Life, Uncategorized

Welcome to vikinggoesglobal.com!

Hello, again!

I’m sitting at Newcastle Airport about to board a flight to Copenhagen and then onwards to Stockholm where I will spend time with SwedishCar in a Christmasified city, but because I had a little time before my flight (as you do)  I thought I would explain the sudden change of name and the domain.

The Blog
I’ve been writing blogs on and off since I was about 13, ranging from book blogs, to geek lifestyle blogs to journal blogs to now this. A travel blog. I never imagined I would write a travel blog, but here I am. The Northern Norwegian, small town girl viking is going global.  I went abroad on my own (sort of) for the first time when I was 16 and a small group of students from my school got to go on a cultural exchange week. I stayed with a Hungarian family for a week all by myself and it was the scariest, but also most thrilling thing I had ever done.

When I was 18 I decided to leave my small town in Northern Norway and move to England to go to university and since then  a whole world has opened up. Cheap flights and trains led me to explore England & Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden,  Paris, The Netherlands and Tunisia. In my two and a half years of living abroad I have travelled as much as money (I’m only a poor student after all) and time would allow and in the coming year I am going to travel further than I ever have when I go to Rio De Janeiro. 13 countries visited and counting more every year. It’s not an awful lot, but I am only 21 and it’s me doing what  I know to be one of the things that let me live a full life. Travel is becoming an integral part of who I am and what I value. I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of things, as they say.  This viking girl is slowly, but surely,  going global and this blog is going to come along with me through all of it.

The Domain
I’ve never had a domain before. I’ve always wanted one and sometimes even been about to press the “buy” button to get one, but never committed to it. I’ve never known what my voice was. I’m not even sure I know now, but instead of giving up like I have done previously this time I am determined to keep practicing my writing and my thinking until I find it. I have a voice. I have a voice and it is a fierce one, but I haven’t really figured out how to express it. Practice makes perfect I guess and this time I am determined to find my creative voice and use it. We all have a voice, we just need to figure out how to channel it and hopefully this blog and making youtube videos is going to be the way for I channel mine.

In the coming week or so I will be trying out some new website designs. I will be testing out what works and doesn’t work, trying to decide what format I prefer. I hope you can excuse the chaotic situation on the blog until then and come along on this ride with me. It might be a bumpy one to begin with, but it is going to be so very very fun too.

Much love, Cathrine xxx

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Europe, Italy, Travel

Exploring Northern Italy – Tuscany, Assisi and Venice

With our base in Florence for 10 days we took the opportunity to explore other cities in Tuscany as well as Venice and Assisi. This seemed to work well as it allowed us to have a steady base, but also see so much of the nature in lovely Northern Italy as we crossed back and forth by train 🙂

Assisi

It wasn’t our first day trip, but it was certainly the most emotional one so this gets go first. We got there by train and local bus, but while we were there we saw quite a few tour buses so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a company doing trips there. Assisi is a tiny village in the Umbria region in Northern Italy. It is famous for being the birth place of Saint Francis of Assis as well as several other religious figures. For such a tiny village, it sure has a lot of churches (notably Church of San Pietro for examples) , and for this reason as well as visitors being able to visit the tomb of St.Francis it has become a place of pilgrimage.

Must Do: Walk to the very top of the village, next to a fortress of sorts, and take in the view. It is breathtaking.

It is a beautiful little village, quiet and traditional, despite the occasional souvenir shop. Or maybe not souvenir shops, but more like shops for religious mementos and figures. It was very clear that though small, it has been, and still is a religious centre. This said, I have never considered myself particularly religious, always believing in “something” but never God as we know him. A higher power yes, a man who created all of earth, no. I still had one of the most emotional experiences of my life when I entered the Holy site of St. Francis tomb. Laura and I  walked into the round room and sat down, a little way apart from each other. It was quiet and I thought of my late Grandfather and sent some thoughts his way. I sent some thoughts to my friends and family. And then I looked at the tomb and started crying. Not hysterically, and not audibly, but tears were running at a steady pace down my face and I felt so much grief. Overwhelming grief. Like the entire room contained the grief of centuries of people mourning the loss of the patron saint of Italy.  I won’t go into it more than that, but I will say this : I walked out of the room and out of the church and felt lighter than I had in years. That silent church room felt peaceful and safe and the emotional release that happened in it stayed with me for a long time.

