21 September 2009

Romantic Rome

10 top things to do in Rome?

I was in Rome on my birthday. It was nothing like I thought it would be. The old beautiful monuments were in the middle of the city. Wow! I like!

I thought it was going to be the shopping that was amazing. But I was astonished by the beautiful city, and I almost forgot the shops.

We walked and walked and walked. And we saw so many beautiful buildings, monuments and the most beautiful one was the fountain “Fontana de Trevi”. Don’t miss it!

We also visited the Gucci shop, expensive but a must when in Rome. Suddenly the staff in the other shops treated us differently. It is amazing (and scary) what a shopping bag from Gucci can change peoples attitude towards you. The Gucci shop is next to all the other exclusive designer shops on Via Condotti 8.

In the evening, we had an unbelievable romantic and expensive dinner with at lovely view over Rome. Suddenly the Gucci bag felt quite cheap ;-)
But the best food during the trip were at the Giggetto restaurant.

There are so many things to see in Rome, the Vatikan city, Roman Colosseum, Roman Forum, Spanish steps, piazza navona, trastevere. Check out google maps, buy a tourist book or go on a guided tour.
Or just grab a map from the hotel reception, walk alone and enjoy the magic of Rome.

If you like classical music, visit the opera house in Rome. It is one of the best in Europe. But book in advance… But don´t go to Rome during the summer, as the weather is way too hot. Go to Rome during the spring, in March-May.

Italian travel expert http://twitter.com/ItalyTravelista recommended me these luxury resturants in Rome: Hotel de Russie, Hotel Hassler, Hotel de la Minerve & St. Regis.

Fashion magazine Elle recommends these restaurants in their magazine recently:
  • Salotto 42 for drinks & antipastibuffet. Address: Piazza Di Pietra 42
  • Dar Poeta, restaurant in Travestera with fab pizza. Address Vicolo del Bologna 45
  • Ristorante Lagana restaurant with great pasta, fish & meat dishes. Address: Via del´Orso 44.
Top 3 piazzas (squares) in Rome by Ving travelagency:
  • Piazza de Popolo, from 1800 with Rome´s largest obelisk . The famous street Via del Corso starts here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazza_del_Popolo 
  • Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazza_Navona
  • Campo dei fiori,  A market with fruit and vegetables during the day, and a large party in the evenings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_de'_Fiori

16 August 2009

Pure pyramids in Egypt!

  • 10 top things to do in Egypt?

    A visit to Egypt should include both a visit to Cairo and to the beach in Sharm el Sheik. I liked Cairo best but we went there off season so it wasn’t so warm in the sea. Maybe that’s why I liked Cairo more. I will tell you abou the Cairo hotels, Cairo sightseeing, Cairo shopping etc. that I found to be on the top list!

    Ett besök i Egypten måste innehålla både Kairo och kusten vid Sharm el Sheik. Jag tyckte bäst om Kairo men det var inte så varmt i vattnet när vi var där. Kanske var därför jag gillade Kairo mer. Här berättar jag mer om fina lyxhotell och restauranger i Kairo, sightseeing i Kairo, pyramiderna, shopping i Kairo som jag tycker platsar på topplistan!

    In Cairo there are plenty of things on the must-to-do-list… I chosen the major three things… sightseeing, dining on or by the Nile and shopping. Surprised?

1. Sightseeing

  • The Pyramids of course. You can also go inside for a visit if you want. It is very close to the town so just grab a taxi and go there.
  • When you are there. Also visit the area where the The Sfinx is.
  • The Eyptian Museum. Don’t take pictures here. I did and it wasn’t popular at all.
  • The Cairo Tower. It has a restaurant on the top and the view is supposed to be great. I didn’t have the time to visit but it seems nice. Bring your camera and take pictures of the panorama views.

    2. The Nile
  • Have lunch or dinner at restaurant Ramses Hilton by the Nile. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Nile and the Pyramids from the 36th-floor
  • A dinner cruise on the Nile is a fantastic experience. The one we went on is operated by the luxury Oberoi hotel with great food and a nice dance performance and band.

    3. Shopping
  • Go to the hotel Intercontinental City Stars. Have an early dinner and go next doors. There is a huge shopping mall. It is open very late and there is a lot to see and shop. It felt a bit strange to pass the safety guards and checks to go in to a shopping mall but I guess it is the way it is here.
  • You have to visit the Khan al-Khalili, it is a medieval souk with bargains for everyone. Make and blend your own perfume here, it is a great gift to take home.

