What just happened?

Do you ever have one those moments where you go to do something and then you get distracted and end up doing something else? I sat down almost two hours ago to write a blog about Kuala Lmpur and New Years and some how ended up upgrading my blogs and changing its appearance. “How did that just happen?,” crossed my mind. Well to give you a tiny insight into to the way my brain works, here’s how it happened…

I was trying to find an old post and couldn’t. Then I saw one of my friends has a cool little copyright symbol at the bottom of her blog site. So I started googling. I wanted to change the way my blog looked. It’s not super user-friendly.  Okay…let’s be honest, it’s not super user-friendly for me when I’m tired and trying to find something. Ha ha! And if I can’t find what I’m looking for I doubt anyone else can. I decided I needed to change the “theme” as it’s called. And down the robbit hole I went. Oh man, so many options! So I had to preview almost all of them (Sorry, if you follow me and it spammed or email. Everytime I opened one up it would say “published.” I’m hoping that it didn’t happen!). Finally, I found one I liked. Then my special ed teacher brain started spinning “What if someone has a visual processing issue? I need to make sure the colors aren’t too harsh.” Cue another 20 minutes wasted on color choice. The copyright thing was a bit frustrating but after watching a couple of YouTube videos and reading a blog or two I figured it out! (Hooray!)

Now did I have to upgrade my blog for all of that? Nope. In this process I was reading about the different types of blogs WordPress offers and I found one where I can post videos. On more than one occasion I’ve wanted to post a video to emphasize something about Asia and haven’t been able too. Now I can and I can’t wait!

So in short, that’s how I waisted two hours, wrote a blog I wasn’t planning on, and have now pushed my KL blog to another day.  It’s no wonder it takes me on average two hours to write a blog post!

BLOGGING IS NOT SOMETHING I’M NECESSARILY GOOD AT AND AUTOCORRECT AND I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP, SO PLEASE IGNORE ANY TYPOS, MISSPELLED WORDS, OR ALL TOGETHER WRONG WORDS. 😉

 

A “Great” way to spend a layover

I’ve been little behind with my blogging… opps! So sorry I’m about to hit you with two or three in a row.

I flew one from Germnay on Christmas day. Flying on Christmas is cheap, but kinda sucks. No, the airline did not do anything cool because it was Christmas. However, I had 16 hour layover in Beijing and I was definitely going to leave the airport. But how? It’s China. From what I’ve been told not a lot of people speak English and because they don’t use the Roman alphabet their signs are impossible to figure out. So I set out google. It’s the one part of my winter break trip I actually researched. I read various blogs and emailed several different tour companies. The standard visa into China, for Americans, is a 10 year visa and it cost $200, however if you are there under 72 hours and have an ongoing ticket you can apply for a free visa. This seemed like that better option for my bank account. I was able to book a drive and an English-speaking tour guy who would take me to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.  I was stoked!

When I flew through Beijing on my way to Paris there was a huge line for this visa. I figured it was because it was later in the day (I guy I work with was on that same flight and he said it took him four hours to get through the line). I figured I’d have better luck because my flight would arrive at 4:45 am. My luck ended up being not much better.

I recommend that if you ever decided to try out this 72 hour visa you have patience. Buckets and buckets of patience. It’s a long somewhat chaotic process but don’t worry your tour guy will not leave you! (Something I was stressed about).

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So I arrive at 4:45am and went straight to the line. There are two different forms you have to fill out. One is at the counter next to the line and the second you have to ask the person processing the visas for. Interrupt him/her or they will never give it to you. There were maybe 7 people in front of me, however they were holding 5-6 passports each. I didn’t think anything of this assuming one person was processing a whole family of passports. Time dragged on. An hour passed and we still hadn’t moved much because there was ONE person processing all the requests. There must have been 150 people behind me (no joke). As it started to creep towards two hours things went down hill fast. First they ran out of the appropriate paperwork. People began forming a line next to the actually line just to get the paperwork. This would have been fine, however the people in front of me needed to get their families in line when it was their turn. This started causing a lot of issues. Accusations of cutting began to fly around, cussing happened, and a third line on the other side of the real line formed where other people decided to just start cutting in. What was once a nice orderly line turned in to a mob of people pushing. It was awful! When my paperwork was finally process I had to push and shove people to get out of the line.

