraway lands rather than in a hotel!








The bathroom was decorated in warm tones, featuring a walk-in rain shower with all-natural Stop the Water While Using Me products, also available for purchase in the kiosk in the lobby. There were a selection of magazines by the toilet too — this hotel’s designers really had thought of everything!




My room overlooked Hamburg’s magnificent harbour and watching the beautiful, fiery sunset from my window was one of the highlights of my stay.


Around the hotel

The hotel is filled with cosy and inviting places for today’s urban nomad to relax in and I had so much fun discovering these little surprises. The first floor is known as the ‘Club Floor’, which houses the Club Room, Radio Room and Vinyl Room — three beautifully designed spaces that can either be enjoyed by guests or rented exclusively for private functions.

Club Room

The relaxed living room feel of the Club Room invites guests to kick back and wind down with a cup of tea from the Samova Tea Lounge. Who wouldn’t want to curl up on those comfy couches with a good book and a cuppa? I could have easily whiled away a good few hours sprawled out there!

Interior DesignDesignRadio Room

Also on the first floor you’ll find the Radio Room, which offers iMacs, printers and a Skype booth for guests to use. There’s also a nice selection of books on design to peruse as well as old school Atari to play.

Radio Room
Radio Room

Vinyl Room

Equipped with records and turntables as well as being a smoking room, the Vinyl Room would be the perfect place to relax over some tunes with friends. If only I hadn’t been travelling by myself! If you’re a travelling muso, there’s also a practise room in the basement for a spontaneous jam session if you’re up for it.

Vinyl Room


Perched right at the top of the hotel is the Hafensauna, which has a Finnish influence. For €10, guests can rent a sauna pack that contains everything they need to experience the sauna, which overlooks the magnificent harbour. Beer, water and fruit are all complimentary too. I can’t say that I experienced the sauna — it seems like my last German spa experience has left its mark on me!

Mare Kiosk

Directly next to the lobby is a little alcove which has been transformed into a kiosk. As well as stocking essentials for guests, it also stocks books and magazines as well as art and curated items from northern Germany. If you like the ‘Stop the Water While Using Me’ products or the comforting ‘Schlafschaf’ (sleep sheep) from your room, you can buy your own to take home here too.
Mare Kiosk


The ground-floor restaurant, the Heimat Küche + Bar, is open, large and bright and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to both hotel guests and the general public. With the sun pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s a great spot to get some work done or have a bite to eat at any time of the day. I had the fish and chips for dinner here — I couldn’t come to Hamburg and not eat fish — and it was fresh and delicious. On Thursday and Friday nights there’s live music entertainment, making it a fun place to hang out.

The buffet breakfast spread was varied and delicious and includes a huge range of continental and hot delicacies. I made sure I filled up, knowing that I would be skipping lunch since my flight was at 1pm and a big breakfast was needed to get me through the day. Some room rates include breakfast, but if your’s doesn’t, breakfast costs €18 per person.


Other facilities and services

The hotel is equipped with a number of spaces for meetings, conferences and events that can accommodate up to 200 people, including two Freiraum conference rooms, equipped with modern technological equipment and a view of the port, the shipping container in the lobby as well as the mare Gallery space with a separate entrance for private functions.

I couldn’t believe it when I read that a fleet of MINIs were available to guests free of charge for trips and tours around the city! How I wish I was able to stay longer to take one for a spin! If you’re not a confident driver or prefer to get around on two wheels instead (this is Europe after all), guests can also rent complimentary bikes from the Kiosk.


Book this hotel if…

If you’re someone who appreciates good design and a hotel that tells a story, the 25Hours Hotel Hafencity is a hotel that won’t leave you disappointed. Vintage, maritime flair has been expertly fused with all the modern, technological comforts that global nomads have come to expect and its twinkle in the eye approach suits its fun-loving clientele perfectly. The staff at the hotel were young, friendly and relaxed but at the same time always professional and happy to assist guests in any manner. I wish I had more time to enjoy all the hotel had to offer, but I’m sure I will be back again!

Rooms can be booked through the 25Hours Hotel Hafencity website.

Disclosure: I stayed at the 25Hours Hotel Hafencity as a guest but, as always, this review is an honest reflection of my experience. 

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections

October 18, 2015

Today has been all about taking it slow. I returned from Portugal last weekend to a mountain of copywriting work I had let myself get behind in, with the deadline looming only a few days later. Still completely blissed out from the previous week of being treated like a princess, I needed to snap myself back into gear and crunch for a good couple of days straight. Ugh. I hopped from café to café, minimised distractions and pumped those articles out so it all got done on time in the end. It always feels so good when deadlines are met!

You may have also seen on Instagram that I was collaborating with Brooks England on an exciting project too, so I had that to look forward to and keep me going. I was a little worried about the weather, since Berlin has been so rainy all week, but thankfully, the rain did finally stop! Yesterday we did the photoshoot around Berlin, which was loads of fun. I can’t wait to share more with you guys soon about what it was all about!

Needless to say though, after how crazy busy last week was with work, I felt absolutely depleted come mid-afternoon yesterday. All I could do last night was watch rom coms in my pjs with a bottle of red wine. I woke up just shy of midday today and have just hung out at home with Ben except for when we ducked out for a little walk in the crisp autumn air to go get coffee. I love lazy Sundays like this. There’s no better way to recharge.


Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Everyone who has upstairs neighbours will appreciate this video.

READ: I love a good infographic. Here’s one with 50 travel facts that will blow your mind.

EAT: Is this the perfect autumn breakfast or what?

MAKE: How great are these bookends? Love them!

BUY: This outfit.

GO: Now that the weather is getting cooler, fast, my thoughts have turned to winter getaways! This post is helping to inspire my plans.

What exciting projects have you been working on? Do tell!

Turkey, Wanderlust Wednesday

Wanderlust Wednesday: 15 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Istanbul

October 14, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: 15 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Istanbul

When I visited Istanbul last year over Easter (tip: whilst everywhere else in Europe is expensive to fly to during this time, largely Islamic Istanbul is cheap!), I was immediately captivated. Everything about the city was intoxicating — from the exotic call to prayer before the sun rose, the dazzling skyline crowned by minarets, the visual feast that is the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and busiest souks in the world and the vibrant Spice Market, to a feast of smoky kebabs and the ritual of sipping tea at sidewalk cafes — it was all so infatuating. No other city in the world straddles two continents or has a history that features the collision of civilizations quite like this one. It’s one of the most interesting cities I’ve visited in Europe and one that I won’t soon forget.

15 photos that will make you want to visit Istanbul:


Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Spice Market


Photos that will make you want to visit Istanbul

Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Istanbul

Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Istanbul

Spice Markets, Istanbul

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Istanbul

Spice Market

Harem, Istanbul

Istanbul, Asia

Istanbul Fish Burgers

For more travel inspiration on Istanbul you might like:

10 Must-See Sights in Istanbul

Bosphorus Ferry Cruise

Basilica Cistern

Turkish Delights

All About the Tea

Have you ever been to Istanbul? Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #wanderlust_wednesday on Instagram to share your experience with me!

Hotels, Italy, Reviews

A Comfortable and Affordable Stay in Bologna: UNA Hotel Bologna

October 12, 2015

A few weeks ago, Ben and I visited Bologna in northern Italy for a couple of nights. Although this was a city that I had never been to before, it was one that I was hugely excited about visiting, mainly so that I could eat my way around the gastronomical capital of northern Italy. Looking for a hotel that was comfortable and well-located, the four-star UNA Hotel Bologna was everything we needed for our short stay.



