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Places I've Been

Visiting Dubrovnik: The Second Time Around

July 3, 2016
Dubrovnik Croatia

Last Sunday we finally arrived in Dubrovnik. As per usual the night before any travel we always end up staying up way past our bedtime to fix the last things. There’s always something to do. “Did I pack sun screen?”, “Where’s my memory card for the camera?”, and similar thoughts go through my head as I lay awake and count down the minutes until I have to get up. The lines were HUGE at Copenhagen Airport, because funny enough all of Denmark and southern Sweden decided to travel on the same day as us 😉 Anyhow, we made it just in time to board the world’s smallest plane that landed in Dubrovnik around 2 hours later. I had pre-booked  transfer, which was a good thing, because I’m always so eager to start my vacation. We arrived to our hotel and while we waited for our room to be ready, we changed into our swim wear and went down to the pool and private beach. The hotel we were staying it, The Dubrovnik Palace, is quite amazing.

After waking up, we got ready, went up to eat our breakfast, and then went down to the hotel pool/private beach to read books, bathe (in the pool only though, sea is way too cold!), and drink mojitos in the swim-in bar. Seriously, every hotel should have a swim-in bar. Being able to get a glass of wine and cool off in the water at the same time? Genious!

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Here’s were you could find me a lot of the time: cooling off in the pool!

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Am I chiiling in the pool? Am I drinking a cocktail? I am doing BOTH! 😉

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The mojitos were small but good!

Last time we were in Dubrovnik, we were only here for two nights but really fell in love with it. It’s just such a beautiful city, with good food, kind people and lots of things to see and do. Last time we walked the walls and went up to Mount Srdj with the cable cars, where we also visited the war musem. This time around we stayed for 5 nights and decided to just relax and not worry about doing a lot of things – we had seen the important tourist sights so now we wanted to just enjoy our time there.

Read my post about walking the walls of Dubrovnik last time we visited.

After chilling by the pool all day we would take the bus from our hotel down to the gate of the Old Town and find a nice place to eat. Dubrovnik has lovely restaurants and we wanted to try them all but naturally couldn’t. I’ll be writing some more about the food and wine we had the coming days so look out for those posts if you’re foodie like me.

That being said here are some pictures from our second time visiting Dubrovnik:

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The private beach by our hotel (there’s more to it than this though – water was pretty cold so we stayed by the pool).

visiting dubrovnik

This three-man group played amazing jazz in the old town.

visiting dubrovnik

The sunset from our room at the Dubrovnik Palace hotel was nothing short of magical!

 

Places I've Been

Kayaking in Dubrovnik

June 30, 2016
kayaking in dubrovnik

Yesterday we decided to go kayaking in Dubrovnik. We had talked to one of the sales people who stand outside of the old city who told us to meet up the next day. We met our group around 11:45 down by the entrance to the old town and then proceeded down to one of the beaches where the kayaks were. We had two guides with us, who were both friendly and instructed us in how to kayak. It’s really not that hard: just do it simulatenously (with your partner) and follow the guides. Off we went!

kayakig in dubrovnik

Hello!

We went off to the island of Lokrum, just outside of Dubrovnik and this nice cave.

kayaking in dubrovnik

Entering the cave

 

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Inside of the cave the water was very, very clear as you can tell..

We had initially planned to visit Lokrum, as all the locals say it’s a must. Taxi-boats drive you there in 15 minutes and the only inhabitants of this island are… peacocks! There are also lots of exotic plans, a monastery that is first mention way back in 1023, a lake, and a few restaurants. Unfortunately we’ve been lazy and have just enjoyed staying by the pool/beach during the days.. but next time!

After the short stop in the cave we went over to another cave/beach where we stopped for a small lunch and some scuba diving – although we didn’t scuba dive, but just went for a swim instead.

kayaking in dubrovnik

View from the cave

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Jacob drying in the sun after a swim

After the lunch break we headed back to Dubrovnik. During the trip the guides stopped to tell us about the history of Dubrovnik throughout the years, which was very interesting. 3 hours after we had started, we returned back to the shore and tripped over a shooting of the new series called Knightfall, directed by and starring Jeremy Renner.

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The extras greeted us on one of the balconies of the great wall in Dubrovnik.

