Feeling the spring on Bornholm – Part 2

The place where the reality is more beautiful than imagination… We were in the car driving through a small forest road covered with a beautiful carpet of white and yellow anemone flowers, when I heard Hongyi very quietly, as if talking to herself, give voice to her inner thoughts. The reality is more beautiful than imagination! I heard the sentence come alive, I pondered it over in my mind and I asked her to repeat it again. I thought it was such a profound observation that it deserved to be articulated again.

Days later I remembered it again, and I asked Hongyi if I could quote it. It might as well become the new catch phrase for the island that knows how to enchant.

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My favourite shot of the trip. I love the play of colours and nature.

We were on our way to Gudhjem, which translated means God’s home. It is not hard to imagine why when you enter Gudhjem. A charming city of red roofs, picturesque views, sol over Gudhjem smoked herring dish and the world’s biggest ice cream. What else could you ask for?

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Sol over Gudhjem – the red city in all its glory

Reaching Gudhjem I took Hongyi to my favourite viewpoint, a small park behind the churchyard. It has become kind of a tradition to take people to that place. There is a wooden bench perched on the viewing hill, and I have grown so fond of sitting there and gazing out.

Recharging in Gudhjem with pretty views and savouring an obligatory soft ice, we continued our Tour-de-Bornholm to Sandvig, a town north of Gudhjem for a little hiking action.

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Beautiful patterns in nature are all over Bornholm!

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Hammershus, Northern Europe’s largest castle ruins.

There are many hiking trails criss-crossing the island. I love this one, Sandvig – Hammer Odde Fyr – Solomons Kapel – Sandvig, in particular. Water, rocks, blooming bushes and views to Hammershus castle ruins make for a very pleasant hike.

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The rocks of Bornholm.

The hike goes by surprisingly quickly. One moment we are at Sandvig on the eastern coast of Bornholm, the other we find ourselves at the western shores having crossed the island horizontally. It must have been the sun and the postcard views turning us into little Asterix-es and giving us wings.

We reached the Hammerhavn late in the afternoon, just when the last of the captains was getting ready to head out to the sea on his small fishermen boat for a sail tour. We hopped on one with a very witty and sweet captain and cruised the waters of the Baltic Sea looking at the northernmost tip of Bornholm and Hammershus ruins from the sea. A beautiful perspective!

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Hammershus standing tall and proud and pretty.

As we progressed through the day going from a city life to nature to sea, we left one final item on our agenda – the forests of Bornholm. We had a special quest – locate the bornholmer anemone, called blegblå anemone. And we did! Well largely thanks to Hanne’s sharp eye. Scouring the forest we found the cute tiny flowers that covered the entire patch of ground.

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We found them! The blegblå anemone of Bornholm.

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A carpet of flowers lies in front of us.

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Where the road leads to…

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Sunset walk by Gudhjem :)

Time flies when you are having fun. Having accomplished our last mission of the day we started slowly making our way back to Snogebæk. But it was too early to call it a day. The sun was just setting over Gudhjem. The beautiful, soft light was just irresistible. It resulted in a silent admiration of the nature and a fun little impromptu photoshoot.

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Weekend in Hamburg – bricks, water, red lights and summertime chilling

Hamburg was on our to-visit list for some time now. Somehow the right occasion did not present itself until a couple of weeks ago. A few hours on the Danish roads and a few more accelerated ones on the German autobahns brought us to this merchant Hanseatic city that is famed for its port and red light district and not to forget their special bond to Beatles.

Strange as it may read, the red light district was our first encounter with the city. Our home for the weekend was located very centrally, in the hip and colourful St. Pauli district.

Colourful St. Pauli

Colourful St. Pauli

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Street art with a character. Ouch for the inhabitants behind that open window!

In addition to its hip feel, abundance of bars and outdoor life, St. Pauli is rubbing shoulders with the famous red light street, Herbertstrasse.

