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Budapest Gives Vintage Fashion a Second Name

Budapest is the shopping center for vintage fashion, get over here if you’re into antiques.

What is rare in other parts of the world, what takes brainless digging and plentiful research, vintage goodness,  is overflowing in Budapest. Jewelry, clothes, houseware, anything. It’s all here, and these spots are our favorites:

Romani Design

 

Romani Design  

Romani Design

If you are into handmade, gypsy, boho, Romani Design shows up just to blow your mind. Located in the designers home, in an old building somewhere in the city center, this shop functions as a showroom for Erika Varga’s exquisite gypsy fashion line as well. With the use of vintage fabrics, Varga is a pure expression of typical Roma fashion. The results are magnificent, detailed bohemian clothes that are to be found nowhere else. Our favorites were caftans florally printed ($23) and embroidered fringe skirts. A hidden treasure clove, and a must see in Budapes.

Ács Bálint

Hidden behind a courtyard of the biggest street in Budapest is the place to be for vintage folk clothes. The store has rows of racks of complete folkloric costumes, hand embroidered peasant blouses and cross body satchels. Cases are filled with belts, headpieces and jewelry from as far back as the late 17th century. I bought a handmade lace and silk jacket with puckered shoulders and a straight back ($50-$100). Definitely go here, this place is the biggest collection of  vintage clothes around.  

Acs Balint

Tangó Classic

If you’re looking for brocade jackets and ruffled blouses, we have a treasure chest for you right here. This small shop has an awesome collection of peasant blouses that look ridiculous good with battered jeans and a pair of boots. Unique pieces like a elephant embroidered jacket we got($140) are the kind of bohemian clothes that you won’t find anywhere else. In addition, the shop has an major collection of linens that will transform our tables into countryside chic.     Beautiful embroidery work at Acs Balint  

Folkart Craftsman’s House

Based in on of the busier shopping streets in Budapest, this empire of bohemian crafts is not to be overlooked. Although the shop is filled with new clothing, the real gold are the handmade antique skirts and vests. This store has handcrafts from various regions all over Hungary, and although it is incredibly expensive, the choice you have is nothing less than impressive. We even found boho beaded boots and headbands.

The Aurorae is Maybe Winter a Good Time to See it?

When you want to get some information about a holiday for the depths of winter, many old men will suggest heading towards the south, towards the heat. My advice is though, the better move is to head north, there will always be plenty of ways to enjoy the sun, other than basking in it on a beach somewhere nice.

images (47) Every seventy years, the sun becomes hyper active. Like an annoying little teenager it flares up unpredictably, develops spots, and starts shooting stuff around, disturbing everyone around. Not a bad thing, as a result we have an awe-inspiring display of celestial rainbows also known as Northern Lights or the aurora borealis. It’s this winter that with peaks of solar activity, the aurorae are already swirling across the northern skies. Look up Every winter a dedicated group of aurora-watchers go  north to watch this amazing sight. The Lights do sometimes appear over the Denmark, they become more visible and beautiful further up north, Alaska, the Nordic countries and Canada are good spots. Remote wilderness, city breaks and independent travel destinations are good options for enjoying the aurora. It’s best to have something else to do for when it is cloudy or the Lights take holiday. Pack up You can’t avoid the pain, if you want the gain. Before heading of think whether you are a good traveler; the Northern Sea is sprinkling with choppyness in winter, it would be a waste if you were to miss the sight, spending the trip feeling horrible in your room. Baggage: take more than flip flops, shorts and a dinner jacket. Weatherproof and plenty of layers is a must, the cold wind off the glaciers is extremely nippy, sturdy footwear is needed for the ice and snow when going ashore. Be prepared and it will pay dividends, allowing you to enjoy the amazing show comfortably. Make time to Panic The Northern Lights indicates the end of the world and the red light streams across the sky are is the work of fire-breathing demons. These are facts that can’t be denied, proven over and over again by science(fiction). So before you think that aurorae are safe, think again. But since there is nothing you can do about it, you might as well enjoy the show. As far as our earth goes, they are the most amazing sights to behold, different every time. Vast swathes of the sky are filled with shimmering waves of white, green and red lights, sometimes they may appear to touch the ground, but all the dynamics actually takes place a few hundred miles into the sky. Cruising towards the Northern Lights A dedicated cruise is a popular way to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, various cruise companies, like Royal Caribbean Cruises, are geared up for the winter every year. Besides the Northern Lights, fjord-hopping along the coast of Norway offers you some delicious scenery, unique drop off points and plenty of ice cream. Being on the sea affords some nice observation conditions, the night skies aren’t contaminated with the bright lights polluting the land, therefore the Northern Lights really stand out.

