Helsinki Hello

helsinki-biking-buddies

Helsinki may be the most-bike friendly city on earth (or in the universe as far as we know)! This was my second visit there and while it was brief (not even 24 hours), it was action packed. We arrived from Tallinn (36 Hours in Tallinn, Estonia) via hdyrofoil in a quick 90 minutes.  After rolling our suitcases to the elegant Hotel Kamp (where Justin Bieber was also staying that night – cue screaming teeny boppers outside our windows), we jumped on bikes for a five hour tour with our Finnish friend Tuire  (photo credit Jim Hunt). Continue reading “Helsinki Hello”

36 Hours in Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn has been on my radar for over a decade, ever since I first read about this beautifully preserved medieval city. Founded in the mid-13th century, and located on the Gulf of Finland, it is a great place to spend a weekend if you happen to be in the neighborhood on a tour of the Baltic States, or on your way to or from Russia (our case).  Fun fact: Skype was founded here which is one example of how this medieval city is most modern as well! Continue reading “36 Hours in Tallinn, Estonia”

A mouthwatering selection at Crosstown Doughnuts in London UK. ©travelmagnolia2016

Foodie Friday | London

Heading to London? You won’t lack for dining options! Here are a few of my favorites from my most recent trip.

Bao

Exterior of Chinese dumpling restaurant Bao in London's SoHo neighborhood. ©travelmagnolia2016

New to me, but a real crowd pleaser (NB – expect to wait about 30 minutes in line across the lane from the entrance – they do not take reservations), Bao has expanded from takeout only at Netil Market, to three locations, including the one in Soho where I ate. Yes, it seems a bit absurd to wait so long but bring a book, or a companion, and you will not regret it. Delicious Taiwanese dim sum and more. Continue reading “Foodie Friday | London”

Imperial Forum, Rome, Ancient Rome

When in Rome |

Bad News first: Rome is in the midst of major renovations with scaffolding and temporary enclosures covering the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum and numerous other monuments.  Good news: much of the work is complete. Trevi Fountain reopened last week after 17 months of work and has never looked better (although the massive crowds make it hard to see). Work on the Spanish Steps is expected to be complete … Continue reading When in Rome |

Istanbul | Exploring Karaköy and Fetih

En route to Iran (posts on that amazing country coming soon), I spent three nights in Istanbul.  I stayed at Vault Karaköy,  a terrific boutique hotel, a short walk and a world away from Sultanahmet. Think Brooklyn vs Manhattan or Left Bank vs Right,  albeit on a much smaller scale.  From my fifth floor room, I could in see the minarets on Sultanahmet in one direction while the Galata Tower loomed in the … Continue reading Istanbul | Exploring Karaköy and Fetih

smørrebrød, Torvehallerne, open-faced sandwiches

Foodie Friday | Copenhagen

No Noma for us, but we didn’t even notice.  From our first meal of assorted open-faced sandwiches to the last sublime dinner at Kadeau, we feasted on Danish cuisine. We made numerous visits to Torvehallerne, Copenhagen’s open food market convenienty located just a few blocks away from our hotel, because how else could we make a dent in all the options? The photo above shows only a small selection … Continue reading Foodie Friday | Copenhagen

Best. Coffee. Ever.

Were it possible to fall in love with a beverage, Caffe in ghiaccio con latte di mandorla (iced espresso with almond milk) would be the target of my affections. We met one day on a sunny square in Santa Cesarea Terme and my life has never been the same. Almond milk has become tremendously popular in the United States in recent years,  but generations have made … Continue reading Best. Coffee. Ever.

Oslo, Norway, Scandinavia

Awesome Oslo – part 1

Oslo exudes a modern esthetic all its own.  While it may not have the charm of its Scandinavian counterparts Stockholm and Copenhagen, the Norwegian capital is firmly committed to the 21st century with stunning architecture and a vast underground highway network that makes it a pedestrian friendly city. Aker Brygge is a relatively new neighborhood that is home to numerous restaurants, art galleries and trendy shops. … Continue reading Awesome Oslo – part 1

Short and Sweet – Summer in Stockholm

If good things come in small packages, then summer in Stockholm definitely qualifies.  Even before the autumnal equinox, leaves are turning and mornings are cool. Nonetheless, September may be the best time to visit as the cruise ships have departed and the crowds have thinned.  Central Stockholm spreads across 14 islands whose bridges provide magnificent vistas of old world buildings and  busy waterways. There are a … Continue reading Short and Sweet – Summer in Stockholm

Venice on My Mind

St. Mark’s Square with the its Basilica, numerous caffès and the  Doge’s Palace  is thronged with tourists year-round. However, there are wonderful neighborhoods to explore where the Venetians live and play. Whether you are going to Venice for the Biennale (through November 22, 2015) or just to enjoy one of the most beautiful cities on earth, make sure to visit the lesser known areas of Dorsoduro,  and Santa Croce. … Continue reading Venice on My Mind