Austria Europe

Vienna revisited, a travel bloggers view.

The Long Weekender

Vienna (Wien) Austria

 

Vienna is a city that has held a special place ever since I first visited as an 18 year old. I returned after that first visit a few times between the ages  of 18 and 25, but had not returned since. From that very first visit it struck me as a fairy-tale city, full of romance and joy, enhanced given that it was  December, close to Christmas, the ground covered in a blanket of pure white snow, all adding to that feeling of magic. On one of my visits on a Christmas day I made my way to St. Stephens’s cathedral, more out of curiosity than religious compulsion, and ended up with the very good fortune of hearing the Viennese boys’ choir sing. It still stands out as a profound life memory, along with those memories of the friends I made and times we shared. On one such evening a gang of us all met up (me being the only non-Austrian) in the metro station at Opera before heading off into the snow covered streets, snow ball fighting as we went into the night. The memory of that night and many other remain vivid to my recollection. Indeed, such was the impact of my experiences in Vienna it inspired a short story I wrote shortly after one visit, which was published in a well-known Dublin magazine of the time “In Dublin”

Would I feel differently all these years later I wondered?

View from the plane as we come in to land Vienna.

This time there was no snow to greet me, but then on many of my past visits in younger days the snow had long passed. I am happy to say the city has lost none of its charm and is as wondrous and romantic a place now as it was then.

From a practical point of view  it’s also turned out to be one of the least expensive European cites I have visited, even taking Brexit bashing on my pound into account. This is another city where a city pass is an absolute must, called the Vienna Pass, it offers not only free entry into 60+ attractions in many it also allows you to skip the ques and gain easy access to the attraction, a real boon in peak season As if that wasn’t enough it includes the Hop on Hop off City Tour Bus, again a great was to familiarise yourself with the city and it stunning architectural history. If fact it covers entry to so many places you will be hard pressed to visit them all.

Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens Vienna

Schonbrunn Palace and gardens, a place I remembered well from all those years ago.

Tree lined avenue Schonbrunn

Schonbrunn Palm House

Floral display, Palm House Schonbrunn

Schonbrunn Zoo

Enclosure, Sconbrunn Zoo

Schonbrunn Zoo, which I had not visited in the past turned out to be a pleasant surprise as it has and is being totally revamped to provide the animals with larger and more conducive enclosures.

Koala Bear, Schonbrunn Zoo

Majestic Cheetah, Schonbrunn Zoo

Polar Bear, Schonbrunn Zoo

DDSG Blue Danube River Cruise

A Danube cruise on the refurbished MS Blue Danube is also included with the Vienna Pass. The route takes you along the Danube Canal, which was the main branch of the Danube in the middle Ages. Along the way you will glimpse such architectural highlights as the Urania observatory, Jean Nouvel’s hotel and commercial building, Hans Hollein’s Media Tower, Otto Wagner’s Schützenhaus and the Spittelau waste incineration plant designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. You can also not help but notice that Vienna is a city full of graffiti in places and nowhere more so than along the river side walls. It is now, as it was then. The boat is very well laid out, comfortable, and includes a bar and restaurant. Needless to say any food or drink you might want during the cruise is extra.

Boat dock Blue Danube river cruise

Bridge

River view

Fernwarme Building

Iconic, Spittelau waste incineration plant

Through the looking glass

Silhouette bridge and glass building

Abandoned Vienna

Graffiti wall

Reflections in canal basin

Cyclist with blue sky, viewed through Art Deco handrail

Contemporary Vienna

Contemporary reflections Vienna

Old meets new

Natural History Museum

Historic street lighting

The Museum of Natural History. This place is vast containing over 30 million specimens and artifacts, be sure to allow plenty of time to see it all.

Street lighting Vienna

Inside Do-An cafe Nachtmarkt

St. Stephens Cathedral

View from the watchtower, St Stephens Cathedral Vienna

Top Tip: If the windows in the watchtower are locked and you would like one opened in order to take a pictures without glass refection ask the rather eccentric, but very helpful and friendly man behind the counter in the little shop, he may well oblige, he did for me!