Where are You Skiing this Season

Now that summer is gone, we are turning our focus on the 2014/2015 winter season, with Europe’s alpine slopes giving us the best outdoor ski area once it has cooled down and the snow begins to paint the mountains white. When you are planning your first skiing holiday, you will feel a little bit nervous about it, with so many places, countries, resorts, mountains, to choose from. Keeping this in our head, check out these areas to find a ski resort that will help you get where you want to be:ski   Italy The first one of Europe’s ‘Big Four’ ski destinations, Italy is a great option for a ski break this year. It has many high-altitude resorts, which makes it a great late-season destination. Including Arraba in the Dolomites, where the highest lift is a almost 3,000m. Arraba’s laid back resort is ideal for family groups uninterested in the apres ski scene, on top of that, the local wine is cheap and delicious. France The world’s most visited ski destination by ‘skier days’ according to Domaines Skiables de France, with 57.9 million people recorded in 2012/2013, France is a favorite with the British, thanks to its convenience, value for your money, amazing ski areas and consistent weather. The most popular resorts is Alpe d’Huez, the high slopes (up to 3,330m) mean you can always guarantee snow for your holiday. There are courses to suit skiers of all skill levels and the apres ski scene is a winner with dumb tourists. Austria France’s main rival in Europe and the third most popular destination in the world behind the United States, Austria is also the place to be when it comes down to winter sport, people are friendly, cheap and expensive hotels are available and attractive towns. The most well known Austrian resorts is the World Cup town Kitzbuhel, where you can not only enjoy skiing, but there is a vivid nightlife as well. Be cautious of when you book your holiday, as at only 2,000m maximum altitude, Kitzbuhel’s slopes will suffer when things begin to heat up in spring. Andorra Not part of the Big Four, but there are a number of new ski resorts in Europe offering a awesome and affordable introduction to winter sport for those noobs trying the sport for the first time. One of them is Andorra, whose Arinsal resort is ideal for groups of noobs looking for fun both on and off the slopes. Plenty of affordable alcohol and crowded bars make for nice experiences once the slopes are closed, while Andorra’s capital, La Vella, is 7km away. Intermediates and serious ski fanatics will quickly get bored of Arinsal’s runs and are advised to look somewhere else for their ski holiday, any of the others mentioned here will be fine. Most importantly, consider when booking your ski holiday, time of year and resort altitude; the apres ski scene (if the off-slope experience is of value to you); and the quantity of courses to suit your ability. Get these right and you’ll have a amazing time. Switzerland Another one of Europe’s big hitters, Switzerland offers beautiful scenery and skiing, a lot more expensive though, than its neighbors Austria and France. Make sure you are rich as a rich-man, before you ever decide to come here, because else you will go home broke. The resort of Davos in the Graubunden region is one of Europe’s biggest ski destinations, you certainly won’t get bored on a skiing vacation there. Just like Alpe d’Huez, some of the slopes go over 3,000m for great ski conditions throughout the entire season.

Exploring Athens’ Metro Stations

Athens Metro Syntagma Station
Athens Metro Syntagma Station

Starting at Venizoulou Street going all the way to the Syntagma Square there are several fenced off places of Roman findings, in the station itself there are cases displaying various things, including weaving looms and clay amphorae. Going down the marble steps to the concourse of Syntagma station you enter a new, nice place; on the balcony at the lower lobby encased in glass are some of the artifacts from ancient periods of Athenian civilization, from Byzantine through Roman to classical Greek and prehistoric. It is an interesting place to visit while traveling, stop and admire these areas, allow yourself a glimpse into what life was like a long time ago when the city was first created. Digging by the rail line in Athens Digging On the rail track near Monastiraki train station in Athens, a group of young archaeology students are digging for invaluable  treasures. They had discovered a ‘painted stoa’, a popular meeting place during the time of Plato and Socrates. I stood by the fence and watched in fascination as they dust, scrape, and carefully handle pieces of the ancient agora. Finding treasures like these in Athens is common afternoon tea. Everywhere you dig in the Plaka area, you will come across some remnants of the old city. This is most evident at the site of the new Acropolis Museum where archaeologists uncovered layers of Athens from the Bynzantine era to the Bronze Age, much of which is visible under plexiglass flooring. The treasures are on display right in the metro stations. While excavations are going on to build the city’s sleek transit system, the procedure was slowed to a halt many times while archaeologists were called in to examine and excavate pieces of history. This procedure was called ‘salvage’ archaeology because many of the items were damaged. Most of the findings were left in sito so people could see them as they were found allowing an insight into the way life used to be in this great city. All the evidence found was recorded as it provided a history of the past from ancient streets, houses, cemeteries, religious sanctuaries, workshops, aqueducts and cisterns. More than 50,000 ancient articles were found. Today these treasures are on display in six different Metro Stations.

