Weekend Brunch in Sweden – UPDATED

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Är du hungrig? (Are you hungry?)

Summer might be over, but brunch dates don’t have to end. Here in Göteborg, Sweden, Weekend brunch can mean an extravagant buffet offering delicious Swedish fare or just a quaint little spot in one of the cafes of Old town with some coffee and Swedish pastries.

Since moving here, my co-pilot and I have made it a habit to treat ourselves to brunch every once in a while. When it was warm and sunny, we would sit on the patio and catch up from the week’s events. Now that it’s winter, sitting indoors with a hot drink is my preferred choice, but if you’re a Swede and it’s cold but sunny then sit outdoors on the patio with a warm blanket!

And whenever have guests, it’s a must to take them for a nice brunch as a welcome to the city. Some brunch buffets are only offered on Sundays and start at noon, while other brunch places around the city end at noon. Check before you go. Swedes are very plan-y so if you want to try a brunch place, I would recommend booking a table ahead of time or going early.

We have been to a few really nice brunch places here in Göteborg. Here are some of our favorites.

Park Avenyn Cafe

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For a fancier brunch place, I’d recommend Park Avenyn Cafe. We discovered this place a year or so ago and it was unfortunately on break during the summer! Brunch buffet features some delicious typical Swedish dishes such as warm and cold smoked salmon, pickled herring, Swedish Kaviar and even thin European style pancakes. With a good selection of cakes and pastries, the dessert is a plus. Coffee and tea is included and the ambience is nice. Only indoor seating available.

Ritz Hotel

20150816_123123The Ritz offers dagens lunch(daily lunch) but on weekends they offer more smoked salmon, many different types of herring and traditional shrimp salads. They also have a hot food section with the usual breakfast items like scrambled eggs and sausage, but they also have roast veggies, bbq chicken and pannkakor. The buffet includes a large salad selection with many different potato and veggie salads. For dessert, they have some really good brownies with shredded coconut on top(I remove the coconut), apple
crumble. and fresh fruit. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but well worth a visit. Outdoor seating is available.

We have also tried the Casino Cosmopol brunch that offers an American style brunch.Of course, it’s Sweden so it’s Swedish American style. They had a few good dishes like the smoked salmon with cream cheese and they offered American Style pancakes (althought they kept running out).

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Smaller brunch places

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Most of the cafes in old town, ‘Haga’, offer a frukostbuffe (Breakfast buffet). They give you a plate that usually includes Yogurt (sometimes Turkish) and maybe a protein and you add muesli, nuts, fruit and scones, croissants, hard boiled egg, and whatever else they have that morning. Coffee is an additional cost. Frukostbuffe is usually served until 12pm and then they switch over to Lunch which is soup and various salads (Salad bar with lunch is common here).

Kafferosten

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Le Petit Cafe

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Haga and the surrounding area is a great location for brunch because afterwards you can wander over to the city park for a walk or the botanical garden and it’s a lively area already.

Eva’s Paley

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Cafe Kringlan

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Around here it seems like mostly couples or groups of girls go for brunch, but I think it’s perfectly fine to go for brunch with guy friends and/or alone. Why not treat yourself if you feel like it?

We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many awesome choices for brunch 🙂

Note: If you are a new parent (like me!) – you can still do brunch. Check out my Parent Tips below.

Happy eating!

Park Avenyn Cafe
Kungsportsavenyn 36-38 • 411 36 Göteborg
website
Parent tip: Make a reservation and mention that you need space for a stroller.

Ritz
Bastionsplatsen 2, 411 08 Göteborg
website
Parent tip: Make a reservation and mention that you need space for a stroller. They are pretty accommodating.

Casino Cosmopol
Packhusplatsen 7 411 13 Göteborg
website
Bring Swedish ID or your passport as they check before you enter the casino.
Parent tip: Sadly, no babies or kids allowed at the casino even if it’s just to the restaurant.

Le Petit Cafe
website
They have a few locations around the city. The Haga location is a bit smaller so if you want more table room visit the Linné location which also includes a patio. Their brunch includes Turkish yogurt and now includes a hot drink, a smoothie, and unlimited scones/bread.
Parent tip: The Linné location is much better for strollers as the other location is cramped.

