2018, guys, what a year it’s been! For me, it was a year for new experiences, new destinations, the greatest summer weather of all time in Oslo, live music, hang outs in the hammock and over 30 books read.
In 2018 I visited a total of 9 different countries, with the total of 7 I’d never visited before. I traveled both with family and friends and Norway did a great job of making me fall a bit more in love with it. I went both on long weekends, day trips and longer adventures, I learned a hard lesson or two, and tried out both arranged group travels and traveling with no place to sleep booked in advance.
I kickstarted 2018 early in January, spending 2,5 weeks in Sri Lanka visiting Thomas, ticking of the first box of the year; a new continent added to my list. Yes, that’s right; until January I had never (unless you count layovers at airports) been in Asia. An what a way to start off exploring a new continent.
Sri Lanka was great! Both the incredibly friendly people, riding in a tuk-tuk for the first time ever, riding a train slowly moving through evergreen tea plantages and let’s not forget the amazing food.
In February I did not do any travel of my own, but Thomas came back to Norway, and moved in to the apartment with me, making February an exciting month, and a start of a new adventure. Thomas and I went on our first adventure back in September 2017, and just before he up and left Norway he asked if I wanted to give long distance a try. I didn’t really have a choice, given that I’d fallen in love with him by then. Luckily he was only 3 months away, even though those 3 months felt like an eternity.
As Thomas had just spent 3 months abroad, we spent the winter of 2018 doing a lot of exploring in Oslo, and visiting family in both the Son, Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg-area. We also spent quite a lot of time at the gym(!)
As winter was turning into spring, and Easter arrived, Thomas and I finally went on our next adventure together. At the end of March, Thomas and I decided to go all in on Danskebåten, enjoying cocktails and watching drunk people silly dance on the board, and exploring Copenhagen for 1,5 days. On the day we arrived snow was falling down, and the weather felt like mid-winter. It was also Easter, meaning a lot of the shops was closed due to the public holiday. Luckily, Glyptoteket was both inside and open, and so we spent a couple of hours there, meeting up with our friend Othilie. A couple of beers later, Thomas and I went out for an absolutely delicious round of thai food, before falling asleep still clothed in our room. We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the aquarium before heading back to Oslo with Danskebåten again.
Come April, Thomas decided he would sell his old apartment, and so we spent endless hours painting and moving and cleaning. We also visited the Botanical Garden in Oslo. Just as we had finished the last coat of painting in the apartment, and decided to go for a walk around the block I managed to sprain my ankle, leaving me pretty immobile for about a week. Luckily, my leg healed fast, so that we also managed to team up as a photography team, doing both baby photography and concert photography together. We discovered that we make a great pair both for travels, the everyday-life and even for business.
Some much needed spring weather also arrived, meaning we could clean up our balcony, and get some fresh flowers out.
In May I turned 29, and Thomas made me a delicious cake to celebrate. I also, after several months of tweeking and preparing, finally officially launched this blog in May. This was also the month my parents got themselves an amazingly cute puppy, Kaisa. May was a lovely month weather-wise in Norway, which meant a lot of bbq-ing, another visit to the Botanical Garden, and many hours spent out on our balcony. We hosted a 17th of May-breakfast at our place, champagne included, and my friend from Germany, Romy, visited us for a weekend (next year it’s our turn to return the visit). We went to see a show at The National Theatre, and the flea market-season kept us busy about every weekend. On the 30th of May we even managed to officially take our first swim at Sørenga in the Oslo fjord.
For me, “summer” means festivals, live music, picnics out with friends and long, warm summer nights. We kicked off summer with Musikkens Dag in Oslo, and spent a lot of time exploring Oslo – walking along the river Akerselva both up to Frysja where we could swim, down the same river taking us to Nydalen where we could also swim, and all the way down to the city centre, with a lot of nice views and bars along the way. In mid-June we spent a day at the festival Piknik i Parken, a day which ended up being filled with music, ciders – and a lot of rain. We teamed up in matching ponchos, and even got a shout out from one of the bands on stage “See those people over there in matching ponchos? Those are the best ponchos I’ve ever seen!”
We also spent a lot of time daydreaming about our next adventure, and going through the photos on my phone from June I find a lot of pictures from magazines and destinations we considered. And while we day dreamed, I worked during the day, then ran off on to the ferry taking us out to Gressholmen, or into the forest to go camping and chilling in the hammock. June was also the month we added Birdy, our drone to the family.
