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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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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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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