Travel

Paris, France: Bookworm’s Paradise

The team at More Native Than The Natives are big readers! If you want to make us happy then give us a good book and a cup of tea. The only thing that could be better is visiting bookshops..

Paris had been the inspiration for many writers throughout the years so there are no surprises that the city boasts dozens of bookshops that you can lose yourself in. I’ve just booked a trip to go and visit a friend in my favorite city which led me to thinking about some of the best bookshops in the city.

Shakespeare and Co

This is the one that everyone knows. Located in the shadows on Notre Dame, this bastion of literary delights is as good as everyone says it is. I lived just up the quai from S&Co for a short while and I loved to just nip in and browse the titles. They hold regular events in the shop itself so definitely check out their calendar for a truly local experience of the city.

Abbey Bookshop

A stone’s throw away from Shakespeare and Co, the Abbey Bookshop is a bookworm’s heaven! Books are stacked from the floor to the ceiling and even down in the basement there are piles and piles of books just waiting for you to search through them for your next literary endeavor. I found this place thanks to a friend who was shocked that I had never been. The books are mostly in English and much cheaper than any of the others on this list!

Librairie Galignani

I can never spell this one! LG holds the accolade of being the oldest English language bookshop in France. If you prefer your bookshops quiet without lots of tourists then check this one out. When I first went in I was drawn to the way they ordered some authors by nationality. This led me to read my first ever book by an Icelandic author (Under the Glacier by Halldor Laxness if you’re interested!)

I’m sure there are many others that I just haven’t got round to visiting yet. Maybe you have a favorite that isn’t on the list? Let me know in the comments!

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Travel

Denmark: Happiest Country in The World

If you haven’t had the chance to visit Denmark yet then this post might just make you want to book a plane ticket! Thanks to Cilla for this fabulous tribute to her country. Follow her blog here!

So I’ll start this post with telling you a bit more about myself before quickly sketching out reasons to visit my home country Denmark. When I was very young, my family and I moved to California. We lived there for 3 years before moving back to Denmark. I’d say my cultural understanding of other countries is pretty good. My father is married to a Brazilian woman. I’ve had an exchange student from Latvia living with me. I’m curious and openminded. I’m especially interested in the innovation part how do we do something even better or getting a better value? What can we learn from other cultures or countries?

Why visit Denmark you might ask? We’re lucky of we get one month of really good weather during the summer. The living-expenses are high. Getting a cheap hotel in Copenhagen is almost impossible. When visiting the countryside, you’re pretty much left alone withoutanything to do. Danes? All pale and wearing black. Taxes are insanely High.

Well besides all that. Denmark has a lot to offer. The Danes are well known, as being polite, happy and helpful. Oh yes, the happiness. Danes has been voted the most happy people in the world over and over again. You can hardly hit a bar without making new friends – might be short-term, but I ensure you, they’ll help making one hell of a night out.

The old architecture in the different cities, especially Copenhagen is just stunning. Copenhagen has for example being voted the most livable city in the world several times. There’s a lot of culture in Denmark. There are actually still living viking villages, fortresses, castles and art museums.

While travelling with a younger audience, I’d highly recommend Legoland – everybody is familiar with Lego right? Did you know it was founded in Denmark? I’m going be honest with you guys. I’ve visited Legoland even without my kids as well. I’ve been there with grownup members of my family, just to ride rollercoasters, dig out my inner child and have fun.

Tivoli is another great and historical place to visit. During the different seasons, specially Christmas it is almost even more magical than Disneyland. I know you are wondering – and the answer is yes, I’ve been there without my kids as well. Tivoli is also used for concerts, events and restaurants.

Okay, I think I made my point. I could go on about fun outdoor Activities, biking all over the entire country, danish design and stuff like that – but here’s what matters. Here’s what all of us want to know. NEED to know. Food.

Oh yes, the New Nordic Cuisine. Seriously – it is remarkable. I promise you, you will fall in love with the danish food. I’m not talking about chain restaurants here – yeah, you can find a McDonald’s here as well. No, I’m talking about those restaurants, which in using local products, everything is freshly produced and authentic. Noma, a restaurant in Copenhagen, was even voted the worlds best.