I would like to hope that my experience isn’t typical. I have my doubts about that. There was one person processing paperwork and it took a lot of time. People were frustrated. A gentleman told me Shanghai is much better as they have multiple people processing the paperwork. After that line you have to go the actually immigration line to get your passport stamped. This didn’t take long.

It was definitely worth the wait and stress of the whole process. Just prepare your self to be there for a while.

My tour guide, Alice, (along with at least 15 other tour guides) was waiting for me at a Starbucks in the arrival area which was really easy to find. She took be to our car and we were off to the Great Wall. On the way she gave me a brief history of the wall and soon decided I looked too tired let me take a nap instead. (Actually, I was car sick from being over tired but didn’t want to make the driver feel bad). we went to the Mutianyu part of the wall. It was rebuilt in the 80s and you can still see parts of the original wall. We arrive and took a chair lift up to the top. You can take stairs but it was freezing and I was exhausted so I opted for the easier option. When we got to the top there was barely anyone there. It was so nice!

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Gondola ride up
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We walked to four of the tours

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So.many.stairs
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Every now and again I have moments where I’m glad I’m short!
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Toboggan track you take to get down
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You don’t have to take the toboggan down, but it’s the most fun!

After the seeing the Great Wall we headed to Tiananmen Square (“the Square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace’).  Tiananmen square is the largest public square in the world. I was surprise with all the security around the square. Because I was with a tour guide I was able to bypass all the lines!

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Mausoleum of Mae Zedong
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The Great Hall of the People
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The Gate of Heavenly Peace
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National Museum of China
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The Great Hall of the People from farther away

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We then walked under the road via a tunnel and were at the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was a palace complex for the Chinese Emperors and is now a museum. It’s beautiful and has several palaces with in it which get smaller the farther in you go. The front was repainted for the Olympics so the colors were much brighter. My tour guided pointed out how so much of it was built around the idea of feng shui.

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There were lions everywhere
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About to enter
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The first palace with the Emperors throne.
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The ceilings were amazing
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The complex was so big that you could spend hours just walking around it

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You weren’t allowed to walk on these, but leading up to every palace were different sets of stairs and walk ways. The middle one was reserved for the Emperor. They were amazing! I can’t even imagine how long they took to carve!
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Emperor’s throne
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 This belonged to one of the Emperor concubines. The Emperors wife could not give him a son so when he died the aire to the throne was the concubines son.
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Inside the palace
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A dragon lion
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You weren’t allowed to go up there but that building over looked the gardens.
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The back gate
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A pagoda outside the palace walls
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I know this picture is blurry. These yellow bikes were everywhere. You “rent” them and leave them where ever you want when you’re done. I think my guide said it was 1 YEN an hour. 

 

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This was my guide, Alice. She was fantastic! Great English, very knowledge able, and kept offering to take my picture with out me asking! If your going to China I recommend looking her up!

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Good-bye, China!

This was probably one of the best layovers I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend booking a driver and tour guide! China seemed like it would be hard to navigate on ones own and the Great Wall is about an hour outside the city. It was a great way to end my trip to Europe and a neat way to spend my Christmas!

 

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉

Once upon a time, I lived in a postcard. Visiting Garmisch

Garmisch- Partenkirchen, Germany. “Huh?” is the reaction get from most people when I talk about the cute little town at the foot of the German Alps that I called home for 13 months. It’s the reaction I got from most people when they asked where I was going for Christmas. I like that most people don’t know about Garmisch. It’s like a hidden secret. Garmisch will always have a sweet spot in my heart. This summer will mark 10 years…. 10 years… holy cow a decade, since I moved their. It’s a move that I can honestly say changed the course my life was on. I made life long friends, got to experience new countries, and ultimately decided not to live in California when I returned. (A decision that surprisingly made it so I ended up in Vietnam. But, that’s a whole different post that I’ll write someday.)  I know there were moments where I struggled living there (walking 2 miles to work at 6 am in the dark and snow), but I look back on that time in my life with so much fondness. When I visit and we drive in from Munich and finally see the mountains, it feels like coming home.

