Boozing and Brunching Across the Channel: London & Paris

Let’s face it. The only way to recover after days of visiting tourist attractions and a night on the town is to pay your respects to the weekend institution with Sunday Brunch. Menus and drinks  vary from borough to borough, but the constant is good meal with friends  while sharing the antics that occurred over the past few days. London and Paris are wonderful places to try brunch.

No matter what your taste-buds are craving, whether it be a traditional Sunday Roast or Creamy Eggs Benedict, London has something to offer you.


Smokehouse is a highly recommended local gastro pub in Northwest London. The restaurant specializes in smoked and grilled meats. They also feature seasonal food and craft beers. Trust me, their Sunday Roast is like non-other with succulent beef and fresh grilled veggies. Smokehouse is not to be missed. Smokehouse offers pork shoulder, pork rib-eye and, for those interested, a venison roast as well. The gastro pub opens its doors around midday and stays open until nine.



Location & Information:

63–69 Canonbury Rd, Islington London, N1 2DG  T: 020 7354 1144

Monday–Friday :6pm–10pm

Saturday :11am–4pm / 6pm–10pm

Sunday & Bank Holidays: Midday–9pm

The Breakfast Club

If Brunch is an institution, The Breakfast Club is its manifestation. The little yellow cafe that originally opened its doors in Soho in 2005 has since grown and opened up an additional 4 locations across London. As expected, the Breakfast Club specializes in breakfast, and their ever expansive brunch menu can satisfy the most picky of eaters. To complete the perfect brunch, the Breakfast Club offers spicy a Bloody Mary that is reminiscent of Helen Mirren according to its description. If you do happen to find yourself in the youthful  breakfast cafe, make sure you try their Hemingway Daiquiri.

Location & Information

5 Locations around London : Angel, Soho, Spitafields Market, Hoxton, Battersea Rise, & London Bridge

(Hours Vary: Check here)


If you consider yourself a fusion fanatic, Kopapa is for you. Located in Convent Garden with a revolving Mediterranean- influenced menu, guests are always eating something new. The Brunch menu at Kopapa revolves around the incredible, edible egg. The “Turkish eggs” is a favorite and comes complete with 2 poached eggs with whipped yoghurt, hot chili butter & 2 slices of toast.  The menu is available from 9:30am to 4 pm.  This place is perfect for recuperating and is close to the West End, which makes it perfect for catching a matinee performance.


Paris has recently embraced the Brunch movement and has restaurants that take eggs to a whole new level and even have Asian infused brunches. Having set menu ‘s is popular among theses restaurants in the city of lights

Location & Information

32-34 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, Covent Garden, London, UK WC2H 9HA

Monday- Friday: Breakfast/ 8:00am-11:30am Lunch/ Midday- 5:00pm Dinner/ 5:00pm – 11:00pm

Saturday:  Brunch/ 9:00am-4:00pm Dinner/ 4:30pm- 11:00pm

Sunday: Brunch/ 9:30am – 4:00pm Dinner/ 4:30pm- 9:45pm


By far the best way to start your day is with the fresh smell of bread. Montmarte’s Coquelicot with its own bakery on site and exclusive brunch menu offer guests just that. Although, this bistro serves brunch daily, however, if you plan on dining with them on a weekend – a reservation is required as its popularity has become astronomical. Although, Coqulicot dos not serve alcohol it makes up for it,by the size of portions given. The Weekend Brunch is a favorite as it offers a full meal complete with mini hamburgers and Camembert Cheese with salad just to name a few.


Location & Information:

24 rue des Abbesses Paris 18e T: 01 46 06 18 77

The bakery: 7:30 am – 8 pm

The restaurant: 8 am- 5:30 pm (from Tuesday to Friday) and 8 am- 6:30 pm (on weekends)

Egg & Co

The wonderful thing about Eggs & Co is that no matter what or time it is, they continue to serve Brunch.  Reviews note that Oeuf Coco as a fan favorite, the dish is to poached eggs over English muffins with a bacon and onion sauce.  Do be prepared for slight wait if you insist on brunching on a Sunday, as Eggs & Co has quite the following. The portions are generous as they are delicious and most meals include fruit juice, and a coffee.

paris brunch eggs & co

Location & Information:

