Colorful San José

I will never stop showing you the colors of a place.

I will always ask you to stop and smell the flowers.

Orchids  

Orchids  

Some journeys are long, hot, dusty and tiring. But if you lift your eyes, maybe you'll find a plant nursery next to the dirty high way; a place filled with orchids and whispers of life. And maybe that will make you smile again. 

San Jose  

San Jose  

As I've mentioned before, Few travelers enjoy big cities (unless that's their aim of the trip) and even fewer like the necessary visit(s) to Costa Rica's capital San Jose. Next time you come, why not stay in the old historic neighborhood Barrio Amón or Aranjuez. And when you're there, why not stroll around the old buildings, enjoying the architecture and the art covering the walls of this area. And maybe you'll find a secret world hidden within green walls and trees and maybe you find a new favorite cafe in the corner of a street you haven't been on before. And maybe you also find the way to mama earth's delicious gifts at Fería Verde.

 

And if you still haven't seen the arts, colors and flowers of San Jose, this oasis is the place to soak it all in. It is here where I ask you to stop and smell the flowers. And while you sip your Costa Rican coffee with cashew milk, enjoy the colorful smiles around you.

 

where do you find flowers in your city?  

Feria Verde

Feria Verde

 

Festival summer: creating Peace in Borlänge

The adventures of the Swedish summer continue North. As you might understand by now, there is a special glow to be found in northern Sweden. Dalarna is situated just above the middle of the country and I interpret the area to be the heart chakra of Sweden. All around the villages and towns ancient myths, stories, fairies, creatures and ceremonies still live. The deep lush forests whisper of stories yet to be told and journeys yet to unfold. The deeper you walk into the soft moss and green surroundings you’ll see Mother Earth open her heart for you, show you her vulnerable inside. And you can’t but listen. Listen to the waterfalls, the birds in the tall pine trees and to the fairies playing in the moss.

Styggforsen

Styggforsen

Many gatherings, ceremonial work and festivals take place around the area and for July 3 and 4 I am invited to share some sweet Bhakti Flow and healing Yin and Drum sessions at the Peace and Love Heartflow Yoga festival. The festival is put together by my strong and magical soul sister Emelie Steen. Her heart is wild and pure and she is a true inspiration for the world. I am truly grateful that we are connected and to be part of this creation of Peace and Love in Borlänge. The schedule is full of various yoga styles such as Ashtanga and Virya; inspirational lectures about the knowledge of life Ayurveda; and music workshop such as transformational Gong sessions.

Come and join us as we, once more gather the tribe to connect our hearts to ourselves and to one and other.

yogafeet

Food Haven in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

In 2013, I wrote an article about the best places to eat in Puerto Viejo- you can read it below. Already back then it was hard to choose which places to include on the list and nowadays it's even more difficult as more places are popping up! Puerto Viejo is indeed a Food Haven with its many delicacies in every street corner. The Farmers' Market has almost doubled in size and, nowadays, also includes local handicrafts, skin products, chocolate and everything from salsa picante to tofu. Last week I got the hands on the last bag of cooked pejibayes and kale- happy! My point is, I am now extending the food list with a new organic, vegan friendly café and the always magical ayurvedic pirate.

Como en Mi Casa Art Café

When I first got to Puerto Viejo I remember there was a beautiful woman with a loving smile that sold brownies on the beach. Later on I bought her delicious cakes and food as she sold them in the market. And so one day she wasn't there anymore and I wondered what had happened to the amazing food I used to snack on Saturdays. Last year Como en mi Casa opened and I found the woman and her magical food art again. Their menu is simple traditional breakfast, snack and lunch. Their creations are colourful, flavourful, arty, innovative and pure bliss in your mouth. Everything is organic and made from scratch and there is a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and raw options. The owners are Italian and not only know their food, but their coffee! 

In this place I eat delicious food, created for all senses and made with true love; my body feels strengthened and happy; and my heart is filled with warm joy after each food experience. Gratitude. 

 

Puerto Pirata Deli

Since the first day I ate the ayurvedic food made by pirates, it has been one of my favourite places where I keep coming back. Located in the town's oldest building, it is literally ON the beach and offers a true Pura Vida vibe. The magical woman who runs the place is an Ayurvedic nutritionist with Nigerian and Italian roots- which offers a flavourful, healthy and innovative food medicine menu. This, too, is a place for great coffee, breakfast and lunch, and is of course vegetarian, with vegan and gluten free options. The other day I asked for a "vegan surprise" as dessert and was served a vegan mango ice cream with a vegan carrot cake on top- yum! So much Love.

Brunch by Puerto Pirata Deli Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Brunch by Puerto Pirata Deli Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

When you are in the Caribbean you also have to try the Rice and Beans made with coconut. It differs greatly from the tico rice and beans and is (also) delicious! Any local place in town will serve Rice and Beans with patacones. Have you tried the various rice and beans dishes- which one is your favourite? Comment below!

