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Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Filtering by Tag: Stockholm

Vacation in a City - My Top 10 Cities in the World

Paula Gaston

The Internet has made booking trips so much easier that most people book their trips by themselves rather than use tour operators. More and more trips are also made to metropolitan cities. Here are my favorite cities to visit. It was impossible to put them into any specific order since they all are so different from each other. 

1. SAN FRANCISCO

Well, it is almost a must for me to start with the city that I love, and which is very close to my home. San Francisco is colorful, trendy and a little bit crazy too, and it offers something for everyone. When visiting, you definitely need more than just a one day, since there is so much to see and do in the city, and not to mention all the areas surrounding it. You must of course see the Golden Gate Bridge, ride the Cable Cars and visit Pier 39. And don't forget the world's biggest Chinatown outside of China. This is a city where you can walk in a business district one minute and hike on the beach the next. Or you can do a cruise to famous Alcatraz Island. There is nothing that people here haven't seen, so no matter what you look like, they wont be staring at you. No wonder they call it the most European city of the United States. 

Pros: Open minded and colorful city which you will never get bored with!
Cons: Expensive to stay in. Often chilly winds blow from the ocean. Increasing problem with drugs and homeless people can be seen almost everywhere today.

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2. TOKYO

Tokyo is definitely different than any place you have ever been to. Even different sections of the city can be totally different from each others. Tokyo is very hectic and crazy, but they also have beautiful parks where you can go enjoy the silence. The first days were quite confusing to us since the train and metro network is huge and most signs are in Japanese. But at the end we managed to learn how to get around, and even our 4 year old fell in love with Japan. There is tons to do with kids, and for young at heart adults. And we have never felt this safe on any of our travels before. 

Pros: The safest and most different city we have ever been to.
Cons: Hotels are quite expensive and people don’t often speak English.

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3. PARIS

Paris is Paris, what can you say? It has its own atmosphere and you really feel like you are in Europe. Paris feels compact since you can easily see all the sights in one day by using the metro. Beautiful buildings and history is everywhere, not to mention the River Seine. Paris is great for those who love good food and shopping. 

Pros: A mecca for those who love good food. A lot to see and lots of history.
Cons: Hotels are expensive. In many place they don’t speak English. To break the ice it would be good to know a couple words of French. 

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4. LONDON

At the same time modern and old fashioned London needs no introduction. So much to see there, and if you don’t want to tour in a double decker bus around the city, you can always take the Underground (metro). London was my hometown for one summer and there was never a boring day while I was there. You can see and feel the long history of the country all around London. 

Pros: Amazing amount of culture and lots of history. Everyone speaks English. 
Cons: The weather can change quickly so don't go anywhere without an umbrella. 

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5. ST. PETERSBURG

We went to St. Petersburg and I felt like I didn't see quite everything yet. I would like to go back and explore more. There are so many beautiful buildings and museums, good food and many things to see in this city. It would be even better if there was a local guide to show you around. Even though everything on our trip went well, occasionally we felt like people didn't like us. This might not be the best destination with kids since most sights are museums and churches. 

Pros: So much culture, museums and architecture.
Cons: Safety can be a concern. Requires a visa if you want to stay more than 72 hours. 

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6. TALLINN

Tallinn has fast become a very trendy city. People don't go there anymore just because of the cheap shopping, they go there to eat in fine dining restaurants and see the night life. And of course, there is a lot to see in Tallinn, like the best preserved medieval walled old town.

Pros: Still relatively cheap. Lot of historical places.  
Cons: Far away from rest of the Europe. 

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7. STOCKHOLM

Visit the rustic Old Town in Stockholm. I will never get bored of the awesome cafes there. Stockholm is great for shopping, but there is also a lot to do there. It is great with kids and you don't have to leave far from the city center to find cool stuff.  

Pros: A lot to do for both single people and families with kids
Cons:
Staying downtown is quite expensive. Cold and dark during the winter months. 

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8. CHICAGO

Chicago has always been one of my favorites in the U.S. From the downtown with high-rises you can easily get to the beach of Lake Michigan. Also the Chicago River that runs through the city makes it a very unique place. Chicago has some kind of old movie feel, and I even got a closer look at that while I stayed in the Tokyo Hotel which used to be popular among gangsters. During the winter Chicago is cold and it might snow, so summer months are better for vacationing. In recent years the crime rate has increased in Chicago so make sure to stay in safer areas. 

Pros: There is both a lake and a river right by downtown. 
Cons: During the winter it can be cold. Chicago is not called the Windy City for nothing; the flights are often delayed or cancelled due to weather and storms. Some parts of the city are not safe. 