Sun going down St Stephens Square

St Stephens Cathedral is a must for one and all but with the Vienna Pass you can also climb the 343 steps of the South Tower, taking you to watchman’s lookout some 246 feet above street level and affording great views of the city below and beyond. If the weather and time permits try and get there for sunset, it’s spectacular. Whilst you are visiting the Cathedral be sure to also take the time to do the guided catacombs tour as it offers a fascinating, if somewhat eerie, glimpse into the history of both Vienna and the Cathedral. My visit to |St. Stephens left me overcome in a great swathe of warming nostalgia as I gazed upon the seat in the Cathedral where I had lost myself to the spell of the coir on Christmas day all those year before.

Nighttime St. Stephens Cathedral spire

Book shop window display

And last, but by no means least, (No Picture, but a must for all music lovers) Mozart’s House which is just around the corner from St Stephens and well worth a visit.

This is just my list of places I particularly wanted to visit, or revisit, and any you miss on a long long list provides the perfect excuse for a return to this remarkable and beautiful city.

Getting there

EasyJet from Manchester. For more info click this link

Top Top Tip EasyJet: Seats are released in five tranches throughout the year. EasyJet’s prices are based on demand, so be ready to buy on the day it launches a new wave of tickets and you’re likely to get a good deal.  Also if you’ve booked a flight directly with EasyJet, check the price afterwards to see if it drops. The airline’s little-known price promise guarantees that if you do find the same flight for less after booking, you’ll get the difference back as a credit voucher.

 

Staying There

AirB&B comes up trumps in Vienna with lots of affordable apartments in great locations for reasonable prices. For more info click this link

 

Getting around

The Vienna Pass: for more info click this link

Eating Out

Happily, eating out in Vienna does not have to be expensive with some great choice and fabulous food. In particular there is an area called Naschmarkt, fabulous place, full of an array of all types of restaurants, food stalls and markets.

Sour Note: Remarkably it is still possible to smoke in virtually all restaurants and bars in Vienna, one big down side to this city from my point of view, although I believe it’s due to change in 2018.

Neni: For more info click this link

Of particular note has to be Neni am Naschmarkt where the food is as memorable as it is unique with a blend of Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Israeli inspired dishes. It also offers many vegetarian and vegan dishes too. We dined here twice, it was that good.  Happily it is also one of the few restaurants in Vienna that I visited which does  not permit smoking indoors.

 

Do-An: For more info click this link

Another good place along here (although, sadly they permit smoking) is Do-An

There are of course many, many, more places to eat out in Vienna, but these were 2 of my favourites.

Please do feel free to let me know what yours are?

 

Places to See and Visit in Vienna

Sconbrunn Palace and Gardens: for more info click this link.

Schonbrunn Zoo: for more info click this link.

Saint Stephens Cathedral: for more info click this link.

Mozart’s House: for more info click this link.

The Museum of Natural History Wien: for more info click this link.

MS Blue Danube Cruise: for more info click this link.

 

#TravelWise #TravelWell #TravelThere

This article and it’s contents is dedicated to a friend I made on that first visit and with whom I shared some very happy times and memories in Vienna, Claudia Neudecker.

Denmark Europe

Getting down with the Hygge in Copenhagen……..

Copenhagen Dreaming

 

The long weekender Copenhagen Denmark

 

Top Tips and Travel Know How

Frederiks Kirke (The Marble Church)

Sometimes fast sees more than more time spent can find. It is the fleeting glimpse and quick insight, when the light shines in a particular way, illuminating a view, I sometimes think it better to absorb quick and move on. The light here, on this day, told me all I wanted to know and feel.  In this light, with its crisp short span, from dawn till dusk, it is easy to understand the aesthetic and pared back simplicity that is the very definition of our understanding of what we refer to as Danish style. The light at this time of the year is made for photographers, never too high in the sky, rising late and setting early, but I cannot imagine I could stand too many of these short days and long nights of winter. Yet I can only wonder why it has taken me so long to visit this wonderful city and finish by saying I will be back when the sun and day hold for longer.

 

Stroma Canal Tour

Top Tip here, don’t go for the Netto boat as its pretty naf. A better option with much nicer boats and reputed to be the original tour, Stroma Canal Tour Copenhagen. Offering the Grand Tour and lasting one hour (Included with the Copenhagen Pass) you can join the boat tour at either Nyhavn, or Gammel Strand. A guided tour around the harbor and through the idyllic canals with guide commentary will tell you about Copenhagen’s beautiful churches, castles, old listed houses, new buildings and all other sights of interest. (The English speaking guide gave a very good commentary along the way)

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New Zealand

A Month in New Zealand continued, Te Anau, Fiordland,

4 days 3 nights in Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand  Pictures and top travel tips

We arrive in Te Anau as the sun begins to fall in the sky and casts a shimmering glitter over Lake Te Anau. Checking into our motel we are less than impressed (Parkland Motel), but having left it late to book this is virtually all that is left as it is high season with virtually everywhere fully booked. On that count I guess we are lucky to have found accommodation, but this place, although clean and well located, is seriously dated and overpriced and on reflection would count as the worst value of the entire trip.

