Weekend in Hamburg and train safari in South Africa is written by Saskia Lawson Gern
When travel becomes travel memories - from the weekend in Hamburg to the great adventure
There is nothing that can ignite the desire to travel like the amazing memories of a wonderful journey. Whether it's your own or someone else's.
Then you need a shot of travel memories to be inspired for your next trip, or just relive a little nostalgia, so read on as I give you my four best travel experiences and one place I can just say, "I've been there" .
Tokyo - Japan's vibrant capital
Japan is at once the strangest and most amazing place I have ever traveled to. Tokyo is with its 13 million inhabitants a vibrant city, where beautiful shrines lie side by side with flashing neon signs, and teenagers in colorful cosplay and 'Harajuku fashion' outfits mix with geishaer and the ubiquitous black and white-clad businessman uniform.
Many travel agencies and guides encourage you to spend only a few days in this city, but in my eyes it is not enough at all. Once you have decided on Japan, you should jump into the rabbit hole with your legs first and embrace all the glorious quirks that the city has to offer.
It's hard not to get carried away by Hello Kitty, Pikachu and all sorts of manga characters who appear on everything from mobile covers to clothes and cakes. You can kind of make a day go by just exploring Akihabara, which is a whole neighborhood filled with electronics stores that have everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - that your heart never dreamed of being able to desire.
Gear down by going to one of the city's many pet cafes, where you can be surrounded by - and pet - cats, dogs, mini-pigs or more exotic animals like snakes or owls while drinking your coffee.
When hunger is about to hit you, just sneak in to the nearest Izikaya, which is a Japanese form of gastropub, where the Japanese often meet after work. Here there is just as much focus on the many small dishes as there are on the cold beers and bottles of sake. And the latter makes it significantly easier for the often slightly reserved locals to fall into conversation with you.
Tokyo is a hit.
By luxury train to Cape Town in South Africa
We get into our train compartment in South Africa, and we immediately feel led back to an Agatha Christie novel. The luxurious - in a slightly tedious way - train between Johannesburg and Cape Town is a huge experience with private sleeping compartments, restaurant car and 'afternoon tea', while the train slowly tugs through the African landscape with views of elephants, giraffes and antelopes.
With a travel time of over 24 hours, there is plenty of time to get down into gear and adjust to the fact that the train ride is really part of the journey and not just a form of transport.
Cape Town is a bubbly city where the story of apartheid and the modern Africa meet in wild contrasts: Colorful Bo-Kaap with narrow and cozy streets, the island Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned, the impressive nightlife on Long Street, a melting pot of African fusion cuisines, all while the famous mountain Table Mountain towers over the city.
We leave Cape Town and move along the coast towards the town of Hermanus, where we can see the whales frolicking in the bay before ending our trip by visiting the wine region of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
The lush area is filled with romantic wineries and delicious restaurants where you can enjoy your 'sundowner' with a magnificent view of the countryside.
South Africa can be highly recommended.
Gothenburg - Sweden's small metropolis
Sweden The second largest city is often overlooked by Copenhageners in particular, and that is a shame. For it is a gem beyond the ordinary.
Granted, I am biased. I was born there. But after moving from there as a child, I have had the opportunity to rediscover the city in a completely different way - and in the exact opposite order.
Gothenburg is a port city surrounded by rocks, deep forests and the fantastic Swedish North Sea. Here you can hop on a tram in the middle of the city and in just half an hour be out in the archipelago. This makes the city ideal if you want to supplement a metropolitan experience with getting out into nature.
Although the Haga district has become a tourist attraction, the old working-class neighborhood with beautiful brick buildings, old wooden houses, small design and craft shops and really cozy cafés is worth a visit. But when you have finished the official sightseeing, you must move towards the districts of Linné and Majorna, which have a fantastic mix of the famous Governor's Houses and characteristic copper green and red roofs. Here you will find the lively Langgaderna - Långgatorna - with bars, restaurants and secondhandshops and not least the impressive Oscar Fredrik's church.
Gothenburg is a little surprisingly an incredibly child-friendly city, and as a family with children there is a sea of activities such as the amusement park Liseberg and the many cool museums such as Universeum, Alfons Åbergs Kulturhus and the wild Aeroseum.
Although it sounds like a cliché, there is something for everyone in Gothenburg, and I can only highly recommend leaving.
Weekend in Hamburg
But this summer it finally became possible to take a weekend in Hamburg, and I still have a hard time getting my arms down over how amazing a city it is.
Hamburg is just 4 hours away København by train and is therefore easy to get to with several train departures daily. The train connection also makes it a more climate-friendly journey, which for us was an element of this particular trip.
Forget about boring 'currywurst and sauerkraut'. The food scene makes Hamburg a place you have to go if you, like me, are the type who best experiences a city through the taste buds.
No matter what neighborhood you wander through, you will find a sea of cozy, curious and exciting restaurants, bars and cafes. And for vegetarians and vegans, the range of green options to clap in their little hands is over.
For example, start the day by exploring the old Schanzenviertel working-class neighborhood. In addition to the neighborhood's exciting history and culture, your nose will pull you in all directions. For dinner, you can advantageously move down to the interesting harbor promenade and visit the Portuguese Quarter, Portugiesenviertel, with its touch of southern tones.
Do you want to experience something other than the lively and famous neighborhood Reeperbahn, then take a walk in the area along the harbor, which with its wine and beach bars invites to a different kind of nightlife.
Marrakech in Morocco - a little too much of it all
I was really looking forward to my trip to Marrakech in Morocco. A city full of fragrant spices, beautiful mosaics, crowds and one souk filled with insane offers.
But after two days, it had all become too much. It was impossible to walk the streets without being assaulted and I did not get a chance to look in the bazaars until 5 different sellers stood with their arms full of goods that they wanted to sell me. Not to mention when we were tricked into the wrong place, only to have to pay to be guided back.
It could have been an exciting adventure, but not for me, and we fled the city as soon as possible.
Morocco is an amazing country and we met an incredible number of sweet people, ate amazing food experienced beautiful nature and exciting culture. The country is definitely worth a visit. But avoid too much time in Marrakech. Instead, head out to the coast and experience tranquil and picturesque Essaouira, where the fish are freshly caught and the waves invite you to surf. Or go on a hike in the Atlas Mountains, where you can experience the beautiful nature and visit the many Berber villages. And then be sure to drink liters of tea and enjoy a visit or two in a hammam.
No matter what you are tempted by - whether it is the big adventure or a weekend in Hamburg or Gothenburg - so good travel!