11 rue Bernard Palissy, Paris 75006,  T: 01 45 44 02 52

Daily: 10am – 6pm


Miss Ko

Miss Ko offers an East Asian influences for Brunch and an explosive and vibrant dining atmosphere. This 500 square meter amalgamation of poly-chromatic Asian outlets as they are used to decorate the restaurant’s interior.  Known for their “European Tastes with Asian Influnces” Miss Ko boasts an impressively unique and distinctive menu that includes foie gras gyoza, Thai Cucumber Martini’s and Black Salmon Burger. Their sushi is also well reviewed and would be a great alternative to the traditional Sunday Brunch Menu.

beef tataki

Location & Information:

49/51 Avenue George V 75008 Paris Phone +33 1 53 67 84 60

Open 24 Hours.


Johnathan Redmond is an Advertising Undergraduate @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a keen interest in Fashion and exploring London Culture.

The Coolest Place in Town: IceBar London

A scion of the original ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, IceBar London gives “cold cocktails” a new meaning. For those unfamiliar with ICEHotel or IceBar London, imagine sleeping and sipping cocktails in a -5 Celsius igloo of sorts. No matter where you visit, the bar or hotel are completely made of ice. The design of the hotel and bar changes almost quarterly, and the design revolves  around a theme. In the past, themes have included Architecture andGalactic Frontiers, and the latest creation for IceBar London is Frozen Food. Designed by Jens Thoms Ivarsson, Frozen Foods showcases various food ice sculptures including a large pineapple and a cupcake that could satisfy the strongest sweet tooth.

2014-09-28 20.53.04-1

The IceBar London opened in 2005, and since then has been the toast of the city. Situated right off of Regent Street, IceBar is in heart of London-just steps away from Piccadilly Circus. Somewhat hidden on the side street Heddon, which makes customers feel as if they stumbled across a secret of the city. Entrance fees vary on the time of your visit, but the bar offers three types of bookings. The standard ticket gets visitors entrance, a cocktail and probably the most important – thermal cape with gloves. Anything upgraded from there allows guest to glasses of Champagne or additional drinks. The bookings are operated in 40 minute time slots, which sounds relatively short, but, if you look at the review 40 minutes is quite long enough to stay in this frozen creation.

I recently visited IceBar after visiting Leicester Square and was surprised at how comfortable I felt when first entering. Maybe its my brisk Chicago winters upbringing, but I did not mind the climate. As expected many were snapping pictures to share with their soon to be envious friends and dropping ice themed jokes within their conversations, but what was most surprising was the music. The music was in a way-warming; I expected to have relaxed and chilled out beats to match the interior, but it was lively and made my friends and I want to dance. Upon reflection, I assume that they want patrons to keep moving in order to retain body heat. Although the booking was only 40 minutes, time passed slowly as I climbed inside the various interactive ice environment. I learned while speaking with the staff, that the ice comes from the Torne River- the same river that ICEHOTEL uses for its construction.

@Ewan-M / Flickr

@Ewan-M / Flickr

Before you book your next trip to IceBar London, here are some top tips to consider:

1. Charge your phone

– I quickly learned that cold weather will make your phone shut off. In the middle of snapping pictures, my phone died at 55%. Last time I checked that was normally enough power to take cheeky pictures with my mates, but it wasn’t. I advise to charge your phone before in order to maximize your time to take that perfect Instagram picture.

2. Use the Restroom

– You should know that cold temperatures can shrink your bladder, which can be an inconvenience. There are no bathrooms available in the cold part of the bar, only in the warm. In order to use the loo, you must leave the cold room; and once you leave, you may not return. So make sure to use the restroom before so you can stay for the entire booking.

3. Wear Closed Toe Shoes

– My good friend made the mistake of wearing sandals. Although the sandals were quite stylish, they were not sensible in -5 degrees.

4. Bring Cash

– As I stated before, electronics do not fare well in cold weather, which also applies to card readers. Therefore, the cold room in the IceBar is cash only. If you would like to purchase additional cocktails, you’ll need to bring some pounds with you.

5. Go with Friends

– Probably the most important tip. IceBar London is quite fun, but its even more enjoyable when you are with a group of friends. Who else is going to laugh at your ice puns or awkwardly dance in the large thermal cape and hoods with?

@superba_/ Flickr

@superba_/ Flickr

> IceBar London is situated between the Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street underground stations and is within walking distance of Loving Apartments’ listings.


