A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about europe

2020

what just happened?

sunny 80 °F
View Turkey 2020 & Montana & Wyoming 2020 & 14ers 2017+ & Colorado and Utah 2020 & Israel 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

Looking Back

2020:
Well, that was an interesting year.
There was some things that were new and crazy like the pandemic and my truck getting stolen and totaled. Meanwhile other things stayed the same just like any other year with camping, hiking, biking, running, volleyball, moving, and road trips.

Most activities this year was somehow affected by COVID related news, including working remotely for 41 weeks of the year. I had several concerts, events, and international travel cancelled. The trips would have been to Italy, Croatia, Austria, Canada, and the Cayman Islands.

However that allowed me to take more US based trips. I was able to check out a lot of National Parks included Rocky Mountain, Colorado Monument, Dinosaur Monument, Arches, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons. Plus had the time to see a lot of family, friends, and enjoy hobbies (all at a distance of course).

Well, here's the review:

Activities

Things that happened in 2020:

Big Travels

Quick Trips

Challenges

Events & other activities

  • moved to downtown Denver - February
  • had 4Runner stolen, along with all my camping and outdoor gear, to be found a week later totaled and trashed by drug addicts - August
  • concerts: none
  • races: none
  • volleyball, biking, running, walking, hiking
  • Denver Travel Show
  • Prudence turned 3 - August

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 03:21 Archived in USA Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes trees museums nature travel california colorado mountain egypt turkey utah camp africa usa rockies festival hike bike israel europe asia denver qatar roadtrip montana wyoming macedonia ultra challenge sup nationalparks 14er 2020 murktravels in_review fkkt Comments (0)

Skopje 2020 - North Macedonia

and Ohrid

sunny 50 °F
View Turkey 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

As an add-on to the Turkey trip, we spent a few days in Macedonia. We had time to check out Skopje (capital and city of statues), Mavrovo Lake and National Park, Matka Canyon, and Ohrid.

Recommend:

  • Day trip to Ohrid to see Lake Ohrid, the fortress and roman ruins, and the Church of Saint Clement
  • Matka Canyon hike
  • Senigallia boat hotel and the Old House restaurant in Skopje

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and for this trip: Macedonia album

There are LOTS of statues around town. We stop counting after a thousand. They are on every bridge and building and street corner.
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There are also many ruins of forts, castles, and roman theaters around the country.

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And many ornate church buildings

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And opportunity to enjoy nature and small towns.

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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 20:26 Archived in Macedonia Tagged churches nature europe nationalparks 2020 northmacedonia Comments (0)

Istanbul 2020 - Turkey

Turkey for Thanksgiving - the country not the bird

sunny 40 °F
View Turkey 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

After being mostly contained all year (minus some road trips, camping, hiking, and seeing family) we decided it was time to break out of the country. It wasn't an easy decision. To travel during a pandemic, knowing that if everyone wouldn't have traveled anywhere for a month at the start of this thing, it would be over long ago.
We considered the safety of travel; however we, the airlines, the hotels, and almost everyone we interacted with took great precautions.
We considered the impacts to family and friends and even strangers; but we quarantined before and after and got tested several times.
We considered the financial impacts; it wasn't that much for us, but it was a huge difference to the groups we talked to that rely on tourism to live.

Our trip included a flight from Denver to DC, then a long ride to Doha Qatar. Once there, we couldn't leave the airport, so managed overnight there before heading onto Istanbul Turkey. We were in Turkey for Turkey Day ... although we ended up eating lamb instead. During the day was some sight seeing, and during night for a week or so was working, back on Denver time.

But then there was a full week of vacation. It included seeing more of Istanbul. It is such an interesting city where Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all meet and have cultural influence. I also spent a few days in the Cappadocia region. It's pretty much right in the middle of the country and is known for the fairy chimney rock formations and the underground cities and churches carved into that same rock.

We took a hot air balloon ride, visited countless mosques, had great local food, witnessed talented artists making Turkish rugs and pottery by hand, tasted local wine, toured underground cisterns, museums, castles, churches, did some shopping and bartering at the bazaars, slept in a cave (hotel), experienced a Turkish full service bath (hammam), and again ate some really good food.

We also add a few days of the vacation in North Macedonia.

