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travel

EAST LONDON: L’eau à la Bouche

While strolling through Broadway Market with Abigail on our Saturday morning date, I spotted a petite French cafe deli filled with people, some sitting at a huge table inside, some at the big windows, others in the sun outside. The atmosphere seemed so much fun with everyone being joyful, full of laughter, and immersed in entertaining conversations with friends. The vibe was truly addictive and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I had added L’eau à la Bouche to my London-must-visit-list.

So, on our last morning in town, Yael and I went to explore my discovery.

We got ourselves some great seats at the floor to ceiling windows. With this  we were able to spot some interesting and eclectic looking characters. People were on their laptops, mainly MacBooks, working away while sipping on coffee and munching on artisan cheeses, fresh fluffy Quiche, and sweet delights. My kind of place.

Everything looked incredibly tasty, and it was hard to decide what to get. So, we ordered a baguette and an almond croissant to share. Two cappuccinos were added and we felt set for another morning of wandering the East London streets.

L’eau à la Bouche can be found at 35-37 Broadway Market. Make sure to pay them a visit when you’re in the area. It’s truly a little East London gem.

food travel

EAST LONDON: Broadway Market

Saturday markets, hip and trendy! I fell in love these sweet places of joy and delicousness when living in Florida in 2012. Getting fresh produce, munching on local favorites, and meeting friends along the way became our favorite thing to do.

Before arriving in London I heard that Saturday markets are a complete thing. Hence, I asked my friend Abigail, who lives in East London and truly knows the best spots, to show me her favorite places and spaces.

Our first stop: Broadway Market. Located in Hackney and nestled in between pretty brick houses, this market is a true find, off the beaten path of London city center craziness. It meets you with a simple and rustic atmosphere, easily and quickly having your full attention drawn to the many food stalls. Walking to the end of the market to meet my friend and not already sneakily taste all the local treats was the hardest thing I did that weekend.

Not having seen Abigail for about 6 months I was super excited when I spotted her in between other Saturday-market-lovers, stylish and sweet, strutting down the street.

We started out our day early and quickly agreed that coffee was a necessary prerequesite to having a great day with each other. Her favorite cafe in East London, Climpson and Sons Coffee was ideal, just located at the end of Broadway Market. So much excitement and so much blabbing, it was only natural one of us had to drop her cup. It wasn’t me. The barista at Climpson and Sons Cafe was just so sweet when we realized they were giving Abigail her second coffee for free. It really isn’t hard to make someone’s day.

After this sweet gesture we were ready to go explore the market stalls. We tried so many different things: Scotch eggs, different kinds of cheeses, pies, and more. The balsamic vinegar, from an Italian olive oil and balsamic vendor, tasted just like caramel, so I bought a bottle to bring back home with all the memories I had made that day.

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What is your most favorite Saturday market in the world? I’m looking forward to get some great suggestions for my future travels around the globe. Because, isn’t it simply best treat to get local advice?

 

 

 

 

 

food travel

EAST LONDON: Aida Shoreditch

Aida Shoreditch is one of those places where the storefront naturally pulls you inside to have a closer look. And at this closer look, I adored this space. The beautifully curated concept store is complemented with a small adorable cafe.

The rustic wooden tables give Aida a homey feel and the waiter was so friendly, making us feel welcome throughout our time. The cappuccino was to die for. Since they also serve their coffees with soy milk dying for  has not to be taken literally. My beautiful friend Abigail joined us for lunch and a quick chat on our plans for the weekend. The baguette she ordered was fresh and tasty.

In the two-story concept store you can find hip and minimalist attire for women and men. London didn’t live up to its reputation, namely being rainy, so the rack of trendy and functional rain coats was quite an ironic encounter.

Men will find grooming gear and women can take a seat in the parlour (hear the British accent?), and get their favorite vintage hairstyles done by professionals who have all worked on big Broadway productions. This means: the results are guaranteed to be fabulous.

However, what I liked most is the fact that Aida is one of those neighborhood cafes where you can sit down with your laptop, sip great coffee, and work away. To all journalists and writers and other location independent professionals, this place is beautiful and inspiring yet comfortable and quiet.

