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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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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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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