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Sunday Selections

February 22, 2015

Hey there guys. So last week was full of ups and downs. You know those weeks, right? I was hit with a virus last Wednesday that’s left me pyjama-clad and house-bound for the past five days. There’s been lots of sleeping, wooly socks, ginger tea and streaming of Australian TV. Comforting things. This bug has been very inconsiderate too, because it decided it wanted to stick around for a while and share my birthday with me too. Oh well, what can you do? On the plus side, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the lovely birthday messages, cards and gifts both from my dear loved ones back home and my new loved ones over here in Berlin. Even though I was feeling pretty ill, I also felt pretty special too.


Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Adventure has the power to move us a lot further than just in the physical sense.’s latest clip shows us how.

READ: I’ve had a few conversations lately with a few women I know about the high expectations we place upon ourselves to be an absolute winner in all facets of our life at the one time. Realistic? No, of course not. This article by Elizabeth Gilbert is a wonderful read on this very topic.

EAT: This butternut squash, kale and quinoa stew is packed full of nutrients and is exactly the medicine I need.

MAKE: How pretty is this DIY hanging flower installation from Sugar & Cloth?

BUY: Do you travel the world by your stomach? I do. How cool is gourmet scratch map that encourages you to eat your way around Europe’s gastronomical specialties? I want to be able to scratch off everything!

GO: Ever wondered about what it would be like to travel to Yemen? I have. Jonathan Collins has compiled a beautiful photo essay in his travels in Yemen published on Passion Passport. His photos transport me away.

Wishing you a healthy week my friends! x


Sunday Selections

February 15, 2015

Happy Sunday my dears! I’m a little happier than usual today because I’m being treated to clear skies and delicious sunshine, making it a Sun-Day to savour (get it?). Some of our dear expat friends are farewelling Berlin (and us) this afternoon, as their time in Germany has come to an end. It’s always sad to say goodbye but it’s not for long as next month we will be reunited once again when we head home for a visit. Needless to say, a few drinks in the sun are on the cards today. Wow — I haven’t been able to say that in what feels to be a long, long time! Oh and did you know that today’s post is the 50th Sunday Selections since The Department of Wandering launched a little under a year ago? Holy Moley! For an extra hit of Sunday inspiration, take a look through the Inspiration archives to the right. Yes, it’s a smiley Sunday today.

Here’s a little snap I took after work last week as I made my way to the gym.

Bode Museum, Berlin

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: This fun video makes me want to visit Iceland more than ever. Are you inspired?

READ: It’s so interesting how different cultures and languages offer a unique way of seeing the world. Which one of these six resonates with you? It’s the Danish ‘hygge’ for me.

EAT: These cauliflower quinoa cakelets are on the menu this week.

MAKE: How fab is this DIY ladder shoe shelf? What a great feature!

BUY: This clever àplat tote is the perfect answer to the conundrum of how to carry a cake or plates of food to dinner parties. I’ll admit that I’ve always struggled with this.

GO: Whilst in Europe, I’m determined to make it to the African continent, which really is very close. Janis’ photographs of the Sahara Desert in Morocco posted on her visually stunning blog, My Suitcase Heart, immediately transported me there.

I hope yours was a Sunday full of smiles. See you next time! x


Sunday Selections

February 8, 2015

Good afternoon friends! Remember how last week I was telling you that I was super excited to have a week off work and that I would be spending a few days in Wrocław, Poland? Well, now that I’ve been, I have to say that Poland is one of my new favourites. I spent three delightful days wandering around around the colourful old town, spotting gnomes hiding in all manner of places (more on this unique feature of the city soon!) and eating like royalty (Poland has got to be one of the cheapest countries I’ve visited in Europe so far). It’s back to reality again tomorrow, but I can’t complain when I have little escapes like these to keep me going. I have another little getaway planned in about a month’s time. Any guesses where?

Wroclaw, Poland

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Could David Welsford’s life aboard his little wooden boat look any more idyllic? This video serves as a nice reminder of how little we actually need to be happy.

READ: There’s a lot to be said for taking things slow. Frustrated by ‘parachuting in’ to global hot-spots for quick-turn assignments, journalist Paul Salopek has decided to do things differently. Salopek has embarked on a seven-year walk tracing on foot our ancestors’ walk ‘out of eden’ and across the globe — a 21,000 mile odyssey. He aims to collect a ‘global mosaic of stories’, finding meaning and connections between places and people. Read National Geographic’s write-up here and follow along with Salopek on his journey here.

EAT: These Thai stuffed sweet potatoes with red curry sauce would be so satisfying tonight. Pity that there are no supermarkets open in Berlin on Sundays! Next weekend then.

MAKE: If you’re the kind who celebrates Valentine’s Day (I’m not, I admit), these DIY leather heart gift tags will add the perfect finishing touch to your gift.

BUY: So it’s my birthday this month, and I know that one of you would just LOVE to buy me this Ona camera and laptop bag as a gift, right? Thank you, how generous!

GO: Berlin ‘s chilly days have had me scouring travel blogs looking for warmer climes. Nicole Warne’s recent travels to spectacular Oahu have left me with serious envy!

Hoping that your week is full of sunshine and colour my dears. x

Work With Me

February 6, 2015
Thank you for your interest in collaborating with The Department of Wandering.

Work With The Department of Wandering

What is The Department of Wandering?