The UNA Hotel Bologna is conveniently located directly opposite the Bologna centrale train station. Although we hadn’t arrived by train (we had taken a flight from Berlin), the shuttle bus from the airport took us directly to the station in 20 minutes and all we had to do was cross the street and we were right on the hotel’s doorstep. Too easy. Bologna’s city centre is small and only a 15 minute walk away from the hotel, which meant that we could navigate the city by foot and didn’t have to worry about public transport.


Checking in

We arrived at 1pm, a little early for check-in, which was at 2pm, but we were able to check in straight away and store our luggage until the room was ready without a problem. The lobby was bright and elliptical in shape and furnished with glass and metallic touches, giving the space a futuristic feel. The staff were helpful and efficient and after the paperwork was complete, I was kindly lent a giant umbrella so I could stay dry in the rain while I headed out to find some lunch. When we returned a few hours later, our room was ready.

UNA Hotel Bologna, Lobby


My superior room was located on the second floor and was spacious and colourful. Each of the 93 rooms in the hotel is characterised by a different colour theme (ours was bright blue) and fitted out with a simple, yet comfortable design. The most striking aspect of the room was the large, backlit text feature above the bed, which was a passage of text from a travelogue in Greek; my kind of wall feature! Our room also had a long desk — very useful for when I needed to catch up on emails — as well as a separate sitting area, large, wall-mounted satellite TV as well as free Wi-Fi — everything we needed to feel comfortable and connected.

In total, there are four classes of rooms available in the UNA Hotel Bologna: classic, superior, executive rooms and suites. Some of the higher-end rooms also have exercise equipment in them — perfect for busy business travellers or the health-conscious who want to balance out their food indulgences (trust me, in Bologna you will want to eat EVERYTHING). For longer stays of a month or more, the UNA Hotel Bologna offers 6 apartments with state-of-the-art appliances, a fully equipped kitchen and a cosy and homely atmosphere.

UNA Hotel Bologna, Bedroom

UNA Hotel Bologna, Bedroom

Ready to wind down after a big afternoon of exploring (and eating), we settled back into our room and discovered the pillow menu. I’m pretty picky about the pillow I sleep on and hate feeling uncomfortable if a hotel pillow is too flat, lumpy or offers no support, so I was a little bit excited at the prospect of being able to order my ideal pillow to help me get a good night sleep. There were four options available, each made from different fillings and of varying shapes and firmness and all were made from natural non-allergenic material. Which one to choose? I went with the Kapok pillow in the end, made from soft cotton that adapts to the shape of any neck. And the verdict? I slept like a baby.

UNA Hotel Bologna, Pillow Menu

The bathroom was large and bright and I loved the big bathtub. There was plenty of room to spread out all my toiletries along the vanity area, which I really appreciated because I hate it when there’s no space for my cosmetics and toiletries in hotel bathrooms. Ladies, you get me, right? Thankfully, it wasn’t a problem here.

UNA Hotel Bologna, Bathroom



The UNA restaurant is located on the ground floor of the hotel and overlooks the summer terrace. The bright red setting is welcoming and the intense hue definitely helps you wake up in the morning! A buffet breakfast is included in the room rate. The continental spread includes a variety of sweets freshly prepared every day, jams, fruit preserves, cereals, croissants, yoghurt, as well as cold cuts of meat, cheeses and eggs. A good gluten-free selection is available too. The breakfast staff are attentive and pleasant and are happy to make you an espresso or cappuccino that they’ll serve you at your table.

The UNA restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner and offers a selection of international cuisine as well as favourite local dishes. If you feel like a lighter snack, the café in the lobby also serves bar snacks until midnight and there is a happy hour every day.

UNA Hotel Bologna, Breakfast

Other facilities

If you’re exploring Italy by car, the UNA Hotel Bologna has a secure garage for you to use (with an extra charge) while you stay. Small pets are accepted at the hotel, which for some people is an important factor when deciding where to stay, especially among Europeans, many of whom like to travel with their furry friends. The UNA Hotel Bologna also offers a babysitting service as well as an ironing service. For business travellers, there are three meeting rooms that can accommodate between 20 and 30 people.

Book this hotel if…

For an affordable and comfortable stay in Bologna, the UNA Hotel Bologna is ideal. The hotel is in a great position with easy access to transport (bus and train) if needed, but within easy walking distance of the city centre. The staff were all helpful and happy to assist in any way and the added touches like the pillow menu, free wi-fi and included breakfast make for a relaxed place to base yourself while you explore charming Bologna.

Rooms can be booked through the UNA Hotel Bologna website.

Disclosure: I stayed at the UNA Hotel Bologna as a guest but, as always, this review is an honest reflection of my experience. 


50 Things You Never Knew About Germany

September 14, 2015

Berliner Dom

Even though I‘ve been living in Germany for over two years now as an expat, I’m still discovering new things about this country every day. Here is a list of my favourite weird and wonderful facts about Germany that you probably didn’t know.

50 things you never knew about Germany:

1. Germany has the highest population of any country in the European Union with over 82 million people.

2. Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris.

3. Berlin has more bridges than Venice.

4. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany.

5. Nearly a third of Germany is powered by renewable energy.

6. In Germany, there’s no punishment for a prisoner that tries to escape jail because a desire to be free is a basic human instinct.

7. Oktoberfest actually starts in September.

8. Germany has the lowest birth rate in the world.

9. Beer is officially considered a food in Bavaria.

10. Germany launched the first magazine in the world in 1663.

11. Chinese checkers was invented in Germany.

12. German grammar rules for compounding mean that this language contains some of the longest words in the world, such as ‘Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft’ (79 letters), which means: ‘Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services’.

13. After WWI there were so few men in Germany that only 1 in 3 women would find a husband.

14. It is illegal to run out of fuel on a highway in Germany.

15. Germany’s capital has shifted around over the centuries from Aachen, Regensburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, Nuremberg, Berlin, Weimar, Bonn (and East Berlin), and, since 1990, Berlin again.

16. Hamburgers got their name from Hamburg in Germany’s north.

17. Last year, Germany officially abolished college tuition fees, even for international students.

18. Performing the Nazi salute is a criminal offence in Germany and is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

19. There are over 300 kinds of bread in Germany.

20. 60% of You Tube’s 1,000 most popular videos are blocked in Germany.

21. Germany made its last WWI reparation payment in 2010, as determined by the Treaty of Versailles.

22. 5,500 unexploded bombs are found in Germany each year and an average of 15 are defused every day.

23. Fanta originated in Germany.

24. The legal drinking age is 16 for beer and wine. Consumption of spirits is restricted until the age of 18.

25. Germany was the first country to adopt Daylight Savings Time in 1916.

26. During WWI, the King of England, the Tsar of Russia and the Kaiser of Germany were all first cousins.

27. There are over 20,000 castles in Germany.

28. Prostitution is legal.

29. Germany has official rules about what a baby can be named.

30. East and West Germany still look different from space because of the different street lamps used.

31. Germany is the world capital of penis enlargement.

32. Flipping the bird is illegal and, if reported, can result in a fine from police.

33. 65% of the Autobahn has no speed limit.

34. The first printed book was in German.

35. Hugo Boss designed the official uniforms for the Nazi Party and the Hitler Youth.

36. The Christmas tree tradition originated in Germany.

37. Germany shares borders with nine other countries.

38. The Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest train station in Europe.

39. Germany has made a commitment to eliminate nuclear energy by 2022 after the Fukushima disaster, with a focus on developing renewable energy instead.

40. German is the third most commonly taught language in the world.

41. Approximately one third of Germany is still forested.

42. Drinking alcohol in public is legal.

43. Beer is about the same price as water.

44. Everything is closed on Sundays except cafés and restaurants.

45. The German government gives the disabled a stipend to pay for sex.

46. The Berlin Zoologischer Garten is the largest zoo in the world and, with 1,500 species of animals, holds the most comprehensive collection of any zoo.

