Archive for June, 2014

  • Sunday Selections

    I’ve spent this past weekend bunkered down, drowning in a neverending pile of paperwork. I’m finally paying for the fact that I’ve spent the last two weekends in Italy and then Serbia, frolicking about without a care in the world. Now I’m playing catch up. Friends, I hope you’ve had a doubly exciting weekend, to make up for the lack of fun in mine!

    Heavenly cups like this one have been my saviour this weekend…

    Coffee, The Barn Roastery, Berlin

    WATCH: There’s nothing like a good laugh to make you feel energised. In this interesting clip, psychologist Dr Robert Provine investigates the anatomy behind laughter. Fascinating stuff.

    READ: Don’t these gorgeous photographs by Finn Beales just make you want to pack your bags right now and head off on the adventure of a lifetime? Yes. If you’re not following him on Instagram, you should be.

    EAT: These peanut butter and chocolate energy bars are exactly what the doctor ordered. Now, only if I had time to make some! I do admit though, they are pretty darn easy to whip up.

    MAKE: I love the look of this DIY ladder wardrobe. I can definitely see this in my bedroom.

    DREAM BUY: What an incredible experience it would be to book one of the ‘treerooms’ at Sweden’s Treehotel one day. Über cool.

    BUDGET BUY: How cute are these royalli slip-on flats from Nine West? Super comfy, stylish and cheap.

    GO: I’ve had a whirlwind few weeks, having spent the past two weekends in two new new countries. I’ve loved every minute of it, but have to say that I’m a little exhausted right now and am happy to lay low in Berlin for the next few!

    Wishing you a happy week!

  • Rome in the Rain

    It always amazes me how quiet the streets become when it begins to rain. People dart for shelter or waste hours of their time holed up in a hotel room. I, on the other hand, don’t mind at all when it rains. It means that the streets are deserted and, in such a tourist saturated city such as Rome, this is a rare luxury. Sunday week ago, I spent the morning wandering around the gloriously empty city. What an unexpected treat!

    Rome in the rain, Italy

    I had the Spanish Steps all to myself. Can you believe it?

    Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy

    Rome in the rain, Italy

    Pantheon, Rome, Italy

    Rainy days are never something to shy away from. In Paris over Christmas, I experienced a similar thing, wandering around the beautiful Le Marais neighbourhood early in the rainy morning with not a soul for company. Empty streets in Paris? Over Christmas? Surely that’s unheard of! Deserted lanes in Rome? In summer? Impossible! I think I might do a few little rain dances before my next trip away. What do you think?

  • Sunday Selections

    I’ve had a whirlwind of a weekend in Belgrade, Serbia, celebrating the wedding of some very dear friends. This lovely couple has been living and working in Japan for the past few years and it was so special to be able to reconnect after so long. I look forward to the day when we are both living in the same city once more!

    Meanwhile, here’s a little snapshot from last weekend in Roma. More posts coming this week!

    Trastevere, Rome, Italy

    WATCH: At a startling speed, cultures are losing their age-old traditions, customs and handicrafts to the ever-increasing influence of the modern world. This short excerpt from a longer documentary gives a brief insight into the dying craft of traditional hunting blowpipes from the perspective of one of the elders of a Bornean tribe. Balan is the last person in his village to practice the art. It’s so sad to think that this knowledge will inevitably be lost.

    READ: Cruising the Californian coast is pretty high up there on the bucket list already, but this beautiful photography feature from Cereal Magazine has nudged it even higher. Spectacular.

    EAT: A lot of heavy (but oh so delicious) Serbian food and more than a little wine was consumed over the last few days. I’m not complaining one bit — is there a better way to celebrate a Serbian/Argentinian wedding? I think not. But this week a little detox will happen and I’m already craving these fresh Vietnamese spring rolls.

    MAKE: Edible typography macarons? Awesome party idea.

