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.
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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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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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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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Denmark, NETFLIX, Norway, SPAIN, Sweden, Trips & Other Stories, TV SERIES, UK, USA

Why 2019 is the Year of Netflix

I have always been a movie-kind-of-girl, so when this TV SHOWS boom started all around the world, I was a bit sceptical, didn’t quite start immediately catching up with the latest trends. But my interest in TV Series started with the iconic BBC drama Peaky Blinders. Then I developed more faith in TV Series as I continued with The Fall, with the outstanding performance of Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson.

Netflix kicked off its 2019 with the debut of the first season of Sex Education and gave us even more expectations than ever. Sex Education will really leave you with a lot of laughter, sadness and some new dance skills. Doesn’t matter the age or gender, you’ll definitely relate to this show. Unlike the name, Sex Education is not only about sex, but also self-awareness and making the best out of every day.

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Credits to IMDB

Here are some TV SERIES that you should be checking out this year on NETFLIX:

PEAKY BLINDERS (UK)
Peaky Blinders is hands down the best acted and directed TV series of all time. Also, something that I really love about the series (the first season especially) is how remnants of the war really permeate in every character. There is a lot of TV series that explored the WW1 and its aftermath, but Peaky Blinders weaves these themes so uniquely. Then season 3 happened, where I heard my hometown Tbilisi, Georgia more than I expected and my fangirling went on another level.
But of course, after super intense season 4 featuring Adrien Brody, now the whole world is waiting for Thomas Shelby’s debut in the politics.

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Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders, Photographed by Robert Viglasky

BIG LITTLE LIES (USA)
You know sometimes by the end of a really good movie or TV series you wish you could wipe it from your mind just because you to have the pleasure of watching it again for the first time? Big Little Lies is exactly that type of TV show.

I should admit, when I first saw the cast, there were so many extremely famous Hollywood stars, I thought they were trying to “sell” the low-quality show just for the actors, but hands down Big Little Lies was the discovery of the year. As you already know, BLL is based on a book of the same name by Liane Moriarty. Even though she never published a sequel to the book, she wrote a new story that season 2 will be based on.
Also great news: Meryl Streep will appear on series 2 and my all-time favourite Swede Alexander Skarsgård teased that we might also see him back.

AND  who else is super excited just because of the Soundtracks? Yes, my Spotify playlist definitely needs to be updated.

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Alexander Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman in BIG LITTLE LIES, cc: IMDB

THE RAIN (DENMARK)
Scandinavians are leading the TV show game with their amazing Crime series, but The Rain is the first Scandinavian project made about the post-apocalyptic world. Featuring some rising stars like Alba August or Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesenand and some well-known ones like Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, The Rain is already on one of the top waiting lists of Netflix. If you enjoy foreign TV shows, want to practice your Danish skills and like to watch a really well-written post-apocalyptic series, you should definitely check out The Rain.

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Alba August and Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen in The Rain, cc: IMDB

DARK (GERMANY)
I started Dark just to practice my German language skills and it ended up to be my favourite TV series. First, when I started watching Dark, I didn’t even expect it to develop the way it did. From the first two episodes, I thought it was some crime/detective, but I ended up in sci-fi, time-travelling series with my favourite rising German actor aka Louis Hofmann.
Leaving us with plenty of questions, the final scene was just mind-blowing and a perfect material for season 2. Also, what I loved about the TV series is that it doesn’t only focus on just one main character, but every character is equally important for the script. As the writer Jantje Friese said, season two won’t just be following older versions of the characters: “We’ve done our thinking, and the second season would put more light on other people in the character structures we haven’t been through that much, while not losing some of the ones that you kind of came close to. But also introducing new ones, while maybe killing some other ones.”

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Louis Hofmann in Dark, cc: IMDB

LA CASA DE PAPEL (SPAIN)
Favourite part of the show? Learning how to swear in Spanish!
La Casa de Papel or Money Heist as they call it in English is the TV series about the biggest heist in history. The storyline, if you ask me, about the heist itself is extremely well-thought and well-written. Also a big compliment to the actors. I know, everyone is a fan of Tokyo, but every character is a perfect match for each role.
And we definitely need to know what the genius mind “el Profesor” is going to do with all of that money he got from the historical heist in the Spanish capital.

