Cold-Weather Comfort Food Picks

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Baby it’s REALLY cold outside; whether you’re in the U.K suffering that ‘beast from the East’, watching the snow fall on the parthenon in bewilderment in Rome, or just plain miserable in Scandinavia’s country-sized ice-rinks. There’s only one thing that can help when it gets this far below 0. Two words. Comfort. Food. We’re sharing our favorite places to gorge out on the sweet, the fat, the gooey and the all out bad for you. Because every snow day is a cheat day. Amiright?

1) MELT Grilled Cheese, Oslo

This is a joint which specialises in grilled cheese sandwiches. Need we say more? Ok. You can opt for such options as a lasagne or Korean pulled pork filling or if you’re a die hard grilled-cheese puritan, get the all cheese combo and take it into bed with you until the weather improves. Not that you won’t want another one then too of course..

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2) Bubby’s, New York

Are you anywhere near Tribeca? What about Highline? You should think yourself very lucky if the answer to either of those questions was positive because you have access to the best pies in New York (according to us). They do lots of great breakfast and lunch options here but oh em gee, you’ve GOTTA try the pies…Our personal favorite is the sour cherry, but we have it on good authority that the banoffee espresso is also to die for! Why are you still here? All you need is a pie, a fork and a duvet to get through the next few days. Your welcome.

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3) Poppie’s Fish and Chips, London

Now we’re all for the greasy chippie next door vibe, but if you’re feeling a bit embarrassed about your dining habits these days (hard carbs, heavy oil, salt and sugar much?), you might want to pop by a demure Poppie’s kiosk (in Camden or Spitalfields market). We’re especially keen on the hot seafood platter (featuring calamari to drown all your sorrows) when it’s been a particularly rough weekend. This is a great joint, and not just for the nostalgic uniforms and discreet ‘buy and run’ set-up which is perfect for when you’re out wearing eight layers of clothes and four day old eyeliner. Classy! The food is top grade and you can eat the vinegar soaked chips on the way home, where no one can judge you.

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Top destinations for every type of love

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It’s Valentine’s day. Maybe you love it, maybe you think it’s stupid. We get it. We got you.

To celebrate an international day of love we’re sharing our top destinations for all the lovers- the best friends, the couples, and the families!

1. For the Lovers: The Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy.

We went for a real classic here. Legend has it that if whoever you kiss under this 17th century bridge at sunset will be your eternal love. We haven’t tested it out ourselves, but we reckon even if it’s not ‘forever’, kissing anywhere at sunset is likely to score you some serious bae points…If you don’t make it to the bridge, rest assured that Venice will seduce the coldest of hearts.

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2. For the BFFs: San Sebastian, Spain.

Has life gotten in the way? Maybe you’ve seen less of each other than you’d like. San Sebastian is all the things you want in an intimate break with your best mate. Throbbing restaurant scene, stunning coastline and lots of bars to sit and get things off your heart in. It’s a no brainer for rekindling that platonic glow.

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3. For the Families: Toronto, Canada.

Anywhere in Canada works for those trips with your grown up siblings and parents, but Toronto really goes the whole hog! It’s easy to navigate with none of your parents’ anxieties about language getting in the way, it’s massively cosmopolitain and you’ll be able to dive into a range of different activities (and food!). From islands, to distilleries, to bustling markets, there’ll be no grumpy teenage nieces here…

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4. For the Big groups of Friends: Berlin, Germany.

Berlin packs a big punch. The history is awe-inspiring with plenty of contemporary sights of commemoration, museums and tours, but the local cultural scene is bursting at the seams! There are enough galleries and exhibitions to entertain the toughest culture vultures in your group, head into Kreuzberg for world class food and bars, and fall back into the city’s nightlife to get the full Berliner experience. The music will literally drown out the complaints and moaning. You’ll go home hungover and happy.

