One day in Prague

Being in Prague feels like a time machine just sent you back to around year 1800. You have to walk pretty far out of the old city and Mala Strana to see the newer world. The exception is off course the many tourists, content of the shops and so on. You also have many areas without cars, it makes this feeling even stronger. Prague is probably the city I've been in that is most true to the old architecture. 

Having one day in Prague (combined it with a business meeting) I chose to mainly walk around, just taking in the medieval surroundings, taking picture and eating amazing trdelink! The Old city and Mala Strana are the best areas, and Charles bridge! (just make sure to pass it early in the morning, too much people the rest of the day). You can't take the wrong direction in these areas, old beauty combined with candy colored buildings everywhere.

I also went to the part of the city called Vrsovice, named the hipster part of the city. It's not quite Williamsburg, but definitely has it's very cool cafes and all of that. Krafarna is one good choiche.

Do not bother going to the Black light theatre they talk so much about. Not very impressive, mostly strange, I left before the second half started. But you should eat at St Martin, KARE cafe or U Mecanase. My hotel Vintage Sax was very central and pretty cool as well. 

Enjoy medieval times and don't forget to eat that trdelink!

 

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Autumn magic in Urke, Hjørundfjorden

I visited home sweet home Urke in Hjørundfjorden last weekend. It was autumn magic and Norwegian fjords and mountains at it's very best. Hiking, a boat trip on the fjord, some more hiking, waffles at Urke Kaihus and just enjoying the beauty. The recipe of a perfect weekend!

The hikes went to Gapahuken Bentebu, Leknesnakken and Haukåssætra. Short hikes with amazing views! The Hurigruten was also there, the people adding an international touch to this amazing fjord village.

I'll let the pictures tell you the rest of the story. 

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Gaustatoppen, Norway - the lazy way

They say you can see 1/6 of Norway from mnt. Gaustatoppen (1883 masl) in Telemark. There is no way I can verify this, but I can promise you that the view is really great and it does feel like you se at least a very big part of Norway. 

Normally people hike to Gaustatoppen, or go ski touring. It's a challenging hike, but if you are used to hiking, hit it. Just remember it's Norway - bring clothes for all weather seasons. More about the hike. But there is an easy way up, a cable car. We chose that way this time (let's call it research for the ski touring season;-).

You can take a cable car inside the mountain all the way to the top. It takes you 15 minutes, avoid it if you are claustrophobic, if not it's great. Or you can take it one way. Read more about it. We took it both ways.

As said, the view is really really nice and if you are in the area Gaustatoppen should be on your to do list for Norway. I'm looking forward to skiing it this winter!

Me and 1/6 of Norway. (Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

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Hiking Besseggen, Norway - a unique scenery

This weekends escape was to the area of Jotunheimen, to hike over Besseggen ridge. The scenery is unique and hard to compare with other mountain hikes I have done. The views are amazing. I loved it.

Besseggen ridge is also one of Norways most popular mountain hikes, so you won't stroll on your own. But I didn't mind, it was still worth it and more! The night before our hike we camped by lake Gjende, also very recommended if you are in the area.

Worth knowing before hiking Besseggen

  • You need to be fit. The hike takes about 6-8 hours + breaks with net 900 meters elevation gain/loss. And you should have some hiking experience. Parts of the hike is rough, you need to use your hands and shouldn't be too afraid of hights. But it's not an extremely hard walk, so if you are normally fit and have done some hiking earlier - go for it. 
  • Start early, I recommend to start from Memburu and walk to Gjendesheim. That way you walk up the steepest part with plenty of air on both sides. It's way less scary than walking down. You can stay at Memburu lodge or camp. If you camp you can send your luggage with the boat to Gjendesheim and pick it up when you get there. Or you can stay at Gjendesheim lodge or camp by Gjende llke we did. Then you take the boat to Memburu the day of your hike. Make sure you catch one of the earlier boats and take your place in the line about 30 minutes before departure to secure your place.
  • Pack good clothing and enough food and water. We had all kinds of weather from sun to heavy wind and sideways rain in the middle of July.
  • Bring you camera and make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy the views!

