Get to know the sisters behind We are Nodes
Part 1: The big sister
Name: Yasmin Tilles
Age: 29 (“The big sister”)
City: Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation: Working as PR and Marketing Manager at IT security-startup Detectify
Passions: Entrepreneurship and building businesses, digital marketing, travelling (obviously), planning (I’m a project manager-freak who plans my whole existence in various to do-lists), and drinking coffee on my balcony.
Your Best Trip?
There are SO many unforgettable trips to choose between, but here’s two trips that has left a big impression on me:
1) A work trip I made to San Francisco and New York in 2013 while I was working at IDG Sweden and Webbdagarna. I joined the IDG US event team in San Francisco for the annual Macworld/iWorld conference, a huge event targeting Apple users and partners, for a week of intensive and fun work. Later, I took the plane over to NY where I stayed with my friend Bess (who I became friends with when we both were studying Spanish in Madrid), and enjoyed another week of meetings, events and sightseeing in the city. I remember walking around downtown, jumping between inspiring meetings with NY- based startups like Holstee and other prominent web experts, looking up at the skyscrapers and feeling so alive and filled with energy.
Love New York!
I was mainly working with the Speaker Lounge at MacWorld. And yes, Ashton Kutcher was one of the speakers (since he played Steve Jobs in the movie about the Apple founder), but I didn’t run into him on site.
2) Not a trip, but more a travel experience that’s very special to me is when Sheida and I moved to Barcelona in 2008, 10 years ago! Not only was it our first abroad experience together, but my GAWD how much we experienced during those months in Barcelona. We rented two rooms in an apartment close to Sagrada Familia, worked together, spent a lot of time partying, getting to know people, going on excursions (our local flatmate was always surprised by the places we explored when we were off work). Barcelona will always be special to me, especially since both me and Sheida grew up a lot during our time there.
A very old photo of Sheida and I from Barcelona, it seems we liked to match outfits back then…
Haha love this image of my room in Barcelona that I found when writing on this blog post. The funny thing is that Sheida slept in my bed the first night, since we hadn’t really decided if we trusted our flatmate yet (he turned out to be a great guy).
Favorite travel memory?
Spending a night in the jungle in Costa Rica in 2015. Long story short; We arrived to the wrong hotel in the middle of the night and in the middle of the jungle, but somehow we managed to convince the hotel owners to let us sleep in their open air show room. Definitely one of my travel highlights!
When my friend Linnéa and I visited Pointe des Almadies, the most western point of Africa, during our volunteer trip in Dakar, Senegal. Pointe des Almadies was the perfect way to escape the crazy and loud citylife in Dakar, and the place made us come back twice for its quiet surroundings and fresh oysters.
We visited Pointe des Almadies during a volunteer trip we did to an orphanage in Senegal.
Sheida and I have spent many months in Cannes, but one thing we never get tired of is the magical sunrises over there. I love the memories of those nights when we had a blast at the club, and then walked home while talking about the evening as the sun went up.
What’s the best and worst part about traveling with you sister?
Worst part is that we push each other’s buttons and therefore argue a lot (fortunately for us, we make up as quickly). Best part is that we are a great travel team. We enjoy spending vacations in the same way. We value the small things in life and easily fall into simple travel habits when we are away. For example, one of our favorite parts of staying in Paris for one summer, was the very simple breakfast-picnics we had in the next door park every morning. We have so many unforgettable memories together. Travelling is truly what has made us so close.
Your best travel hacks?
1. Do some good research, skip the regular Trip Advisor-tips and search for “city + blog” (not biased here at all hehe) for some travel blogger input, and don’t forget Instagram as a great source for travel inspiration!
2) If possible, stay in cities for a longer period. The difference staying 4 weeks in a city instead of one is HUGE. That’s how you really get to know locals and the city, and have enough time to create your own habits. A less touristy experience of a city. If you don’t have so many vacation days, try asking your manager if you can work remotely. I’m a true supporter of the work and travel-concept!
3) If you’re staying in a city for a longer period and need to find somewhere to stay; try searching for apartment in less known, preferably local, sites and forums (i.e. not Airbnb). That way you could find flats/rooms for better prices. For instance, when Sheida and I were looking for a flat in Cannes to rent for two months, we used AngloInfo France (the Riviera forum). The result: We found this amazing flat with two rooms and its own patio, in the middle of Cannes, for a very good price! We kept going back to this apartment year after year!
Photo from our first day in Cannes that summer, the international advertising festival Cannes Lions was in town and tech giants hosted parties and mingles throughout the city.
Your favorite weekend destination?
Barcelona, New York and my latest favorite Lisbon.
Photos from my weekend trip to Lisbon last year.
Your favorite party destination?
