Wanderlust by Jona

Travel. Wanderlust. Blog. Photographer. Amanda Jona. Explore. Adventure. World. Traveller

Coffee & Coconuts - Amsterdam, Netherlands

One of the coolest restaurants we visited in Amsterdam most have been Coffee & Coconuts.
We went there for breakfast during our second day in the city, and I have to say that I'm impressed! The restaurant is three stories high and it's built in an old cinema where they have kept a lot of the original architecture from the 1920's which I (the architecture nerd) of course, loved. I had a smoothie bowl and a croissant and my boyfriend had some french toast and we were both satisfied with our choices.
Everything from the interior to the menu is tropical themed and I just loved every second of it. If I where a local in Amsterdam, I would probably hang here a lot, working on my computer with a smoothie in my hand. It just felt like such an inspiring atmosphere where you could sit for hours and hours!
Read more about my trip to Amsterdam
Quick facts about Coffee & Coconuts
Name: CT Coffee & Coconuts
Menu: Breakfast, lunch, dinner - and everything in between.
Location: Ceintuurbaan 282-284, Amsterdam
Opening hours: Open daily 8 am to 11 pm
My rating: 
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Travel Throwback Thursday: Prague 2017

In the autumn of 2017, I traveled to Prague with my family.
We stayed in the Czech Republic capital for five days and explored as much as possible during our visit. Prague stayed intact during the world wars which means that there are a lot of old and beautiful buildings which I just adored - Prague is such a pretty city! We visited the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, Saint Nicholas, Prague Castle, the Powder Tower, Wenceslas Square, the Dancing House and Petrin Tower.
In other words, we walked a LOT. We also did a Harry Potter themed escape room and ate a lot of trdlnik. I really liked Prague, both because of the historical sites and the cheap food, haha. I have so many pictures from Prague so I'll probably write a couple of more posts about the city. If you want to know anything specific - write it in the comments below!

Fotomässan & Explore 2018 - Stockholm, Sweden

Yesterday I took the morning off work to go and nerd in my two favorite things: photography and exploring the world.
Fotomässan (= photography fair) and Explore Outdoors are two big fairs in Sweden, and this year they decided to have both of them combined in Stockholm and I think no one was happier than me when I heard the news. Especially since I won one ticket to the fair at Stockholm Photo Marathon last year which meant that I didn't even have to pay the entrance fee, haha!
I spent four hours roaming around the stalls, trying out camera equipment, listening to lectures from both photographers and adventures and signing up for pretty much every competition available. So can we all have our fingers crossed that I win a trip to hike the Inca Trail or climbing to base camp at Mount Everest? ;) I also got a t-shirt as an early bird gift for signing up to Stockholm Photo Marathon 2018 and brought home a bunch of magazines to scroll in and dream about beautiful destinations I would like to visit.
If you are in Stockholm this weekend - go and visit Fotomässan and Explore!
Quick facts about Fotomässan and Explore
Name: Fotomässan & Explore (formerly known as "Vildmarksmässan")
What: A fair with hundreds of stalls with photography and outdoor activities around the world. New lectures with inspiring subjects every hour.
Location: Stockholmsmässan, Mässvägen 1, Älvsjö
Opening hours: Friday 9/3 (10am-7pm), Saturday 10/3 (10am-6pm) & Sunday 11/3 (10am-6pm)
Price: 165 SEK online, 190 SEK at the door. Only one entrance ticket needed for both fairs.
My rating: 

