Copenhagen to Sweden

Since I was in Copenhagen I knew I was very close to Sweden and decided to do a daytrip to the city of Malmö by crossing the longest border bridge in the world, this Bridge between both countries is the Oresund bridge and it’s a combined road and rail bridge. I entered Sweden by train, it was easy and fast, you just buy a 24hour ticket at the Copenhagen Centre station or like I did at the CPH Airport.
Malmö is the 3rd largest city in Sweden after Stockholm and Göteborg.
I had a walk in the city centre where the shopping streets are close the city hall and also in King’s park which is just behind the Malmö Castle. Just across the street you have the Malmö Museum where I bought a ticket that includes the Castle with the museum.
The Museum’s focus is on historical vehicles, old technology and seafaring.

Music Statue in Malmö shopping street

Music Statue in Malmö shopping street

Malmö Sweden

Ready to explore Malmö Sweden

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City Hall

City Hall

some nice buildings

some nice buildings

Kings Park

Kings Park

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The Malmö Castle

The Malmö Castle

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In the Malmö Museum

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Down the sea-coast you have a nice view on the biggest building in Sweden the modern Turning Torso Tower, that stands out, you can see it from anywhere in the city.
I walked a little further down the coast line and came to the Ribersborgs Kallbadhus its a badhouse with saunas and a restaurant, from here I had a good view on the Oresund bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark.

The Torso Tower

The Turning Torso Tower

Ribersborgs Kallbadhus

Ribersborgs Kallbadhus

The Oresund Bridge between Svenska and Danska :)

The Oresund Bridge between Svenska and Danska 🙂

If you want to put another country on your list or if you want to visit a less crowded city, than Malmö is worth a visit if you are so close to it in Copenhagen. A daytrip for this city is more than enough. In the late afternoon I was already back in Denmark.

 

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Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN

It wouldn't be Denmark without LEGO :)

It wouldn’t be Denmark without LEGO 🙂

Copenhagen was a very interesting citytrip, because I didn’t have any expectations, nor did I really had prepared myself well for this trip. It was one of these Capital cities in Europe that I wanted to visit someday but never exactly knew when time would bring me there.
Copenhagen is a very easy to walk city, with the plan that I grabbed at the Copenhagen centre railway station I had enough. I stayed at the Best Western Hotel close to the Tivoli Amusement park and the Radhuspladsen (The City Hall Square).

The City Hall

The City Hall

Inside City Hall

Inside City Hall Danish Flags

H.C. Andersen Statue

H.C. Andersen Statue

The first day I have done the free walking tour, it started at 11am, it’s a 3 hour tour, you can leave anytime you want, you don’t have to stay untill the end, but I did since I had a good guide and afterwards I already knew some of the great spots without having to use my map anymore.
Some of the places I have visited were Nyhavn,Rosenborhg Castle, The Round Tower,The Freetown of Christiania and ofcourse the most famous symbol of Copenhagen, the Statue of the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid is a story for children by Hans Christian Anderson who also has a statue of himself just next to the City Hall. He wrote so many children stories, to name some :  The Princess and the pea and his famous one The Ugly duckling.
The Little Mermaid is not a big statue but just like the Manneken Piss in Brussels its world-famous and that’s why people want to see it.
I liked walking around the Rosenborg Castle which is in the middle of a nice Royal park belonging to the Danish Royal collection, just like the Royal Palaces at Amalienborg.
Close to the Rosenborg Castle, just a few streets away, you can find the Round Tower which is now an observation tower for a great view over the city.

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

Royal Palace Amalienborg

Royal Palace Amalienborg

Rosenborg Park

Rosenborg Park

Rosenborg Park Statue

Rosenborg Park Statue

The Round Tower

The Round Tower

inside the Roudn tower , that's how it goes up, no stairs, just climbing a wall

Inside the Round tower , that’s how it goes up, no stairs, just climbing a wall

View on Copenhagen from the roof of the Round Tower

View on Copenhagen shopping street  from the roof of the Round Tower

View on Copenhagen from the roof of the Round Tower

View on Copenhagen from the roof of the Round Tower

From Castle Island where the Christiansborg Castle stands and the stock exchange building I crossed the Knippelsbro bridge to another part of the city “Christianshavn where the Our saviors church stands with its amazing tower. It’s the church with the nicest tower hard to miss. Just 1 block further lays the freetown of Christiania which is an old hippy town , a self-declared republic, they sell weed here and since that is illegal you can’t take pictures, only a few at the entrance of this Freetown. Some nice graffiti is what I saw,  to bad that I have been constantly watched by some weirdos who wondered what the hell I lost over there and maybe waiting for me to break the rules of not taking pictures, to smash my camera to the ground like they did with some American tourists in the past (source tripadvisor).To be honest it’s not that special and to call this a country you must be really screwed up in your head. Been there done that, not much else to say about this place.

