Visit Stockholm

Travel is one of the greatest and most important things you can do on your leisure according to me and one of my favorite cities to travel to be one very close to me in my home country. I’m going to tell you why you should visit the beautiful capital of my home country Sweden, Stockholm. It lives 10 million people in Sweden wish 1, 5 million of those lives in Stockholm. Stockholm is the biggest capital of people in the Nordic area wish includes countries Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Stockholm isn’t one of the biggest capitals but I would say it’s one of the most beautiful capitals because of the position. Stockholm is built on fourteen islands by the Baltic Sea.   There are plenty of things to see and do in Stockholm and the optimal time to go is in the summer so you can enjoy being outside and maybe take a dip in the sea? One of my favorites is to walk around in the old town (Gamla Stan) where Stockholm was founded in 1252 and maybe go into a coffee shop and buy a Swedish cinnamon bun or go to a nice restaurant. There are also a lot of museums to go to about old Stockholm, it’s really interesting. The old town has interesting architecture with all the nice old apartments around which are nice to go around and check out. One of the most famous attractions in the old town is the Royal palace which is one of the biggest palaces in the world with more than 600 rooms which in some you can visit. Lastly, you can see Riddarholmen and Riddarholmen church, which is a very old church with a lot of history.   As I’ve already said, Stockholm is a very beautiful capital and it’s perfect to take sightseeing by bus or by boat to see every part of Stockholm. Stockholm is one of the best cities to sightsee because of its location of fourteen islands connected by fifty-seven bridges. Don’t miss out on Djurgarden while in Stockholm! You can find a lot of great experiences there. There are great restaurants and a lot of great museums for both kids and adults there. There’s something for everyone. Liljevalchs is the museum for the people who like art and then there’s museums for the kids like Junibacken which is where the stories of Astrid Lindgren comes to life. But my favourites are definitely Skansen, Grona Lund and ABBA the museum. Firstly at Skansen there’s an old village with old pretty houses and animals but the most famous place of Skansen is the stage Solliden where they every summer have a show with artists and celebrities who sings with the audience and it’s recorded to tv, it’s really fun to be in the audience but also to see it on tv.   Secondly, Grona Lund is one of the biggest tivolis in Sweden and they also have a stage with big artists every summer. Lastly, the ABBA museum is a fabulous museum surrounding the swedish pop group ABBA. You can see pictures of their music videos, costumes, the background story of their lives and more. The ABBA museum also has the Swedish Hall of fame where you can read about other swedish artists and swedish music history.  I think I could write about Stockholm and all its amazing places for so much longer but I will have to end by giving a last advice and it’s by saying that you should not miss out Norrmalm/City, you will find great shopping and restaurants and more. Visit Stockholm! You will not regret it.

Quidditch, Real Sport?

By Jade Olivier, Belgium

000000001Do you know the movie, Harry Potter? Do you know the game of Quidditch? Yes, you can play this sport in the true life. Some explanations:  How do you play this sport? “To score points, chasers or keepers must get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, into one of three of the opposing hoops which scores the team 10 points. To impede the quaffle from advancing down the pitch, chasers and keepers are able to tackle opposing chasers and keepers at the same time as beaters using their bludgers—dodgeballs—to take out opposing players. Once a player is hit by an opposing bludger, that player must dismount their broom, drop any ball being held, and return to and touch their hoops before being allowed back into play. The game is ended once the snitch is caught by one of the seekers, awarding that team 30 points.”[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quidditch_(sport)]. Don’t believe you can fly on broomsticks! You have to run with it between your two legs. It’s difficult, but, with a little bit of exercise and training, it becomes easy. What equipment do you need to play this sport? Is it a physical sport? Quaffle (from volleyball), bludgers (from dodgeballs), snitch (from tennis ball), brooms, hoops. It is a physical sport because it is a mix between different sports: basketball,  volleyball and American football. Where is this sport from? Where was the first team in the world? Sure, this sport comes from the movie Harry Potter and the origin of this movie is British. So the first team to play to this sport were British people. The sport was created in 2005 at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont (USA), by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, who later became the first commissioner of Quidditch. So, this sport is 12 years old. It is now an international sport, played around the world: in Europe, in the USA, Australia and China. Each year there is an international competition and this year it will happen in Oslo in Norway. About my experience? I have already played this sport when I was studying Dutch in Antwerp before to come in Santa Barbara. I played this sport with my host-family in one of the best clubs in Belgium: Dodo’s. I played it for only 4 months and a lot of people told me that I was really good at this sport. Now I’m going to Oslo inside the Belgium’s national team of quidditch to play a very big competition: international competition (I think). At the beginning, to run with a broomstick between my legs was really strange and really ridiculous, but everyone runs like this so I did the same. I felt better because I saw that everybody looked ridiculous to run like that but it didn’t cause any problems for anybody.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taDda9lLaE

