HOTEL ALMOND BUSINESS & SPA

During our trip to Gdansk we stayed at Hotel Almond Business & Spa and we were very satisfied. Hotel Almond Business & Spa is located cirka 600 metres from the Gdansk Old Town and is a 4-star hotel. I usually travel on a budget but since this trip was for my mothers 50th birthday we decided to get a more luxury hotel. I'm more of a hostel or B&B kind of girl but a 4-star hotel every once in a while is not that bad haha! 
 
 
The rooms at Hotel Almond Business & Spa are modern and bright. According to me there's nothing worse than arriving to an hotel/hostel and realise that there are not enough window light or that the room is dark over all. We had a sofa bed in our room where I slept. All three of us decided that it would be better to spend our money on something else than a second room and since we traveled as a family, no one even cared. We only slept in the room, we didn't spend any other time there. Our room also had a stunning view over the river!
 
 
On to my favourite part; BREAKFAST! There's nothing better than a really nice hotel breakfast buffet and oh boy this was nice. Homemade smoothies, fruits, pancakes, bread, yoghurt and even some baked goods if that's what you prefer! The Hotel Almond Business & Spa's breakfast buffet had a great selection of both sweet and savory breakfasts and that's something that I believe is truly important. I also felt that the whole breakfast restaurant worked really well with the rest of the hotel. The style of the hotel is a bit industrial and I felt that they've incorprated that great but still kept it modern and bright. 
 
 
This is the lobby and here you can see what I mean by industrial. This theme continues throughout the hotel and I think it's really nice. I'm a big fan of the more industrial style and I think that Hotel Almond Business & Spa looks super nice and worked with the style in every corner of the hotel!
 
 
It wouldn't be called Hotel Almond Business & Spa without a spa right? This is where my only complaints are. The spa was relatively small, which I don't mind but then it's even more important to keep it functioning. The pool was very nice and the saunas were great but the hot tub was not hot at all and it was filled with small pieces of gravel. The hot tub was therefore not very nice at all. Otherwise I really liked the spa. My mother got a treatment on her birthday and she chose some sort of massage with aroma therapy. I asked her and she said it was really good and before the treatment she filled out a form so that the massage therapist could adapt the massage to her. 
 
Over all I'm very satisfied with our stay and I really recommend that you check out this hotel if you're going to Gdansk. It's just a five minute walk to the Old Town and very close to the train station where you can take the train to Sopot or Gdynia. It's a perfect location just by the river.
 
My rating: 4/5
 

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GDANSK DAY 1

I'm back home in Sweden again after a lovely weekend-trip to Gdansk, Poland! I had never before visited Poland and was very pleasantly surprised by not only Gdansk but Poland as well. I thought I would do a blog post for each day as we visited other cities during our trip, that way it will be easier to find in the archive later. So here we go.

 
We flew from Malmö Airport on the 12th of April and the flight to Gdansk only took an hour! So an hour later we arrived at the airport in Gdansk and took a taxi to our hotel (review will be up shortly!). We stayed at Hotel Almond Business & SPA and it was so nice. Perfect walking distance to Gdansk Old Town and to the train station where we took the train the other days. 
 
 
After checking in to our hotel we decided to explore Gdansk Old Town for the rest of the afternoon and oh my what a gorgeous town! The entire town is in pastel colours with the most beautiful houses I think I have ever seen! We walked around for a bit and found a restaurant to eat some lunch at. The weather was so nice and all three of us totally overdressed and was sweating the rest of the afternoon but it was so worth it. 
 
 
 
After eating a light lunch we did what Swedes do best; we found a café for some fika. We drank some hot chocolates at a café called Pociąg Do and just sat down and relaxed. Our vacation was really starting! This trip was my mothers birthday-trip so we did everything she wanted to. She wanted to have a nice relaxing weekend so that's what we did! To end of the first day we walked back to our hotel and changed into our swimsuits and went down to the hotel spa. 
 
