Paris, a touch of Israel in le Marais

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Paris
Paris is known for its romanticism, fashion, food, art and culture. It is one of the largest cities in Europe. And some small tiny places in that large city are worth a visit...that's where Tavlin pops up!

The remarkable city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements. Check out le Marais. It spreads across parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements in Paris.

Which city: Paris, France.

Where to go: Go to the district le Marais and go to the Rue Rio de Sicile and visit number 25!

What to discover: The tiny cozy place called Tavline. This Israeli restaurant, brings cooking with an invigorating herbaceousness to the Marais (Tavline means "spice" in Hebrew).

What to eat: Jump in the delicious world of spices and try the houmous if houmous is your passion and try the incredible main dishes you can't refuse. An explosion of all kinds of flavors in combination with beautifully designed dishes are an inspiration for both your eyes as your taste.

What to love: The excellent service! The kindness and warm welcome you feel as a guest is like coming home. DDTS adores it and didn't want to be disturbed while having a great lunch or dinner at Tavline ;-)!

Helsinki, Allas Sea Pool in minus 7 Celsius!

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Helsinki
Helsinki: swimming in the Allas Sea Pool at minus 7 degrees celsius! A really 'try before you die' experience!

The capital of Finland is a hip place to be. One of the bravest things to do is swimming in an outdoor pool during winter in the harbor of Helsinki.

Which city: Helsinki, Finland.

Where to go: Go to the Allas Sea Pool.

What to wear: Put on your moonboots and a bikini or swimshort, that's all ;-)!

What to do: Jump in the pool, head above the surface, enjoy the warm water, climb out of the pool...feel like a snowman, take a dip in the unheated bath and jump in the sauna afterwards.

What to love: The total craziness to swim in an outdoor pool while it is minus 7 degrees celcius and you see the icicles on the bathing ladders. After that you can dip into the sauna...that's heaven on earth after this frosty heroic action!

Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle and Scotch Whisky Experience

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Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, spotting half naked men and more Scottish details.

Step into history in this bustling and vibrant city!

Which city: Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, United Kingdom

Where to go: Discover its hidden gems, experience its Scottish culture, and visit the Edinburgh Castle.

What to drink: Drink whisky or go to The Scotch Whisky Experience, a five star visitor attraction on Edinburgh's Royal Mile in the old town of Edinburgh.

What to do: Visit the Edinburgh Castle, enjoy folk music on the street or plan to go to a festival.

What to love: The Scottish traditional kilt, displayed on a  Highland Swing mug with a half naked man on it ;-)!

Watch our vlog of Edinburgh!

St Petersburg, the Hermitage, Church on Spilled Blood and a Matryoshka nesting doll

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St Petersburg
St Petersburg, a city with lots of wealth.

Would you like to spend hours in a museum? The Hermitage will be the best option. If you have time left, wander around the streets and buy a Matryoshka, the Russian nesting doll!

Which city: St Petersburg, Russia.

Where to go: Go to the Hermitage. It is a state museum located in the old tsarist palace complex on the Neva River. The museum houses a magnificent art collection that includes imperial porcelain, superb Rembrandts, ancient cameos, Madonnas by Da Vinci, marble sculptures by Canova, colourful paintings by Matisse.

What to drink and eat: Try a delicious cinnamon roll or a red velvet cake with a coffee in the little café in the Hermitage to take a break.

What to do: Buy a traditional Matryoshka doll on the street or in a shop and catch a glimpse of the Church on Spilled Blood.

What to love: The great diversity and wealth of the collection and stunningly decorated rooms of the Hermitage, the sweet people from St Petersburg and there hospitality and all the great buildings you see everywhere in the city.

Watch our vlog of St Petersburg!

Kiev, Landscape Alley, St. Sophia Cathedral and a lot of Ukrainian hospitality

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Kiev
Kiev: art at Landscape Alley, the beautiful Cathedral of St. Sophia and a special chicken

Explore the city of Kiev, wander around the streets and take a tour in the great Cathedral. And if you are hungry, try the specialty of Kiev!

Which city: Kiev, Ukraine.

Where to go: Enjoy the art of Landscape Alley and visit St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the city's best known landmark.

