travel

Paris | First Impressions | Where to go for brunch

 

Before I bring you a mega-piece with my experience and photos of streetstyle from Paris Fashion Week AW2017 (already looking forward to the Prague one), I prepared some quick tips and my first impressions from Paris. I went there with my boyfriend for a semi-working, semi-vacation trip and here is what I found out.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT PARIS:

  • picturesque streets of Montmartre
  • walking along the Seine river
  • grandiose streets, squares and architecture in the centre, reminding me a bit of either Prague or Budapest
  • restaurants with outdoor seating and great brunch menus you can enjoy throughout the whole day
  • people enjoying themselves and chit-chatting with their friends in those restaurants, even in early-spring rainy weather
  • free tap water with your order
  • meeting Lucie in one of the must-visit places in Paris--Cafe de Flore
  • great pastry
  • night visit of sparkling Eiffel tower
  • Sacre Coeur and the nice views of Paris

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:

  • Three days of neverending rain and running around in wet sneakers
  • The streets outside the centre were a bit dirty
  • Families of homeless people camping on Champs-Élysées
  • Parisians, who are not as chic as I originally thought
  • Parisians, who don't speak English, just as I heard
  • Car culture with a lot of noise and exhaust gasses in the city

WHERE TO GO FOR BRUNCH:

Holybelly - allegedly the best brunch in Paris. And it was really good. But the place is really crowded and you can easily spend half an hour in a queue outside.

Blackburn coffee - even a tad better than Holybelly in my view. And they have free wifi. You have to go for Oeuf cocotte if you visit!

Café de Flore - the ultimate venue for every instagrammer. Unfortunately, we didn't get the round table outside. Nevertheless, both omelette and coffee were delicious, so we survived being in a slightly less photogenic part of the restaurant

Benedict - maybe you've guessed it by the name, yes, Benedict eggs, prepared in different ways for the whole day (but it's also a proper restaurant with daily lunch menu)

Any bakery along the way, we went to Huré - supersoft croissants and maybe the best non-sweet pastry ever

I think there are other European cities which I enjoyed more than Paris. Barcelona, for example. Maybe we were just unlucky with the rainy weather we had in Paris and Barcelona is a paradise for all foodies. It's true, though, that Paris has much more to offer. I'm already looking forward to our next visit, as we've only managed to visit a couple of places. I'm sure Paris will get another chance to prove it's a great city to us. What about you? How do you like Paris? Which European cities do you like most?

coat,trousers, earrings: & Other Stories // sweater: H&M // boots: Zara // bag: BACK // hat: Acne

[VIDEO] Azores 2016

Nothing would have happened, if it were not for my friend Dominika. It was her who gave us a tip to check the extra cheap business class return tickets from Copenhagen to Azores for about 100 Euros. It was an opportunity we could not miss, so we ended up flying to Azores this July. I was a bit afraid that our tickets will be cancelled (as it sometimes happens with error fares) and Azores will turn out to be a hiking-junkie paradise without any signs of civilization like avocado sandwich brunches or cafe latte. I imagined myself packing all sorts of supplies like canned food and pills for every imaginable disease we could catch. 
However, as usual, it was just me freaking out, Azores were just fine.

WHERE TO GO

It's the Sao Miguel island which provides the highest level of services and also many sights. However, if you want to experience more adventurous side of Azores, full of weather swings, volcanoes, sandstorms and hacking your way through the jungle, I recommend visiting other islands, too. The best way to explore the islands, especially if you are short on time, is to rent a car (or hire a taxi driver/guide in 1 person). Most of the islands are quite small so you can get to the other side of the island in an hour or two, which is very convenient if one side is covered in thick fog or clouds, the other can still be full of sunny miraduros, piscinas and praias.

We decided to use the Pico island as our base camp for the first leg of our trip. It is situated in the middle of the central group of Azores with an easy ferry connection to Faial and Sao Jorge islands.

 

On our way back to Sao Miguel, where we spent the second part of our trip, we stopped by on Terceira, as it is almost along the way. Despite some online opinions praising Terceria as the most beautiful of the Azores islands, we were not particularly charmed.