 
After a few hours of swimming, hanging out in the saunas and sitting in the hot tub we went back up to our room and went to bed quite early so that we would be filled with energy for day two which was the first full day. I slept really good except that we had opened our window because of the heat and therefor heard so many sounds early in the morning haha, but that's my own fault! 
 

Restaurants visited this day:
  • Mojito Caffe & Restaurant 
  • Pociąg Do...
Tourist attractions visited this day:
  • Żuraw – medieval port crane
  • Ulica Długa – the main street of Old Town
  • Złota Brama – the Golden Gate at the end of the main street

That was it for the first day! If you want to see more pictures from Gdansk head over to my Instagram; @strokeofadventure. Thank you for reading!

10 (9) CITIES IN EUROPE TO VISIT THIS SPRING

It's almost spring and for many that means some time off work (with all the holidays it brings)! It's probably been a while since you've had some time off so a weekend getaway this spring might be perfect for you. Therefor I made a list of 10 cities in Europe you should visit this spring. Spring can be an amazing time of year, summer is just around the corner and the weather is getting warmer all over Europe, it's the perfect time to explore a new city and a new country! This spring I'm going to Gdansk, Poland so that'll have to be my spring-vacation. Let's get into the list!
 
LIVERPOOL
One of my absolute favorite cities ever! I had never even thought of visiting Liverpool before 2015, when my relative moved there. I thought Liverpool was only for soccer fans and I had no interest in that at all. But when I came to visit I fell in love with the city, I even loved it so much that I moved there in 2016. Liverpool for me has it all, it's a big city but it doesn't feel like a big city, which I really like. There's a beautiful walk to take by the Mersey, fantastic shopping and the locals are lovely. I would love to go back soon! 
 
A beautiful spring day in Liverpool in March 2017.
 
MARRAKECH
I never thought about Marrakech before but recently it has been all over my Instagram-feed! And I'm obsessed! It looks absolutely beautiful with all the colors and patterns. I talked with my mother about Morocco a while ago and she told me she's been there in her 20's and I was so jealous. I had to dig our her photo albums and look at the pictures and even back then it looked amazing. I need to go soon! I wrote this blog post in the middle of the night and I just realised that Marrakech is not in Europe haha. But oh well, it made the list anyway!
 
GOTHENBURG
I of course had to include my favourite city in Sweden, Gothenburg. Gothenburg during springtime is amazing with its open-air cafees, trams and just the over all happy feeling. I love Gothenburg because much like Liverpool it's a big city but it feels small. I haven't been there since the summer 2016 so it is really time to go again soon, hopefully this summer!
 
At the famous amusement park Liseberg in Gothenburg in June 2014!
 
VIENNA
Another city that my mother made me jealous about. She went there a couple of years ago and came back with amazing stories and it looked beautiful in her pictures. I've been to Austria several times before but only to skii so I really want to experience another part of the country. I think Easter and springtime is a perfect time to visit Vienna since it can be quite warm during the summer in the middle of a big city. 
 
BRUSSELS
I had planned to go to Brussels this March but unfortunately it had to be postponed. But from what I've seen and heard it's amazing. Can't imagine anything better than strolling around Brussel eating both some Belgian chocolate AND a Belgian waffle haha. I'm ready to pack my bags for a long weekend in Brussels. 
 
MUNICH
Germany! A country I've been to many times but never really seen a lot of. When you live in the south of Sweden you often drive to Germany for one single reason: to buy cheap alcohol. So I've been many times but I have never gotten the chance to explore it as much as I want to. Munich is on top of my list of cities to visit in Germany. Munich is famous for Oktoberfest (a huge beer-drinking party) that lasts for two weeks every year. But Munich is not all about beer but it's also a city with lots of culture! 
 
Picture of Munich by: The Culture Trip
 
KAUNAS
Kaunas and I crossed paths when I was searching for trips for my mothers birthday (we finally decided on Gdansk, Poland and we're leaving on Thursday!!). Kaunas is located in Lithuania and the first city in Central and Eastern Europe as a UNESCO City of Design. In 2022, Kaunas will be the European Capital of Culture, so needless to say it's a city to visit for those who are interested in culture and cultural heritage. Also, I've heard, that Lithuania is a great country to visit if you're interested in visiting a spa. 
 
