Europe

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

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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!

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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.
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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.

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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.

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Himalaya Coffee Bar
Opening hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10.00-18.00
Friday: 10.00-19.00
Saturday: 10.00-16.00
Sunday: Closed
Address:
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

Stockholm Tips: Fishing weekend at the Elle Interior sea cottage

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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

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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.

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‘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!

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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!

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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

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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

A Private Tour of The Winery Hotel, Stockholm

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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

Background

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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 »

Europe

We are Nodes’ Stockholm Guide

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Sheida och Yasmin Tilles, We are Nodes Travel Blog

Our best Stockholm tips

We want to take the opportunity to highlight a couple of our local favorites in Sweden’s beautiful capital Stockholm. We have gathered all our previous blog posts about our beloved hometown. If you want to know more about what you should do and see in Stockholm, this is a great place to start!

Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel

Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel has opened – and it’s located in the middle of a residential area in Stockholm suburb Nacka, 15-20-minute drive from the city center. You can now spend the night in a replica of the Frodo and Bilbo Baggins-house, and experience the magical Hobbiton setting IRL. Continue reading »

Elegant breakfasts at Greatas in Scandic Haymarket

Gretas, influenced by the 1920’s and decorated in pink colours in a glamorous setting, is one of our absolute favorite breakfast spots in Stockholm. Continue reading »

Gretas Scandic Haymarket We are Nodes

Restaurant Art on Döbelnsgatan, Stockholm

This restaurant has it all! Great food for affordable prices, friendly staff, cool vibe and an entrance to die for (we don’t want to spoil too much, but the entrance alone is worth a visit).  Just reserve a table asap!
Visit their website »Photo by Restaurant Art 

Burlesque dinner at Melt Bar, Stockholm

How about dinner accompanied with burlesque and jazz performances? 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’s the perfect dinner option if you are looking for something out of the ordinary. 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! Continue reading »

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Roller skating at Rollers n Bowlers in Haninge, Stockholm

Rollers n Bowlers in Haninge Centrum offers an typical American diner, a cool bowling alley and roller skating rink which makes the venue optimal for a fun date night!
Continue reading »Rollers n Bowlers We are Nodes

Stockholm’s best coffee in Hötorgshallen

Stockholm’s best coffee is served by the ‘Epic Coffee Man’ in Hötorgshallen. 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. 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. Continue reading »

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Mini-getaway to the Stockholm Archipelago

How amazing as the vibrant capital of Sweden can be, sometimes it is nice to leave the city pulse for a calm and relaxing weekend in the Stockholm Archipelago. We had a great fishing weekend at a charming red cottage in Mytting, known from the Swedish Elle Interior. It was the perfect weekend escape; offering both fishing, sauna and barbecue opportunities. Continue reading »

We are Nodes - Stockholm Archipelago

Hallwyl Museum in Östermalm, Stockholm

The Hallwyl museum in Stockholm is more than a hotspot patio with a jam-packed outdoor seating during the summer. Behind the gates hides a unique and preserved building which belonged to a Swedish upper-class family from the turn of the century. We met the museum Director Heli Haapasalo and got a full tour of the museum! Continue reading »

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Vaxholms Hembygdsgårds Café

Traditional Swedish dishes and probably one of Stockholms best desert buffets… Vaxholm Hembygdsgårds Café is a real Swedish summer dream in the heart of Stockholm archipelago. Continue reading »

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Winery Hotel – tastings and dinners for wine enthusiast!

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 hope that Swedes will jump on the trend too. We got a private tour of the winery (the hotel’s heart and pride), hotel rooms, restaurant and meeting rooms. Continue reading »

we are nodes winery hotel solna

One last stop… ’Pontus in the Air’

When you are about to leave Sweden, make sure your last stop in Stockholm is worth remembering. ‘Pontus in the Air’ is the latest addition to Pontus Frithiof’s collection of restaurants in Sweden. The restaurant is located at Arlanda Airport, terminal 5, and is probably among the better airport restaurants in Europe! We recommend the Market Breakfast Buffé för only 99 SEK (10,40 Euro) or the amazing Lobster Salad for lunch. It is also worth mentioning that ‘Pontus in the Air ‘ is one of three restaurants in Sweden who are official Krüg ambassadors. Continue reading »

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Other Stockholm guides that we recommend

Sandras Guide to Stockholm http://sandrabeijer.se/2015/03/20/sandras-guide-till-stockholm/

Europe

6 Places in Palma de Mallorca You Really Shouldn’t Miss

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We originally wrote this travel guide for Travellink Sweden, published 2016-07-11 on Travellink’s Travel Blog. 