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Top 5 Magical Parisian Bakeries

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You’ve seen Amelie, we’ve seen Amelie, and you’ve definitely got that Yann Tiersen soundtrack kicking off in your mind now. What’s Paris without a slow romantic piano set in the rain or a man in a beret and mime makeup playing the accordion? Ok, fine that last one is a bit of a stretch. But there is something about the idea of whimsical Paris that makes our hearts flutter. No, not all that ‘love’ crap, we’re talking about the smell of baked goods drifting out from little cafes with shouty French people inside and coffee so strong it clamps your eyes open at the first sip. Not all cities were created equal and the same can be said of the humble boulangerie and pâtisserie too. In Paris, these are no joke. We’ve collected five of our favorites (in no particular order), that not only capture all the magical charm of this famous city but also serve up a taste of oven-fresh Paris while they’re at it.

1) Chez Bogato

Imagine a bakery so quaint it looks like you are stepping into a movie set. Now imagine you’re eating cherry biscuits with edible rice paper and watching the masters make cakes that look like cartoons. To top it all off, they offer classes, so you can put down that ninth bonbon, breathe, and learn how to make it yourself when you get back home. Ooh la la!

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2) A La Flûte Gana

These days many Parisian bakeries don’t make their croissants from scratch, relying on pre-prepared mixes. No so for this teeny tiny family boulangerie. It’s a perfect spot to get that warm, fresh morning pastry. Even though, as the name suggests, they are famed for their baguettes (and other breads). Really, all their classics hold up well. The spirit of the place remains cosy with an old time energy, and their sign alone warrants a scene in your next social media story.

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3) Popelini

This place should be made up, but it’s very very real. A little urban cave of a place that just one type of pastry- the adorable cream puff. But boy do they ‘do it’. It comes in a variety of unreal flavors ( think lavender, pistachio and caramels) and comes in boxes fit for a Wes Andersen scenario. You can buy them in ones, half a dozen or 12 at a time (we recommend 12).

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4) Bontemps 

Bontemps lives up to its name- ‘good times’. We’d actually add a little something to that and say it’s more like good ‘old’ times. There’s a nostalgic 1950s feeling to the patisserie and their delicious offerings. You imagine you’d sit outside and write your masterpiece while people watching here. Those porcelain cake stands, antique display cases, and rows and rows of masterful tarts and ganache adorned cookies will finally fulfill your images of other worldly ‘Amelie’ Paris.

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5) La Pâtisserie des Rêves

The Patisserie des Reves (literally ‘the pastry shop of dreams’ is a rather more ‘polished’ selection. But variety is the spice (sugar) of life! This patisserie is like a fashionable Willy Wonka style hangout with ornamental cakes suspended form the ceiling in refrigerated globes. Every turn inspires a grown-up glee (and a camera phone), and the best news? You can now sample those award-winning madeleines in Milan and London too.

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Lokalii’s Winter Winners

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Who loves winter? WE DO! WE DO! It’s a magical time- the snow lights up the city, the fireplaces roar and nature transforms into your very own playground. But we get it, maybe where you are it just gets cold, dark and rainy. Maybe the only fireplace you’ll see is the image on a screen at the local department store. If that sounds familiar then our winter winners hotlist is for you!

Get the hot cocoa on and check out our favorite winter hangouts (in no particular order)…

1. Oslo

Surprised? Come on. Of course we were going to say Oslo. It’s the winter capital of the Nordics (perhaps even the world..). With renowned cross country tracks and downhill slopes just a couple of stops away from the city centre, Oslo provides urban adventures without the seclusion and exhaustion of carpooling your way up a mountain (unless you want to, that is). It’s the perfect mix of ‘woah’ landscapes and a pumping nightlife. And while you’re here, we suggest you test out ice fishing on the Oslo fjord, it’s an extraordinary experience that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Also- have a sip of that world famous coffee. It takes better when it’s below zero.

 

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2. Reykjavik, Iceland

The Icelandic capital is cold, sure, but with access to more warm ‘volcanically heated’ baths then you can shake your mulled wine at, and of course the Blue Lagoon, it’s hard to beat. This vibrant city is the perfect launchpad to explore the beautiful and thrillingly wild Icelandic nature from. Start the day by a geysir (that’s a natural fountain of water to you and me..) and end it at one of many cutting-edge dining spots in the city. Extra points for snapping up a group photo in an iconic Icelandic design jumper with your mates!

