Archives For Travel

Leafy Greens

02/09/2014 — Leave a comment

Summer is drawing to a close (in theory at least), kids are back in school and magazines, stores and cafes are all beginning to hint at the coming transition to fall. Even so, it still feels and looks pretty darn summery here in Baltimore …and summer in Baltimore means jungle-esque (hot, humid and very, VERY green).

These photos are from my trip to Bali earlier this year, but don’t seem like much of a stretch for Baltimore this time of year.

Leaf Veins | AmandaMuses

Leaf in Bali | AmandaMuses

Leaf in Bali | AmandaMuses

This last picture I took at about 10 o’clock one night during a village festival.. but that’s a story for another time…
Leaves at Night | AmandaMuses

Back to Earth

04/08/2014 — Leave a comment

Earlier this year I went on a trip that took me far across the globe. Since my return, it’s been a whirlwind of activity everywhere, it seems, but here. But finally, FINALLY, I’m coming back to the photo- and art-related work that’s been left off since my trip.

I’ve already shared a photo or two from the trip but there are heaps more to look forward to. Here are a few to begin with…

There were so many incredible plants, flowers and just LIVELINESS in general to see. Things were so lush and jeweled green. These are tiny plants I found on the stone walls of temples.

Tiny Moss | AmandaMuses

Tiny Leaves | AmandaMuses

A few months ago, I spent some time in a fishing village in southeast Asia with a few friends making art. On our last night together, we had a bit of a party involving music and lots of laughs. Some of the guys in the village had a reggae band and a few of the gals on the trip got up and performed with them.

One of the highlights of the night was Rachael performing Can ‘t Let Go. Uh-Mazing. I don’t have video of Rachael’s performance or the trip in general, just fond memories…

v
Can’t Let Go by Lucinda Williams

Stone Flower

25/05/2014 — Leave a comment

Another from my trip earlier in the spring…

Untitled | AmandaMuses

Last month, this was part of my view. It’s been a few busy weeks since then and about time (overdue, really) to start sharing pictures, I think…especially after torrential rains for the last two days! More soon…

Untitled | AmandaMuses

Baltimore. Most seem to know it from The Wire and occasionally from Homicide: Life on the Street or John Waters’ movies like Hairspray. But whether you know anything about this funny city on the water or not, there’s always something else to discover, learn or do just like any other bigger town or city. And as a Baltimore lover and advocate, I get a LOT of requests for what to do on visits to Charm City, so here are a few things to consider and try beyond the harbor.

As in the past, things are organized more or less by neighborhood and focus mostly on dining as that’s what I get asked about the most. Additionally, I’ve put together a Pinterest map board that includes these recommendations (and more that I just didn’t have the energy to write about here) on an helpful map. As ever, please feel welcome to ask questions, make requests or offer suggestions in the comments.

Fells Point & Harbor East

  • Ale Mary’s— A neighborhood tavern with nice bar food popular among locals. Their bread pudding is raved about consistently.
  • Alexander’s Tavern— A popular spot for drinks and bar food (especially wings and burgers), I’m told the tater tots (especially Maryland style served with crab dip) are great.
  • Bad Decisions—Popular low key bar with a wildly popular bacon night themed menu each month.
  • Baltimore Tattoo Museum— While there IS a museum component, this is also a spot for getting tattooed.
  • Bertha’s—Famous for their mussels, Bertha’s is a favorite among tourists and locals. Also rumored to be haunted, this spot has been a bar under varying names for ages.
  • Blue Moon Cafe—A popular brunch spot offering generous portions at reasonable prices. Be prepared to wait for your table though.
  • Bonaparte Breads— Enjoy lunch or a coffee break by the harbor at this friendly French bakery.
  • Cat’s Eye—Drink with the locals or just pretend you’re a privateer at this colorful pub popular for its live music.
  • Charleston— Rated consistently one of the top restaurants in the city. A nice option for special occasions.
  • Ding How— Dependable Chinese food at reasonable prices.
  • Duda’s—Family owned and operated since the 1940s, offering bar food and drinks with decades of character.
  • Johnny Rad’s— Punk rock, skateboarding pizza and beer with skeeball in the back room.
  • Liquid Earth—Vegan, vegetarian and fresh juice cafe. Good espresso too!
  • Max’s— A perfect spot for beer lovers.
  • One Eyed Mike’s—Hidden gem of a local bar with nice bar food, inviting local atmosphere and the world’s first Grand Mariner club to boot.
  • Pabu—Excellent Japanese restaurant for a special night out.
  • Patisserie Poupon—Amazing French pastries and treats.
  • Pitango Gelato—High end ingredients make for high quality, tasty gelato in inventive flavors.
  • Sound Garden— I love this music store.
  • Stuggy’s—Fresh cut fries, Boylan’s sodas on tap and most importantly, GREAT dogs!
  • Waterfront Kitchen—Popular brunch and upscale dining spot right on the water.
  • Wharf Rat— Rumored to be haunted, this pub has been here for ages and has the welcoming atmosphere to prove it.
  • Wit & Wisdom— Upscale interpretations of familiar dishes made with high end ingredients.