HELSINKI
Ever since the fellow travel blogger Amanda wrote about her visit to Helsinki I really want to go! I have friends from Finland but it has never crossed my mind to actually go there. It's very close to Sweden so for me it's a perfect weekend trip. Helsinki is also filled with beautiful architechture and culture. As you might have noticed in this blog post that is something I really value when deciding on a destination haha. If you want to know more about Helsinki I recommend that you head over to Amandas blog and read her post about the city. 
 
Picture of Helsinki by: The Masculine Traveler
 
TALLINN
The old town of Tallinn was in 1997 placed on the UNESCOs World Heritage Site, so here we have another cultural city that I would like to explore! It's the capital of Estonia and a city with loads of activities such as biking, spas, markets and gardens etc. So it's a perfect city for a weekend this spring!
 
SOFIA
A super cultural city! With history all the way back to the antiquity! Can you tell I'm excited haha?! Lonely Planet writes "Sofia is no grand metropolis, but it's a largely modern, youthful city, with a scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel." Does it not sound amazing? If you are looking for a trip filled with culture; Sofia is the city for you!
 

So, are you now excited to visit some cities in Europe this spring? I am for sure! I'm super excited to visit Poland this weekend since I've never been before! Hopefully, it will be great. I will of course update you on my trip when I get back. But if you want to follow along in real time; don't forget to follow me over on my instagram @strokeofadventure. Hope to see you over there!
 

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A SHIT VLOG

 
Everything went wrong this day. But at least I vlogged it. Enjoy. 

MY FAVOURITE PLACE

 
Welcome to one of my favourite places on Earth; Kullaberg! I went there last night with my cousin Sandra and best friend Louise. Louise just got back from a almost 5 month backpacking-trip in Australia and Asia so it's nice to hang out again, I've missed her so much! So yesterday we drove all the way up to Kullaberg to watch the sunset and it was absolutely gorgeous. 
 
 
We did two little hikes, one down to the small lighthouse and one to a cave a bit further away. We didn't climb down to the cave because it was freakishly cold and muddy so we stayed at the top to watch the sunset instead. After sunset we jumped in the car and drove the one hour back home. The plan was to light a fire and eat some marshmallows but we forgot them so that will have to be another time. 
 
 

Trying out the YouTube thing

 
I've been thinking about it for a while. I've filmed some videos and then deleted them. But here it is now, a proper try to try out YouTube. My main focus will still be the blog but I will throw in a video here and there. This video is a video about how to save money for traveling, which is a subject I've already written a blog post about. Some like video and some like written text better so my YouTube-channel will mostly act as an extension of my blog for those of you that doesn't like to read blogs! Hope you're as excited about this as I am. And I hope you liked the video. Lots of love.

COVERED IN SNOW

Sweden is a mess at the moment, there's no denying it. Every year the north of Sweden and only the north get a lot of snow. But this year, HOLY MOLY, the entire country is covered in snow. I haven't been able to leave my apartment since Monday because of roads being closed down and car accidents everywhere. It's recommended right now that we stay inside and do not get out in traffic if we don't absolutely have to. My classes this week has been postponed so here I am. For those of you that are following me on Instagram, you might have seen my stories. On Tuesday we were supposed to drive over to the island of Öland to finish up on a group project for the course I'm taking at the moment. But as I shared on my story, my car was stuck in the snow and I couldn't get it out. Not until later that night some relatives came over with a shovel and we had to dig my car out. Today I'm gonna try to get myself out of the apartment if the snow and wind calms down a bit. I'm tired of sitting in my couch the entire day. So hopefully it calms down a bit today! 
 
 
Since I took this photo there has been even more snow. When I tried to get to my car on Tuesday morning there was snow up to my knees so there's at least 50cm of snow now and it just keeps on coming. Hopefully I can head out today and take some new photos of the snow, beacuse it is truly beautiful!