 

If you’re in Dubrovnik and want to get to know it from another perspective I definitely recommend going on a kayaking trip. We went with Adventure Dubrovnik, which I highly recommend, but there are quite a few companies to chose from. Just head down to the Pile Gate and talk to one of the many kayaking companies there.

 

Food, Places I've Been, Travel

Dinner at Michelin-starred River Café in Brooklyn

May 13, 2016
River Café in Brooklyn, New York

When planning my trip to New York, I really wanted to visit the restaurant that Meg Ryan has dinner in in Sleepless in Seattle. I found out it was the Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center and booked a table only to find it was a special occasion that cost way more than I was willing to give for a dinner without wine. So I researched some more and found that River Café in Brooklyn was a good alternative, with an even better view. Of course, I booked a table right away.

We arrived a bit late, but our table wasn’t ready so we grabbed a drink in the bar, right after we had picked our chins off the floor. We had hurried through the Dumbo area of Brooklyn from the subway and when we finally found the place we were astonished by not only the view but the atmosphere outside of the restaurant. I mean, take a look at the picture above as well as this one and tell me you’re not impressed:

river café new york brooklyn

River Café in the front with the Manhattan skyline in the back

We had the most amazing view from the restaurant over the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Our amise bouche arrived, which was octopus, so we politely asked for a vegetarian version and the friendly server soon arrived with a cold asparagus soup. They don’t have an a la carte menu, as we had first thought,  but a three course menu where you get to choose your meals from a menu.

For starters, I ordered the handmade ricotta gnocchi with asparagus spears, grilled wild ramps, salsify purée and crispy guanciale. No, I have no idea what the last two are but it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – it was that good. Jacob ordered the beet salad with goat cheese and was also impressed – although not as impressed as I was with my meal. I wanted to order it again for the main course, but instead chose the only vegetarian thing on the menu: the mushroom wellington which was a vegetarian take on the beef wellington and it was served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Of course, I was again delighted! How could something so simple taste so good? Jacob, who rarely eats meat, ordered the duck breast and he said it was the best damn piece of meat he’d ever had.

beet salad

Jacob’s beet salad

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Vegetarian choice: Mushroom Wellington, with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

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The best damn duck in the world, according to Jacob.

As we sat in our little corner overlooking the rest of the room and the big windows with the spectacular view, the servers catered to our every need, never letting our wine or water glasses get even remotely empty.

After a little rest & digest, we ordered our desserts: Jacob ordered the Chocolate Brooklyn Bridge with raspberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream and meringue while I ordered a milk chocolate soufflé (without the marshmallow as it’s not vegetarian) with hot fudge and Tahitan vanilla bean ice milk. As you can tell by that description alone, we weren’t disappointed. As we were about to devour our desserts, the server came up and said it was about time we moved up to the first row of tables for a n even better view of night-time Manhattan. We happily agreed.

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The chocolate Brooklyn Bridge…yum!

Everything about this restaurant was pure perfection and it was only when we were about to leave that I saw that it has indeed been rewarded a Michelin-star not once, but twice. I wasn’t surprised at all, as it genuinly was a an excellent restaurant with delicious, yet unpretentious food, an impressive wine and cocktail list, and impeccable service.

As we sat in the cab heading back to Manhattan, impressed beyond or expectations, we did feel a bit guilty having spent so much money on food and drinks – but considering it was a night we’ll always remember, we decided it was 100 percent worth it.

rivercaferestaurant

 

 

 

Places I've Been

New York: The Museums We Visited

May 5, 2016

If you go to New York, you owe it to the city to visit some of the great museums it has to offer. We bought the New York City Pass, which saves you the entrance to a number of museums and must-see attractions in the city. With so many great museums to see, it’s hard to pick which ones to go to, so having the City Pass made it a lot easier. Here are the museums we visited during our stay:

  1. American Museum of Natural History
    We took a walk in Central Park yet again, all the way to AMNH. With a science geek (Jacob) in the household, we visit every damn natural history museum in every city we’re in that has one… and of course the New York one is one of the most prominent and famous ones, so it was a natural choice. The line was huge but moved pretty fast and we grabbed a map in order to find what we were looking for. We started with a viewing of the exhibition Dark Universe, voiced by a favorite of mine: Neil deGrasse Tyson. As you may have guessed it was about space and we sat in a planetarium with huge IMAX-screens which cover the spherical ceiling, creating the illusion that you’re traveling through space. Being a huge fan of space it was amazing to learn about dark matter and it was pure joy to listen to deGrasse Tyson.
    Other things we enjoyed was the replica of a real-size blue whale. You don’t quite grasp the size of it until you see it in the museum. It is huge! And of course the whole dinasour area was pretty amazing.