Canton & Brewer’s Hill

  • Annabel Lee Tavern—A neighborhood favorite with savory fries and burgers, tasty cocktails and beers and plenty of vegetarian options on the menu.
  • Dangerously Delicious Pies—Sweet & savory treats for pie lovers.
  • Fork & Wrench—A self-proclaimed “boutique dive bar” perhaps better described as a gastropub.
  • JD’s Smokehouse— Dependable bar food with a long beer list. If you’re a meat eater, try their wings or the oft raved about brisket.
  • Mama’s on the Half Shell—A good spot for seafood on Canton Square.
  • Nacho Mama’s—Tasty Mexican bar food. Consider ordering a hubcap margarita served IN A HUBCAP, best to split with friends, unless you’re actually trying to wipe the slate clean with a serious hangover.

Mt. Vernon | AmandaMuses

Mt. Vernon and Midtown-ish

  • 13th Floor—Dinner & drinks with a view
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO)—Enjoy an evening of world class entertainment with the BSO.
  • The Brewer’s Art—Whether enjoying an upscale meal in the dining room upstairs or a late night snack in the bar downstairs try a pint of their award winning brews.
  • City Cafe—Upscale food without the fuss.
  • The Owl Bar—Large menus of drinks & eats in a piece of Baltimore history.
  • Two Boots Pizza—Started in New York in the 1980s, Two Boots brings the flavors of New York and New Orleans together on a pizza. Open late most nights, they even offer a gluten-free pizza, yum!
  • Walters Art Museum—Explore world art history in an afternoon at the Walters–from 20th century Europe to pre-dynastic Egypt, Old Masters and loads in between this spot is not to be missed.

Station North

  • Baltimore Print Studios— Ever wanted to learn about letterpress or screen printing? This is the place. Workshops are offered monthly and studio rentals for trained printers are available 4 days a week.
  • Charles Theatre—Baltimore’s favorite indie movie house.
  • The Chesapeake— Recently reopened and offering regional specialties.
  • Liam Flynn’s Ale House—Friendly local pub specializing in British Isles Ales, Whisk(e)ys & Ciders.
  • Lost City Diner—Late night comfort food with lots of vegan options.
  • Red Emma’s—Radical bookstore also serving vegetarian food and house roasted coffee.
  • Tapas Teatro—Enjoy a bite before a movie at the Charles next door or candlelit date night.
  • The Windup Space— Part gallery, part bar, part music venue.