Barcelona’s little sister and a popular charter destination for Swedes. That was basically all we knew about Palma when we boarded the plane for a week of much-needed vacation. Instead of letting Google and TripAdvisor setting the itinerary for us we decided to try a new tactic; asking locals to share their best travel tips. So we asked. The cashier at Mango, the waiter at our daily breakfast spot in Plaza España, a trendy couple on the bus and of course; our Airbnb hostess. The result? Paradise beaches with white sand, turquoise water and exceptional beach clubs. We are Nodes have listed our top 6 things to do in Palma de Mallorca.

Pool day at Puro Beach puro beach we are nodes

Mallorca’s best beach club is (without a doubt) Puro Beach Palma. The beach club opened 2005 by the Swedish entrepreneur Mats Wahlström as a complement to the concept hotel Puro Hotel. With its excellent location on a secluded peninsula, 180°-view of the coast and a fantastic pool area, it is not difficult to understand why the beach club was a success from the moment the gates opened.

If a full day at Puro Beach won’t get you in vacation mode nothing ever will! Park yourself on a sunbed by the pool, order a bottle of chilled rosé (We are Nodes recommends Puro’s own house wine for € 27/bottle) and take a refreshing dip in the Zen-like pool to the sound of relaxing lounge music. When it’s lunchtime, head over to the restaurant area to enjoy a delightful meal from Puro’s “M3-inspired” menu with influences from Miami, Marrakech and Melbourne.
 puro beach palma we are nodesbild 2 bild 3Today’s lunch: Salmon and avocado Tiradito with fresh coriander and yellow aji-sauce that is best enjoyed with a bottle of Puro Rosé.

No room for dessert? Take a siesta in the shade and order a Gino for dessert a few hours later. Fresh fruits gratinated with white chocolate and vanilla ice cream does wonders during hot summer days and is the perfect ending to a relaxing pool day!

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Price:
A regular sunbed costs 40 € for a full day and includes (N.b: during low season, until the end of June) a bottle of water, a small fruit platter, a little after-sun lotion and a smoothie in the afternoon.

Address: Carrer de Pagell, 1, 07610 Can Pastilla
Tel: +34 971 74 47 44
Website: http://www.purobeach.com/purobeach/purobeach-palma/

Eat the best icecream in Palma at Amorinoamorino we are nodes

Making a well-deserved stop at the ice cream-parlour Amorino on Plaça de Weyler is an absolute must when your feet gets tired from all the walking. Not only will the ice cream at Amorino make your taste buds jump of joy – they are also a treat for your eyes! With a large selection of ice cream flavours, the staff creates beautiful (and photo friendly) ‘ice cream roses’ in rainbow colors, and the best part is that you are not limited to a specific number of flavours. Regardless of what size of cone or cup you choose; you are allowed to pick as many flavours as you want! It is safe to say that Amorino is any ice cream lover’s dream come true, us included.

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Price:
One medium cone/cup (note: the portions are in general very big) costs €4.60 and is worth every cent!
Address: Plaça de Weyler, 11, 07001 Palma
Website: http://www.amorino.com/

Playa IlletasIlletas beach Palma Mallorca we are nodes

One advice we got from several locals was to skip the beach in central Palma (which wasn’t very pleasant) and take bus number 3 from Plaza España to Illetas instead. Just 30 minutes from Palma’s city centre, you will find a small but magical beach with turquoise water that quickly became one of our favorite places in Mallorca. Here you can reserve sunbeds with charming straw parasols for only € 6.50/person (our favorite spot was on the cliff) and swim until the sun goes down.

The nearby beach restaurant has a great view and is well suited for ice cream or coffee, but we wouldn’t recommend the food there. Bring fresh fruits, a lunch box and plenty of water with you, and you will get a beach day to remember. And come early, the sunbeds run out quickly!

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Address: Passeig Illetes, 54B, 07181 Illetes.
How to get there: Take bus number 3 from Palma, and get off at the final destination. Once there, you can choose between two different beaches – our favorite is the small beach located on the far right.