Kafferosten
Linnégatan 62 413 08 Gothenburg
This place remains our favorite frukostbuffe with it’s unlimited freshly baked croissants and a choice of salami and brie, Turkey or Ham. The breakfast is available all day, but if you get there before 13:00 they have everything out so you can assemble the plate yourself. On a nice sunny day, it’s nice to sit out on their patio!
Parent tip: It’s a small cafe so strollers must be parked outside. If you have a smaller baby, try to sit in the couches so you can bring the cot or bassinet in and put it on the floor.

Eva’s Paley
Kungsportsavenyen 39, 411 36 Göteborg
website
This cafe offers brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. You get a small hot drink of your choice, but you can upgrade it to a large for an additional cost. It also comes with a smoothie, All-you-can-eat flavored yogurt (Mango or raspberry), hard-boiled eggs, bread and cheese. They make delicious bread and sometimes they even have shrimp salad (called skagenröra in Swedish). Get there before 12:00 as they clean everything up promptly at 12:00.

*Pro-tip* It is a pretty popular cafe so get there early to avoid missing the brunch. One time we were waiting in line and it was 10 min to 12:00 when we finally got to the cashier and they almost told us it was too late..but we complained we were in the long line for at least 10 minutes..
Parent tip: Strollers can be brought it, but there are a few steps to get to the main eating area. There are also 2 small tables on the same floor as the Cashier so they are perfect if it’s just you and your baby.

Cafe Kringlan
Haga Nygata 13, 413 01 Göteborg
Göteborg Tourist website
Recently, we tried this Cafe in Haga and it included Pannkakor, or thin Swedish pancakes, and Eggs in a bun (similar to ‘Toad in the hole’). It also included a hot drink of your choice and a smoothie.
Parent tip: It’s a small cafe so strollers must be parked outside

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‘Toad in the hole’

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Baby Boxes For the Baby On the Way!

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Hej! When you are an expectant or new parent, it’s always nice to get advice and tips from friends who have already been through the same things.

One of those friends shared a tip with me about ‘Baby boxes’ that are available for parents-to-be. Swedish ‘Baby boxes’ are literally boxes full of different baby items and samples and are offered free to residents of Sweden, not to be confused with the Finnish baby box that babies can sleep in. You only need to register online and then the Babyboxes are available to pick up at various locations around the city.

During my pregnancy, I made sure to order the babyboxes from babybox.se and another one I found on Libero.se.

I ordered 4 baby boxes total and each came with different items for baby AND mom.

Here’s a quick look inside each box.

Babyboxes from babybox.se:
Babyproffsens Babybox can be picked up at any location of Babyproffsen
Lloyd’s Apotek Babybox can be picked up at any Lloyd’s Apotek location
Apoteksgruppens Babybox can be picked up at any Apoteksgruppens location

Just give them your person number when you pick it up.

The Libero Startbox can be ordered here and picked up at any ICA Maxi location.

When I went to pick up my Libero startbox, they told me to put my name on a waitlist
and come back when they had more stock. But just before I left the store, they told me they had found a startbox for me, so I didn’t need to come back 😉

It only takes a few minutes to sign up and you should receive a confirmation email afterwards that you can also show when you pick up the babybox.

You may not use everything in the babyboxes, but it is nice to have little samples and coupons. You can see what you like when your baby is around and the boxes are FREE afterall!

Hope this post was helpful, especially for the English speaking Parents-to-be in Sweden. Enjoy your babyboxes and the special time before your little bundle of joy arrives 🙂

Weekend in Glorious Rome

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We met some family for a long weekend in Rome recently and although short, it was filled with some good eats and visits to all of our favorite spots!

Having visited Rome twice before, we had already seen most of the famous tourist sights. We were there mainly to spend time with family and show them what makes Rome so amazing. Whenever we visit a city, one of our favorite activities is to walk and explore. When we say ‘walk’ we mean walk all day haha.. Sometimes we actually tire out whoever we are with 😉

We got lucky with the whether that weekend as the sunshine kept us company for most of the weekend, except for a bit of rain that didn’t last very long.