The Department of Wandering is an online travel resource that is growing fast, with a rapidly rising loyal readership. Content is geared towards design-conscious travellers who are keen to experience the very best a destination has to offer. The blog contains targeted posts geared towards authentic cultural experiences, local food, travel tips, as well as the expat experience. Photography is a strong feature of the blog, which aims to inspire fellow travelers around the world.

By the numbers

The Department of Wandering reaches a global audience of primarily 18-34 year-olds from 131 countries, predominantly from the United States (24%), followed by Australia (15%), the United Kingdom (14%) and Germany (7%) respectively. A little over half (54%) of readers are male.


Monthly page views: 25,700 +

Monthly unique visitors: 8,100 +

Pages per session: 2.7

Percentage new sessions: 83%

Bounce rate: 3%

Google Analytics, February 2016


Social media reach:

20,900 + Instagram followers

2,270 + Twitter followers

1280 + Facebook friends / fans

370 + Bloglovin’ subscribers

350 + Pinterest followers


The Department of Wandering is also in a long-term partnership with Outbound Travel AppMy social media posts are frequently shared via this company’s Twitter account, broadening the potential reach by an additional 31,500 +.

This brings the TOTAL potential social media reach of The Department of Wandering to 56,000 +

Let’s Work Together

The Department of Wandering is interested in working with like-minded brands, publications and organisations to produce content that is inspiring, unique and reflects the site’s core values.

Partnerships and Sponsors:

The Department of Wandering is available to write sponsored content for brands, tourism boards or PR agencies in exchange for accommodation, experiences such as tours, travel products, or monetary compensation. Please note that The Department of Wandering only works with brands that she fully supports and is comfortable recommending to her audience.

Previous Brand Partnerships:


Examples of sponsored content:

When Only the Best Will Do: Checking in to the Peninsula Tokyo

Dropping Anchor at Hamburg’s 25Hours Hotel Hafencity

Busbud: Worldwide Bus Bookings Made Easy

The Best of Berlin in 48 Hours

What My Partners Say:

Working with Rachel was a painless, smooth and extremely efficient process. Rachel produced quality content for Busbud across multiple platforms and was always transparent in her communications with us. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and the entire Busbud staff was more than satisfied with her work. — Busbud

Contests and Giveaways:

If you have a product or brand that you are looking to increase exposure to and that which would be a good fit for The Department of Wandering’s readership, get in touch. See past giveaways hosted on the site here.

Freelance Travel Writing:

Please contact The Department of Wandering for freelance travel writing commissions in both online and print media.

Train travel, Europe


**Please note that Rachel does not work in exchange for ‘exposure’. Brands that do not have a marketing budget are requested to not contact Rachel in these instances. Please also do not send information about new apps or websites that ‘might be of interest’ to The Department of Wandering’s readership but do not have a budget for promotion. 

For more information on any of the above opportunities, contact me using the form below.
Czech Republic, Food and Drink, Travel

An Insider’s Guide to a Weekend in Prague

February 5, 2015

Today The Department of Wandering welcomes guest blogger and expat Mary Johnson to share with us her favourite spots around Prague for an ideal weekend stay. Mary, originally from Minneapolis, has lived in Prague since 2013 and so definitely knows how to make the most of a weekend in her new adopted city!

Prague, Charles Bridge

Now that I have been living in Prague for some time, I almost feel like a local! One of the best parts about living here in Prague is that I get lots of guests that come to visit. They usually stay for a weekend and I get to play the tour guide. The following itinerary encompasses my favorite places I like to take my guests to, and I do it in the best way possible to see the city — strolling the cobblestone streets. Maybe I should admit though first that I love nature, so most of these places are calm and relaxing.

First of all: a decent breakfast

Regarding the importance of the first meal of the day, the Prague locals and I both have the same opinion: without a good breakfast your day has not begun in the right way! When I have guests, I prefer combining this necessity with the first great place I want to tell you about: Petřín Hill. These old vineyards have been turned into a great park that has become my favorite place in the city. The fields, orchards and hills seem to stretch on forever. I recommend the Savoy Cafe for a very picturesque breakfast in a noble place with a long tradition. And no worries if you get there late because they serve breakfast all day long! My personal favorite is the Savoy Breakfast, which includes Prague’s famous ham served with delightful grain mustard and horseradish sauce.

Cafe Savoy, Prague

Image Source

After breakfast at the Savoy Cafe my guests and I usually head towards Prague Castle, which is situated not far from Petřín Hill. I recommend taking a walk there as it is really nice, but of course it depends on weather conditions.

A castle and its little cobblestone street neighborhood

I usually hit Prague Castle — the most noticeable landmark in Prague — in the morning to avoid the crowds. I like to stay away from the main tourist attractions, but the castle is just too gorgeous to miss out on! If you get there early enough, you can enjoy its splendor and beauty without being pushed and hurried by hundreds of other sightseers. Did you know that this castle complex is the biggest in the world?

Prague Castle

Image Source

Coming back from the castle, I love to jump into the Hradčany District. This quaint little neighborhood surrounds the castle, so it can be considered one of the oldest districts in Prague. I like taking people here because the houses (well, palaces!) are simply awesome and the architecture of these buildings is quite stunning. After arriving in Prague two years ago, I learned that the whole district around the castle burned down around 1500 CE, and this gave the opportunity for the noble families of Prague to build new beautiful houses on the ashes of the old ones.