Cannes for sure (read our Cannes guide here). And we’re not the only ones to like the city during summer…
Bob Sinclair spinning records at Gotha Club, Cannes
With DJ Nervo
Paris Hilton had some good Cannes-vibes at Le Palais
Avicii made the roof lift at Baoli Beach
Beach parties with friends (this pic is from St Tropez though, read more here)
Have you ever visited a city that didn’t live up to your expectations?
Paris is a very nice city that I really have tried to fall in love with, but it just doesn’t work. Sheida and I rented a studio in Le Marais for one summer, and I have been there several times for weekends and work trips, but Paris and I just don’t click. There plenty of fun and wonderful things to do, but it’s just not my city of choice.
It’s not you, Paris, it’s me… Or is it?
What are your travel plans for 2017?
So far, I’ve been in Gdansk, Riga and Helsinki. Rest of the year will be spent with an epic road trip to Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia this summer. A traditional visit to Finland to visit relatives, and hopefully both Athens and Italy. If possible, I’d love to squeeze in Tel Aviv, it seems like cool city!
Photos from our spa trip to Riga in February 2017
That’s all for now, follow me (Yasmin) on Twitter/Instagram @yasmintilles to keep up with my latest updates!
Next up, we will get to know Lil’ sis a little better. Stay tuned!
This is what we woke up to
Written by Yasmin
Last weekend, I was back at the Myttinge cottage in Värmdö for a couple of relaxing days filled with long walks, drinking coffee in the sun, ice bathing, sauna and eating lots of food – the best and most soulful way one can spend a weekend. Värmdö is located about 50 minutes by car from Stockholm city, a perfect distance when you’re in the mood for a “mini-getaway”. The interior in the cabin is, along with the beautiful view, a strong reason why we keep going back (the cabin has even been on the cover of Swedish Elle Interior).
A more detailed blog post about our latest stay in the cabin (the traditional siblings-getaway) can be found here. Please note that the prices have gone up since our last visit to the cabin. Email dennyshouse[at]hotmail.com for reservations.
The trip to Riga was made in collaboration with Tallink Silja. Opinions are our own.
Written by: Yasmin
After only a month into the new year, we had transformed into Zombie-mode (being tired, gloomy and walking in a weird twitching way) – and desperate times calls for desperate measures. My (Yasmin’s) favorite spa is located in the heart of Riga, on the 6th floor of Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija to be exact. I have a yearly tradition to go there with two of my closest friends to get rid of all kinds of ache and misery, and it works like a charm. Since we got a deluxe cruise from Tallink Silja when we won the Newcomers 2016-award, we decided to use it to go to Riga for a quick spa weekend, and I was super pumped to show Espa Riga to my little sister.
The boat trip
Many people have opinions about cruises. Sheida and I have grown up with cruise ships because of our Finnish background. Growing up, we took either Viking Line or Silja Line to Finland at least once a year to visit our relatives on our mother’s side. The ships have therefore never been associated with partying for us, rather a opportunity to spend time with our family, eat buffet dinners (I’m known as the Shrimp girl because of my massive portions), hang out at the deck if the weather allows it, and do some tax free shopping.
So, this was exactly what we did at Tallink Silja Isabelle – we ate long breakfasts and buffet dinners, brought takeaway tea to our cabin and talked for hours, and went to bed early. We also got super confused about the different time zones, and woke up at 05.00 two days in a row (zombie mode just leveled up) – the good thing was that we got some work done in the mornings, plus we were the first ones to the breakfast. Tallink’s followers were also able to follow us throughout our trip since we did an Instagram-takeover for them – we hope they enjoyed it!
As soon as we got off the boat in Riga, we walked by foot to Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija – an approximately 40 minute walk. I’ve been at the award-winning spa many times before (our usual setup is two nights at the hotel that traditionally begins with a shot of Riga Balzam at the hotel’s sky bar when arriving on Friday evening), so it felt great to be back. Espa Hotel has two floors, the general relax area on floor 2 with a pool, jacuzzi and two saunas, and floor 6 where the real magic happens.
After we had changed into our swimming clothes, robes and slippers, we took the elevator to the 6th floor. This is where you get escorted if you have scheduled a treatment. Guests usually are allowed to hang out at the 6th floor area for 1-2 hours and the hotel keep a limited amount of persons in the area in order to maintain peace and quiet.
In the area guests can alternate between a warm outdoor-pool, plenty of different saunas, from herbal and steam saunas to the classical Finnish saunas, and a relaxation area with a fireplace and refreshments. The treatments are wonderful (we truly recommend the massage), and afterwards you’re led into another relax room where you can drink water, tea and eat some snacks while recovering.
