Tag Archives: Italy

Traditions and superstitions, part of our student life

It’s late June and a large number of high school students or university students are taking graduation exams. Most of those students will be aware of some sort of tradition or superstition to follow and respect if they want to graduate.

It was only after my graduation when I have found out about a no no thing 🙂 I took my masters degree in Italy, at Bologna University, and one of the superstitions says that students should not go to the top of one of the leaning towers, otherwise they will never graduate. Another superstition said that you cannot cross on diagonal the Piazza Maggiore or Maggiore Square if you want to graduate and have good marks.

I did know about the second one and I found it funny, but some people were really following the “rule” and not forcing their luck.

One tradition that I find really cute is to have your family and close friends buy a laurel wreath on your graduation day (for university graduates) which the newly graduate will carry it for the whole day. While back in the ancient times the wreath was more of a horseshoe shape, nowadays, it is a complete circle. In Italy each faculty will have a representing colour, therefore, if you have friends or family members studying in Italy, make sure that you also have small accessories such as a handkerchief, the paper around the bouquet of flowers or the crucial ribbon woven into the wreath are of a right colour.

A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel. The tradition is believed to have started at University of Padua or Padova, but the roots of crowning a person with a similar wreath go well back to the ancient Greece when wreaths were awarded to victors in athletic competitions and in poetic meets; and ancient Rome where they were symbols of martial victory.

Remember the often used expression: “resting on one’s laurels” ? 🙂

Going a little back to the Italian tradition and to the main colours representing university faculties, I am listing some of them below:

  • Agriculture – Dark green
  • Architecture – Black
  • Economy – Yellow
  • Education Sciences – Pink
  • Engineering – Black
  • Law – Blue
  • Mathematical, physical, and natural sciences – Green
  • Medicine and Surgery – Red
  • Philosophy and Letters – White
  • Pharmacy – Red grenade
  • Political Science – Lilac
  • Psychology – Grey
  • Sociology – Orange
  • Veterinary – Violet

It is also common that family and friends will prepare in advance a surprise attire which the newly graduate will have to wear. Something similar to stag nights when the groom to be is wearing funny clothes. If you got to Bologna or other major cities with large universities, you will probably have the chance to encounter such parties. They are fun!

Oh, and the last one. It is mandatory to walk behind the newly graduate a song, confirming the status of the subject. Just to understand what I am talking about, I am sharing 2 short films found on Youtube here and here 🙂

When I was student in Romania, there was a whole list of superstitions related to exams and graduation which was circulated among students. These “must do” or “must avoid” activities are shared among students in Russian and Moldovan as well.

One of the most popular superstitious refers to personal hygiene. The student should not take shower or wash their hair on the eve of an exam. The reason for that was that by washing your hair, you could remove the accumulated knowledge. Another one says that you should not have a haircut before the exams, because you risk of loosing everything you learned before.

It was believed and even feared to accidentally drop a book or a course. It was thought to be a sign of bad luck.

On the positive side, if you wanted to have good results on your exam or test, make sure to step out of your house and enter the school/university with the right foot. If possible, sit down on the same place or the same table as the last time you successfully have taken a test. An Use the same pen. And the last one which will probably make you smile is to place the materials, courses and the book (opened) under the pillow before going to  sleep. By magic and during sleep, the knowledge will move slowly in the mind of the sleeping student, giving the opportunity to get a high mark on the subject which is not really liked.

If a student went to an oral exam or viva voce, will have to extract an examination ticket only with the right hand or only the left hand, depending on the preference and past experience.

When coming back from an examination, the student should not place his/her backpack or bag facing the wall or on the floor, otherwise there is a risk of failing the test.

The tradition in Romania, is to wear graduation robes and hats, the same as in the USA and many other countries. You must wear them from the moment you attend the graduation ceremony and keep it on for the most of the day, even when going out to celebrate. It is common that people will stop you on the street to congratulate you 🙂

I must recognize that the “right foot” is something I kind of follow not only for meetings, but whenever I leave my house or enter a new place.

What are the superstitions discussed by students in your country? Do you believe in such things?

Travel safe and wise!

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Exploring another Southern Italian city!

One of the beautiful balconies in Lecce
One of the beautiful balconies in Lecce

I’m listening random songs on my playlist while writing this post….it’s kind of setting up the right mood 🙂

Ok, this post is about another Italian city. A city that has a rich history and architecture, super delicious foods and very welcoming people – Lecce was our next destination.