Visit the paradise beaches of Sa Rápitasa rapita mallorca we are nodes

Making a day trip to the village Sa Rápita on Mallorca’s south coast and visiting the beaches S’Arenal de Sa Rápita and Es Trenc was well worth the 1.5 hour long bus drive from Palma. When we arrived at the beach and saw the white sand and crystal clear turquoise water, it was hard to believe that we were still in Mallorca and not on a tropical beach somewhere in the Caribbean. Who knew there were beaches like this in Europe?

We have our Airbnb hostess to thank for discovering Sa Rápita. When we asked her which her favorite beach in Mallorca was, the answer came quickly: S’Arenal de Sa Rápita. Said and done. We set the alarm early and jumped on the 8 a.m. bus. Curious as we were, we wanted to see both beaches, so we started our day with a walk along the kilometre-long beach of S’Arenal all the way to Es Trenc (which is said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches). Later, we “beach hopped” our way back to S’Arenal (and the bus station). In this way we managed to see everything and didn’t get too tired from walking in the heat.

It is easy to be deceived by the cooling breeze here, so don’t forget to put on a lot of sunscreen!

sa rapita mallorca we are nodes bild 16 bild 17How to get there: Bus 515 or 530 from Palma bus station. A single journey costs 5€. 

Harbour Dinner at Port BlancPort Blanc palma we are nodes

Just like the name suggests, Port Blanc is a luxurious port restaurant with white interior and a stunning view over the luminous yachts. You come here to eat seafood, fish and drink champagne – an excellent dinner option before a big night out.

Port Blanc, like most other restaurants, closes at 1:00, which really is a shame; we would have liked to stay there longer! If there is something Palma should learn from its “big sister” Barcelona, it definitely is the night life. There are only two clubs in Palma; Pacha and Tito’s. The clientele consists mostly of young students, and thus it is the bar streets in Santa Catalina (with the Swedish-owned Havana Bar in the lead) and Paseo Marítimo that has become popular for the older crowd. We would have loved a real nightclub close to the port. But who knows, maybe that’s something for the future?

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Address: Marina Moll Vell, Local N ° 2, 07012 Palma.
Tel: +34 971 25 54 22
Website: http://portblancmallorca.com/

Watch the sunset at Nassau Beachnassau beach palma we are nodes

Nassau Beach’s slogan is “sea, sand and sunset”, and yes, we’d say that sums up the vibe at Nassau pretty well. The restaurant/bar is located a roughly ten-minute walk from the beach in Palma, and is well suited for a chilled-out sunset dinner or cocktail. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, and when the sun starts to go down, the staff lights up torches that burn nicely in the sunset.

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Address: Passeig Portitxol, s/n, 07004 Palma
Phone: +34664 44 90 53
Website: http://nassaubeach-palma.com/

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We are Nodes super travel tip:
Download the free app Maps.me and have access to maps in offline mode. This app saved us many times, for example on bus rides without names on the bus stops.

Do you have any questions or have you been in Palma and want to share your favorite places? Please comment or email us at info@wearenodes.com!

Europe

Tsambika Beach – The best way to spend a day in Rhodes

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Tsambika beach Orange Juice We are Nodes

Last time I was in Rhodes was more than 10 years ago. When I (Yasmin) return from my stay at one of Greece’s most visited and beloved islands, I note with satisfaction that I:
1) at least have advanced from the cheap and pool-less hotel I stayed at the age of 19 to a luxurious all-inclusive hotel (stay tuned for a separate review).
2) am still able to keep up with the young kids on the notorious bar street. Sort of.

Nevertheless, the highlight of our latest trip to Rhodes was to explore the island by car. Our best discovery? A wonderful sandy beach with clear water and a super Instagram friendly photo motive as backdrop! Follow us as we spend a full day at the locals’ very own favorite beach; Tsambika Beach in Rhodes.
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Getting to Tsambika Beach

Tsambika Beach is located on the east coast of Rhodes, a roughly 40-minute drive from the city center. We rented a Suzuki Jimny (cab) through Galaxy Cars, a car rental company whose price, customer support and quality of cars we were really pleased with. The rental price for two days was 120 euros, but the prices vary depending on the car of your choice. The delivery and return of the vehicle took place smoothly at our hotel.

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Tsambika Beach

The cooling breeze catches our hair as soon as we hit the roads. It is more than 35 degrees and the soaking sun makes us really look forward to reach our destination.

