Tag Archives: food

Erasmus break in Stokholm, Sweden

I went to Sweden 2 years ago to do my Erasmus back there. Sweden was quite of a dream for me, I always wanted to go to Scandinavia and so when I had the opportunity to go there for my studies, I took this opportunity.

I lived in a small city north from Uppsala called Falun. However I’m going to talk about the capital city of Sweden: Stockholm. So far it’s my favorite capital! What is great about Stockholm is that it is a sort of archipelago, you have water everywhere and it’s very clean! You can have a look at it and you won’t find any trashes inside. The other positive aspect of Stockholm is that the city is “small” you can basically walk everywhere and avoid the subway (which is expensive, because let’s admit it, Sweden is bloody expensive especially alcohol!). So when I was in Stockholm I’ve never been in the subway BUT you should give a look over there, the walls inside are painted and are beautiful. Now, what shall you do in Stockholm? Well, my favorite part was Gamla Stan (the old town) a little island with paved streets and little cute shops (this little island was the heart of Stockholm in the early days). You can have a nice walk everywhere in this island; however beware of the tourists in summer, since the streets are really narrow you can barely walk there. Another great thing I’ve found in Gamla Stan is Aifur; a Viking restaurant where you can drink mead, eat a Viking meal on a large wooden table, listening to live music. The food/drinks are quite expensive but are delicious (they even have a vegetarian/vegan option) and the atmosphere there is incredible. You won’t find anything similar elsewhere. (If you don’t want to wait too long at the entrance you should book it before coming!).

What you can also do is going to the castle and watch the changing of the guard (not as impressive as the British one but still nice to see)

Stockholm has a lot of museum as well; the most famous could the vasamuseet: where you can visit a ship. You will find it in Djugården. In this island you can have a nice walk as well if the weather allows it or just go to ABBA’s museum (no kidding it exists). If you’re in a party mood I’m sure you will find plenty of places to go but be careful because most of the club won’t allow you do go in if you’re under 20 (which was my case when I was there so I cannot give any advices regarding clubs). Same for alcohol! In Sweden you can only buy alcohol in a shop called Systembolaget, there you will find plenty of alcohol but it’s quite expensive, and moreover if you are under 20 you won’t be able to buy anything from there (they control ID cards). However, somehow in some bars you can get any drinks you want although you’re younger than 20 (I still don’t get it –anyway-). To conclude: if you have the chance to go to Stockholm, just take it!

By Lucile Rouet, from France

How a couple of Athenians became like family in only five days

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Credits : Toon Voets

I’m almost in Athens, Greece. Golden fields disappear from my view. They are replaced by concrete. In the Macedonian capital Skopje, I used CouchSurfing for the first time. Athens will be my second CouchSurfing experience. It is always exciting to get to know it would go on. When I arrive at the station of Athens, my hosts Alexandros and Ilias are already waiting for me. Phew, they have not forgotten me.

The table in the apartment of Alexandros’ family is ready. Greek delicacies are ready to be eaten. But first they have a surprise for me: a little road trip to Cape Sounion. “It is worth the 40 minute ride.” And they were right.

A five days stay in Athens must be enough to visit everything. Through the day I would have to amuse myself without company, but in the evening Alexandros and Ilias had time for me. Or that was how I thought it would go. But in the end I was only alone in Athens for one day and I even witnessed local Greek elections. And we saw a lot more than just Athens.

The big road trip

“I just called Alexandros. Maybe, if you want, we can visit some other sites in Greece together?” – Ilias

Whaaat? That’s something you don’t have to ask me twice. So we jump in the old jeep of Ilias’ dad. First stop: the Corinth Canal. Next on the menu: Mycenae with the famous Lion Gate and the old Greek capital Nafplion. In Nafplion I meet the climbing legs of the Greek. A staircase with thousand steps was no problem for them. And for me… Yeah.

