See a Sustainable City in Action on a Green Bike Tour of Copenhagen

 Copenhagen Wants to Be the World’s First Carbon Neutral Capital

Copenhagen – Denmark’s charming capital city is working diligently to become the greenest city in the world. Want to see what sustainable city planning and green urban development look like in action? No better way than behind the handlebars of a bicycle – a truly Danish way to do it. Don’t worry, there are plenty of places to stop and take it all in. (You can even take a walking tour.) The guides at Green Bike Tours have tons to tell you about Copenhagen’s goal to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Let’s go for a ride.

Continue reading “See a Sustainable City in Action on a Green Bike Tour of Copenhagen”

Sustainable Crabbing and Fishing Experiences Around the World

How to Keep Your Seafood Catch Sustainable
Respecting local regulations and limits to fish and crab responsibly

I grew up crabbing and fishing. Maybe you can blame my dad. He tied flies for fun and loved to cast a long line in every eddy he could find along the cold clear McKenzie River outside Eugene, Oregon where we called home. But I remember fishing and crabbing with him even before we moved to Oregon.

Every summer we’d travel back to my Grandmother’s lake cabin outside Lawrence, Kansas and every cousin who could would try to catch whatever swam in those waters. My dad would load the old minnow bucket with minnows and let it dangle in the water just off the dock. He taught us to scoop up a wiggly little bait and slide it onto a hook so that it wouldn’t fly off the minute we cast.

In the coastal marshes of South Carolina, near where we lived for awhile, he taught us to tie chicken legs to a string and carefully lure in the crab and scoop them up in a net. Now that I’ve lived in Scandinavia for several years, I’ve seen this same technique used by young Danes and Swedes for good summer fun. Many a dock in Denmark has a place to keep the crabs for “inspection” for a bit before returning them to the cold clear Baltic Sea.

From a young age, my dad showed us how to use proper techniques and equipment, how to clean and definitely how to enjoy our catches. Memories are still strong of the fish cleaning hut at Diamond Lake, in Oregon, where he would gut the days’ limit looking inside each fish’s stomach to see what fly he should try the next day. He taught us the value of adhering to legal catch limits to keep stocks sustainable and available for years to come. Continue reading “Sustainable Crabbing and Fishing Experiences Around the World”

Authentic Athens | Meet Greece in the Capital

Classic and Contemporary Come Together in the Capital

Athens. Is awesome. It is. Maybe it’s hard to believe me. I love every place you might think. (That’s entirely not true by the way. Pisa. I did not love Pisa. At all. Or Madrid, the first time. Luckily, there was a next time to make Madrid mine.) But honestly, we truly adored Athens. We had such wonderful interactions with so many welcoming friendly and enthusiastic people. We dined on delicious food, beheld icons of architecture, and traipsed through neighborhoods chock full of charming winding streets and colorful houses and cafés. I’m in love. Come see why. Continue reading “Authentic Athens | Meet Greece in the Capital”

Postcards from Rome | Tips to skip the crowds, travel sustainably and savor the city | Oregon Girl Around the World

Postcards from a Roman Holiday



Ah Rome. At once frenzied, chaotic and colorful. But turn down this alley, linger on this plaza, languish on that square and it quickly becomes deliciously slow and simple and satisfying. As easy and pleasing as a scoop of Italian gelato. As magnificent and perfect as a polished marble sculpture. There are angels in the architecture here and even when you are lost down some labyrinth of little lanes, Rome turns up singing alleluia.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Postcards from Rome


We spent four days in Rome for our Winter Break in February. It was part of a week-long Italian tour that took us through Umbria, Tuscany and out of Milan. It was the perfect amount of time and a nice time of year. To explore and savor and soak up the capital of Italy. The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was better than Copenhagen!

Our base was a funky flat a few streets from the bustling flower market called Campo de’ Fiori. Every day we played witness to the daily purveyors set up and take down their stands of fruits, vegetables, nuts and pastas. Choices aplenty for cheap t-shirts, pottery and kitschy souvenirs for the tourists and of course flowers.

Lots of little restaurants circle the square with seats in the sun, but seem to cater more to a visiting crowd. Calling out to us in English, we’re an obvious mark. But we skip the hawkers, smiling back to their flirting and fawning, mortifying our teens in tow. Instead, we wait with the locals and try our Italian at the Forno at the end of the piazza. The pizza and panini from here became our favorite.