TRAVELLING

By: Manuela Idarraga, Colombia.

Travelling has become part of our lives. Everyday more and more people have the chance not only to visit another part of the world but also to learn about a new culture; we all feel curious about what is outside the box we live in. Most of us do not even like our lives, but at the same time we refuse to explore and try new things because we are     afraid of making mistakes.manuela 1

One of the main reasons for people to travel nowadays is because it is economical; also it is easier to get a ticket and a place to stay in because of the internet. We can be richer by travelling because we can become an open-minded society and that is all we need to stop being prisoners in our own minds and start being happy in our own ways. Just imagine the world without stereotypes!

Gone are the days when people used to spend all their lives in the same city and “tour” was a word for rich people only. Now, with the technological advancements, cheaper flights, and an ever-increasing awareness towards other states and countries; the world has become a smaller place. I can definitely say that the tourism industry is changing fast and this is attracting a lot more travelers.manuela 2

People have started to work more and earn more compared to earlier days. Also, with the amount of information the internet has brought; globalization has made our lives easier than ever before. These things have influenced the number of people who prefer travelling as a holiday.

It is helpful to know other people from all around the world. By travelling, humans can understand other cultures and socialize with foreign people and this lets us identify their needs and become aware of different situations. Also, science and knowledge can be global and then humans can advance faster than ever before. Worldwide village causes human-kind to think globally and solve global issues.manuela 3

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint A.

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Why Zurich is one of the most attractive cities to visit

Robin Ryffel, Switzerland

Zurich; although the biggest and most well-known city of Switzerland, it’s not the capital. Actually, Switzerland doesn’t even have a capital. The Swiss constitution considers Berne as their federal city, that’s not an equivalent for capital city, though. However, to get back to the main topic of this essay, I would like to point out the many strengths for a tourist when visiting Zurich.

zurich 1 CITY OF ZURICH

Zurich is located in the north-eastern part of Switzerland, which itself is placed in the middle of Europe. The city lies right next to the beautiful lake of Zurich, and a river called Limmat, originating from the lake, runs through the heart of Zurich; a perfect opportunity to enjoy your lunch at the bank, sunbathe all day long or just go for a swim.

zurich 2 LAKE OF ZURICH

One of the greatest things to do is without any doubt shopping. The most popular place to do that is definitely the Bahnhofstrasse. This street, translated to English Station Street, was laid out in 1867. It provides many shops, both internationally unknown Swiss clothing stores as well as shops from acclaimed international designers. It’s also the second most expensive street of the world, right after New York’s Fifth Avenue.

zurich 3 BAHNHOFSTRASSE

If you love old and absolutely stunning architecture, you just can’t miss Zurich’s old town, the Niederdorf. Literally translated to low village, it was actually the least developed part of medieval Zurich. That’s probably one of many reasons why it looks so special for today’s standards. In addition to its very own construction style, there are a lot of cheaper shops compared to the Bahnhofstrasse, and delicious restaurants. Whether you like Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Japanese or Brazilian cuisine, you will find it here.

zurich 4 NIEDERDORF

There are a bunch of other great activities and things to do, when you, after reading this essay, hopefully take the next plane to Zurich. If you are interested in sports, there’s a local ice hockey and even two soccer clubs which all three play in the highest Swiss league of their respective sports.

zurich 5 KUNSTHAUS

Zurich is also an art and education city. There are a lot of history and art museums, as well as great universities that are definitely worth a visit.