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La Casa de Papel, cc: IMDB

THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD (UK)
It’s funny and at the same time an emotional guide through the minds of 2 awkward teenagers with psychological traumas. Step by step, while watching the series, you start to develop a lot of sympathy towards the characters. And also (personal opinion alert) I just love ambiguous endings, when you can decide how it could’ve ended. Even though the series is originally based on a comic book by Charles Forsman, and the comics end where the first season ends, the TEOTFW announced that “they’ll be f***ing back”. No one knows when the season 2 will air, though. But we all expect it to be somewhere in 2019.

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Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther in THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD, cc: IMDB

YOU (USA)
Honestly, after YOU I officially decided to buy books online from now on, for a while I was even terrified to enter a book store. But now seriously, the message about all of the Insta-fame, faking our lives in Social Media and how unsafe all of that can be, got me really scared. It is true that Joe is an actual psychopath, but I just love it how he has the explanation for every cruel and mad thing he does, and how he believes in them. He also is a bit of “genius” because the final episode got me completely shocked. (SPOILER ALERT) Beck’s death was much unexpected but so well-planned from Joe’s side. Also, Candace coming back from “Italy” and the suspicious private detective of Peach might be a really good hope for the season 2.

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Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail in YOU, cc: IMDB

Alongside those 7 TV series, a lot more highly anticipated ones are coming out this year like GAME OF THRONES, STRANGER THINGS, LINE OF DUTY, MINDHUNTER and etc.

Also, Netflix is focusing on creating more foreign language series. The first ever Norwegian Netflix series Ragnarok will be shot in Norway and Denmark during 2019. Scandinavian fans already have high expectations, because the creator of Borgen, one of the best Danish TV series of all time, will be working on Ragnarok.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram for the latest updates.
E-mail me: hello@thefedorahat.com

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Arctic Monkeys, brazil, Denmark, lisbon, Norway, Oslo, portugal, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Sweden, travel, Trips & Other Stories

Going Places: My 2018

Do you also get asked by the end of each year questions like “So, how would you sum up your year? Did you get what you wanted?” I decided to recall the highlights of my amazing 2018 chronologically and share them with all of you.

January 2018: LISB-ON
First time when I visited the Portuguese capital to do my summer language course was in 2016, and that’s when I fell in love with the Portuguese language, culture and the city itself. Then I had a bit of longer reunion with Lisbon in 2017, but it seemed like spending 2-3 months there were never enough. I  wanted to have the experience of living in Lisbon for a longer period and also I wanted to become fluent in Portuguese. This goal of mine was finally achieved when I got the Scholarship to do the part of my Masters at FLUL.
Going back to the city where you made a lot of new friends and unforgettable memories are always one of the best things that can happen to you. Being in Portugal for the third time, it really felt like home. Arriving at Terminal 1 at the Lisbon Airport, I had a feeling that after one year of “being somewhere else” I finally found my way back home. We all have different stories in absolutely every city we’ve ever been to. That’s why we like some cities more than others. With every new visit, you realize that something has changed, that there’s something you did not notice before and always something new waiting for you. Sometimes you miss those cities like you miss a person, and you can’t wait to see them again.

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Rossio, Lisbon, Portugal

March 2018: Rio de Janeiro
While walking around LX FACTORY in Lisbon and doing some Vintage shopping I saw a quote on the wall of one shop there saying “Do you remember your dreams?” and I thought of one of the biggest dreams of mine: BRAZIL!
Since I was way closer to Brazil from Portugal than I’ve ever been from Georgia, I decided not to postpone achieving my goals for more and I booked my trip to Rio de Janeiro. It was totally worth it. Everything happened so fast and unplanned, sometimes I still question the reality of my Brazilian trip, but you can see Rio from my perspective on my first edition of the series Let’s Go Somewhere

June 2018:
OSLO
Coming back from Brazil, I immediately booked my trip to Scandinavia, because I decided that 2018 was about to be “The year of my goals”. Even though Norway is way more popular with its wild nature and mountains, I decided to visit the capitals of 3 of the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
with a lot of handsome people, fancy coffee shops and beautiful parks, I had a total privilege of seeing the iconic “SCREAM” live and witness the cold, rainy Norwegian summer, but it was so worth it.