Relax area (a.k.a “Mother’s uterus”)
One of the real highlights is going into what I call “Mother’s uterus” (Sheida doesn’t approve of the expression but it’s my way of trying to explain how comfortable it is), see photo below. Sink into one of those adjustable chairs, put on some classical music in the earphones and close your eyes – it didn’t take more than a blink of an eye until I was asleep.
World’s best warm chocolate
I was determined to show another favorite spot in Riga to Sheida; the Rienzi Café, formerly known as Emil Gustavo Café, a chocolate heaven with hot chocolate to die for. It’s located in the old town (a short walk from Radisson Blu Hotel) on Apsizijas bulvaris 24. Seriously, I’m not even that into chocolate, but still I come back for this warm chocolate, year after year. Don’t miss this!!
That’s all from our Riga trip this time – but stay tuned, because a new trip to Espa Riga awaits in November. Let us know if you have any Riga tips, or suggestions on other spas worth a visit in Europe (Zombie-mode is never too far away…).
Written by: Sheida
Without exaggeration, one can easily say that Ibiza is the zenith during summertime. Party- and sun-worshipping people from all over the world flock to the Spanish hippe island, located on the east coast of Spain, to enjoy the vibrant nightlife and the world-class beach clubs. I (Sheida) have listed my top three reasons why Ibiza holds a strong second place (after our favorite city Cannes) as the ultimate summer destination.
1.The Postcard Beaches
The beaches in Ibiza, and especially in Formentera (the smallest of the Spanish Balearic Islands) are a reason alone why you should put Ibiza on your summer bucket list. With it’s lovely white sands and crystal clear turqouise water, Formentera looks just like something off a postcard from the Caribbiean. In other words, you don’t need to go to the other side of the globe to experience paradise – it takes no more than 40 minutes with a ferry from Ibiza town.
2. The Day Parties
Nothing beats those magical sunsets in the company of good friends, the house tunes and the rosé wine served in plastic cups. If you are into day parties and hanging out at beach clubs, Ibiza will be a dream destination! Three popular day parties you definitely should check out are:
Blue Marlin Beach Club in Cala Jondal.
This beach club is amazing! Everything from the vibe, the crowd, the setting to the music is on point. Be here on Sundays (their most popular day) and be prepared for one of your best and most memorable evenings on Ibiza. Every time I think back to my visit to Blue Marlin it brings a big smile to my face. There are way too many crazy memories to list here, but I all can say is that you should go there and create your own memories – you won’t regret it!
Flower Power party at Destino Pacha Resort.
Ibiza is really in the leading edge when it comes to creating over the top-parties, and Destino’s Flower Power party is no exception. During these magical evenings, the whole hotel resort transforms into a colorful hippie world with a market, performances, confetti rains and good old 60’s music which definitely gets you in the mood for dancing! Seeing Ibiza is a hippie island, your holiday to Ibiza won’t be complete until you’ve attended this party. And yes, you will probably be humming on “Let the Sun Shine” in true hippie style for the next couple of days…
Ushuahia Pool party
Ushuaia beach hotel can boast with the title of being the ultimate party hotel at Ibiza. Why? Because of their incredible pool area that turns into an open air club with the world’s best DJ’s behind the decks – every night of the week. Each day top DJ’s like Avicii, Armin van Buuren (my favorite house producer!), Nervo, Tiësto, David Guetta (etc.) host their own parties and bring a lot of guest DJ’s and artists with them which guarantees a great show! If you have a big vacation budget you can even book one of the hotel’s club rooms that are facing the pool area, basically allowing your balcony to be on the dance floor.
Picture from my first visit to Ibiza in 2011, the same year that Ushuaia beach hotel opened. Now, 6 years later it’s still a hotspot in Ibiza.
3. The Chilled Vibe
In Ibiza you take the day as it comes. You wake up at noon. Go to the beach. Eat lunch at four p.m. Go back to your hotel and have a long nap. Dinner is served at 11 p.m or even later if you prefer. And you don’t need to rush to the club because the party won’t start until 2 a.m anyways. Some might find it annoying or stressful that everything starts so late, but for the siesta-loving people like myself that need that extra hour of sleep and prefer eating long dinners, “the Spanish clock” is a match made in heaven. Perhaps this was why I enjoyed living in BCN so much (more about that trip in another blog post)?
Is anyone headed to Ibiza this summer? Do you have any suggestions and tips to share?
Written by Yasmin
Every trip has its purpose. Sometimes accommodation is less significant (‘We’ll never be in the room anyway’), and sometimes the hotel becomes a very central part of the whole travel experience. For me (Yasmin), Hotel Sadova definitely was a part of shaping my Gdansk experience. The design hotel opened in June 2016, and is located 7 minutes from the city center. The hotel gave a fresh impression; combining industrial and modern interior with facilities like an indoor pool, sauna and an attractive bar. Here’s a list of our favorite parts of the hotel!