Hampden Flamingo | AmandaMuses

Hampden

  • Art House Cafe— Part gallery, part cafe. Enjoy wood fired pizzas and fresh salads in this friendly spot.
  • Atomic Books—Their old tagline sums things up pretty well: “Literary finds for mutated minds!.”
  • The Charmery— Handmade premium ice cream made with local ingredients & clever rotating flavors & sundae menu.
  • Choux—Lovely baked goods & fresh salads with a modern aesthetic.
  • Corner BYOB—Modern European with a knack for exotic meats. Self-described “refined peasant fare and continental comfort food.”
  • David’s 1st &10—Surprising, thoughtful bar food served in this sports bar full of neighborhood character, a zillion TVs, and an impressive serpentine bar with loads of taps and drink choices.
  • Golden West—Whether stopping for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch, the Golden West offers a large menu of Americana and Southwestern favorites featuring lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
  • Grano Pasta Bar— While there is a larger Grano Emporium up the street, the original pasta bar is where it’s at. The place is tiny so you may have to wait, but once seated you will be treated to incredibly fresh salads and pasta dishes made before you eyes. BYOB.
  • Holy Frijoles—Rock n’ Roll Mexican. House made chips are way too tasty at this solid spot for drinks, as long as you like your music LOUD.
  • In Watermelon Sugar— Another great bet for gifts and small personal goodies. A colorful assortment of cosmetics and jewelry invites you in and an array of housewares, paper goods and seasonal gifts and decor fills the second room of this charming shop.
  • Luigi’s Deli & Market— Stop for lunch and enjoy a sandwich or selection of prepared foods or pick up ingredients for a nice dinner at home.
  • Ma Petite Shoe— Shoes and chocolate. Seriously. What more do you need?
  • Mud & Metal— Discover funky art, gifts and jewelry at this friendly independent shop. “Art to live with.”
  • Paradiso—Antique to modern furniture, art and housewares.
  • Rocket to Venus—Generally clever interpretations of familiar favorites with lots of vegetarian options & a bit of a rock vibe.
  • Service Photo—Whether you need to repair or replace your camera or just stock your studio or darkroom, Service Photo is THE place for service in Baltimore!
  • Spro Coffee— Progressive American coffeeshop that brews every cup to order.
  • Trohv— Often noted as a great place to pick up gifts and souvenirs, Trohv really is a treasure trove of goodies ranging from furniture and wearables to cards, baby goods and all manner of housewares.

Woodberry

  • Artifact Coffee—Handcrafted coffees, treats and informal eats.
  • Birroteca—Craft beer, wine and artisan pizza.
  • Corradetti Glass—Browse the shop gallery and pick out a gift for a special occasion, try a mini workshop or class or just admire the ancient craft of glassblowing.
  • Woodberry Kitchen—Farm to table food heaven.

Belvedere Square

  • Greg’s Bagel’s— Soft, fresh, flavorful bagels handmade everyday. Arguably Baltimore’s best bagels with high end ingredients and toppings.
  • Shoofly Diner—Farm to table American favorites handcrafted imaginatively.
  • The Senator Theatre—Baltimore’s favorite historic movie house. Catch a show a this art deco beauty and enjoy a meal in one of the nearby cafes.

Other Guides to Baltimore

Think something’s miss­ing or want something more spe­cific not included on the list? Just leave a comment or email me and I will add it in. Happy Trails!

New York

31/12/2013 — Leave a comment

Since it’s New Year’s Eve and many Americans will be tuning in to watch the ball drop in Times Square tonight, it seemed like a good time to share my weekend trip to New York from earlier this fall. A friend had an art opening which was the perfect excuse to hop a train and spend a day or two window shopping and looking at art.

Usually I go to New York with friends, but this time I went on my own and was able to maintain the usual crazy walk-15-miles-despite-riding-public-transit-and-doing-a-lot-of-shop-browsing-and-coffeeing pace that I tend to adopt when traveling alone. And this time, I finally (FINALLY!) got over to the Highline.

I’ve been eager to check it out since it opened a few years ago, but clearly not enough to have made that happen until now. Anyway, after debarking a red-eye and dropping a bag at my hotel, I made a beeline to the Highline to enjoy the park before it got crowded. I lucked out with gorgeous (and absurdly HOT) fall light and weather and minimal crowds. Here are a few snapshots from one of my walks along the Highline that weekend:

Hydrangea | AmandaMuses

Flowers | AmandaMuses

Flowers | AmandaMuses

Orchids | AmandaMuses

Verdure | AmandaMuses

Untitled | AmandaMuses

Untitled | AmandaMuses

Just a few final images from the Badlands earlier this year:

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

I don’t know about you guys, but I think those rocky spires and crags are just beautiful. Not sure when I’ll be out that way again, but these photos make me want to go back and keep exploring out west.

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

As promised, here are a few from the drive through the Badlands earlier this year.

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Ok, I’ll admit that not every one of these pictures is postcard perfect but I still shared them because even in not-so-great shots, I think the scenery is still pretty amazing.
Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Badlands | AmandaMuses

Looking through these again makes me want to hop in the car and just GooOoooOoo…

As mentioned in a previous post, I drove through the Badlands earlier this year. It was the off season and the chance of snow was still pretty high. But the weather held and I got to see some of what makes the US beautiful.