Crossing the Bridge into Christianshavn

Crossing the Bridge into Christianshavn

The Our Saviour Church in Christianshavn

The Our Savior Church in Christianshavn

This is the Christiania Flag Red with 3 yellow dots, only someone who must have smoked allot of weed could have invented this flag.

This is the Christiania Flag Red with 3 yellow dots, only someone who must have smoked a lot of weed could have invented this flag.

Some of the graffiti

Some of the graffiti

The 3rd and last night in Copenhagen I went to the Tivoli Amusement park, it was closed the first days but has been re-opened for the Christmas period. I was lucky it opened just the evening before I had to leave. Because it was the opening of the parks Winter season the place was crowded, people everywhere but it’s a must do when you are here, since it’s the second oldest theme park in the world (1843) and the most visited one in Scandinavia.
This park was also an inspiration to Walt Disney. He visited the park in the early 50’ies and a few years later in 1955 he opened his first Disneypark in Anaheim California ‘Disneyland’.
The oldest theme park in the world is Dyrehavsbakken (1583) about 10km north of Copenhagen near Klampenborg. Looks as the Danes were the founders of the theme parks something I didn’t know before going to Denmark.

Tivoli

Tivoli

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Penjikent to Dushanbe

PENJIKENT

From Istaravshan I continued my journey in Tajikistan to the very far west of the country to Penjikent passing the Anzob pass, mountains so high and valleys so deep made it a scary ride, but the most scaring part was to cross the 5km long tunnel of death, the tunnel is not completely finished, the cause are the many construction problems during the years.
it’s dark inside like in every tunnel but with dark I mean really dark no light at all, only the lights from the cars in front of you or coming from the opposite direction, there are no lights on the side like in most tunnels, holes in the ground, flooded with water makes it even more hard to drive normally. It was a crazy experience. Because of the narrow tunnels and no ventilation system there is the danger to suffocate, when your car breaks down carbon monoxide poisoning can happen and it already brought deaths with it in the past.
Happy to made it out of this tunnel. It wasn’t really worth it to come to this part of Tadjikistan cause in Penjikent there is not much to see, I have been in one little museum where there were no other visitors but me and my Tajik guide who was with me the whole trip, the most interesting historical pieces found in this area are to be seen in the big national museum of Tadjikistan in the capital city Dushanbe.

Mosaic fresco's Penjikent

Mosaic fresco’s Penjikent

Approaching the "Tunnel of Death"

Approaching the “Tunnel of Death”

Inside the dark tunnel

Inside the dark tunnel

Penjikent

Penjikent

Somoni statue Penjikent

Somoni statue Penjikent

Statue of a local Tadjik women pilot of the USSR army who died in the 2nd World War

Statue of a local Tadjik women pilot of the USSR army who died in the 2nd World War

Dushanbe would be my next Tadjik city to visit and the end of my trip in this country, but before that, I visited the Iskanderkul Lake on my way to Dushanbe.
It’s a Lake surrounded by the Fann Mountains in a triangle shape and nowadays a natural reserve with water meadows and forests.
Iskander means Alexander and Kul means Lake in Tajik, referring to Alexander the Great, once the ruler of a big empire where Tadjikistan was part of.

Iskanderkul Reserve

Iskanderkul Reserve

Iskanderkul Lake

Iskanderkul Lake

Fann Mountains

Fann Mountains

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Dilovar Homestay near Iskanderkul

Dilovar Homestay near Iskanderkul in a Mountainous village

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Finally Dushanbe

Dushanbe is a big city and after a journey through the mountain areas it was nice to take a rest in a city and just chill. I went to the national museum of Tadjikistan, it was a saturday and very crowded with students and schoolchildren visiting the big museum with 3 levels. It was funny to see some Tajiks taking the escalators to another level, some have never been on an escalator and were scared to go first, it was a real adventure for some, cute to watch those Tadjiks having all the fun and time of their life for something this simple.
The museum is a must when you’re in Dushanbe.

