Archive for Travel
November 8th, 2017
I just returned from a magical, whirlwind trip to Sweden and Denmark. Our home base was Malmö, Sweden, which is a short train ride from Copenhagen. After traveling throughout Sweden we decided our last stop would be Copenhagen and it did not disappoint.
Getting to Copenhagen
After a week of sightseeing in Sweden, we took the train from Malmö, Sweden to Copenhagen. The train is about a 35-minute ride over the famous Oresund Bridge.
The ride into Copenhagen was simple. On the way back to Malmö we had a short delay as passport control traveled through the train checking entry documents. Don’t forget to bring your passport with you.
Trains are available to Copenhagen from a variety of Swedish cities. Check the SJ site for schedules and fares.
If your plans take you only to Denmark you can fly directly into Copenhagen Kastrup International Airport. I flew roundtrip from Boston to Copenhagen on Lufthansa and Swiss Air.
What to do in Copenhagen for a day
We had limited time in Copenhagen so we had to select a few important sights to visit.
No photo of Nyhavn does it justice. It’s truly breathtaking. It was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. Today the colorful old houses have been renovated and there are fabulous restaurants scattered throughout the old port. We found ourselves standing on a concrete plank overlooking the beautiful buildings, which turned out to be the perfect selfie spot.
I have to admit that I was expecting a garden or green space when we were looking for Tivoli Gardens, not an amusement park in the center of Copenhagen. You can see the rides in the background of the photo above. The park opened in 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world.
Christiania is not to be missed. Freetown Christiania is a green and car-free neighborhood in Copenhagen founded on an abandoned military base in 1971 as a “social experiment”. The inhabitants developed their own set of societal rules, completely independent from the Danish government. It often described as a hippie commune with its own flag, set of rules and norms. At the entrance, you will find a large sign reminding visitors not to take photos. We walked around inside this community for as long as we could. As the sun went down we decided it was time to go. I was amazed walking up and down Pusher Street. I’ll just leave it at that.
The Little Mermaid
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions, The Little Mermaid. It’s a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. The creation of the statue was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land.
Getting around in Copenhagen
There are plenty of sightseeing tours and other excursions in Copenhagen. Walking is also a perfect option. Since we had limited time we decided to jump right in and rent a bicycle. In hindsight, I’m not sure that was the best idea. The thousands of cyclists and dedicated bike lanes (really roads) throughout the city was somewhat intimidating. Bikers have a language of their own, as we quickly discovered. Stopping and pulling off to the side is almost impossible unless you know the universal hand signal.
Photo courtesy of Cycle Guide DK
Although there was a BIG learning curve, cycling allowed us to explore the city quickly.
Where to eat in Copenhagen
Through a recommendation, we ate dinner at Fiskebaren (the Fish bar) in the Vesterbro area. Well worth the trip. The restaurant had a fun vibe and the fish was delicious.
It’s also important to note that we were in Denmark and Sweden at the end of October and it was cold. Very cold. Pack your winter coat.
I would love to hear your Copenhagen suggestions. Any travel tips to add to the list?
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May 2nd, 2016
There’s nothing like traveling and exploring new places with my family. My boys have been traveling since they were infants since we needed to travel by plane to visit my family. We’ve made time over the years to take them to other places, both close and far away. Whether it’s by planes, trains or automobiles, I can’t get enough of seeing that spark in their eyes when they discover a new culture. I can finally say that my boys are at the perfect age to travel ( 12, 14 and 15) and actually remember some of what they see. Thankfully we have photos from earlier trips because they claim to remember very little.
Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help make traveling a little less painful and stressful with small (or large) children.
If you want to get through those security lines quickly TSA Pre✓® is the way to go. This is the first year that I’ve had TSA Pre✓® and it was well worth the $85 application fee which is valid for 5 years. How did I not have this before?!
TSA Pre✓® is an expedited security screening program for travel within the United States.
Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program can receive expedited screening. Have you noticed the TSA Pre✓® lines at the airport security stations? With TSA Pre✓® you can skip the regular lines and hit the much shorter TSA Pre✓® line without having to remove shoes, belts, laptops, liquids, and jackets. If you’re a frequent traveler and interested in applying head HERE. The application process was quick and painless. We filled out the application online and set up a short appointment. A few weeks later our approval letters arrived in the mail. Only my husband and I have TSA Pre✓® and our kids reap the benefit by tagging along without having to pay a fee.
If you’re traveling overseas a few times a year you might want to consider applying for Global Entry. Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Although I considered applying for this, it didn’t make sense for our family. The cost is $100 per applicant (children must also apply) and the interview process only takes place at qualifying airports.
Everyone Gets Their Own Suitcase
On a recent trip overseas we decided that everyone was old enough to wheel their own suitcase. We purchased 5 different color carry-on bags, one for each of us. It was somewhat challenging to pack for a week in a smaller suitcase, but we all did it. We didn’t check any luggage so there was no risk of lost suitcases and once we landed everyone was in charge of their own bag.
Keep Your Passport Safe
Once our destination is reached we always lock the passports in a safe. On this last trip we scanned our passports and had a copy accessible by email and in our Dropbox. If your passport is stolen report it immediately. Find the nearest US Embassy or Consulate and explain what happened. They will advise you on next steps.
Bring an Empty Reusable Water Bottle
Avoid buying plastic water bottles at the airport by bringing an empty reusable water bottle through security. My favorite is this Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle with a Bamboo Cap. If you want something easy to roll up and store check out this Vapur Water Bottle. Once through the security lines refill your water bottle at the closest water fountain.
Do you have any travel hacks to share?
P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin Newsletter. Receive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.
July 3rd, 2014
Kale is on my mind. Keep reading and you’ll see why.
I hope everyone’s having a wonderful summer. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to write much this week so I thought I’d share with you a few of my latest photos from my summer adventures. If you’d like to check out more photos please come and find me on Instagram. I’d love to see what you’re sharing too.
This photo was one of my favorites from this week: Kale is the new carrot. It was hidden under a pile of art work by artist Dug Nap. Voted Vermont’s best cartoonist in 2012, best poet in 2011, and best visual artist for 2008 & 2009 by the readers of Seven Days, Vermont’s alternative newspaper, Dug Nap is a self-taught artist who was born and raised in Vermont. His work is fabulous.
Cycling along the roads of Vermont I came across this.
Yet another reason to love Vermont!
I mailed many letters to my three boys who are away at summer camp from this adorable post office.
One of my favorite breakfasts of the summer to date was this plate of fruit. So simple and easy to prepare. My second favorite breakfast was a smoothie made with many of these fruits and a little kale.
Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. If you’re firing up those grills here are a few tips to help keep your grilling safe. And don’t forget to use green accessories for the barbecue!
Let me know if you have any incredible summer adventures planned. I would love to hear!
January 21st, 2014
Traveling abroad with a teen is a whole different ball game.
The good news it that traveling abroad with a teen is actually much simpler then traveling with toddlers. There are a few tricks that help keep everyone on the right track (and those teenage hormones in check).
As I write this I’m sitting on an airplane next to my sister. I feel very privileged to be returning from a week long adventure in Israel with my oldest son, my father, my sister and her oldest son. The return flight from Tel Aviv, Israel to Boston is unbearably long. I’m trying very hard not to calculate the number of hours I’ve been sitting.
The week was spectacular. We jumped head first into a culture that is overflowing with history. This week wasn’t the height of the travel season in Israel, yet the sheer number of visitors was mind boggling. People from every culture and religion had traveled from all over the world to get a glimpse of some of the most significant religious and historic sights.
This was my second trip to Israel. My father and sister have each been a few times and this was the first time for both boys. If you want to see a few photos of our journey make sure you’re following me on Instagram, where I tried to document some of our trip.
The sheer number of facts and stories I have packed into my brain right now is overwhelming. The true test will be revealing how much I’ve retained.
Western influence has really moved in since the last time I visited Israel in 1989. Even the golden arches of McDonald’s have made their way onto the landscape of one of Israel’s top tourist attractions-Masada. But rich history and culture still prevail.