What makes Rome so special and why it’s one of my favorite cities to visit? Rome has so much to offer. It’s not just the history, the museums, the squares or the food. It’s all of those things together. One can easily spend days just walking around to different neighbourhoods and there is always new things to see (and eat) when you come back for a visit.

Here are some of my favorite places in Rome:

Good Eats!

Giolitti
Offering some really delicious and inexpensive Gelato.
How can one say ‘No’ to the whip cream on top?
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Walnut, Dark Chocolate with a dollop of whip cream.

Pizzeria Ai Marmi
Located in the Trastevere neighbourhood, it is well worth the visit. It was full right when it opened with mostly locals. The Napoletana pizza is cheesy and salty and has to be my favorite. In addition to the pizza they offer other Roman/Italian snacks like Fried Zuchinni flowers, and Arancini (rice balls).

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Dolce Maniera
We stumbled upon this bakery on our first trip to Rome. It’s open 24 hours and popular at all times. They offer a multitude of desserts and snacks. Be sure to try their Tiramisu which they give you a generous portion.

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Nice views
The top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome offers an amazing view of the Vatican and the city.You can stop along the way up at a cafe to take a break and take in the sight of the immense city below you.

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Roman Forum
Included with the Coloseum ticket, there’s a great view spot of the Roman Forum.

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“Typewriter building”
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (locals compare it to a wedding cake or Victorian typewriter)
It does cost extra to take the elevator higher, but you can still get a nice view in the ‘free’ area.

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Remember, when in Rome… 

Don’t forget to enjoy an Italian coffee at one of the cafes and people watch. Take it easy and walk around. You may be surprised by the beautiful square you find after walking down a random street. Walk into any random church and you’ll be surprised by how beautiful it is on the inside! And as in all countries you travel to, it helps to try to learn a few words in the local language, the locals will appreciate it:)

Happy Travels!

 

A Visit to the Beautiful Danish Capital

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The Danish capital overlooking the Øresund strait and only a few minutes from Sweden across the bridge, Copenhagen is a great weekend gateway! Hans Christian Andersen, who “wrote a couple of fairy tales”, must have truly been inspired by the beautiful city of Copenhagen with it’s beautiful harbor, viewspots, and castles.

It’s a lot more international than the other capitals and the cultural and geographic link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Traditional architecture blends with the modern, the pastries are divine and it’s a city full of character, colorful houses and unique areas like Christiana new town.

Copenhagen is my favorite Scandinavian Capital and although I’ve been a few times before, there is always more to discover and our recent Valentine’s weekend trip was wonderful!!

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Woke up to a little snow sprinkled over the city. 

We walked along the waterfront to the palace and the marble church where all the tourists were checking out the changing of the guards.

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Perfect guard formation at the Amalienborg, the winter home of the Danish Royal Family.

There are a couple boat tours you can choose from at Nyhavn, but we went with the one that was only 40 Danish Kroner for a 45 min ride around the canal. We were surprised that the tour is still running in winter but there is a covered area. Although, I don’t recommend sitting in the covered area if you want to take some photos as the cover seems to obscure the view. The tour was in English and Danish.

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You can choose to sit in the covered area of the canal tour boat or in the back. It is a bit chilly sitting outdoors so make sure you are well covered.

I always look forward to a visit to Denmark for the delicious pastries that don’t have cardamom 😉 Danishes as they are known in North America were brought to Denmark by the Austrians (Weinerbrod) but became a Danish specialty and boy are they good!
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There were raspberry and apple pastries with the raspberry one being sweeter. I liked the apple pastry best.

20160213_163321…and of course the chocolate pastry found at various bakeries around the city were heavenly. Pair it with a coffee and you have the ultimate coffee break snack (or “Fika” in Sweden)

Hungry for lunch, we tried one of the Hotel recommended restaurants close to Nyhavn and the hotel, for an open faced sandwich or Danish Smørrebrød. Believe it or not, there is a slice of rye bread under all that delicious shrimp and egg!

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This brisket sandwich included some horse radish butter for a little extra kick.

Our favorite viewspot in the city has to be from Church of Our Savior steeple but this was my first time up the Round Tower (or RundeTaarn in Danish) so that was pretty cool!

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One guy was walking round and round with his selfie stick in the air lol

There is a little doorway that leads into the centre of the tower. That can be scary if you think that only the glass you are standing on is stopping you from dropping down the tower.

