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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 CaffĂ© Florian, established 1720, making it the oldest cafĂ© 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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CaffĂ© Florian on Piazza San Marco is the world’s oldest cafĂ©!

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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!

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 rosĂ© 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?

 

 

Places I've Been

Four Days in San Teodoro, Sardinia

July 27, 2017
La Cinta beach in Sardinia

After staying in family-oriented Alghero and super expensive Porto Cervo, we drove an hour south to San Teodoro. We’d heard great things about this little town, which was said to be livelier than Alghero and less expensive than Porto Cervo. The first day, we just hung out by the pool and went out to eat, to kind of get the vibe of the place. The next day, our hotel had a shuttle bus down to the main beach of La Cinta (pictured above). La Cinta is one of the most famous Italian beaches and it is a very frequented beach. Like most Sardinian beaches, the color of the water is a beautiful turquoise. However, there were just too many people for our liking and a bit too high waves to fully enjoy a good swim. Because of this, the beach is perfect for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and canoeing. Another negative was that there were no bars, restaurants or shops nearby and we hadn’t brought any water or anything. So after lying there for a few hours, we packed up and went back to the hotel pool. We had plans to explore the other beaches around San Teodoro, like Spiaggia Isuledda and Cala Brandinchi, but were just too lazy and decided to stay by the pool the rest of our stay. Very unlike me but there we were close to home, didn’t need to take the car (and thus could have a few drinks during the day), could use the hotel restaurant etc., so it was just very convenient.

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By the pool, with a drink! Standard practice during our San Teodoro visit.

During the evenings, we would go out for dinner and drinks. Thankfully, the nightlife was a bit livelier than elsewhere on the island. In the evening, the bars were full of people and later on some of them moved on to the big nightclubs in San Teodoro, like Amba Night and Luna Glam. We went bar-hopping but felt too tired to go out dancing, so we just went home afterward. San Teodoro is definitely more fun if you like socializing and people-watching! In terms of restaurants, there’s almost only pizza and seafood there, so not much to choose from for us vegetarians. A bit disappointing – but at least the pizza is fantastic.

In terms of restaurants, there’s almost only pizza and seafood there, so not much to choose from for us vegetarians. A bit disappointing – but at least the pizza is fantastic. We had pizza at two places. The first one, Pizzeria San Teodoro, was a fast-food restaurant with self-service and really good pizza. The second one, Ristorante Lu Liciu, was very popular among the Italians, which is always a good sign. Get there late if you want a table though! The worst food experience, not only in San Teodoro but all of Sardinia, was a place called Da Fabio. The food and wine were okay but the service was one of the worst I’ve yet to experience. Without going into details, the servers are far too stressed and not at all service-minded. Combine that with high prices and you’ve turned me off.

All in all, San Teodoro was great to come to, especially after quiet Alghero and expensive Porto Cervo. But at this point, we were a bit sick of all the exploring, driving off to beaches, seeing new things etc. So when it was time to leave, we checked in to a resort to just have the time to be. More on that in my next post!

 

The top photo is of La Cinta beach by Steffen Kamprath used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

Places I've Been

An Honest Account of Porto Cervo, Sardinia

July 13, 2017

I’m sitting at the pool restaurant, with just half a glass of wine left. It’s hot and the sun is slowly creeping up on the small spot of shadow that I’d managed to find. A few days ago we left Porto Cervo, and that’s the place I’m writing about today. Porto Cervo is the capital of the Costa Smeralda, and I have so many complicated feelings towards it, which I will take you through in this post.

After a bit of an underwhelming experience in Alghero, we were glad to move on to something a bit different. The drive to Porto Cervo from Alghero took around 2 hours and we stopped in Sassari for lunch. Sassari is not a coastal town and I’d not even heard of it while doing my research on Sardinia, but we were pleasantly surprised during our short stop there. The town is quite big, buzzing with restaurants, beautiful parks and loads of locals. There was even a vegan restaurant there, while we struggled to find even vegetarian food in Alghero. Either way, we had lunch at a cozy little place called Pan CafĂ©, which I highly recommend. They had vegan croissants, vegan chocolate, lots of fantastic sandwiches and food, and of course something for the meat-eaters of the world as well. The waitress, who reminded me of AmĂ©lie from Montmartre, with her quirky smile and short black hair, was the kind of person you wish you’d become friends with; smiling a genuine smile, happy to make you something off-menu if you’d prefer.

