25 Jul 2015

The Nordic Nomad: Submerged in København (Danish Photojournal I)

We're now at my second most favourite city out of all the cities I've visited in June in Scandinavia: Copenhagen!!!! I have no idea which is the best way to present this city in this post, but I've decided to just introduce to you guys all the places I've visited while I was there!

...in no order of importance as everywhere is very beautiful!

#1 - Rosenborg Castle

I was really sad that I could only spend 10 minutes walking around the beautiful garden in this palace. PLEASE DO NOT VISIT COPENHAGEN ON A TOUR GROUP, you will regret it. I'm only lucky that my tour guide offered us tons for free time in this city. But anyway, we didn't enter the palace premises and see the interior, but the gardens.... just so beautiful. The lush greenery with its flowers at full bloom just makes you want to lie there for hours, watching clouds and doing nothing. 

I was full on retard there because I was trying to explain to my mum how nice it is to lie down on the grass and all, but the rest of my tour group people were just like taking jump shots and all. And there I was, looking like a retard to them, plonking myself down on the grass and just lay there for 1 MINUTE looking at the sky. Ok 1 minute shall suffice for a packaged tour... But still, :(

#2 - Stroget

Remember to have some waffles while you're here!

Stroget is basically the main shopping street in Copenhagen. Starts off at the City Hall, and ends at Nyhavn (coming up later). Again, you must be crazy to want to have a shopping spree in any Scandinavian country because the prices there are MAD EXPENSIVE. However, there are a few affordable shops you can check out though: Tiger and Søstrene Grene. (as recommended by my dear friend, Cheryl, who's there for exchange!)

#3 - Paludan Bøger

This is where I found out beer is cheaper than coffee. Anyway, this is a quaint book cafe. Please beware of your bag while you're in there as apparently there have been sightings of pickpockets. Foodwise, it was pretty damn good! Had a.... I can't remember what I had but I believe it was a beef burger. Pretty damn expensive meal but I was bloated by the end of it. Costed me SGD $20++.

#4 - The Little Mermaid

I hate this place, it makes you feel like a bloody tourist. Oh wait, I am a tourist. But anyway it was just a horrendous sight seeing those PRC tourists trying to climb up the mermaid. Guys, no matter how hard you try you are just not gonna be the same as her ya.

But anyway if you really want to, just come here once, like prolly in the evening or something when there are lesser people. The vicinity of the Mermaid is good for post-dinner sunset strolls.

#5 - Amalienborg Palace

Come here to watch the changing of guards, and also watch how annoying PRC tourists try to pretend to be a Danish guard and march alongside them.

#6 - Copenhagen Opera House

I find it cool that you have to board a boat in order to get to the Copenhagen Opera House, however....... I doubt I would want to get on a boat in my pretty gown with makeup and hair all done on point. Imagine the wind blows...... and all of your $100 spent on dolling yourself up is gone with the wind. 

I have no idea where are all these places are as I was falling sick from travelling too much ..... bad tour group member. (random photos below)

#7 - Nyhavn (New Haven)

I would come back to this place again if I ever get to go on exchange in Europe, to sketch to club to do whatever. Or maybe just have some coffee by the canal. Absolutely love the rows of colourful houses, makes my mood better. Plus the weather was perfect during the days we were in Copenhagen, so it made the photos look even nicer. :) The shops here are mostly restaurants, gastrobars, bars and clubs. You can also board a boat ride to explore the various canals! For 90DKK if I'm not wrong. Thats about SGD 16.

#8 - Christiania

NOT A PLACE YOU VISIT WITH YOUR PARENTS/UPTIGHT FRIENDS. For the whole time my mum was just like "get out of here can we please get out of here its very dodgy". Basically, Christiania is a self-declared autonomous region where people there live however they want. And yes, you can smell weed in the air... Now I know how weed smells like. Weed is also being sold freely there. Photos are not allowed to be taken inside there. I find it really cute that they have a sign at the exit saying "You are now entering the EU".

Would definitely come back one day with some rabak friends.

#9 - The Coffee Collective

Labelled as the "Best Cafe in Copenhagen" and one of the top cafes in the world as its barista has won the World Barista Championships before. Though the cappucino I ordered was way too bitter to my liking, after adding around 3 sugar cubes..... it was PERFECT.

Copenhagen is best travelled around via bicycle as the buses and trains are way too expensive for you to commute around with for a week. Bike rentals are everywhere and the city is extremely bike friendly with bike lanes for both directions clearly demarcated on the side of the road.

Meanwhile, its time to speed-pack for hall camp!

Ming Rui

19 Jul 2015

London: The River Thames Stroll

One of the items to tick off in my London bucketlist was to cycle from Westminster back to Borough (where I lived in London). However, though bicycle rental stations are prevalent in London, it is extremely dangerous to cycle in London. Don't ever try if you are not an experienced cyclist. Even if you are, it is still pretty dangerous.

Since the cycling option is out, I chose to walk. The weather in London is superb for prolonged strolls (when I mean prolonged it means 3-4 hours), as the temperature when I went hovered around 15 to 20 degrees, even when there is sunlight. The most ideal time to visit London in my opinion (and many other people's opinions too) is in May, where the weather is cold but sunny, and the days are very long (sun sets at only 9pm!). This means there are TONS of things to do and the evening time is best for taking long strolls since everywhere closes after 7pm. 

I started my day off at Borough Market with my best friend Mao (there's a post on it! click here) and while he went off to run some errands, I decided to spend some time in the vicinity of Westminster and Charing Cross!  

Spent an amazing afternoon at the National Gallery and got a revision lecture on what tempera paints are all about (ADM STUDENTS YOU REALLY NEED TO COME HERE) and saw many many many many art pieces I've learnt in Western Art History.

Next, I killed off 3 hours by lepa(r)king at the lawn of Westminster Abbey/St Margaret's Church. I don't know how time can pass so fast but all I did was to sketch some churches, admired the flying buttresses and the pointed-arch windows... and slowly I was sent into Lalaland. Thank God no one stole anything from me while I was sleeping. And damn, another item off my London bucketlist was fulfilled: Lepak on lawns.

Crossed the famous Westminster Bridge, after strolling past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

Then Mao came and met me under the London Eye! 

The best day to do this walk is on a Saturday, where Southbank Centre is booming with life. Every Saturday, there will be a food fair at Southbank Centre, and on the week I was there, it was a food fair filled with Indian delights! You may think that "eeee angmoh country confirm the curry not spicy" I can tell you, smelling the curry fumes made me tear a little. However, as we could get good Indian cusine back home, we went to a sausage shop just a stone's throw away from Embankment Tube Station that Mao's senior recommended to get our dinner. 

And yes we lepak-ed on a lawn again and drizzled Truffle Oil that I bought earlier on in the day from Borough Market onto the fries, and it tasted H E A V E N L Y. 

After a hearty dinner, we continued on our walk back to Borough, passing Blackfriar's Train Station, Millenium Bridge, and many many small eateries (like some crazy greek restaurant that was so bustling, the waiters didn't even realized i sneaked in to use their toilet)

We ended off our stroll at this amazing Chocolate cafe below London Bridge Station called Rabot 1745 (never knew the name until I googled). Mao had some dark chocolate drink while I had some...... I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS SORRY but it was good. Milk Chocolate I suppose? This cafe serves FRESHLY ROASTED COCOA! So all chocolate lovers please take note!

THIS IS HOW MUCH WE WALKED HAHA. According to Google Maps it supposedly only needs 1 hr 34 mins but we are old so nope we took much longer haha.

Alright, stay tuned for the next post! And meanwhile, stay outruigeously awesome! :)