Monterosso – Cinque Terre Coast

We were only going to go to the beach one day to relax a little by recommendation of Nadine (our host at the B&B) but once we got there we decided to go back for another day. Who knew that such a tropical looking and feeling beach could be found so far north?  Monterosso al mare is the biggest of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre coastline. Now, we had spent so much time exploring other cities that when we got to Monterosso we spotted the beach and decided to just stay there. It didn’t help that it was very very warm for the season and lying straight out soaking up some sun seemed like the best plan of action. We enjoyed it immensely, despite me getting a severe sunburn on my legs after going for a dip, and I know I want to go back there and see more.  Only this year the Cinque Terre coast line and the villages along it have become the “it” place to be and now everyone who is anyone have explored the five villages and my Instagram timeline is all Italy. It has become evident that we missed out on some spectacular views, but that just means I have an excuse to go back. As if I need an excuse 😛

Venice

One of the cities we really were looking forward to visit was World Heritage Site Venice. The city that is not a city exactly, but rather hundreds of little islands that all together make up the rocky foundation of a city. Gondolas, the architecture, the picturesque river “streets”, it all came together and offered a wholly romantic experience. I didn’t question the honeymoon destination stamp for a minute, because everything screamed romanticised nostalgia and historical grandeur. It was gorgous, but quiet, if one walked out of the steam of tourist (the Norwegian herring in a bucket metaphor has never been more appropriate).

It also felt like a ghost city. We took a wrong turn on purpose and ended up in no mans land. Only old buildings and quiet waters. No life in the windows and no life in the streets. The historical grandeur was still present, but it became aerie. The emptiness of the vast city compared to what it must have been like was loud and intrusive, but an experience in itself. Venice was an odd mix of bustling tourism and absolute silence, but it was all together beautiful.

Lucca and Bologna

The other two cities we visited were Lucca and Bologna. Lucca is known in particular for the historical Renaissance city walls. We spent hours walking the pedestrian paths on the wall and enjoying the view of the architecture. When lunch time rolled around we had followed the maps to the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a square that used to be an old amphitheater, but is a shopping and food centre today. We sat down at a café and spent time people watching, soaking up the smells and the sounds and the rapid Italian flying around all around the square.

Must Visit Tip : Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a wonderful square full of life and colour, cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops if you go looking for postcards.

Bologna is another historical city, but this one is arguably most known for the use of arches in the architecture. Bologna is also the place of origin of Bolognese, but arguably not the Dolmio kind, as when we had some bolognese in Bologna it tasted heavenly. The food we ate in Bologna was as Italian as it gets and there were so so many places to choose from. If you prefer a menu in English some restaurants do offer that, but often restaurants that cater to locals more than tourists are cheaper so take that into consideration!

Our 12 days in Rome, Florence and Tuscany were some of the best days of my life and we couldn’t have asked for better weather or better hosts. Impressions for a lifetime, but just a taster of what Italy has to offer.  I can’t wait to go back one day, hopefully not too far in the future. Xxx

Europe, Italy, Travel

Italy: Sightseeing Rome & The Best Gelato In Town

Oh, Rome, oh Rome, how I love you!  Right after my Epic Ireland Adventure last year I packed my bags again and headed off to Italy for 12 days with my Brazilian friend Laura (the one I will be visiting in Rio de Janeiro next year whiii). Our first stop was Rome and we had three days to explore the city. Neither of us had ever been to Italy or to Rome before so we came open to any and all impressions and was delighted by everything we saw.

Our first day was spent doing general sightseeing and getting a feel of the city and the public transport. We quickly checked off the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain with its surrounding cobblestone streets, the Pantheon and a couple of famous Piazzas (squares) from our “to see” list and of course we ended the day with a pasta dinner.

Rome is romantic from top to bottom and was made for wandering. We walked from place to place between the little signs around the city, reading maps and often just following the stream of people. We visited the city outside of the high season, but as it happens it was Easter so the streets were packed with religious pilgrims and excited tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of the Pope anyway, and the Metro was busy.

