Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 3)

On our last day in Stockholm was really only a half day because we were booked to take a ship to Helsinki for the last leg of our trip. So we stuck close to our apartment in Södermalm. It was nice though because we got to see a bit more of this neighbourhood which is very hip. There are endless amounts of bakery cafes and funky stores. I would definetely love to stay in this part of Stockholm again, if only for the amazing pastries.

So for breakfast we visited one of the most exquisited bakeries I’ve ever seen, Robin Delselius Bakery. Robin Delselius is a third generation baker of 30 years experience. He learned his craft from his mother and would first open this bakery in Södermalm and later open two more locations in Stockholm and a summer cafe, Stavsnäs Vinterhamn in Värmdö with his mother. Robin Delselius Bakery offers an amazing array of savory and sweet pasteries, breads, cookies, pancakes, overnight oats, sandwiches, salads, wraps, coffees and smoothies (to name a few). The gorgeous decor complements the delictable offerings, which makes it a must-do place to breakfast or brunch or lunch!

Octavia ordered a custard filled Solbulle. I would prefer she start the day with something healthier, but it was hard to denie her something that looked that yum. Marco and I shared a Pain au Chocolat and a ham and cheese toast sandwich with a bonus healthy salad. You can tell by the pictures that it was all pretty fantastic. The oat milk cappuccinos were also really great and prefectly balanced.

After breakfast I walked Octavia and Marco to a Park Nytorget, so that I could wander the back streets of Södermalm. This park is a hidden oasis, with its bright flowers, perfectly manicured grass, fountains and colourful playground equipment for little ones. It is adjacent to many cafes, so it attracts alot of families.

After dropping the kids off I wondered around the streets, window shopping at bakery cafes and quirky stores. Since it was a weekend not all the stores were open, but the ones that were had some really interesting stuff. My last stop was Åhléns Department store. These more mainstream stores did have some sales, so I was able to get some reaosnably priced clothes and trickets.

Well thats my last day in Stockholm. In my next post I will take you on a boat and oversea to Helsinki.

Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 2)

Hello everyone and thanks for checking back in with me. It’s been a while since I wrote about my Nordic adventure and today we continue in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of this post is dedicated to delicious foods we consumed and shopping our way through Gamla Stan,
Norrmalm and Östermalm. However, we did spend a good portion of the day visiting the Royal Palace and the Swedish History Museum, but I will write a separate post to share with you some of the marvels we found.


Södermalm: Breakfast

Its always great to start you day with a big healthy breakfast, especially if your up early. I found the perfect cafe in Södermalm that offers a wholesome breakfast and some great coffee. Pom & Flora is trendy little cafe, which offers wholesome breakfast bowls, fancy toast, fresh baked breads ith eggs and more, gluten free breads and a selection of coffees, juices and smoothies. They have two locations, so if your not in
Södermalm, you can also visit their other location in Vasastan.

For Octavia and I, we ordered the Seasonal fruit with whipped coconut cream and Steel cut oats cooked with oat milk and cardamom, stewed rubhard, nuts and cottage cheese. Marco had the Grilled Croissant with cheese & ham. We also ordered some cappuccino with oats milk. Everything was really fresh and delicious and the service was relatively quick.


Gamla Stan: sites and lunch

Next we headed to the Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Here you can find the Royal Palace, some of the best restaurants and cafes, museums and little bouquets between the narrow streets.

First we headed to the Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten), which is one of the largest palaces in Europe and is still the offical residence of the King of Sweden. It contains five splendid museums that you could easily spend all day exploring. Since I took so many photos I will write a special post just for the palace and the museums that we visited. The photots below are just of the Palace exterior, views from within and the Parade Square (Outer Courtyard). It was here that we caught the end of the changing of the guards.


Afterwards we wondered through the streets of Gamla Stan and did some window shopping before stopping for lunch. I just loved the hussle and bussle of the streets. The main streets are Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan. Perhaps one of the most famous symbols of the city is the building in Stortorget, a small public square. Some other interesting stops are the momument to St George and the Dragon and the extremely narrow Prästgatan (The Priest Street). Unfortunately I got to this narrow street just as a whole lot of tourist arrived to gawk and walk down it. We decided we were too hungry to go down that rabbit hole.