How to Get 10k Instagram Followers in 3 Months

This Monday, I woke up with the news that my Instagram account has reached 10 000 followers. How crazy is that?
I have had Instagram for a couple of years but mostly used it to follow my friends and share some photos taken with my phone on the go. I wrote in Swedish and had around 250 followers when I in September 2017 thought that I should use my Instagram more as a portfolio for my company as a photographer and deleted all old phone photos and started to post photographs taken with my camera and write in English. Since I work with photographing everything from interior to weddings (and still wanted to share some photos from my travels) it all just became a blissful mix of everything. I gained around 1000 followers when I'm in January 2018 decided to make a big change - again.
I started this blog and ones again decided to rebrand my Instagram and this time only focus on traveling and Wanderlust by Jona was born. Since you unlock a couple of "secret" settings when you reach 10 000 followers on Instagram it's been sort of a goal for me to get there, but I could never imagine it going so fast! So there you have my background story of how I reached 10 000 followers on Instagram. The title to this post is not one hundred percent true, but I thought it sounded better than "how to rebrand your Instagram a couple of times before you gain around 9000 followers in two months and one week", haha. As a big thank you to all of you who have supported me, I would like to share some tips that I have found useful on my way to 10k.
Be active
Follow accounts you find interesting, like pictures you like and comment what you think. You can have the most amazing Instagram account ever, but no one is going to follow it unless they can find it. So spread some love around and it will come back to you, I promise!
Use hashtags
No, #love and #girl won't probably give you any more followers but do some investigations and logical thinking about what hashtags you can use. When I went to Amsterdam I searched for #amsterdambrunch to find good brunch places and #amsterdamview to find good lookout spots. There are also a lot of accounts on Instagram that just share other peoples content if you use their hashtag, which can be an amazing opportunity to be seen by their followers. Two I often use is #gohypetravel and #travelbabygirl.
Tag accounts in your photos
Tagging is not only just for showing who is in your photo. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of accounts that share other peoples content and I often tag them in my photos. Tags are a great way to be seen by the account you tag since your photo basically ends up in their profile. I also tag accounts like @visitsweden if my photo is taken in Sweden or @fjallraven if I wear a piece of clothing from the brand Fjällräven in my photo.
Don't be too universal
There millions of accounts on Instagram and you have to find that thing that makes YOU special. Being universal works for a few people, but most people simply press the "unfollow" bottom when the content gets too confusing and you can't know what the account is about. Are you a horse girl? Focus on that. Do you like working out? Make your account about healthy food and weightlifting. Do you like fashion? Have your account filled with awesome outfits! Don't confuse your followers, stay clear in what type of account you have.
Plan your feed
I'm using an app called UNUM where you simply can plan how your feed will look. I try not to post two pictures that look alike to close to each other and try to follow the same color scheme. How you plan your feed is up to you but I promise you it helps if you can see how it will look before you post your latest photo.
Write in English
My native language is Swedish and I have to say that I'm at least ten times more comfortable writing in Swedish than in English, but I have still chosen to have my social media accounts in English. Why? Because of simple statistics. There are about ten million people speaking Swedish, while there are one billion people speaking English in the world - so it's so much easier to reach out in a language that most people understand.
Use Insta Stories
We have all heard about the algorithm om Instagram that only makes around 10% of your followers see your latest post in their feed. It's a lot of mathematics behind it and I'm not getting into that right now, but the thing you need to know that all of your followers won't even see your photo so I'm always posting in my Insta Story when a new post is up - both on Instagram and on the blog.
Post when your followers are active
If you have a business profile on Instagram you can see statistics over what time your followers are most active - and most likely to like your post. I always try to post around 3pm-6pm since that's the time most of my followers are active.

Do it because you want to
The moment you feel that you HAVE to post a picture on Instagram is the moment you lose the joy in it. Social Media should be fun and it is always so clear when someone posts something just to post it, and not put any effort into it. Have fun while doing it and your halfway there.
My Instagram is @wanderlustbyjona, what is yours?
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Find your next adventure with FlightFrom.com

Post sponsored by FlightsFrom.com
Okay guys, I'm starting to get really sick of the weather in Stockholm right now!
It's been snowing non-stop for a week and the temperature is low below Amanda-approved so I'm pretty much spending my days looking for flights to take me away from my misery (haha!) and I have spent hours on a site called FlightsFrom.com. It is basically just a map of the world where you can enter your nearest airport and then find all destinations you can travel to with a direct flight and it's just such a simple and fun way to find new destinations! It is also possible to put on filters like how long flight time you want and what time you want to departure, perfect if you planning a short weekend somewhere and want to max out the time at your destination. There are 168 destinations connected to my home airport Arlanda in Stockholm, so I have already discovered a bunch of new ones I would like to visit. 

Travel Throwback Thursday: Playa del Carmen 2014

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Back in April 2014, my mun turned 50 and we traveled with the family + my grandmother to the Yucatán in Mexico.
We stayed at the five-star Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya* in Playa del Carmen for two weeks and enjoyed the sun, the ocean, and the all-inclusive buffet, hehe. We also took a couple of day trips and explored ancient Mayan temples, went swimming in cenotes, the park Xcaret, had tacos with the locals and snorkeled with a couple of sea turtles out in the open. It is still one of my coolest experience ever, snorkeling in the ocean when a two-meter-long sea turtle dives just an arm's length away from me.
We had such a good time in Mexico and I think it's an amazing destination for both the climate and the historical cites - Chichán Itzá is even one of the new seven wonders of the world and has a fascinating history. I know that Mexico has sort of a bad reputation, but Yucatán is all for tourism and I didn't feel unsafe a single time during our visit.
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Corner Bakery - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Whoever said money can't buy happiness, has obviously never bought a Freak Shake from the Corner Bakery in Amsterdam, haha!
I was looking on Instagram for cool places to visit in Amsterdam before our trip there when I came across a photo with one of these amazing milkshakes and pretty much decided on the spot that I had to go there. The Corner Bakery offers many different kinds of sweets and I honestly wanted to try them all but I had my eyes on the Freak Shake! I also ordered some avocado toast since I'm a professional sugar-eater and know my body can't handle that amount of sugar without balancing it out with some "real" food, haha. 
We got there around 4 pm on a Friday and the place was smacked with teenage girls, not surprised though since the café is super "insta friendly" in both food and interior. The Corner Bakery is a bit of the central parts of Amsterdam, and there is not much to see in the area around it, but I would still recommend a visit just to get a Freak Shake, haha. It might honestly have been the most delicious thing I've ever tasted! Take a stroll through Vondelpark on your way over there and you're halfway there!
Read more about my trip to Amsterdam
Travel Diary Day 1 - Travel Diary Day 2 - Travel Diary Day 3 - Hotel2Stay
Quick facts about Corner Bakery
Name: Corner Bakery
Menu: Sweet pastries, toasts, smoothie bowls and a wide selection of hot and cold drinks - everything homemade.
Location: Kon. Wilhelminaplein 60-62, Amsterdam
Opening hours: Open daily 8 am to 5 pm
My rating: 
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Travel Diary: Sandhamn

Yesterday I met up with my friend Annie at 6 am to take a day trip to Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago.