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Porto Cervo is dubbed the billionaires’ paradise and you can’t fail to see why, once you get there. The city was built in the 1960’s by Prince Aga Khan IV and it is just strikingly beautiful – a true feast for the eye, for lovers of architecture. It’s a small town with close-to-none locals, beautiful small houses, and 5-star hotels. It has a yacht marina and you’ll find the top designer stores here – Gucci, Louis Vuitton, MiuMiu, Valentino, and Bvlgari grace the small city center and you will not find an H&M anywhere near here. Not even a convenience store because, apparently, the rich don’t need convenience stores, and this town is made up entirely for them.

The big, beautiful yachts line the marina and a glass of plain white wine will set you back 25 euros, should you want one. Luckily, we only spent 3 days here, or we would have no money left 😉

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We stayed in a hotel close to the town center and with free parking just outside. During the day, we drove off to the beautiful beach close by called Liscia Ruja, with crystal clear, turquoise waters. One of the days we tried going to another popular beach in the area called Capriccioli, but I really can’t recommend it. While the waters are as beautiful as the rest of the Smeralda Costa, it is a very small beach, and completely packed with people. So we left for Liscia Ruja, where we stayed for both days of our Porto Cervo stay. Liscia Ruja is also called Long Beach. Here, you can either bring your own sun chairs or towels or rent a sunbed at ridiculous prices. Two sunbeds and one umbrella cost 50 euros – for the rows in the back. Should you want close proximity to the water, it will cost you up to 80-90 euros…. And that is not even including the parking at 2,50 euros per hour. But what’s all that money for the clientele here, really? 😉

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The best part about Porto Cervo is that there are some really good restaurants there. The worst part about Porto Cervo is that it is ridiculously expensive and only has two types of people: the super-rich, and the not-that-rich who are curious about this little town and the lifestyle it hosts. If one is up for partying, there’s plenty of partying to do here and you might just spot a celebrity or two while you’re there. However, if you don’t have the money that comes with the lifestyle, chances are that you will be ignored in many of the bigger clubs. In Porto Cervo, money talks louder than anything else, which is what I didn’t like about it.

With that being said though, Porto Cervo is stunningly beautiful. Like something out of a fantasy or a fairy-tale, with every inch of the city perfectly planned out and thought of.

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Delicious Cacio e Pepe at Elite Promenade

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A Moscow Mule at Zamira Lounge

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And a vodka sour with passion fruit! So yummy!

If you have money to spend and want to spend it with other people who also have money, Porto Cervo is a town for you. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are experiencing the real, true Italy because there’s no genuine Italian spirit here whatsoever. Italy isn’t this perfect and this adapted to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It isn’t a planned-out town built entirely for the billionaires to play in. But if that’s not what you’re expecting, and you want a bit of the glitz and glam then Porto Cervo is the place to be in.

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One handsome Dane!

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Truffle pasta (my favorite!) at Madai Restaurant.

Recommended:
Beach: Liscia Ruja was great, but we didn’t visit that many others…
For food: Elit Promenade CafĂ© has the most delicious pasta on the island and at “bargain” prices as well!
For drinks: Zamira Lounge has delicious drinks, lovely staff and is reasonably priced.

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Places I've Been

Five days in Alghero, Sardinia

July 9, 2017

Driving to Alghero

After arriving at Cagliari Airport, we got our rental car and drove into the city for a pizza lunch before heading off for Alghero. Luckily, Jacob is the designated driver, always, and I was able to catch some sleep on the 3-hour long ride. We arrived in the afternoon and headed out to the city a bit early. Alghero is located in the North-Western part of Sardinia if you’ve never heard of it. Eager to start our vacation, we went for dinner quite early and later went for a drink at a wine bar. After that, seeing as it was Saturday and all, we had planned to continue on partying but were disappointed to find that the city pretty much falls asleep after 23. Even on a Saturday. What a bummer!

