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12 of 12: When I froze in a Scandinavian Summer

And it's that time of the month once again, when I pretend to still do 12 of 12 but don't actually and use it as an excuse to post vacation photos! To be fair, I do probably have 12 photos of the 12th of August -- I spent it in Copenhagen and it was glorious but it would be a shame if I didn't also share the other days in Scandinavia for my very short but sweet trip.

Guidelines

  • Take 12 photos on the 12th of each month this is like another level of not following the rules, I should stop calling it 12 of 12 but hey, cheating~ I know!
  • Post the pictures chronological order
  • Indicate the time, location, and a small comment
  • Taken from Chad at 12 of 12

Amsterdam, Netherlands

I know, it's technically part of Scandinavia but my brother went with his girlfriend earlier in the year and I've always wanted to go and yes, I watched too many movies based there so I thought, why not?

August 4, Generator Hostel Amsterdam, 4:25 pm
So one of the things I was excited/dreading about this trip was living in a hostel! I've never done it before and I guess 30 isn't too late so I tried it out and after seeing a recommendation from AFAR, I thought I'd give it a try. The four-girl room was pretty good and I ended up hanging out with a sweet 21-year old Australian girl named Emma. 

August 4, CT coffee & coconuts, 7:08 pm
It still gave me a trip that it was so bright out later than 7pm. Even in Singapore, I'm only getting used to 7pm sunsets but 10pm sunsets messed with me. Of course, I was on a hunt for any and all coffee (just coffee) places and this was such a nice airy and pretty one. Also, I definitely had a cocktail after my coffee.

August 5, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1:02 pm
On day 2, Emma and I head out and do as many museums as I can cram in and my first stop was the modern art museum (because I had to) and there were so many interesting installations but this one was one of my favourites. Edward Kransinski had a long piece of blue tape at average heart height and taped it across EVERYTHING. It was very cool. 

August 5, Jordaan, 5:54 pm
Oh did I mention I was in Amsterdam over PRIDE 2017 weekend? I was. I didn't even realize this when booking tickets (no wonder things were a tad more expensive -- though i realise Amsterdam would be the 'cheapest' stop of my trip. So it was a trip to see the spectacle that is Pride Weekend. The night before I had a met Myta who was an intern in Amsterdam and had randomly struck a conversation with me at the bus stop. He said it would be cool to meet up for Pride festivities but I feel my old self would be too tired for that. Still, this was pretty cool.

August 6, Vredeskerk, 10:48 am
I had to try and ride a bicycle in the bicycle capital of Europe and it was nice but also pretty scary because everyone's so GOOD at it and I'm proficient but not like great at weaving in and out and crossing streets and biking with other people so yes, it was a bit traumatising abut also very convenient. It makes me want my own bike in Singapore but also scares me because Amsterdam has actual bike lanes versus Singapore's roads. So we shall see.

August 6, Small Boat Canal Tour 2:19 pm
Finally, I did one of those canal tours because there's so much water and I thought it would be my thing this time around and this was by far the best one I went on (from the four I did while on vacation). Amsterdam is so damn charming and pretty and too much fun. How do real people live here?!


Stockholm, Sweden

I probably stayed way too short in this city and that's too bad but I crammed as much as I could into my one full day and my 4 hour evening the day before and 8 hour morning the day after. This city, I feel, is actually liveable in a sense that I saw people working and I saw office building. I don't know, maybe it's just me but things also close WAY EARLY.

August 7, Norrmalm, 11:54 am
I'm a sucker for pretty buildings and the entire coast of Stockholm had such old-world architecture. This is my jam. I could spend all day just sitting by the dock and watching the folks pass by. To take this photo, I placed it on a parked truck and walked backwards. Not the best framing, I admit.

August 7, Kungliga Slottet, 12:27 pm
Hello, beautiful palace. I can't believe they actually use it use it. Every room had this little sign with a photo of the 'real world royals' using the room you were in. Very cool. I think they'd have receptions in this room and I couldn't believe I was walking where the Swedish Royal Family also walked through at one point in this current day and age.

August 7, Meatballs for the People, 2:59 pm
I had to have meatballs. Maybe not in IKEA, but I had to. And at this point in the day, I was starving. And like a mirage, this restaurant showed up and I devoured that wonderful classic meatball meal. I was tempted to come back for dinner. In fact, I went back to the area that evening but I didn't have it again. Regrets, I tell you. They were amazing.

August 7, Royal Canal Tour, 5:45 pm
For this leg of the trip, I tried a royal canal tour and it was really nice to see all the wonderful islands that make up Stockholm and at this point I wish I had more time in the city. Still, it was a cool way to see the city. If I were with the Beata and Zoe (very sweet Canadians I met at the hostel), I would have checked out Grona Lund with them. Maybe next time. 

August 7, Generator Hostel Stockholm, 6:43 pm
What I'm liking about these hostels is that you get to meet folks and this time around, it was the two girls mentioned above. We had planned o meeting for drinks this evening but we all were too spent and tired. This time around, I was in a six-person MIXED room! And it was harder to be quiet with so many folks in the room.

August 7, Urban Deli Nytorget, 9:06 pm
For dinner, I went back to Sodermalm (tempted by the meatballs) but ended up at this wonderful deli where the group of guys in the next table totally judged my solo order of cheese and meat platters. Yes, I ate it all. Yes, I had rose. Yes, I was alone. It was glorious and I didn't have to share with anyone and I was very satisfied.