    DREAM BUY: These hotel room views may certainly come with a hefty price tag but wouldn’t it be nice to splurge one day, sit back and take it all in? I don’t think I would ever leave the hotel…

    BUDGET BUY: Looking for a cheap getaway? Serbia is your destination! As you know, I’ve just returned from a weekend in Belgrade and I just can’t believe how cheap it was. Serbia is a poor nation with a dark past that has not yet been overrun with tourists like most of Europe. As a result, you will be very pleased (like I was) to find that you won’t spend a fortune there. Accommodation is very cheap and you can easily find a very nice three star hotel and pay around €60 per night.

    GO: Over the past week two weekends I’ve taken 6 flights and have pounded the pavements of Italy, Serbia and, of course, Germany, in between working a full time job. This life is truly incredible and I am so thankful for every moment!

    Wishing you a happy week!

  • Where to Eat Lunch in Rome: Kmzero, Trastevere

    Ah, Trastevere. What a charming little Roman neighbourhood. Slowly strolling along the uneven cobblestone paths that snake their way through this old, medieval quarter is a must when visiting Rome. Hours will magically disappear as you get lost in this beautiful, romantic part of the city.

    But one needs some sustenance at some point. Feet start aching from countless kilometres of walking (Rome is a city to be explored on foot, that’s for sure), and bellies will start rumbling because a cornetto and cappuccino is not the most filling of breakfasts. To revitalise, a delicious, nutritious lunch at Kmzero is exactly what is needed.

    KMzero Trastevere, Rome, Italy

    Kmzero is a delightful little hole in the wall owned by a Roman couple with a passion for organic and regional produce. The vast majority of the food served here comes from their farm or from their close friends’ farms, which are located on the outskirts of Rome.

    KM0, Trastevere, Rome, Italy

    Once you step inside this small, homely space that is only furnished with three or four tables, you will be greeted warmly and advised that there is no menu here. In fact, there is only one option if your belly is rumbling after a hot morning of sightseeing: a farmer’s plate full of organic seasonal vegetables, meats, cheeses and preserves. Yes please. Oh, and a glass of organic wine would be lovely too.

    The plates will change daily, depending on what produce has been harvested from the farm. Our plate contained beautiful crusty, chewy sourdough topped with the most delicious chicory, tomatoes, ricotta and sautéed cabbage. Framing this vegie goodness was two kinds of sheep’s cheese: a hard, aged variety drizzled with honey, and a soft variety topped with a dollop of homemade chilli jam, as well as the most beautiful prosciutto and salami. Now that’s a good lunch. And all for €10. Bargain.

    Farmer's Platter, KMzero, Trastevere, Rome, Italy

    Kmzero also stocks an extensive range of homemade chutneys, marmelade, pestos, passata and wine. Guaranteed, you will be tempted to purchase some of the fresh produce that is available to take home, especially after you taste the complimentary dessert of ricotta, plum jam and cherries.

    KMzero, Trastavere, Rome, Italy

    Wine, KMzero, Trastevere, Rome, Italy

    Nourished, satisfied and perhaps a little smiley after a few glasses of that lovely organic wine (or maybe because you’re just in Rome in general), you’re ready to resume your afternoon meanderings.

    Address: Vicolo de Cinque 30/a, 00153 Rome, Italy

    Open: Mondays to Saturdays. Closed Sundays.


    What is your favourite lunching spot in Rome?

  • Sunday Selections

    Travel delays. Don’t you love them? Last night, my flight from Rome back to Berlin was delayed for three hours due to intense thunderstorms over the city, throwing Fiumicino Airport into chaos and meaning that you’re reading my usual Sunday post on a Monday.

    I hope you had a dreamy weekend because I certainly did! What better way to spend a weekend than by jet-setting down to Rome for 48 hours? Perfect.

    Trastevere, Rome, Italy

    WATCH: As I’ve said before, I love watching movies or documentaries filmed in places that I will be visiting soon and last weekend’s little sojourn to Rome was no exception. I revisited ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ last week to admire Italy’s beautiful scenery, including Rome, in which parts of the film were shot. Yesterday I stood on the Spanish Steps looking down into the café where Marge and Meredith met. Surreal.

