A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
What a wonderful summer I’m going to have!
Now you might have seen me make hints as to where I’m going, and there’s more where that came from! Golly yes!
Update: The day I published this post, was the day that a bombing took place in my original home-town of Manchester. I am saddened and outraged as this act of terrorism was not only cowardly, but taken out in an area where teenagers and young children were watching (by all accounts) a fabulous concert of Ariana Grande. Everyone is most upset. And so am I.
My fellow Mancunians have rallied round to give each other comfort and support. They are brave, and so must we all be. This has not been the first time that Manchester has been bombed by terrorists in the last 20 years, and sadly, it won’t be the last.
It was only a few months ago that Berlin was targeted by a mad man at the German Christmas Market, then London was terrorised just last March, Stockholm in April, and now Manchester.
And this time it came very close to home, as the office of my brother – The Writer – is opposite the Manchester Arena! I rang home in the middle of the night with a shaking hand!
But what should we do`?
We must cry, and we should.
And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!
Manchester people (of which I am one) are known for plain speaking, and being strong of mind.
We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! #DontLookBackInAnger.
Whatever you think of Britain, the UK is open for business, and always will be.
Let’s make a re-cap on where I’ve been in 2017 so far:
THE CZECH REPUBLIC:
I went skiing but I didn’t actually write about it this year. Oops! Here’s what I wrote previously…
Now that’s out of the way, let’s move forward.
I am ecstatic as Sweden & Slovenia are going to be completely and utterly new, making the countries that I’ve visited (not that I’m counting you understand!), to be 37 countries in Europe, 12 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands! 3 countries (so far), have been new in 2017.
That makes a grand total of 64 countries and 5 continents!
I’ll be travelling to Sweden & Slovenia. By bus. And here’s why!
Sweden, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Sweden, really needs no introduction, and is a small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe.
It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest, by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund.
Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union with a whopping mass area of 450,295 square kilometres or 173,860 square miles, and a population of just 10 million people!
The capital city is Stockholm.
Because I’ve never been to Sweden as the prices used to frighten me, but right now, the Nordic Nations are all the range right now, and I absolutely adooooore ABBA!
In fact, I was actually supposed to go to Sweden for the TBEX conference last year, but opted to go to the Philippines instead!
I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be doing a hell of a lot of stuff and thinking about it as I write, I don’t even think I have the time to do even half the things I’ve planned, as in actually fact, we only have three (3) days to work with!
Stockholm is a very tourist-friendly city so some of the things I’m planning would be:
We’re not going to Lapland at this time, but we will be having drinks at the world’s first permanent bar, made 100% out of ice. In Stockholm!
I’ll have yours!
As for food. I don’t dare think of the prices so we’ll be having sandwiches for lunch and a proper meal at dinner-time. Oh, and did I tell you that the ever-growling stomach of The Tall Gentleman is coming along too. Gulp!
I met a few of the lovely Stockholm Visitors Board team while I was at the ITB Berlin, and they were very helpful when I told them that I was planning to Visit Stockholm. They not only offered me a complimentary Stockholm Pass, but also put me in contact with the Hobo award-winning design hotel that was just launched in March!
This original art design hotel is a creative outlet for urban farming and innovative tech installation and really is called Hobo!
Hobo is not a hostel, or a home for the homeless, but like the art design hipster-style boutique hotel that I went to in Taiwan, is an artistic hotel aimed at forming a holistic experience for the urban traveller, with a touch of hippy trend!
Slovenia, otherwise known as Slovenija or the Republic of Slovenia, is another tiny nation-state in Eastern – Central Europe!
It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It has a mass of 20,273 square kilometers or 7,827 square miles and has a population of just 2.06 million people!
The capital and largest city, is Ljubljana.
You heard me. Lju-bl-jaaaaaaaaaana!
Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!
Seriously though, the reason why I want to go to Slovenia is because I’ve heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!
However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!
We are going to be doing a lot of stuff as we’re going to be in Slovenia for a week!
I’m salivating with architectural delight!
I’m going to be working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism in order to experience all that is best in Ljubljana, and the surrounding area!
In order to keep to the theme of sustainability and environmental consciousness, we’re going to be staying at the aptly named Hotel Park Ljubljana, located in the heart of the Old Town of Ljubljana, and situated in a leafy park.
We’re going to have a great time!
Well, I’m guessing the title says it all, but just in case you’re not convinced, we’re going to be travelling Berlin – Stockholm – Berlin and Berlin – Ljubljana – Berlin, entirely by coach-bus!
What did you say now?
You heard me.
I know you’re crazy Victoria, ‘cos the last time you took a 26 hour bus from Estonia – Berlin, you said that you wouldn’t do that again, and yet, here you are!
Doing it again!!!