47. Ever since WWII when the Nazis infamously used the German national anthem, ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ (Germany, Germany above everything), only the third stanza of the German national anthem is legal to be sung.

48. Germans separate their waste into six different categories for recycling purposes.

49. Many Germans are ‘sitzpinklers’, which means they sit down to pee.

50. To order a beer, you raise your thumb in Germany, not your index finger.

Do you know any other weird and wonderful facts about Germany? Share them with us in the comments below!

Spain, Wanderlust Wednesday

Wanderlust Wednesday: 15 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Barcelona

September 9, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday

I’ve been to Barcelona three times since I moved to Europe two years ago. I know. It’s a lot, right? Admittedly, once was for work, but I made sure there was lots of play — namely tapas eating and cava sipping — too. It’s also the only city in Spain I’ve seen. While there might be something wrong with that according to a few Spaniards I’ve encountered and I would love to see more of the country, Barcelona is all I know for now. From the cobblestoned lanes of the gothic quarter, to the sun-drenched beach under the Iberian sun, from the plates of jamón, paella and croquettes, to the abundant and inexpensive wine, you can probably gather why I love it so much.

15 photos that will make you want to visit Barcelona:

Gothic Quarter

Barcelona Tapas


Barceloneta Beach


City View

Barcelona Church

Barcelona Tapas

Barcelona Beach Sculpture

Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

Gaudi Park

Barcelona Square

Barcelona Rooftop


For more travel inspiration on Barcelona you might like:

Where to Find Great Tapas in Barcelona

El Born: Barcelona’s Best Neighbourhood

An Afternoon at Barceloneta Beach

If you’re off to Barcelona soon, check out Nomadic Matt’s post on How to Spend 5 Days in Barcelona, which offers some great tips on what to see, eat and do.

Have you ever been to Barcelona? Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #wanderlust_wednesday on Instagram to share your experience with me!

Germany, Travel

How to Spend a Layover in Frankfurt

September 7, 2015


While the economic hub of Europe might not be the primary destination for the majority of travellers, Frankfurt is nonetheless home to Europe’s third busiest airport and is a common stopover point for connecting flights within Europe.

With its towering skyscrapers and big-city feel, Frankfurt’s modernity is at odds with with everything else that Germany is known for — the charm of Bavaria, the mysticism of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), the cultural hub of Berlin, the wine region of the Rhine — which is exactly why it makes for a unique experience and one that can’t be replicated elsewhere in Germany.

The proximity of the airport to the city — a mere 15 minutes by train — makes Frankfurt one of the best cities for a layover. Whether you have three hours to kill or a whole day, get out of the airport and see some of the city’s best attractions. All of these sites are located in the heart of the city and are easily within walking distance of one another.

How to spend a layover in Frankfurt:

The skyscrapers

Frankfurt’s skyline — it’s most defining feature —  has earned it the nickname of ‘Mainhatten’, in reference to the city’s full name, Frankfurt am Main. You won’t see a skyline filled with skyscrapers reaching for the heavens anywhere else in Germany, so it’s a great sight to check out if you’ve got some time.

Frankfurt Skyscrapers


The Main river

The Main river snakes its way through the centre of the city and makes for a lovely spot to watch the planes take off from nearby Frankfurt International Airport. The banks of the Main are a popular place for cycling, jogging and picnicking and there are lots of cruise options if you’re keen on seeing the city from the water.

Frankfurt Main


Cross the Main river on the Eiserner Steg

The Eiserner Steg is the iron pedestrian bridge that connects both sides of the river. As you cross, look up at the Greek sign that sits on top of the bridge, which roughly translates to: ‘Sailing on a wine-dark sea off to foreign shores’ and is meant to encourage locals to learn more about foreign cultures.

Iron Bridge, Frankfurt


The Hauptwache

In the district around the Hauptwache, you’ll find some of Frankfurt’s most beautiful, historic architecture. This area is one of the most famous plazas in all of Frankfurt and a lovely place to grab an ice cream in the warmer months.

Historic Architecture, Frankfurt


View the city from above at the Main Tower

If you can spare the entry fee of €6.50, a journey up the 56 floors to the observation deck of the Main Tower, Germany’s fourth tallest building at 200m high should most definitely be a feature of your layover. Here, at Frankfurt’s highest vantage point, you can find sweeping views of the cityscape and some of the best views over Frankfurt.

Main Tower, Frankfurt


Römerberg, the medieval old town centre

The old town square of Römerberg should be on the itinerary of any stopover in Frankfurt. The ornate, narrow, half-timbered houses, pointed roofs and flower-filled balconies that line the central square are a lovely backdrop while sipping on a cup of coffee as you people-watch. Although Römerberg was destroyed in WWII, it has been carefully reconstructed to reflect how beautiful it was during medieval times.

Frankfurt Old Town


The Old Town Hall

The Römer is Frankfurt’s Old Town Hall and is located in the central square. Used as Frankfurt’s city hall for over 600 years, this historic building is one of the city’s most important landmarks.

Town Hall, Frankfurt


The giant Euro symbol

At the former headquarters of the European Central Bank, the powerhouse of Europe, you’ll find the world’s largest Euro symbol. While many Frankfurters consider it an eyesore, it is a favourite among visitors.

European Central Bank, Frankfurt


The contrast of old and new

The medieval heart of historic Frankfurt is beautifully contrasted with the modern metropolis that has been built around it. In no other city in Germany is there such a marked contrast between old and new as there is in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt, Mix of Old and New


The mix of architectural styles

Frankfurt boasts an impressive diversity of architectural styles ranging from the Gothic houses of the Römer, the Neoclassical St. Paul’s Church, to the Modernist and Postmodernist skyscrapers. There’s a structure from a different historical period and architectural style around every corner!

Architecture, Frankfurt


St. Paul’s Church

The grand Paulskirche (St. Paul’s Church) was originally built between 1790 and 1833. Although it is no longer used as a church, this structure has become one of Frankfurt’s most important venues for events and exhibitions. It is also famous for being the site of President John. F. Kennedy’s speech in 1963.

St Paul's Church, Frankfurt


The timeless elegance of the Messeturm

Renowned architect, Helmut Jahn, combined traditional design and decorative elements into the architectural icon that is the Messeturm, a modern interpretation of American Art Déco high-rises. The Messeturm is the second tallest building in Germany, after the Commerzbank Tower, also located in Frankfurt. Despite its name, which translates to ‘Trade Fair Tower’, it is not used for exhibitions, but as offices instead.

Messe Turm


Where to stay:

Break up your flight with an overnight stay in Frankfurt at Capri by Fraser Frankfurt, the city’s newest design hotel in a great location. Rates are very affordable and the rooms are spacious and well appointed. Read my full review here.

Capri, Lobby

Have you been to Frankfurt? What would you recommend for a layover in the city?

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections

August 9, 2015

Oh. Em. Gee. Yes, that’s me this time last week at the luxurious Villa Le Maschere in rural Tuscany. When I was sent there ‘on assignment’ for a weekend of indulgence to review the property for World of Wanderlust, I almost fell of my chair with excitement. Ummm… yes please! I spent three nights at this stunning 16th century property with a fabulous group of other bloggers and had a jam-packed weekend of golf, massages, sunbathing, feasting, campari and prosecco. In fact, this photo was taken exactly this time last Sunday. Do you forgive me for not posting last weekend’s Sunday Selections? As you can see, I was a little busy… Keep your eye on World of Wanderlust next week for my full review of the experience with lots of photos.