 

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3. Vancouver & Whistler

We are cheating a little by adding two cities as one entry. Vancouver is the big city, with a buzzing international life, and a dynamic and evolving cultural scene. And if you like exploring a city by foot then you’ll be blown away by the ‘seawall’ which is exactly what it sounds like- a paved 28km pathway around the seafront. Get those cameras out, the views are unsurprisingly incredible. Also- did someone say ‘christmas market’? Vancouver makes a sport out of this annual event, with over 75 huts full of goodies. If you don’t like all those lights harshing your outdoorsy buzz then a short drive north of the city you’ll hit Whistler, with access to every winter activity under that sub-zero sun. You’re pleasing everyone with this combo- something for the thinkers, the thrill seekers and city lovers too.

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4. Bavaria, Germany

If you’re a sucker for classic gothic fairytales then go to see the Neuschwanstein Castle in the winter. It’s a medieval romance to rival anything you’ve seen in a disney film. We’re not kidding- Disney modelled the castle in Sleeping beauty on Neuschwanstein…And Bavaria has more to offer than just the gorgeous views and jaw-droppingly intricate interiors of its famous castle. Also- you’re in Germany, the unofficial home of the christmas market (they invented this game), which comes with all the associated bratwurst sausages, warming spiked tipple and gingerbread you can get into your mittens. This is all home grown festive fun, and you didn’t hear it from us, but a pretty great proposal location..

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5. Prague

Prague (former capital of Bohemia) is a pretty magical place all year round, but has a special charm in the winter months. Imprinted with it’s stark historical pasts, you’ll wander into old pubs, basement restaurants and unlikely little cafes in the most industrial looking of shells. Winter is low season (apart from right around christmas time), so you’ll have the luxury of sliding in and out of the best spots without being disturbed. You’ll be able to reflect on the lit up Tyn Church and take your photos of the astronomical clock wearing a cloud of fog without the stag parties knocking you over. Win-Win. Walking the narrow and winding streets of the old town in the snow will throw you right back in time. Also, beer. Prague has great beer and you’ll want to feel cultured while drinking it. There’s no better time to eat rich food and starchy sides. We suggest you fill up on soup served in a breaded shell, wash it down with a delicious beer and then take a nap and think about Kafka. We love you Prague. We love you beer.

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Lokalii’s artistic side

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If you like those unexpected artsy finds, visiting someplace new, or just roaming about in your own backyard, then today’s blog post is for you. Nothing’s better than a quirky trail, and getting to know a place through the hidden visual charms. Here are some of our top picks for the unconventional culture vulture in you.

Marseilles’ workers

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The world is full of sculptures and galleries, but there is only one Les Voyageurs by Bruno Catalano. This is the sculpture you take your art allergic friends to. Depicting workers with seemingly imperfect forms, it will render you silent on sight. Your friends will understand it immediately. The workers are all missing pieces, either because they are missing something in life, or have left a piece of themselves behind. This piece is one our absolute favorites, as it tells its own story.

London’s hidden (Sitar) rhythm

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Artistic mediums aren’t just visual in nature. A walk down an iconic (back) street in London will have you acquainted with some of the world’s rarest instruments. If you’re into the hand-made, loved and trusted music making products, then this is the spot for you. Lose yourself to classical, culturally diverse music, and the stories that accompany them.

Pssst…Lokalii’s got an insider to walk you through one of London’s best kept secrets. Right next door to Sherlock Holmes, Kiran will unveil another kind of mystery- the story of the Sitar, with a cup of chai. If you’re lucky you might even meet Adele, who frequents this little urban enclave, checking out the harmoniums..

Amsterdam’s hidden churches

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We know that church sight-seeing isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a history buff who likes to dabble a little in the ‘hidden world of churches’ then check out the Chapel of the Parrot in Amsterdam. In 1578, the Netherlands became protestant,and Catholics prayed in private places. This meant a lot of hidden churches in houses and nicknamed after animals and objects- pretty cool, right? This is just one example- the Papegaai, or the parrot to you and me. A narrow entrance leads you into a pretty beautiful chapel steeped in national history.