Along the way (before reaching the actual Badlands National Park), I saw some pretty special inhabitants of the area who were kind enough to let me watch them dine as the sun was sinking.

Bighorns | AmandaMuses

Since the weather was iffy and it was getting dark, I didn’t stop long and took these shots quite literally out of the car window, amazing. The buffalo were so close I could’ve touched some and they were so calm and lovely. I love buffalo.

Buffalo | AmandaMuses

Buffalo | AmandaMuses

Buffalo | AmandaMuses

Beware Rattlesnakes! | AmandaMuses

Next time I’ll share a few pictures from the Badlands National Park.

This time of year as the winds and seasons change, I always get the urge to travel (or at least make plans to travel). A few months ago, I drove back from a visit out west through the Badlands. And lately, I’ve been fantasizing about being back there with the big sky and meandering roads.

Untitled | AmandaMuses

I’ll be posting more pics from this drive soon.

Into the Void

22/10/2013 — Leave a comment

The autumn weather snapped finally, a pleasant enough change, but not so great for outdoor swimming. Instead, I’ve been enjoying the gym indoors for the last few weeks, switching things up and cranking the tunes while grinding away on equipment. It feels great (if exhausting) and allows me the same time to reflect that I get out of swimming (even if I miss out on the wind and sun on my arms).

But I found a solution to ease the indoor transition— a new playlist to keep myself happy and focused while kicking my butt at the gym. And while listening to this new playlist, a track came on that propelled me back in time. Back to brisk autumn weather in Göteborg and catching the morning train to get away to Stockholm for the weekend. This song brings it all back:

How about you? Do any songs propel you back in time or take you some place else? Which song(s) and where does it take you?

Many years ago I lived in Pittsburgh but since then I’ve visited countless times to check-in on old friends and see how things have changed. Recently, I was back in Iron City for a whirlwind visit and thought it was about time to put together another travel guide. This is by no means an exhaustive guide— every time I return a new business seems to have bloomed while others retire. Instead I have focused on a handful of accessible neighborhoods with diverse offerings.

Additionally, I’ve put together a Pinterest map board that includes these recommendations (and more that I didn’t have the energy to write about here) on an helpful map.

South Side

  • Beehive Coffee House— THE Bohemian coffee shop to visit in Pittsburgh. Their pizza bagels are always good, in the winter their hot chocolate is a lifesaver and these days they serve liquor as well.
  • Jack’s— Perhaps not the most impressive looking place from the street, but a friendly watering hole with cheap drinks, dependable munchies and friendly bartenders.
  • Mario’s— In the last few years they’ve almost doubled in size. Over the years, the menu has changed a little but their wings remain dependable and if you’re in the mood to watch a sporting event without actually attending, Mario’s is a great place to catch the game.
  • Mike & Tony’s— Their old tagline says it all—”The Greek answer to McDonalds.” If you’ve never had a gyro, this is a good place to start and if you’re well acquainted with this sandwich alternative, Mike & Tony’s won’t let you down.
  • Page’s Dairy Mart— Tucked away in a bit of an odd spot, this old-fashioned ice cream stand is worth the trip!
  • Zenith— A nice little vegetarian cafe, known for its Sunday brunch.

Oakland

Home to University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and Carlow University, Oakland features quite a few cafes and eateries as well as a number of noteworthy museums.