Now it’s time to cross the river

At this point, it’s time to cross the famous Charles Bridge. It is as famous as the bridge in front of the Castel St. Angelo in Rome, so enjoy it!

Charles Bridge, Prague

Image Source

Usually at this point we get hungry again and there’s a nice place for a break called Bistro Sisters. After some hours of strolling around Prague, nothing is better than a sandwich in this place. The bistro is also located close to Vítkov Hill (our next stop) and is in the center on Dlouhá Street. Here you’ll find ingredients like herring, wasabi, shrimp and salmon paired with local cheeses and sauces. They make their own bread here too, so it’s really fresh and delicious. Try the pumpkin soup on the side! I dine here quite often as I am still attending a Czech language course not far from here; indeed, the only thing I would like to master better is the Czech language, which is really difficult.

I often recommend this area to my guests for accommodation as well because if there is more than one person visiting me unfortunately I can’t host them. A great way to find a hotel in the desired neighborhood in Prague is by checking online on sites like If it’s not the high season, it’s relatively easy to find a three-star hotel from 24 euros a night also in the Old Town (Staré Mesto). Prague is not as expensive as many other European cities, so I recommend finding a stay in the center.

Climbing up the hill

The next place I love to take my guests to is Vítkov Hill. No doubt the best view of Prague is found at the top of this steep hill. Make sure you’ve got the energy to climb it because it is quite a tough one, but it is totally worth it. On top of the hill you will find the National Memorial, a structure built by the Soviets that was later taken over by the Czech National Museum. In there you will find a great permanent exhibit about 20th century Czech history. The interior is fabulous and even if you’re not a history buff, I still recommend getting inside just to see it.

National Memorial, Prague

Image Source 

The best places for a picnic in Prague

After that, you can take the C line for ten minutes to the Vyšehrad station for one of Prague’s best kept secrets. From this rocky hill south of the city, you get another fantastic view of the center and the main Prague Castle. The park, called Havlíčkovy sady (or Grébovka), is one of the most beautiful parks in Prague and a great place for a stroll or for a picnic.

Nearby there is also a well-known cemetery. The Vyšehrad cemetery is the resting place for many famous Europeans and Czechs. I’m not a gothic kind of girl, but it is really worth visiting.

Well, that’s my quick guide to a weekend in Prague! I could still write about a million other things to see and do as it is such a wonderful city, but then it would become a book rather than a blog post. At this point, I would like to say a big thanks to Rachel for accepting and sharing my story, and I hope you enjoy Prague!


A massive thanks to Mary for sharing her insider’s guide to a weekend in Prague. I don’t know about you, but I definitely know what to check out on my next visit to this beautiful city. You can follow Mary on twitter here.

Do you have any further tips for a visit to Prague? Share them in the comments below!

Mary Johnson


10 Quotes to Inspire a Love of Winter

January 31, 2015

As an Australian, it’s taken me a while to come to terms with this season. I mean, a European winter really is markedly different to what Australians call the same season. But I have a little confession: winter actually isn’t so bad. In fact, I’m kinda liking it. Did I really just say that? It snowed last night and I awoke with excitement and an impatience to get out and about in it. Maybe I’m turning European…

Here are 10 quotes to inspire a love of winter in us all:

A walk in the snow in Berlin, winter

The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found? — J. B. Priestley, ‘Apes and Angels’

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” — Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass’

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. — Edith Sitwell

First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Toll-House cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle. — Buddy the Elf

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness? — John Steinbeck, ‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’

If winter comes, can spring be far behind? — Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Ode to the West Wind’

Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o’clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without. — Thomas de Quincey, ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’

Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people’s legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world. — Sarah Addison, ‘The Sugar Queen’

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show. — Andrew Wyeth

In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move. — Henry Rollins

What do you like best about winter? Share in the comments below!

Netherlands, Travel

Amsterdam After Dark

January 22, 2015

Amsterdam is undeniably one of Europe’s most alluring and attractive cities. Slender canal houses intimately press against one another, leaning in close over the canals, their window frames painted with white lipstick and roofs decorated with fine, ornate gables. As the sun sinks lower and the light begins to fade, the warm, orange glow of the street lamps that flicker on reflect in the water below and the fairy lights that snake their glimmering bodies into the trees wink down from above. Yes. Amsterdam becomes even more seductive after dark. No visit to the Red Light District needed.

Amsterdam's canal houses after dark

Amsterdam after dark, canal

Amsterdam at night

Amsterdam at night, canal houses

Which cities enchant you the most after dark? 

My Travels

January 14, 2015

My travels, world map

Countries I’ve Visited:

Asia: Cambodia / India / Indonesia / Japan / Nepal / Singapore / Thailand / Vietnam

Oceania: Australia / New Zealand / Fiji

Europe: Austria / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Croatia / Czech Republic / Denmark / Germany / Greece / France / Italy / Netherlands / Poland / Portugal / Serbia / Spain / Switzerland / Turkey / United Kingdom


Places I’ve Called Home


Melbourne, Australia


Where to Next?

2016 is looking to be one full of brand new adventures! Follow along on Bloglovin’, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (deptofwandering) to come along with me!

Nepal, Travel

Throwback to My Greatest Winter Experience Yet

January 13, 2015

Throwback to Winter in Himalayas, Nepal

It’s the middle of January and I’m smack bang in the middle of the European winter. You probably saw last week’s post about how Berlin suddenly transformed into a winter wonderland after the first, decent snowfall of the season Sadly, it melted all too quickly and the incessant drizzle that replaced it has got me wishing the snow would return! While I wait (not so) patiently, here’s a throwback to my greatest winter experience yet.