Even though the 30 000 islands outside of Stockholms central is just a boat ride away, I've never been to a single island before. So bad, I know! Annie, on the other hand, is often out in the archipelago and even has a house on one of the islands and has a web page where you can buy her archipelago photographs. Check it out here.

We took a bus from Slussen to Stavsnäs, and there we jumped on a boat to Sandhamn. If you have a public transportation card in Stockholm (SL Access Card) for 30 days or more, you can actually ride the boats in the archipelago for free during winter. If you don't have the card or planning a visit during the summer, you can buy tickets onboard the boats. We took the first boat of the day and watched the sunrise from the boat and had some breakfast in the small café. 

We got off the boat 8:16 am and started to explore Sandhamn. Such a cute little town! 

The Stockholm archipelago is a popular destination in the summer, and Sandhamn on the island Sandön is probably the most well known (and touristy) of them all. In the winter, on the other hand, the town was very calm and quiet and we actually just met a handful of people during the day so we headed out in the woods to explore more of the island.
We walked in the woods to the other side of the island where we spent our time hiking the beaches and photographing pretty much everything we saw. There was a bit of wind, but we found a perfect windless place upon a little cliff next to Trouville Beach near Rönnuddsvägen where we had lunch out in the open. Is it just me, or does food taste so much better out in nature?
After a couple of hours, we headed back to the town Sandhamn again to wait for the boat back to the mainland. We had some time left so we walked around exploring and photographing pretty much every single building and alley in the town, haha.
The weather during the day shifted a bit between being sunny and cloudy, but the out of nowhere - hell broke loose. Okay, I may exaggerate a bit since I'm not a big fan of either snow or being cold, but suddenly it started to snow like crazy! The sky just turned dark grey and then the snow fell down, and I had to go inside the local food store (which was open only four hours a day) to buy some candy to survive until our boat came, haha!

We were on the island about 5 hours and I fell asleep straight away when I got home, haha! It is tiring being out in nature ;) Both me and Annie were very happy about our day trip and I have to say that the Stockholm archipelago is not just for the summer, its an awesome winter destination as well if you just dress properly. Now I just want to get out and explore more islands!

Hotel2Stay - Amsterdam, Netherlands

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During our visit to Amsterdam, we stayed at Hotel2Stay*.
It's a hotel next door to Sloterdijk Station where you can get to the airport in 10 minutes or the Central Station in 5 minutes with the train. We lived in a Queen Studio with a big double bed and a fully functional kitchen, and the hotel also offers a gym, sauna, and a rooftop "garden".
Me and my boyfriend have very different travel styles - I want it to be as cheap as possible, while he doesn't mind spending a bit more for better comfort. Therefore, we compromised and ended up both being satisfied with this hotel's high standard - for only 70€ per night. It's a bit outside of the central parts of the city, but the public transportation is very good in Amsterdam so this wasn't anything that bothered us. It may not have been av "WOOOOAW"-experience staying here but the beds were comfortable, everything was tidy and clean and the staff was super friendly, and what more do you really need?
Read more about my trip to Amsterdam
Quick facts about Hotel2Stay*
Name: Hotel2Stay*
Location: Tempelhofstraat 2, Amsterdam
24-hour reception: Yes
Animals allowed: No
Breakfast: Yes 
Gym: Yes
Parking: Yes
Pool: No
Wi-Fi: Yes
Price per night: Around 70€ for a Queen Studio
Distances: Anne Frank Huis (4,1 km), Central Station (4,6 km), Rijksmuseum (5,0 km)
Other: All 157 rooms have their own bathroom and kitchen. Super friendly staff who can help with anything from booking tours to bike rental.
My rating: 
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Mumin Kaffe - Helsinki Finland

When I was in Helsinki in the beginning of the year, I had brunch in this cute café called Mumin Kaffe.
Since we only had 6 hours in Helsinki, we didn't want to spend much time on the whole, "We need to eat something"-process and decided to find a place beforehand where we could combine breakfast and lunch. I googled quite a lot before finding Mumin Kaffe, and since the children book characters the Moomins are the main thing I think about when I think of Finland, we obviously had to go there.
There are actually in total 4 Mumin Kaffe's in Helsinki, but after looking at pictures we decided to go to the one called Fabianinkatu, mostly because we liked the colors of the walls, haha. I had a spinach filled croissant and my friend Madeleine a broccoli pie and we were both happy with our choices. We were there a bit after 10 am on a Monday and it was only us and another family there, which gave us a calm start of the day where we could plan on where to go next. There was also a little shop with Moomin products which we had a look at before we left and explored the streets of Helsinki.