What to drink and eat: Have the specialty of Kiev: Chicken Kiev, and try the recipe of Jamie Oliver's Chicken Kiev at home ;-)!

What to do: Visit the electric mix of sculptures by mosaic tiles of Landscape Alley or go to the St. Sophia Cathedral and get familiar with this giant masterpiece.

What to love: Enjoy the incredible Ukrainian hospitality. It's warm and sincere!

Watch our vlog of Kiev!

Oslo, at the fjord, Anne pa Landet, Barcode, Shoot Gallery, Olivia and the underground railway

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Oslo
Oslo: at the fjord, having coffee at Anne pa Landet, district Barcode and Shoot Gallery, dinner at Olivia and culture in the underground railway

Drinking coffee in a small wooden café, having exercise by running near the fjord, having culture in Shoot Gallery and the underground railway and eating in the former railway station at Olivia.

Which city: Oslo: district Homlia and the city center of Oslo, Norway.

Where to go: To enjoy the nature, go outside the centre and enjoy running near the fjord as a good start of the day.

What to drink and eat: Have coffee in an old traditional wooden house at Anne pa Landet near the fjord or have dinner at Olivia at Ostbanehallen. The building used to be the railway station.

What to do: Visit the new district Barcode and have a glimpse of culture at Shoot Gallery. Or explore the inspiring interior of the underground railway of Oslo at National Theatret.

What to love: Enjoy the incredible beautiful nature or find your way in the hip up and coming Barcode district. Explore the hidden scandinavian design of the underground railway.

Watch our vlog of Oslo!

Florence versus Los Angeles

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Florence versus Los Angeles
A private jet, a convertible and a romantic aubade

Chic to the max in a private jet to Florence, driving a convertible to Schindlers House, visiting Hollyhock House and a romantic aubade about Manhattan Beach…it’s all in one compi and vlog. Enjoy, relax and get involved!

Desiré

I was enjoying my well deserved vacation at home, until I got invited for a trip to Florence by private Jet!
Normally I love to stay at home during my vacation, because we are always living out of our suitcases, but you can't say 'No' to a luxurious Italian weekendtrip with Jet powered luxury.
To make it more luxurious the trip started in Paris. Le Marais is definitely my favourite neighbourhood and I had enough time to sit on an outside terrace sipping petit café and eating croissants.
This outside terrace was a wonderful place to watch people passing by and have a great view on street art and fashion boutiques. It felt like vacation already!

The flying time from Paris to Florence was short but very comfortable. The perks of flying on a private jet is something (most of the time) only the rich and famous enjoy. No security lines, cushy leather seats and more than enough legroom. After a smooth landing, I received my luggage and headed down the ramp. A taxi was waiting to take me to my hotel. I stayed in the Junior suite at the Cerretani Firenze hotel MGallery by Sofitel , in the heart of Florence. This hotel is absolutely beautiful and the interior design is modern, with a cool vibe and clean lines. For dinner I went around the corner, where there is a historic place that, after a extensive renovation opened its doors as a new concept-restaurant. Meaning that here you’ll find a place to eat, drink, buy flowers, shop design items for your house and listen to live music. We’re talking about La Ménagère.

The next morning I spent time exploring Florence. I started by mooching around the city and stumbled across the Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo di Firenze. The latter was a particularly impressive piece of architecture; grand in stature and very ornately designed. The Palazzo, like most in Florence was surrounded by colourful houses, restaurants and shops and filled with street entertainers and musicians, Later on I headed to the Ponte Vecchio and window-shopped through all the tourist places on the bridge. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to admire the original "David" at the Academia Gallery, but I saw a copy of Michelangelo's "David" in marble, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.

During the afternoon I had to visit the Roberto Cavalli café ! This café is located on the corner of via Tournabouni, Florence’s high fashion street, and via della Spada. They serve one of the best coffees in town with just a hint of chocolate. You can buy a box of chocolates in a designer leopard box, or Roberto Cavalli’s own wine.
I also recommend to eat at Il Santo Bevitore restaurant. They have a cool website as well!

