In collaboration with Bolsover Cruise Club

I probably have mentioned it several times: Europe is my favourite continent :) This is because of its cultural heritage and immense diversity. And best of it: everything is located in close proximity. This is what makes weekend trips so easy from London. Just hop on a plane and a couple of hours later you could be eating tapas in Spain, walking along the Seine in Paris, exploring the Colosseum in Rome, dancing in strange hipster clubs in Berlin (like last weekend!), visiting the opera in Vienna, or surfing in Portugal. There are 44 countries in Europe and each one has its own history, culture, food and often also language.

Since I have lived most of my life in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK I had lots of opportunities to travel around Europe – even if it was just a for weekend. There was one summer when we literally had a weekend beach trip planned every second weekend for almost two months. It was lots of fun but also a bit exhausting.. but exchanging rainy London for summer in Ibiza, Mallorca and Croatia does sound very tempting, doesn’t it?

Europe for the first, second & third time

If you visit Europe for the first time, I’d suggest you focus on the major must-see cities in Europe. In my opinion, they include London (of course!), Paris and Rome. If you have more time or decide to come back, you could visit Barcelona, Prague and Venice. Though you’d have a good idea by then about the cultural diversity in Europe, you still haven’t been to the other must-see places like Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, the Alps, Iceland, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Tuscany, Lisbon, Stockholm, Athens, Krakow, Berlin, Edinburgh & the Highlands, Amsterdam, Ghent, Lake Bled, Zurich, Brussels, nor the German Christmas markets, nor the Croatian and Greek islands…etc. Do you see what I’m trying to say? There are SO MANY amazing cities and places to visit in Europe. You pretty much can’t get it wrong – just take your pick and get started!

Madrid Photography - Europe Travel List

My Travel Bucket List for Europe

My travel bucket list for Europe for the couple of years consists of a few known places and loads of more ‘alternative’ places to visit in Europe. This is the list in a random order: Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), Dinant (Belgium), Vernazza (Italy), Vaduz (Liechtenstein), Colmar (France), Bukarest & Transylvania (Romania), Lake District & Cotswold (UK), Iceland, nature in Norway and possibly Faroe Islands. On top of this probably some more pretty Greek islands for summer :)

This post is in collaboration with Bolsover Cruise Club, one of the largest independent cruise agents in the UK. You can book all sorts of cruises with them from just exploring the beauty of Norway to cruising around the world (something I definitely want to do some day!).  And if you are starting your cruise from Southampton in the UK you don’t have any luggage restrictions and can all of your 20 pairs of shoes and bags with you :)

 

 

Last weekend I went on a little  trip to Berlin with 8 ladies. It started out as a friend’s work trip and then turned into a birthday weekend girls only trip :) I took a morning flight from London to Berlin and arrived just in time for checking in to our rooms. The other girls had already been drinking on the roof terrace of the hotel, so they were quite tipsy when I arrived haha. We stayed at Soho House Berlin and hence had to plan in at least some time for hanging out in the SPA. Friday afternoon worked out perfectly for checking out the steam room and sauna – not to mention the shower in our room: there were at least 8 different beauty products to explore :)

Holocaust Memorial

After some time in the SPA we visited the Holocaust Memorial. When you visit this place, don’t forget to also go to the museum which explains the whole history of the genocide. The museum is located on the site of the memorial and the entrance is free.

Brunch at Father Carpenter

On the Friday evening we had dinner at Katz Orange and then one more cocktail at the bar in Soho House before calling it a rather early night. Saturday morning started with brunch at Father Carpenter (you have to try their banana bread!!) followed by strolling around Berlin.

After Brunch Walk

We started off walking together (the 8 of us) and slowly ended up in little groups until we later found each other again in the hotel haha. Our little group of 4 walked over to Unter den Linden, Checkpoint Charlie and then took a taxi to the East Side Gallery. It was still freezing cold and so we were already back in the hotel by late afternoon to relax (and properly warm up) before dinner.