Some picture from our camp/hike. 

The famous view

The famous view

My man taking photos 

My man taking photos 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Met Rudolf

Met Rudolf

Our camp

Our camp

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

The beautiful city of Split, Croatia

Split in Croatia is my kind of city. It has narrow streets, it's a walkable size, the architecture is beautiful, the food is great and it's by the sea. My hotel was actually inside the ruins of the Diocletian's Palace, so was many other hotels, restaurants, shops, a church and more. It's like a city in a city. Very cool!

I spent about a day and a half in Split. And even though it's a beautiful city that is pretty much what you need to see what's worth seeing in the city center. And especially when the temperature is way beyond 30 degrees celsius like when I was there. But there are beaches just outside of the city and many boats departs from Split to the islands.

This is what I did see and recommend:

  • The Diocletian's Palace - off course. Take your time walking the streets, have an Espresso or a glass of great Croatian white wine in one of the many cafes (the best ones are hidden in the corner of a street). It's touristy yes - but nice!
  • Substructions of the Diocletian's Palace. Not really much to see, it's empty. But it's cool. And it's where Daenery's kept her dragons in Game of Thrones!
  • The Bell Tower at the Cathedral of Saint Domnius. Climb to the top for a great view (not if you are claustrophobic or afraid of hights). 
  • Check out the shops, Split has low prices and some very nice shops.
  • Take a seat at one of the many benches facing the sea and just watch it.
  • The fish marked by the shopping street - fun to watch.

Eat, drink and sleep:

  • Sleep at Villa Split Luxury rooms if you can. Amazing staff, beautiful rooms, great breakfast! 
  • Bepa, Mazzgoon and Corto Maltese are great places for food and drinks inside of the palace walls.

If you are based in Europe, Split is a great city for a weekend escape, but it's mostly city to start or end you vacation in Croatia, that off course also includes some of the islands and Dubrovnik. <3 Croatia.

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One day in Dubrovnik and a "How to "survive" the tourist crowd guide"

Dubrovnik has sceneries that goes straight to my top 5 list of great travel experiences. The wall of the Old City of Dubrovnik is 2 kilometers of them. And if you are a Game of Thrones fan - needless to say. You will love it. It's the Kings Landing! 

Dubrovnik smells of fish, the ocean and Lavender. The food and the wine is great. The sights are many. But Dubrovnik is also filled with cruise tourists and you have to watch out if you don't want to walk down an iPad photographing Japanese or pump into a selfie stick. More about that later.

My hotel was in Babin Kuk, it was nice to stay outside of the city, it was only a 10 minute bussride and to relax with a see view with dinner was a nice way to unwind from the busy city. During my day in Dubrovnik I walked the city wall, I walked through the old town and I had a great lunch at the great traditional fish restaurant Proto. Enough for one day and as I see it what you have to see and do. I wanted to take a ride with the cable car as well but it was closed.

Dubrovnik is really one of the most beautiful cities I have been too. But it's also the one filled with most tourist. I really had to dig deep into my own calmness to enjoy the day rather than let it frustrate me. So I made my self a set of rules to make it work. I think these will work for most people. It worked very well for me!

1. Practice a really slow way of walking. Imagine you have a curious child by your side. This way you can enjoy even more of the scenery and you don't feel the need to pass everyone stopping to take photos ahead of you. 

2. Don't stop to take photos on the spot where everyone else does. There is a pretty good chanche that the sight is even better if you walk a few more meters ahead. 

3. Be happy that you don't come back home with hundreds of selfies or pictures of your friend/boyfriend/wife. After all, that's not what you went to this place to see:) 

4. Step to the side when you want to take a photo. Cause you do want to take them as well. But it's possible to do it without standing in the way of others. 

