Bristol vs the world

A travel (and sometimes fashion) blog about exploring Bristol and the rest of the world, one post at a time.

Category: Western Europe

A morning in Roskilde

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

 

During our time in Copenhagen we decided to make use of the extensive railway network and take a trip out to Roskilde. Perhaps most well-known for its music festival, Roskilde is also a really pleasant area to just wander around. The main street in the town admittedly isn’t hugely exciting, but just beyond that, past towering Roskilde Cathedral, it becomes greener, the buildings more traditional. And then you see the vast fjord beyond. Copenhagen isn’t exactly a hectic city – far from it – but Roskilde is that bit slower, calmer, quieter.

We ambled through a park and down to the Viking Ship Museum, where we spent a good couple of hours looking around the main exhibition and boatyard, clambering over their exhibition ships and trying on the Viking costumes, before eating an ice cream overlooking the fjord.

The perfect way to spend a relaxed morning in Copenhagen.


Roskilde

Roskilde

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde fjord

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

 

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde

 

Getting There
We went by train. Roskilde is in Zone 7, a ticket for which costs DK 108

Viking Ship Museum
Open every day except 24, 25 and 31 December
Open 10-4, or 10-5 22/06-31/08

Prices
Adult: 80 DKK (October-April), 115 (May-September)
Students: 70 DKK (October-April), 100 (May-September)
Children up to 18 go free

Photos
All photos my own, please credit if using

Food Friday: Breakfasting in Copenhagen

When I’m not gobbling granola (/spilling it on my work clothes) in a rush to get out of the house, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Especially on holiday: waking up slowly with a tea and well-cooked food has to be one of life’s simplest, greatest pleasures.

Although we ate a couple of ‘boring’ breakfasts in our apartment (well, if you can call Coco Pops from a flipping variety pack boring), we made room for a few Danish pastries too. Here’s a round-up of the spots we found.

Granola Interior via Red Matter
Breakfast at Granola, Copenhagen

Granola
Værnedamsvej 5
1819 Frederiksberg C
If someone said ‘imagine a 50’s American-style soda fountain without plastic, and designed by a Dane’, I’d be picturing something a little like the gorgeous Granola. It’s not only pretty, though; Granola wasn’t just my favourite breakfast in Copenhagen – it jostles for a place in my list of best ones of all time. And considering I take the first meal of the day very seriously, that’s no mean feat. Our ‘sweet’ breakfast platter consisted of yoghurt with compote and granola, fresh fruit, a pancake-y/french bread concoction, toast and – best of all – a home-made, Nutella-esque chocolate spread with actual nuts on top. (I later found out you can buy this to take home. Gutted I did not know this earlier.). My fruit smoothie was also excellent. Smaller breakfasts are available, as is a savoury larger breakfast. Or if you’re feeling really hungry you can get a sweet-savoury combination. Also open for lunch and dinner, if you fancy returning for one of their ‘hard’ shakes.

Breakfast from Bagerdygtigt, Istedgade, Copenhagen
Bagerdygtigt, Istedgade, Copenhagen

Bagerdygtigt, Istedgade, Copenhagen

Bagerdygtigt
Istedgade 120
1650 KØBENHAVN V
Did you know Danes don’t call Danish Pastries Danish Pastries? They call them ‘wienerbrød’ (Vienna bread).

Whatever you want to call them, the Danes do make them well and this friendly bakery, 5-10 minutes from ‘our’ apartment, was no exception. The perfect combination of being really tasty without being too sweet or sickly. We chose to take ours back at the flat, but there was also plenty of space to eat in.

 

Breakfast at Andersen Bakery, Copenhagen

Andersen Bakery
Three premises, by Tivoli Gardens (Bernstorffsgade 5), and in Frederiksberg (Gl. Kongevej 148) and Osterbro (Østerbrogade 103)
Continuing the unexpected pastry facts, the original incarnation of this well-known Danish bakery was actually in Hiroshima, Japan, way back in 1962; the founder, Shunsuke Takaki, was inspired by a trip to Denmark a few years before.

But while that’s interesting, what you really need to know is that there’s a reason pretty much every website, blog and guidebook recommends this bakery. The ever-so-flattering-and-cool photo just about sums it up. And I was possibly even more happy once I’d tucked in to the pastries. Not a bad way to start a birthday.

Photo Credits
Granola Interior: Red Matter via Pinterest
Bagerdygtigt interiors Bagerdygtigt’s Facebook page
Granola food, Bagerdygtigt food, Andersen Bakery breakfast: My own, please credit if using.