Needless to say, this past week was a little less exciting. Actually, I lot less. Combined with the post-holiday blues, I had to spend a few days indoors recovering from whacking myself in the eye with a hairbrush. I tell you, eye injuries f’ing hurt like nothing else. I had sharp, shooting pains and a lot of blurriness, but thankfully, after three days it has healed. I’m now feeling more inspired than ever to get out there, make the most of this gorgeous Berlin weather (finally!) and create a heap of new content for the blog. Hint: read below to see what’s making me extra excited.


Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: If this video doesn’t make you want to pack up and travel the world, I’m not sure what will.

READ: This traveller’s manifesto outlines 26 ways to get the most out of your travels and be a traveller, not a tourist. #26 is what it’s all about.

EAT: Salted watermelon margarita popsicles. Need I say more?

MAKE: I wish I would receive all of my letters in these.

BUY: After last weekend in Tuscany, Ben and I came to the realisation that now that we’re going to be travelling more and more, it was time to upgrade our camera gear. We currently use the Sony DSC-RX100M II, the best small camera on the market, but admitted that we needed something a little more professional from this point onwards. So yesterday, in a flurry of excitement, we purchased the Nikon D750 and a 50mm 1.8 lens. I CANNOT wait to take it out and about next week in Berlin!

GO: If you’re trying to plan a European trip, this post will be super helpful in helping you figure out where to go based on the season.

See you soon, friends x

Berlin, Germany, Travel, Travel Tips

Where to Find Berlin’s Best Street Art

August 7, 2015

Known for its creativity, culture and freedom of expression, Berlin has long been a global street art capital, up there with the likes of Philadelphia and São Paulo. Some of Europe’s biggest names in street art have used all corners of the city as their canvas, telling a unique story with their pieces. You can’t come to Berlin and not see some of the city’s most iconic pieces so here’s The Department of Wandering guide to where you should go to find them.

Where to find Berlin’s best street art

In a nutshell? Kreuzberg. While great street art can be found all over the city, if you’re looking to see some of Berlin’s most iconic works all within a close distance of one another, the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg is where you should head. All of the pieces below are clustered around the U-Bahn stations of Görlitzer Park and Schlesisches Tor.

‘Astronaut / Cosmonaut’, Victor Ash

The artist’s most famous work, it’s difficult to miss Victor Ash’s Astronaut / Cosmonaut piece on the side of a multi-story building. Commissioned by the city, this 22m-high piece is thought to be one of the largest stencils in the world. This piece is so highly regarded, it has been re-printed on t-shirts and posters. For great views, catch the U-Bahn between Kotbusser Tor and Görlitzer Park and see it from above. This is one you should definitely not miss — it’s size makes it quite hard to, anyway!

LOCATION: Mariannenstraße, Kreuzberg

Where to Find Berlin's Best Street Art, Astronaut


‘The Pink Man’, BLU

Italian artist, BLU, has made his mark on Berlin in more ways than one. A number of his works are featured across the city, with ‘The Pink Man’ being one of the most famous. The enormous pink creature at the centre of this piece is made up of many, small humans fighting one another to make a single entity. The monster is about to consume a lone, white figure, the one individual who is different from the rest. This piece has an important political message, like most of BLU’s art. Many have interpreted the message behind the piece as a representation of the evil engine of society that rewards conformity and punishes individuality and difference, reminiscent of the Nazi regime of control.

LOCATION: Oberbaum Bridge, Kreuzberg

Where to Find Berlin's Best Street Art, BLU


‘Hanging Animals’, Roa

Belgian-born artist, Roa, is famous for his street art depicting local animals native to the region. Dealing with the themes of death and decay, Roa’s large-scale murals depict the fate of the animals as a result of urban development. Impressively detailed and created with spray cans in monotones, Roa’s works make a lasting impression.

LOCATION: Oranienstraße, Kreuzberg

Where to Find Berlin's Best Street Art, Roa


‘Yellow Man’, Os Gêmeos

These Brazilian twins have made quite an impact on the street art scene in Berlin. Their signature cartoon-like murals depict unusually-proportioned and strangely dressed characters with yellow skin.

LOCATION: Oppelner Straße, Kreuzberg

Where to Find Berlin's Best Street Art, Os Gemeos


‘Businessman in Chains’, BLU

This piece by BLU, painted eight years ago, was the undisputed Berlin street art icon until it was recently painted over by the artist himself. The most famous of all street art murals in the entire city, the piece gained worldwide attention, depicting a businessman chained by his golden watches, a commentary on modern employees’ enslavement to corporations. The popularity of the piece drove prices up in the local area and unfortunately, the process of gentrification started forcing the Kreuzberg locals out of their own homes. Locals began protesting passionately against rising rents and BLU, realising that the mural had contributed greatly to this process, came to recognise that they were their own biggest enemies. So, in the middle of the night on Thursday 11th December, 2014, BLU and a group of  other artists painted over the piece out of sorrow for what it had caused and in protest against the ‘zombification’ of the city.

LOCATION: Curvystraße, Kreuzberg

Where to Find Berlin's Best Street Art, Blu


‘Kermit the Frog’, Robi the Dog

Robi the Dog is a Swiss street artist who is known for working with multi-layer stencils sprayed on paste-ups. His work, which can be seen all over Berlin, aims to show everyday situations from a new, amusing point of view.

LOCATION: Oppelner Straße, Kreuzberg

Where to Find Berlin's Best Street Art


All of these pieces can be seen on an Alternative Berlin Street Art Workshop and Tour, which runs everyday except Tuesday and Sundays and costs €18.

Disclosure: I attended this Alternative Berlin Street Art Workshop and Tour as a guest of Visit Berlin. As always, my opinions are my own.

Where have you been impressed by street art on your travels? Share in the comments below!

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections

July 19, 2015

Happy Sunday, friends! It’s absolutely bucketing down in Berlin today which kind of threw a spanner in the works for our plans to show some friends around Mauerpark this afternoon. We’re hiding out at home instead…

Have you caught up on the latest about my big announcement this past week? I’m pretty darn excited about it. It already feels so right to be working on my writing and getting out and about photographing the city during the day instead of forcing myself to write at night when I was always so exhausted from a full day in the classroom. Starting my days with superfood green smoothies like this one might become my new morning routine too!

Green Juice

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Now that I’ve quit my full-time job, this video speaks volumes to me. Jedidiah Jenkins quit his high-paying corporate job to ride his bike from Oregon to Patagonia because he felt that ‘routine is the enemy of time’ as ‘it makes it fly by’. He wants to make it to 85 years-old one day and feel like he’s lived to a thousand. Some great inspiration right there!

READ: I’m thinking about renting a co-working space to ensure my days are productive, but if I was in the Netherlands, I would totally go for this option instead!

EAT: These homemade ginger ale and blueberry spritzers = happiness.

MAKE: This little DIY is super environmentally friendly, will wake up your skin and you’re almost guaranteed to have the ingredients at home already.

BUY: So I checked the weather for my Florence trip in a couple of weeks and it’s looking positively scorching — just the way I like it! It was time to buy a new bikini. What do you think of my choice?

GO: This post on the top 10 weekend getaways in Europe has me doing some serious planning for the next few months!

Have a happy week ahead x

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections

July 5, 2015

You know how last week I mentioned that the European heatwave was heading Berlin’s way? Well, it has well and truly arrived. Berliners have been sweltering this weekend. Temperatures have pushed into the high thirties and have combined with a heavy humidity that has left us all sticky and sleepy. In Australia in the middle of summer, I’d never feel uncomfortable, because I’d just switch the air conditioning on. But in Germany, the vast majority of apartments, bars, restaurants and public transport do not have cooling systems! Because it’s just as hot inside as outside, I’ve spent much of the weekend out and about, sipping on drinks by the Spree and picnicking in the shady park trying to keep cool. Oh, and I attended a fab Street Art tour and workshop too. It was very hot but lots of fun. Keep your eyes on Instagram this week for some pics!
Berlin canal sunset

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: How spectacular does Banff look in winter? This video is keeping me cool just watching it!

