Oman

After spending few days in beautiful Muscat our journey took us to Jebel Shams, Wadi Shab, Sur and Fins.

Jebel Shams was an organized day trip through Oman tours. Your guide picks you up from the hotel at 09:00 am and drops you off at around 3pm. Although the scenery was stunning, the cost of the trip was not worth it. We paid 144 USD each (we were 3 people) so a total of 432 USD to drive with a guide to Nizwa town, then to Jebel Shams where we had lunch and then drove back to the hotel.

Now don’t misunderstand me, the tour to Jebel Shams is a must. It’s the highest mountain in the country (3000m) and the view from the top is beautiful. I am so happy we had the chance to experience the stunning nature of such a place.It is really breathtaking! Nevertheless I would recommend finding another cheaper option either through a local driver or a cheaper tour.

We decided to rent a car from SIXT to continue the trip on our own. They gave us a very good price for a decent car (Nissan Altima), and the service was great. Note: they keep your deposit for 4 weeks before releasing it! Again something that I learnt, since there is a lot of off road ways a 4 x 4 would have been a better option.

Another thing to take into consideration, a GPS is a must because google map doesn’t work properly in Oman (neither does whatsapp, viber, or skype) they are all blocked!

Wadi Shab was our first stop. It’s almost 2 hours straight highway drive from Muscat. We stayed at wadi shab resort, the only accommodation close to wadi shab except for camping on the beach (which would have been a better option). Wadi shab resort is decent, but overprized for what it is. We spent one night there relaxing by the beach surrounded by the mountains. In the early morning we woke up and drove to Wadi Shab (it took about 10minutes). When you arrive you will find plenty of space to park your car. You pay 1 rial to cross from one side to another and then you walk for around 30 min until you reach the stunning Oasis. It is so beautiful, the colors and atmosphere is breathtaking. I would describe it as nature as its best. (check the pictures and you will understand!). Wadi Shab is a must visit!

We spent half the day there and then we drove off to Sur.

 

Sur is located 220km from Muscat and well known for its old fishing village and traditional manufacture of dhows. On top of being a very charming city Sur is a convenient base for day trips to Wadi Tiwi and Wadi Shab and the turtle reserve at Ras al-Jinz. We spent the night there and rested at the Resort Sur beach holiday hotel. It was an average hotel with the necessary amenities.

Next morning we packed our things and headed to Muscat, but we decided to make one stop next to Fins by a place called white beach.

White beach is located very close to Fins, reached by an off roadway and is a very popular area for camping. As its name let suppose it, the sand of the beach is white, and the sea is translucent and it is considered one of top beaches in Oman.

We spent a few hours swimming in the sea and tanning on the fine white sand, surrounded by few campers who were getting ready to spend the night under the stars.

Few tips to consider

  • You must buy halwa(an omani dessert). You can get the best one from Al diwaniya (the honey based one).
  • A GPS is a must if you want to drive around in Muscat
  • Rent a 4x4 if you are planning to explore the country and drive around to different wadis.
  • You can buy a Omani sim card at the airport for 20 USD with free internet for 1 week.
Jebel Shams 

Jebel Shams 

Jebel Shams 

Jebel Shams 

 

Wadi Shab 

Wadi Shab 

 

Wadi Shab 

Wadi Shab 

 

White Beach

White Beach

white beach 

white beach 

 

Madrid, La ciudad que nunca duerme

Madrid is indeed the city that never sleeps; it is vibrant and always alive! This was my first time in Madrid and only two days to explore the city in and out, which was quite a challenge because Madrid has so much to offer. We made it but with a bit of organisation and research in advance.

Parque del retiro 

Parque del retiro 

Plaza Mayor 

Plaza Mayor 

I’ll share with you the must see places, my favorite spots and some fun facts to take with you into consideration when visiting this beautiful Spanish Capital.

What to see?

Madrid is charming, with so many corners to explore and beautiful architecture to appreciate combining the medieval and contemporary. Wander around plaza Mayor or plaza de la cibeles, enjoy the sunshine in Parque del retiro, and make sure to enjoy the many cathedrals, churches and monuments. Try to avoid the main avenues and street, and keep walking in the hidden ones, if you want to experience the real charm.

