The Typography of Travel 18
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Ecole Saint Joseph (school) - Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
Mariapaviljoen (restaurant) - 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Grocery store Tetrel - Paris, France
Het Rooie Leeuwke - Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Picasso (restaurant) - 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Café Bar - San Francisco, Galicia, Spain
► To see all previous editions of The Typography of Travel, click here. Also, if you'd like to contribute beautiful type from your travels to this series, drop me a line!
Brabant Service Station
Not far from where I grew up and the nearest bigger city you can find one of the oldest petrol stations of the Netherlands: Brabant Service Station. When the entire area was restructured, the classic building from 1933 faced demolition. But somehow the city council "splurged" 800K€ on moving the gas station 55 meters from its original spot and the building was saved.
I only knew this architectural gem as a gloomy hangout covered in graffiti, but I'm pleasantly surprised to see that it looks so good today!
You can even have a look inside, as Maxx Floors set up their new showroom here. Apparently the interior features some beautiful art-deco details...
Matisse cutting into color
Situated along the highway between our home in France and our family in Holland, is this lovely museum: the Musée Départemental Matisse. Both my husband and I are big afficionados of the work of Henri Matisse. Many years ago we visited his home in Nice (turned into a wonderful museum) as well as the famous Rosaire chapel in Vence, South of France. But, as Matisse was born in the North of France, we are lucky to be able to pop by the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis every once in a while.
We went there last week and it was (again) such a breath of fresh air. The current exhibition shows Matisse's paper cut-outs that were not used in his finished works. I love the "perfect" proportions of these shapes in gouached paper and the book covers on show were also really awesome. Seeing Matisse's work always moves me: it has this rare quality and sensitive handwriting that really speaks to me. It's hard to capture it in words or photos: you should really see & feel for yourself :o)
Unfortunately no photography allowed at the exhibition (as opposed to the permanent collection) but these few phone pics will give you a little preview of what's there to see.
So next time you'll drive from Amsterdam to Paris or vice versa, make sure to stop by the Musée Matisse. It's worth it!
Musée Matisse /// Palais Fénelon /// 59360 Le Cateau-Cambrésis /// +33 (0)3 59 73 38 03
Open every day except Tuesday: 10AM - 6PM
The Typography of Travel 17
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Le Rex Club - Paris, France
De Boshoek (private home) - Vught, The Netherlands
Les Bains des Docks (aquatic center) - Le Havre, France
Polkagriskokeri (candy factory) - Gränna, Sweden
Kusine Bodil (toy store) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Het Rood Hekken (bakery) - Den Bosch, The Netherlands
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11 and part 12 and part 13 and part 14 and part 15 and part 16!
Spending a long weekend in Holland with family and friends was really nice (and sounds like such a cliché, but it's true!). I also spent some time at the hospital... or better: at the recently opened restaurant Mariapaviljoen in the old sanatorium in Den Bosch.
Around the corner of where we used to live, you can now have eten+drinken (food+drinks) in this new old place designed by Studio Boot. Over 40 years ago my aunt was treated in one of these hospital rooms, but today the staff of Mariapaviljoen takes very good care of its "patients" too.
The modern interior contains a large collection of vintage medical equipment, skeletons, canvas emergency stretchers, folding screens, anatomy posters, and also this IXXI flamingo poster:
Hmmm always coca cola...
Spacious & bright makes you feel better:
With places like Eetbar Dit, Dit Ook and the new Mariapaviljoen, Den Bosch (in the south of the Netherlands) is so much hipper than the city that I used to know. A nice surprise! And an extra bonus: drinks and food are affordable: I payed about 2 euros for my diet coke, in stead of the regular 4 or even 5 here in Paris...
Mariapaviljoen /// Burgemeester Loeffplein 70 /// 5211RX Den Bosch /// +31 (0)73 303 1500
Open every Thursday through Sunday: 11AM - :o)
Les carrières de Montigny
When we ride 50km south-west from our place, we are in the middle of Paris. And if we ride 50km up north-east, we're in the middle of nowhere. Well almost but not quite. Near a small village called Machemont, there is this huge stone quarry site called Montigny.
As of the 19th century stone was excavated from Montigny and transported (via the Oise river) to Paris and beyond. That's why many Haussmannien houses in Paris are built with limestone from Montigny!
Workers used their environment to its full potential by digging their homes directly into the rocks. These troglodyte cave houses stay at a constant 12°C, which makes them convenient all year round.
Les carrières de Montigny are best known for their function during the WWI: the French army resided in the cavehouses and even opened an army hospital. Up until the 70s families actually lived here and today an Association is taking care of its renovation and nomination for inscription on the World Heritage list of Unesco.
We visited during the Nature & Garden fair, which was cute because the crew and exhibitors were very enthusiastic. The man of the Mushroom Truck showed us in detail how they used to grow mushrooms in the quarry. Unfortunately the subterranean galleries and tunnels were not open to the public that day, so we need to come back soon and discover what everybody is so excited about!
On our way back home we passed by this Manoir. The gently sloping countryside of the Oise is so pretty:
Inside la Sucrerie
Last week I showed you some pictures of the Sugar Factory in Francières. The weather was rather gloomy and like for our first visit, I photographed in black & white. Today I'll take you inside where it's a little bit more colorful (but also colder than outside!).
I really liked the color of the walls in the factory's chapel. It looks rather contemporary, but old pictures of the chapel before the renovation, show exactly the same colored walls! The minty blue ( or how would you call this color? ) goes perfectly well with these tiles:
In the factory's school they used a slightly different shade of minty green/blue. I never knew it used to be such a fashionable color!
In the main factory, which now houses a permanent exhibition on today's agricultural industry in France, the architects cleverly re-used this color:
Minty green/blue, jungle green, toothpaste green, jade, aqua blue... What would you call this color?
Weekend tip: la Brocante
My favorite season started: brocante season! Visiting a flea market on Sunday is like a national sport here in France. After visiting numerous marchés aux puces, I must admit that I became quite addicted to the art of junk hunting. It's a nice opportunity to visit new places in the Oise, discuss (or negotiate!) with locals and maybe find that one thing that I've always wanted but didn't know I needed.
The best online resource to find out if there's a marché aux puces going on somewhere nearby is vide-greniers.org. The site really hurts my eyes, but has very up-to-date info on brocantes all accross France. You simply select the region or département of your choice and off you go. I always prefer the vide-greniers (empty your attic) over the brocantes, because it's more exciting when there are less professionals selling their overpriced antiques. Simply strolling around the streets, watching people and their old stuff... aahhh I love Sunday mornings!
My best find ever was a pair of near new Ann Demeulemeester riding boots for 10 euros. Unfortunately they were too small for me, so they were sent off to a lucky Australian eBayer...
Do you like visiting flea markets? And what's your favorite brocante treasure?
The Typography of Travel 16
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Belloy et Cie (seeds & grains) - Estrées-Saint-Denis, France
Design Panoptikum (museum of extraordinary objects) - Berlin, Germany
Le Mon Bar - Montbard, France
Comédie Musicale theatre - Paris, France
Grocery store Tetrel - Paris, France
Snickarbacken (concept store) - Stockholm, Sweden
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11 and part 12 and part 13 and part 14 and part 15!
The Typography of Travel 15
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Garage du Chateau - Vineuil-Saint-Firmin, France
Stalands furniture - Stockholm, Sweden
La Bellevilloise (event space) - Paris, France
Comptoir des Archives - Paris, France
To Be Perfectly Frank exhibition at Svenskt Tenn - Stockholm, Sweden
Miss J - Stockholm, Sweden
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11 and part 12 and part 13 and part 14!
An afternoon at the race course
My stepdaughter Rose is a so-called Horse Girl. She has been riding horses for over 12 years and now that she lives with us, she really misses her dear Dutch Warmblood. As we live at 10 minutes from Horse Capital Chantilly, we had to catch one of the race courses.
On this overcast (and freezing!) saturday we found ourselves a bench at the stands near the race course. As the 3-minute race started, gamblers cheered their favorite horse. While we appreciated the lean long bodies of the race horses with names like Jason Bourne and Amuse Gueule, Rose was glowing with enthusiasm ;o)
I must admit I didn't quite understand the game of betting, neither do I understand why the jockeys wear these ridiculous outfits with stars and weird color combos...
But it's really impressive to watch the horsepower and to see how the jockeys seem to stand still on a horse in movement.
Have you ever attended a race like this? And did you like it?
To kick off this week I wanted to show you the cool lighting in my home away from home in Stockholm. In the public areas designer & architect trio Claesson Koivisto Rune decided upon some funky lamps:
The artistic theme uniting the hotel and its facilities is fog. It relates to the surrounding water & marine historical past. It somehow also makes sense as the hotel is central yet secluded. And very quiet too.
One of the lamps in my room (and those amazing Pool curtains again):
Sometimes unpractical design is cool. Such as this pebble in the wash basin. It is removable so that you can also wash your hands without splashing water everywhere ;o)
Love those oversized wooden lampshades by David Trubridge:
Ten reasons to stay at Hotel Skeppsholmen in Stockholm:
► a central, yet secluded location (you're staying on an island!), at only 15 minutes from the city center
► the seaview
► very comfortable beds by Duxiana (traditional Swedish bedding)
► a delicious breakfast buffet ( no individual portions of butter and marmelade here! It feels like you're in your family kitchen with homemade bread & fresh juices )
► a great hotel restaurant called Långa Raden (I need to come back to try it! Everyone told me it was really good)
► quirky lighting everywhere
► Byredo toiletries and signature scent (the entire hotel smells lovely!)
► your neighbor is the Moderna Museet
► very friendly staff, dressed by Swedish fashion brand Acne
► the hotel is eco-labeled
The Typography of Travel 14
For this 14th edition of my Typography of Travel column, Clara from Tastesheriff is joining me with this amazing pink Konditorei signage she photographed! Merci Clara!
Expressen Newspaper - Stockholm, Sweden
Svenskt Tenn (interior design) - Stockholm, Sweden
Nybergs Konditori - Stockholm, Sweden
Story Hotel - Stockholm, Sweden
Stalands furniture - Stockholm, Sweden
Moderna Museet - Stockholm, Sweden
Pubologi (gastropub) - Stockholm Sweden
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11 and part 12 and part 13!
Come into my room...
Come into my room... at Hotel Skeppsholmen! Last week I introduced you to my island getaway in Stockholm, and today I'll show you around my room. From the window above I had an amazing view of the Stockholm skyline...
The sun shining through the curtains designed by the famous Swedish designers Claesson Koivisto Rune. Actually the entire interior design was done by these talented designers. Their famous designs were everywhere, from the lamps above my pillow...
...to the wardrobe cabinet they designed for Asplund. I also really like the typefont used for all Skeppsholmen communication, like room numbers, hotel signage and stationary. The sign in my room told the story of Hotel Skeppsholmen and The Long Row... At times in history there slept at least 10 men in my room!
I love how the print of this chair (called Metropolis) reminds me of maps... and the Map Design course by my friend Anne that I'm starting today... it promises to be so cool!
The office desk with a W08 task lamp by CKR and two Marimekko brochures I picked up at their SoFo store.
