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Cold winds, hot dance & a lot of Port :)

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I have been dancing Kizomba for some time now. A sensual couple dance, with African origin, that is now danced in various styles and increasing in popularity rapidly. Within the dancing community it has become very popular to travel to festivals to explore Kizomba & other Afro Latin dances through workshops with global teachers from all over. The schedules are always very thorough, not to forget to mention the evening/night schedules that most of the time follows special themes or per-decided color scales.

Last summer I managed to convince Louise to come a long to Porto where they have a annual 10 days Latin festival every year called “DMAES summer boot camp”. So after a week in Lisbon we took the bus to beautiful Porto to settle down for some days in Vila Nova de Gaia, adjacent to Porto.

Porto has a different beauty & feel from Lisbon, more mysterious! And Porto has plenty of amazing wines & great Port wine from the Douro Valley which both tasted wonderful & kept us warm 😉

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Louise & me chose to not join in on every part of the dancing schedule but spent a lot of time to walk around and explore the beautiful surroundings.

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One nice part with festivals is of course to make new acquaintances. We spent some nice moments with Franz from Hamburg & Ann from London. Ann later came to visit me in Göteborg for a Kizomba event and in a few weeks me & Louise will travel to London to spend a weekend dancing Kizomba in the regular venues where Ann goes 🙂 To be honest, I have figured out that is probably more my thing, to enjoy local regular Kizomba life.

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One evening we had dinner in central Porto followed by a night walk. As many cities, Porto shines at night! And it also had a bit of a spooky feel 🙂

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We went into Porto a few times to just stroll around. One day we also did some Port wine tasting. Several wine lodges offers tours & tasting for free. Considering the constantly present chilly wind it was even more pleasant to warm up with some good Port 😉

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No trip to Porto would be complete without a Douro river trip. Unfortunately we had picked a rather cloudy and cold day. The only thing that could warm me up was, again… some Port wine and odd layers of clothes (not actually meant to be combined). At the end of the tour however it both became warmer and even a bit sunny. A very relaxing day on a boat, enjoying nice views and doing nothing. And passing two sluices 🙂

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Close by to the hotel we found our all time favorite restaurant. I do not remember the name but they had the most delicious seafood casserole. And since it was not a tourist area the prices were too good to be truth 😛

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Finally, some workshop pictures below. At the end of a workshop the instructors always demonstrates the full sequence so that everyone can record for home practicing. The Porto week was great and I enjoyed the city strolls evenly much as the workshops. Festival parties are usually not the dance evenings I enjoy the most since I feel more relaxed when I can dress in the clothes and colors that fits me rather than according to special themes. But it was for sure an interesting and instructive week 🙂

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First encounter with Cuba

Hi everyone! I am just back from what could be one of the best vacations me & Louise had since we started traveling together. Cuba has long been on my wish list as so many other destinations. But I have to admit that I had mixed feelings when we finally booked the trip because of all the bad things I had heard about the food. But wow, I am so grateful we did go. We landed on what seems to become a historical day in Cuba´s history, 17 December 2014.  >>Read more under “Statement by the President on Cuba policy changes”.

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In this first post I would like to introduce traveling in Cuba by sharing our experiences and some pictures and information from our first days in Havana. At the bottom of this post I have also added a small teaser of what will come in next posts 😉

In Cuba the most common accommodation for independent travelers is the so called “casa particulares”.  It means that you rent a room in a private resident. Most “casas” rent one or two rooms but the one we picked in Havana had a lot of rooms for rent. Our pick was called “Casavana” and is situated on floor 5 in a high-rise building on a nice avenue in the area Vedado. Many tourists likes to stay in Habana Vieja (Old Town) but I had read that for salsa dancers Vedado was the best pick to base ourself. And after looking at the Tripadvisor reviews I was convinced. After trying both casas and 4/5 star hotels in Cuba I can tell you that this place was better than a five star hotel. And one of the owners, Ana, who is mostly around is an intelligent, very service minded woman with perfect English. We could not have had a better start.