> Jonathan Redmond is an Advertising Undergraduate @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a keen interest in Fashion and exploring London Culture.

A Happy Hipster Day in London

Have you ever wanted to be a hipster? Lets be honest- no one does- but it’d be fun to live like one for a day, right? Well, we couldn’t think of any other place more hipster than some of the neighbourhoods of London. From the gentrified East London to the up and coming South London, we have put together a day that will live in instagram infamy. #instagramgame #sostrong

7:30 am : Morning Glory Rave

If you think going for jog is the best way to get your blood pumping for the day, you’d be wrong. The growing movement referred to as Morning Glory Rave is an early morning, substance-free dance party that is intended to give attendees a lively and different way to jump-start their mornings. The group suggesst that ravers give themselves a full hour to truly experience Morning Glory. The relaxed atmosphere allows for participants to be themselves and even allows for people to turn up in their Pj’s. Complete with coffee, smoothie bars and complimentary wake-up massages, this morning rave is truly unique. The conscious clubbing movement begins at 6:30 am and goes until 10:30 am. Located in Oval Space, the rave brings in large crowds. Don’t forget to wear your neon lycra.


29-32, The Oval London United Kingdom E2 9DT

10:30 am:  Breakfast-Cereal Killer Cafe

The best ideas come when your hungover. At least that can be said by Cereal Killer Cafe identical twin owners Alan and Gary Keery. The cafe is dedicated to all things cereal. The bowl sizes offered include small, medium and large. The cafe offers over 100 different cereals and 12 different milk options including choices for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant. They even have toppings from fresh fruit to mini Oreos. Located in trendy Shoreditch, this charming cafe recently opened its doors this past December. So go for the Cereal but stay for the Pop Tarts, which is what they serve as a side dish with the cereal.


139 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London, E1 6SB.

11:30 am: The Last Tuesday Society’s Museum – Taxidermy Exhibition


After you’ve had a proper morning with raving and eating niche cereals, head over to Hackney to visit The Last Tuesday Society Museum. The museum take its name from a society that was founded at Harvard by William James and has come to London in the form of a “pataphysical organisation.” The museum prides itself on featuring offbeat and quirky subject matter. Recent exhibitions have focused on taxidermy and domesticated aquatics pets and aquariums.

Location & Times:

11 Mare Street London E8 4RP


 1:30 pm: Lunch- Draughts/Board Game Cafe

10733771_987631584585406_678663191967762543_o boardgame cafe

After the Last Society’s Taxidermy exhibition, head on over to Draughts Board Game Cafe, also in Hackney. Play some board games and enjoy lunch. Opened in early November of last year, this cafe has a vast amount of board games to offer guests. If you have a childhood favorite, they will probably have it. In addition to honing your strategy skills against your friends, you can enjoy a pint and toget your gears turning. Only don’t go over board because the next stop on this jam packed journey involves a trip to Greenwich.

3:00 pm Meantime Brewery Tour

Proud of their Greenwich location, Meantime Brewery, has been heralded around London as one of the best micro-breweries. Lucky for the beer connoisseurs, the brewery host weekly tours of their brewery.  TimeOut says:

Tuesday evenings next year just got a little bit brighter. The Meantime Brewery in Greenwich has decided to open its doors to the public for weekly tours. Expect ample opportunity to learn about (as well as sample) brewmaster Alastair Hook’s award-winning beers.”

A comprehensive tour happens four days out of the week. Each tour is followed by a tutored tasting of a selection of beers.

Location & Times:

Lawrence Trading Estate, Blackwall Lane, London SE10 0AR.
Tel: +44 (0)20 8293 1111

Shop: Wed / Thurs / Fri: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 4:00pm

5:00pm Dinner: Wine & Charcuterie (W&C)

I admit, W&C aligns itself on the higher-end spectrum of all things hipster. But if reviews are any indication, the prices are well worth it. Located in Clapham, this renovated foodie haven opened its doors just last year after a large installment of the Clapham Old Town Regeneration Project. Originally a public lavatory, W&C is nothing less than spectacular. The menu is short and to the point with limited but flavorful options. Inside the bar, ham is hanging and electric candlesticks are scattered throughout the venue.  As for wine, the list consist of 10 whites and 10 reds along with certain roses and sparklers.