#Historynerd

I am a #historynerd, so it is a hashtag I like to use. And by coincidence Alexandros and Ilias are history students. Perfect match. They know a lot about the richly filled Greek history. Calling them a walking encyclopedia would be disrespectful, but how much they can learn me about their country is really amazing.

But there was one thing they did not know. Behold, the fun fact that became the fun fact of the trip: King Leopold I, the first king of the Belgians, once had the chance to take the Greek throne. But today, Greece is no longer a Monarchy.

Also in Athens Alexandros and Ilias show me around. Interesting museums, but also shisha bars and the best places to eat “souvlaki”. Even the classmates of my hosts join us. Fancy names like Theodoris and Konstantinos become part of the fellowship.

Beer with a view

“All my friends love that place! You have to see it!” – Ilias

It is the last day in Athens. It is the forth day Ilias is talking about his rooftop terrace. Alexandros confirms: “Maybe it is the most beautiful spot of Athens.

So on my last evening it is finally time to visit that spot. With a bag full of Belgian beers we get in the elevator and press button number six. The view indeed is marvelous. There is no better way to end a week with your “adopted family”.

By Toon Voets, from Belgium
http://gaateensvoets.com/
https://www.instagram.com/gaateensvoets/

Sarajevo: Little Brother Of Istanbul Or Of Jerusalem?

DSC_1620If the Belgian Red Devils didn’t play a qualification game in Bosnia, I wouldn’t have been in Sarajevo yet. It doesn’t sound like a sexy city, right?

Here is a video where you can see a proof of Bosnians’ friendliness. After the draw between Bosnia and Belgium, a lot of Belgians returned home with a Bosnian sweater or scarf. Oh yeah, the game was played in Zenica, the fourth city of Bosnia. Oh man, that was an ugly city.

But Sarajevo, is a fantastic city, maybe the coziest of the whole Balkan Peninsula. Historians, foodies and shoppers can enjoy their stay in the Bosnian capital.

“Two beers, please.”

– “We don’t serve alcohol.”

“Oh, ok…”

Hmm, that sucks of course, especially after a stiff climb to “The Yellow Fortress”, one of my favorite spots in Sarajevo. The views of the war cemeteries, the old town and the surrounding hills are beautiful. Likely there is home made lemonade, nice and fresh.

Istanbul?

What immediately catches the eye are the dozens of minarets. The old town with its narrow alleys and lovely coffee bars and catering has an Istanbul-like atmosphere, like its miniature. Almost half of the Bosnians are Muslims. That’s the reason why alcohol is often not on the menu.

DSC_1636Or Jerusalem?

If Sarajevo may be compared to Istanbul, then a comparison with Jerusalem is as well justified. On a short 10 minutes walk, you’re able to see buildings from three major religious buildings: the Gazi Husrev-beg mosque, the sacred heart cathedral and a synagogue.

There is so much to see for those who like to see religious infrastructure. Historians will know what to do. On June 28th, 1914 Gavrilo Princip started the First World War by killing archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Next to the Latin Bridge, the scene of murder, a small memorial commemorates the murder.

The traces of the Bosnian civil war can be seen everywhere in the city. Bullet holes and war cemeteries are omnipresent. In the War Tunnel Museum, you can visit a tunnel that was used to escape during the siege of Sarajevo in the 90s.

Nearby Sarajevo : Mostar

Two hours south of Sarajevo you find Mostar, with its “Stari Most*” (means old bridge) the main attraction of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to make the trip; but we had the chance to discover a part of the country through the car’s window. Our plane landed in Tuzla, so we had to drive around two hours to get to Sarajevo. The ride was on curvy roads through a pristine landscape. Nevertheless, Bosnians are very courteous on the road.

Food trip

I love cevapcici. Cevapcici is spiced sausages with bread and sometimes with sour cream. I love it so much that we ate it three times in twenty-four hours. By the way: another delicacy from the Balkan that I cannot stop talking about is burek, puff pastry filled with anything. My favorite is with mincemeat. Sarajevo is surely a city for foodies.

Toon Voets, from Belgium