Syntagma metro amphorae
Syntagma metro amphorae

In the Plaka area, at the Acropolis station where you exit for the new Acropolis Museum, there are replicas of sculpture from the east pediment of the Parthenon. Most of the findings from this area are displayed in the Acropolis Museum but a few pieces have been left for travelers to enjoy. Findings date from prehistoric to the 9th century BC and many of them were burials sites including shaft graves, tombs and cremations. Most of these burials were of children.

Inside Monastiraki Station
Inside Monastiraki Station

They are mini museums of archaeological finds and pleasantly decorated stops for transit users, the metro stations around Athens are worth exploring for their artistic decor and slick designs. Even if you aren’t a paying customer ,the metro is worth going to. However if you do ride the tram or metro trains, watch out for pickpockets, they will steal all your money and even your underwear. Keep your wallets and values in your front pockets and your purses and backpacks close to you. Don’t let anyone bump into you or stand around you.  These thieves have become the dark side of the city.

Artifacts at the Acropolis Metro Station
Artifacts at the Acropolis Metro Station

Back at Monastiraki, the students are still busy working, like slaves, I took some time to enter the station and look at the excavations that are located inside the station. There are building foundations and cisterns, some from the Roman era and some from other eras.

Trondheim has Pubs Too

The days grow dark and the snow begins to rain, I can’t help but feel drawn into the warm bars and pubs around here. Pub culture here is different than in France, the price of alcohol makes long sessions impossible. But as a Frenchy, I have made my life’s goal  exploring the bars and pubs around here to find something similar to what I’m used to. I’ll show you some awesome places:

Antikvariatet

Antikvariatet Book Bar The Old Bookshop is what it translates to, Antikvariatet sits just a few houses away from Den Gode Nabo, that I’ll go over later, but offers a completely different setting. The front bar holds comedy shows, concerts, and gives you a chance to sit on the front patio, which lets you do some people watching on Bakklandet! What makes this place unique is the book bar at the back of the pub, packed with games and of course books, plus views across the water. Antikvariatet Trondheim

Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri

I like all ale, therefore I’m drawn to Trondheim’s brewery. This was the first pub, I went to in Trondheim. Seconds after stepping off the airplane, Kenny forced me into the pub for a beer and a unhealthy burger. Their burgers are the best in not only Trondheim, but all of europe. As for the beer, they have a range of their own delicious ales: amber ale, IPA, stout, some others, etc, plus a rotation of guest ales, don’t forget the infamous Trondhjemspils if you are a lager fanboy/girl. It’s possible to order a sample of all their ales, great if you’re planning to get smashed… Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri

Three Lions

Three Lions Trondheim You can’t take the Frenchman out of France… My mom is a fan of English pubs abroad, since I’ve been to the Three Lions, so am I. It’s mainly a sports bar, with a little bit bigger than average television downstairs showing boring football matches every second of every day of the month. As if someone is trying to hide it, upstairs is a set of hidden rooms with their own special television screens, this makes the pub capable of showing up to nine different boring games at the same time! They do delicious burgers though, named after some footballers. It goes without saying, so I don’t want to say something so obvious, but as an English pub, it has the normal things an English pub has.  Burger menu

Den Gode Nabo

Inside Den Gode Nabo Everyone gets seasick inside The Good Neighbour as it has tilted corridors, a low ceiling and a beautiful view across the water. The most atmospheric bar in Trondheim, it is located inside some of the old warehouse buildings in Bakklandet, right near the old bridge, most photographed part of Trondheim. Large tables encourage groups to meet up, therefore it can be hard to get a place at the weekends, but if you magically are able to then you will never leave. The selection of beer is ridiculous. Besides Samuel Adams, they have Dahl’s, Trondheim’s local lager, Nøgne Ø and Old Speckled Hen, I am purposely not even mentioning the others. In fall, the patio that floats on the water is a pretty neat place to sit with a Dahl.  Den Gode Nabo