5. Take a deep breath. It always hjelps. So does a break with a glass of wine:) 

 

And you should go to Dubrovnik! The views from the city wall is worth it!  

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Summer skiing in Stryn, Norway <3

Most people hit the beach when the summer starts for real in Norway. Not very strange, we have a long winter and the skiing season for most people end at easter. Buuut, some of us still chase the snow. This year I'm one of them. So last weekend I went to the very best place for summer skiing in Norway, Stryn Sommerski.

Located between high peaks on the mountain Strynefjellet you can both ski at the resort with plenty of back country options and you can go ski touring. The lift helps you half the way and there are many options to go further on with steep downhill runs. When the weather is as perfect as last weekend with clear blue sky all day long - there are not many other places you would rather be. 

Stryn Sommerski has a really chilled atmosphere, people are laidback, the mood is good. If you are in a party mood you should stay at Folven Camping where the after ski happens. If you want somewhere more quiet I'll recommend Nygård Camping where we stayed. 

Sun + Summer + Skiing + Stryn = <3

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Jordan – friendly and beautiful

- Wanna ride my Ferrari (donkey) lady? I give you fan and Shakira.
Even the sellers are funny and friendly in Jordan. This was said by a guy I met in amazing Petra. He sold donkey rides. There is something different about Jordan, the people living there also see them selves as different from the people in neighbouring countries. We are more friendly to each other they say. And I really think they are.

Jordan is not only friendly, but beautiful and interesting! You drive through the wildest of landscapes, Petra is a sight amongst very few, the desert is fascinating and The Dead Sea is one of those bucket list experiences. 

But sadly Jordan is taking it’s fall because of the conflicts in the area around. People are scared to travel there (even though it is safe) and it’s very visible – the tourism has gone down drastically since the Arab spring. I hope this will change because Jordan is very worth visiting and I never felt unsafe in any way.

Me and mye friend Kathe was lucky to have our own driver on the 4 day visit to Jordan. This is what we experienced:

Amman
The day in Amman was short and also the only day with rain so I’m pretty sure I could have seen the city from a much better side. But the visit to Citadel Amman was really something, beautiful views framed by old ruins. Probably the highlight of Amman. We also visited the Roman Theatre, nice but didn’t take that long.

The Dead Sea
To visit the Dead Sea, most people stay at resorts. So did we. The first day was windy and rainy so we didn’t even get to try the famous water. And there’s not much else to do around the resorts so an evening at the hotel spa was a good choice. But the next day the sun came out. We took the morning bath (it’s actually impossible to swim) in the sea. A very strange and fun experience, it’s kind of like taking an oil bath. A bucket list thing to do there!


The rest of the day was spent in the car, driving through the most wonderful scenery, up on mountains and through small villages. A really good way to see the country. A small hillside cafe with an amazing view and coffee cooked on the stove was a highlight. So was the fresh bread and yoghurt lunch bought by our driver in a local shop along the way.

Petra
Ready for the day in Petra, the place most known in Jordan. The ancient city of Petra is one of the world wonders, hidden and forgotten for centuries, only known to the Beduins who lived there, then found by a Swizz explorer in 1812.

We were among the first guests entering that morning. A smart move as we walked through it with vey few people getting in way of our massive photo action:) Later on the way back it was way more crowded.

What to say about Petra, it’s fascinating and beautiful, the colors, the lights, the histories! Even though they very often don’t know the real story. Maybe it happened like this, maybe not, our guide kept saying. It is really a must see, charge your camera batteries, bring good shoes and water, spend the day. And start early.

Wadi Rum Desert
This experience got it’s own blog post.

Aqaba
One day at a resort in Aqaba was our last stop before returning to Amman flying home. Aqaba is the nice place to rest for a day or more after the sandy desert experience. It’s beach time!


Thank you Jordan for a friendly experience filled with beauty and wonders!