In casas there is always breakfast service and in the smaller once also dinner service. Since casas are so intimate it is a great way to meet other travelers to share experiences with. And guess what, wifi is hardly possible to find in Cuba which means that travelers in Cuba are actually looking at each other and talking like in the old good days 😉

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Havana is just how you would imagine Cuba. You have the old colorful American cars everywhere, old and very run-down buildings in many architectural styles revealing worn beauty.  You even have a Capitol building 🙂 In Habana Vieja restorations are ongoing everywhere. That is of course fantastic but makes it very hard to discover most of the small alleys. Coming back to the accommodation part, we are so happy we picked Vedado as our base. I personally was not so fond of Habana Vieja but liked Centro and Vedado more. One part was the restorations but I also found Vieja a bit creepy at night, however always felt very safe in Vedado.

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On a rooftop terrace in Habana Vieja we spent our two first mornings taking private salsa lessons. I dance Cuban salsa since before but was eager to learn more. When we heard that a guy from our hometown Göteborg was going to arrange lessons during the time we were there we decided to partially join. It was me, Louise and the arranger + one more girl. We were all assigned a professional partner and together we practiced both Cuban salsa but also one of the origins to Cuban salsa called Rumba. We even did some Rueda de Casino which is a style where many couples dance together and makes moves to playful commands. Good fun! For independent travelers we heard good reviews about”La Casa del Son“. Most casas are also able to arrange private lessons in your casa 🙂

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Staying in Vedado was enriching our Havana experience since we had to utilize the common taxis every day to get around. Before I explain that further I want to shortly mention the money matters for tourists. To keep it simple, Cubans use their own currency called Cuban Peso (CUP). Tourists are only allowed to use the so called Convertible Peso (CUC). 1 CUC is pretty much equal in value as 1 USD. The difference in value between CUP & CUC is so huge that they must be viewed separately. You will understand what I mean if I put it like this: A Cuban employee earn as much in CUP as a tourist pay for a dinner out in Havana in CUC. I think this needs no further explanation. But it might make you draw some interesting conclusions during your vacation. As example; many public toilets will demand 1 CUC from a tourist to use the toilet. It does not take much mathematics to understand that “toilet lady” must be a lucrative business. I write this to clarify that things is a bit complicated when it come to money matters.

Now back to the cars 😀 You simply wave to the old veteran cars on the street, jump in and hop of anywhere during their route. It will cost you no more than 1 CUC pp as a tourist and is good fun as you share ride with the locals. If you need to go to a more specific address you need to take your own cab. Apart from riding in the cool cars me & Louise enjoyed very much to stroll around in Vedado and surroundings to just view all the colorful beauties passing by.

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Finally in this post I like to mention a bit about food in Cuba. If you stay in a “casa” and they have dinner service, go for it!!! In most places you get a three course home made meal for 10 CUC and compared to what you will be served in the state run restaurants the meal in your casa will be many times better and the experience & service is very personal. If you are in cities like Havana you will also have the choice to find yourself a private restaurants, so called Paladar. The price will be around 20-30 CUC for a two or three course meal with a drink or two. Some of them will be super delicious, some of them OK. Paladares are sometimes a bit tricky to find as they are based in normal buildings in regular residential areas (most of them are out of the tourist areas). Just google “Paladares Havana” if you plan to go. One that we found and returned to no less than three times was the Swedish owned “Casa Miglis“. We had read about the fantastic food there and considering being Swedes we found it rather amusing to discover this place. But the reason for returning two more times was simply because the taste & quality of the food was the best we had had in a long time. For me the pasta dish on below picture was even better than anything I had in Italy earlier this year. So if you are a foodie, go out and discover the Paladares in Havana!

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In the final post about Cuba I will re-visit Havana with some pictures from the legendary Malecón and some more street life images. Below the small teaser for coming posts as mentioned initially. Enjoy!

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Teaser future posts 🙂

After Havana we spent three days in the beautiful Viñales area, famous for limestone cliffs and tobacco fields.

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The next destination after Viñales was Varadero, beach destination #1 in Cuba.

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After lazy beach days in Varadero we went to the colonial town Trinidad with its colorful & lively streets.

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We then spent a few more beach days in the island Cayo Coco before returning to Havana for a few last days of salsa dancing.

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A party night in Istanbul

In September this year I visited Istanbul for the third time, read more about that HERE >>

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One of the reasons me & my friend Louise makes such a great travel company is that we share the same view of how a great vacation should look like. We are looking for the same ingredients and the same balance 🙂 Party is not the primary need for us but we do like to experience the local nightlife in most places we visit. We share the joy of dancing to really good electro music now and then but we also share the curiosity of discovering the local flavors.