STOCKHOLM
From my previous blog post, you can have a sneak peek of why I loved Stockholm so much. When I took a super long ride with a train from Oslo to Stockholm, the weather was finally nice and summerish. I got to know some of the most fun Swedes while walking around the city or chilling near the riverside. One of the main things I have realized was that Swedes are not as socially awkward as some people say they are. I have heard sentences like: “a Swede will never talk to you unless you make the first move, after that they are friendly, helpful and nice.” Well, I suppose each one of us has a completely different experience in every country. So from my experience Swedes are pretty outgoing, helpful, funny and friendly. Thanks to them I discovered some places in Stockholm where only locals hang out and I was also lucky enough to celebrate “Midsummer” with my newly-made Swedish friends.

COPENHAGEN
After visiting Copenhagen I finally got it why Danes are considered as the “happiest nation” in the world.  I can’t really say that my experience in Denmark was completely different than the other Scandinavian cities, but there was something magical about the Danish capital that made me want to re-visit the city all over again. Copenhagen has this mystic vibe of attracting everyone and making it super hard for each one of us to leave.

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Nyhavn, Copenhagen

So far Copenhagen proudly has the 1st place of my all-time favourite cities. And the Tivoli Gardens deserve a completely separate post dedication because this place is really as magical as in the movies.

July 2018: LAGOS
Re-visiting the places where I have been to in Portugal was one of the best decisions ever. I visited Lagos in 2016 and after 2 years I have realized how much it has changed in a way that there were a lot more tourists and new pubs opened/owned by Brits.
The weird thing about tourism in Portugal is transportation. Even though Lagos and Algarve coast, in general, is the most touristic destination of all, they still don’t have a lot of transport options from Lisbon to there. For example, you can’t find a train going to Lagos, so if you don’t rent a car, the only option for you left is a bus, which is actually comfortable but a bit too tiring. image4
July 2018: NOS ALIVE & ARCTIC MONKEYS

Since 2007, when the FAVOURITE WORST NIGHTMARE was out, Arctic Monkeys keep being my favourite band. As music is one of the most touching pieces of art form that can influence your life, the quote of my beloved Alex Turner explains it all why I fell in love with the Monkeys: “There’s always that one band that comes along when you are 14 or 15 years old that manages to hit you in just the right way and changes your whole perception of things.”
Exactly on my flight day to Lisbon back in January, Nos Alive (The annual festival that takes place near Lisbon every July) announced that they were hosting THE ARCTIC MONKEYS. So the first thing I did after my 5 hours flight to Lisbon and being all jet-lagged, was getting the Nos Alive ticket. Hands down it was one of the most memorable shows I have ever been to.

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Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, Nos Alive 2018, Portugal

August 2018: LISB-OFF
So let me get a little emotional here. As my Exchange Program was full of adventures, dreams and new experience, as they say, everything has to come to an end. So by the end of August, I left Lisbon full of new experience (academic and life experience as well) hopes and new dreams. Can I just mention how important it is for any student to make an exchange program at least once in their lives? Because it is so mind-opening and helps you grow culturally on a level that nothing else will ever help. Being on an unfamiliar ground makes you more familiar about your true self. Suddenly you learn how to communicate with people from different cultures, you learn that there might be someone on the other side of the world who will become your best friend. It outdoes absolutely any kind of “office job” experience that you can get by doing the same job for years and years. So please do yourself a favour and promise me to pack & discover the world right now.

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Miradouro da Santa Luzia, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon will keep being my home doesn’t matter where I am/will be based. This city gave me so much love, friendship, experience and opportunities that it’s impossible for me to talk about Portugal without being too emotional. How can I not adore Portugal when this country received me with the warmest welcome for the third time in a row!

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Lisbon, Portugal

The hardest thing in 2018 was saying goodbye to Lisbon, realizing that this specific chapter has been closed for now.

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@thefedorahat girl in Lisbon

While writing this blog post I have realized how many things can happen in just one year and how we should always take risks and follow our paths.
Share your 2018’s adventures with me on Instagram and let’s have a fresh start of 2019!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

With love,
Ani
@TheFedoraHat

 

 

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Stockholm, Sweden, Trips & Other Stories

Let’s Go Somewhere: Stockholm

In the second edition of the series “Let’s Go Somewhere” you will get to know the highlight of my Scandinavian trip AKA Stockholm from my perspective.

No wonder why I fell in love with the Swedish culture at a very young age when I was raised up reading Astrid Lindgren’s books or watching Ingmar Bergman‘s iconic movies. Always being curious about a Scandinavian culture I was rather excited to visit Sweden for the very first time in my life.