    READ: My feet were feeling pretty itchy as I was reading this article which highlights a list of the Top 100 Travel Photographers in the World. I never want to stop exploring!

    EAT: I would like this fennel, leek and orange pork osso buco in my belly soon.

    MAKE: Pressing flowers in heavy, old books is just something that little girls love — in my case, anyway. I love this idea for making your own pressed flower tags for presents. How special.

    DREAM BUY: Whilst buying a house is of no interest to me whatsoever right now, one day in the future it would be rather nice to live in this kind of home.

    BUDGET BUY: I adore this bandeau bikini from Triangl in the white animal print. And at under AUD$100 for the set? Bargain.

    GO: Life is busy at the moment with work pressures, but what better way to recharge on the weekend than by exploring somewhere new? It was Rome last weekend and next weekend it’s Belgrade. I may arrive at work exhausted on Monday mornings (especially when flight delays are involved) but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Wishing you a wonderful week!

  • Motorcycle Riding in Goa, India

    Motorcycle Riding in Goa

    Okay, I’ll admit it. India may not be the safest place to ride a motorcycle. In fact, it’s probably the most dangerous place to do so. You certainly should never consider hiring a motorcycle in chaotic Delhi, or any of India’s busy cities in fact. But if, say, you’re spending a few days down south in Goa, maybe in the tiny, sleepy beach town of Agonda, you may very well feel a little urge to hire a Royal Enfield for the day.

    It will set you back the equivalent of around twenty Australian dollars and, let me guarantee you, without a doubt it will be the best twenty bucks you’ll spend on transport during your trip.

    Royal Enfield, Goa, India

    Jump on your bike and set off for a day of exploring the quiet backroads of this gorgeous, tranquil part of southern India. The air is clean and fresh down this way and letting it rush into your lungs is best done on the back of a motorcycle under the shade of palm trees. Encountering any kind of traffic is rare and the roads are excellent, so you can be assured that your ride will be stress-free.

    Goa, India

    Royal Enfield, Goa, India

    Royal Enfield, Goa, India

    Perhaps a visit to the fort of Cabo de Rama (an old Hindu fortification before being seized by the Portuguese in 1763) could be on the cards? I highly recommend it. And can you really think of a better way to travel the 30 minutes it takes to get there from Agonda? I can’t.

    Where did you rent a motorcycle on your travels?

  • Great Coffee in Berlin Part 2: Silo Coffee

    Still looking for that perfect drop to start your morning right in Berlin? Last week, I suggested Café 9 in Kreuzberg next door to Markthalle Neun for a quality cup. If you’re situated more east than south, however, Silo Coffee is your place to be.

    I love everything about this café. From the friendly Australian baristas to the spacious, minimalistic wooden and brick interior, from the perfect flat whites to the most divine cheesecake — what’s not to love?

    Silo Coffee, Berlin

    Silo Coffee, Berlin

    To further add to my Silo obsession, just this week they launched their breakfast menu. Finally, Melbourne-style breakfasts have made their way to Berlin thanks to these guys! This city was in desperate need of this. You see, cold breakfasts of hard boiled eggs, cheeses, bread and cold meats don’t really cut it for me. I’m used to breakfasts made from top quality, organic ingredients; breakfasts that are packed full of nutrients and deliciousness. Living in Melbourne for my first 27 years set the bar pretty darn high for my breakfast expectations.

    So you can imagine that I became more than a little excited when I saw these beautiful sights yesterday morning.

    Breakfast, Silo Coffee, Berlin

    Breakfast, Silo Coffee, Berlin

    Silo Coffee, Berlin

    I have a feeling that weekend mornings at Silo are going to become a pretty regular thing.

    Open: 8:30 am to 7:00pm every day. Breakfast is served until 3pm.

    Where is your favourite weekend breakfast spot?

