Norway

723Norway2
After an overnight cruise from Denmark, I arrived in Oslo, Norway. Then we drove to Bergen to stay at a little vintage hotel up on the mountains. The view from my room was stunning! Lots of snow and cold air, I couldn’t believe we were in Spring. Since they were just coming out of winter and were located up on the mountains, it was hard to find any fresh foods except chopped lettuce salad. They also had a variety of interesting canned fish like mackerel, tuna, salmon, fish roe and fish pate. I had seeds and dried fruit on natural yogurt, and tried some of the mackerel in tomato sauce with cottage cheese and salad, which was quite nice.
Norway3
Trip to Norway was all about the fjords, mountains and glaciers, traces of the ice age. I was amazed by the fact that it takes centuries to accumulate snow and eventually form the dense ice. It is such a shame though they are melting slowly because of climate change. It made me respect nature more after looking at the glaciers. Haha how am I going to miss salmon in Norway? Ocean-farmed salmon is famous world-wide, bred in the cold clean fjords. I was happy trying all varieties – smoked, steamed, grilled and raw. To me, raw salmon sashimi was the best, two thumbs up! Fresh and melting in the mouth. Beautiful nature, fresh food, friendly Norwegians.. I cannot wait to go back.
Norway1

Denmark

Denmark1
While I was in South Korea in May and July, I decided to go to Northern Europe for 10 days. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland in 10 days! Yes, it was only enough to visit famous sight-seeing places though I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Denmark was the first Nordic country of my journey. It takes about 11-12 hours direct flight from Korea to Copenhagen. Time difference? Europe is 8 hours behind, which means you get a massive jet lag. Worse for me cause I just cannot get over it for a couple of weeks, which means once I kind of get used to the time zone, I actually have to go back to Korea and struggle again. I tried to eat healthy and stay hydrated, plus a bit of nap on a bus. My breakfast was mostly oats, natural yogurt, fresh fruits and black coffee. Sometimes a slice of pumpernickle or rye bread if I feel like one. I also had trail mix and home-made power balls in my bag for healthy snacks. Well.. I tried but my diet wasn’t perfect while traveling when I couldn’t resist trying local food and wine. It is okay as long as you keep 80% healthy and indulge yourself the rest. Nothing wrong with that 🙂
Denmark2Denmark5
I had a beautiful lunch at one of the oldest hotels in Denmark called Skovshoved hotel, about 30 minutes drive from the city. There was a heavy shower on the way to the restaurant, then beautifully cleared up when we arrived. A stunning reflection of blue sky on the rain puddle, cool crisp air, green herb garden at the back of the restaurant, fresh food from local produce. It was perfect.
Denmark3The cycling culture in Denmark is pretty impressive. Apparently, about 80-90% of Danish who live in the city rides a bike, which means less pollution, traffic jams or car accidents. I couldn’t imagine to see this wealthy country has more bikes than cars on their way to work in the morning. People look so attractive and fashionable on them plus the city looks cleaner, healthier and more lively. Yes, Copenhagen is the city of bicycles. I think it would be a safe option for tourists, too, to hire a bike and have a look around the city. Maybe next time, when I get a hang of riding a bike 🙂
Denmark6

Why Do We Travel

Get out of your comfort zone and travel the world, and you will achieve more than just experience. Life is too short to live in one country.IMG_2111First of all, Personal Growth. You question about other people’s lives, culture, language, economy and history, and learn..Europe2Courage. You get lost, find your way, overcome the fear of meeting new people, improve your communication skills (well..body language)EuropeYour palate. You can try local food and wine, visit farmer’s markets, engage with ordinary local people, be exposed to different smells, taste, produce and culture. Best part!Europe3The pleasure of discovery, appreciating, respecting and embracing your life! At the end of the day you will learn to appreciate what you’ve got and have different values in your life.Europe1Emotions that feed every cell in your body with all the goodness. Exhilarating, exciting, breathtaking, jaw-dropping, magical, busting, relaxing..I have moments now and then doubting myself, dealing with anxiety, not good enough, frustrating, yes – inner turmoil. A get away gives me a good opportunity to reset myself and replace negative thoughts with positives. Europe5Now it’s your turn. What is your reasons for travelling?