Next Food Friday: Lunches and Dinners

Where to stay Wednesday: Air B&B in Copenhagen

livingroomcopenhagenairbnb

Walking down the cobbled street we assumed lead to Mette’s apartment, we felt a little nervous. Mette had been nothing but friendly and helpful so far, and there were plenty of very positive reviews on her Air B&B page. But what if the reviews were fake, and the apartment wasn’t anything like it was described? What if Mette didn’t really exist? What if we’d managed to get our dates mixed up and we were only due to stay for two nights and then we’d be accomodation-less and forced to stay in either a dump or fork out over the odds for somewhere more salubrious? What if, what if…

As it turns out, it wasn’t Mette that greeted us that night. But only because she was on a plane to London when we arrived. Instead her sister had kindly agreed to let us into the apartment instead (all of which we knew about). Once she’d showed us around and handed us the keys, that was it: the apartment – which looked exactly like it did in the photos (ie. stunning) – was ours for five days.

bedroomcopenhagenairbnb

Despite our trepidation, we chose Air B&B for two main reasons. Firstly because our trip was five days and nights, and having a kitchen/dining area meant we wouldn’t have to eat every meal in Copenhagen’s infamously expensive restaurants. Secondly, city breaks are exhausting. All that walking and exploring and unfamiliarity is wonderful, yes, but also, sometimes, draining. I know that some nights the last thing I want to do is spend it trying not to look knackered in a restaurant or bar. Yet most city hotel rooms (or at least, city hotel rooms in a sensible price bracket) are really just somewhere to sleep. Functional and perfectly pleasant, but small and claustrophobic if you spend too long in them. Choosing an apartment would give us the space we’d like to really relax on the evenings where our feet and brains were kaputt!

We chose Mette’s apartment partly because it was beautiful and spacious, but mainly for its location in Vesterbro. It was within easy walking distance of the main train station and most tourist attractions, but residential enough to feel like you were seeing the ‘real’ Copenhagen (and so we could avoid dodgy tourist trap bars and restaurants!). I’ll write more on the area in a separate post, but I’d highly recommend staying around here if you can. As many will say, Istedgade is still ‘interesting’ at the end closest to the main station but it’s nothing to really worry about; while I’m not sure how comfortable I’d have felt walking along it alone in the dark, during the day, and with John, I never felt unsafe. There are also other route options if you really didn’t like it. Otherwise, the area is wonderful: full of interesting, independent restaurants, bars and shops just waiting to be explored.

kitchencopenhagenairbnb

I couldn’t recommend Air B&B highly enough to anyone considering whether to make their first booking. The booking system is more long-winded than your standard hotel ones (you have to get in touch with a host first to see if their apartment is free, and many would – understandably – prefer not to take bookings too far in advance as they don’t know their plans. That said, Mette took our booking in October, six months before our stay, so you can still plan reasonably far ahead). However, for us, it was absolutely worth the effort. Just make sure you do your research so you know what you’re booking. Key things to take note of: is it a whole apartment or just a room? Where is it in relation to the city centre/places you want to see on your stay? What have previous guests said? Any other rules or important information to note? All of this should be clear and easy to find on the listing. Having to make contact with the host before booking also has its benefits, as it gives you a ‘sense’ of them (are they fast to respond? Friendly? Helpful?) before you commit.

copenhagenmetteapartmentbreakfast

The only people I wouldn’t recommend Air B&B to are those who enjoy the extra comforts a hotel offers: room service, bed made, no cleaning up after yourself or cups of tea to wash up. Personally we didn’t miss these, preferring the independence and freedom self-catering gave us (picking up pastries from a local bakery for breakfast, a quiet evening in with pizza and reading on the sofa, not having to worry about fixed breakfast times or when a maid will come to clean the room), but I know that wouldn’t be the same for everyone.

But for the right people and at the right apartment, Air B&B is brilliant. I’d highly recommend it and will definitely look into using it again next time we’re on an extended city break.

bedroomcopenhagenairbnb2

Post not in association with Air B&B – I know I had my doubts beforehand, so wanted to share my positive experience with others in case anyone feels the same way and is wondering about booking. Do it!

Photos
All photos except one featuring breakfast from Air B&B listing
Breakfast photo my own, please credit if using.

Belem, Lisbon

Today’s post focuses on Belem, an area located about 6km west of the city centre – an excellent excuse to hop on one of the gorgeous little trams for a ride. You need to get route 15, and I recommend picking it up from either the Praca Comércio or Praca Figueira – we first attempted to get on at Cais Sodre but it was completely full by that point!

Belem is most famous for its Jeronimos monastery and for having, allegedly, the best Pasteis de Nata in the city at Pasteis de Bélem. But there is much more to this beautiful – and quite calming – area of Lisbon. It’s definitely worth at least a half day of your time, and ideally a day. Just make sure that day’s not a Monday!

Jeronimos Monastery
Most people venture to Belem to visit the impressive monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its magnificence commands your attention, the building quite striking in both size and details in the Gothic architecture. It’s undeniably one of the most impressive buildings I’ve seen, religious or otherwise.

The tombs of many important Portuguese figures can be seen her, arguably most famously Vasco Da Gama, one of the most successful Portuguese explorers in the Age of Discoveries. In fact, the monastery is built on the site where he and his crew spent their last night in Portugal before leaving on their voyage to India.

