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2017 in Review Part 2 – Sardinia, A Wedding, Venice, and Surprises

January 12, 2018

The first part of my 2017 was pretty great. So what did the other half of the year look like?

Well, after seeing Adele in London, we hopped on a flight to Sardinia, where we spent two weeks. We went to Alghero, drove up to Porto Cervo, down to San Teodoro, and ended our stay at the Falkensteiner Resort, which was all kinds of fabulous and my favorite place in Sardinia. Wish I could have stayed there forever! To be honest, I had such high hopes for Sardinia but it was a bit of a letdown. I mean, it was beautiful, especially the beaches. But it was also heavily influenced by its many years of being a tourist island. On the coast, everything was expensive, there were (loud, annoying) tourists everywhere, the standard of the hotels was generally very low while the prices were very high, and in the evening everything sort of just died out. However, we did stop by in Sassari, which I really liked. Not as many tourists, because it wasn’t a coastal town, it was big, had many restaurants, shops, locals, parks… I’d actually recommend others to stay in Sassari for a few days and get a car to drive out to the beaches of Northern Sardinia, which are known to be some of the best on the islands. Oh well.

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After coming home, I was struck by the post-vacation blues. Denmark was rainier, colder, and grayer than any summer I’ve spent here, which made it hard to really enjoy summer.

In August, one of my best friends, Anna got married. The wedding was held on the beautiful Swedish west coast in Anna’s family summer house. Jacob and I first drove up to Gothenburg, which we completely fell in love with, before driving another few hours up to the wedding. We arrived in the evening and everyone was outside by the grill, eating hotdogs and drinking beer. The Swedish west coast is truly one of the most beautiful, serene places I’ve been to and I definitely want to go back there sometime soon. On Friday, when we arrived, the sun was shining for like the first time that summer. On Saturday, the day of the wedding, it was raining like never before. I ate some breakfast and drove up to Anna’s summer house to get her ready for the wedding. We popped some champagne, and I fixed Anna’s hair and makeup. Made it back to where we were staying in the nick of time, put some makeup and clothes on and drove down to the church.

The ceremony was beautiful, and we all sang The Beatles’ All you need is love as the newly married couple and their son walked out of the church. We ate great food, cried to beautiful speeches, laughed at old pictures of the couple, drank lots of wine and danced all night.

The next day, the sun was shining again, and we drove back home to Copenhagen.

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On October 1, my little niece was “baptized” and Jacob and I had the honor of being her godparents. I write baptized in quotation marks because it wasn’t really a traditional baptism in a church but rather a so-called “name giving”, which many Scandinavians do instead, as we’re generally not that religious up here. I even made the cakes!

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Just a week later, it was time to hop on a plane once again and go to Venice for the first time ever. I made a diary about it which you can read about here:

Day 1 – First impressions and a Gondola Ride

Day 2 – Exploring Venice

Day 3 – Enjoying the Last Rays of the Sun

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By Halloween, we were off to London again (!). I bought my fabulous new bag at Stella McCartney the first day we got there, we shopped a lot, drank beers and Pimm’s, went to see Mamma Mia, had drinks at the world’s best bar at the Savoy and much more.

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In November, my fantastic, gorgeous, funny, smart cousin visited us from Croatia for a week. She’d never been in Scandinavia before so we were quite eager to show her around, even though it was freezing at that point 🙂

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Then came December, which is always crazy. There are so many things to do at work and in life and so little time to do it. One weekend, I was surprised by one of my other best friends, Martina, with a visit. She just showed up in my living room out of nowhere on a plain Saturday. I’d planned to go to Sweden that weekend but all of a sudden, my sister and mom changed plans and I was kind of bummed about it. Jacob, of course, knew that Martina was coming and had told them to not make plans with me. But I was so sad about them canceling on me that I was sad that whole Friday evening. Jacob tried to cheer me up by saying “I know you’ll have a really good day tomorrow…….” but I wasn’t having it. That Saturday, Jacob had just left to buy something when the door opened again. I was working on my laptop and suddenly, Martina, whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years was just standing there.

Martina is one of my oldest friends, we’ve known each other since we were 7 but she lives in Oslo now, so we rarely see each other. We had lots to talk about over pasta and two bottles of crémant.

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Then came Christmas. I spent a few hours with my side of the family, before heading over to Jacob’s side of the family. It’s so nice to have everyone close by during the holidays.

New Year’s Eve was fabulous! We were around 8 people who had great food, lots of wine and champagne, I arranged a music quiz, and at 12, we looked out the windows at the fireworks while singing ABBA. I danced all night and had the best time! Just the way any year should end if you ask me.