Unter den Linden

Checkpoint Charlie

East Side Gallery

After another SPA session and a cocktail at Green Door we had dinner at Panama Restaurant.  I’m not sure how we came up with the idea to go to Sisyphos Club afterwards but it definitely was an experience. Needless to say we were entirely overdressed and way too sober for this sort of night out but it was fun in the end. I was in bed by 4 am whilst some of our group only came back to the hotel at 7 am :)

Brandenburg Gate

Sunday started a bit later than planned – though I managed to go swimming in the pool of the hotel’s roof terrace before checkout :). We walked over to the Brandenburg Gate and then slowly made our way to House of Small Wonder where we had brunch.

House of Small Wonder

The food was really amazing and interior looks super pretty. The cappuccino was a bit short of being impressive, so don’t bother if you value good coffee. My friends liked the matcha latte though, so try this one instead :)

After brunch we headed back to Soho House and then took a taxi to the airport – back to London. Bye bye, Berlin.

Clapham WC

What a fun weekend! On Friday I met with two friends for dinner at Campania & Jones before heading over to dance to some electronic music at Oval Space. I didn’t know the DJs (it’s not my kind of music usually) but it was lots of fun. On Saturday Michael and I went to Clapham to have brunch. As we decided to walk through the park first it was a bit late for brunch afterwards, so we went straight for wine and snacks at WC – a super cosy little restaurant/wine bar in a former public toilet (hello quirky London!). Unfortunately they don’t serve hot beverages, so instead of a Cappuccino I had to do with an Espresso Martini haha. In the evening we (7 girls!) joined in for the craziness at Elysee, a Greek restaurant near Goodge Street where you get to smash plates and dance on them, and guys, listen up, there is also a belly dancer!

 

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

After spending a three days in Pula we were headed to Slovenia where our road trip would finish a few days later. Rather than driving straight from Pula to Portorož (our first stop in Slovenia), we decided to split up the way to have lunch in Rovinj and then visit the Kozlovic Winery during the afternoon. It turns out, this was an amazing decision :) We had such a lovely time in the beautiful town of Rovinj and the most perfect setting for a wine tasting at the Kozlovic winery. Also their wines were really nice. I especially fell in love with their Malvazija wines. Too bad they don’t deliver internationally yet, else this would be on my wine order list for summer :)

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

The winery offers 9 different wine tasting programmes. We had a guided walk through all the different stages of the wine production process and visited the wine cellar before tasting 5 different wines on the terrace. Each wine was accompanied with a new selection of matching nibbles.

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

Winery Kozlović Croatia Photos Travel Blog

If you are in Istria and would like to visit a winery that offers a great selection of wines, yummy nibbles and a beautiful view, check out Kozlovic. This is their address: Vale 78, Momjan, 52460 Buje, Istria. Call them to book a wine tasting here.

 

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

We had an early start on Sunday to make most of the last day of skiing. Half of our group already finished around noon after which Michael, Paul and I headed over again to ski down the black piste. This one was even more fun than the day before as it had snowed more over night and there was lots of new snow on the slope. I didn’t know that powder-skiing is so much fun! The bumpy,  steep part of the black piste was like a playground where almost everyone who decided to ski down, slipped as least once. Yet falling down was like landing on a soft pillow so it wasn’t too bad after all.

Pretty Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Black Piste

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Time for Lunch And Then One More Black Piste Run

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Back down to the gondola station

Doesn’t this village look gorgeous? I’m not used to have a lot of snow at home (especially not in London!) so I couldn’t get enough of this view and had to stop on the side of the slope to take loads (!) of photos :)

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

Les Carroz Grand Massif Skiing Photos Winter Wonderland

To see the photos of the first and super sunny day of skiing, click here, and for the second day, click here.