Read more about my trip to Helsinki
Quick facts about Mumin Kaffe
Name: Mumin Kaffe Fabianinkatu
Menu: Sweet pastries, sandwiches, pies, ice cream and a wide selection of hot and cold drinks.
Location: Fabianinkatu 29, Helsinki
Opening hours: Open daily 10 am to 6 pm
Other: Has a small Moomin shop with Moomin products for sale and an area for kids to play in. Super family-friendly!
My rating: 
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6 of my favorite travel accounts on Instagram

Happy Valentine's day!
I must say that I'm not really into valentine's day that much, but it is never wrong to share some extra love in this world! Therefore, I decided that I want to share my 6 favorite travel accounts on Instagram with you! Don't forget to follow my travel account, wanderlustbyjona.
This account is made by Carolyn from the UK who works as a freelance photographer! I really like her soft and down to earth color scheme and the windows at her home are just to die for! Check it out here!
My favorite travel couple, Charlie and Lauren! They are originally from the UK, but travels the world together and shares amazing (and often super cute) photographs from their journey. Don't forget to watch their insta stories with daily updates, they are just so funny. Check it out here!
Another account with the base in the UK! I seem to have a thing for those, haha. 22-year-old Pedro shares really cool photographs from his travels which often are taken on hidden places in even the most well-traveled cities. Check it out here!
This account is probably my favorite one of all time and with the 1,1 million followers, I'm probably not the only one who thinks so. Emelie share photos from all around the world with a sort of minimalistic feeling which I just adore. Check it out here!
LA-based Aggie can make anyone want to book a flight ticket immediately. She shares photos daily from her adventures around the world. Check it out here!
I found Madeleine's account just a couple of days ago, but it has already turned into one of my favorites! Her photos are just amazing, and she was recently in Austria and makes even me who hates snow daydreaming of the snowy mountains and taking a hot bath in the cold air. Check it out here!
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Which ones are your favorite accounts on Instagram? Tell me in the comments below!

Travel Diary: Boden

I've spent the weekend in northern Sweden, in a small town called Boden.
My mom grew up in Boden so most of my relatives on her side of the family still lives there, and I try to visit at least ones a year. I was there Thursday to Sunday and thought about doing a travel diary like the ones I did in Helsinki and Amsterdam but realized that most days looked pretty similar with either laying on my grandmother's couch dressed in long johns watching the Olympics or eating food in different relative's houses, haha.
Other than hanging with my relatives, the main reason for my visit to Boden this time was that my cousin's son turned one year old and had a birthday party!
I haven't seen him since August and he has grown so much! Gosh, he couldn't even crawl back then, and now he's running around! My cousin asked me if I could do a smash the cake photo shoot with him when I was there, and of course, my answer was yes. I've never done one before, but it was so much fun!

Travel Diary: Amsterdam Day 3

We started our third (and last) day in Amsterdam with packing all of our stuff and checking out of the hotel.
We left our bags (which apparently were four this time, weird since we only had two when we got there, haha) in the hotel's storage area and headed out to take the tram into the city. We lived next to the station Sloterdijk and even though we saw the big bike parking every day, it still amazed me every time. All big cities should have bikes instead of cars.
We took the tram to Dam Square and ate breakfast at Metropolitain. I have realised that I more and more choose hotels without breakfast when I travel so I have the opportunity to try out different breakfast-places every day. I mean, who doesn't love breakfast?
After breakfast we hit some stores, I needed a pair of sunglasses since it was so sunny that day and we also had to buy a souvenir since we (= me and my boyfriend) have a souvenir from every country we have visited together.
We also had a look at the famous Bloemenmarkt which is the only floating flower market in the world. Such a pretty (and colourful!) place but I think they have gone tired of people going there for pretty Instagram-pictures because there were signs everywhere saying that you were not allowed to take pictures, haha.
Then we spent our last hours in Amsterdam in Vondelpark, just sucking in all of the warmth from the sun and embracing the spring feelings before flying back to Sweden which is still covered in a thick layer of snow.
Read more about my trip to Amsterdam

Travel Diary: Amsterdam Day 2

I am home in Stockholm again, but I have still two days left from Amsterdam to write about.
We started our second day in Amsterdam with breakfast at Coffee & Coconuts (which has the coolest interior ever!) and honestly had my best breakfast experience ever. I would probably hang here every day if I lived in Amsterdam, haha!
After breakfast, we pretty much just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful city. I have a thing for cute houses and always end up with a bunch of pictures of doors, windows and walls when I travel and this trip was not an exception to that.
Somewhere along the way we also ate some pancakes at The Pancake Bakery but we ended up sharing a table with three very nice Englishmen and I did not want to act like the freak that I am and take photos of everything I eat, haha! After lunch, we watched some ice skaters outside Rijksmuseum and I wondered why people want to take pictures with an overcrowded sign.
My favourite way of exploring new places is by getting lost in it, and somewhere along the way, we ended up on a street with a market that sold everything imaginable. I've tried to retrace our steps on Google Maps and think the market street was Albert Cuyp Market.
And then I saw it, a woman carrying a Primark-bag! I actually had no idea that there was a Primark in Amsterdam and got super excited and had to go there straight away - end ended up spending an hour in the seven-storey store buying mostly Harry Potter-related stuff. Forever a Potterhead.
Before our feets gave up we took a quick visit to the central station (where apparently 250 000 people travel through daily, and it seemed that all of those 250 000 people were there the same time as us) and also found a Fjällräven-store where I hoped to find a pair of hiking tights that have been sold out in Sweden since September, without any luck.
We took the tram back to our hotel to rest our feets for a bit before we went back to the city to eat dinner at Thrill Grill.
I actually brought my tripod to dinner because I wanted to take some night photos of all the lights reflected in the canals, but it was SO COLD outside so I didn't even take a single photo before I gave up and jumped on the tram back to the hotel again, where we spent the evening streaming Melodifestivalen. 
Read more about my trip to Amsterdam

