A few weeks ago, on the first weekend of April, I flew from London to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. I had been once before, in 2008, and had really enjoyed my time in the country. During those four days, I spent one day on a whistle-stop tour that explored the Causeway Coast, herded from one sightseeing spot to the next. It had never felt like enough.
Fast forward eight years, and I was given the chance to visit Northern Ireland again. This time, however, my entire time would be spent on the Causeway Coast, based in the little seaside town of Portballintrae. The idea of spending three days exploring this area was highly appealing; since that visit in 2008, my travel style has changed considerably, and I’d now rather take my time and see more of a smaller area than travel at breakneck speed in order to cram it all in.
In short, I completely fell in love with the Causeway Coast. Here’s why.
One of the reasons I love travelling so much is because of towns like Lovere. Before visiting Bergamo, I didn’t even know it existed; to my knowledge, I had never read about it or seen photos of it. And yet, when I arrived on that rainy day, it immediately spoke to me: the green and blue shutters on the houses, the cool air coming down from the mountains across the lake, the small coffeeshops in the centre of town serving afternoon espresso. It was the kind of place that made you want to stay longer, made you want to explore its streets through every twist and turn. It was the epitome of why I’ve grown to love Italy so much in the first place.
I used to wear a Danish krone around my neck. It’s the perfect coin to do so, really – it has a hole in it already. I also kept a few spare kroner in my wallet in Canada, just because I liked knowing the extra weight came from those foreign coins, jangling around thousands of miles from their home.
This is a story about travelling, about falling in love, about growing up, and, ultimately, about going back to Copenhagen.
Because that’s the thing – we have absolutely no control over the weather (short-term, anyway, don’t get me started on global warming). When we go to book a holiday we have little to go on other than what previous years have told us. I may know that a particular season is rainier than others, but even that doesn’t guarantee that I’ll need a raincoat or umbrella.
But looking at that forecast for Bergamo, I decided to pack accordingly. “I’ll bring an umbrella,” I thought. “A pink one.”
If you’ve ever taken a look at my Instagram account you know that I’m not exactly one for muted, soft tones. I love bright colours, vibrant reds and blues and yellows. My winter jacket is lime green, so that has to tell you something. I’ve often written about my love of bright colours on this blog, always highlighting different hues I’ve found around the world.
I started noticing brightly-coloured photos of an adorable vintage-inspired amusement park on Instagram about two months ago. It was aptly named Dreamland, and I quickly discovered it was located in the coastal city of Margate, in England’s region of Kent. Less than two hours away by train from London, I started to plan a weekend trip or even a day off in order to go and experience the place for myself; it just looked like too much fun to not see it in person. Less than a week later, fate intervened, as Visit England wrote to me and asked if I’d like to visit Dreamland on their behalf.
I once spent a bit of time in Copenhagen… a few months, to be exact. I wrote about why I lived there – and why I love the city so much – in this post. While I spent all that time in Copenhagen, however, I never really explored the rest of Denmark. Call it naivety, call it being broke, call it whatever you want, but the fact is that I never really saw another side of the country.
Fast forward nine years, and I ended up meeting Kathrine at a travel blogging conference. We instantly hit it off and I learned she works for Visit Denmark.
“You should come to my hometown sometime!” she told me. “It’s called Aarhus.” The name rang a bell – I knew that I had met a few people from Aarhus before, and after a bit of research found out that it is known as Denmark’s second city. Only three hours by train from Copenhagen, I was a bit embarrassed that I never made the journey there while I spent time in Denmark.