READ: The search for perfection can create a crushing anxiety in a lot of people, myself included. I love this post on why searching for perfection is overrated and why we should all just be silly instead.

EAT: Can someone please deliver one of these to me now? The perfect antidote to these sweltering temperatures.

MAKE: Here’s your complete guide to how to capture fun lettering made by sparklers on camera.

BUY: I ordered this cute little thing from Asos last week and it arrived just in time for this weekend’s hot weather! It kept me a little cooler today.

GO: Days like these leave me craving an escape to the ocean and this post brings back some beautiful memories from my trip here this time two years ago.

Stay cool kids! x

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections

June 28, 2015

Happy Sunday friends! I’m so happy that the European heat wave is slowly making its way over to Berlin; it seems like next week will finally feel like summer. Last week I was battling some kind of bug which left me exhausted all week, but today’s sunshine gave me a much-needed boost. The city is getting busy, with more and more tourists streaming in as each day passes. But when summer looks like this, I can’t really blame them for wanting to be here!

Berlin canal, summer

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Joe Herbert and his girlfriend flew to New Zealand from the UK, bought an old school bus and refitted it with eight beds, a kitchen and a shower. They embarked on an epic nine-week road trip where they met 15 travellers from eight different countries who, at one stage or another, joined them on their bus adventure. Here’s the video: ‘The Road to Adventure’.

READ: Here are ’10 signs you need to pack your bags and travel’. Do any of them apply to you?

EAT: I could eat this meal just about every day.

MAKE: These DIY photo notepads are super easy and fun to make!

BUY: The ShelfPack suitcase might just be the answer to all my packing woes.

GO: After seeing Nicole Warne’s incredible photos of the Na Pali coast on Hawaii’s Kauai island, I’m just desperate to get over there!

What has inspired you this week?

Berlin, Expat Life

So You’ve Moved to Berlin… Now What? 10 Items for Your Expat To-Do List

June 9, 2015

Making the actual decision to move abroad is one of the the hardest steps of the entire process. But it’s only when your plane has touched down in the new city you’re going to be calling home that the real adventure begins!

So what are the first things that should be on your expat to-do list?

10 items for for your expat to-do list once you’ve moved to Berlin:

Moved to Berlin

1. Decide which neighbourhood you’d like to live in

Berlin is one of the biggest cities in Europe and as such, each neighbourhood is completely different to the next. A lot of families choose to live in Prenzlauer Berg, whereas students and young people generally tend to live in either Kreuzberg, Neukölln or Friedrichshain. Do your research and decide which neighbourhood suits your lifestyle and interests best.

2. Find somewhere to live

Once you’ve decided on which neighbourhood you’d like to live in, it’s time to hunt for a flat. The housing market in Berlin is very competitive and finding a flat can be notoriously difficult, especially when you are competing against German-speaking locals. Having all of your paperwork organised as well as a bit of persistence should result in finding an apartment eventually.

Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to rent an unfurnished or furnished flat. Expats who are moving for shorter periods tend to prefer renting fully-furnished apartments and can find these through sites like Crocodilian, Home Company or even AirBnB (read about my AirBnb love affair here and claim a bonus €22 off your first stay!). If you plan on staying for a longer period, you might want to furnish your own flat. In this case, search for a place on Immobilienscout24, Immonet, Immowelt. Another great option is to sub-let and you can search for these apartments on WG Gesucht.

Moved to Berlin

3. Register your address

By law you are supposed to register your address at the Bürgeramt within 14 days of moving in. In German this is called ‘Anmeldung’. This process is very important for expats because without doing so, you can’t apply for a visa, open a bank account, enrol in University, register for German health insurance, among many other essential things. Book an appointment online and find out what you need to bring with you here.

4. Book your visa appointment

Non-EU nationals need a visa if you plan on staying in Germany longer than 90 days. For a breakdown of the different visa options available, read: An Expat’s Guide to Getting a Visa in Berlin.

5. Open a bank account

As soon as you’ve registered your address and have your official, stamped piece of paper, it’s time to open a bank account. There are lots of different banks to choose from in Berlin, but the most popular tend to be Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Sparkasse.

6. Sort out your health insurance

It is mandatory to have health insurance in Germany. Unfortunately, it is very expensive, although it does come with a lot of benefits. At your visa appointment, you will need to show evidence of insurance. German health insurance is complicated and many people hire an insurance broker to help find the most suitable policy for their individual needs, as policies vary widely. The most common German health insurance providers are TK (who I’m with), Barmer GEK and AOK. If you are employed, the good news is that your employer will cover half of your monthly insurance contributions. If you are a freelancer, you need to cover the full amount on your own. What you pay is determined by how much you earn, but in general, premiums are around 15 % of your total income.

7. Start German lessons

One of the most important aspects of the expat experience is learning the local language and you’re never going to be able to fully appreciate your new home if you don’t speak the language. In fact, refusing to learn the language kind of defeats the purpose of moving in the first place! For these reasons, book a German course as soon as possible to learn the basics. When I first arrived, I signed up for two months of intensive German classes with DeutschAkademie. Classes ran for three hours per day, four days per week at a very reasonable cost of € 205. Other popular courses include those through Expath and the German Language School.

8. Look for a job

If you can speak German you have a huge advantage in the job market in Berlin. Unfortunately, most jobs require proficiency in German, which is all the more reason to get your German skills up to scratch! If they’re not quite there yet though, don’t worry. There are still lots of options. One of the best options for expats is a job at a start-up as you’re less likely to need a high level of German in this situation. Other places to look for English-speaking jobs include the job boards on ExBerliner, Berlin Expat Jobs and Toytown Germany.

9. Get connected

Now that you’ve registered your address, (hopefully) found a flat and have opened a bank account, it’s time to connect your mobile phone. You can either sign up for a contract or buy a prepaid SIM and top-up on the go (what I do). Some of the most popular providers are O2, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom.

10. Enjoy Berlin!

Now you’ve got the most important things on your expat to-do list ticked off, it’s time to get out and enjoy Berlin! The best thing about living abroad is that you LIVE abroad. You don’t feel rushed to get around and see everything in only a couple of days. Take your time, explore, eat and discover the city naturally.

Moved to Berlin

Have you experienced moving abroad to a new country? What were the first things on your to-do list? Share in the comments below!

Czech Republic, Food and Drink, Reviews, Tours, Travel

In Search of a Real Czech Lunch in Prague with Guidilo

June 4, 2015

Prague with Guidilo

Although I’m no foodie, it’s no secret that I love to eat. No matter where I travel to, uncovering the best local spots to eat at is a top priority. More than once I’ve even gone as far as avoiding eating if I can’t seem to find a decent local restaurant that’s not a tourist trap. Eating crappy food would just ruin my day otherwise.

So when Guidilo, a tour company in Prague that’s all about local, authentic experiences contacted me and invited me to review a selection of their tours, naturally, I couldn’t go past their ‘Real Czech Lunch food tour.

Real Czech Lunch Food Tour

When I arrived in Prague hungry and ready to eat my way across the city, Tereza from Guidilo informed me that unfortunately the regular guide was ill and could not lead the tour that day. Thankfully, a replacement guide had been arranged for me: Michal. Phew!

Conveniently,Michal met me at my hotel and off we set into the old town. Right from the get-go, Michal began to explain some of the interesting history of Prague as well as the historical division of its districts. He asked lots of questions about our preferences to determine the best itinerary for the afternoon. Michal decided that we should begin our food tour at one of his favourite local restaurants in the centre of Prague: Mincovna.