The most touristy island—Sao Miguel—is probably the best choice if you can only spend (less than) a week on Azores. Nice shorter hiking trails, bathing in thermal springs, lakes or the sea, but also a bit of social life in the city, Sao Miguel provides it all. I'm a bit of an urban person myself, so after spending a week on the smaller islands, Ponta Delgada, having all the cafes and restaurants, looked as a true metropolis to me. Although it's true that nothing tastes better than a bun with a buttery spread at the end of a long hike.

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS 
 

Pico island
⁃ Natural swimming pool with sea water (piscina) and a restaurant nearby, called Zona Balnear da Poca das Mujas on the south coast was a nice ending to the Calheta do Nesquim trail. There are a lot of nice picturesque villages along the coast, we liked Porto Das Baixas on the south and Sao Roque do Pico with Piscina do Cais on the north side of the island. 

Faial
⁃ A very nice viewpoint overlooking the Horta town called Monte da Guia
⁃ Caldeira -- you can take a nice hike around the crater with great views, especially if Pico is visible.
⁃ Farol dos Capelinhos lighthouse and its surroundings. Nice museum mapping the recent volcanic eruption, great nearby piscina.

Sao Jorge
⁃ Extraordinary island with great trails towards villages with hardly any road access. We wanted to enjoy the great views from Miraduro da Vigia da Baleianear the Farol Da Ponta Dos Rosais lighthouse, but due to the heavy fog we could barely see a cow 3 meters from us peacefully chewing the green green grass. We got lucky on the other side of the island with great view from Miradouro da Faja do Ouvidor during our jungle hike on the north side of the island.
⁃ A nice bathing at Faja das Almas piscina.
⁃ Lots of trails are very fresh, since you can smell mint growing like weed in a lot of places.

 

Sao Miguel
⁃ You can find great thermal springs in Furnas: visit Poca da Dona Beija for a bit more natural feeling or Terra Nostra Hotel's thermal pool for something fancier (with a nice garden). Perhaps the most spectacular, though, is a thermal spring with a waterfall at Caldeira Velha not far from Fogo lake.
⁃ A national park around the Fogo lake is also a great hiking place and there are a couple of beaches around the Fogo lake, which is a bit more chilly than the thermal pools, but certainly worth to take a dip in, since it feels like swimming in a tarn.
⁃ Perhaps the most popular viewpoints are situated around the Sete Cidades (e.g. Vista do Rei), a double lake in the crater with a village in between. You can rent bikes or canoes near the lakes and take a tour around the crater, too. 
⁃ Maybe it was the weather, but we somehow liked the viewpoints around the Furnas lake (especially Miradouro do Pico de Ferro) a bit more than the Sete Cidades ones.
⁃ There are viewpoints almost everywhere, we also visited Miradouro do Escalvado and Miradouro de Santa Iria.
⁃ Great natural swimming pools and beaches around Mosteiros, but you can find nice beaches also near Ponta Delgada, e.g. Praia do Populo.
⁃ Swimming with dolphins (we used Futurismo, first tried on Pico island, but saw almost no dolphins, so we got another chance on Sao Miguel for free).
⁃ The only tea plantations in Europe Chá Porto Formoso
⁃ A tiny island Illhéu De Vila Franca Do Campo ideal for snorkeling. We rented kayaks from Mariosup kayak rental and got there by ourselves, but you can also take a boat from Vila Franca do Campo.

WHERE TO EAT 
 

Rotas - ubergood vegetarian place in Ponta Delgada. We went twice and the food was delicious. Appetizer, main course, dessert, local beer Especial, everything was very good. During the season, there is no chance to get here without a reservation.
A tasca - best fish restaurant we tried. Fresh fish of the dia, grilled every day. We also visited this one twice. Again, a reservation in advance is a must.
Restaurante Caldeiras & Vulcoes vo Furnase - a bit uneven, but can be a pleasant surprise. Great risotto and meat. They can also prepare a local speciality - dish slowly cooked by the thermal steams (but you have to order at least 24hours in advance).

There is no other place outside of San Miguel that I would particularly recommend. No brunch or coffee places, just lots of places full of Magnums and pastry shops.