When we were in Istanbul we decided to try to capture different scenes into one night. We dressed up to start of with the famous Golden Mile in Istanbul. The Golden mile is a strip along The Bosphorus that hosts some fancy clubs with great international line ups of DJ´s. We wanted to see how it looked like, even if we suspected the ambiance would not really be ours. Before hopping in to the taxi that would take us there we bought ourself some delicious Turkish kebab around the corner from our hotel. The taxi ride was so much fun with a driver that decided to get us going with some great old hits like “Mr Vain” with Culture Beat. The ride took a while and it was one big party in the backseat 😉

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Our pick was the glamorous Anjelique. Luckily the entrance was for free because the drink we had was damn expensive. But it was not that that made us flee, but the uncomfortably bratty atmosphere. The night view over the Bosphorus bridge with the Ortaköy mosque in front was amazing and the DJ played great house. But the people were so cold that we left after just one hour. Before heading to our next target, which we hoped would be a more chilled place, we quickly went by our hotel since I wanted to change clothes.

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Our next goal was a place I had read about called 5.Kat. It was supposed to be one of those splendid rooftop bars in Istanbul that are hard to find but with rewarding views. After some help from the locals we hit our target but the rooftop restaurant/bar had just closed. Instead we ended up in the basement of the same building in a small, trendy club with great music and a hipster vibe. The place had a few smaller rooms with an intimate living room feel and each with a separate DJ.

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On our way back to the hotel we strolled the Istiklal Caddesi and when we were almost past it I heard great Turkish club music from a window above and asked the doorman about the entrance which turned out to be free. So we ended our evening in a place called Club Lupe which turned out to be my favorite. The atmosphere was just fun and the DJ played the kind of club music I really had hoped to find, upbeat house with Turkish sounds. I loved it and it was a perfect finish of our evening out in Istanbul, the city that never sleeps!

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Third visit to amazing Istanbul :-D

Istanbul – the city where where East meets West! And where traditional meets modern and melts together in one colorful, vibrant and magnificent waterfront metropolis! 😀

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Since my list of “want to visit” places is long, going back to a city for the third time really means I am hooked. Here you can read about my first and second visit to Istanbul. This third visit was done in September this year with my friend Louise. Our three days were pretty much about relaxing and just loading ourself with impressions. I do warn you, Istanbul is among the most photogenic places I have experienced and I had a very hard time choosing my images. And I do know they are too many. But what drives me when it comes to this blog, apart from securing a nice memory library for myself, is to give the reader a nuanced picture of the places I visit. And in this case that requires many images. I hope you enjoy 🙂

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In Istanbul very much takes place along the waterfronts. I really like to enjoy a moment on one of the cafés under the Galata Bridge each time I visit Istanbul. The one below where Louise is enjoying a beer is my favorite 🙂

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On our first day we took a short boat ride to vibrant Kadiköy on the Anatolian side. It is a very local area with lots of shops and eateries. Great getaway from the tourist scenes. And the sunset views over Sultanahmet and the two most famous mosques in Istanbul, the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya, are allways breathtaking.

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Before day 1 was finished we strolled the narrow bar and restaurant streets around Istiklal Caddesi before heading back to our hotel. Istanbul is one of those cities which never sleeps as I am sure you can imagine from below pictures.

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Day 2 was dedicated to the beautiful area Sultanahmet, better described in my first post about Istanbul. Even if I had been to Istanbul twice before I had never visited the famous mosques. I simply find them so extraordinary from the outside and that, combined with big queues and crowds, always put me of. But this time we did visit Aya Sofya. And my conclusion is, it is nice to have done once but nothing beats the view from the outside. Apart from the mosques Sultanahmet has a very special architecture and many places to rewind. And close by is the famous Grand Bazar and Spice Market. They are nice to stroll through but the crowds and the impressions are a bit too much to get me in to a shopping mood 😉 But it did get me in to ice cream mood. Turkish ice cream is delicious. It is made out of goat milk and for some reason the ice cream is really chewy in the texture.