What to do?

tartan roof
tartan roof
  • Rooftops: There are so many rooftops in Madrid, offering food or just drinks while enjoying the beautiful view. The rooftops might not be as high as the ones in Manhattan but that doesn’t make them less interesting. A nice one to try out is at the top of the Room Mate Oscár hotel. Another option is the Tartán Roof
  • Flamenco Show: There are so many flamenco shows that it can become confusing to choose. Normally you pay a entrance fee for the show along with a drink or dinner. The prices vary from 25 to 100 euros. We chose La taberna de Mister Pinkleton, located close to plaza san Mayor. The price is 25 euros for the show and a drink. The place was very authentic and cute, but the show wasn’t that impressive. It was more the atmosphere and vibe of the place that gave it a madrinian spirit. If you want something really fantastic I think you should go higher in price. Just make sure to check a few options before and donate forget the reservation. 
Hammam Al Andalus 

Hammam Al Andalus 

  • Hammam Al Andalus: By far the best hammam and spa that I have ever experience. A real oasis in the middle of the city that allows you to immerse yourself in the past through the beautiful architecture and aromas. Choose the complete package, where you will have the bath and massage, and they also offer student discount. I would recommend going there during the day, as it can be very packed in the evening.

Where to eat?


    Tenconten restaurant and bar: this restaurant is located in the fashionable Salamanca district and is always very busy, so make sure to reserve beforehand. It is modern, pleasant and serving high quality food. Highly recommended for dinner!

Fun yet important Spanish facts

Most small shops and restaurants are closed during the afternoon (siesta time), so either you go in the morning or afternoon :) Monday is a resting day in Spain, so some of the places will also be closed!

Where to eat in Bahrain?

I’ve spent the last two weeks in Bahrain, wandering around and exploring new places. Many of the get together and activities that you organize with people over there revolve around eating. The options in Bahrain are unlimited, but when it comes to eating it’s rare to find a place where both the space and the food is good. I therefore decided to make a list of a few of my favourite places, all very different from one another. Each one of them is given a title that represents the place with a short description.

1. The traditional

Saffron

Saffron

Saffron

Saffron

Street Art

Street Art

It’s called Saffron and it is located in the traditional old soul in Muharraq, in a corner away from the crowd. The space is built like the old houses in Bahrain and has both seating inside and out. The waiters are dressed in traditional Bahraini clothes and the vibe is so relaxing and peaceful. I recommend trying their breakfast together with saffron milk. Delicious!

2. The Artsy

Situated in the heart of Adliyah, this small space reminded me of the cafés and galleries in Europe or New York. Al Riwaq café/Art Space is an original place and one of a kind in Bahrain. It is a non profit institution that promotes local contemporary art and design. Because of it's very nice decor and calm vibe, It is a great place to enjoy reading a book or working. You can also go their with friends over a nice meal, fresh juices or dessert. The cafe is situated in the same building as the Art Gallery.

Al Riwaq Cafe 

Al Riwaq Cafe 

Al Riwaq cafe 

Al Riwaq cafe 

Al Riwaq Cafe 

Al Riwaq Cafe 

3. The outdoor Garden

There are plenty of outdoor restaurants and cafés in Bahrain, but not all of them offer a nice setting and vibe. I’ve tried many different ones, and none of them really caught my attention until I found this one. The Orangery is a Tea Room/patisserie located in Adliyah, right next to the Palace Boutique Hotel. My first impression was very positive; I felt that I wasn’t really in Bahrain, but in a heavenly garden somewhere. The place is isolated from everything that has to do with traffic, noise, crowd and you feel that it is a small oasis in the middle of the city. If you go there, you must try their labneh with red fruits and honey, it is absolutely delicious! Been dreaming about it ever since.

L'Orangerie 

L'Orangerie 

L'Orangerie 

L'Orangerie 

L'Orangerie 

L'Orangerie 

4. Moulin Rouge inspired

Inspired by the French Moulin Rouge, Café Lilou has two locations in Bahrain; one in Adliyah and one next to Aali Mall. The interior is designed as a typical Parisian Brasserie taking us back to "la belle époque". The menu is very nice and offers a wide range of selection, a choice for every taste. Ever since it opened in Bahrain this place has been really crowded, with 45min to 1 hour waiting list. On weekends it is not possible to make table reservations, so I highly recommend to go there a weekday for breakfast if you want to avoid the waiting time.

5. The Fancy Pancy

tea-club-
tea-club-
tea club
tea club

Located in the heart of Amwaj, Tea Club is what I would call a mini palace with a royal yet tranquil ambiance to it. The food is a bit on the expensive side, so if you want to keep it on the budget then I would recommend to order a cup of their unlimited choice of tea and some nice dessert. The location is beautiful, right by the waterfront in Amwaj. 