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Herbertstrasse, the heart of Hamburg’s red light district with a very fitting graffiti

Here it is, the street that is off limits to female and underage representatives of the population, though the neighbouring street puts a daily live show of what awaits behind the closed gates. Once we witnessed one of the ladies literally chasing a plump old man who happened to walk on the wrong side of the street. That was an amusing sight.

Enough about that little red street. There is much more to Hamburg than Reeperbahn. Just a few minutes walk from St. Pauli is the Hafen City, the harbour district of Hamburg, with its buzzing activity of ships and boats, and loading and uloading, and of course tourists walking in and out of the sail boats.

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The buzzing port of Hamburg

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Elbhilharmonie – a cool addition to Hafen City

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A local hangout spot

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These tall brown buildings, the brick warehouses, give Hamburg a certain charm. On some of them you can still find traces of World War II with bullet holes and broken stones. Yet they stand tall as ever.

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In many ways Hamburg is similar to Amsterdam, and I do not imply the red light district only. Nestled on the shores of the Elbe river, water shaped the city with its trading past and still brings it to life. On a hot summer day water is also where you will meet many of the city dwellers and us :)

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Our lovely ride for the evening. Paddling around the waters of Hamburg.

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Water has a special place for the city dwellers. And on that hot summer day it seemed like the entire city took to the lakes and canals to cool down.

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A local beach bar

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A very Hamburg way to chill off in the summer.

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Navigating the open waters.

We discovered quite many faces of Hamburg. It is not Berlin of course, but then again nothing can match Berlin. Hamburg is the queen of the German northern waters rooted in old trade traditions and in a certain air of poshness. I don’t think I have seen so many fancy residences in rich Munich, as I saw in Hamburg.

A bright showcase of this poshness is an outskirt area called Blankenese, a hilly spot great for escaping the city into a forest tale of pretty sights. We dubbed it the Beverly Hills of Hamburg, where the narrow labyrinthine paths leading up and down the hills are dotted with expensive houses indulging in fresh air and blooming trees and overlooking beautiful Elbe.

Beverly Hills of Hamburg

Beverly Hills of Hamburg

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How cute is this house! Any minute you would expect hobbits to step out of it.

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These were the main sightseeing highlights of our weekend trip to the city of bricks and red lights. Our last day in Hamburg we spent inside one of the brick warehouses on what can seriously qualify as one of the coolest and cutest exhibitions. But more on this in my next story 😉

Auf Wiedersehen und liebe Grüsse!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

 

The magic trinity – summer, sun, Snogebæk

A postcard from beautiful fishing village Snogebæk

A postcard from beautiful fishing village Snogebæk

As the weekend comes to an end, I just wanted to share all the summer love and beauty it contained. We are on Bornholm again, back to enjoy some hygge time with our thesis writing. The postcard-perfect nature provides the best setting for focusing your mind, letting your thoughts flow onto your fingertips. In between the long hours of typing away, we also managed to steal a few moments away from the computer screen and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Kornblomst, the cornflower, is my favourite beauty of the island.

Kornblomst, the cornflower, is my favourite beauty of the island. So simple and graceful…

On the south-eastern coast of Bornholm, there is one very special place – the village of Snogebæk. This tiny pearl is a true paradise, but you shouldn’t take my word for it, as I might be a little biased, given it is my husband, Andreas’ homeplace. Rather, you should come and experience its mesmerizing beauty yourself. And trust me you will yearn to come back after that one single visit.

Snogebæk has beaches so white and pristine I feel like I am walking in a Robinson Crusoe dream every single time my feet touch the soft sand. If you think this is a picture from Maldives, think again!

This white sand beach of Snogebæk catches my breath every single time.

This white sand beach of Snogebæk catches my breath every single time.

On our previous visit to Bornholm in May, the island was all about an ocean of yellow flowers. A month later all the yellow prettiness disappeared as if Hermione was on the island waving her magic wand and casting some beautiful spells. Instead Bornholm was covered in the sea of white and pink flowers that were in perfect harmony with the rocky beaches.

The colours of Snogebæk in June

The colours of Snogebæk in June

Love the sight of these beauties!

Love the sight of these beauties!