The lofty solitude of Nepal’s Kopra Ridge (3870 m) is where this photograph was taken three years ago in January 2012. After travelling through India, I embarked on an incredibly challenging 16-day trek through the Annapurna region of the Himalayas with World Expeditions on a quest to behold the colossal peak of Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world at 8,167 m (26,795 ft). On this particular morning, I awoke early with the sun (trekking at altitude is not so conducive to sleeping late), to find that the week-long blizzard that had settled comfortably over the ridge had miraculously cleared, giving way to the most extraordinary panorama I have ever witnessed. It may have been -25 ° C outside, but when standing on the roof of the world, feeling a little chilly is not what is remembered.

What is your greatest winter experience? Join the conversation below!


5 Excerpts from Paul Theroux that Prove that Train Travel is the Best

January 7, 2015

There is no mode of transport that has inspired such extensive, reflective observation and commentary as train travel has. Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find any real literature on the joys of bus or air travel. Journeys aboard trains naturally invite quiet contemplation and deep impressions of the passing scenes remain with the traveller long after the train reaches its destination.

Prolific American travel writer and novelist, Paul Theroux is best known for his travel writing exploring this very subject: the joys of railway travel and his travelogue, The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), has become a classic in the genre.

These 5 excerpts from Paul Theroux’s writing will make you want to take a train journey instead:

Train travel, Europe


Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I were on it. Those whistles sing bewitchment: railways are irresistible bazaars, snaking along perfectly level no matter what the landscape, improving your mood with speed, and never upsetting your drink. The train can reassure you in awful places — a far cry from the anxious sweats of doom airplanes inspire, or the nauseating gas-sickness of the long-distance bus, or the paralysis that afflicts the car passenger. If a train is large and comfortable you don’t even need a destination; a corner seat is enough, and you can be one of those travellers who stay in motion, straddling the tracks, and never arrive or feel they ought to. — Paul Theroux, ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’.

The great challenge in travel is not arriving at the glamorous foreign city, but solving the departure problem, finding a way out of it, without flying. Buses are usually nasty, and bus stations the world over are dens of thieves, cutpurses, intimidators, mountebanks and muggers. Hired cars are convenient but nearly always a ripoff, and who wants narration from the driver? The train is still the ideal — show up and hop on. -Paul Theroux, ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star’

The romance associated with the sleeping car derives from its extreme privacy, combining the best features of a cupboard with forward movement. Whatever drama is being enacted in this moving bedroom is heightened by the landscape passing the window: a swell of hills, the surprise of mountains, the loud metal bridge, or the melancholy sight of people standing under yellow lamps. And the notion of travel as a continuous vision, a grand tour’s succession of memorable images across a curved earth — with none of the distorting emptiness of air or sea — is possible only on a train. A train is a vehicle that allows residence: dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer. — Paul Theroux, ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’

Years before, I had noticed how trains accurately represented the culture of a country: the seedy distressed country has seedy distressed railway trains, the proud efficient nation is similarly reflected in its rolling stock, as Japan is. There is hope in India because the trains are considered vastly more important than the monkey wagons some Indians drive. Dining cars, I found, told the whole story (and if there were no dining cars the country was beneath consideration). The noodle stall in the Malaysian train, the borscht and bad manners on the Trans-Siberian, the kippers and fried bread on the Flying Scotsman. And here on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited I scrutinized the breakfast menu and discovered that it was possible for me to order a Bloody Mary or a Screwdriver: ‘a morning pick-me-up’, as that injection of vodka into my system was described. There is not another train in the world where one can order a stiff drink at that hour of the morning. — Paul Theroux, ‘The Old Patagonian Express’

The best story about Cairo Railway Station, told to me by a man who witnessed it unfold, does not concern a luminary but rather a person delayed in the third-class ticket line. When this fussed and furious man at last got to the window he expressed his exasperation to the clerk, saying, ‘Do you know who I am?’ The clerk looked him up and down and, without missing a beat, said, ‘In that shabby suit, with a watermelon under your arm, and a third-class ticket to El Minya, who could you possibly be?’ — Paul Theroux, ‘Dark Star Safari’

Do these excerpts make you want to take a long train journey? Or have you already had the pleasure of taking one? Share your comments below!

Expat Life, Travel

2014 In Review

January 3, 2015

Happy New Year friends! I don’t know about you, but I always feel somewhat nostalgic at the end of the year because I suddenly become so aware of time’s relentless march. On the one hand it feels as if it was only yesterday that I packed up my life into an empty suitcase and moved halfway across the world to Germany, but on the other hand, the vast breadth of experiences I’ve had as a result of this move is felt acutely. 2014 was a mammoth year by all accounts and before I say goodbye and begin focusing on the boundless possibilities that a new year always brings, here’s a little look back.

The highlights reel of 2014:



Back in Australia, we usually welcome the new year with road trips down to the beach, picnics in the park and barefoot summer barbeques. In Germany, beginning 2014 in the middle of the fierce European winter was not so welcoming. I woke one morning to check the weather on my phone, discovering with horror that it was -14°C out — the stuff of nightmares for an Australian! Needless to say, January was spent hibernating indoors with woollen socks, ginger tea and too many Shameless episodes. This Instagram snap of Berlin’s frozen river Spree explains why.

