Rainbow roundup: 2015

 

2015 has had a a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns.  Here’s where I travelled, in order, from January to December and how I rated the trips on a scale of 1-10.

Bruges, Belgium: semi disastrous, overly touristy, freezing cold, mediocre food = 2/10, not recommended

Orlando, FL: bad conference, terrifyingly un-eco-friendly, was uplifted by seeing an old friend and the sunshine = 4/10, not recommended

Tring, England (Champneys Health Spa with 70% off Vitality Health Insurance):  English country estate, super discount, healthy food, massages, sauna, brokedown trains, expensive taxi, lukewarm hot tub = 6/10, recommended only if you can get the discount

Edinburgh, Scotland:  Seeing old friends, eating great food, hidden gin bar, camp songs, gardens, Goldsworthy, and great art = 9/10, highly recommended

Bornholm, Denmark:  Good friends, food halls, island life, biking for transport, sea, white sand, new moon rituals, cabin with fireplace, hiking, ancient forest = 10/10, must see!

Seven Sisters, Rye and driving East Sussex: nice hike, beautiful views, warm weather, friendly people = 9/10, must see for second-time visitors to England and/or for nature enthusiasts

Jackson, Wyoming:  I wouldn’t recommend flying to Jackson from London for three nights, but I would recommend this trip, which is one of the most beautiful places in America.  Also, I got to see my best friend get married = 10/10

Aldeburgh, England: birdwatching, cosy cottage, long walks, friendly people = 10/10, Suffolk is the place to go to get out of London! We loved it so much we went twice = 10/10

Staycation, Muswell Hill, London:  For those of you who don’t know, we moved!  Finally, after dealing with a flat that had a dysfunctional toilet, a nosey landlord, loud upstairs neighbors, and a neighborhood with literally nothing to do, we have moved to the sweet, fairytale land of Muswell Hill.  Situated on tip of a high hill, near Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill is a little refuge out of London.  We love it so much that we cancelled our Thanksgiving to Paris just so we could revel in the glory that is our new flat and ‘hood.  Finally, after 2.5 years, we feel like we have come home!

What’s next for 2016?

Mont Dore, France in February. Will there be snow?!

Scottish Highlands in March.  Will there be rain?!

We’re thinking of a little trip to Italy or perhaps Malta again for the summer, but then again, we’re being pulled back to Denmark.  Any ideas?!  So many places to go!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

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Jetlag

 

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No jet lag!

Jetlag:  It’s the one thing standing between you and enjoying a glorious French dinner in Paris, or twirling on the dance floor until 2am at your best friend’s wedding.  Jetlag can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and crazy circadian rhythm mess-ups causing you to wake up and crave a steak at 3am.  Here are some tips on how to adjust to the new transatlantic time zone (tried and tested):

Before the flight

  1.  Schedule a flight time that allows you to get a full night’s rest before.  I’ve heard the opposite: that one should stay up the whole night before a flight to ensure sleep on the plane.   All I know is that if I do that, and then I can’t sleep on the plane for one reason or another, I’ve set myself up for worse jetlag.
  2. Eat a good meal before the flight and stock up on snacks. I make sure to have a big breakfast before I leave the house and then when I get to the airport, I usually eat a small breakfast, such as tea and a bagel.  The night before, I go to the grocery store and buy granola bars.  I put two in my carry-on and two in my suitcase.  I also take a banana and nuts.  I try to avoid bringing sandwiches or takeaway foods that will get soggy or smelly.
  3. Start a good book before the flight so you’re fully engrossed before takeoff.  With nerves and distractions in the airport and boarding the flight, if you already care about the book you’re reading, the time between boarding and takeoff will fly by faster if you’re looking forward to getting into the book.  Note: I’ve read books start to finish from the time I arrived at the airport to the time the plane took off, so make sure to have a back up!

