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Copenhagen 2019 - Denmark

Danish capital

overcast 60 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

the Danes

What a very cool city. I can't even quite put into words the experience I had of exploring Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The Scandinavians use the hygge term to refer to a comfort and cozy feeling; it was like that but more hip, exciting, freedom, everyone's equal type vibe.
What makes Copenhagen so cool? It doesn't seem to try, but it just is. It's just enough classy (Tesla taxis) and enough trashy (the Christiana free town squatters) to make it all work together. There is an abundance of transit options: subway, commuter trains, boats, buses, walking, cars and the king of the road known as the bicycle. All of these seem to just work together.

I had almost no plans or research into the city. I knew I was staying near the center, and wanted to just see what I could stumble upon. I rented a bike for a few days to live like the locals. And even though there were several heavy rain downpours that I got caught in, I saw some interesting areas and sites. With minimal fanfare, that list of sites include among others:

  • the Kastellet fort
  • Rosenborg Castle
  • Kings Garden
  • King's New Square
  • Østre Anlæg Park
  • Ørsteds Park
  • Amalienborg Palace
  • the Free town of Christiania
  • Opera house
  • Amager strand
  • shopping streets
  • canals and islands
  • Tivoli amusement park
  • central station

Recommend:

  • renting a bike
  • Amager strand beach and park
  • Nyhavn
  • Strøget pedestrian shopping street
  • bars and restaurants of Westerbro

Some of my favorite photos:

One of the many waterfront picture scenes you can see around town
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A waterfront neighborhood near Christiana Free town
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The New Harbor - Nyhavn
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Trip Map

related:
Malmo Sweden
Stockholm Sweden
Lofoten Norway
Oslo Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 14:51 Archived in Denmark Tagged me trains museums travel castle capital europe denmark copenhagen murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Stockholm 2019 - Sweden

Swedish capital

sunny 60 °F
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the median

I'm going to make a disclaimer right away, that I do really like Stockholm. It may not seem like it from the post, but I would take the opportunity to go back. Seems like a fantastic city to live in and experience for a longer time. I was only there a day and a half.

My initial thought as I was walking around the metro is that Stockholm is Europe's most average city.
• Its clean but not sparkling. Dirty but not trashy. Somewhere on the scale between Copenhagen and Naples.
• There are green spaces but not excessive in quality or quantity. Above Antwerp, but it's no Dublin.
• You'll see some sculptures and fountains, but nothing that people flock to like Trevi in Rome.
• The Royal places are spread around town, mostly plain looking and among other buildings; no Buckingham Palace experience.
• The cityscape is generally the same level with homogeneous looking blocks and structures. It doesn't match the endless supply of spires like Prague, but there are a couple.

The people thrive in mediocrity too.
• Not taller like the Dutch, but not shorter than average either.
• They're nice but not in an outgoing manner like. Straight forward but not bluntly British.
• They stroll and live casually but don't shut down for Spanish-esque siestas.
• A fair number of the populace enjoy their fashion, smoking and cafes, but pale in comparison work the Parisians.
• Its a mix of socialism and consumerism. Ikea style shops for electronics, home improvement, clothes, sports.

I only had a day, so I made the most of it and walked all around the city center. Stockholm is a bit of a shopping haven and there's lots of pedestrian streets with shops, mega malls, and little out of the way center. The main ones are: Drottninggatan, Biblioteksgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan, the Gallarian, and NK Stockholm, which are generally in the Norrmalm neighborhood and east of the main train station.

Although most of the Gamla Stan island, also has a lot of shopping, but it's more known for the royal buildings, nobel museum and views of the surrounding harbor and islands. In nearby neighborhoods are the city hall, kings garden, observatory, history museum, modern art museum, Vasa museum, and Skansen. I would easily recommend them all.

While I was there, the city marathon was taking place so I got to witness a bunch of runners throughout the town and several markets and exhibits set up for that. There was also a large food truck and music festival going on. There was some delicious food from all over the world represented and I had several meals there.

Recommend:

  • Drottninggatan pedestrian mall
  • Gamla Stan island
  • park by City Hall

Some of my favorite photos:
The city panoramic view from a hike I found.
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The park and waterfront by the town hall.
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The historic Gamla Stan island buildings.
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Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Malmo Sweden
Lofoten Norway
Oslo Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 13:34 Archived in Sweden Tagged me bridges churches art boats museums stockholm sweden castle capital europe cold murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Osaka 2019 - Japan

sumo-tastic

sunny 70 °F
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party town

One immediate difference from Kyoto, is that Osaka is a party town. It's a gritty town (in terms of overall spotlessly clean Japan), where bars and lounges and shopping is open late, there's sketchy alleyways, and a buzzing energy to the city alive with people looking for their version of a great night.

not so classic Japan

We stayed in the Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori neighborhood where nearly every building had one if not all five floors containing a small bar (4-12 person), mostly with people singling karaoke and drinking heavily. We checked out the Amerikana area with shops selling vintage american style 80's wear, with some local Japanese stores mixed in. There was also a modern zoo and entertainment center near the developing Tennoji metro stop. We wandered some local markets that looked like a permanent garage sale spot, and saw the worlds largest ferris wheel ride. There was a lot in Osaka that was nothing like the sites we can to accept as normal Japan in Tokyo and Kyoto.

still classic Japan

We did also see some more typical Japanese items. There was the Shitennoji temple and pagoda, the Osaka park with it's blooming cherry trees, the Osaka castle, and delicious fresh fish and noodle restaurants (and one where we tried Kobe beef). And perhaps the most traditional Japanese event, was the national sumo tournament we got to witness.