Alghero is packed with people in the high season. There are plenty of small boutiques and shops, gelaterias, cafés, and restaurants in the old town. The old part of town is protected by huge walls, perfect to take a walk on and catch the sunset. Plus, from there, you get a lovely view of the harbor and the ocean.

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View of Alghero from the city walls

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Us <3

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Small alleys everywhere

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Alghero harbor

The beaches of Alghero

The best part about Alghero, though, is the nearby beaches. There are some in the city, but they’re not very charming, so you would need a car to get to the better beaches, which we did every day of our trip. The best one was La Bombarde.

On our last two nights, we went up to a small bar called Buena Vista where one can get a kick-ass mojito and the most beautiful view of the sunset. Everyone gathered there, drink in their hand, and enjoyed the sunset with their loved ones. The waitress is Swedish and very friendly, which always is a plus in my book 😉

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La Bombarde Beach in Alghero

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Look at those cristal clear waters!

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Jacob reading a book with a view

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A beautiful  sunset

 

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Mojito and Caiprinha in the sunset!

Honestly, though…

To be honest, at first, I wasn’t very keen on Alghero. It is filled with families with small children, tourist trap restaurants, and a bit too sleepy for my taste. But once I got past that, got to know the town and took it for what it is, I did end up enjoying our stay, even though it wasn’t what I had in mind.

After 4 days and 5 nights, we packed our bags, checked out, and moved on over to the east coast and Costa Smeralda… but more on that later!

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Yummy pasta! The selection for vegetarians wasn’t the best in Alghero, seeing as most food is fish and seafood. However, I did find pasta here and there…

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Found a little cat-themed shop!

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Flowers galore!

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Alghero by night!

Places I've Been

A London trip and Adele in concert!

July 6, 2017

As I am writing this, I’m sitting on our hotel room terrace overlooking the small town of Porto Cervo in Sardinia, where we arrived a few hours ago. But before arriving here, we were in Alghero on the Sardinian west coast, and before that, we were in London for a few days to finally see Adele. I will write all about Alghero and our Sardinian vacation later but for now, I wanted to write a bit about our trip to London. I’ve been there seven or so times in seven years and it is probably my favorite city to stay in. This trip had a bit different purpose than my other trips though… For Christmas, I gave Jacob tickets to see Adele, whom he loves almost more than football (soccer) – which is a lot – for her final tour dates at the Wembley Arena. Ever since we’ve been so eager to go!

This time, we stayed in a newly opened boutique hotel in Shoreditch called the Curtain. The hotel itself is very nice and houses Obama-praised Swedish chef Magnus Samuelsson’s new restaurant Red Rooster, where I had the most amazing cauliflower of my life. While the hotel was everything I expected it to be – nice rooms, lovely bathroom with a shower the size of a big wardrobe, great service, and a rooftop pool (which we didn’t use due to the weather), I’m not too crazy about the Shoreditch area. In my opinion, it’s full of company buildings and people rushing to/from work; it lacks something I can’t quite put my finger on.

After arriving late on Wednesday, we went down to Red Rooster for a meal and a nightcap and were pleasantly surprised. Go here for amazing food (vegetarian options available and extremely tasty!) and lovely drinks.

The next day, Thursday, we went shopping a bit before heading home to change and fetch our Adele tickets. When we came to Wembley, there were tens of thousands of people already there, hurrying up to get in. Although we didn’t arrive until 2.5 hrs before the show, we still managed to stand close to the main stage. At 20:10, Adele entered the stage and blew everyone away.

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My pre-Adele pre-party drink was this really nasty mojito in a can.

