• Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview

    [Interview] Cassandra De Pecol is visiting every country in the world at the age of 27

    Cassandra De Pecol is only 27 years old, but will most likely become the fastest person to travel to all 196 countries on Earth. Her inspiring adventure started in July 2015 and is named Expedition 196, also the name of her website where you can find more information about her mission to be the first documented female to visit all 196 nations. Cassie is an ambassador for the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism and has spoken to more than 12,500 students and dignitaries across 33 countries so far. 

    We are Nodes got the honour to interview our fellow travel enthusiast Cassie De Pecol about her ambassador role, her traveling experiences and her plans for the future.

    Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview
    See more of Cassie’s wonderful photos on her Instagram. 

    What has been your favorite country so far?

    There’s not one country I don’t like. Turkey and Peru have always been two of my favorites because I lived in both, but there is nothing like your home country, because your home country is likely the one you’ve spent the most time in and know the most, and for me that’s the USA. They say home is where the heart is, and the more I travel, the more that’s becoming more real to me. Home is where family is, it’s where my safety net is, it’s where everything that I’m familiar with is, and my country is rich in nature, which is important to me.

    They say home is where the heart is, and the more I travel, the more that’s becoming more real to me. 

    Switzerland is my favorite for mountains, Bhutan for peace, Vanuatu for kindness, Tunisia for history, Peru for rainforests, Turkey for culture, New Zealand for landscapes, Mexico for food, Jordan is probably the gateway to my favorite region in the world, the Middle East.

    Your worst travel experience so far? 

    Probably being stuck in Somalia because Chase Ultimate Rewards cancelled my flight without telling me.

    How has traveling changed you?

    The goal has been to be as open minded as possible about people and places all around the world. I think there’s this huge divide among people based on anything from religion to ethnicity to gender, but in reality, we are all the same; we all have the same basic needs and we all just want to be happy. Once we realize this universal similarity, we’ll be able to be more open and understanding of one another.

    Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes InterviewCassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes InterviewCassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview

    What does your role as Ambassador for Peace entail?

    There are several elements to this Expedition. Spreading peace through tourism and economics is one of them, promoting sustainability is another, and advocating women’s rights and achievement is another. Then there’s the YouTube vlogs, which showcase the beauty of many of these nations that I visit. The educational documentary that I’m filming to be used in part with a tool-kit and book written with the students I’ve spoken to all over the world. I also promote my sponsors as well.

    People often say that there’s no way I can preach sustainability when I fly so much, and they’re right.

    I’m not saying that I’m a sustainable traveler, but I am working towards being one with each tree that I plant with the students on this Expedition (45 so far in 12 countries), collecting water samples to test for the presence of micro-plastics to send to Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, staying in and promoting sustainable/regenerative hotels, and most importantly, educating university students who are studying tourism, on the importance of responsible travel and incorporating or keeping in mind the elements of sustainable/regenerative hospitality and tourism. Many students I’ve spoken to have no idea what sustainability even means, so it’s my job to educate them on this and encourage them to support responsible tourism best practices when pursuing internships and throughout their careers.

    Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview

    Peace through Tourism can really be best understood by educating the students on how we can quantify peace through a series of criteria set fourth by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Once we understand this criteria, we can then work towards creating a more peaceful and united world.

    In regards to the tourism aspect of it, this is where I engage the Ministry and Mayors, where they also attend these keynote sessions and I present to them the ‘IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveler’ set fourth by the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism of which I’m endorsed. Together, we discuss how tourism can be a mediator between peace and conflict, and a way to further friendship among Nations as well as providing humanitarian assistance. For instance, a sustainable hotel partnering with Pack for a Purpose, where guests can bring educational supplies to then distribute to local schools in need in the area where they’re vacationing.

    Since starting my Expedition, I’ve spoken to over 12,500 students and dignitaries across 33 countries, and continue to be approached by the youth (both young women and young men) in regards to how they can pursue their dreams after listening to my talk.

    As a young woman myself, I like to think that I can set the standard for young women worldwide to pursue a quest or dream that is out of the norm or that everyone tells them they shouldn’t do.

    It’s my job to leave a legacy behind that positively influences future generations of innovators, entrepreneurs and trend setters, especially when it comes to women.

    Have you started thinking on upcoming projects after finishing Expedition 196?

    A major part of me wants to just devote myself towards humanitarian aid and putting all that I have into addressing #13 and #16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which is Climate Action and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, incorporating sustainable development. This is why I’m developing a Universal Student Internship Program to address these needs. On the agenda in addition to this program is an educational documentary that I’ve been filming in conjunction with a book series to be written in part with the university students who I’ve spoken to already. Money is of course a factor to ensure that I’m able to enhance our world through these humanitarian goals. And the initial plan is to continue to work with brands in their advertising campaign as well as have a show (a girl has got to dream, right!?).