My dear friend Jason still lives in Garmisch and when I visit I stay with him. He’s like an annoy big brother who gives great bear hugs! 😉 There is a comfort that comes from being around old friends and it’s so nice.

He picked me up and we went to Tollwood. It’s a big holiday festival held in Munich. It’s fun just walking around looking at all the different venders. I only remembered to take a picture at the last-minute while we were eating.

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Inisde one of the food tents

He had the first day I was there off so we hopped on the train and headed to Innsbruck, Austria to explore their Christmas markets. I feel like Innsbruck does not get the recognition it deserves for how beautiful it is. It’s gorgeous!

 

(Side note, Shelley, if you’re reading this…. I did not get locked in a cafe bathroom this time! ha ha!) 

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A snowy morning view from Jason’s apartment. I swear there are mountains back there somewhere 😉
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First view of the Zugsptize
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View from the train 
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Innsbruck
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Innsbruck
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And the Christmas Market begins!
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Breath taking views

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Giant deep-fried swirly potato on a stick and some gluehwein
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I look tiny next to Jason

And speaking of gorgeous, Garmisch isn’t too bad to look at either!  It snowed the first day I was there, rained the second, and was sunny the third and fourth.

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I love this church
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I’m pretty sure I drank my weight in chai teas.
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Friday farmer’s market. Something I never got to go to when I lived there because of work.

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On day three I decided to take the train to Munich to go to the Christmas markets. (If you haven’t guessed, I love Christmas markets!) I had this bright idea to wear my sneakers. I could give my feet a break from the snow boots and there was no snow in Munich. Seemed like a great idea! Until I stepped outside! The rain had left a nice layer of ice on all the side walks. Needles to say I walked very slowly to the trains station! (And yes, I know I should have gone back in and changed my shoes. I was being stubborn. ha ha!)

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This view never gets old.

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The view when you exit the S-baun station!

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Stairs in one of the sub ways stations. Clever advertising Ritter Sport chocolate!

When I got back to Garmisch Jason and I went to eat in Old Partenkichen.

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On my last full day I decided to just walk around Garmisch because it was so nice out. Not too cold and very sunny. I ended up walking all the way to Old Partenkichen and back  (roughly 6-7 miles round trip from Jason’s) weaving my way through cute little streets.

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The sky was so blue!
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Paintings on the Chirstmas market stalls

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Old Partenkirchen is so cute!

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Seriously, it’s like being in a postcard!

Leaving was hard! It was not easy getting on the plane that day and it was Christmas on top of it. I made sure we had time for a pancake breakfast because that is my families Christmas tradition so at least it felt a little like Christmas It was such a nice visit! And a great way to end my time in Europe! Thanks again for having me, Jason!

(My next blog will be about my awesome layover, which helped make flying on Christmas Day a little easier).

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉

 

 

 

Day trip Malmö, Sweden

On day 3 of my time in Copenhagen I decided to take a day trip into Sweden. Why not when it’s so close! Getting from Copenhagen to Sweden is easy.  There are three cities that are easily accessible. Malmö, Lund, and Helsingborg. I picked Malmö because it was the closet and it had a castle. The train ride took about 30 minutes and unfortunately was not covered under my Copenhagen card. I found it interesting that the first train stop in Sweden had a heavy amount of security. The train stopped and customs agents walked through checking everyone’s passports. If you wanted to get off you had to go through a gated area. On the way back there was no security on the Danish side.

Again, I did no research before going to Malmö so I hopped off the train, found the nearest tourist both, grabbed a map, and started walking. Copenhagen must have more buildings blocking it from the wind because Malmö had more of an icy chill to it. The city  doesn’t have a whole lot to see and I saw everything on the tourist map in a few short hours, but man, the buildings were impressive! The city was also very quiet, which I loved! Below are pictures of Malmö.