    Big whale in the American Museum of Natural History

    Me & the whale 🙂

  • The 9/11 Memorial Museum
    Truth be told, this is probably not a museum I would have visited had it not been part of the City Pass. I would have gone to Ground Zero, had a moment of silence and move on. But the 9/11 Memorial Museum was actually really, really interesting – especially for those of us who clearly remember the 2001 terrorist attacks. It was heartbreaking. When you enter the exhibition you are taken through a chronological story of what happened. There are pictures, videos, and sounds playing. There are actual objects that was found in the remains of the two towers – among them bloody shoes, glasses, the terrorists’ boarding passes, the partial remains of a the plane that crashed into the North tower, deceased firefighters’ uniforms. But the most touching and heartbreaking parts were the messages that played when you picked up telephones around the exhibition. Voicemails that some of the victims recorded for their loved ones saying things like how much they loved those close to them and that they will be waiting in heaven. Phone calls made by the flight attendants that were stuck on one of the planes. I was so touched by it and so heartbroken that I had nightmares for a couple of nights after our visit.

    9/11 Memorial New York

    9/11 memorial pools with a white rose

     

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    At first we thought we had tickets to MoMA, but the kind security guard informed us that we had tickets to the Met. I had really set my mind on MoMA, so I was a bit dissappointed but we went to the Met instead. The Met is huge and there’s so much stuff to see. Unfortunately, the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, the museum’s most famous was closed when we visited but the Egyptian galleries were amazing to see. I particularly liked the modern art galleries and the collection of European paintings. I was particulary excited to finally see my favorite painting that I’ve admired since I was 8 and my teacher first introduced me to art and the European painters – the Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies by Monet. It was stunning! I also got to see many of the other paintings from the European masters that I admired as a child and some new ones that I hadn’t heard of.

    MoMA - Bridge over Pond of Water Lilies by Monet

    Bridge over Pond of Water Lilies by Monet

    MoMA New York

    Me at the Met

 

Top photo: American Museum of Natural History By Ingfbruno – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Places I've Been

A Stroll in Central Park

May 4, 2016
central park

In New York, we lived just a few blocks from Central Park so our first day we went to a nice little café for breakfast and managed to get a table for two right before it was full. We ate our omelettes and drank freshly squeezed orange juice before we walked over to the park. One thing that kind of made me sad was seeing the horses with carriages outside of Central Park – a completely inhumane and ancient practice that I understand will soon be banned in NYC (and here’s a great article on alternative ways to see Central Park). Once we got past the horses and the many men and women trying to sell us rides, it was completely calm and quiet. As if we had entered a completely different city inside of the city. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the pink cherry trees were in full bloom. The only thing that really gave New York away were the giant skyscrapers surrounding, almost guarding, the park. If you looked one way, you would only see green trees, dogs playing, and joggers on their daily run, but looking the other way you would see the iconic buildings that all make up the Manhattan skyline.

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The view from Central Park

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Jacob and a Yellow Cab

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We strolled around in the perfect weather for a few hours (took the jacket off later)

central park bench

Loved this bench

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Cherry blossom!

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We took breaks along our stroll to really take it all in

central park new york

Love these little signs. You can “adopt” a bench in order to support Central Park and you get your own sign on a bench there. Loved walking around and reading them.