 

 

Personal

2017 in Review – Part 1: Love, Paris, Barcelona, London & Adele

January 4, 2018
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2017 was quite a wonderful year! So let’s look at my year in review…

January is, like all Januaries have always been, quite boring. I know that my better half Jacob would disagree because it’s his birthday in January but it is such a horrible month. It’s cold, wet, dark, and way too long. And really uneventful. As is February. March, however, is always a good month. The days get longer, the sun finds its way back to Copenhagen, and the Danes end their hibernating and actually start going out among people again.

March was the month that my little niece came into our lives and I became an aunt for the first time. Her name is Mila and she continues to charm me every single day. Though the birth was a bit problematic for both my sister and my niece, I remember feeling so happy when they were finally both alright and I could see them for the first time. There she was, the tiniest human I’d ever seen with her head of black hair, her tiny little toes and fingers… It was love at first sight!

Before Mila came into our lives though, I was aching to travel. Then one day my friend Anna said she was heading to Paris and asked if I wanted to come. Two weeks later, and just some days after Mila’s birth, we boarded a plane from hell and went to Paris where we’d rented an Airbnb in Marais.

In Paris, the first thing we did was buy a bottle of Crémant and cheese which we devoured over hour-long talks. We headed down to a venue where her sister and her band, Ellen and the Shadow Cats, held their album release party/concert and it was the most fun I’ve had in years. I danced all night until my feet hurt. Well actually, until I fell flat on my face in some bar because I missed a step. Read the full post here. The next few days, Anna and I drank a lot of bubbles, ate a lot of cheese, walked around a lot, and ended up partying in a lovely apartment somewhere, where Ellen and her bandmate sang and played the guitar while we all sang along and drank ridiculously expensive champagne. We came home to our Airbnb at five in the morning and had to leave for the airport at 7. Only we couldn’t open the door, it was stuck. We gave it our all but it was a difficult, snarky Parisian door that just refused to let us in. Our host’s poor friend had to get up in the middle of the night to come over to us and let us in. He opened that damn door in like 2 seconds, by the way. Snobby Parisian door, only letting Parisians in…

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I’d barely made it home from Paris when another Paris trip was booked. This time for Anna’s bachelorette party, which we decided to host in Paris. While it wasn’t the surprise bachelorette party we’d hoped for (Anna’s passport was expired and we had to tell her so she could get a new one), it was still a lovely party. We’d rented a big apartment where we ate brunch and surprised Anna with a big pink limo waiting downstairs while we were heading to dinner. The limo was very pimpy (yes, that’s a word! It is now anyway) and Anna loved it. We went out for dinner and drinks and the next day we roamed around thrift shops in Marais before heading back home again. Oh, but not before being interviewed by a large Swedish newspaper on the French election, which was held on that day… 😀

 

In June, I held my 30th birthday party…

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…and a week later, I turned 30. I think it was the best birthday I’ve ever had. I woke up, got a lovely diamond necklace from Georg Jensen before heading off to Barcelona. I’d never been to Barcelona before but it was all kinds of AWESOME. We stayed in the lovely Ohla Eixample hotel, which was the perfect place to be. It was in a calm area, close to shopping, bars, and restaurants – plus it had a rooftop pool and great mojitos, so what else could you wish for? All in all, Barcelona was great and my birthday weekend there is one I remember as the best experiences of the year.

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We were barely home for three weeks when Jacob and I hopped on a plane heading to London. We had one purpose, one that we’d been waiting for ever since the end of 2016: to see Adele live. Read that post here. She had 4 concerts in London and we were going on the second evening. We got to see her live and it was absolutely magical and wonderful and all the great things one can say. We sang along, danced in confetti, and got to see Adele up-close. Then Adele had to cancel the rest of her London show due to health reasons and we thanked our lucky stars that we were there for what ended up being her last show of that tour. Lucky us!

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Motivational, Personal

An Evaluation of my Personal Goals for 2017

January 2, 2018

In 2016, I made some personal goals for 2017. Not New Year’s resolutions but just some things that I wanted to focus on throughout the year. Since 2017 is officially OVER, I thought we’d have a look at how things went…

 

1. See new places
“I have a tendency to travel to places I’ve already been. I’ve been in London five times or so and while I love London, there are other places to see too! This year I want to go to places I’ve never been. I already have a sixth London trip planned but other than that I plan to explore new places this year.”

🢂 I actually went to London TWICE (first and second) this year but I did get to see new places as well! I went to Barcelona for my Birthday, spent my summer holiday in Sardinia and went to Venice. I was mad about Barcelona! I did like Sardinia too but I don’t think it’s a place I’ll return to anytime soon.

 

2. Read more books
“In 2016, I didn’t read that many books and I really regret that. I only read during vacations but I want to prioritize books this year. I tend to get stuck with Netflix or HBO shows because it’s just SO easy, but reading gives me so much more. Jacob got me the Harry Potter book set for Christmas and I’ve already started. I just love being so caught up in a book that I simply can’t put it down.”