First stop: lunch at Mincovna

Mincovna serves traditional Czech food primarily to locals of Prague and is located in a historical building in the beautiful Old Town. The menu offered a wide selection of Czech specialties with a modern twist and Michal took his time explaining the dishes to me. I wanted to go for a popular, traditional Czech lunch and so ordered the Svíčková (sirloin beef with root vegetable sauce, cranberries, a splash of cream and bread dumplings), a classic Sunday family lunch dish on Michal’s recommendation. Ben couldn’t go past the Beef Goulash prepared in Pilsner beer with roasted onions and potato dumplings. Michal ordered a turkey breast marinated in herbs with a ragout of green lentils.

Czech food with Guidilo, Prague

Czech food with Guidlio, Prague

Real Czech Lunch with Guidilo in Prauge

Although the food was heavy, the serves were the perfect size, ensuring that we still felt like exploring Prague rather than needing an afternoon nap. And oh was it delicious! The flavours were rich and the meat lovely and tender. Whilst enjoying the last sips of our Czech beer, we made our plan of attack for the rest of the afternoon.

Real Czech Lunch Food Tour, Guidilo

But we couldn’t leave without tasting a Czech dessert, could we? Michal recommended the Buchtičky se šodó, a dish of sweet dumplings in custard sauce. This dessert is popular throughout eastern Europe.

Real Czech Lunch in Prague, Dessert

Deciding that an afternoon coffee would be nice, we made our way across Manesuv Bridge to the tram stop. Of course, we had to stop for some beautiful photos of the iconic Charles Bridge on the way!

Charles Bridge, Prague

We caught the tram to the area behind Prague Castle and veered off the main tourist trail and found ourselves in an unexpectedly quiet network of tiny lanes snaking their way around the old city walls, known as Novy svet. The old, cobblestoned roads that form this part of the castle district is almost completely neglected by tourists, but is loved by locals. Dating back to the 14th Century, this small area contains just a few streets and retains its original village charm of days long gone by. It wasn’t too long before we found our destination.


Second stop: coffee and ice cream at Kavárna Novy Svet

Always in search of a city’s best coffee, a cafe naturally made its way onto our list and after a heavy lunch, a coffee was exactly what we needed. Michal lead us to his favourite cafe in Prague: Kavárna Novy Svet.

Real Czech Lunch with Guidilo, Prague

It was a delightful little spot with friendly staff and excellent coffee. Flat whites were advertised on the menu — a signal to me that a cafe is half decent! They use Doubleshot coffee roasted in Prague by high-quality roasters. Michal also recommended the ice cream by 2AD here, so, of course, we obliged.

Coffee in Prague

By this stage it was late afternoon and, therefore, beer o’clock! We had heard from some friends about a monastery brewery nearby and told Michal we were keen to check it out. It turns out he had read our minds and was going to suggest it anyway!

Third stop: Strahov Monastery Brewery

Strolling along behind Prague Castle, he delivered us to the Strahov Monastery Brewery. The monastery itself was founded in the 10th century and the brewery was originally established at the turn of the 13th Century. Today, the microbrewery serves a number of varieties of St. Norbert beer and we enjoyed the Amber beer. It was the perfect way to end such a delicious day sampling a selection of Prague’s real Czech food. Na zdravi (cheers)!

Monastery Brewery, Prague

To book the Guidilo Real Czech Lunch, visit their website.

Is there a food tour you’ve loved somewhere around the world? I want to know about it in the comments below!

Disclosure: I attended the Real Czech Lunch Food Tour as a guest of Guidilo. As always, my opinions are my own.

As Seen In

May 9, 2015


Editor’s Roundup: 2016 Wanderlust Destinations | Electrify Mag

Travel Bloggers Reveal Their Craziest Travel Experiences, | Polkadot Passport

Travel Bloggers Share: The Best Piece of Advice I’ve Ever Received | Little Grey Box

Travel Bloggers Share: Our #1 Travel Hacks | Little Grey Box



24 Hours in Berlin | Flying the Nest Vlog

Berlin Metropolitan Detour: Rachel’s Detour | Brooks England

Portugal with the WOW Team | World of Wanderlust Vlog



Berlin Like a Local with Expat Rachel Bale | World of Wanderlust



40 Instagrams to Follow for Travel Inspo | Perrero Travel

HOW TO: Travel Like a Local | Polkadot Passport

My Favourite Travel Instagrammers of 2015 | Little Grey Box



10 Best Instagram Photos of the Week | AFAR


Published Work

6 Australian Habits I Lost in Germany | Matador Network

6 of Berlin’s Best Smoothie Bars | World of Wanderlust

10 Fairy Tale Castles to Visit in Germany | World of Wanderlust

10 German Cities you Need to Visit | World of Wanderlust

10 Must-Have Culinary Experiences in Tokyo | Electrify Mag

10 of Berlin’s Best Instagrammers | World of Wanderlust

10 Reasons Why Berlin is a Great City for Expats | World of Wanderlust

10 Reasons Why You Need to Travel to India This Year | World of Wanderlust

10 Unique Places to Stay in Berlin | World of Wanderlust

15 Tips to Stay Healthy While Travelling in India | World of Wanderlust

30 Things You’ll Never Hear a Melbournian Say | Matador Network

50 Essential Tips for First-Time Travellers | World of Wanderlust

Alfama Neighbourhood Guide: Lisbon’s Most Charming District | World of Wanderlust

A Luxe Ski Weekend in Val d’Isere | World of Wanderlust

An Expat’s Guide to Getting a Visa in Berlin | World of Wanderlust

Berlin Brunch Guide | World of Wanderlust

Berlin Coffee Guide | World of Wanderlust

Berlin on a Budget: The Top 15 Free Things to do in Berlin | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: A Luxurious Retreat in Rural Tuscany at Villa Le Maschere | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: The Capra Saas Fee for Luxury in the Swiss Alps | World of Wanderlust

Escape the Crowds to Croatia’s Most Beautiful Secret Beach: Saharun | World of Wanderlust

Exploring Berlin’s Neighbourhoods: Prenzlauer Berg | World of Wanderlust

How to Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen | World of Wanderlust

Is This the Prettiest Polish Town? Why You Should Visit Wrocław | World of Wanderlust

Mystical Sintra and Charming Cascais: The Perfect Day Trip from Lisbon | World of Wanderlust

Oktoberfest: 10 Things to Know Before you Go | World of Wanderlust

Step Back in Time to the Renaissance Period in Scarperia | World of Wanderlust

Stopover Cities: Making the Most of a Frankfurt Stopover | World of Wanderlust

Summer in Berlin: 10 Essential Experiences | World of Wanderlust

The Cutest German Towns to Visit | World of Wanderlust

The Stelvio Pass: Is This Europe’s Most Spectacular Road? | World of Wanderlust

The ‘Top 25’ Landmarks in the World in 2015 | World of Wanderlust

The Ultimate Checklist for Planning Long-Term Travel | World of Wanderlust

Visiting the Algarve: Portugal’s Most Loved Holiday Destination | World of Wanderlust

Why Every Traveller to India Needs to Visit Goa | World of Wanderlust

You Can’t Go to Berlin and not See These 20 Must See Berlin Attractions | World of Wanderlust


Guest Posts

3 London Markets you Need to Visit | Book Culinary Vacations

10 Must-See Sights in Istanbul | Outbound 



Liebster Award | May 2015

Denmark, Travel

Freetown Christiania: Inside Copenhagen’s Hippie Commune

May 2, 2015

Kun døde fisk flyder med strømmen — Only dead fish swim with the current. — local slogan of Christiania

I’m always on a quest to discover what makes a place unique when I travel. I try to find the best local food, always get around on local transport and try to do as much walking as possible to really get a true sense of where I am. Naturally, during my visit to Copenhagen a few months ago, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out Christiania, one of the city’s most interesting communities.

