Personal, Review

2018: One year of trips

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but when I look back at 2018 the thing that stands out the most is how much I got to travel. Writing a whole blog post about each destination would be silly at this point, so instead I will give you the highlight reel and some of my favorite tips from each trip. Let’s go!

February 2018: Stockholm, Sweden. 

Trip length: 4 days

Stayed at: Scandic Downtown Camper hotel

January and February are cold and dreary months, so for Valentine’s weekend The Boyfriend and I decided to skip town and travel to Stockholm. Neither of us had been there before, and we looked forward to exploring a brand new city. Downtown Camper was a great hotel choice, located near both Stockholm Central Station, the Royal castle, and the historic Old Town. 

Highlights: Visiting the historic Old Town, dinner at The Hairy Pig, pizza at Pizzeria Giro, shopping at Beyond Retro (two locations, both good), realizing Stockholm has Sephora (don’t laugh, we don’t have Sephora in Norway), good old sightseeing. 

Maja sitting in the windowsill at Downtown Camper Hotel
Stockholm Royal Castle
Maja standing on a snowy street, looking at the river and bridge to Stockholm Royal Castle
Snow in city square in Stockholm
View towards Gamla Stan in Stockholm
Yellow houses and cobblestone street in Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

April, May, June and October 2018: Oslo, Norway. 

Trip length: 16 days in total

Stayed at: Various hotels

These were mostly work trips for meetings, conferences and courses, but I had the evenings to myself, and have spent enough time in Oslo over the years to give you a few recommendations. 

Favorite hotel: Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret. It’s smack in the middle of town, and the breakfast is amazing. 

Shopping: Bogstadveien, Steen & Strøm department store, Paleet and Eger for luxury shopping. The streets near Steen & Strøm also have flagship stores for many luxury brands. Velouria Vintage, Uff Vintage Heaven and Fretex for second hand and vintage. The area around Karl Johan for high street shopping. The Grünerløkka area for general hipsterness. 

Food: Burgers at Illegal Burger or Munchies. Tapas at Delicatessen. Asian Fusion at Dinner. Laid-back dinners at Café Sara. Lunch at Godt Brød organic bakery. Coffees at Fuglen. Afternoon Tea (with champagne, of course) at Hotel Bristol.

Champagne afternoon tea at Hotel Bristol.
The Norwegian Royal Castle, Oslo, Norway.
A sculpture of a spilled to-go coffee cup, in front of Nathionaltheateret in Oslo.
Tree-lined sidewalk at Karl Johan in Oslo
Summer in Bogstadveien, Oslo

August 2018: New York City, USA. 

Trip length: 12 days

Stayed at: Archer New York in Midtown

This was our third visit to New York City (Blog posts from 2013 here and 2015 here), so I would claim us to be at least intermediate level tourists in New York by now. Being a tourist here is just easy. It is easy to get around on the subway, it is easy to find your way around on Google Maps, and no matter what you want to do it is easy to figure out where and how to do it. I know New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude, but guess what? Us Norwegians are even worse, so we don’t notice. 

Shopping: Dude, whatever you want. We spent day at Woodbury Outlets, which is great if you like Outlet shopping. Makeup at Sephora and Ricky’s. Stationery at Kinokuniya. Gadgets at B&H. Collectible toys at Toy Tokyo. I’m not going to list more because you can find whatever you damn well want. 

Food: Steaks at Club A Steakhouse. This was hands down the single best restaurant experience I have ever had. The food was amazing, the wine was perfect. We didn’t order dessert but still somehow ended up with four slices of cake, and pasta just magically appeared. The owner came over to our table to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. I will forever return to this place as long as I’m in New York. We had amazing Indian Food at Bengal Tiger. Endless shroom burgers at Shake Shack. Pizza at Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn. Italian for lunch at Eataly. Cookies from Levain Bakery. Also, some favorites from previous trips: Korean BBQ at Madangsui and Chinese from Café China

Experiences: Bring a book and some lunch to Central Park and spend an afternoon reading in the grass. Walk the High Lines. Try to get tickets to the taping of one of your favorite TV shows – we were lucky enough to get tickets to a taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. See a movie. See a broadway show – we saw the Book of Mormon and loved it. Walk, walk and walk some more. Visit museums – we went to MoMa and were lucky enough to catch the “Heavenly Bodies” exhibit at The Met. Walk around Chelsea Market. Eat until you burst. 

