BERLIN FINDS: Frau Tonis Parfum

Frau Tonis Parfum Berlin-009

The hottest place for perfume in Berlin right now is Frau Tonis. I was so excited when our Willkommen in Berlin Design Group Leaders scheduled a visit to their beautiful store. We were welcomed warmly by the owner of the store and her team and they even had a lovely spread of refreshments for us. The Frau Tonis team certainly know their perfumes and are very passionate about each and every one of their fine unisex scents. They introduced us to each one and we were transported to different [read more]

BERLIN BITES: Mabuhay Indonesian Restaurant

Mabuhay indonesian food berlin

After having delicious Indonesian food in Amsterdam, I was happy to be introduced to an authentic Indonesian Restaurant here in Berlin by a fellow diplowife and friend  from the Indonesian Embassy. I would never had discovered this place myself because it is tucked into a corner and not very easy to find. According to my Indonesian friends it is their favourite place when they are craving for food from home. My first question was why is the food Indonesian when the name of the restaurant is [read more]

TRAVEL DIARIES: Amsterdam Hitlist

amsterdam canal

A last-minute trip to Amsterdam mid-April - supposedly the best time to go if you want to see famous Holland Tulips in their full glory. Thanks to quick searches online and recommendations from Deepa, we tried and tasted some pretty memorable things during our stay. We opted for going around on foot and public transport (TD doesn't like to bike) and we were able to do these things (and more) in a relaxed and enjoyable pace. This is in no particular order. 10 Highlights in 3-days 1. Keukenhof [read more]

TRAVEL DIARIES: Amsterdam Transport, Tickets and Hotel

Amsterdam-2

I'd like to give you some information on our Amsterdam trip last April considering that it was very last minute, our budget is limited and TD doesn't like to bike. How we got there & back: Train We got to Amsterdam via train because it was the cheapest option. It was around € 74 per person return without reserved seats, and we didn't have to worry about luggage allowance. Using the Deutsche Bahn going to Amsterdam was a smooth 6 hour ride. I enjoyed the changing scenery and it if you [read more]

MADRID SHOPPING: Spanish Products

salvador bachiller leather spain

If you would like to go shopping in Madrid, I have some ideas to recommend. Salvador Bachiller Spanish Leather Goods Spain is famous for their amazing leather goods and my MIL loves buying the softest leather shoes and other products every time she goes.  Leather shops are everywhere, but for fashionable, high-quality yet affordable leather goods, I love Salvador Bachiller. I especially loved their turquoise collections. So chic! Click here for store locations. Beautiful Spanish Fans at [read more]

MADRID BITES: Rodilla Sandwiches

rodilla sandwiches madrid copy

Another quick but yummy bite in Madrid is Rodilla's sandwiches. There are many Rodilla branches all over the city and they are known for their delicious cold sandwiches. They also have some warm options available. It is self-service so you line up at the counter, order and take your sandwich to a table.  You can probably have it for take away too. My MIL's favourite (and I can understand why) is the ensaladilla which is a tuna sandwich with the softest bread (below). I also enjoyed the [read more]

BERLIN BITES: Dine Blind at the Dunkelrestaurant

unsicht bar dunkelrestaurant berlin-003

Have you ever dined in a completely pitch black room? I had the chance to do this in Dunkelrestaurant Berlin (dunkel means dark). For those who haven't tried this experience I highly recommend it because it gives us a better understanding of the experience of the blind and it is also a great ice breaker for new friends to try. I was fortunate enough to go with some members of the Dinner is Served group in the Willkommen in Berlin, a diplomatic club. While waiting for others in the [read more]

MADRID BITES: Museo del Jamon

museo del jamon-001

Museo del Jamon was a nice experience for a first time tourist like me in Madrid. It's nothing fancy, but it was cool eating amidst the walls full of hanging Jamon. You can also buy different cold cuts, cheeses, etc. to take home. A simple  jamón ibérico de bellota sandwich costs 4.50 € which is a great light meal. Bellota means acorn and a  jamón ibérico de bellota is the finest kind of Iberico ham. It is made with free-range pigs that have been fed a diet of only acorns and is cured for a [read more]

MADRID BITES: El Brillante Bocadillo de Calamares

el brillante bocadillo de calamares-003

Reputedly the best place to enjoy Bocadillo de Calamares, this was a definite treat for me. The other places that I tried had thick calamari rings which were harder to bite while at El Brilliante the calamari rings are small and thin. They are tender and juicy inside while crispy outside -  perfectly cooked! Because we were still full from our heavy merienda, three of us shared a sandwich. We ask the waiter to have it cut into three pieces and ordered 3 beers. We ate outside in the back and [read more]

MADRID BITES: Havana Blues Tapas

havana blues bar

One of the things I was really looking forward to doing in Madrid was the food, having tapas throughout the day and enjoying wine and beers with meals. I don't normally have beer with lunch or merienda, but when in Madrid it seems like the normal thing to do. According to my MIL, when she was growing up in Madrid the locals would have breakfast before school/work at 9, lunch at about 1 or 2 pm, merienda at around 7 pm and then dinner at 10 pm. We never had dinner that late, but we did end up [read more]