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Top Tip For accommodation, Te Anau for Fiordland, book as far in advance as you can.

Ok, so putting that aside, Te Anau itself is a nice small town with a good range of amenities, including some good cafes, bars, restaurants and a good supermarket. For my recommendations see links to bottom of this post.

After checking in we head into the small town in search of information and tickets for Doubtful and Milford Sounds. Arriving at the i-Site (You will find these centers in most tourist destinations in New Zealand, a great place to get both information and book tickets for trips and attractions.

With the aid of the very friendly and helpful advisor Laura Needs we settle on a dual package deal covering Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound and receive a discount for the double booking. If you are using this i-Site to book and purchase tickets see if Laura Needs is around as she is a fantastic advisor, with great patience and care in the way she deals with all visitors. Following Laura’s advice, we booked the Real Journeys tour for Doubtful Sound and Southern Discoveries for the Milford Sound trip and I can highly recommend both, although the Doubtful sound trip was definitely the better of the two, but hardly surprising as it cost a lot more money. The main difference between the packages and tours, Doubtful Sound is virtually an all-day experience on the water, whilst Milford Sound is about one and three quarter hours on the water. If I had to book again personally I would probably just book Doubtful Sound and give Milford boat trip a miss, but still do a road trip from Te Anau to the Milford Sound terminal as it involves some of the most breath-taking scenery in New Zealand.

 

Trip 1 Doubtful Sound

We are up at the crack of dawn and on the road by 7am. The itinerary starts at the pickup point at Lake Manapouri. Even though the boat does not leave until 830am and the distance from Te Anau to   Manapouri is a mere 22 kilometres we are keen not to take any chances, given that we are unfamiliar with the route, or road. We needn’t have worried as the road is easy and straight, although heavy with early morning misty fog. There is also a good café on site serving decent coffee and sandwiches. We also managed to snatch an hour of the Paul Henry show as we readied ourselves for the day.

The Doubtful Sound tour consists of two parts, with the first boat taking us out onto Lake Manapouri as the sun began to rise and clouds gently broke and cleared. This is followed by a trip across New Zealand’s most expensive road leading up and over Wilmot Pass, it also stopped along the way providing the perfect opportunity to view and gasp at the first sight of Doubtful Sound glistening far below. It has to be said that all staff on this trip were first rate, extremely helpful, knowledgeable and in parts funny, in particular our bus driver who took us on the Wilmot Pass stretch of the journey and kept everyone amused and laughing with his repartee. Equally, the compere/local expert, on the Doubtful Sound cruise gave a knowledgeable and enthusiastic commentary throughout the trip.

I would have to say the highlight of this trip for me, and one of the most memorable of my many travels, was when the captain announced a request for 5 minutes of silence, when the boats engines were cut and all passengers and crew just sat, or stood, still and quiet. Rarely have I ever experienced such, sheer calm, uninterrupted and beautiful silence.

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Lake Manapouri Fiordland New Zealand

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New Zealand

A Month In New Zealand- Christchurch-Dunedin-Te Anaua

A picture od Dunedin Town House with the setting sun creating a halo aeffcet behing the clock tower

New Zealand road trip, Christchurch to Dunedin and 1 night stopover then Dunedin to Te Anau-Fiordland via Invercargill

Leaving Christchurch we head out onto the open road heading south for Dunedin and our first real taste of life on the road in New Zealand. As we set off for Dunedin little did we know we were but a day away from discovering Paul Henry. Looking back I know realise how fortunate we were to have made this discovery so early on in our trip, but more on that later.

Driving in New Zealand New Zealand drives on the left, great for us as we are visiting from the UK where we also drive on the left, but challenging for anyone not used to driving on this side of the road. Don’t just take my word for it though, as a couple of days after we departed Christchurch a Chinese driver caused a very serious accident by driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed around a blind corner, causing serious injury to New Zealander. In fact, of all the bad driving we experience in our month long travel I can guarantee that at least 80% was the result of very poor road driving skills displayed by visitors from mainland China.