Traveling abroad with two teen aged boys added a new spin onto our trip. Viewing a country and culture through their eyes was sensational. I giggled, jumped, ran, hiked and climbed.
In hindsight there were a few things that made traveling abroad this trip seamless and perfect for our two teens.
1. Spend time talking about the trip before you leave. As a family we spent a lot of time discussing where we were going. I pulled out a globe and had my son find Israel just to provide a little perspective on the distance we were travelling. We also spent time talking about the length of the flights (the first leg was 7 hours and the second leg was about 4 hours). My intention was to cut down the number of times I was asked “how much longer?”
2. Prepare for jet lag. Israel is 7 hours ahead of Boston. Once we boarded the plane we changed our watches to the destination time zone. It was tempting to continually count backwards to figure out what time it was at home, but we tried not to do this. The only time it was necessary was when we were calling home (Viber was fantastic for free calling and texting).
3. Have a hands on experience each day. This was key. Each day our guide scheduled an activity completely geared towards the teens. We rode on camels, we hiked the most challenging (and vertical) hike I’ve ever been on, we floated in the Dead Sea. On our way home I asked both boys what they remembered most about the trip and these adventures were at the top of their list (and my list too).
4. Make time for meals and snacks. This was one of our biggest challenges. With so much to see lunch didn’t always fit into the picture. This was a mistake. Two hungry, cranky teens is not ideal when traveling. Try to schedule time for lunch and snacks and if that doesn’t fit into the schedule make sure to pack a few snacks to bring along.
5. Get enough sleep and drink enough water. Sleeping through the night for the first two nights was difficult. We chugged water before bed and tried to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. We were picked up early each morning so a good nights sleep was important.
HERE are a few ways to keep your travel green.
Would love to hear your tips for traveling abroad with a teen.
July 23rd, 2013
It’s hard to believe that this year will be my third time heading to BlogHer. If you don’t know what BlogHer is read more about it HERE. What’s even more amazing to me is that I’ve been blogging for almost three years!
BlogHer has taken me to great cities like San Diego and New York and this year BlogHer will be in the fantastic city of Chicago. I’m bracing myself for days filled with little to no sleep, but filled with inspiration, new friendships and confirmation that Groovy Green Livin is the right place for me.
Better Life and BlogHer!
One of the incredible brands I’ll be working with this year is Better Life. I’ve mentioned Better Life before and told you that I’m an official blogger for the company. This essentially means that I get to test out some of their products and share with you my honest opinion. I’m honored that they will be sponsoring a portion of my trip to BlogHer this year. I’ll be sharing the Better Life duties with two of my groovy green friends, Micaela from Mindful Momma and Kathy from Safemama.com. If you haven’t already, take some time to check out their sites and the amazing work that they do.
Created by two dads, Better Life has come up with a line of non-toxic cleaning products that keep kids, pets and the planet safe. And their ingredients are actually all listed on the label. Something you don’t always see on cleaning products since manufacturers are NOT required to list all ingredients.
2am MIRACLE rocks
My newest favorite (it changes weekly!) Better Life cleaning product is 2am MIRACLE. It’s actually a natural nursery cleaner, but since there are no longer any nurseries in our house I use it everywhere. It has the best scent-a combination of lavender and chamomile.
Tweet to Win Better Life Cleaning Products
To kick off BlogHer this year the kind folks over at Better Life have offered to giveaway a full line of Better Life cleaning products! You don’t have to be at BlogHer to enter your name to win. Here’s what you need to do:
Send a tweet to @cleanhappens with the hashtag #BetterLife and you’ll be entered to win the full line of Better Life cleaning products. Follow @cleanhappens on Twitter for an extra entry!
Click HERE to tweet.
Better Life will randomly choose the winners and you have until Sunday, August 4th to enter your name. Good luck!
Stay Tuned fo More on My Trip to Chicago and BlogHer
This is the time of year when I have quite a few posts dedicated to BlogHer so bear with me. Hopefully it will be fun to follow along and see what’s happening in Chicago!