5 things we enjoyed about Hotel Sadova, Gdansk:
1. Gin and Tonics at the Hotel Bar
We established a little “vacation routine” (gotta love those!) of beginning every evening with a Gin and Tonic on Bombay Gin at the hotel bar, adjacent to the entrance and lobby. Mouthwatering! Give them a try if you’re ever around!
2. The indoor pool
When I posted an image of the indoor pool on my Instagram, people joked about vampires and blood because of the dramatic colour. For everyone’s information, the pool actually shifts colours, so unfortunately (having just re-watched the two first seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), there were no vampires in sight. The red colour was my favorite, though!
Maybe it’s because of my event background, but I really love when venues put some effort into enhancing the esthetic touch and visual experience of facilities. With colour lightning and a contemporary art constellation in red, this indoor pool became so much more than just a fitness area. The hotel also offered a small gym for its sporty guests, and an infrared sauna (slightly too cool for me, but I guess those require less power and therefore are a better and more sustainable alternative). With a blizzard outside, we really enjoyed being able to escape the cold in the hotel’s relax area – and I wouldn’t mind having even longer opening hours for the pool (currently it closes at 9 pm).
3. Restaurant Papieroovka
Second evening, we decided to try out the hotel’s own restaurant and explore their mixture of Polish and European cuisine. After eating appetizers, beef tartares (my favorite!), duck and meat, we were very happy with our decision!
Appetizer: Duck’s breast sous vide served with potato fondant, hazelnut powder and pear mousse. Starter: Beef tartar with apple sauce and parmesan crisp with a glass of white Chardonnay was a great choice for starter. I’m a huge fan of beef tartars, and love to try new variations of them. The fruity elements were, for me, a new take on the classic dish. Maincourse: Duck with red cabbage puree, romanesco cauliflower, potato fondants and caramelised orange.
4. The Breakfast Buffet
Breakfasts are really my THING, so we spent at least 2 hours, eating, drinking coffee and reading books (yes, we do bring books to the breakfast) every day. Best part of vacation!
5. The Rooms
The rooms were of high standard with a modern and elegant touch, including all necessities that one could need. The only thing that would made it better would be a better view – but that’s hardly a dealbreaker for me when I’m on a weekend trip. The rooms were overall a pleasure to stay in!
To sum up, it was a pleasure to experience Gdansk while staying at Hotel Sadova. As long as the price level in Poland is so much cheaper than in Sweden, I think it’s worth spending some extra money on both good food and accomondation. Hotel Sadova is a very new addition to the hotel market in Gdansk, and currently building its reputation, but I’m sure it will end up being one of the most popular hotels in the area. The staff were super friendly and had great English skills, which of course makes the hotel experience much better. Thank you for this time, Hotel Sadova!
Read more about my Gdansk trip here: 3 Reasons to Visit Gdansk, Poland
Written by Yasmin
“But why Gdansk?” was a frequent reaction when I (Yasmin) announced the plans for our weekend trip. The lot fell on Gdansk by chance, when my boyfriend and I were browsing through the offers on travel portal Travelbird. We found a deal that included flight tickets, two nights at a 4-star hotel, breakfast buffet and private transfer for only 1500 SEK per person – but more so, it was the possibility to experience a less classical weekend destination that made us click the BUY-button. Located one hour away from Stockholm by plane, Gdansk attracted us with great food for low-cost, and the opportunity to hang out and eat long hotel breakfasts at the newly opened design hotel Sadova.
1) The Christmas Lightning in Oliwa Park
The park is located about 15 minutes with car from Gdansk city center, so the easiest way to get there is by cab or Uber, although there supposedly is a tram station nearby. Oliwa Park is an absolute MUST if you’re in Gdansk during Christmas time. Our driver rolled his eyes when we asked him if he’d been there, “Yes, I have been there, my girlfriend forced me to go see the christmas lights” (yeah yeah, use the good old ‘blame the girlfriend’-card), but I’m CONFIDENT that no one can enter this park without being completely amazed by their Christmas lightning, with the impressive “Wall of lights” being the park’s flagship!
2) Delicious meat with golden liqueur at Goldwasser
You know when you have had one of those amazing dinners that you instantly know you’ll end up talking about for a long time? As soon as we took the first bite of our Goldwasser’s Chateaubriand medium rare-steak, we immediately knew that this dinner would be one of those meals we’d look back at. We rounded off our fantastic dinner with their traditional 40-percent Goldwasser liqueur with real 23-carat gold flakes – a great ending to a really good restaurant experience! The prices are high in comparison to the normal price level in Poland, but the restaurant is a brilliant place to treat yourself while being in Gdansk.