Utrecht: my hometown

Evie de Graaff, the Netherlands

It was 50 years before the Common Era (BCE) when the Romans decided to build a fort called Traiectum. This was the moment the city Utrecht was born. Now, more than 2017 years later Utrecht is one of the famous cities in whole Europe. And I am so glad the Romans build that fort because otherwise I would never have grown up in such a great and beautiful city.

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History of Utrecht

Around 50 years BCE the Romans built the fort Traiectum. They built this fort as a border for the Roman Empire. Around 270 years CE the Romans abandoned the city. After that, several nations where located in Utrecht. Around 1122 the city got their official documents and Utrecht was officially born. In the 16th and the 17th century, Utrecht was important for the art development. A few famous painters are Jan van Scorol, Cornelis van Poelenburch and Jan Both. In the 17th century the famous University of Utrecht was created. Today more than 30,152 (2014) are joining this fantastic university. According to Shanghai Jiaotong University’s university ranking in 2014 it is the 57th best university in the world.

Geography of Utrecht

Utrecht is located in center of the Netherlands. Utrecht is the capitol and most popular city from the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 338,949 and counting. Utrecht is famous for her old history, her beautiful channels, the dom tower and of course Miffy. It’s the city where I live. The city Utrecht is a part of the ‘Randstad’ which is part is of the area with the most important cities where most of the money is generated.

The most important train station of the Netherlands is located in Utrecht: Utrecht Central station, because it is located so central, every train to almost every location depart from the train station of Utrecht.

The city of Utrecht is divided into 10 city quarters:

  1. City center
  2. East
  3. Leidsche rijn
  4. West
  5. Overvecht
  6. South
  7. North- East
  8. South – West
  9. North- West
  10. Vleuten- de Meern

Sightseeing

Utrecht is a very popular city for tourists. Most of the tourists are coming from Japan, China, Germany, Spain and the U.S. There are beautiful places where you can discover the beauty of Utrecht. Here is a list from the most famous highlights of Utrecht:

  • The Dom tower: The Dom tower is the symbol for the city of Utrecht. The tower is 112,5 meter tall and has a beautiful history.
  • Oude gracht: The Oude gracht is the most famous street in Utrecht. It is located in the center of Utrecht with beautiful channels and bridges. This is also the biggest shopping street in Utrecht.
  • Botanic Garden: The Botanic Garden is located next to the main building of the University of Utrecht. Is has beautiful unique flowers, plants and my absolute favorite, the butterflies.
  • Tivoli Vredenburg: Tivoli Vredenburg is a very famous music building in Utrecht. A lot of famous artists and bands have played here.
  • Soccer team FC Utrecht stadium: This is the stadium of the national soccer team of Utrech: FC Utrecht. There is capacity for 23.750 spectators.
  • Gerrit Rietveld museum: This museum shows the art of famous designer and architect.
  • Nijntje museum (Miffy Museum): I believe Miffy is the most famous creature of Utrecht. The little bunny is a creation of painter Dick Bruna who has lived all his live in Utrecht. Especially the tourists from Japan and China love Miffy.
  • Aboriginal Art museum : Located at the Oude gracht this museum has a small exhibit of Australian Aboriginal Art.
  • Railroad museum : This museum shows the history of the Dutch railroads.

 

 

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Oude gracht

 

 

The Dom Tower

The Dom tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The tower is 112,5 meter tall. The Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin of Utrecht, also known as the Dom church. The tower was built between 1321 and 1328. However the cathedral was never finished because there was not enough money. Unfortunately a part of the cathedral was collapsed in a heavy storm in 1674. From that moment the tower became a free standing tower. It is very popular to climb the tower and enjoy the beautiful sight of the city.  If you want to do this you have to be able to climb 465 stairs, but I can tell you that it’s totally worth it.