Timișoara’s magic tricks

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Do you like street art? Maybe you know your Banksy from your D-Face, but you may not know the illusionary Reskate studio’s piece ‘asombrar’ (Spanish verb for shadow) in Romania. Are you intrigued? Check out this transformative artwork, changing with the light to play a little trick on you…

Valparaiso’s stair-art

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You might be better acquainted with the ‘stair-art’ (if such a thing exists) of Brazil, but don’t miss the intricate illustrations on the steps of Valparaiso’s narrow stairwells. In fact, you can find Mario Celedon’s work splashed all over the city’s walls, giving Neruda’s home town a beautifully whimsical feel.

Sign safari in Stockholm

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Neon signs are a new kind of storytelling. In a historical city like Stockholm. You could go it alone, but you’d miss half the plot. Book the experience via the app and Sanna will narrate that story through a new, glowing perspective. Forget the faux-kitsch trend- this one is about a history in lights…

 

 

Fantasy Bucket List

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…Because it’s still only Thursday…

It’s no surprise that we like to daydream as much any other start-up here at Lokalii.
So when we asked about the fantasy bucket list experience at the office, it kind of took some unexpected turns.Some of them weird, some wonderful and a few we were too shy to put into words. But the shareable ones are up on the blog for your work afternoon pleasure now! Tell us what you think- what would be on your bucket list if anything at all was possible?

Participate in a Hogwarts selection

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OMG. We can’t imagine anything more magical (no pun intended) than either being present at Hogwarts ceremonial hall during a house selection, or even better, taking our place under the sorting hat. Not to mention the bottomless butterbeer, pumpkin juice and elderflower wine in that floating candle-lit hall. Point us towards platform 9 ¾ please. The real one. Not the one with the massive queue for photos in London…

Dancing with Beyonce on stage

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Not that we are really good dancers, but hey, who would be watching us when Queen B’s on stage anyway? We just want to be snapped striking a pose behind her majesty. The satisfaction of telling that story at every.single.dinner.party.ever would be priceless!

Watching the fall of The Wall

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No not THAT wall. We mean the one holding off the white walkers. Not really so pleasant or cozy in a traditional way…but seriously, can you imagine a more grand experience to witness? We’d want to observe this from a safe distance from the aforementioned white walkers, their re-incarnated dragon and any other dangerous or creepy things. But all that said and done, with a sword and the sudden ability to fight alongside Tormund (please say he made it?!), this is a top scorer on our fantasy list. Imagine if Daenerys Targaryen decided to swoop in with a blanket and a bottle of wine as well. We’re not so scared of winter coming after all.

Riding a unicorn on a rainbow

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…without having to ingest any hallucinogens to do so, obviously. If there is a paradise, we are certain the unicorn on a rainbow is as ordinary as the weekly trip to the supermarket to buy milk. But it must be so cool the first few times, and even while you’re wearing your ‘ugly’ pyjamas with a pint of semi-skimmed in your arms. We imagined it a bit like in Mario Kart, but like, on a frickin UNICORN.

Having a Transformer as your car

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No explanation necessary really, just one word to describe it; AWESOME, and NEVER any issues with finding parking in the city. Win-Win.

Swimming in a big pool of ice-cream

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A couple of conditions for this one (because even fantasies have limits)- 1) You should be able to eat the ice-cream while you swim but it shouldn’t make you fat or feel nauseous. 2) our fantasy pool of ice-cream is totally hygienic. Also, we want a lot of sprinkles, because it’s our fantasy and we like sprinkles. One of our team also preferred the pool to be filled with frozen yoghurt. Much deliberation followed but we allowed it in the end. After we all agreed on these conditions (and FroYo clause) we decided that if there was a religion offering the pool as a reward in the afterlife we would have definitely signed up and become high priests already.

Some of the notably weirder ones (is that even possible?) that came up:

Parkour on clouds

Being a sock inside a washing machine, and seeing where the hell that journey ends (romantic singles’ cruise for socks somewhere?)

Eating our way out of a peach, or any fruit really.

King Kong backing you up in a bar fight, or any minor disagreement at the office

 

 

 

 

Lokalii’s top ‘bucket-hit-list’ experiences

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Remember when you were a kid and your parents would ask you where you wanted to go on a dreary Sunday and you’d just shout random things out, ‘the moon!’, ‘the North Pole!’, ‘digging for treasure’’, ‘exploring under the sea’? Well now you’re an actual adult and you can (kind of) do those things.

