conscious traveling, coronavirus, Covid-19, culture, fika, Hotel, Hotels, Stockholm, Sweden

Post-Lockdown Travels: Stockholm

When I left Sweden last year in mid-December little did I know that I would not be able to go back for the next nine months. To my dearest people, it was just another “see you soon” hug and I didn’t even say farewell to some friends. Then Corona-crisis started all around the world. Some countries, like my own, had super strict lockdowns. Meanwhile, only Sweden stayed sane. I even read somewhere that if an alien ended up in 2020 Sweden, they would have a hard time finding out that we are living in the middle of a pandemic. After spending almost nine months of being apart from my favourite people and country – I finally visited Sweden in late August-September.



WHERE I STAYED
It was my seventh visit to Stockholm. Each time I stay in new places, visit new restaurants and try new things. And each time, my experience gets better. As a conscious traveller, alongside comfort, it is also important to me that the hotel I am staying in has a conscious approach to business. That is why I stayed at Hotel Birger Jarl. Centrally located on Tulegatan 8, in Norrmalm, yet in a very quiet and vibrant neighbourhood. Hotel Birger Jarl is an amazing place for a super relaxing weekend, working remotely, or just to enjoy your vacation in STHLM. Very recently the hotel partnered up with a sustainable beauty product brand – IDUN. Their hair & skincare products are available in the hotel’s dreamy bathrooms. It is the first time IDUN has partnered up with a hotel.







To keep the number of people in the restaurant at the same time to the minimum, the hotel offers a booking option for the breakfast venue. Birger Jarl has modern, minimalistic rooms, with a view over the beautiful streets of Stockholm. Keep an eye on their website as they run quite attractive deals almost every season. For example, right now you can enjoy up to 40% off on your Weekend stay at Hotel Birger Jarl.





WHERE I ATE:
As a vegan traveller, Sweden is my personal paradise. Almost every city has a variety of vegan restaurants. But even if you visit a non-vegan restaurant, most of the places always have vegan-friendly options as well. With every visit, my preferences change. So this time I will share two of my current favourite vegan places that you definitely need to check out in Stockholm:

1. MyVegina – located on Norrtullsgatan 21, has amazing vegan options including hot and cold dishes and drinks.

2. Hermitage – right in the heart of Gamla Stan, on St. Nygatan 11 offers vegan buffet every day. It’s an ALL YOU CAN EAT dreamy paradise.

OVERALL TRAVEL EXPERIENCE:
Sweden almost looked and felt the same as ever, during the corona pandemic in Summer. But one can definitely see the lack of tourists while walking on Gamla Stan, or queueing for museums, which, by the way, are free for everyone. I will not lie, I kind of enjoyed less packed old town of STHLM, giving me more calmness to spend more time in touristic areas.



After visiting Sweden, my approach to coronavirus has also changed. I am less panicked and more careful. As I spent March-July in the super strict lockdown of Georgia, curfews and face masks in an open space included, I could not imagine that people in the Swedish part of the world would keep living normally. By normally I mean that social distancing has always been a thing in Sweden, even before corona. It is called simple manners in this part of the world. Most people work from home, most universities study remotely too, most stores have self-checkout tills, and social events for more than 50 people are still banned.
 


I am looking forward to visiting Sweden all over again. In the meantime, stay safe and if you plan your trip to Stockholm, alongside this one, you can check out my previous blog posts about what to see and do in STHLM.

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Covid-19, Denmark, Marketing, NETFLIX, tourism, Trips & Other Stories

Why Articles Like “The Safest Destinations to Visit After the Lockdown” Should Not Exist

A couple of weeks ago as Europe and the rest of the world slowly started reopening borders I came across a lot of articles like “The Safest Destinations to Visit This Summer” – seriously? Is this Tourism Marketing in 2020? Don’t we have anything valuable left to attract tourists with but how many hospital beds we have and how low our numbers are for the novel Coronavirus?

From a purely scientific point of view, those articles make zero sense, because we are in the middle of the pandemic! The virus hasn’t gone anywhere and will not disappear unless the whole world is vaccinated. So, how did the marketing experts come to a conclusion of what destinations are safe, and which are not? What happens if I get infected while travelling to the safest destinations, reported by Forbes? – I will feel tricked. Why is not Italy safe enough? – Because Italy struggled a lot during March and April? – But this period has passed already and if you write an article about Greece being safe, I bet scientifically Italy could be safer for now, due to higher possibility of herd immunity. What is the science behind those conclusions? And the major question while travelling in 2020 – what does safety mean in the middle of the pandemic? I suppose we can make conclusions about the safety, the success or the failure of some countries once the crisis is over, the virus is gone and we are all back to “normal” lives.
Blue Simple Modern Travel Magazine

From a travel content creator’s point of view, I would have never imagined that some countries and some major magazines would use the coronavirus lockdown in such a cheap way to promote tourism. Here are some examples that made me really disappointed while reading the Forbes article about the Post-Corona Travel Plan.
I genuinely would like to know why the authors of this article decided to highlight the number of hospital beds in the post. What do hospital beds numbers have to do with tourism? Have you ever asked yourself before your trip to Barcelona “let’s see how many hospital beds does Spain have?” This, my friends, is called marketing failure.

Another reason why the Safest Destinations list makes no sense is that whilst being in the middle of the pandemic, the cases and numbers can change anytime. As an example we can take Portugal, which was applauded in the article by its low coronavirus cases, but today Lisbon got another lockdown due to the recently increased Covid-19 cases. As a marketeer, I do believe that dissing others while trying to highlight your own good is the cheapest way of promotion. Look at Denmark, they do not need to bite their neighbour countries in order to promote sustainable tourism on their own. Do you know what their secret is? The secret is there is no secret. Either you are doing a good job to keep your sustainable development, or you are trying to take advantage of someone else’s failures during the crisis.