 

AZORES are a true gem hidden in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. A little bit like Hawaii (where I've never been), a little bit like Iceland. Great scenery, hiking trails, volcanoes, thermal springs, waterfalls. On top of that, you also get an ocean where you can actually swim, snorkel and kayak. You can even climb the highest peak of Portugal (Pico mountain, of course), which we skipped.. But we thoroughly enjoyed the trip nonetheless. In the end, it's not about the peaks. It's about the experience and the journey #motivationalposter #instantquote.

 

check out the VIDEO too!

OFF TO AZORES

20 degrees centigrade, rainy weather, almost no civilisation. This is Azores, islands, where we are off to another un-fancy road trip, just as our latest one was, on Iceland. No fancy cafés, vegan restaurants, hipster-raw cookies. Only local grocieries supply plus three vegetable sufflé tins from DM drogerie markt. No flattering clothes or nice shoes. Only functional trekking clothes suitable for all-day-long hiking. But it's gonna be fun, that's for sure!

Soo take care, my friends! See you soon!

swimsuit: H&M// müsli bar: Chimpanzee // sandals: Teva // shorts: Dynafit // rain coat: Rains // sun cream: Kiehls // reading during the flight: Kinfolk

WHERE TO GO IN COPENHAGEN

 

Do you also usually skip the places near your home when you go out?

I've never been to any of the pubs or restaurants in the street in Prague I lived on, not even in the theatre 100m away from our apartment (what a shame!). And the situation is not too much different for me while living in CPH. But as long as I bike everywhere, I don't really mind -- because biking to visit an awesome place is like having two awesome things together!

I prepared this short guide for you guys who are planning to visit Copenhagen. I always take my guests here, and as my friends keep coming since I've moved here, these places have really proven themselves in the past year.

WHERE TO GO

It's pretty clear to me that places such as Little Mermaid or Nyhavn belong to any tourist's starter pack, but let's just have a look at something you might not find in a paperback tourist guide.

to the Amager Strand - I've fallen in love with Copenhagen beach and it doesn't matter whether it's summer and I can sunbathe or just walk by the quayside and admire the winter wonderland. I even like the overall grayness of the area in winter months - gray sea, gray sky and the modern functional architecture bringing nature closer to the people and vice versa. Benches, paths for roller skaters and cyclists, piers looking at the sea, outlooks - all these things look gorgeous and make me happy.

to Copenhagen parks - it may sound weird, but the best way how to deeply indulge in the Danish atmosphere is to take a picnic basket, a blanket and go to a park and enjoy the sun. Whenever it's more than 10 degrees outside, Danes put on their short sleeves, grab a sixpack of Carlsberg and occupy every single free piece of a lawn. And you know what? -- Maybe there is really something to it. Me and my bf love to go to some of cph parks after work, take a pizza and beer with us and enjoy the nice weather (while it lasts!).

You can also sit by the canal at the library (The Black Diamond), around Islands BryggeKalvebod Bølge or near the Opera and there are plenty of free deck chairs all over the length of the canal where you can just chill out, or even swim in the canal if you want.

check out some culture - I would really recommend visiting Lousiana gallery located just 40 km away from CPH for sure (you can get a combined train+gallery ticket in the central station). If you don't have much time and wanna save some money, go to SMK - National Gallery of Denmark - with the largest collection of art in DK. Except for current exhibitions, the entrance is free. I'd also recommend Arken - Museum of Modern Art, located in Ishøj Strandpark 20km south of Copenhagen, but maybe I have enjoyed the bike trip to the museum and the artsy shop more than the actual museum itself, I guess :) The entrance is around 110 DKK.

to Malmö - I must say that except the airport, I have not been to Malmö, yet. However at least for half of our guests, Malmö was the highlight of their stay in my place (which is kinda sad), so I think I can recommend Malmö with a clear conscience. You can either take a bus or buy a ticket at the CPH central train station for approx. 100 DKK and the journey takes approx. an hour one way.

to Superkilen and Red Square - photogenic stripes on the ground, red walls, pink paths for pedestrians make this place a superb location for outfit photoshoots (in case some blogger is reading this). This place's got a lot more--it offers many functional designer pieces from world designers, such as a Czech bench, a Marrocan chess tables, Dutch bike stands and a bike pump, grills ready for preparing food - just bring your own coal, meat and a sixpack and chill out with your friends.