My trip around Jordan was sponsored by Sherazade Travel. But my opinions are off course my own.

Some pictures below, more here.

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Yoga everywhere

I think travelling and yoga are my two favorite things in the world. And luckily they combine very well. After all, yoga is like a travel in itself, a way to experience and explore. 

Like the beautiful yoga retreat I went to in Italy last summer where I also combined it with a few days in Naples. That was the yoga retreat where I found my own yoga way. Or the yoga and surf retreat I went to in Portugal, amazing place, loads of fun. I'm a big fan of Ashtanga yoga, a passion I found when I went to Goa in India a few years ago. And you don't have to go to a yoga retreat to do yoga when travelling. Yoga can be done everywhere. Like at sunset on the beautiful beaches of Bali. Or you can just bring your yoga math (by one for travelling) and do it at any hotel or floor you find. 

Just do it, do yoga everywhere! 

Inhale the future, exhale the past.


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Istanbul: Tradition meets modern hipster

Up and down the streets in and around the Grand Bazaar you see people drinking tea and men running around with treys filled with tea glasses and one sugar cube for each. In the more hipsterish area, Karakoy, you find a more modern form, my mint tea came in a big cup filled with fresh mint leaves and fruit. They take their tea and their tea time seriously in Istanbul.

I love cities where traditions and the modern life blends together. Where you can see the everyday life of the people living there out on the streets, where they manage to be them selves even if the tourists run around and new trends find their way. I loved Istanbul, so vibrant, so much to see! Beautiful mosques and towers, great culture and food coffee and tea. I only had three days, it's not really enough, but this is what I recommend from my days there:

Galata Bridge
Walking over Galata Bridge the fishers live their lives, many stay there all day long, fishing and chatting with each other, the tea breaks are many. Under the bridge you find all the restaurants no one goes to, but they work very hard getting you in there. Instead people eat their fish sandwich by the Bosphorus river. The view walking over the bridge is great!

Bosphorus river cruise
It is really nice to see all the mosques and the beautiful city from the seaside. Take the short two hour cruise, they run from the riverside by Galata Bridge.

Galata Tower
They say it's expensive, maybe not worth it, but I say it is. The 360 degree view is amazing! This is where you get the really great view photos. By accident I was up there just when the Friday prayer was done, listening to the sound of many many mosques at the same time was really something. 

Sultanahmet
The area of Sultanahmet has a beautiful park, many mosques and museums and much more. I didn't have that much time so I prioritized to see Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque, both worth seeing!

Karakoy and Hotel Sub Karakoy
I stayed at the hotel Sub Karakoy in Karakoy. A very nice and central area (I could walk everywhere) and so many many cool and good restaurants, coffee shops and bars. This is where the hipsters hang out. And Sub Karakoy is one of the very best hotels I have stayed at EVER. The design was really beautiful, the service was perfect, the roof top bar super cool, the breakfast yummy (every day served with todays traditional dessert) and they even gave me a present when I left and a gift on New Years eve (I was there then). I highly recommend it both for the location and everything else.

The Grand Bazaar, the spice marked and the streets in between
The Grand Bazaar is a must see. A really big old marked where they sell just about everything. I didn't buy anything though, I'm not a big fan of bargaining and too much of the stuff is fake. But, go there early in the day while the sellers have their tea break and chat with each other rather then pushing things on you, just observe! And sit down at one of the cafes and have a tea yourself. Afterwards, walk the narrow streets down to the spice market. In these streets the locals shop just about everything they need. Walking here you can observe much of the culture of Istanbul. And step by the Spice market to. 

Istiklal Caddesi and Taksim Square
Istlklal Caddesi is a long shopping street with no traffic and a old tram passing by now and then in between the street boots selling what food is right for the season. Not exactly shopping like New York, but there are some nice shops. The street ends up in Taksim Square, also worth seeing.