Tsambika beach is named after the Monastery of the Virgin of Tsambika, located on the top of the enormous rock that surrounds the beach. Unlike many of the other beaches in Rhodes, Tsambika consists of a bed of sand instead of rocks.

We quickly understand why so many of the Greeks we have met in Rhodes call Tsambika their favorite beach. Although there are many tourists on site, the beach is far from crowded and the relaxed atmosphere makes us forget that we are in one of Europe´s most popular charter destinations.

Tsambika Beach Restaurant We are Nodes 1 Tsambika beach sunbeds we are nodes tsambika beach we are nodes 4Tsambika beach is well suited for both families with kids, couples and teens. The restless beach visitors do not need to worry; Tsambika offers several watersports and an adventure area with water slides and a climbing wall. And for the brave ones; a sign at the parking lot tells us that there is a naturist part further down the beach…

After a couple of hours in the sun, we decide to take a long anticipated lunch break with Gyros plates, fresh orange juices and cold beers. The beach restaurants offer priceworthy food and drinks, but remember to bring cash to the beach, since a majority of the restaurants or sunbed rentals do not accept credit cards. In the heating sun, there are plenty of other things you would rather want to do than to drive to the closest village to find an ATM (like we did).

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The perfect photo motif

At the end of our beach day, we head over to the beautiful Greek flag that rises over the beach and creates a popular backdrop for photos. Definitely worth a stop – and a snap? Despite several Google searches, I cannot manage to find the story behind the flag. Does anyone know more?

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Kalimera for now, but we will be back soon with more blog posts about Greece!

 

Europe

Stockholm Hotspot: A Tour of the Hallwyl Museum with Museum Director Heli Haapasalo

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TL; DR: The Hallwyl museum in Stockholm is more than a hotspot patio with a jam-packed outdoor seating. Behind the gates hides a unique and preserved building which belonged to a Swedish upper-class family from the turn of the century.

As amazing as it can be to travel across the world to explore unknown destinations, it is almost an equal feeling to discover a new spot in your hometown. Therefore, we want to take the opportunity to highlight a couple of our local favorites in Sweden’s beautiful capital Stockholm, our beloved hometown. First up in our blog series on Stockholm is the Hallwyl museum, located a few steps from Berzelii Park on Hamngatan 4.

Despite the huge yellow banner flapping outside of the museum, it is surprisingly easy to walk past the building without taking any notice. But behind the gates lie a magical gem that should not be left unexplored by neither tourists or locals. Join us when we visit the Hallwyl museum!

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The Museum Director of Hallwyl

We meet with the museum director Heli Haapasalo in the museum shop, located on floor one. She joined the museum in 2010 after a long career in art, with previous positions at the Museum of Modern Art (Swedish: Moderna Muséet) and the National Museum. Although Heli’s original focus was contemporary art, she could not resist the opportunity to work with the Hallwyl museum.

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The home of Hallwyl

Wilhelmina von Hallwyl (born Kämpe) is a central character in the story of the Hallwyl museum. She was born into an upper-class family in Sweden by German parents in 1844, and later met her husband Walter in the German health resort Homburg. Walter von Hallwyl moved to Sweden when the couple decided to tie the knot and he later took over his father-in-law’s business. The Countess von Hallwyl always had a keen interest in art. Early on, the spouses decided that their home, in its time the most expensive private residence in Stockholm, should be turned into a museum after their death.

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The house on Hamngatan, including decorations and furniture, was given to the state when they passed away. Many have wondered why Wilhelmina von Hallwyl insisted to save so much of their items for the museum. Heli explains how she believes the Countess reasoned:

“It was a time marked by change – by, for instance, the labor movement and modernization. Women’s role in society began to change. This was Wilhelmina’s way of showing what it was like to live back then. She was conservative, yet very modern. If she had wanted it to be a ‘nice and superficial’ museum, she would not have wanted us to save items such as pots and graters. It was important for her that the everyday things would be treated as good as their expensive possessions. She really wanted people to get an authentic picture of what it was like to live back then.”

IMG_3119IMG_3123When the food was ready, the servants sent it to the dining room with this “food elevator”, where other servants took over and started serving the family and their friends. 

