• Sailing Croatia Sailweek

    2017 Travel Summary

    Since we haven’t summed up our travel highlights from 2017 yet, we thought it was high time to publish our travel summary before we start with this year’s travels. So here it goes, these were our 2017 travels:

    January – Gdansk

    January started with a weekend to Gdansk, actually by chance. The lot fell on Gdansk when Yasmin were browsing through the offers on travel portal Travelbird. She found a deal that included flight tickets, two nights at a 4-star hotel, breakfast buffet and private transfer for only 1500 SEK per person – but more so, it was the possibility to experience a less classical weekend destination that made her click the BUY-button. Located only one hour away from Stockholm by plane, Gdansk attracted her with great food for low-cost, amazing Christmas lightnings and the opportunity to hang out and eat long hotel breakfasts at the newly opened design Hotel Sadova.

    We are Nodes Oliwa Park Gdansk Poland
    The Christmas Lightning at Oliwa Park is an absolute MUST if you’re in Gdansk during Christmas time.

    We are Nodes Goldwasser Gdansk
    Fantastic dinner at Goldwasser with their traditional 40-percent Goldwasser liqueur with real 23-carat gold flakes – a great ending to a really good restaurant experience! 

    Hotel Sadova definitely was a part of shaping her Gdansk experience. The design hotel opened in June 2016, and is located 7 minutes from the city center. The hotel gave a fresh impression; combining industrial  and modern interior with facilities like an indoor pool, sauna and an attractive bar. 

    Curious about visiting Gdansk? Read:
    3 Reasons to Visit Gdansk, Poland
    Introducing Hotel Sadova: A brand new 4-star design hotel in Gdansk

    February – Riga

    After only a month into the new year, we had already transformed into Zombie-mode  – and desperate times calls for desperate measures! Since we got a deluxe cruise from Tallink Silja when we won the Newcomers 2016-award at Nordic Travel Blog Event, we decided to use it to go to Riga for a quick spa weekend at ESPA Riga. Tallink’s followers were also able to follow us throughout our trip since we did an Instagram-takeover for them – we hope they enjoyed it!

    Read about our spa weekend in Riga here.

    Yasmin’s favorite spa is located in the heart of Riga, on the 6th floor of Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija. She has a yearly tradition to go there with two of her closest friends to get rid of all kinds of ache and misery, and it works like a charm.

    Myttinge cottage in Stockholm Archipelago

    February also called for a weekend at Myttinge cottage in Värmdö for a couple of relaxing days filled with long walks, drinking coffee in the sun, ice bathing, sauna and eating lots of food. Värmdö is located about 50 minutes by car from Stockholm city, a perfect distance when you’re in the mood for a “mini-getaway”. The interior in the cabin is, along with the beautiful view, is a strong reason why we keep going back (the cabin has even  been on the cover of Swedish Elle Interior).

    Myttinge Värmdö We are Nodes Although Myttinge is cosy in the winter as well, these pictures are from our autumn stay, just to give you an idea of how idyllic this place really is! A more detailed blog post about our first stay in the cabin (our traditional siblings-getaway) can be found here. Please note that the prices have gone up since our last visit to the cabin. Email dennyshouse[at]hotmail.com for reservations.

    March, April, May

    Since March, April, May were busy working months with not much room for travelling, one of our favourite weekend activities was to try out new restaurants in our hometown Stockholm instead. A couple of our favourite restaurant experiences included the (then) newly opened Paraden (the owners Bockholmengruppen, also stand behind the popular restaurants Nybrogatan 38, Nytorget 6 and Österlånggatan 17), the rollerskating & burger restaurant Rowlers n Bowlers in Huddinge and the New York inspired restaurant ART at Döbelnsgatan 45.

    Read our first impressions here:
    Welcome to Paraden
    Date Night at Rowlers n Bowlers in Haninge

    ART stockholm restaurantART stockholm restaurant 1The entrance to ART is an art gallery (the paintings are actually for sale). In order to get in to the restaurant you need to press the big red button. 

    Paraden’s concept is actually pretty cool; it’s built inside an old movie theater from 1932 and has kept a lot of details that will remind you of its history. The theater seating behind me (in the picture above) is just an example.