HOW TO GET CHEAP FLIGHTS

All of us want to travel for free but that's not really possible. So the next best alternative is to find flights as cheap as possible. But how do you do it? I'm a budget traveller and can't afford expensive flights all around the world and the tips I will share with you now are tips that I use myself and has helped me during my travels. So let's get started. 
 
JUMP INTO INCOGNITO-MODE
 
Before you start searching for flights, open a new window in your browser and make it incognito or "private". This way the websites you visit won't be able to save your searches and remember what you've searched for. Because if a website notice that you search for the same route several times, they will up the price. It can also be a good idea to clear you cache and cookies. 
 
USE A SEARCH ENGINE
 
And by this I don't mean Google or Bing (who even uses Bing??). I mean Skyscanner or Momondo. Skyscanner is my favourite and I even signed up for their newsletter which means that I get an email a couple of times a week with the lowest air fares. Momondo is also great and I've found that sometimes it shows some budget airlines that Skyscanner doesn't. Besides Skyscanner and Momondo I sometimes use Google Flights, I don't really like it and feel like they have a lot to work on but it's great for checking the availability of flights. Google Flights almost never presents the cheapest fare so I wouldn't trust it with that. 
 
READ MORE: HOW TO TRAVEL ON A BUDGET
 
 
FLY OFF SEASON
 
If you fly off season you will not only get a cheaper flight but you will also avoid all the tourists. It's a win-win situation if you ask me. Flights are usually the most expensive during summer when everyone has time off and wants to go on summer holiday with the fam. Christmas and New Years are also very expensive. 
 
BOOK FAR AHEAD
 
Book your flight as early as possible as prices tend to increase the closer to departure you get. A good rule of thumb is to book 1-3 months ahead. When I recently booked tickets to Poland I booked in January and I'm not traveling until April. My ticket was also extremely cheap because of this. You can also do the opposite and wait until the very last minute to book but that's a risk I personally wouldn't take. There might not be any seats left and in worst case senario they're not even that cheap. Bonus tip: Book on a Monday. Most people discuss their travel plans and book tickets during the weekends which makes the tickets more expensive. 
 
BE FLEXIBLE
 
Both with destiantion and dates. In other words don't focus on the destination, focus on the price. Take a look at your budget and think to yourself "where can I go with this money?". It's not realistic that you have $100 to spend on flights and you want to go from Europe to the Caribbean, unless you're extremely lucky. Your budget might take you some other place in Europe. You should also be as flexible as possible with travel dates. If you travel mid-week tickets are usually less expensive since most people travel during the weekends. 
 
READ MORE: HOW TO AFFORD TRAVELING
 
 
SIGN UP TO LOYALTY PROGRAMMES
 
Most airlines have a loyaly programme where you can either collects points or get bonuses in other ways. These bonuses can later be used as payment for flights, upgrades or discounts. I have a EuroBonus card from SAS/Star Alliance which means that I collect points everytime I fly with them. With my EuroBonus-card I also get discounted tickes since I'm under the age of 26. 
 
DO NOT HESITATE
 
If you find a great deal, book it! You can't search forever so if you find a great deal, don't be a fool and "wait a couple of days", your great deal might be gone and you will regret now booking in the first place. 


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10 THINGS TO DO IN COPENHAGEN

I've lived in the south of Sweden for the majority of my life and that means living very close to Denmark. I'm also part Danish and have therefor been in Denmark quite a bit, but mostly Copenhagen and Helsingør/Elsinore. So I thought I would share with you all, whether you're planning a trip to Denmark or not, ten things to do in Copenhagen.
 
1. NYHAVN

Nyhavn, the part of Copenhagen you've probably seen a thousand times on Instagram. With it's colorful, picturesque houses by the harbor it's a very popular destination during the summer. In summer Nyhavn is filled with restaurants with outdoor seatings overlooking the harbor. Nyhavn is also the beginning of most of the sightseeing boats around Copenhagen.