Christiania, Copenhagen

What is Christiania?

Despite its location being right in the centre of Copenhagen in the district of Christianshavn, Christiania is anything but touristy. In fact, it is a neighbourhood as unique as they come. Known as ‘Freetown Christiania’ to the Danes, this quirky borough really is just that: a self-proclaimed free state that operates independently to the rest of Copenhagen. As you enter the walled complex, you pass underneath a sign that reads: ‘You are now leaving the European Union’. The community functions under its own governing set of laws: no weapons, no hard drugs, no cars and even no bullet-proof vests. It flies its own flag, has its own battlesong, uses its own unique currency and its residents don’t pay taxes.

History of Christiania

The birth of Christiania dates back to 1971, when a group of 700 young squatters and artists took over a vacant military base, established squatter’s rights and proclaimed their own free state that was beyond the reach of Danish law. This anarchist’s dreamland has attracted hippies, idealists, artists, and anyone else seeking an alternative way of life in Denmark’s capital.

Christiania, Copenhagen

Controversial Christiania

The establishment of this commune has been controversial since its creation for a number of reasons, including the fact that Christianians are squatters with semi-legal status, the community lies on prime real estate and, perhaps most notoriously, for its open trade in marijuana. As you near the notorious ‘Pusher Street’, signs warn you that you are approaching the ‘Green Light District’, known as the largest open soft-drug market in Scandinavia. Signage warns you to put your camera away; the trade of marijuana is still officially illegal in Denmark and the government is beginning to be more active in implementing this law even in Christiania. Dealers won’t tolerate photographs here as they insist on keeping a low profile, even obscuring their faces with balaclavas. If you ignore the signage and don’t respect the locals, be prepared for the consequences!

Stepping into this community really feels as though you’ve been transported back to the counterculture of the 1960s; peace signs and yin-yangs decorate the exterior of many of the colourful homes, there are art galleries, workshops, music venues and organic cafes aplenty, and the earthy scent of marijuana hangs persistently in the air. A wander around Christiania offers an insight into an alternative way of life. There are many interesting structures to see, ranging from old army buildings to inventive, self-constructed ramshackle homes made out of all kinds of materials.

Christiania, Copenhagen

Christiania, Copenhagen

Christiania, Copenhagen

Christiania, Copenhagen

Christiania, Copenhagen

Christiania, Copenhagen

Christiania, Copenhagen

christiania, copenhagen

This little community is still thriving today with over 900 residents, some of them third-generation Christianians. Some have said that this commune is perhaps the largest and most enduring in history. There is, however, continued tension between residents and the Danish government, which believes that Christiania is an eyesore, a security hazard and an unruly community that should be kept in line.

Getting to Christiania:

Take the metro to Christianshavn station and from there it is about a six minute walk to Christiania (500 m). Bus 9A also stops directly outside the entrance.

Tips for your visit:

♥ Remember that you are a visitor to a residential area and not a tourist site. Treat the locals with respect and be careful to not invade their privacy.

♥ Follow the rules as displayed at the entrances the community: do not take photographs of Pusher Street, don’t run and don’t talk on a mobile phone.

♥ Join a tour of Christiania to make the most your visit.

Have you been to Christiania? Join the conversation below and share your experience!

Denmark, Travel

10 Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love With Copenhagen

April 17, 2015

Copenhagen: a city that has long been synonymous with innovation, design, fashion and sustainability. Home to the world’s best restaurant and serving some of the best coffee in Europe, it’s easy to see why it’s inhabitants are some of the happiest on earth. I have been wanting to visit Scandinavia for a while now, so last month, I jetted up north (can you believe that it was only a 40 minute flight from Berlin!) to spend a weekend in Copenhagen and, let me tell you, I didn’t want to leave! These 10 photos may help to explain why.

These 10 photos will make you fall in love with Copenhagen:



Coffee and Danish pastry


Copenhagen, rent a bike

Danish locals


Street Food, Papirøen

Bikes, Nørrebro



Expat Life, Expats Share, Travel

Expats Share: The Best Thing About Being an Expat

April 6, 2015

Packing your entire life into a suitcase and saying goodbye to everything that is familiar and comfortable to become an expat in a foreign country is certainly not easy. But what is it really like?

In this new monthly series, expats reveal all! If you’re contemplating the big move abroad, here’s an insight into what life as an expat is really like. Every month, I’ll be putting the call out to expats past and present from all over the world to respond to a simple question about the realities of expat life. This month in the debut post, expats are sharing with us what the best thing about being an expat is in their opinion. All of the expats featured this month also have blogs, which means that you can follow along on their adventures abroad with them!

This Month: The Best Thing About Being an Expat

Monika of My Thousand Worlds

Original country: Slovakia

Moved to: Sweden

Reason for moving abroad: I’ve felt the urge to travel and live abroad since I remember (as recent study shows, now I can blame the genetics!). However, it didn’t really happen until I went on workaway to Sweden last summer and somehow have not left the country since then thanks to the job I got. Being a seasonal expat enables me to get to know new country, new people and new culture in a sustainable way.

Best thing about being an expat: I believe being an expat is one of the best ways to explore new places from the perspective of a local. Every day I learn something new as I’m getting familiar with the environment – sometimes it makes me happy, sometimes desperate and sometimes surprised but I do not get tired of it! :) Living abroad also opens brand new opportunities you have not considered before. At home, you often feel under pressure of social conventions but once you are out there on your own, you realize you can do whatever you want. Plus, in Sweden they make a lot of cakes! :)

Follow along with Monika on Twitter and Facebook

My Thousand Worlds

Nicola Easterby of Polkadot Passport

Original country: Australia

Moved to: New Zealand

Reason for moving abroad: As much as I would love to say I moved abroad in order to go on some fabulous adventure, I actually moved abroad to New Zealand purely as a transitional phase so I could save up to travel more! My whole family moved across so it made sense for me to go with them at the time. I figured it would be an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, explore a new country, and save funds whilst I was at it.

Best thing about being an expat: For me, the best part about being an expat was completely breaking out of my comfort zone. Having lived ten years of my life in Brisbane, Australia, I was starting to get very comfortable and settled living there. Yet I never wanted to feel stuck in one city for the rest of my life! Moving to New Zealand was one of most challenging years of my life, but it really taught me to enjoy my own company, how to be active in making new friends, and the importance of seeking opportunities to establish myself. Plus, I had a pretty beautiful country at my doorstep to explore!

Follow along with Nicola on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Polkadot Passport

Anna G of The Fearless Flashpacker

Original country: USA

Moved to: Bahrain

Reason for moving abroad: I was temporarily assigned to my employer’s office there.

Best thing about being an expat: Unlike transient visitors, you have a chance to absorb the culture, history, cuisine, and language of your second country. But above all, you make a family of friends: locals and fellow-expats alike. The further you are from home, the less pronounced differences become.

Follow along with Anna on Twitter and Facebook

 Liz Kelly of Sweden Dreaming

Sweden DreamingOriginal country: USA

Moved to: United Kingdom (Glasgow and London)

Reason for moving abroad: I didn’t find out I had UK dual citizenship until I was 22. Once I did, I knew studying in the UK would help me get through the recession. Even with a BA I couldn’t get a job. In 2009, I moved to Scotland to study a master’s degree at Glasgow University. I moved to London after graduation, and have lived in the capital since.  

