Tag Archives: travelblog

Food & travel behaviors

I bet there is not a single one of you out there reading this who never posted at least one picture of his food!!
Right? 🙂

It seems to me we are all surrounded by food. We are not just surrounded, we are flooded with images of food and drink. Drowning.

A look into facebook, instagram and co. is enough to see what my friends have eaten at the restaurant, what they have cooked at home, what their babies are eating… You can’t even escape this trend by watching tv: there are food-shows everywhere!!

Lugano14food
Italian food and lifestyle in Lugano

Even if I definitely do not want to see very single dish you are eating at home or at the restaurant around the corner, I think this is a good trend. People were eating privately, not really thinking about if the food is beautiful, healthy, ugly… worth a picture or not. We finally think about the food. About where it comes from, what effects it has on our bodies and most important: what effect it has on our friends who see it posted. It became a kind of status symbol.

By the way… I am loving this new trend of the short cooking instructions videos (like the ones of “Tasty” any many more). It makes cooking seem easy and accessible to everyone.

Delicious Waffle in Greece
Delicious Waffle in Greece

Are you a food-driven traveler?

Nowadays, when we travel we do not just want to show our friends at home the hotel room or the beautiful panoramic views we are seeing, we want to also show (and show off 😉 ) which restaurants we are going to and what we are eating.

Europe is trendsetter in this, and it seems this trend has also been carried overseas to the USA. I read that incredible 95 percent of American travelers are interested in a unique food experience when they travel. It was only 47 percent in 2013!

Thinking about how I chose my travel destinations I notice  that food definitely plays a big role! I can define myself as a food & cuisine driven traveler.

Travel & Food
Destinations are promoting themselves through their food: in this case Spain.

Generally speaking, I am always happy when I am able to find out more of the culture through the food, so it is always an adventure for me to try something I have never eaten before, but if I feel uncomfortable with the local food then this influences the mood of the entire trip.

Fortunately this happened just once very strongly. It wasn’t even a too exotic destination. I won’t tell you which destination it was. But if you want you can guess! 🙂

Back to us: this is changing the landscape of travel. Destinations are changing their marketing campaigns and tourism professionals are spotting a good business with culinary experience travel.

Foodies are looking for a deeper experience than the random restaurant suggestions we can read in every travel guide.

Wine and travel
Wines also play an impotant role in the travel experience

But how do you find the places and restaurants to visit?

A local travel advisor can be very helpful. Travel agents had lost a lot of importance due to the fact that all of us prefer to go the direct way and look into the internet instead of go through a travel agency. But in this case local agencies can really help. They know the hot spots and can offer you an authentic food experience … even if it’s only by their personal experience. I think you can find out very easily if you are talking to someone who knows what you are searching for.

If you want to organize everything on your own you can do some research on the internet. You can normally easily find some guest’s reviews or bloggers suggestions.

Just be careful not to choose a restaurant only because of its massive presence on the internet, this does not automatically mean it is good. The small delicious restaurant around the corner will normally not even have a homepage.

Which are your favorite destinations when it comes to food?
It would be interesting to find out.

PS: Okay I admit, I am also often taking pictures of my food … just now, after having written this article, my smartphone fell into my salad… 😉

Love of Food
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”

What to do in Berlin if it’s freezing?!

I love Berlin
I love Berlin

The first thing that comes into my mind when I think of the trip to Berlin is: avoid visiting Berlin in the winter!! It is freezing and windy. Not the right weather conditions for a city trip.
I was there in the end of November with some friends.

I have never been in Berlin before and I knew that 3 days would just last for a few of the things that I wanted to see, so I expected long walks and a tight schedule. Well, I noticed quite soon that it was too cold to walk around for more than 15 minutes and actually it was already dark at around 4 pm, which is really too early if you do not want to wake up too early in the morning during your vacation.
So here we were, a couple of weeks after the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November 2014.

We needed a plan B. And plan B was soon found: Sightseeing tours in double-decker buses!

With a Map for the perfect orientation and the explanations in your mother tongue you can reach any point of the city
With a Map for the perfect orientation and the explanations in your mother tongue you can reach any point of the city

I know – I know, this is not really what is called an adventure city trip, and I am not a fan of these busses neither, but believe me: windy -9° C is definitely too cold to walk around!

We soon found out that there are four tours offered by Berlin City Tour:
– the Classic Tour which includes all the major attractions of Berlin, such as Brandenburg Gate, KaDeWe, Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdamer Platz and TV Tower.

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburg Gate

– the Wall and Lifestyle Tour, which takes you to the Berlin Wall Memorial, to an original WWII bunker, to Prenzlauer Berg with its countless restaurants, cafes and galleries, to the East Side Gallery, which is the longest preserved part of the Berlin Wall, and much more…

The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall

– the Westend Tour with a view of the exclusive residential areas and the famous Ku’damm, the Charlottenburg Palace, the ICC and Radio Tower and the Olympic Stadium.

– the Boat Tour, which is of course a boat cruise on the River Spree to see the most famous sights of Berlin.

Click here for the rates (there is a small discount if you book online).