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Inside the Malmö train station
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Before you walk out of the train station. Not sure what it was for.

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Town Hall is located in the Great Square. There is a very interesting water fountain out front. It looked like a boy holding a monkey on his shoulder and a rattle in his hand. It marks the spot of an old water reservoir.
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Statue of King Karl X Gustav
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Stortoget “The Great Square” 
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More of The Great Square
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I loved the lights!
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Musician statues in the pedestrian area
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This was a pop-up cafe
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Tree decorations
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Yes, people were kayaking in the freezing weather.
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Point of View sculpture. One of the first things I saw from the tourist map (I saw everything in the above pictures as I was trying to find a tourist booth). My reaction was “ummmmm,” (head tilt).
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Malmö opera house
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St. John’s church
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St. Peter’s secondary school
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Sons of the Work statue
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A cute little farmers market
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I’m not sure what this was but it was in what looked to be an amusement park for kids. Everything was shut down because it was winter
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Street art
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I got a little lost walking through a park trying to find the castle. In my defence, the park was huge!
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I got a little lost walking through a park trying to find the castle. In my defence, the park was huge!
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I got a little lost walking through a park trying to find the castle. In my defence, the park was huge!
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Remember I said I went to Malmö because of a castle…. This is it; Malmöhus Slott. After Denmark’s castles I expected more. Ha ha
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Malmöhus Slott
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I stumbled upon the cutest fish market

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HSB Turning Torso. I bit of an eye sore compared to all the old buildings.
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Øresund Bridge – The bridge that connects Denmark to Sweden. I had to walk so far to get this picture.
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You can barely see it, but in the distance is Denmark. You can’t tell but the wind was icy and my hands about froze off when I was trying to take this picture! Ha ha!

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Malmö Christmas markets
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I love Christmas markets!
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Lamp Statue # 1
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Lamp Statue # 2. They were nowhere near each other
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Little square

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Old water fountain in the little square

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Malmö central train station

Although Malmö didn’t have very much to see, it gets a gold star for cuteness!

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉

Copenhagen, Denmark

I loved Copenhagen. Loved, loved, loved it! It was so cute and had an amazing Christmas feel to it! I loved being cold and cozy in my gazillion layers. I know this is weird for my but it was so refreshing after HCMC 90-100 degree days. I want to go back in the spring or summer because I have a feeling it’s even more beautiful. I didn’t do a whole lot of research before I went because the end of the school term had me burnt out. I read few blogs and looked up a few tours but that was about it.

Day 1- 12.5 miles walked

I arrived in Copenhagen around 9:30 am after spending a night in Paris.

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Flying over Europe
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I loved this!

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First thing I did was buy a Copenhagen card. I read about this card and everyone raved about. It gets you into all the major tourist attractions and on the trains/busses. It’s worth every penny! If for nothing else it just made life easier. I didn’t have to worry about buying train tickets and sometimes I didn’t even have to wait in line. The man at the ticket counter explained to me how and where to use it and it was during this time I realized I could use it to go see Hamlet’s Castle (the castle was the setting in Hamlet). I wasn’t planning on seeing any of the castles outside of the city because I didn’t want to spend money to do a tour. Turns out they are very easy to get to via the train system. So I went to my hotel, dropped my luggage in their luggage storage room and off I went. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the town of Elsinore where Kronborg castle (which is a UNESCO site) is located. I got off the train and realized I didn’t actually know how to get to the castle from the train station and I had no internet. Opps! Luckily for me, when you walk out of the train station you can see the castle!

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You can’t tell by any of my pictures but there was a huge moat around the castle.

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This was set up in the court yard

Here are some photos from inside the castle

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Hamlet being preformed at the castle

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Kings bed room

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View from the top of the castle

Elsinore is also home to the Little Mermaid’s brother statue and some interesting street art.