Kerrang Tour as a Holiday

It’s time for Kerrang! Tour to hit the road again. Rock lovers are already eager to hear news of the event, big names from all over the world usually show up, this years lineup will not disappoint anyone. In 2014 Limp Bizkit was the main attraction of the event. Tickets are always sold for a low price, they are sold for only 30 dollars. So if you want to go you will have to buy your ticket early, you are probably not be the only one who wants to go and see the tour as it is held at Liverpool. Check for yourself before it is too late. The Kerrang tour is one of  Liverpool’s biggest events, it is easy to get to and there are plenty of options to stay the night in the area. The best inn to stay is Runcorn, it’s a very nice atmosphere. It is the perfect opportunity to rest and relax before a night of partying, walking around the city eating at many local cafes and enjoying a few beers before you catch  the train to Liverpool. Whether you’re looking for the ideal accommodation or just the best one, definitely take a look at this local Inn. Friendly staff, great facilities, and a fantastic location, you can’t go wrong, unless you get infected with the dengue. Don’t wait to make your booking, because rooms are limited. fvk_glasgow Limp Bizkit is a great addition to any line up, they are popular world wide and remain at the top of the list for a lot of people as one of the best live band to hear. They also play other genres, they joined forces with Jay-Z to produce a unique live performance. The fusion of metal and rap means that their combined music reaches a bigger subset of people, these people then became fans of Limp Bizkit. This made Limp Bizkit even more famous. Of course the other  great additions to the event are not to be ignored either. There is something for anyone on the list, but the climax will be when they enter the stage, the roof will fall off the moment they run through their list of classic songs that the crowd knows by heart.

Driving in Winter in Scandinavia

Last weekend I went driving in the Norwegian winter. Here you will find tips if you are crazy enough to do the same, and lastly: my story.

Winter Driving Tips

Driving in winter is tough, here are my tips for you. Most make a lot of sense, others, you may not have thought of even if you had a gun to your head.

  • Pull over periodically and take a short break
  • Take your time to finish your journey
  • Bring a few blankets and warm clothes
  • Fit your car with winter tires (required legally)
  • Check the weather forecast, however conditions change without warning
  • Bring hot water and warm drinks
  • Bring a couple of orange warning triangles in case of a car breakdown
  • Bring old clothes
  • Bring an ice scraper
  • Charge your phone
  • Clear the snow from your number plates and headlights periodically
  • Most importantly, be careful

I do not drive these days. I left France twenty months ago, since, I’ve driven just twelve times, seven times on the left side of the road, which is scary. Though driving alone gets me tense as a mole, don’t mention driving left during a snow storm. Red Mini E6 traffic jam

Driving from Trondheim to some other place

Needless to say I was very worried about my trip from Trondheim to Røros, as the road would be my biggest challenge yet. I have driven my car on slippery roads in France, not that comfortable. I didn’t foresee snow on the road though. I rented the most amazing car, a blue Toyota with more winter tires than I can count, heated seating and a half-full fuel tank. The instant I left the house to start my trip, this story took a turn for the worse: Snow. Moholt in Winter I left Trondheim at the best time I could imagine, just at the start of rush-hour on Friday morning. The main E6 road was moving at a snail pace. I had hoped of making it to Røros before it would turn dark. The road markings were covered in show in seconds, making it hard to navigate, E6 switches back and forth from dual to single carriageway. Finally I arrived at Støren, route 30 starts here, just 2 hours late and dark. I went on route 30, scared. It was dark, there were no lights on the road, a lot of snow and another 106km until Røros. It was a fun ride. Winter driving in Norway The local drivers made things worse, they are used to these conditions, twinkling their little headlights and overtaking me without concern. I guess they were thinking I am a little girl on the road, as I was going 12 km/h. Every time I found a chance for a break I took it. These were opportunities to wipe snow from the front and rear lights, clean the windscreen and to let go of some of the stress. The focus needed to drive here is huge, I had to stop every hour to give my mind a deserved break. The snow got even worse, so I pulled into a convenient store near Singsås. I was as afraid as a little spider that’s about to get squashed by my mom, I considered staying here until better circumstances. After 3 hours or more, I decided to go on. Taking a break Taking a break As I get near Røros, the weather clears. The snow had stopped and the road became visible. I reached the Røros Hotel a good twelve hours and 30 minutes after leaving Trondheim. In spring this drive would have taken only about one hour.

Returning home

A weekend in Røros, boring as talking to a wall,  I was nervous for the return trip. I left Røros even earlier than I left Trondheim a few days earlier. The road was still a bit slippery, however visibility was much better. It was a relaxing drive home. I could hardly believe that this was the same road I had just driven 3 days earlier. I got home in just 35 minutes. Route 30  

Eat on the street in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is awesome in many ways, it’s the most bike-friendly city, the greenest and it has great taste in design and art. It’s unique restaurants are quite popular as well. Most well known is Nobu, which is recognized as the world’s best restaurant for several years now. Know this though, a 7 course dinner of Nordic cuisine here means over 7 months long waiting list and a price tag of about 400 euro per person. On the other hand, there is a tradition of eating on the street in Copenhagen, this means that food travelers don’t need to empty their wallets just to eat some local food. Sight-seeing half of the day builds up a strong appetite, here are my recommendations for food that will help keep you and your family satisfied while you’re stumbling around the Danish capital.