I won’t waste your (or my) time speaking about Stockholm on a geographical level and the number of islands the city covers, or all of the other things that you can easily Google. I’d rather share my personal experience about why I fell in love with Stockholm:

THE  SCANDINAVIAN  SUMMER
Even though I booked my trip to Sweden from Lisbon (where summer starts in early April and lasts ’till November) I still think Scandinavian summer is the most beautiful thing one can witness and experience. Visiting Stockholm in mid-June I was lucky enough to attend their cultural “Midsummer” celebration and to enjoy the sunny weather for almost 20H a day.

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Stockholm, Sweden


Cafés
As a person who enjoys a decent breakfast and tries to spend as much time in coffee shops as possible, Stockholm was my personal paradise. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the retro 1920’s style Café like Vete-Katten  where they serve one of the best coffees with a lot of dessert options like their iconic Carrot Cake or Cinnamon Buns.

Another highlight of my food experience was STHLM BRUNCH CLUB, where they have one of the best brunch menus alongside the coolest Scandinavian interior design and very friendly staff. They also have Vegan & Gluten-free options. To start your day with the Chia + Mango Bowl menu with a PINK fresh juice (a mixture of Strawberry, apple, ginger and mint) is a great way to stay healthy and energized. And you should definitely check out their MOCKTAILS (my favourite was BRUNCH CLUB’S MIMOSA) and Milkshakes or as they’d call them –  FREAKSHAKES like Donutella, Death by Chocolate (which sounds like a perfect way to die) and a Cookie Monster.

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Dalagatan 24, 113 24 Stockholm, Sweden

If you’re aware of the most Swedish thing FIKA – a coffee break that usually consists of coffee or tea and something sweet like cookies or Cinnamon buns is an important part of the national culture. You can Fika (it’s a verb and a noun as well) with your friends and even on your first date, you should definitely check out Bröd & Salt and get in touch with the local culture.
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After these fancy coffee shops mentioned above, I already knew that Stockholm was exactly my place to be. But then I came across one place called “Breakfast & Wine” and as a Georgian, I could not think of a better combination of my daily food must-haves. So I decided to give this place a try and guess what? It ended up in my “go-to” breakfast/brunch places in Stockholm.

And lastly, a bit of sad story as you won’t be able to check this place out since it closed its doors forever on December 22nd, 2018 SNICKARBACKEN7 was a really nice place to discover by myself in Stockholm. With the typical Swedish eco-friendly interior and one of the best coffees ever, SNICKARBACKEN7 was also popular with the local people. But GOOD NEWS: for you to have a bit of idea how cool this place was, you can still visit and enjoy their other Cafés like Kaffeverket, Gastcafe or Kavallerietcafe.

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Snickarbacken 7, 111 39 Stockholm, Sweden

FOTOGRAFISKA
I am not even a museum person, but as a photography geek, Fotografiska is one of my favourite museums all around the world. It is one of the world’s largest meeting point for contemporary photography and on the top floor, you also have a restaurant which recently won the prestigious Gold Dragon Award and is run by the well-known chef Paul Svensson.


NIGHTLIFE
Stockholm has one of the best options with trendsetting new eco-architecture and a diverse nightlife scene ranging from live jazz clubs like Fasching to some exotic cocktail bars like Tiki Room. And of course, if you happen to visit Stockholm somewhere from May ’till September you should check out Trädgården – an open-air club which has the authentic festival vibe. While walking around Stockholm on a Friday night you will end up having a lot of new, delicious cocktails & dreams.


To sum up my trip to Sweden I would definitely use the most Swedish word “Lagom” which means just “Right” or “just about enough, but not too much“. The word perfectly describes the Swedish cultural and social ideals of equality and fairness. Maybe that’s why I fell in love with Sweden so much, or maybe the Skarsgård brothers were another good reason.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and be the first to check what’s coming up next!

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brazil, photography, stories, travel, trip, Trips & Other Stories

Let’s Go Somewhere: Rio de Janeiro

Let’s Go Somewhere is a new project by The Fedora Hat where I will talk about the dreamy destinations I have been to. Of course, I decided to start the series with Rio de Janeiro, since it has always been a dream of mine to visit Brazil at least once in a lifetime.

