September 28, 2014

places I love (#keeleradventures // london).

On the way home we found out we were flying through London. When your sister spends a year living there, it's hard to pass through without stopping in to give one of your favorite cities a hug. With less than 24 hours, we knew we had to make sure our visit packed a punch. Having been to London before (I think this was my 5th visit)our list was less about the "big" attractions (although a quick sprint to the Tower of London was in order) and more about some of the cool places we'd heard about. 

Rather than a list, here's what our (less than) 24 hours in London looked like. 

ACE Hotel Shoreditch I love a good hotel. so even though it was totally impractical, outside of central London and sort of spendy, it wasn't even a question when we decided to stay at the Ace. The hotel met all of our expectations with it's cool vibes, vibrant energy and killer design. I've stayed at the Ace in Portland (hey bunk beds!), and the brand never disappoints. 

Shoreditch Food Village when we pulled up nearing 10:30pm (thanks for holding my luggage hostage and killing precious time SAS/Heathrow!), the Shoreditch neighborhood of East London was buzzing. There were people pouring out of every bar and restaurant, our hotel was vibrating with the selections of a reggae DJ, and naturally, every restaurant had a 45 minute wait (at 11pm). Starving, we stumbled into a cool little tent housing some of the neighborhoods tastiest food stalls. 45 minute wait not included. 

Freebird Burritos once we found the glorious food village, we narrowed down our selections to Freebird Burritos. Set up like an indie Chipotle, the burritos were delicious, fast, and just what we wanted. Check 'em out! 

From there it was back to the lobby bar at the Ace for some epic people watching. 

Bulldog Edition coffee was a must - and Bulldog Edition in the hotel was perfect (although I failed to find quality cold brew anywhere in Europe!), with piles of breakfasty treats and great drinks (and the hippest baristas you've ever seen. 

Tower of London this is the perfect place for a great view of London, Tower Bridge, the Thames, etc. We lucked out because the city is in the middle of an evolving art instillation honoring the men and women lost in WWI through the placement of thousands of gorgeous ceramic poppies. 

Bill's Restaurant the perfect place for a great brunch, we loved this spot! 

Sketch full disclosure, this was the only thing I was really concerned with doing with our time in London. The photos I'd seen were straight out of a Wes Anderson daydream, and so reservations for high tea were a must. I can't describe the weird glory that this place embodies. You just have to go. Awash in powdery pink velvet, the dining room feels magic. And then you go to the bathroom. In a giant egg. That plays spacey sound effects. While french maids silently clean around you. Huh?! I know. Just go. 



September 23, 2014

places I love (#keeleradventures // stockholm).

In the middle of our Danish adventure, we popped into a train station and five hours later emerged in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm and Copenhagen are like night and day, where Copenhagen is quiet and homey, Stockholm is gritty and boisterous. Stockholm has an energy to it that is palpable, and we were excited to dig in. I recommend (for both cities) starting with a canal tour. It's always a good idea to be on a boat in the sunshine, but beyond that, you get a lay of the land and it's a great way to map out your plan of attack for the rest of the trip. Another city made up of islands, it's a good idea to visit them one by one to see it all. Again, here are some of my favorite places to eat, sleep and see! 


Rosendal's Garden (this BEAUTIFUL park was unlike anything I've ever seen. We did this on our last day and it was one of my very favorite things. The restaurant in the garden is amazing, and wandering through the pick-it-yourself field and the greenhouses was so, so great). 
Nobel Museum (a high tech beautiful lesson in Nobel prize history). 
Fotografiska (rotating photography exhibits). 


Johan & Nystrom (a "fika" in Swedish is a social institution that means a break with friends, family, coworkers, etc., usually over coffee. This place is the perfect spot for a fika!).  


Bistro Jarl (this place had power-lunch vibes all over it, but the food was delicious!). 
Sardin (my favorite meal of the whole trip. tucked away in the hip Sodermalm neighborhood, this tiny tapas place was pure magic). 
Parlans Konfektyr (handmade caramels. what else do you need to know?). 
Urban Deli (a hip little joint attached to a great grocery). 