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When we moved to Sweden, our very first trip in Europe was to Copenhagen. After that, I realized how easy it was to get out of town and explore a new city or country and we have been traveling since 😉 Our first visit to Copenhagen was in April and we were lucky to get some beautiful Spring weather complete with blue skies and sunshine. Check my blog post on our Easter trip to Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Admiral Hotel
Beautiful old stone warehouse converted into a hotel, in a great location
right next to the waterfront and near Nyhavn! We had a nice loft suite here.
The Admiral Hotel on Tripadvisor

Cafe Fremtiden
For some delicious Danish Smørrebrød.
website

Lagkagehuset
Stop at this cafe for some delicious pastries and bread.
website

Holms bager
There’s a nice location on the walking street and it
was nice to tuck in here to warm up and take a break from the shopping
and exploring
Bakery’s FB page

Thanks for reading!

How Swedes Celebrate Fat Tuesday

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It’s that time of year again, when the Swedes celebrate Fettisdagen (The Fat Tuesday) or should I say, when Swedes stuff their faces with whip cream buns called ‘Semla’! They always make sure to have a bunch of Semla at work on Fat Tuesday and then everyone tries hard not to fall asleep right after Hahaha..

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“Celebrate Fat Tuesday with us! Order already now!” Beautiful window displays of Semlor all over the city!

Semla or Semlor (plural) are available at one of the many bakeries or konditori around town, at grocery store where they are usually sold in packages of two or even at the
7-Eleven, which has some really nice desserts btw. Nothing like the 7-Elevens back home.

My first couple of years in Sweden, I always made sure to have one (or 2)… but I have since learned my lesson. Those buns can be quite filling!

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They come in different sizes from mini to huge and they are all pretty delicious (and fatty lol)

Aside from the delicious whip cream, semla also have some vanilla and almond paste. The bun itself, of course, uses the spice, cardamom. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Swedish pastries…most of them use cardamom..which I and a few other expats decided we aren’t so fond of , now that we’ve realized how much Swedes like it in everything 😉

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“Cream with love” Coffee and Semla only 30sek (which is about $4.50)

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An evening view of the Göteborg canal on Fettisdagen

Happy Eating!
(Hope you enjoyed Fat Tuesday and celebrated with whatever food your heart desired!)

Island Life: Gili Air

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IMG_3901As soon as we arrived on Gili Air, our Dutch friend who now lives on the island, said “Welcome to Paradise”. This little island, about 45min fast boat ride from Amed (on Bali), can really be described as paradise.

Complete with white sand beaches, beautiful sunset views, great snorkeling and scuba diving, the island is also car-free, with only bikes, electric scooters or horses, ‘Cidomo’, to travel around on the island. It’s a beautiful place and I was lucky to spend a week here during our recent trip to Bali.

IMG_3818From the port to the dive shop the Cidomo ride cost us 100,000Rp (for 2 people and our bags) and saved us from lugging our bags all the way there. You can also bargain with the driver about the price but with our luggage we thought the price was reasonable.

20151126040944First few minutes on the island and we were in a horse cart lol. What an adventure!

There is one main road around the island with guesthouses and hotels running along it. Most places have their own restaurant or cafe that serves guests breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner too – local Indonesian dishes and some Western dishes are available. The restaurants are often right on the beach and if you buy food, you can use a sunbed for free.

20151202_155715This is the cafe associated with the dive shop we dived with, Blue Marine Dive. They had great smoothies and mozza sticks! A few places also started putting out their Xmas decorations.

There are a couple of really fancy hotels on Gili Air with fancy restaurants. We stopped to have cocktails at one of them, the Grand Sunset. The views were amazing and the mango cocktail was pretty delicious.

20151130114725Gili Air is a Muslim island with a mosque and calls to prayer during the day. The island is Pork-free and having a dog as a pet is forbidden, although we did see a couple of dogs who most likely belonged to expats on the island.

20151130125655No pork around here! Beef bacon and pineapple fried rice.