Let’s talk about fashion then. Scandinavian pieces has been dominating the catwalk the past through years. Danes know style, period. You can find everything, from fancy-clothing stores to exclusive second-hand shops with unique items. I even find myself, sitting on a bench in the middle of Copenhagen, just getting inspiredby the thousands of fashionistas passing by.

The scandinavian style is here to stay. Both in fashion, but also in interior. The raw materials. The black/white/grey-colors. The boom in green plants. The minimialistic, but yet cozy way. The luxury danish design chairs. Go check for yourself. Brands like Nordal and House Doctor are gorgeous with affordable prices. I’ve seen tons of interior pictures on Instagram and Pinterest from allover the world inspired by the scandinavian style. Look it up and be inspired too.

Allthough it’s cold – I wouldn’t want to live any other place. It’s safe for my kids here, free medical-care, they are secured a good education. And I simply love the danish way of sarcasm used everywhere. I love Denmark and I’m sure you will too. Feel free to reach out, in case of comments, questions and so on. I’d also love to hear from “foreigners” moving to Denmark.

Behind the author; Living in Soenderborg, Denmark – which is pretty close to the German border. Approximately 300 km away from the Capital city. New blogger mamma. 29 years old. Coffee-loving, shopping, beauty and dog-enthusiast. Owner of Cillaes.dk

Travel

Manchester, UK: More Than Just Oasis

The North of England is experiencing a boom in trendy restaurants and funky art galleries. Take a journey with Kate to one of the coolest cities in the UK…

My other half recently moved to Manchester to start a new job which had given me a great excuse to explore a new city as often as he and his flat mates will put up with me staying over. This city has so much to offer in terms of art, culture and most importantly fantastic food!

One place that I’d really enjoyed visiting even before I started going to Manchester more often was Oklahoma. No not the musical or the city in the United States but a funky shop just off the main Manchester shopping streets that will fill you with whimsical joy and help you to buy a gift for that person that is really difficult to buy for. If anyone is struggling buying me a Christmas present, I’ll take the cactus Christmas tree decorations!

Shopping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but do you know what is? Pizza. That’s what. Manchester has possibly the greatest Italian restaurant in the UK that specializes in classic Neapolitan pizzas made from fresh ingredients and served in a convivial and relaxed setting. I’m talking about the one and only Rudy’s. The currently have two locations in Manchester and have just opened one up in Liverpool that I am so eager to try!

After the inevitable food baby you might want to go and pontificate over some art. Manchester has plenty of that for your delectation. My personal favorite is the Manchester Art Gallery which has a fabulous permanent exhibition as well as lots of temporary ones. If you follow me on Instagram then you will know I’m also a big fan of the architecture of the main lobby.

Feeling hungry again? Look no further than Mackie Mayor. Permanent food markets seem to be all the rage and the moment but that’s fine with me as I can never really choose where to eat for dinner so they allow me to sample bits and bobs from lots of different culinary establishments. I tried the delicious cod bao from Baohaus and the boy had a steak sandwich. Mackie Mayor used to be a meat market and is continuing he glorious tradition by welcoming several different vendors to sell their gastronomic delights in this stunning industrial building.

No doubt I will have more to tell you about Manchester wise in the near future but these are my current obsessions. If you try any of them I hope you enjoy!

Travel

San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles: Instagram Hotspots

When Honey approached me with this blog post I jumped at the chance to publish it! I’ve been wanting to go to California for a while now and this awesome article has made my wanderlust even worse…

Instagram. Even if you aren’t a blogger or an influencer, sometimes you still want that perfectly lit, frame-able, centrepiece worthy image to stick on your social media, your office desktop, or as a large print for your gallery wall.

So, here you are in Los Angeles. You could be a local, an import, or a visitor, who now has a myriad of local attractions and walls to choose from. Where do you go? Sure, you could follow as much of the walls and wings scattered all over LA – and I think you should – but you could also add a little bit of mystery and excitement to your photos with a location that makes people say:

“Where WAS that?!”