Bergen, Norway

The main reason for this trip was to see my dear cousin, Nikki whom I hadn't seen in four years since she got married and moved to Norway and now she's given birth to the most precious, adorable and cute baby, Stellan and I had no more excuses not to visit. and somehow i managed to take photos of the beautiful Bergen in between cooing over Stellan. Bergen is gorgeous and quaint and just a really pretty place. Every corner was picturesque. A little lot TOO COLD for me but gorgeous.

August 8, Floating House, 4:54 pm
Picturesque is the best word for Bergen and it really reminded of like a Scandinavian version of Stars Hollow -- complete with a gazebo in the town square. I'm not even kidding. I love all these bodies of water surrounding the city and weaving in and out. Apparently, the city experiences rain 270 days of the year so I was lucky to see some sun.

August 9, Byrggen, 12:59 pm
I'm amazed at how we managed to get around with a baby. My cousin is such pro handling the baby. And so we were able to go around tourist central with the pretty shopfronts in the harbour front. I love the yellow on this building and all the yellow rain jackets all these girls were wearing. But let's be real, when am I ever going to wear a yellow rain jacket again? Still, so pretty.

August 9, 26 North, 7:03 pm
My cousin is the best and we ate at this very very fancy seafood restaurant by the water. And I'm not even a fish person but the food was amazing. In between bites, Nikki would attend to Stellan and I really don't know how moms do it but she was amazing. I could barely feed myself and there she was feeding the baby, herself and talking to me. 

August 10, Nordre Skogveien, 8:13 am
There's no reason why I couldn't have just made this entire Bergen collage about Stellan but I wanted to be a bit diverse so I distilled the 10 million Stellan photos into this one shot. He had just woken up and he looked so adorable in his little onesie. Nikki tells me he was on his best behavior cause I was around. I don't care, he's the best. 

August 10, Strikkelykke AS, 1:01 pm
I almost died when I entered this store. Sure, I have Spotlight and San Merinos here in Singapore but THIS WAS HEAVEN. I bought thread (but couldn't go crazy given I had a tiny suitcase) for my brother's couch throw project I finally get to work on. So many pretty colors. Such great quality. I love it. 

August 10, Fjord Tour, 1:09 pm
Because the FJORDS ARE GORGEOUS and I felt like it was TOO TOO TOO COLD on the boat's upper deck, I cannot share photos of me freezing my ass off. Instead, here I am by the pretty vistas of Bergen. I would come back to visit the family but wow, do I need more wool underclothes. 


Copenhagen, Denmark

I loved Copenhagen just because it felt like it combined the best of the three cities right before it. It was fun enough like Amsterdam but I could see people actually working like Stockholm and just beautiful like Bergen. At this point of the trip though, I was already exhausted from all the walking and the weather was also a little colder than expected but I would definitely want to go back.

August 11, Tivoli Gardens, 11:10 pm
To make the most of my first evening, I decided to check out the theme park DisneyLand was supposedly based on and I wish I had gotten there earlier but it was pretty cool at night. I didn't know theme park culture was so big in Copenhagen but it was nice to see SO MANY adults having fun. ALSO, Lil Wayne was performing that night. I heard him but couldn't see him cause I didn't buy a ticket to that. Still!

August 12, Papirøen, 12:02 pm
Upon popular recommendation by friends and my sister and the guidebook, I checked out this really nice little food market that had AMAZING food. I could actually just chill there the whole day, but I ended up getting a really good sausage and side salad and the most expensive mojito I've had in my life. Still, it was yummmmmmy.

August 12, Nyhavn, 1:03 pm
So it's so nice to see all the pretty boats and all the pretty houses by the canals and just GODDAMMIT. Why must this place be gorgeous?! I don't get it. I don't know how people function when their surroundings are so nice. Can you imagine waking up to this? I wouldn't work. I wouldn't do anything. I would just stare and daydream. Also this was the first time I ordered a hot coffee and was able to drink it straight because it was too cold outside.

August 12, The Old Barbershop, 5:14 pm
I had been pondering this for years and just never had the guts to do it. So on my second to the last day, I walked into a shop that somehow didn't need an advanced booking (all the other ones in all the other cities needed one) and went for it. It was not comfortable. I've had brazilian waxes done before but this was something else. And the after care is so tedious but worth it. Plus the girl who did it for me was sweet and really informative. So there. It's done.

August 13, Louisiana, 11:12 am
Wow holy modern art museum. This was just pretty. Like really pretty. The train ride for 40 minutes outside of Copenhagen was worth it. And the line going in wasn't too bad. Took me around 15 minutes from when I got there at 11am sharp (opening time). There was a really interesting Marina Abramovic installation complete with the "mutual gaze" experiment which I tried doing. For the views, I would go again.

August 13, Canal Tours' Grand Tour, 4:17 pm
For the last canal tour of my trip, the Copenhagen one proved to be the coldest one as I sat outside the entire time with the drizzling and all. Still, it was nice to chill on the back of a boat and get a glimpse of the city. I now want to retire on a houseboat in Europe. Everyone seemed to be here.


Over-all, this trip was pretty fantastic. For the first time in my life since I did these solo trips, I didn't feel the need to turn Tinder on (that's neither here nor there) but it felt good to just explore and not be TOO TIED to my itinerary -- I still had one -- but I didn't follow it to the hour, minute, second. In fact, I probably only did one or two things from it, which is pretty unheard of for me. 

Here's to more relaxed, steady trips in preferably cool but not freezing places! Or maybe I just bring more jackets/thicker clothes next time. Maybe that's a good idea. 

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