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9. DUBAI

There are many kinds of opinions of Dubai, but I added it to my list since they have most everything there that you could want. They have sun, beach, food and some culture. The local culture is mixed up with this new and fast built city where everything must be bigger and better. It might not feel real but at least it makes Dubai different. Beaches are close by to the city.

Pros: Both beach and city life combined with arab culture. For sure a different sort of place unlike any other.
Cons: Dubai has been questioned for its respect of human rights and for destroying the ocean by building artificial islands. 

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10. REYKJAVIK

Yes I know, it is not exactly a metropolitan city, but at least it is a capital! I really liked Reykjavik. It is known for it's colorful nightlife and many cafes. It is small enough that you can just walk or bike from one place to another while admiring beautiful wall murals. And you can't feel any more safe than you will here!

Pros: Small but full of life. Very safe. People speak English almost everywhere.
Con: The service culture in Iceland is often very stiff and serious. 

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What are your favorite cities?

The Most Popular Instagram Pictures of 2017

Paula Gaston

All these pictures are from my Instagram account. You can follow me @paulagaston

 

The year 2017 is ending soon which means people are summing up the highlights of their travel year in different posts. My summary is Instagram related, as I wanted to see which pictures on my account were the most popular ones. And here they are:

 

JANUARY

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Morning swim at Clarion Hotel Helsinki's rooftop

Swimming after sauna and sauna after the swimming. The rooftop in January was cold, but at least the sauna made me warm again. This picture is from Helsinki, Finland, where I participated in the Nordic Travel Fair. A morning swim at sun rise really wakes you up!

It was also nice to visit my home country Finland!

 

FEBRUARY

 

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Visit to the Instagram Headquarters in Silicon Valley

I was invited to the Facebook/Instagram Headquarters, and of course I went. We had lunch, toured around the campus and drove from one building to another by shuttle bus. I also saw Mark Zuckenberg. Since it is Instagram, there is of course some photo spots where we took some pictures. 

You can read more about life in Silicon Valley from here. 

 

MARCH

 

 

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At Alcatraz Island in San Francisco

In March we visited Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. The weather was nice and we had a lot of fun. The tickets to Alcatraz are sold out months before, so if you are planning to visit, make sure you book early.

 

 

 

 

APRIL

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Memories from lovely Stockholm

This post was inspired by a sad tragedy; a terror attack at Stockholm. Despite this, my own memories from this beautiful city are only positive and fun, and I hope to visit Sweden soon again. 

 

 

 

MAY

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California road trip - Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Trees Park is in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. We spent a day in Joshua Tree National Park and saw some rare plants and animals.

 

 

 

JUNE

 

 

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Tightrope walker at Joshua Tree National Park

Both hikers and climbers love Joshua Tree National Park, and we saw multiple groups on the rocks. I bet this group was the most photographed, since they were doing tightrope walking. 

 

 

 

 

JULY

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Pregnant blogger

This year has been different and very special to us. In the summer months we had to take a step back and relax since as you can see, my tummy got huge. This is at the end of my pregnancy in our yard in California. The whole time, I was feeling well, even though I wasn't able to travel as much as I did with my first pregnancy.

Read about travelling pregnant.

 

 

AUGUST

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Point Reyes lighthouse in California

Point Reyes lighthouse is on California coast in the Point Reyes National Seashore. You can visit inside the lighthouse if you first descend 300 steps down. Just remember, you also have to use the same steps to get up. We have been there many times, and you can read about it here. I would recommend this place to anyone who loves outdoors.

 

SEPTEMBER

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A new family member

In August, during the American Solar Eclipse, our family grew with a little baby daughter. Now there is four of us conquering the world. Passports and papers are already ready for some future travels. New adventures are awaiting! 

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 

 

 

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Tarantulas in California's Golden Hills

In October you might see some tarantulas crawling around the California hills. They come out to find a mating partner. With this picture, I wanted to remind people about the post from last year when I went to hike to see some tarantulas. I was surprised to see that it was the most popular picture in October.

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER

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Lake Tahoe - The pride of California and Nevada

Beautiful Lake Tahoe is located in Northern California, on the border of Nevada and California. It is a popular skiing destination, but in summer time people can swim, hike and camp. The picture is from my post about Lake Tahoe.

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER

 

December is not over yet so a picture will be added to this gallery later. Maybe it is the main picture of this post; the City Hall of San Francisco which was lit up in blue and white to honor Finland's centennial. (Photo credit: Paivi Hakala). Go check out my Instagram account @paulagaston, and like the picture from December that you think is the best!