    Anthony Bourdain has been an idol of mine since high school, and it’s always been a dream to follow in his footsteps with his TV career, but instead of focusing on food and travel, something else and travel. I’m also lining up speaking engagements, TEDx talks, and the like which will take me both stateside and international over the course of hopefully the long term. Also, my first full Ironman race!

    Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes InterviewCassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview

    Have you encountered any challenges as a female solo traveler?

    Generally speaking, I’ve experienced so much hospitality from people but I don’t think that has anything to do with being a woman. I have, however had several terrible experiences where I experienced discrimination because I am a woman. When negative experiences happen to me, I don’t automatically think that it happened because I’m a woman. It’s really when I share these stories with others that they automatically assume that it happened because of my gender. Either way, the positive outweigh the negative on this Expedition, and overall I’ve had wonderful experiences.

    Cassandra De Pecol-Expedition 196- We are Nodes Interview

    Want to learn more about Expedition196? Make sure to follow Cassie’s adventure through her social media platforms: 
    Instagram:  @expedition_196
    Facebook:  Facebook.com/Expedition196
    Youtube:  Youtube.com/Expedition196
    Twitter: @cassiedepecol
    Snapchat: @cassiedepecol

  • Europe

    Next Stop: #ChristmasInHamburg With Hamburg Tourism

    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!).

    Photo: www.mediaserver.hamburg.de / Dirk Rußmann, bsc Media

    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?

    1375828_10151785656443355_556391029_n1043867_10151653233232742_1758386720_nOne happy bunch at Octoberfest 2013 (me in the middle). But this time, the beers will be exchanged to Glühwein (German mulled wine, popular during the Holiday season).

    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!

    Europa, Deutschland, Hamburg,Zentrum, Innenstadt, Blick von der Petrikirche, Rathausplatz, Weihnachtsmarkt, Michel, Abendstimmung,
    Photo: www.mediaserver.hamburg.de / Jörg Modrow

    Follow Hamburg Tourism on:
    Visit Hamburg Twitter
    Mein Hamburg Twitter 

  • Central America,  Destinations,  Stockholm

    Our 2016 Travel Toplist

    Almost a year has flown by, and as we are soon entering the last month of 2016 we thought it would be a good idea to sum up 2016 with a list of our travel highlights. Enjoy!

    Favourite activity:
    Champagnetasting at Moët & Chandon, Champagne.
    Because in less than an hour with the direct train from Paris, you will arrive in Épernay, the capital of Champagne. It’s the ultimate day trip and the perfect activity for champagne enthusiasts! The Möet & Chandon/Dom Pérignon champagne caves are over 28 km long, 30 metres deep and is likely to store over 1000.000 bottles. Pretty impressive!
    img_4869img_4881img_1849img_1820Read More about our Champagne tasting at the Moët & Chandon Champagne Cellars 

    Favourite restaurant experience:
    KONG, Paris.
    We love everything that has a great view and a great vibe – and Kong has both! The service was excellent, the food left us satisfied and as the evening progresses, the music gets louder and the lights go darker, making Kong the perfect restaurant to wine and dine at before a night out in the city of lights.img_4794img_1670Want more Paris-tips? Read ‘6 Amazing Places you Must Visit in Paris’

    Best Beach Hangout of 2016:
    Banana Beach in surfer’s paradise Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
    Santa Teresa is the place to be if you are into amazing sunsets, surfing and chill hangouts. Cool down under the palm trees while sipping on tropical drinks and watch surfers as they hit the waves. We can’t wait to go back and embrace the pura vida lifestyle again!
    img_4347img_1528Planning to go to Costa Rica this winter? Make sure to read our popular Costa Rica guide.

    Best Beach Club:
    Puro Beach, Palma.
    With its excellent location on a secluded peninsula, 180°-view of the coast and a fantastic pool area, Puro Beach is without a doubt one of the best beach clubs we’ve been at. Just look at the pictures and you’ll understand why…
    Read our Swedish Palma Guide that we wrote for Travellink here, or in English here.

    Favorite Hotel:
    Van Der Valk, Schiphol, Amsterdam.
    Because of the newly built “I Am Superior” rooms, were we were the first guests to get to sleep in the super comfy new Hypnos beds (which were voted bed of the year in 2012). Of course the friendly staff was a bonus!
    img_4925IMG_1956Read about our stay at Van Der Valk Schiphol here.

    Best Aperitivo:
    Cinc, in the artistic area Brera, Milan.
    Because it was the first time after a long winter in Sweden that we were able to sit outside in the sun and enjoy an Aperol Spritz. In that moment the Italian phrase “questa è vita” (meaning: this is life) made perfect sense. Sun and friends is really all you need! 

    Best Airport Restaurant:
    Pontus in the Air, Stockholm Arlanda Airport.
    After years and years of really poor selections of restaurants with good and price worthy food at airports (not only in Sweden, but in general), the opening of Pontus Frithiof’s restaurant Pontus in the Air probably was one of the best things that could happen. Finally a nice place to enjoy a good breakfast, lunch or dinner before a flight.
    img_2224img_2207img_2193Read about our lunch with Pontus Frithiof at Pontus in the Air here.

