Europe2019-07-27T12:04:08+01:00

Discover the age-old continent through these Europe travel stories, its curious, unsung places as well as its more familiar spots.

You may notice a few countries that may not traditionally be considered European. Europe’s borders are never easy to define. So I’ve decided to go by the old definition I learned in school: In the east, Europe ends at the Ural Mountains. That means the Caucasian countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – are part of Europe, according to Sophie’s World. This is probably also according to the countries themselves: all three are members of the Council of Europe and cooperate with the European Union with a view to future membership. Also, all three countries participate in the Eurovision Song Contest; can’t argue with that.

Latest Europe travel stories

Bergen beckons

Bergen is Norway’s best known city for visitors. And although I’m a Drammen patriot, I’ll happily admit Bergen is recognised for good reason, not least for its proximity to the famous world heritage-listed western fjords.King Olav Kyrre granted Bergen (then named Bjørgvin) city status in 1070, four years after he had seen his father, Harald of Norway, killed in battle [...]

By |13 December 2020|Norway, UNESCO World Heritage|

Hiking Gaustatoppen, Norway

Only 4 more weeks until this strange, ominous year will become history, and not a moment too soon. If you're like us, you're more than ready to get back on the road. Any road. But healthy would be a bonus, wouldn't it? Just now, healthy sounds right. Feels right. Healthy - and outdoors. Using our muscles. Breathe fresh air.So I [...]

Athens to Thessaloniki Road Trip

I’ve just returned from a short road trip in Greece. It was a much-needed break, an opportunity to see my fave travel mates, and, as an added bonus, a chance to celebrate my birthday in another country. That's a 3-in-1 Kinderegg right there!We spent a gorgeous few days in the country, weaving our way from Athens to Thessaloniki, up in [...]

By |22 November 2020|Greece, Road trips, UNESCO World Heritage|

Stave churches – and a rant

I've been meaning to write about stave churches here on Sophie's World for a while now. Years, actually; waiting until I had seen the oldest of them all: Urnes. Somehow, I thought that one was needed. Well, in this corona-dominated summer - or early autumn rather - I finally got around to it. So here you are: one of the [...]

By |30 October 2020|Idle musings, Norway, UNESCO World Heritage|

World at a Glance: Wittgenstein’s cabin

See the house perched on the rock there? This is not exactly the best picture I've taken. I snapped it as I drove past, thinking that this, this is Norway in a nutshell. Find a remote, inaccessible spot, and build a cabin. Or a house even. (Maybe this natural inclination for isolation is part of the reason we’ve been spared [...]

By |3 October 2020|Idle musings, Norway|

Pisa: Field of Miracles

Campo dei Miracoli Field of Miracles: how wonderful is that name! Wonderful - and apt, I think. I can easily picture this as a centre of miracles: the blue sky, the green grass, the wonderful white constructions, the warm Tuscan terracotta wall, it's all rather stunning. The official name of the field is Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). The piazza [...]

Pfaueninsel: where peacocks roam (Day out Berlin)

When people think of the UNESCO-listed Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin, Sanssouci is probably the first that comes to mind. And that Rococo palace of the Prussian king is indeed a fine example, with its park and temples and follies. Voltaire even stayed there for a bit. However, the World Heritage site comprises no less than 150 buildings [...]

By |14 September 2020|Daytrip, Germany, UNESCO World Heritage|

New Lanark: compassionate capitalism works (Day out Edinburgh)

Utopia: we all have our own ideas of that, don’t we? Compassionate capitalism and urban planningSo did Robert Owen. Back in the late 18th century, this Welsh philanthropist, social reformer and idealist thought it was possible to combine a highly profitable business with human welfare. Today, we would call it compassionate capitalism; we even take it for granted in some [...]

By |10 September 2020|Daytrip, Scotland, UNESCO World Heritage|

Saint-Émilion: wine, medieval history and more wine (Day out Bordeaux)

I'm noticing I haven’t written nearly enough about wine here on the blog. Scandalous really, considering the total yum! We’ve covered the vines of Switzerland’s Lavaux, (surprised Switzerland is wine-growing country? I was.) We’ve briefly touched upon the yummy wines of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. We’ve talked a bit about Italian wines, such as Bubbles from the Abyss - the peculiar [...]

By |6 September 2020|Daytrip, Europe with kids, France, UNESCO World Heritage|

Baden: in the footsteps of a prisoner of war

By Alexandra Redisch and Anne-Sophie Redisch Three summers ago, on my way home from the Caucasus, I had a stopover in Vienna, about 8 hours long. And a chance to investigate something that had been on my mind for many years. Of course, why it took so long is anyone’s guess. Vienna is a mere two-hour flight away, practically just [...]

World at a Glance: Brussels’ Victor Horta museum

See these fabulous Art Nouveau buildings? The decorative facades? That golden balcony? This is the result of being thrown out of the music conservatory at a young age, for misbehaving. But he must have been forgiven; the conservatory named a concert hall after him. Yep, that's a Victor Horta fun fact for ya. As is frequently the case with architectural [...]

By |26 August 2020|Belgium, UNESCO World Heritage|

High coast/Kvarken Archipelago: the Swedish side

I'm in Sweden today. That is, not today, in the corona summer of 2020, but in the summer of 2015. You see, I've finally dug out my notes on this transnational natural world heritage site, and this is what I wrote 5 years ago. -------------------------------------- I'm in Sweden today. Northern Sweden, to be precise. Along the Gulf of Bothnia; here [...]

By |2 August 2020|Hikes and walks, Sweden, UNESCO World Heritage|
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