03 August 2009

Sunny South Africa

10 top things to do in South Africa?

South Africa has a really special place in my heart. It has everything sea, wildlife, fishing, mountains, wine district, shopping and great food!

Visiting Johannesburg?
Stay at the Michelangelo hotel in Johannesburg by the Nelson Mandela square. Or at the Sandton towers . Another nice new five star luxury hotel is the Da Vinci.
The Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa has been voted the world´s leading boutique hotel and the Best Day Spa in South Africa. Stay there, or at least have dinner there and you will find out why...
Want something cheaper, but nice? The Irene lodge is really nice and have great jazz lunches in the weekends. The Centurion hotel is ok, has a pool but not so fancy

Shopping in South Africa Johannesburg!Go shopping at the shopping malls Rosebank, Sandton and try the big shopping mall Menlyn shopping mall in Pretoria.

Restaurants Johannesburg and Pretoria South Africa!
  • Ritrovo in Pretoria, has fabulous Italian food opera-evenings and dinners. The owner also sings beautiful opera if you ask him nicely. Don’t miss it!
  • Cynthias in Pretoria is a restaurant and art gallery. The food and wine is great and the prices are great too. Not a common combination.
  • Butchers in Johannesburg is a butcher and restaurant in combination. Great food and huge wine cellar. Ask to have a look before you order your food! http://www.thebutchershop.co.za/
  • The luxury West Cliff hotel and restaurant, marvellous food and a great view form the hill.
  • Maximilien is a new restaurant at Sandton Sqaure in Johannesburg. Great food and it has a spectacular cigar bar. http://www.maximillien.co.za/
  • Restaurant Pappas is also located on Sandton Sqaure in Johannesburg. Great meditarian food, a taste of Greece. Lovely! http://www.pappasrestaurant.co.za/
When tired of the cities go out to the bush on safari
Sun city in South Africa is close to Johannesburg and a strange place built in the middle of nowhere but has everything, hotels, restaurants, pools, casino, safari. It is convenient for families with small children. Play golf at the Gary Player golf course.
Or do the real thing and go to the Kruger national park.
If you don´t have time to go to bush to see the animals you should visit the Lion Park. If you dare you can go into the cage and touch the lion cubbs (they are not so small, wear trousers, they can jump and bite!) or feed the giraffs. It is an outdoor zoo close to Pretoria and Johannesburg.

When in South Africa you also have to visit Cape Town and the wine district.
Stay in with a great view of the sea in luxury at the Table bay hotel. Or in the cheaper but not cheap SAS Waterfront Cape Town.
Rent a car or take a tourist trip with a tourist company to the wine district. Short overview on: http://www.wineanorak.com/saregions.htm
My favourite is Franschhoek. There are so many super nice hotels and restaurants here!!

And don’t forget to bring your golf clubs. There are great golf courses everywhere! Try one way of living in South Africa. Stay by the golf course at the wonderful Wings & Water Guest House at the gated community Silverlake. It is close to the air port, shopping centres, golf course etc in Pretoria. And it has a great chef. The owner has also another lovely guest house for a safari weekend, and a third by the coast.
When in Johannesburg or Pretoria you should arrange a tour guide to take you to the Apartheid Museum and on a Soweto tour. There are plenty of sites to visit in Soweto for example Nelson Mandelas home and the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is also nice to visit the Parliament in Pretoria.

Get to know some more about the culture of South Africa in the Lesedi Cultural Village, Magaliesberg. Local families live permanently in five traditional homes including Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele. Have lunch in the restaurant and try ostrich or crocodile.

If you dont want to drive a car yourself, it is nice to go with a tour operator. For example JMT Tours http://www.jmttours.co.za/

Desert vacation in Dubai

10 top things to do in Dubai?

The first new country this year was Dubai. It was exciting to go there and to see the desert but one visit is not enough and I will go back. This is my report from the city of sand.

Visting the desert
There are many excellent hotels in Dubai. I just love the desert!
Do I need to say more?

Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is an excellent retreat in a traditional Arabic setting in the desert outside Dubai. I just wished we had stayed here for the whole week!
I was a tiny bit scared of the falcon that the falconer wanted me to hold. They also offered me a trip on a camel in the desert before we went back to town.
I bought a lovely red camel to take home. If you want one you can order one at http://jumeirahcollection.com/Art/For/Home/79-105-22509/Camel+Caravan+Saandhni.aspx

Shopping capital of the Middle East
Dubai is labelled the "shopping capital of the Middle East". We visited the Dubai mall. Supersize and super empty. Where is everyone??But on the other hand there were no queues in the shops. Shopping in Dubai, takes time, so many shops, so little time. But it is the same stuff in the shops as at home so do spend your time in Dubai on other things.

