Blooming into 28!

Holy crap, I just celebrated my 28th birthday yesterday, surrounded by my dearest friends. The years fly by too quickly! I feel like one of those Russian nesting dolls: I'm 28 but I'm also the 23-year-old Lena and the 17-year-old Lena and the 10-year-old Lena, all stacked into one 28-year-old giant Babushka doll. Five years ago, I graduated from uni with so much uncertainty, anxiety and fear in my heart. It was the first time where I had to take full responsibility for the choices in my life and I felt swallowed by my indecision in all areas of my life.  For a long time, I blamed my parents (of course), my circumstances, my relationships but in the end, I'm accountable for my attitude regardless of what happens to me or what anyone says about me.  Fast forward 5 years (after lots of winding roads and hard knocks by the school of life), I'm fully content and peaceful in this moment. The same problems are still here but they feel lighter. Despite the occasional bump on the road, I think that each year gets better and better. So I want to embrace 28 with a warm hug and wish for a year of growth and intentionality :)

PS: My blog is still alive and kicking. I've got SO MANY pictures to share with you. But first, lemme get through wedding season :P

4 Days in Copenhagen

It's been over a month since I came back from my Copenhagen solo trip and I still can't stop raving about it to anyone within earshot! Every corner is filled with beauty and charm, I couldn't keep up with my snap-happiness so eventually I gave up, put the camera down and enjoyed the sights. I've always wanted to visit Scandinavia and thought it was way out of my budget (and it is expensive, don't get me wrong) but Wowair had flights for $450 RT (all prices are in CAD) to Copenhagen that I could not resist. I paid an extra $100 for luggage because their personal item allowance was just enough for my camera and a change of clothes. Good thing because I went a little bonkers with souvenir shopping. I'm a sucker for nice packaging so I got teas and chocolates because they were wrapped up so nicely. Since it was my first solo trip, I wanted to minimize hassle so I bought a 72-hour Copenhagen card. It's an all-inclusive city card that allows you to ride for free on public transit (busses, metros, trains) and you get access to over 86 attractions and museums. The card cost $144 after conversion. For accomodation, I stayed at Steel House Copenhagen hostel in a female 6-bed dorm room for 4 nights at a total cost of $225. I exchanged $300 for food and activities but ended up spending a couple extra hundreds 'cause of shopping (darn you pretty packaging!). If I didn't shop, my trip would have "merely" cost $1200. I say merely because even though it's quite expensive, the price is comparable to a 4-day trip to NYC yet it's overseas in Denmark (one of the more expensive countries in Europe). So I was happy with the overall exchange of value. Copenhagen was so easy to navigate, the people are kind and helpful, you have a ton of things to do and the atmosphere is laid-back and hygge-tastic. The Danish sure know how to enjoy life :)

Absalon - a playful community house where you sit together with locals and tourists for a meal and just mingle. They have games such as bingo, ping-pong, music shows and movie screening. My hostel mate suggested this place, I'm pretty introverted so going to eat with a bunch of strangers is not my usual cup of tea but I LOVED IT! The vibe is very inclusive and everyone was eager to chit chat, I highly recommend it. It's probably also the cheapest meal you'll find in town (approx $10 CAD). They fill up pretty quickly so make sure to line-up.

Nyhavn - the most iconic waterfront and the first image that popped in my mind when I thought about Copenhagen. Usually places like these are total tourist traps but Nyhavn was very charming. It wasn't overly crowded and it had a good mix of locals and tourists alike. Seeing all the colorful housefronts just made my heart really happy.

Strøget - I blame this street for all the damage that happened to my wallet. A vibrant pedestrian-only shopping street, it's lined with all the nice stores. I spent a good afternoon strolling along the side streets. I ended my day sipping a mocha a Original Coffee on the rooftop of Illum department shop. It's cool to watch the hustle and bustle of the shopping crowd below.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art - One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the LMMA, it's located 30 minutes away from city centre by train and when you step out, you feel as if you are in the peaceful countryside. Modern art is an acquired taste (which I haven't really acquired yet) but I enjoyed visiting the museum grounds. There is a coastline and I watched dogs playfully chase each others' tails.

Designmuseum Danmark - the designmuseum displays artwork, crafts and furniture from the late Middle Ages up to the present. It's very cool to see the evolution of design in one space. They have permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits so there is always something new. I particularly enjoyed the hall with all the chairs. I wanted to steal them all!

The Cisterns - a former water resevoir that has been converted into a glass and mirror art exhibition space. It is very creepy but so worth the visit if you are looking for an unusual experience that gives you goosebumps.

Tivoli Gardens - Even if you're not a fan of rollercoasters or amusement parks, you cannot miss out on a stroll inside the Tivoli gardens! It's the world second-oldest amusement park and it contains all the charms of the old world with all the lively energy of the new world. The decorations, front shops and rides are so quaint, there is something to do, see and eat for folks of all ages!