Spree in winter, Berlin



We saw very little snow fall in February, which we didn’t mind so much as we were in the process of moving flats. It was a busy few weeks of packing, cleaning and then setting up our new Airbnb apartment, which quickly became home.

Morning light, bedroom window, Berlin


Visiting Home: Australia

With a serious case of the SADs (seasonal affective disorder) from the long European winter, I almost ran onto my flight bound for Melbourne in March, I was that eager to escape the seemingly never ending chill! My days were spent hanging out with favourite people and indulging in all of the home comforts I missed now that I had moved abroad.

Carlton Gardens, Melbourne

We headed down the coast with a few of these favourite people for a few glorious, recharging days in that blissful Australian sun (more here). Time flew and before we knew it, we were back on the plane heading ‘home’ to Europe once again.

Portsea beach, Australia

As you can probably guess, I was more than a little relieved to be welcomed back to Berlin by spring’s fresh blooms.

Spring, Berlin


Istanbul, Turkey

I was spoilt rotten in April with a five-day trip to Istanbul as my birthday gift from Ben. We always gift a travel experience to one another on our birthdays — the best kind of gift! I immediately lost myself in the city’s vibrancy and energy. We spent our days exploring Istanbul’s 10 must-see sights.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

In particular, the Basilica Cistern ignited the fire of my imagination, conjuring images of Indiana Jones’ adventures.

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

Taking one of the ferries up the Bosphorus Strait was the perfect way to relax after a busy morning sightseeing.

Bosphorus Ferry, Istanbul

Of course, there was much over-indulgence of the city’s Turkish delights, including these delicious, fresh mackerel burgers served on the waterfront in the late afternoon.

Fish Burgers, Istanbul



With a friend from the States flying into Barcelona for work over a weekend in May, was there a better excuse for a weekend away in Spain? Nope. We spent our days wandering around El Born’s winding alleys and indulging in some of Barcelona’s best tapas.

El Born, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Tapas

As well as soaking up that Spanish sun at Barceloneta beach!

Barcelona beach


Belgrade, Serbia

June saw two of our best friends tie the knot in Belgrade, so of course we flew in for the big celebration. Can you believe that the Belgrade Fortress was the location of their wedding after-party? Too cool.

Belgrade Fort, Serbia

Rome, Italy

Later that month we jetted off again to celebrate Ben’s birthday. His choice of destination: Rome. Where else?

Trastevere, Rome. Italy

The heavens may have opened on us during that weekend, but Rome in the rain also meant one thing: fewer tourists! Most of them had gone into hiding so the city was mostly ours.

Pantheon in the rain, Rome


Playing tourist guide

The arrival of the good weather also coincided with the arrival of some friends from Australia who were travelling around Europe on their honeymoon. It’s fun playing tourist guide because you get to re-discover your adopted city all over again. We gave Berlin’s beer gardens a bit of a work out.

Biergarten, Berlin

World Cup

July was also the month in which Germany won the 2014 World Cup. Celebrating on the streets of Berlin with all of the locals is an experience that won’t be forgotten soon!

World Cup 2014, Berlin


Dubrovnik, Croatia

With some extended time off work over Europe’s summer, it was time to soak up the sun in Croatia. Our first stop was stunning Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing), where one of the highlights was walking the old city walls.

Dubrovnik Old City Walls

Lokrum Island, Croatia

While we were there, we made sure that a visit to nearby Lokrum island was in order.

Lokrum Island, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Split, Croatia

From Dubrovnik we headed north through Bosnia and Herzegovina to Split for a flying visit.

Split Harbour, Croatia

Hvar, Croatia

The next morning we caught the ferry to glitzy Hvar for a few days.

Hvar harbour, Croatia

Pakleni Islands, Croatia

And how could I resist a little day trip to the stunning Pakleni islands? Paradise found.

Pakleni Islands, Croatia

Zadar, Croatia

We continued further north up the Dalmatian coast to picturesque Zadar, a city steeped in history and a place not yet overrun with tourists, unlike some of Croatia’s more southerly coastal destinations.

Sea Organ, Zadar, Croatia

Dugi Otok, Croatia

Zadar was a base for exploring some of the islands off the coast and so it was onto the ferry again, bound for Dugi Otok.

Brbinj, Croatia, Dugi Otok

We were in search of one of Croatia’s best beaches (Sakarun beach), located on the island and oh my, we weren’t disappointed. Is this one of Europe’s best beaches?

Sakarun Beach, Croatia


Taking it slow

September was a quiet month as far as travelling was concerned. I spent my spare time writing, drinking coffee and admiring autumn’s stunning colour pallette.

Autumn in Berlin

I may very well have decided that autumn was my favourite season in Berlin and here’s why.

Autumn in Berlin


Girls’ Spa Weekend

October was more eventful. I started the month off right with a girls’ getaway to a region bordering on the Harz mountains. Pretty Vienenburg was our base.

Lake in Germany

A day trip to UNESCO world heritage-listed medieval Goslar was also on the cards. Stunning, right?

Goslar old town, Germany

The weekend culminated in a visit to one of Germany’s traditional spas. I can’t say that I was very well-prepared for the German spa experience. It’s pretty clear that I’m not German yet.

German spa

A roadtrip through Austria and Italy

I could hardly contain my excitement when I learnt that our best friends would be flying into Innsbruck for work. A road trip across the stunning alpine region of Austria and northern Italy was the only option entertained. We began in Innsbruck and made our way to Bolzano in Italy.