We notice the pride in Heli’s voice. Unquestionably, it is unique to have so many everyday objects preserved in the way that the Hallwyl museum has. They even have a piece of the couple’s wedding cake stored! Entering the house of Hallwyl is like stepping into another time, allowing visitors to stroll around expensive marble bathrooms, beautiful wine cellars and impressive knight equipment.

“The heart of Hallwyl is that we have it all. And everything is documented. 78 directories with information about where their items were bought, what they cost and who owned them before the Hallwyl family”, Heli explains.

IMG_3075IMG_3074IMG_3094IMG_3120IMG_3080IMG_3084One of Heli’s favorite parts of the house is the marble bathroom with exclusive gold taps. However, she points out that the longer she works at the museum, the more she appreciates the whole house and the unique opportunity to get access to a authentic home from the turn of the century.

IMG_3105hallwylska museum wine cellarThe family stored their everyday wine Dôle in this beautiful wine cellar. Bordeaux wines were served for the more formal dinner parties.

IMG_3127The famous Blom porcelain is still produced. The staff on site told us that many of the visitors recognize the porcelain – but bear in mind that this was the servants’ porcelain, the Hallwyl family used a different tableware.

In addition to the authentic environment, the staff are dressed in period costumes. Heli proclaims that the staff has won the award for “Best staff” three repeated years, in a competition arranged by a market research company called Evimetrics.

More than just a patio

It is a pity that many only associate the Hallwyl museum with its patio. The patio is a haven from the city pulse, and it is no wonder that well-dressed Stockholm locals are flocking around the bar and restaurant. Heli naturally welcomes the new bar and restaurant visitors, but sees an even greater value in how museum visitors now can extend their experience with a visit to the restaurant where they can continue to soak in the environment.

“Many people ask me if the restaurant has generated more visitors. Of course it has, but I consider the restaurant to be even more valuable for our museum visitors; who now can enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee after the exhibition.”

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We are Nodes encourages guests to enter the former house of the Hallwyl family. The museum offers free entrance, like all state-owned museums in Sweden. The guided tours costs, but gives you a much deeper understanding of the history. However, the financial support given from the government is not enough, the museum needs to bring in additional revenues in order to be a viable business. “We generate about 40 percent of our revenues on our own, through the shop, guided tours and the restaurant.”

Art as a social influence

According to Heli, the museum has up to 35 different guided tours. The newest tour is based on the current discussion about refugees and what is defined as ‘Swedish’ today. Since Walter von Hallwyl, the Countess’s husband, came to Sweden as an immigrant, the museum decided that the tour should revolve around the perception of an immigrant at that time. Heli explains how Walter was mocked by the press for his accent and since he was not a fit with the perception of a Swede, even though he was a part of the aristocracy.

We are Nodes are impressed by the way the museum has been able to influence and add to the (complex) discussions of today in their own way.

Women’s role is also emphasized in one of the tours. Heli says that there has been a great deal of anecdotes and rumors about Wilhelmina von Hallwyl. People used to call her crazy because of her frequent storing of art and other items. However, after her death, the Countess actually became a female role model.

“She was a rich woman in her time, and many were horrified by her and wondered why she wanted to create a monument of herself. But in the 90s, people began searching for female role models; women who had made an impact on history. The Countess suddenly got a different reputation, and earned many people’s respect. She is important for the history of art and seems to have been a very strong woman.”

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Accessible for everyone?

One of Heli’s main missions is to attract new groups of people to the museum, such as teenagers, young men and people living in the suburbs. Another mission is to improve the physical accessibility. The staff has worked with accessibility for a long time, but as a public museum they must be even better, Heli states. The museum has already introduced guided tours to people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss or visual impairment.

“We lack in physical accessibility right now. There was a young wheelchair-bound girl who wrote to us that it hurt her to read how we stated on our web that everyone was welcome here. She did not feel included.”

We notice that Heli takes the task seriously, and we hope that the improvement speeds up so that everyone can experience the house of Hallwyl in the near future.

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Q & A with the Museum Director of Hallwyl; Heli Haapasalo

Your top three culture tips in Stockholm?
1. I like opera, it is a visually cool and amazing art form that I enjoy.
2. Since I am very interested in contemporary art, I really like Moderna Muséet (Museum of Modern Arts).
3. Visit the fantastic sceneries in Waldemarsudde and Millesgården.

