Friday, May 22, 2009

Strasbourg from A-Z 2008-2009

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I have just been to Strasbourg. A weekend is definitely too short a time to discover this beautiful historic city. Looking at this map, I have discovered how much I did experience during my two trips there.

This map shows you sights, food stories, shops, and restaurants in the Alsatian capital. Stay tuned to get new stories from Strasbourg here on Enjoy Food & Travel.

Other Maps here on Enjoy Food & Travel

To help you find sights, restaurant and hotels Enjoy Food & Travel have visited on our travel, we have introduced maps on our site, to help you on your way. You get a larger and more detailed map by using the +-sign, and every point has its explanation. If you want to know more see the links underneath the map.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eger - high class shopping in downtown Oslo

Opening up a new centre for luxury goods in the middle of a recession may be considered bad timing. In spite of bad times, Eger, the new department store for exclusive goods opened in Oslo last week. It will be exciting to see whether it can beat the odds.

When walking around in Oslo, many are struck by the absence of stores selling famous brands. You would expect to see Gucci, Boss, and Versace well established in a country swimming in oil revenues. All the major chains stayed off the Norwegian markets until a few years ago, when Louis Vuitton opened its first store in Norway, in Akersgaten, just behind the Norwegian parliament.

This is about to change. May 7th was the opening day of Eger Motehus, a brand new shopping centre for luxury goods in downtown Oslo. Here you find 27 shops selling designer shoes, bags, clothes and much more. Owned by Søylen Property, this glitzy fashion Mecca has ended up costing its owners more than 1 billion NOK (114,3 million EUR).

For those of you in the mood to spend much money you are recommended to visit the super-exclusive department on the 2nd floor where you find exclusive items by designers as Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang.

You find the following stores, cafés and bars at Eger:
  • Come As You Are
  • G-star Raw
  • Marc O’Polo
  • Apollo (Travel agency)
  • Ark Bokhandel (Book store)
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Lexington
  • Nina Skarra
  • Rizzo
  • Esthetique Woman
  • Esthetique Man
  • Det søte liv
  • Nespresso
  • Steam kaffebar
  • Eger Café
  • 7-Eleven
  • Høyer Woman
  • Høyer Man
  • Høyer Jeans
  • Høyer Trend
  • Designers by Høyer
  • Headon
  • Tante Pose
  • Studio G12
  • VinEger

Motehuset Eger Karl Johan
Karl Johans gate 23 B, 0159 Oslo

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nykirken in Bergen

This plaque is placed on Nykirken - the New Church in Bergen. In spite of its name, the oldest parts goes back to the Middle Ages, and it has burnt and been rebuilt several times. Here is a short account of its history.

The plaque says:


Nykirken is rather new, as the present building is a reconstruction that is around 50 years old. But when you look closer, you will see that there are remains still intact that gives this church authenticity.

Medieval foundations

When you walk around the base of the church you see the rounded arches from an important building from Medieval Bergen.

The residence for the archbishop was located on the Nordnes peninsula during the Middle Ages. It was a larger building than the royal residence. The hall was nearly 60 meters (180 ft) long.

What is left of this massive building is partly found under newer buildings and partly under Nykirken. Whereas the kings quarters were found on the area on the other side of the bay, where the medieval fortress is today.

From the 14th century the building worked as a commercial center securing wealth to the church. When the archbishop title was abolished in 1537, the building fell into 300 year of disrepair. The last parts burnt down in 1756, and the church, as you see it today was built on top of it.

What is still visible are old, rough walls, marked by old age. Remains that became the foundations for the church that was built close to 400 years ago.

The door of 1670

The gate referred to on the plaque from 1670 is clearly visible on the east wing. It is a grey, ornamental frame in limestone with the monogram of King Christian V on top.

He ascended the throne of Denmark-Norway in that year (1670) and reigned the two countries for 29 years.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hviids Vinstue - a place to drink!!

Hviids Vinstue is a place familiar to many Norwegians. Located at Kongens Nytorv, it is a haven for many Norwegians that, after a day's walk around in Strøget, are tired and wants to enjoy a glass of beer and maybe a "lille en". Having ordered their special offer of three sandwiches and a beer at DKK 60, I will say that Hviids Vinstue is a place to drink, not to eat

Location: BBBB+

Hvvids vinstue is located at Kongens Nytorv, one out of two main squares located in the middle of Copenhagen. It is a beautiful spot, easy to get to by train, bus or subway.

Service: BBB+

If you like grumpy elderly men waiting on you, this is definitely the place for you. Waiters dressed as just that, with a tone that may be typical of the regular Danish kneipe. What ever this may it is not regular politeness, according to most standards, so you decide whether this is your cup of tea (or pint of beer).

The food was served at the light of speed, and when you see it, you'll understand why.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBB+

Hviids Vinstue goes back nearly 300 years, and this age rubs off on the interior. It is beautifully rustic, with a patina only old history may give. It is a dark interior with different colours with shades of brown in them. If the interior is nice, it is not a comfortable place to sit. The chairs are hard, and the tables are close to each other. You are given knife and fork with your meal, so this is down to basics.

If you want gto drink, try "Smøgen", the smoking department still allowed in Denmark. Here you have softer seats and more comfort.

Food: BBB+

I was told that Hviids vinstue shared kitchen with the next door tavern Skindbuksen. If it does, the quality of the food could not be further apart. Hviids vinstue offered three items of "håndmad" (food in the hand) priced at DKK 65 with one bottle of Tuborg beer. It is safe to sahy that the only one of the three open sandwiches I ordered that reminded me of my excellent meal at Skindbuksen a year ago was the herring.