Travel Diary: Amsterdam Day 1

I got up at 2 am this morning to travel to Amsterdam with my boyfriend.
I've never been to the Netherlands before (if you don't count my visit on the Dutch island Sint Maarten in the Carribean in 2009, which I don't) so I have been super excited about going here! We took the early morning flight and started our day in Amsterdam with a taxi ride to our hotel to drop off our bags and then head out to find some breakfast.
We had no specific goal in mind and just went wandering about in the city when a hail storm showed up from nowhere. We both stood with our smartphones in our hands trying to find a breakfast restaurant nearby that we could run to when a local lady came up to us offering us her help. How nice? With her help, we ended up at The Breakfast Club and had a really nice breakfast!
After breakfast, we went exploring some of the main sights like Rijksmuseum, Begijnhof, Dam Square and Anne Frank Huis. I really wanted to get inside Anne Frank's house but you have to prebook your entrance ticket online, and when I thought about it two weeks ago, it was already sold out for the whole weekend we were there. At least we saw the building from the outside, but with people posing for photos in front of it and some sort of salesman walking around and yelling about going on a canal boat tour - it wasn't as emotional as I thought it would have been. I just hate when historical places get's to "touristy".
The sun had been shining after the hail, but after that came the rain so we decided to hit the main shopping road Kalverstraat to find an umbrella and ended up with also buying matching raincoats! We also had a look in some interesting stores, like one that sold every sort of cheese imaginable (and you could taste everything, heaven for this cheese-lover I might add!) and one four stories high English bookshop.
By this point, our feet were already tired, but I had seen a café on Instagram that sold amazing milkshakes and I really wanted to go there, so we walked out of the central parts of the city, visited some "fancy stores" at Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat and then walked through the big park Vondelpark to a place called Corner Bakery. I ate an avocado toast and a milkshake with a doughnut and was super happy.
We were both super tired after the Corner Bakery (getting up at 2 am and walking the whole day) so we decided to buy a 48-hour card for public transportation and took the metro back to our hotel where we could check in, take a shower and lay down for a while.
We talked about getting back into the city again for dinner, but ended up buying chips at a grocery store nearby and watched some Netflix before falling asleep at 8 pm instead, haha!
I am really happy with our first day in Amsterdam. My first impression is that I really love the idea of a city where it is easier and faster to walk around than take a car and that I really have underestimated the proportion of bikes in this city! Look at any direction and you'll see at least 100 bikes at the same time!
Read more about my trip to Amsterdam

How to Photograph in the Cold Winter

And once again the temperature is below zero and snow lay on the ground in Stockholm.
This is really the part I hate most about winter when the temperature swings between -5° to +5°, leaving both wet slushes from the snow everywhere and dangerous ice spots where you can slip and fall (a lot of broken bones this time of the year!). I have never gone on a skiing trip and the only time I actually travel to a colder place is when I'm visiting family in northern Sweden. 
What I'm trying to say is that I'm not very fond of either snow or the cold, but I have to agree that it can look really beautiful on camera! Therefore, I've gathered my best tips in this post on how to photograph in the cold winter!
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❄️  Dress warm
Quite obvious, but you really don't want to miss a photo opportunity because of something as ridiculous as being cold.
❄️  Charge the batteries
Batteries do not feel well in the cold and die faster. Therefore, be sure to have fully charged batteries when you get out or bring an extra battery if you are going to be out for a long time.
❄️  Wear thin gloves
I love my thick mittens, but they are very impractical when you want to change the camera settings. Therefore, I always wear a pair of thin gloves under my thick mittens so I can take off the mittens when I have to use my fingers without getting cold.
❄️  Be careful with the camera equipment
Many materials become weaker when it's cold, including plastic. Many of the camera's parts consist of plastic so be careful when handling your camera in the cold so nothing breaks.
❄️  Shoot manually
The camera does not work as well as the human eye and will underexpose images with a lot of white snow on auto mode since it's "too bright". Learn how to shoot manually and your photos of snow will be as white as reality.
❄️  Catch the snowflakes
Can't you see how much it snows in your photographs? Be sure to have a short shutter speed and a large aperture to capture the flakes, and/or use a light flash to light them up.
❄️  Use the backlight
During the winter up here in the north, the sun is not as high in the sky and does not shine as strong as in the summer = perfect opportunity to photograph with beautiful backlight!
❄️  Beware of condensation
Have you seen someone wearing glasses go inside after being outside in the cold? Their glasses will condensate and the same thing happens to your camera lens if you bring it in immediately. Condense is moisture and if you're unlucky it can get inside your camera and ruin it. To avoid this you should leave your camera in the camera bag for a while when you get inside so it can slowly get used to the room temperature.
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Helsinki Cathedral - Helsinki, Finland