And oh those curtains... I like them so much! They are called Pool and have this "pattern" of water in a pool, translated into a graphic pattern of small and smaller dots. Really pretty!
It snowed overnight... It wasn't extremely cold when I was in Stockholm, but usually in the winter you can ice skate just outside the hotel! The water is so pure in Stockholm that you can swim here in the summertime! I wouldn't do that in Paris ;o)
mini shopping guide Stockholm
Some of my favorite places in Stockholm:
► Silververket /// Skånegatan 79 /// Silversmith material & jewelery maker tools & accessories /// mon-fri 11-18 sat 11-16
► Konsthantverkarna /// Södermalmtorg 4 /// Shop & gallery of contemporary crafts founded in 1951 /// mon-fri 11-18 sat 11-16
► Coffice ///
► Boqueria /// Jakobsbergsgatan 17 /// Very tasty tapas & seafood restaurant /// open: check website (and book a table, it's always very busy!)
► Papercut /// Krukmakargatan 24 /// Magazine (&book & stationary) heaven (Kinfolk, Frankie, Cereal, Acne Paper, ...) /// If you love brands like A.P.C., Isabel Marant, Jerôme Dreyfuss, Helmut Lang etc. also hop by neighbors Nitty Gritty /// mon - fri 11-18.30 sat 11-17 sun 12-16 more
Pärlans Konfektyr Stockholm
Usually I'm more into very contemporary places, but when it's done as well as at Pärlans, I'm more than happy to make an exception. Even more so if it comes with toffee caramels, sweet music and a fashionable staff. Pärlans is a cute little shop in Söder, Stockholm, where they make and sell delicious caramels. And serve great coffee too.
One of the things I realized when visiting several smaller craft shops in Stockholm, is that Swedes really like translating old fashioned traditions into 2013. Lisa, Pärlans' owner, told me she was inspired on a trip to Japan. The Japanese love candy. Back in Sweden she started trying different recipes and her friends really enjoyed the caramels she made.
She did some research and found out the caramel toffee rose to fame in the 1930s, the decade of the Lindy Hop dance. As a fervent Lindy Hop dancer, Lisa decided to open a caramel store and asked her swing dancer friends to help her make and sell the sweet candy. It became a huge success. Once I tasted a kola with ginger, I got it: these caramels are divine! Hmmm
Besides a very cute blog, Pärlans also published a beautiful book with stories and delicious recipes:
Through the window you can see how the caramel toffees are made & wrapped. It reminded me of Gränna in Sweden, where the famous Swedish peppermint candy comes from.
Oh and you should absolutely take a look at this lovely video by Ignant Travel. It's so sweet:
Pärlans Konfektyr Stockholm /// Nytorgsgatan 38 /// 116 40 Stockholm /// +46 (0) 86607010
Open monday through friday 11AM - 6PM, saturday 11AM - 5PM, sunday 12PM - 4PM
My island getaway in Stockholm
When planning my trip to Stockholm I was looking for a calm & inspiring place to stay. Conference days are long and though being among awesome people is wonderful, a place to recharge my batteries was important. I remembered the Skeppsholmen island from my first trip to Stockholm in 2011 when we visited the Moderna Museet. We walked around the island, at only 15 minutes from the city center, and appreciated the sea view.
(photo by Hotel Skeppsholmen)
When I was invited* to stay at Hotel Skeppsholmen it sounded like a great place. But little did I know that it would be so very perfect. I arrived at the hotel in the early evening and was welcomed by two (real!) ice sculptures and candle light along the pathway. The guy at the front desk was all smiles and very helpful. Oh and he was, like the entire staff, dressed by Swedish fashion brand Acne!
Walking to my room was intruiging: the corridor was really long and painted in a melancholic grey color, which appeared very Swedish to me. Actually the building of Hotel Skeppsholmen was built from 1699 with bits & pieces of ruined castles from the countryside and was called The Long Row. Over the years, it housed Navy staff, was used as a hospice for poor & plaque infected people, and then again was used by the Navy as offices, warehouses and apartments.
The hotel consists of 2 long buildings, so if you're staying in the second building like I was, you hop outside and use your keycard to get across.
As The Long Row buildings are part of Sweden's heritage, the entire interior is removable without deteriorating the original parts of the building. The walls in the breakfast room for example, are made of glass panels. Clever solution, right?
Breakfast at Hotel Skeppsholmen is really good. It includes beautiful homemade breads, traditional Swedish crisp bread, delicious granola & muesli, fresh juices, bacon & scrambled eggs & sausages ( presented in beautiful Le Creuset cookware! ) and of course homemade kannelbullar <3
Everything I needed to start a beautiful day in Stockholm!
Hope you like it so far! There is much more I want to share with you, so check back soon as I'll show you my room and some Swedish design elements from the hotel...
* I stayed at Hotel Skeppsholmen free of charge, but all words and images are my own. I had a wonderful stay :o)
A paper globe
This weekend I got the flue. After lots of sleep, painkillers and oranges, I felt a little better and made this paper globe. We saw several of these beautiful paper globes in Stockholm and when Elodie ( of the pretty flower & decoration blog Madame Love ) sent me a link to Joachimesque's Le Paper Globe, I couldn't wait to make one.
I have been dreaming of a white globe for a few years now, because I like the idea of coloring all the countries in the world that I've visited. Even though I have no particular intention of "coloring" the entire world ;o)
The nice thing about this globe is that you don't need any glue. It fits together perfectly. I didn't have any sturdy paper in stock and simply printed it on 90grams paper. And it worked!
You can find the template & assembling instructions of this globe right here.
A walk around Stockholm
Flying to a tropical island in the middle of the winter to get a boost of sunshine & vitamines (and additional tan!) may sound attractive. But to me visiting Stockholm, with temperatures at around 0°C had the same effect. Except for that tan of course. The extremely blue skies reflected by the water and the fresh frosty air were just what I needed to keep me going until spring.
The sun shining through the windows of the National Museum, on the last day of a beautiful exhibition called Slow Art, about contemporary fine craftsmanship:
Winter in Stockholm means shorter days, from about 8:30AM to 3:30PM, which made the blue tones of the sky change fast...
But don't worry, Stockholm by night is almost just as pretty:
And the best thing was that I didn't feel unsafe even once. Or well maybe 1 time, when I saw the outlines of this homeless fox statue in the dark... creepy but funny when I saw it again the next morning :o)
I'm on cloud fine
Pfewy, I'm slowly getting back on track after a few wonderful days in Stockholm. I met so many amazing artists, bloggers and other creatives, that I'm still buzzing!
When looking down from my plane from Paris to Stockholm, I saw some familiar silhouettes and realized we were flying above Holland! It reminded me of the Map Design Course that my friend Anne from Prêt-à-Voyager will be teaching in a few weeks. Of course I enrolled (and so should you!) and I can't wait to see what we all come up with!
I took over 900 photos (oops!) in Stockholm, so please check back soon for posts about my beautiful hotel in Stockholm, cool business card designs by fellow Meettheblogger attendees, my favorite spots ( I'm completely smitten with one of them! ), beautiful Swedish typography and cool lamps that I spotted across the city.more
I'm in Stockholm!
While you are reading this I'm in Stockholm, Sweden! I'm exploring the city and this weekend I'll be attending the Meettheblogger conference. I can't wait to meet many fellow bloggers & friends and to find out what Swedish design has to offer during Stockholm Design Week. I hope you'll check back next week as I'll share some highlights of my stay here. Hälsningar till alla från Stockholm!
I've been in Sweden before, if you like you can read more about it here and here.
A whipped weekend
In French Chantilly also means whipped cream. So, besides the Chateau and the horses, that's what Chantilly is known for as well.
Last weekend, Framboise invited* me & my husband for a romantic get-away in a brand new hotel in Chantilly, called l'Auberge du Jeu de Paume. I think it was the first time that we spent the night somewhere so close to our home (at only 10 minutes) and it felt a bit weird. But the venue made it all worth it.
In complete opposite to our all-white bedroom at home, our Suite looked like a classic French fairy tale: with a toile de Jouy headboard, mirrors in Murano glass and Musée Condé reproductions everywhere.
Highlight of the weekend was a treatment in the luxurious Spa. I didn't get a simple exfoliation... but a "Crème de Chantilly wrap". In other words: I got covered in whipped cream! Cleopatra bathed in donkey milk to hydrate her skin and that's exactly what whipped cream does as well. The application of the cream feels sensational: it's very cold and milky. It made my skin feel super soft & smooth.
My favorite decor in the hotel were the original (!) 18th century wooden panels with monkey scenes, lent by the Musée Condé. They are over-the-top kitschy (see first photo), but the monkeys' faces are hilarious!
The hotel is a located at 30 minutes from Paris and at a stone's throw from the Château, its park and the Grand Stables:
Auberge du Jeu de Paume /// 4 rue du Connétable /// 60500 Chantilly /// +33 (0)3 44 65 50 00.
* We stayed at the hotel and received a Spa treatment free of charge, but all words and images are my own. We had a fabulous stay :o)
When traveling there are so many things that catch my eye, like beautiful typography, pretty street art or bold colors. Here are two unexpected drawings I liked: above a comic drawing by Got & Pétillon in the French capital of comic books: Angoulême.
And below the beautiful traces of the sea on a beach in Galicia, Spain. What do you like to spot when you travel?
"Seriously, aren't you bored with sheep?", Le Baron Noir by Got et Pétillon:
The Typography of Travel 13
Inspired by this Neon post by Plenty of Colour, here is a bunch of beautiful NEON typography spotted on some of my travels:
Adeline Klam boutique - Paris, France
WoWo children's clothing - Paris, France
Modified Spaces @ Verbeke Foundation - Kemzeke, Belgium
Over Here @ Verbeke Foundation - Kemzeke, Belgium
Photo store - Paris, France
Mood restaurant bar lounge - Paris, France
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11 and part 12!
A Bright Boost
While my part of the world is covered in snow, I long for sun and colors. Hope you need it too, because that's what I'll show you today: a few colorful snapshots from sunny Spain.
The end of the day in Muros...
Woooshhh, the wind blowing through the waves:
Feels good to get a bright boost, right? I'll be in Stockholm next week, so I better be prepared for more snow! Are you in need of some sun & colors too? Or are you more than happy with all the snow?
The Chateau of Chantilly seems to be the favorite spot of many fellow Isariens. All the people I've met for Styloise mentioned it. Chantilly is actually Versailles' lesser known little brother and is at only 10 minutes from our home.
We come here often for a walk around the famous racecourse or through the primal forests. Or we visit the Musée Condé with it's extensive art collection ( second after the Louvre! ) and the precious library. I can't get enough of the portrait paintings in the portrait gallery: the faces are so quirky, detailed and unique!
Walking around the racecourse, where many kiters practise their skills, is always fun. If you love horses ( like Rose! ) you should definitely visit Chantilly, as it's known as the Horse Capital. The Living Horse museum is famous for its horse shows and its expertise in Haute-Ecole training.
Chantilly covered in snow is extra magical... and even a bit romantic:
Some Oise news!