Road trip lookout, Austria

Arriving in Bolzano mid-afternoon, why not take a side trip to Lake Garda for dinner?

Lake Garda view, Italy

We briefly explored Bolzano’s old town early the next morning, collecting supplies before hitting the road again. Beginning our ascent over the Alps, we stopped off for the most spectacular alpine picnic.

Picnic in the alps

Pushing onwards, we conquered the famed Stelvio Pass, one of Europe’s most iconic mountain passes, before descending into the verdant valley of fairytale-like Bormio.

Stelvio Pass valley, Italy

Reluctantly making our way back to Innsbruck, which signalled the end of our mini-European road trip, we passed through picturesque little Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein street


Barcelona (again)

It was back to Barcelona again in November, but this time for work. I can’t say that I protested too much about attending a three day conference there and I made sure that it wasn’t all work and no play.

Barcelona street, Spain


Amsterdam for Christmas

To top of a wonderfully rich year of travel, I spent Christmas in Amsterdam in one of the Jordaan’s charming canal houses. Check out my Instagram for more travel snaps, with blog posts coming soon.

Amsterdam Canal Houses

What a year! I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store.

What were your highlights from 2014? Share them in the comments below!


The Department of Wandering’s Most Popular Content of 2014

December 27, 2014

Well, 2014 has almost come to an end. Can you believe that we are only four days away from 2015? I can’t! Where has time run away to? It’s been a huge first year for The Department of Wandering and I’d like to share a special thank you for coming along on this blogging journey with me and for all of the support you’ve shown so far. There are plenty of exciting things planned for 2015, but for now, here’s a little look at The Department of Wandering’s most popular content (based on page views) this past year.

Most popular content of 2014:

10. Stelvio Pass Photographic Journal

When you’re born in a country as flat as Australia and end up moving halfway across the world to even flatter Berlin, rugged, misty, alpine landscapes inevitably begin calling to you. Those soaring, jagged peaks serve as powerful reminders of just how small we are in this big, wide world. Inhaling the crisp, mountain air quickly returns the clarity of perspective that can so easily be lost in the fog of busy city life. Yes, mountain adventures are good for the soul.

Continue reading…

Stelvio Pass, Italy


9. Great Coffee in Berlin: Silo Coffee

Still looking for that perfect drop to start your morning right in Berlin? Last week, I suggested Café 9 in Kreuzberg next door to Markthalle Neun for a quality cup. If you’re situated more east than south, however, Silo Coffee is your place to be.

Continue reading…

Silo Coffee, Berlin


8. 10 Instagram Accounts to Travel the World With

We all need to escape the daily grind now again, don’t we? Whilst I do travel as much as possible (and as often as my bank balance will allow!), I’m forever dreaming of the next adventure. Instagram helps.

Here are my top 10 Instagram accounts to travel the world with:

Continue reading…

Murad Ossman, Instagram, Travel

7. 5 Things Not to Miss in Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, is a chaotic, throbbing hub of existence to over a million people. Being the international arrival point for the majority of independent travellers eager to explore the nearby Himalayas or engage in eco-tourism initiatives, many choose to stay on for at least a few days to explore this vibrant, colourful capital.

Here are 5 of the best things to do in Kathmandu:

Continue reading…

Sadhus, Kathmandu, Nepal


6. 10 Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Beware wanderlusters: these 10 quotes about travel may very well result in the spontaneous booking of a plane ticket!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. –Mark Twain

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5. Visiting Berlin This Autumn: 10 Reasons Why You Should

With cooler weather, fewer crowds and lower prices, visiting Berlin in Autumn is a great option.

Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Berlin this Autumn:

Continue reading…

Autumn in Berlin


4. 10 Reasons Why You Should Become an Expat

It’s almost been 18 months since I relocated halfway across the world from Australia to Germany to experience life as an expat. My, what an adventure it’s been! Building a completely new life from scratch, brick by brick, without the support structures in place at home has been the single most challenging experience in my life. At the same time, it has also been the best decision I ever made. 

Here are 10 reasons why you should become an expat:

Continue reading:

Expat in Berlin, autumn


3. My Top 5 Greatest Travel Adventures So Far

This beautiful world we live in continues to amaze me every single day and I’m determined to make the very most of this incredible life I’ve been given. Every moment is a true gift. I’ve been fortunate to travel to some truly spectacular places over the past five years, all of which are markedly different to one another. Here are the top 5 greatest travel adventures I’ve had so far:

Continue reading:

Trekking Annapurna region, HImalayas


2. An Easy Day Trip from Dubrovnik: Lokrum Island

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Dubrovnik really is one of those places you won’t soon forget. After spending a full day strolling around this magnificent medieval city, there’s no better way to spend day two than by taking an easy day trip to Dubrovnik’s Lokrum Island.

Continue reading…

travel to lokrum island, dubrovnik


1. The German Spa Experience: Warning: Nudity Expected

Having lived in Europe now for almost 18 months, I had definitely become aware of the Freikörperkultur (free body culture) naturalist philosophy so common amongst Europeans. Many Europeans, and particularly Germans, find it incredibly joyful to experience relaxing activities nude. Think nude Swiss alpine hikers or sunbathing beach-going Scandinavians. Germans too are famously relaxed about public nudity and don’t immediately associate the naked body with sexuality, unlike many other cultures around the world. So when a trip to the Bad Harzburg Sole-Therme was organised as part of our girls’ getaway a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what to expect. Nakedness. A whole lot of it.