TimeOut/ @JoshKearns

TimeOut/ @JoshKearns

Location & Times:

The Pavement, Clapham Common, SW4

Mon-Fri: 6pm- late

Sat/Sun: Noon-late.

 7:30: Pillow Cinema

Opening its doors this past November, Pillow Cinema is a great “night in” night out.  PC offers a unique viewing experience, as viewers are allowed to watch movies on pillows for two. In fact the cinema offers tickets that valid for two, which is perfect for couples who want to catch a movie. The cinema was opened by the same owners who created Hot Tub Cinema. It features blockbusters, Indy dramas, thrillers and everything in between. You name it – they’ll show it. Quite often there are additional activities for the audience at each show as well.


Location & Times

Pedley Street, London United Kingdom E1 5ES

*Check online for movie showings here

Loving  Apartments offers a number of apartments in London, that would be great to crash at after your Happy Hipster Day in London.

>Johnathan Redmond is an Advertising Undergraduate @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a keen interest in Fashion and exploring London Culture.

First Thursdays and Slam Fridays

One of the wonderful things about London is the accessibility to art. Be it contemporary or impressionist art, London offers highly regarded artists to emerging artists. While many think of the most popular galleries and museums like the National Gallery, Tate Modern or Saatchi Gallery, there are many less known and prestigious galleries found within London. These galleries come together  and run free events, exhibitions, workshops, talks and private views during special late openings. These late openings have become affectionately referred to as First Thursdays and Slam Fridays. The name of these events refer to the days in which they are hosted. The first Thursday and last Friday of each month features over 170 galleries and museums in East and South London that are open until 9 pm. The galleries’ websites compiles their top 5 exhibitions and even offer  free art walking and bus tours with leading curators and writers.

Whitechapel Gallery has been called London’s East End home for over a century. The gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollack to contemporary greats like Sophie Calle and Lucian Freud. Whitechapel has become a touchstone for contemporary art internationally. Whitechapel, along with its partners, has recently taken the lead in offering the public access to its collections with First Thursdays. Current exhibits include Artist’s Film International, which showcases films from around the world and select pieces from the V-A-C collection that displays some of the 20th century’s greatest artists. Past art galleries that have been featured during First Thursdays have included CANAL, Rich Mix and Raven Row.

Similarly, South London Gallery (SLG)  has a long history with Whitechapel opening its doors in Peckham in 1891. Since then, it has garnered an international reputation for its program of contemporary art exhibitions and live art events. Originally thought  of as the “gallery of the people of South London,” SLG now is a charity that receives ongoing support from the Arts Council of England, The Southwark Council, The Big Lottery and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.  SLG  offers Slam Fridays which is the late night opening of galleries in South London and is free to the public. The event also has its own publication and mobile app that optimizes the experience for visitors. Slam Fridays does not require a booking.

Loving Apartments offer a number of apartments close to these events. So the next time your in London and want to venture outside of the normal galleries, make sure to check out the First Thursdays and Slam Fridays.


Jonathan Redmond is an Advertising Undergraduate @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a keen interest in Fashion and exploring London Culture.

Europe’s Best Film Festivals

Film festivals have become all the rage across the globe to celebrate the art of cinema and the talents of those working within that field. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of film festivals hosted across the European continent featuring independent films, students films, LGBT films, fantasy and horror films, documentaries and any other sort of genre that you can imagine. Loving Apartments wants to narrow down the search for you and present some of the top European film festivals that take place in major cities we offer accommodation so you’ll have convenient lodging as you enjoy the festival.


Photo Credit: spiritquest@Flickr.

Photo Credit: spiritquest@Flickr.

The BFI Film Festival, also referred to as the London Film Festival, is the largest public film festival in both London and the United Kingdom under the supervision of the British Film Institute. The festival originally began in 1953 with the intention of making the festival accessible to the general public, screening films that people would not normally have the opportunity to see in the United Kingdom; it has been living up to that goal ever since and continues to grow each year. While still being a festival geared towards the public, it has also started to be attended by film professionals and movie stars from across the globe. So if you plan on attending the festival, be sure to bring your camera to snap a photo of your favourite movie star. Today’s festival screens around 250 films over 12 days, mostly taking place in cinemas in Leicester Square and South Bank. The festival is opened and closed with galas with premières, workshops, short films and Q&A’s in between. The BFI Festival will take place in mid-October. Official dates have not yet been announced for 2015.