Don’t expect motorways, or dual carriageways although there are a few duals c’s, instead most routes consist of 2 lane highways with passing lanes every 4 kilometres or so. That said driving in New Zealand is a pretty pleasant and relatively stress free experience, due in no small part to low traffic levels. In fact, the only time in our entire trip that we encountered any form of road traffic delay was in and around Auckland, but again, nothing when compared to a pretty typical UK road.

Driving time from Christchurch to Dunedin is about four and a half hours, but allowing for a more leisurely drive, with a few stops along the way, give it five and a half. The other great thing we discovered about New Zealand is that virtually everywhere you stop they will have real coffee, made fresh, with a proper coffee matchine. A real plus, if like me, you like your coffee fresh and strong.

The speed limits on most long distance roads is 100kph, which at about 60 miles an hour,  which is lower than the UK max.

All in all follow these top 4 Top tips and you should enjoy a stress free driving experience.

Top 4 driving tips: (1) Check you’re hire car, or van, thoroughly for any and all faults prior to setting off from collection (don’t assume it will be fine) including looking under the car for any signs of damage to underside, wheels, or bodywork,  (2) Drive on the left (3) Obey local speed limits. (4) Check your fuel and fill your tank prior to departing on any long road journeys, as the next petrol station may be a lot further away than you think.

Top Tip Do not be tempted to break the 100k speed limit in New Zealand, the Police here are vigilant with many Police cars stationed along all major routes, usually hidden waiting to catch anyone tempted to break the limit. You are here to relax and enjoy and that should extend to a leisurely and laid back approach to driving and low speeds. The only other thing to watch out for is in a lot of the more remote and rural parts of New Zealand many locals seem to have a dislike for turning on their lights in the dark, which led to one or two hairy encounters for us along the way.

 Dunedin

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St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, New Zealand

Although the primary interest for most tourists visiting New Zealand is the landscape and the great outdoors, some of it towns and cites are well worth a day or two of any visitors time, Dunedin is, to my mind, one of those place. It is also the gateway to the Otago Peninsula and on to the stunning coastline of Invercargill.

Dunedin is a charming city with strong links and connections to Scotland and indeed much of its architecture would not look out of place in Edinburgh, whilst the Gaelic transliteration of the name Dunedin is Edinburgh. Equally, a lot of the architectural colour would not look out of place in parts of the USA and much of it reminded me of San Francisco.

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Staircase detail Museum Modern Art Dunedin

Another architectural gem of note, the train station is a must see and following that if you continue along to the end of the street there is also a charming Japanese garden. The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum Dunedin is another place worthy of a visit, as is the museum of art, for the buildings architecture if nothing else. I loved the lines of the staircase pictured above.

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The Old Railway station Dunedin New Zealand

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New Zealand

A Month in New Zealand Travel Stories and Top Travel Tips

Botanic Garden Christchurch New Zealand

Travel-Wise Travel-Well Travel-There with DK-Travelpix

 

A Month In New Zealand 

DK Travel pics visited New Zealand earlier this year and over the next few weeks will be posting a series of picture posts and top travel tips documenting all the places we visited, but in the meantime and to get things off to a flying start here are my first top travel tips for anyone planning a trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth. or, to quote Paul Henry, welcome to another day in Paradise. Who’s Paul Henry I hear you ask? More on that later.

First Stop Christchurch

Although I had, like everyone else, heard on the news about the tragic earthquake that hit Christchurch on February 22nd 2011 nothing quite prepares you for the sight of the devastation left behind, particularly if, like me, it’s the first time you have ever been to an earthquake hit place. Some 5 years on the pace of the rebuild is slow, with many factions apparently fighting over what to keep and what to lose along with slow fund releases by the insurances companies involved, further hampering the rebuild. In its place there is an evident strong resilience amongst local people to invent and overcome as witnessed by the fabulous cardboard cathedral erected as a replacement for the famous Christchurch cathedral, which is in a state of propped up ruin. The use of converted shipping containers is, to my mind, another fantastically creative innovation which has seen shops, restaurants and bars pop up, and in so doing help to revitalise city life. The Botanic gardens, located on the edge of town, provides a green oasis in which to while away sometime and is a must see. All in all despite the devastation wreaked by the earthquake no visit to New Zealand would be complete without at least a one day visit to Christchurch.