A while ago I was invited to meet Framboise, the mascot of my region in France: the Oise. She knew my blog and wondered if I would like to share some of my adventures on the blog Paroles d'Isariens Bavards, "blog of talkative people from the Oise". And to become an ambassador of the Oise. Sounds like fun, right?
I can't wait to go back here ( and to go inside this time! ) and to find out if they make cheese here, as I've never eaten a Oise cheese in 10 years... and... and...
French readers can find me here, but of course I'll continue to share my stories here on my blog as well.
The Typography of Travel 12
Beautiful BAKERY / PASTRY SHOP / BISCUIT FACTORY typography spotted on some of my travels:
Heudebert biscottes factory - Augy, France
Bread & pastry shop - Burgos, Spain
Biscuit manufacturer Mistral - Semur-en-Auxois, France
Bakery - Semur-en-Auxois, France
Bread & Pastry shop - Bayonne, France
Générale Biscuit France - Augy, France
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10 and part 11!
Furry friends from Burgundy
Just a few pictures of the furry animals I "met" last week in Burgundy!
Two very friendly and fluffy donkeys with the softest ears ever:
Most Charolais cows were very shy and ran away as soon as I approached them ( which my husband thought was very hilarious ).
These young ones were curious at first, then joggled away through the mud...
Les anis de Flavigny
Today let me take you to the village where the movie "Chocolat" was filmed. You know that movie with Johnny Depp & Juliette Binoche that you can't watch without craving something sweet?
When you walk along the streets of this (very pretty!) medieval village you smell something sweet. It's the anise & sugar used for the famous bonbons that are produced in the Abbey. I came here first when I was a little girl. Both my sister and I got car sick on our way in, but we calmed down as soon as we tasted a Flavigny bonbon.
When we visited the village last week, everything was closed for the holidays, including the factory and the cute little boutique. But gladly you can buy a little tin of Flavigny candy in many places around the world! They come in 10 different natural flavors: anise, of course, blackcurrant, lemon, orange blossom, ginger, tangerine, mint, liquorice, rose and violet. Hmmm!
Oh and for a mouth watering recipe for anise ice, inspired by the Flavigny bonbons, head over to Tarte Taart An ( English version here ).
Have you ever tasted one of these Flavigny bonbons?
Bzzz Bzzz from Burgundy
If there would be one profession I would ever "consider", it would be beekeeper. Being surrounded by the zooming "bzzz" of my bees and eating honey, Royal Jelly & pollen every day sounds bliss. I would have to work hard, because from what I know, it's quite a lot of work to be a good beekeeper.
Of course I would also LOVE to design some pretty honey packaging for my honey! It's one of my dream assignments as a graphic designer.
Ever since watching "The secrets of the beehive" on France5, I have been spotting more & more beehives. And to my surprise many of the beehive boxes are multi colored! Another reason for me to love this profession!
On another beehive note: remember I went to The Hive last year? The Hive is a European blog conference and a truly buzzing place where bloggers meet, share and learn. Yesterday I bought my ticket for The Hive 2013 on May 25th and 26th in Berlin. Will I see you there?
A few days in Burgundy
It feels great to be back after the holidays! I hope 2013 has been good to you so far? We spent a few days in Burgundy to relax and recharge our batteries. I'm ready for a busy & exciting new year!
The Burgundy region feels very familiar to me. I celebrated my first birthday here (don't remember it of course...) and came back very very often. To me it's like the Frenchest part of France: the cute green hills, the typical rural villages, le Canal de Bourgogne, the spoken language ( without any strong dialect ), the abbeys, castles and Roman churches... and of course the lovely wines & cheeses!
I even found my dream van, for sale at only 800 euros! Look at these pretty Citroën HY's:
We were being watched:
(it's actually a street art project by Le Cyklop at Semur-en-Auxois)
And watched down a window of the pretty Fontenay Abbey:
And saw this oil painting... also known as the reflection in the Fontenay fountain:
Have you ever been to Burgundy? How did you like it?
2012 was a great year for traveling. We started the year in Bretagne and traveled by night train to Perpignan that same month. I was in London in march and went to Berlin in may where I met so many cool people at The Hive.
We also spent a few days in Provence. <3
I prepared for our trip to Spain & Portugal by looking back at previous travels to Sweden, Iceland (one two tree), Egypt, Norway, Corsica, Greece and Denmark.
In Portugal I made my first little video:
Of course I went to Holland several times, including a visit to Hello Etsy at PHE in Eindhoven. In november I spent a weekend in Antwerp and discovered the Verbeke Foundation.
On all of these travels I spotted tons of interesting letter signs & typography that I featured in the Typography of Travel series.
Closer to home I started "Styloise", to discover more about my home region, the Oise in France, through the eyes of its people. I met some very interesting people by doing this and am looking forward to meeting more fellow Isariens in 2013!
In springtime I styled an image for Llamas Valley and our home was the decor for a photoshoot. The result went live in october when our home was featured in IKEA family live magazine. A wonderful reward after years of hard work, which I "revisited" in my Vintage Sapique series.
I really enjoyed preparing more things in the kitchen and styling the (simple) desserts I made.
On a more personal note: my husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary and soon we will be 3 living at Studio Sapique, as Rose is coming to live with us for 6 months during her internship in Paris!
(click on the images to go to the related blogposts)
Like many, we went for a family walk on xmas day. Not far away from where I grew up, lays a lake with a small island, called the Iron Man ( after the machine that dug it at the end of the 19th century ). I have fond memories of this place: swimming in the middle of the summer, ice skating on the frozen lake. And let's not forget the Italian ice cream cart...
Despite the drizzle, it was nice to make new memories here!
A ridiculous bike trip
Last week I did something quite ridiculous: I joined au5v on their annual bicycle trip around the neighborhood to see the local xmas illuminations. That doesn't sound very ridiculous in itself but we wore Santa hats, our bikes were decorated, and 2 xmas trees were in the bakfiets and bicycle carrier. And we also played loud xmas music.
It was raining & cold and the streets were empty. But we spotted a few kitschy & over-the-top decorated houses! Completely different styles than the illuminations at the Place Vendôme where I was the night before...
Of course dog Léla joined us on this trip too. With her owner Aurore she will be traveling through South America next year to give support to handicapped kids. Read more about their plans here.
After 2 hours in the cold & rain, it was time for some hot chocolate ( or whisky for some ). It was nice meeting some new fellow Isariens and visit a few neighborhoods where I had never been before.
Oh and did you see au5v's new logo in the first picture? Made by yours truly :o)
The Typography of Travel 11
One Bunting Away is joining me again with some amazing signage from Miami! I love how the W and Y are joined in the New Yorker hotel signage! Merci again Giova!
Royal Cheese boutique - Paris, France
New Yorker hotel - Miami, Florida, US
The Tiffany hotel - South Beach Miami, Florida, US
Modified Spaces @ Verbeke Foundation - Kemzeke, Belgium
Banana Republic - South Beach Miami, Florida, US
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9 and part 10!
The Typography of Travel 10
For this 10th edition of my Typography of Travel column, One Bunting Away is joining me with some amazing signage from Miami! I love the bright pastels and retro typefaces. Merci Giova!
The Carlyle Hotel - South Beach Miami, Florida, US
IKKS store - Antwerp, Belgium
Beaucoup bistro - Paris, France
Crescent Resort, South Beach Miami, Florida, US
Hotel Astor, South Beach Miami, Florida, US
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9!
The Typography of Travel 9
Beautiful METAL / BRASS / GOLD / COPPER / ALUMINIUM typography spotted on some of my travels:
Casa Americana - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Kasia Gasparski (goldsmit) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Bazar shop - A Coruña, Spain
Barbara jewellery shop - Bilbao, Spain
Tilbury - Burgos Spain
Gallaecia Petrea, Cidade da Cultura - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
@ Gran Hotel Domine - Bilbao Spain
Parking lot @ hotel Gran Teatro - Burgos, Spain
Casa Barros - A Coruña, Spain
Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8!
The gems of Antwerp
One month before Christmas means time for one of our family traditions: a weekend trip to Antwerp - Belgium for a full day of shopping (& eating), sunday brunch and a hint of culture.
During our shopping spree we visited some of my favorites, like Espoo ( Nordic interior design ), RA13 ( fashion design music books ), YOUR concept store, Elsa ( shoes ), Donum ( interior design ), but also a few new spots.
't Stad leest (Steenhouwersvest 16) was a new discovery: a unique bookshop with a beautiful selection of fiction & non-fiction, paper goods and children's books. A must visit if you're a book lover like me.
Tom Dixon's new showroom in the Kammenstraat is so pretty. Ace Lighting presents a very cool collection of lights by the world famous designer.
Don't judge a bookstore by its cover... Bacardi is celebrating 150 years of bringing people together by throwing 150 parties.
Check back soon as I'll show you around one of the weirdest museums just outside Antwerp...
Almost 2 months ago the first issue of Oh Marie! was launched. Oh Marie! is a new bilingual ( Dutch/English ) online magazine filled with beautiful photography, DIY’s, styling and vintage, all wrapped with a whimsical bow. Attendees of the launch received a piñata with a vintage gift + a little challenge: take a picture of the gift in your interior and pass it on to the next blogger. All items are part of the Fellowship of the Traveling Vintage Items.
For obvious reasons I was kind of hoping to receive the Eiffel tower, but somehow ended up with these 5 lace bobbins. As a non-crafter, I expected them to be bigger, more like a honey dipper or maracas. But of course they are tiny: they are used to create lace!
The lace bobbins traveled from Monique, to Nina, to Dee Amanda and as you read this, they are already on their way back to Holland. Astrid asked me if she could have them next: she is a little bit obsessed with lace bobbins because they remind her of ... well I don't really know, but I hope she will tell us soon!
And stay tuned as the next issue of Oh Marie! is due november 24th!
The Typography of Travel 8
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
El Patio bar - A Coru A Coru @ Gran Hotel Domine - Bilbao Spain
Beluga white bar - Burgos, Spain
Tilbury - Burgos Spain
Hair salon - Angoulême, France
Gestoria Arnedillo - Bilbao, Spain
Cultural Center - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Parking lot @ hotel Gran Teatro - Burgos, Spain
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7!
Inside A Cidade da Cultura
After taking you for a drink at A Cantina & showing you the exterior of A Cidade da Cultura, today I'll take you inside the Galician museum. The current exhibition Gallaecia Petrea is about the presence of stone in the history of Galicia, from prehistory to today.
What struck me even more than the exhibition itself, was the organic interior of the building: it's huge! The way of presenting the works of art was splendid too: lots of wooden pallets were used. A beautiful & clever solution as it also smells really nice!
My favorite piece of art:
It's difficult to capture the dimension of the museum on photo ( I tried video! ). For art curators this must be heaven, it's so big, you can show huge master pieces & extensive collections here...
Brrr, this is when we looked down from the 3rd floor. Look at those tiny chairs on the right:
In one word, this site is impressive. Impressive in size, in detail, in finishing touches, in materials used... I warmly recommend you to visit A Cidade da Cultura if you're in the neighborhood ( near Santiago de Compostela, Spain ). In the years to come, the construction of the Cidade will continue in a slow pace because of the crisis. But I know I'll definitely be back once it's finished. And you?