Places I've Been

A fun night out at in New York

April 28, 2016

On Thursday, our second day in New York, Jacob and I met up my  friend Maija, who was also in town, and two of her friends. We went to a rooftop bar called The Press Lounge to get the perfect view of New York and to catch up over drinks. The Press Lounge is located in Hell’s Kitchen, which isn’t my favorite part of New York, but this little gem made it worth the walk. We had some great cocktails and enjoyed the wonderful view of Manhattan at nighttime – it was exactly what I had pictured a rooftop terrace to be. It was buzzing with people, had great (but pricey!) cocktails, and the backdrop was the Manhattan skyline. We had a lot to catch up on and later decided to eat at the restaurant located on the ground floor of the same building – The Print restaurant. Luckily for us, there was a table for five available and we ordered our food and a bottle of wine from a really friendly server.  The food was absolutely amazing and better than we expected. So if you’re in town, I really recommend a visit to the Print for food, followed by drinks at the Press Lounge for a perfect night out.

The Press Lounge New York

The view from The Press Lounge rooftop bar

Vegan food at the Print restaurant New York

My dish: roasted cauliflower with stir fried quinoa, maitakes, spring onions, roasted baby carrots, radishes and pine nut-currant oil. As delicious as it sounds!

The Print Restaurant New York

Jacob had the roasted chicken with potaties

After dinner, we headed for some drinks and managed to find a completely empty bar, but we didn’t mind not having the company of others as we had so much to talk about.

 

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In the bar, I spotted a Hillary nutcracker 😉

 

 

After dinner, we headed for some drinks and managed to find a completely empty bar, but we didn’t mind not having the company of others as we had so much to talk about.

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Sangria!

 

Food, Places I've Been, Travel

The world’s best burger at Superiority Burger, New York

April 27, 2016

Even before I had booked my trip for New York, I knew I had to try the burger that GQ dubbed “The world’s best burger” late last year. I never get to try all those fancy burger which is a shame for a foodie like myself, but I jumped from joy when I learned that this burger is actually vegetarian. So today we headed to East Village and found it. Superiority burger is located right next to a cat shelter with crazy cute cats hanging out in the window. There weren’t that many people there so we ordered and received our food pretty quickly.

superiority burger new york

You can stay there and eat, although it’s very small, or take the food with you, which we did. We went to Tompkins Square park and sat on one of the benches while we enjoyed our burgers in the sun. A perfect lunch! We were surprised at how small the burgers are, they’re more like slide rs, but they were really, really good. The patty is fully vegan and no one knows what it’s made from but it has a really nice texture. The dressing has a bit of a sting to it and vegans can choose to get vegan cheese on top. All food at Superiority Burger is vegetarian and some is accidentally vegan – however, all vegetarian meals can be made vegan.

Superiority Burger is located on 430 East 9th St, New York

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…the first bite

The world's best burger

Jacob right outside of Superiority Burger and the cat shelter

Superiority burger NYC

Corner of Avenue A & 9th Street

Places I've Been

Our first day in New York

April 21, 2016

And so came the day when we were finally heading to New York. Going to NY has been a dream of mine since I was a child, but unfortunately I could never afford it until now. And now that we’re finally here, we’re staying for 10 days just to make sure we have enough time to really see and enjoy all of New York without rushing through it.

Yesterday morning, we packed our bags and dropped our cats off for a 10 day catcation (yes, that is what it’s called, don’t question me!) at our friend Nikolaj’s place. It’s always hard for me to leave my little babies (yes, yes, yes, I know they’re basically senior cats now) and so we spent some time cuddling when we woke up – it was the best.

Once we arrived to the airport, it was almost empty and so we could just head through the check-in, the security, and passport control and board our plane. We watched movies and slept through the flight, so the 8.5 hours it took passed by rather quickly. However, as we were descending I started to get really naucious. The descend was really bumpy and I wasn’t the only one reaching for the nausea-bags (a finer word for throwing-up-bags?) but I managed to stay alive even after we landed 😉

We took the train from Newark airport to Penn Station (or as Jacob kept referring to it: Penn State – haha) and a yellow cab to our hotel. We got a room with a balcony and we’re staying on 51st street, which is just by the Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue. After checking in, we headed out to get to know the area better and admired the Rockefeller center for a while – it really is HUGE, but most of all it’s the setting of many of our favorite shows. 30 Rock with Tina Fey is set here and I reminded myself I need to rewatch that show again for the 100th (or something) time.

Denmark is six hours ahead of New York, so after we had checked in, walked around, and eaten a bite we were dead tired – after all, it was around 11 pm at home, but only 5 pm here. We went home, watched half a movie, and fell asleep around 9 pm.