Photo Credit: Baggio@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Baggio@Wikipedia.

The Sitges‘ annual film festival, officially referred to as the International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, is the most recognized fantasy film festival in the world. The week dedicated to fantasy and horror films began in 1968 and was the first one of its type, starting an international trend. Thousands of people come together to celebrate the imagination, art and technological advances that fantasy and horror film genre makes with each year. Popular film stars such as Quentin Tarantino, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Paul Verhoeven and many, many more have graced the red carpets of the festival. The 2015 Sitges’ Film Festival will be hosted from 3 October to 12 October , and accommodation is usually booked up months in advance so be sure to book your accommodation with us early to ensure your spot.


Berlin has a long-standing reputation of being a cultural hub attracting artist and admirers with its diversity cultural scene. Berlin has proved to be one an influential city in the film industry with the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival, each February. The 2015 festival will be held from 5 February to 15 February. The festival usually sells around 300,000 tickets sold with 20,000 professional visitor from 124 countries. Films of any genre, length and format are welcomed and will certainly find an award category to compete in. Not only does the festival feature all new films, but they also screen restorations of old classics as well. So if your feeling nostalgic, you are in luck. The Berlinale in a source of both entertainment and inspiration for the film industry with panel discussions, film programmes, workshops and joint projects. It has become a great collaboration between film professionals, actors, actresses and fans.

Photo Credit: bigamex@Flickr.

Photo Credit: bigamex@Flickr.


Photo Credit: SparkABC@Flickr.

Photo Credit: SparkABC@Flickr.

In case you are more interested in non-fiction films and documentaries, the International Documentary Film Festival in Paris is the place for you. This Parisian film festival, also called Cinéma du Réel, has been screening ethnographic and sociological films since 1979 at the Centre Pompidou. Each year this film festival increases awareness and creates on open dialogue concerning human rights, political issues and current events. Cinéma du Réel spends ten days broadening horizons and educating while still entertaining with over 200 films from 32 countries, which can be a difficult feat. The film festival is operated on a smaller scale than most in Europe, but it has just as much influence on the film industry and perhaps even more influence on the daily lives of the public. The next festival will be hosted from March 19 to March 29 in 2015.

>Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Loving Apartments’ Luxury Collection

Loving Apartments knows how to do luxury – rooftop terraces, grand views, stylish furniture, spas and sophistication. Because when you’re on holiday, you deserve the best.

Many of our incredible locations have stunning luxury collections ranging from chic modernity to classically posh.  I could keep telling you how remarkable these apartments are . . . or I could just show you. The photos speak for themselves.


Georges I        Georges IV

Geroges V        Georges II

The Georges V luxury apartment in Paris is fit for royalty with its crystal chandeliers, French Savonnerie carpets, antique furniture and white marble fireplace.


Loft I       Loft II

Loft III       Loft IV

The Montorgueil Luxe Loft is spacious, light and sleek. Even though the Parisian loft is modern, it has a fascinating history as a renovated printing housed used by the Resistance for printing publications in the 1870’s.


Amsterdam I       Amsterdam II

 Amsterdam III    Amsterdam IV

The Leidseplein Royal Penthouse is urban chic with high gabled ceilings with exposed beams, parquet floors and elegant decor. The luxurious accommodation also includes a deck jacuzzi with a remarkable view of the Leidseplein.


 London I

 London II   London IV

This attractive apartment gives a marvellous view of the London skyline and the iconic Tower Bridge. You won’t be able to top the accommodation’s central city location.


Zermatt I    Zermatt II

Zermatt III   Zermat V

This trendy apartment is open and luminous, providing you a breathtaking view of the landscape. The high ceilings, mod furnishings and glass walls are the very definition of luxury.


Zermatt II     Zermatt III

Zermatt I

This spectacular chalet is all about leisure and relaxation with its sauna and cosy corners to enjoy the striking Swiss back drop.


Barcelona I     Barcelona II

Barcelona III     Barcelona IV

This classically luxurious apartment has ornate trimmings, elegant draperies and handsome wood floors. Complete opulence and Barcelona at its finest.

High Rolling: Popular Theme Parks in Europe

There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush from a roller coaster. Thrill seekers from all over the globe are always on the lookout for the next bigger and faster roller coaster. To satisfy all adrenaline junkies, we’ve compiled a list of some of Europe’s most famous theme parks full of sensational rides.