She sang all our favorite songs, and the crowd of almost 100,000 people was singing along, cheering her on. As we were standing quite close to the stage, we could see her from close range and I did notice that she struggled a bit with her voice, clearing her throat a lot. However, it was nothing that we could hear in her voice. We had so much fun, sang along, caught confetti with messages written by Adele, and just enjoyed finally being able to catch one of her shows. It turns out, it was the last show she would do for now, as she canceled her two remaining dates for Friday and Saturday due to medical issues with her vocal cords. Needless to say, we’re sooo glad we got to see her – it will definitely be a memory for life. Please excuse the poor quality of the photos – I was not allowed to bring my DSLR in, so the iPhone had to do…

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The queen, Adele!

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Confetti messages

Friday in London was spent shopping, eating, and drinking Pimm’s and beers in local pubs.

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Cheers to you!

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I really love the pub culture in London. Here we’re just off Oxford Street.

We ended our evening in Soho in one of the many restaurants in Kingly Court. As I said, it’s my seventh time in London, and I’m still getting to know the city. I’d never heard about it before and we just stumbled upon it while walking in Soho.

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Carnaby was all made up for Pride Month! #LOVEHAPPENSHERE

London-kingly court

Kingly court is filled with great restaurants and places to have a drink before heading out in Soho.

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Look at this yummy-ness! Pitta bread with halloumi and vegetable souvlaki with tzatziki, and a greek salad from Whyte & Brown.

 

After dinner it had started raining and so we hurried down to the tube, taking us back to the Curtain. The next morning, we left from Liverpool Station at 6 am to catch our plane to Sardinia. But as I said, more on that later…

 

 

Places I've Been

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell

June 26, 2017

So I told you yesterday about how I spent my 30:th birthday in Barcelona a few weeks ago. But today I want to show you what we did the rest of our weekend in Barcelona. After a lovely breakfast in our hotel, we decided to go sightseeing. We put on our best walking shoes (thank you Nike sneakers for existing!) and went out in the scorching hot 28 degree Celsius sun (everything above 20 is scorching hot if you’re Scandinavian…). We headed down the Passeig de GracĂ­a, which is full of fancy shops filled with things I’ll never let myself afford – a great shopping street if you’re into Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and the likes. After a little window shopping, we took a long walk over to La Sagrada Familia…

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Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go inside, although I hear it’s absolutely stunning in there. The queue to get inside was extremely long, so I do suggest pre-booking if you plan to go inside.

We spent some time admiring the gothic architecture before we found a side-street to cool off with a cold drink. We then proceeded to walk up to Park GĂŒell – a long, steep walk uphill but nothing we couldn’t handle (although admittedly, I did consider hailing a taxi). Park GĂŒell is a public park designed by architect Antoni GaudĂ­, whose buildings and designs can be seen throughout Barcelona. It’s pretty big, with lots of interesting architecture and lovely views of Barcelona. Entry is free, but it costs if you want to be able to enter some parts of the park, which we didn’t. The only downside to it was the heaps of young men selling fake handbags literally everywhere.

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After walking around for a while, we were both really tired and headed back to the hotel. While grabbing a taxi, I tried to use the little Spanish I still know, as many taxi drivers don’t speak English, and asked ÂżPuedo se pagar con la carta? (Can you pay by card?). The man said SĂ­ (Yes) and we jumped in. Jacob was impressed and I was proud to still know a little bit of Spanish (if you remember, I lived in Spain for some months while I was younger). He then proceeded to tell me something very quickly in Spanish and I didn’t understand a word he said. So much for boasting about my Spanish skills…

 

Places I've Been

Turning 30: Birthday in Barcelona

June 25, 2017

On my 30th birthday, I wanted to do something special, something that I love – traveling. And what better way to spend turning 30 than to celebrate your birthday in Barcelona? So off to Barcelona we went!

We had never been there before, so I was beyond excited to see the city for the first time. Copenhagen was cloudy and windy but three hours on a plane later, we touched down in beautiful Barcelona. We took a taxi to the hotel where we stayed – the Ohla Eixample. I had no idea which areas were good to stay in, but I chose the area based on the hotel and a little research – we were NOT disappointed. Upon arrival, we were greeted with cava in the reception. While waiting for our room to get ready, we changed into swimwear and went up to the rooftop infinity pool. There, we had some more cava and drinks, some food, and got a little sunburnt, too.