    Take the commuter train about 20 minutes from Stockholm city, and walk right into an American diner. What makes Rollers n Bowlers in Haninge Centrum so unique is not necessarily the diner itself, but their bowling alley and roller skating rink which makes the venue optimal for a full-blown American teenage date night.

    June – Madrid

    In the beginning of June Sheida went for a weekend to Madrid to visit some of her friends from her study abroad semester in the Netherlands. Her weekend in Madrid can be summarized; tapas, sangria, a heat wave, the search for the perfect risotto and… Ansel Elgort.

    Read: 4 favourite places in Madrid

    Drinks at Círculo de Bellas Artes. The terasse is part of the cultural house with the same name and has a very photo-friendly panoramic view of Madrid.

    This risotto did unfortunately not make it to the risotto toplist, but the restaurant, Whitby, got an A for ambiance and people watching!

    The Ultimate Bachelorette Party in Stockholm

    In June, we also helped planning the most epic Bachelorette Party in Stockholm for one of our childhood friends who was getting married in July. If you are in need for inspiration or in the midst of planning a bachelorette party make sure to read our post “3 activities for the Ultimate Bachelorette Party“. Some of our stops during the day included spa at Clarion Sign where we had our own bridal suite to get changed and drink champagne, a pre party with a suprise guest at a hotel suite at Scandic Angalis and a dinner that was everything but calm at Ochaya, the “restaurant within the restaurant” at Kasai (which later turns into a nightclub).  A dinner here is the perfect choice for anything worth a celebration!

    If you are keeping the table after dinner we recommend booking at a Saturday, both the dinner shows and the crowd will (in our experience) be better on Saturdays.

    Palma, Mallorca

    In June, Yasmin went on a weekend to Palma and visited a lot of the recommended places from our Palma-guide that Sheida wrote for Travellink in 2016 (read the Swedish version on Travellink’s blog or the English guide here). She also stayed at the incredible Hotel Saratoga which is conveniently located in the center of Palma with it’s own rooftop pool.

    Read more about her Palma weekend:
    A Palma weekend in 26 photos
    Review of 4-star Hotel Saratoga, Palma de Mallorca

    Evening Hotel Saratoga We are Nodes
     The rooms at Hotel Saratoga were overall a pleasure to stay in!          The food at the Japanese restaurant Tahini is delicious; do not to miss the veal and truffle sushi and the salmon sashimi.

    No Palma holiday is complete without a pool day at Puro Beach. The beach club opened 2005 by the Swedish entrepreneur Mats Wahlström as a complement to the concept hotel Puro Hotel

    July – Sailing in Croatia

    In July Sheida went to Croatia for a week of sailing in the beautiful Adriatic coast with Loving Sailing. Travelling in Croatia by boat was a fantastic experience and so was sailing! There is just something magical about being out on the ocean and seeing dolphins swimming in the wild, setting anchor and sleep in some small bay with the clearest turquoise water and meeting people from all around the world. This year Loving Sailing is organizing yet another girl’s sailing trip to Greece, so if you have the chance you should really sign up for the trip – it’s bound to be epic!

    we are nodes sail week croatiaSailing Croatia SailweekThe sailing crew in Hvar. Photo by: Tatiana Boret- Olsson

    sail yacht week croatia loving sailing we are nodessail yacht week croatia loving sailing we are nodes2yacht week croatia sail we are nodes 1Sailing is also a great way to experience more of the country you are visiting. During our week we sailed from Trogir to Solta – Stari Gard – Hvar, Komiža – Vis – Šćedro – Hvar (Palmižana) before going back to Trogir. One week felt A LOT longer because everyday we went to a new place and experienced something completely new! We also got a chance to see many beautiful bays and places which would be difficult to explore if we weren’t travelling by boat.

    Watch our video from sail week in Croatia here:

    Visiting Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel

    Another highlight from July was when we visited Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel and interviewed the owner and entrepreneur Fredrik Sandell. Even though we had seen pictures of the Hobbit hotel before we visited, we both were surprised about the striking resemblance when we arrived. It’s almost unreal to see a full-scale replica of the Baggins house in the middle of a residential area in Stockholm. The doors opened in June 2017, but the Bed and Breakfast has already been featured in Swedish local TV (Nyhetsmorgon) and newspapers. And – to the owner Fredrik Sandell’s big surprise – without any real marketing efforts from their side, visitors from all over the world have started to find their way to Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel.