Gili Air is one of the three Gili islands and is the closest one to Lombok. Gili Trawangan is the biggest and most developed and considered the party island. Gili Meno is the least developed and Gili Air is quiet with some nightlife, great for families and snorkeling and diving among other water activities. During our stay on Gili Air, the volcano on Lombok wasn’t visible because it was still steaming.

IMG_3960Gili Meno being the least developed of the 3 islands, this was one of the only restaurants on this side of the island. We stopped here during our snorkel tour.

I had a wonderful stay on Gili Air. The locals were always friendly especially to me (since they kept thinking I was also Indonesian). Many people working on Gili Air live on Lombok and commute daily. We saw boats full of locals head out at the end of the day. They told us Lombok didn’t have as many job opportunities. Aside from lounging around at a cafe for WiFi, I spent time at the hotel’s pool, scuba diving and snorkeling right in front of our bungalows. It was one of the most relaxing weeks of our vacation.

20151127_11383220151127_113828Our hotel, Kaluku Bungalows, served us some really nice Balinese breakfasts. Our favorite was the banana pancake with fruit plate and Bali coffee. Kaluku started getting really busy during the end of our stay and the kitchen was slow. They did only have one girl, Sophie, making all the breakfasts and their restaurant was still under construction. Hopefully, they can hire a few more staff to help with the breakfast rush.

20151202_130447Locals hard at work trying to build the kitchen for the restaurant. They told us that they hoped to finish it before high season in Dec 2015 (so it must be done by now!).

IMG_3876Beautiful Kaluku Bungalows with a king bed, tv, and really great AC.

IMG_3852Our bungalow had an outdoor bathroom with a rainshower.

We dived with Blue Marine Dive for a few days during our stay. They even let me borrow fins on the days I didn’t dive so I could snorkel. I had a few really amazing dives where I saw so many turtles, a huge wrasse, and baby reef sharks sleeping under rocks. Awww!

FB_IMG_1454027343146Photo credit to my co-pilot for this shot of the baby shark sleeping.

IMG_3891Kitty supervising the scuba gear preparations.

We signed up to do snorkel tour one of our days on Gili Air which was 100,000Rp/person. The snorkel tour started around 9am and took us to 4 different spots for snorkeling around the Gili islands. We stopped on Gili Meno for lunch and were back in Gili Air around 2pm.

20151130052722There were a couple of turtle sightings during the snorkeling and beautiful coral around the islands. One turtle was chowing down on his lunch not caring about us snorkelers swimming above him. I guess they are used to people or maybe he was just too busy eating.

Although, I must admit it wasn’t the best snorkel tour, they did have one guide in the water and he directed us to where the turtles and fish were. We ended up swimming with him the first couple of snorkel spots but after lunch, he stayed on the boat and we just snorkeled around and when they called us back we all had to return to the boat.

IMG_3985A few from our group who were still snorkeling after they called us in.

Noone was left during this time luckily although it was low season so there weren’t as many boats out there. In high season, I can imagine how confusing it can be, you really need to remember the color or name of your boat and stay near to your group!

20151130061746Our group almost at our Red and Blue snorkel boat.

IMG_3955One of the other snorkel tour boats and their snorkelers.

There was also that incident with one of the girls who was boarding the boat from the other side of the island. It was low tide so the boat couldn’t get close enough to shore, so she ended up having to walk out onto coral to meet the boat. The problem was she had a bag with her that she refused to get wet, so she couldn’t swim toward the boat, and it was hard to reach her with the waves. She finally made it onboard and we all clapped but her feet and legs were cut up and the snorkel guide and boat captain could only say sorry. We gave her some bandaids and disinfectant after the snorkel tour but she didn’t let that stop her from enjoying the snorkeling.

IMG_3950Walking back to our snorkel boat after lunch. Long way to go since it was still low tide.

IMG_3972One of the residents of Gili Meno. I was admiring his cool bike so he let me take a photo.
IMG_3978This was someone’s ‘pet’ on the Gili Meno at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch. This looks like an eagle. They said they used him for hunting.

Gili Air is a great place to chill and spend some time relaxing in paradise. If you want to just relax and sit on a beach or sunbed you can. If you are interested in doing more activity, you have snorkeling, scuba diving and other water activities to choose from.

