6 countries, 10 cities, 4 months – Where did I like it most?

My travels come to an end, time to look back:

I started mid of July in Kiel, went down south to Zurich, back to the North, to Copenhagen, Sweden, Norway, and after two short stopover in Kiel and Gut Sunder, I went to the Netherlands and now I’m in Portugal until the beginning of December.

 

My trip was especially about finding a place in Europe where I could imagine to live. So it was important to me to do volunteering work in each country (and because of a limited budget) to get a better insight in the culture and traditions.

 

Zurich

 

Smells like lake water

Tastes like quinoa, kale and cabbage

Looks turquoise and bourgeois

Feels clear, even and rounded

Sounds buzzing

 

 

For me, as a wilderness pedagogue in the making, the nature in Zurich’s surroundings are a dream! Mountains, forests, lake – a great combination! Go up to Uetliberg and enjoy the beautiful view, enjoy the turqouise water of the Limmat or take a boat across Zurichlake to Rapperswil-Jona – I understand why Zurich is usually voted as one of the cities with the best living quality.

And the city reminds me a bit of Vancouver because of its surrounding, so Zurich is one of my favorites.

 

Lucerne

Smells like fireplace, rain, savoury food and cows

Tastes like wet leaves

Looks rustic, grey and misty

Feels mystical

Sounds rippling, swooshing and ringing

 

A small, cozy, rustic place where you can spend the day – but too small for me for living there.

 

Copenhagen

 

Smells like hydrangea, garlic, lilac and a cool mild summer breeze

Tastes international and like very old history

Looks diverse and peaceful

Feels laid-back

Sounds loud with islands of silence

 

Copenhagen and its laissez-faire atmosphere! Walk along the artificially created lakes in the evening (Sankt Jorgens So, Peblinge So, Sortedams So), lay on the grass and read a book at Assistens Kirkegard in Norrebro, walk through Christiania and ask yourself how people were able to manage to create and maintain such a place, drive to the suburbs and search for the “6 forgotten giants” – I had some great days in Copenhagen!

 

Stockholm

Tastes like Dr. Pepper

Smells garbagy, like a fresh sea breeze, like pipe, like cinnamon

Looks touristy and monumental

Sounds hammering

Feels vibrant

 

I have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed of Stockholm. Maybe my expectations were too high, because beforehand I have heard and read how awesome Stockholm is supposed to be. I found it to be too crowded, tourists everywhere, traffic noise, loud hammering – nope, Stockholm couldn’t convince me.

 

Oslo

 

Smells like cold, clear air, flowery and herbally

Tastes like Chipotle

Feels autumnal, pleasant and like warm sunbeams

Sounds soft and sonorous

Looks green, loving, combative and sculpuristic

 

No matter if down at the harbor, alongside the river (Aker) or in Bygdoy – you will always find a quiet place.

I rarely experienced a city of this size that is not dominated by car noise – and that’s probably because of so many e-cars.

One of my favorite places in Oslo: Maridalsvannet in the North of the city! A walk through the forest or along the river down to the City Centre…do it, it’s worth it!

I was especially impressed by the norwegian architecture: The mix of old and modern turns out very well!

Also, you get a great view all over town from Grefsenkollen!

My conclusion? Oslo is my absolutely favorite city! If there wouldn’t be the climate…

 

Bergen

Looks hilly, green and narrow

Smells cloudy

Sounds quiet and humming

Feels warm and sunny

Tastes like salmon and tuna

 

Unfortunately there was some cycling world championship when I was in Bergen. Many streets were closed, fences everywhere, tents, stages, reporters and people. A walk through the old part of the city was still great!

To avoid the bike craziness I went up to Ulriken from where you have an amazing view over the city and its surroundings!

 

Gothenburg

 

 

Looks sunny and rich of children

Tastes cheesy, lemony and green

Feels stormy, warm and cold

Sounds loud, constructing, buzzing, rattling, children’s laughter and children’s screamy

Smells like grilled meat, bonfire, barbequed sausages, garlic, plants, flowers, perfume, garbage, meat with red cabbage and dumplings, ice-cream, cinnamon and soap

 

Oh Gothenburg, my favorite Nr. 3. Not too big, not too small. Near the water there are some nice, quiet places and close to the fish market (Feskekörka) are benches that are a bit wider and curved, you can have a wonderful nap here 😉

I’ve spent my last day in Scandinavia in Delsjön, a lake 15 minutes by bus from the city centre. Definitely recommended!

 

Amsterdam

Smells like christmas candy, fresh fish, fried fish, green smoke, sandalwood and car emissions

Looks crooked and reckless

Sounds vibrant and loud

Feels swaying, ambivalent, hectic, stormy and chaotic

Tastes spicy

 

I don’t know what it was this time but  Amsterdam couldn’t convince me (last year in summer I actually liked it). Maybe it was the combination of aweful weather, so many tourists and the place where I was staying and where I did not feel comfortable…so Amsterdam is out of question.

 

The Hague

Smells like raw meat, oak, sand and ocean

Feels cold, windy and liberating

Sounds buzzing, tweeting, singing and like church bells

Tastes like wet forest ground and windy sand

Looks French, Belgian, British and peaceful

 

Unfortunately I only had a few hours to explore The Hague and I would have loved to see more. A great mix of old buildings, quite parks and a wide beach that attracts a lot of kite surfers on windy days.

A visit worth it!

 

Lisbon

 

Sounds incredibly loud

Smells like pine tree, dog shit, eucalyptus and warm sun rays

Tastes like pork meat in red wine and metall

Looks artistic, colorful, busy and crowded

Feels like summer and holiday

 

 

I’m quite ambivalent what I should think of this city. A great old part of town, pleasant temperatures (18-20 degrees), always windy, always busy. The city is jam-packed, although it’s low season. There are not really quiet places – and that stresses me out.

For a weekend trip great, as a place to live…not at all!

 

What’s next?

Currently I miss the smell of petrichor, I long for green hills and long hikes. That’s exactly what I could have in my favorite city Oslo but Scandinavian cities are out of question due to their climate.

I was thinking about extending my trip, stay in the sun and start paid work again by February. But by coincidence, I got offered a job that I couldn’t turn down…in Zurich.

I don’t know if that is the right move. But I have to earn money again and hope that swiss don’t hate germans too much like I have read on the internet 😉

 

Back to the beginning of the journey and I will move to Zurich from mid of December on

– for now 😉

 

More information about Zurich, Lucerne and Copenhagen: http://worldreflexion.com/into-the-comfortzone/

More about Stockholm and Oslo: http://worldreflexion.com/overstimulation-deceleration-happiness/

 

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