This is what I had the time to do, but there is so much more. I don't think anyone will regret going to Istanbul, it's a lovely city! Bring good shoes and walk, that's when you see the real life of the city.

 

the view from Galata tower&nbsp;

the view from Galata tower 

At the Spice marked

At the Spice marked

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Galata bridge

Galata bridge

At the Grand Bazaar&nbsp;

At the Grand Bazaar 

Hagia Sofia&nbsp;

Hagia Sofia 

Inside the Blue Mosque&nbsp;

Inside the Blue Mosque 

Kaliyoga Italy: a week of bliss, strength and beauty

Olive trees, hammocks, salt water pool. Amazing food, super nice people, blissful surroundings. 3,5 hours of yoga every day! I couldn't ask for a better week then at the yoga retreat at Kaliyoga in Italy. It gave me courage, it gave me peace and most of all it gave me the need to do more yoga in my every day life. 

Kaliyoga is pretty much everything you could ask for at a yoga retreat. And more. The beautiful surroundings, the trullo's, the smiling friendly staff, the food. It was all there to support the wonderful yoga teaching and made the whole experience very complete.

The yoga teacher Tashi was just wonderful in so many ways. I loved the way her goal was to give us the tools for our self practice. I've been doing yoga for years, but I probably learnt more during my week at Kaliyoga with Tashi then in all those years. 

Thank you Tashi, Nick, Alessandra, the volunteers and my fellow retreat participants. 

Considering going to a yoga retreat? Check out Kaliyoga! It is also on the list of Top 10 yoga retreats around the world

Kaliyoga in pictures:

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Williamsburg, Brooklyn - one week of bliss and inspiration

Williamsburg in Brooklyn is calm life, but still city life, cool people, great food and inspiring concepts. On my sixth visit to New York I only spent time on Manhatten for about two hours (walking over Williamsburg bridge to eat lunch at Katz, great lunch!), there was no need for more. Williamsburg has it all. 

Staying in an apartement, working at an office space close by. It was like I lived there, that little glimpse of what living in such a vibrant city actually can be. This is the reason I was there by the way, enjoying the city with all my colleagues. 

The beautiful, cool and interesting concepts on cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and so on is a really inspiring thing about Williamsburg. I understand why it's the hipster place to be. Everything is so beautifully made. The selection of places to eat and drink and the small independent shops where you can by stuff that people at home can't. Williamsburg is kind of the perfection of bliss, energy and inspiration.

I loved these places, you should visit if you go there:

And are you ever organizing a party or other event i NY, you should check out The W Loft, really cool space with amazing view!

Some pics:

Williamsburg apartment back yard view

Williamsburg apartment back yard view

Walking on Williamburg bridge

Walking on Williamburg bridge

Strange streetart...

Strange streetart...

All those cool signs.

All those cool signs.

In Park Slope, Brooklyn

In Park Slope, Brooklyn

Those pancakes!

Those pancakes!

Shopping!

Shopping!

Vindow view - when leaving...

Vindow view - when leaving...

Office view!!

Office view!!

Costa Rica: Monteverde, I bungy jumped!

Bungy jumping has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I haven't really had the chance to do it (and not an extreme urge either).  But Monteverde gave me the opportunity and I did it!

Monteverde in Costa Rica is most of all experiences. Following that, the small town is filled with visitors and so are all the attractions, but you should still go there. I'll get back to why. The main activities I did there was ziplining and bungy jumping + did a chocolate and coffee tour.

The coffee and chocolate tour with Don Juan was very interesting. Costa Rica is one of the main coffee providers to the world (and in Norway we drink loads of it) and on the tour we learned interesting stuff about growing and making both coffee and chocolate. A tour of taste as well as knowledge.

The town of Monteverde isn't much, but there are som nice restaurants. The Treehouse restaurant is both interesting and fun, Amys cousine had great food and Beso Espresso is great for coffee.