Continue reading…

German spa

Which post was your favourite in 2014? Share your opinion below!

Berlin, Germany, Travel

10 Reasons to Visit Berlin this Winter

December 26, 2014

There’s no denying that summer is Berlin’s most popular tourist season, as is the case across almost every major European city. With the arrival of the warm and sunny weather, however, so too do the relentless flood of tourists. While winter in Berlin is undeniably chilly, there are many drawcards for choosing to visit the city during the colder months, with fewer crowds naturally making for a more pleasant experience.

Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Berlin this winter:

10. Museums

Berlin is a city with one of the highest densities of museums in the world and what better place to hide away from the chill than in one of the city’s 200 museums? The UNESCO world heritage listed Museumsinsel (Museum Island — literally, an island built on Berlin’s river Spree) contains five world-renowned museums in the centre of the city and any visit to Berlin is incomplete without a day spent here. Other impressive museums across the city include the Topography of Terror, the Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum) and the Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum). Oh, and don’t forget the Currywurst Museum for a bit of a laugh! The most cost-effective option is to purchase the Museum Pass Berlin, which includes entry to 45 top museums over three consecutive days.

Bode Museum, Berlin

Continue Reading…


Sunday Selections

December 21, 2014

Happy holidays, friends! The Christmas break has cheerfully arrived and I’m more than a little merry about it. We’re booked on the morning train to Amsterdam on Tuesday to spend a couple of Christmassy days there and, oh I can’t wait! I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to spending some much-needed quality time with this guy, exploring one of Europe’s most beautiful cities as well as catching up on some reading and blogging. What have you got planned for the silly season?

Berlin at Christmas

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Is there anything better than bingeing on classic Christmas movies the week before Christmas? I think not. Over this past week I’ve revisited some favourites: Home Alone, Love Actually and Elf. I’m saving the best for last of course, with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation scheduled in for Christmas Eve, as has become tradition. What are your favourites?

READ: I’m really looking forward to settling down with a good book over this Christmas break. Are you? I’m slowly working my way through Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’, which has captivated me from the beginning but is taking me forever because I’m moving at a snail’s pace through it, savouring each and every word. It’s THAT good. If you’re stuck for ideas, the NY Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of 2014 should give you plenty.

EAT: Okay, this is more of a drink link than an eat link, but I couldn’t resist sharing these four hot drinks for the holidays. What better way is there to warm up on these chilly days?

MAKE: Stuck for last-minute present ideas but can’t face the mayhem of the malls? Problem solved. After a quick trip to your local supermarket, make these DIY edible gifts in jars from the calm and comfort of your own home. Your thoughtfulness won’t be forgotten, I’m sure.

BUY: Many of us are flying home for the holidays this year, often travelling huge distances. At some point or another I’m sure we’ve all been frustrated by the limited drink options on flights. W & P Design and Punch, two cocktail-obsessed companies based in Brooklyn, NY, have collaborated to come to our rescue with the Carry on Cocktail Kit. The kit provides everything you need to mix two old-fashioned cocktails mid-flight — all you need to purchase on board is the hard stuff. Don’t worry, the contents are guaranteed to make it through security. Flying just got a whole lot better.

GO: I hope Sinterklaas knows where to find me in Amsterdam this Christmas! This will be my second time in this beautiful city and I’m looking forward to exploring some of the things I didn’t get time for last time. Fingers crossed the rain stays away!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas full of joy with your loved ones.


Sunday Selections

December 14, 2014

Gosh, this weekend has flown by in a blink of an eye. I do concede that nursing a sore head on Saturday after, shall we say, a fairly merry work Christmas party the night before may partly account for the speed in which it has passed. I was left with grey and gloomy Sunday, which was spent walking, sipping coffee and chatting about Christmas and upcoming travel plans with my love and altogether counting my blessings for all of life’s gifts. Oh, and there’s five days left of work before Christmas break begins and that’s just swell.

Winter trees in Berlin, Christmas
Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: Ever wondered how many aircraft are in the air at any one time? This video displays world air traffic over a 24 hour period, condensed into two minutes of footage. Europe, you’re one busy continent!

READ: Feeling as though you’re chasing your tail every minute of the day? I know I do. Here are 10 ways to de-stress your day, hour by hour.

EAT: Over the past twelve days, Alana from Fix Feast Flair has been posting ’12 days of cookies’, with each new recipe getting better and better. My favourite? These gingerbread bear macarons. They’re almost too cute to eat. Almost.

MAKE: Christmas is creeping closer and closer — is your tree decked out yet? These colourful DIY paper ball ornaments will give it the perfect finishing touch.

BUY: 2014 has almost come to an end and it’s time to start looking toward the next year. First order of business: get sorted with a new planner for 2015. The daily greatness journal is my pick.

GO: Pacific Northwest photographer, Griffin Lamb’s stunning landscapes really make me want to get out of the city and explore the wild some more. How about you?

Hoping that your week is as merry as can be.


10 of Hemingway’s Greatest Life Lessons

December 6, 2014

Nobel Prize winner and iconic 20th century novelist, Ernest Hemingway, lived a life that was filled to the brim with both adventure and struggle. Moving to Paris with his wife in the 1920s, Hemingway became influenced by the ‘Lost Generation’ of the expatriate writing community in Europe: those individuals who had come of age during WWI and felt disillusioned and ill at ease in the unfamiliar post-war world. Choosing a bohemian lifestyle over security and stability, when Hemingway wasn’t writing he was chasing adventure. From hunting big game in Africa, studying the art of bullfighting in Spain, to living in Cuba for over twenty years, he is most definitely not short of worldly experience.