 Helsinki Cathedral is such a distinctive part of the Helsinki cityscape.
Just google Helsinki and you find this majestic building in pretty much every picture. It is also one of Helsinki's most visited buildings with almost 350 000 visitors annually. The cathedral, who is called Helsingin tuomiokirkko in Finnish, was completed in 1852 and is still used regularly for religious services and weddings and has the compacity of 1300 people.
The white exterior with the green domes really appeals to me, but I have to admit that the interior wasn't blowing me away. I think I had imagined the interior to be a little bit more like St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, so I was surprised that everything was pretty simple and white. Although, I can just imagine how pretty it must be to get married in here! I've worked as a wedding photographer and can with experience say that it would be easy shooting beautiful and bright wedding photos in this environment ;)
Read more about my trip to Helsinki
Quick facts about Helsinki Cathedral
Name: Helsingin tuomiokirkko
Opened: 1852
Visitors: 350 000 annually
Entrance fee: No entrance fee
Location: Unioninkatu 29, Helsinki
Opening hours: Open daily 9 am–6 pm, June–August 9 am–midnight. Sightseeing visits are not possible during church ceremonies.
My rating: 
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Mälarhöjden, Sweden

Sometimes you don't have to travel far to explore new places.
This weekend, the sun shined in Stockholm for the first time in forever so I decided to take a walk with my camera and get to know my brand new tripod - and ended up being out for almost four hours. My goal was to reach the water in Mälarhöjden but instead of taking the quickest way there, I just went wandering about, exploring every street and trail I could find and ended up finding some amazing lookout points on the way.
This is honestly my favourite way of exploring the world, by getting lost in it. And isn't it amazing that you can live in a city for almost 22 years, and still find new places in it every single day? 

Places I Want to Visit: Poland

Post sponsored by EnjoyPolen

The definition of the word Wanderlust is "a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world".
I'm honestly filled with wanderlust every single day when I daydream about places I would like to visit in this world, and as most Europeans right now, I have my eyes set on Poland. It has really become a trend to visit Poland in the last couple of years, and I think it only makes sense since it's in the heart of Europe, have so much interesting history, and is really cheap compared to other European countries.
I'm proud to say that this post is sponsored by EnjoyPolen, which is a company that offers tours for both groups and individuals in some of Poland's most historic and beautiful places. They are all for service and can also fix everything with transportation to and from the airport, and book restaurants and hotels that fit you and your needs. I know that a lot of my Swedish followers from my old lifestyle blog have followed me to this blog, so I also have to mention that all of their tours are offered in Swedish! Everything just becomes easier when you can speak your native language, I have to agree on that.
Here are three tours I would love to do with EnjoyPolen:

Photography from EnjoyPolen
City tour in Kraków
Kraków is the second biggest city in Poland with a history stretching back to medieval times. A lot of the city stayed intact during the world wars so Kraków Old Town is actually on UNESCO's world heritage list. I'm a sucker for history and old architecture so I think this would be a perfect tour for me.
Find the tour here.
Photography from EnjoyPolen
Guided tour in Auschwitz
I honestly think that this is a place everyone should visit in their lifetime. I haven't been there myself yet, but I can only imagine the emotions you have to get, walking around and seeing the place where more than 1,2 million people lost their lives to such unnecessary evil.
Photography from EnjoyPolen
River rafting along Dunajec
I have gone river rafting ones in Turkey and it was such an amazing experience that I would love to do again! Dunajec is a river in southern Poland and this rafting tour starts in Sromowce and ends in Szczawnica and for two hours you can just sit back and experience the beautiful nature passing by. 

Travel Throwback Thursday: Edinburgh 2017

Post contains affiliate links
I love looking back at the travels I've done, and thought about starting a new category called "Travel Throwback Thursday".
Who doesn't love a good alliteration, right?
Anyway. In November 2017, I traveled to Scotlands capital Edinburgh together with Helena de Ilenczfalva and stayed there for two days. Edinburgh has been on my bucket list forever since this is the place where J.K. Rowling lived when she wrote the books about Harry Potter, and as a true Potterhead I just had to go there. I was not disappointed!
We lived Old Town Chambers* in one of the "closes" on The Royal Mile and pretty much walked everywhere in the city to see everything from Dean's Village, to the Castel, to Calton Hill - and we even climbed Arthur's Hill. Such an awesome trip that I'm pretty sure I'll come back to and write a lot about in the future, but until then, this is how it looked like:
Dugald Stewart Monument, probably one of the most photographed views of Edinburgh
The beautiful street Circus Lane
Climbing Arthur's Seat during sunset
 Bagpipe player in front of Edinburgh Castle
 Victoria Street or Diagon Alley? Nobody knows.
Our enormous suite (with three bedrooms) at Old Town Chambers*
Dean Village right outside central Edinburgh was so cute
 Me and Helena at the top of Arthur's Seat
*Affiliate links 