The summer of 2018 was the warmest and greatest summer in Oslo ever recorded, and so we decided to just postpone traveling until later, and explore around locally. We visited Oscarsborg festning with my family, and then my friend Ingeborg who lives in Chile came home for a visit. To celebrate this, we packed our bags and went for a cabin trip in Telemark – spending a weekend filled with great company, food, swimming, speeding around in a small boat and staying up all night laughing.
In the end of July, Thomas’ birthday finally came up, which meant I could give him his gift I’d kept a secret and planned for 5 weeks; we’d be going for a long weekend to Budapest. His face when he realized we’d be leaving in only six days as he read the card was priceless.
Budapest was great! We spent our Thursday to Sunday exploring this city that neither of us had visited before, taking a million photos and eating great food. We watched the sun set from the top of a ferris wheel, swam in the Szechenyi thermal bath which had about a million degrees, went partying at a ruin bar, visited a huge food market. We even walked all the way up to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica to get the best view of Budapest.
Not even a week after we came back from Budapest we packed our bag again, jumped on the train and met up with Thomas’ mother; this time for a short visit to Gålå to go hiking, spend a night at a hotel and watch the Peer Gynt-play. It was an amazing experience!
August was a month filled with adventures, and in the middle of the month we left Norway for Albania. Our destination was in the city of Durrës, located about 40 minutes drive away from the capital Tirana. During our one week of holiday we also visited Macedonia and Kosovo, and all three countries was absolutely stunning. The people we met were friendly, with loads of interesting stories to tell us, and we both agreed that we’d love to re-visit the countries later on, with more time to spare each place.
The heat from summer followed into September, and just after September started, I packed my suitcase again, this time to visit Prague with my friend Caroline. We had a long weekend, from Wednesday to Sunday, in this magical city, visiting a lot of famous sights such as The Chain Bridge, The Prague Castle Area, The John Lennon Wall and The Old Jewish Cemetery. (Much more about this trip will follow in 2019 – stay tuned!)
September also allowed for more adventures in Oslo, for flea markets, visiting both our families and a few visits to the new cinema which opened just a couple of minutes away from our home.
In October we hit the forest, both looking for the colours of autumn, and for an old plane wreck from WWII. We successfully found them both – and also two llamas living in a garden on our way there. We also went hiking in the forest with my mum, stepdad and Kaisa. The first snow also appeared in Oslo at the end of October, meaning it was time to plan another escape from the cold.
November started with a fancy dinner-celebration in Oslo, marking the one year anniversary for Thomas and me. Between work, karaoke and another trip to the cinema, we mapped out a rough plan for our next holiday, and packed our bags.
Two weeks we had for adventures, and our destination was Morocco, another country I’d never visited. We visited the busy Marrakech, had a quick visit to the Atlas Mountains, spent a night sleeping in the Sahara desert, visited several amazing cities (more to come on all of this) including Chefchaouen – the blue pearl, and ended up with a total of about 7500 pictures all together.
The holiday ended a bit more dramatically than expected when we discovered it’s strictly forbidden to bring in drones to Morocco, meaning Birdie was confiscated, Thomas faced a fine, and we barely managed to get to our plane on time. An expensive lesson learned!
Back in Norway it was time to face the truth – winter was coming, and so was Christmas. I started the festive season winning a free roundtrip to any destination Turkish Airlines has, a trip that will happen in 2019. Also, between working and getting ready for Christmas we managed to squeeze in time for another trip by train, when we went to visit my family in Gothenburg, Sweden. Here we had time to visit the Christmas market at Liseberg. We also managed to squeeze in a hike in a beautiful nature reserve, and to explore the area of Haga in Gothenburg.
Christmas was also getting closer in Oslo, and we visited the christmas market Christmas in Winterland located in the city centre. I wrote a post about the market, a post which VisitOslo kindly shared on their Facebook-page. Christmas was spent in Østfold, with loads of food, family and love. We both received several gift cards for traveling from both friends and family, and our travel year of 2019 is already beginning to fill up with exciting new destinations.
What places did you visit in 2018?
Did you find a new favourite place, or did you perhaps go back to an old favourite?
To round it up I’d also like to use this opportunity to say that I hope you’ve all had a great and relaxing Christmas, and wish you all a happy new year. Thank you all so much for your comments and feedback, and all the great experiences. I hope to see you all also in 2019, be it in real life, out traveling or in the comments.