 

WHERE TO EAT:

Serenity Cupcakes - the best and cutest cupcakes you've ever eaten! And so is the interior reminding me of a doll house. This place is also great for those who don't like sweets that much - thanks to the delicious coffee they serve! But check out the opening hours - they're closed on Mondays, and during the week they're open only from 12.00 til 18.00.

Streetfood on Papirøen (Paper Island) - an old industrial hall full of food stands with huge variety of meals, music, deck chairs outside to enjoy your meal and sun at the same time. Many people, many bikes. Perfect place by the canal with a true Danish atmosphere to relish good weather after work with friends. Be sure to try the pizza slices, egg wraps (if your prefer a gluten-free option) or if you eat meat, definitely go for Pølse Kompagniet hotdogs!

Meatpacking district - the summer weekend market with similar concept to Streetfood, but smaller and closer to the center of a town, in Vesterbro. A former slaughterhouses area is being rebuilt into a popular spot to hang out for young (and hungry) Danes. I'd recommend vaggie pancakes 'Crêpes', they cost around 60 DKK. You can also find a nice selection of permanent restaurants here from organic BioMio, to Mother's pizza, Mikkeller's brewpub Warpigs, burgers, cocktails and some upmarket venues.

Joe and the Juice - if you don't know where to grab a quick sandwich or coffee in the city, Joe is the place you need. They've got a few branches around the city and except for snacks and coffee they also offer great smoothies. The only con I see about Joe is that it's a bit pricy - e.g. my fav avocado sandwich costs 54 DKK.

Torvehallerne - Danes love this concept of food market and hanging out with friends, eating, drinking or just chillin'. Torvehallerne are two big halls full of stands with food, where you can either eat something or buy some international goods and cook them at home. My bf recommends Ma Poule's duck confit sandwich - a big French baguette with soft duck meat, which costs almost the same as my beloved avocado sandwich at Joe's.

Neighbourhood Organic Pizza and Cocktails - super crunchy organic pizza with unusual ingredients. My fav one is Potato Brie (since it's the only veggie one on their menu), but these crunchy cuties are a bit pricy--they go for 145 DKK.

The Coffee Collective - a transparent coffee place / roastery, whose dream is for a coffee farmer in Kenya to obtain the same status and living conditions as a wine grower in France. You can find them in Torvehallerne mentioned above, or in Frederiksberg on Godthåbsvej, in a very nicely furnished branch, with wifi and a nice view of roaster machines.

Grød - my beloved place in Nørrebro, near to Superkilen. I love their seasonal risotto, porridges, lemonade and all those breakfast goodies. The prices are quite average for Denmark and the only problem with this place is that it might be overcrowded, all the places occupied and porridges sold out, so hurry up! They offer brunch until 3pm. but the dinner is served only from 5pm.

 

All in all, there are plenty of awesome places where to go or eat in Copenhagen, and it doesn't have to be the traditional ones like the Little mermaid, Christiania or Nyhavn. Next time I might prepare a shopping guide to CPH or where to go to see some interesting architecture n CPH if you want.

Just let me know in comments below.

dress and cardigan: H&M // jeans: Mango // shoes: Vagabond // belt: COS

WHERE TO GO IN BARCELONA

Barcelona - one of my fav cities in the world! Thank you, General Preyer Day, a public holiday in mostly atheistic Denmark and thank you, cheap flying tickets, you allowed us to travel in such a beautiful place. Before we go ahead to things I like, disliked and what do I recommend, let's see, where we stayed -- and it was here, by Enrique! It was a great stay, thank you Enrique for having us!

Sju loves:

Weather. I've been to Barcelona once in November and this year in April, and each time it was a great escape to a warm and pleasant weather.

Beach. All day long sunbathing is annoying, but running from the city for a while, having a walk along the sea, dipping your feet in a warm Mediterranean and breathing the fresh air? I-love-it.