    Best Budget Restaurant:
    As Zebras Do Combro, Lisbon.
    We nearly walked past this “Hole in the wall”-restaurant, but changed our minds just as we passed it and went back. And boy, are we glad we did, because the dinner at As Zebras Do Combro was a true highlight during our stay in Lisbon! Delicious food and wonderful serviceminded staff – if you’re ever in Lisbon, make sure to stop by this restaurant!
    img_3871img_3858Read our Lisbon Restaurant Guide here.

    2016 has been a great year so far, and we still have one more trip planned to Hamburg (#ChristmasInHamburg) in collaboration with TB Nordic, Hamburg Tourism and VisitHamburg in the beginning of December, so stay tuned!

  • We are Nodes Exploring Lisbon

    Good vibes in Lisbon

    Written by Yasmin

    The Lisbon bonanza continues! Here’s our last blog post about my (Yasmin’s) stay in Lisbon, my new favorite weekend destination! Catch up with our previous blog posts about activating Zen-Mode at Memmo Alfama’s rooftop and our list of Lisbon’s top restaurants. In this blog post, we will guide you through a couple of other highlights from our trip – from an Electronic day party to Lisboa’s number #1 rooftop bar.

    We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon

    Our Lisbon studio

    We rented a great studio in the Madragoa area, located at a walking distance to the central district of Bairro Alto, also known as the heart of Lisbon’s nightlife. The studio offered not only one, but two sundrenched terraces where we drank wine, ate late night takeaway-kebabs, listened to music and did yoga (well, maybe not me personally, but my friend Linnéa pulled off a couple of hand stands). The studio was booked through Airbnb and the price was about 400 euros for four nights.

    We are Nodes Lisbon Airbnb We are Nodes Lisbon AirbnbTerrace #1We are Nodes Lisbon AirbnbWe are Nodes Lisbon AirbnbTerrace #2We are Nodes Lisbon Airbnb We are Nodes Lisbon Airbnb We are Nodes Lisbon AirbnbWe named the house “The Funny House”, after the Swedish theme park attraction at Grönalund, called Lustiga huset

    Exploring Lisbon

    After we had eaten a steady breakfast and picked up our regular takeaway coffees from the local coffee shop, we were more than ready to hit the city! Lisbon = GOOD VIBES! We loved the city and its friendly locals, great food and colorful buildings.

    We are Nodes Exploring Lisbon We are Nodes Exploring Lisbon We are Nodes Exploring Lisbon We are Nodes Exploring Lisbon We are Nodes Exploring Lisbon

    The ‘secret but not so secret’ rooftop bar The Park

    Once upon a time ‘The Park’ truly was a hidden gem, but now the word about this spectacular rooftop bar is widely spread. However, it’s still worth a visit. Visitors enter through a car park that shows no signs of boasting a popular rooftop bar in the same building. Next step is to take the elevator all the way to the top floor and walk straight into a crowded rooftop bar with nice drinks, cool crowd and an amazing view over Lisbon’s city skyline!

    We are Nodes The Park Rooftop LisbonWe are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon We are Nodes The Park Rooftop Lisbon

    Brunch Electronik Lisbon

    “Do you like Electronic music?” our Airbnb hostess asked us. “If yes, you should go to this event on Sunday.”
    The event was called Brunch Electronik, a festival series repeated every Sunday afternoon from 3 pm until late night in a huge park in Lisbon. The festival has its origin in Barcelona, and has since then been repeated in both Madrid and Lisbon. It was the last event for the season, but luckily, it seems like they are going to pick it up again next year!

    We didn’t feel like staying out too late since we had a flight to catch the next day, so we arrived to the park a little after 4 pm to enjoy some day partying instead. The entrance was 15 euro if I’m not mistaking and the entire festival is cashless, so visitors tapped on cards that were used for buying beverages and food, and by the end of the day you were able to leave in your card and get the remaining amount in cash.

    Brunch Electronik Lisboa We are Nodes Brunch Electronik Lisboa We are Nodes Brunch Electronik Lisboa We are Nodes Brunch Electronik Lisboa We are Nodes Brunch Electronik Lisboa We are Nodes Brunch Electronik Lisboa We are Nodes


    What are your best Lisbon tips? Let us know what we shouldn’t miss next time we go back!

    Read our previous posts about Lisbon: Restaurant guide and Memmo Alfama-wine stop. 

  • Destinations,  Europe

    A Burlesque Dinner at Melt Bar, Stockholm

    Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, Burlesque

    I (Sheida) was surprised that I hadn’t heard of Melt Bar until a friend of mine made dinner reservations there one Friday night a couple of weeks ago. Dinner accompanied with burlesque and jazz performances, in the middle of Stockholm certainly sounded like a refreshing idea instead of the typical dinner out with friends.