Picture: Visit Copenhagen

2. CHRISTIANIA
 
Christiania is a wild, wild ride. It's a part of Copenhagen that lives by it's own rules and is most famous for being the "hippie" part of Copenhagen. This is a part where people with alternative lifestyles gather. The area used to be a military area but it was abandoned and in the 70s it was occupied by hippies. Christiania has an autonomy based on each individual's responsibility for his own life and home. There are no laws but only few rules in Christiania; no weapons, no violence, no heavy drugs and no buying/selling property. Cannabis is forbidden in Denmark but in Christiania it is not, therefor Christiania is a common place for selling/dealing cannabis. There's even a street, Pusher Street, when you can buy cannabis in little stalls just out in the open. I'm not a advocate for any kinds of drugs but I do find Christiania and the people living there very fascinating. Many believe that Christiania is only a shelter for drug users, but there are at least as many people who express their joy that a sanctuary like this exists. Christiania is perceived by many people as a kind of breath in the big city. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in Copenhagen since it is one of a kind and filled with beautiful art!

Picture: Visit Copenhagen

3. TIVOLI
 
The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen was founded back in 1843 and is still one of the most visited places in Copenhagen. Tivoli is an amusement park in the center of Copenhagen. All the rides are designed to fit Tivoli's old style and it's all very nostalgic! It's very common to visit Tivoli at night and just have a bite to eat in there and take a walk around the park. Tivoli also transform every holiday, so if you want to get an unique visit; visit Tivoli during Christmas, Halloween or New Years.

Picture: The Planet D

4. GLYPTOTEKET
 
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek or more commonly known as Glyptoteket is a very special museum. The museum has two main exhibitions; The Department of Antiquities with Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art and The Modern Department and it also has a beautiful winter garden. It's an amazing museum to visit since the architechture is extremely beautiful! It's also free on Tuesdays or if you have the Copenhagen Card.

Picture: Your Holiday Homes

5. STRØGET
 
Strøget is the main shopping area of Copenhagen with both high end/luxury-stores and budget-stores. There are also plenty of cafés and restaurants in the area if you get hungry whilst doing tons of shopping!

Picture: Visit Copenhagen

6. DEN BLÅ PLANET
 
Den blå planet or The Blue Planet in English is is Northern Europe's largest aquarium and has water on all sides and it is suposed to give you the feeling of being under water. There are three big exhibitions; the ocean tank, the Amazonas and the Coral Reef. It's a bit expensive to visit but if you have the Copenhagen Card you have free entrance!

Picture: Visit Copenhagen

7. DEN LILLE HAVEFRUE
 
The original little mermaid! Not really but still. Den lille havefrue was gifted to Copenhagen about 100 years ago by Carl Jacobsen after he watched the ballet of The little mermaid by H.C. Andersen. Den lille havefrue is visited by an insane amount of tourists every year and because of this the statue has been vandalised several times; it's been painted pink and had its head decapitated amongst other things. It's worth a visit if you're nearby!

Picture: Kopenhamn.com

8. CITY TOUR
 
As in every other city I recommend going on a city tour. There is a varaity of free tours and paid tours both by foot and by boat in Copenhagen. You can choose from historical tours, art tours and so much more. I recommend everyone to go on a tour!

9. THE NATIONAL MUSEUM 
 
Denmark's National Museum in Copenhagen has exhibitions from the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History. It is located in The Prince’s Palace, built in 1743-44, but since the palace is no longer used by the royal family it is today a museum instead. Denmark's National Museum offers self-guided tours and a Children's exhibition for the little ones! Denmark's National Museum is free for childen under 17 or for anyone with a Copenhagen Card!

