The underrated joys of solo travel

Cetatea Rupea

In and around Rupea Fortess. Romania

It has been a while since I went travelling but as more time passes, the focus of my nostalgia tinged memories shift from places and things I set out to see to the people and memories I chanced upon by pure accident.

The two girls, roughly my age or younger who I asked for directions in the nonsensically numbered streets of Zagreb stand out more than the distinct architecture or beauty of the city.  We walked together in the darkness for a while, in an attempt to find my hostel. I’m not sure how long it took since we were walking around without a clue, though I definitely had less of a clue. I was a foreigner (noob) and they were foreign students from neighbouring countries so they understood the feeling.

Plitvice

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

The highlight of my travel was getting to see Plitvice Lakes National Park. I loved the place so much that I came back the next day for a second dose. I spend the majority of both days wandering through the park in a kind of quiet ecstasy.  On the first day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, I entered the park through one of the lesser known entrances, thanks to the local driver who showed me around the park as he talked about his love for his family, the family restaurant and cage fighting. I believe soccer (or football?) was mentioned a thousand times throughout the day as well.

Plitvice

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

I was on my own for the second day and entered through the main entrance. The park was ridiculously busy even in the lead up to peak season with tourists moving in swarms, humming with chatter and blinding each other with camera flashes (of which I was also guilty, let us be honest). But just as it was with the first day, the best moments occurred away from the crowds, noise and go pros. Veering off the track a little helped me breathe in the beauty of this magnificent offering of nature’s without having to worry about holding up the lines that would inevitably form if everyone moved at a pace that would actually let them enjoy the experience. I had been dreaming of this place for months and months, so I wanted more than just a fleeting moment and an overflowing camera.

A peek of the Museum of Applied Arts, while roaming the streets of Budapest, Hungary.

Then, there was the kind, middle- aged man who was heading for the Carpathian mountains on the train from Budapest to Brasov who bought me food because the shop only accepted Romanian Leu. There was the personal tour guide who shared my love for cemeteries and photography, with whom I traded stories of Denmark for the history of Vlad the Impaler, Hungarian architecture and the Roma people. There were the dorm mates I tagged along with to a beer festival in Budapest though I am not the biggest fan of beer and ended up having a pretty good time just eating, listening and observing.

Cetatea Rupea

In and around Rupea Fortess, Romania

When I lay awake at night, thinking about the travel I cannot presently afford and the memories past, it is the unplanned experiences and the circumstances I was unprepared for- blunders of the solo rookie traveller and sweet, serendipitous moments alike- that I miss the most.

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Sunny fields and Windmills

sunny fields

White and purple heralds of spring

Canals and kanelsnegles

Cobblestone paths and old buildings

Sunny fields and windmills

Nights of dancing and days in sun

New faces, new memories

Wish I could say I’ll remember forever

But truth is I don’t know

All I know in this moment

I wish memory will not betray me

I’ll dream of sunny fields and windmills

Till one day we meet again.

 

 

 

Oh my sun, welcome back!

I like Aarhus so far; it is wonderful when it snows, the old buildings are beautiful and here to stay without the looming possibility of earthquakes and aftershocks. But one thing that is not so great is the rain. With rain comes unhinged winds and chills that seep through your clothes, but the worst part is that it masks the sun. I thought I was getting used to not seeing so much sun, or maybe I was accidentally getting my dose of Vitamin D elsewhere. Whatever the reason, I was starting to think that the human relationship to sun I was used to might be exaggerated, but  then the most beautiful thing happened a couple of days ago. The rain stopped, and the sun came out to say hi in all its glory and I jumped with joy in my head.

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So long story short, my friend and I decided to make the most out of this unusual winter weather and went to the deer park in Marselisborg-Moesgaard forest. It took us well over an hour to get there, even with the help of several local runners (my hands were starting to freeze even with insulated mittens on but these people are made out of something stronger I swear) as neither of us have any sense of direction. We finally found the park and I sighed in relief…it was worth it.

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It is an enclosed area, but the different deer species walk around freely, giving us a chance to get close to them. Tip if you plan on going to a deer park/petting park or zoo or any kind: BRING FOOD FOR THE ANIMALS. They are not interested in flirting with you unless you have something to offer, something like carrots perhaps.

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There are many picnic benches scattered throughout the park, and I made a mental and verbal note to come back here many times. I’m curious and excited to see how the park looks in spring, and perhaps even on my birthday so that I can celebrate with two of the most wonderful things in this world: open nature and food.