    Golden Twenties

    The 1920’s restaurant and bar inspired by the prohibition New York, is suitably located at the infamous Malmskillnadsgatan 45 in Stockholm – and it really lives up to its expectations! As soon as I entered the restaurant, it felt like being thrown back to the happy 20’s again, the golden age of burlesque.

    Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueMelt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueMelt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, Burlesque

    After hanging in my coat and being seated, we started off our evening by ordering Melt Bar’s famous ‘Punch in Crystal’. It is perfect for sharing and therefore a a great option for a larger company. The drink is presented in a lovely diamond cut punch bowl and served in porcelain teacups. We chose to start with a drink called ‘Obsession’ while waiting for our appetizers.

    Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueMelt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueObssession – a mixture of passion fruit, lemon, rum and bubbles (price: 149 pp).

    Inspired by the prohibition era in NYC

    Since the theme of Melt Bar is the prohibition era in New York, where alcohol was forbidden (but didn’t stop a great party – as stated on Melt Bar’s website) many of the drinks have a fun touch that will make your dinner experience something out of the ordinary. What about drinking beer in paper bags? Or champagne in teacups? Or having a shot of absinthe? All while enjoying live entertainment (jugglers, dancers, jazz musicians and of course burlesque) throughout the dinner. You don’t necessarily come to Melt Bar for the food – you come here for the good vibe. To experience something different. And we weren’t disappointed.

    Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueAppetizer: Cripsy Mozzarella – fresh cut mozzarella breaded and fried and served with dip. 140 sek.Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueMain Course: BBQ smoked beef brisket sandwhich – smoked for 20 hours, sliced and server warm with cheese, bbq sauce, pickles, chips, mac & cheese. 195 sek.Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, BurlesqueDessert: Complimentary Chocholate Truffles. Price: 25 sek. img_3993

    Pop-up Entertainment

    After dinner, some complimentary chocolate truffles and yet another Crystal punch bowl (this time we tried ‘Bootlegger’ consisting of cucumber, apple, lemon, elderflower, mint and gin), we headed downstairs were the show continued. Every Friday and Saturday evening, Melt Bar has some of Sweden’s best burlesque dancers, jazz singers, magicians and dancers performing until 1 a.m. It surely will be a night to remember and We are Nodes definitely recommends you to go! After all, a little party never killed nobody.

    Melt Bar, Stockholm, We are Nodes, Burlesque

    Adress: Malmskillnadsgatan 45, Hötorget
    Website: www.meltbar.se
    Tel: 08-644 67 60
    E-mail: delicious@meltbar.se

    Want to know more about what to do and see in Stockholm? We have gathered all our previous blog posts about our beloved hometown. Read our Stockholm guide »

  • Europe,  Restaurants,  Reviews

    Our 3 favourite restaurants in Lisbon

    Written by Yasmin

    The blog series about wonderful Lisbon continues! Read the other blog posts of how we activated Zen-mode on a rooftop bar and where in the city we found some good vibes. Next up was discovering the best places to eat in Portugal’s magical capital. Here are three of our favourite restaurants!

    SeaMe, Chiado – Trendy fish and seafood restaurant in Barrio Alto

    img_3724 By accident (or perhaps because of the good energies we had collected), we stumbled across SeaMe when we strolled around in the city. Although the sign on the door said “Closed”, we gently knocked on the door and were let in by a smiling waitress. With the energies on our side, we were offered the last free table for the evening. It turned out to be a good decision.

    We arrive at 10 PM, typical Portuguese dinner hour. The trendy and popular restaurant which specializes in fish and seafood is a great place to begin a night out. Typically, a visit begins with a tour of the restaurant’s fresh fish market from where you choose your dinner ingredients. We handed the decision to our waiter, and were later treated with a plate of lobster, crayfish and scallops with side orders, lemon and sauces.

    Address: Rua do Loreto, 21, 1200-149 Lisboa
    Telephone: 21 346 15 64 – Fax: 21 346 15 66
    Email: geral@peixariamoderna.com
    Website: peixariamoderna.com

    We are Nodes Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant We are Nodes Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant We are Nodes Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant Seafood We are Nodes Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant Seafood  Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant Ambiance We are Nodes  Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant Seafood We are Nodes  Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant Seafood We are Nodes img_3746  Lisbon SeaMe Restaurant Seafood We are Nodes

    Time Out Mercado Lisbon – Perfect stop for a wine lunch

    iTime Out Mercado Lisbon We are Nodes The best market hall I’ve ever visited! Our initial thought when stepping into Time Out Mercado Da Riberia was ‘how are we going to be able to decide what to eat?’. The market hall is filled with small restaurant, so we had to take a long and thorough inspection around the hall. Our mouths watered at the sight of the delicious (and incredibly affordable) dishes. After many ifs and buts, we ordered food from Alexandre Silva. I went for seared tuna with sweet potatoes and Linnéa ate a fresh salmon dish with coriander – along with a large glass of refreshing wine of course.

