The ‘weekend by locals’ or rather #weekendbylocals initiative we decided to launch this September has grown quite popular and has sprinkled new life onto our Instagram account. For this we are truly grateful to our lovely spotters. What has been going on is that every weekend we give the proverbial ‘key’ to our Instagram account to one of our spotters, for them to share their favorite spots and their experiences over the weekend with our audience. So far, #weekendbylocals has taken our audience along on a 2 day local’s journey through: NYC; Helsinki; Rome; Madrid; Toronto; Munich; Sarajevo; Vilnius; Chicago and London.
NYC through Nick’s eyes
Even though they say that New York is immense and that in a weekend there’s not enough time to do things, Nick managed to ‘take us’ to many different spots. From sailing in the city to bagels and cupcakes, New York has endless options to choose from. And not just bars and cafes, but also cultural spots such as the Whitney Museum or the famous Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). The most fun though are the ‘weird spots’ like a particular Barber Shop in the East Village, the by now famous Highline Park (old train tracks transformed to a relaxing spot for New Yorkers) and the Marc Jacob’s bookstore, Bookmarc, to mix fashion (even if you’re not that much into that as Nick says) with books in a cool and alternative environment.
Helsinki love by Kathrin
With Kathrin we really enjoyed the Finnish nature! Starting with feeding some squirrels at Seurasaari area of Helsinki (which actually means ‘Squirrel Hood’!), later on grabbing a ‘possumunkki’ (bun filled with apple) before visiting the amazing Kruunuvuori Ghost Town! And the weekend was not over yet, as Kathrin showed us many beautiful cafes and restaurants in Helsinki, amazing views of the city from the sea and one of the most colorful sunsets you’ve ever seen! This is ‘Helsinki love’!
Ivan’s Bella Roma
The perfect Eternal City weekend starts of course with a big fat cappuccino and goes on with lots of Italian food, more coffee (preferably espressos this time), gelatos (the typical Italian ice cream everyone loves) and beers or cocktails! Ivan also showed us around the amazing EUR area – a bit out of the city center, it feels as if you are ‘in a different city’ according to Ivan, at a place with amazing architecture and lakes. Ivan sends us his goodnight from Quartiere Coppede, a lovely little neighborhood in the city, with beautiful houses and luxury vibes.
The thrilling Madrid of Nadia
Going around Madrid with Nadia seems like a fairy tale. The parks, the little squares in the city, the cafes and restaurants, and the terraces with the incredible views of the city. Of course a little bit of culture is always necessary so Nadia takes us to her favorite museum which is not what we expect: a small gallery, Sorolla museum, which is also the painter’s house. Walking around Malasana, one of Nadia’s favorite districts, you can find all kinds of quirky stuff such as books on sale on a bike! We finish our weekend in Madrid with tapas, coffee breaks, walks in the parks and –why not- a live music concert.
Thom showing us around his Toronto
Starting a weekend in Toronto with Thomas means…brunch! As he says “brunch is a religion in this city” so you can find it almost everywhere, and it’s an awesome way of discovering new places. A nice walk during the weekend would be by Lake Ontario “for a beautiful view of the harbor, the Toronto Island and the city right behind you” as Thom suggests. Apparently there are many green spaces in Toronto where you can admire the color change of the trees’ leaves. Thom takes us to Graffiti Alley which, he says, “is a must for an urban explorer/art tourist” and there’s always something new there. Bike sharing is a great way to get around and explore Toronto like a local. With the 3rd English language theatre scene in the world (following London and New York City) Toronto offers a big selection of plays- a great leisure activity! A very interesting district Thom suggests is the Distillery District, which used to be a whiskey distillery now full of stores, restaurant and galleries.
Weekend in Munich by Ayla
After a great breakfast at her favorite Café Josefina, Ayla hits the city for some shopping, going to small independent shops like Carta Pura. “Munich brews the best beer in Germany”, Ayla says, so in the evening what more can you ask for than typical Bavarian cuisine with Bavarian brewed beer? The rest of the weekend goes something like this: trendy coffee shops (especially for coffee lovers), walks along the river, art fairs and museum visits at the museum quarter, a “soothing swim at Munich’s oldest art deco pool”(#Mullerschesvolksbad) closing with a late cinema night at one of the oldest and most beautiful movie theaters of Munich (#Lichtspiele).
Aida’s colorful Sarajevo
Our tour in Sarajevo with Aida starts at Café Kamarija to enjoy the cool music and the great view. The prettiest and most romantic street in Sarajevo according to Aida is Vilsonovo Promenade where she suggests we should totally take a walk. Sarajevo seems a very lively city during the night, with lots of pubs to choose from. For a wonderful Sunday Aida takes us on a walk along the city bridges enjoying the particular architecture, and then maybe visit the Academy of Fine Arts, “the most beautiful building in the city” as she says. Our spotter insists on the fact that we can’t really say we “visited Sarajevo if we don’t try a traditional dish at least once”. Get ready for a feeling of overload though! The night view from Yellow Bastion seems like the perfect way to end the weekend, watching the lights of the city…
Vilnius like a local, by Kamilė
Kamilė welcomes us to Lithuania’s capital for some street art and then the art continues with Dali’s and Picasso’s extraordinary exhibition! Going around restaurants and pubs before going to church on Sunday – “Vilnius is often referred to as a Baroque City” as Kamilė says, as there are a lot of beautiful churches to visit, especially St Peter’s and Paul’s Church, a masterpiece of the 17th century. Our tour ends at the ‘Street of the Writers’, “created to remember authors, poets or essayists related to Lithuanian culture, every artwork has its own story” Kamilė tells us.
Fall in love with Meghan’s Chicago
“Chicago has so many great neighborhoods to explore” says our spotter, Meghan, about her hometown. Pizza is highly appreciated in Chicago so one can find great pizza in many different spots in the city. Even though NYC is well known for its bagels, the 2nd best has some great spots too, and of course Meghan takes us to some cool donut places also! As a local, Meghan suggests we take the CTA train (“known to locals as the El” says our spotter) as it is a great way to get around and explore Chicago. Sunday evening is the perfect time for some nice jazz live music and the perfect way to end our tour to the Windy City.
London calling – by Matt
Rainy or sunny London is one of the most cosmopolitan metropolis’ in the world, and Matt, our spotter there, is giving us a tour. Being in a city as fashionable as London, we start our tour at a really artsy restaurant, Sketch, which is “a high-end restaurant that combines French food with music and art events in Mayfair” according to Matt. Why not spend Sunday morning in the Olympic pool for a swim – certainly an alternative way of fun, in the architectural masterpiece of Zaha Hadid! After swimming, a brunch near the canal with an Olympic Stadium view seems like a great idea! Later on, Matt takes us to his “favorite green space in London”, Victoria Park, and then Villa Kennedy Spa is probably the best way to relax from all the walking around. A walk near Columbia Road and a visit at the best and biggest flower market in London (Columbia Road Flower Market) with Matt is indeed the sweetest way to end our tour in London.