On TripAdvisor or LonelyPlanet you can find plenty of suggestions where to go, what to see and many more tips, but I’m not about this…I want to tell you that Lecce needs more than a day to be discovered in a slow pace and in a more enjoyable way.

Discovering Lecce
Discovering Lecce

One thought after my experience there —-> TRAVEL SOLO or with people that share the same interests and have the same travel style with you, otherwise you’ll be frustrated and you won’t have much to do about it.

Lecce is a small version of Firenze or Roma, sorry for this rough comparison, but it’s true!

Every street you take you’ll see something beautiful: an old church, a nice house with unique balconies, gates or you’ll end up on the beach.

Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce
Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce

The most beautiful church in Lecce is Basilica di Santa Croce (a remainder for those who want to pray or just see another church, be there in the morning or after 3pm!). This church is on renovation and parts of its facade are covered by scaffolding.

The Roman Amphitheatre, built in the second century AD
The Roman Amphitheatre, built in the second century AD

Another stop should be the main square in the old town. There you’ll see the Amphitheatre or Anfiteatro Romano and some ruins. I have to say that the predominant architectural style in Lecce is Barocco (baroque).

Not far from there, actually you can see the tower of the cathedral. The cathedral square and the cathedral form a complex of buildings that can be described the best as masterpiece!

The cathedral of Lecce
The cathedral of Lecce

On the main street (Viale XX Luglio), you’ll see another piece of art, which is Castello di Lecce or Castle of Charles V. The good news is that the entrance is FREE! Click on the link for more information about opening hours, facilities and more. Here you can find the Tourist Information Office. Besides taking a FREE city map, you have the chance to ask for tips and directions and be sure that you’ll get them right. If you want to see what Lecce has to offer before going there, you can download the tourist map from here.

Duomo square in Lecce
Duomo square in Lecce

If Bari has St. Nicolas as the patron of the city, Lecce has St. Filippo Smaldone. You can visit the church that has his name in Via vecchia San Pietro in Lama. The body of the saint  was removed from a cemetery to the Church of the Mother of God and of St. Nicholas (chiesa della Madre di Dio e di San Nicolò) in Lecce.

Baroque decorations on buildings in Lecce
Baroque decorations on buildings in Lecce

I consider it important to mention that in Lecce, as in any other part of Italy or Europe, there are held local markets where you can buy souvenirs, local food or local made clothes and shoes. That market is behind Charles V Castle, unfortunately I cannot tell you if it’s twice per week or just one time per week. We have been there on Thursday and was a market day.

Some very nice baroque decorations in Lecce
Some very nice baroque decorations in Lecce

I wish you a great week ahead and Travel safe and wise!

 

Italian city of St. Nicholas

The coastline around Bari
The coastline around Bari

I love Italy and every time I go there I feel like going home. Nice people, delicious food and amazing cities, towns, landscapes and sea.

I have mentioned in my previous post about Monopoli that we stopped in a villa that was surrounded by olive trees.

The capital of Puglia region is Bari and that was our initial intention – to stop in Bari 🙂

Lungomare Nazario Sauro
Lungomare Nazario Sauro

Bari is protected by Saint Nicolas and that’s why it has another name – the city of Saint Nicholas. One of the numerous churches here is the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, that you can visit, but make sure to go there before 12pm or after 3pm.

I loved the old town with its narrow streets, sandy – yellowish and white buildings and the Swabian castle. For those who have a special passion for castles, I must say that in Puglia and around Bari there are few more that are open to the public, and they are: Castel del Monte and Castello di Trani.

Castello Svevo di Bari
Castello Svevo di Bari

Those who love the seaside will be pleasantly surprised to discover the walk sides along the coast, especially those at Punta Perotti or the famous beach called Pane e Pomodoro.

For a great view over the old town and old port you have few options: one is to walk/ drive towards Molo San Cataldo, another is Molo San Vito (here you can take a boat to Dubrovnik and Durres) and the terminal for the boats the depart for Greece (Corfu and Igoumenitsa).