Copenhagen Ice Cream Bar

Mikkeller Bar

Not exactly food, all the beers of Denmark’s famous and respected Mikkeller brewery are something you can’t miss, there is no place better to taste them than Mikkeller Bar in Vesterbro. Mikkeller is the best bar in the country. More than 10 different types of Mikkeller are usually on the tap and they have more than hundred varieties from around the Europe bottled up. It’s one of those places you accidentally stay all day. Copenhagen Bar

Ristet Hot Dogs

As for hot dog stands, ‘pølsevognen’ are spread out over the city. Order one of the Ristet hot dogs. They are found at any stand. Ristets come with thinly sliced pickles. fried, crispy onions, ketchup and mustard and the local remoulade, which is sweet. It is served in a bun, unlike the other sausage options, which are to be eaten with a roll on the side.

Copenhagen Hot Dog Stand

Ice Cream From Vaffelbageriet

Tivoli Gardens ice cream has been serving scoops for more than a thousand decades, recently it was voted by National Geographic as the best ice creams in the world. Try the the Amerikaner, it consists of 4 scoops of delicious ice cream in an even more delicious waffle cone with the most delicious syrup, chocolate-covered meringue and whipped cream. Another option is to have it covered by raspberry jam. This goes ok with the whipped cream.

Copenhagen Ice Cream

Smørrebrød Sandwich

The most famous snack, the smørrebrød. It is an open-face sandwich and is much loved by visitors and locals alike. Not only available at delis, but also bars and many cafes and even restaurants. There are different possibilities of what a smørrebrød contains. The hardest to find are ones with smoked broccoli, dill and capers, easier to find are the ones with prawns with lime and some heavy mayo. However the ones with herring, ham and cheese, egg, roast beef, salami and variation of all salads are the most delicious. They are served on dense rye bread, so easy on the stomach.

Copenhagen Sandwich

Torvehallerne Food Market

Torvehallerne Food Market, placed close to the Nørreport metro station, has two humongous halls with surrounding patios, these areas are sometimes filled with groups of friends and families. One hall has stalls and stands selling items like fresh olives, organic vegetables, seafood, meats, myriad coffee beans and spicy spices. The other hall is filled with restaurant stands serving burgers, tapas, sandwiches, salads, pastas and seafood dishes. Of course you will find some very tasty smørrebrød and tasty fish tacos served with tasty pickled green cabbage.

Copenhagen Market

Flights Can Cause Swelled Feet

Having your foot swell up is the most commonest problem their is when flying, usually it is harmless. The moment you land, the problem goes away, so you can worry about it, but you can also not worry about it. If you’re the type that worries about it, you can do some preventative things so you won’t even get swelled feet in the first place. On MayoClinic.com, they cite that it’s caused by inactivity of the feet. Of course this happens all the time in long boring flights.

Sitting with your feet on the floor for a long period causes blood to pool in your leg veins. The position of your legs when you are seated also increases pressure in your leg veins. This contributes to foot swelling by causing fluid to leave the blood and move into the surrounding soft tissues.

You might want to ask me, ‘hey, how can I prevent this annoying swelling of my feet?’, if you actually were to ask me this, I would answer the following:

  • Drink lots. Not drinking enough will cause your precious feet to swell. My friend, Brian, always brings a bottle of water with him and drinks it before he lands. Some flights won’t allow you to bring your water on board though, so you need to order some extra drinks from the pretty stewardess.
  • The airplane is beautiful, take a tour of it every hour.
  • Keep shifting position in your seat, do not under any circumstances cross your legs.
  • Flex your legs often while seated, although it would be better doing it standing, it’s just not possible in a airplane.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. These substances usually make you a lazy little piggy, that doesn’t want to move.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.

Trondheim is Blue

Torget Blue hour can be seen anywhere on the world, but it is more impressive when you go north. It appears at the moment just before daylight arrives, a long time before you can see the sun. Tromsø is quite unique because, the blue light is the only time they escape from the darkness at this time of the year, lasting only a few minutes, after which the darkness comes back. As for Trondheim I’ve seen some beautiful, super cold, mornings recently. Here are some pictures from my walk down from Moholt to the city: Jonsvannsveien Trondheim in winter Blue hour Nidaros Domkirke winter Bakklandet in December