Address: Długie Pobrzeże 22, 22-100 Gdańsk, Polen
Phone: +48 58 301 88 78
3) Polish dishes for cheap prices at Jadalnia Pod Zielonym Smokiem
Somewhat difficult to find (we walked by the restaurant twice!) because of its location on the basement floor on ul. Szeroka 125, BUT this restaurant (a highly recommended lunch spot) is well worth its Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence. This where you’ll find typical Polish dishes for very cheap prices (our lunch with drinks, soup and main courses for two persons cost less than 100 SEK/10 euros!) in a genuine and simple setting, which was exactly what we were looking for! Gdansk was pretty calm during our visit, but this restaurant was by far the most crowded one of all the ones we visited.
Address: ul. Szeroka 125, Gdansk 80-835, Polen
Phone: +48 510 071 991
Summary of Gdansk
My first visit in Poland was Sopot two years ago, and even though the city itself was beautiful, my general impression of the service level was not positive. Gdansk, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations! Everyone were super friendly and helpful, and the wining and dining-experience alone makes it worth a visit.
We were in Gdansk between Tuesday-Thursday, and during weekdays the city is very calm, i.e. nothing for people seeking vibrant nightlife. According to the locals, Sopot is a better choice for clubbing. The quietness of the city didn’t disturb us at all, but good for people to know in order to manage expectations. When (and not if) I return to Gdansk, I’d love to go right before the Holidays to experience the Christmas lightnings and get into the right Christmas spirit.
Find holiday deals with Travelbird
Other than the premiere to Gdansk, it was also the first time I traveled with Travelbird. With so many elements (flights, private transfer to and from the hotel, accommodation etc), we were a bit sceptical. We all know how some offers just sound too good to be true, but I must say I’m positively surprised with everything! It’s not the last time I travel with them.
The flights are from Skavsta airport in Sweden (probably one of the most boring and soulless airports in the world), but my #travelhack is simply to make the 1,5 hour bus ride to the airport a part of the experience: Buy coffee, sandwiches, listen to podcasts, plan your trip, and the transport will pass in a heartbeat!
This trip was made in collaboration with Hamburg Tourism and NordicTB.
With a couple of hours left until my flight back to Stockholm, I (Sheida) decided to go for a walk along the Alster Lake, followed by a traditional Afternoon Tea at the renowned Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. Join us as we try their award-winning Afternoon Tea with one of Hamburg’s most well-read tea masters!
A Grand Luxery Hotel in the Heart of Hamburg
Seeing it was Sunday, freezing, and most of the shops were closed, an afternoon spent in front of an open fire with a warming cup of tea felt like a good idea. During the walking tour the previous day (read our full Hamburg guide here), our guide Tomas Kaiser told us a lot about the coffee and tea export in Hamburg, so I was inspired to go for a tea- tasting or doing some sort of activity involving tea.
After some research, my choice finally fell on a proper English Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten on Neuer Jungfernstieg 9-14. The Wohnhalle, where the Afternoon Tea is served daily between 2.00 pm-6.00 pm, has been awarded with the “Golden Teacup” twice for best regional tea culture amongst high-class gastronomic establishments. Surely, they must know their tea.
Enter Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten
If you’ve been to a Fairmont Hotel before, you already know that they are breathtaking, but during Christmas time the atmosphere is magical – and Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg was by no means an exception!
Since I was a bit early, the friendly staff where kind enough to give me a little private tour of the hotel while waiting for the clock to strike tea time. I was led through a common area into a beautiful hall where the staff were in the midst of preparing the final touches for the annual children’s Teddy Bear Tea, that was about to start later the same afternoon. Every Sunday starting from November 27th to December 19th (2.00 pm- 6 pm), Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten hosts a “Afternoon Tea” for the children where they can enjoy a buffet, participate in various crafting activities, play with all the toys and expect a visit from Santa.
I must admit, I wouldn’t mind staying there longer… just look at the beautiful floor to ceiling windows with the blue shimmering lights!
Afternoon Tea – Christmas Edition
At two o’ clock I was back in the Wohnhalle; comfortably seated in my armchair and ready for some tea. While overlooking the beautiful view of Inner Alster Lake, and listening to the pleasant sparkles from the fireplace closeby, I was already enjoying my visit. I had the pleasure to be served by a really service-minded, friendly and, above all, knowledgeable tea-master, who was a big reason for why my visit became so memorable and why I so warmly can recommend it to others.