Being born and raised in the capital of Georgia during the late ’90s, Brazilian culture with Globo telenovelas and Bossa Nova was very popular there, still is. Rio is definitely every Georgian’s dream destination, but if you for a second look at the map and see how far Brazil is from us, you will realize why most of Georgians think that they will never make it to South America. In my case, living in Portugal helped me a lot to achieve my goal since I was way closer to Brazil than ever before. So at the beginning of March, I booked a direct flight to Rio de Janeiro with TAP Airlines and spent the most exhausting 10H on the airplane, but oh boy, it was so worth it!

Here are some tips from me before you head off to Brazil’s most iconic city and discover Rio like a local:

  1. Rio is not THAT scary.
    First things first! Before my trip to Brazil, I read some blog posts about Rio and how dramatically scary it is. Also being friends with a lot of Brazilians in Lisbon, they warned me too about the danger in the city, but after seeing my confused face mixed with a bit of panic, they added: “To be honest, there might not happen a thing, but the CHANCES of happening something horrible are rather high.” I definitely confirm this quote, because literally, nothing happened to me during my stay in Brazil. It’s always better to be on a safe side and not to show off with your expensive cameras or phones. Try to always be and act like a local. One thing I did was keeping my phone always in my fanny pack and not wearing too many accessories or attention-catchy things.

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    Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  2. The iconic touristic places.
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    Pão de Açúcar, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Of course, Rio without Copacabana, Leblon or Ipanema is a Rio wasted, but my tip would be in order to avoid extremely overpriced hotels or Airbnb in these areas, you can simply book a cheaper option somewhere close by and take Metro to anywhere. Metro is the safest transport option in Rio and is newly renovated with air-condition and some Portuguese tiles’ art going on. Unlike Europe, in Rio they don’t have daily/weekly/monthly pass in Metro, so basically you need to charge your card for each use. One way ticket costs 4 Brazilian Reais.

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    Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    While at Copacabana make sure to visit Lala’s Coworking de Beleza & Café , where you can have the most delicious Brigadeiro cake while having your nails/hair done!

    Also, unlike the European city center, the center of Rio (Centro) is pretty dangerous if you visit it after 5 p.m. During the day the neighbourhood is busy with Business centers and working people going on, but after 5 in the afternoon you might be the only one walking there, that’s when it gets a bit scary. From Centro you can walk to either Lapa and check the famous stairs, where you always have at least one Brazilian playing the perfectly out of tuned Bossa Nova

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    Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Or also to take a walk and visit Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) and check what the future holds.

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    Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    For swimming forget Copacabana and Ipanema and go to Barra da Tijuca instead, where usually the local people go. The beach and the water there is way cleaner, and the neighbourhood – safer. It was one of the fewest occasions where I could take pictures without my friend shouting at me to keep my phone in the bag.
    Also, you will find a lot of cosy & fancy coffee shops with (finally) free Wi-Fi in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood.

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    Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  3. A taste of the famous Açaí while visiting the Botanical Gardens of Rio.
    When they first warned me not to ever use my phone in the streets of Rio, my first question was “but how am I going to orientate without using GPS?” but Rio turned out to be the easiest place to walk around because basically everything has the same name. For example: for The Botanical Gardens you have the station called “The Botanical Gardens” which is situated on “The Botanical Gardens” avenue, easy-breezy. And on your way there, you have one place called BIBI, where they serve the best Açaí in the whole city!

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    The Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  4. Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer.
    Since I had a really bad experience and I almost left Rio without seeing the main attraction (Christo Redentor) I decided to share my tips for you. Being in Rio at the beginning of March it was foggy and cloudy most of the days. And if it’s sunny down on Copacabana, it might be super foggy at Corcovado, so it’s better to check out their website Corcovado ao vivo where you can see live if the Statue of Christ is visible. Because when I first went there, they were not even selling the tickets due to clouds that made the statue disappear.
    My advice would be to take the shuttle bus to Corcovado instead of the Funicular because it’s way cheaper and also it stops at one viewpoint place “Mirante Dona Marta” from where you have the most beautiful view over Rio de Janeiro.

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    Mirante Dona Marta, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    The ticket office usually opens at 8 a.m and it’s always better to go there early because around 10 a.m. there were so many people at the Statue already that you could even barely move, not to talk about how many failures we had during taking a decent picture.