    The market hall gets a big plus for plenty of seating opportunities, good logistics with devices that inform you when your food is ready and last but not least; the incredibly high quality of the food.

    Time Out Mercado Da Riberia Lisbon
    Website: http://www.timeoutmarket.com/en/
    Address: Mercado da Ribeira, Avenida 24 de Julho, 1200-479 Portugal
    Telephone: +351 213 951 274
    Email: infolisboa@timeoutmarket.com

    iTime Out Mercado Lisbon We are Nodes Time Out Mercado Lisbon We are Nodes Time Out Mercado Lisbon We are Nodes iTime Out Mercado Lisbon We are Nodes Alexandre Silva img_3637 iTime Out Mercado Lisbon We are Nodes Alexandre Silva

    As Zebras Do Combro – A priceworthy “Hole in the wall”-restaurant with delicious food

    As Zebras Do Combro We are Nodes Restaurants LisbonWe had ‘Eat at a Hole in the wall-restaurant’ on our Lisbon bucket list, and we couldn’t have found a better one. As Zebras Do Combro was MINDBLOWING! When we got our 21 euro-bill, we looked confused at each other and went; “There has to be something wrong with the bill, it can’t be this cheap”. We shared a pot of amazing octopus and rice with coriander, a small bottle of Vinho Verde, smoked olives and bread.

    The staff was unbelievably nice and service minded and the food was both delicious and priceworthy, this gem was just to die for when you want a steady meal that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    As Zebras Do Combro
    Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Zebras-do-Combro-restaurante
    Adress: 53, Calçada do Combro 51, 1200-433 Lisboa, Portugal
    Telefon: +351 21 346 2110

    lisbon as zebras do cambro we are nodes As Zebras Do Combro We are Nodes Restaurants Lisbon As Zebras Do Combro We are Nodes Restaurants Lisbon As Zebras Do Combro We are Nodes Restaurants Lisbon As Zebras Do Combro We are Nodes Restaurants Lisbon

    Stay tuned for more of our Lisbon advantures!

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  • Europe

    Activating Zen-mode at the Rooftop Bar at Memmo Alfama, Lisbon

    Written by Yasmin

    We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon
    A long-awaited weekend in Lisbon has come to an end! Portugal’s capital has been on my (Yasmin’s) bucket list for a long time, and my expectations were sky high. Spoiler: They were exceeded by far! Here is the first part of our blog series about the hottest weekend destination in Europe right now.

    The official Lisbon energy trip

    The purpose of our Lisbon trip was basically to gather as much positive energy as possible. I got to experience the city with one of my best friends, Linnéa, who was fortunate enough to be there on her third visit. A real highlight of our stay was our Friday afternoon wine-stop at design hotel Memmo Alfama’s rooftop bar, located in the historical Alfama district. The hotel is situated only a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral and the São Jorge Castle, and is entered through a quiet cross-street. We quickly slipped in to the peaceful oasis, escaping the 30-degree (Celsius) heat.

    We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon Memmo Alfama is part of Memmo Hotels chain which has three hotels in Portugal, two in the capital and one in Sagres, Algarve. Learn more about the Memmo Hotels and destinations here.

    Rooftop bar with a view over Lisbon

    We were certainly not mistaking when we anticipated that the magical view, combined with the chic hotel design and a glass of good wine, would give us the energy boost we had been longing for.

    Gazing out over the heights of Lisbon with the cooling breeze in your neck, and a terrace partly in the shade, with a glass of wine in your hand was the perfect activity to begin our trip with.

    img_3688We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon we-are-nodes-with-memmo-alfama-staffThe trendy hotel gets a big plus for its friendly staff. Me(Yasmin, to the left) with my friend Linnéa (to the right) with Diogo, who works at Memmo Alfama and made our visit both memorable and fun!

    We are Nodes Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisbon According to the website, the hotel was considered by wallpaper® magazine as one of the 48 new world’s best urban hotels in 2014, and we clearly see why!

    Practical information about Memmo Alfama

    Address: Travessa Das Merceeiras, 27 -Alfama, Lisboa
    Website: http://www.memmohotels.com/alfama/hotel-overview.html
    Phone number: +351 210 495 660
    Email: alfama@memmohotels.com

  • Europe

    Stockholm tips: Stockholm’s best coffee served by the ‘Epic Coffee Man’ in Hötorgshallen

    Some while ago, we started to hear rumors about the ‘Epic Coffee Man’ and decided to look him up. His real name is Andreas and he is the owner of Himalayas coffee bar, located in Hötorgshallen, a market hall full of restaurants and stalls with fresh meat, fish, cheese and other delicacies. Himalaya Coffee Bar opened 2012, after the big renovation of Hötorgshallen, and is a blessing to all coffee enthusiasts!