Hope you enjoyed reading, and will be inspired whiny visit Bahrain :)

The Algarve Coast

We flew To Lisbon and then took the bus all the way to Lagos (it's a 3 hours drive). We booked our tickets online on rede expressos, a Portuguese bus company. We stayed 3 days in Lagos and then 3 days in sagres and then took the bus back to Lisbon. If I had to do it all over again, I would fly to Faro and then drive through the coast and then fly back from Lisbon. I think it makes better sense and then you get the chance to see much more. 

LAGOS 

Where to Stay?

In Lagos we stayed at Vivenda Solmar, a very nice and cosy apartments hotel on top of a hill. Each room has a kitchen, and there is a balcony overlooking the beach. The beach is only 5 min walk, but the city centre is a 20min walk. I would definitely recommend this place, because it's very spacious and clean and you have your own kitchen in case you want to make your own food.

Fatima & Lucia

Fatima & Lucia

Vivienda Solmar 

Vivienda Solmar 

Where to eat?

There are plenty of restaurants in the city centre and I cannot mention them all. Most of the restaurants are very famous for their seafood (especially the sea bass and sea bream). My favourite restaurant is called the Garden, it's in the city centre of Lagos. It has a lot of option to choose from, and very fresh food. My choice fell on the fish, and it was absolutely delicious!

Where to swim?

Just like the choice of restaurants, the choice of beaches is also very wide. It is a coast so you can find so many beaches around Lagos. If you are looking for clear water and some beautiful landscape, then you should go to Camilo beach (praia de camilo). It's a very small beach but very nice for bathing.

lagos

lagos

The city centre of Lagos is very small, but there are few good restaurants, bars, cafés and shops. Take into consideration that the city is filled with tourists during the summer.

SAGRES

Next stop was Sagres, which is a tiny town so there is not much to do. The town is very charming but I would recommend to stay there only 2 days. We stayed at Aparthotel Navigator, and I have mix feelings about it. The price is quite low but the place is not that nice. You pay 60 euros per night for 2 people for a spacious apartment with kitchen, but the place is not that clean and look quite old. It is close to everything and offers a swimming pool as well, but it doesnt own any charm. So if you plan only on sleeping there, then its fine otherwise find another spot.

MUM's

MUM's

I'm a vegeterian, and my favorite vegeterian restaurant was in Sagres, it's called Mum's. You need to book a table, because it is always full!

LISBON

last stop was Lisbon, we took the bus from sagres to Lisbon, I cannot remember how long exactly it took, but around 3 hours. After spending few days by the coast, coming back to Lisbon felt like coming back to a huge city.

Budget Hotel & Budget Living

We stayed at a hostel called Liv'in Lisbon Hostel, very nice place, spacious and clean. The only disadvantage is that is is a shared bathroom. We needed to do it the Vagabond way and limit our budget. Nevertheless the hostel was located in the centre, and was a good choice if you are considering this type of accommodation.

To do while in Lisbon,

  •     Have diner at Bairro Alto neighbourhood.
  •     Have a drink or a an evening tea on top of the hill at the Alfama district
  •     Go to Belem and taste their Pasteis (best dessert ever!)
  •     enjoy an evening listening to Fado


London "from cheap vintage shops to world’s famous department stores"

My reason for going to London was mainly shopping. The prices are much lower and the options are much better than in Copenhagen. Flying from Copenhagen to London is quite cheap if you book in advance. We flew with Norwegian and paid around 700kr (100 euro) return. The main issue is always the hotel because accommodation in London is really expensive.

In this short post about London, I’ll share with you more about our hotel and what main factors should be considered when choosing an accommodation in London. I will also try my best to give you a few tips and recommendations about my favourite places in London.

Go Native or Go Home

Even 4 stars hotels in London have rooms that are really tiny and overpriced. When considering a hotel we decided to go for an apartment/hotel or what they call serviced apartments because the size is much bigger, the cost is lower and there are a few useful amenities that can not be found in a hotel.

Our hotel was called Go Native in Bermondsey Street, and it has 8 different locations to choose from around London.

The Good: The apartments were very spacious and the price was very reasonable. It has a nice seating area, a kitchen with a fridge in case you want to make your own meal and save money. The wifi is working very well, which is a must for me. The location was also very central close to London Bridge tube. I would say not my favorite location but you can choose which one you prefer from all the locations that they offer.

bermondsey street

bermondsey street

The Bad: The design of the studio apartment was not impressive; with the bathroom really close to the bed leaving no privacy for the one using the bathroom while the other is sleeping. They do not clean the rooms every day but every 7 days, so if you are staying a weekend like we did then it is fine but you might consider it if you are staying longer. 