But most of all Monteverde is known for the cloud forrest. A beautiful mysterious forrest. I saw it mostly from above, hanging from different ziplines. Because, you can not leave Monteverde without doing the Extremo Canopy tour. I promize you, 3,5 hours and 14 ziplines (you get to be both Superman and Tarzan) is something you will never forget doing. One of the ziplines is 1 kilometer long and the nature views you get during this trail is just amazing!

After the canopy tour my adrenalin level was sky high and I was filled with pure happiness. And THEN it was time for the bungy jump. And not any bungy jump, just the highest one in Central America. 143 meters high. I was scared to death and for a while there it looked like we didn't get to do it because the sun went down, I kind of hoped we missed it...

But we made it. And it was scary, but doing the actual jump went so fast. All of a sudden I was hanging there, watching the sunset up side down. It was not as all as scary as I imagined, it didn't hurt at all. I would totally do it again! Bucket list check! Pura Vida!

Not the best picture, but it's me hanging there!

In 2015 I will travel to...

People see me as a traveller. Whenever I'm back from a trip, they ask me where I'm going next time. I'm not one of those with a long list. I seek inspiration to find out where I want to go next. I often have some idea of what part of the world I want to go to, when (off course) and what kind of trip I want (active trip, big city, beach life etc.). And then I leave it all to the internet.

Except from a couple of work trips I don't have a next trip planned. The travel search engine (and agency) Momondo told me about their blog contest (you can also attend) and their search tool Trip Finder so I decided to try that in my search for the next 2015 travel destination.

I have never tried Momondo before but I really liked it. I can choose to search based on price, type of trip and time. And I a get a easy well designed overview over different destinations and flight costs. I've been wanting to see Argentina and Chile so I checked out cities and Buenos Aires. Moving on to the page about Buenos Aires I got great information about flight prices, information about the city, temperature, hotel options, suggestion for other places to go in Argentina etc. It's easy to go on and on exploring different destinations and combinations. 

I'm not ready to book a trip yet, but I will definitely keep exploring options around Chile and Argentina. It's a type of trip that takes a lot of planning. I want to see Buenos Aires (and do some tango), I want to see Valparaiso in Chile and I want to hike in Patagonia. And to see more of Chile and Argentina. And I want to do it all in one trip.

I will keep exploring the options together with my friend the Internet. I love that kind of planning and exploring, for me that's a part of it all, it gets me more excited about the travel it self. I'm pretty sure I will end up in Argentina/Chile some time during 2015, but who knows, maybe the internet will lead me somewhere else.

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving
— Lao Tzu


Costa Rica: Canyoning, mountain biking, waterfall and hot springs in La Fortuna

Adventure in Costa Rica continues! And so much happened in La Fortuna. La Fortuna is a small city located in San Carlos and is home of Arenal Volcano, a volcano that erupted in 1968. The Volcano area is just perfect for outdoor activities and there was so much to do and see.

La Fortuna in itself is not really a big deal, you go there to explore nature, and we really did. During our two days there we did two mountain bike trips (or more biking on very bumpy roads). One was in the areas where people of La Fortuna lived. It was a great way to see the local life, from the schools and the small shops to the growing of Plantanes and Pine apple (largest export of Costa Rica). The other bike trip was part of our next leg of the trip towards Monteverde and was around the volcano with great lake views. We did never see the top of the volcano though, to foggy, very few people have that pleasure just visiting for a few days.  

La Fortuna also has La Catarata de la Fortuna, a waterfall that falls from a height of 70 meters and many resorts with natural hot springs temperate enough to bathe in. The waterfall was beautiful. And spending time in the hot springs with a swim in bar after a very wet day (tropical rain and canyoning) was really really nice. Being surrounded by other tourists in every activity you did was not so very nice, but it's just one of the things you have to deal with in a place like La Fortuna. We are all tourists after all... Even though I felt more like an adventurer on my travel around Costa Rica.