The Cathedral
The Cathedral

Other places that are worth mentioning are:

  • teatro Petruzzelli, which is one of the most famous symbols of Bari.It was built between 1898 and 1903, when it was inaugurated. The performance of the “Ugonotti” by Meyerber brought to this theatre the fame and the title of the most important theatre in Italy (together with the Scala in Milan, the San Carlo in Naples and the Massimo in Palermo) and Europe. 
  •  Fiera del Levante, the biggest and most important Trade Fair of the Southern Italy and nother symbol of Bari. 
Basilica San Nicola
Basilica San Nicola

South of Italy is generally known as an area where tourists aren’t safe or they should/ must travel in groups. I think the danger of being pick pocketed, if you don’t pay attention to people around you is there regardless of the destination.

In Bari aren’t recommended night walks, especially in the old town! If you stay in Bari, I’d suggest you to visit it during the day. It’s better safe than sorry 🙂

Lungomare Augusto Imperatore
Lungomare Augusto Imperatore

The food is yum! And there are plenty of locals that serve local food!!! For good quality food at reasonable prices, you must look for trattorias and osterias, as they, as a rule, are cheaper than a restaurant and the quality of the food is the same. Besides, this type of business is family owned business and therefore, you might have the chance to meet the owners and have a little chat.

Houses in the Old Town
Houses in the Old Town

If you want to eat pizza, then you should know that a basic one, which is Margherita costs around 2.5 to 3 euro per a pizza and not per slice. Also, as in many cities in Italy and France,  if you eat on the place you’ll have to pay extra for the service.

South of Italy is worth to be visited and to spend some days, if not your whole holiday 🙂

Me on the red carpet :)
Me on the red carpet 🙂

On my next post I’ll talk about another very very unique place in the world…don’t miss it!

Travel safe and wise!

Discovering Italy….heading South

View towards the old town
View towards the old town

In our 4th day in Rome and our 9th day in Italy we started to pack our things again and get ready for a road trip, a trip of 460km and lots of beautiful landscapes!!!

Bari was our next destination…or what we thought it to be 🙂

The cheapest and perhaps faster way to do so (taking in account that we were 7 people) was to rent a car. We have rented a Mercedes Vito (we had no expectations of what that car might be, we simply booked a 9 passenger car and it turned out to be a MV). and happy on the road. Some people were sleeping, some looking through the window and some were eating 😀

A cactus bush in front of our villa
A cactus bush in front of our villa

We have planned to leave our apartment in Rome around 10am, but we left it much later, around 12pm.

After many stops to Autogrill and hours drive,  the sun set and it was pretty dark outside. We were driving through olive trees, with no street light and at a point on a bad road…that was the direction given by our GPS. Most of the people in the car were freaking out and started to panic, and I was having fun! Fun not of them, but of the situation we were back then 🙂

A very old church
A very old church

At the end, we decided to get to somewhere where we could call the host and come and show us the way…it was almost 10pm, at that time.

Another hour and we’re there, at our house! It was completely dark and all we saw that night were trees, trees and one more time trees.  No lights, no houses around, just a complete darkness and the clear sky with millions of stars starring at us…not even the moon.

The Old Port
The Old Port

On the next day, while some were getting dressed and others cooking breakfast, I went out and started to look around…we were in the middle of an olive plantation! How cool this can be?! It was a very nice property, with playground for kids, 3 villas, a large  swimming pool and a guardian to keep everything under control…..and yes, 2 sweet dogs.

Our villa had a nice terrace with a dinner table and sofas to relax for after dinner tea or just to sit and enjoy the clean air and the peace around you 🙂

Castle of Charles V
Castle of Charles V

And because we weren’t in Bari, but in MONOPOLI (have you ever heard of this place before?), we decided that it would be nice to visit this place first.

The city isn’t that big and people are nice. If you can speak Italian, then it would be easier for you to find cheaper restaurants. One  moment here: in all restaurants you’ll have to pay a fee per customer: coperto. Some restaurants charge 1 euro per person, some charge 2 euros per person, therefore pay attention or simply ask the waiter.

Coastal castle of St. Stephen
Coastal castle of St. Stephen

What shall you see in Monopoli?

Well, there’s a list of places that visitors must see, and they are:

  • Castle of Charles V. , finished in 1525, it has a pentagonal plan. It was restored and enlarged in the 17th century and from the early 19th century, it was used as a jail, a status it kept until 1969. It is currently the seat of art exhibition and cultural events.
  • Coastal castle of St. Stephen, built by the Norman lord Godfrey of Conversano in 1086. It was subsequently turned into a Benedictine monastery.
  • Cathedral Basilica (18th century)
  • Palazzo Palmieri (18th century)
  • The Old Port

For a great view over the old town and some sunbathing, go to the urban beach.