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After sleeping in after a party evening, day 3 started with a visit to Ortaköy. I will not describe that further here since I did that in my first Istanbul post. But it is a nice neighborhood for a Sunday stroll. After that we took an expensive beer in one of the most extraordinary rooftop bars in Istanbul, the 360. 360 is both a restaurant and a nightclub. When we were there it was quiet and the rooftop terrace empty due to rain. But it was still a nice stop before making our final stroll over the Galata bridge and all the way back to Sultanahmet where we were going to end our last day with a Turkish bath at a classic Hamam. On the way we stopped by at our favorite “Pide place”. A kind of pizza alike foodie that quickly made us addicted 😛

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This was all from Istanbul for now. In my next and last post for this year I will share some images from a fun night out in Istanbul! See you then 🙂

Appendix – Taksim Nacre Hotel

On this trip we decided to base ourself near Taksim square and found charming Taksim Nacre Hotel which lies in a regular neighborhood but with close walking distance to Taksim and Istiklal Caddesi. As most houses in Istanbul there was a rooftop terrace where breakfast was served every morning. Apart from hotel guests two hungry Seagulls were present every day, jealously looking in through the window 😉 Nacre was a very friendly small hotel but ask for a room on higher floor since the lobby on ground floor could be a bit noisy.

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A spiritual hot air balloon moment

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One of my first posts in this blog was about Cappadocia in Turkey, one of the most remarkable and fascinating places I ever visited. Welcome to check out the moon landscapes of this area here >>. A very spiritual moment was when I went up early one morning to watch all the hot air balloons take of. Due to my phobia I could not take a balloon ride myself since with the claustrophobia also comes fear of being stuck in a small space without control. But honestly I was so grateful right then to just be able to have the moment I had. I still get goose bumps when watching the pictures from that very special morning. Originally there was a few pictures of this in my Cappadocia blog but I decided they deserved their own post and more space 🙂

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Jenny´s Amsterdam walking tours

If you read my last post about Amsterdam and liked what you saw on the pictures, this is how to find those places. People often ask me for tip when they go to Amsterdam and that is how below three walking tours were born. I have also included some information about the former national holiday Queen´s Day, nowadays changed to King´s Day 😀

Focus: Jordaan & surroundings

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With Central Station in the back walk to the right on street Niewendijk and follow it until it becomes Haarlemmerstraat. Continue to enjoy Haarlemmerstraat and it´s many cafés and fun shops until it is crossed by Binnen Brouwersgracht, then turn left onto that street. Now the real nice surprise starts. You have entered Jordaan with all the channels, small bridges, houseboats and leaning houses. You will have cozy eetcafe´s everywhere (an eetcafé is a café with a small menu and beer/wine/coffee. Until 18:00 they serve lighter food, after 18 dinner). Your guidance in this area will be the four big channels running parallel. The Prinsen, Keizer, Heren and Singel gracht (gracht meaning channel). On Saturdays there is a great atmosphere around the Noordermarkt by the Noorderkerk (a square with a church) on Prinsengracht. This area is ofcourse nice any day of the week NT! Joradaan must also be visited after dark! It is the most romantic walk you might ever do in your life! A really good eetcafé around Noordermarkt is “Café Winkel” Really great food at night and during the day they serve one of Amsterdam´s most famous apple cake 😛 Try to keep the same direction as the big channels to avoid getting lost. If you plan Anne Frank´s house, you will have that on the left side of Prinsengracht as you move along. Once the big channels are crossed by a big street (that when looking at the map can be called anything from Raadhuisstraat to Westermarkt) you enter an area that is a another “must”. You have the same 4 channels running parallel but the small streets/lanes that connects them is what is interesting here. They are called “De 9 straatjes” which means The nine streets. Those 9 small streets are filled with funny shops, cafés and restaurants. You will love it! Here you can sit down, rewind and just watch Amsterdam life going on next to you. Once those four channels are crossed by Leidsestraat I suggest you walk right onto this streets where trams are also running. Walk until you reach Leidseplein (the square). It is one of the most commercial areas but still fun. Lots of restaurants around but I don´t recommend to eat there, rather chose and eetcafé around the channels. Leidseplein is nice for people watching and to sit on the nice square and enjoy a beer.