 

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After walking around Elsinore a bit I decided to take another 30 minute train ride to Frederiksborg Castle which is also known as the Museum as National History. This one I couldn’t see from the trains station so I ended up walking around a bit. The main road from the train station basically goes in a circle around town and either way takes you to the castle. This castle didn’t look like much from the outside but the moment you walk through the gate it takes your breath away!  It is stunning. Sadly I arrived about 15 minutes from closing so I didn’t get to see much of the inside. The outside made up for it though!

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This is what it looks like from outside the gate
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And when you walk through the gate

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This beautiful chapel is inside of the castle.
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A choir singing Christmas music

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View from the back
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This is what fairy tales are made of!

I ended by first day with a walk through Tivoli park. It was a winter wonderland!

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Day 2: Seeing the sites -14.5 miles walked

I had meant to take a free walking tour but when I realized how close everything was together I decided to head out early instead of waiting around for the tour to begin. I left my hotel around 8:30 am to head toward the Little Mermaid statue (about a 45 minute walk) and it was still pretty dark out.

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City Hall
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I loved how festive Copenhagen was

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The famous Nyhavn canal

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Amalienborg is the home of the Danish royal family and I had it all to myself!
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I waited around until someone walked through so I could get a picture with me in it.  I was surprised at how close you can get to the buildings. Flags up = Queen is home
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He agreed to a picture as long as I kept my distance
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The famous Little Mermaid Statue

 

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Went passed Amalienborg again on my way back.

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My phone died so I ended up in this cute little cafe forced to drink hot chocolate while I waited for my phone to charge.

The next series of pictures are from Freetown Christiania. It’s a self-governed town inside of Copenhagen of about 100 hippie squatters. They moved in 1971 and haven’t left. From what I read there has been a lot of controversy over the area. The whole place made me a bit uneasy. It didn’t have the cheerful feel the rest of Copenhagen had and I felt like I was invading a private area. It wasn’t clean and things were pretty run down. There were signs up around town asking you not to take pictures of the market area because they were selling marijuana. Seemed to me that was the only reason people visited Christiania. The street art was pretty amazing.

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The towns flag painted on a door. Three dots for the three “i” in Christiania
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This looked to be a give/take area
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Trying to get a sneaky photo of the market area

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Church of our Saviour which is down the block from Freetown Christiania

After visiting Freetown Christiania I went on a canal boat tour. Just one more thing I was able to do with my Copenhagen card!

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Nyhavn from the water
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The opera house
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The round tower
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View from the top of the tower. It was incredibly windy!
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View from the top of the tower
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View from the top of the tower

Back to Tivoli I went for some daytime winter wonderland!DD014B6B-F0A9-4FE4-B6CD-95BB12C4AC8C93DEAC4D-FF4C-4682-BAC7-514BAADCE4BC3737862E-353D-43C5-A4ED-D3CE5AC6E49D5537FA2D-AAB8-4E3F-B448-1A96C5A13E2E

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All the snow was fake

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After Tivoli I went back to my hotel to give my feet a rest before heading out to the Christmas markets.

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This hotel was neat. It had giant tv screens mounted to the building counting down the days until Christmas. It was also playing Christmas music.
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I love Christmas Markets!
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Goulash and glogg = perfect way to stay warm. Glogg has raisins and almond flakes at the bottom so when you’re down drinking there is a treat at the end.

Day 3: Sweden and more sightseeing -14.5 miles walked again!

I will be writing about my day trip to Sweden in my next blog post because I don’t want this blog to get to long. (Update: Click here to read about my day trip to Malmö, Sweden)

After I arrived back from Sweden I had some day light left so I went to the Christiansborg Palace, which is currently under construction. Half of it used by the Royal family and the other half is parliament. I had walked past it the day before but because of the construction didn’t realize what it was.

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It’s hard to tell from this picture but the whole front of the palace was torn up

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When walking in the palace one must wear booties.