Pura Vida

 

 

Top 3 Places to Eat in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

About a four hours bus ride south east of Costa Rica’s capital San José lays the relaxed reggae town and culinary paradise called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. If you are a food-loving traveler this village is a must-visit! Puerto Viejo has an interesting mix of cultures including the Afro Caribbean heritage, expats from Europe and United States and of course Tico influences in its blend. To me, this cultural vibe is what defines the town and part of what makes it special. To be sure to truly experience the culture of Puerto Viejo I recommend eating your way around town. Below I have listed my top three places to eat and drink, enjoy!

1.    The Farmers’ market

The local farmers’ market is held Saturday mornings in the center of the small town. Head towards Casa de la Cultura and you’ll see it! This is the place to find the food you can’t get in the regular super market. Beside cheap organic fruits and vegetables, there is locally produced cheese (including feta!) and milk, chocolate and coconut oil to mention some goodies. Tasty and different kinds of cheese are in general hard to find in Costa Rica, since Ticos like their cheese simple and without flavor. This could be hard on a cheese loving European visitor but the solution is to visit the farmers’ markets.

Farmers' Market Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Farmers' Market Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Personally, I like to make my visits to the organic market in Puerto Viejo a half-day event. This friendly environment is where you mingle with people from all areas around Puerto, buy veggies for the week and maybe get a vegetarian empanada for lunch. There are vendors selling yummy and healthy cakes, juices and pies to please your appetite as you are walking around. In addition, you can buy environment friendly and handmade soap, clothes and more. One time I even found organic tahini! (edit: now standard)

2.    CariBean

I am sure you think you have had chocolate before. Maybe even good, dark, pure chocolate. Visit CariBean and no other chocolate will ever satisfy you again (you have been warned!). At OM Yoga café in Cocles you can buy healthy snacks, breakfast and lunch. Their selection of cakes is varied and baked buy different local cake magicians. But there is more. CariBean at Om Yoga is the place I visit when I need a boost of energy: a chocolate espresso. Yes, you heard me! Thick, dark, soft cacao in a shot gives you a refill with antioxidants and healthy energy. The owners practice sustainable ecological farming on their cacao farm, located behind the house, where they make the chocolate by hand. Be sure not to miss the chocolate tour where you learn about producing, try surprising flavours and enjoy Puerto Viejo’s best view.

Chocolate Tasting Tour, CariBean's Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Chocolate Tasting Tour, CariBean's Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

3.    Bread and Chocolate

This breakfast and lunch place is probably the most famous restaurant in Puerto Viejo. Before I had ever even been on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, my friends living on the other side of the country told me I had to visit Bread and Chocolate. They were right of course. Craving French coffee instead of that brewed stuff? This is the place to go. Choose from a bunch of creative and chocolaty cakes with innovative names to go with that. Or my personal favorite: veggie sandwich. They bake their own bread that is rich in flavor, not sweet and to some extent whole grained. There is a bunch of sandwiches to choose among and they are all served with fruit, green salad or potatoes. Since Bread and Chocolate is mentioned in Lonely Planet, it tends to crowd up quickly during high season so keep that in mind when you are planning your visit.

Heal and Balance in Liverpool

As I require a special diet of vegan and gluten, sugar, yeast and onion free food, I occasionally have to make exceptions. Especially when travelling and I can't cook for myself. I am aware of this and, therefore, whenever I can I bring my own food, snack and essential herbs to help me digest what ever it is that I don’t normally eat. In the UK, gluten is hard to avoid even though nowadays many cafés have the option of gluten free bread. However, the main issues with bread are the yeast and the refined flour- gluten free or not. And they like their sandwiches, the Brits! Besides gluten and yeast, sugar and onions are vicious and difficult to avoid. We even found sugar in the oatmeal! So, during the week most of my exceptions concerned onions, sugar and yeast. My body required me to do a nice purge when I got back home!

In regards of non-animal food tho, most restaurants and cafés have at least one option of vegetarian food and my general experience is that most of these dishes are possible to make vegan or at least lactose free. Still, sometimes it’s nice to be prepared and know where to be able to eat FROM the menu! Check out my healthy travel tips for Liverpool below.

Look up vegan and vegetarian restaurants and eateries on Scouseveg There are several options around Liverpool center that are vegan friendly. For instance, we tried the vegan menu at Lunya, a Spanish tapas restaurant, and were very pleased! There is also a vegan café on Bold Street - a genuine and cozy bohemian feeling street which we found when walking from the Cathedral and down towards the dock. This street is where you’ll find alternative bookstores, independent businesses, world food stores, fair trade, organic and the like. Needless to say, I enjoyed the visit!

Always carry snacks such as unsalted nuts, seeds and fruit in your daypack in case of sudden hunger and absence of healing nutrition. Bring a thermos of hot water! Refill whenever possible. For instance, ask in cafes or at 7/11, I’ve always gotten positive outcomes! Why do you want a thermos you wonder? 1- to stay warm throughout the day if weather is rough 2- to aid the digestive fire (especially if you’re making food exceptions).