Let's go to Stockholm!
A little unexpected I decided to plan a trip to Stockholm in a few months. I visited the Venice of the North last year during our Scandinavia roadtrip and dived back into my photos & notes to start a list of places I want to visit again. Days will be short & cold in February, so I hope there will be enough time & light. Here are some of my Stockholm favorites:
Konst-ig was probably my very favorite store in Stockholm. Besides selling a wonderful selection of art books, Konst-ig is also a great resource for bookproduction & distribution consultation. Their one-of-a-kind and out-of-print books are so amazing that you probably won't leave this store empty-handed.
It's almost a pity that we don't have a lot of rain where we live. Because I would absolutely consider a stylish Stutterheim raincoat. Their updated version of the traditional Swedish raincoat is so pretty! Plus the melancholic voice of their Fb page makes me chuckle every. single. time.
Last year we stayed in a lovely designy apartment in Bagarmossen ( located southeast of central Stockholm ) but the area I liked best was Söder. It's filled with lots of stylish Swedes with great haircuts: there's a hairdresser on every corner! So this is where I should get a new haircut: Swedish hairdressers seem to have more experience with cool short cuts for women than here in France, where a mayority of the women fancy long locks...
Other cool shops we visited last year: Acne, 6/5/4, Grandpa, Appartement, Scandinavian Design. We also stopped by the Moderna Museet.
On my wishlist are: • Lotta Agaton's shop • any Granit shop (loooooove them!) • a visit to the Stockholm archipelago.
Some great Stockholm resources: 25 Reasons to go to Stockholm by Condé Nast & Emmas Designblogg's Stockholm guide.
Have you ever been to Stockholm? Any places I should see or visit?
The Typography of Travel 7
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Magazine kiosk - Burgos, Spain
Municipal Library - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Nerua restaurant (restaurant of the Guggenheim museum) - Bilbao, Spain
Street Art - A Coruña, Spain
Biscuit shop - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Gallaecia Petrea, Cidade da Cultura - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Galicia Calidade bus - Vigos, Spain
Bar signage - A Coruña, Spain
LED installation by Jenny Holzer - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6!
Outside A Cidade da Cultura
It took me a while to sort out all the photos & videos I shot at A Cidade da Cultura, the City of Culture of Galicia. I already showed you some images of A Cantina and today I'll show you the exterior. Here we go!
Located on a small hill overlooking Santiago de Compostela, the Cidade is a huge cultural center for the province of Galicia. It was designed like a chopped off mountain top and is smooth & forrowed, much as a seashell, the age-old symbol of Santiago.
Peter Eisenman's "architectural extravagance" houses a library, archives, a museum, an art center, central services and of course a performing arts theater ( Björk performed here in june! ).
The use of local granite from Galicia was imposed to the architect. It contains so many different colors:
Many refer to the site as a ghosttown. And it's true that there were very little people when we visited. I liked that because it makes it easier to appreciate the buildings and interiors. It's also a little sad, because it means so much lost potential. But at the same time A Cidade is not nearly finished and still a huge excavation site, which makes me optimistic about future projects.
I also made a little wobbly video ( click here if the video doesn't show )
Check back soon as I'll take you inside the museum!
LEGO Lady Liberty
Waking up to thoughts of the US this morning. After Sandy I was almost worried about another disaster this week... but I'm glad it's not the case!
LEGO Lady Liberty has been keeping me company on my desk for the past few weeks. She's pretty cool right? Have you ever seen her "live"?
Hello Etsy @ Dutch Design Week
This saturday I attended Hello Etsy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The worldwide marketplace of handmade goods organized this gathering around the theme of "Small Business In A Big World". I'm not a true crafter ( and don't have an Etsy shop ), but as a graphic designer I can very well relate to being a small business in a big world.
The venue was great: I had never visited Piet Hein Eek's studio / factory / store / gallery / restaurant / office before but was happily surprised. It's nice to know there is such a space at only 20 minutes from where I grew up!
Even though my pictures show lamp shades & empty spaces, the day was chockfull with great speakers and mingling amongst the enthusiastic audience.
It was lovely meeting Anastacia, Christine, Hanna, Philomeen, Diane, Kim, Miriam, Em, Giova, Thea, Yann, Marie, Anne, Anne, Rhiannon and so many more creative folks! Totally agree with Floris Dekker "Getting to meet each other is the most powerful thing".
While I'm off to explore all the blogs & Etsy shops by all the new people I've met, I can warmly recommend you to watch some of the talks online. You can find them here.
To win the latest copy of UPPERCASE magazine, head over to Philomeen or Giova for a giveaway!
The Typography of Travel 6
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Grocery Store - Muros, Spain
Pharmacy - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Bazar shop - A Coruña, Spain
Supermarket - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Mac Burguer - Muros, Spain
Barbara jewellery shop - Bilbao, Spain
San Francisco beach - San Francisco, Spain
Hotel parking - Burgos, Spain (huge typography, tiny parking: we scratched our car here)
Moreta bar - A Coruña, Spain
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5!
Do you like fish?
During our holiday the ocean was never far. I had this very romantic idea of eating fresh fish from the bbq every night, but that experience turned out not so great. I completely overlooked that you have to clean a fish before cooking. Drama: the meat was tough and we, as true campers (not...), even watched a video on YouTube to learn how to do it. The result: no fish for dinner & a happy neighbor.
And you? Do you like fish?
Isn't this the coolest outdoor neon sign you've ever seen? Well maybe not the coolest, but knowing that it's for a random household appliances store ( in Portugal ), adds a little coolness huh?
And what about the electricidade sign with thunderbolts above the entry?
Wish you an electric weekend!
The Typography of Travel 5
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Casa Americana - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Screen Printing Workshop - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Pastry Shop - Bayonne, France
F Lounge & Bar - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Community flag - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Discoteca - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Gil Eannes Museum - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Café Mucaba - Viana do Castelo, Portugal
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4!
Yummy food from Spain
When I saw this pretty "carolina" pastry in Bilbao, I knew I wanted to taste it. The lady from the pastelería wrapped it up for me & put toothsticks in it to prevent the pastry from any "damage": very cute. The looks are better than the taste: too much meringue / marshmallow on top of a rice pastry.
On the local market we bought the BEST BREAD EVER: dark with huge raisins & walnuts, crunchy and with a thick crust. One tiny slice is enough to get you through the day, but ohhhhh so delicious!
The fresh figs from the garden tasted like sunshine. Hmmm!
And now I'm hungry! What's your favorite Spanish food?
Sometimes you've had an intense week ( in a good way ) and there's nothing left to do than sharing some pictures of fishnets & ropes. Happy weekend!
One Bunting Away
Since like forever I love receiving snail mail. I've kept all the (love!)-letters & postcards I've ever received in big tins. What I like most is people's handwriting, it reveals so much!
I love sending snail mail too. If you follow me on Facebook you already know that I bought some colorful stamps in Portugal a few weeks ago: to send some holiday-love to my family & friends.
Yesterday I received a lovely postcard from Giova. She writes a crafty blog with her sister Gianni, who lives in NYC, One Bunting Away from Giova's hometown Amsterdam. We met in Berlin and spent quite some time sightseeing, street art spotting & talking and have been in touch ever since. Giova also has an elephant memory: she remembered I love Quentin Blake's work and sent me a limited edition Roald Dahl stamp: Charlie showing the golden ticket. Yihaah!
So these buntings ( from Bayonne ) are for you Giova!
A Cantina @ Santiago
The only place on my wishlist of places to visit in Galicia was A Cidade da Cultura de Galicia in Santiago de Compostela: the regional cultural center. I was told it is a big modern building on the top of a hill. And that is exactly it. I think I've never seen any cultural site of this dimension: it is HUGE!
Before our trip, I read about the small bar & restaurant on Petite Passport which looked interesting. After a quick visit to the old city center of Santiago ( which we didn't like at all ) we sat down at A Cantina for drinks. Look at those beer taps, they're beautiful!
The view from the terrace was impressive & we couldn't wait to finish our drinks and walk around the site. Next time I'll take you further into the Cidade da Cultura, because there is much more to see!
I can't believe it has already been 2 weeks since we're back home from Galicia. We went back from the roar of the ocean to the soft whisper of the Oise river, which isn't so bad either.
On a sunny afternoon a few weeks ago, we were relaxing under the fig tree in the garden of our little house. I was reading my favorite magazine ( The Good Life ) when we heard this funny sound. At first we thought there was someone asleep snoring very loudly.
An hour later my husband did a little investigation: "It's a cicada". Hmmm, not completely convinced we listened some more & found two little green buttons in the grass. Mole chasers! Have you ever heard any? No? Then listen carefully:
I hope you're not getting bored by all the yellow I'm sharing this week? These pictures are from my typography hunt in Spain & Portugal. On a trip along the coast I spotted this beautiful "discoteca" sign, but didn't take a picture right away.
It was only until we drove back, that I saw the building attached to the sign had these amazing colors. Yellow/orange-ish. And look at that mint green & green K-sign in the alley. Such a weird combo! Would you ever consider painting your house yellow? Or any other bold color?
One of the best things about coming home after living 3 weeks out of a suitcase, is fresh laundry. Oh I love that smell! Although we already smelled it quite a few times in Spain & Portugal as people tend to dry their laundry outside.
It smells great and looks very pretty too. Photos were not enough, so I also made a little video:
A pool by the sea
Let's start off this week with some pure holiday bliss. Or well, attending a beach club near a beach is not my idea of the perfect holiday. But anyway, I was intrigued by this "pool by the sea", called the Club del Mar de San Amaro, which is a 77-year old beach club in A Coruña, Spain. My view from above totally reminds me of Gray Malin's À la piscine, à la plage series, don't you agree?
Inspired by this colorful installation of buoys in the garden of our little house in Galicia, we went beachcombing on the nearby beach. We found quite a lot of buoys which we turned into a little Chinese b(u)oy.
Part of our stash:
Look how cute he looks with his necklace:
Chasing the beach for buoys was great fun: it felt a bit like strolling through a flea market. Plus it tidied up the beach a tiny bit. Do you like chasing boys... ehm buoys?
Faro de Lariño
Our little house in Galicia Spain ( booked through AirBnB again <3 ) was situated near the Faro de Lariño. Somehow it surprised me that the light doesn't rotate, but points in one direction. Lighthouses on this part of the Spanish coast play an important role. Because so many shipwrecks occured here, it's called Costa da Morte, coast of death...
Anyway, I really liked "our" Faro, and the locals are very proud of it too: the village restaurant has a scale model on display which is very cute. Do you have a favorite lighthouse? Or did you ever sleep in a lighthouse hotel?
Back home from Galicia!
After 3 weeks, 3 countries, 4833kms, 5 different beds & beautiful cities like A Coruña, Biarritz, Vigo and Bilbao: I'm back home! It has been quite a shocking change of weather: after a true Indian Summer with lots of sun ( & sunburns ) in Spain & Portugal, autumn really started here in France. But to come home to all the sunny yellow here at Studio Sapique makes it easier to hang on to that holiday feeling just a little bit longer.
