Quiche is, in addition to the choice of NFL teams, almost the only other thing that divides this house. I love it, Aljoša hates it. OK, hate is a strong word, but he just really doesn’t like it.
1. Plan ahead
London is a huge city and if you only have a good two or three days there, you really really need to plan ahead, divide the city into parts and see which sights and locations are close to each other and you can squeeze them into the same day. By knowing what and where you want to see, you’ll also know whether to take the London Pass (point 3) or not.
If you plan well, you’ll be able to visit one or more of the amazing markets, such as The Columbia Road flower market, the Broadway market and the Duke of York Square market (check the opening times online). We didn’t get the chance to visit those because (a) it was raining when the flower market was open, and (b) we were there for the NFL UK game, so that took one of the weekend days as well.
2. Go to the Old Hat pub
It might sound like a random advice for a post about general tips on weekend in London but it really is a whole experience and the best of both worlds, basically. Why? Because it’s not a random, half-run-down pub but a really polished place you wouldn’t even call a pub, but at the same time has all the qualities a pub must have – cheap beer and G&Ts and delicious, mostly fried food that comes in big piles and tones of side sauces and dips that don’t always make sense.
Oh, and some fun moments: an old guy, sitting in his booth, watching TV and drinking beer, while falling asleep all of a sudden, still holding his beer, of course. Or two guys, hitting on the same woman, by the bar, all around 40 years old and not that attractive. You really can just sit there all day and observe the people. And drink gin of course.
3. Take the London Pass or at least the Hop-on-Hop-off bus
The London Pass is a sightseer credits package, that allows you to visit all attractions on their list. This is why it’s good to plan ahead. Some museums and galleries in London are free, so if this is on your list, London Pass might not be useful. But there’s a bunch of interesting things to see that are included in the London Pass, one of them being the London ZOO. There you can even hang out with King Julian up close as they have
Otherwise at least buy a ticket for the Hop-on-Hop-off bus, since they all have live guides (some of them quite funny) and you get to see London from “above” (= not riding the underground) without needing to walk for miles and miles. Hop-on-hp-off busses are a great way to get from one place of interest to the other, and they even take you across the Tower Bridge.
4. Visit Notting Hill
Whether you’ve watched the movie or not, Notting Hill is a must visit for everyone, apart from those who for some reason really really hate pretty buildings. Is there such people? I don’t know, but what I do know is that the houses in Notting Hill are charming and welcoming. Maybe even to welcoming for the people who actually live there and have Instagramers standing on their front door, posing for the picture with the most likes. I didn’t do that but I did take some lovely pictures of the neighbourhood from a (sort of) respectful distance.
Also nearby is the Museum of Brands, where you can see the history of packaging, brands and advertising and it’s actually quite fun. Also included in the London Pass.
5. Prepare to wait
Wait for the Underground train (which run very often, not to be mistaken), wait for the hop-on-hop-off bus, wait to buy tickets, wait to get through security check and.. wait to get your picture taken at Platform 9 3/4. The platform 9 3/4 is inside the King’s Cross station (which is quite obvious but the Google maps shows it almost outside the station plus at one entrance it seems like you need a ticket to even get inside the station, but you don’t) – just go inside the station through the main gate and walk straight down towards – yes, you’ve guessed it – platforms 9 and 10, and you’ll see it on the right. If nothing else, a long line of people should give it away.
You can have a friend take a picture of you for no charge or you can buy the “official” picture taken by one of the employees. No one pushes you to buy the photo, though, so that’s something I really liked.
6. Eat Asian food
While trying not to insult anyone, I’m going to gently try to say that British food is not one of the best in the world. Luckily, though, London is a real melting pot which brings an amazing thing with it – loads and loads of different restaurants. While it would probably take you around 50 years to try out all the restaurants in London (for real, there were more than 18.000 in 2015) and I am far from being able to say that I am an expert in London restaurants and can suggest THE best one, I can suggest you go to some Asian restaurants with delicious food: Viet Eat and On the Bab (Covent Garden). A tip: order different small portions and share, so you can try as many things as possible.
7. Visit the Beafeeter distilery
One of the “hidden gems” of London (at least for the G&T lovers) is the Beefeater distillery. It’s included in the London Pass or you can pay 15 GBP for a guided tour with tasting and one gin & tonic per person. The building itself is quite stunning, don’t you think?
But what’s even more stunning is that this is actually a quite small distillery which is their only distillery, producing Beefeater gin for the entire world. They made 35 million bottles in 2017, and what’s even more impressive, only 5 people work on the actual production of the gin (so this does not include development, administration etc., of course). Yeah, you heard right, 5 people! Plus you get to taste a few shots of gin and enjoy a gin and tonic at their bar.
8. Get lost in the city
Just stroll around and enjoy the views. While the underground and the bus will get you almost anywhere, it’s sometimes fun to just walk around and see what you can see along the way, with just a basic destination set in your navigation, but kind off ignoring it most of the time. One great route to do so is the way from the Westminster station where you can see Big Ben and the London Eye, all the way up to the Covent Garden. Walk along the river as long as you can, and you’ll pass the Scotland Yard and some lovely gardens and buildings. Covent Garden is an experience as well, both in the morning when you can see it all peaceful and clean as well as in the afternoon when it’s all busy and buzzing.