Forno Campo De’ Fiori
Campo De’ Fiori, 22 – Vicolo del Gallo, 14 | Roma – 00186
OPEN: 07.30-14.30 and 16.45-20.00
Owned by cousins Dino and Fabrizio, the Forno (bakery) here has been serving handcrafted quality baked goods since 1970. With two sides to serve you, the door to the right has beautiful breads, sweets and slices of pizza by weight. Pointing and gesturing how large a piece you want usually does the trick. Next door across the alley they serve delicious panini and other takeaway options.

TIP:  Peak Tourist Season in Rome happens during summer and Christmas. For fewer crowds, book your tickets outside of June 15 -September 1 or from December 15 – January 6.


When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.”
– Saint Ambrose²


Some things in Rome just need to be seen. Unfortunately so thinks everyone else as well. Even though it was February and not perfect weather, we met up with half of Europe and beyond here on holiday when visiting Vatican City. While we are duly impressed with St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, the crowds were more than annoying and definitely dampened the experience. We waited in line to see the Rafael rooms and my favorite “School of Athens.” The room was packed to the gills. My inner Art History geek was disheartened not to be able to discuss this masterpiece with my children. All they wanted to do was get out of the crowd.

NOTE: Photographs and speaking are not permitted in the Sistine Chapel. 

But the throngs were on the same path. We were shuffled and shushed and pushed to finally see inside the stunning Sistine Chapel. “SILENZIA!” shouted security personnel through megaphones. There was no accommodation for taking your time and truly experiencing the masterpiece. We were definitely being herded. It was so unsettling that my teen son completely missed Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam,” in his attempts not to step on any toes. Literally and figuratively.

  • Check European school holiday schedules and travel off-peak for best efforts at avoiding the throngs and masses.
  • Book your tickets to the Vatican Museums at the official website online, wait times can be up to 3 hours long without them.
  • Booking a tour with a Tour Guides can get you in special access, but with over 200 groups providing tours, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of still having to wait in lines.
  • If you’re an early riser (which tells me you aren’t traveling with teens) and can afford to pay extra – there are a few exclusive options to see the chapel – check out this Fodor’s article for more information.

What we did enjoy was wandering the neighborhood near the Vatican. Check out charming Borgo Pio where even the water fountains are beautiful. Worth a stroll through and lots of options for refreshments after being bustled.


RELATED: The most charming hill town in Italy – Orvieto



While Renaissance masters and Holy Roman Sees may not have imparted the same infatuation in my children that I was hoping to influence, all was not lost. Ancient Rome rocked. Take the tour of the Colosseum, it was a family favorite for every one of us – parents to teens to tweens.

We booked the English speaking tour through the official website that included access to the underground and up to the top tier. Seeing where the animals and gladiators would have been lifted to the floor and the views from the top over the Forum were fabulous and without the crush of the crowds. So worth the extra fee.

Adults | € 12.00
Children under 18 | Free
Students 18-25 | € 7.50

Adults | € 11.00 ( € 9.00 Tour + € 2.00 Reservation Fee)
Children under 12 | Free
Students 18-25 | € 9.00 ( € 7.00 Tour + € 2.00 Reservation Fee)

  • Tour ticket prices are in addition to the base entrance fee to get in the monument itself. You must purchase both separately.
  • Ticket price includes entrance to Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine and all current exhibitions. It is valid for 2 days.
  • Tour dates will become available online every third Monday of the month for the following month. Make note of your travel dates to get the best slots for your travelers.
  • If you can convince your troop to rise earlier, the better. Good luck those traveling with teens.

NOTE: It is strictly forbidden to enter the Colosseum with backpacks, handbags or any other luggage because of safety precautions. Even people with reservations are requested to arrive at the ticket office 30 minutes prior to tour times.



There are so many wonderful corners and alleyways and lanes to explore in Rome. Let your feet find the way. We would head towards an attraction, but not set the path. Downloading maps to your smartphone before you leave the comfort of your wifi helps. Let the teens lead. They will be hard pressed to put down their tech anyway. Get us to Piazza Navona. But first, let’s go down this beautiful street and look for gelato. Gelato always motivates.


Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.” 
– Giotto di Bondone, Italian Renaissance Painter¹


One of my favorite buildings in the whole world, the Pantheon was a surprisingly quieter affair. Free to enter and not smacked with gobs of people. Set on a square much too small for its size, the Pantheon surprises you once you find it. Step inside and look up at the oculus, a 7 meter round hole in the center of the ceiling. Once a temple to all the Roman Gods, the oculus served as the link between the humans below and the deities above. Sometimes rain falls through, but don’t worry the floors are sloped to a drain in the middle.