House in Monopoli
House in Monopoli

Where to sleep? Simple, look on HelloApuglia, Aibnb or any other website to find and compare the value for the price  🙂

We have had a great stay in Monopoli among olive trees and orange trees with cricket songs and starry sky and I hope that you’ll experience Puglia at its best!

Travel safe and wise!

All roads lead to…

I have been 3 times to Rome and every time I discover some new places and experience new things that are in a way shaping my impression and idea about WHAT ROME IS.

In piazza Venezia
In piazza Venezia

First of all I want to underline a very important thing here: DON’T USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION! It sounds unusual and maybe somehow new, but I do mean it. I have never experienced such a stress of being pick pocketed anywhere in the world as I have been in Rome! This can happen when you step into the bus/metro/tram or when you want to step out of it and the scariest thing is that these pickpockets aren’t always strange or suspicious looking men. I have witnessed few cases like that and in all circumstances were different people: from old Asian men to young Italian looking men, but this doesn’t mean that women or even teenagers cannot try to get your phone, wallet or other belongings.

Fontana di Trevi
Fontana di Trevi

The “hello, Rome” effect we experienced immediately after taking the bus towards via Prenestina and here we are surrounded by all kind of suspicious looking people. You might think that I’m exaggerating, but I’m serious!

The 3 of us got to our apartment safe and sound, but our friends who joined us later, got their bags opened and they didn’t realize it!

The next day while getting ready to go out, my boyfriend said that he prepared a treat for a pickpocket, a paper tissue 🙂 He had lost that paper tissue, and we know who got it! A young, slim Italian man about 27-30 years old, dressed well standing way too close and that’s why we were looking at him. He was smiling to me… even winking, and that’s a good way to distract people!

Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna

Another day,  we saw a man being pick pocketed while arguing with an old lady while waiting in the line to get into the tram (line 5).

Therefore, I want to say it again: when in Rome find a place that is close to Termini Station or closer to the city center. If you have a place that’s far from the station and you don’t want to get a taxi, the best way to avoid pickpockets are:

  • to put all your expensive things, including your passport inside your luggage and have one of your hands free. It will be much harder for them to open a trolley
  • don’t get distracted, just keep focus
  • don’t go out with your expensive jewelries in the timelight, better keep them home or limit the quantity to the minimum
  • keep your cameras in their bags with the zipper towards your body and not otherwise. You can use some of the space for our wallet or some small cash
  • always make sure you have small money on you, especially when you buy some drinks or food outside or on crowded places
  • don’t try to show off with your expensive things, unless you have a private car or are willing to pay taxi fees to take you from one point to another, you’ll be safe and won’t feel any stress
  • if you go out to clubs or parties, make sure you don’t take with you valuable things, instead of your cards, take cash and not your passport but always a copy of it!
  • don’t get drunk…..but if you plan to party hard, take some precautious measures and make sure that you have some trustworthy people to take you home safe and sound
  • if you take public transportation, wait (when time is on your side) for an emptier bus, tram or subway. If you cannot wait, then be aware of people around you, those with a backpack or one shoulder bag should be kept at distance or at least be aware that those are most likely to be pickpockets. I’m saying this because, in all cases we have witnessed such events, all had a bag like that!
Castello di San Angelo
Castello di San Angelo

I love Rome and that’s why I go there whenever I have an occasion…it sounds crazy after all I have said earlier, but Rome is an amazing place to go.

My top 13 places to visit in Rome are:

  • Colloseo and Pallatino
  • Patheon
  • Roman Forum
  • Piazza Venezia
  • Fontana di Trevi
  • Piazza di Espagna
  • Piazza Navona
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Villa Borghese
  • Villa deiQuintili
  • Castello del Angelo
  • St. Peter Basilic (Vatican)
  • Catacombs and much much more!
Colosseo
Colosseo

Beside these top places to visit, there are many others. Roma is beautiful and full of surprises when you explore it without a map. Take a route and check your map once in a while to see if you’re not missing some important sights, but try to get the most out of this amazing city not by bus or other means of transportation, but by bike or on foot.

View over Rome
View over Rome

Catholic or not, do enter some churches (the entrance is free of charge!) and see some of the remarkable pieces of art from world famous artists to local famous artists. They are edifices where people pray, therefore don’t forget to be discreet and not to make a lot of noise, especially during the prayers (check at the entrance the schedules – orari messe).