I always envy people who are location independent. If I were, I would travel the world non-stop and work out of my favorite cafes, hopping from one city to the other. The vibe that cafes and their individual and eclectic interior design offer spark motivation I feel I can get nowhere else. (So, if someone knows of a location independent job and wants to hire me, there is a comment box below.)

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And here is a peak into the shop attached to the back of this adorable cafe.

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Address: 133 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6J

Aida has a homepage. They are on Facebook, have a beautifully curated gallery on Instagram, and are tweeting away. Tag along, you won’t regret it.

food travel

EAST LONDON: Leila’s Shop

Breakfast at Leila’s Shop was simple and simply delicious. The little cafe in Shoreditch convinced us with its sweet and rustic design and the fact that all ingredients are taken from the neighboring grocery store of the same name, which features fresh local and organic produce.

We both ordered fried eggs, one with ham, one with salvia, and while waiting for them to be served, we snug in a homemade brownie. The presentation was as wonderful as the food itself, the staff sweet and attentive throughout our stay.

The farm-to-table concept really made me feel like I was sitting in a cafe somewhere in the countryside of England.

A true down-to-earth find in the busy city of London.

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Address: Leila’s Shop, 15-17 Calvert Ave, London E2 7JP

Find Leila’s Shop on Facebook.

Lifestyle travel

Elections in Burma: A Traveler’s Thoughts

As a translating and interpreting graduate and political science student who has worked with the United Nations Association in Florida promoting Human Rights, as well as with the Florida Holocaust Museum to educate about genocides, promoting tolerance and inclusion, it is only natural that, to me as a traveler, the social and political situation of a destination is a big interest.

To me, traveling also means informing yourself about the current situation, both political and social, of your destination country. By doing so, I make sure to not put myself in awkward, offensive, or even perilous situations.

In the summer of 2013, my boyfriend and I traveled to Burma, or Myanmar. Getting a visa and entering the country is difficult. Certain professions, such as journalists, are denied the visa right away. The feeling of being watched by government can’t be shaken off. Certain areas were (and probably still are) inaccessible to tourists in order to conceal human rights abuses. Traveling through Burma, we made the conscious decision to use transportation not owned by the military government, in order to avoid supporting the military regime as much as possible and making sure that our money would support locals. During our 10 day trip, seeing with my own eyes so many friendly and and hospitable adults and children scared of their own government was terrifying and incredibly sad.

I have often been asked why I would travel to a country like this. Traveling to Burma, or countries with similar issues, is often seen as dangerous and irresponsible.

Hence, the news of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party winning the first democratic elections in Burma bringing worth some happy feelings.

Under house arrest for 15 years, Aung San Suu Kyi has been adored by so many Burmese and has given them hope for a better future. For her non violent struggle for democracy and human rights she received the Noble Peace Prize. The world looks up to her.

>Now, with her victory, she has such a great opportunity to pick up the momentum and turn this stunning country into a wonderful home for all. What I wish to see most? I want her to promote human rights and inclusion for all, especially for the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority group whose Burmese citizenship was revoked in the early 1980s. This action led to grave Human Rights abuses towards the Rohingya people culminating in ethnic cleansing and genocide. It really is a tragedy!

However, with the defeat of the military government and the world watching I am positive that the situation in Burma will change for the better in the future.

travel

Photo Journal: Vancouver, BC

You know that feeling of anxiousness and nervousness before finally arriving at a destination you’ve imagined so long? That insecurity which begs the question of if your high expectations of a certain destination would in the end render you disappointed. That the experience you’re going to have in a place would be nothing like you imagined? This feeling is what best describes the days before my departure for YVR a.k.a. Vancouver, British Columbia.

As an Austrian-ette, I am, of course, an avid snowboarder (I started skiing when I was three years old and actually won a few medals in some minor races. Then, at about 14 years old, I switched to snowboarding and never looked back). Hence, with my love for winter sports, it was only natural that British Columbia was always a dream destination for me. With Whistler just over 100km from downtown Vancouver, what better place could there be in this world, I often said to myself!

So there it was. The problem: For years I had been daydreaming of British Columbia and built up an imagination of how amazing and perfect it must be there.