With all due respect to Croatia, Georgia, Greece and a lot of other countries mentioned in the article. Sentences like “Croatia has been rather preserved by coronavirus with up to 20 times fewer infected people than in any other European country. Well-equipped in healthcare, it also has more hospital beds per inhabitant than most European countries.” still drive me crazy. If the authors try to connect healthcare system and tourism, then the outsider countries from the blog post deserve to be highlighted the most, as Italy tops the world in the healthcare system. To wrap it up, there is nothing wrong with mentioning how low some countries kept their numbers during the outbreak (so far), and to applaud the healthcare workers, but I do believe that this is a global crisis and everyone deserves to be applauded equally. We should support each other and I do not see any reason to claim Italy, France, Spain, or Sweden didn’t deal with the Coronavirus well. The process is on-going and no one is sure about the final outcome until we are out of the crisis. Last but not least, to answer the question of my headline, why blog posts like “safest destinations” should not exist, is because there is no scientific research that can assure that some places are safer than others during the pandemic.

If we want to take our tourism game to the next level, the future of sustainable tourism is honesty, eco-friendliness, and human rights. Interest us with your scenery and food culture, that counts centuries, but also show us what you have achieved in the 21st century in terms of women’s rights, racism, labour rights, climate change, equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and the list can continue on and on. Tell us what kind of new information we will bring with us from your country other than low Coronavirus numbers.
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Do you remember in the beginning of the lockdown when Netflix officially promoted its main rival by telling the followers to check out cool tv series on HBO, because these are really hard times that we are living in right now? That is real Marketing. Netflix has not lost a single user because of that announcement. Because Netflix has its own exclusives that can’t be found anywhere else, and that’s exactly what every destination has, some just need to work harder to improve and highlight their features.

To give you another hint on what is going to be the millennials’ priority in not only tourism but in every business, just watch The Politician on Netflix and focus more on season two.

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conscious traveling, Covid-19, greta thunberg, tourism, vegan

From Greta to Covid-19: What Can We Learn as Travellers

Just a little intro of mine before I get to the point: while this post will be very honest, I am afraid that some readers might find it a bit negative or offensive. Please keep in mind that some parts of this post will be an honest outpouring of my thoughts and feelings and are no way meant to attack anyone or show any lack of appreciation, while other parts will be based on science and facts that no one can deny.  Now that we made it clear, without further ado, let’s get to it.

As some of you might already know, I was born and raised in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Thankfully, I was privileged enough to get a decent education, which, unfortunately, happens to be one of the major struggles that my country is facing. I will not go in to detail what the Georgian approach is to some worldwide issues that we face every day, but to talk about my personal experience that matches the topic of today’s blog post, I will share one thing that bothers me the most – not taking climate change seriously. I was traveling quite a bit during my student years (not too long ago) with my friends. We would go on one week trips to Austria, Hungary, Spain, etc, but traveling for such a short period and with a group of friends never really led me to anywhere on a deeper level, meaning, getting to know the real, local culture outside the touristic centers. It was more of trying new delicious food and taking ten thousand pictures at Gran Via or Stephansplatz. Overall, traveling to any extent is a great experience, and you can have a lot of fun with your friends, it also helps you get to know them much better. But my real traveling, the one that started making some profound changes in my personality began in 2016 when I first went to Lisbon all alone to learn the beautiful language and culture of Portugal. At the university, it was the first time I had met so many people from different parts of the world at the same time. I learned how much we have in common, and how different we are in some matters. I realized how much I have to learn and evolve. It was also the very first time – since we never recycle in Georgia – that I started recycling. Not a big deal right? Most of Europe had been doing that for years already, but that was my very first experience in getting a bit closer to a conscious way of living. Then step by step I met new people, got new friends in Portugal, some of them were vegan or vegetarian and that was my very first contact with veganism. I got more involved with this eco-friendly style of living and finally, and not too long ago I turned into a vegetarian, strictly. But “cheese was still too good to quit” until the very beginning of 2020, when coincidentally with the COVID-19 outbreak, I happened to go fully vegan.

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Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Lisboa, Portugal

The turning point in my life was definitely Greta Thunberg’s TED Talk, where she was speaking about climate change and how we are running out of time to save our planet. Of course, just as a lot of people out there started questioning Greta just because she is young, and female, I did the same too in the beginning. Of course, my doubts were not coming from Greta’s age or gender, but from a completely different reason: NO ONE has ever mentioned a word throughout my school or college years in Georgia about climate change and how we treat our planet. So, after Greta’s speech, I did some research and came to the conclusion that the young Swedish lady is talking 100% truth. This was science that no one can argue with. It’s a fact.

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@thedailyshow with Trevor Noah

Another huge role played in my approach to living a more conscious life was me moving to Sweden in 2019, where I spent an amazing and evolving one year. Living in Gothenburg, the city that tops all the rankings in sustainability, turned me into a more eco-friendly traveler. Alongside fish or meat, I gave up on traveling too much by airplane and instead started traveling more by train or bus. I would take trains to anywhere in Sweden, even all the way up to the North, and to the neighboring countries like Denmark or Norway. On top of that, I stopped supporting the chain brands that have a horrible impact on our nature.

No one likes to take eight-hour bus or train ride all the way from Madrid to Barcelona, for example, but as one of my friends told me during one conversation, sometimes it feels like the more we rush through things, the faster we destroy our planet.