Now that you’re able to plan your itinerary (itineraries)in Rome and are aware of all the challenges that a local and a tourist will face on equal measure, it’s time to talk about another aspect of this trip: accommodation.

A man on Saint Peter Basilica - protesting
A man on Saint Peter Basilica – protesting

We have found via housetrip a very nice apartment in Rome at a reasonable price. It had 2 spacious bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one of which had a jacuzzi bath) a large living and modern kitchen with all you need for cooking 🙂 The house could host up to 8 people and we were more than happy with what we’ve got. Also, to make our stay more comfy, we had a huge aquarium with a lonely fish in it. It was nice to watch it swimming, especially after long days out. If you want to stay there as well, look for the apartment of Cristina and Massimiliano 🙂

If you go to Vatican and feel hungry, then you should go to restaurants that aren’t in the very proximity of Vatican. Walk some distance and then start looking for a restaurant. Usually those nearby touristic places will be expensive and the food won’t be as tastier as those that are targeting locals 😉 We have found a very nice restaurant with good food at good prices somewhere in between Vatican and Castello di Sant’Angelo.

Pope Francis Sunday Prayer - Vatican
Pope Francis Sunday Prayer – Vatican

I don’t remember the name of it, but if I find a picture from that place, I’m going to update this information for you.

Talking about dinning out, I have another remark to make: in Rome you have to pay for service and the lowest fee we have seen was 1 euro per person!

We have rented an apartment and we were having our breakfasts and dinners home, with products bought at Auchan. The only meals we were buying were our lunches and ice creams 🙂

One of the beautiful Roman Churches
One of the beautiful Roman Churches

I hope that a trip to Rome won’t sound dangerous for you and that you’ll go there no matter what. Rome is not like any other city in Europe and its history and one time richness is seen at almost every corner you take.

Travel safe and wise!

A day @Republic of San Marino

View from cable car
View from cable car

Back in 2008 I was living in Bologna, Italy in a 17th Century Villa – Villa Gandolfi Pallavicini. This was a very beautiful property with a large garden and forest. Early in the morning or at the sunset you could see from your windows hares and pheasants, who were coming to eat some grass or fruits. So, one day before going home for winter holidays some of my housemates wanted to go to somewhere. As we were talking about where to go, we decided to go to the station, early in the morning, and take the first departing train. At the beginning we were thinking about going to Milano, but we ended up on the train to Rimini and some hours later on the bust to San Marino 🙂

It was a day trip in a very nice company. The funniest and happiest of all was my friend from Brazil, who managed to spread her good mood to the rest of us and by the end of the day we all were going crazy 😀

The 4 of us :)
The 4 of us 🙂

What is nice in San Marino?

San Marino is a heaven country for visitors and businesses. All you buy here are TAX FREE! I was surprised of the common used Russian signs and announcements, especially in the luxurious shops and restaurants. We knew who were spending money here the most hehe

I think you understood, right? San Marino is a heaven for shopaholics! They do have sales periods and sometime you can even negotiate the price…but it depends on the situation and item you want to buy.

We started our journey walking and trying to see the most of this tiny country …but ended up doing shopping 🙂 We had a very good excuse, the weather wasn’t that good and when it was very cold or the view over the city was misty we  visited a church, museum, café or shops.

The “border” of San Marino is a kind of round gate on which will be written “ Benvenuti nell’antica terra della Liberta”  which is translated as “ Welcome to the ancient land of Liberty”.

Basilica di San Marino
Basilica di San Marino

Here are plenty of churches, museums and palazzi open for visit. I’ll mention just few of them: Castello della Guaita, Cesta Tower – the view from these 2 places is breathtaking and I only can imagine what a great experience would be to see a storm or even a rainbow from those places!,  Museo Arti Antichi, Museo delle Cere, Monte Titano, Piazza della Liberta, Palazzo Publico, State Museum of San Marino, Basilica di San Marino, Church of San Francisco and more.

How to arrive in San Marino?

By car 

You can drive to San Marino, but you should keep in mind that there are few streets/roads that will be allowed for driving. But if you still want to do it, then you’ll be happy to know that most of the parking lots are free of charge. When choosing a place to park your car, keep in mind that there is a 1.5 km cable railway connecting the city of San Marino to Borgo Maggiore.

 By bus

Bus 72 runs from Rimini to San Marino daily at regular intervals. A return ticket costs around €9. This bus can be found just outside the Rimini train station. An orientation point should serve the Burger King. We bought the tickets at the Tourist Information Centre. Because we arrived earlier than the next bus (about 30 minutes earlier) we got the best seats.

 By train

I have mentioned this in my post that me and my friends arrived to San Marino via Rimini. If you travel by train, this is you only option – to take a train to Rimini and from there a bus to San Marino.

 Important: San Marino has open borders, but foreigners staying more than 20 days in San Marino must have a permit from the government.

On the way to San Marino
On the way to San Marino

Where to stay?

Being at only 24 km from Rimini, Riccione, Milano Maritima and Cesenatico you have plenty of choices. You can opt for a hotel on the beach or closer to San Marino.

For those traveling in Campers, I have some very good news! There are at least 5 areas equipped for holidays in campers. If you consider traveling in camper and want to know about the location of these areas, check this link.

Take notes: In May will be held an important event, especially for those who love vintage cars! The Mille Miglia race – the vintage cars will be passing through the old-city centre of the Republic of San Marino during the morning of Friday 16 May.

Shops in San Marino
Shops in San Marino

More information about this country, you can find on the following pages:

One more thing about this place: check the “Pink Night” or the “La notte rosa” (info in Italian only). This is one of the MUST experienced events in Italy.It will be held on 4th of July, but if you want to be able to find a cheap accommodation, you should book your hotel/hostel/B&B/apartment/camping from now!!! Take some pink clothes with you and join the crowds.

I’ll make another post about this…I have been there, lived it and it’s one of the brightest memories from Italy 😉

I hope that now you have more reasons to visit San Marino and not only 😉

Travel safe and wise!

Copenhagen a nice capital in the Northern Europe, but maybe nicer during summer days.

IMG_3566I guess, I chose wrong the time to go to Denmark, because it seemed a never ending rain, cold and windy. I think I felt it worse because I was coming from Italy, where at that time was warm, sunny – shortly said spring like.

Anyway, Denmark is not a cheap destination at all. If you’re a budget traveler, think twice and plan very very well or take a credit card with you 🙂

Talking about bank cards, it’s a MUST HAVE! I know some people aren’t used or maybe dislike the idea of using a bank card somewhere abroad (from security reasons), but in Denmark you’ll use it almost everywhere. I say almost, because you won’t be able to use it to pay your bus rides or for some other very small expenditures. Therefore, keep some small money for “just in case” situations 😉

How it happened? 

One day coming back to Bologna, after a trip to Poland, a colleague of mine, Davide, happened to be excited about his next trip to Denmark…and as I’m always into trips he managed to spread this joy and convince me that the right thing to do is to buy an airline ticket to Copenhagen haha

After 2 days of thinking, I’ve got the tickets and was waiting only for Friday to come 😀
My friend promised that will pick me up, and he did so….thanks God he was a person that values his words 🙂 Then we went straight at his brother’s apartment for a nice chat and lunch. During the lunch we made some plans for evenings, as none of us wanted to interfere with the others travel plans in this new city (for me) 🙂 Davide spoke with his brother about my stay in Denmark and they agreed to let me stay there for my whole stay. I discovered this new Davide that I had no idea about 😀 Another reason to visit Copenhagen was that I knew some locals and intended to meet them during my short visit there. I could not ask too much as I knew them not so well and because I preferred to have my freedom and go wherever I wanted without disturbing people around me.

My plans for Denmark were big: to visit Roskilde and even go to Malmo….well I didn’t and the excuse was the rain and lack of mood to fight the wind as well 🙂

In the first day I met my acquaintances (one of which was my housemate for 5 months in Italy). I even went to a birthday party! What I saw there surprised me: a lot of alcohol  – from beer to very strong liquids :D, food almost nonexistent – some crackers and chips only! And people grouped here and there talking about God knows what! haha A very different scene than what we have in Moldova! In Moldova we PARTY! And our parties are noisy, with a lot of food and yes, drinks too…maybe not so many though! Was a nice experience, the only drawback was that I felt a bit out of my comfort zone and people will had to speak English when I was around….and not all were happy of this new change in language. Not saying that most of them had no idea where Moldova was hehe

I don’t remember well now, because this trip was back in 2009!, but someone told me that in Scandinavia they have this alcohol kind of trips. If the taxes are lowered and the alcohol is cheaper, say in Sweden, then a lot of Danish or even Norwegians will go to Sweden to buy alcohol!

