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Bergen, Norway: the Funicular, the Views, and the Beauty of Mt. Floyen

Bergen, Norway: the Funicular, the Views, and the Beauty of Mt. Floyen

Bergen, Norway: the Funicular, the Views, and the Beauty of Mt. Floyen:  A mystical hike above the city on Mt. Floyen The last international trip Jeff and I took was to Norway. We went about 2 years ago and I still find myself reminiscing about it. Norway is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Oslo was an amazing and vibrant city (check out some of the highlights of the city in yesterday’s post), while Bergen, on the other end of the country was the perfect place to spend with Jeff, exploring the small city, while moving slowly through it, at the pace it deserves, a slow, dedicated pace. Bergen is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I’ve been looking for a comparison ever since visiting, but haven’t yet found one. I don’t think anything can compare to the fjord and mountain landscape.  One of my favorite Bergen afternoons was when we decided to go hiking above the city via the funicular up to Mt. Floyen to escape into nature, into the mythical landscape of Norway.   1. The charm of the funicular   I don’t know how else to describe a funicular other than charming. It’s one of those forms of transportation that feel as if you’re in a cartoon or story. One of my favorite depictions of a funicular ever is in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel when they go up the mountain. via GIPHY That’s what I feel like the grand feeling of a funicular is. I feel like that depiction of a funicular is exactly how it feels like...
Thinking Back…Oslo Highlights

Thinking Back…Oslo Highlights

Thinking Back…Oslo Highlights: Frogner Park (Vigeland Sculpture Garden), Grünerløkka, and the Opera House Today’s blog post, I’m reminiscing again about my trip to Oslo, Norway. Norway isn’t just beautiful for the dramatic fjord landscapes, but Oslo’s architecture and art scene is a city for inspiration on its own. Today’s post will be reminiscing about Frogner Park and the Vigeland Sculpture Garden (and my favorite sculpture of all time), the Grunerlokka district, and the beautiful, sleek, modern Oslo Opera House. I’m a sucker for arts and architecture, so full disclosure, there will be a lot of that in this post ;). 1. Frogner Park aka Vigeland Sculpture Park Frogner Park is actually Oslo’s number 1 tourist attraction, which surprised me, but I can definitely see why. Frogner Park is interesting because it’s a huge city park, that is also a major sculpture garden,  the Vigeland Sculpture Garden mixed in as a permanent installation. The sculptures are refreshing and go through parenthood, being an adult, and great battles as well. My favorite statue is “Angry Boy” or in Norwegian Sinnataggen. We visited Norway in March, so the sun set early and we stumbled into park in the afternoon and were there during the “golden hour,” which made for awesome glimpses of the statues with a dramatic backdrop.   2. Grunerlokka aka “Hipster” Oslo So Gunerlokka is an awesome district/neighborhood within Oslo where there’s a ton of street art, installation pieces, awesome cafes and coffee shops, and all the cool modern shops and even cooler thrift shops for some cheap Norwegian buys. Be sure to make a stop at Indigo, a sleek, unique coffee shop...
Montmartre Paris

Montmartre Paris

When I first got into Paris, I was a little disappointed. It could’ve been the jetlag (I didn’t sleep for the entire 12 hour flight), it could’ve been the stress trying to figure out the Charles De Gaulle Airport (that has been ranked the worst airport in the world, a number of times), or it could’ve been all the pouring, cold rain, but when I got there I thought, this isn’t Paris, this is a big cement city. Where are all the artists? Where were the boulangeries? Where were the markets? Where was the Eiffel Tower?! But, after I was well rested and made my way into the city the next day, I was beginning to fall in love. I lived in the 14th district, a, in my opinion, a plainer, maybe “realer” district of Paris, but I fell in love with Paris over a period of time, (about 3 weeks). If you’re looking for that romantic, rose colored buildings, the scenes from the movies, the artsy Paris, then make sure to visit Montmartre! It’s located up North in the 18th district and is home to the famous Moulin Rouge, the Sacre Cour, and lots of art history.   Once home to Picasso, Dali, and the rest of the gang, Montmartre gives you the Paris feel. Stroll the streets where Owen Wilson strolled in Midnight in Paris, or crack crème brulee where Amelie did at the Les Deux Moulins, lift your skirts at the Moulin Rouge, or sit back, relax and sip some cherry brandy at La Lapin Agile, a local, real cabaret experience. Be sure to stroll the...
Blue Lagoon Iceland