  • Sunday Selections

    Summer has well and truly reached the city this weekend, with temperatures in Berlin predicted to push into the mid-30s over the next few days. I couldn’t be happier!


    WATCH: Doesn’t this beautiful little video just make you want to pack your bags right now and jump on a plane to Vietnam? I was there in 2010 but would love to go back again soon.

    READ: I have never been to South Korea, but Jessica Stein’s photos of Seoul on her gorgeous blog, ‘Tuula Vintage’ have ensured that a visit to this incredible city is definitely on the list now.

    EAT: Hot summer days call for this kind of breakfast. Yum.

    MAKE: Now that the warmer weather has finally arrived in Europe, insect bites on balmy evenings are inevitable. Thankfully, this DIY Natural Bug Bite Balm will help ease the pain!

    DREAM BUY: I am desperate to travel to Costa Rica within the next few years and think that the luxurious Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens would be the most luxurious and romantic place to stay. Potential future honeymoon destination perhaps?

    BUDGET BUY: I was thrilled with my vintage necklace purchase at last night’s ‘The Wardrobe’ night clothing market at Platoon Kunsthalle. My friend and I spent such a fun evening together drinking wine and devouring delicious food from the many Bite Club food trucks, before heading indoors to get our shop on.

    GO: I’m off to Rome next weekend for a whirlwind 48 hours so I’m currently researching how to make my time count there. Any tips as to where I should head?

    Have a lovely Sunday!

  • Slowly Down the Ganges, India

    Slowly Down the Ganges

    After a whirlwind few days in overwhelming Delhi, the second part of the Intrepid trip that I took around northern India in late 2011 saw a complete change of pace and scenery. I must say that I was looking forward to giving my senses a few days of rest after the unrelenting crush of life that Delhi is known for.

    After spending a less than comfortable night on a local overnight train, we arrived at the small town of Mirzapur on the banks of the sacred Ganges where we would begin a three day sailing trip to Varanasi.

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    We boarded our traditional, wooden fishing boats and off we set.

    Ganges River, India

    Each boat was equipped with a full support crew which included sailers, cooks and guides to look after us on our journey. As soon as we boarded we quickly became comfortable, lounging on a thick padding of pillows and blankets. Lunch was served immediately to our delight (it’s unsafe to eat the food served on trains in India so we hadn’t eaten in over 18 hours) and our growling stomachs were satisfied with some of the most delicious vegetarian food I have ever tasted.

    Indian Food Served on the Ganges River

    We drifted down the river slowly, observing rural life as we went; such a contrast to the frenetic pace of the city. The villagers were always smiling, especially when dinner had just been caught fresh!

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    Our crew was wonderfully attentive, regularly brewing hot chai for us and ensuring that we were always well-fed with an impressive array of vegetarian dishes. It was quite incredible that such delicious food could be prepared on such a small boat with limited equipment.

    After a peaceful day of sailing and as the temperature dipped lower, our campsite, situated on a sandy embankment, was reached. Immediately a fire was lit to keep us warm and offer comfort in this somewhat isolated and foreign environment. We huddled together, crew and travellers, and whilst the language barrier proved difficult for us to communicate verbally, our smiles, laughter and gratitude for such wonderful hospitality ensured that nothing was left unsaid.

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    As the fog quickly closed in around us, our tents were pitched for the evening and, after we had inhaled enough smoke from the campfire for the night, we turned in.

    Ganges River, India

    Ganges River, India

    The night was cold, with temperatures barely hovering above 0°, but we slept soundly in our cosy tents, wrapped warmly in woollen blankets.

    Day two progressed much the same way as the first- more peaceful idling downstream, gazing out onto rural life by the river. Being India, however, one thing was inevitable at some point during the trip: a stomach bug. Unfortunately, mine chose to strike in the evening of the second day of sailing, rendering me completely helpless in an isolated environment. After four hours of severe illness, the trip leader deemed it necessary to evacuate me from the remote embankment on which we were camping and get me to Varanasi where medical attention was available. So at 3am I was bundled onto the boat with only burning coals from the fire as warmth and, together with a supremely attentive and caring crew, we set off into the deep foggy darkness.