Rock Church - Helsinki, Finland

During my quick visit to Helsinki in the beginning of this week, I had a look at the famous Rock Church
- or Temppeliaukion kirkko as the Finnish calls it.
Opened in 1969, this church was built into solid rock, hence the nickname "Rock Church". It is one of Helsinki's most popular tourist attractions and there where a lot of people who wrote to me on Instagram before my trip telling me that I had to go there and I really understand why.
The architecture-nerd in me just loved the place. It does not scream religion (and I think that there where actually just one cross in the whole place?) and it feels more like a calm place to go when the world is too stressful than a place for prayer. There were a lot of people just sitting there with a book and I could totally see myself doing the same thing if I lived in Helsinki, it was just something special about the atmosphere. I can also imagine going to a concert at Rock Church, the acoustics have to be amazing with that round architecture with a copper roof.
Read more about my trip to Helsinki
Travel Diary - Helsinki Cathedral - Mumin Kaffe

Quick facts about Rock Church
Name: Temppeliaukion kirkko (Temple Square Church in English)
Opened: 1969
Visitors: Half a million annually
Entrance fee: 3€ (Free with Helsinki Card)
Location: Lutherinkatu 3, Helsinki
Opening hours: Differs, so make sure to keep updated before you go
My rating: 
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Travel Diary: Helsinki

 I just got home from a 40-hour cruise to Helsinki in Finland.
I'm a costumer club member of a LOT of travelling companies, and actually got this cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki for free! It was a Christmas present from the cruise company Viking Line and I was even allowed to bring a friend. How nice? Even though I'm not very found of cruising in the Baltic Sea since the ships are quite small (and you feel the waves which make me seasick) and there are usually a lot of drunk people, I'm not saying no to a free trip, haha! I brought my childhood friend Madeleine and we had such a good time in our neighboring capital.
I've actually been to Helsinki a couple of times when I was younger but have no memories of it at all so it was like exploring a whole new city, which might be my favourite thing to do. Here is my Helsinki travel diary:
Our travels started at home in Stockholm with the most beautiful sunset ever. Gosh, my body just shrieks with excitement when I see a stunning, pink sky with extremely soft light so the first thing we did when we boarded was to run (yes run!) up the stairs to get on deck and just watch our beautiful hometown in the amazing light.
When the sun was down we decided to escape all the families with children (apparently the only ones except us who travels on a cruise a Sunday evening, haha) when they had dinner and headed up to the ship's cinema and watched the movie Murder on the Polar Express. Our plan to escape the families worked and we had a late and calm dinner at the extremely overpriced buffet, which had surprisingly much vegetarian alternatives. 
After dinner, we did some tax-free shopping (mostly candy, haha!) and then we headed to the bar to hang and dance to the live band that did not play a single song from this century. Did I mention that we were pretty much the only twenty-something on the whole ship?
After a night on a stormy sea (which lead to not that much sleep), we finally reached Finland and Helsinki and we could begin our trip "for real". The thing I actually do like about cruises is that it's transfer and hotel in one so you can just leave all belongings at the ship (except for the camera, obviously) and just head out and explore!
Literally, the first thing that happened when we got off the boat was that I bent down to get my camera from my backpack, and my jeans ripped! Too much food during Christmas maybe? Haha! So I walked the cold streets of Helsinki with a big rip on the back of my thigh, which is something I totally wouldn't recommend since my thigh pretty much was frozen after that, haha. Oh well.
We skipped paying another fortune to eat the breakfast buffet on the ship, and instead had breakfast at a Moomin Café in Helsinki. Moomin is really the one thing I think of when I think about Finland so when I heard that they had a Moomin Café we obviously had to go there, and it was such a cute little place! Super family friendly as well since they even had a little playroom for kids and a shop with pretty much every Moomin-related thing you could imagine.
After breakfast, we walked, and walked and walked a little bit more visiting sites like Uspenskin KatedraaliHelsingin TuomiokirkkoTähtitorninvuoren puisto, Kaivopuisto, Johanneksenkirkko, and Rautationtori. Yeah I know, Finnish is such a weird language, but it was basically a lot of churches and parks.
Our last stop of the day was the famous rock church Temppeliaukion kirkko which I really have to write a whole blog post about, astonishing architecture really! Before heading back to the ship we had a quick dinner at McDonald's which is such a lifesaver when you need something fast (and cheap!)
Back at the boat again we watched the sunset before spending almost four hours in the ship's sauna and jacuzzi. Such a perfect activity when you have walked a lot during the day, and I felt as a new person when we left! After that, we headed to the bar again which offered the same as the night before, before we went to bed and woke up in Stockholm again.
Read more about my trip to Helsinki