The weekend was also about eating delicious smoked fish. And that is something Snogebæk knows how to smoke properly.

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Bøjsens is

Who can say no to a scoop of this deliciousness? Not us…

That was one beautiful weekend, that passed flew away way too quickly. Hope the sun was shining out there for you as well :)

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Greetings from Snogebæk. This place is just wonderful!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Walking in wintery København

Strolling is my favourite mode of discovering the new and the familiar. From an efficiency point of view it is not the best choice, from the Danish point of view it is quite crazy, considering I prefer stomping on my feet more than I do on pedalling my bike.

Here are a few impressions from our Sunday stroll around the lakes. The blue of the water was truly mesmerizing. It was so lovely to feel the sun on your face and see its rays dance on the water.

Duckies on a nice hygge stroll on Copenhagen lakes

Dronning Louises Bro – The favourite hangout of Copenhageners

Blishøne 1: I am small, but I am determined!

Duck: I am deep in thought!

Blishøne 2: I am beautiful, ain’t I?

Winter reflections

Like a graceful ballerina

Hanging out

Winter shapes and reflections

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Stevns Klint – Denmark’s UNESCO, a collapsing church and dramatic nature

Sense of beauty leads to castles, quest of adventure brings to impressive elements of nature. Of course you should neither expect a breathtaking sight as of the Bavarian pride Neuschwanstein, nor will you find a piece of Grand Canyon in Denmark. Here the beauty shines through modesty, both in castles that dot the country, as well as the natural landmarks, of which this little country has plenty. After all it is home to 5 UNESCO sites!

Margueritruten here we come again…

Where the sun shines...

Where the sun shines…

The most recent addition to UNESCO in Denmark is Stevns Klint, a 65 million year old cliff made of chalk and limestone. It is around 20 km long and there is a hiking route, which is probably very nice in the summer months. On that winter day, despite the shining sun, the winds of the sea made sure that any dreamy intentions of a nice walk along the cliffs were limited to the absolute minimum.

Stevns Klint was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2014

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Before you reach the cliff, pay attention to this beautiful church, set off a few feet away from another more ancient looking church. Yes, this little area has two churches, standing across the “street” from each other, and of course there is a reason for that. The reason is not that the other church wasn’t enough to fit all the residents of the area, nor because they belong to different religions, not even because some rich philanthropist wanted to leave his name forever engraved in the history. Nope… The real reason is rather dramatic.

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A collapsing church! It looks rather breathtaking. You would never imagine that the highly flat land suddenly takes a dramatic 40 meter descend to form the Stevns Klint. Once it was probably a good idea to put the church on this pretty cliff. Not anymore… Surely the people who built the church in 1200 could have never imagined that the land will slide one day, and one part of the church will collapse with it. The newer church was built in 1913 as erosion kept eating away the land from under the older church.

Dramatic cliffs took claim to the centuries-old religious landmark in 1928

Øresund – a beautiful scene opens up from atop the cliffs

There is a rather steep staircase by the collapsing church leading down to the cliffs. It is probably a good idea to keep a grip on the handrail, the level of grip firmness is something that you will find out once you make a step down. It was not an utterly leg-shaking, but also not light-as-a-butterfly descend.

Andreas making his way to the shore

Let your gaze wander up and up. You will discover many different layers of chalk and limestone.

In the cliff you will also find flint pieces - the stone of ancient weapons

In the cliff you will also find flint pieces – the stone of ancient weapons

The sea was rather tamed

Beautiful nature – a perfectly shaped rock has grown trapped inside an old branch

In sync

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Love is in the nature

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

On the road in Southern Zealand – Vallø Slot

Flatness and prettiness are not mutually exclusive. Hard to imagine, but in flat as a pancake Denmark dramatic landscapes, pretty castles and beautiful nature are abound. I have not had a chance to travel extensively in this little country yet, well except from my postcard-perfect Bornholm and Zealand, but there is a lot to explore, especially if you have a car.