🢂 I did read quite a lot. I started out with all the Harry Potter books, which are by far my favorite books I’ve ever read. During the summer holidays, I read like crazy and continued to read almost every night throughout summer, fall, and winter. This Christmas, I also got a Kindle, so now there’s no end to the possibilities! 🙂

 

3. Stay active
“[…]This is not a resolution to work out more but simply to continue working out – yes, even BORING cardio. […] So for 2017, I will continue to work out, not because I need to get in shape but for the sake of my mental health.”

🢂 I’m happy to say I have been staying active throughout the year. In August, I bought an activity tracker to track how active I am (duh). It came as quite a shock to me that I wasn’t as active as I needed to be. I have a desk job and take my car to and from work every day so I don’t get that everyday physical activity that is so important. With my activity tracker, I found out that I need to workout 6 days a week in order to stay as active as I need to be (based on my age, weight, height etc.). So since August, I’ve been working out 4-6 days per week.

4. Stop thinking about consequences
“I have a  tendency to over-think stuff. Before I do something, I tend to think about the different scenarios in which it could play out. The what ifs and the buts tend to dominate my inner conversation and it usually ends up with nothing. I realize that this is not something that happens overnight, or even in a year but I do plan on keeping this in mind.”

🢂 This has been a tough one but I have been a bit more spontaneous this year. However, I’ve also found that I have a hard time maintaining a healthy balance of not thinking about consequences and still remaining sane when said consequences come to bite you in the behind. So… more balance!

5. Say “No” and “Stop”
“[…] I’m better at speaking up when I hear someone pull a sexist or racist joke. But I plan on getting even better. I’m going to say no more, even to people that I’m afraid of hurting. I’m not going to stand there and listen to people tear women apart or using the N word or talking bad about Muslims. I’m not here for it and I am going to make that clear.”

🢂 I think this one has gone both well and not-so-well. I’ve done all the easy stuff, like give a side-eye and not laugh when someone pulls a semi-racist joke. Questioned people when they said sexist stuff. Argued about #MeToo with people who though things had “gone too far”. But I still struggle with the harder stuff, like actually being direct and saying stuff like “That’s a bit racist, don’t you think?” to people I don’t know well. I have found a strategy that works pretty well though. Whenever someone pulls a sexist or racist joke I just say “Hmmm, not sure what you mean by that?” and just let them go on and explain their racist jokes to me until they realize they’re not funny. People get so baffled when you ask them to explain their “jokes”, it’s quite fun. You should try it! 🙂

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Places I've Been

London: My New Love and Mamma Mia!

December 27, 2017

2 months ago I was deciding if I wanted to go to London or to Venice. I couldn’t decide, so I went to both! 😉 You can read about my adventures in Venice here, but this post will take you through my stay in London. Now, this isn’t my first time around in the UK capital – in fact, I’ve been there no less than 9 (!) times in just 7 years. Needless to say, it’s a city I really love. I think that if I hadn’t met Jacob 8 years ago, I probably would have moved to London. Anyhow, we flew in Friday morning but due to some delays, we were a bit late. We headed straight to the hotel. This time, we wanted to be near the city center and stayed at the Sanderson hotel close to Oxford Station/Tottenham Court Road, which was the perfect location for us this time around.

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…but first drinks at the Sanderson Hotel’s bar.

After freshening up, I had one goal and one goal only: to make my way to the Stella McCartney flagship store in Mayfair. But not before having a whiskey sour (above)!

We got there and I immediately asked for the bag I’ve been wanting for much too long now. It wasn’t on display and my heart was racing while the store manager went out to see if they had it in the back. Luckily for me, they did! I took my DSLR camera out and put it in the bag to see if it fit – that was one of the requirements I had for a new bag – and it did! “I’ll take it!!”, I immediately said and the store manager offered us some champagne while we looked around.

The thing is, I don’t wear leather (and haven’t worn it for 10 years now), so shopping at Stella McCartney is like (an expensive part of) heaven. She doesn’t use real leather or fur in her designs, so I could drool over the gorgeous “leather” jackets. While trying on said “leather” jackets, the store manager showed me a scarf which I immediately fell in love with. So an hour after walking in, I walked out of the store much happier, with a champagne buzz, a much emptier wallet and my new bag and scarf in hand.

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We took a taxi down to the Savoy Hotel to go to the American Bar, which was recently appointed the world’s best bar. The drinks were, of course, great, the waiters very friendly, and the piano man mesmerized us all with his tunes.

 

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…a cocktail at the world’s best bar!

We then decided to walk up to a restaurant but on our way, we passed the Novello theatre where Mamma Mia!, the musical, plays and we decided to get tickets for the next evening. Tickets in hand, we walked up to Covent Garden and the lovely restaurant Margot where we had some delicious pasta and red wine. After dinner, we really wanted to be fun and went to a pub for drinks but were too tired and gave in early. A sure sign we’re now over 30.