Where do you prefer to travel?
I am not an adventurous traveler who wants to swing around in lianas in the jungle or bicycle around in Vietnam. I like big cities with culture and good food, such as New York or Paris (read our Paris-guide here). I would never want to sleep in a beach house in Thailand, since I hate dreadful insects!

Do you have any summer plans?
I actually never go abroad in the summer. We spend the summers in our house in Skåne (located in the south of Sweden). I rather travel somewhere in the autumn or in the spring, when the temperature is not that high.


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

How to celebrate Bastille Day on the French Riviera

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Bastille Day, the French National Day, is celebrated 14th of July in memory of the storming of Bastille, which took place 14th of July 1789. The French history has been very eventful, so there is no wonder why the French people look forward to celebrating the anniversary of the liberation of France on this yearly occasion.  You can find festivities in almost every city in France which makes the Bastille Day an excellent period to visit the country. Join the locals in their celebrations – in everything from parades, fireworks, concerts to family picnics!

Our favorite way to celebrate this historic day is – you guessed it! – on the French Riviera. Spending a full day on the Cote d’Azur is never wrong – but adding Bastille Day to the regular festivities makes it even better!

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Head out to any of the beach clubs along the Riviera that has announced that they will throw a National Day party. Usually, they are filled with a bunch of surprises and guest performances. Last time we were in France, we celebrated National Day at Moorea Beach Club, located in Pampelonne in St Tropez. The 5 kilometer beach area is filled with awesome beach clubs like the famous Bagatelle, offering nothing else than good vibes that you don’t want to miss out on!

The evening is best spent watching the traditional fireworks, which are accompanied with nice music and crowded beach picnics. Cannes is the perfect spot to watch the magnificent pyrotechnics (read our Cannes City Guide here).

cannes2014-15cannes2014-14IMG_0124Dressed out nuns, spectacular dance shows, plenty of rosé and good tunes made Bastille Day on Moorea Beach Club a blast. Many beach clubs throw amazing day parties to celebrate the French National Day and the best spots are located on the famous Pampelonne beach.

Name: Moorea Beach Club
Address: Plage de Pampelonne, 83350 Ramatuelle, France
Website: http://www.mooreaplage.fr/EN/
Phone: Telephone restaurant : 04.94.97.18.17 / Telephone beach : 04.94.97.06.09


Interview with Jameson Farn – The expert shares his best French Riviera tips

jamesonSince Nodes is not able to fly in to the French Riviera this summer, we asked our friend Jameson Farn at Experience French Riviera & Gay French Riviera to give us his best tips on how to celebrate Bastille Day 2016. Jameson turned his passion for the Cote d’Azur into his business and has been obsessed with this part of the world since his early 20’s. So, while we had the chance, we also took the opportunity to ask Jameson about his hidden gems and best French Riviera tips.

Where are the best spots to celebrate Bastille Day?

Up and down the coast and within the region there are many events to experience that you will stumble upon during Bastille Day whether you are on your own or with family and friends. The Jazz à Juan starts on July 14th in Juan-les-Pins with a whole range of artists to get the music flowing so for sure that will generate a great crowd.

And if you are in Nice there will be the traditional military parade followed by various concerts along the iconic Promenade des Anglais to enjoy with many other gatherings.

Every village or city tends to have their own set of fireworks display to celebrate the day and if you time it correctly and are in Nice, make sure to head to the beach where, because of the outline of the coastline you will be able to watch the fireworks in the distance going off in Cannes close to the same time they are set off in Antibes and then in Nice itself, it’s quite something to see.

Tell us about any of your hidden gems and favorite places in the South of France?

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has always been a personal favorite place. There is something almost magical about the peninsula that allows you to retreat and recharge if you choose. It’s easy to find your own small private beach spot along the seaside trails and the people you meet are wonderfully calm and cultured plus there is a great sense of community.

Of course while there one can visit the beautiful Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and it’s magnificent ever-changing gardens  and a hidden gem located close to the lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula that you must book ahead for is the Villa Santo Sospir that has a fascinating history along with a grand display of artwork throughout the villa mainly done by the artist Jean Cocteau with touches by Picasso.

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What destination are you going to next?

In the past year I have been learning more about Italy and its history, culture and architecture through my partner who is from Milano. It’s great to learn about a country through a resident, especially if their family has a long ancestral line, so I’ve been lucky enough to get a background perspective that way. We don’t have any definitive plans on where we will go to next because we also like the element of surprise for a sense of adventure but it will likely be more around Italy,exploring the seaside towns or we also enjoy going to various parts of Lake Como as it is absolutely enchanting.