If you are headed to BlogHer this year let me know. I’d love to connect!
Don’t forget to tweet to win!
July 2nd, 2013
Mark your calendars. Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders and Chris Pratt, opens in theaters everywhere on November 22nd. I’ll be attending an advanced pre-screening of the film at BlogHer in Chicago this year so I’ll let you know the lowdown before the official release date. I have a good feeling since Vince Vaughn is at the top of my funny man list.
Today I’m participating in a very special event. I’m one of 533 bloggers debuting the official trailer for the film right here on Groovy Green Livin.
You might be thinking “why 533?”
In the film, Vince Vaughn plays an affable underachiever looking for his purpose in life, when he finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of the twentysomethings want to know the identity of their biological father.
We all know that Vince Vaughn is a funny guy. While the concept of Delivery Man is amusing, it’s also a really heartwarming look at what it means to be a family — no matter how unconventional. The definition of family has evolved and, as seen in the film, can come in all shapes and sizes.
I know from parenting three boys that it truly takes a village. What I’ve also observed in my few years of parenting is that love is essential and possible in any family, regardless of how that family is formed. The world is filled with both traditional and non-traditional families and regardless of how we come together we all find strength in one another. That’s the true meaning of family.
So back to the 533 bloggers. In order to celebrate family, 533 bloggers have joined forces to exclusively deliver this trailer online to you.
Are you ready for the Delivery Man trailer? Remember you’re one of the first to see it…..very exciting!
DELIVERY MAN opens in theatres everywhere on November 22nd. It’s rated PG-13 for mature themes.
So….what did you think?
August 9th, 2012
Micaela (Mindful Momma), Anna (Green Talk), me, Harriet (Climate Mama), Leigh (Green 4 You), Katy (Non-Toxic Kids) and Brenna (Almost All the Truth).
Bear with me please. I can’t stop writing about BlogHer 2012. Not because it was so extraordinary (it was) and not because there’s so much to say. The truth is I feel compelled to share all of my photos from BlogHer 2012 since I have a new camera and I can’t stop playing with it. So hang in there. This could very well be the last BlogHer 2012 post, then back to our regularly scheduled programming.
I already took you through day one at BlogHer with Stonyfield Organics and through my vegan findings in New York City, but there’s still more to share.
On Friday night I had a chance to meet-up with the some of the fabulous bloggers (I’m one of those bloggers!) and editors at Moms Clean Air Force.
Throughout this enormous conference (5,000 bloggers) I found ways to connect with new and old friends during smaller dinners and parties. Each of these meet-ups were by far the best part of the conference.
Lindsay, me, Julia, Heather, Sommer, Beth, Tiffany, Stephanie, Anna, Micaela, Katy and Janice (photo credit).
I even had a chance to meet my cousin Aviva for the first time. She blogs over at Old Mom Young Child-check her out!
The celebrity line-up at BlogHer didn’t disappoint. Clearly bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. Just look at who took time out of their busy schedules to speak to us. To kick off the conference, President Obama addressed the crowd and reminded us that “The Choice Women Face This Election Could Not Be Bigger”. Then came Martha Stewart (my camera was in my room).
And then Katie Couric rocked the crowd, promoting her new show: Katie. Katie is just as vivacious in real life as she is on television. She knows how to speak to her audience and was able to relate to all of us. Just adorable. And check out those pipes and legs (can’t see them in the photo, but trust me they were spectacular), which she attributes to spinning.
Next up Christy Turlington Burns (Every Mother Counts), Soledad O’Brien (Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation) and Malaak Compton-Rock (The Angel Rock Project) who were all inspirational and passionate about making the world a better place.
Soledad O’Brien is a remarkable woman.
Me, Soledad O’Brien, Katy Farber and Micaela Preston
There’s no question BlogHer is what you make it. There were pieces I loved and parts that I didn’t. That’s true with most things in life. Right now I’m planning to head to BlogHer 2013 in Chicago next year. I’m hoping to add on a little extra time to see my family in Wisconsin and my friends in Chicago.
If I didn’t see you at BlogHer this year I hope to find you at the next one!