Blue Lagoon Iceland

The Blue Lagoon, just outside of Keflavik Airport, in Iceland, sits in rugged Icelandic lava formations surrounded by beautiful black rocks and mountain scenery. When Alex and I went in early December, the average temperature was around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so we were a little hesitant to go to a pool in the middle of winter… But to our very happy discovery, the geothermal heated water in the lagoon is heated to around 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit all the time! We decided to go to the Blue Lagoon the last day of our stay in Iceland as it’s en route to the Keflavik Airport and makes a very nice relaxing end of the vacation experience. All the bus companies in the surrounding area of Reykjavik and the airport make logistics to the Blue Lagoon very easy and stress free. They even stored our luggage on the bus while we enjoyed the morning at the Blue Lagoon and were on the bus when we left for the airport. (They also store your luggage at the Blue Lagoon if you need to do that)   Once we walked through the enchanting walkway with rugged volcanic rocks, paid our entrance fee, and changed into our swimming attire, we were in the Blue Lagoon. And yes the water is actually blue! And we went just before the place opened so we basically had the entire place to ourselves for the first couple hours. Nothing beat the hot water in the middle of a cold winter. It was very relaxing with the minerals in the water healing our skin, soothing our muscles, and looking across the Icelandic...
Le Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Le Arc de Triomphe, Paris

The Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph) in Paris is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. As it sits at the top of the Champs Elysees and at the intersection of multiple roads, it dominates the surrounding landscape as a focal point of the area. The lank mark was built for Napoleon’s army, the Grande Armee in the early 1800s as an honorary gesture from Napoleon.  It is the world’s largest triumphal arch and is engraved with battle victories as well as past generals that served in the French Army. The design of the columns depicts sculptural reliefs from France’s history and is designed in a late 18th-century Romantic Neoclassicism style. If you can’t make it to the Eiffel tower, or don’t want to wait in the lines, this is a close second and it’s less expensive and less crowded. To get there, DON’T try and walk past the millions of lanes of traffic with cars rushing around in a circle. There is a tunnel underneath that leads you there on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle. You can access this tunnel from the Wagram exit of the Metro. There are great views on the top down the Champs Elysees and around the entire city of Paris. When I went, I went at night during the Christmas season which was great because the entire Champs Elysees was lit up with all of the Christmas lights and all of the Christmas vendors and such. You also have a great view of the Eiffel Tower and at night, it is lit up which makes...
A Paris Best, The Angelina Tea Room

A Paris Best, The Angelina Tea Room

[mappress mapid=”2″] Address: 226 rue de Rivoli – Paris Transport: Metro 1 Tuileries Stop Website: http://www.angelina-paris.fr/ Phone: +33 (0)1.42.60.82.00 Hours:  Monday-Friday from 7.30 am till 7pm Saturday and Sunday from 8.30 am till 7pm One of my favorite memories of Paris, especially during the winter months, was stopping by the world famous Angelina Tea House. Located on Rue de Rivoli, Angelina sits at the center of Paris’ fashion district and has a history rooted in fashion. Famous for their Mont Blanc and their decadent hot chocolate, you can enjoy yourself in a luxury setting, where Madame Chanel herself once sat working on her designs. Don’t feel intimidated, although it’s rooted in luxury, the servers are all very kind and welcoming. Be prepared to wait in line however, Angelina is world famous because it’s popular! Just get to the teahouse early, don’t wait until they are near closing because sometimes they can’t seat you. But, don’t fear. If you get to Angelina close to closing, just go to the “to go” section of the teahouse. They sell their hot chocolate by the cup to go as well as my favorite, and their world famous Mont Blanc to go! But, try your best to get a seat to look around and sit where the world famous have sat including, Madame Chanel, Proust, and many visiting fashion icons. Make sure you order one of their world famous Mont Blancs, it is a dessert with a meringue base, a chestnut cream vermicelli, and their house made whipped cream, (I heard a rumor from my Parisian friend that the Mont Blanc is so decadent because they make it with crème...