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I inspected my new precious gift for my self. Here I’m thinking “I shall name her Queen Stella”, which I did. In our house, the bag is never referred to as “the bag”, rather we say “Can you give me Queen Stella?” 😀 (I wish this was a joke but it’s not)

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…wearing my new scarf 🙂

On Saturday, we went shopping and headed for a pub whenever we needed to get warm…

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Jacob looooves the pub culture in London and I think he could sit there all day and just have beer and watch football (soccer) if I let him 🙂

 

 

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Beautiful London <3

After shopping we headed down to Soho and Kingly Court for dinner. I really like the atmosphere in there!

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Kingly Court in Soho

In the evening we headed down to the Novello theatre again for the show. It was my very first time seeing a musical and it was MAGICAL! Truth be told, I was so happy that I started crying as soon as the orchestra started playing – before the curtains even had gone up. Mesmerized, we watched the show, and I tried, but miserably failed, not to cry the whole time.

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Ready to see Mamma Mia!

After the show, we stopped by a nearby pub (and saw some of the crew there), before making our way up to Soho and another bar. Back at the hotel, we went for a drink in Sanderson’s long bar and the guests-only Purple Bar, where I managed to spill our entire drinks on the floor… Sigh! A bit drunk and very hungry, we headed upstairs and ordered room service before quickly falling asleep.

We woke a bit hungover the next day and not even a long, hot shower could help but we headed out to town anyways. We enjoyed dinner at Indian restaurant Dishoom in Soho and it was deeeeelicious! I love Indian and can’t wait to go back.

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Yummy dish with paneer.

 

In the evening, we visited our favorite bar, the Nightjar in Shoreditch, and enjoyed our crazy drinks while listening to the band playing jazz and blues.

On Monday, we mostly hung out in Soho before heading back to Heathrow to grab a plane back to Copenhagen, where we arrived a bit past eight in the evening.

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All in all, I had a wonderful trip and made some great memories on my 9th London trip. I dream about living there someday, just for a year or so, but we’ll see about that!

Travel

Venice Diary Day 3: Enjoying the Last Rays of the Sun

December 22, 2017

I realize that I never got around to writing about our third day and final day in Venice. My only explanation to that is that I’ve been crazy busy and tired the last few months. Writing a blog post takes some time, what with getting it all right, writing in my second (3rd, 4th?) language, and preparing and editing all the photos that go into the post. But I’m writing this blog for the memories, and the memories of Venice are still pretty clear, so, finally, here’s the 3rd and last post about our three days in Venice. You can read my Venice Diary Day 1 and Day 2 as well.

 

Our plane wasn’t leaving until around 7-8 in the evening, so we had plenty of time to enjoy Venice on our last day. After breakfast, we headed out to Campo Santa Margherita to soak up the last rays of the sun. We knew that heavy rain and wind awaited us back in Copenhagen, and I needed that extra vitamin D. We grabbed a Coke on the square, watching the Italians celebrate a Christening in the restaurant next to us, all dressed to nines, drinking colorful spritzers. That’s one thing that I’ve generally found about Italians: they always dress to impress.

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I really didn’t want to leave but we had a day left to explore… and I still hadn’t tasted gelato! The horror!

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After the gelato, we just walked around, got lost, walked back, got lost… and so forth. I really don’t mind getting lost in Venice, though. Everywhere you look there’s a new, beautiful building you’ve haven’t seen before like this one with pretty flowers hanging from the balconies…

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…or this one with a cute French balcony right by the water (I imagine myself sitting there with a glass of wine in the evening.)…

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…or these colorful reflections in the canal, and a seagull sleeping on one of the boats.

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Seagulls, seagulls everywhere!

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But really, how can you mind getting lost in this town?

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After walking for hours, we finally found a place that served truffle pasta (favorite dish everrrr!) and had huge wine glasses, so naturally, we asked for a table:

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I didn’t mind that it was called Chat qui Rit (smiling cat in French) and had the cutest logo I’ve ever seen anywhere, ever.

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Just before my pasta with truffles came in, my camera battery decided enough was enough. We ate up, walked home, and took a bus back to the airport and went home to chilly, rainy Copenhagen. However, we didn’t stay long because just 3 weeks later, it was time for our next adventure (check back tomorrow!)

Places I've Been

Venice Diary Day 2: Exploring Venice

October 29, 2017

After our first day in Venice, where we managed to see all the big sights, we decided to just explore the town. We walked from our hotel down to the vaporetto station, Venice’s public transport boats. We hopped on, enjoyed the sights along the Canal Grande, and before we knew it, we arrived at the Rialto Bridge station where we hopped off.

 

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On the vaporetto!

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Taking the vaporetto is a great way to see the town.