    Brilliant customer service

    It does not take long to understand why Andreas’ good reputation is spreading. Despite long queues, the owner does his best to share knowledge about coffee beans and methods with all of his customers. His passionate and friendly customer service, making you walk away from the counter with a smile, is something you rarely run across in Stockholm.

    we-are-nodes-stockholm-best-coffee-himalaya-coffee-bar-9 we-are-nodes-stockholm-best-coffee-himalaya-coffee-barAndreas is teaching us more about the V60-method while brewing an organic coffee from Ethiopia.

    “High quality coffee comes with a price,” Andreas explains. “Sometime people ask why some coffee beans are so expensive, when they should ask themselves why others are so cheap. The answer is simple: They are not as good. ”

    Skip the Takeaway

    Most Himalaya Coffee Bar-customers order their coffee “to go”. However, if you are not in a hurry, we would advise you to skip the takeaway, and sip on your freshly made coffee at the counter desk instead, while soaking in the vibrant and international atmosphere in Hötorgshallen.

    Recommends coffee bars in Berlin

    We ask Andreas where we can find the best coffee abroad. Here are his top 3 tips:
    1. Berlin has a lot of really good coffee bars. You will find the best coffee at The Barn, it is unbelievably good!
    2. The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen.
    3. I’m also a sucker for the laidback service in Italy, I continuously return to Rome and Florence. There, you can find high-end coffee almost everywhere.


    Private coffee tastings

    Himalaya Coffee Bar offers private tastings for coffee entushiats who want to get a better understanding of the world of coffee. Contact Andreas to schedule a private tasting.

    we are nodes hötorgshallen best coffeewe-are-nodes-stockholm-best-coffee-himalaya-coffee-bar-4

    Himalaya Coffee Bar
    Opening hours:
    Monday – Thursday: 10.00-18.00
    Friday: 10.00-19.00
    Saturday: 10.00-16.00
    Sunday: Closed
    Hötorgshallen,  11157 Stockholm. Metro station: Hötorget

    Website: http://www.hotorgshallen.se/handlare/cafe-restaurang/himalaya-espressobar
    Contact details: Phone: 0046-821 88 70. Email: himalaya.te.och.kaffe@gmail.com

    Want to know more about what to do and see in Stockholm? 
    We have gathered all our previous blog posts about our beloved hometown. Read our Stockholm guide »

  • Destinations,  Europe,  Reviews

    Stockholm Tips: Fishing weekend at the Elle Interior sea cottage

    In recent years, we have developed a family tradition of taking our little brother on a fishing weekend somewhere in the Stockholm Archipelago. It started a couple of years ago, as a birthday present to our little brother who is a true fishing enthusiast, and we quickly agreed to keep the tradition alive. A mini getaway is the perfect way to soft-start the autumn – and in just 30 minutes from Stockholm by car, you arrive to a completely different world, full of tranquillity.

    Location: The Sea Cottage, Värmdö

    ELLE stockholm archipelago we are nodes
    The Stockholm Archipelago consists of over 30,000 islands and Värmdö (or Värmdön) is a municipality in Stockholm’s inner archipelago which is entirely made of islands. Some of the well known and popular islands that belong to Värmdö is Sandhamn, Grinda and Möja, but this time our choice fell on a charming red cottage in Myttinge.

    Judging by the pictures (and the Elle magazine cover), it appeared to be the perfect weekend escape; offering both fishing, sauna and barbecue opportunities. So with a car fully equipped with food, fishing rods and board games, we hit the roads, eager to get away from a hectic Stockholm.

    elle interior stockholm archiepelago nodesPicture perfect.

    An interesting arrival

    Although we had received detailed directions and been told that the cottage was quite secluded, we probably weren’t prepared for how secluded or difficult it would be to find the cottage in pitch darkness, with no road signs or street lights. After driving the wrong way one or two times, we finally found the “big red barn” where we had to park our car and walk the last bit (through a forest!). While we navigated our way through the forest, using our mobile flashlights as our only source of light, it was impossible not to let the mind wander to various horror films.

    IMG_0799IMG_0803The cottage in daylight.

    After a five minute walk, we arrived at the cottage and immediately began making the usual Friday taco. After dinner, we played cards, drank tea and talked for a couple of hours until it was time to hit the bed.

    we are nodes stockholm archipelago myttingeIMG_0723IMG_0745 (1)IMG_0748

    ‘The early morning has gold in its mouth’

    The next morning, we woke up with the sun. We opened up the doors that overlooked the ocean to soak in the view and breathe in the fresh island air. With the ocean as our backdrop, we made a big weekend breakfast with lit candles and some relaxing acoustic background music. Unquestionably the best way to start the day!


    The rest of Saturday was spent outside in the fresh air where we went fishing, barbecued and enjoyed the sun. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch a big pike (this time), but apparently Zlatan who also was fishing somewhere in the archipelago had better luck.

    Our evening plans? Sauna bathing and watching horror films.