Anyways, the no doubt best thing I did in La Fortuna (and one of the best experiences of the trip) was canyoning in the Lost Canyon! Two hours of rappeling and walking in the Canyon was just amazing, wet and very exciting. A must do in La Fortuna! Just check out these pics of me rappeling there:



Jewelry as souvenirs

What is smart to buy as souvenirs? What is smart to buy where? My friend Line buys jewelry and has written this blog post with some great advice about it:  

To bring home souvenirs from travels is something a lot of us do. But what we buy may wary. - I buy jewelry.

So why jewelry? Well, knick knacks aren't really my thing, I'm not all that into fridge magnets, my walls can only take so many drawings and paintings, and food and spices will eventually disappear. But jewelry are wearable memories and don't take up too much space, it's perfect!

It started very random, but it has now become more or less a regular thing for me when I travel. When I go somewhere I'll be on the lookout for pieces of jewelry to get. It often helps to have a general idea of types of pieces I would like to have, like a silver pendant or earrings with a specific shape, and look for those specifically.

Just going into a "normal" jewelry or bijouterie store won't do though, at least not as a rule. It ought to be a little more of a special place. Museum stores are great, and be on the lookout at street markets and fairs. Smaller towns or old towns often have quaint little stores with jewelry, but bigger touristy stores can  sometimes have a good selection of nice pieces too.


Mostly I try to get hold of more or less quality jewelry, but some cheep stuff also find it's way into my jewelry box. Some of the pieces are my absolute favorites and I wear them a lot, remembering the trips I was on when I bought them: Perusing the Portobello road market where I got some silver heart shaped earrings. A scarab beetle gold necklace from a Nile cruise boat. Wild Bills Western Store in Dallas old town where I got some turquoise earrings. The silver pendant with gemstones from that street market in Bordeaux last year, and the silver ring I wear every day that I got on the same trip from a small shop in Saint-Émilion. My moonstone earrings from the museum shop at 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battleground in south England. The grey pearl pendant and earrings from Birmingham christmas market, and much more.

So next time you go somewhere interesting, buy some jewelry and wear your memories when you get home.

Line Kamhaug Hopmoen

Visit Urke and Hjørundfjorden with Hurtigruten

The guests arrive at the dock in the small town of Urke. They are welcomed by the host of the day, and given a brochure about the town. Pictures are taken beside the "Downtown Urke" sign, surrounded by mountains reflected in the fjord. The locals like to chat and invite the guests to visit the small very cozy partly volunteer driven Kaihuset cafe. No need to buy anything, but if they feel like, the coffee is good and there are home made cakes and waffles. 

Hurtigruten is a daily passenger and freight shipping service along Norway's western and northern coast. Many would say they offer the worlds most beautiful voyage. Two years ago it started sailing in the fjord called Hjørundfjorden during September and October, the trip is called Autumn Gold

I grew up in Urke, the small town where the passengers can walk around for a couple of hours when visiting Hjørundfjorden with Hurtigruten. I'm extremely proud when I see how the locals are welcoming the guests, this is a big thing for the town with less then 50 inhabitants and for all of us who used to live there, we finally get to show it all to the world! Because Urke is truly amazingly beautiful, just look around Instagram

So if you are going to visit Norway, Urke should be on the list. Travelling with Hurtigruten is one way to visit, but you can also go to Urke in other ways and stay at Urke Camping or the amazing historic Hotel Union Øye in the neighbor town Øye. There are also other options to rent cabins etc. 

Hurtigruten in front of Urke, late October.

Hurtigruten in front of Urke, late October.

Waiting for the passengers strolling around Urke.

Waiting for the passengers strolling around Urke.

Hurigruten waiting while guests are visiting Kaihuset cafe.

Hurigruten waiting while guests are visiting Kaihuset cafe.

Urke and Hjørundfjorden seen from the mountain Saksa.