I really enjoyed my little vacation in Florence.
Despite my luxury adventure, my return flight from Paris to Amsterdam was on an economy seat with my own airline. Back to reality!!!

Margré

During Desiré’s holiday I visited Los Angeles two times in one month. That’s why I combined these two trips in one compi.

The Schindler House, also known as the Kings Road House is a house in West Hollywood designed by architect Rudolf M. Schindler. The residence was meant to be a cooperative live/work space for two young families. The concrete walls and sliding glass panels made novel use of industrial materials, while the open floor plan integrated the external environment into the residence, setting a precedent for California architecture in particular.

I visited the house in the early afternoon when the light was perfect. The house was secluded behind a screen of tall bamboo shoots. The Kings Road House may be considered the first home ever built in the modernist style. They also exhibit some MAK Center art work because the house is owned by the MAK Center. I loved the silver rake that stood in a corner of one of the open spaces in the house.

Another architectual highlight is the Hollyhock House. Also situated in Hollywood. The Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House is a building in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, built in 1919–1921. I joined a small tour which I can recommend as a nice way to get information about the Hollyhock House project.
 
It is a pretty sad story because of the miscommunucation between the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall. His strict way of thinking and building was not the way Aline Barnsdall wanted to live in the house. But all the colors, the arrangement of funiture and even the way he figured out where and how to live in the house were a kind of strait-jacket instead of a peacefull place to live in. But it is surrounded by the beautiful Hollywood Hills. I could very clearly see both the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory from the property of the Hollyhock House. I found the house a little depressing inside with all the darkness, unlike the bright light and colors you can find outside the concrete building.
 
After all that culture I decided to explore a new eatery in Culver City, named The Cannibal. As you might expect, The Cannibal is meat-focused, although its name is actually a nod to Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx, who was given the nickname during his heyday in the 1970s.
Cycling references in the decor pay homage to Merckx but also to owner Christian Pappanicholas and partner Cory Lane. Both are avid bikers, so it makes sense that they also offer a number of bike-friendly accommodations to fellow cyclists.
 
There’s a bicycle valet parking, and if cyclists dine at the Cannibal in their riding gear, they’ll get their second beer on the house. A gift known as a “kit” in the cycling world. I wasn’t wearing riding gear at that moment so I didn’t get a second glas of red wine for free ;-)! The food was delicious and the service was great. But I had to pay a lot of money for that. So prices are a bit overrated in my opinion, but a YES for sure to visit, specially for bikers!
 
My beloved Manhattan Beach is the place where I often end up at the end of my tour in Los Angeles. No matter what I did that day and no matter how far I had to drive for that. My love for this beach is huge and I always have to say goodbye to the place before I leave LA. You could call me a ‘romanticus foolicus' but I can't resist it's beauty and get tons of energy from it. This beach is inresistable...till the moon and back!
Watch our vlog of Florence versus Los Angeles!

Paris versus Antwerp

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Paris versus Antwerp

Desiré

Paris, the city of love, food and fashion. It's a pleasure to be part of this vibrant city and I simply enjoyed my stay here. I started my evening with a very good asian-fusion restaurant named "Bon" at rue de la Pompe. This trendy Philip Starck designed bar-restaurant is a discreet destination for 16eme locals and expats. Get a platter of the most excellent spring rolls-shrimp coriandre, beef basil & chicken curry, spicy beef salad and crispy chinatown duck for savory re-invented classics!

A good place to start shopping in Paris is the nice old quarter of Le Marais. I think Le Marais is the best shopping neighborhood in the city. There are tons of independently owned boutiques as well as luxury shops, trendy restaurants, hip galleries and wonderful markets. Today, the neighborhood is a mix of several communities which, at one time or another, played an important role in its history. Le Marais remains a central part of the Jewish community in Paris, and is also home to other more recent immigrant communities such as Algerians and Asians. Le Marais is also one of present-day Paris’ most prominent gay communities, with lots of gay night clubs, shops, and restaurants. The second place that I went to was the Furla store at Rue Saint Honoré. I purchased my little bag in this "chic" shopping area. (I have a bag obsession!). Here you've got expensive couturiers, more moderate designer boutiques and also you'll find the famous cult store Colette.