Pet Sounds Records (I love a good vinyl, and this place had a lot of it). 
Grandpa (I treated myself to a sandqvist bag here, and the shop is full of cool Swedish goods). 


Motel L (let's be real. Stockholm is expensive. Like real expensive. We found this hotel one tram stop off the beaten path, and it was a diamond in the rough. Brand new, beautifully designed and totally affordable. do it!). 


September 21, 2014

places I love (#keeleradventures // denmark).

A few months ago my wanderlust started transitioning from the ever-present whisper into more of a shout and I knew it was time to plan the next adventure. My sister was going to be in New York, so we capitalized on the fact that she was already thousands of miles from home and put a #keeleradventures trip on the books. I'm a sucker for Scandinavian design in all forms and northern Europe has always intrigued me, so with a friend in Copenhagen the first stop was Denmark, followed by Sweden and (for a hot minute) London. 

Each place we visited was equally epic, so I'm going to break this up into three posts. Ready? Here we go...DENMARK. 

Copenhagen might be a perfect city. It's pristine, friendly, easy to maneuver and full of culture. I fell in love before I left the apartment. Every day was spent wandering the islands (did you know Copenhagen is a series of islands?? I didn't) getting lost down new alleys and enjoying the sunshine by land and sea alike. 

Near the end of our stay, we boarded a train headed a few hours outside the city to visit Fyn, an idyllic island, and stay in Nyborg where our friends grew up. By the end of our stay we had eaten far beyond our weight in homemade Danish meals, wandered around the countryside, and made new friends. 

Copenhagen surprised me. I was excited to visit, but wasn't ready for how much I would love it. It's a city you feel immediately comfortable in, a city that welcomes you with open arms and hugs you tight so you want to stay forever. 

The Danish have a word, hygge, that doesn't really translate in English. Here's a blurb about it I found

A love of or need for hygge is an important part of the Danish psyche. Hygge is usually inadequately translated as "coziness." This is too simplistic: coziness relates to physical surroundings — a jersey can be cozy, or a warm bed — whereas hygge has more to do with people's behavior towards each other. It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.

Maybe it's hygge that is what makes Denmark such a warm and welcoming place. I felt like I belonged from the minute I arrived and that doesn't happen very often. Hardly ever. So it's really special when it does. 

Here are some of my favorite places to eat, play and take in all that Denmark has to offer (and naturally, a ton of photos). 

Original Coffee
Democratic Coffee 
The Coffee Collective 


Design Museum (if your knees get weak when you see a beautiful minimalist chair...this is for you). 
Superkilen (a super-rad urban "park" that is weird enough to be worth the trip). 
Rosenborg Slot (go for the crown jewels).  
H.C. Andersen's Hus (in Fyn, visit a great little museum celebrating the Danish king of fairy tales). 
Go Boat (a must do. rent a solar powered picnic boat from this band of beyond hip Danes and captain yourself around the Copenhagen canals). 
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (an hour by train outside the city, the views of the sea and the epic art exhibits make this a must). 
Tivoli (Denmark's oldest amusement park, full of restaurants, live music and a 100 year old wooden roller coaster). 


HAY (the Danish design mother ship. I wanted to move in. If they shipped internationally I'd be in trouble). 


Mikkeller Bar (okay, we didn't eat here and I'm not sure you even CAN eat there...but this bar was one of my favorite spots. grab an outdoor picnic table and enjoy!). 
Gorm's Pizza (with a few locations, this pizza place is popular, order ahead!).
Madklubben (a restaurant where they purposefully hire employees who AREN'T experts on the food, so that they can solely focus on great customer service. The food is amazing, just don't expect your waiter to know what it is!). 
Paludan Bogcafe (a bookstore/cafe hybrid frequented by local students). 
Vespa (an amazing four course experience tucked away in a TINY restaurant space). 
Wokshop (the Danish can do good thai. real good thai). 
Torvehallerne (the gourmet market to end all markets. seriously. we were here every day). 

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