At Lokalii we still get excited for every new experience that is created by our users, especially the ones that capture that adventurous big-kid feeling in us.

Some of them surprise us, some of them make us laugh, and some of them instantly become bucket list classics that we pin to our internal wanderlust boards. Because we’re all still that kid wanting to explore under the sea, eat icecream for dinner and run over desert dunes or whatever…

Unfortunately, it’s quite unlikely you can find a local to take you to the moon (yet!) but the earth is gigantic. So much so that everyday you can discover new sights, sounds and people to experience and to kill time until the moon strolling becomes a viable option!

Today on the blog, we want to show you some of the experiences that the team have selected for their ‘bucket-hit-list’, a range of different experiences that have us daydreaming into the weekend. Check the app to book any one of these, and to discover more, some of which might be right around the corner from you!

Live the ‘arctic expedition’ fantasy, for a whole day

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Yes, you read right. A day trip to the North Pole.
Is it as simple as it sounds like? Yes it is.
Only one day? Yup, back and forth.
What should I prepare? Nothing, just pack warm clothes, like really, really warm clothes. It’s a hella cold.
Seriously, can it be so easy? Yes it can. Just make sure to be at Longyearbyen, three hours flight north of Oslo, prior to departure. You won’t see these photos on your mate’s social media feed anytime soon. Make them gasp at your adventurous spirit..and then come back a day later because holy shit, it’s so cold…

Re-create that Peter Andre video under waterfalls and feel really really cool about it:

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27 waterfalls? Check
River walking right into the ocean? Check. Michael Flatley ain’t got nothin’ on you, shimmying away in an actual bloody river.
Cable car entrance? Check
Hanging out with the locals on a beach, all casual, like? Check
Mojitos? Check, check and check (you need at least three to really get in the right mood)
Abs? Well..that’s up to you, but after the mojitos, who cares though?
Dominican Republic adventure? Yes please, where do we sign up? Right in the lokalii app, look up the ‘Live Puerto Plata’ experience in the Dominican Republic and hit BUY with your not mojito holding hand.

Fulfill the conservationist in you (and interact with some cute sea turtles)

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Never managed that career in wildlife protection, but wished you were out there saving the world’s creatures from harm? Log-off the work PC and accomplish that ambition. Get the training and know-how before you are afforded a safe and ethical interaction with these stunners, near the Mexican town of Puerto Vallarta. A life changing experience that doesn’t harm the world awaits you, and in one of the world’s most gorgeous spots no-less! Did anyone say ‘win-win’?

Fly over the ‘city of eternal spring’

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Have you ever heard of paragliding? Yup? Now imagine paragliding over the Andes range from a location named after it’s perpetual blossoming. Forget those mouldy ‘backpacking in Latin-America’ cliches. Get strapped into something truly breathtaking- and not just because of the altitude. Mostly because ‘OHMYGOD I’M PARAGLIDING IN THE ANDES’. 

Sail like a viking (in a very posh boat)

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You’re on a boat! And who better to help you not sink it than your very own Norwegian co-captain. Have you always had dreams of the sea air in your head? Looking to leave that 9-5 behind, even for a moment, and feel the waves crashing against your boat? Yeah. Us too. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been tempted to pull a ‘captain Jack Sparrow’ rather than sit through another meeting. And this particular experience is more than you and your boat. It’s you, your boat, your sailing viking buddy, some cold beers and snacks, and oh yeah…one little thing, the majesty of the Norwegian Fjørds. Grow some sea-legs and buy that ridiculous hat you’ve always wanted, don’t ask questions, just say ‘aye aye cap’ain’ and climb aboard.

Embark on your own bazar adventure

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Magical Bazars, do they exist? Get your head out of that Aladdin fantasy and into something real. Hop onto a plane to Tehran and be prepared to be dazzled. What’s your vice? Antique lamps? Gold, rough cut jewels you want to fashion into the shape of a bagel (or, I dunno, a heart)? Or maybe you want to buy saffron and pistachios straight from the source, and with a local who does all your awkward haggling for you. A whole new world? Oh yeah. You might even score yourself a magical carpet ride. But probably not. You’ll more likely get a great deal on that Persian rug you always wanted to boast about. Just think of the stories you’ll tell over those imported tea leaves..