There are so many amazing place to lunch in Gamla Stan. I was considering Resturang Tradition, which offers high quality classic Swedish food and some of the best meatballs in the city (also lactose free!). However, since we were on a budget we went for another exciting but less expensive option. Strömmingsvagnen is a food truck offering traditional Swedish fried herring. This sounded delicious to me, but Marco wasn’t convinced until he tried it. Octavia and I shared the Nystekt Strömming med Hemlegat Potatismos (Fried herring with mash potatoes) with the choice of pickled cucumber, creme fraiche salad and lingonberry. Marco went for the safest option, the Herring Burger. It was all so delicious! The herring wasn’t greasy at all and tasted fresh, without the fishy flavour. The mash potato was creamy to perfection and the salads and jam fresh. The burger was also amazing, as the fillings really brought the best out of the herring. For a cheap lunch, I can’t recommend it enough, even if your not a fish lover. Afterwards Marco and Octavia got some Icecream from the Hell Dog Food Truck and which they both highly recommend.


Norrmalm to Östermalm

After lunch we had to go back through Gamla Stan to make our way to the Swedish Historical Museum to see the Viking exhibition. So we walked from the south west of Gamla Stan across the bridge into Norrmalm and along the Lilla Värtan river towards the museum. It was a long walk on a really hot day. You may be wondering why we didn’t take public transport. Well, the day before we did get a day pass and we barely used. So today we decided to walk, which we did. It only took about 30 minutes, but it felt longer because of the heat. It was still nice to walk along the Nybroviken, which is a small bay, which separates Norrmalm and Östermalm.
Östermalm is a beautiful beautiful and afflutent part of Stockhom, where you can find plenty of shopping, beauitiful architecture and museums.

After visiting the museum, Marco and Octavia went back to the apartment to have a rest before dinner. I didn’t want to sit around the appartment, so instead I went shopping. I walked back from Östermalm to Norrmalm. I window shopped my way from Nybrogatan to Birger Jarlsgatan to Biblioteksgatan. I even found an Eataly, which I didn’t know about in Stockholm. The one and only Eataly that I’ve been to was in New York, which I loved. If I had more time I would have loved to come back to dine there.

It was so hot out and I was getting really thirsty, so I stopped into Joe and the Juice. This is a Danish juice bar, that has since spread across Europe, America, Asia and Australia. This is my first time visiting one of their bars, but I do remember trying to find one in Sentosa, Singapore. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, as well as plenty of savoury and sweet options for lunch or afternoon tea. I ordered the Prince of Green fresh juice, which was sweet, earthy and very refreshing. I would have got something else, but I had to have dinner soon. Not long after this I had to make the dreaded walk back through Gamla Stan to meet my family back at the apartment for dinner.


Södermalm: Dinner

For dinner I already had a place in mind, which was near the apartment in Södermalm. Krogen Soldaten Svejk is an Eastern European Restaurant which offers hearty dishes at an affordable price. They have good reviews and we saw plenty of customers on arrival, which is aways a good sign.

I ordered Vepřová du chef Jurajda (roasted loin of pork with sauerkraut and dumplings). Marco ordered the Schnitzel Feldkurat Katz filled with ham and cheese, with fried potatoes. For Octavia we orderer the Cheese and Sausage Plate. The food was exactly what we were hoping for, it was well cooked, hearty and so delicious. The only disappointment was the Cheese and Sausage plate, since we didn’t know that it would be processed cold meat. However, we probably should of asked a few more questions. It was still good, but nice exactly a kids meal. Octavia didn’t mind tucking in to our dishes anyway and we had an extra side dish.

To finish the night off we head to a local grocery store and bought some Swedish Icecreams. Their grocery stores full of interesting foods and plenty of dairy free and other healthy alternatives. You can probably guess which ones was mine.


Since this post has mainly been able food I will share with you some of the other places I would have loved to have tried. Unforunately this was our last full day in Stockholm, so I wasn’t able to try them this time.

Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 1)

Our next stop on our Nordic Adventure was Stockholm, Sweden. We have been to Sweden a couple of times, but this was our first time visiting the capital city. Stockholm is the most populous city of the Nordic countries and the centre for cultural and economic centre of Sweden. We allocated two and a half days for Stockholm and if we had more time we would have loved to stay longer. The food, the shopping, the architecture and the sites, make it an amazing destination that you don’t want to leave.

Our first day in Stockholm was relatively lay back by my  travelling standards. We experiences amazing Swedish pastries, had family fun at Skansen open air museum, did fika with our cousin, window shopped in the old town and finished the evening with a plate of Swedish meatballs.

 

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 3: Førde (part 1)

After a little hiatus to finish the university semester, I can now continue sharing my last day in Norway on our road trip. So today is day three, we are at the furthermost point in our road trip from where we started in Bergen. Our destination is Førde, which is the most populated municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane. The township of Førde is located east if the end of the Førdefjorden and at the mouth of the river Jølstra.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to find in Førde, since it doesn’t seem as touristic as other towns, but there are a few great attractions that you can visit. There are the waterfalls of Huldefossen and Halbrendsfossen, the Førdehuset cultural centre, where you can find the Salmon sculpture, The National Tourist Road and the Sunnfjord Museum. We were quite time poor since we arrived quite late the evening before and only had the next morning to site see before driving back down to Bergen to catch our flight. However, we did get to see a couple of attractions and were happy that we included this stop in our trip. 

 

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Balestrand (part 4)

Our last big stop on our 2nd day of our road trip was Balestrand. This was probably the one I was most excited about. We arrived it was quite late, so we did a little bit of wandering around. My daughter had also become very unruly, so we ended up spending a couple hours before retiring for the day at our apartment in Førde. I did really like Balestrand and happy we trekked this far to explore this small town.

The village of Balestrand is in the Balestrand municipality, in the Sogn og fjordane region. It is located on the northern shore of the Sognefjorden and the mouth of Esefjorden. This town has been a major tourist stop since the 1800s. It is also known as the Art village and has inspired many artists from England and Germany. These travellers have also influenced much of the architecture.

Some points of interest include Sognefjord Aquarium (Sognefjord Akvarium and Gallery Munken), Golden house Gallery (Det gylne hus), Kviknes Hotel (Private collection of art mainly from the national-romantic period), King Bele Statue and Balestrand Viking Barrows, St Olaf’s Angelican Church and the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism (Norsk Reiselivsmuseum).

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Vikøyri (part 3)

After stopping at Undredal we made our way to the town of Vikøyri. This stop wasn’t originally in the itinerary as we had intentions of crossing the fjord to Balestrand. However we were starving, so this was a convenient stop to make to have a break and try some Viking cheese.

First a bit about our major stop. Vikøyri is the central town for the municipality of Vik, in the Sogn og fjordane region. This old coastal settlement is situated midpoint on the Sognefjorden and the mouth of the Vikja river, which is the best salmon river in the region. Some of the points of interest include the Tine cheese factory (see below), the Hopperstad Stave ChurchHove Stone Churchold shore dweller siteMoahaugane Burial Mounds, the Kristianhus Båt- og Motormuseum.

 

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Tiong Bahru: hipsters paradise

On day 6 we visit one of the hippest neighbors in Singapore, Tiong Bahru. It’s not a really touristy hot spot and it was had a very different vibe to what I had seen in the city so far.

Tiong Bahru is actually the oldest housing estate in the country and was built in the 1920’s. It’s name actually stands for ‘new cemetery’ (thióng in Hokkien for “cemetery” and bahru in Malay for “new”), since there were a few cemeteries in the area. It  became quite a polluted and shabby part of town, so in the 1930s it got a face lift. Before I tell you about the interesting architecture, I first have to tell you what we had for breakfast.

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Kampong Glam: eclectic, spirited Muslim Quarter

On day four of our Singapore trip, we went to explore the eclectic and colourful neighbourhood of Kampong Glam. It is named after the Malay words for ‘village’  ‘gelam tree’ (Paperbark tree), since these trees used to grow in the area. This neighbourhood was formerly the home of the Malaysian aristocracy, prior to British colonisation. However, after the treaty was signed it became the designated settlement for the Sultan and his court as well as the Malay and Arab communities. Today it remains the Malay and Muslim enclave a and is known for being a trendy neighbourhood, rich in history and culture.