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

The second day of skiing was super cloudy with not much sun at all. But it had snowed over night and the snow conditions on the slopes were even better than the day before. It was a bit colder so I decided to wear 4 layers instead of two. After a couple of hours of skiing we headed to L’Anfionne and all had hot chocolate – so good, especially the ones that came with a shot :) Later during the day, Paul, Michael and I decided to take the black piste that looked so pretty from the lift.. it was very pretty but much more exhausting than I thought.

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

The morning view in Les Carroz :)

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Welcome to Winter Wonderland!

Doesn’t it look so cute and idyllic? It must be so nice to spend Christmas here. Especially if you are usually used to rainy instead of white Christmas..

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Hot Chocolate on the Slopes..

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Black Piste – The First Run

So it turns out that the black pistes are not as well prepared as the other slopes. For this black piste this resulted in a bumpy, powdery slope with black steepness. Fun. Though it would have been much more fun if my knees were just a little bit stronger (like at least 10x stronger..). Then I would be able to ski down in one go rather than having little breaks after 4 to 5 turns. Paul (our friend who was born on skis) did not really need any of these breaks but he was patiently adjusting to our speed. Also I think it must have looked incredibly funny to see everyone fall down at least once. And yes, also Paul slipped (ha!) and there was another guy on skis who started to ski down so beautifully and then fell down head first into snow haha. He was fine, but lost both of his skis and had a hard time getting them back on his feet.. :)

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing in Les Carroz Grand Massif Photos France

Skiing Les Carroz France

Last night we came back from a long weekend skiing trip to Les Carroz in France. We were a fun little group consisting of Michael, Michael’s friend Paul, his girlfriend Hannah, and Will, a friend of Paul’s. All of us stayed in the apartment of Hannah’s parents which is located a few minutes walk from the ski bus stop. Hannah and Paul were such amazing hosts. They even got coffee and croissants for us from the local coffee shop in the morning :)

Skiing Les Carroz France

The first day of skiing in Les Carroz was superb. We had close to perfect snow, sunshine non-stop, not a single cloud, and it was nicely cold. Paul learnt skiing as a child which you can see the minute he starts racing down the slopes. The dynamics of our ski group worked perfectly: I love to go fast but my knees need frequent breaks (and my technique is far from perfect). This way I could relax for a minute each time when we were waiting for everyone to catch up.

I usually go skiing around April so that the days are a bit longer and it’s not so freezing cold. Yet going skiing in winter means that you can ski during sunset which was super beautiful. I didn’t bring my camera on the first day and only had the GoPro with me. I haven’t checked the videos yet but I hope there will be some sunset material. I did bring my camera the next day when, of course, the sun entirely disappeared and it was foggy and snowing. What a timing!

Skiing Les Carroz France

Skiing Les Carroz France

Skiing Les Carroz France

Collaborative Post 

Rio de Janeiro has long been considered one of the world’s most visually striking cities. And in 2016 much of the world got a sense of its spirit and character as well, while we all tuned in to watch the Summer Olympics take place there. It’s probably fair to say Rio is as hot a tourist destination as ever – likely making it onto many international travelers’ long-term bucket lists.

Beyond picking out a destination, however, it’s also important to plot out what you might get up to once you’re there. So given the city’s general appeal and trendiness of late, here’s our travel bucket list specifically for Rio.

Rio Janeiro

See Christ the Redeemer

Chances are that when you picture Rio de Janeiro in your mind, you see Christ the Redeemer towering over the city. Built on a hill, this statue of Jesus Christ is a legitimate wonder of the world, and it draws huge numbers of tourists ever year. The statues is incredible no matter where you happen to glimpse it from, but seeing it up close is particularly special. There are three options for how to visit, which are helpful to know about when you’re in town. You can take the cog train, ride in a van, or take a hike, which is a fairly long one but not too strenuous. Whatever you decide on, the statue is something to behold up close.