    Read about our grand tour at Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel here. 

    hobbit hotel stockholm
    Fredrik Sandell, the owner of Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel. 

     We were happy to be among the first ones to visit Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel.

    Watch our vlog from the Hobbit Hotel here:

    July-August – Balkan Roadtrip

    In July-August Yasmin went on a 16 day long Balkan roadtrip with her boyfriend through Montenegro, Albania and Greece. One day they were rafting in the world’s second deepest canyon and the next they were drinking home-made rakija with an 85-year-old uncle in a guest house in the village of Godinje in one of Montenegro’s many national parks. 

    Read her extensive Roadtrip guides with everything you need to know about road tripping in Montenegro and Albania:
    Balkan Tour 2017: Route, budget & practical tips for road tripping in Montenegro & Albania
    Balkan Tour 2017: Budva – Montenegro’s Miami 
    Balkan Tour 2017: Rafting in Tara River Canyon, Montenegro

    Blue Eye AlbaniaThe Blue Eye in Albania.
    balkantour-2017-montenegro-Tara Rafting-We are Nodes
    Coffee with a view in Tara River Canyon, the world’s second deepest canyon.

    Tara Rafting We are NodesThe highlight from Yasmin’s Balkan roadtrip was rafting in Tara River Canyon. The wetsuit protected large parts of the body from the cold water but not the arms – which is why everyone in the picture are holding their arms up so that they wouldn’t get a shock from the cold temperature.

    The story of how Yasmin and her boyfriend ended up at the crazy beach club Ploce when they were actually headed to Hawaii (an island in Budva) for a calm afternoon of sunbathing is actually quite funny. Read more about it in her Budva-guide here

    August – Weekend at Steam Hotel, Västerås

    What better way to start the new semester than with a weekend to the newly opened Steam Hotel in Västerås? The hotel is located a one hour drive from Stockholm and suits well for a weekend getaway. One of our favourite things with Steam Hotel was the spa area Voltage Lounge and the heated outdoor pool on floor 7 which is open all year round. Read our review here.

    Steam Hotel We are Nodes Entrance Steam Hotel Hotel Room We are Nodes Steam Hotel We are Nodes Outdoor pool and Wine Steam Hotel We are Nodes Voltage Lounge 2
    Steam Hotel is still a very new hotel, it opened in August 1st 2017.

    August – Finland

    In August we also visited our mum’s hometown Pori, in Finland, for a family reunion with our relatives on our mother’s side. It was nice to come back to Finland for a couple of days of sauna, traditional Finnish food and of course eating Tiikeri-ice cream at the Pellehermanin park.

    October – Cavtat & Dubrovnik, Croatia

    In October Yasmin went on a weekend to Cavtat & Dubrovnik. Her long weekend in Croatia at the end of October offered sunshine, a magical cliff side bar and lots of seafood! She stayed at a hotel in a small town called Cavtat which is less than 10 minutes by car from Dubrovnik Airport. Apart from spending one full day in Dubrovnik where she went by boat (which took about 1 hour each direction) she just took it easy, read books and even went on Aqua-Zumba (did we mention that she just turned 30 hehe?!) 

    Buza is a “hole in the wall” bar that can not be missed if you are in Dubrovnik! We can imagine that it is quite crowded here in the summer, but when Yasmin visited the bar off-season it was easy to find a good table without any hassle and enjoy this amazing view.

    sushi oyster bar cavtatIf you love sushi & oysters we would recommend a lunch at Sushi & Oyster Bar in Dubrovnik! The food, wine and the service was very good during our visit, which compensates for the higher price level compared to many other places in Croatia. The restaurant is centrally located in the old town of Ul. od Pustijerne, 20000 (near the cathedral).

    December – Interrail trip through the UK with Europarunt.se

    One of the best trips of the year was definitely our “off season” Interrail trip (or should we say Winterrail) through the UK that we did in collaboration with Europarunt.se. Going on a eurotrip in the winter might sound quite odd, but it’s actually something that we can really recommend! Not only is it much less crowded on the trains, the Interrail passes costs less off season, and we never had to reserve a single train seat during our entire trip (meaning: we could be more flexible and also spend money on far funnier things than train reservations!)

    We started our trip from London and then took the train through York, Glasgow, Loch Ness and Edinburgh. We and visited countless Christmas markets, crowded pubs, magical winter landscapes in the countryside and not to forget; stayed a night at the Dungeon suite at one of the world’s 25 most haunted hotels!