  • Carnegie Museums (of Natural History & Art)— To be honest, this is one of my favorite destinations in Pittsburgh. The art museum has a very nice permanent collection and generally has inspiring exhibits. The natural history museum renovated its dinosaur hall in the last few years and houses one of the best dino collections in the US; its hall of architecture is similarly impressive. You could spend hours here and still not see it all.
  • Fuel & Fuddle— Another popular destination among college kids because like Mad Mex food is (or at least used to be) half off after 11pm. Even so, they offer above average bar food and a few of their own house brewed beers.
  • Kiva Han— Sadly, this spot closed recently and has transitioned to web based wholesaling instead.
  • LuLu’s Noodles— A staple of local students, and not just because of the low prices, the portions are generous and the ingredients fresh. A tasty and affordable spot for a quick meal day or night.
  • Mad Mex— Now with several locations, Mad Mex’s late night happy hour that discounts much of the menu after 11pm, makes it a great late night dinner option. Dependable Mexican food and tasty cocktails. Be forewarned though, it’s close to several colleges, so late at night the students descend and the music gets cranked up.
  • The Original Hot Dog Shop— (aka ‘The O’) A Pittsburgh institution for over fifty years, the O cooks up some of the best french fries you will ever try (be forewarned—the sizes are a little crazy so a small is generally plenty for two or three people). And in case the promise of low priced comfort food wasn’t enough to draw you in, they’re open ’til 3:30 a.m. seven days a week!
  • Phipps Conservatory— A glittering gem on the edge of Schenley park, the Phipps is a little slice of heaven. Regardless of the season, the conservatory presents an abundance of beautiful things to see and offers a peaceful break from the norm.
  • Spice Island— Another favorite among college kids and their professors, Spice Island is a real deal. Don’t be put off by the humble exterior, their menu of southeast Asian food and selection of tea is impressive and the prices modest.

Shadyside

A quiet neighborhood more or less between Oakland and Squirrel Hill, Shadyside is home to a mix of locals, college kids and quiet a few charming local boutiques and eateries.

  • Crepes Parisiennes— This little cafe started as a food cart ages ago and bloomed into this current embodiment. A nice spot for a quiet lunch or casual dinner.
  • Kards Unlimited— Always jam packed with clever cards and diverse gifts, Kards Unlimited has a special something for pretty much anyone you could think of.
  • Norman Child’s— Beautiful handmade frames for glasses wearers who want to stand out from the crowd.
  • Pamela’s— These days there are several locations including ones in Shadyside, Squirrel Hill and Oakland. When I was a resident, Shadyside was my favorite. Regardless of which venue you try, you may face a wait for their tasty breakfast treats and familiar comfort food.
  • Prantl’s Bakery— I still miss living close to this bakery and am sure to visit whenever I return. I have yet to find something that isn’t delicious here. A crowd can be expected on the weekends, but is worth the wait. And if you know what you would like in advance, you can place your order ahead of time online for pick up later! Not sure what to order? Try the popular cinnamon bread or, for a richer chocolatey treat, consider the hermits.
  • Toadflax— Fragrant florals, unique home accessories and an assortment of high-end beauty products greet you in this gorgeous shop. There is always something beautiful to see or smell year-round here and is a good bet for finding an unusual gift for that special someone.

Squirrel Hill

  • Aladdin’s— The huge salads and generous portions of Middle Eastern favorites make this a perfect lunch spot.
  • Avalon— Perhaps a local secret, this resale shop let’s patrons both trade in old duds and find fetching new looks.
  • Jerry’s Records— This might just be Pittsburgh’s mothership for vinyl.
  • 61C Cafe— A cozy coffee shop snoozing on Murray Avenue offers strong coffee, tasty baked treats and the freshest juice in town. Try the pear juice and ask for a little ginger with it. Yum!
  • Little’s Shoes— Find shoes for every member or generation of your family at this old-fashioned local shop that has been a Squirrel Hill staple for decades.
  • Pittsburgh Center for the Arts— Now home to both the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, this community arts campus is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to see, create or learn about contemporary visual arts.

Bloomfield

  • Bloomfield Bridge Tavern— Another spot lauded for their pierogies, the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern is a nice spot for casual comfort food in Bloomfield. Unlike a lot of favorite spots, free parking is available in their adjacent lot.
  • Church Brew Works— It’s not just a clever name, this award-winning microbrewery and restaurant offers a diverse menu in the impressive surroundings of a converted church.
  • Gooski’s— A favorite hangout among locals and college kids alike. Their wings and pierogies are big hits and a diverse jukebox keeps the atmosphere happy.
  • Sound Cat Records— Formerly Paul’s Compact Discs, this might just be the best music store in town. With a great selection of new, used and obscure music and a friendly, knowledgeable staff Sound Cat is slice of audio heaven.