That concludes our first day here. Today, we’re well rested and plan to do and see more of this amazing city.

New york

Street view from our hotel…the other way.

Places I've Been, Travel

Throwback Thursday: My Spring In Spain

March 31, 2016
moving to spain

One of the best things I ever did was deciding to move to Spain for a while when I was 19. I had just finished school, didn’t know what to do next, and didn’t have a full-time job or an apartment. I decided it was the perfect time to move to another country for a while. I had long been wanting to go to the US but that kind of move would require a visa and more money than I had. Spain was warm and only a four hour flight from home – plus, I had always wanted to learn Spanish. I applied for a job, got it, and a month later, on February 28 in 2007,  I landed in sunny Málaga with a suitcase, a boyfriend and a mind set on a new adventure.

Getting settled

When you’re moving abroad, people will tell you to get as many things fixed in beforehand as you can. We didn’t. We had a job and a little money for the first month or so but that was about it. We had no place to stay and we didn’t know anybody there. So after our first night in a hostel in Fungirola we went apartment hunting and only managed to find a really horrible, small room in a run down hotel by the promenade. I don’t want to go into details out of respect for anyone reading this, but trust me when I say it was absolutely disgusting, but we really didn’t have a choice but to move in.

Ronda, Spain

On a visit in Ronda

We had a few days to settle in before we started our new jobs. We fixed some practical things like a bank account and a social security number and were excited to start our new job with our fantastic new colleagues, who were also young Swedes. Unfortunately three hours into my first working day, I realized that telemarketing just wasn’t for me. So I quit. It was the shortest job I think anyone’s ever had and it’s really not like me to give up on something so quickly, but when I know something’s not right for me, there’s nothing that can keep me there. Oh well, you live and you learn!

Everyday life

I started taking Spanish classes instead in a neighbouring city called Benalmádena to where I commuted every day. I had really, really good teachers and learned Spanish rather quickly. I got to know a really nice fellow from Japan, but he was only there for a few weeks and I was left with two other students: one elderly, Canadian man, who didn’t understand that Pablo is a Spanish name, not a word, and a German girl who barely spoke English. And then, one day, a new Swedish girl, Caroline, started and we instantly became BFF’s. For lunch we’d buy olives and bread, and lay on our school’s sunchairs while talking about everything. Sometimes we’d go to her place after school, a big villa with a pool and view of Morocco, and sometimes I’d go back to Fuengirola and soak up the sun on the Los Boliches beach while  listening to Amy Winehouse.

After somehow sticking out a month in our horrible little room, we managed to find a proper apartment in Fuengirola, in the lovely little neighbourhood called Los Boliches. We lived on a street we dubbed “Alex street”. There was Alex, my boyfriend, Alex, the Cuban ex-boxer turned bartender who owned the bar on one corner of the street, and Alex, the Polish fast-food chef who owned the fast food joint on the other end of the street. We’d eat at Polish Alex’ place (I’d always have french fries with ketchup and quickly gained weight but it was the only vegetarian thing they had) and we’d drink mojitos at Cuban Alex’ place.

One evening we got robbed by a gang of young guys who were hanging out on our street, clearly looking for trouble. They came from nowhere and punched Alex (the boyfriend) in the face while the others grabbed his wallet from his pocket. Before I had a chance to react, Alex (Cuban bartender) came out of his bar with a baseball bat and screamed profanities at the idiots who robbed us so they ran away. Afterwards I called the police, and since they didn’t speak any English I had to explain what had happened in the little Spanish I’d learned. When the police arrived they managed to find them and one of the robbers was busted for marijuana possession. What’s that word….? Oh yeah, karma.

One of my fondest memories from this time is this homeless man in Fuengirola who took it upon him to also take care of homeless dogs (So sweet!). He’d wander around with an old pram, carrying his few belongings and 6-7 sleeping dogs. One of the dogs was really fat, or so we thought until one day 4 puppies joined the homeless man and his little family grew bigger. This man is to this day one of my personal heroes. Not only did he take care of those dogs even though he barely had food for himsel, he always smiled at people as he walked by, always fed his dogs before eating himself, and once I saw him helping a woman in a wheelchair up a slope. He never expected anything back – no food, no money and not even a smile. But when he got either of these things he was always grateful and kind. Even on days when I felt really blue and sick of it all, I would always lighten up whenever I saw the homeless man with his dog friends and think that the world isn’t such a horrible place after all. It can’t be when there are people like him. I wasn’t the only one impressed by the man. Once when we were shopping for groceries we saw him walk in with a middle-aged woman, carrying a shopping cart. Turns out, she bought him a whole shopping cart full of food, dog food, water, clothes and much more and I will always remember the smile he had walking out of the grocerie store that day.