Tadjikistan flag

Tadjikistan flag

The Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace

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Monument with on top the Tadjikistan national emblem

Somoni monument

Somoni monument

Rudaki Monument

Rudaki Monument

"The National Museum of Tadjikistan"

“The National Museum of Tadjikistan”

Park with paddle boats just outside the National Musem

Park with paddle boats just outside the National Museum

 

Hissar

Some 15 km out of the city I visited the Hissar fortress which was being renovated to make it look better for tourists and also here there was a bus with students visiting the fortress just when I was about to leave.
Here I saw more locals visiting the sightseeing places then it was the case in Khujand, but I think it had a lot to do with it being a weekend here in Dushanbe.
Just like in Khujand there is a big statue of Ismael Somoni, only this one is in the centre of the City near the Rudaki park and the Presidential palace.

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Sangin Mosque seen from the Hissar fortress

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Locals visiting the place

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Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas !

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Las Vegas is one of the craziest places in the world, maybe the craziest. Crazy people, party’s, shows, the whole atmosphere, the annoying sounds of the slotmachines constantly ringing in your head a soon as you enter a casino. I was 3 times in Vegas, the first 2 times in (2000 & 2003) I only spend there 1 day and night, in 2011 I stayed there for 5 days and had some more time to enjoy this place, to go out and party in the Palms.
Been to the Ghostbar,The Moon Penthouse nightclub and the Playboy club.
Club54 in the MGM is also a great place to go party hard 🙂
The Casino hotels I stayed in were :

  1. “Four Queens Casino Hotel” in the Downtown area
  2. Circus Circus (on The Strip)
  3. Hilton Hotel Casino at the Las Vegas Boulevard
  4. The Monte Carlo Resort & Casino (on the Las Vegas Strip)

I did visit all the old casino’s in the Downtown area and on the Strip, even the Palms and the Rio all-suites hotel and Casino which are both located off the Strip and way further than all the rest.

Downtown Las Vegas (the old Vegas) - I revisited the 4 Queens Hotel where I stayed in 2000

Downtown Las Vegas (the old Vegas) 2011 – I revisited the 4 Queens Hotel where I stayed in 2000

In Vegas you can do everything on foot, but it will cost you hours, although I did it cause I wanted to see every casino and I couldn’t feel my feet anymore afterwards.
Sometimes I took the monorail, There is more than one monorail in Vegas between the casino’s, like the one going from the Monte Carlo Hotel (where I stayed last time) to the Bellagio Hotel & Casino which is free and the monorail going from the Mandalay Bay to the Excalibur with a stop in the Luxor Hotel and Casino.

Belaggio with the dancing fountains

Bellagio with the dancing fountains

Excalibur

Excalibur

Inside the MGM casino

Inside the MGM casino

New York New York with the Rollercoaster

New York New York with the Rollercoaster and Statue of Liberty

New York New York Casino Hotel

New York New York Casino Hotel

Luxor

Luxor

The Las Vegas Strip with the Paris Hotel and Casino

The Las Vegas Strip with the Paris Hotel and Casino

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Venice Hotel and Casino Resort, the nicest of all Casino’s

outside Venice Casino, you can take a gongondola boat just like in Italy

outside Venice Casino, you can take a gondola boat just like in Italy

Inside the Venice Hotel ceiling fresco's just like in Italy :)

Inside the Venice Hotel ceiling fresco’s just like in Italy 🙂

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Inside Venice Las Vegas

Inside Venice Las Vegas

Inside the Venice Hotel at night, the sky turns dark

Inside the Venice Hotel at night, the sky turns dark

Caesar's Palace during a very hot day

Caesars Palace during a very hot day

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View from the Ghostclub balcony over the Las Vegas Boulevard The Strip

View from the Ghostclub balcony  @Palms over the Las Vegas Boulevard The Strip

Playboyclub at the Palms Casino

Playboyclub at the Palms Casino

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I enjoyed my stay in Vegas so much things you can do, you can gamble, go on a rollercoaster in the New York New York, see a show or concert, take a helicopter tour over the Strip at night, etc,…

