Stockholm

The past few days I have spent in Stockholm and despite the cold (at one point -15 to -20 celcius during the day) I love the city! Here are a few pictures that made me become a fan and why I would love to go back this summer:

View on Södermalm - Stockholm

View on Södermalm - Stockholm

One of many beautiful boats - Stockholm

One of many beautiful boats - Stockholm

View on Gamla Stan - Stockholm

View on Gamla Stan - Stockholm

It was so cold I was even developing icicles

It was so cold I was even developing icicles

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Not just another brown bag

 

Newspaper bag by theindianshop.co.uk

Newspaper bag by theindiashop.co.uk

Cleaning up my room made me come across a little souvenir from my Munich trip in September. I got this cute, paper bag when I bought some stuff at Aroma (great lunch place with an awesome collection of crazy gift and gadgets, must see when in Munich!). The bag is made of recycled Indian newspapers. It’s produced by a NGO which donates all income to street children around the Delhi station. Cool looking, eco-friendly, humanitarian bag, win³!

 

A little break from it all

I heart my friends. That’s why I always look forward to the yearly get together with my best high school friends. The deal is that we pick the most boring place (this year it was Ruy, Belgium) so there won’t be distractions of any kind. For me it meant a weekend without any media: so no books, internet, magazines, tv etc. Ok, I cheated a little bit by sending two text messages, but besides that it’s pretty cold turkey for a news/internet addict like me. It was good to be cut off for a bit and being able to focus on great people and good conversations. Besides that I can’t remember laughing like a crazy 15-year-old as much as I did last weekend :-) I needed it. Who knows it might work for you too?

The cottage where we spent our weekend

The cottage where we spent our weekend

Doel – the saddest place in Belgium

Silent protest on the Doel streets

Silent protest on the Doel streets

Earlier this year I went to the free film festival Pluk de Nacht. One night I was there they showed a short documentary about Doel (“Doel leeft” by Tom Fassaert). It’s a little village in Belgium waiting to be demolished completely for the expansion of the Antwerp port. The documentary showed the last inhabitants that were unable or unwilling to move. Pretty depressing and surreal situation which the documentary showed perfectly.

Last weekend I went to Antwerp and via Twitter I was reminded about Doel. Took the car and in the middle of nowhere we found the town. Even more empty than in the documentary, it was a true ghost town. The one nice thing about it was the abundance of (street) art. Luckily I had my DSLR with me so in the short time I was there I quickly shot some pictures. Via a friend I found a great Flickr set of someone who has been there the same day I was. It’s still unclear when the town will be wiped off the map, but if you want to see it for yourself you’ll have to hurry up.

Oktoberfest

Last weekend I did something that was on my to-do list for a long time already. It involved beer (lots of it), funny dresses and pants (respectively Dirndls and Lederhosen) and old fashioned German music… Yes, I went to the Oktoberfest in Munich!

Since my Germany fondness started to develop a few years ago, I knew the Oktoberfest was something I just had to do one day. After contemplating of visiting the past two years, last weekend I finally went there. And it was great! When you go, one has to go in style so I bought myself a Dirndl (see picture). For obvious reasons men really like this piece of traditional clothing. While wearing it, I of course made a beginners mistake: I wore the bow of my skirt on my back (meaning you’re a widow), instead of on the left (=single, right = taken).

Yours truly in a Dirndl (traditional bavarian dress)

Yours truly in a Dirndl (traditional bavarian dress)

I stayed at Hippodrom, one of the nicer tents of the 11 that are on the Wiesn. For an impression of what it looks like during the day, watch this (don’t let yourself be misled with this video, it gets crazy after dark). As I’m not much of beer drinker, I wondered how I should survive a place where they only serve beers by the liter (Maβ). However, I did so there is hope for everyone :-) One other thing international visitors should do while going to Oktoberfest is to learn ‘Ein Prosit’ by heart (they will play it every three minutes!).

When you have been thinking about visiting this crazy party, I can only say: mach’s einfach (= just do it)!

NY Times proclaimed Amsterdam as ‘reigning capital of cool’

Old news to its inhabitants, but of course worth sharing with the rest of the world. I just wanted to share a few quotes from the publication.

The Dutch capital has emerged as a cultural juggernaut, with everyone from designers to DJ’s flexing their creative muscles

Concept dining is ‘in the elevator’ as the Dutch say. Following in the heels of big ideas like dining in bed (Supperclub) or dining in the dark (Ctaste), the latest theme is the twist on a classic mantra: odd location, odd location, odd location

From big ticket furniture galleries to workaday markets, every inch of town bears that Dutch knack for design

'reigning capital of cool'

Amsterdam "reigning capital of cool" according to NY Times

Got curious and want to read more? The article touches upon a limited but clever selection of design shops, trendy lounges, oddly-located restaurants, architectural hot spots, hotels and new creative breeding grounds such as the NDSM and Westergasfabriek. Go here and click on the icons to discover the wonderful city I live in.

Surprising Spain

A month ago it was time for another trip, to Spain! After only seeing Malaga and Marbella, I wanted to explore the southern region Andalusia a little bit more by visiting Sevilla. Hardly did I know that this little city was so beautiful.

Santa Cruz, Sevilla

Santa Cruz, Sevilla

I absolutely loved the little area called Santa Cruz, it was so idyllic with it’s little alleys and charming, old houses. I was just impressed by the size of Seville’s cathedral, Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Make sure you go up in it’s tower – Giralda – to have a magnificent view of the city. The most amazing part of Seville was another place called Alcázares Reales de Sevilla. It is a palace, but not a regular one since it is build mostly in Mudéjar style. I felt like I was in a different world, and after entering the gardens I thought I was in paradise for a moment. Although, the constant heat of 40 Celsius made me quickly realise I was not :-)

After my few days of culture and fun in Seville it was time for some sight-seeing in Madrid. Staying with a friend in the city center made it easy for me to visit all tourist must-haves which I didn’t have the time for next to all the partying last time I was in Madrid. One night the sky was just perfectly blue in a way you would never see in the Netherlands (picture). However, only one night I was able to admire it since the other two nights I went out until the sun came up. First night we went to a club called Joy, quite touristy and not particularly great. The next day we wanted to go to Palacia, but since it was closed we ended up in Kapital. A bit expensive, but quite a cool club with different themed seven floors, an semi open rooftop and even a karaoke bar – how cool is that! ¡Me gusta España!