I bought some lovely art at Gallery One. Check out their arab pop art in the Dubai Shopping Mall or on But I bought pictures of the Arabic desert

In Dubai there is actually something called a shopping festival Dubai… believe it or not. I was there a week before the festival started. Bad luck or not?

The taxi driver told me the business was slow and not so many tourists and customers as before. He thought of moving back to India. Maybe that is why the shopping malls were so empty??
Strange and a bit scary to watch people ice-skating in Dubai for the first time, without helmets….in a huge shopping mall...the Dubai Mall

Another huge shopping mall in Dubai is Mall of the emiratesIt was fun to watch people skiing for the first time at the indoor Ski Dubai at the mall of the emirates.
We had dinner at one of the 44 (!!) Restaurants in hotel Madinat Jumeriah in DubaiDo not miss this place! After dinner take a romantic trip with a boat in the canal in the hotel area or sit down and watch the Burj al arab in the sun down.

We went down to “the walk” in Dubai by the beach and sea and have lunch at restaurant Paul and a walk afterwards on the beach or by the walk watch all the luxury cars. But the best lunch was at the hotel resturant The Adress by the pool with a view of the world´s tallest building in Dubai centre. But do avoid the Atlantis area and restaurants. It was not worth the trip.

To summarize the week: in Dubai I really relaxed by the pool at the beautiful Desert Resort. I wished we had stayed in the desert for a week. 

Costa Brava in Spain

10 top things to do in Costa Brava?

This summer we visited the Costa Brava coast in Spain. We flew to Barcelona and rented a car to go to Costa Brava on the coast close by. We drove to the small town Platja d’Aro. On the mountain with a view over the sea is the lovely small bed and breakfast hotel called Cal Fonei. This is a perfect vacation for a family with kids.

Vi spenderade den här sommaren i Costa Brava kusten i Spanien. Vi flög till Barcelona och hyrde sedan en bil. Vi bodde på ett litet jättefint hotell som heter Cal Fonei. Det ligger i bergen med otrolig utsikt över havet och kusten. Det här är en perfekt semester för en barnfamilj.

The hotel Cal Fonei has only a couple of rooms, big swimming pool and a super nice view. The friendly couple who runs the hotel arranged a lovely barbeque for us one night. It feels like staying with friends in their home. A great feeling when you are on vacation.

There so much to do. You can visit Barcelona to see the buildings by Gaudi. It is worthwhile the trip! When tired of sightseeing by bus in Barcelona we visited Spanish Zara mega store for some shopping. Summer sale was on. Shopping in Barcelona is great.

Three must do´s in Barcelona according to Ving travelagency are:

  • El Born, a bohemic are with the Picasso museum "Museo Picasso", cafés, restaurant, bars and vintage shops. 
  • The squares in Grácia with outdoor restaurants, bars, markets, bars. There are more bars per squaremetre here than any other place in the city.
  • Enrique Granados, a lovely street with art nouveau architecture, cosy restaurants and several masterpieces of Gaudi.

After Barcelona we went back to Costa Brava. We took the car and and drove around to new towns everyday. It is nice to eat out in the evenings in the different villages around the coast.

Restaurants Costa Brava?
We also visited the village Lloret de mar. Totally full of tourists. But I forgot about that while eating at restaurant La Pampa while watching the beautiful church. Address: Santa Lucia

The favourite place is the simple pub like restaurant Ray de Jamon in the harbour of Saint Feliu de Guixols. Address: Ctra de Palamos 2. They don’t speak English but it doesn’t matter because the food is marvellous. Quite expensive, but with great food and off the tourist streets is restaurant Toc de Sol in Castell d’Aro very close to Platja d’Aro.

Small scale shopping in the small shops in Palamos was nice. I couldn’t find any nice restaurants but I am sure the must be some.

Dancing in the street got a new meaning in Tossa de mar when the inhabitants of Tossa dance to the sound of Sardanes in the streets of the city. Happens one day in July every year. Wow!