Exploring southern Spain

While Fuengirola is great, I really wanted to see as much of southern Spain as possible, and we had access to a car so we took every opportunity to travel. We visited Marbella and Puerto Banús where all the rich people would enjoy oysters in the restaurants while the not-so-rich gathered around to admire their Lamborghinis. We visited Estepona, although I have no idea what we did there. We visited Málaga, home town of Pablo Picasso, the beautiful white village of Mijas, wonderful Granada where we wanted to visit Alhambra but arrived a few minutes too late. We drove all the way to Sevilla, which we really loved – I still want to go back some day and visit it again. We saw the majestic, scary bridge in Ronda. And of course, we went to Gibraltar where monkeys roamed free in the mountains.

Sevilla, Spain

Gorgeous details on a bridge on the Plaza de España

Sevilla Andalucia

The Plaza de España

Sevilla, Spain

A younger me visiting Plaza de España in Seville

We experienced Spanish easter, Semana Santa, in Málaga with a huge parade and golden statues of Jesus carrying the cross. The weather shifted from rainy and cold-ish to sunny and really hot. Slowly we got to know more and more people, we developed routines, had favorite restaurants and a favorite spot on the beach. Spain started to feel like home.

My Spanish course ended in June and believe it or not but I ~almost~ spoke fluent Spanish after around three months. But end of school also meant end of money and we began to long for Sweden again. Sure, Spain was beautiful, sunny and fun but it wasn’t entirely easy to live there either, especially when you do not eat meat (I gained around 8 kilos in 4 months), the only job options for us back then involved telemarketing and frankly, the heat by the end of June was a bit too much for me. So we packed our things, partied one last night with our Swedish friends and managed to make it on the flight back home in the nick of time. It was only four months of my life, but I remember that time of my life so vividly thanks to all the things I got to experience living abroad. Despite living in Fuengirola, which is occupied by Scandinavians, I learned much about Spanish culture and the Spaniards thanks to my school. I got to know wonderful people who I still keep in touch with. And most importantly, I made memories for a lifetime.

gibraltar-ronda

Left: Gibraltar from the Siege Tunnels

Places I've Been

A Weekend In London – The Musts

March 13, 2016
weekend in london

London is hands down my favorite city (so far). I love the atmosphere of big cities and London just has that vibe that I can never grow tired of. For someone who easily gets bored, there are lots of things to see, do, and eat (!) in London and I love that there is something for everyone – no matter your budget or preferences. I love the many cultures that co-exist side by side and I love the diversity – you’ll never feel weird or out of place in London, that’s for sure. I even contemplated moving there for a few months while writing my master’s thesis but life got in the way, unfortunately. Although, who knows what the future holds? Maybe one day I’ll be able to extend my stay for a few months 😉

This past weekend, it was time for me to go back for my 6:th visit since 2010 (I’ve been there once a year since and I don’t plan on breaking this tradition), only this time I had my mom and my sister with me (as well as our partners). Neither of them have been in London before and so I was in charge of planning what we should see, do and eat during our two day visit, which, by the way, is way too short of a stay. We were celebrating my mom’s 55:th birthday and she had long been wanting to visit London. Needless to say, she did not return dissappointed. I had to make sure we saw all the must-see attractions in the city, while we still needed time to shop, relax, and enjoy the city with no stress. Not an easy task in such a big city, so I narrowed it down to a few musts. This is what we did on our short weekend in London:

Must #1: Afternoon Tea

For someone who’s never been to England, afternoon tea is a must in my opinion in order to get a glimpse of traditional English culture – especially when we’re dealing with mothers. Our flight on Friday was a bit delayed and we already had a tight schedule so we didn’t make it to our hotel to check in first. Instead, we headed straight to our afternoon tea appointment at the Milestone Hotel, a boutique hotel in Kensington. I’ve never been to the Milestone Hotel but oh boy, was I impressed by their staff. The smiling and chatty porter welcomed us and took care of our bags, while the concierge took our coats. We were shown into the little salon with old-fashioned interior, fresh, pink roses, and an open fire. We ordered (vegetarian afternoon tea for me and Jacob, and traditional for mom) and soon a three-tier cake stand was served with delicious sandwiches and cakes. The scones were, hand on my heart, to die for: warm, perfectly crispy on the outside and dreamlike soft on the inside. It’s not the cheapest afternoon tea you’ll find in London, but I can assure you that the scones alone were worth the pricetag of £40 per person.

 

Afternoon tea London

So many good cakes!

Afternoon tea London

Afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel

Must #2: Sightseeing

My mom’s not into museums and quite frankly we didn’t have time to visit them either. So on Saturday morning we took bus 453, drove past Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square and hopped off just by Westminster Abbey. We walked down to Big Ben and walked over the bridge to London Eye. I’ve been on the London Eye once and while the views are great, I didn’t think it was worth it, although the others in our party did consider to go for a ride. However, my mom’s fear of height but a stop to that 😉 It had started to get quite cold as we stood on the bridge, looking out on the Thames, so we took the Underground to Tower Hill, where we enjoyed a walk around the London Tower and over the Tower Bridge, with hot beverages at hand to warm us as it only got more chilly. On Sunday we took the bus down to Green Park and visited Buckingham Palace. We only realized it was Changing of the Guards once we got there, but had no time to stay and watch so we headed back to shopping after our visit. Of course, I would have loved to show mom Harrod’s and go for a walk in Hyde Park as well, but we didn’t have time.

London

Hello there, Big Ben!

London

My mom and I <3

London Eye

London Eye

London Bridge

Jacob and I by the Tower Bridge

 

 

Must #3: The View from Hilton Park Lane/Galvin At Windows

As I mentioned, my mom didn’t want to go on the London Eye and I suggested we visit Galvin at Windows for some amazing views of London as well as delicious drinks. Last time we were in London we stayed in this hotel and completely fell in love with it. There’s just no beating the view from here. We arrived early, around 19:30 and were lucky enough to get the last table for five. We grabbed a couple of drinks, enjoyed the view, and then headed to our dinner reservation in Covent Garden. Drinks aren’t exactly cheap here, but on the other hand you do get a magnificent view whether you’re here during daytime or nighttime.

Galvin at Windows, London

Not the best picture, but the view from Galvin at Windows is fantastic!

Must #4: Delicious food

It’s no surprise to anyone that I absolutely love good food and I know that all restaurants in London aren’t great. Bad food can really ruin a trip for me (as it has before in London), so I had made reservations beforehand. On Friday, we went to my favorite Indian place Masala Zone in Soho. I really love, love, love their food and always eat here when I’m in London. On Saturday we were thinking about going for burgers at Patty & Bun, but it was jam-packed with people and we’d have to wait for a while for a table, so we went across the street for burgers instead. On Saturday, I had reserved a table at Italian restaurant Clos Maggiore, said to be one of the most romantic restaurants in London. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a table in the beyond beautiful Conservatory, but we did get a table in the restaurant, which has an open fire and is quite romantic as well. I had the truffle pasta and it was one of the best ones I’ve ever had, with freshly grated truffles on top. On Sunday Jacob and I ate lunch by ourselves at Tommi’s Burger Joint (which also has a restaurant in Copenhagen) – delicious as always.

Masala Zone, London

My absolute favorite Indian food at Masala Zone

Truffle pasta London

Truffle pasta with mushrooms at Clos Maggiore

 

Must #5: Shopping

Because we didn’t have much time, we decided to stay around Oxford Street for all our shopping. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything I liked but I did drool at the dresses from House of CB on the -2 floor of Topshop. Mom and my sister went wild at Primark, while I looked at way too expensive stuff I’ll never buy at Selfridges. I was looking for a nice pair of good quality vegan boots (non-leather) but couldn’t find a single pair I liked. So I only went home with a top extra in my suitcase, but I’ll make up for that on my New York trip next month…

London by night

Regent Street by night – again, not the best pic, but you get it 😉