MADRID TO DO: Real Madrid Bernabéu Stadium Tour

real madrid bernabeu stadium

If you are a fan of Real Madrid then the Bernabeu Tour is a must-do in Madrid.  I only became a football and Real Madrid fan because of TD and through this tour I learned so much more of the proud heritage of "the best club in the world." This was a great experience to share with my husband and I highly recommend it even for the wives of football fans. First you get a breathtaking a panoramic view of the stadium at a dizzying height. Love the super modern interiors and LED screens that [read more]

MADRID TO DO: Free Museum Visits

museo del prado goya

Madrid with all it's history and art has a lot of museums that showcase the some of the worlds greatest works and artists. I would have loved to spend an entire day just wandering around one museum and I might not even have been able to see everything. Time and money was limited so we narrowed it down to 3 museums and scheduled them during the museums'  free admissions windows. Museo Nacional del Prado Museo del Prado is considered to be one of the greatest museums of art in the world and [read more]

MADRID BITES: Churros con Chocolate

churros con chocolate

The two must-try places to enjoy this Spanish treat is San Gines and Valor.  San Gines is known for their churros, the consistency is a bit better, and Valor is known for their amazing 125-year-old-recipe-hot chocolate. So it's all about preference really. I soak the churros in as much chocolate as I can so my pick is Valor. The funniest thing is I can't usually drink a whole cup of hot chocolate because it gets sweetyly-sickening after a while, but in Madrid I would finish my cup way before TD [read more]

MADRID INFO: Value for Money Tips

walk to del prado madrid

TD and I try to plan our vacations and budget well. We always try to get the best value for money. It's hard earned money and we try to balance out saving while enjoying ourselves. So here are the ways we cut cost while maximising our 7 days in Madrid. Tourist travel ticket The best way to get around is via Metro underground train and Buses. You can get a non-transferrable 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7-day tourist travel ticket. This ticket also includes the additional fee (6 € two-way) to get in and [read more]

TRAVEL DIARIES: 7 Days in Madrid

puerta de europa kio towers

We were recently in Madrid for a family vacation/reunion. It was my very first time in Spain and visiting Madrid was a dream come true. It was a dream I had, to experience the Madrileño lifestyle, ever since taking Spanish at University. So here was my bucket list for our one week stay. With a lot of walking, small bites and some money-saving tactics, we were able to check out almost everything without breaking the bank. Diplotummy Cochinillo at El Botin, the oldest restaurant in the [read more]

BERLIN FINDS: Stasi Archives and Museum Tour

stasi museum archives-004

The  Ministry for State Security or the Stasi, the GDR's Secret Police is something that is always mentioned in any material about that time. I know about it from what I've seen and heard in a general sense, but thanks to a tour in the Stasi Archives and Museum with organised by the "Unknown Berlin" Group leaders in the Willkommen in Berlin I got a unique insight into the world of the very clandestine organisation and the way it operated.  The complex system of archiving, which have [read more]

FRANKFURT BITES: Riverside Restaurant Main Nizza

main nizza restaurant frankfurt-006

A wonderful river side restaurant with delicious food, great service and amazing ambiance. If you are looking for a delicious and chic place to dine by Frankfurt's river main, I can definitely recommend this place. Their menu is short but delicious. See the English menu. Good portioned specials like the schnitzel and Argentinian steak below run between 20- 30 Euros and come with a yummy salad. Request to see the menu for their daily lunch specials. They are more affordable and more bang [read more]

FRANKFURT TO DO: City Tour

tour frankfurt germany-001

Touring around Frankfurt is a great way to get a feel for the layout and important parts of the city. Get a good tour guide that can tell you about the city's landmarks and pique your curiosity and interest. Once you pick out what you find interesting, be it historical landmarks, museums, ebbelwoi pubs or shopping, you can always come back using public transport. We rode on the coolest bus. Part of the tour was a walk through the old town square which was really memorable for me. [read more]

BERLIN TO DO: Berlin Palace Humbolt Box

berlin palace humbolt box-007

For many people the oddly shaped, very modern Humboltbox offends their sense of sight because it is like a sore thumb sticking out in the middle of the very beautiful old buildings in Museum Insel. I am happy to find out during our visit of the Berlin Palace Information Center, that is only a temporary structure which contains beautiful things within and has a very good purpose  for being there. A model of turn-of the-century Berlin landscape shows you where the Berlin Palace was before it [read more]

FRANKFURT BITES: Champions Bar

fradt_phototour81

One of the happening places in the evening in Marriott Hotel is the Champions Bar where hotel guests unwind after a day of business or pleasure. After hours get-togethers or even meetings are conducted with a round of beers with American burgers, with sports games being played in the many massive flatscreen TVs scattered around the bar. This would be a wonderful place to watch a football game in Frankfurt. We wanted to try the different items on the menu so we ordered the sample [read more]