25 free (or cheap) things to do during winter in Stockholm

Stockholm is known to be an expensive city to visit.
I might be biased since I'm born and raised in Stockholm, but according to me, it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world with charming architecture and a fascinating history. I would absolutely recommend a visit and there is, in fact, a lot of things you can do in Stockholm on a tight travel budget!
The winter months in Sweden are between the end of November to the beginning of March, and the temperature is usually around 0°c, and bearly bellow -10°c so put on a jacket and explore everything from dinosaur skeletons to free stand up, or 23 of the other economically smart things listed below. Perfect for you who are traveling to Stockholm soon, or for you locals who are broke after Christmas. 
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1) Go ice skating in Kungsträdgården. It's free if you have your own skates, or you can rent a pair for 70 SEK for a adult and 30 SEK for a child. Don't miss the free figure skating classes and disco-skating on the weekends!
2) See the last remaining parts of medieval Stockholm at Medeltidsmuseet. 100% FREE!
3) Take a stroll at Monteliusvägen which is my personal favorite when it comes to lookout points in Stockholm. 100% FREE!

4) Visit Swedish actress Greta Garbo's final resting place in Skogskyrkogården. Skogskyrkosgården is by the way one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Stockholm. 100% FREE!
5) Take the subway and look at the art in every station. One ticket last for 75 minutes and costs around 43 SEK for an adult and 29 SEK for a child.
6) Hang out with some dinosaur skeletons at Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet. If dinosaurs aren't your thing I would still recommend a visit just because of the buildings beautiful architecture. 100% FREE!
7) Gather some friends and watch stand up comedy at The Big Ben Pub every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 8 pm. Both rookies and professionals try out new material here in both English and Swedish. 100% FREE! (unless you buy something to drink, of course)
Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet
8) Get lost in the narrow alleys in Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old parts with stunning architecture. Find Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, an alley only 90 centimeters wide! 100% FREE!
9) Visit the resident of Swedens king and queen at Drottningholm (and not the royal palace in Gamla Stan!). It costs 130 SEK for an adult and 65 SEK for a child to enter the castle, but it's free to take a stroll in the massive royal garden. Drottningholm is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Stockholm.
10) Learn more about the Vikings and head down to Historiska Museet. 100% FREE!
11) Browse through 410.000 different books at the curved bookcases in the library Stadsbiblioteket. 100% FREE!
12) Take a buss who takes you straight from the central station to Ikea. The buses leave hourly every weekday from 10am-7pm. 100% FREE (unless you plan to buy something at the massive furniture store, of course)
View from Katarinahissen 
13) Watch some modern art at Moderna Museet. 100% FREE
14) Take a 2 km long city walking tour in English or Spanish with Free Tour Stockholm, no booking required. 100% FREE!
15) Are you a fan of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Take a tour and visit all the famous sites in the book either with a guide (130 SEK per person) or buy a map with the sites marked out at Medeltidsmuseet or Stadsarkivet (40 SEK) and be your own tour guide.
16) Visit some second-hand stores in the "Hipster-part of Stockholm", Södermalm. There are a lot of them so just google "second hand Södermalm" and you will find plenty alternatives.
17) Find Stortorget in Gamla Stan which is the site of the bloodbath who took place in 1520 following the Danish invasion of the town. A really gory detail in Stockholm's history! 100% FREE!
18) Head down to O'Leary's in Tolv Stockholm or Mall of Scandinavia and have some childish fun for a couple of hours with activities like miniature golf, bowling, ping-pong or pool. Prices depending on activity but some are quite cheap!
19) Climb the stairs behind Slussen subway station and watch the view from Katarinahissen. 100% FREE!
20) Take a look at some of the world's biggest coins (some weight 20 kilos!) at Myntkabinettet. 100% FREE!
21) Stroll through fascinating landscapes from all over the world with everything from rainforest to dry deserts at Edvard Andersons växthus. The entrance fee is 80 SEK, and in the house next door you can find my favorite café in all of Stockholm, Gamla Orangeriet.
22) Learn some Swedish at Timmermansgården, Mondays between 8pm-10pm. No booking required. 100% FREE!
23) Take a hike in Tyresta Nationalpark right outside of Stockholm. There where a huge wildfire in 1999 and there are still parts of the forest that haven't recovered yet, leaving a creepy and interesting landscape. Perfect day trip for a mild winters day. Bring some hot chocolate in a thermos! 100% FREE!
24) Visit Norrmalmstorg where the hostage-taking took place in 1973 that gave the world the expression "Stockholm Syndrome". 100% FREE!
25) Have a Swedish fika. Nothing beats a cold winters day like a cup of a hot beverage, and you can't say you have been to Sweden if you don't visit a café and grab something to drink or eat - or "fika" as we locals say. 
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Wanderlust by Jona

Hello, and welcome to Wanderlust by Jona!
My name is Amanda and I'm another adventurous twenty-something with a passion for exploring the world. I recently spent six months exploring Australia and now I'm back home in Stockholm, Sweden working as a freelance photographer - and try to travel as much as possible in between. 
Wanderlust by Jona was established in January 2018 and this will be my little corner of the Internet where I can combine my three biggest passions in life, travel, photography, and writing, and share them with you on a personal level. Welcome abroad on my journey!

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