I decided to go for the traditional Queen Victoria Afternoon Tea (59 euro) which included scones with clotted cream, a variation of savouries, such as roast beef with truffle remoulade, salmon with horseradish, egg salad with cress, cucumber with cream cheese, cakes and biscuits created by created by Christoph Rüffers, head of Haerlin Restaurant and of course lots and lots of tea.
To make the tea perfectly steeped the tea master uses a tea sand-timer. 3 minutes for black tea, and 2 minutes for green tea.
Scones with clotted cream and jam.
The pastries are created by Christoph Rüffers, head of Haerlin Restaurant which is also located in the hotel (one of Germany’s leading gourmet restaurants and bearer of 2 Michelin stars).
Opera-slice, poppy-fig-slice, blood orange mousse & chestnut biscuit and almond & cranberry cake.
And last but not least; the savouries! The salmon with horseradish and egg salad with cress were my favorites!
More that’s going on at Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten
– Gourmet Restaurant Haerlin has 2 Michelin Stars and has been awarded with several awards such as “German Restaurant of the Year”, “Hamburg’s Best Chef” and “Chef of the Year”.
– In the autumn 2016, the hotel also opened the new design restaurant NIKKEI NINE that offers innovative Japanese cuisine with Peruvian elements.
Reservations for Afternoon Tea at the Wohnhalle:
Open Hours: Monday – Sunday from 2 pm – 6 pm.
Price: 59 euro or 73 euro with a glass of champagne.
Reservations for Children’s Teddy Bear Tea:
T: +49 (0)40 34 94 3302
Hours: (only in December) 2 pm-6 pm
Price: Children over the age of three 50 eur, adults 65 euro, children under the age of three are free of charge.
If you have any questions, or want to share your Fairmont-experiences, please drop us a comment! And don’t forget to check out our Hamburg video where Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten is featured!
Written by Yasmin
The opening of Haymarket by Scandic in Stockholm really made a splash in media. The renovation of the former department store PUB-huset was finished in May 2016, and when the doors finally opened, the public was welcomed to a brand new hotel with several cafés and restaurants in exquisite taste.
So close, but yet so far away…
Recognize the feeling of having a special spot you walk by in your everyday life and never have the time to enter? Gretas, one of Haymarket by Scandic’s cafés, influenced by the 1920’s and decorated in pink colours in a glamorous setting, is THAT place for Sheida. So, once it was time for our “sister conference/ We are Nodes-planning”, she insisted that we should pick Gretas as our location for the day. Said and done, we were there a little before 9 on a Sunday morning (their opening hours is from 9 am on weekends, and 7.30 am on weekdays).
New favorite spot
And here’s the verdict: There’s really nothing you can complain over at Gretas. We liked it all; Friendly staff, the well made and filling sandwiches that live up to their prices, the COFFEE, but most of all we enjoyed the the calm and elegant vibe. The central part of Stockholm has (in our opinion), always lacked a great café and breakfast spot, but enter Gretas – our new favorite breakfast place!Toast on rye with Avocado with egg from Gotland “65” and cream cheese for 85 SEKToast on rye with Salmon and horseradish for 85 SEK
It’s Champagne o’clock
Once the clock starts being lunch time, more and more people find their way to Gretas, which is maybe why we prefer the early hours there (not sure if it’s a introvert trait or something…). However, before rounding off, we ordered in a glass of Champagne (140 SEK) to celebrate multiple personal victories (and also Sheida’s upcoming birthday!).
Breakfasts is our favorite meal of the day, so we’d love to hear about your breakfast spots in Stockholm! Where do you normally go out to eat breakfast?
Want more Stockholm tips? Read our Stockholm guide here.
Gretas, Haymarket by Scandic
Cafe: Mon-Thu 07:00-20:00
Address: Hötorget 13-15
111 57 Stockholm
Contact info: Phone+46 8 517 26 700, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After a jam-packed weekend full of Christmas markets, sightseeing, local delicacies, countless cups of Glühwein and what could be Germany’s best tea served by a tea-master (!), I (Sheida) must say that Hamburg has it all! From November 21st, Hamburg turns into a beautiful winter wonderland with numerous Christmas markets that will get you in the right Christmas spirit.
Follow us as we explore Hamburg and learn more about Germany’s second largest city (that can brag with both having more canals than Venice and being the starting point for Beatles’ career). Here’s We are Nodes’ detailed guide for an unforgettable Christmas weekend in Hamburg.
13:00 Check in at Reichshof Hotel Hamburg, Curio Collection by Hilton
Our home for the weekend was Reichshof Hotel, the former Grand Hotel which was ideally located just a stones throw away from the central station and only twenty minutes with metro from the airport. Reichshof re-opened in 2015 after an extensive renovation and became the first European hotel to be a part of the Hilton Curio Collection, a selection of unique hotels. It’s the perfect hotel for business- and weekend travellers since it’s located in the middle of the buzzing city and has all the facilities and comfort needed for a person on the go!