There were 30+ match-ups that we saw throughout the full day tournament. It was one out of 15 days that the tournament lasts to determine the best of the best. There are several levels of skill that the wrestlers progress through and the talent got better and better later into the day. Each match up lasted about 5 minutes. Most of that was a warm up ceremony. It consisted of an official yelling out some commands that instructed the wrestlers of the stages of stretching, throwing lucky salt powder, going into several trial stances, and then the final actual battle. It was a furious and brutal flash of pushing, slapping, throwing, grunting. And yet it was balanced with such nimbleness and agility. There was also incredible sportsmanship with no anger at losing and no gloating at winning. Each match started and ended with bows and the contestants peacefully walking into and out of the platform. Quite an experience.

Recommend:

  • sumo tournament
  • Dotonbori nightlife and river walk
  • America village
  • Shitennoji

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Sumo Videos

Ceremony
Entrance of wrestlers
Warmup practices
Big Battle
Long Battle

Pictures

Osaka castle
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Ferris Wheel
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Sumo tournament
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 01:10 Archived in Japan Tagged parties trains japan castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

Kyoto and Hakone 2019 - Japan

history in real life

overcast 60 °F
View Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

classic spa

After leaving Tokyo, we headed to the area of Odawara and Hakone, to spend the night at a ryokan. It's a traditional Japanese inn, involving shoes off, straw mat floors, mattress on floor for bedding, tea ceremony, traditional meals, with kimono-like robes ... all very authentic. There was also public and private onsens (hot springs water spa) available. It was very relaxing. The one we chose was also close to the Japanese museum for the Little Prince book, including a replica French town and information about the author's life. Sharon is a big fan, so we checked that out before hopping another bullet train (Shinkansen) to the former capital of Kyoto.

classic Japan

Kyoto, the very historic and ancient Japanese city. It's well known for all the shrines, temples, and religious sites. Here we saw a lot of locals and families dressed in traditional kimonos and clothes. First up was a smaller Buddhist temple that we randomly stumbled upon taking a back way (a less crowded way) to a more famous site. I don't even remember the name of it (Otani?), but it was very peaceful. Then onto a large packed site of Kiyomizu-dera. It has a very instagram infamous temple balcony as well as several pagodas. It's part of the UNESCO world heritage site within Kyoto made up of several temple grounds. We then wandered around the historic area of Gion and found the Hokanji temple pagoda (which was a famous picture we used as the background photo of our trip plan).

Our second day in Kyoto involved a quick train ride a little south of town center. That took us to Fushimi Inari. It's a mountain (really a small hill, compared to Colorado living) that is covered in orange torii gates as memorials to relatives that have passed away. Some are huge enough to walk through (they go over the pathways), while others are small hand held versions just laying around. There's miles of trails and tens of thousands of the gates. We walked to the top of the mountain and had some great views of the city. We ended our time in the city at Nishiki market. It had all authentic local food and crafts, and not so tourist based souvenir junk seen at a lot of popular markets in Japan.

Recommend:

  • a stay at a ryoken w/ an onsen
  • Kiyomizu-dera
  • Fushimi Inari
  • timing - if you're really into temples and history you could spend a week here. we only had a couple partial days to see some of the famous sites that were relatively close to the train station. but there's a ton more that was on our list that we could have done if there was more time: silver pagoda, bamboo forest, golden temple, parks, philosophers walk

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Pictures

View of Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera
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the Gion pagoda
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orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 02:12 Archived in Japan Tagged churches skylines trains nature japan temple travel castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

Christmas Markets part 3 - 2017 - Germany

Munich

snow 26 °F
View Germany 2017 on MurkTravels's travel map.

Cities and Castles

Our final destination on our tour of Germany was the large metro and capital of Bavaria, Munich. It has so much history and tourist attraction options, it's tough to summarize what your options are. This is the second time I've spent 3 or 4 days in Munich and mostly saw all new stuff this time and still haven't run out of things to check out. This time included a couple day trips a little further outside the main city center.

We went north to check out the Dachau concentration camp memorial site. Another day we headed south to check out some of the most well known German castles and their local small villages.

Highly recommend:

  • Marienplatz
  • Christmas markets
  • Dachau memorial
  • Linderhof castle
  • Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles
  • Theresenweise / Oktoberfest grounds

Other sites to check out:

  • 1972 Olympic site
  • Nymphenburg palace
  • BMW museum
  • Royal Residence & theater
  • Hofbrauhaus and other brew pubs
  • several local churches, universities, museums, markets, and parks

Trip Map

Pictures

Munich Christmas markets
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Bavaria countryside & Oberammergau Passion Play site (only happens once every 10 years since the 15th century)
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Linderhof castle
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Hohenschwangau castle
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Neuschwanstein castle
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Videos

The Hofbrauhaus beer hall

Linderhof castle

Neuschwanstein castle

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempted at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 19:43 Archived in Germany Tagged markets beer nature hiking travel germany christmas castle festival europe munich 2017 Comments (0)

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