Great food. That's all that needs to be said.

Shopping. Cheap Zara, Mango or other spanish brands are a good reason why to shop in Barcelona. What I'd definitely recommend even more is a Spanish design brand Bimba y Lola. Have already two bags, but I'm not done yet!

Diversity. Historic Gothic centre, picturesque streets and hidden plazas, breathtaking architecture of Gaudi, magnificent lookouts (from Tibidabo, Montjuïc or Park Güell), cablecar trips, beaches, delicious food (my bf especially recommends jamon iberico de bellota), culturally diverse Raval neighbourhood, shopping -- Barcelona has it all!

Sju (hates) dislikes:

It's soo crowded everywhere - especially during the weekends and especially turistic places are literally impassable. There are people everywhere.

Lack of organisation - Accustomed to Copenhagen, transportation in BCN looks very spontaneous to me. I appreciate bike lanes, but there are not everywhere. On the other hand, people ARE everywhere. And scooters, and bikes, and more people.

Too hot and humid in the summer. It's not my experience, but two friends of mine have had some hard time in BCN with broken airconditioning.

 

WHERE TO GO:

Sagrada Familia - the most extraordinary building in BCN, still hasn't been finished, unfortunately. It's independent from the government, funded by tourism, so let's go there, buy tickets-with or without a guide.

Park Güell - is a public park system with gardens and beautiful architectonic elements designed by Gaudi located on Carmel Hill. To avoid the queues, be sure you have booked tickets in advance via the web.

Casa Batlló - the house in the centre of Barcelona designed by Gaudi for the Batlló family is one of his masterpieces. I really recommend taking an interactive audioguide - it was really helpful. You'll learn a lot about Gaudi, his work, and of course, this house in particular, too.

cable car - perfect place to see the city, harbour and beach from a bird's eye view. It runs from Muntanya de Montjuïc to the beach and back. Secret tip: the queue for the cable car from the beach to the Montjuic is considerably longer than the one for the trip back, so if you want to have some extra room in the cabin, I suggest you travel from Montjuic to the beach.

outlook from Tibidabo - Barcelona at a glance. Beautiful especially in nice weather.

La Rambla - the most famous and crowded street in Barcelona, full of stands, sellers of useless thingies and unfortunately, pickpockets.

La Boqueria Food Market - it's worth to take a break from La Rambla and visit this food market. Fresh fish, jamon, fruit, flowers - everything!

beach - swim or just walk around. There's also a bike line for cyclists or skaters and lots of beach volleyball playgronds for the active folks.

free tour - some of you maybe have already been to free tours in other cities. Concept is pretty simple -- to motivate the tour guide, you tip him/her at the end of the tour depending on how you liked the tour. We went for the Gothis tour this time and it was really nice and informative.

or rent a bike to enjoy the city and its beautiful weather, long promenade along the beaches while on a bike. Usually costs around 10 euros per day, which is a bit steeper compared to public transport (T10 -- 10 trips for 10 euros), but might be worht it in nice weather.

WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:

Cosmo - a really hipster café with fresh fruit and veggie juices, avocado sandwiches, chai latté and more. Appropriate decor like bikes hanging on the walls included. Always crowded and a bit understaffed. The whole avenida behind the university is quite nice for a walk.

Caravelle - great spot for brunch with a similar spirit to Cosmo. Don't go there for late lunch, though, the kitchen is closed until the evening.

Satan's Coffee Corner - maybe the best coffee in town in a hidden street off the usual crowds. Maybe you've noticed how I praised the Double shot cafes in Prague on Instagram. Satan's coffee is as good as theirs!

El Pachuco - tiny authentic Mexican place with the best quesadilla ever, great tacos, nachos and drinks, too. Friendly staff. Looks like locals really like it, not very touristic yet. We had this one a short walk from out AirBnb, so went there three times in a row.

Vinico Pizza Bar - Italian cuisine is the best and this little place is a paragon of this. Great location near La Barceloneta and outdoor seating on a sunny terrace with nice staff really made a great impression on me.

Granja La Pallaresa - giude from the free tour recommended this place for the best churros in town. I guess I had better ones in Andalusia, but it is a nice place with good atmosphere. Can be crowded, though.