Or, “So pretty! I forgot about that place – let’s go!”

Try Somewhere New

Most people these days know a little bit more about San Fernando Valley than they used to. As the red-headed stepchild of Los Angeles, it usually got a bum rap for being a worthless area of the county with nothing to do in.

There are a lot of misconceptions about this area known simply as “The Valley” even though there’s a minimum of 3 other Valleys within an hour’s driving distance from the LA city centre. The main one I’d like to address here is the misconception that The Valley is not worth visiting.

These days, one of the reasons to visit a spot is its Instagram worthiness. Many places are worth visiting for the experience, but points are added if you can take a great photo there, whether it’s the food, the walls, or the scenery.

Lake Balboa Park

A large park in the Valley that boasts plenty of activities ranging from archery, golf, Japanese gardens, and a lake you can ride a swan paddle boat in, just to name a few.

Because of those, there are plenty of areas and activities in this park that can provide you with some great Instagram content. This single location can provide you with all sorts of different scenery in a day’s worth of shooting.

The Village at Topanga Canyon

A relatively new open plaza in the San Fernando Valley, The Village opened about 3 years ago giving this corner of the valley new retail life.

Built much in the spirit of other open plazas like the Grove and Americana, this place is designed for strolling and shopping, as well as sitting for hours enjoying your coffee, your dog playing in the various textures of dirt, grass, cement, and floor fountains, reading a book, or people watching.

The walkways are lined with a variety of decorated walls, from vertical gardens, floral backgrounds, fake swings, and light up text, there is a beautiful Instagram wall for you and your feed.

Malibu Hindu temple

Not so much an attraction, but an actual temple, this place welcomes visitors of all kinds. Details are best obtained directly from the website, as hours can vary by season and special occasions.

The temple is hidden between the hills and valleys of Mulholland drive. Easily missed if you’re not looking for it, it’s a beautiful glistening white building with statues of Hindu deities inside. You are free to take photos, walk around, or simply sit down to breathe in and meditate in their presence.

Victory Trailhead

One of many trails in the West Valley, Victory trailhead is a favourite of the locals for its easy parking, easy paths, and perfect views of the sunset.

There is a particular spot I often visit when entering from the Victory Trailhead entrance that often reminds me of The Lion King when viewed at sunset.

Note: For those that aren’t local, there are snakes and coyotes in the area. Be aware. Summer hosts a lot of rattlesnakes, so stay on the path. Be cautious of coyotes, especially if you have a pet with you. While a lot of people do hike alone, it’s best to hike with a friend.

Vasquez Rocks

A rock formation located towards Santa Clarita Valley, this is a perfect place for some creatively costumed shoots, active, and family photos.

Many families and teenagers show up here to hang out, hike, or climb the rocks. According to trivia, this place is also known as Kirk’s Rock for being heavily used in Star Trek as a variety of planets.

Venture out further and explore

San Fernando Valley may just be the beginning for you. It was for me when I first moved out this direction.

What initially felt like an empty area devoid of most active life suddenly became a treasure trove of places rarely any of my friends in LA had any idea about. Living here is how I found these places and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When in the San Fernando Valley, those of us that don’t care to plunge into the busy areas of LA are able to drive towards the coast of Malibu, head further inland into Simi Valley or Sylmar, or cross the border into the next county of Ventura.

There are a lot of places here not covered by the usual Los Angeles itinerary that could be worth a day’s drive or a weekend visit. I encourage you to take the 101N or the PCH. Stop by the little-known places along the way and find some of your own little Instagram treasures.

Honey Reyes works in fashion and runs a personal travel blog at thatdamnhoney.com that includes posts on travel advice, Los Angeles events, and journal entries about her life – with a debatable amount of swearing.

Travel

Istanbul, Turkey: Eat Like A Local

The more Native Than The Natives team like their restaurants full of locals and good food! Thanks to Nazlican from Naz Lives for this fantastic guide to Istanbul’s best local eateries.