It offers something for everyone which is why it’s great for families. There are also fewer people trying to sell things to you when you are just sitting on the beach. This makes it much quieter than the beaches on Bali and a nice break from having to say “No, Thanks!” to people offering to sell bracelets etc. Island life is marvelous when you find yourself on an island like Gili Air.

20151127014439Kaluku Bungalows
You have the option of staying in one of their front bungalows or their new modern rooms in the back (next to the swimming pool) Wifi is much better by the pool. Breakfast is included.
Rooms from 350,000RP and up.
Website: Kaluku Bungalows

Blue Marine Dive
New dive boat and new equipment. Guides were great and very knowledgeable about the dive sites. We were often in our own small group when diving.
Website: Blue Marine Dive

Travel Tips

*To get to Gili Air you can take a fast boat from Amed or Padang Bai. The fast boat stops at Gili Trawangan on the way to Gili Air. They can get full, so it’s best to book it a day ahead. If you show up in the morning and expect to get on you may be disappointed. Be prepared to get wet, as you will need to walk into water to get on the boat.

IMG_3815Waiting patiently for our bags to be offloaded from the boat after arriving in Gili Air.

*Make sure you see the sunset at least once. Seeing the sun sink into the ocean as the sky turns to pink and orange is a beautiful sight.

IMG_4002Sunset walk to get some dinner

*Snorkel! (be sure to rent fins as well it will help you cover more distance and swim stronger if there is current)

*Have a massage it’s a bit more on this island than on Bali but still much less than back home and so worth it. Walk around and check prices at different hotels around the island. If they aren’t busy, they might also offer you a discount.

*Walk around and see the island. There is a ship building area near the port and many restaurants as you walk along the road. It’s also nice just to see where the island residents live. It’s one thing to sit and enjoy the beach, but it can also be interesting to see what the residents live like. Everyone is friendly there and saying Hello or greeting them in Bahasa Indonesia (Apa Kabar? or How are you?) is always a nice thing to do as you explore the island.

20151127054546There were so many cafes and bars along the sandy main island road.

20151127055016Some land for sale, with cattle just hanging around in the middle of the island.

20151127063619Fish drying in the sun behind some local’s home.

*Wifi is hard to find on the island so be prepared to disconnect for a few days and enjoy it!

*There are 2 atms on the island so don’t worry about having to bring a lot of cash with you when you go to the Gili islands.

*During rainy season the torrential downpour can come down for hours and it can be really windy. The sandy main road will likely be flooded so stay close to your hotel/bungalow.

*Don’t order ‘American’ food and expect it to be good… Just stick with the local cuisine. Mozzarella sticks are the exception though. They were crispy, cheesy and delicious. The nachos I had on the other hand was the most disappointing meal and something I really didn’t need to order.

20151126044113For really delicious food, be sure to visit Chill Out Bar on the island! They offer some incredibly delicious grilled skewers and grilled fish dishes. Check out my Trip Advisor review for more details.

*PLEASE DO NOT harrass the turtles. We had a few run-ins with idiots touching the turtles. One girl was completely rude about it and another guy was pushing the turtle up. Poor turtles are at risk for infection or bacteria when people leave their oily hand prints all over their shell. Touching turtles is illegal in many places around the world and dive shops often enforce this. Just let them be and take your photos and video without getting too close 🙂

FB_IMG_1448754980809Happy Travels!

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Island Life in Bali: Amed

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20151125_140728Our first visit to Amed, the easternmost point of Bali, was during our big trip to Southeast Asia about 3 years ago. Amed is one of a group of fishing villages in the area – Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. I remember how much fun we had relaxing in our 2-storey brand new modern guesthouse, where we stayed on the second floor. We saw the most gorgeous sunsets with Mt. Agung from our private balcony and spent the day snorkeling and swimming.

IMG_8262We even did a road trip from Amed to the north of Bali and left our bags at the guesthouse. We have such amazing memories from our time there where, Wayan, the guy who owned the guesthouse used to tell us not to rush ‘Slowly, Slowly’, we were on vacation after all. A lot can change in 3 years, and as soon as we arrived in Amed this time around, we noticed just how developed it has become compared to our first visit there.