Follow Experience French Riviera to keep up with the latest news and hotspots!

Europe

Review: ‘Sapas’ lunch at Restaurant Juuri in Helsinki

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We had been strolling around in the ‘Capital of Design’ for a couple of hours, when the rain suddenly began to pour down and reminded us that it was time for lunch. Juuri was on the top of our list of restaurants that we wanted to visit. The restaurant was located on Korkeavuorenkatu 27 (Swedish: Högbergsgatan), a roughly 10-minute walk from Helsinki’s city center, and the sign outside told us we had come to the right place.

History

Juuri opened 2004 and quickly stood out with its focus on traditional Finnish food culture. Since the opening, it has been elected ‘Restaurant of the year’ by the Finnish Gastronomical Society (2010) and mentioned in the Michelin Guide. It is currently ranked #3 on TripAdvisor’s list of best restaurants in Helsinki, and holds a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence, which, according to the website, is only handed out to “restaurants and attractions that consistently receive great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor”.

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Our experience

Since we arrived at nearly 2 pm (lunch is served from 11 am to 2.30 pm), the majority of the lunch guests had already left, and the staff could seat us right away. Reserve a table if you want to eat an earlier lunch, since this is a popular spot for lunch dates. The tables were set with colorful glasses and jugs from the well-known Finnish design brand Marimekko. Our waitress directed us to our table, right next to the window, where we could watch people trying to escape the rain. We quickly threw ourselves over the menus and it did not take long until I decided to try ‘Sapas’, the Finnish version of tapas. Juuri’s website declares the history of the name: “The name Sapas originally comes from the Finnish words for small Finnish starters” (Suomalaiset AlkuPAlaSet). Any similarity to the Spanish word “tapas” is purely coincidental.

My boyfriend went for the lamb and shortly thereafter, we were served our dishes. My first thought was that I should have ordered more Sapas (a main course consisted of a selection of four sapas for 16 Euros). When I thought about it, the waitress might have mentioned that I could add the two piece Sapas from the starter menu to my main course. Despite my Finnish background, it can be difficult to keep up when the locals start talking really fast. However, the first bite compensated the small portion – the dishes are extremely well-made with outstanding flavors and impeccable presentation! Juuri gets an additional plus for the small but very appreciated details, like the butter, which was served in beautiful paper bundles.

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Final words

Overall, we were extremely pleased with our visit to Juuri. Friendly staff with good English, central location, clean toilets, but above all; well-made, beautiful food with carefully thought-out, authentic flavors and nice details. The portions are however small, so do not come starving.

Craving another Finnish classic for dessert? Take a short walk down to Helsinki Market Square after your visit at Juuri and top off your lunch with coffee and the Finnish pastry Munkipossu.

Europe

Champagne Tasting at the Moët & Chandon / Dom Pérignon Champagne Cellars

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If you are planning to spend a couple of days in Paris and want to do a day trip to a nearby city, we know exactly where you should go; The Moët & Chandon’s/Dom Pérignon’s legendary champagne cellar in Champagne. This renowned champagne house offers guided tours, where insights in champagne production is combined with a history lesson of the high-class champagne brand. Spoiler alert: The best comes last. Because when the guided tour is coming to an end, a magnificent champagne tasting awaits!

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A champagne house visit is the perfect activity for bubble lovers who are curious to find out more about the most talked about champagne brands in the world. It is also suitable for tourists wanting to escape the city pulse in Paris and do something out of the ordinary. We are Nodes chose to visit the cellars of Moët & Chandon’s and Dom Pérignon, which is the largest one within the Champagne region, but there are plenty of other champagne houses alongside Avenue de Champagne in Épernay to choose from. Follow us on the “Grand Vintage” visit:

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Getting to Épernay, “The capital of Champagne”

Getting to Champagne-Ardenne from Paris was a lot easier (and quicker!) than we first thought. In fact, it was only a 45 min direct train route from the Gare De L’est station – and by the time we had finished our morning coffees from Paul’s (as always, we went for the “Café Americano” with milk) we were already there.

At the station, we were picked up by our local friends who drove us to Épernay, also known as “The capital of Champagne”, where most champagne houses are located. It was a pleasant 20 minute drive through an idyllic scenery.