Shopping in Andorra!When we were in Spain we took a days trip and drove to the Andorra for some mega shopping. But the stunning views in the mountains beat the shopping by far. It took far longer to drive there than planned. So all the shops closed about one hour after we arrived. Or maybe it was well planned?
I only bought one perfume in Andorra, it was kind of to many shops. Strange feeling. But at least I visited one new country. So I could get a tick in the box on my “must-visit-two-new-countries-a-year-list”

Andorra was full of cyclists and shops. Plan the shopping or nature adventures on http://www.andorra.ad/en-US/What_do_you_need/Shopping/Pages/default.aspx

Shopping in Costa Brava
There are not so many nice shops here but I managed to buy a DKNY bag on sale. One nice thing about a summer holiday in July in Spain is that the sale is on in all shops.... Go to Barcelona and shop at Zara, Mango, DKNY, Cortés Ingles, etc. etc.

15 July 2009

Österlen is fantastic

10 top things to do at Österlen?

I do love Österlen in Skåne in the South of Sweden. These are my favourite places...

Österlen is a region on the eastcoast of Sweden. It is by the sea and I really like the region for its nature, lovely small houses, art galleries, design hotels and great restaurants.

I looked at 25 artists work at KAOS south of Kivik. It is easy to find. I found a lot of things a liked and bought some. This is where I bought my giant tea cup I have at work. It is made by Saga Johnsson. You can also visit her shop and workshop on the way to Stenshuvud.

The must-try-drink when you are at Österlen is the local apple juice and food made of fruit made locally in Kivik. Buy it by the street. I tried a glass in the café and then I bought a lot in the factory shop at Kiviks musteri or the smaller and lovlier Kivikås close to Kivik.
Where to stay at Österlen? I like Östangård bed and breakfast and design shopBut I love Karlaby Kro hotel and spa even more.
Have lunch or dinner at Karlaby Kro and you will be happy for a month.
A friend told me that the hotel and restaurant Vitemölla Badhotell is a must. But I missed to go there last summer. But I will not miss it this summer. It looks supernice!
The best place for coffee and cookies is the bakery Olof Viktors

The rooms are not so nice but the food is lovely at hotel and restaurant Brösarps gästgiveri. I had the fish "Helstekt Spätta från Simrishamn med Champinjoner och brynt Smör" when I stayed in Brösarp. Mums as we say in Swedish! But the best restaurant is Maritim Krog, address Hamngatan 31, in Simrishamn. Evelinas Kök is also nice for at meal, address Storgatan 3.

Some more shopping? I found Himla table cloths & things at great prices at Stärkan kvalitetsoutlet in Kivik. Dining at home will be even nicer this autumn with things I bought...

I feel in love with a painting when I visited the gallery on Eliselundsvägen 45 in Kivik. The artist was friendly enough to show us his gallery and studio which had a great view of Kivik.
Check out his marvellous paintings at http://www.hagman.se/main.php?page=konstnarer&subpage=konstnar.php&username=Bengt%20Yman
There is also a nice shop in Kivik at Eliselundsvägen 18, just opposite with handmade design things.
I feel happy when I look at Gunilla Manns paitings. A lot of colours and happiness. She has a studio in Rörum and a shop in Simrishamn. Buy a painting of a postcard as a memory of your trip to Österlen. I like the one of Nyhavn in Copenhagen a lot.
It is perfect to go to Österlen in May-August. But if you like art you should try to visit it during Easter beacuse of the "konstrunda". It is an art exhibition where 150 artists open their homes and studios to the public. I was there in 2009 and loved it, although it snowed heavily during the whole weekend.
Do you dream of a house at Österlen? Look at this real estate homepage. Their presentations of the houses that are for sale totally look like an interior design magazine! http://www.uppvik.nu/

Finally some must do things från my friend Eva who lives in Skåne:
  1. Play golf at one of the beautiful golf courses; for example the golfcourse Lilla Vik outside Simrishamn. You can stay at their hotel and play golf for a weekend. I tried their restaurant and checked their rooms last summer. Looks good!
  2. Visit Kronovalls vinslott (wine castle). Have a wine tasting sesscion, have dinner and stay at their hotel. It is quite expensive and I have not tried it but it seems like a nice place.
  3. Visit Konstrundan
You might guess what her hobbies are by the above tips?

13 July 2009

Trosa - A truly beatiful end of the world!

This weekend´s trip was to small town Trosa by the sea on the east coast of Sweden. It is close to Stockholm and also called "the end of the world".

Den här helgens resa gick till den lilla staden Trosa vid havet på svenska ostkusten. Trosa ligger nära Stockholm och kallas också ”världens ände”.

The town is so sweet and lovely by the sea and with a canal in the middle of the town.