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A little bit of cava!

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My favorite dish, truffle pasta, for lunch!

 

Birthday-in-barcelona-4By five o’clock, I was really tired and we went down to our room for a little power nap. An hour later, the hotel sent over a bottle of cava for my birthday to our room (see top photo!), so we got ready, drank som cava and headed down to the restaurant we had booked; Viana in the gothic quarter. We had sangrĂ­a, delicious food, and by the end of our meal the whole restaurant turned pitch black. Someone lit a candle on a cake and started singing Happy Birthday. I went along and sang for the unknown person we apparently were celebrating until the waitress turned around and gave ME the cake! Needless to say, I was very surprised and a wee bit embarrassed that a restaurant full of people were singing Happy Birthday to me. That’s something to tell my grandcats (haha).

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Dinner with sangria

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Mozzarella di bufala with smashed avocado starter – so delicious!

After dinner, we walked around in the Gothic quarter and the Rambla, before deciding to go back to Eixample for drinks. Our hotel recommended the cocktail bar Dry Martini just two blocks away and we were definitely not disappointed. Dry Martini is a speakasy and one of the best 50 bars in the world but I’ll tell you more about the bar in a later post.

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After a few drinks, we walked back to the hotel and finished our bottle of cava, watching Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden on YouTube before we fell asleep in the softest, lavender scented Egyptian sheets…. pure bliss! All in all, probably the best birthday I’ve ever had. Cheers to 30!

 

Places I've Been

A Friday in Paris with Ellen Birath & the Shadowcats

April 20, 2017

Sometimes the best trips are the ones that you haven’t been planning forever. A month ago, my very good friend Anna told me she was going to Paris and asked if I wanted to come. I’m not the one to turn a trip down, so I said yes and we booked the ticket. It was honestly one of the best trips I’ve ever been on and one that made me see Paris from a new – better – perspective!

On Friday, we met at the airport and were told that our plane was overbooked and that we might not make it on. Filled with rage, we made our way through security and up to the gate, ready to make our case to whichever poor soul that had the bad luck of standing at the gate. We walked up, angrily put our stand-by tickets on the desk and said “We were told we might not make it on the plane?”, with our arms crossed, fit for fight. The very nice and smiling gentleman behind the desk said “Well of course you are! Don’t worry about it. You look very “VIP”, we can’t have you sit here and wait”. Baffled, we thanked the nice man very much and boarded the plane. The trip wasn’t very pleasant, as Vueling decided to let a very ill woman, who had various bodily fluids exit her here and there, board the plane. Poor thing!

Anyways, we arrived at our AirBnb in the 11th arrondissement a few hours later and immediately went down to the local Monoprix to buy the essentials: make-up remover, wine, and cheese. We sat at home, drank a bit, listened to music, and before we knew it we were in quite a hurry. We took an Uber to the area where Ellen played and quickly went for a pho around the corner. We were in and out in 15 minutes and made our way to the fully packed La Féline and quickly got to meet Ellen before they entered the stage.

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Yummy vegan pho from CĂŽ My Cantine on Rue de Menilmontant

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Anna is so gorgeous I want to die!

The show was absolutely amazing and not at all what I’m used to. Not only was the band really, really good but people were so into it. It didn’t take long before the first couple took over the dance floor and soon I found myself dancing with a stranger, trying (in vain)to keep up with the steps. I probably looked hilarious and really, really silly, but I had so much fun!

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Ellen and the Shadow Cats entered the stage

After the show, we stood outside the club (it was too hot inside) and chatted to various people before heading over to a different bar. When we were on our way from the bar, I managed to miss a step and fell flat on my face in front of EVERYONE. I saw the French side-eyes, quietly judging me for being too drunk but I promise that was not the case (I mean it could have been – but it wasn’t!). Bruised up, I finally managed to convince Anna that we should go home and that was the end of our Friday night in Paris…

Ellen and the Shadow Cats

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