Urke and Hjørundfjorden seen from the mountain Saksa.

(This post is not in any way sponsored by Hurtigruten or any other local parts involved, but its filled with my subjective thoughts about the town where I grew up):

Costa Rica - I'm coming

Yes I did it, just booked a new trip - a 13 day tour in Costa Rica with Gadventures in December.

I have been thinking about travelling around christmas/new year, but been so slow on deciding. It is great being able to travel at that time, you can stay away for a while without taking to many days off work. Last year I spent new years in Tokyo and the year before I was on a trip in Vietnam and Cambodia at that time. But I have never traveled during Christmas before and that was a limit for me, I love spending Christmas at home...

But this trip was so tempting so I just did it. Leaving December 19th, going home January 1st. And just take a look at what I will be doing: Costa Rica Active Adventure. I've been on one of Gadventures active trips before, in Peru, best holiday ever. 

Can't wait! 

This is the route:


Marstein light house - a great escape

This week I visited Marstein light house for a strategy seminar with my job. And it was just such a perfect place to be, a great escape from every day work life to a beautiful exciting island in Hordaland, Norway.

And I finally got to ride in a real rib boat. L O V E D it! The waves were huge on the way out there and when we went home it drove us almost straight to the airport.  

The food was great, the surroundings are amazingly beautiful and the conference facilities was good. I really recommend Marstein if you are taking a small group for a seminar or maybe for a weekend with friends. It's good for groups from 8 to 25 people and is run by Panorama hotel

(This post is NOT sponsored by Panorama hotel).

See for yourself:

Champagne with a view

Champagne with a view

How to get more out of your business travels

Work/volunteer work related travels is actually the reason I'm so hooked on travelling. Almost all of my working career I have been doing some kind of workish related travelling. I have visited most of the 30ish countries I have been to because of that.

One of my first travels like this was to Cyprus. I was in Cyprus for three days and only saw the inside of my hotel. That's when I decided this wasn't the way I wanted it. I wanted to see more of the places I was so lucky to go to. I started to plan these travels so that I stayed an extra night or more. Sometimes just an extra evening to see at least a little bit. 

If you travel much for business you might see it as a hassle, but there is so much you can get out of just those short travels. Here's my advice on how to see more on your business travels:

  • If possible - stay for one extra day or more. Maybe your meeting or conference is on a day close to the weekend, stay the weekend if you can. 
  • Don't want to stay away for too long? Family or work waiting back home maybe? Just by taking a flight a few hours before you have to, you can see much of the place you are going to.
  • Find a central hotel (if you get to decide that yourself). Then you can easily see more of wherever you are.
  • Don't stay at the hotel using room service. Go out to eat or have a drink, go for a walk, explore where you are.
  • Go for a run. Skip the hotel gym, go for a run instead. You get pretty far running and can explore much of the city you're in.
  • Walk. If you can walk from where you stay to your meeting, make the time to do that instead of taking a taxi. Again - you see so much more.
  • Work from a cafe. Doing some work beside the meeting or conference you are going to? Find a cafe with wifi and work from there, it gives you more then sitting at your hotel room.
  • Do some research. It doesn't take much research to get to know a little bit more about the sights and other stuff at the place you are going to. And then it's all so much easier when you get there.

And don't forget - you can also explore cities you have been to before. I have been to London many many times, but I love London. So I try to stay in a new area of the city when I go back and I always get to see something I have not seen before.

Even when I travel for work in Norway I try to get some more out of my trip. This week I went to Bergen, the most beautiful city in Norway. I have been to Bergen many times during the last months, but I still try to get more out of each trip. This time I just travelled there a few hours before I had to and then I had the time to walk a nice evening stroll when I got there. And when I needed to get some work done before going to the airport I went to one of my favorite cafes in Bergen Kaffemisjonen and had my breakfast and worked from there. 

These pictures are from Bergen this week. 

 

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