We walked around, got lost in the small streets while looking for the bookshop Libreria Acqua Alta, before suddenly finding it was right in front of us. Outside, there’s a sign that welcomes you to “the most beautiful bookshop in the world”:

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Once inside, it’s filled with books. In old gondolas, on shelves, boats – basically everywhere. On top one of the shelves I found a black cat, sitting up and simultaneously sleeping – I didn’t think that was possible but this cat certainly mastered the art of sitting and sleeping. He slowly opened his green eyes and peeked around at the people who were too busy looking at books rather than at him, giving him the perfect view of what they really were up to. Like a cute, sleepy, security camera. Apparently, there are many cats here at times as they’re welcome inside, but we only saw this one (below).

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Books, books everywhere!

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The cutest (and sleepiest) security camera ever!

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Old encyclopedias are used to make stairs…

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Of course I climbed up! The view is over the canals and looks really beautiful.

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Imagine sitting here with a good book and a glass of wine in the evening!

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After admiring the bookshop, we walked up to the northern neighborhoods in town, almost completely devoid of any tourists. As during the day before, we got lost quite a few times, and Google Maps wasn’t of any help. Some of the streets are so small that Google doesn’t recognize them and sends you on big detours. So we just kind of waited and followed the bigger crowds and wherever they were going. We had some delicious pasta in a restaurant before heading out to explore more of the city. We allowed ourselves to just go with the flow, get lost, and get stunned by the surroundings. While the San Marco area is beautiful, it’s packed with tourists, which is reflected in the prices for a glass of wine in the town center.

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Sometimes, I have to force him in front of the camera 🙂

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I particularly love the backdrop here – looks so picturesque!

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Look at this magical light!

We decided not to go back to the hotel before dinner and had a lovely dinner at a small local restaurant called Ristorante Trattoria Cherubino. I had one of the best pasta arrabiata ever! The decor is very modest and traditionally Italian, which just gives all the more of a local feeling. Definitely go here for great local food, if you have the chance.

After dinner, we wanted some cocktails and headed down to the famous hotel The Gritti Palace and its fabulous bar called Bar Longhi. We got a table on the terrace in the first row down to the Canale Grande, which of course gave us fabulous views of Venice and the canals by night. The staff, all dressed in white jackets, were super friendly and the drinks were exactly what we were after. Due to its location in a five-star hotel on the Canale Grande, the cocktail prices were a bit steep but what else would one expect in a place where going to the restroom is an experience all of its own? In short: lots of marble and brass details. On your way back from the restrooms are framed photographs and messages from some of the world’s biggest A-list celebrities thanking the hotel for its hospitality. A nice little touch, just in case you hadn’t fully grasped how freakin’ fancy the place is 😉 Jokes aside, it was great! After another drink in another place, we took the Vaporetto back to our hotel.

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Places I've Been

Venice Diary Day 1: First impressions and a Gondola Ride

October 17, 2017

We arrived in Venice around 20/8pm and made a detour to get there – getting around in Venice isn’t as straightforward as you’d think and you can’t trust Google Maps. We checked in to the wonderful Hotel Moresco, were greeted with a drink and quickly checked in before heading out for dinner. Again, we took the wrong way and ended up walking 30 minutes to get to a place that was about 5 minutes from our hotel. Oh well! We ate a late dinner and went looking for a place to have some drinks. We ended up in a square not far from our hotel with very cheap drinks and lots of young people who we think were students from the nearby University.

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Looks like a postcard!

The next day, we headed out to explore Venice and to see it all. Wherever we looked, it looked like a scene taken straight out of a painting or a postcard. It was magical. We took a long walk along the small alleyways and followed signs to the Rialto bridge. The closer we got, the more tourist-packed it was. Finally, we walked through some buildings, turned left, and there it was – the Rialto bridge. I’ve seen it on TV and on pictures but I’d never realized how BIG it was. We admired the views from the bridge for a bit…

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It even looks smaller in this picture than in real life!

 

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Rialto in the background

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The bridge is full of small shops. You might roll your eyes at first and think how everything is about money nowadays, but it was actually made this way back in the day.

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One side of the bridge…

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…and me looking out over the other side of it.

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It’s completely PACKED with people!

Being me, I wanted to get away from the large crowds ASAP. It makes me uncomfortable and a bit panicky. Now, there’s really no escaping the crowds on the Sestiere San Marco, but the Rialto bridge is packed. We continued our walk up the alleyways and found ourselves lost and on small one-way streets, with nowhere to go but back, several times. It didn’t matter though – it was all so beautiful that you didn’t mind going all the way back anyway.

 

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Who would mind getting lost here?After walking around for a bit, we suddenly found ourselves at the Piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice with the prominent clock tower and St Mark’s Basilica. Seeing this big square, with its majestic buildings is one of those things that take your breath away, just for a moment.

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The top of St Mark’s Basilica

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Us and the clock tower in the background – it’s 98.6 meters tall!

 

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Hi there! Me posing in my favorite new jumpsuit from Weekday.