IMG_8299  Our motorbike helmets IMG_2679The main road through Amed

We used to have to walk on the road for a few minutes until we reached a store and restaurants. Our guesthouse was right on the black sand beach but now there is another guesthouse next to it, even closer to the beach. There are even more restaurants and guesthouses on the right and left , where there used to only be a pen for pigs, goats and a small hut. I remember saying ‘Good Morning!’ or ‘Selamat Pagi’ (Bahasa Indonesia) to our neighbours each day.

IMG_2558The neighbour’s piglets, back when there weren’t other guesthouses next door.

IMG_2532IMG_2758Our old Guesthouse ‘Buburacok’ 3 years ago when it was the only guesthouse standing there. On our current trip, another guesthouse had been built infront and there was a restaurant as well.

IMG_8329There are also so many dive shops now. 3 years ago I remember only a handful but now just walking along the main road it seems like 20+ dive shops have sprung up probably because of the Tulamben wreck but also the fantastic diving in the Jemeluk bay and a few other bays in the nearby fishing villages.

I did my first Night Dive here in the bay just by the dive shop and I will always remember coming up to see a gazillion stars in the night sky. It was absolutely phenomenal. There are even a couple shallow wrecks you can see snorkeling very close to shore.

It’s great to see that our old favorite spot in Bali is doing well. It is busier than before (There are a few places playing live music but it’s nowhere near as crazy compared to some other places in Bali) and it still retains that chill feeling that it always had.

IMG_8251On our trip 3 years ago…My co-pilot taking in the view.

If you are looking for a quieter, less crowded place away from the busy south of Bali, Amed is a wonderful option. There is excellent snorkeling (beautiful coral, and lots fish), beautiful black sand beach, and really friendly locals. Amed remains a nice, relaxed place to visit, but it really was special during our first visit 3 years ago…

IMG_2755Mt. Agung, some outrigger boats and the black sand beach.

IMG_3783Delicious grilled fish served at the local cafes was a real treat.

20151125_075712When in Bali, one should try the balinese breakfast which consists of rice flour pancake (plain or with fruit often banana or pineapple), fruit and bali coffee (similar to turkish coffee, where you stir it and let it settle making sure not to drink that sludge on the bottom)

20151125_154611The dive shop let us borrow sit down paddle boards. After our morning dives, we decided to try them out.

Roosters were all over our beach area. They belonged to the guest house we stayed in.

IMG_2761Beautiful black sand beach and lots of outrigger fishing boats.

Getting to Amed
We hired a car to take us from Ubud to Amed. This takes about 3 hours with traffic. We paid around 400,000Rp for 4 of us but no stopping at any sights on the way. On our first trip there we paid about 300,000Rp for 2 of us and we stopped at the Water Palace and a few other temples in the way.

Ask your guesthouse in Ubud or wherever you are in Bali if they can help with transport. Otherwise, there are drivers asking you about transport all over Ubud and Bali. Be sure you negotiate to get the price you want.

Where to Stay
There are many Guesthouses to choose from when you come to Amed. You can either book ahead or you can get to Amed and then walk around and see what’s available. The latter option allows you to negotiate a price after you see what the accommodation looks like. This is something we often did in Bali and it worked out quite well. We ended up staying in Jemeluk bay which has some fantastic snorkeling (rent some fins with your snorkel and mask!). Our guesthouse was called ‘Warung Ombak’ – Warung means ‘cafe’ as most guesthouses also have little cafes on the beachfront which serve their guests breakfast and offer lunch/dinner. Make sure to ask whether breakfast is included in your nightly rate.

Scuba Diving
Amed has some really great reef wall diving right in Jemeluk bay but also as I mentioned above at the Tulamben wreck. Bali has a few different areas for diving as well such as Nusa Lembongan and a couple places in the North of Bali. We decided to go with a French dive shop next to the cafe we went to when we first arrived in Bali. They were really nice and knowledgeable about the area and they offered us a discount on the boat ticket to Gili Air as well. We did a day of diving BLD divers. Check out their website here

Remember to really enjoy the place you are traveling to. Take in the sights, sounds and enjoy each moment. In a few years, it will likely be a much different place than you remember, but hopefully you will always have wonderful memories from your time there. I know we will always cherish the memories we have from our special time in Amed 3 years ago, and the new memories from our most recent trip in December 2015.

Happy Travels!