The building as you see it has been here since 120 AD when rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian. Maybe you saw some more of his work in the Forum or do you live in the UK and maybe have seen his wall there? Thank you to Hadrian, we still have the largest unsupported dome in the world. Fantastico! That’s Italian for fantastic.

And if all this oooh-ing and aaaaah-ing over ancient feats of architecture has made your thirsty, you’re in luck. Right around the corner of the plaza is some of the best coffee in the world.

La Casa Del Caffé Tazza d’Oro al Pantheon
Via degli Orfani 84, 00186 Roma

Not sure how to order coffee in Roma? Be confident! Need a little more help? Check out this great guide from Shelley and Agri at Travel-Stained | How to Order Coffee in Italy (Without Sticking out Like a Sore Thumb)

Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.” 
– Anatole Broyard³


In Rome, you are sure to encounter characters on every street corner. Compared to Scandinavia, where the locals are friendly, but not necessarily outgoing – Italians are notoriously gregarious and passionate, but really quite traditional. I love how they speak with their hands and without understanding much, you can clearly glean their tone.

Want to really rub elbows with locals when visiting Rome? Take in a football match by the team AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico. Set outside the city, we took a street tram to the stadium. Make sure you make plans for your return or leave a little early from the match. There were long queues and insufficient transport once everyone was out. But it was worth it to feel the energy, hear the chants and listen to the songs while watching the game.


We bought our tickets while in town at the official team shop for AS Roma, where my daughter procured her maroon and orange team scarf, something she has collected from matches around the world. You can also purchase online if you want to make sure to get seats while here on your Roman Holiday.

Not a football (soccer) fan? You can still meet the locals. Check out some street art. I love perusing what street painters are selling. Often they offer unique and beautiful perspectives and can be a wonderful souvenir from your travels. I try to pick up a piece each place we visit. My little colorful Italian coffee pot brightens my dark Danish winter mornings and reminds me of Roma.

If nothing else? Smile. Say buon giorno! Over tourism is real in iconic cities like Rome. You are a guest here. Enjoy it. But be respectful that people live here. Then maybe you won’t get looks like this. Although I think this may be her resting face. Or just a bad day?

TIP: Check out this list of useful phrases and how to pronounce them in Italian. While knowing English is common, there are many who do not. 



If you have older kids or are visiting sans children and when the days are shorter come winter, save some energy to stroll the streets at night. I adored the neon signs that illuminated corridors and called like a siren song. Famous fountains are easier to make wishes in when the day’s visitors have finished touring. Save room for a coffee or ice cream at iconic Giolitti, a perfect end to a full day in Rome.

Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 – Roma
Open the gorgeous and fancy doors to this legendary ice creamery near the Parthenon. Serving up coffee, cakes and ice cream since 1900.

Cicero smiled at us. ‘The art of life is to deal with problems as they arise, rather than destory one’s spirit by worrying about them too far in advance. Especially tonight.” 
― Robert HarrisImperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

So come to Rome. Stay awhile. Savor the tastes. See some of the sites. Feel the charisma. She’ll woo you, she will. If you let her. Buona notte!

Planning a trip to Rome with a baby in tow? Check out this post via Our Globetrotters, Practical Guide to Visiting Rome With a Baby for great tips and tricks for your tiniest travelers.



Suitcases and Sandcastles



10 Super Activities for a Sustainable Summer in Copenhagen

Summer is Super in Copenhagen

If you’ve been to Denmark, you know. If you haven’t – what are you waiting for? Despite the popular meme that circulates in this season that “summer is the best day of the year,” it really truly might be the best time of the year here in Denmark. So come. Stay. And explore sustainably. It’s easy to do here. Really. They’ve practically terraformed it for you. A European Green Capital in 2014, Danes take the title very seriously. That. Is super. Seriously. And Danes love to say “super.” Lucky for you. It’s easy to pronounce. “Soo-pah!”

Ways to have sustainable fun when visiting the Danish capital
1 | Do the Danish Dip

Start sommer season off right and get happy in the head. “Glad i låget” as the Danes say. The water temps may feel brisk at the beginning of June, averaging 15-17ºC, but come to the peak of summer and the water will average 20-21ºC. That’s 70ºF. Basically balmy. It’s beautiful I tell you!