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We wanted to go inside the Doge palace (on the right), but the museum site was down for online tickets. If you don’t order online, you have to stand in line for several hours.

By this time, we were a bit thirsty and decided to have a drink at the infamous Harry’s Bar. Harry’s Bar has a long and peculiar history and is also the place where the Bellini was invented (fresh peach juice and sparkling wine). It’s mainly a restaurant, despite its name, but we got a place in the bar and ordered a Bellini and an Old Fashioned at very hefty prices. I’ve seen people complaining about the prices here but to me, it’s as simple as this: either you pay up and appreciate it for what it is, or you don’t go. Yes, it’s pricey and no, it’s probably not worth 24 euros to have a small drink but it is what it is. Personally, I loved the Bellini and the atmosphere, which was a bit hectic and very old-fashioned – in a good way. They ask for no photos inside due to guests’ privacy but I took a little picture of our drinks which you can see on my Instagram here.

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Harry’s Bar is easy to miss but here’s the exterior.

 

After another walk and another drink, we decided to hop on a gondola, a very touristy thing to do, but also a must when in Venice! It’s really, really expensive. The minimum price was 80 euros for 30 minutes but we opted for the large tour to see Casanova’s and Marco Polo’s houses etc. It set us back 140 euros and lasted around 40 minutes. I think it costs even more during the summer. Again, yes, it’s expensive but if you can afford it, I think it’s a lovely experience and probably my most memorable one from the whole trip. I’ll make a separate post on the gondolas in Venice later on.

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Off we went!

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The bridge of sights. This was the bridge from where prisoners got a last look on the outside world before being sent to prison (on the right).

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Beautiful Venice.

After our gondola ride, we wanted to visit the famous Caffé Florian, established 1720, making it the oldest café in the world. As with everything else in Venice, it’s really expensive and probably not worth its price, but it had an unbeatable view of the square and some pretty good people-watching.

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Caffé Florian on Piazza San Marco is the world’s oldest café!

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The original interior. Pretty awesome, no? 🙂

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I had a hot chocolate and Jacob had some wine.

In the evening, we headed out to dinner at a very small and new place called the Flat. So charming! It was like sitting in somebody’s home. There was only one chef in the kitchen and one server, and about 8 tables inside, which made it a really intimate atmosphere. I had a veggie pasta, served in this really cute pot:

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My little pasta pot!

And that was all from our first one and a half day in Venice! More to come!

Copenhagen

7 Mistakes Tourists Make in Copenhagen

August 30, 2017
Frederiksberg

Copenhagen is generally very easy to be a tourist in. Everyone speaks English, we have some of the best food in the world, it’s easy to get around wherever you want to go… the list can go on. Danish tourism is constantly setting new records and people from all over the world come here to get a taste of the Scandinavian lifestyle. However, there are some mistakes you want to avoid as a tourist in order to get the best possible experience.

Here are some of the most common mistakes tourists make in Copenhagen and how you can avoid them:

  1. Shop on the main street Strøget
    Strøget is the main shopping street that runs all the way from Rådhuspladsen (main city square) down to Kongens Nytorv. The street is filled with the most common stores you’ll find in any big city: H&M, Zara, some Scandinavian chains etc. and it’s great if you need something from any of these places. However, if you want to find small second-hand shops, specialized shops or unique, small boutiques, you’ll need to go beyond Strøget. There are many streets both in the city center and in the neighborhoods Vesterbro, Nørrebro, and Østerbro (and Frederiksberg). Instead, check out Pilestræde, Larsbjørnsstræde, and Studiestræde in Copenhagen K (city center), Elmegade, Nørrebrogade, and Blågårdsgade in Copenhagen N (Nørrebro), Værnedamsvej, Istedgade and Vesterbrogade in Copenhagen V (Vesterbro), among others.

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    Købmagergade, a side street to Strøget, from above.

  2. Eat at fast food chains
    Copenhagen is a foodie heaven. Not only is it home to 15 (!) Michelin-starred restaurants, it has so many other nice places to eat – from cozy cafés to healthy salad bars and street food bonanza on Papirøen, there’s really something for everyone. Yes, even veg*ns (check out my guide to vegan and vegetarian places in Copenhagen). So skip McDonald’s, and while you’re at it, skip those tourist trap restaurants around Strøget and Rådhuspladsen as well. Take advantage of the fact that you’re in foodie heaven and eat good food for all meals of the day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive either!
  3. Don’t bike around
    Many tourists who come here aren’t aware of the fact that Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city on the planet. Everyone bikes everywhere here, and in any weather. You’ll see school children biking to school, men in suits biking to work, and yes, even dogs riding along with their humans on the way to the park. Frankly, biking is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Copenhagen. There are bikes for rent everywhere and high-quality bicycle lanes are on the sides of most of the roads here. It’s great to bike around because you can really explore the city from your saddle, stop anywhere you like and get around the city in no-time. But don’t forget a helmet!