    Read about each of our stops & our Interrail summary here:
    Interrail Stop 1: London
    Interrail Stop 2: York
    Interrail Stop 3: Glasgow
    Interrail Stop 4: Loch Ness
    Interrail Stop 5: Edinburgh
    Interrail Stop 6: Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh
    Summary of our Interrail trip (Including Budget, Route and Practical Tips)

    kilmichael bed _ breakfast loch ness1Visiting Loch Ness was a dream come true and staying at Kilmichael b&b where the lovely owner Charlotte worked was a big reason for why Loch Ness has become one of our best travel experiences ever! If you are planning to visit Loch Ness, Kilmichael is the place to stay at! 

    One of our most memorable memories from our Interrail trip was staying a night at the Dungeon Suite at Dalhousie Castle, one of the world’s 25 most haunted hotels. Did we see a ghost or experience anything paranormal? Read our post to find out!

    Have you ever been to any of these places and what are your travel plans for 2018? 


  • Europe,  Madrid,  Spain

    4 Favoritplatser i Madrid + vart man ska hänga för att träffa Ansel Elgort!

    Skrivet av Sheida

    Min weekend i Madrid kan sammanfattas: tapas, sangria, värmebölja, jakten på den perfekta risotton och … Ansel Elgort? I början av sommaren var det full fart och dåligt med blogguppdateringar så här kommer en försenad miniguide till en långweekend i Madrid.

    madrid we are nodes circulo de bellas artes1

    Fit for flight?

    Min resa till Madrid fick ingen vidare start. Feber och superförkylning. Om det inte vore för att jag verkligen ville träffa mina kompisar från utbytesterminen i Nederländerna och för att jag älskar Madrid så hade jag gjort smartast i att inte åka alls. Men vem avbokar egentligen en resa?

    Med det sagt, använde jag mina sista krafter till att packa weekendväskan efter jobbet på onsdagskvällen och hoppade sömndrucken in i en taxi tidigt nästa morgon. Det blev det en lång och ganska jobbig flygresa med stopp i Riga och mycket hostade på planet. Väl framme i Madrid stapplade jag ut ur planet och satte kurs mot bankomaten för att ta ut pengar till flygbussen… bara för att inse att jag glömt bort mitt kod eftersom jag aldrig tar ut pengar längre. Och råkar spärra mitt kort! Här satt jag alltså ensam, sjuk, hungrig och dessutom pengalös som en extra liten bonus på Madrids flygplats.

    Av det lärde jag mig följande: 
    1. Växla ALLTID lite nödpengar innan du åker, oavsett hur sjuk eller trött du är.
    2. Skaffa ett kreditkort!
    3. Tacka gud för Western Union som råkade finnas på flygplatsen (och en snäll mamma som förde över pengar tills att mitt kort låstes upp igen).

    Nåväl, efter att ha fått i mig scampi med citron till middag (botemedlet mot allt?) och fick lägga huvudet på kudden den kvällen kändes allt bättre igen och jag var redo att njuta av Madrid – så mycket som en febrig person nu kan göra. Här är fem platser i Madrid som ni inte får missa: 

    1. För kändisspaning: Palacio Real

    Vi började vår Madrid-vistelse med en promenad till Palacio Real där jag inte var sen med att hitta en plats på den skuggiga muren för att vila. Tydligen var det ett bra ställe för att folkspana, för bara några minuter senare promenerar Ansel Elgort från “The Fault in the Stars” förbi och ställer sig precis framför oss. Och plötsligt står en grupp med fans runt honom och vill fotograferas. Spana in vloggen nedan!

    2. För att dricka drinkar: Círculo de Bellas Artes

    Min absoluta favorit-takterass i Madrid är penthousebaren på Hotel Me Reina Victoria (missa inte!) – men eftersom det är roligt att testa nya ställen valde vi denna gång att besöka Círculo de Bellas Artes för en drink efter fredagens middag. Terassen är en del av kulturhuset med samma namn och har en mycket fotovänlig panormautsikt över Madrid. Här hittar du en minst sagt blandad crowd; allt ifrån turister i shorts och flip flops, till spanska fashionistor, äldre par och unga studenter. En vacker utsikt, goda drinkar och avslappnad stämning går tydligen hem hos alla!