Nevermind - an underground bar hidden in a street just next to La Rambla. If you like Cross club in Prague, this is a miniature version of it in Barcelona. And you get free popcorn with every drink!

(Cerveseria) Ciutat Comtal - tapas are not originally from the Catalan region, but Barcelona offers a good choice of various tapas places. This one is really nice and situated conveniently near Casa Batlló.

 

During the vacation, I was contemplating whether I could live in Barcelona.

How would it be to live there for a longer time?

Warm and sunny weather, even if the forecast warns of rain (which is usually the opposite here in CPH), grocery stores with huge selection of great food (if you haven't lived in Copenhagen, you won't understand this point), great choice of restaurants with affordable prices, beaches with warm water where I could actually bath during the summer months -- I would really enjoy all of this for sure.

On the other hand, navigating the life in the city without knowledge of Spanish (or Catalan) can be difficult (if you skip the touristy places). The city is crowded and finding work is probably quite a challenge in Barcelona. Without a remote job, I don't see myself moving there anytime soon.

The hardest choice

 

Every time I plan a vacation I have mixed feelings. The excitement about visiting a new place, but also some kind of lust of going back to some lovely places I've already been to. Limited amount of vacation days, budget and fear from a wasted opportunity always pulls me to those undiscovered places, but isn't it a pity -- visit everything only once, watch a good movie or have a great meal in a nice restaurant only once?

Do you also have such feeling time to time?

Anyways, my dilemma was solved as usual by a higher power (momondo.com), when cheap flight have set the direction of our next vacation -- yaaay,

Barcelona, I'm coming! 

Stay tuned, I'm back in two days with my Barcelona guide!

sweat: COMME des GARÇONS // jeans: & Other Stories // sneakers: Reebok // backpack: Matt & Nat

ICELAND - To The South

After four days in the north of Iceland (click to read the part one HERE), our road trip is taking us in a new direction. Bye bye, good weather, hello to the cloudy and windy south coast. Pity, that the South is the adventure-richest part of Iceland and we had such a bad luck with weather. Like Landmannalaugar - rainbow mountains, where we've planned to go, but it was all covered in snow and not accessible for tourists. At least we have another reason to come back to Iceland again!

Where we went, what we did:

Day 5

Day of glaciers! Went to Jökulsárlón - the glacial river lagoon in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. However, we had bad luck with the weather. It was very windy and cloudy and we missed the amphibian boat, and unfortunately, we hadn't had more time to wait to another boat. (next time !!)

Went to Skaftafell National Park, and see Svartifoss waterfall, one of Skaftafell's best known attractions, mainly for the basalt column walls that flank it.

Day 6

Visited the Reynisfjara beach, near the village of Vik, on the South Coast, very popular for the black sand and basalt columns.

Went to Dyrhólaey, the small peninsula located on the south coast

Saw the abandoned DC plane wreck on Sólheimasandur

Saw the Skógafoss waterfall, situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland

Explored the hidden beauty of Gljúfrabúi waterfall

Walked behind the Seljalandsfoss, 60 meters high waterfall with a foot path behind it

Day 7

Joined the The Golden Circle, a popular tourist route in the South Iceland

Explored Geysir, the Þingvellir national park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and Öxarárfoss waterfall (because day without a waterfall on Iceland, doesn't count!)

Day 8

All day long hike from the Hjálparfoss waterfall, situated in the lava fields north of the stratovolcano Hekla, to the waterfall Háifoss

Day 9

Visited Keriða volcano crater lake located in the Grímsnes area, where Bjork held her concert 5 years ago.

Iceland is well worth the visit for sure

and if you want to enjoy your trip, I definitely recommend staying loner than a week. There are so many unique sights, from waterfalls to thermal baths, to volcanoes and glaciers, huge variety of hikes and outdoor activities that even two weeks with the everlasting sunshine of arctic days in June will definitely make you want more. The unique landscapes of this beautiful piece of Earth being torn apart between Europe and North America are a true experience for anyone who enjoys nature and can withstand an occasional gale and storm.