2018 didn’t exactly pan out how I expected it to. I’d successfully applied for a Canadian visa back in summer 2017, so I’d booked a one way flight to Toronto on September 2nd 2018, with the intention of getting a job and settling down there…
… Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way (maybe I should have checked it out before I decided to move there?). So, after a month I moved back to Nottingham, got a job and rented my own flat.
Still, despite that, I managed to do a lot of travelling in 2018, across Europe and North America. And that’s not taking into account the numerous trips to London, Leeds and Manchester.
Aarhus, Denmark – January 2018
Having been to Copenhagen soooo many times, it made sense to explore other areas of Denmark too, so my family and I went on a weekend break to Denmark’s second city: Aarhus.
I loved it SO much more than what I thought I would – it had the same laid-back, cool vibe as Copenhagen, whilst having a city feel (because sometimes, you wonder how big the second “city” of certain countries would be… like, as much as I love Bergen, it’s definitely more of a town).
Isbjerget was a work of art, and I totally want to get a flat there someday. The shops were great (I mean, with Scandi fashion, how could they not be?!), and I got to eat Direktørsnegl’s every day. Oh, and there was secret cocktail bar Gedulgt, where my drink was served in a bath of roses. I totally want to go back to Aarhus.
Find out more about Aarhus.
Copenhagen, Denmark – April 2018
My first trip of the year back to my favourite city was at the end of April, and I went with a friend who hadn’t been before. We had SUCH a great time, and we got to tick off lots of things – including places I hadn’t been before. From shopping to Tivoli, all of the top tourist attractions, cocktails, Frederiksberg Park (never been!), and to the beach… we packed a lot in without feeling like we were doing too much.
The only thing we didn’t get to do, and is still on my bucket list, is crossing the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö. I’ve been on both ends, but never crossed the two countries by train.
Forever in love with Copenhagen!
Gothenburg, Sweden – May 2018
Having thought I was moving to Toronto for almost a full year before I went; my mum, gran and I planned a trip back to Scandinavia. We started in Gothenburg (the first Scandi city I visited), and it was sooo warm the few days we were there. Of course we went to Slottskogen, looked around the shops and ate so much pic’n’mix from 4Gott.
I love catching the boat over to Klippan, and it made me kind of sad thinking that had I gotten the job in Gothenburg that I’d applied for all of those years ago, that would have been my commute.
I know for sure if I lived in Sweden, I’d be fluent in Swedish in a year. But do you know what I also realised? That Sweden is actually my third favourite Scandinavian country (I’d defs still live there though).
Find out more about what to do in Gothenburg.
Oslo, Norway – May 2018
Part two of my mini Scandinavian adventure was a four hour train ride away from Gothenburg, to Norway’s capital city.
I can’t even begin to explain how much I LOVE Oslo. It was once my favourite city in the world, and it comes soooo close to Copenhagen. It just has such an amazing feel about it.
We were at Aker Brygge every day, whether it was sipping on tea, going shopping or boat trippin’ to one of the islands.
I also got to live my dream of seeing The Scream in real life (after two failed attempts to find it beforehand!). Oh, and another major thing I wanted to do was to FINALLY visit Torggata Botaniske, as I’d never been before. Hands down the best bar in Oslo.
There are soooo many reasons why I love Oslo.
Berlin, Germany – June 2018
The first half of my year saw me revisit many of my favourite cities, but I also had time to visit somewhere new. Berlin was just as cool and hipster as I thought it would be. My friend and I only had three days in the city, and we crammed a lot in, but we easily could have been there a whole week and still had more to do.
We ticked off major tourist attractions like the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie (disappointment), and Berghain (we queued, yet we failed…).
I wish I’d been to Berlin before, because it’s somewhere I could definitely see myself visiting on a regular basis – and because they fly from East Midlands, it would have been so easy to get to. Still, I’ll be going again.
Here’s what I got up to in Berlin.
Copenhagen, Denmark – July 2018
There was no way my final trip before I left the continent couldn’t be to Copenhagen. It was such a sad day, having to say goodbye to such a beautiful city.
My friend and I spent 12 hours in the city: we started at Amagerstrand, walking down the beach, before heading into the city and doing some shopping. Finally, we spent our evening in Tivoli where we went on the airplane ride (and this time, I didn’t black out).
I’d been checking out flights from Toronto to Copenhagen and they weren’t cheap, and I probably couldn’t have gone because of the lack of holidays Canadian businesses give their employees. So, maybe it’s just as well I didn’t settle there… I couldn’t have gone without some Danske in my life for two whole years.