If you want you can spend the rest of the day visiting the museums around Museum plein, not too far from Leidseplein. I am not a museum person thus no particular advice here. You also have the big park Vondelpark nearby. Fun for people watching but too much smell of dog poop if you ask me. (Look out! Dutch people don´t take the dog poop from the streets.) You could also continue doing route 3. Or get lost, or walk back through Jordaan again and see it after dark! 😀

Focus: The most central parts

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With Central Station in the back follow Damrak street a bit. Soon you will have “Manneke Pis” on your right. For a real Dutch (or actually Belgian, but as normal in the Netherlands) experience have a “potat met”, fries with special mayo 😛 After Manneke Pis you can turn right on any tiny alley that will lead you to Niewendijk, a small carefree street with shops on both sides. If you have already walked as far as the Dam square you will instead connect on the evenly interesting alley called Kalverstraat. Damrak continues to be called Rokin. But it is the same big streets. And with the smaller alleys on the “inside”. Don´t mis it! Commercial but cozy! If you manage not to get lost you will end up at Muntplein. If you are hungry by now have a falafel at Maoz. Yum! And if you are up to taking a channel boat tour, do that from any of the places along Damrak or Rokin. After Muntplein it is time for some coziness again. Walk over the bridge Doelensluis onto the Doelenstraat. You pass Hotel de Europé on your right hand side. Walk until you see “Café Jaren”. If there are seats outside sit down and have something refreshing while you watch boats passing by. After this continue on the same street until you have Staalstraat on your right. From the first bridge you will have a magnificent view (very much photographed). Continue on the same street. You will soon have Puccini bon bon´s on your left. If you have not yet tried Belgian pralines, this is the time do it! (Not actually sure if this brand i Belgian but they are magnificent!) After you have crossed another channel walk left and spend some time at the Waterloo flee market (closed Sundays). A bit touristic but fun. When you are done head towards Niewmarkt. You can cross back on Sint Antoniesbreesstraat. Continue that street until you reach Niewmarkt which is a cozy square at the edge of redlight district. If you dare you can enter red light from here. It is actually a really cozy area! (As you might have understood a lot of things are cozy in Amsterdam. The word for cozy in dutch is “gezellig” and in fact a very commonly used word in Holland). Before walking back towards central station try to find Zeedjik. The Chinatown of Amsterdam with some really great restaurants! It will lead you back to the station. And one more amazing day will be gone.

Focus: The area Pijp! – (Not Sundays when the market is closed!)

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Walk, bike or take a tram to the Heineken museum. (Tramstop Weteringcircuit/Weteringsch). Everyone knows this place so just ask your way there. I have never been myself and it is very touristic but if you feel the urge, pay a visit. Behind the Heineken museum you have the Marie Heineken plein. From there find the street called Albert Cuypstraat. Just ask anyone! That street is a market every day except Sundays. The area between Albert Cuypstraat and Maria Heineken plein hosts many really great cafés and restaurants, where you will never want to leave. There are shops and restaurants also along the market street. Once the markets ends, walks left and walk along Van Woustraat, pass Frederiks plein and then onto Utrechterstraat. Nice street with shops, cafés and restaurants. Follow it until Rembrandts plein. Another  very commercial square, great for people watching. From there try to find Regulier Dwarsstraat and experience the most popular (and very cozy) gay street of Amsterdam. If you walk to the right on any small lane from that street you will be in the famous flowermarket. Walk back towards central station in any direction. However, if you still have not done Jordaan after dark, this is the time to do so!

If you are in Amsterdam last week of April

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For many many years Queen´s Day (Koninginnedag in dutch), the most cheerful Dutch public holiday, has been celebrated on the 30st of April every year, however I read this will change to 27th of April which is the current King Willem-Alexander´s birthday. And with that the name will also change to “The King´s day”. Nevertheless I am sure the concept will stay the same. That is; people dressing up in Hollands national color orange, partying and trading on every street around the whole Netherlands. I have only cerebrated Queen´s Day in Amsterdam and it sure is something very memorable. The channels fills up with party boats, young and old selling things everywhere. Entertainment, food and drinks around every corner. Big clubs and cafés moves out on the streets with DJ´s spinning house music. The party goes on until midnight and the atmosphere is usually really fun and friendly. I think you might get a glimpse of this event from below pictures. It is a fun celebration and people are just happy in a good way. Last time I celebrated it was when Robert & I visited my old colleague Hanna from Finland, now living in California. I would recommend to plan a visit as this period of the year is also one of the most beautiful times. I hope you will enjoy my walking tours if you visit Amsterdam as a first timer 🙂