 

I’ve moved to Istanbul three years ago. I was born and grew up in Izmir, but I moved to a different city for university which was definitely a challenging experience. But the way I see it, moving to a different city means, living in a city with lots of different restaurants and cafes, and quite frankly, that’s what I live for!

Luckily for me though, the friends I made at uni were either from Istanbul or had been a local for longer than I had so they knew where the good stuff was. That’s how my journey of discovering the best food in Istanbul began. And I’m going to tell you all about it now!

 

In this post, you will find places that serve really great food, some typical to Turkish cuisine and some not. So, if you ever wind up in Istanbul, drop the touristy route and eat where the locals do. I promise you won’t be disappointed with your food!

 

Hopdaddy Burger

 

To start with something everybody loves, I can’t recommend Hopdaddy enough! It is in fact, possible to find good burgers all around Istanbul, but Hopdaddy is definitely one of the best! There is of course many #saltbae restaurants scattered all over the city, but they’re no secret. You should definitely try those, too, if you get the chance, but with Hopdaddy you have tons of options and the burgers are to die for! Located in Yeniköy on the northern side of the European side of the city, it should definitely one of your food stops if you’re anywhere near.

 

Bayramoğlu Döner

 

Döner kebab is usually one of the first things that come to mind about Turkish cuisine. Needless to say, it’s a huge part of our culture and cuisine and there are billions of places that serve döner all over Istanbul. But if you’re looking for the absolute best, Bayramoğlu is certainly the best one I’ve tried in Istanbul. It’s not necessarily in a convenient location, but it’s worth every minute of the commute. It might even be worth going out of your way for, if you’re passionate about your food like I am! 

 

Emirgan Sütiş

 

Emirgan Sütiş has many different locations in Istanbul, but I’m referring to a specific one: The original one, in Emirgan with an unbelievably magical view of the Bosporus. They serve all kinds of food, and I bet whatever they’re serving is pretty great but I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t tried anything except their breakfast and a few desserts. But their breakfast, though… I mean, I could break hearts for their “kolböreği”, a typical Turkish pastry with minced meat! If you’re into discovering a typical Turkish breakfast, and better yet, a really good one, Emirgan Sütiş is where you need to be. In all honesty, I could go there for breakfast every weekend if I could. (I do at every chance I get though!) The best part about this place’s breakfast is that you get to choose what you order. Most places bring a fixed menu for breakfast, and it could be pretty disappointing if you’re a picky eater like me. But here, you will get to choose what you get, and what you don’t!

 

Bodrum Mantı 

 

I couldn’t not include a “mantı place on this list! Mantı, or Turkish dumplings as you might have heard of them, are my ultimate comfort food; and I really love a good mantı. The best ones I’ve tasted were usually homemade, but I’ve had some seriously good mantı in restaurants, too. I wish I could include a tiny, undiscovered mantıplace instead, but I have yet to find such a place here in Istanbul. However, needless to say since it’s included in my list, Bodrum Mantı is my favourite mantı place in Istanbul. The best part about the place is the selection of mantı! It’s crazy how many types they serve, if you ever visit one you’ll know what I mean. And they also offer mixed plates; you can get two different kinds in one plate! How amazing is that?! They have many locations all over Istanbul and you’re very likely to be close to one wherever you are in the city. They also serve typical Turkish tea and their special desert for free afterwards! Great, great place!

 

Mangerie Bebek

 

Last but not least, I wanted to include a café where me and my friends hang out at sometimes. It’s on the pricier side, but it’s definitely worth a visit. With no signboard visible, it’s definitely a hidden gem, located in Bebek at the very heart of Istanbul. It’s right upstairs from Nus-et,#saltbae, restaurant in Bebek and you have to climb a few flights of stairs to reach there. But once you’re upstairs, you know it’s worth it. There’s a magical view of the Bosporus and the atmosphere will dazzle you the second you walk in. They offer a selection of delicious deserts as well as proper food, if you feel like dining or having lunch there. It’s also one of my favourite places for breakfast. They make great pancakes and eggs benedict. Definitely worth a visit if you need a peaceful break from the crowds and the city!