Best thing about being an expat: My experience has been somewhat unique, because I live in a foreign country but it’s where my family is from and still lives. Being able to meet and spend time with my extended family has been priceless. Being based in London means I can travel to the continent frequently and cheaply. Overall, having my worldview widened has been great. I was always open and curious about the world, but now I feel like I’m really able to experience it.

Follow along with Liz on Twitter and Instagram

Menorca Chaturvedi of Europe Diaries

Original country: IndiaEurope Diaries

Moved to: Germany and Switzerland

Reason for moving abroad: I moved to Germany for my Master studies and then moved to Switzerland for my thesis. I decided to stay back after that to work and travel.

Best thing about being an expat: Experiencing a different culture, meeting people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and knowing them closely. Also, you get a lot of opportunities to talk to people about your country, culture and break certain stereotypes that may have formed in their minds.

Follow along with Menorca on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 Melanie Holt of Don’t Forget Snacks

Don't Forget Snacks ExpatOriginal country: Australia

Moved to: Belgium

Reason for moving abroad: My reason for moving abroad is a classic one: the ol’ study abroad love story. While I was studying abroad in the USA, I met a wonderful fellow exchange student from Belgium. He soon became my boyfriend, and before even finishing the semester we started making plans for when I would move over to Belgium. After a year and a half of long distance, the plans came to fruition: I moved to the land of fries, waffles and rain in July 2014. It was a great decision!

Best thing about being an expat: For me, the best thing about being an expat is the impermanence of it. Being unsure about how long we’ll live here spurs me to try and experience as much of Belgium (and Europe!) as possible. It was so easy to postpone doing something new at home; I felt like I had the rest of my life to get around to it. Here, the idea that I could move away from Belgium and end up regretting not doing things motivates me to make the most of every day.

Follow along with Melanie on Twitter and Instagram

Trish from Travels and Tipples

Travels and TipplesOriginal country: USA

Moved to: Germany

Reason for moving abroad:I had traveled to Europe several times and loved it each and every time.  I knew there were opportunities to work in Germany in my profession, so I started applying for positions in the spring of 2010 and moved to Germany in January 2011.  So, I moved abroad because I got a job in Germany but the reason I wanted to work in Germany was for the travel opportunities.

Best thing about being an expat: If I have to choose just one thing, it’s the travel opportunities.  Living in Germany, I can easily drive or take the train to the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic for weekend trips or even day trips.  Not to mention Germany itself has countless amazing things to see and do.  I still have not run out of things to do within a 2-hour drive of my town.  I also live very close to Frankfurt airport so air travel is easy as well.  My goal is to visit every country in Europe!

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Rachel from The Department of Wandering

Original country: AustraliaA walk in the snow in Berlin, winter

Moved to: Germany

Reason for moving abroad: Originally I moved from Australia to Germany because my boyfriend, Ben, had accepted a contract at Volkswagen so I left my job in Australia and moved abroad too. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to move to Berlin! It took me a little while to find a job over there, mainly because of the language barrier, but I eventually found a job as a secondary English teacher in an International School in the centre of the city. We’ve now been expats for almost two years!

Best thing about being an expat: Without a doubt, the best thing about being an expat in Europe is the endless opportunity to travel. Living in such a central location in Europe means that it is all too easy to travel internationally every other weekend. A few weeks ago, we jetted off to Copenhagen for only € 25! I love having so many different cultures right at my doorstep too. In Australia, it’s a little more difficult to travel to another country for a weekend escape!

Follow along with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook


Want to know more about my expat experience? Check out these posts on expat life:

10 Reasons Why You Should Become an Expat

Why I’ve Lived in an Airbnb Flat for a Year (With No Plans to Move)

The German Spa Experience: WARNING: Nudity Expected

If you’re an expat or have been in the past and are interested in sharing your experiences in next month’s ‘Expats share’ post, get in touch!

What’s your opinion on this month’s question? Do any of these expat responses resonate with you? Join in the discussion and share your perspective in the comments below!

Food and Drink, Poland, Travel

So How Cheap is Poland Exactly?

March 14, 2015

There’s no denying that travel in Europe can be expensive, with Scandinavia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom ranking as some of the most expensive in the world. If you don’t want to burn holes in your pocket too quickly, a visit to Eastern Europe is the key. Poland is one of the most affordable countries in the European Union and a visit to this surprisingly warm and vibrant nation will ensure that your budget remains firmly intact, meaning you can travel for longer!

Although Poland is now firmly a part a part of the EU, the Polish government has postponed the adoption of the unstable Euro until 2019 at least, sticking with the Polish Złoty for now. Since December 2014, the Polish Złoty has appreciated significantly against the Euro, which means that your money stretches even further nowadays.

So how cheap is Poland exactly? Here’s a little look at what I paid for accommodation, food, drinks and attractions during my stay in Wrocław last month. Prices indicated are in both the local currency and Euros.

Prices in Wrocław


♥ One bedroom apartment in the centre of the Old Town: 134 zł per night (€32)

TIP: Friends Apartments



♥ Oatmeal with fresh berries, chopped nuts and honey: 10 zł (€2.40)

♥ Seeded bagel with turkey, cranberry jam and camembert cheese: 12 zł (€2.90)

♥ Americano coffee: 6 zł (€1.40)

TIP: Central Café

Cheap breakfast, Wroclaw

Lunch / dinner

♥ Pierogi with sauerkraut: 12 zł (€2.90)

♥ Beef goulash in bread bowl: 18 zł (€4.30)

♥ Pork loin with spinach, potatoes, carrot and beetroot: 21 zł (€5.10)

♥ Pork hock with mustard, horseradish, bread and sauerkraut: 25 zł (€6)

♥ Baked salmon with spinach, potatoes and carrot: 30 zł (€7.20)

TIP: Kurna Chata

Cheap Polish food: pierogi

Cheap Polish food


♥ Vodka shot: 4 zł (€1)

♥ Polish beer: 6 zł (€1.40)

♥ Glass of wine: 8 zł (€1.90)

♥ White Russians: 17 zł (€4.10)

TIP: Pzedwojenna


♥ Wander around the Old Town and Europe’s second largest medieval market square: Free

♥ Wroclaw Town Hall: Free

♥ Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island): Free

♥ Bell tower view of Wroclaw from St. Elizabeth’s Church: 5 zł (€1.20)

♥ Wroclaw University: 10 zł (€2. 40)

National Museum15 zł (€3.60)

Racławice Panorama, 114 metres in length and one of the few panoramic paintings left in the world: 25 zł (€6)

Cathedral, Wroclaw

What is the cheapest country you’ve travelled to? Join the discussion in the comments below!

Poland, Travel

Wrocław in 15 Photographs

March 12, 2015

Last month, on the spur of the moment, I jumped on a bus and went to Poland. A few days off work only means one thing to me: travel! One of the things I love most about living in Europe is how easy it is to get away to a different country even for just a couple of days. Everything is so close — there really is no excuse to stay at home!

Having lived in Europe for almost two years now, I thought it was probably about time to say hello to Germany’s next-door neighbour: Poland. This eastern friend had been beckoning to me for a while now. Everyone I knew who had been to Poland raved about it: its food, its value for money, its diversity. It was time to check it out, I decided.

I took the 6:55 am bus to Wrocław, one of the closest Polish cities to Berlin, a culturally diverse and lively hub, and spent three fun days exploring.

Wrocław in 15 photographs:

Wroclaw architecture

Cathedral island, Wroclaw

Cathedral Island, Poland

Cathedral, Poland

Wroclaw Market Square, Poland

Wroclaw square

Polish food: pierogi

Wroclaw street

Wrocław gnome

Wroclaw square

Wroclaw door

Wroclaw hidden courtyard

Wroclaw University

Wroclaw street

Wroclaw street

 Have you ever been to Wocław? What did you think? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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