In 2015, the 102th edition of the Tour de France started in Utrecht. The first game of the teams was in the center of Utrecht. All the members of the teams biked next to the dom tower, it was so much fun!

 

 

Miffy

Miffy (in Dutch: Nijntje) is a female little bunny in a famous series of books for children created by Dick Bruna. Miffy was created in 1955 by Dick Bruna after he told his son bedtime stories. What I find so special and funny is because the drawings of Miffy are so easy but it tells so much. When I was a little child I had a stuffed animal from Miffy and it was really a part of my childhood. Bruna has made more than 124 stories about Miffy. The books of Miffy are translated in more than 50 languages, and over 85 million books have been sold all over the world. Dick Bruna has won many awards for his creations about Miffy. In 2005 Miffy celebrated her 50th birthday. In 2006 the museum about Miffy was opened, called the Dick Bruna House or ‘Het Nijntje museum’. It’s located in the center of Utrecht.

Unfortunately on the 16th of February this year Dick Bruna passed away at the beautiful age of 89, but I know for sure Miffy will always be popular.

 

Famous people in Utrecht

Because Utrecht is a very popular city in the Netherlands with a lot of great opportunities it is almost logic that there are famous people who live in this amazing city ;). Also in the past, a lot of great and important people lived in Utecht. Hopefully, in a couple of years I will also be on this list!

  • Pope Adrian VI (1459–1523) – head of the Catholic Church
  • Louis Andriessen (1939) – composer
  • Marco van Basten (1964) – football player
  • Dick Bruna (1927-2017) – writer, illustrator (Miffy)
  • H.D. Buys Ballot (1817–1890) – meteorologist
  • Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931) – painter, artist (De Stijl movement)
  • Paul Fentener van Vlissingen (1941–2006) – businessman and philanthropist
  • Anton Geesink (1934–2010) – judoka, first non-Japanese worldchampion Judo
  • Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964) – designer, architect (De Stijl movement)
  • Dafne Schippers (1992) – sprinter/heptathlon Olympian

 

 

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Dafne Schippers 

 

Fun fact: The King of The Netherlands, Willem- Alexander der Nederlander was born in Utrecht in 1967 in the same hospital I was born!

 

ARE YOU READY TO LET A TRIP CHANGE YOU?

Lucia Tartagni, Italy

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Can travelling alone make us happy and free? 

Can a woman travel alone?

 

We try to find out!

 

I am a woman and I love to travel alone. I will try to show you my experience.

There are a lot of positive aspects when you travel alone, but don’t forget the negative ones and the preparations that will take a lot of time:

  • Before departure remember to complete all the documents required by the country you are visiting;
  • Prepare in advance a list of emergency contacts: police, hospital, fire fighters…
  • Because you are alone you can’t share your ideas, how you feel, your mood with other friends;lucia3
  • Take a paper map with you every time ;
  • Every day you have to plan your trip, the place you want to visit or where you want to sleep;
  • Last but not least, especially for a woman, don’t turn into dark places in the evening and don’t be provocative with someone you don’t know.

 

Don’t be afraid! After finishing these small and simple steps, you will look forward to starting your trip. Try to have faith in experiences! You will be filled with adrenaline to the point of not being able to sit still a minute.

 

lucia2I think that everything I have listed will become positive aspects of all my trips to introduce me to the best view in the culture of the various countries. In a solo trip you don’t have any commitments, distractions. You are alone and you must listen to yourself. There are only your own requirements that take you to capture the happiness of being with yourself. Every fear builds a path of growth and change. To do this you will need to face your fears and difficulties. You must not be afraid of the changes and challenges that you encounter, but only with your personal power will you find ways to overcome them.

“If you don’t allow the trip to change you a bit, you might as well stay at home”    (Nicolas Bouvier)

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You are alone, you can do what you want, you can go and sleep where you want, you can change plans as often as you want. You will take a trip with  people as well as within yourself. You must respect their culture, you will go into their home. Every person and every culture you meet will teach you something.