When choosing an accommodation in London

London is very pricey when it comes to accommodation. Luckily there are many options to choose from. You should consider whether to take a serviced apartment, a hotel or an airbnb. If you are not staying long then airbnb or serviced apartment are a better choice, because they are more spacious and less expensive.

When considering an accommodation in London always make sure to check where it is located in terms of the tube/underground. I would look at the district, circle or central line, and choose a station nearby.

My favorite areas to stay at

I have been to London a few times before and I stayed at hotels in many different areas. Two of the areas that I really enjoyed were High Street Kensington and around Bond Street area. High street kensigton has plenty to offer, with nice cafés, restaurants and pubs and also some shopping. Bond Street is in the middle of shopping heaven, close to oxford street and Marble arch. All the big brands are there, and I must say that I have a weakness for that.

london bridge 

london bridge 

Piccadilly circus 

Piccadilly circus 

Now enough about the hotels and accommodation in London, once this is settled what do you do while there? Well this trip was very short, and as mentioned before my main purpose was to shop, eat well and wander around.Top 5 Shopping destinations in London

  • Oxford Street: The heart of London shopping , shops, designers outlets and stores.
  • Bond Street & Mayfair: London most exclusive shopping area.
  • Westfield : Shopping mall, perfect for when it is raining and you want to be inside.
  • Notting Hill: Unique shops and vintage clothing
  • Camden Market: Second hand shops and hidden treasures

Where to eat?

London offers an unlimited choice of restaurants, which leaves me unable to make a list of my favourites.

After a long shopping day, if you are around Marble Arch, then stop at ASK Italian, for some delicious Italian food. It has the perfect location to rest your feet and mind from the hectic shopping.

Another area with plenty of cosy and healthy restaurants is Shoreditch. Just wander around and you will definitely find someting for your taste. To get there take the tube to Old Street.

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IMG_4045
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IMG_4056
bens cookies
bens cookies

A must try is Ben's cookies, a cookie shop located all over England. They have the best cookies in the world, and while there try their double chocolate chip.

Vesterbro

Copenhagen is my home city and I have been living here for more than 20 years, which makes it difficult to write a blog post about this city and limiting it to only one page.   Therefore I am going to divide my posts about Copenhagen in areas, and I will obviously start with my area.

VESTERBRO

Like many other Northern European cities, Copenhagen can be very cold during winter and it can be difficult to find entertaining activities and things to do. Luckily Vesterbro and its surroundings (Frederiksberg and city center) offer so many options. Beside all the nice cafés and restaurants, escaping the cold is not only about eating and being inside, it is also about finding actual things to do.

Here are a few that might inspire you

  • TIVOLI gardens is a famous amusement park in Copenhagen. During winter they decorate it in winter wonderland, that you almost feel like in a fairy tale. Beside the rides you can enjoy their different type of performances and concerts.
  • Ice skating: If you want a real feeling of the winter, and feel the cold blowing on your skin then I recommend you go ice-skating. Either near Frederiksberg park, or try the new biggest ice skating ring in northern Europe: Genforeningspladsen
  • Theatre: If you are more into stimulating your mind while still being entertained, and staying inside check out the different performances at Betty Nansen, they always have a very nice selection, so keep your eyes open.
photo 2
photo 2
photo 1
photo 1

Now if you really don't like the cold and prefer to stay inside, but somewhere cosy and nice here is a list that might help you choose. All of them are located in vesterbro, and they fit for every taste.

1. the cosy cafés: I find it difficult to find a nice and cosy café where you can spend time either reading a book, writing or enjoying a conversation with a friend. Lately I've discovered 2 cafés that became my favourites: Kaffestuen on vesterbrogade or Kaffeplantagen on Enghave plads.

2. The brunch place: Brunch is always an issue for me because each time I want to suggest somewhere I have no idea where it should be. I think that finding a nice and delicious brunch is not that easy! Good experience that I had was at Von fressen for a berlin inspired interior, and delicious blueberry pancakes. For a more chic Parisian café, try the breakfast/brunch at Granola. If you are into buffets then check out A Propos on Halmtorvet.

3. Dinning: In kødbyen they have plenty of restaurants, but there are 2 that remain my favourite. MOTHER, a very nice italian place, great atmosphere and friendly prices. (Make sure to reserve a table, because they are generally fully booked). Paté Paté a more high end place but delicious food, and if you are not up for eating go there for their cheesecake and coffee. Otherwise try Neighbourhood on istegade, it's a new organic cocktails & pizza place. I really think it's the best pizza place in Copenhagen, very alternative.

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photo 3
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photo-13
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