Daytrip from Lisbon Sintra Cascais

While in Lisbon I did a daytrip to Pena, Sintra and Cascais, you can book this trip from any hotel or hostel as a half day trip or a full day trip. I took the half day trip but the trick is that it can save you money. Most people they go for the full day trip, so when a minivan arrived at my hotel to pick me up, the driver told me that since I was the only one who booked the half day tour, he will let me do the full day trip with the rest of the people on this tour at no extra charge. So I payed for half day excursion and got the full day, great deal for me and at the end of the trip I gave the driver some extra tip. Don’t know if this always works but I think it would be crazy for him to drive back to Lisbon to drop me off and then go back to do the rest of the tour with all the others.
The first visit in the cloudy and foggy morning was the Pena Palace. The colors and architecture of this palace which is situated in the middle of a park up hill makes this place look like it comes out of children’s fairy tale book.

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Palacio da Pena – try to find me 🙂

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incredibly detailed

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View from the Palace

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In the town of Sintra, I visited the Sintra National Palace with its big twin chimney’s and walked around the main square, had a lunch there and checked out the many souvenir shops in the narrow steeply streets.

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The Sintra National Palace

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Main square in Sintra

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The steeply streets with restaurants and souvenir shops

In the afternoon the sun came out and the fog and clouds disappeared, great moment to go to Cascais and visit Cabo da Roca and Boca do Inferno on our way.

Cabo da Roca is the most Western point of the European continent.

Cabo da Roca monument

Cabo da Roca monument

Monument that says it's the most Western point of Portugal and Europe

Monument that says it’s the most Western point of Portugal and Europe

Cliffs at Cabo da Roca

Cliffs at Cabo da Roca

Near Cascais is Boca do Inferno (Hell’s mouth). The Seawater slams into the rocky caves, it’s a popular place that attracts many visitors.

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Boca do Inferno

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Finally I arrived in the city of Cascais to enjoy the beach, watch the fisherman bringing in their catch of the day. Portugal is the place to be if you want to eat good fish, it’s what I’ve heard but then again I’m not a big fish eater so what do I know. To know you have to try it for yourself here in Cascais.

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many people at the beach on this beautiful day in Cascais

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Cascais

Cascais

Fishermen arriving in the port of Cascais

Fishermen arriving in the port of Cascais

nice catch ! From the sea to the restaurant :)

nice catch ! From the sea to the restaurant 🙂

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The port of Cascais

 

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.

 

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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Pol in Tiraspol

The old Soviet train was waiting in Odesa for me to come on board for the trip to Tiraspol the capital of the self-declared state of Transnistria within Moldova also known as PMR : Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. I was with the group of Youngpioneertours and had great fun on this “wodka train” we bought all the booze there was in the one and only bar in this old charming compartment and when we arrived we were a little light-headed but not drunk, maybe little tipsy.

train compartment with bar

train compartment with bar

 

Welcome in Transnistria !

People here speak Russian and feel Russian but their passport says Moldavian. They also have a Transnistrian passport but with this passport they can’t travel cause Transnistria isn’t a recognized country. I was here to visit the Capital of this unrecognized republic and to experience the Soviet feeling of this place.
They have their own Parliament and its here in the capital Tiraspol, in front there is a big Lenin statue.

The Parliament building with Lenin statue

The Parliament building with Lenin statue

It’s like time stood still, cause you get the feeling walking around this city like being in an old Soviet open air park kind of museum. Soviet symbols in the street, the old Soviet tank with the barrel pointing in the direction of Moldova.

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Putin is popular here

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The independence war memorial with its eternal flame, the statue of Suvorov a Russian general who founded the city in 1792, the Pobedi Park (Victory Park) and the Orthodox Nativity Church with the golden domes are just some sightseeings of the city I came across on my stroll around the streets of Tiraspol.

Eternal flame

Eternal flame

Independence war memorial monument

Independence war memorial monument

Pobedi Park entrance

Pobedi Park entrance

Soviet Symbol CCCP star

Soviet Symbol CCCP star

Suvorov statue

Suvorov statue

me on the Soviet tank

me on the Soviet tank

Russian Orthodox Church

Russian Orthodox Church

Lenin head

Lenin head

 

Kiev

Kiev was my 2nd Ukrainian city I’ve visited after Odesa. The only difference was that Odesa I visited in spring while Kiev was in november and it was pretty damn cold.
A long weekend to see the many Orthodox churches was enough to get an idea of the city. Kiev is a fantastic city I really enjoyed my time in this city. The first thing I did was to explore the near area to the hostel where I was staying, Pushkinskaya street not far from the Majdan square and close to Khreshchatyk street which is the main street in Kiev and since I was staying there in the weekend, the street was closed for traffic, always on weekends. The street leads to the Rainbow bridge monument and after the monument I had a long walk to the Vichnoyi Slavi Park on my way to the Lavra orthodox monastery and the Motherland Monument.
The St Sophia Cathedral with Bell Tower was one of my favorite buildings in Kiev together with the St Michael’s Golden-domed monastery and its frescoes on the outside walls.