Somehow travelling in Denmark is not very attractive when you start doing the math of the crazy high transport / hotel / food prices. It has always been easier, read cheaper, to explore another European country, than venture out into the Nordic landscapes. Despite that, Zealand, where Copenhagen is perched onto, holds many day trip destinations.

Yesterday was one of the exceptionally beautiful winter days, when the sun was shining brightly and the winter air, though chilly, was refreshing. Carpe diem! Stevns Klint here we come :) But before we reach the beautiful cliff that made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list just a few months ago, we took a picturesque route to get to our destination.

Margueritruten – my favourite road sign of all!

Margueritruten – remember this word and keep your eyes open for this sign when you want to turn your road / bike trip in Denmark into a beautiful experience. It is my favourite sign to find on the roads and whenever we are driving by I have made a funny habit to say “Oh look Margueritruten!”. This little flower will guide you to the most beautiful sights in Denmark taking you through small country roads, seaside drives, fields and just pretty nature. There is an iPhone and Android app and Politiken has made a travel guide for all the routes. So take your pick.

Following our Marguerit of the day we set the course towards Stevns Klint, but took a small detour by Vallø castle.

Beautiful scene from the Danish countryside

Vallø Slot is not one of the big landmarks of Denmark and up until now we did not really know about its existence. But just one look at it put this castle on our beautiful-Danish-castle list. Yes, we do keep such a list, albeit in our memory :) It is not very imposing such as Kronborg or Frederiksborg, yet it has such a charming composition. Red bricks, round tower, moat running around, small bridges are all charmers.

Vallø Slot – main entrance

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The castle dates back to 1579. The verified rumour has it that it has been built to house Danish noble women, very posh indeed. When you walk into the inner courtyard, take a moment and observe the main entrance door to the castle. The luxury looking golden plate has resident names on it. Yes! Some people get to call this castle home today. Certainly a fancy address to have.

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Our royal portrait :)

Sød som jordbær, aka Hanne, and I posing in the park :)

I love round towers. This one here immediately went to the top of my favourite list. Just look at those faces gazing at you. I have never seen such a combination before. I wonder who these people are, but they definitely give a certain charm to the building.

The lonely balcony – charming from afar, heart-pounding when you come closer. Not sure how firm that structure is.

Small pond by the castle

It is a very nice detour and definitely provides for a quieter experience than the usual trio of Rosenborg – Frederiksborg – Kronborg. Though by the castle there is a park, which has become a favourite with dog owners, so expect to see much commotion in that area.

Next up is Stevns Klint, a beautiful piece of nature that is many million of years old. To be continued…

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Autumn in the city…

It was spring last time I planned to write something here. The first flowers had just been popping their pretty heads out of the earth, and the nature was in a vivacious state of revival that made you smile with every step you took. Somehow time slipped away, and I never made that spring post.

Now some six months later, it is autumn knocking on our door. It is a season that never fails to put me in a nostalgic state of mind. I love the vibrant burst of colours, despite the approaching cold and rainy days.

I have been away on a study exchange for the good part of the year, and have now returned to my Danish home to find the city turning into a colour canvas.

Autumn touches a Copenhagen playground

The chillin’ mood of Kongens Have that is usually packed in the summer with crowds young and old (and annoying bottle-collectors) has now been transformed into a romantic hideaway.

The perfect autumn scene

One of my favourite places, Dyrehaven, a deer park north of Copenhagen

One of my favourite places, Dyrehaven, a deer park north of Copenhagen

Forest fairies in Dyrehaven

Forest fairies in Dyrehaven

Autumn reflections

Autumn reflections

Even the awe-inducing lady high atop Glyptoteket is ready for the season.

Photos © Ani Movsisyan

Festival of Roses in Valbyparken

Copenhagen is just bursting with life in the summer. There is a festival galore for all kinds of senses. It is so hyggeligt attending one on a sunny Sunday in a company of good friends. Last week we met up with our Icelandic friends, Rosa and Gunni, to attend the festival of roses in Valbyparken.

