Amsterdam is my second home. A place of enchanting canals, hidden cocktail bars and an ever growing list of impressive eateries. You must, the moment you arrive, rent a bike. I somehow managed to live there for seven years without a bike. But now, when I visit, I realize the bike opens up the city in a completely new way.
With enough museums, shopping districts and beautiful parks your days will be packed with history, innovative design, architectural delights and flowers.
Spending the day in the Nine Streets and De Jordaan is something I always try to do. These areas have an ongoing buzz. They are filled with cute cafes and well-stocked shops. Above anything though, the canals and monuments make these neighborhoods cozy and such a pleasure to walk through. Luckily they are adjacent to each other and you can really spend the whole day and night here. To really get the best of these neighborhoods, book a hotel here.
Barcelona, the city by the sea. The city where art is displayed on almost every street corner, where fountains exude life and where the sea is always near. This city has a special place in my heart. I lived here for a very short period, though I think that during those months I was awake more hours every day than at any other time in my life.
This is the place to party, eat and see the architectural delights of Gaudi. From the Bario Ghotico to Camp Nou, Barcelona will show you the Catalan way of life.
Copenhagen, the hip and trendy capital of Denmark, is a calm and collected city. Given that I have only ever been there in the Summer, I might paint the picture of this city a bit more colourful than it might be should you go there in the Winter.
Copenhagen has three things I absolutely loved 1. a culinary pallet that reigns the world at the moment, 2. well thought out furniture (the design you keep hearing about) and 3. water - there is water everywhere and thus a boat tour is a must while visiting.
Though Copenhagen is small, allowing you to walk to most places, I do recommend you wear very comfortable shoes. For those of us not used to walking a lot - "just over the bridge" is much further than you may imagine.
New York City is one of my all-time favourite destinations. A city filled with excitement and buzz almost twenty four seven. I love the museums, strolling in Soho, the restaurants, the city lights and when spring comes along those gorgeous cherry blossoms.
Come rain or shine there is always something to explore and experience in NYC; hitting golf balls at Chelsea Piers, picnics in Central Park, boat tours to Staten Island and having 3 hour lunches.
The day we arrived in Stockholm it was cold. Well, cold for the likes of us - a group from the Caribbean. This statement might seem a bit odd considering I am writing about a Scandinavian city. But honestly, we were having the best streak of luck in terms of weather conditions on our Baltic tour. Though it was the beginning of June, most of my luggage included sweaters, thick socks and even gloves. Research had indicated that the beginning of summer was still a chilly period in the North.
Honestly I think we had one day of bad weather in Copenhagen, of which I was travelling and the rest of the group was unfortunately stuck in rain jackets on a tour boat. Nevertheless, day 2 of the trip marked the beginning of the amazing summer weather. In St. Petersburg, Russia, I was walking around in a sleeveless summer dress and in Tallinn, Estonia, it was so warm my jeans were a nuisance. So when we finally arrived in Stockholm and I had to wear my coat I was somewhat taken aback. Luckily this was a one day occurrence – as these pictures attest.
Stockholm is a beautiful city with very distinct neighborhoods. I loved the waterfront and the boat tours, but also the Ice Bar and the Absolute Vodka Museum (when in Rome….). People are friendly, the food is superb and the city is comfortable enough to walk through all day. Taxi’s are not, at least in 2013, too expensive – and when your feet hurt no ride is too costly for comfort. We toured the Vasa Museum, enjoyed the summer food market and brought home quite few Swedish design accessories for the kitchen. Mostly though, we ate. Though Danish restaurants are featured in magazines and books more often, at least to my knowledge, I found the restaurants and overall food experience in Stockholm more delightful. I must note, that we did not dine at Noma while in Copenhagen – and that may, or may not, have influenced my thinking.
We stayed in Stockholm for 3 days. We could have easily stayed another week and explored the outskirts and the archipelago. Next time we will. I am sure we will head there again in the future.
Where to stay
Hotel Skeppsholmen | Berns Hotel | Hotel Villa Kallhagen | Miss Clara by Nobis | Nobis Hotel | Radisson Blu Strand | Ett Hem |
What to do
Where to eat
Picture taken during one of our boat tours around the city. The water looks lovely - but you can chill a champagne bottle in it. The sun however, made is delightfully warm on the boat. If we could have gone around round we would have.
I am not certain at which restaurant this picture was taken. It is highly likely that it is at Mathias Dahlgren. We opted for the Food Bar - the more casual version of the two restaurants by this group. The food, simply amazing. Each bite is filled with an immense combination of tastes and surprises. The details, are everywhere, which make the whole experience increasingly better.
We bought these in Tallinn, we bought them again in Stockholm. These are deliciously roasted nuts with some type of secret spice combination. This was at a food market event in the middle of the city we accidentally found - you can't plan everything. At the market we also bought a special type of roasted coffee beans by Stockholm Roast.
The ice bar is one of those must do touristy things in Stockholm. Even if you prefer not to do any cliche touristy stuff - this must be on your list of things to experience. It is fun. It is cold. And we laughed so much. These are vodka cranberry shots - which would normally warm you up a bit, but not here. We stayed in the hotel, Nordic C Hotel, where this bar is located and thus it was unavoidable that we visit. And I am glad we did.