9. Visit the Old Bank of England Pub
I know, I know, another pub, but this one really is more of a museum than a pub. The pub resides in the old Law Court’s branch of the previous Bank of England which operated from 1888 to 1975 and the interior is spectacular. Just order some draft beer and enjoy the views. You can just sit there all day and enjoy the little details of this gorgeous interior. And the good thing is, the pub is along
10. Don’t lose your Oyster card
Just kidding, I only said that because Aljoša managed to lose it in the first hour after we’ve bought it. But, yeah, don’t lose it. Oyster card is basically the only way to get around London with public transport, so you make sure you get it. It works both with underground as well as buses and you’ll see after each ride how much money you have left. What is something most tourists don’t seem to know, though, is the fact that you can get the “deposit”, that you pay for the card when you buy it, back. How? Just head to one of the machines where you can top it up, and chose the return option. There’ll be helpful underground employees there to help you, so don’t worry. This does not work with the Oyster card that comes with the London Pass, though, since you also don’t pay any deposit there. You can get the leftover money back, though, the same way as described above.
When you get delicious sweet wine as a gift (in our case, worth 50 EUR per 0.5 liter but in a plastic vinegar bottle, to be exact), you can either just drink it all or use a part of it to make this amazing dessert. It’s so simple, anyone can do it, I promise. And from experience, it will get even the non-dessert-lovers praising it and wanting more! As I am one of those people who never reads the introduction stories in the recipe blogs and I just keep scrolling down to get to the recipe already, I’ll just get straight to it:
Early in the morning you’ll drive up to Chefchaouen. The blue city. “There are several theories as to why the walls were painted blue. One popular theory is that the blue keeps mosquitos away, another is that Jews introduced the blue when they took refuge from Hitler in the 1930s. The blue is said to symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life. However, according to some locals, the walls were mandated to be painted blue simply to attract tourists at some point in the 1970s.” (source: Wikipedia). If the later is true, it sure is working.
Describing Morocco in one sentence would be really, really hard. You can’t even fit all the words that describe their landscapes in one sentence, let alone all the flavours, markets, souks, riads, and people. But you can see most of Morocco in 2 weeks and here’s the (in my opinion) perfect itinerary.
Have you ever seen the TV series Munchies? We discovered it by chance when eating pizza in Zagreb, Croatia (I know, so random), and then we searched clips of it on YouTube, and found a clip of a chef making tiramisu from scratch. So I decided to make my, wait for it, FIRST EVER TIRAMISU! I can’t believe it took me so long but here it is.
OK, so you’ve decided you want to go to Scotland and you’re all ready and familiar with my 10 tips for travel in Scotland. You also know that you have a good 7 days of time to see the most of Scotland, so here’s where I come in with my week in Scotland travel guide (itinerary) or how to get the most out of your 7 days in Scotland.
Arrive late night at Edinburgh airport. Pick up your rented car at Sixt (or other rental company) and drive to the nearby hotel – I suggest Holiday Inn Express since it is a 3 minute drive away, you always know what you get and the rooms are clean and modern. We’re not fans of their breakfasts, but that’s maybe because of the English breakfast, not Holiday Inn Express in general. Well, at least you get an excuse to eat a croissant and Nutella for breakfast.
Traveling has become a lot easier in the past few years, with all the information about the sights, roads, weather, accommodation, and plane tickets available online, but we still have to do some work on our own to plan our perfect vacation. I personally love doing this (for the most part), but sometimes it would be helpful to get some tips to prepare for a carefree trip. So here are my 10 tips for travel around Scotland:
1. Rent a car
Don’t be afraid of driving a car in Scotland just because they drive on the left side of the road. Driving around in a car is the fastest way to get around Scotland and it will also allow you to see the most of it. Rent a car with an automatic transmission (it’s a lot easier to have one less thing to think about) and a diesel (it is cheaper and the car will use less fuel on long distances). I suggest you rent it at Sixt – we booked a small Škoda Fabia but since they did not have it at the moment, they gave us the BMW 320d for the same price. This is their policy – if they don’t have it, they’ll just give you a better one. And the drivers in Scotland are very good and polite, so you really have nothing to fear.
Follow their traffic conditions site and you should be fine. There are no road tolls to pay on any type of road, so you’ll save up with this (and have more money for the fuel).
This past weekend was a very special one for me, which will definitely stay in my memory for a long time. Firstly, because we visited Graz, where I have not yet been (and also because I could cheer for Aljoša on the flag football tournament) despite a rainy and cold August Saturday, and secondly because it was my birthday. This special occasion called for a birthday lunch. Where? In Gostilna Grič (restaurant). I heard a lot about Gostilna Grič as a restaurant that is considered one of the better in that region of Slovenia, but also of Zlati Grič as a producer of wines that excite your taste buds so that you can not easily forget them. Although the restaurant and winery have separate owners, they are nevertheless very connected (it is food and wine we are talking about after all). Find out what we ate and what we drank below. 😉