Fortunately, these theme parks are located in or near cities that Loving Apartments offers accommodation, so check out our apartments to relax in after your fun-filled day at the theme park.

1. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is perhaps the most popular theme park in Europe with millions of visitors each year. This theme park is perfect for the entire family from your little ones to your teenagers. The magic of Disneyland Paris is spread between two parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. The two parks have everything from your adrenaline pumping rides like Space Mountain and the Rock ‘n Roll Roller Coaster, to magical characters, to sensational live performances. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars and shops filled with Disney souvenirs. Don’t forget about the daily parade in which you’ll see all your favourite Disney faces.

Photo Credit: CetusCetus@Flickr.

Photo Credit: CetusCetus@Flickr.

2. Port Aventura

Photo Credit: Anton Perez@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Anton Perez@Flickr.

Port Aventura, located near Barcelona, is the most visited theme park in Spain. The park creates six different worlds for their visitors to explore – Mediterrania, Polynesia, China, Mexico, Far West and Sesamo Aventura. In each world, you’ll experience diverse cultures, fantastic shows, music, dancing, delicious food and of course, exciting rides. Some of the most noteworthy rides in Port Aventura include the Dragon Khan a high-speed roller coaster, Stampida a wooden coaster, Hurakan Condor the highest drop in Europe and the Shambhala the tallest roller coaster in Europe. These record breaking rides are absolutely electrifying.

3. Thorpe Park

Located outside of London, Thorpe Park is especially appealing to young adults and teenagers with their countless roller coasters and thrill rides such as Colossus, Detonator, Slammer and the Vortex. However, it also offers plenty of family friendly rides to for their younger visitors. Some of these rides include Logger’s Leap the UK’s tallest flumed ride, Rumba Rapids, Quantum a magic carpet ride and many others. In case you have some in your party that aren’t interested in rides, there are plenty of arcade games, shops and restaurants to stay busy.

Photo Credit: havenholidays@Flickr.

Photo Credit: havenholidays@Flickr.

4. Parque Warner

Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson@Flickr.

Parque Warner, just 25 km southeast of Madrid, brings the glamour of Hollywood to Spain. The film themed park sponsored by Time Warner gives visitors a peek behind the special effects in films and performs live shows after some of your favourite Warner Bros films like Batman and Scooby-Doo. You’ll get plenty of action through their popular roller coasters like Superman: The Attraction of Steel, the Road Runner Coaster and Stunt Fall. Young children and adults can see beloved cartoon characters such as Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Tweety.

5. Efteling

Efetling is the largest theme park in the Netherlands and is located about an hour and a half outside of Amsterdam. It also is one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Opened in 1952, the park has grown from a playground and a Fairy Tale Forest to a massive fairy tale themed adventure park. All of its attractions are based upon the legends, fables, folklore and fairy tales that we hear as children, but adults will enjoy the park just as much as the children. You’ll find roller coasters, water rides and shows featuring Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Tom Thumb and Rapunzel. In Efteling, you’ll feel as though you just jumped into the pages of your most cherished bed-time tales.

Photo Credit: bertknot@Flickr.

Photo Credit: bertknot@Flickr.

> Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Europe from Above

As a college student studying abroad, I’m always on the look out for free opportunities, and one fell right into my lap during London’s Architectural Open House Weekend which took place from 19th September to 21st September. Approximately 800 buildings were opened to the public in order to show off their architectural wonders. The famous Gherkin was at the top of the list and was a “must see” for me. A friend and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to stand in line to get to the tip of the Gherkin. The view of the city was breath taking, and it inspired me to write about some of the greatest views that you can find from above in European cities.

1. The Gherkin

Of course, I had to make the Gherkin number one on the list. After all, it was the great inspiration for this blog in the first place. The Gherkin, a domed glass skyscraper, stands in the borough of the City of London at 30 St. Mary Axe right next to the Leaden Hall. Normally, a visitor won’t be able to make his or her way to the top for free except on the Architectural Open House Weekend in London. However, guests can visit the plaza of the Gherkin, and there are restaurants within the skyscraper that offer a remarkable view to enjoy while dining. If anything, the skyscraper makes for a beautiful photograph as one of London’s most iconic buildings.

View of London and Leaden Hall from the top of the Gherkin. Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen.

View of London and Leaden Hall from the top of the Gherkin. Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen.

