Week 29 / 2018

And so the adventure begins…

Good morning world (it’s morning when I’m starting this post, but judging from all the photos in my camera roll and experiences on my mind that I’d like to share it is likely it will not be morning by the time I publish this…)

We are now one week into our holidays/life-relocation/adventure; for those of you that might not have followed out short but sweet excitement leading up to our departure here’s a quick re-cap of what’s going on (needs to be read in an American narrator voice a’la blockbuster series):

Here’s what you’ve missed in ‘The big and wonderful adventure of Richard and Hanna’ – one month ago the pair handed in their resignations, gave notice to terminate their lease and purchased a one-way ticket heading for Viking-land. They put their belongings in storage boxes and packed their most essential supplies in two heavy suitcases. Their plan? To travel and holiday through Sweden and Europe for a few months before settling down in the big smoke of Stockholm to experience the Scandi life…

Monday week ago marked the start of our big journey. Pictured above you see what felt like my lifetime accomplishment (after spending 2 weeks packing and re-packing and packing again to try and squeeze 6 months worth of items covering 4 seasons into a 30 kg suitcase I’m sure you’d feel the same way) – never have I ever travelled lighter when heading for a big adventure.

As the weight of the bag was a struggle, I decided to be cheeky and over-pack in the hopes that the airline would let it slide. We arrived to check in, hearts beating fast, to have the stupid scales at the counter go off in an angry alarm at us (…packing 35 kilos per bag probably was a little too over-optimistic). Luckily for me I had planned for all occasions and came prepared, ready to off-load some of the excess luggage to make the bags lighter. We went for round two and our bags got accepted coming in at 31.6 kg each. We even managed to swing a complimentary upgrade to the emergency exit row (the wonderful lady at the check in desk must have seen the despair in my eyes as I parted with my winter boots, which were left behind in Australia)

Upon checking in our bags we gave Richards mom one last cuddle and said ‘See you later’ to her and Australia. Thank you Lee for taking us and for taking my extra bags of shoes back home with you again.

Quick side-note: remember how I said last week I was going to tell you about some lost boots? Well, turns out when we got to the hotel in Amsterdam and unpacked our bags I had accidentally unpacked the wrong bag of boots to leave behind… turns out I did bring my winter boots but not my autumn boots (yes of course there is a difference) and Birkenstocks. Luckily for me they sold Birks i Holland and I’ve already accumulated a new pair of kicks to my bag… note to self for next time: don’t get too flustered at the airport; always double check what you’re doing!

We flew China Airlines and had managed to find a really great itinerary; night flight to Taipei, Taiwan, a 17 hour layover (with plenty of time to explore the city) before another night flight to Amsterdam.

We landed in Taiwan on the early morning of the Tuesday and made the (mistake) decision to go for a little walk. Our little walk turned into 19.1 kilometers… did I mentioned it was 35 degrees hot? That our feet turned into blister-bombs? I’ve got one word for you: AOUCHIE!

Taiwan, however, was a wonderful place to explore. We saw temples, peace monuments and museums. Watched the locals practice Falun Dafa in the parks, went up and down the escalators of Taipei 101 in the search for the perfect bubble tea and coffee and finished the day off with some local markets.

If you’re traveling to Taipei, these are my top-tips:

  • Take the metro! Whilst walking allows you to explore more, it’s definitely not worth the pain! Your feet will thank you.
  • Bring cash, nowhere really seemed to accept credit cards.
  • Get ready to eat, eat and eat! Their food is incredible and really well priced! My favorite was a stick with candid strawberries – it was to die for!
  • Visit the markets; they are great fun.
  • Make sure you check out the temples and memorial monuments (there are metro stations right next to most of them) – the buildings are incredible
  • 17 hours is actually plenty of time to explore; we felt like we saw what we wanted and got a good idea of what the city had to offer!

Above are the candid strawberry stick as well as an interesting restaurant concept (one we chose not to visit; for some reason eating poop-soup from a plastic loo just was not that appealing to me)

We were two tired explorers jumping on the express train back to the airport in the evening. The shower at the airport was potentially the highlight of the day (who would’ve thought walking in a smoggy and hot city would make you feel so dirty???)

Back onboard the aircraft we were once again blessed with seats in the emergency row. As mentioned, We flew China Airlines and I must say my experience was very positive – big, new, clean planes, professional and friendly service, good prices and well on time!