Picture: Visit Copenhagen

10. COPENHAGEN BOTANICAL GARDENS

I'm a sucker for botanical gardens, I just love them. So of course Copenhagen Botanical Gardens had to make it to the list. The gardens are located in the centre of Copenhagen and covers an area of 10 hectares and is particularly noted for its extensive complex of historical glasshouses from 1874. The garden has 27 glasshouses. The most notable is the old Palm House from 1874 that is 16 metres tall and has narrow, cast-iron spiral stairs leading to a passageway at the top. There is no entrance fee to visit the gardens so it's definitely worth a visit!

Picture: Visit Copenhagen

HOW TO: TAKE OUTSTANDING TRAVEL PHOTOS

Are you a sucker for a gorgeous Instagram-feed? But you just no matter what you try can't get those perfect Instagram travel shots? Then listen (more like read, but you get the point) carefully at what I'm about to tell you. Getting those banger Insta-shots doesn't have to be that difficult. Here are 8 tips on how to up your Instagram game and take outstanding travel photos!

RELATED POST: HOW TO AFFORD TRAVELING
 

 
1. INVEST IN GEAR
If you are really serious about taking your photography to the next level you should, if you can afford, invest in some quality gear. Small point-and-shoot cameras are no longer super expensive and you can get an entry level DSLR camera for a small amount of money. This step is of course not a necessety but it gives you the creative freedom to take the picture you want. With a more advanced camera you can adjust your settings manually and get a unique picture created by you! But remember; the best camera is the one you have with you. Your iPhone is good enough!
 
2. CONCIDER THE TIME OF DAY
The light changes trough out the day and you should therefor have that in mind when you take your picture. Shooting in the middle of the day in the glazing sun might not always be the best idea. The light is harsh and creates weird shadows on people. The best time for shooting is around sunrise or sunset. The light is the soft and will light your subject beautifully. 
 
3. GET UP EARLY
If you really want that perfect shot, get up early. Not only is the light great but the tourists aren't awake yet! Which is great for you! That way you won't have 125 random tourists in the background of your shot and it will look much better!

 
4. USE THE RULE OF THIRDS
The rule of thirds is super simple. Google it if you've never heard of it! Always have it in the back of your mind.
 
5. LEARN HOW TO EDIT
Editing isn't cheating, it's a part of photography. Learn the basics and your photos can go from blah to WOW.
 
6. ANALYSE YOUR FAVORITE ACCOUNTS
What is it about their pictures that you like? Is it the blurry background? The colors? The composition? When you have examples of what you like then learn how to do that specific thing! Hannah (picture below) is one of my favorite people on Instagram. Therefor I sometimes look back at her feed, analyze what I like about it and learn from it!

 
7. FIND YOUR UNIQUE STYLE
Don't copy other photographers, find your own style of shooting and play with it! It's no fun if everyones photos look the same. Be you, always. I'm all for getting inspired by other photographers but don't EVER copy!

8. GET IN FRAME
I hate being in photos and I've always been behind the camera. But it's no secret that it's more interesting seeing a picture with a person in it than with out. So get in your photos, put your best smile on and take a picture! Not only is the picture more interesting to look at, for example you can use yourself for scale which I think is such a cool photo! Christian from Lost Leblanc is so good at this. By including himself in a picture he really shows off how big something in the background is and his pictures are so cool!

 

 
I hope you learnt something from this post and that you found it useful. Don't forget that to become a great photographer you need to practice. Pick up your camera, whether it's your iPhone or a DSLR, and go out and shoot, shoot, shoot! It's a common saying that you need to do something for 10,000 hrs to become an expert and it so is the case with photography as well, you don't go pro over a night. Put in the time and effort and you will be rewarded with great photos! Good luck on your photography journey!

RELATED POST: AIRPORT MISTAKES & HOW TO AVOID THEM
 

 
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WELCOME!
Stroke of Adventure is a travel related blog, Instagram and YouTube-channel. Stroke of Adventure was founded with the purpose for me to share my adventures (both big and small), tips and other things related to travel.

SOA is written by me, Mie, and I'm a 20 y/o traveler, student and photographer from Sweden. You can read more about me if you click "About me" in the top menu.

Welcome to Stroke of Adventure. Come travel the world with me.

Enjoy your reading!