I took A LOT of pictures, so in the next few weeks I'll take you along to Galicia… and beyond!
The Typography of Travel 4
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Graff (jewelry store) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Freia (chocolate brand) clock - Oslo, Norway
Timber Joinery Artisal - Creil, France
Danish Design Center - Copenhagen, Denmark
Linge Ferry - Ålesund, Norway
Les Bains des Docks - Le Havre, France
Another Nué - Copenhagen, Denmark
Crazy Daisy (nightclub) - Svendborg, Denmark
Kasia Gasparski (goldsmit) - Copenhagen, Denmark
To see more travel typography: part 1 and part 2 and part 3!
The Typography of Travel 3
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Gelateria le Rocca Serra - Bonifacio, Corsica, France
Orchidee Blomster (flower shop) - Oslo, Norway
United Bakeries - Oslo, Norway
Up in Lyon - Lyon, France
Stetson Hats - Oslo, Norway
Troc 2nd hand store - Lyon, France
Eksjö Train Station - Eksjö, Sweden
French cheese shop - Oslo, Norway
Cap Corse - Corsica, France
To see more travel typography, click here for part 1 and part 2!
Back to... Norway
After Denmark & Sweden, we arrived in Norway! My stepson Nick prepared us: this would be one of the most beautiful countries ever. And he was right: it was amazing.
Quite unprepared we drove from Sweden to Geiranger where we rented a small cottage. The direct road to Geiranger had only opened the week before & on both sides of the road were these huge walls of packed snow. Impressive!
We knew that our cottage would have a view on the Geiranger Fjord, but we didn't expect it would look so stunning! Unfortunately huge cruise ships somewhat spoiled the view. Every morning they would dock in the Fjord, drop off all their passengers with smaller boats. And all day, tourist buses would drive up and down the mountain to bring them to the panorama lookout.
To admire the fjords up close, we took a ferry from Geiranger to Hellesylt. Which was hell. We thought it would be nice to visit the village & take the next ferry back to Geiranger. We strolled around the tiny village, with 1 museum with a giant polar bear & a gas station when it started raining. Pouring rain. After 2 boring hours in Hellesylt we went back to the ferry harbour. But it was off season. The next ferry wouldn't arrive for another 2 hours...
The next day we went for a ride along the Trollstigen mountain road. Driving through the mountains is not my cup of tea ( I get car sick ), but this was breath taking! The clean air in Norway really helps, it feels so healthy. The water is pure & the views from Gudbrandjuvet café are stunning, and so is the building ( see first image above ). I would love to sleep in the Landscape Hotel!
In Sweden we didn't see a single moose... but 5 minutes after passing the border with Norway we saw our first. After the moose in Into the Wild I was a little scared, but they're very shy.
On our way to Oslo for the last chapter of our road trip, we crossed Jotunheimen National Park. What a pity we couldn't spend more time here. It felt like we had landed in a National Geographic documentary. A herd of reindeer passed just in front of us. Wow...
The contrast with a city like Oslo couldn't be bigger. For my highlights of Olso head over to Bloesem.
We stayed in the Comfort Hotel Express, which has a cool brekky hangout & very kind staff, but their sister hotel Comfort Hotel Grand Central looks even better.
Hungry in Oslo? You'll find the best burger of the city ( & a delicious blåbær smoothie! ) at Illegal Burger. Yummy! We will definitely go back to Norway. There's so much more to discover...
Have you ever been in Norway? What did you like best?
Weekend tip: Atelier ABC-Vélo
In this week's Styloise I already told you about ABC Atelier-Vélo. Besides repairing your bike under the supervision of volunteers, you can also join them every first Sunday of the month for a bike trip through the Oise. On previous outings, they have been to Fleurines and Chantilly for example. They usually leave at 9:00AM from the Place Carnot in Creil. Next trip will be on September 2nd. So why not join them?
And if you decide to go biking next weekend, you might consider wearing this invisible bicycle helmet called Hövding! Basically Hövding is a collar for bicyclists, worn around the neck. The collar contains a folded up airbag that you'll only see if you happen to have an accident. How cool & impressive is that?
Weekend tip: La Sucrerie
For the past 10 years I've been living in the Oise: a French department situated 35km north of Paris. Of course Studio Sapique is a remnant of (recent) industrial heritage, but not far away from here, is the old industrial Sugar Factory of Francières. It's an impressive site with red bricks, which was recently renovated & opened to the public.
Surrounded by sugar beet fields, now mostly converted to cereal crops, La Sucrerie was active from 1829 to 1969 and is one of the oldest sugar factories of the Picardy region. The sugar industry has always played a prominent role in the economy of the region & that's why a local Association decided to save this place and turn it into an interactive Center of the Sugar & Agro Resources Industry.
Quirky detail: La Sucrerie is located near the rue du Bout du Monde ( the street at the end of the world ), which is exactly what it feels like: desolate but intriguing. Unfortunately La Sucrerie was closed when we visited, but I'll definitely check back in a few months. I'm curious to see what it looks like from the inside & to learn how a raw sugar beet becomes sugar.
La Sucrerie de Francières /// Route Nationale 17 /// 60190 Francières
Open on request. Contact the Picardy Region: +33 (0) 8 00 02 60 80
Back to... Greece
Today's destination is Greece: you'd expect a deep blue sea & bright white houses, but in my memory Greece was completely different.
In 1998, a few weeks before turning 18 I took my first plane ever (!) from Amsterdam to Athens, Greece. Together with a highschool friend we stayed in an affordable hotel with a view to the Acropolis. Two young Dutch girls with minishorts wandering through this masculin dominated city… almost a surprise nothing serious happened.
It was a weird holiday:
► we ended up in a nightclub where the only women there were payed to be there & some men followed us back to our hotel ( we ran faster! )
► we had the best frappés ever
► the barman of the rooftop hotel bar was particularly annoying/flirty
► I fell a lot, in the middle of the street, because of the bad condition of the sidewalks
► we were offered a glass of water with our ice cream
► a few weeks before leaving for Athens I met my future husband & I missed him so much!
► I didn't really like retsina wine
► I completely forgot about the Greek alphabet I learned in college & didn't recognize a single word...
Even though seeing the Acropolis & other ancient monuments around the city was impressive, my favorite part of the trip was our boattrip from Piraeus to Aegina. On Aegina we found a little bit of the typical Greek Mediterranean life which was lovely.
Ever since I read the beautiful children's books by Moni Nilsson-Brännström about the adventures of a Greek/Swedish boy called Tsatsiki ( perfect for 8-10 year olds! ), I would love to go back & visit a beautiful island like Mykonos, eat at Alemagou, and discover more of the remains of Ancient Greece...
And you? Have you ever been to Greece? How did you like it?
À la plage, à la piscine
Graphic, stylized, fun, sunny & colorful: these photos by Gray Malin have it all. He took these photos from a doorless helicopter hovering over beaches in France, the US, Brazil, the Caribbean & Australia. The series is called "À la page, à la piscine" and is perfect for the ones ( including me ) who spend their summer far from a beach.
But for our own beach break in september, I'd rather prefer this:
Copyright by Gray Malin: "The destination your walls have been waiting for".
Weekend tip: Pierrefonds
One of the most impressive castles in the Oise, must be the 14th century Castle of Pierrefonds. It's in excellent condition, was beautifully restorated in the 19th century & has beautiful graphic wall decorations!
After a visit to the castle, or in case you're in need for a more laid-back activity, there's nothing more refreshing than a pedalo ride on the Pierrefonds lake. And that's exactly what we did! For added coolness, you can choose to ride the swan, like us ;o)
From the lake you have a beautiful view on the castle and the sourroundings of Pierrefonds.
Hihi my sister & I really liked our swan:
The Typography of Travel 2
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
Merci - Paris, France
Clas Ohlson - Oslo, Norway
Armurier Tourly (weapon shop) - Beauvais, France
Rougier & Plé (arts & crafts store) - Paris, France
Smile with your heart city campaign - Akureyri, Iceland
La Poste - Pierrefonds, France
Train shop - Paris, France
Muu milk - Vestmanneayar, Iceland
Etat Libre d'Orange - Paris France
To see more travel typography, click here for part 1!
Back to... Denmark
This summer has been a busy month with lots of visitors here at Studio Sapique, or should I say Hotel Sapique? Friends & family & new friends, all relaxed and in a perfect holiday-mood. In a month from now it will be our turn for some traveling and I can't wait! Especially after writing about our past adventures in Corsica, Egypt, Sweden, Iceland... Today we'll go back to Denmark. Join in & enjoy!
In may 2011 we went on a road trip to Scandinavia. Our first stop was on the island of Fyn, where we visited friends at the Remida Center Odense, a creative center where children are encouraged to develop their creativity using excess material. A very inspiring place. We also stopped at Brandts, the Art Center which houses the Kunsthallen, Denmarks Mediamuseum, and the Photography Museum. And had a coffee at Cafe Biografen at Brandts, which also houses a cult cinema.
The Egeskov castle is filled with "collections" of intesting stuff: cars, bikes, toys, dolls, dresses, aircrafts, furniture and more. My favorites were the vintage copper pudding mold collection and the display of vintage toys in transparent bubbles.
One of the highlights of our visit to Denmark, was Legoland. My husband wishlisted to visit the parc almost 35 years ago when he read about it in a Lego catalogue. Legoland is ultra cute & a little retro with miniature Lego houses, giant Lego palm trees, boats & trains, Duplo houses and an underwater world with a Lego submarine & Crabzilla. If you like Lego, you'll love Legoland :o)
Copenhagen is a great city for shopping. It's home of some of the best shops I've seen in Scandinavia. Vintage ( genbrug ) shopping is big too, there are a lot of second hand shops & fleamarkets everywhere. We were lucky to find a Fog & Mørup lamp for 50DKK (10USD) on a flea market in Nørrebro, near the apartment we rented through AirBnB.
One of my favorite shops in Copenhagen were:
► Liebe ( Kompagnistræde 23 ) with supercute handmade tableware, vases, door knobs, stationary and so much more.
► Stilleben ( Læderstræde 14 ) with beautiful tableware, cups, plates, vases, mugs, glassware...
► Lego store ( Vimmelskaftet 37 ) where you can see what's in a Lego box through augmented reality!
► &pagne ( Hyskenstræde 7 ) women's fashion ( V Ave Shoe Repair, Camilla Skovgaard, Vibe Johansson and more )
► Søstrene Grene cute & inexpensive shops for tiny decoration goodies, candles, storage boxes, notebooks and more.
► Another Nué ( Krystalgade 3, near Henrik Vibskov and Wood Wood ) for their great selection of women's wear with brands like Yvonne Koné, Nué Notes, and Wackerhaus.
Like in all the Nordic countries, the coffeehouse culture is really well developed. You can meet up with friends or family to spend some time together while tasting deliciousssssss Danish pastries and cookies. It's called fika in Swedish. Most coffeehouses are very child friendly too. One of the best we visited was in Vesterbro, at the end of the Vesterbrogade.
Read more about our trip to Denmark on the lovely Bloesem blog!