As if to emphasise the true resilience of the locals we heard reports of another reasonably big earthquake about a week after we had left Christchurch, occurring on a holiday and a warm sunny day many on their way to the beach for the day carried on regardless!

 

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A forlorn spectacle hanging in the balance The Famous and Original Christchurch cathedral resembles something more akin to a disemboweled alien creature.

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Symbols of destruction and renewal archway to Bridge of Remembrance. Currently undergoing reconstruction and closed to the public.

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Tip 1 Vehicle rental

Whether you are planning on hiring a car or camper van it is essential to book your vehicle as early as possible as there is a limited number to go round, the later you leave it the narrower the choice available. We toyed with the idea of a camper van but after speaking to many who had, and given that we planned on being on the road for 30 days, in the end we opted for car hire as this allowed for greater freedom and flexibility of accommodation choice. Many fellow travellers told us that in their experience a van was great fun for the first week but after that cabin fever tended to set in. All in all a camper van is really not necessary as New Zealand is very well set up for road travel with lots of motels and hotels to choose from in all locations. Bear in mind though that these can fill up quite rapidly in peak season, again forward planning is essential. I did my research using Booking.Com saving a shortlist for each place into my next trip folder and then booked a few days prior to arrival in each destination. We pretty much got the places that were  first choices on our list except for Milford Sound area where we ended up in a pretty second rate motel. That’s not to say there was anything particularly wrong with it apart from being a little dated and overpriced in comparison to other places we had stayed at along the way.

Top Tip When arranging to hire a vehicle try you’re very best to secure a diesel car, or van, as diesel is half the price of petrol on both islands this will save a small fortune when you think about driving for a month.

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UK

Weekender Llŷn Peninsula Gwynedd North Wales

August Bank Holiday 2016 Llŷn Peninsula Gwynedd North Wales

The Llŷn Peninsula extends some 30 miles into the Irish Sea and I am told on a very clear day you can see the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. In my humble opinion its a place of outstanding natural beauty. Being on the gulf stream this is also one of the sunniest places in the UK. From glorious blue, to broody grey, the changing light adds to the drama of this stunning landscape.

Day 1

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (2) by David Keegan PhotographyCraggy rocks atop a hill afford a view through purple heaters and fading grassy mounds to mountains beyond.

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (3) by David Keegan PhotographyBeetle on lichen covered rock. This one has some really cool twists!

On a visit to The Llŷn peninsula in Gwynedd Wales over the August bank holiday weekend I couldn’t help thinking how much the landscape and topography reminded me of Cornwall. That set me to thinking that somehow this area of Wales is missing a trick. This was my first visit to this part of Wales and to be honest it was never really on my radar prior to this, nor had I heard very much about it. In fact it was a small feature in the Sunday Times travel supplement that caught my attention and made me do a bit more research, eventually leading to a desire to visit. What is missing is the crowds one would expect in Cornwall and although the weather was superb over the bank holiday weekend nowhere was what I would consider packed. Yes Abersoch may well be the exception to that rule and is firmly set on the Cheshire radar but even here what’s on offer is nothing special, and is in fact the one place I would avoid as it’s a bit trashy if I am to be totally honest, as well as being probably the least interesting destination that this area of coast has to offer.

 

Llyn Peninsula Gwynedd Wales (4) by David Keegan PhotographySweeping views through rusted bracken and purple heaters across fields of verdant green to oceans blue and green to the tip of the peninsula and on to Bardsey Island.

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 3

 

Day 3 Oslo 

Day 3 starts early  with the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula which operates operates between March to October. More info and links for ferry at the end of post
The trip on the ferry is included in the Oslo pass again making this a fantastic investment for any travel to Oslo.
Departure is every 20-30 minutes from Pier 3 by the City Hall. We caught the first fery at 8:55 as this was to be the last day of our visit we wanted to see and do as much as possible.
Leave the ferry at the first stop  Dronningen and taking about 20 minutes to get there its a very pleasant trip across. (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History/ Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum and Oscarshall).

 

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View from the ferry back to City hall

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Viking Museum

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Viking museum. Fascinating place full of preserved artifacts and Viking boats and things.

Norwegian Folk Museum

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For me this museum had to be one of my favorite places to visit as part of my Oslo long weekender. Packed full of fascinating glimpses in Norway’s past, and near past, history all brought to life with full size replicas and originals of the lives and living places of the Norwegians. Fascinating and deserves a good few hours of any visitors time to see it all as the grounds are quite extensive. More info on this at link to bottom of this post.