During the day you can do some shopping all the big brands are present. I did some shopping, stayed at the hotel to swim, fitness, play some games at the casino (mostly on the slots) and made an excursion to the Hoover Dam which is only 48 km outside Vegas.
The Hoover dam was once the biggest dam in the world border between Nevada and Arizona in the black canyon of the Colorado river.
In 2000 and 2003 I visited the Glen Canyon Dam in Page northern Arizona also on the Colorado River. The Hoover dam is a little more impressive cause it’s bigger, but both places are worth a visit. If you visit Lake Powell you will have to cross Page anyway and will pass the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge from which you will have a great view on the Glen Canyon Dam.
Back to the Hoover Dam now, you can walk on the dam and look down to see how deep it is or from the building next to the bridge which has a nice viewpoint.

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Sign inside the Hoover Dam

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Generators inside the powerhouse of the Hoover Dam

 

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Hoover Dam

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Lake Titicaca

One of the places I absolutely enjoyed in Peru was Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world (3800m) surrounded by the mountains of the Andes forming a natural border between Peru and Bolivia. I left the town of Puno and visited the Uros Islands on the lake, one of the many floating islands made by reeds, the houses by the Uros people who live on these Islands are also made of reeds just like their little boats.
On Island Taquile another Island not made of reeds this time, I had lunch and some time to hike around the Island and climb to the top, chewing on coca leaves to cope with the high altitude. Very nice Island with amazing views from all different angles and specially when reaching the top to have a 360 view. That’s when you realize how big this lake is.

Lake Titicaca floating Islands

Lake Titicaca floating Islands

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nice lookout tower in the form of a fish, all made of reeds

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Here I am on a typical Uros Island

Here I am on a typical Uros Island

let's have a look what's cooking

let’s have a look what’s cooking

lookout Tower

lookout Tower

view from Uros lookout tower

view from Uros lookout tower

House of reeds

House of reeds

Inside of the house

Inside of the house

Local selling her handicrafts to the tourists

Local selling her handicrafts to the tourists

nice boat of reeds bringing me from one floating island to the other

nice boat of reeds bringing me from one floating island to the other

enjoying a Peruvian Cusquena beer on the roof of the motorboat taking me to the Taquile Island.

Enjoying a Peruvian Cusquena beer on the roof of the motorboat taking me to the Taquile Island

Taquile Island

Taquile Island

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On top of some building from where I could see the mountains in Bolivia

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Yucatan

The Grand Bahia Principe Tulum was the All Inclusive resort I stayed in at the Riviera Maya near Tulum in the east part of Mexico, Yucatan area. I’m not the kind of tourist that stays in all-inclusive hotels but in this part of Mexico it was a good option, close to the beach and easy to arrange excursions from the hotel. The resort had everything restaurants, buffets, great swimming pools, private beaches etc,… the most important were the several travel agencies in the hotel gathered in one big room.
Here I booked excursions to Coba,Tulum Ruins, Uxmal (link) and Chichén Itzá.

TULUM

Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins

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COBA

Coba pyramid in the jungle

Coba pyramid in the jungle

This is me halfway the steep steps

This is me halfway the steep steps

view down

view down

view from the top over the jungle area

view from the top over the jungle area

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VISITING ONE OF THE 7 WORLD WONDERS CHICHEN ITZA

The most known Mayan site with El Castillo as most famous pyramid or temple however you want to call it, with its 4 stairways. It belongs to the new 7 wonders of the world.

If this is justified or not I don’t know since I have seen other things that are more impressive to be considered as a world wonder such as Machu Picchu in Peru, the Great wall of China and the Pyramids in Egypt. Although I think that the pyramids or temples in Mexico like Uxmal,El Castillo and Teotihuacan are all much nicer than those in Egypt.

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CHICHEN ITZA – El Castillo

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Temple of warriors

Temple of warriors

nice colorful masks at Chichen Itza

nice colorful masks at Chichen Itza

Wooden sculptures, souvenirs on sale at Chichen Itza

Wooden sculptures, souvenirs on sale at Chichen Itza

 

The Grand Bahia Principe Resort

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private beach at the hotel resort

private beach at the hotel resort

in the jacuzzi pool

in the jacuzzi pool

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