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The royal library

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Royal thrones
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The embroidered tapestries were really neat

I then walked to a pop up food market. This was a bit of a walk and on the other side of the river, but it was really neat. It was an old warhorse on the pier that had food stalls in it. From the count down clock inside I’m guessing it was only around for a short period of time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much for me to eat but that atmosphere was amazing.

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Street food market
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Countdown clock to when it closes.
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My pictures of the inside didn’t turn out very well
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View from above
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See through bathrooms

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I did find something I could eat!

I ended the day with a walk through the Hans Christian Anderson museum. Honestly, only go here if you have the Copenhagen card. It was weird.

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H. C. Anderson
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The Little Mermaid
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Thumbelina

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One of his original stories.
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The hotel gave free glogg and apple strutdel (which I couldn’t eat) to all the guest. Best way to warm up after a cold day!

Day 4: Last Day – 10 miles walked

I had two things left I wanted to see before my flight to Germany.

Hans Christian Andersen’s grave

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This statue of Hans Christian Andersen was by City Hall, not by his grave.
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How nice of them to have things so clearly marked

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Rosenborg Castle

It houses the royal collection of artifacts, the Crown Jewels, and the Danish Crown Regalia.  The other castles/palaces I visited had a lack of visible security. This castle had secret service looking people walking around all over it.

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This is the back side of the castle. Don’t try to walk in the back side.  It’s a military area. Opps! Thankfully, the guards was very kind about the whole thing.
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The garden

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The changing of the guards involved a lot of music.

 

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Royal toilet. Weirdly enough there was a ladder in it.

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Throne room
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There was so much ivory!

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This crown was massive!
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Danish Crown Regalia
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Royal crowns

Copenhagen has a huge bicycle scene. It was a little crazy but very cool that even though it was freezing people were still riding their bikes!

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They have lanes and lights just for the bikes

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Typical scene on most streets in Copenhagen. I noticed most of the bikes just had locks around the back tire but weren’t actually locked to anything.

My hotel was pretty amazing. It had a gluten-free breakfast and a bathtub! And you better believe I used that tub every night!

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Cow outside my hotel
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My room
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The bath tub was a major selling point for this hotel
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Gluten free BREAD!!!

Copenhagen is now one of my favorite cities and I hope to go back again! I was a great start to my winter break.

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉

 

 

 

 

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is a little island off west coast of Vietnam in the gulf of Thailand. It’s a quick 45 min flight from Vietnam that will cost you less then $80 USD round trip. A few weeks back my friends and I were discussing going to the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Christmas Gala. We looked up the price and jokingly said that we could have a whole weekend in Phu Quoc for the same price. So, we book a weekend trip to Phu Quoc and it was such a nice and much needed weekend away.

Phu Quoc is a quiet little island right now, but there was a lot of development going on. Give it a few more years all there will be a lot me resorts which is good or bad depending about how you feel about development.

We stayed a place called Richis Resort.  The people were so kind. Airport pick up and drop off was included in our stay. The staff was very helpful. They let us store our luggage on Sunday and use the showers at the spa once we’d checked out of our rooms. And I asked them at one point what the name of an essential oil was that they were using and the gave me a small bottle of it to take home! (Still don’t know the name though. Ha ha!) 9329AA39-AC14-40EB-84CA-EFED84EF8D29

The buildings looked like they came from a southern plantation. The whole property was gorgeous! Check out the pictures below:

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Our room

 

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The view from our balcony! I’d love to wake up to this every morning!

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Their free breakfast was delicious!

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Saturday  was spent lounging around the by beach and the pool. You could see the beach from the pool so that was pretty awesome!

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Christmas at the beach

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Sunday we went snorkeling.

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Driving through Phu Quoc
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Umm……  Thankfully we did not see any jelly fish
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View leaving the harbor

 

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Floating  houses for the fishermen

First stop of the day was to do some snorkeling (I’m the one with my hand up). Unfortunately, there wasn’t much life in the reef.

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I look like I’m getting ready to punch something. Ha ha!

After lunch we had out second stop of the day.  Here we had the choice to either snorkel or take a small boat to an island called Fingernail Island. We opted for the boat to the island.