Now I’m not entirely crazy as I’m going to be working in partnership with a German company called FlixBus!
FlixBus, previously known as MeinFernbus is a young mobility provider that has been changing the way millions of people travel in Europe over the past 3 years. It’s a combination of a tech-startup, an e-commerce-platform and a transportation company, making FlixBus one of Europe’s largest intercity bus networks!
One of the reasons that I’ve put all my trust in FlixBus is because we’ve travelled with them from time to time over the years, and just recently, we used their services while we were in Croatia from Zagreb to Split to Dubrovnik!
You might have noticed that there’s an image of a Flixbus on the side of the panel. I’m so convinced that it’s all going to work out, that I’ve joined their affiliate programme so that you can join in the fun too. As usual, if you book your journey via my link, there is no extra cost to you, and I get a little percentage for my trouble.
It’s definitely going to be an adventure!
This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with the above organisations, absolutely all opinions, and the thrilling time that I’m certain to have, are my very own!
In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!
I’ll be there. Will you?
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!
You’re going to visit my country, yay! Slovenia is great! I hope you’ll like it. 🙂
Thanks so much Urska! I’m sure that I will love it as I’ve heard so many lovely things. I can’t wait! 🙂
Looking forward to read all about your trip. 🙂
Thank you. We’re going to be in Slovenia for a week so I’m sure that it will be amazing! 😀
I went to Ljubljana as a part of a tour of the Balkans in 2014. It was the final stop of our tour but it was an overnight one. I would’ve liked to have explore more of the city.
Anyways…I visited the National Museum of Slovenia, the City Hall courtyard, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, and Church of St. Francis of Assisi. You can’t miss St. Francis with its pink exterior! Finally, check out the Dragon Bridge–an iconic landmark of Ljubljana!
Thanks so much Elisa! I will definitely do these things, especially the National Museum! And I can’t wait to see the pink bottom of St. Francis! I’m looking forward to more dragons as I’m obsessed!
p.s. Isn’t it funny that so many cities and countries have dragons as their emblem? Krakow has a dragon, China & Wales have a dragon, and of course, my own country – England – has St.George & the Dragon, and so does Croatia and surprisingly, many other countries too!! 😀
I’m heading to Sweden in September so DEFINITELY will be taking notes from your trip! I have no idea what all we’re getting into, but you better believe FOOD and OUTDOORS ADVENTURES are top priorities 😉
Thanks so much Kristin!
I think Sweden will be delighted. You are the fourth person to say that they’re going there. Slovenia too! We all seem to be following each other, back and forth. It can only be a good thing! 😉
p.s. I’m back from Sweden now and OMG! I’ll be going again. It was so good! And this time, hubby comes too! 😀
I am sure you are going to enjoy them a lot! Safe travels, Vic!
Thanks so much Agness! I think so too!
I’m back from Sweden now, but really wish I could have been there longer….! 😀
Looking forward to reading about your take on Sweden. We really liked Stockholm. but yikes..so pricy! I don’t envy your long ride on the bus. We just did a 5 hour ride from Krakow to Warsaw and that was more than enough for me :-). Yeah..cowardly acts by these miserable losers will always happen, but we gotta stay strong and not let fear win!
Thanks so much KemKem! We had a great time in Sweden, and the first “real” post has now been published: The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!
Ha! Ha! The bus ride. That was all my idea. I had planned to fly, but by the time all the moving parts were put in place, the price went sky high! I even thought of taking the train, and that was even worse! On checking FlixBus, it was €49.00 per person. Each way. So I booked it!
It was a hairy ride on the way in, with a very anti-social person on board, but I’ll be writing all about that in the coming weeks… The return journey was much better, and very smooth. p.s. Any hoo, we’re on the FlixBus again to Slovenia. 14 hours this time. With a stop-over in Munich & Vienna. 😉
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You’ve got quite the itinerary planned for both destinations, woo-hoo!! Sure that you will have a blast in both Sweden and Slovenia — hopefully you’ll have enough time in between bus journeys to stretch the legs and explore a bit 😉
Thanks very much Derek! Yep! I most certainly will. I wasn’t in Sweden too long, only 3 days. After all, it’s Sweden. Ha! Ha! But I’ll be spending a week in Slovenia! 😀
Very curious about Slovenia. Heard lots of great things about the country and recently met a met a lady from the tourist board who (of course) had even more good things to say. Looking forward to hearing about your experience there 🙂
Thanks so much Derek! Me too. I’ve had my eye on Slovenia for the last 2 years when I first heard about it. And it was only ‘cos an ex-colleague of mine came from there! Until 2015, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan states, but I’m slowly going through them – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia. I also want to go to Romania and Bulgaria, but we’ll have to see! 😀
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