2. The Fernsehturm

The Fernsehturm, also known as the Berlin TV Tower, is the tallest and one of the most prominent structures in Germany at 368 meters high. The tower dominates the Berlin skyline and gives a vast view of the city and surrounding areas. Adults can venture up to the top of the tower for €13  and children between the ages of 4 and 16 for  €8.50. The tower also offers a restaurant and a bar in the sphere of the tower, so you can enjoy the gorgeous Berlin skyline for an entire evening.

Photo Credit: Avda@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Avda@Wikipedia.

3. St. Stephen’s Basilica Rooftop

St. Stephen’s is Budapest‘s largest church topped with a massive dome. The rooftop of the the church offers a stunning, panoramic view of the Budapest that would be very difficult to find anywhere else. You’ll have to pay a small charge to climb up to the roof and there are a number of stairs involved, but the view will be worth the effort.

Photo Credit: Adam Kliczek@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Adam Kliczek@Wikipedia.

4. The Piazzale Michelangelo

The Piazzale Michelangelo is known as the best place to get remarkable views of Florence. The famous site is located at the top of a hill by the Arno River. You can either take public transportation to the top or make the trek yourself. Once there, you’ll see Florence sprawling before you, including an incredible view of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore. The Piazzale has a replica of Michelangelo’s David statue, food stalls, souvenir vendors and space for parking, so there is plenty beside the view to keep you busy.

Photo Credit: ElmHoo@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: ElmHoo@Wikipedia.

 5. Circulo de Bellas Artes Rooftop

Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid is a Protection Centre for Fine Arts and serves as a venue for conferences and art classes. It was originally founded by a group of artists in 1888. Since then, famous artists such as Picasso and Ramón José Simón Valle Peña have attended classes there. Today, there are four floors of art exhibits featuring paintings, drawing, sculptures and photography. However, one of the main draws of the building is its rooftop view. The rooftop also referred to as the “Tartan Roof” gives a 360 degree panoramic view of Madrid’s skyline with the mountains in the distance. You’ll get an especially good view of Madrid’s Metropolis Building, Plaza de le Cibeles and the City Hall.

Photo Credit: felipe_gabaldon@Flickr.

Photo Credit: felipe_gabaldon@Flickr.

6. Tour Montparnasse

Sure, everyone knows that the Eiffel Tower gives a great view of Paris from above. But what about a place in which you can get a view that includes the Eiffel Tower in the skyline? The Tour Montparnasse, an office skyscraper, provides that unique skyline scene. The skyscraper’s view rivals the Eiffel Tower’s, and you won’t have to wait hours in line to see it. The tower itself isn’t pretty; but when viewing the city from its top, you won’t have to worry about it ruining the skyline, right? You’ll be able to take as many photos and enjoy the beauty of Parisian monuments, gardens and streets from the 56th floor.

Photo Credit: y.caradec@Flickr.

Photo Credit: y.caradec@Flickr.

7. Janiculum Hill

Janiculum Hill, located in western Rome, provides one of the most awe inspiring views of the ancient city. If you climb up to the hill’s terrace, a broad view of Rome’s countless domes, monuments and churches will be waiting for you. After you’ve properly admired Rome from above, take the chance to  visit the San Pietro Montorio church and the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, a baroque fountain built by Pope Paul V, on the hill as well.

Photo Credit: Dark Rome Tours & Walks@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Dark Rome Tours & Walks@Flickr.


Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Fashion Night Out: The Best Way to Shop is with Champagne


Vogue Fashion Night Out was started in 2009 as a means to encourage consumers to shop  and support the fashion industry during the economic downturn. Co-sponsored by Vogue and Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fashion Night Out (FNO) has become a celebration of fashion and style. The event takes place on various nights within September all over the world in cities like New York, Paris, Berlin and Londonfno. In it’s sixth year, London FNO includes many iconic fashion boutiques, department stores, flagships and high-street chains that make London such a brilliant fashion capital.                                                       

Last night, I had the considerable pleasure of partaking in Fashion Night Out. If you have never been to a Fashion Night Out, like myself, you have got a lot to look forward too. This year, there were over 70 participating stores that offered free champagne and special deals to  visitors. Each store had a specific competition event that encouraged pIMG_3137[1]eople to make  purchases and discover new designers. Fashion Night Out coordinators placed Vogue editors, models and fashion bloggers in certain stores throughout the night. The Vogue editors hosted fashion talks about the industry and where trends are headed in the next season. I went to see Katie Phalen at Topshop; after her talk, she chose her favorite Topshop looks. Needless to say, those selections sold out within minutes. Models were on hand to showcase new collections while chatting with us common folk.