The Strip District

  • 21st St. Coffee & Tea— A favorite spot among locals, this spot offers high-end espresso drinks and generous servings of unique teas.
  • Costume World— Sometimes you just need a costume or mask and Costume World has got you covered. With a massive inventory, this spot offers costumes and accessories for both purchase and rental.
  • Enrico Biscotti— Sometimes a crowd can overwhelm the shop on the weekends, but the heavenly biscotti, macaroons and artisanal breads from this tiny bakery are worth the fuss.
  • Fire House Lounge— Known for their burgers and cocktails, the Fire House lounge is a nice spot for a late dinner with friends.
  • Heinz History Center— The largest history museum in the state and an affiliate of the Smithsonian, the Heinz is nothing to sneeze at. Not just for history buffs, this six-story landmark paints the history of western Pennsylvania with a vivid brush.
  • Lidia’s— Featuring handmade pastas and the freshest available ingredients, Lidia’s is the perfect spot for a festive dinner.
  • Mon Aimee Chocolat— Satisfy your sweet tooth with a little something from this local gem. Offering an assortment of sweet treats from around the world and savory specialties, Mon Aimee is quite a treat.
  • Peace, Love & Little Donuts— Tucked around the corner form the Strip’s main drag on Smallman street this small chain offers fresh, glorious little donuts. With dozens of flavor combinations it’s hard to taste them all but fun to try.
  • Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.— With and incredible selection of herbs, meats and cheese from all over, a trip to the Penn Mac company can be a little overwhelming but mostly just delicious and hopefully a little inspiring. Pick up supplies for a weekend cook-athon or stock up for the winter. I hear they also do a great job with online shopping and shipping if you can’t make it to Pittsburgh to collect favorites and/or essentials.
  • Pittsburgh Popcorn Company— Established a few years ago in the Strip and now featuring four locations, the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company is a friendly pit stop with an addictive treat for all. Can’t get enough of their tasty treats and not enough room in your luggage to bring something home? Don’t worry, they ship nationwide!
  • Roxanne’s Dried Flowers— A treasure trove of interior and garden accessories and dried flowers, Roxanne’s is a great place to pickup gifts for your favorite someone.
  • Shop in the Kitchen— Find all sorts or kitchen gadgets and wares for your inner domestic god(dess) or your favorite chef.
If you haven’t seen it yet, Design Sponge has also put together a very nice guide to exploring Pittsburgh.
Think something’s miss­ing or want some thing more spe­cific not included on the list? Just leave a comment or email me and I will add it in. Happy Trails!

Even though the books are long since published, and the movie(s) shot by two different directors in two different languages, I still can’t help but like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (aka Män Som Hatar Kvinnor) and the soundtrack produced for the American movie version directed by David Fincher.

There’s something about the album that just sounds like winter and captures the ominous tone of much of the story’s plot line(s).

This track especially makes me think of traveling through the snow. I listen to this album sometimes on long drives (or while working in the studio) especially if it’s snowing (like the video below)…

Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for travel tips from friends and acquaintances seeking ideas for their upcoming trips either around the US or Europe. Last year I put together a list of recommendations for Denver, but as I continue to talk with more people about planning out their trips, the most efficient solution seems to be beginning a series of entries that collect my travel tips in a central location.

Today I will begin with a short list of tips about Denmark and Norway (and tiny bit about Berlin) since it came up recently in conversation. But I will aim to prepare more thorough lists of travel notes about other locations to be posted later. If there are any cities or destinations of particular interest to you, dear readers, just let me know!

Denmark

Copenhagen is a fun and bustling city, Design*Sponge has already put together a very nice travel guide outlining ideas for shopping and cafes by neighborhood and even a few hotels. The national museum is very well done and free to boot. When in town I always try to get to the Design museum which generally has a good mix of historic and contemporary work on display. The resistance museum is pretty good too and not very far from the royal palace. Looking to cover a lot of ground while exploring town? No sweat! Copenhagen has a free bike sharing program called City Bike with banks of bikes available all around the city. Learn more about the program online here.

For a nice lunch or fika while in Copenhagen, try Cafe Norden–great food, great service, nice people watching in a convenient spot. Illums Bolighus is right nearby too which is always a good spot for window shopping or more high-end souvenirs. For a quick meal or snack, casual but always fresh, Joe n’ the Juice all around town is a safe and tasty bet. For a more gourmet meal, Kul won’t disappoint. For travel snapshots with a view pay a visit to the Rundetårn, a seventeenth century tower originally built as an observatory. For 25DKK you can climb to the top by way of a massive spiral ramp (can you believe they used to race horses then bikes up and down the ramp?); it’s a little windy but the view is worth it. If castles are your thing, a visit to Frederiksborg Castle just outside of town may be in order.