We arrived in Kampong Glam in the morning to have breakfast. Then visited the Sultan’s Mosque, did some shopping at Bussorah Street and Haji Lane and later returned for dinner and dessert. In my next post, I will detail our visit to the Rocher (Bugis) area, which we also did the same day.

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Tanjong Pagar: Koreatown

Last time I left you we were at the Singapore Zoo (day 3). Well after a big day out,  we decided to do a low key dinner in the trendy in the neighbourhood Tanjong Pagar. This is a historic area within the Central Business District. Its name means ‘cape of stakes’ which references the wooden stakes that held up this former fishing village. Today it is a colourful thriving area where you can find great nightlife at Tras Street, best Korean food in Koreatown, great hawker food at Maxwell Food Centre and Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and amazing views at the Pinnacle@Duxton.

 

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Aleksinac: Our Serbian hometown

So last time I left you with my European trip we were in Italy. Next, we made our way to Serbia to visit Marco’s family. We spent a week in their hometown of Aleksinac and did some day trips to Niš and Sokobanja and a couple of days in Belgrade.

This is the second time I’ve been to Serbia and visited Aleksinac. The best part of this trip was seeing Marco’s family and introducing Octavia to her little cousins. Since I don’t speak Serbian I didn’t have many people to talk to. Luckily one of Marco’s aunts was an English professor. Octavia understands Serbian and she didn’t let it stop her having fun with everyone.

So you may be wonder where is Aleksinac? It is a town and municipality, which is in the Nišava District of the southern Serbia. It is believed that people have inhabited this area since the Neolithic age and most of the settlements are of the Vinča cultural group. Like much of Serbia, Aleksinac has been under the rule of the Romans, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. There are many archaeological sites in the area and nearby, which have largely been left untouched. So if you enjoy hiking this region has many mountains and old castles to discover.

To get to Aleksinac we first had to fly Belgrade, where we were greeted Marco’s father. From there it took a couple of hours to drive to the small town of Aleksinac. On the way back we took a bus, which took a little longer but was easy enough.

Aleksinac town centre isn’t really a tourist hot spot. I think there is only one hotel on the edge of town. However, there are nice places to stay at spa towns like Sokobanja or Ribarska banja or in the larger city of Niš. I did enjoy visiting Aleksinac to get a feel for every day of small town living. However, it does get boring in the centre of town. I found myself just wanting to get out of town to see some of the natural beauty of nearby sites and villages.


 

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3 Days of eating and shopping in Osaka

On our visit to Japan, our first stop was the beautiful city of Osaka. We came for a wedding and spent out first few days eating and drinking and sightseeing within Osaka. We visited the Osaka aquarium and went up to the top of Umeda Sky Building. We also had an interesting experience at the Lock Up Restaurant. Other than that we just indulged in the amazing food. My only wish is that I could have possibly eaten more. What I couldn’t eat I photographed, so going back through our trip is really making me hungry. By day four we still had to fit into our wedding clothes. After the elegant ceremony, we went spoil again with course after course of amazing food. I have included some pictures below of the gorgeous wedding of our dear friends.

Osaka has to be my favourite city that we visited in Japan. The people are extremely friendly and polite. So many times when we were lost, older Japanese people would approach us and try to help, even without knowing English. The streets and facilities were all very clean and the people were dressed very elegantly. The food was probably the best here as well. There are so many things to see and do within the city and also on the outskirts. Check out my following posts to see where else we went.

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A short tour of New Zealand

For my 30th we finally went across the pond to New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to visit and the flight is quite short from Brisbane, so it’s almost like going interstate. Since I’m a winter baby we were there during the coolest month. The landscapes were whimsical and magical, but God was it cold. We started on the North Island in Auckland, went down as far as Hamilton. Then flew to Christchurch, stopped through Lake Tepako, Wanaka, Arrowtown and ended our trip in Queenstown. We had a great time though and I can definitely see us going back to see everything we missed. So this is our trip in 7 days, traveling with a toddler. It was challenging at times, but a place to visit as a family.

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