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 2

Day 2: The Long Weekender

Top Travel Tips; Places to See Things to Do

The day starts with a visit to the magnificent Vigeland sculpture park a must see for anyone visiting Oslo and probably the best collection of sculpture I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. This is the worlds largest sculpture park to be created by one sculptor and i don’t think i have ever seen or heard of anything like it before. Containing over 200 works created over a lifetime by Gustav Vigeland in a mixture of mediums from granite, wrought iron and bronze, it is a truly unique place.  There is also a vitality and life affirming charm to the quality and scope of the works that can but make you smile whilst the park itself is a great place to spend a day have a picnic, if the weather permits, weather was great when I visited in May! I have included a link with more info on the park to the bottom of this post.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (1)A Statue of Gustav Vigeland stands in a landscaped area at the entrance to the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (2)The wonderful vista from the highest point in the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (3)Granite sculpture in the park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (4)Seagulls take flight from one of the water fountains

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Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 1

9 Top Travel Tips for Visitors to Oslo, Norway

Or put another way, things you may want to consider before travelling to Oslo in Norway

 

The long weekender a 3 part picture post

Day 1

Top Tip (1) For travelers from the UK It’s very expensive, at probably about twice the price of the UK average for food and possibly 3 times the UK price for a drink with a bottle of beer costing about a tenner

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (1)

The Museum of Modern Art as seen from the water, with viewing lift in background. Yopu pay a small fee to ride to the top of this free standing lift shaft which offers pretty good views.

Top Tip (2) If travelling on a budget you may be surprised to find buying in  supermarket is generally no cheaper than eating out, but tap water is free and restaurants quite happy to provide it, even adding sliced lemon and cucumber in some places.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (2)

Picture of one of the current exhibits in the Museum of modern art, pretty funky place and some very interesting pieces as well as some downright bizarre installation including a gold life size porcelain of Micheal Jackson with chimp and a collection of heads of what is supposed to be Tom Cruise but looks nothing like him!

Top Tip (3) If your flight leaves you arriving late at night from the UK, as ours did with Ryanair from Manchester, there is a bus from the Airport to the City and is the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city, but try and choose accommodation that doesn’t involve a Taxi ride to your final destination. We took a 10 minute taxi ride and paid about £25!

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (4)

I particularly liked this pieces which is a shelf of books with books made of thin sheet steel.

Top Tip (4) If there is one must see destination for the short break weekender in Oslo and there are quite a few noteworthy places to visit it has to be the sculpture park, it’s unique and outstanding.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (5)

To the foreground of this picture is a small beach where locals go swimming when the weather permits brilliant public space so close to the city.

Top Tip (5) Whatever budget traveler you may be get an Oslo pass, worth its weight in gold as it includes all public transport, entry to various museums and attractions, including the ferry to visit the Viking museum.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (6)

I loved this tidy and uniform display of Violas against the outside wall of the museum.

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UK

The Roaches, Staffordshire, The Peak District

Day Tripping in The Peak District

Having lived in Manchester for many years now and having spent any spare time, and nice weather weekends, exploring the Lake District and The Peak District I felt sure I had found, visited, and seen, pretty much every place of note. How wrong was I. Recently whilst preparing for the visit of some friends from London I fired off an email to Geoffrey, one of my visitors, asking where himself and his partner Alan might like to visit, should the weather be favourable.

My suggestion was either to be the Lake District, or The Peak District, both being a comfortable drive from Manchester for a day trip. When Geoff replied saying he would like to visit The Roaches I was slightly confused, initially thinking he had friends he wanted to visit. Inquiring further, he told me it was a place in The Peaks he had visited with his brother some 20 years ago on a bike trip around the UK. Needless to say I was intrigued, and more so, stunned, when we visited. A breath-taking and beautiful piece of landscape steeped in fine history.

The Roaches

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On a clear day like this one the views across the countryside to as far as Cheshire and a wondrous sight.

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Weather worn gritsone stands sculptural amid this landscape

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This is also a very popular spot for mountaineering with many climbers using it for training purposes.  The British Mountaineering Council also lease the Don Whillans Hut used as accommodation for its climbers.

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Geoff a dance movement therapist in London likes to connect with the landscape find out more by clicking the link at the base of this post.

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