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We ended our weekend with a beautiful sunset.

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I needed this weekend! I needed to get away from the hustle, bustle, noise, and pollution of a big city and just relax by the ocean with friends. It was so nice! Phu Quoc is a place I definitely plan on visiting again!

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉

Losing track of time

One of the hardest parts of living in Vietnam is that I have lost all my awareness as to what time of year it is. I feel like I’m living in a perpetual state of Mid-June. Last week I was at a training and happened to glance at the computer of the person sitting next to me. My reaction was “Wait, it’s November 20th?” and I proceeded to check my watch and phone. November… almost December… how did that happen. The funny thing is, I always know the date. I think I just forget that it actually is November. Not having seasons is a weird thing. (Yes, I know San Diego doesn’t really have seasons but there is a temperature and light differences that happens as you go into winter. Here it’s 80-90+ degrees and dark by 6pm everyday.)  It’s not even really the seasons, it’s the sunlight. My brain is used to less light in the winter more in the summer. It really messes with my head sometimes.

That being said, Thanksgiving snuck up on me…. Kinda. Myself and several people having been talking about a Friendsgiving since the beginning of school. I work with several people who have never experienced Thanksgiving or pumpkin pie. (Take a minute and let that sink in!) So, we planned a Friendsgiving. Even with all the talk it still snuck up on me and before I knew it, it was here!

I love Thanksgiving. Hands down, my favorite holiday. I have really fond memories from my childhood of waking up the to smells of food cooking, my grandma making a pie for each of us, helping at a soup kitchen, and eating way, and I mean way, too much jellied cranberry sauces (I’ve grown up now and make my own. ha ha). Thanksgiving just feels less stressful to me then Christmas.

I’ve spent Thanksgiving away from my family before, but this Thanksgiving I had to work.  Not going to lie, I was a bit sad and bitter, but I made the best of it. I decided to dedicate the whole day to teaching my students about Thanksgiving. Most of my students had never heard of Thanksgiving. We made Thankful turkey hats, our buddies came and made hand print turkeys with us, I made cranberry sauce for me kiddos to eat, and read many Thanksgiving themed books. The kids loved it!

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The orange feather says “I am thankful for my teacher.” ❤

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Then, during our grade level meeting we had a bit of a Thanksgiving feast!

9D86F2A4-1BC5-4AC8-BBA5-24C27DEB5153Best meeting ever!

That night I ate at the cutest vegetarian restaurant. It was hard having to work and being away from family, but I think the day turned out well.

Black Friday. It’s a thing here! I went to use the ATM at the mall and it was insane! Not America insane, but still pretty crazy. The sales here start in the evening after everyone gets off work. It was an eye-opener for me because I’ve always thought of Black Friday and an American thing.

We held our Friendsgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving because most of us were at a training the Saturday before. That morning was our schools Festival Bizarre. I volunteered to be one of Santa’s helpers and then checked out the shopping before I headed home to bake my pumpkin pie.

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I bought a “living coaster.” The condensation from my cups waters the succulents!

For Friendsgiving, I was in charge of the pumpkin pie and the cranberry sauce.

Turkeys aren’t easy to find in Asia so we ordered one from a restaurant, which was such a good idea! It came already cut up!

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Turkey in a box

The food was great and the company was better. It was fun sharing Thanksgiving with friends who had never celebrated it before.

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Now that Thanksgiving is over I’m trying to get into a Christmas spirit My apartment complex put up a Christmas tree, then took it down, then two days later put it up again with decorations. I started listening to Christmas music and watching cheesy Christmas movies, but I feel like I’m cheating. It’s too hot and just didn’t feel like Christmas. Thankfully in less than three weeks I’ll be in snow.

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Holidays away from family are hard and I hope they always stay that way. I don’t want it to ever become my “normal” that I’m not with my family.

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉
(***because I’ve mentioned the school where I’ll be teaching I should probably mention that everything on this blog will be my thoughts, not those of my employer***)