My company for the weekend. From left; travel bloggers Bettina, Marie, Anette, Evelina, me (Sheida) and Jessica from Hamburg Tourism.
Although there is a new fresh feel to hotel since the renovation, the Reichshof Hotel has kept a lot of the original details from when the hotel first opened in 1910. Marble pillars, the elevator signs and parts of the chandeliers keep the hotel’s history alive and becomes a nice contrast to the newly added elements.
Tel: +49 40 3702590
Adress: Kirchenallee 34-36, 200 99 Hamburg
15:00 Harbour boat trip
If the weather is on your side, starting your weekend in Hamburg with a harbour boat trip is a nice way to experience the city’s port – the second busiest port in Europe, also known as the Gateway to the World. Try the popular Fischbrötchen (fish sandwhich) for lunch before you hop on the boat (I promise, they taste better than they look like!). When you’re starting to get cold it is time to order your first (of many!) cups of warm Glühwein!
In Germany they have both red and white Glühwein – my favorite was the white one!
Adress: Bei den St. Pauli- Landungsbrücken 2, 20359 Hamburg
17:00 Santa Pauli Christmas Market
Santa Pauli, located in Reeperbahn (Hamburg’s red light district) is an excellent stop for Glühwein #2. With a big flashing disco bowl, DJ’s playing music and booths full of local delicacies mixed with “adults only” souvenirs, this probably is the craziest Christmas Market you will ever visit! Hang out in front of the open fire, soak in the great atmosphere and eat one of my favorite things in the whole wide world: crêpes!
Tip: Make sure to take out money before you visit the Christmas Markets, since most of the stalls only accept cash!
Adress: Spielbudenplatz 22, 20359 Hamburg
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday 17-23, Friday 17-01 pm, Saturday-Sunday 13-01 pm.
Metro: Santa Pauli
19:00 Dinner at Altes Mädchen
Finish your evening with a long dinner at brewhouse and restaurant Altes Mädschen on Lagerstraße. Try one of their 60 crafted beers from around the world, and order in the restaurant’s own takes on regional classics, such as schnitzels and sandwhiches baked in their own wooden oven!
What’s really going on during a “bloggers dinner” – a representative from Hamburg Tourism giving us photo light so we can take pictures of the food.
Adress: Lagerstraße 28b, 20357 Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 800077750
08:15 Breakfast at Slowman Restaurant, Reichshof Hotel
During our guided tour of the hotel, I found out that the founder of the Reichshof Hotel, Anton-Emil Langer, used to be a kitchen director on a ocean liner. The Slowman Restaurant (where the breakfast and dinner is served) is therefore built in the style of a dining room of a luxury ocean liner. The Reichshof Hamburg has together with Yelp even held Titanic-themed dinners here with 6-course menus, offering samples from the original menu served on Titanic! How cool is that, I want to try it!
11:00 Walking tour in Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District (UNESCO World Heritage)
Taking a walking tour with an experienced guide turned out to be a great Saturday activity! Discovering a city by foot makes you get to know the city in a totally different way and with a guide, you’ll get to know interesting facts about the buildings you pass that you otherwise would miss. I didn’t think a walking tour would be on the top of my Hamburg-list, but our guide Tomas Kaiser made 3 hours fly by as he guided us through the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District (which is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list) while sharing fun trivia about the city.
Book Hamburg-expert Tomas Kaiser as your own personal guide: +49 (0) 170 2327749
12:00 360° view over Hamburg at Elbhilharmonie
Another one of the stops on our walking tour was Hamburg’s new concert hall Elbhilharmonie (one of the top 10 most expensive buildings in the world). The impressive building houses not only an magnificent concert hall, but also The Westin Hotel and exclusive apartments. The concert hall is not opening until 11 & 12 January 2017, but for a couple of euros you can already enter some of the open indoor spaces and get nice 360° view over Hamburg.
Adress: Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1
14:00 Rathausmarkt Christmas Market
Although Santa Pauli was my favorite Christmas Market out of the four I visited, the famous Rauthausmarkt Christmas Market, located in front of the Town Hall, is also a must! For the best experience, I would recommend a visit in the evening when the Christmas lights are turned on.
If you’re in the mood for shopping, you have come to the right area – just around the corner you’ll have all the best shopping streets; Neuer Wall with all the designer brands, the Europa Passage mall and all the regular brands and stores.
