365 Days, 13 Countries, Part 2

365 Days of 2015, 13 Countries pt. 2

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There is a risk that our photos look very blue – what can I say, we like the sea and sunny, blue skies. Autumn 2015 was dedicated to travelling. The greatest adventure was our trip to South America (Uruguay and Argentina) – a trip that we won’t forget in a long, long time.

Another favourite is the Baltic states. Going there from Sweden is cheap and easy, and there are some hidden treasures in this part of Europe.

Riga & Sigulda, Latvia (August, 2015)

Riga is the biggest of the Baltic capitals – being an old Hansa city, it boasts with beautiful architecture and narrow alleys. Not to mention a very interesting past. By accident we stumbled into the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940 – 1991. It’s interesting how much we know about the Soviet Union and the Cold War, but how very little we talk about all the other CEE countries involved. Maybe we have heard about Lech Walesa and Solidarity (at best), but honestly – very few know about places like Latvia.

A day is enough for exploring Riga, so going for a day trip from the city is a good idea. We chose Sigulda, an hour by train from Riga. Sigulda is located in the Gauja river valley and it’s the perfect place for a walk in the nature: here one can find the largest cave in the Baltics as well as hiking trails and a couple of castles. It’s well worth a visit.

And back to Riga – a tip for all friends of Caucasian cuisine: you find it here, tasty and at reasonable prices. The flight from Stockholm takes approximately an hour by Air Baltic.

Lavia Riga Latvia Sigulda

Bratislava & Nitra, Slovakia (September, 2015)

Anyone who knows us, knows that we have a very strong connection to Bratislava. It’s the place where we met and the place where we got engaged.

It is also one of the must-see cities of Europe. However, it’s quite often forgotten. During our most recent trip to Slovakia, we ate good food, visited a wine festival and met friends. We also took a day trip to Nitra, one of the oldest cities in Slovakia.

So, why should everyone visit Slovakia at least once? Foodies like me like to argue that the food is a great reason. You will not find a lot of gourmet food, but you will be served a lot of cheese. Who says no to cheese? Slovakia also has a good selection of game, and considering the fact that restaurants are reasonably priced, anyone can enjoy a plate or two of game. With or without the cheese. There are some great wines to taste along with the game. Or cheese.

Those who like the outdoors would probably tell you to go hiking in the Tatra mountains. It is beautiful, they say.

Slovakia Bratislava 2 Slovakia Bratislava 1

Slovakia Zilina

Vienna, Austria (September, 2015)

I have never gotten to know Vienna well enough to hold a firm opinion about the city. It is classic, it is beautiful, it is cultural, and also quite posh. A bit too polished around the edges, if you ask me. However, Vienna is a nice place for a visit on the way to or from the airport.

Austria Wien 1

Miami, USA (October, 2015)

We visited Miami and Miami Beach twice in autumn 2015 – after two long-haul flights between London and Montevideo. Exploring a new place when jetlagged is not the optimal option, but interesting all the same. I loved the beaches of Miami, but was struck by the differences between the rich and the poor. Ironically we did not have the chance to go swimming in the sea, which would have been lovely. All the people were nice, friendly and chatty. During two short days one has time to walk around in Downtown Miami, explore Miami Beach, do some shopping, visit Starbucks and eat some burgers – both American and Cuban style.

USA Miami 2

Montevideo, Colonia de Sacramento & Punta del Este, Uruguay (October, 2015)

When I get old and grey, I want to move to Uruguay. Long, sandy beaches and calm people (feels almost like home) is the perfect combinations. Let’s not forget about the wine! Uruguay is one of the smallest countries in South America – it’s known for football, mate, beef and wine. And a socialist former president. The cities we visited felt very European – in fact it did not feel like we had travelled to the other side of the world. Our main acitivity was taking long walks on the beach, both in Montevideo and South American jetset spot Punta del Este. As we visited Uruguay in early spring, the tourists were absent. Montevideo felt modern (although all the ads for Visa and Mastercard were slightly confusing), people were both helpful and friendly.

During our visit we stayed a couple of days in Montevideo and a couple of days in Punta. A couple of days were enough for both places. We saw the old parts of Colonia de Sacramento (one of the oldest towns in Uruguay) during our journey to the ferry terminal. The ferry to Buenos Aires took a little more than an hour.

We flew to Montevideo with British Airways and American Airlines via London and Miami. It wasn’t the quickest trip (40 hours) but it was fairly comfortable). We booked our hotels in advance via booking.com and enjoyed our accommodation.

Uruguay PdE 2 Uruguay PdE 1 Uruguay Montevideo 1 Uruguay Montevideo 2

Buenos Aires, Tigre & La Plata, Argentina (October, 2015)

During our 5-day stay in Argentina we went to two zoological gardens, ran through the city centre (and it’s not small) to catch a ferry, ate a lot of empanadas and had several glasses of tasty wine. We took a boat trip on some of the small rivers in the Paraná river delta and visited the capital of the Buenos Aires Province, La Plata.

Whereas the people in Uruguay were nice and friendly, the porteños seemed more distant. Surprisingly there is a lot of space in Buenos Aires. The face of Eva Perón was everywhere, la Casa Rosada was indeed pink. The animals in the zoo were cute (especially the Patagonian mara) and the botanical garden was lovely. We did not see any penguins, though.

Argentina being so huge, there are still many places to be visited – at least Rosario and Mendoza are on our list.

Argentina Tigre Argentina BA 3 Argentina BA 1 Argentina BA 2

Tallinn, Estonia (December, 2015)

The old town of the capital of Estonia is very well preserved. It is also the perfect day trip from Stockholm (by ferry). During the approximately 8 hours one has time to walk around in the old town (there was Christmas market!), listen to Finnish people acting obnoxious, shop and so on and so on. This time we decided to pamper ourselves a little bit on the ferry with a Christmas dinner, relaxing in the spa and some fancy cocktails/beer.

Estonia Tallinn 2 Estonia Tallinn 1

Looking forward to some great travels in 2016!

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