Ernest Hemingway

Image source

Here are 10 of Hemingway’s greatest life lessons we could all learn from:

You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.

Continue Reading…


Sunday Selections

November 30, 2014

The Christmas season officially kicked off in Berlin this weekend, signalled by the opening of the charming Christmas markets all around town. Bundled up with mittens, thermals and multiple pairs of socks, some friends and I braved the biting, sub-zero temperatures and ventured out to explore a couple this afternoon.

Oh the magic! The small wooden huts’ display of colourful decorations, nutcrackers, wooden toys, beeswax candles, winter woolies and on every corner, steaming vats of Glühwein and wafting smoke from Bratwurst slowly sizzling on the charcoals, ensured that market-goers had plenty to distract themselves with other than their numb toes. Aren’t these nutcrackers just marvelous? I’m already looking forward to heading back to do some more Weihnachtsmarkt exploring this week!

Nutcrackers, Weihnachtsmarkt, Christmas

Here are this week’s favourite links:

WATCH: James Stapleton’s new video, published by Cereal Magazine, celebrates the raw, untouched beauty of the Yukon region of northwestern Canada. Just wow.

READ: In honour of Thanksgiving being celebrated by our American friends last Thursday, 10 National Geographic photographers each selected one image that they were thankful for having taken. Learn about how each of these photographs changed them in this intriguing piece.

EAT: The icy temperatures are making heading outdoors more and more of a challenge. I’m dreaming of curling up with a slice of this gingerbread bundt cake in place of Monday morning’s frosty commute.

MAKE: It’s time to start thinking about that Christmas shopping! I can’t quite believe it. Ensure that your presents look extra special this year with these 51 gift tag ideas.

BUY: If I still organised my photos in photo albums, I would have to buy this one. So perfect.

GO: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Don’t miss some of Europe’s best Christmas markets!

Wishing you a warm week ahead!

Expat Life, Inspiration, Travel

10 Reasons Why You Should Become an Expat

November 25, 2014

It’s almost been 18 months since I relocated halfway across the world from Australia to Germany to experience life as an expat. My, what an adventure it’s been! Building a completely new life from scratch, brick by brick, without the support structures in place at home has been the single most challenging experience in my life. At the same time, it has also been the best decision I ever made. Here are 10 reasons why you should become an expat:

Expat in Berlin, autumn

1. Travel opportunities

Living as an expat in a country as central as Germany means endless opportunities for travel. Since moving here, I’ve travelled to 14 different countries around Europe and have also journeyed back home to Australia as well. The ease of a weekend trip to Rome, Barcelona, or London (among countless others!) really makes those feet itch and ensures that there is always a little getaway to look forward to.

Continue Reading…


Sunday Selections

November 16, 2014

Winter is creeping ever closer here in Berlin. The city has been oppressively grey for days and last weekend’s clear skies and golden tones seem only a distant memory now. A persistent fog has descended upon the city and has brought it a wintry breath that called for a slow weekend shut up indoors with coffee and books and woolen socks. I didn’t mind at all.

Berlin Autumn street

This week’s favourite links are:

WATCH: Itching to travel to Europe but short on time? See it all on timelapse! ‘HyperEurope: A European Road Trip in 2 Minutes’ will transport you away in the time it takes to boil the kettle.

READ: ‘One forgets words as one forgets names. One’s vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die,’ professed author Evelyn Waugh. Too true. I could spend hours scrolling through Otherwordly, a beautifully curated blog celebrating the rich lexicon of the world’s languages. Oh, that French word, ‘dérive’!

EAT: This drunken autumn upside-down cake is, in a nutshell, why I adore this season.

MAKE: Wouldn’t this DIY embroidered trip map make for such a wonderful keepsake of a travel journey?

BUY: Stuttgart-based Paperwolf’s intricate paper sculptures would make for such a unique feature at home. How cool!

GO: Planning a trip to Berlin soon? Check out Condé Nast Traveler’s recommendations on where to stay in Berlin: a collection of 25 great hotels, catering to all budgets and located in all corners of the city.

Hoping that your week ahead is full of colour!

Italy, Travel

Stelvio Pass Photographic Journal

November 13, 2014

When you’re born in a country as flat as Australia and end up moving halfway across the world to even flatter Berlin, rugged, misty, alpine landscapes inevitably begin calling to you. Those soaring, jagged peaks serve as powerful reminders of just how small we are in this big, wide world. Inhaling the crisp, mountain air quickly returns the clarity of perspective that can so easily be lost in the fog of busy city life. Yes, mountain adventures are good for the soul.

Famously hailed as ‘the best road in the world’ by BBC Top Gear’s Clarkson and Co. in 2008, the reputation of the Stelvio Pass clearly precedes it and this northern Italian mountain pass has reached legendary status. 48 switchbacks slice upwards into the mountain, covering an elevation gain of 1800 metres, peaking finally at the summit at 2757 metres, making the Stelvio Pass the highest paved road in Eastern Europe.

We began our ascent with the most delightful little alpine picnic in the tiny village of Trafoi after which the road began to narrow and the first of the hairy switchbacks begin.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Continue Reading…

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