The Best Capital Cities I’ve Visited

Copenhagen

The starting place of my inter-railing adventure from Denmark to Switzerland, Copenhagen set the tone for what turned out to be a brilliant European journey. As most of my friends will tell you I will cycle or walk whenever its an option, especially in a busy city. Using public transport is a great way to save energy and feel like a local but I prefer being able to take my time, go off the beaten track and take way too many photos. Also its a great money saver if your on a budget!

 

Copenhagen is filled with students, bikes and friendly locals. The city far exceeded by expectations and everyone we met was incredibly helpful.  The only disappointment I had was the famous ‘Little Mermaid’ bronze statue. It was much smaller than I was expecting and it was engulfed by tourists. The city is very walkable and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to experience Scandinavian cuisine first hand.

As you would expect from a capital city, Copenhagen has great transport links. You can get a train over the famous bridge to Sweden, a boat to Germany or a flight to almost anywhere in Europe.

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Tokyo

Tokyo, another starting point of an adventure. This time my 2016 Japanese adventure. Our 24 day journey started and ended in Tokyo. Overall we spent 6 days in Tokyo, I could’ve happily spent 6 months here. Being so big I knew there was a potential of being overwhelmed, especially while still experiencing jet lag. But from the minute we landed at the airport I felt at home. The sheer size of Tokyo means it has a suburb offering something for everyone. Whether you want to spend your day walking around the beautiful parks or dressing up as your favourite anime character, theres a place to do that (and not be judged!).

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Like every city Tokyo has its flaws. Both me and Juna were disheartened by Akihabara. The district is know for its vibrant electronic stores and arcades. Although I did find the Japanese Harry Potter DVD’s I had been longing for, the shops didn’t hide their adult material and there was lots of it. Adult DVD’s and comics weren’t off limits, they could’ve easily been accessed by children. It made for an uncomfortable trip through the district’s shops. But in the almost month-long time I spent in Japan this was my only negative experience.

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The underground train system is intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, its an efficient, clean and relatively cheap way of getting around.And the nightlife in Tokyo is as eclectic as you can imagine. You can eat dinner at a robot restaurant, have drinks at a bar that fits only 5 people and then sing the night away at a Karaoke Bar.

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Juna at the Moomin Cafe

I am already planning my return to Tokyo and if you haven’t yet been now is the time! The country is gearing up for hosting the 2020 olympics, you can already feel the excitement and see the venues being constructed.

Budapest

Budapest happens to be the first place I travelled to with just my friends so it will always hold special memories. It was the first time we had held the responsibilities of having a successful trip; not loosing our passports, exchanging currency,  planning enough to keep us occupied without being so tired we walk around with our eyes shut.

Terri outside our ‘Happy Flat’ hostel

Budapest has a range of sights and a good nightlife which entices a lot of young (and older) visitors from around the world. From ruin bars and riding the tram to visiting the spa, you could spend a week just scratching the surface of what Budapest has to offer.

As a big fan of architecture I loved winding through the streets of Budapest and photographing the grand castles and decadent government buildings. The thermal spa is a must visit and if your looking to save your money theres great walks ending with brilliant panoramic views across the city. It was a very happy surprise that Budapest was so cheap, if you play your cards right you can eat dinner out for under £5. I really enjoyed my 4 days in Budapest and created a short film..

Feel free to recommend and comment your favourite Cities!

How to shoot film for £3.50

The first of a new series, photographing different cities with my point and shoot 35mm camera. The Pentax camera cost me an incredible £2.50 ($3.27) at a charity shop and the film (agfa 200) was purchased at the pound shop for of course, a pound ($1.31). Im really pleased with the results and how the camera adapted to street photography. Some of the images would’ve been better with a higher speed film such as ISO 400 but I like the effect of the blur.

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You can also find me over on instagram @madisonbeachphotos  where I will be posting lots of images from newly developed 35mm films.