Russia

Russia1It was Mother’s day on 8th of May and also my mum’s birthday in 2 days, so we decided to go to St Peterburg, the second largest city in Russia, for a long weekend. Weather was a little cold but pretty dry unlike I thought it would be. The sunshine reflecting on the Neva river and beautiful European style buildings were welcoming us.
Russia2 St Peterburg designed this city to show the nation’s wealth and construction skills. When you go to this city, you cannot miss the grand Winter palace and Hermitage museum. The rich and lavish interiors inside really show how spectacular the royal family used to live. We spent almost all day walking around palace, that is how big it is >.<
Russia3Russian food to me was quite rich, meat-dominant and salty. I guess you need more carbs and fat to survive the long-lasting winter times in Russia. One day, we had a cabbage salad with mayo, creamy pumpkin soup, meatballs for main (which I skipped), apple pie and coffee.
Russia4On the very last day, I had an opportunity to stop by a little cafe for Borscht, their traditional beet soup, that I’ve been meaning to try. I made a vegetarian version myself back at home without knowing what the original flavour was like. Well it is based on meat broth with a bit of beets and other veggies and served with sour cream. My mum also ordered a potato salad, which was again with loads of mayo. If you are a strict vegetarian/ vegan, you probably need a bit of research before you travel Russia (well nevertheless, where ever you go I guess). You can make smart choices at the restaurant – ordering fresh salads with dressing on the side or asking for vegetarian options. It is even better if you can prepare healthy breakfast and snacks at the hotel and explore local farmer’s markets. Mum and I joined a tour group, which means we didn’t have any of those options and had to have a set menu for four days. I was craving for a big bowl of salad on the way home as you can imagine.
Russia5Overall, it was only four days in St Peterburg, but I was glad I got to taste Russia and thoroughly enjoyed time spent with my lovely mum.
Russia6

How I Travel Healthy

travelling packI’m off to Korea for a couple of months. I cannot wait to go home and catch up with my family and friends. I love traveling, but not the ‘travel’ part – getting stuck in a little seat for 12 hours, not being able to sleep, dry and stuffy air on the plane, horrible airplane food and alcohol. They all can make you feel more tired and unhealthy after all. My way of maintaining good health while traveling starts from packing my own food and healthy snacks. You need a bit of preparation ahead, but it is totally worth it. Here is my list.

  • Coconut water: Stay hydrated. Coconut water is one of the best ways to rehydrate whilst flying. Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks as much as you can.
  • Probiotic tablets: Although I am being careful with what I eat on the plane, different environment and stress can challenge my digestion. I make sure I’ve got tablets in my bag to maintain the good bacteria in my stomach and help with the travel bloat.
  • Herbal tea bags: Pack your favorite comforting teas during traveling. My favorites are dandelion, peppermint, chamomile, green tea and liquorice.
  • Healthy snacks: fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, raw veggie sticks, raw chocolate, home-made bars, muffins and biscuits.
  • Food: Most importantly food! You want something that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, doesn’t smell (for other people), maintain good flavour and texture and is easy to eat. My choice is usually some rice or beans with chopped salad in a small container. I also like mini patties made of quinoa, egg, herbs and veggies. You want to eat something light, healthy and good on digestion.
  • Plane food: Most airlines have a special diet/ meal option that you can pre-order on their website. I normally choose a gluten free meal or raw vegan meal so that I don’t get those mushy and boring packaged meals. However, I’ve had a few occasions of tummy trouble and headaches even after a gluten free meal. So it is still safe to pack your own food if you are super sensitive.
  • Supplements: I take all my supplements with me while traveling, which include valerian root for sleep, magnesium for cramps, green powder for energy and vitamins.
  • In my handbag: I take antibacterial wipes, hand cream, lip balm, facial mist (less than 100ml), aromatherapy oil and some mint.
  • At destination: I’m obviously going back home, but if you are going on a overseas holiday, you might want to do a bit of research where to eat.

 

avoiding (or at least limiting!) carbonated drinks, alcohol, and caffeine when flying – See more at: http://www.wanderplex.com/2012/07/10/how-to-stay-hydrated-during-a-long-flight/#sthash.YEyX0fdu.dpuf