So now, as the day of my departure was coming closer, I got nervous and started wondering: Would my high expectations leave me disappointed in the end? (Spoiler alert: Not in Vancouver, not in British Columbia. All my expectations were exceeded.) 

August 25, 2015: Arrival

After a dreadful hot summer in my hometown of Vienna (Vienna made it to the top of a list: the hottest city in Europe. Nothing to be proud of in my humble opinion!), I found true bliss in our rainy morning commutes across the Lions Gate Bridge. We were spoiled with melancholic views of foggy treetops peaking out from Stanley Park. Simultaneously, a blanket of white veil covered the sea which so gracefully pitched and tossed the boats in the harbor.

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And then, when the skies cleared up for a few precious hours a day and the sun peaked out, we set out to explore V-town and the beautiful nature surrounding it.

Downtown and Gastown

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The Steam Clock

     

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Lighthouse Park (West Vancouver)

Here are just a few impressions. To read the entire post on this amazing place, click here. Let me tell you, it got quite epic.

“Love is looking into the same direction.”

Granville Island

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University of British Columbia Campus

Did you know that the University of British Columbia Campus has its own beaches with amazing views. Probably the most amazing campus I have seen so far. Sign me up, y’all!

  

  

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Lyne Valley Suspension Bridge

With the Capilano Suspension Bridge usually being crowded and quite expensive, we were thinking of skipping this sight and going somewhere more calm instead. Our Airbnb hosts suggested the Lyne Valley Park. While the Lyne Valley Suspension Bridge is not nearly as long as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, it gave me just a big enough thrill walking over it. It was very windy and it was very very wobbly. And I was very very psyched.

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Kitsilano

My absolute favorite neighborhood was Kitsilano (and North Vancouver). I just adored walking the streets and imagining Yaël and myself buying one of those beautiful old houses, fixing it up and making it our dream home. Then, waking up on a rainy day and taking a stroll down Arbutus Lane to get coffee at that beautiful little neighborhood cafe on weekends.

A girl can dream, right?

     

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Kitsilano Beach

To sum up the experience: Most amazing to me was the fact that we were able to venture out just about 30 minutes from downtown and find ourselves surrounded by the lush green of a national park, the salty breeze of one of the neighborhood beaches, or even the seclusion of an island sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s not far to find great spots for surfing and superb mountains for snowboarding, too. Everything just the way I like it.

This impeccable diversity and richness, to me, illustrates why Vancouver often ranks on top of the most livable cities. It explains why so many people aspire to visit or relocate to Vancouver.

However, everything comes at a price – and in Vancouver, it seems that, the price you pay is the high cost of living. As we were only visiting though (at least this time), we were lucky: the Euro was strong and the Canadian Dollar weak. So in the end, my Hunter-ing for Boots was quite the steal.

To find out about all the places we ate at, you can visit my blog post “A Foodie’s Guide to Vancouver, British Columbia”.

Should you have any questions on my trip to Vancouver, BC, or would want to have some recommendations, leave me a message in the comment section below.

travel

Got My Sunset Fix at West Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park

From all the information I’ve gathered it seems West Vancouver ranks among the most expensive neighborhoods in the Vancouver area, and it doesn’t take long to grasp why: big villas were strategically placed to get the most breathtaking views over the ocean front. Additionally, West Vancouver has a long beach and a quaint little street with cute cafes, bistros, and restaurants. We ate breakfast in West Vancouver on one of the mornings and it was delish.

West Vancouver is also blessed with a beautiful oceanfront ocean front national park, namely the Lighthouse Park. It’s a quaint stroll through a beautiful forest. Looking up at the trees I got a bit dizzy because they are just so old and so tall. Some of them were knocked down by storms and covered in beautiful lush green moss. It’s just such a treat walking here. The Lighthouse Park doesn’t seem to be the most touristy place, which I loved. We only came across people once, but they were already on their way out of the park as the sunset and darkness came closer and closer. In my humble opinion, that was their biggest mistake on that day because we experienced the most colorful and mind-blowing sunset just about 30 minutes later. On our walk through the woods, we even spotted an owl. It was just sitting there on the branch of a tree doing what owls do best: being majestic and gorgeous.

Now, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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And then, it got epicly spectacular! The light was changing every few seconds.

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And this is how you take a #selfie.