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Gothenburg, Sweden

I, of course, do not believe the world will go vegan in a minute. My point is that if we at least try to be nicer versions of ourselves, get more educated and don’t take our planet for granted, maybe the world would be a better place to live in. Also, I would like to highlight one fact, since it has been a huge deal of discussion with my friends and dearest family. Whenever I share something vegan, I kind of get attacked by non-vegans saying “What about the air pollution? Why do you only attack meat-eaters who are not the major problem of climate change?” With all due respect, I am never attacking anyone or judging even. All I am doing is trying to become a better person for the environment, and I do realize that I have yet a lot to learn and change, so WHO AM I to tutor you on how to live. However there are some things that we can all work on together. Veganism doesn’t only include giving up on meat and dairy for good. The whole idea of veganism is to live a conscious lifestyle, and to have the least negative impact possible on our planet. This includes leaving animal exploitation behind, decreasing the number of unnecessary travels by airplane (if possible), recycling, second-hand/vintage shopping, and using cruelty-free cosmetics, to name a few. We take bikes instead of cars or trains instead of airplanes whenever we can, and soy milk instead of cow milk because we are not baby cows 🙂 Of course, no one can avoid traveling by airplane, it’s 21-st century and we do travel a lot, but the whole idea is to find a balance between what’s urgent and what can be done differently. I think the time has come to finally change our approach to things.

Zoonotic diseases cause a lot of trouble to our planet, including HIV, H1N1, and the very recent COVID-19, which is not the first, nor the last coronavirus outbreak we are going to face. And this is not my personal opinion, this is science and you can easily get information by googling it, or click the link and watch a very informative TED TALK about why COVID-19 happened and how can we prepare for the next outbreak.
Do you remember when Greta told us she wanted us to panic? Well, she was right, because we are running out of time.
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As for some good news, I was reading a Georgian fashion blogger’s very recent blog post about the future of fashion, where Tako aka Takeau shared some promising news from the Fashion world. My favourite story comes from Copenhagen Fashion Week, through a recently-launched sustainability action plan that “presents how the event will transition to becoming more sustainable, for example by reducing its climate impact by 50% and rethinking waste systems in all aspects of event production, with zero waste as the goal by 2022. Importantly, the plan also focuses on the bigger picture by outlining how Copenhagen Fashion Week will implement sustainability requirements and set new standards for participation to push the industry toward necessary, comprehensive change.”

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the sad truth (credits to the owner)

While some big companies starting to re-think and re-shape the business world, we as individuals also have our own part of the responsibility. If we try not to consume too much of anything, be it meat or clothing, the business will also adapt according to the customer. The key point here is finding moderation in things we do, use, or eat.

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Poster from Canva

Now to finally get to the tourism part, I do believe what the COVID-19 should teach us is to be more eco-friendly and to support the brands or companies that have less of an environmental impact. I do understand that eating meat, drinking milk, taking an airplane and buying a Louis Vuitton bag is a personal choice, and we all want to live in an environment where free choice is supported, but we need to think twice about our personal choices if they end up destroying the planet. Our choices are causing deforestation, child labor, and creating too much waste, that has a horrible impact on Climate Change. We should not forget that all the harm we do to our planet will backfire in forms of new pandemic outbreaks and climate change. And it will soon be too late to react.

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Credits to UN.org

As we look at some business trying to adapt to the new reality that the pandemic left for all of us I was thinking how would the future of tourism be, what would be the most acceptable approach in my opinion that the tourism sector could take. Especially, coming from a very mountainous country of Georgia, I have always been interested in why mountain sustainability was not supported or promoted in my country. I believe it could solve so many problems of poverty, habitat destruction and will push our new-born tourism to another level. In my opinion, Georgia investing in a sustainable mountain development could solve a lot of problems that the country is facing nowadays financial-wise and would also have less of a negative environmental impact on a global level. I have thought of some examples that we all could learn from the parts of the world where sustainable mountain tourism is well supported already. We all know that mountains are an important source of water, energy, and biological diversity. The sad news are that mountain ecosystems are changing rapidly and struggling a lot, including soil erosion, loss of habitats, and widespread poverty among mountain inhabitants, just to name a few. As a result, most global mountain areas are experiencing environmental degradation, not to mention the current condition of Georgia. All of these added up to the recent problems of pandemics, climate change and a financial crisis that the world is facing now, I do believe that investing in sustainable mountain development is the right path to take.

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Kazbegi, Georgia

The very first inspiration about sustainable tourism I got was in Sweden when I visited a place called Roslagen, close to Stockholm. They describe it as a place where “the inner archipelago meets the outer one”. In this tiny part of Sweden, kayaking and canoeing are very developed and there are companies that have special excursions to different islands and archipelagos around Sweden.

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Stockholm, Sweden

There are already so many great examples to follow, including one of my favourite countries Austria, that have sustainable tourism as a priority. Even if you visit only Vienna, you will see that the consciousness of the country is really on another level, but the Austrians are also experimenting with long-term sustainable projects. For example in Vorarlberg construction of passive houses are being pioneered. “The concept is that passive houses are built from local, sustainably managed wood, which itself is a natural store of carbon and a weapon in the battle against climate change.” Austria is such a great example on so many other levels including the cities of Graz and Salzburg converting their public transports to bio-fuels. Even high up in the Austrian Alps you will find solar panels for heating, with low energy light-bulbs being used etc. Also, one more thing that I LOVED during my trip to Vienna in 2019 is that hotels and restaurants are supporting the local agriculture to the fullest. In most places, you will be served locally procured organic goods. This approach, of course, promotes and supports organic agriculture. Us, as travelers, can support sustainable mountain tourism and organic agriculture in two ways: directly by visiting the places itself, or non-directly by supporting the business that prioritizes a conscious and sustainable approach and helps the local agriculture to the fullest.

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Belvedere Palace, Vienna

My final note is that, whilst it is impossible to fully cut airplane travel or a meat-based diet (for most people), the main idea is to decrease the amount of non-ecological stuff we do on a daily basis. Trains instead of airplanes, plants instead of a diary, recycle, do not litter, go vintage shopping, support the local small business, go for the cruelty-free products (seriously it’s 2020, wearing dead animals on your skin is uncool and unethical) and step by step you will play your tiny but important role in changing the harmful environment that we all created and was born into throughout these years.

the politician netflix

TV Series @thepolitician on Netflix

As a P.S. I hope you are all staying safe during the pandemic. It has been challenging for all of us and I am really looking forward to sharing my new travel stories with all of you once the lockdown is over. Meanwhile, let’s let the scientists do their job, and we can do our job by becoming more environmentally friendly.

With love,
Ani

Useful links:
Earthling ED
Greta Thunberg
TED Talks – Climate Change

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Austria, Cannes, culture, Czech Republic, food, France, history, Hotels, Italy, Milan, Nice, photography, Prague, SPAIN, Stockholm, Sweden, The French Riviera, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian, Vienna

Going Places: My 2019

As 2019 is coming to an end and we are moving to a new decade, I decided to write my traditional yearly travel recap and highlight my travels from the year 2019. Unlike my last year’s edition of Going Places, this year I stayed within Europe, but I visited more countries than last year, in total nine of them.

February: Sweden

2019 started very well for me since I moved to one of my most favourite countries – Sweden. I was based in Gothenburg, which now proudly is in my top three cities in the world, but meanwhile, I also discovered almost the whole of Sweden. I visited so many cities I even stopped counting after a while. I went from Stockholm all the way up to North and experienced wintery-snowy weather during May in Boden.
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April: Italy

To run away from the Scandinavian winter and super cold Spring even, I decided to treat myself with a nice Southern-European trip. Visiting Milan in the beginning of April was extra busy due to the Milano Design Week. It was my first time in Italy and I still miss my morning walks at Brera and stopping by at GOD SAVE THE FOOD for my daily dose of croissant and cappuccino, my evenings at Dry Milano. You can see my Milanese trip in a nutshell here.
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April: France

After Milan, I decided to take a weekend trip to the French Riviera. It was also my first time in France, and since one of my most favourite things to do is watching tv series, I was lucky enough to attend the Cannes Series Festival. A true highlight of my trip to Nice was where I stayed. You can see a full article from my French weekend trip here.

I stayed in Nice and discovered the city on foot, took a little swimming in the sea and enjoyed the warm April days. I took a train to Cannes where I spent one whole day to attend the Cannes Series Festival. Since I was super busy with the Series Festival, I didn’t have much time to discover Cannes, but I still managed to sneak out and to see the most iconic places that were close to the beach.
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April: Belgium

As a chocolate geek, I am still surprised why Belgium wasn’t my very first travel destination. But better late than never, I finally visited the European capital this year to try the most delicious chocolate and waffles in Europe. If you trust Google and queue for the most traditional and oldest waffle cafes in Brussels, you might spend the whole day in the queue. So my advice would be to discover Brussels on foot, check out the city’s popular vintage stores, and in the evening, try the Belgian waffles outside the touristic center, skip the queues and enjoy your daily dose of endorphins without waiting for your order forever.
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May: Malta

Being already a bit fed up with the almost never-ending Swedish winter, in May, I decided to treat myself with a one-week getaway to warm and sunny Malta.

Malta was one of the most unexpectedly beautiful countries I have been to this year. If we ignore super uncomfortable transportation and traffic in the streets, Malta is definitely an amazing destination to swim, enjoy the sun, eat delicious food and discover the historical parts of the country.
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July: Czech Republic

You already know from my Instagram that I am an architecture geek, I love taking pictures of beautiful buildings. And speaking of architecture Prague was the highlight of my European trip in 2019.
You can check out my more detailed and eco-friendly guide to Prague here. But let me once again highlight how unexpectedly beautiful and cheap the capital of the Czech Republic was. Also being very well located between Austria and Germany, you have quick access from Prague to Vienna (one of my most favourite cities in Europe), or to Berlin – every hipster’s dream to find. And yep, don’t forget to try the Czech beer or every dessert lover’s favourite Chimney cakes.
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August: Austria

Vienna is one of my most favourite cities in the world, so, while visiting Prague this July, I could not help myself but go on a weekend trip from Pague to Vienna in August.

Vienna was named as the most livable city in the world for several years in a row for a reason. I can talk about thousands of reasons why you should grab a suitcase and go to Austria right now: like Mozart, Viennese coffee, Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud and etc. But you will not fully get what I am talking about until you visit the Austrian capital by yourself. You can check out my article about my Viennese trip and find some inspiration about where to stay or go in order to make the best out of Vienna in just two-three days.
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September: Catalonia

Barcelona is one of the most iconic cities in Catalonia, we all agree on that. But this year while stopping by in Barcelona for two days, I decided to discover more local and less touristic cities in Catalonia.
Even though Catalonia and Spain are quite cheap, one weirdly expensive thing there is regional trains. So in order to stay within your budget, I would highly recommend you to use the BlaBlaCar app and go to almost any city for around ten Euros.

From Barcelona, I decided to go to Montserrat, Lleida, and Tarragona. Even though Lleida is not as touristy as the other cities mentioned above, I enjoyed my stay there the most, getting to know the local culture, people were super friendly and welcoming. There were a lot of vintage-hipsterish hang out places where mostly locals or Erasmus students would go.

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December: Poland

I took a quick trip to the capital of Poland from Sweden in the middle of December. Warsaw turned out to be a very beautiful city with loads of veggie-friendly places and vintage stores where you can also find rare Soviet-era souvenirs.
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For 2020, my goal is to go out of Europe and discover at least some parts of Asia. You can follow me on Instagram and be the first one to see what’s up for the next year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

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brazil, culture, history, lisbon, photography, portugal, Rio de Janeiro

An Unusual Story about Rio de Janeiro

My interest in Brazilian culture started at a very young age, which led me to listen to a lot of Brazilian music, watch Brazilian movies and TV Series like “A Coisa Mais Linda” or read Clarice Lispector and Hilda Hilst. Then, after living and studying in Portugal for more than a year and making a lot of Brazilian friends, I thought I already knew quite a lot about one of my most favourite countries.
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As you can see from my previous blog post about Rio de Janeiro, my childhood dream of visiting Brazil finally came true in 2018, when I flew from Lisbon to Rio and discovered the highly anticipated Brazilian city like a local. I realized that I still had a lot to learn about Brazil when during one simple Metro ride a local girl asked me “but did you know once we also were “officially” European?” I smiled without really understanding what she was talking about when she added: “Rio is the only non-European city in the world that has been the capital of a European country. Can you guess which one?”
My confusion mixed with curiosity made me say “Portugal?” but within seconds I started questioning the reality of my own guess, because I have been studying Portuguese language and culture for quite a while already, and no one has ever mentioned Rio being the capital of Portugal.
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After a small, nice and very informative talk in the safest transport of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to do a little research about Rio once being a European capital city.
That is how I found out that everything the Brazilian lady told me was right!
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In the 19th century following the conquest of Portugal by Napoleon, the Portuguese Royal Family fled to Brazil and established the capital of Portugal in Rio de Janeiro for thirteen years. You can see a full article and more detailed information here.

Who would’ve guessed, right?!

Make sure to share the most unknown fun-facts about your favourite travel destinations with me on Instagram and don’t forget to show me some love!
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breakfast, brunch, fika, Hotel, Hotels, photography, Stockholm, Sweden, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian

An Instagrammable Guide to Stockholm

As you might have noticed from my Instagram, I am living in Gothenburg for almost a year already. Last Summer, when I visited Scandinavia for the first time, I surely highlighted my trip to Stockholm, which made me come back to Sweden for a much longer period because of coffee shops, a healthy lifestyle, Fika, people, and eco-friendly culture.
Since then, I have visited Stockholm five times, and as an architecture geek, I am falling in love with the city more and more every time.

Here’s my very Instagram-friendly guide to Stockholm.

Where I Stayed
The most important thing for me while booking a hotel is the location. It is crucial for me that the hotel is budget-friendly, centrally located, but in a calm area. On top of that, it is also my concern that, as a conscious traveler, the place I am going to stay is eco-friendly. That’s how I found a perfect match for all of my needs and wishes, which happens to be Hotel Tegnérlunden right in the heart of Stockholm.

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Hotel Tegnérlunden is located at Tegnérlunden park, where you will meet a statue of the iconic Astrid Lindgren. A lot of bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
The hotel has many options for breakfast (including vegetarian & vegan options), the breakfast venue is located on the 6th floor, which means that you will have an amazing view over Stockholm city center while having your daily dose of nutrition.

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The iconic Gamla Stan
The old town of Stockholm is full of 17th, 18th-century buildings, narrow colorful streets, modern Nordic and international restaurants, cozy cafes and a lot more attractions like the Royal Palace or Storkyrkan Cathedral. Make sure to discover the old town on foot!
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And in the evening you can enjoy nice cocktails in modern bars full of local and international people.
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Where to Fika
Fika is probably the most Swedish thing you will ever experience: a coffee/tea break with something sweet like Swedish chocolate balls or cinnamon buns. You can fika (it is also being used as a verb) with your friends or even on your first date.
If you are a coffee lover like me, Stockholm will also be your favorite destination. You have cute little coffee shops almost everywhere, that serve very delicious Swedish desserts. My favorite fika places change almost every month, but one place that always tops my list is Rosendals Trädgård where you can go for plants shopping right after your coffee break.
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My other fave fika place around Sweden and especially Stockholm is Johan and Nyström. They serve hands down one of the best coffees in the country. The minimalistic Scandinavian interior design makes the coffee shop a great place for meetings, and even for work.

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There are also various cozy coffee shops around Gamla Stan that you definitely need to check out. For your best breakfast & brunch experience, you can also check my previous blog post about Stockholm.

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3edf41e5-7cc5-45e1-b35d-92e9d7061bd9Even though I have been to Stockholm several times, this was the first time I visited the Swedish capital during wintertime. It might indeed be colder here than in other countries in Europe, and it gets dark pretty early, around 3pm, but I would still suggest you visit Stockholm during late November/early December just to enjoy open-air ice-skating, Christmas flea markets around the city, and a lot of mulled wine while walking around the city.

Here are some pictures I took while discovering Stockholm by foot on Skeppsholmen, Södermalm, and Norrmalm.

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I hope you will enjoy your stay in Stockholm and make sure to share your favorite destinations with me on Instagram.

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Austria, Bar, breakfast, brunch, cocktails, food, Hotels, photography, travel, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian, Vienna

25 Hours in Vienna

In 2019 Vienna was named as the most livable city in the world for the 10th year in a row by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. So this August, while visiting Prague, I decided to go on a weekend trip to Vienna and to revisit one of my most favourite places in Europe.
One of the main reasons why I always wanted to go back to Vienna since 2015 (when I first visited Austria) was a bit more than just famous museums or outstanding architecture. More and more travellers like me are seeking more of a sustainable approach when it comes to travelling. So if a conscious holiday sounds right for you, then Vienna is definitely a place to be. Starting with an enormous amount of green areas in the city, a lot of vintage stores and sustainable fashion designers, the city is also very pedestrian and cycling friendly.
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Now let’s talk about the city itself and where to stay there in order to make the best out of your vacation. To be honest, I spent way more than 25 hours in Vienna (around 72 to be exact) but soon you will realize why I decided to name this very blog post “25 Hours in Vienna”.image2 (3)

25 Hours Hotel in Vienna (Museums Quarter)

I mean, be prepared to have an architectural WOW factor in Vienna, especially the old town is full of amazing buildings. Absolutely every facade is a solid architectural masterpiece. And yes, this architecture is extremely beautiful and all, but sometimes… all you need is something just a bit quirkier than your standard hotel. So that’s exactly why I decided to spend my weekend in 25 Hours Hotel in Vienna.
Located right in the heart of the Museums Quarter (MQ), 25 Hours will be not only your favourite hotel but your favourite hang out place in the city. Their open bar has one of the best drinks, music, and sunsets in Vienna. I think nothing shows the true spirit of the Viennese life more than this crazy hotel: creative, artistic, fun, vintage & different. Their sustainable approach to the zero-waste and eco-friendly environment is one out of many other reasons why I will definitely go back there!
The hotel features a circus theme and the illustrations in the rooms are made by a Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek. And the outstanding interior design is made by Dreimeta.
In order to make your trip even healthier, you can attend the Yoga sessions that 25 Hours Hotel offers three times a week, or simply relax in the spa area with a steam bath and sauna!

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25 Hours Hotel in the Museum Quarter, Vienna

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View from 25 Hours Hotel Terrace

My favourite thing about mornings at 25 Hours Hotel was breakfast. As a vegetarian, sometimes I struggle to find the right nutrition on some hotel breakfast buffet because most of the hotels go for meat-based dishes. But not at 25 Hours! Just like their logo says “come as you are” they really are aware of the diversity of their visitors and this place makes sure everyone will feel equally welcome here.

After a decent breakfast, you also have a lot to discover in the Museum Quarter by itself: two of the most important museums MUMOK and LEOPOLD are located there, where they also run temporary exclusive exhibitions from all over the world.

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If you happen to visit the Austrian capital in August like me, be prepared for the heat. But once again, Vienna is a place with a lot of options. You can either join the locals on a hot sunny day and get refreshed at the Danube Island, or chill out in one of the many parks that Vienna has to offer. My favourite park in the city center is Stadtpark, which is very close to the old town. You can also visit Burggarten or Sigmund Freud park in front of the Votivkirche. And if you want to go to a more peaceful place head to Prater, or visit my all-time favourite park Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark on the 18th district.

And if you are a museum person and want to see the most iconic Kiss in the world, you should definitely check out the Belvedere Museum. The palace was built in the 18th century as a summer residence for the Prince Eugene of Savoy (what a lucky guy, don’t you think?).
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For your historical Viennese coffee and Sachertorte experience head over to Demel, a famous pastry and chocolate shop founded in 1786 that once served the Royal court. After Demel, you can have a luxurious shopping experience at the Golden Quarter. BUT if you trust me and go for more eco-friendly shopping, you will have a lot of options in Vienna! Places such asGreenground andZerum offer modern fashion made from organic materials. You can find super trendy vegan bags all from recycled polyester and more.

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Graben, Vienna

The food scene in Vienna deserves a completely separate post because, with a lot of Austrian traditional cuisine, this city is also one of the most vegetarian & vegan-friendly places I have ever been to. You have an enormous amount of options to try the most delicious vegan and vegetarian food from all over the world. And here’s a special shout out to Café Mendez for finally satisfying my cravings for the Mexican food with the most delicious vegetarian burger!

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Cafe Mendez, Karlsplatz, Vienna

Make sure to follow me on Instagram for the latest updates and be the first one who will hear the news from me! 

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brunch, Czech Republic, food, Hotel, photography, Prague, stories, travel, trip, Trips & Other Stories, Uncategorized

Where to Stay in Prague

It is no wonder Prague has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe during the last couple of years. A city where you can enjoy beautiful architecture, delicious food, one of the best beers and most importantly – cheap prices even during the most touristic season; July-August.

Prague’s beauty comes from that it wasn’t severely damaged during World War II. Therefore many of its historic buildings still remain intact today. Its buildings were also relatively untouched during the 17th and 18th century, which nowadays make Prague one of the most breathtaking cities with an unusual mix of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

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View from the Astronomical Tower in Prague

Here is where to stay in Prague in order to make the best out of your trip without breaking your bank!

1) Residence U Černého Orla
Located right in the heart of Prague’s old town, just 100 meters away from the historic Charles Bridge, Residence U Černého Orla is set in an elegant Baroque house. If you are looking for a vintage styled, centrally-located and budget-friendly hotel, you should definitely check out Residence U Černého Orla.
One of the best things about the hotel is the breakfast, which is served every morning during the weekdays from 7 – 11 a.m. and during the weekend from 8 – 11 a.m. at the Residence U Černého Orla Restaurant. It includes not only Czech but also international cuisine. You can have a fresh start of the day with a French or English breakfast alongside a lot of other options in their menu.
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The comfort about Residence U Černého Orla is that you can basically walk to anywhere in Prague’s old town and discover every little street by foot.
The iconic John Lenon Wall is just a two-minute walk from the hotel.
Also, if you’ll take my advice, leave your windows a bit open while you sleep, trust me, you will wake up to the most delicious Czech Chimney Cake smell, which is every dessert lover’s dream to find.

 

Another good thing about the hotel is that every day from 3 – 5 p.m. you can enjoy free snacks like fruit, club sandwiches and cookies.

If you need any help or advice from their friendly staff working there regarding entertainment in Prague, they will help you out at any time by arranging tickets to theatre performances and more.

 

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2) MeetMe 23
Another budget-friendly and super modern option you have while staying in Prague is MeetMe23. Located right in front of the Central Station and around 400 meters away from the National Museum of Prague, Meetme23 will give you a really comfortable vacation experience, with 24 hours reception desk. They even have a fun game called Escape-Game, which is your chance to win free drinks in the hotel’s restaurant.
Breakfast is served every morning from 7 – 10 a.m.
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You will also meet those cute blue figures at MeetMe23, where you will be able to create your own little figure right next to the reception desk, which will be a nice memory from your Czech trip.
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Now that you have an idea about where to stay in Prague, let me tell you about the Vegan-friendly places in the city. Because, as a pescatarian who is on her way to be vegan, it can be tricky for me to find good food on the go. While I love vegetarian food and am always ready to try something new, it’s next to impossible to find a meat-free dish in some areas.
If you’re a pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
As locals told me if you went to Prague ten years ago and said you were vegetarian, you might get a few raised eyebrows.
But thankfully things have totally changed since then. Places like Vegan’s Prague, Beas Vegetarian Dhaba, or Veget Bistro Café will blow your mind away with their super delicious Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine.

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Vegan Sushi in Prague

Stay tuned for my amazing weekend trip I took to Vienna while visiting Prague. Coming your way super soon!

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Astronomical Clock in Prague

Meanwhile, you can follow my journey on Instagram. Make sure to share your travel stories with me!

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Uncategorized

A Museum Hotel in Nice

As you might already know from my previous blog post I visited Milano earlier in April and I decided to go on an instant weekend trip to the French Riviera.

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Nice, France (Shot on iPhone)

Usually when I go traveling, I try to support the local business as much as possible: which includes dining/brunching in local cafes instead of international food chains, supporting local brands / vintage stores, supporting local artists and on and on. That is exactly why I decided to stay in WindsoR hotel while visiting Nice!
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Let’s all take a look at this amazing living museum / hotel, which has a very special history and will definitely leave you with an unforgettable experience.

Beginning of the Windsor Era:

The WindsoR hotel was built in 1895-96 by an architect from the Eifel school named B. Pachiaudi. its façade from old stones and its iron structure are characteristic for the architectural movement which started in the end of the 19th century. Later after the creation of this bourgeois building, the couple Redolfi-Strizot turned it into a hotel in 1942, which gained huge success with British tourists especially. And shortly after in the late 70’s Bernard took over the Hotel WindsoR and started to work on a project that would be far from the typical hotels style of that period. Firstly he decided to create a small swimming pool and a garden with exotic plants.

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Chambres d’artistes – Artist rooms:

In 1987 the idea of decorating each room by an artist was born and that’s how Hotel WindsoR turned into a museum nowadays. Some of the rooms were decorated by: Claude Rutault, Olivier Mosset, Philippe Perrin and every year there is at least one new artist from France (or abroad) who creates his/her own new room. For example there’s one room “Living Picture” which recreates one of the most iconic paintings “Arnolfini Portrait” by Jan Van Eyck:

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The Living Picture, Hotel Windsor, Nice, France

Every year hotel WindsoR also welcomes contemporary artists for their exhibitions. So while staying there, you will have not only the nicest hotel experience, but also the museum vibe and you will get to know the local artists as well, which is the cherry on top! The attractiveness of WindsoR hotel is how dramatically different every room is. My room being super modern and minimalistic, with one of the best views from the Balcony was a really nice choice for a simple taste person like me:

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But if you feel like Beyoncé, maybe you should book the “Golden room” and spend your holiday like you deserve after working so hard:

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With all of those amazing features mentioned above, the rooftop wellness and spa center will really make you super relaxed during your stay in Nice!
And also let’s not forget the most important part of the trip: FOOD! The breakfast Buffet at Hotel WindsoR is a mixture of typical French with international food. The only thing you should probably worry about it “how am I going to eat ALL OF THAT” because trust me, you will fall in love with their food options:

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Breakfast at Hotel WindsoR, Nice, France

Now that you all know how to spend your luxurious trip in Nice, let’s look around the city itself and highlight the main attractions.
Since I am not a museum person I did not visit museums or galleries, but I really got to see a lot of French artists already in the hotel, so I wouldn’t say I didn’t get a look at the local art.
My advice would be to go everywhere by walking, because Nice is a pretty small city with lots of narrow streets and a very nice beach, that definitely needs to be discovered by foot. It is not a surprise that almost everyone speaks Italian as a second language there and also the streets, food and architecture have a lot of Italian influence, since Nice was the part of Italy until 1860, when Italy decided to give the city as a gift to France for helping them defending themselves from the Austrians.

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A day trip from Nice: 

And of course if you happen to visit Nice, it’s a must to go to Cannes from there. You have 2 options: by train or by bus. Train is more expensive and faster, but if you ask me the bus is also quite a nice option since one way ticket costs only 1,50 euros and it takes around 2 hours to get to Cannes, but on the road you will also have a chance to see the French town of Antibes.

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Cannes, France

Cannes is famous with its super rich American (not only Americans though) tourists and the festivals! While I visited Cannes on the 8th of April, I got lucky enough to attend the Cannes Series festival. Keep in mind that sometimes, due to the festivals, you might not be allowed to enter some of the nicest beach zones.
And while walking on the seaside in between the breaks of the Cannes Series festival, I took some Wes Anderson style photos:

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Cannes, The French Riviera.

You should also keep in mind that The French Riviera is quite expensive ESPECIALLY if you end up on an instant trip from Italy like me, so make sure to look at your budget before planning your trip to the South of France, because you don’t want to miss out all of the nice places it has to offer!

For my up-coming trips & other stories make sure to follow me on Instagram.

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Bar, breakfast, brunch, cocktails, food, Italy, Milan, Uncategorized

Let’s Go Somewhere: Milano

As some of you might already know, I am not living in Lisbon anymore and instead, I decided to pursue my dreams in Sweden! So as a spoiled girl by the Portuguese weather, where you have summer basically 9 months per year, I suffered quite a bit surviving the Swedish winter. So as a true Scandinavian already (I try to adapt with the local places as soon as possible) I took an example from my fellow Swedes and I decided to treat myself with a short trip to the South of Europe. So I booked my flight to Milan for the first time ever to try the most delicious food in the world, to enjoy the warm April days and to attend the highly anticipated Milano Design Week.

I will not waste my time talking about the mainstream things like: “While in Milan you should definitely visit the Duomo Cathedral and etc.” Can we drop that already? it’s 2019! We DO know about the touristic attractions, what we need to learn more is how to discover the city like a local.

EATING OUT

After my arrival on a Saturday afternoon from Gothenburg to Bergamo airport, I decided to take a quick walk around the iconic Brera neighbourhood and then to rest a bit before partying like a local during the evening. As a huge pizza & cocktails fan, I decided to book a table at Dry Milano and to have the Saturday night out like a true Milanese.

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Dry Milano’s iconic Pizza!

DRY MILANO:
Dry Milano is the unique pairing of two unusual things (for Italy at least): Cocktails & Pizza. It’s a place that is characterized by its modern environment, good music, vintage vibes, and one of the rarest cocktails in town!

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Cocktail FRENCH75, Dry Milano, Via Solferino 33.

The best thing about Dry Milano is that you will definitely get in touch with the local culture because there are mostly Italians having drinks & dinner there. Also, the bar is famous for its best Pizza in town, but if you ask me, they also serve the BEST desserts in Milan.

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Dry Milano, Via Solferino 33

The staff working there are super friendly and open (like every Italian) and they are always there for you to give you the best tips about drinks and food that are being served in the restaurant. I would suggest you book your table at least 2 days in advance, especially if you want to visit Dry during Friday/the weekend.

GOD SAVE THE FOOD:

What I love about Italy is how they have this “breakfasting out” culture on a daily basis. And as a true breakfast/brunch lover I found my personal paradise called GOD SAVE THE FOOD right in the heart of Milan.

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Piazza del Carmine 1

For the Italian standards, GOD SAVE THE FOOD was the innovation in food business back in 2011, when they opened the first branch because unlike the typical Italian cafe, God Save the Food is the place you can visit at any time during the day/evening. Starting from 7.30 a.m. with the incomparable Italian Breakfast like Coffee with Cornetto Alla Crema, accompanying with Açaí bowl, continuing the afternoon with the Brunch/lunch menu, God Save the Food transforms into a dinner/drinks place during the evening!

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God Save The Food, Piazza del Carmine 1

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God Save The Food, Piazza del Carmine 1

So basically, if you go there several times a day, you will end up having a different vibe and experience each time. The idea of God Save the Food is to be accessible for EVERY kind of people (Worker, Freelancer, Tourist, Local, Student, etc) at ANY TIME.


I visited the one at the Brera Neighbourhood, because they have one of the most beautiful esplanade, where you can enjoy your food outside in one of the fewest places in Milano, where cars are not allowed, so you can have your delicious breakfast/brunch/lunch or dinner peacefully!

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Piazza del Carmine 1

In total there are 4 branches of God Save the Food in Milan: in the districts of Tortona, Brera, Piave / Porta Venezia and the last born on the -1 floor of Rinascente – Duomo, a catering service for events and private parties and a food truck for bringing God Save the Food around Italy.

PASTICCERIA LORIA:

you will see Pasticcerias (Italian small coffee shops/Bakery) basically on every corner of Milan, but Pasticceria Loria at Viale Piave 12 stole my heart with its modern design, delicious coffee and esplanade in the calm neighbourhood in Milan, where mostly local people live and hang out.
If you always walk while travelling and like to discover the city by foot (like me) Pasticceria Loria is a great place to rest a bit and get your energy back with its famous Macchiato and also a little Italian sweet never hurt nobody!

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Viale Piave 12

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Viale Piave 12

CAFFE’ CARLINO:

A well-travelled person once said: “An Italian breakfast a day will keep the doctor away”, unless you get diabetes, because they eat lots of sweets, but while on vacation I usually don’t follow the strict diet rules. So, I was falling in love with Italian little coffee shops all over again. I came across with the super local and super delicious Pasticceria called CAFFE’ CARLINO with an inviting interior design and the sweetest people working there! And unfortunately I missed it, but Caffe’ Carlino is famous with its Tortelli alla crema that is served ONLY during the carnival in February. So if you happen to visit Milano during late winter, make sure to stop by there especially for Tortelli and THANK ME LATER.

OUT AND ABOUT:
If you decide to discover Milan by foot (like me), because basically the weather is good almost 24/7 during Spring/Summer, you will need around 1,5 day/2 days in total to see EVERYTHING and even the things you did not know existed in Italy. My favourite neighbourhood to walk around is Brera (well like everyone else’s) and Navigli, which is very good for your Instagram!

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Navigli, Milan, Italy

For shopping (for a normal people) you can take a walk to Avenue of Buenos Aires, but for FANCY people you can shop around Duomo, or visit the new Porta Nuova district where you can get your Balenciaga sunglasses, Versace shirts or see the iconic Gucci wall, which changes every season!

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Porta Nuova, Milan, Italy

Stay tuned for the next blog post where I will be talking about my weekend trip from Italy to France!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram for the latest updates!

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