What went down in London town

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Sometimes I get super impulsive. That was definitely the case last Friday evening. Well, I have been thinking about going away for a weekend for a little while, but I was either caught up in work or had made plans with friends so I never found the perfect time to get away. This Friday I couldn’t stop thinking about leaving the snow for a little while. So I ordered one of the last available hotel rooms in South Kensington, ordered my seat on British Airways and left with no return ticket, I figured I could deal with that over the weekend.

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I rushed to the airport and two hours later I sat safely in my seat.

I arrived at my hotel about four hours later. I stayed in a club room at the Millenium hotel in Kensington. I actually wanted to stay closer to Shoreditch or more central in the city, but since I booked my room so close to my arrival, the hotel options were very minimal. The Kensington version of the Millenium hotel is very close to one of my favourite museums, V&A, so it was a win-win anyways.

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Saturday morning I met up with my favourite Australian Jason for a chill morning in Shoreditch with food and drinks. He showed me around his favourite streets and then we went for brunch (with wayyyy too much white wine), and I had to try the local Dalston Cola (really good, very spicy) before we popped by Rough Trade Records. As a musiclover, this was a must see for me. They also had a photo booth, which for those of you who knows me, I had to try out.

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IMG_5924After brunch, I went shopping at my all-time favourite department store in London, Liberty’s. This is a must-see if you go to London. This historic store was founded in 1875 and is filled with eclectic quality goods, both from big and independent brands.

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I the evening I took Jason to the Oblix bar at The Shard. Great food, great drinks, amazing views. I’ve been to this place a few times before and it has definitely become my favourite viewing platform in London.

 

On Sunday I had a late breakfast at the V&A after enjoying their standard collection of contemporary and historic art and design (the temporary exhibitions didn’t interest me this time). V&A also house one my favourite place to have lunch in London. Their food court is absolutely beautiful as you can see in this picture. If you go on a weekend, come early, there will be huge ques.

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I continued with a long walk in Hyde Park where spring was in full bloom.

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Then I went for dinner in China Town where the celebration of the Chinese New Year was still happening. This year is the year of the monkey! 🐒

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I started my Monday morning in my favourite neighbourhood in West London, Notting Hill and fell in love with this wall painting.

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Continued with lunch at one of my favourite restaurants, Granger & Co. The last time I was here we was sat next Lily Allen, this time I did not vitness any A-list celebrity, but what I did witness was this truly amazing chia seed yoghurt with mango, a glass of freshly pressed apple juice and of course a glass of white wine (when on holiday, ey?)

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Went for a long walk through my favourite streets. This part of town is truly picturesque.

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In the evening I met up with René Allison in Shoreditch for a few drinks at Cafe 1001 before she took me to City Social. Located on the 24th floor, this place welcomes you with an amazing 360* view of the gherkin, the Shard and basically most of London.

It’s always hard to take photos with your iphone in the dark with reflections, but here’s my try. London, I’ll be back soon!

(All pictures by me, except the picture of Big Ben – free to use image from Over)

I’m going to Tokyo!

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All through this autumn I’ve been talking to my friends about going to Japan in March, and right after Christmas we finally ordered our tickets and booked our hotels. I have never been to Japan before and am of course very excited. Our destination is Tokyo, so I figured I would take a few moments to think about what I actually do know about this popular city, and what I need to explore more of before our plane takes off.

This is what I know about the city so far:

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Tokyo has done an extraordinary job combining urban city life and beautiful nature with large parks and beautiful gardens. One of these is the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. This huge garden is divided into several different garden styles (French manor, English, Japanese and more).  You will have to pay a small amount of yen to enter the garden, which is very much worth the spend according to reviews on Tripadvisor. Seems like the perfect break after an eventful day in the busy city of Tokyo.

Meiju Jingu is a Shinto shrine located in Shibuya. The shrine was completed in 1920 and again repaired after damages during World War II. The two large gates that frames the entrance was dedicated to Emperor and Empress Meiji. Close to the train station, this historic shrine is described as one of the places you must visit while in the city. Namasté!

 

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Cat cafés, dog cafés and even owl and goat cafés. Tokyo has it all! I am of course very determined to visit at least one cat café and an owl café. A goat café on the other hand? Sounds messy… Tokyo is full of theme filled cafés and restaurants, and I also recently read about maid cafés who offers waitresses dressed in maid costumes act as servants and treat customers as masters (and mistresses). I don’t believe I will be making a visit…

 

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Harajuku is known for it’s eclectic and influential fashion movement. I first learned about Harajuku through Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku girls in her 2004 video for “What are you waiting for”. The Harajuku style is full of colorful manga-inspired baby-doll dresses, pigtails, high platform shoes and gothic makeup, and also kimonos. Sunday is the best day to visit Harajuku if you want to take in the Harajuku style, the area is filled with teenagers dressed in extreme youth fashions, street performers, and loud rock bands.

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Tokyo is known for it’s futurism in both technology and robots. One of the places I want to explore this is at The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Located on the man-made island called Odaiba, the museum offers hands-on exhibitions on technology, environmental studies and space exploration. Here you can also witness Asimo – Honda’s robotic humanoid.

I might also head over to the Toshiba Science Museum located in the nearby city of Kawasaki. This museum explains how their technology is changing and shaping the way we live ours lives through interactive exhibits.

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As a big foodie myself, one of the things that get’s my attention the most whenever I’m traveling to a new part of the world is, of course, the food.

One of the meals planned in my food calendar is Kobe beef. Kobe refers to beef from the Tajima strain of the Wagyu cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyogo. The meat is known for the tenderness and flavor, and also, it’s well-marbled texture. The beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, teppanyaki, and sashimi. For those who know me, you know I will be going for the steak. The translation for Kobe beef in Japanese is Kobe niku (Kobe meat). 

Ramen is a noodle soup imported from China, and has through the last decades become one of the most popular dishes in Japan. The meal is available all over the city, and is very inexpensive (might be a good dish to go for after a day filled with too much shopping). You will find ramen-ya’s, the Japanese name for ramen restaurants on almost every corner of the country and variations of the noodle dish changes from region to region.

Okonomiyaki is a widely popular pan-fried dish that consists of batter and cabbage with toppings and ingredients of either seafood, wasabi or cheese. Popular choices are octopus, shrimp, pork, yam or kimchi. Okonomi means “to one’s liking” and you will find the dish all over Japan at restaurants that specialize in the meal, at some places you will find iron griddles at the dining tables, for you to cook the ingredients of the meal yourself.

Japan is also worldly known for their big fish markets and fresh sushi.

 

What I want to learn more about before our trip:

  • The best places for a night out
  • Find more beautiful parks
  • If there is going to be trees filled with cherry blossoms while we’re there
  • The best sake (酒) bars
  • Traditional temples
  • and, of course, the best karaoke bars

Have I missed something? If you have any tips for me about what I should check out in Tokyo, please leave a comment in the comment section below! 

 

 

 

(free to use images via Over, and also from NDTV, Thousand Wonders and foodphotosite)

(Sources: Skyscanner: 8 Best geek things to do and see in Tokyo, Trip advisor’s Things to do in Tokyo)

 

Dreaming of Summer

It’s a cloudy day here in Bergen, and even if it wouldn’t be a cloud filled day I would have no choice but to sit here in front of my computer finishing up my university thesis. But I am also dreaming, of summer of course, so much that I in fact made a special summer playlist on Spotify to get me through these last weeks of the semester. From the beautiful islands of Italy to the french riviera, and then all the way to Brazil, with some fitting soul in between…

Have a listen here: Dreaming of Summer

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