    Biking around in Copenhagen is easy… Just remember to use hand signals! (Photo: Mikael Colville-Andersen)

  4. Don’t use hand signals when biking around
    The Danes are generally very friendly and calm people – until you fail to use the proper hand signals when biking around. Nothing will make them angrier – believe me, I experienced it first-hand when I moved here! Because there are so many bikes in the city, using hand signals is essential for avoiding collisions with pedestrians, other bikes, and cars. They’re easy to do, so you really don’t have to worry about it. You’ll need to signal if you’re turning left or right, or if you intend to stop (unless there’s a red light in which case everyone expects you to stop). Put your left arm straight out to the side if you intend to turn left and vice versa for right. Check with the place where you rent your bike and avoid angry Danes swearing at you in the middle of the street.
  5. Come here in the winter
    Yes, Copenhagen is nice in the winter too but frankly, it’s best during spring, summer or early fall. Winters here are cold, dark, and boring. Everyone’s hiding from the cold inside their homes. Biking around is a wet and cold endeavor. During the warmer months of the year, the Danes are socializing much more and there is so much more to do and to see. If you can plan it, I definitely recommend coming here from April-September.
  6. Stay in the center
    There’s a lot more to Copenhagen than the city center and it’s a big mistake to not explore more of Copenhagen while you’re here. Sure, the area in the center is lovely but you should definitely check out the other areas too! I’ve mentioned some of the streets where you can go shopping above (#1) but there’s more than that too! Check out Vesterbro for cafés, art galleries, and bars. Head on over to Frederiksberg for a bit of calm and greenery in the city or explore Nørrebro for bars, nightclubs, and second-hand shops. Østerbro is perfect for families and design-lovers. Get up on the saddle and explore!
  7. Get a fine in the metro
    Copenhagen’s metro is fairly new, compared to other big cities in Europe and it only has two lines (more are opening up in 2018). But getting the right ticket can be tricky. Copenhagen is divided into zones which decide how much you pay for your ticket. If you don’t have a valid ticket, you risk being fined. If you plan on riding the metro and buses a lot, I’d recommend buying a City Pass which includes trips in the center Copenhagen and to and from the airport. Otherwise, make sure to ask someone for help if you’re just buying tickets on the go. Many people get it wrong when they’re traveling back to the airport from the center and buy a ticket with fewer zones than they need (for Copenhagen center you’ll need 2 zones, to the airport you’ll need
    Photo “Copenhagen Signals” by Mikael Corville-Andersen used under the license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Photo “Copenhagen Metro” by Stig Nyygard used under the license CC BY 2.0
    All other photos are taken by me and may not be used without my permission.
Places I've Been

Checking in: Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi

August 4, 2017

On our last two days in Sardinia, we decided to just check into a resort and chill. By that point, we’d already been traveling for two weeks with stops in London, Alghero, Porto Cervo, and San Teodoro. Needless to say, we were pretty tired of constantly exploring new places to go, eat, and swim. We needed to really unwind. While day-drunk in San Teodoro, we toyed with the idea of checking in to a five-star resort but we couldn’t find many that weren’t ridiculously expensive (as in EUR 1.500 per night!). Plus, we didn’t want to drive too long to the airport so it would have to be fairly close to Cagliari. Finally, I found the Falkensteiner Resort Capo Boi just outside of Villasimius, just one hour’s drive to the airport.

We set off from San Teodoro at 11 and drove through the narrow roads in the mountains for three hours before finally arriving at Falkensteiner, but not before almost going insane over Apple Maps’ utter incompetence at clearly showing the roads ahead, which resulted in a few detours along the way. Once we arrived, we drove up to the hotel and the valet took our car while we were shown out to the huge terrace overlooking the ocean for complimentary prosecco. A perfect way to be welcomed, if you ask me 😉 We sat outside in the sun with our prosecco and admired the view for a while before heading up to our room. And oh, what a room! It felt huge compared to the other places we stayed at, with shades of cobalt blue and white, the most comfortable bed ever, a huge sofa for chilling and of course a huge balcony.

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This picture really has me longing back!

Once in the room, we saw a bottle of prosecco with a letter but I didn’t care about it at that point. I hurried out to the balcony to take in the views when I heard Jacob trying to read Croatian. I looked over at him and saw that he read from the card. It took a while for me to connect things, so I ran over and saw that my lovely cousin, who works for Falkensteiner in Croatia, had sent the bottle over for us! I love (good) surprises and it really made my day that she’d been thinking of us <3

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My <3 on our terrace. We even had a swallows nest there, with adorable baby birds peaking out now and again.

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Bottoms up!