 

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So what are you waiting for?

Are you ready to dive 360 degrees in the culture of a country?

Are you ready to change your way of thinking and dealing with what happens to you?

 

Embark! Try it but don’t go back at the first difficulty, that’s where the road to happiness begins!

Travel alone video

 

Visit Lucerne

Corinne Steinmann, Switzerland

Have you maybe heard about the town in Switzerland called Lucerne? If not, it’s not a problem; because I’ll give you a short insight and then I am sure you won’t forget it.

Lucerne is one of the 26 cantons in Switzerland, and the city with the same name Lucerne is the principal town of this canton. Lucerne is situated almost in the middle of Switzerland and about 83,700 habitants live there.

 

The most famous thing to visit in Lucerne is the bridge called “Kappelbruecke” with the “watertower” in the middle which connects the old town with the new town. The river between them is named Reuss.

Another historical monument is the Lion-memorial. It is a rock relief designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Furthermore, if you like classical music, you should go to the KKL (culture and congress center) which is a multi-functional building with a concert hall that is esteemed for its high-profile acoustics. At the biggest concert hall there is space for about 1900 people. The main characteristic of the KKL-building is the boldly projecting cantilevered roof that seems to float over the construction.

Maybe you feel like going on a hike? The Pilatus is a massive mountain overlooking Lucerne in central Switzerland. The top can be reached with the  Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, or with the aerial panorama gondolas and aerial  cableways. The Pilatus is composed of several peaks, of which the highest measures 2,128 m (6,982ft.). There are also a few restaurants to drink and eat something while enjoying the breathtaking view.

One big event in Lucerne that takes place every year in February is named Carnival. This event happens before the fasting period begins. For six days people go crazy, they dress up harebrained clothes and most of them drink a lot of beer or other alcoholic drinks. There are different musical bands which play songs on their instruments. The most fun thing to do is that you choose a dress or maybe you stitch it on your own with your friends. Every year you try to find a new, original idea. Sometimes it is connected to a current topic in the news.

Why you should visit Ystad.

 

If you go as south as you can in Sweden, then you will reach one of the most beautiful cities in the country; Ystad. I was incredibly lucky to have the chance of growing up here in this wonderful city, and I can’t help to miss it wherever I might go. There is everything you can imagine, from beautiful white beaches to large green forests.

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Ystad is not a big city with its 30.000 inhabitants, but it is in the summertime the city truly flourishes. Tourists from all over the world come here to see its beautiful beaches and the rich culture it provides. A well-known establishment is Ystad Saltsjöbad, which is a hotel and spa located on the beach. The idea of the hotel originated in 1896 and the main building was built in 1927. The hotel has been awarded a lot of times, including “Best Luxury Hotel Spa” in 2015. On the most beautiful coast of Skåne you will find Ystad, and just by the beach you will find Ystads Saltsjöbad – a hotel-, spa- and a conference building that has existed for 117 years. Our main goal is to fill your experience with added value and hopefully to meet your expectations. A hotel, close to Malmö, Copenhagen and Österlen, full with experiences that makes your staying exciting and gives the word spa and conference a new meaning.

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The city dates back to the 11th century and the town is known for becoming a busy ferry port and for its attraction to tourists. Ystad is also famous for its old houses that are well preserved thanks to the Preservation of Antiquities Association. Some of the most well-known old buildings in Ystad includes Brahehuset (The House of Brahe), Anglahuset (The Angel House) and Siriushuset (The House of Sirius). Both Brahehuset and Anglahuset are apartments today, while Siriushuset is home to Ystads Freemason Organisation. It so happens to be that I live in the former mentioned house.

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It’s home for the popular fictional character Kurt Wallander written by Henning Mankell, which has been made into several movies and tv-series. For those who live here, the fact that you can see your house or someplace you regularly visit is surreal, but very cool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyG6WFtVJms

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Ystad is genuinely an incredible town, both for its inhabitants and for its tourists. It really brings a feeling of home and warmth, and I bet that you will love it.

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Amanda Örnebring