At the beginning of summer, take a tip from me. To really do the dip, it is best to find a spot where you can just jump right in, no wading required. Check out the beautiful new piers just put in along Nordhavn. A lovely place to relax and go for a swim, safe from boats. Just don’t test the water. Trust me. Just breathe. And jump. Come up for air. Emit a gasp of shock. Flail a bit. Get out. Repeat. The second time is the charm. I promise. As all the blood rushes to your extremities, the water feels amazing and you will feel full of life. I’m a believer. Try it. You’ll see.

TIP: You can check the Danish Meteorologic Institute’s Website below for current water temperatures. It’s in Danish, but still easy to read temperatures. Just remember we work in Celsius over here.

DANSK VANDTEMPERATUR (from the drop down on the map, choose havtemperatur, or sea temperature)

Since 2000, Copenhagen has made valiant efforts to clean up their harbor restricting industrial, sewage and wastewater runoffs. The building of rainwater reservoirs and runoff conduits has dramatically increased the water quality and makes it safe to swim and enjoy.

2 | Roam the Canals in an Electric Boat

Love the water, but afraid to get in? Take a toodle on an electric picnic boat. Have you ever rented a sustainable solar-powered boat? You can! And you should.

Really – you must do this. Copenhagen is a harbor town. It’s in the name. København means merchant’s harbor. There is water everywhere. Seize your inner Viking sailor. You must get out on it. Especially in the sommer. Don’t have a boat? No problem. There are so many options for all budgets to explore the canals and harbor in Copenhagen.” – Summer in Copenhagen | 10 Must Do’s

We adore Go Boat and their super charming little electric picnic boats powered by solar cells. Book online, rent by the hour. It can be popular when the weather is nice, so plan ahead. Pick up your boat from their cool outpost near Islands Brygge right on the canal. We love the slow, cozy Go Boats for their charm, ease, stability, and maneuverability. There is a picnic table in the middle! No time to pack a lunch? Order ahead online and they will fashion a perfect picnic with organic wines, soft drinks and food.

Go Boat takes their sustainability next level and encourages your littlest sailors to help keep the harbor clean. Children who are interested can borrow a long-handled net to scoop garbage from the waters. They will be rewarded for their efforts when they return!

Friendships also offer electric boat rentals out of Christianshavn. Easy to find from Nyhavn take the pedestrian and cycle bridge across the canal and follow to the end of this channel, past the Bridge Kitchen street food area.

Go Boat  
1 hour = DKK 449 for up to 8 people
2 hours = DKK 799

1 hour = DKK 420 for 8 people
2 hours = DKK 750
Note that 1-hour bookings amount to 55 minutes of sailing after quick briefing.

3 | Experience Hygge at Ofelia Plads

After your cruise is complete, head to Ofelia Plads. Opened on this clean Copenhagen canal in the summer of 2016, it is a perfect place to perch in the sun and even try your Danish dip. Calmer than the colorful neighbor and tourist center Nyhavn, Ofelia Plads offers a casual chill and great views of the water. Snag a lounger and groove to the music. Share some cold rosé by the glass or bottle from the nearby Luftkastellet.

Follow Ofelia Plads on Facebook to stay up to date on special events and performances on the water. We adored seeing the Danish Royal Ballet this past weekend.


Where to Wet Your Whistle in Copenhagen Denmark | Best Places to Get Drinks Outside in the City This Summer | Oregon Girl Around the World

4 | Ride a Bicycle Across Bridges and Around ‘bros

There are roads for bicycles in Copenhagen. Signals too. Little lights just for the cyclists to tell them to stop or to start. There are more bikes than people here in the capital. The easiest way to experience the city like a local is on two wheels.

Renting a bike allows you to get a little further off the tourist path. Head to the Copenhagen neighborhoods – explore Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro. Or pedal your wheels across one of the two car-free harbor bridges. The Bryggesbroen will take you from Vesterbro to Islands Brygge and back. The Inderhavnsbro connects classic Nyhavn with Paper Island, Christiania and Christianshavn. Or try this route from the Cykelslangen south through Amager Fælled to Sluseholmen.


5 | Eat Fresh Local Food Outside

Fresh food, food trucks and fab markets make their appearance once again when the weather is warmer and the light stays long. Make a positive impact by supporting the local economy’s bitty small businesses. All the while tasting lots of local and international flavors at one of the following fun options.

Kødbyen Mad & Marked
Flæsketorvet, 1711 København V
Saturdays & Sundays | 10-18
April to September

Kødbyen is the trendy meatpacking district in the Vesterbro neighborhood of Copenhagen. Every Saturday and Sunday starting late spring through early fall, there is a foodie dream market with rotating vendors and tables to enjoy your tasty wares outside.