Since last year I was meaning to check out this event and am glad I did get a chance finally. Copenhagen boasts many pretty parks and green areas, so you will never run out of options. Valbyparken is definitely worth putting on your list especially in the summer. For starters it is huge, but that doesn’t say much of course. How about the fact that it has 17 different themed gardens, each dedicated to a specific type of plants. See for yourself…

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This is not all. The park can’t be complete without the flower queen – roses! All 12,000 of them in various shapes and colours. It is a pretty sight.

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Every year in the beginning of August a festival of roses is being held here, where the visitors get to promenade in well manicured rose alleys and cast their vote in the contest for selecting the most beautiful rose. Just another occasion for some hygge time.

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To add extra fun to the occasion, there was also entertainment for kids of all ages. There was an area set up with different board games, and we had so much fun trying all of them. I gotta admit all these board games made me nostalgic of old times again and I wished there was more of such games in our lives. They are fun, entertaining and as an extra bonus you can actually be social while playing and look at each other instead of staring at the screens of the fancy gadgets brought to us by the wonderful technology.

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We didn’t get to see the winner of the festival but we took home our own crown beauties. There were a couple of stalls selling pretty roses and that is what our plant box was in desperate need of. Since we were away for a few weeks of vacation, our poor flowers were completely dried out, but not for long :)

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We rounded up the tour of the park with a nice long walk along the waterside. There is even a small stretch of beach where you can swim and enjoy the views over to the Sjællandsbroen. This park just has it all covered!

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The Sunday wouldn’t be complete without ice-cream and not just any but the best in Copenhagen. I am not a big fan of ice-cream, as weird as it may sound, but I just can’t resist the temptation at this little ice-cream store, Siciliansk Is in Vesterbro. If you are around, check it out, it’s soooo good!

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Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

The Magic of Copenhagen Lakes

Come sun, come snow, come rain, come wind… the magic of Copenhagen lakes lingers on. Promenading up and down the lake paths is a thing you got to experience when in the city.

Where else could be the best place to enjoy one of those sunsets that burns the sky in a bright pallet of magical colours… the crystal clear water reflecting the golden rays… and the city oozing away dreamily on its shores. The lakes of course, running through the heart of Copenhagen and linking posh Østerbro with multicultural Nørrebro and hip Vesterbro.

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Study spots in Copenhagen – Landbohøjskolens Have

This may sound crazy but I looove exam time! Despite the sleepless nights, finger-hurting clicks on the keyboard at tornado speed and some nerve wracking moments, it’s mostly enjoyable.

There is one big fat reason for that – it’s in the beautiful month of May, when the nature is in bloom and it’s in beautiful Copenhagen, which has an abundance of charming study halls, cute parks and cosy cafes. During the last couple of weeks I have been scouting many of the cities libraries and nature spots for the search of some quiet and inspiring spaces to let my study-holic self be absorbed in the universe of knowledge.

Yesterday I discovered a great location, one of the libraries of Københavns Universitet at Frederiksberg. KU has an abundance of cool locations around Copenhagen, and I envy them profoundly for that. But the good thing is that the study halls are open for all the students, well except one of them, the most magical place, the Hogwarts of Copenhagen :(

This location is at Dyrlægvej 10and is quite nice for studying. They have both group tables upstairs and silent areas, as well as computer tables. It’s less busy than the CBS study halls, therefore is definitely preferred! It’s open on

Mon – Fri: 08:00-20:00
Weekends: 10:00-17:00

The omnipresent eduroam wireless network is available across all universities in Denmark, so it’s in this library as well.

For me one of the major draws of this area is the Landbohøjskolens Have, the charming royal garden of KU’s SCIENCE faculty. I love this place in any weather, it’s not a typical thing I would say, but this place has an enchanting aura around it. Hyggelig and pretty, it reminds of a shy princess, Cinderella, that seemingly lacks the grandeur of the Kongens Have and the like, but is such a precious gem. In short, a lovely place to relax with a book.

Some of the idyllic moments I captured in the park. I just love the spring in Denmark!

 

Here is an Everplaces map with all the nice study places in Copenhagen that I have discovered so far.
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Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan