Saturday, January 14, 2012

denmark, my solo summer trip

While i lived in the netherlands i had a couple weeks off in the summer. this seemed like a great time to explore europe. Denmark had always been one of my favorite countries and being part danish myself...i wanted to see where some of my family came from. I booked a plane ticket and hostel for 4 days in the city of copenhagen. This would be my first vacation traveling alone. I arrived in copenhagen pretty early so i had enough time to get to my hostel and spend the day in the city. I found it pretty convienient that there is a train leaving from the airport that takes you all over copenhagen. I boarded and headed to Nyhavn Canal, it was the one place i was dying to see.

nyhavn canal
unfortunately it was raining like i've never seen it rain before, when i left the metro station.  I didnt let this stop me and i walked the entire street next to the canal. It was such a great feeling to finally be in the place i had simply wished to see a few years ago. Finally that wish had become real and i was in denmark. The rain didnt let up so it seemed like a good time to find my hostel. After a bit of confusion and alittle help from a friendly woman working in a hat shop i found it.  Danhostel Downtown Copenhagen was a decent place, cant really expect was extremely cheap and id be sharing a room with 10 other people possibly. I ended up sharing with 2 guys from israel, 2 german girls and 2 guys from texas. there were also 3 spanish people who came in around 2 am but they thankfully didnt stay long. I ended up having a chat with this guy from sweden who spent one night in my room. he was in copenhagen  picking up a stash of marijuana to take back to sweden. apparently its way easier to get your weed in denmark than sweden...or so he told me. Other than that i didnt really see much of my roommates  The two guys from texas were backpacking europe. They never knew where they were going next, theyd just check a map and basically say "hey lets go there"..and they went. The two german girls wouldnt talk to me, it might have been because i had a dutch soccer jersey hanging from my bed....but ill never know.

 dorm room  at the copenhagen downtown hostel
I didnt want to spend much time sitting in a dorm room anyway. after the rain stopped i went back into the city. I must have walked half of copenhagen. I promised myself one dinner out while i was was all i could afford. there was a decent place right next door to the hostel so i ordered a sandwich and my first danish beer. The cafe was called Chili and although ive read some terrible reviews about the place and service ,i thought it was fine. the tuna sandwich wasnt anything special but it was reasonably priced. It had a bar atmosphere but it was far from a dive. Anyway i went back to the hostel to sleep. the weather sucked and tomorrow it was supposed to be better. I woke up early and went back into the city. I decided to take a canal tour. Its the best way to see the city. it cost me 70 krone. about 12 dollars u.s. I didnt feel that much of a tourist because most people on the tour were danish and many city locals themselves. it felt to me like a boat tour was something people did after meeting for lunch or something. it was a time to relax and chat or just enjoy the view.It got pretty crowded fast and we left the harbor. They really showed you a great deal of the tourist attractions as well as lesser known places that actually were interesting to see. i was lucky to catch the english tour so i heard all about the history of the city. it surprisingly wasnt too boring . the tour was maybe an hour and after that i tried finding a supermarket. i found an aldi and bought some bread and salami, i was basically broke.this is why i love aldi... it fits anyones budget. I returned to my room and laid in bed awhile. The next two days were good. i walked some nature trails in a park. all around me was city but there it was completely isolated. I went to the infamous free town or Christiania. its basically a hippie commune where artists went wild and you can get some good marijuana. The people living there tried making a political statement back in the 70's and try keeping their freedom from the rest of the too ...til this day. just dont take pictures, they will take your camera.
building in christiania

the only downside to this place was all the police. ofcourse anyplace where drugs are served , the police are gonna want to know whats happening. it just seemed to ruin the atmosphere. I stayed there awhile anyway and walked around.  when i left, i really wanted to get some good fotos in copenhagen so i went back to nyhavn and started snapping. during the summer most people sit on the side of the canal and have a beer.  I wanted to do as the locals do so i also relaxed by the water. i was pretty tired by now. While my roommates were out drinking and clubbing.. i slept. didnt seem like a good idea to spent my night out partying alone in a city i barely knew, plus i was exhausted . the next morning i woke up knowing i had to catch a plane in 6 hours. I made a sandwich with my aldi salami and caught the metro. i had a few hours to kill and Amager Strand  was on my way to the airport. it was such a nice day that i couldnt waste it. so i laid on the beach for a few hours. the water was alittle cold but it was just cool to be there.... eventually i had to go catch my plane but i left copenhagen feeling really relaxed. I had a new sense of freedom as well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

caribbean flavor

There are so many islands that your bound to find one that suits your interests. Personally ive been to st. kitts, nevis and a couple islands part of the country of turks and caicos. Each one has its own charm.  While it can be quite expensive to stay at a resort, the price is worth it. There are  hotels to serve every price range if your somewhat on a budget thou.