Majdan square

Majdan square

Majdan

The main street of Kiev closed for traffic during weekends

The main street of Kiev closed for traffic during weekends

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge

USSR Monument of Unity of People

USSR Monument of Unity of People

Park

Vichnoyi Slavi Park

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The Lavra

The Lavra Bell Tower

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The Dormition Cathedral at Lavra

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The War Museum complex

The War Museum complex close to the Motherland statue

Motherland Monument

Motherland Monument

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St Sophia Belltower and Cathedral

St Sophia Bell tower and Cathedral

Here I am in the St Sophia Bell Tower

Here I am in the St Sophia Bell Tower

nice view on the St Sophia Cathedral from the Bell Tower

Nice view on the St Sophia Cathedral from the Bell Tower

View from St Sophie Bell Tower to the opposite St Michael Golden-dome

View from St Sophie Bell Tower to the opposite St Michael Golden-domed Monastery

St Michaels Monastery

St Michaels Monastery

Holy Orthodox Wall Frescoes

Holy Orthodox Wall Frescoes

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Ukraine

Odesa or Odessa depend if you want to speak it out in Ukrainian language or in Russian is a city at the Black Sea, it has an important port and is one of the nicest cities in Ukraine.
I stayed in Odesa (I will write it the Ukrainian way) close to Arcadia Beach.  Continue reading

Luxembourg

CLERVEAUX
On the way back of my European road trip (2010) that brought me and 2 of my friends to countries like Liechtenstein, Austria,Slovenia and Hungary I made a stop in Luxembourg before entering Belgium.
In the north of Luxembourg in Clerveaux. It was a very calm morning, no people in the streets and a good moment to just wander around town. In Clerveaux you can visit the abbey and church and the Clerveaux Castle.  Continue reading

Milestii Mici

Moldova is known for its wines and I decided to do a winetour, not that I’m a big wine drinker but I was curious enough to taste Moldovan wine.
One of the wineries you can take a tour to is “Milestii Mici” but it’s not just a winery, they have the largest wine collection in the world and are in the guinness book of records for that matter, something of which at Milestii Mici they are really proud of.  Continue reading

Amsterdam

I have visited the Netherlands or Holland as it is also called so many times that I lost count. It’s my northern neighbour country. In the north of the country is the capital Amsterdam and at school I learned about  Anna Frank and her diary. The way to picture the story of Anne Frank better is to go to Amsterdam to the place where she lived, the Anne Frank house which nowadays is a museum. I don’t know which one is the most famous the Anna Frank House and museum or the Rijksmuseum. I chose to see the Anna Frank house because of the stories that I learned in History class.
Other than that I walked around in Amsterdam on the dam square, the canals, the many weedshops and bars. This was just a day trip with a tourbus, leaving my country Belgium in the early morning and coming back at night.

holland

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holl

 

 

 

My special relationship with Poland

In my post “going back to the past” I wrote under Germany, that it was a transit country that I had to go through to go to for example Poland. After my home country, Poland is the country that I have been the most, it’s in 2nd place. Why is that ? Well Belgium and Poland are not neighbouring countries but my mom is Polish and my dad is Belgian (from Flanders the Dutch or Flemish speaking part of Belgium).
I have family in Poland and since I was little I went to Poland on vacation with my parents to visit my grandparents, nieces, nephews, uncle’s and aunts. I speak fluent Polish just like my native language which is Dutch.
Poland or Polska however you prefer is my 2nd home country, my name is Pol which ironically is Polska without the “ska” but Pol is also a Flemish name, so I guess it was an easy pick to call me Pol.
About Poland I can tell a lot of stories, mostly I go to the south of Poland to places like Opole (where I have family), Krakow (my Favorite city),Wroclaw.
A part from Gdansk, I can say I have been to the major cities in Poland like Poznan,Warsaw and the ones I mentioned above.
Poland has everything, the Baltic sea, the Tatra Mountains which form a border with Slovakia, ancient Krakow with the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the world-famous Historical non pleasant place the concentration camp of Auschwitz. The last one can be confronting but you should not be afraid to see a historical place no matter what terrible things happened there. Terrible things happened in Cambodia as well and you can visit museums about what took place over there aswell, not to mention the Maya temples in Mexico where humans were killed and sacrificed to honour the Gods.
I always like to go back to Poland and if anyone reading my blog is thinking about going to Europe but don’t know which countries to pick from, than put Poland on your list.

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

The Wawel Cathedral in Krakow 1999

The Dragon of Wawel spits fire

The Dragon of Wawel spits fire