We landed in Amsterdam on the Wednesday morning and went straight to the hotel (after a 1,5 hour shuttle service from the airport – a route that usually takes 8 minutes, but judging from our experience Dutch drivers simply have not learnt the concept of merging lanes when there is a traffic accident). Rather than going exploring we decided to rest our sore feet and backs and wait for the afternoon to arrive.

We jumped back on the shuttle bus (which this time took us to the airport within 10 minutes) to go surprise mum who was due to arrive. We waited and waited and waited and finally checked our phones to find out she had walked right past us… so much for that surprise! We ran back to the bus stop and made it on the same bus – guess who was chocked when we ran in, short of breath, just as the doors shut?

We spent the next 3 days exploring the city of the tulips and many, many canals and bridges. Below is an explosion of images from all our explorations:

And here are some of my highlights from The Dam, should you ever find yourself in the city:

  • Anne Frank House (what an incredibly well made museum highlighting such a sad event) – Tip! Make sure you purchase tickets online 2 months prior to coming, they sell out super fast and it is as good as impossible to get tickets on the day… we thought we’d missed our window of opportunity but upon checking the website approximately 17 times per day we finally managed to get entry! Yay!
  • Zevenlandenhuizen, a group of properties located a few blocks away from Rijksmuseum which are all built in different countries architectural style (Instagram hotspot!!!) – see my pics outside the white and red striped building above for the Spanish house.
  • Go on a Canal tour – however, if it’s 30+ degrees – opt for one that is roof-less, sitting in a wooden boat covered in a plastic top whilst the sun was beaming in creating a hot, hot sauna was a little nightmare…
  • Eat Stroopwaffles in the Damrak district
  • Plan your trip to arrive in April so you can visit the tulip fields – unfortunately these were not in bloom when we came but I’m sure they would’ve been incredible to see!

I think I passed the ultimate test of a local when I called not one but three pizza shops to order dinner (you see, we’d seen this deal plastered all over the city and decided we had to have pizza and ice cream… Of course this was a delivery offer only and so I had to phone the closest shop and place an order. This was a challenge a) because I had no clue what shop would be the closest and b) because I was standing in the middle of a busy street without an address to use as my delivery point. But shame on those who give up! I got there in the end and we got to have pizza in the park outside Van Gogh museum whilst watching the locals go on with their evenings.

Before boarding our flight with the final destination (Sweden) we had one last little challenge which saw us re-packing the bags at the airport to fit the kilos all whilst closely monitoring the watch to not miss our flight – who would’ve though leaving 2 hours before your European flight departs would still make you run through the terminals?!! I can officially say that I HAVE HAD ENOUGH of packing and repacking and carting heavy bags across the seas for a long long time. (Please remind me, come next month when we’re hitting Europe, to pack lightly!!!!)

We left behind a sunny Holland and arrived in a sunny Sweden where we were greeted by my dad. We went straight for fika (like every sane Swede would do) and continued the next couple of days with eating yummy food, exploring the old stomping grounds and doing cartwheels in the Park (Kudos to my 56 year old father and 35 year old partner for cartwheeling like pro’s on their first go’s in what I’m guessing would be many many years ??‍♀️ ??‍♂️)

We’ve now officially hit the ground running in Sweden and are so ready for some catch ups with family and friends. I’m enjoying foods I had no idea I had missed and my heart is so full being near my favorite people.

A big congratulations to you if you made it to the end of this post. And Lee, my apologies for not updating with photos any sooner – hopefully this makes up for it ?

I will see you all next week!

Med kärlek (with love), H

Posted on 24 July, 2018 in 2018, EUROPE, SWEDEN

Responses (4)

  1. Colleen
    24 July, 2018 at 10:55 · Reply

    Hi Hanna.
    Wow I didn’t even know you left Noosa. What a great adventure. Enjoy everything and looking forward to your next post.
    Sending a big hug to you ?

    • hannaberkesi
      25 July, 2018 at 04:52 · Reply

      Hi Colleen! It all happened so so fast we didn’t really announce it before now! Thank you for your kind words, we are so excited to be on our big adventure and will be sure to keep updating with lots of pictures! Enjoy being Mimi to two beautiful boys! I’m so happy for you all, they are just the most stunning little boys! ♥️♥️ special special times! Sending big hugs back!!

  2. Laura
    26 July, 2018 at 02:24 · Reply

    What a perfect start for you! ??‍♀️? can’t wait to see and hear more. Wardrobe on point xxx

    • hannaberkesi
      26 July, 2018 at 06:37 · Reply

      It’s been absolutely perfect. Haha and thanks ??? trying my best, as you know…. ha ha ha. Miss you xx

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