I began my night by taking the tube to Bond Street, and wondering down Oxford Street. The first stop of the evening was to Zara. The Spanish based retailer greeted its guest with  male models wearing  Zara clothing, serving drinks and disbursing maps for Fashion Night Out. I was soon informed that the store- as along with others- had Fashion Night Out one day sales for attendees. Trust me, you have not lived until you have shopped while being served Prosecco by models. As the night progresses, queues start to get a bit lengthy, so my suggestion is to go early and skip the long wait time. The event went from 6 pm to 11 pm, and as I made my way to Regent Street, my shoulder and arms got tired from all of the goodies I received from each store. Some of the gifts raffled ranged from free samples of Marc Jacobs cologne, a gift card at Aldo, to skin supplies from Clinique.4985085880_b92646bfe9_o


Loving Apartments offers some wonderful apartments located near this event located in Covent Garden, West End and around Oxford Street. I would have loved to stopped by my apartment on Oxford street rather than suffering on the tube. If there isn’t a Fashion Night Out close to where you live, plan your trip to London and stay with Loving Apartments.

Stop to Smell the Roses: Fabulous Flower Markets

There’s nothing quite like a Sunday morning. No hurries. No obligations. Just a day to enjoy yourself before the busy week rolls around again. You’ve got the entire day in front of you. Take a moment to do some reading and brew yourself some coffee. Then why not take a stroll to the flower market to amble through the vendors and pick up some color for your day.

A Sunday morning like this is within your reach with Loving Apartments. Loving Apartments offers comfortable accommodation for you to take a holiday in many locations throughout Europe. Fortunately, some of those locations are home to vibrant flower markets.

Columbia Road Market in London

The Columbia Road Flower Market in London is open on Sundays from 8 am until around 3 pm. During these hours, the street overflows with blooms, greenery and sweet aromas. However, the aromas are not only from the flowers, but also from the fresh pastries and coffee from the bakeries and cafés that surround the burst of floral. Antique shops, art galleries and vintage clothing stores are also snuggled in along the market, adding a sense of quirkiness to the road.

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam

The Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam can boast that it is the only floating flower market in the world. The floating market is found on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein in Amsterdam’s southern canal belt. The flower shops are housed in a row of floating barges – an ode to the days in which flowers were delivered to Amsterdam from the countryside by boats. Tulips are the specialty of the market, which should come as no surprise. However, the market has so much more than just tulips. They have almost every fresh flower imaginable and also houseplants, seeds and all the gardening necessities.

Photo Credit: Massimo Catarinella @ Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Massimo Catarinella @ Wikipedia.


Marché aux Fleurs in Paris

Open daily, the Marché aux Fleurs may be the most fragrant and picturesque market that you’ll find within Paris. It’s an oasis of petals and foliage on the I’île de la Cité along the banks of the River Seine. If you want to experience the market at its finest, you should visit on a Sunday when the bird market is open along with the flower market. Visitors to the bird market can buy birds of all kinds from roosters and chickens to canaries, finches, parrots and other rare species. All the accessories for the birds are offered as well. Bird song is the perfect background to your perusing.

Photo Credit: Jim Linwood @ Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Jim Linwood @ Wikipedia.


Mercat de la Concepció in Barcelona

The Mercat de la Concepció in Barcelona features a 24 hour flower market on the facade on Valencia Street. The market satisfies your needs for flora all day and all night, whether it be for a last minute romantic gift or for a late night hospital visit.  You know that you are nearing the flower area of the market when the enticing scent of the blooms begins to edge out the scents of the food stalls located in other areas of the market.

Photo Credit: @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: @ Flickr.


Campo dei Fiori in Rome

Campo dei Fiori, which translates to “field of flowers,” is the oldest open air market in the center of Rome. The piazza offers a large collection of fresh flowers for you to browse every day along with local produce and artisan creations as well such as pottery, paintings and textiles. It serves as a colourful haven from the modern and fast-paced supermarkets.

Photo Credit: OliverN5@Flickr.

Photo Credit: OliverN5@Flickr.