Ride The Cables

The other landmarks that dominate Rio’s landscape are the high, rounded mountains that tower over the harbor. Sugarloaf is the highest of them, and you can reach the summit by taking multiple cable car rides. The first is from the Red Beach to Urca Hill, and the second takes you through the air from Urca Hill to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain (which is nearly six football fields above sea level, to give you some idea of what to expect). The ride itself is a treat, and the views from the top are excellent.

Party On Copacabana

Copacabana is the most famous of Rio’s several beaches, known for its sheer size, the crowds that flock to it, and the party-like atmosphere that can dominate the landscape. Realistically the reputation is somewhat overblown; it’s not as if there’s a nonstop party happening there. Nevertheless, it’s fun to stroll on the beach, hang out for a while, and generally take part in the buzz that’s always present. It’s one of the most active and enjoyable beaches on the planet.

Rio Janeiro

Dance At Rio Scenarium

One could argue that dance is Rio’s greatest export. The city (and really all of Brazil) is known for samba, and is continually spreading it to world. It’s not hard to find samba clubs in other big cities, or even samba scenes in movies or on TV. Rio’s dance scene has also served as inspiration for a video game online: “Dancing in Rio,” a slot that “encourages you to keep the party alive” by playing upbeat music and showing animated images reminiscent of a great samba club. It’s really part of the city’s culture, in other words, so why not make it a priority to see it in person? You’ll have plenty of options, but Rio Scenarium is certainly among the top samba clubs in town – a 2,000-person club with three floors, live music, and ample space to watch or participate as you desire.

Tour The Gardens

The botanical gardens in Rio, sometimes called Jardim Botanico, comprise well over 300 acres of space, and is essentially a wild collection of native plants. It’s quite something to walk through and gives you a nice taste of Brazil’s natural beauty, even in close proximity to Rio. As another general point of interest, Albert Einstein himself once toured these very same gardens.

Eat At Azur

There’s a lot of excellent food in Brazil, and particularly in bigger cities there’s multicultural influence that can keep you on your toes. In Rio for instance you’ll actually find a fair amount of Spanish preparation and paella in popular restaurants. Azur is a little bit more local, however. Located right on the beach and run by chef Pedro Artagao (who has a terrific reputation in town), Azur was written up as one of the hottest new restaurants to try just last year. It’s an a la carte bar/restaurant combining local seafood with a range of different preparations.

Drink At CoLAB

Rio is also home to a lot of excellent smaller cafés and coffee bars, so it’s worth pointing to one of these as well. CoLAB actually made it onto the same list that recommended Azur. It’s part coffee shop, part bar, and part snack shack, with menu offerings ranging from kombucha and tea to beer, with cinnamon rolls and falafel for good measure. The atmosphere is described ad “Brooklynesque,” which basically means it’s trendy and inviting without being over the top.

See The Sunset

It may sound cheesy, and it’s not a specific attraction or activity, but Rio has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Make sure you’re in a good position to see one before your trip comes to an end!

Rio Janeiro

This is a collaborative post to get you some ‘updated’ travel ideas for Rio de Janeiro. My trip is already super long ago and at the time I wasn’t blogging. Definitely make sure to see the sunset and visit the Jesus statue. Also indulge in the food and cocktails and join in for some dancing! FYI, the photos are from my trip back in the day :) 

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split was the first stop on the Croatia & Slovenia road trip. We flew from London to Split and spent one night there before taking the ferry to Hvar the next afternoon. Lots of friends were already arriving that night with the rest flying in the next morning. I was still in recovery mood from my cold so I only joined for an early dinner and then went straight back to the hotel to watch movies. It turned out that this was the right decision :) The others went on until 3 am and some of them had a bit of a rough morning the next day. I, on the other hand felt much better the and managed to squeeze in some sightseeing in Split before we took the ferry to Hvar.

These are the photos from the walk through the old town of Split. If you haven’t visited Split yet, add it plus the beautiful surrounding islands to your travel bucket list!

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog

Split Croatia Travel Blog