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    Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  5. A day trip from Rio.
    A really cool day trip you can have from Rio de Janeiro is Petrópolis. It takes around 2H to get there and you have buses going almost anytime during the day. The trip is quite cheap and is worth visiting because from a very Brazilian city of Rio you will end up in a German look-a-like, safer and more “European” Petropolis. If you’ll read a bit of history from the early 1800s, Germans immigrated to Brazil and started spreading their culture there. Nowadays, the most “developed” parts of Brazil are exactly the German-influenced parts. Fun fact about Petrópolis is that during his last years, Stefan Zweig was living there with his wife. He ended his life there. You can even watch a movie about his life called “Stefan Zweig, Farewell to Europe” and you will see a lot of Brazil going on there.

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    Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Make sure to follow me on Instagram and be the first one to see what’s coming up next!

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Trips & Other Stories

Breakfast in Lisbon

Are you a morning person like me? Do you plan to visit the Portuguese capital sometime soon? Do you enjoy fancy design, calm music, best kind of coffee, fluffy pancakes and amazing people? Then you should thank me later!

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Every early-bird will agree with me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I decided to use my chance to discover most of the breakfast/lunch places in Lisbon during my one year stay there. I started my observation on Lisbon’s cafes in 2016 and finally made up my mind in 2018 while living my happy life there. Meanwhile, a lot of coffee shops closed, some new ones opened, some disappointed me too much, but at least half of them made me happy. I decided to make a challenge “a new place a week” and despite a lot of disappointments, when I could simply go to Copenhagen Coffee Lab (for example) and enjoy the decent atmosphere there, I am still proud that I did not give up on trying new places every week.

It’s not a surprise that my favourite neighbourhoods turned out to be Estrela, São Bento and Campo de Ourique, which have far too many cosy and delicious breakfast cafés, and a cherry on top of a cake: they are not so touristic and overcrowded as the Downtown.

Here’s the list of my top 5 Cafés in Lisbon:

1. Amélia

Amélia is hands down my favourite spot in Lisbon and one of my favourites all around the world. Even though it’s in one of the calmest and fanciest neighbourhoods in Lisbon, they still have a lot of tourists and queues going on. During the weekend you might need about 1 hour until you get your seat, but trust me, it’s worth it. Starting from the interior design, ending with the open terrace backyards, Amélia offers you a lot of variety of Breakfast must-haves, with an unusual Pink Hummus or Açaí smoothies on top of it.

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Rua Ferreira Borges 101, Lisbon

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2. Dear Breakfast

The name already gives you high expectations. The minimalist designed interior with some Bossa Nova and heavenly delicious coffee is a great start of the day. You should keep in mind, that especially during weekends, Dear Breakfast is super busy and you might need at least 30 minutes to be in a live queue. Being Georgian, this “live queue” thing was extremely weird to me, but after a while, I got so used to it that now I even miss it.

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Rua Gaivotas 17, Lisbon

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3. Early Birds Lisbon

While walking around S. Bento on a sunny Sunday morning I came across with The Early Birds Lisbon, where they received me with the warmest welcome ever. Since then it became my second home because I decided to try every breakfast/brunch options they had! Early Birds are probably the only place which I visited more than 5 times in a row. With the best Customer Service experience that I had so far in Lisbon, the fluffy pancakes made with a “secret recipe” are every food lover’s dream to find. They also have a kids’ room and a secret garden. Thank me later!

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Rua nova da piedade 89, Lisbon

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4. Tease

As a huge Chai Latte geek, Tease was my personal paradise and plus they serve one of the best pancakes in town!

Tease has 2 branches in Lisbon: One at Cais do Sodré and the other (newly opened somewhere in late spring of 2018) on São Bento. The new branch is big enough to endure the number of people even during the weekends, so luckily you won’t have to be in the queue.

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Tease at Cais do Sodré, Rua de S. Paulo 160, Lisbon

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Tease at São Bento, Rua da Quintinha 70 B, Lisbon

5. Veganeats

One of the main reasons I always come back to Portugal is the people I’ve met there. Every time I visit Veganeats, it reminds me how much I love this country and how sweet a human being can be. Not to mention the most delicious vegan options they have there, the family-run small café is every chocolate cake lover’s dream place.

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Rua Caaleiro da Oliveira 42, Lisbon

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Share your go-to Breakfast spots in Lisbon & from all over the world with me on Instagram with a Hashtag #TheFedoraHat and I will repost my favourites!
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