Weekend tip: Grimp a l'arb
In stead of buying her a gift, we invited my sister to do an activity for her birthday. My sister is a true dare devil ( not! ) so climbing trees in the forest was just the thing for her. In the middle of the forest of Pierrefonds lies this tree climbing adventure parc called Grimp a l'Arb. Their website is oldskool with Comic Sans & a pointer mascot, so be prepared, but the parc is pretty cool.
Through different courses criss cross through the treetops you "get in touch with your inner monkey". Well, something like that ;o) Obstacles are suspended between trees and while being attached to a safety cable you hop from 1 tree to another. The trails have zip lines, suspended bridges, scramble nets, swinging logs, a cool surf board, and much more...
We first walked through the parc to take a look. The children's courses looked easy, so we were all pumped to start the adventure. But when my sister saw the higher trails for adults, she totally chickened out... She's not such a monkey after all!
Anyway, the warm & sunny weather had ice cream & café terrace written all over it, so we opted for a different activity. But if you're looking for a cool adventure, I could totally recommend Grimp a l'Arb. Everyone we saw climbing through the treetops had so much fun!
Back to... Egypt
Writing about our visits to Egypt is like a trip down memory lane. In 1999 we went to Egypt twice: first on a roundtrip through the country & a second time to attend the Millenium concert by Jean Michel Jarre. We were so young, it was our 1st time together outside Europe and we were completely blown away by its beauty, the Egyptian people, the history, the monuments, the colors, the smells, the food, the shisha and the strong Turkish coffee.
The contrast between the 2 visits could not have been bigger. Where on our first trip we visited all of the touristic highlights of Egypt ( with tickets that gave permission to take a photo of 1 single object! ), the second time we had a more local experience. We met up with an Egyptian friend and drove around with our driver Mekhti.
We asked him to show us how Egyptians liked to spend their weekends. He took us up north of Cairo to the Nile Delta where we sailed off on a small boat on the Nile and watched the houses of famous Egyptian actors & musicians. He also took us to into the city of the dead, to the roofs of a Mamluk mausoleum from were we had an amazing view over Cairo.
Our driver Mekhti loved listening to the movie soundtrack of Hammam in Amsterdam, about a poor Egyptian moving to Holland to become rich. On the tunes of Hammam ( listen at 5:19 ) we drove to the Pyramids of Gizeh where the Millennium concert took place. The car was inspected by impressive security guards with dogs & car bomb mirrors. And in the middle of the desert near the Pyramids we had to get through a security portal. Security restrictions were strict after the Luxor massacre.
The performance by Jean Michel Jarre, together with Egyptian musicians, was an impressive start of the new millennium. It was grandiose: colorful fireworks, hundreds of torchbearers, a laser show & video projections on the Great Pyramid. Many others in the Philips VIP-tent from where we watched the concert didn't agree: they looked & acted so bored. They totally missed out on something amazing...
People were particularly welcoming during the Ramadan, inviting us to break the fast with them.
My favorite places in Egypt were:
► Aswan ( the Nubians living there were so kind! )
► The island of Philae in Lake Nasser ( so peaceful and it's amazing when you know the entire temple was moved there in 40000 pieces to save it from submerging in water )
► The Luxor museum ( with the beautiful statue of Akhnaten, a pharao with avant-garde ideas & an aesthetic I felt familiar with )
► The Tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens ( looked like it was painted last week! )
► The rice fields outside Cairo ( the brightest green ever! )
► and Cairo itself ( even though it's the loudest city I've ever been to ).
All photos were taken in the pre-digital era ( 1999 ): I used my Minolta 1978 XG 1. The photo of me on the boat & the Egyptian lady were made by my husband with an analog Canon EOS 5.
Have you ever been to Egypt? And what did you like best?
Back to... Sweden
Last year I already wrote about our trip to Sweden on Bloesem but today we're going back! Our visit to Sweden was part of our roadtrip to Scandinavia in may 2011. We had great weather: lots of blue skies & sunshine.
We left for Scandinavia ( Denmark, Sweden, Norway ) without too much preparation. We had an idea of the itinerary and booked some AirBnB's, Stugknuten & a ferry along the way. But we didn't plan what to see & do. Oh wait, yes we did: on our list were Legoland and visiting friends in Denmark.
Sweden turned out to be super cute & more normal than I expected. The landscapes are beautiful without being dramatic, the houses are ultra cute and stylewise there's more than "just" Ikea.
In Småland, in the South, we rented a dollhouse from a farmer. So much in the middle of nowhere that we were unable to find it. The farmer hardly spoke any English, which is quite rare in Sweden I think, but his son helped us out on the phone. In the neighbourhood we visited Eksjö and a few different lakes.
On our way to Stockholm, we stopped in Gränna, where the famous Swedish candy is made. It's a touristic little village, but I HAD to see how the candy was made. The unfinished peppermint candy has a beautiful pearlish color. Lonely Planet suggested the only thing missing in Gränna are the Oompa Loompas. So true! Of course we stocked up on polkagris canes as a souvenir for family & friends.
After a few great days in Stockholm ( which needs its own blogpost ) we spent our last few days in Sweden near Vansbro, roughly between Gävle & Hamar ( in Norway ). It's in the middle of Dalarna county where the famous horses come from.
If there is one activity that you should try in Sweden, it's railbiking. Yes, it's all in a word: biking on an old railway. We were the first of the season to bike on the railway, so it was a little adventurous with some trees and plants growing over the railway. But it was the coolest thing ever. I grew up in Holland and have been riding bikes all my life. Even in France, where it's not always very safe to do so. But I like it so much!
Anyway, I loved the fresh air, seeing noone, no trafic, going straight through a forest, over a bridge ( yes I shrieked! ), past a few lakes. Then we turned around the bike, put it back on the rails again and rode back to where we came from. So cool!
More next week as I'll take you along to… Egypt!
Marimekko Helsinki map
Finland is placed very high on my places-I-want-to-visit wishlist. And not in the last place because of Marimekko. I remember my mother wearing a Marimekko shirt & skirt in the 80s. They were made with the softest jersey and had a timeless fit.
When in London I picked up a free copy of the Marimekko Helsinki map at the Marimekko store near Bond Street. I finally hang it on the wall last week because I really like it. It's a beautiful graphic drawing of Helsinki with a few pops of color:
The map takes you on a journey through the hometown of Marimekko: Helsinki. You can find the digital version of the map right here.
I paired the map with my Marimekko Räsymatto plate, Coca Cola & Comme des Garcons & Bomba energy drink bottles, a Chanel jewelry box and postcards by Julien Langendorff, Adrian Briscoe for Instilllife and Nathalie Gilles.
Back to... Corsica
Let's go back to sunny Corsica!
With a short stopover in Lyon we headed to Corsica in may 2010. Lyon is cool: it's urban & charming and not as big as Paris. We had a delicious salad with local ingredients & the best artisan lemonade ever at Ninkasi, a super cool place where you can enjoy live music or dance to the tunes of ultra hip DJs. We also saw l'Arnacoeur, a French romantic feel good comedy in 1 of the Part Dieu cinemas, strolled around Vieux Lyon, the old city center, and took a random bus to one of the outskirts and back to the city center. Just some easy sightseeing.
Where Lyon is cool, Corsica is bliss. Lots of sunshine, beautiful views, peaceful beaches, stunning landscapes, delicious food, amazing smells.
► The cactus plants near the Pointe de la Chiappa grow like crazy. The cactus freak in me chopped off a few leafs wearing gloves, which became totally unusable because of all the spines sticking through.
► Water won't get any more turquoise than near the Lavezzi islands.
► Water cannot get any purer than in the Gorges de la Restonica.
► Our favorite beach was Cala Rossa: sophisticated & empty ( in may! ). Palombaggio was nice as well.
► Wild pigs are fun and make the weirdest sounds. And then they end up in the excellent dry sausages and hams. Corsican brocciu ( pronounce broutch: goat cheese ) and canistrelli: dry biscuits with lots of different flavors, are yummy too!
► When you feed the local wild cats some leftovers, they'll grow twice as big and keep coming back for more ( duh! ).
► Corsica smells goooooood, maquis grows everywhere: it's a variety of wild herbs & grasses: hmmmm!
► The mountains of Bavella are so craggy, but also the perfect backdrop for some serious hiking ( Grande Randonnée 20 ).
► The leather sandals & bags & summerdresses at Karma Koma ( in Porto Vecchio ) are super cute!
► Most village signs are bilingual ( French & Corsu ) but in Cap Corse the French versions are erased with black paint. Although the nationalist sentiment is quite clear, people are friendly & proud of their terroir.
► Burning car tires & blocking main roads is just another way of showing that Corsica should never be a holiday home.
► The idea of processionary caterpilars makes me itchy. Seeing them makes me scratch for days... brrrr
► The Corsican horticulturists are the best I've ever seen: they have all my favorites: olive trees, cactus plants, succulents, palm trees...
► If you're a sailor and die near Bonifacio, the cemetary on the top of the village is the most fabulous place to be buried.
Ohhh I dream of going back... soon! And you? Have you ever been to Corsica?
Back to... Iceland part 3
Previously: part 1 and part 2.
After our adventures in Reykjavík, Vestmannaeyjar, Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón, we are now in Akureyri, a small town in the North East of Iceland. Upon arrival by bus we immediately decide to find a rental car. It would be so much easier to explore this area by car. We find a great deal at Thrifty and check in at our apartment in downtown Akureyri. It's spacious and the air is fresh and it feels healthy to be here.
We do some grocery shopping and I do my very best purchase of 2009: a 66°North Vik jacket. It's soft & warm and the perfect layer to keep me warm. Over night it snowed and in the morning we make plans for the day. First stop: Gullfoss, a huge waterfall where we are (again) the only visitors. We watch the water, take some pictures and the splashing water gets us wet.
Next stop: Húsavík, the hometown of whale watching. The weather is too windy and there's no whale watching that day, but we don't mind and head for Lake Mývatn. Mývatn is a lake situated in an area of active volcanism, not far away from Krafla volcano. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptional rich fauna of ducks and midges (only in the summer, lucky us!), but most of all it's good for stunning views: the color of the lake, the sunshine, the surrounding volcanoes… wow!
We then drive to Hverir, a solfatare field near the lake, which means: lots of fog, mudpots, steam, colors and rotten egg odor (due to the hydrogen sulfide). We feel so lucky to be here all by ourselves with this beautiful sunlight & mystic athmosphere. Truly amazing. I can hardly stop taking pictures, this place is just surreal.
The next day we head for Dimmuborgir, a lava field with unusually shaped lava pillars and chamber-like constructions. Once there used to be a lake and the boiling water and rising vapour formed lava pillars when the lava flowed across it. It's quite a touristy place and the Yule Lads (santa's helpers which come down the hill in the 13 days before Christmas), didn't really help. It may be a cool Icelandic folklore tradition, I wasn't charmed.
We continue our trip to Dettifoss, Icelands biggest waterfall. After all the waterfalls we've already seen, this one is just HUGE and so is the river valley. On our ride back to Akureyri along the Northest peak of Iceland (we saw the Norwegian Sea!) it starts snowing and soon we're stuck in a true ice storm. The weather changes so fast in Iceland!