    madrid guide we arer nodes Círculo de Bellas Artes1

    madrid guide we arer nodes Círculo de Bellas Artes1

    madrid guide we arer nodes Círculo de Bellas Artes1

    Jag testade deras Moscow Mule och blev inte besviken! Men jag måste dock erkänna att jag inte drack upp hela utan det fick bli en kopp varm te när vi kom tillbaka till vår Airbnb lägenhet istället.

    madrid guide we arer nodes Círculo de Bellas Artes1

    Jag testade deras Moscow Mule och blev inte besviken! Men jag måste dock erkänna att jag inte drack upp hela utan det fick bli en kopp varm te när vi kom tillbaka till vår Airbnb lägenhet istället.

    Adress: Alcála 42, 28014 Madrid | Se på karta
    Metro: Sevilla (L2)
    Hemsida: http://www.circulobellasartes.com
    Inträde: 4 euro
    Öppettider: Mån-fre 09-02, Lör-sön 11-02.30

    3. För att äta middag: Whitby

    Vi fick tips från min kompis spanska kollega att boka bord (utomhus) på restaurangen Whitby. Vilket trevligt ställe! Området runtomkring var dessutom supercharmigt med massa schyssta uteserveringar, små barer och roligt folkspan. Jag måste dock säga att atmosfären och servicen på Whitby vägde upp för maten – min skaldjursrisotto var lite av en besvikelse men som tur var chokladtårtan och cappuccinon till efterrätt desto godare!

    whitby restaurant madrid we are nodes1

    Mina italienska kompisar suckade uppgivet när jag beställde in min cappuccino efter maten, eftersom det tydligen är “totalförbjudet” i Italien. Cappuccino ska endast drickas på morgonen, annars är det espresso som gäller. Men sen när ska man lyssna på italienares kafferåd? 😉

    whitby madrid we are nodes

    Har ni tips på andra grymma Madrid-restauranger får ni gärna lämna en kommentar. Jag var lite nyfiken på Amazónicooch Ramses. Har någon av er testat dessa?

    Adress: Calle de Almagro, 22, 28010 Madrid | Se på karta
    Boka bord: +34 913 19 70 88 
    Hemsida: www.whitby.es 

    4. För parkhäng: Retrio Park

    När man turistar i ett 37-gradigt Madrid med feber är det guld värt att hitta skuggiga oaser lite här och var för att vila. Retiro-parken är precis som Parc de la Ciutadella i Barcelona en riktig favorit, och även om den inte direkt är någon hemlighet för de flesta så tål den att uppmärksammas igen. Här spenderar jag lätt en halvdag (minst!) varje gång jag besöker Madrid. Och ingen var mer exalterad än jag för att ta en tupplur här kan jag lova!

    Efter lite sömn, en kall läsk, picknicklunch och musik, orkade jag till och med följa med på en kort shoppingtur i Salamanca. Men när resten av tjejerna beslöt sig för att gå till den gigantiska Primarkbutiken på Gran Vía begav jag mig hemåt för att vila. Bara tanken av ett flervånigt Primark gör mig, som inte ens gillar att gå i affärer i vanliga fall, svimfärdig.

    retiro parc madrid we are nodes1

    retiro parc madrid we are nodes2

    Adress: Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 | Se på karta
    Tips: Ta med dig picknick-lunch eller takeaway! Restaurangerna i parken är ingen hit.

    5. För tapas och sangria: Plaza de Santa Ana

    Plaza de Santa Ana ligger i centrala Madrid, bara några minuters gångväg från Puerta del Sol och Plaza Mayor, och är det perfekta tillhålet för kaffepauser/sangria-AW’s/tapasmiddagar/frukostar/drinkar/you name it. Detta torg ligger både mig och Yasmin varmt om hjärtat då vi har pluggat spanska på språkskolan Babylon Idiomas som låg mitt på torget (skolan har tyvärr stängt ner nu). Jag vet inte hur många gånger jag ätit tapas på Lateral eller beställt in en kallpressad apelsinjuice eller kaffe på rasterna. På Plaza de Santa Ana ligger även Hotel ME Victoria Reina med min favorittakterass som jag tipsade om i början på inlägget!

    plaza santa ana madrid guide

    Har ni varit i Madrid och vad tyckte ni om staden? Kom gärna med era bästa tips!