    An indeterminable amount of time later, the boat finally reached the tiny village where a taxi had been arranged to take me to Varanasi. God only knows how the driver found our location in the fog that blanketed the entire region; visibility was less that 5 metres! After a 45 min unbearably bumpy ride on gravel roads in a car that seemed to possess no suspension whatsoever, I thankfully found myself lying in a very basic hotel room observing a Sikh doctor preparing syringes filled with anti-nausea medication.

    Becoming ill in India is a given. If you can accept that before you even arrive, it will make the whole experience just a little more bearable. You may even chuckle to yourself at one point, like I did on this particular evening that I don’t think I will soon forget. Hey, if I was going to get sick in India, at least I had an adventure at the same time.

    What sailing adventures have you had abroad?

    *Photography by Rachel Bale and Benjamin Last

  • Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    I’m a sucker for markets, I have to say. Sundays in Berlin is Flea Market day. On Tuesdays and Fridays one can stock up at the cheap Turkish Market along the canal in Kreuzberg. But I do have a favourite. After a morning coffee next door at Café 9, I really do love a slow wander around Markthalle Neun on my Saturday.

    Unfortunately in Berlin, many of the old market halls no longer exist, having either been sold to private investors who have since transformed them into supermarkets or discount halls, or been destroyed in WWII. Markthalle Neun is an exception, however, and is counted among only three of the original fourteen market halls remaining across the city (hence the original name, ‘Market Hall Nine’). An initiative dedicated to restoring and maintaining these historical buildings for their original purpose helped save Markthalle Neun from following the fate of the other eleven halls.

    Markthalle Neun, Kreuzberg, Berlin

    Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    There are a few reasons why this market place holds the title as my favourite Saturday market in Berlin. First and foremost, the quality of the produce available here is unparalleled. It is here that you can find organic, free-range meat and locally grown produce from the immediate region. Many of the vendors here are family businesses and they are truly passionate about the quality of their goods.

    It is here that you will find one of Berlin’s best bakeries, Sironi, run by Italian Alfredo Sironi. The entire baking process is on display to passersby who can watch through the large windows to the side of the shopfront.

    Sironi Bakery, Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    I cannot visit Markthalle Neun without stopping by Big Stuff Smoked BBQ for lunch. American-style smoked meat is not hugely popular across Berlin just yet, but this place is changing that, fast. This truly is THE place to get your meat on. Using an oven especially imported from Tennessee, the resulting slow-cooked, smoky meat really is something else. Three cuts are generally available: pork belly, beef brisket and pulled pork and you can choose to have this juicy melt-in-your-mouth goodness served in either a sandwich or on a meat plate. Drool.

    Big Stuff Smoked BBQ, Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    Meat Platter, Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    Of course, there are plenty of other options to keep your belly full, such as the famous Glut und Späne (traditional smoked fish from the Baltic sea or the local lakes) or the hearty German fare from Kantine Neun. Drink options are also aplenty.

    Homemade Lemonade, Markthalle Neun, Berlin

    And why not pick up some fresh flowers while you’re there? Pink peonies are my favourite at this time of year.

    Markthalle Flower Stall, Berlin

    The farmer’s market on Fridays and Saturdays isn’t the only time to head to Markthalle Neun, however. Every Thursday evening, the hall hosts ‘Street Food Thursdays‘ from 5pm- 10pm — an event attracting a wide range of vendors without on-site kitchens who showcase their speciality bites from around the world. More on this great little weeknight street food party coming soon.

    Wochenmarkt (weekly farmer’s market) is open every Friday and Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

    Street Food Thursday happens every Thursday from 5pm to 10pm.

    The brand new Breakfast Market will launch on the 15th June and will occur every third Sunday of the month.


    Where do you head for great regional, organic produce in your city?