Toronto, Canada – September 2018
I left on 2nd September 2018, thinking I’d be gone for at least two years. The truth is, I didn’t like Toronto. It probably was because I was completely by myself, but it wasn’t somewhere I could stay.
However, it was good going in September because it meant that it was 30 degree heat almost every day. I went for walks by Lake Ontario, crossed over to the islands, and walked the length of downtown multiple times. Oh, and I went to the Eaton Centre – but it wasn’t like I had the space in my case to buy anything.
I’m sad it didn’t work out, but I’m not sad that I came home.
Portland, Oregon – September 2018
Once I’d decided I was coming home, I decided to do some travelling across the US and Canada, with my first stop Portland.
It was definitely rough around the edges, but I think that’s what you have to expect with Portland. I loooved the doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut Company, and the rose garden was very pretty.
I wish I could have experienced the nightlife when I was there, but in all honesty, I don’t think I’ll be going back.
Find out what I got up to in Portland.
Seattle, Washington – September 2018
I loved Seattle. It was SO much better than I was expecting – and the only reason I visited was because it was halfway between Portland and Vancouver.
The centre had good shopping, the harbour was tacky (in a good way), and I finally got to go and get cocktails because I had a friend that lived there (btw, you should totally check out Bathtub Gin Company and Canon).
I’d like to go back in a few years time and check out the surrounding areas – and tie it in with a trip back to Vancouver too.
Seattle will be seeing more of me.
Vancouver, Canada – September 2018
When I’d gotten my Canadian visa, I discounted Vancouver immediately, thinking that the city was small, and the only thing it focused on was nature…
… In all honesty, I much preferred Vancouver to Toronto: it had more of an atmosphere, more of a personality about it. It had the downtown, but it also had the Gastown area that Toronto lacked – an older area with unique bars, shops and restaurants. I still couldn’t have lived there considering how far away it is from the UK, but I would definitely like to go back to Vancouver.
One of my favourite things about the city was Stanley Park – as you walked around the five mile loop, you had no idea you were in a city, as you enjoyed views of the Pacific Ocean. I also caught the ferry over to Butchart Gardens and Vancouver. Next time, I’d like to head over to Whistler, Banff and Lake Louise.
Montreal, Canada – September 2018
OK, I don’t say this lightly, but Montreal was hands down the most boring and uninspiring city I’ve ever been to. It’s the second biggest city in Canada, and it’s supposed to have a European feel! But I didn’t get any of it.
I spent my days walking round, thinking had I missed something? I hadn’t. The best part about it was catching up on sleep in my hotel and getting Uber Eats. I had never been so relieved to leave a city as when I got on the train that took me to Quebec.
Quebec, Canada – September 2018
Quebec certainly made up for the prettiness that Montreal lacked. Quebec actually felt like Europe – Montreal just falsely claims it.
Quebec was small, but it was a nice end to my Canadian adventure, because I was worried I would dislike it as much as Montreal. The Old Town was charming, with the castle-inspired hotel framing pretty much every picture.
A trip to the Morrin Centre was interesting too – formerly a prison and a college, it’s now a library. Again, I probably wouldn’t go back, but I’m glad I got to experience it for a couple of days.
Oslo, Norway – December 2018
Coming back to the UK in October, it made no sense not to head back to Scandinavia before my return to Toronto. Of course I considered Copenhagen, but in the end it was Oslo that I revisited. We landed in thick snow, and it was so Christmassy. We spent the day shopping and eating – we headed over to Aker Brygge, I bought clothes in Weekday, and we ended off with a cocktail at Torggata Botaniske (and I’m pretty sure I saw Margaret Berger there!).
Heading to Oslo made me realise that Canada really couldn’t compare. Oslo is a place I could see myself living, but who knows what will happen in the future.
Toronto, Canada – December 2018
Yessss, I ended up back here. Long story short, as I’d planned to move to Toronto, my parents had booked their flights to see me over Christmas and New Year; except because I came back to the UK, I had to book my flights back.
Now it’s Christmas Day, and we’re staying in a condo over in Queen Street West (thanks to a last minute cancellation at our apartment in Yorkville). We’ll be heading out to Niagara Falls on Boxing Day, watching the fireworks on New Years Eve, and I’ll get to go and do some ballet classes at the City Dance Corps.
It was a bit of a worry that I’d regret leaving, but I don’t. It was nice to go back with family so I could enjoy going out… but it wasn’t right for me.
Such a lot happened in 2018, I keep saying I’m wishing for a quieter 2019, but I think I’d get a bit bored! I’m excited to see what’s going to happen… but one thing’s for sure, is I’ll still be in Notts for the foreseeable future (but hopefully breaking it up with a few trips away!).