Reffen | Copenhagen Street Food
A, Refshalevej 167, 1432 København

More than just food carts in a warehouse, Reffen is striving to “hack the future” and create a space where sustainable cuisine, craft and culture can co-mingle. All stall owners are required to make efforts to reduce and reuse. Those that adhere to organic standards get reductions on their rents, further promoting sustainability.


Come to Reffen Street Food | A new Sustainable Cuisine, Culture and Craft Space for Copenhagen Denmark | Oregon Girl Around the WorldCome to Reffen Street Food | A new Sustainable Cuisine, Culture and Craft Space for Copenhagen Denmark | Oregon Girl Around the WorldCome to Reffen Street Food | A new Sustainable Cuisine, Culture and Craft Space for Copenhagen Denmark | Oregon Girl Around the World

6 | Try Urban Foraging

You don’t have to live on a farm to pick your own produce. Lucky for you there are plenty of places to forage for summer sweets right here in the city. Check out Byhøst, a Danish website that will help you find and identify wild raw food. Click on KORT and find a map to what’s growing where. Click on RÅVARER to see what’s edible. Even if you don’t speak Danish, clearly labeled icons and images will allow you find what you’ve foraged. Can I eat that? I want to know. Download their app and dial in on the go.

Brombær = Blackberry
Jordbær = Strawberry
Hindbær = Raspberry
Kirsebær = Cherry
Hyld = Elderflowers

We’ve recently been foraging for hyldeblomst or elderflowers. You can find them all over town, but we like to look along the paths in Fælledparken. Be careful to not cut too many from one bush or plant. Elderflowers turn into elderberries in the fall, which you’ll want to find later. Take the recent blooms when the weather isn’t wet. What to do with the fragrant blooms? Make hyldeblomst saft of course! Elderflower cordial, ummmm. Stay tuned, recipe and tips on the blog soon.

7 | Find One Man’s Treasures at a Loppemarked

Danes love a loppemarked. You may know the concept as a flea market. A yard sale. A garage sale. But these are collective experiences – more than one purveyor of gently used goods. Look for one of a kind vintage pieces or jewelry or antiques or chairs. You can find just about anything at a Danish loppemarked.

Rita Blå’s Lopper Saxogadefest
Litauens Plads, 1723 København V, Danmark
June 24 | 12-17

Kulturhuset Islands Brygge Loppemarked
Islands Brygge 18, 2300 København
June 25 | 10-17

8 | Go Looking for Giants

Danish artist Thomas Dambo has hidden the 6 Forgotten Giants in the woods south of Copenhagen. Each constructed of reclaimed and recycled wood, they wait for you to find them. Make a sustainable day out with the family by carpooling to the destinations. Pack your picnic in and leave no waste. Bring a reusable water bottle! Really want up your green quotient – take the S-tog with your bike and ride to each of the parks!


Day out In Denmark Finding Giants | Oregon Girl Around the WorldDay out In Denmark Finding Giants | Oregon Girl Around the World

9 | Put out Your Blanket for Movie in the Park

I love when you can see the cinema outside. Every summer the Copenhagen theater Cinemateket offers two nights of viewing on a big screen set up in the Kings Garden. Spread out your blanket, invite some friends and sit back and relax. DJ music starts from 16:00. Last year we loved the David Bowie old school classic Spiders From Mars.

This year’s line up includes: David Lynch’s Blue Velvet on Tuesday and Saturday Night Fever on Wednesday. Ses vi? See you there?

Cinemateket Open Air
Kongens Have, The King’s Garden
August 1st and 2nd, 2017

10 | Sail with the Swans

Paddle for your pleasure along Peblingesø, one of the lakes in the middle of Copenhagen. Restaurant Kaffesalonen rents the boats from their dockside café by the hour. The gentle churn of the pedal-powered craft is a lovely slow summer treat.

Kaffesalonen Paddle Boat Rental 
Peblinge Dossering 6 2200 Copenhagen N
Swan Bicycle for 2 persons costs DKK 100 per ½ hour,  DKK 125 per hour.
Larger (non-swan) paddle boats can accommodate 5 and 7 passengers for a little more.

So there you have it. Summer fun that can be sustainable too. Looking for last year’s summertime list? Click the link below for a few more fun in the sun (and maybe not sun – it IS Denmark) options.


Come to Copenhagen, she said. Cheers from here.

Suitcases and Sandcastles