Roskilde is an ancient town about 35k west of Copenhagen (about 25 minutes by train) with a beautiful cathedral and wonderful Viking ship museum as well; worth a visit if you have the time. Also outside of Copenhagen but worth exploring if time/energy allows are the towns of Skagen and Aalborg. If it’s of interest, there are Viking burial grounds near Aalborg.

Norway

In general, the Oslo Mikrobryggeri (Microbrewery) is a good spot for a pint or two. Vigelund Park is an impressive sculpture park worth checking out while exploring Oslo. If you’re a bibliophile like me, don’t miss Damm’s Antiquarian Books or Norlis Antikvariat.

In Bergen, Pingvinen is a good spot for a casual meal. For a more upscale meal, try Spisekroken. Pygmalion is another good and not too expensive restaurant to consider. If you’re in the market for a unique, wearable gift the silver jewelry at Juhl’s Silver Gallery is beautiful. Just outside of Bergen Gamlehaugen, is one of the royal family’s castles, details about opening hours and tours should be available online here.

If time is limited but you’re dying to “see it all” in a short trip, consider booking a trip with Norway in a Nutshell. With several tour options, you can explore the mountains and fjords of Norway in a day tour or an overnight year-round.

Berlin

If you have any time in Berlin to kill and are looking for a nice meal, consider Monsieur Vuong. If you find yourself in Berlin for a greater length of time and need ides, here’s a nice list put together by Sandra Juto, a Swedish artist who lives in Berlin.

General
Lisa Congdon, a SF-based illustrator and artist who recently spent several weeks in Scandinavia put together a nice list of design-y shops in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm.

If you’ve not already checked it out, Lonely Planet, has a good set of travel guides for most cities around the world. Here are the guides for the cities I mentioned above:

If you’ve not checked Rick Steves’ guides or seen his shows, he’s a good resource as well. Here’s a link to his Scandinavian guide(s) online.

Think something’s miss­ing or want some thing more spe­cific not included on the list? Just leave a comment or email me and I will add it in. Happy Trails!

Jungle

14/10/2012 — Leave a comment

Not all that long ago, I found myself in a tropical jungle…

Purple jungle

Ok, maybe not…But the sun was hot, the air was humid and boy were the plants pretty…

It’s no secret that I’ve been traveling quite a bit this year. Earlier in the summer, I took a short trip up to eastern Canada mostly to see a few art exhibits. This past Monday was Canada’s observance of Thanksgiving. And so not surprisingly, my mind has been wandering back north lately…

Wouldn’t it be lovely to get away for a weekend this fall before all trees lose their leaves..

Fence leaves

Stone face

Or perhaps it would be a fun spot to ring in the New Year…

River view

How about you? Been on any nice weekend trips lately, readers?

Rainy Day

26/08/2012 — Leave a comment

Found this little fella on a rainy stroll through French Quarter a few weeks ago…
Umbrella Stencil

Today it’s stormy here in Charm City. How’s the weather where you are, dear readers?

Rundetaarn

20/08/2012 — Leave a comment

Sometimes when I’m visiting Copenhagen for the day, I like to go up to the top of the 17th century observatory called the Rundetårn.

Looking through the window

The walk up to the top of the tower is a cobblestone spiral ramp. In the 18th century, Peter the Great rode a horse up to the top while visiting. Toward the end of the 19th century, bicycle races began to be held inside the tower as well.

Rundetaarn Hall

Distressed Wood

The view from the top is pretty special. But it’s the interior textures and history that always catch my eye.
Across the way

Black & White Texture

Distressed Wood--Blue

Among the ports of call on my seemingly endless travel itinerary this year has been Copenhagen. When spending time in Sweden, I often like to pop down for the day. Thanks to the Oresund Bridge, it couldn’t be easier.

Copenhagen Reflection

Day trips like this are such a treat and nice way to give my mind a little perspective.

Gallery

Dome Reflection

How about you, dear readers? Do you ever take days like this for yourself? How do you seek out perspective and inspiration?
Fountain Silhouette