Japan Trip Stats

Here are the facts and stats from my 24-day trip travelling through Japan:

  • Hostels stayed in:5
  • Longest time awake: 36 hours (climbing Mt.Fuji)
  • Photos taken:Over 4000 (including ones used for my time-lapse)
  • Mountains Climbed: 2
  • Bullet trains: 5
  • Weight lost: 1.5 Stone
  • Lost maps: 3
  • Packets of m&m’s consumed while climbing Mt.Fuji: 6
  • Films watched on flights: 4 + 2 TV series
  • Distance Walked: 367.8km
  • Budget per day: £15 (around ‎¥2000)‎
  • Money left: £0

I can’t wait to return to Japan especially to explore more of the smaller islands and to see the incredible landscapes and architecture under a blanket of winter snow.

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24 Days in Japan: Photos (Part I)

A selection of images from my time in Japan. Including night shots and sun rises photographed from Mt.Fuji and the surreal beauty that Tokyo provides. You can read my Japan Travel Diary here.

 

 

More to follow  from Japan as well as photographs from my recent trip to North Wales.

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Japan Diary: Day 023 & 024 (Our Last Day)

Day 023 & 024 

Tokyo & Flying Home 
Our flight home to England (via Dubai) was at 9pm so we planned to spend the day with our friend Shiori, as she lives in Tokyo it was a sure thing we would find where and how to get the train for the airport.

Our last day summed up our experience in Tokyo. We battled our way through the busiest train station in the world, followed by the busiest street crossing in the world. But as usual it’s all worth it to see the temples, the stunning scenery and meeting the lovely (99% of the time) locals.


Shiori took us all around Shibuya and Harajuku showing us all the cool stuff we didn’t know existed or missed the first time.


Shiori then took us to Harajuku park, it was filled with people playing volleyball, singing and having picnics. It seemed like a perfect time to sit down and take it all in before we left Japan. Both being illustration students Juna and Shiori drew and I took some photos (which I’m sure will be on this blog once I get over the jet lag).


With 23 hours worth of traveling ahead of us we knew we were going to need energy and food. So we opted for over-the-top crepes. It’s apparently very fashionable to walk down the main fashion lane in Harajuku eating a crepè. I ordered a chocolate brownie, banana and whipped cream crepè. It was delicious although the majority was whipped cream so I consumed my weeks calories in one go.


After a sad goodbye to Shiori and her pointing us in the direction of our first of four trains we went down to the platform. Just as the train approached Juna started stamping madly, the kind of stamping you do when you have pins and needles. Only this was triggered by her feeling a bug in her shoe. She panicked thinking it might bite her, sat down on the platform and whipped her shoe off. Luckily it was an ant. But by the time this discovery was made our train had been and gone.


To make up lost time we got on the airport express train which although a little more expensive is as informative as you can get. It tells you which terminal your flight is and the easiest route to the gate.


After a very long wait to check-in which included Juna’s bag breaking we made it to our flight. I optimistically took my shoes off and buried myself under the complementary blanket and planned what films to watch. But we then experienced the emergency lighting as the electrics failed, this repeated 3 times until Nelly Fertardo blared across the speakers letting us know the electric was back up and running again. We then took off, everyone was a bit nervous but we were assured the issue was solved and sure enough we arrived in Dubai safe and sound at 3am.



We then had a five hour wait till our connecting flight home. Thankfully we got given a free meal voucher to spend at the airport, so we splashed out on a McDonalds. But as we kept flying through different time zones this ended up being our 3rd breakfast.


We then failed to catch up on sleep in some very uncomfortable chairs, looked through all our photos from the last 24 days and boarded the 7 hour flight home. After watching Deadpool, Spectre and The search for freedom the time seemed to fly by (no pun intended).

I was then gratefully picked up by my mum and Nan from the airport and managed to last till 7pm. I then slept for a solid 12 hours.
As much as I am happy to see all my family and friends I already miss Japan. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been. We met all kinds of brilliant people; young, old, on their own, with friends, with family and Japan had something different to offer all of them.

I am currently editing the first of two films which I made during my time in Japan. They will posted up on this blog along with photos from my trip within the next couple of weeks.
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