Recommend - Istanbul:

  • Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Galata Tower - to watch the sunset
  • Dolmabache Palace
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Kadikoy & Moda
  • full Hammam experience

Recommend - Cappadocia:

  • watching a sunrise with a hot air balloon ride over the region
  • Goreme Open Air Museum
  • views from Uchisar castle
  • underground city tour

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and for this trip : Turkey album

Cappadocia
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Dolmabahce Palace
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views around Istanbul
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Beyazit and Ortakoy Mosques
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Istanbul at sunset from Galata Tower
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Links

MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Vimeo - 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 20:43 Archived in Turkey Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises churches boats museums travel turkey wine europe asia 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

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)

Malmo 2019 - Sweden

a Swedish city

overcast 55 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

the stopover

I took the early train from Stockholm (6am) to Copenhagen and decided to take a pit stop in Malmo. It sits right across the water from Denmark and Copenhagen city. I spent most of a day there and you can easily see the highlights within that time. Although I had a little more trouble that I thought I would storing my bag for the day as I walked around town. The train center has plenty of luggage storage, there just a little hidden.

That's what I thought of Malmo. It seems to have plenty to offer, you just need to find the hidden gems. The easiest to see from almost anywhere in the city is the twisting torso tower (picture below). I didn't get to tour it, but saw it from afar and walked right by it. Also easy to find on the map is the beach, piers, and park called Ribersborgsstranden, east of the city center.

Other touristy areas that I checked out were the Malmo castle (kinda bland) and the nearby Slottsträdgården and Kings garden (a little more interesting with the windmill pictured below). They have a technology museum to counter the old street cars used for public transit, and St Peter's church to mark the city center. There are 2 town squares providing shopping, food, people watching, and space for festivals. They're also conveniently right next to each other and known as Stortorget and Lilla Torg.

Recommend:

  • walk around Ribersborgsstranden park and piers
  • Stortorget and Lilla Torg
  • shopping on Södergatan street

Some of my favorite photos:

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Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
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 14:11 Archived in Sweden Tagged me skylines trains markets sweden europe murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Stockholm 2019 - Sweden

Swedish capital

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

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)

Lofoten 2019 - Norway

Norway, above the arctic circle

storm 45 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

link to the related Norway post from my time in Oslo

overview

My first sailing journey.

I headed from Oslo to Svolvaer in northern Norway, above the arctic circle. This is in the Lofoten region consisting of a pensinula and lots of islands sticking into the north Atlantic. It has a long history of islands, sailing, fishing, incredible natural environment, and fjords. Myself and a small group spent a week on board a sailing catamaran.

We checked out several fjords; which of course are long, narrow, deep inlets of the sea between high cliffs typically formed by submergence of a glaciated valley. The first and most impressive was Trollfjord. The last and equally beautiful was Ulvagfjord. The entire landscape of the region is unique with the dramatic rising of steep cliff walls onto rocky and jagged peaks. All of this is wrapped in a vibrant green coating of trees and moss and shrubs. On the few areas that are a bit flat are the coastal towns, the occasional sheep farm, or even a few beach sites. But since the locals thrive on the fishing industry, you'll see lots of harbors, ships, fish drying racks, and water based businesses.

One of the nights, we spent glamping in teepees. Even woke up at 2 in the morning to catch glimpses of the northern lights. There we also got treated to an amazing meal from a local chef - cod and mackerel caught that day, some herbed potato mash, and the worlds best cake for dessert (it's actually named that; search it and be amazed).

Another couple of days were filled at the town of Henningsvaer. It's an artsy and hipster town, that got a bit of viral Instagram fame for it's soccer pitch on a rocky island. There's also several art shops, local craft and clothing stores, and a brick oven and sauna pub to spend time at. There's even about 25 posters around town that provide information on the history; most in Norwegian but they also have a code to scan to get translations.

Near the very end of the chain of islands is the town of Reine. It has a few places to check out in town, but the real draw is the hiking and views around the town. Despite some strong winds and rain, we trekked up to the top of Reinebringen to be amazed at the sight of islands, seascapes, towns, and mountains. The entire drive on Lofoton is covered by the E10 highway. If you take it, you can find some hidden lakes, fields, additional hiking, and some surf spots.

Recommend:

  • glamping on Skrova island
  • Reinebringen hike and views
  • Henningsvaer sights
  • Trollfjord and Ulvagfjord
  • fresh caught fish

Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Malmo Sweden
Stockholm Sweden
Oslo Norway

Relive Video

A hike around the fjord

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
or for this Lofoten trip: Norway album
some of my favorites:

The dramatic landscape from the water - sailing to Trollfjord
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The dramatic landscape from the land - hiking around Trollfjord
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Ulvagfjord
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rainbow during a sail and a hot tub with a view once we got to a destination camp on an island
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Our glamping site with multiple beach options
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The famous Henningsvaer soccer pitch and a sunset with some pizza
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A lonely but picturesque church in the countryside and some local beach graffiti art
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The stair hike up Reinebringen
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The view of Reine and surrounding towns and islands from near the top of Reinebringen
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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 14:53 Archived in Norway Tagged waterfalls lakes boats travel sailing camping europe boating norway challenge 2019 Comments (0)

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