We enjoyed the bottle on our balcony and then went down to the pool for a dip. We soon found that Falkensteiner didn’t have just one pool – there was a private beach, a shallow pool, a normal-depth pool, and two other swimming pools on the premises. Pick and choose! After a bit of sunbathing and dips in the pool, we went up to the bar, ordered drinks and just enjoyed our view.

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The private beach

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Falkensteiner has one buffet restaurant, one a la carte restaurant, one pizzeria, one gelateria and an abundance of pools.

In the evening, there was a huge buffet of food. Now, normally I’m not a huge fan of buffets, other than breakfast buffets, but gave it a shot. We were seated outside, overlooking the sunset. There was a pasta station where you could get delicious pasta and other than that there were all sorts of hot and cold dishes, a whole cheese station with a guy who seemed to absolutely love his job of putting together cheese platters, which looked like works of art rather than cheese platters. Jacob enjoyed the grilled meat while I filled up on a saffron risotto. After dinner, you could choose from a variety of cakes and desserts – or fruit if you’re the healthy type (I’m not – not on vacation anyway!). They even had tofu and vegan options – a first in Sardinia!

The next day was very windy, yet a welcome breeze to the otherwise scorchingly hot Sardinian climate. We went down to the beach and I took a quick dip before we headed up to the pool area.

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This looked way cooler in my head!

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Hi, there!

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Vacationing…

Laying in the shade of palm trees with a glass of rosé is exactly my idea of a vacation… This was my view:

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Look up!

Later, we headed up to the bar again for drinks and ordered a bottle of prosecco while enjoying the shade.

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A bottle of prosecco never hurt anyone!

A little tipsy, we headed to the spa, which had a welcoming silence about it, perfect for relaxing. We didn’t try any of the treatments but staff was very friendly and we did enjoy the huge Jacuzzi pool.

Breakfast was also one of the best ones I’ve had. They literally had EVERYTHING. Eggs? Sure, boiled, scrambled, poached, sunny side up! Juice? Of course, orange, grape, tomato + 5 more. Freshly baked croissant – plain, butter, marmalade or Nutella (!) filled. Cheeses. Milk – from cow milk to soy or almond. Fresh fruit. Tofu. All kinds of cereal… The worst part about it was that I didn’t know what to choose!

To be honest, this place was the place I felt the most rested at throughout our two-week Sardinia trip. We had no place to be, no place to discover, no taking the car to the beach and finding good sunbeds before everyone else… It was all right there. That said though, I wouldn’t want my travels to consist of going to resorts and staying there for an entire vacation as I do believe that part of traveling is to discover, learn about new cultures, and get lost in the streets, not knowing what you’ll find. But after doing all that for nearly two weeks, being in one place where we had everything we might need and more felt like a welcomed break. Staying here wasn’t exactly cheap but we had saved up and were lucky enough to afford it. In hindsight, it was completely worth it.

What about you? Do you like to check in to resorts and just chill or are you the more adventurous type when you travel?

 

 

Personal, Travel

A Case of the Post-Vacation Blues

July 28, 2017

I’ve been home in Denmark for almost two weeks now and truth be told, I’ve already browsed all my apps to see if any airline happens to have cheap flights to Southern Europe in August. I am fairly certain that I will indeed implode if I wake up to one more day of gray clouds and rain. While Scandinavian summers aren’t exactly known to be sunny and exceed temperatures of 24 degrees C, this summer has been the worst by far. I think I remember a few days of sunshine in June, but that’s about it. Summer has been canceled and the Danes are going crazy. So much so that Copenhagen is completely empty, aside from the tourists who apparently hate the sun and decided to come here instead. Everyone has escaped to a country far, far away to just get a glimpse of the sun – even if it’s just for a week. And I don’t blame them.

Coming home after 2 weeks of constant sunshine in Sardinia to THIS has been… tough. I feel really bothered by it. Summer and the sunshine are so essential to my well-being that I’m flat out scared that I’ll have a winter depression by September if nothing changes. I want it to be sunny when I go to work and sunny when I come home. I want to go and work out and then go down to our backyard and grill some veggie burgers, drink a glass of rosé, and play cards until bedtime. I want to spend the weekends by the Danish beaches, reading a good book while eating sweet, Danish strawberries. I want to wear sunglasses and shorts and flip-flops, and put sun lotion on before going out. I want my freckles, which only come out when it’s sunny, back. I want to invite our friends out to picnics and play a game of Swedish Kubb in a park. Basically: I want summer but summer decided it would rather not visit Denmark this year.

So in short, since I came home I’ve been having a bad case of the post-vacation blues and I don’t know how to cure it. Watching Netflix, as many people suggest, doesn’t work as I’m a firm believer that Netflix is for all the other 10 months of winter we have in this country. So what does one do to cure the post-holiday blues? If you have any suggestions, please do tell in the comments below!

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I would rather be here… (picture from last year in Hvar).

 

 

Top photo by user smartfat used under creative commons license CC BY-NC 2.0