No Blue Lagoon for us, but the Myvatn Nature Bath. Smaller, less touristy but a great experience nevertheless. We needed it to warm up after a cold day. Which we started driving on a gravel road (prohibited for small rental cars like ours: we are true dare devils!) to Aldeyjarafoss, Svartifoss's big brother waterfall with huge vertical basalt formations and a very steep river valley. The ropes along the road to the scenic points, are not in good shape. It's a little scary, escpecially with all the wind. We warm ourselves up at a local farm café where they serve traditional soup with lava bread and delicious homemade chocolate cake.
Then off to Krafla where we stand on an active volcano for the first time! It was very impressing, but so very cold. We wear at least 5 layers of clothing (including my new 66°North vest) but we are still freezing. Even when we soak in the Myvatn Nature Bath we are cold. The wind lowered the temperature of the water by more than 10 degrees. And the outside temperature is around 0°C. Brrrrr
We get dressed and head "home" to Akureyri. Again we are surprised by a snow storm. While we drive slowly and look at the sky clearing up, we see the Aurora Borealis! It's a fantastic end of the day. I had never seen it before, but now I totally understand why people believe in elfs and other mystic creatures. The movements are unlike anything I've ever seen.
Before flying back to Reykjavík and Paris, we visit the city center of Akureyri (kaffihus again) and the Art Museum, with a beautiful collection of Icelandic photography. One of my favorites was this one where schoolboys get light therapy in the 1960s (see below). The long Icelandic winters must be quite something…
Overall: Iceland was more than amazing. We are definitely coming back and already planning on buying a Defender 110… Plus we might sign up for one of these cool invitations by locals.
Weekend tip: Le Bourget
You've climbed the Eiffel tower, visited le Palais de Tokyo, shopped at Merci, ate dozens of LaDurée (or Pierre Hermé) macarons and you just love Paris. But you like to do something else for a change?
One of my favorite museums is "La Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace" at Le Bourget, just outside Paris. It is one of the oldest aviation museums in the world (1919) and has prototypes of many French aircrafts including the super fast Concorde. I'm not extremely interested in all the aircrafts, but the beautiful old fashioned interior of the museum truly appeals to me. The floors are made of glossy linoleum and have beautiful & colorful graphic patterns.
It's a great place to go with kids of all ages because you can go from "just watching some airplanes" to learning in detail how mankind started trying & succeeding to fly. I like visiting the museum to enjoy its look & feel: industrial, colorful and very unique.
Oh and it's rarely very busy. And if it is, you won't notice, because this place is HUGE.
Have you ever been here?
Back to... Iceland part 2
Let's pick up where I left (cIick for part 1) : stuck on Vestmannaeyjar waiting for the morning ferry to leave, or not… We were lucky, the weather was good enough to sail back to the main land, although the waves were just as high as the first time (ugh!). The bus driver hurried us back to Reykjavík from where we took another bus to Skaftafell National Park, in the South East.
We passed by the beautiful Vík, the now famous Eyjafjallajökull (which erupted only 6 months later), many waterfalls, the beautiful coastline, black sandy wastelands, rivers and spotted lots of sheep and a few Icelandic horses.
We stayed at the only hotel in the area which was just across the street of a gas station a.k.a. busstop. There was nothing else there. We had no car, only 1 bus passed by every day. So we were lucky to be able to rent 2 bikes the next day and did some hiking & biking in the National Park. We were all alone and sat on the foot of the Svartifoss waterfall with its impressive basalt blocks and enjoyed the view & the sun. Stunning!
The next day we strapped on our crampons (metal spikes for your shoes) and went for a glacier hike with a trained guide. The cliffs were steep (brrr…) and the guide told passionate about the movement of the ice. We reached a small lake where we saw the rare phenomenon of very old ice breaking off and splashing very slowly into the lake. Breathtaking!
Our guide also told us we should absolutely go see the Glacier Lagoon called Jökulsárlón, as we were so "close" by (65km). A local farmer who was visiting friends in the lobby of the hotel, agreed upon that. After some talking he kindly offered to drive us there as he was planning on visiting some family nearby. The next morning the farmer (the biggest landowner in the South) picked us up... in his big black Hummer.
An hour later we arrived at the phenomenal Glacier Lagoon. Oh how stupid would it have been to miss this! While the farmer waited for us under the bridge (wasn't he going to visit his family?), we enjoyed the scenic views. We also enjoyed the amazing color & taste & sound of the ice, a tour with a hybrid boat and the tourguide who was super proud that this place once was the backdrop of movies like James Bond and Tomb Raider.
After a stroll on the black sandy beach which matched so well with the cool blueish white ice, we headed back in "our" Hummer.
After a good night sleep & icy dreams, we drove back to Reykjavík by bus, while munching on some delicious Opal sweets, to catch yet another bus to Akureyri, a small town in the North East of Iceland. The drive along the ring road on the west and northern part of Iceland was scenic and so very different from the landscapes in the south!
Traveling through Iceland by bus means stops at gas stations all over the country. They serve good strong coffee, pylsur (hot dogs) and you can stock up on Opal sweets, to which I became addicted during our trip. Opals come in different flavors, but they're mostly mint and liquorice-like sweets. Icelandic people are quite nostalgic about their Opals. Especially the blue Opal which no longer exists because it contained chloroform.
Check back soon for my favorite part of our trip to Iceland: the North East!
In the mean time, have a look at this beautiful blogpost by Emilie from Griottes on her trip to Iceland! So soo pretty!
The Typography of Travel
Beautiful typography spotted on some of my travels:
City bikes - Odense, Denmark
The Circus Hostel - Berlin, Germany
Plissage, Place de la Principale - Avignon, France
Moc Hairdressers - Stockholm Sweden
Naked Architecture - Utrecht, The Netherlands
Kronans drugstore - Växjö, Sweden
Saville Row window stickers - London, UK
Moderna Museet - Stockholm, Sweden
William Richard Green at Selfridges - London, UK
Back to... Iceland part 1
So far, 2012 has been filled with quite a bunch of short trips. For fun (London!), sad (a cremation), exciting (The Hive) and happy (a wedding!) reasons. But only a few more months before we go on a longer trip. As "everybody" is going on holidays soon, I thought it would be nice to look back at some of our travels. To inspire and get in the mood for new adventures! Off we go to Iceland!
In september 2009 we flew to Iceland with 2 backpacks. No suitcases or car rental as we were in for some adventure and wanted to travel by bus. We rented a nice designy apartment in the heart of Reykjavík to relax and start planning the next few weeks of our stay. The only thing on our wishlist: Vestmannaeyjar island, mostly because we loved the name and because there were puffins. Upon arrival at the Reykjavík harbor we discovered that the Puffins had left Iceland, as stated on a note at the Puffin Express ticket office. But we didn't really mind.
Reykjavík feels like a small town, but has some cool & super creative shops. One of my favorites was Elm Design, an Icelandic fashion brand by and for women. A tad pricy, but truly amazing designs. On Laugavegur, the main street of downtown Reykjavík, you'll find second hand shops, yummy bakeries, bookshops and lots of kaffihúses (coffeehouses), where it's nice to relax and watch people. In september the important tourist season (mid june - end of august) is absolutely over in Iceland. Just perfect for us!
As of september some inland roads are impassable because there's already too much snow and a few shops & restaurants are closed. But days are of an average length and the weather is not too harsh. By the way, the weather in Iceland is not as cold as you might think. Average winter daytime temperature in Reykjavík is about 0°C. Although with ice storms, rain and sunshine only 5 minutes apart: layering your clothing is key!
And then we made a mistake. We bought tickets for a guided bus tour called The Golden Circle. On this tour (which everyone visiting Iceland seems to "do"), you'll visit the highlights of a small area on the south east of Reykjavík. And really, these places are truly stunning. The national park Þingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss, the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur (with geysers Geysir & Strokkur), Skálholt church, and the Nesjavellir geothermal power plant. But we weren't prepared for the many tourists and the need to hurry up to catch the bus and go to the next stop. The tour guide soon hated us because we were far behind on the "group". But anyway, we survived and couldn't wait to see more!
We left our lovely Apartment K, with private hot tub (which was bliss!) and headed to the harbour of Þorlákshöfn by bus. The former Dutch (!) Oost Vlieland ferry was ready to bring 1 Italian backpacker, a few freight trucks and us to Vestmannaeyar. We were told to be prepared for some rough weather: it was late september after all.. While the truck drivers ordered some pylsur (Icelandic hot dogs), the Italian tourist opened his first can of cheap beer. That wasn't such a good idea. The sea got very rough and the ferry started to move in many directions… The Italian tourist became green, while I did my best to not get seasick. My husband felt okay and laughed at me while I was screaming on deck upon every move of the boat.
After more than 3 hours on the ferry it felt great to have our feet back on the ground. We asked around in the harbour and found a simple but huge room for rent with a nice view on the harbour. We were the only tourists on the island (besides the Italian backpacker) and had dinner at a small local restaurant where we ate traditional food (fish & potatoes with lots of sauce), probably best suited for habour workers, because it was very rich.
The next few days we hiked around the island through the pouring rain and saw what's called The Pompeï of the North because of several volcanic eruptions. The last one dates back to 1973. While there was only 1 victim and lots of buried houses & ash, the lava threatened the fishing harbor but stopped right in time, due to the hard work of firemen dousing the lava with cold sea water, and by chance created an extra shelter for the harbor.
Vestmannaeyjar is also home to the puffin, it's where large colonies of puffins nesting inside the burrows around the cliffs. But not in september. However we saw our first puffin at the grocery store! We were talking to a local who told us his autistic son was taking care of an injured baby puffin. He called his wife to bring his son & the puffin chick to the grocery store for us to see. I'm not sure what was more endearing: the baby puffin or the family proudly showing their fluffy "patient".
When heading back to the harbor to check out the next day's ferry schedule, we found out the evening ferry wouldn't leave Vestmannaeyar because the weather was too bad. We were told to check back in the morning to see if the ferry would leave or not… So we were stuck on the island...
More next time!
P.S. Visiting Vestmannaeyjar became so much easier with a ferry sailing off from the Icelandic coast at only 30 minutes from the island!
Oh and if you happen to be in Iceland in august, check out the famous Þjóðhátíð festival on Vestmannaeyjar. Locals told us it's spectacular!
The French Water Lilies
One of the surprises on our short break in Provence was the discovery of this small lake with beautiful waterlillies.
We started our walk at the lake of Mormoiron at the base of the Mont Ventoux. Through the surrounding forests & beautiful AOC Ventoux vineyards we reached the top of a hill from where we had this amazing view on a lake full of pale pink waterlillies! We descended down to the lake and spotted a green lizzard, who was disturbed by our presence. He had this incredible neon green color. Wow!
Down at the lakeside we did this ridiculous Indian Water Lilies dance, inspired by the Efteling themepark attraction called The Indian Water Lilies from 1966. And I snapped a few pictures as you can see. Have you ever seen so many waterlilies?