Our friends welcomed us with a traditional French ápero, which consisted of champagne (what else?), followed by a delicious lunch. By the end of our meal, we were more than ready for our guided tour. Off we go!

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A short drive later we arrived at our destination. It was not entirely unexpected that the Moët & Chandon’s champagne house was as grand as its champagne. As soon as we stepped through the black gates, our eyes were drawn to the statue of Dom Pérignon, the monk who had a very significant role in the Champagne manufacture history. We were more than excited to begin the tour and find out more.

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The Tour

Our guide welcomed us to the Champagne house and began the tour with showing us an introduction video. Next, she told us more about the history of the well-known Möet family and the property we were in.

Fun trivia: Did you know that Napoleon Bonaparte was a frequent guest of the estate in Épernay? According to the legend, he invented the tradition of sabering bottles of Moët to celebrate victory.

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After the history lesson on the Moët and Chandon founders, we were invited to an extensive tour in the 28 km (!) long cellars where our guide combined champagne guidelines (such as how to store champagne – always horizontal, never in the fridge!) and facts about the production chain. She also had to handle a never-ending Q&A from curious champagne lovers.

IMG_1819IMG_1809 IMG_1813 The Möet champagne caves are over 28 km long, 30 metres deep and is likely to store over 1000.000 bottles (the number of bottles is confidential). Pretty impressive!

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Many wine enthusiasts are probably familiar with the vintage champagne brand Dom Pérignon – but Dom Piérre Pérignon, as his full name was, was a lot more than just a name behind a label.

He was a monk who worked as a cellarer during forty seven years in the abbey of Hautvillers, during the same time that Ludvig XIV ruled Versailles. In order to pay for the maintenance of the monastery, Dom Pérignon was told by his abbot to make wine. Unfortunately, the monastery was located in the northern provence where the climate wasn’t in favor for winemaking. Not only did the grapevines tend to freeze in the winter, but the yeasts activity increased during the winter and started to fermenting again during springtime – which created a double fermentation – which in turn created carbondioxid bubbles.

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During this time, bubbles in wine was considered a defect and the double fermentation made bottles explode under pressure. Dom Pérignon desperately tried to minimize the unwanted bubbles by mixing green and red grapes from different vineyards (he was the first person to mix different varieties before they were pressed) and got famous for his great blending skills. When Louis XIV tasted the wine he loved it, and from that moment on, the monastery didn’t have to worry about financial issues anymore. The wine was actually named Champagne – after Dom Pérignon’s home province.

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And what has this to do with Moët & Chandon you might wonder? Well, as we were told at the guided tour Dom Pérignon is a vintage champagne brand produced by Moët & Chandon. A vintage champagne means that it is only made in the best years, and all grapes used to make the wine are harvested in the same year (unlike most champagne). Moët’s first first vintage champagne was released in the year of 1842 and their best-selling brand Brut Imperial was introduced in the 1860s. In fact, in a special room in the Moët caves (not open for public though), all the “vintage years” are projected on a wall. The most recent vintage year was 2006, which was the year of the champagne we drank at our tasting. 

IMG_1825Fun fact: Did you know that Champagne is not made for storing and doesn’t age well? An unopened bottle of champagne should be consumed within a year. A vintage champagne lasts longer, around 4 years.

Champagne Tasting

The guided tour takes approximately one hour and is, as mentioned, topped off with a champagne tasting. We drank one glass of the classic Grand Vintage and one glass of Grand Vintage Rosé.

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After the tasting, we were invited to the Moët shop where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs, everything from Champagne to bags, trays and notebooks.

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Price

We chose the “Grand Vintage Tour” which costs 35€/person and was more than worth the price. It included a 1 hour guided tour in the caves, 1 glass of Grand Vintage champagne and 1 glass of Grand Vintage Rosé. The prices differ between 22-35€/person depending on which tour you choose.

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Address: 
Champagne Moët & Chandon, 20 avenue de Champagne, 51200 Epernay
How to get there: By train: One hour and twenty minutes from Paris Gare de l’Est train station to Epernay. Moët & Chandon is located 5 minutes by foot from the station.
Price: Between 22-35€/person.
Website: http://www.moet.com/Visit-us/Visit-our-cellars 

Have you visited the Möet & Chandon Champagne cellar? What did you think about the tour? We’d love to hear your thoughts (and questions!)