We quickly discovered that Rome is a tourist city. Everywhere there are streams of tourists visiting the top attractions and it takes a little walking to get places if you want to avoid the Metro. Walking the streets of Rome turned out to be one of the best decisions we made however, because exploring outside of the touristic paths meant we got to see a calmer Rome. A Rome slow in tempo and an everyday life kind of Rome, like the Trastevere district. I preferred the outskirts of the city to the endless queuing of the main attractions, for example seeing the Trevi fountain in real life and tossing a coin into it was a bucket list moment, but it was slightly dampened by feeling slightly claustrophobic among hundreds of other people doing the same thing.

Gelato Tip: The best gelato in town according to pretty much every local we met was the Gelateria La Romana. Mindblowingly tasty natural flavours and a really lovely warm atmosphere that doesn’t cater to tourists (with english translations and such) but instead comes across as authentically Italian – we ended up going back every single day we were in Rome for a tasty treat!

On our second day we headed off to the the Roman Forum, the historic city centre,  to soak up some history. As part of the Roman Forum round trip you can head up on Palatine Hill, the location of the ancient settlement that eventually become Rome and gaze upon ruins that looks straight out of Hercules. It was beautiful. It really hit home the magnitude of what used to be the Roman empire as well as the sheer “oldness” of it all. I touched a stone wall that was thousands of years old and it took my breath away.

Our last day in Rome was spent exploring the Colosseum and seeing the Vatican city as well as walking through the city for our last round of Gelato at La Romana.  We also wandered into Orange Park, a green area located on quite a steep hill that gives you an excellent view of the St.Peter’s Basilica. When we visited the Vatican, we ended up not going into the basilica due to the queue being several hours long, but we enjoyed exploring the grounds around it and the striking image it made against the city backdrop.

Colosseum Ticket Tip: Get your tickets to both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum at the Roman Forum entrance. The queue is about 3 times as long to get tickets at the Colosseum so we saved a lot of time! Another option is getting them online, just make sure to avoid the queue to get your tickets as the queue to get in also takes time!

3 days of exploring this historic city was not nearly enough time to get to know it properly, but we thoroughly enjoyed it and covered most of the major tourist attractions in only a few days. It’s odd how a large capital city can feel entirely quaint and not really large at all, but Rome did it.  I absolutely can’t wait to go back and sorely wish we had had more time there, but after Rome we headed straight up north to Tuscany and explored the region for a week and a half  – so we had no time to lose! A  post about that will be up next week. Hello, Florence,  you beauty! Xxx

Europe, Sweden, Travel, Youtube

VIDEO: Stockholm Snapshots

It’s been a lovely week and I don’t want to leave the Venice of the North, but as you read this I’m already on my way back to British soil. There will be more posts about Stockholm coming up, but these past few days I have chosen to focus on spending time with Kjære and taking in the city, not really wanting to hunker down in front of the Mac for any period of time. You’ll find that most often than not, when I travel I don’t blog, but afterwards I blog more than I probably should 😛 While I’ve been here I have filmed some bits and clips when I remembered to and last night I did a quick little edit on this short snapshot video from my trip and here it is! What an absolutely gorgeous city Stockholm is! Well worth a visit! Xxx

Europe, The Netherlands, Travel, Youtube

The Netherlands: The Dutch Open Air Museum in Arnhem

Happy Saturday to you all!

I was flicking through some of my old videos from Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands trying to figure out how re-edit them into more travelvlogging-friendly formats, when I came across this video from last September. My flatmate in England is a lovely Dutch girl named Christa (blog, youtube and twitter) and last September I flew out to stay with her for a week before uni started again after summer. We explored her home town of Alphen aan den Rijen and Amsterdam,I got to stay with her family and get a proper taste of Dutch culture, cycled a lot and visited a couple of  really interesting museums, most notably Madurodam and the Dutch Open Air Museum.  I won´t be posting any text posts about this trip until later this summer/early fall due to having a pretty packed travel schedule, but I thought it would be fun for you to get a little Saturday entertainment in this glimpse into The Dutch Open Air Museum. It was a lovely sunny day and I highly recommend you take a trip to the Openlucthmuseum if you can, because it really gives you a brilliant insight into the history of the Netherlands in a fun way.    Enjoy! Xxx