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Finally time for some Amsterdam

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Finally the time has come to show you my Amsterdam 🙂 I used to live in Amsterdam and surroundings between 1996-2003 and therefor, as you can imagine, that city is very special too me. Nowadays I make a re-visit about every second or third year. It has become less frequent with the years that has passed. This spring I went there with Robert for a long weekend. I did just what I always do when in Amsterdam. Strolling around. And if you like what you see on below pictures look out for my next post where I will present my three walking tours which will make you discover some of the most cozy places that Amsterdam has to offer. It started  with a colleague asking for tips when she was about to go. I made three walking tours for fun and they have since been used by two more satisfied colleagues 😉

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Sure there are lot´s of museums and other things to see in and around Amsterdam but for me Amsterdam is all about relaxing, watching people and just feel the place. I normally tend to plan a bit too much when I travel but when I go to Amsterdam I do not have too, I know what I want. I know that I will spend most of my time having a coffee or a beer along one of the cozy channels in the Jordaan and surrounding areas or just getting lost on small streets and surprised by some odd shop or random sight along the way. And I try to allways cover the Noordermark by the Noordekerk, which is a farmers market and handicaraft marker that runs every Saturday.

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This time we decided to splurge a bit and treat us with a boutique hotel with a view over the channel Herengracht. We picked Hotel Hegra and were extremely satisfied. The room was small, simple and clean not to forget to mention amazing beds, linen and pillows! And on top of this our room had a channel view 😀 The two gentlemen running the place were attentive in a discrete way and made great breakfast every morning. I mean, just check out picture number two below. How can one not like that? It was fun to look out and see the boats passing by. Amsterdammers likes to cruise the channels while having a picknic or a party on a boat. Great lifestyle 🙂

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In the little Chinatown of Amsterdam there are many great restaurants. One day we picked one which seemed to have many Chinese customers and were very lucky. The food was fantastic! The streets of Chinatown are bordering to the notorious red light district of Amsterdam. If you can avoid being disturbed about the ladies in some of the windows, the large amount of sex shops and other erotic entertainment + the smell of marijuana, the streets of the red light district them self are very cozy. And there are some really good restaurants and bars in that area. I usually stroll through it at some point of my stay.

Amsterdam by night is very romantic. And there is no lack of bars. Amsterdam has got both the classic brown café bars and very modern once. Many of them serves both as bar and so called “eetcafe”, which means there is a limited bar menu available. In Amsterdam most things “goes”, just look at that cat sleeping on the bar on picture five below 😉

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Amsterdam is not a huge city and very walkable. Once you get thirsty my tip is to order mint thee and you will, in many places, get served hot water with a generous twig of mint leaves in it. It is so fresh and natural. Walking a lot also requires lot´s of energy and there are plenty of possibilities to grab a praline or two. If you pick it up at Puccini you might be satisfied with one, they are huge 😉

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When I first came to Amsterdam in the autumn of 1996 it was love at first sight. I had a wonderful time living there some years but now a distant relation works just perfect. But I do need my Amsterdam dose now and then. It is a liberating place to be, just how I like it!

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Lazy days in Lagos

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Lagos is a little gem in the southern part of Portugal, in Algarve. It is far from a hidden gem though. In fact Lagos is probably one of the most touristic places in Portugal. Despite this it is such a charming town. The little center is packed with cafés and eateries dotted along the car free lanes. And there are plenty of cute little shops to keep you busy on cloudy days. The surrounding offers several stunning small coves protected by dramatic red cliffs. They all have a different character and it is nice to walk along the pretty coast to try to find your favorite spot.

We stayed in an absolutely amazing place in Lagos called Casa das Laranjeiras. Even if the guest house was in the middle of the center we were not disturbed by the street noise since we had a room in the attic. You don´t see this room on their web page but might have to ask for it or book through Hostelworld. It sure was an amazing room with our own terrace. The price was very affordable for what you got.