Some parts of the monastery can be seen for free, but unlimited access will cost you €6. It’s open from 10 – 5, hours extending until 6 in summer. Closed Mondays.





Torre de Belem
Dating from the 16th Century, the tower, like the monastery, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was intended built both to be a defence system for and ‘ceremonial gateway’ to Lisbon. Today it serves as a monument to Portugal’s Age of Discoveries.

You can enjoy the building’s outside for free (which is what we did), but if you want to explore it more thoroughly it will cost you €4 (unless you have a Lisbon Card – then it’s free!). It’s open from 10am – 5pm, or until 6.30 in summer. Closed Mondays.

Museo Berardo
Discussed in more detail here, the Museo Berardo is a must-visit modern art museum. And it’s free!

Discoveries Monument
Built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, the monument is situated on the edge of the Tagus river. It took us a while to work out what it was depicting, but it turns out those featured are notable Portuguese figures: poets, explorers, cartographers and more. We’d probably have found this out quicker if we’d known there was an exhibition space inside the monument! (There’s also a lift that offers visitors views over Lisbon.)

I particularly liked the floor mosaic infront of the monument that depicted the world and routes Portuguese explorers once took. Though so does everyone else, meaning getting a decent photo op isn’t so easy!

The exhibition space below the monument is open 10-6. No prizes for guessing the day it’s closed! (Mondays…)

The Docks
Walking to Belem Tower, you will pass some pretty docks. Perfect if you like boat porn, or just want to stop for a drink.

Pasteis de Belem
Based on those we tried during our time in Lisbon, this place really does do the best Pasteis de Nata in the city. You can read more about it here. A must-visit in Belem.

Other Attractions
Belem is home to a whole host of other museums and gardens, from the Coaches museum – a collection of royal coaches – to tropical gardens. You can find a whole list on the excellent Go Lisbon website.

Casa do Bairro B&B

Looking out onto the courtyard. Photo Credit: Eureka Booking

They say first impressions are everything, and Casa do Bairro B&B in Santa Catarina has been paying attention. Even before we arrived we were treated to a friendly but informative exchange of emails, and the first thing we noticed when we finally arrived was the scent of fresh lavender in the pretty courtyard. From there, things just got better and better.

We were greeted by Portuguese-for-John. After we had settled into our (lovely) room, he sat us down to give us a brief introduction to Lisbon. The B&B provides a map of the city centre, and they’ve marked some of their personal recommendations for restaurants, bars, museums and other attractions on there: we probably would’t have ventured into either the Cantinho da Paz restaurant (to be discussed in more detail in tomorrow’s Food Friday – make sure you check back!), or the Fashion and Design Museum without this guidance, and both turned out to be fantastic finds. Portuguese-for-John also highlighted some of his particular favourites of the highlighted attractions and gave us a brief introduction to the city in general. His main tip? “Get lost”. Excellent advice, as it turns out
Casa do Bairro bedroom. Photo Credit: Casa do Bairro
Throughout our stay the staff were always friendly and willing to help in any way they could without overstepping the mark – perfect hosts!
But it wasn’t just the staff that made this B&B. Although the interiors weren’t anything fancy, they were modern, clean and more than adequate. We even had a tiny bit of a sea view from our window. The location in Santa Catarina was perfect for us: close to the bars of the Bairro Alto without being in the midst of the action and noise, and within walking distance of the main city centre, stops for the famous Tram 28 route and other tram and train stops that will take you to Bélem, Sintra and Cascais. I particularly loved being so close to the Placa de Santa Catarina, a square and miradouro that up fills up with younger, bohemian Lisboetas during summer afternoons. The ideal location for a €1 glass of sangria sipped from a plastic cup under the Portuguese sun.
Photos of Casa do Bairro B&B and Apartments, Lisbon
Breakfast time. Photo Credit: TripAdvisor
The bright and airy breakfast room. Photo Credit: Casa do Bairro
But back to the B&B because I haven’t written about the breakfasts yet. And they were some breakfasts. Produced by the staff, they consisted of typical Continental fare and fruit, but also some incredible pastries. Portuguese-for-John’s take on French Toast was to die for! And then there was the genuinely freshly squeezed orange juice…
Talking of food, there is also an honesty fridge. It is a little more expensive than the nearby supermarkets and shops, but still a fair price if you want to pick something up without having to venture out. 
If you prefer to be a bit more independent on your travels, the B&B also owns some nearby apartments. You can even get in on the B&B breakfast for €7 per person – it may sound steep, but it’s probably worth it one day, providing the French Toast is on offer. 
There’s a reason the Casa do Bairro currently holds the number one B&B spot on TripAdvisor. A friendly and calm escape with a modern but homely feel in a great location, this really is an exceptional place to stay when in Lisbon.

Reception. Photo Credit: Eureka Booking
Price: Rooms start at €74 off-peak
All rooms have a private bathroom, television and bright colours!