 These islands are mostly safe to explore.  i wouldn't recommend going anywhere remote by yourself thou.   A great bit of st kitts  is sugar cane fields but those are slowly being cut away as the country no longer exports the stuff. Its pretty peaceful with one end of the island basically uninhabited. You can find some of the best beaches on this end.  I would watch out for the local bulls thou. farmers let them roam around pretty much where ever they like. I've even seen them sitting on the beach.The wild monkeys running around are a bit more friendly. You can find them everywhere, even at certain beach bars.  Bulls aside,there were alot of highlights about my trips to the caribbean.While in st kitts I took a guided rainforest hike. Never being in a rainforest before i wasnt exactly sure what to expect.  Lots of plants and trees i never saw before but thats about it. Overall walking through the rainforest is just a pretty low key thing to do. If your looking for more of a thrill maybe hike up the nearby volcano..dont worry its dormant..atleast for now. Food comes easy on this island. Looking for a good restaurant? deff go to Sprat Net. There menu is pretty easy grilled lobster, fish or chicken with corn on the cob and biscuits. The occassion pizza can also be found here..all depends on how good a day the cook had fishing. Many argue its the best on the island. You order at the grill and eat at picnic tables overlooking the sea. Food with a view for a reasonable price.  Many other restaurants on the island charge you a tip already placed on the bill along with a service fee, its not optional to pay. This is probably the only let down about dining out As much fun as staying at the resort can be i also like to see how the locals live. They were usually friendly and helpful..but for some reason didnt appreciate you shopping at the local supermarket. Im sure this isnt the case everywhere.

Sprat net

.My time on the island of nevis was brief but the catamaran ride was a trip in itself. We took a boat charter and had a bbq on one of the islands beaches. We stopped to snorkel on some well known reefs and there was plenty of alcohol to go around on the way there. I think the best part of that afternoon was this guy...
"captain" elvis 

one of the best snorkeling spots off the shore of nevis

 Elvis danced and sang the entire day. His friend even gave my mother a lapdance. The boat crew loved showing us foreigners a good time. It was dubbed the booze cruise from that day forward.  But really, the crew was professional when it counted and instructed everyone well when it came to getting in the water.  id recommend leeward islands charters if your ever in st kitts... and like having a bit of wild fun.

Alot of pictures can be deceiving but i can tell you that i've actually been here and it looks exactly as it does in this foto.

Turks and caicos is actually a chain of islands itself. There isn't much rainforest here and some islands are being mined. Not exactly a tropical paradise all around, but the resorts were picture perfect. The car rentals are a joke thou. The 4 wheel drive was broken and the roof of our jeep fell off. this didnt stop my father from attempting to drive up a mining road. Everyone luckily survived. On a lighter note, the local beaches were very laid back and there are some really beautiful spots to see.

 I wont go too in depth on reviewing this part of the world because i feel you should pick up where i left off. Take a chance and come here, discover the caribbean for yourselves.

Monday, January 9, 2012

the best of...

I think a good place to start is The Netherlands. Most of you are probably familiar with Amsterdam and what its known for, but how many of you know about The Netherlands as a country?  After living there for a year I really learned a lot. I promised to keep this blog simple so i'll give you alitttle taste of what makes this country so great.

  What to eat and drink 

Nothing compares to dutch beer.... heineken, amstel,grolsch,take your pick because  nothings better than enjoying one of these on a terrace during the summer     

From old to young , dutch cheese is one of the greatest things this country has to offer. You must eat it. You will thank me once you do. Most people in this country cut it with a kaas schaaf, a special cheese knife i've never used till living here.
This drink made from black currant isnt for everyone. Many dutch people I know drink it, and i also like it. The taste is somewhat strong and fruity. Ive never came across this drink in an american grocery store.

As you can see Vla, a popular dutch pudding dessert, is served is various flavors. Im sure you wouldnt have any trouble finding this in a supermarket in the netherlands.
Its safe to say that most fried food in the netherlands is good. The sausage filled with ketchup and onions is a dutch sausage called a frikandel. The kroket is filled with a meat ragout and the fries are pretty self explanatory. All together it isnt such a healthy meal but it tastes absolutely amazing.  
Indonesian food has a great influence in the netherlands. This here is kip english this is chicken sate often served in peanut sauce. I enjoy eating it with  kroepoek ( light, airy crackers made in different variations, my favorite being made with shrimp)For all of you peanut butter lovers who feel alittle adventurous..i recommend this dish.    
One of my favorite holiday treats oliebollen. Little fried dough balls sometimes made with raisins. They usually are topped off with powdered sugar.

This is something that is pretty unique, hagelslag.. the shot like things americans usually put on icecream. In the netherlands its common to put these on your bread. Its not unusual to have it with breakfast.  

If you want to try something really traditional this covers it. Herring with raw onions is as dutch as it gets. It might be alittle slimy and smell pretty fishy but its something i think every tourist should attempt to eat once. I've eaten these fish several times and and can honestly say after the first time it really isnt so bad.

 If you ever find yourself visiting this country,try the food. Some things you'll like and some things you wont,but thats part of the discovery.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I'll keep it simple

This isn't the first blog I've written and I hope it's not the last. My name is meghan powers and I travel. This blog's purpose is to share my stories abroad, and somewhere along the way make you want to experience a place you never dared before.