Even if Lagos is a really busy place it has a cozy vibe that I really enjoyed. However I have heard that the nights can get lively in a less cozy way when all the hostels in the town takes their young travelers for pub crawls. But that does not happen until the wee hours. Lagos really has something for everyone 🙂

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Our lovely room, with fully equipped pentry:

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A daytour along the Bohuslän coast of Sweden

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My father lives on the southeast coast of Sweden and I on the west. When he visits me he always comes with the train. That is much cheaper than driving and very comfortable 🙂 When he visited me this weekend we rented a car over the day one day, to be able to discover a bit more of the fantastic Bohuslän coast.

We stopped in three places. Fiskebäckskil, Fjällbacka and Grebbestad. Fiskebäckskil was by far the most picturesque. With just around 400 residents it is a small place. It was wonderful to just walk around and watch all the colorful perfect houses, standing tight together like in most small villages in this area. Fjällbacka was a bit bigger. Around 800 people lives there. I am not a reader myself, but there is a famous crime author that has Fjällbacka as location for her crimes. Camilla Läckberg is her name. Fjällbacka has a mountain called Vetteberget stretching out behind the little community. From there you have a stunning view over the Fjällbacka archipelago. I would love to go and stay on one of those islands sometimes. It must be so peaceful.

Our last stop, and the shortest stop, was Grebbestad. A small town with around 1400 residents. I liked what I saw and wish we had more time to hang around but both me and my father were tired from all the impressions and wanted to head back to Gothenburg to relax on my balcony before bedtime. To summarize we had a fantastic day with perfect weather and lots of beautiful surroundings that for sure made me want to come back!

Below images are from Fiskebäckskil.

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Below images are from Fjällbacka.

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Below images are from Grebbestad.

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Discovering the Amalfi coast

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As I wrote about in my last post Louise & I chose to base ourself in the little town Montepertuso, just above famous Positano, during our vacation to the Amalfi coast. Above is the view that met us when descending the more than 1000 steps to the shore. We walked up almost every day as Italy´s high carb cuisine demands lots of exercise 😉 However we only walked down twice since it is a bit tough for the knees with all the steps. The other days we took the small local bus down the hill.

Positano was not really my cup of tea. Too crowded and not so authentic (maybe it was but you did not see it due to the crowds). The one going to the Amalfi coast should be aware that the buses does not run very frequently, nor does the boats. They are also not matched in schedule. This means that a big amount of our days went to transporting ourself. But this is the only way if you want to see different areas. We used the waiting time to eat ice cream 😛 Italy has wonderful ice cream – Gelato!

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We really wanted to see the pretty mountain town Ravello. The way to go there was by boat from Positano to the town Amalfi and then bus from there. Ravello is most famous for the Villa Rufolo garden from where you have magnificent coastal views, framed by trees and flowers. The little town Ravello is cozy to stroll around. I was amazed by the huge lemons outside one of the stores. The Amalfi coast is very famous for their lemons used for many purposes.

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There are many trekking possibilities on the Amalfi coast. The most famous walk, and the one that should not be missed, is the “Walk of the Gods”. In Italian called Sentiero degli Dei. To start the walk transport was needed by boat from Positano to pretty Amalfi (once again) and then bus to the mountain village Bomerano. The walk actually ends near to Montepertuso where we were staying.

It is ofcourse possible to do it the other way around but we were advised that the views would be more dramatic if we started in Bomerano (and it was!) It was really an amazing walk and not particular difficult at all. We stopped in Monteperstuso (it continues a bit after that). It took us only 3 1/2 hours completing the walk including about 30 minutes breaks for photographing and enjoying views.

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On our last day we decided to walk down the stairs as we had done the first day. The views are very pretty  as you descend. We had heard about a lunch restaurant in a small bay not far from Positano. The place was supposed to have a free shuttle boat to take you there and back and the reputation said they had amazing, and very affordable, seafood. We found the boat with the red fish sign saying “Da Adolfo” and jumped in. It was a nice short journey before approaching the bay. We ate great food, drank beer and relaxed but unfortunately bad weather reached us just after dinner so we never had the possibility to swim and sunbathe as planned. (Worth mentioning here is that the Amalfi coast is not a beach destination, the beaches are not very nice).

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To conclude we had a couple of fantastic days in the Amalfi coast. But my experience would not have been the same would we have stayed in busy Positano or elsewhere. It was really Montepertuso and our B&B Le Ghiande that made my experience complete!

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