    IMG_0850Yasmin, the BBQ master.

    And on Sunday, after another long breakfast and a bit of fishing, we packed our bags and said goodbye to the archipelago for this time. It really is amazing what a little bit of vitamin sea and fresh air can do for the soul. Until next time!


    Book a cottage in the Stockholm Archipelago
    There are many websites where you can rent houses/cottages for a week or a few days. We booked our cottage here (but fritiden.se is another website with more options) and paid 2400 SEK for two nights. A week costs 8000 sek.

    The cottage was equipped with:
    – D
    ouble bed
    – Extra bed
    – 2 hotplates
    – Refrigerator
    – Microwave
    – Shower
    – Sauna
    – Rowboat
    – TV


    What is your favorite island in the Stockholm archipelago or do you have any recommendations on where we should go next time? Leave a comment!

    Want to know more about what to do and see in Stockholm? We have gathered all our previous blog posts about our beloved hometown. Read our Stockholm guide »

  • Europe,  Hotels,  Reviews

    A Private Tour of The Winery Hotel, Stockholm

    It’s July and the rain is pouring down. As usual, our umbrellas are left at home, so when we get off the bus stop at Järva Krog, we run the short distance to The Winery Hotel as fast as we can. Nearly out of breath, we step into a huge lobby, designed in industrial style with a raw warehouse feeling and magnificent ceiling height. The lobby with tables made of old wine barrels, stands out from all the hotels we have visited before. We are Nodes have been invited to The Winery Hotel to get a private tour by the hotel’s very own Jan Söder, Design and Concept Manager, and Moa Söder, Marketing Coordinator. Our guides for the day welcome us with big smiles.

    The Winery Hotel We are Nodes


    The Winery Hotel felt like an exciting topic to write about for several reasons. The increasing curiosity and engagement around wine has created new ways to network and socialize through, for instance, dinners, wine tastings, wine tours and trips to different wineries. The Winery Hotel is therefore very timely. Wineries, a property where wine is produced, in combination with accommodation, food and drinks is already popular in big cities like New York and London. Now, the owner families of Winery Hotel (Söder and Ruhne) hope that the Swedes will jump on the trend too.

    Jan Söder has been the concept manager from day one. Together with Lina Östlund, he got the responsibility to create a design concept for the building inspired by the heart of the hotel; the winery. With inspiration from wineries and renowned concept hotels in New York, Jan began to formulate a vision for the hotel (some of his biggest source of inspirations was the New York City Winery, Red Hook Winery, Ace Hotel and Wythe Hotel). Jan and Lina also travelled to Tuscany and visited many different type of vineyards to get additional inspiration.

    The Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    The location

    The urban winery/boutique hotel is located close to the bus stop Järva Krog in Solna, a suburb approximately 10 minutes from Stockholm. The location is strategic from several perspectives. Since the highway (E18/E4) where the airport shuttles stop is only a stone’s throw away, the Winery Hotel indirectly becomes an airport hotel. Rental rates are naturally lower than in the city center. Another reason for the location choice is the growth and development of Solna. The city was recently elected Super Municipality of Stockholm and is growing every day. Jan nods when we ask if the fast growth of Solna has something to do with the location choice:

    “We probably would not have chosen this location if we had not known everything that was planned for the area. Friends Arena was already built and we knew that Mall of Scandinavia and several big companies would move their headquarters to Solna. The hotel has now become a destination, you come here to take part of a whole experience.”

    Moa Söder agrees:

    ” The hotel packages that include guided tours, wine tastings and three-course dinners are very popular. Our impression is that people who come here really want to experience the whole concept.”

    The Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    Working with concepts is Jan’s area of expertise. He created the concept for Nordic Light Hotel and Nordic C Hotel with the well-known ice bar. From experience, he knows that it takes about 1-2 years for a concept to “break through”. It took nearly five years for Nordic Light Hotel to be known as Stockholm’s first design hotel. Therefore, he is aware that it requires time and a great deal of patience before the word of Winery Hotel’s unique concept will reach a majority of the public. Despite their expected time frame, the hotel already has received a lot of attention and press coverage, both locally and internationally.

    The restaurant

    Jan and Moa show the way to the restaurant and it is noticeable how proud they both are of the venue. The same warehouse atmosphere that stroke us in the entrance is also apparent in the restaurant.

    The Winery Hotel We are NodesIMG_3214Jan Söder The Winery Hotel we are nodes

    The restaurant can fit up to 140 guests. Additionally, there is a chambre séparée which is primarily used for wine tastings. The buffet table, where the breakfast is usually served, is the same place where the popular “Winemaker’s Dinners” are held.

    “Instead of people saying that they are going to AG, they will start saying that they are going to WK”, Jan smiles and continues the tour.