Adress: Rathausmarkt 1, 20095 Hamburg
Opening Hours: November 21st till December 23rd: Daily 11 am – 09 pm
Friday & Saturday until 10 pm
Metro: S1/S3 station “Jungfernstieg” (exit: “Rathausmarkt”)
18:00 Dinner at Empire Riverside Hotel
After spending so many hours outside, it’s nice to sink back in a comfortable sofa and get something to eat. David’s lounge bar at the Empire Riverside hotel, close to the port, has the perfect hotel lounge vibe and great sushi and drinks. If you are in the mood to continue the evening, you don’t need to go far. Just take the elevator to the 20th floor and you’ll come straight into one of Hamburg’s hotspots, the popular skybar 20 Up’s bar.
Adress: Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 97
Phone: +49 (40) 31119 – 0
19:00 Dinner #2 at Santa Pauli
With Santa Pauli only one metro stop away from the Empire Riverside Hotel, I just had to make a pit stop to the market to eat dinner number 2; some more crêpes before I made my way back to the hotel.
20:00 Spa-time at Reichshof Hotel
In the evening I weighed between two options – to go for a drink at the hotel bar 1910, or trying out the hotel’s spa facilities. Since I had both a fever and a cold earlier the same week, the sauna and “quiet room” together with German blogger Jule felt a little bit more tempting. We spent a good hour or two doing nothing – just like you are supposed to while on vacation.
13:30 Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Hotel
With a couple of hours until my flight back to Stockholm, I decided to go for a walk along the Aussenalster Lake, strolling through the Weisser Zauber Christmas market and having a cup of coffee at Starbucks, before going for a Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Hotel on Neuer Jungfernstieg 9-14. I was inspired to go for a tea- tasting or doing some sort of activity involving tea, after hearing so much about the tea- and coffee export during the walking tour the previous day.
If you’ve been to a Fairmont Hotel before, you already know that it is breathtaking – but during Christmas time, it’s purely magical! If you’re not in a proper Christmas mood after visiting all the Christmas markets on our list, you most definitely will be after spending a couple of hours in the Wohnhalle, the hall where their Afternoon Tea is served. The Wohnhalle has been awarded twice with the “Golden Teacup”, for best regional tea culture – and I was told by the tea-master that their pastries are created by Christoph Rüffers, head of Haerlin Restaurant (one of Germany’s leading gourmet restaurants and bearer of 2 Michelin stars).
During my visit I also got a short private tour of the hotel. The photo above was taken while the staff was preparing for the Children’s Christmas Afternoon Tea. More about tea-masters, private tours and Afternoon Tea in the next blog post!
Adress: Neuer Jungfernstieg 9-14, 20354 Hamburg
Open Hours: Afternoon Tea is served in the Wohnhalle from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Reservations: +49 (0)40 34 94 33 17
How to get around:
The Discovery-ticket allows unlimited travel on public transport, the cost is 25 euros for a 3-day adult ticket. Buy the card online and print it in advance so that you can jump straight on the metro without queueing at the ticket machines at the airport.
Do you have any questions or have you visited Hamburg and have any recommendations on what to do the next time we visit this lovely city? Drop us a comment!
In collaboration with Hamburg Tourism and Nordic TB
We are excited to finally share the details of our upcoming trip – on December 2nd, Sheida from We are Nodes will explore the Christmas season in Hamburg together with Hamburg Tourism, Nordic TB and fellow Nordic Travel Bloggers: Earth Wanderness, Danish Adventurer, Travelling Munk and Supermarie.
We will share our Hamburg experience on our social media channels using the hashtag #ChristmasInHamburg and #HolyHamburg. So if you want to know what we are up to – make sure to keep an eye on the hashtags! Our guess is that the weekend will contain a great deal of Christmas markets and other holiday festivities (we can’t wait until we get to see the full travel itinerary!).
Hamburg, get ready!
We are particularly happy for the opportunity to participate in this campaign (read the official press release here) since Germany is a country that we only visited once before and are really curious to find out more about. The last time I (Sheida) was there was during Octoberfest 2013 in Munich which was a blast, so need I say that my expectations for Hamburg (Germany’s second largest city) are sky high?
Mission: To Explore the best Christmas Markets
Both me and Yasmin love the Christmas season with everything that is included – so I must admit that I have already started browsing through some photos on Instagram to get a glimpse of what the Christmas vibe in Hamburg will be like. Judging from the photos, it looks pretty spectacular! Hamburg is famous for its Holiday celebrations with numerous Christmas markets spread across the town. Rumour says that there will even be a big Christmas parade with elfs, reindeers and of course Santa Clause himself! Who can say no to that?
Whether I will encounter with some elfs or not remains to be seen, but with Hamburg Tourism and Hamburg Marketing as our hosts, I’m sure that we will get to see the very best that Hamburg has to offer either way. Wir sehen uns in Hamburg! See you in Hamburg!