Sandwich with salami, fried onion and remoulade: BBB

We used to buy red Danish salami, when we visited Denmark when I was a kid. Even though I liked it then, I do not find it appetizing any more. It was nothing to look at, really. My first open sandwich had a few slices of Danish salami, with (what was supposed to be) crisp onion and remoulade on rye.

Consistency - not much to talk of, either. The salami was very greasy, the crisp onion was completely softened and showed that this was not very fresh.

The salami was not very salt and was balanced with the remoulade that had a distinct taste of pickled cucumber and the slight bitterness of the dense Danish rye bread. It was a disappointing experience, but at a price of DKK 21,50, it was tolerable.

Sandwich with lamb roulade and cress: BBB

The second piece of "håndmad" had lamb roulade and cress. Looked nicer, the roulade was equally greasy, but the cress provided a contrasting crunch.

It did not taste much, though. A little pepper, a hint of salt - the bitterness from the cress and the rye bread dominated.

Worth DKK 21,50, not a Danish øre more.

Sandwich with herring: BBB+

The Danes are renowned for their herring, and I am pleased to say that the herring at Hviids vinstue lifted the experience a little.

Herring in a clear vinaigrette with onion and pepper corns served in a small cup made from tin foil. Looked a little better, and at last we had a tastes playing around in my mouth.

Good consistency, soft herring, onion with crunch. Balance of sweet and sour was a little on the sour side, but the aromas of herring, onion, and pepper reminded you that you were in Denmark.

Beverage: BBBB

The pieces of Håndmad were not large and were served with a bottle of Tuborg. Decent beer, but a little flat and boring. Tuborg is not my favourite, but it was OK. You are recommended to do as I did, buy a little Gammel Dansk Bitter to digest the flood.

Rating the Hviids Vinstue experience: BBBB (3,76 points)

Great interior left after 300 years of history. Definitely a place to drink, but if you want to eat, go next door. At Skindbuksen you can indulge in the true Danish open sandwich experience. Hviids vinstue is a place to drink, nothing more.

Hviids Vinstue
Kongens Nytorv 19, DK - 1050 København K.
Phone and fax: 33 15 10 64
Official website:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Commodore Class - M/F Pearl of Scandinavia

The Pearl of Scandinavia is a large floating hotel, housing more than 2000 passengers. You can get reasonably priced cabins, but you may easily spend €600-700 for a Commodore class cabin. I stayed in one of these cabins, and for the price I would spend the money on something else.

Location: BBBBB

Accessibility: Getting to the ferries is easy, both in Oslo and Copenhagen. Oslo is only a 15 minute walk away. In Copenhagen you can take bus 20E, a free shuttle bus bringing you from the terminal to Kongens Nytorv in less than 10 minutes.

The crossing from Oslo to Copenhagen offers travelers great value. You may enjoy a magnificent view while traveling out the Oslo fjord and next morning when entering the strait of Øresund with the Swedish coast on your left and the island of Sjælland on your right. And when the weather is great, what could be better than this.

Service: BBBB

The service was overall good. The staff at the reception and the crew on board was very helpful and kind. So was the staff at the breakfast room.

Room: BBB

Room was rather small, compared to the Commodore de luxe balcony cabin I enjoyed at Crown of Scandinavia in 2008.

The size of the bathroom was equally small, comparable in size to the other bathrooms on the boat. The big difference was that it was tiled.

It had a neutral, but rather plain character. There were a small desk, a wardrobe with racks of hangers, an empty minibar, a double bed, and a small armchair facing the window. No balcony, I am sad to say.

It was some need of maintenance. There were small stains on the wall, and cracks between the tiles in the bathroom. Hygiene was acceptable as well, but I found some dust on some surfaces, i.e. top of mirror and picture frames.

Breakfast: BBBBB-

Breakfast for the commodore travelers were served at the Blue Riband restaurant, providing privacy as the breakfast for other travelers was served at the buffet restaurant 7 seas.

The breakfast was first class, as everything else. Scrambled eggs, sausages, crispy bacon and fried tomatoes. The scrambled eggs were rather tasteless and had an unpleasant consistency. The bacon was delicious, but the sausages were undercooked.

There were cheese and cold cuts in abundance. The supply of fruit were a little low. You could also treat yourself to cereal og yogurt, if you wanted a healthier start on your day.

Facilities: BBBB

- Inhouse restaurants: Four restaurants serving food on different price levels and one cafeteria.
- Inhouse bars: One pub, one excellent winebar with high competence, one disco and one night club
- Inhouse leisure and exercise facilities: Swimming pool (empty) and hot tub at the rear of the ship. Inhouse cinema. Tax-free shops.
- Well being: Good individually controllable air conditioning in every cabin. Free wireless zone by reception and in cafeteria.
- Maintenance and hygiene: Overall good
- Other services: Free shuttle bus in Copenhagen. Cooling and freezer room available for food storage.

Price: B

These cabins are, in May and June priced at DKK 3800,- This is a huge amount of money to pay for two, considering the size and standard of the room. The standard offered should have been much higher to recommend a passage to Copenhagen for two, at such a cost.

Rating the Commodore de Luxe experience: BBBB (3,79 points)

Traveling in a Commodore class cabin is a very expensive experience, and by no means a bargain. This sum could have been better spent on two flight tickets to a European destination.