One of my favorite Dutch fashion brands is Humanoid. They have been around for over 30 years and their identity just feels familiar without screaming for attention. The fabrics they use are gorgeous, soft and easy to wear. It's a pity I cannot wear any wool (sooo itchy!), because in the winter they have the most amazing alpaca wraps.
I recently visited their beautiful flagship store (in a former church!) in Arnhem, The Netherlands. What I liked best was that alongside their main brand, they also carry a nice selection of brands like Hope, N.D.C., Jerôme Dreyfuss, Officine Creative, Isabel Marant, Face Stockholm, Silent by Damir Doma, Acne and many other beauties.
And the best thing is that their sales started today! Have a look and let me know what you threw into your shopping basket!
As of yesterday you can book your tickets for the Avignon theatre festival. In only a few weeks the Festival d'Avignon will start and during 1 month the rhythm of this city in Southern France will be defined by street theatre performances, tons of visitors (over 150.000!) and great theatre productions. But not last week. Of course the Palais des Papes and the Pont d'Avignon attract tourists all year round, but off the beaten path it was still nice & calm.
The tiles of this Beauty salon on the Boulevard Raspail, reminded me of the Camper boutique in Covent Garden, London.
I also stumbled upon quite a few interesting small boutiques & shops, like Kulte (their hipster owners were enjoying the sun on the pavement) and Le Carré de Blé, a nice biological bakery & pastry shop & "snacking haut de gamme". With beautiful bikes in front of the shop too.
Through Les Bon Plans d'Avignon I found Milkshop, where Thibaut and Maxime serve homemade milkshakes & delicous pastries & quiches with local ingredients. It's on my list for next time!
A provocative stencil on the pavement of Avignon and a beautiful poster drawing by Bastard Fly. So much more interesting than this year's dull festival poster...
If you're in Provence this summer, don't miss out on the Avignon festival. Buy yourself a ticket to 1 of the OFF performances and let some upcoming theatre talents surprise you. Enjoy!
A few days in Provence
Just what we needed after a rainy and busy springtime: a few days off to disconnect and indulge in sunshine in the beautiful Provence.
After a short & inexpensive flight with the most annoying security check ever, we landed in the middle of the Provence. And it immediately smelled amazing! It is the one thing I like best about Southern France: its very particular smell.
Most of my summer holidays as a teenager were spent here, so the perfumes of pinetrees, sunshine, cypresses, herbs, lavender, mistral, burning asphalt and even the touristy provencal soap shops bring back sweet memories.
The second best thing in the South is the accent in spoken language. Hearing someone talk with a Southern accent always makes the sun shine in my heart.
And of course life is slower in the Provence. A provencal proverb says "Fai pas bon travaia quand la cigalo canto" (it isn't good working when the cicades sing). In the Provence the cicades sing a lot. Even though it wasn't hot enough this week for the cigales to sing all day, people here tend to take more time to just live. So cliché but so true, don't you think?
With the beautiful desaturated Berlin photography of Sandra Juto in my head, I traveled to Berlin. The city turned out to be so much brighter than I thought it would be. So many colors everywhere! The amazing weather and creative conference absolutely helped a lot there too.
It appeared to me that somehow Berlin is to creatives, what LA is to actors. So many creative people everywhere, waiting for their 15 minutes of fame.
The city walls are covered with so much talent. Berlin street art is much more colorful than most things I see in Paris. And there is a lot MORE too.
The R.E.M. song Überlin was stuck in my head all weekend. The street art bunny appearing in the song's video was made by an artist called Roa. I stumbled upon his rats (see above) in the Prenzlauerberg district! Übercool!
Ich bin kein Berliner
Berlin is amazing. This city is so very big, streets are wide, it's airy (you can actually breathe here!), has a creative feel and is very green too. The façades of the (huge!) buildings are very flat and most streets have lots of trees. I walked for hours without seeing any tourists. I now understand why Sandra Juto likes 10-hour walks across the city, I really enjoyed it too!
Here a some of the photos I took, more to follow...
Above: you're looking at a piece of the Berlin Wall.
Façade of Espressobar Mörder, Torstrasse 199.
Standing on former East & West Berlin at the same time.
Design Panoptikum, The Museum of Extraordinary Objects. A supercool store & museum with the most curious and extraordinary objects. I was so intrigued by the mystery of the items that when the owner who was sitting in the dark, said "Hallo" I freaked out and ran outside. The museum is on my list for next time!
The Euro-Flohmarkt (flea market), Berliner Straße 80-82.
With François Hollande becoming France's new president today, the words France, Hollande and Berlin are trending. Also in my book, as I'll be in Berlin for my first time ever in a few days.
Growing up as a Dutch citizen and now in France, with Germany as one of the neighbouring countries, I had the chance of visiting Germany quite a few times. The last time I was in Germany is only a few weeks ago, and only for a few (fun!) hours. Above is what it looked like: so pretty!
Of course we also traveled through Germany on our roadtrip to Scandinavia last year. And in 2007 I was invited to visit the HQ of a German graphic studio and to talk about a possible collaboration. During my stay in a very rural part of Germany, I became embarrassingly aware that I overestimated my German language skills. Chatting to the taxi driver, I saw his quizzical look in the rear view mirror. Probably I spoke Dutch with a German accent, which sounds good to me, but is incomprehensible for a German…
However I read and understand almost anything in German, but speaking it, is something else… I'm off to Berlin to attend The Hive, a European Blog Conference. Besides being excited to meet lots of new people (I will definitely talk to them in English), I'm looking forward to discovering a tiny bit of (hipster!) Berlin. And of course to see what's left of the Berlin wall, as I can vividly recall the moment of the fall of the Berlin wall in november 1989. Rendez-vous la semaine prochaine!
Another great thing in London is that admission to most musea, except for mayor exhibitions, is free. I visited Tate Modern and the V&A. Unfortunately the Serpentine gallery in Hyde Park was closed while they were preparing the new On the Edgware Road exhibition.
I wasn't aware that The Obliteration room project was actually at the Tate, part of the huge Yayoi Kusama exhibition. It was smaller than the images I've seen, but ohhh the joy of colorful dots...
The huge Anthropologie store with women's clothing, accessories and home decor was another treat. They featured beautiful fake cactus plants by a local artist (who was proudly putting them in place herself). Some of the other highlights were the fabulous vertical wall covered in plants, kept alive with rainwater and UV lights and the huge dressing rooms which felt like my own spacious walk-in-closet.
And above all the store smells great. For a moment I forgot I was actually in the middle of one the most touristic areas in London.
Somehow London overall smelled quite bad. Maybe it's all the fish&chips they serve to tourists? I was lucky to have dinner at the Island restaurant, part of the Lancaster Hotel overlooking Hyde Park, where they serve simple but tasty meals. Even their fish&chips was really good! And the Banamel cheesecake was to die for...
Another Icelandic gem is Fashion & Product Designer Sruli Recht. His work has this typical super creative & melancholic Icelandic vibe. He is actually recruiting a Junior Design Assistant at the moment. If I would have had any 3D modelling skills I would definitely have applied for this job. Working in Reykjavik for a while sounds tempting.
And just like that...
Some of the things I liked best:
• A sneak peek into the property and studio of Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner. The studio floor reveals the colors and gestures of almost every painting he did from 1947 to 1952.
• Of course there is also plenty of bloglove for the Yellowtrace blog by Dana. One of my favorites too. She takes us off the beaten path to discover the unexpected.
• Stars stripes and acid brights: in your own style you will be the star. Photography by Marjon Hoogervorst and styling by AnoukB showcasing how to add some punch by adding (trendy) colors to your home.
• Real or Replica on the Hans J Wegner CH24 Wishbone Chair (1949).
• Cooks with such a great smile (and Egyptian roots) probably know how to prepare a super nice meal. On my next trip to NYC I will definitely try visit restaurant Colonie in Brooklyn Heights.
• Island luxe: the light at restaurant Alemagou on Mykonos, one of the many Greek islands, is just spectacular. It makes me want to teleport to it right now and enjoy the sea view, the cycladic architectural elements of the venue and of course the agaves & cacti.
And when you'll stumble upon a piece of street art by the Ukranian Stanislava Pinchuk on your final destination, how nice would that be?
Don't forget to pack some cookies by Cookie Boy for on the road.
JOELIX featured on Bloesem
First we visited Denmark, then we traveled through Sweden and ended our journey in Oslo, Norway. Hope you enjoyed this little voyage! Thank you Irene!
P.S. Did you know there is a new Bloesem blog coming soon? B:Studio will be launched early july.
I had a real coup-de-cœur for the Liebe shop. Susan Liebe really amazed me with the styling of her cute little shop. Everything was so colorful, happy, and playful. A must visit if you're looking for the perfect gift for a newborn baby. The Stilleben shop in the same area of Copenhagen sells really beautiful tableware. Another coup-de-cœur I had for Granit with it's many smart solutions for storage, porcelain, glass, bathroom and kitchen products, spices, textiles and office supplies. They have stores in Sweden and Norway. Love love love!
At &pagne in Copenhagen I stumbled upon the beautiful leather bags by Yvonne Koné. At &pagne they also carry the brand Wackerhaus. I really liked the luxurious tissues Trine used for her SS11 collection.
AirBnB turned out to work just as good as I hoped. We stayed in great apartments which gave the sensation to be part of the city. It is so nice to have some space to relax and to be able to prepare your own breakfast.
Hungry? For the best burgers you should go to Illegal Burger in Oslo. They serve the best blåbær smoothies too.
A Bigger Splash
I wonder how any fish in this fish tank feels on a sunday.
Give type a face
Tonight I'll watch Into the Wild. I already love the songs Eddie Vedder wrote for this movie, but I'm very curious to finally discover Christopher's great adventure to Alaska. A very different adventure about Alaska is I love Alaska. This documentary reveals the life of a middle aged woman from Housten, Texas, through her personal search engine queries. Interesting concept, but also very sad.
Browsing through a project book of The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude made me really want to go to New York City again. To discover the people and other highlights of the city. To eat a hot pretzel, visit the MoMa plus some other musea and just wander around. In the mean time I have some old jews telling me jokes. Or I have a look at the different volumes of the S+M+L project by Marvie. Or I dream of doing some 3D printing.
In case you need it to get through this cold and snowy february month: here is some help.
I'm very VAR
La ferme Capelude is very special to me and it’s for sale! Hidden in a valley of the Maures Hills, the farm is situated at 12km from Collobrières and Grimaud, on a terrain of 220000 square meters and fully equiped with guestrooms, studios and a swimmingpool. It has the typical provencal beauty complemented with original details which makes it an absolute rare pearl. Contact me for any further information!
Anyway, to go with the new publicity campaign of the region: I'm very VAR!
Nuits de Feu in Chantilly
Sex and the City
If these Chinese hackers wouldn't have replaced parts of the old blogposts by this unreadable signs, I would have known what I wrote about in this blogpost. Did it have something to do with the beauty of NYC, the end of an era with the last episode of Sex and the City? Or something else? We'll never find out.
Did you see the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Torino? I just saw a small part, but I really enjoyed the acrobats forming this huge peace dove at the end. The movements of the acrobats were so bizarre but really beautiful! Excellent!
Favorite spot: A Cantina!