    The Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    The hotel rooms

    Next stop on our tour is the hotel rooms. Our first thought when entering the room (a standard room of 20 m2) is the striking contrast between the industrial interior with colours from the nature and the heavily trafficked highway outside the building. We can see treetops and greenery emerge somewhere far behind the rushing cars. The window itself is framed by a New York-inspired brick wall. Urban meets Tuscany in its purest form. “It feels a bit surreal, right?” Jan says when he notices our reaction. “Like being on the countryside but with a city feeling.”

    The Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are NodesThe Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    We curiously look around in the hotel room. The bathroom has white tile and fashionable gold taps. The closet in the hallway does not have any doors, a result of Winery’s own design in order to preserve their distinguishing interior style. Jan points at the mini-bar: “It is located at a good height. Usually mini-bars are hidden and placed very low, but ours are more visible which has been really profitable – we have increased sales a lot!” Jan does not seem bothered from sharing the best practices of the hotel, an entrepreneurial and modern attitude that we really like.

    “The industrial table-, floor- and bedside lamps are from a French company called Lamp Gras. There is an incredibly wide range of industrial lamps today, but these are of very high quality, which was important for us”, says Jan.

    It’s all about the details

    As we walk towards the meeting rooms, we point out how beautiful and carefully thought-out all the details in the hotel are, something even an untrained designer eye easily can notice. Jan lights up: “It’s not the first time we’ve been told that.”

    The Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    He explains how the designer team spent hours on finishing the graphic profile and how time-consuming it has been to apply it to the entire hotel – as far as to material, color selection and fonts on the Do Not Disturb-sign. Jan talks about his passion for design in a joyful tone and claims he could talk about areas like radiators for ages. Speaking of heaters, Jan persistently opposed the radiators that were ordered to the hotel by Faberge. “They asked me if I could for once be happy with something they had chosen,” Jan laughs.

    However, it did not take us long to understand that Jan is not the type of person who backs down in a discussion about something he believes is important for the hotel experience. It is the same will power that, for instance, has made sure that the notebooks in the meeting rooms have printed wine stains on them as an extension of the hotel’s soul.

    We are excited to check out the meeting rooms, especially since Yasmin has a background in event planning and production. The Winery Hotel has chosen shutters instead of the classic blackout drapes and brick walls instead of the typical discreet light colors.  

    The Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    “The chairs are from a brand called Offecct  that I did not really like because their design is so ‘corporate’. They have tried to sell their products to me for more than 10 years, but when I saw this chair I really got fond of it,” explains Jan when we test sit the chairs.

    The Winery – The heart of the hotel

    “Are you driving? No? Then you can have a glass of Winery Red!”, Jan proclaims as we are done with inspecting the meeting rooms. Our host and hostess leads us back to the winery. The hotel’s heart and pride. The same spot where the hotel’s wine is produced and where the popular 20-minute guided tours are arranged. The guided tours are always finished with a tasting of the hotel’s own wine; Winery Red. The really wine interested can add an in-depth wine tasting to their visits. At some occasions, the hotel fly in renowned winemakers from Italy to host their own ¨Winemaker’s Dinner¨ in the restaurant.

    IMG_3287IMG_3297IMG_3295The Winery Hotel We are Nodes We are Nodes’ Yasmin Tilles & Sheida Tilles.

    Visitors can also purchase an electronic card that can be topped off with the amount of their choice. The cards are later used to try different wines from the hotel’s ‘Vinotek, located on the ground floor. Guests can choose between a small sample, half or a whole glass.

    The hotel’s own Winery Red is sold as assortment order at Systembolaget for 179 SEK per bottle. The main grape in Tuscany is Sangiovese and it constitutes 80% of Winery Red. The remaining 20 percent consists of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape. “I think it’s pretty damn good,” says Jan with a smile and pours up two glasses for us.

    Travel Q & A with Jan and Moa:

    The Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    What is your favorite weekend destination?
    Jan: New York, the city has everything when it comes to the areas I like; interior, design and atmosphere.
    Moa: I will go for Copenhagen, although it might be a boring answer. It is located on a convenient distance from Stockholm, but has a nicer and more relaxed atmosphere. Plus, many great restaurants!

    Where do you prefer to go on holiday in the sun?
    Moa: I recently discovered a new destination in India called Varkala, it is a surf town with nice and calm vibes. Those who previously traveled to Bali to surf and find it’s too much tourists there now are going to Varkala.
    Jan: I am absolutely crazy about Mallorca and a hotel called Esplendido in Puerto de Soller, 5-6 (Swedish) miles from Palma. (Read our Palma guide here.)

    The Winery Hotel
    Adress: Rosenborgsgatan 20, 169 74 Solna
    Website: http://www.thewineryhotel.se 
    Phone number: +46 (0) 8-14 60 00
    Booking: reservations@thewineryhotel.se

    The Winery Hotel We are Nodes

    Have you been to The Winery Hotel or do you have any questions? Drop us a comment! We’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Want to know more about what to do and see in Stockholm? We have gathered all our previous blog posts about our beloved hometown. Read our Stockholm guide »