Maja on Brooklyn street facing the Brooklyn Bridge
View from Brooklyn to Manhattan
Juliana's Pizza, menu and view into the kitchen
Quiet tree-lined street in uptown Manhattan
Lush green view on top of the High Lines
Row of Dolce and Gabbana dresses from the Heavenly bodies exhibit at The Met
John Galliano wedding dress with crown from the Heavenly bodies exhibit at The Met

August 2018: Nassau Beach, The Bahamas. 

Trip length: 7 days

Stayed at:  Meliá Nassau Beach

We wanted to combine our big city stay in NYC with a beach holiday, and after much umming and ahing we decided The Bahamas would be ideal with its 3 hour flight from New York. We wanted one week of sea, sun and sand, and boy did we get it. The Bahamas is just as magical as it looks in photos. We didn’t go on a lot of excursions, but we did take a trip in a semi-submarine to watch fish and sea turtles, and we also visited the Ardastra Gardens Zoo and Conservation Center. I did want to visit Pig Beach and swim with the pigs, but then we realized it cost $400 per person and decided that swimming with humans would suffice. Honestly though, all we wanted to do was relax by the beach. Heaven. 

Highlights: Beach life. Flamingos. Seeing Oprah Winfrey’s two island homes and wishing I was her. Reading and listening to music for hours on end. Bahamian humor and their relaxed approach to time-keeping. The Meerkat that looked like my toy poodle. Not being cold. 

Maja posing with pink flamingos at Adastra Gardens Zoo and Conservation Center.
Blue parrot standing on a perch at Adastra Gardens Zoo and Conservation Center.
Pool at Melia Nassau Beach hotel in The Bahamas.
Girls playing in fountains in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Oprah Winfrey's two houses in the Bahamas seen from a boat.
Oprah’s houses!
Sunset at Nassau Beach, The Bahamas.

October 2018: London, England. 

Trip length: 5 days

Stayed at: The Nadler Victoria

We have been in London once before in 2016, and that trip became infamous because of how much I struggled with allergies when I was there. It was not a good trip and we wanted a re-do. We didn’t have a grand plan for this trip, with one exception: I wanted to see the Warner Brother Studios Harry Potter tour. It was, no pun intended, pure magic. I saw grown fangirls cry. I saw a gigantic model of Hogwarts. I bought a Slytherin scarf and drank butterbeer. I can’t recommend this one enough. When we weren’t being giant nerds we went sightseeing around the city, ate good food, and enjoyed the unusually warm October weather. We even visited the London Eye – I usually avoid tourist attractions that require long queues, but with an express ticket it was well worth the trip. 

Highlights: The Warner Brothers Studios Tour. Feeding squirrels in St. James’s Park. Walking through Hyde park with a coffee and a pain au chocolat. Even more shroom burgers at Shake Shack. Steaks at Goodman. Stationery and art supplies at London Graphic Centre. Window shopping everywhere. Being warm. 

Outside view of a London pub named The Colonies
View of Buckingham Palace from St. James's Park in London
Squirrel balancing on a park fence
Dumbledore's office at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London
Maja and her boyfriend drinking butterbeer at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London.
Scale model of Hogwarts Castle at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London.

Phew! If you made it to the end – congratulations. Grab a drink. Grab a snack. You need to re-fuel. 

Also, I’m sorry about the carbon footprint. 


5 thoughts on “2018: One year of trips

  1. Bonnie says:

    So many of these places are places on my bucket list, and I just know that when I finally book my trips (they are going to happen, even if I have no idea when), I am going to refer to this post for recommendations and ideas! Also, as a fellow Hogwarts fangirl (Hufflepuff and proud) I am so glad you enjoyed the studio tour – it is my dream to have Christmas lunch there one day, and I often joke that I would sell a kidney to afford the ticket!

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