We booked the Tours 1 and 2 and it was the best choice: a good way to see the city despite of the freezing cold. Of course you have the possibility to go out of the bus at any point and explore the areas you are interested in on your own, and then proceed with the tour whenever you want. This means that you can also just use it as an easy alternative to public transport to get from A to B.

Tour 2 was interesting as we saw parts of ex-Eastern Berlin which kept the flair of 25 years ago, where one can imagine how life was before the fall of the wall.
On this Tour you do not have a recorded voice explaining what you see, but a real guide, which is of course nicer. The guide only speaks German and English, but the real problem was that our guide explained everything very much in detail in German and just spent few words in English, so that the explanation was nearly useless in English.

We went off the bus to explore the parts of the city that we absolutely wanted to see more in detail and got a good overall idea of the city. The Tours stop at around 4 pm, which means that you have the possibility to live the evening on your own.
Berlin Signs

Now I have the impression that I need to go back to Berlin to “live” the city when it’s warmer, but I was positively surprised about how the City Tours Busses saved my trip to Berlin and how I now know what I would love to explore a bit better next time. I am definitely looking forward to my next trip to this unique city!

Potsdamer Platz:
We slept at the Marriott at Potsdamer Platz, which I found out to be my favorite area of Berlin.

Potsdamer Platz by night
Potsdamer Platz by night

Potsdamer Platz is a great mixture between high modern buildings and the historical charm of Berlin. The square was divided by the wall, and after the fall quickly became one of the most exciting “in” places of Berlin.

A piece of Wall at Potsdamer Platz
A piece of Wall at Potsdamer Platz

The square was developed by Daimler and opened on 2 October 1998, with a spectacular architectural diversity and a huge cultural offer due to the Berlinale, the Expressionale, three theatres, a casino, two nightclubs, two health centers, a shopping mall and around 30 restaurants, bars and cafés in addition to offices and apartments.

Marriott Potsdamer Platz:
The Marriott Potsdamer Platz is located inside the Beisheim Center building, which has been inaugurated in 2004. Apart of the Marriott Hotel, it includes The Ritz Carlton, several offices and some apartments which were the first in Germany profiting of the “Five Star Plus Hotelservice”, which means that the inhabitants can use the services and the infrastructure of the Ritz Carlton to live in luxury.

Marriott Potsdamer Platz hotel lobby seen from one of the floors with the hotel rooms
Marriott Potsdamer Platz hotel lobby seen from one of the floors with the hotel rooms

The style of the Marriott is modern and elegant, with a spacious hotel lobby, a very inviting Hotel Bar and restaurant. The room we got was big and bright due to the floor-to-ceiling windows, with a very modern and functional bathroom and a huge fluffy bed.
The Wellness Area includes a beautiful pool and a small sauna. The Fitness room is well equipped.
Staff is very friendly and helpful. It is easy to feel comfortable at Marriott Potsdamer Platz!
Unfortunately I have to mention also two negative points: internet access was not included, which I think is not up-to-date anymore, and we did not manage to heat the room as much we wanted, which was a pity as it was so cold outside and we would have loved some degrees more inside the room.

For Sunday-Brunch lovers:
If you are a Sunday-Brunch lover you have to try out the Sunday-Brunch at the Marriott! It is one of the best I have ever seen! There is a huge buffet with everything a buncher’s heart can desire, delicious fresh pastries and juices, fruits and sausages… and in the middle of it there is an open space kitchen with cooks for the eggs and pancakes.
As we arrived on Saturday afternoon, we did not know about the Sunday Brunch and went to the restaurant the next morning thinking that a normal breakfast awaited us. It was a great surprise and we enjoyed it so much… until we found out the price: 35 € per person!
So, an expensive joy – but I think it is worth it if you appreciate these kind of brunches.

Where to go for a Drink:
A great “in” place to see is the Monkey Bar on the tenth floor of the trendy 25h Hotel. It is a Rooftop-Bar with a spectacular panoramic view over the city and on the monkeys of the Berlin Zoo. It is decorated in a mixture of industrial and jungle style and a new “hotspot” in Berlin. You can sit on the big stairs behind the bar to enjoy the best view and in summer on the terrace. The jungle-style cocktails are said to be good, I just had a tea to warm myself up.

Monkey Bar, trendy Bar inside the 25hours Hotel
Monkey Bar, trendy Bar inside the 25hours Hotel
Rooftop Monkey Bar overlooking Berlin Zoo
Rooftop Monkey Bar overlooking Berlin Zoo

Berlin’s History:
Before my trip I wondered how much the city is still influenced by its division and its history. It soon occurred to me that 25 years is not a long time and the wound are still very fresh. The signs of this city’s history can be seen and felt everywhere and are impressive and very touching.

The Berlin Wall and the signs of the terror
The Berlin Wall and the signs of the terror
Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was the only crossing point where diplomats and the military personnel of the Western Powers were allowed to enter East Berlin.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

East Side Gallery:  a segment of the Berlin Wall has been turned into the longest open air gallery in the world.

East Side Gallery
Honecker and Breschnew locked in a kiss of brotherly, socialistic love.
East Side Gallery
Ghost Sitting on the Wall of Berlin