After a wonderful shopping session it was time to have some lunch. Ladurée is perfect for macarons and afternoon tea. Ladurée's salted caramel macaron is by far my favorite!

Margré

Going to Antwerp means going to my neighbor country where they also speak Dutch but in a slightly different way. Antwerp is not the capital of Belgium, that's Brussels, but it is a big city with a lot of remarkable cultural and fashionable hotspots. I made a reservation in one of The Soul studio's on the Marnixplaats in the bustling het Zuid district. This hip apartment hotel is a 3-minute walk from a tram stop and 8 minutes on foot from modern art exhibits at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst and the FOMU. "The Soul" is an experience for the body and soul.. It offers healthy food and drinks in The Soul Café and a good night sleep in The Soul Studios, Apartments and Loft. For a professional and luxurious treatment for your hair you can visit The Soul Hairspa. A nice experience and the studio was designed very well.

I visited the FOMU, the foto museum of Antwerp. They have interesting exhibitions all year long. You only have to walk ten minutes from the FOMU to reach the centre of Antwerp. During my walk to the centre I saw many nice vintage stores. There were lots of them with all different types of antique like, old school maps, furniture, toys, cloth... you name it! Antwerp is also a city of fashion and there are so many shops with high end brands. Belgium people know how to dress! And if you want to buy a high end delicacy to pair with your coffee or champagne, go to Ladurée in the Schuttershofstraat 51. This is un upscale bakery with Parisian origins, specializing in French macarons in a number of flavors. Be prepared!

The Wasbar...it's absolutely worth a visit! The decor is cute and the atmosphere is very relaxed. It is a great place to chill, mingle with friends and do your laundry while having lunch or a nice drink. I choose the 'cappuccino wasbar', a cappuccino with little marshmallows in it. It looks like my coffee had detergent in it and it tasted a little bit weird. But after all it was fun to have this drink especially in the Wasbar.

if you want to have a nice dinner go to Pasta Hippo Vino. You may notice the absence of pizza when you read the menu. What you will find here, however, is food made from real, home-made ingredients, made to the highest standards. The restaurant is not far from the Grote Markt, in the middle of the centre of Antwerp. If you don't want Italian wine, try the real Begium beer. Vedett is a good option ;-)!

Watch our vlog of Paris versus Antwerp!

Cairo versus Helsinki

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Desiré

Cairo, the capital of Egypt, home to the Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum and fabulous Islamic architecture! I have unfortunately not been able to visit these beautiful places. Egypt is still suffering instability. I was not allowed to leave the hotel. At the swimming pool the air felt cold. So what to do next? Well, I did a lot of eating, reading, relaxing and sleeping. A beautiful and loud hotel wedding party was by far the most entertaining thing I saw in Cairo!

Margré

Cold and crispy Helsinki instead of Toronto. Desiré and I were supposed to be in Toronto upcoming days. But our flight was canceled, due to snow storms on the east coast of the United States. Instead Desiré had to travel to Egypt and I touched down in Finland. The influences of the Baltic states can be seen in the architecture of the Central Railway Station. It is a widely recognised landmark in Kluuvi, part of central Helsinki. The Atheneum Art Museum is an impressive old classical European building and Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art, is modern with Scandinavian roots. So a lot of interesting styles mixed in one city. The Finnish company Marimekko, based in Helsinki, is a must visit! It is a well known Finnish design house celebrated worldwide for its original prints and colors. Marimekko has made important contributions to fashion, especially in the 1960s. Unfortunately I had only a couple of hours to wander around in Helsinki. But still I had a good glimpse of the city and what she has to offer!

Watch our vlog of Cairo versus Helsinki!

Lille,France

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Lille
We visited the largest flea market in Europe, Braderie de Lille, which is held once a year for two days in Lille. We booked a room in the super beautiful mansion with the best spot: l’Esplanade. Just in front of the flea market. On that market you will find fantastic vintage stuff. Worth a visit! Finish your day by eating mussels at Aux Moules. At the end of each day there will be a large mountain of empty mussel shells next to the restaurant. A good indication of how many people love to eat mussels at Aux Moules!