Visit it on a sunny summer day! In the winter, many shops and restaurants are closed!
http://www.trosa.com/ or http://cityguide.se/trosa/

We stayed at the hotel Bomans hotell. I have read about this small Swedish design hotel and boutique hotel it in loads of design and travel magazines.

It looks so nice on the internet. All the rooms are in different styles. Check out their suite La Dolce Vita and the other rooms
I am curious as I have high expectations for this place. Can Bomans hotel meet my expectations? Checking in isn’t until 15.00 so we take a stroll around the town. There are so many small shops with clothes, interior design and other stuff. I can´t resist some new candle light holders and a vase at the shop “Nätverket Hjärtans glädje” on the street Österlånggatan where all the small shops are. http://www.lusthuset-heminredning.se/

We also spent some time in the small shops on the square. Albins gården has ceramics from Bruka design. Nice!
At the square we cross the canal in the middle of the town, take a couple of pictures of the boats and the lovely small wooden houses by the canal.

On the other side is the Trosa hotel and restaurant in Trosa Stadshotellet. The food is excellent. The hotel and spa also seem nice. I might stay here if I come back another time.

Now it is check-in time at Bomans hotel. Our rooms are so totally sweet with Laura Ashley design. Sweet! If you want to copy the design visit the closest Laura Asley shop.
Or international http://www.lauraashley.com/

In the evening a four course dinner at Bomans restaurant. Starter and desserts are great. Main course isn’t spectacular but ok. All in all - a great evening.

The last day a stroll in the harbour checking out the boats and more small shops.
An ice-cream by the harbour in the sun is nice. Or a “fika” (coffee and cookies) in the garden at the bakery “Tre små rum” on Österlånggatan.

We pass hotel Vega, the world´s smallest hotel?, which looks nice by the canal. It is a four star hotel with three rooms!
There is also and Bed and Breakfast hotel “Ågården Bed & Breakfast” next to Vega.

We also had to visit “Kutterkonfekt” the chocolate “factory” and shop on Österlånggatan. We buy some handmade chocolate before we leave.

You can also play golf or go on boat trips in the Swedish archipelago

There are three old castles close by. One of them is royal Tullgarns slott which is owned by the Swedish Royal Family.

12 July 2009

Cool Copenhagen

10 top things to do in Copenhagen?
I visited Copenhagen, Denmark last week. Copenhagen is a lovely city with loads of great shops, restaurants and museums.
Where to stay in Copenhagen? Hotel The square has a perfect location in the middle of the centre.
Enjoyed the Arne Jacobsen design hotel Radisson SAS Royal Hotel. Turned on the ipod and sat in the coolest chairs ever in the lobby. Drinks on the top of the house... at the 20th floor with a fantastic view of Copenhagen at the Radisson hotel.
A drink or lunch at Restaurant Puk is a must after a day of shopping. Design viewing & shopping at Illum is nice but do try shopping on street Vandkunsten and the streets around. It is much better! I just love the small shops around here!
On Copenhagen on a Friday? Don´t miss the great Rock conserts at the Fun park Tivoli. Spent the afternoon at fun park TiIvoli. Watch out for the scary airplane and screaming people!!! (maximum speed 100 km/h, 360 degree turn). OK I admit. I didnt dare to try...
Lunch at restaurant Ida Davidsen (only open on weekdays, make reservation) is something special. Super shopping on the street Ströget and a cosy dinner at smoky restaurant Skindbuksen (reservation is needed)
Boatsightseeing followed by lunch on the sqare. Danish classic food (smorrebrod) in restaurant Nytorv. We had a lovely dinner at the Sankt Gertruds kloster (the St Gertruds convent).
If you like art, like me, don´t miss the art museum Glypoteket. The museum Louisiana is also one of my favorites, but it is outside Copenhagen and you need a car to get there. But if you go there, stop by at the Karen Blixen house and museum on the way.

The best restaurant in Copenhagen is Noma, it has been named the world´s best restaurant. Reserve in advance to experience extraordinary Nordic gourmet cuisine at its best. Read the review in the Telegraph UK.

Other cool design hotels in Denmark are:
  •  Hotel Fox. Each room is different. Choose among rooms with comical styles, graphic design, street art, fairytales and Japanese Manga to mention some.
  • Hotel FRONT with stylish sophisticated design. It is on the Condé Nast Traveller's 2007 Hot List.
  • Hotel Nimb with the aim to place the hotel in the absolute world-elite of small, luxury city hotels. Placed in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The design of the exterior of the hotel reminds me of Taj Mahal.
  • Hotel Skt. Petri is one of Copenhagen's leading design hotels.