After the first day was clear that at Davide’s brother we were in too many people and with a few month old child in the house was better to go to a hotel. And here again, Davide helped me to find a nice place to sleep (Rossini Hotel) not really far from his brother’s apartment, so in case of any emergency I could ask for their help 😀 It is handy to have some backups, no?

How to keep your budget low in this expensive city?

  • book a hostel or find last minute offer from central located hotels or try to find apartments for rent, so that you’ll share the price. If it’s a central location you’ll save on transportation costs.
  • never go to restaurants in the central area of the city, they are for tourists, therefore more expensive 😀
  • consider renting a bike because it’s free of charge!!! and use it for your day trips. Never heard of problems with thieves there, but be cautious!
  • take from home an umbrella or a raining coat, so that you’ll not be forced to buy any of these in case of a sudden rain.
  • make a list of places you want to visit and set a budget for it, don’t forget to check places in Copenhagen FREE of charge, some have free entrance on Sundays.
  • want some souvenirs? Don’t leave this shopping for the last day, because almost in every case you’ll tend to spend more to get the first thing you see and head to the airport. Make some time for the best price/value souvenirs hunting 😉 One of the best places to do it is Strøget steet.
  • make sure you get to the airport on time, use the subway, it will be cheaper than rushing to the airport in a cab!

For those who want to do the most of their money in Copenhagen, I have found this amazing page (I wish I saw this page earlier 😀 ). Visit Copenhagen web page offers more information on how to save money in Copenhagen, therefore will help you plan better your budget and trip. Have a look!

If you travel to Denmark sometime in February, you may want to attend one or more events during the Wondercool Festival. It will be held in February 2014. Visitors will be able to experience a wide range of cultural events in the fields of food, architecture, design, music and fashion but, there are also dedicated festivals within each of these genres.

If you’re not afraid of the cold weather and want to experience some of the Danish happiness, then the information from this page will help you to achieve your goal 😉

What I loved the most in Copenhagen?

In my second day I decided to take a canal tour. The guides will speak Danish, German and English! The tour gave a clear idea of what to see next, while walking. On this tours you’ll hear the history of many buildings by the canal, the new opera house and about an exclusive apartment building.

On Stromma and Havenerundfart web pages you’ll find more information about this activity.

When searching information about Copenhagen, most likely you’ll see pictures taken in Nyhavn.
If you walk to this old port, do not miss the no. 9, Nyhavn. At no.9 you’ll find the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681. The design of the house has not been altered since that time.
At no.20, no. 67 and no. 18 you’ll see the houses that at one point in time hosted Hans Christian Andersen!

The Round Tower  is another is next on my list. This tower was built in the 17th century and hosts and observatory. It is considered to be the oldest functioning observatory in Europe! Take the chance and go up to the top, the view from there, over the old part of the city is amazing!

The old churches that this city has. Just to mention some of them: Frederiks Church, Church of Our Lady, St Nicolas Church.

The little Mermaid is next. It is a nice sculpture, but I thought it would be bigger and closer to the walking side. It’s the symbol of Copenhagen, therefore is a must see.

Some other places that I liked about this Northern capital are: Radusplatsen, Amalienborg Castle and Amaliehaven, the Royal Denish Theatre, the Copenhagen City Hall and the Stock Exchange building.

Rest assured that there are plenty and plenty things to be told about and seen in Copenhagen. I have missed some places and hopefully one day I’ll go back and visit those places.

Three last things:

  • if you want to visit Tivoli gardens, check their opening to visitors program, there are months in a year when they are closed for visit!
  • Malmo (Sweden) is at 30 – 35 minutes away from Copenhagen. In 2013 there was held one of Europe’s most famous song contest Eurovision. You can check train schedules and ticket prices on the following 2 web pages:
  1. Swedish Railway
  2. Danish Railway 
  • be aware of the red district in Copenhagen! Yes, there’s one and they will try to sell you lots of stuff there – even cocaine! I will suggest you not to go around that are late in the night or do not walk alone! The city is safe, but has it’s weak parts and better be careful than sorry! 😉

I hope that you enjoyed reading my post and that all the links I left will help you find a way to save money when traveling in Copenhagen.

Travel safe and wise!