During the flight

  1.  Never look at how much time you have left in the flight.  No matter what!  Looking at that screen that shows the airplane moving across the earth is always disappointing.  “What?!  It has only been two hours?!”
  2. Pretend you’re already in the future time zone the moment you get on the plane and do activities and meals accordingly.  This is a tip I picked up from a magazine, but it really works.  If it’s two o’clock in the afternoon where you’re going, don’t start binge-watching movies.  If you wouldn’t normally have a cup of coffee at 3am, don’t start now.
  3. It’s OK to fall asleep.  The one exception to rule # 2 is napping.  When you feel tired and your eyes closing, try to take advantage of this by sleeping a bit.  It’s not going to offset the amount of jetleg you experience from traveling across eight time zones.  For example, if you’re flying from London to San Francisco and you sleep for two hours of the flight, the likelihood that you’ll be able to fall asleep at night SF time probably won’t change.

After the flight

Flying East to West is much easier.  When you do this, most often you land in the late afternoon and therefore are only faced with staying up for a few more hours.  Until then, have a good meal at the regular meal time and if you can, spend some time in the moonlight before bed.  Chances are you’ll get a second wind, so try to stay away from eating sugar and drinking caffeine or alcohol at this point.  My mom booked us a facial and a pedicure upon arrival: that sure didn’t hurt!!!

Flying West to East is the worst.  What are you supposed to do?!  The only thing I have found that works is to book a very late flight that leaves at 9pm or later and hope you get a row to yourself so you can sleep the whole way back.  If you’re coming from the West coast USA though, you’re screwed.  It will simply just take days to recover.

Despite the above, I am here in California, still suffering from jetlag five days after landing.  I woke up at 1am wide awake, 3am to eat, and now it’s 6 in the morning and I’m writing a blog post.  So really, the moral is that we’re not made for flying.   Train, anyone?

Does anyone out there have any other good tips?  Happy travels!

Our only Copenhagen

From the moment we stepped off the train, I was enchanted with the cosiness of Copenhagen.  Well, it’s not just cosiness, it’s Hygge.  How can a train station be Hygge?

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I am also impressed with Andrew’s ability to find a bus route to where we need to go.  To do this in Danish is three times as difficult.  When I was traveling in college, I was good at that too.  But now I just think, “why can’t we take a cab?”

The flat we rented in Copenhagen was inspirational.  Its minimalist Danish style provided the perfect setting for our homemade Christmas dinner and cosy nights in.  The flat has influenced us to create a style of decor that makes us feel cosy but also minimal.  Our new flat in London now reflects mid-century Danish design.  To get us started, we bought these before we left Denmark:

 

Almost everything in Copenhagen was closed.  However, it was so amazing there, we hardly complained.  We ate great food, went on freezing walks, and also went to Tivoli Gardens, where Andrew rode his first rollercoaster…ever!  We had such an amazing time.  I highly recommend Tivoli Gardens, mainly because it looks like this:

We also visited Louisiana, the most amazing museum I have seen.  it is situated on a bluff overlooking the water.  You can see across to Sweden.  We then went to the castle on which Hamlet was based.

Because many things were closed, we went back to Copenhagen in the summer on our way to Bornholm.  You might think we decided to fly this time, but we didn’t.  We took the train again, this time with a our pals Anne and Scott.  We spent our time in the Torvehalle and at Illums Bollighaus.  In the Torvehalle we ate this:

 

At Illums bollighaus we bought these:

 

This brief return to Copenhagen over the summer showed us once again that Denmark is the best place to visit.  IN summary, follow this simple itinerary and you will have the time of your life:

  1.  Visit the Torvehalle every day for lunch
  2. Go to Louisiana to view world class art and walk around the grounds
  3. Go to Tivoli Gardens on a clear night
  4. Shop at Illum Bollighaus, or just go inside to view Danish Design
  5. Do a little research with a trusted travel guide or website to decide which of Copenhagen’s cosiest and best cafes and restaurants you’d like to try

Some more gems from Copenhagen:

After Copenhagen we took the train to the town of Odense, spent a night there, and then to Denmark’s most picturesque town of Ribe.  The the train all the way back to London!  A very amazing trip, where we had two weeks to travel at our leisure.  Can’t wait to go back!