Put your hiking boots on! I love to walk around bigger cities because it offers a genuine way to get to know the city, its neighbourhoods and people. Liverpool is a good-sized city to walk around for the weekend tourist. A huge plus are the signs all over town, encouraging visitors to walk between attractions. Dancing is of course also a terrific way of moving your body and get the prana flowing! As we were alone in The Cavern, in The Beatles Museum, I saw my chance to move the booty and twisted around the dance floor in front of the stage for a good two rounds of the famous Twist and Shout!

The Beatles played remarkably 292 concerts in The Cavern before the place closed down 1973. The museum does a great job in reenacting the settings and atmosphere and when I closed my eyes to let my body move to the dancing rhythms, I traveled back to a time when The Beatles were rocking the stages.

Not only is dancing and walking around museums great for the physical body but also for the overall wellbeing, such as the mental, emotional, and spiritual health. More and more research on Health and Art & Cultural activities show that the two areas are much related. For instance, music and dance have long had social and ritual functions in traditions all over the globe and research has shown that these therapies have positive affects on the mood. In addition, there is science describing how cultural activities can increase the quality of life! My health routines include absorbing art, history, architecture, music, and nature to mention a few. Thus, I make sure to involve my routines wherever I am in the world! In Liverpool, we started our trip with a visit to the world’s largest Anglican Cathedral and ended it with a long stay in The Beatles Story- both deeply spiritual and healing experiences.

The Beatles Story was an emotional roller coaster but we came out with the message of healing the world and bring world peace, so that we can all live together as ONE. 

 

Ps. Before New Years 2014, you can lend your voice to the largest sing-a-long ever! Read more and listen to John Lennon's Imagine here

Staying Healthy On the Road III : Liverpool & Wales

Staying Healthy On the Road III

Before I left for the trip to UK I asked my Facebook crowd if they’d think that I would be able to follow my own Healthy On The Road advice, referring to the previous posts How To Stay Healthy and Balanced while Traveling, Practicing How to stay Healthy on the road I & II 

However, this time around I wasn’t flying across the Atlantic nor was I on the road for very long. Still, sticking to healthy choices and routines during shorter holidays, weekend trips and the like is just as challenging!

Let’s see how I did.

I washed my face with a tea bag! There are many reasons as to why our skin dries out, the most common being insufficient water intake. When traveling, the air in planes, airports, hotels etc. is very dehydrating and it is important to drink a lot of water. Another reason for dry skin is stress and anxiety and in How To Stay Healthy and Balanced while Traveling, I mention a few herbs to calm the body and mind. Chamomile is also one of the common herbs used all over the world for its relaxing and calming effects. So after having finished my relaxing chamomile tea in the air between Copenhagen and Manchester, I figured I’d use the rest of the tea bag to give my face some extra love! Since I usually feel the skin of my face and around my nails dry up on airplanes I carry a small bottle of oil in the carry-on, which I applied after the cooling tea. I felt not only better and more moist in the skin but more alert too!

Digest gluten with Mint Tea! Another of my favourite herbs that is easily found worldwide is mint (any kind). In the UK it seems standard to have at least one of the two in any place that serves coffee. Both mint and chamomile aid digestion, strengthen the stomach, and reduce gas and cramps in the belly. Therefore, I always bring with me one or the other, in case I have to make one of those exceptions regarding gluten or dairy so that after the meal I drink my tea to help the body getting rid of anything unwanted. That’s what I drink in this picture, just after having had a granola bar! After the tea I soaked up some sun before entering the museum underground....

Moving the booty! If not Yoga, at least walk around! Flying from Copenhagen to Manchester doesn't exactly involve long layovers. Still, I find it unnecessary to sit down and wait when I can stand or walk around and wait. We took several laps around the middle area of one terminal made up of sofas as we were waiting for gate information. Moving around helps maintain a good circulation throughout the day, reduces bloating and swollen feet and legs. The important thing is to stay on your feet (or head) so that the blood can flow freely. Personally when on an airplane, I feel like I’m putting on a strap around my waist that strains all the Prana, air and blood flow in my body. Not only is it the seat belt (which obviously is adjustable), but also the tiny legroom and seats, forcing me to hold a very unnatural position for a long time. Especially on shorter rides it’s not ideal to walk around the airplane. Hence, I do it before I board!

Give yourself a foot massage. Another great idea I got while waiting in the airport was to massage my feet! Seriously, you want to try this! Remove your shoes (just doing that makes wonder for the entire body!) and give your hardworking feet some gentle rubbing to get the blood moving. Especially press and pull the toes, press around the heels and draw your hands alongside the feet and around the wrists. Mm YUM, your feet will thank you! 

More tips and ideas? Post in the Comment below!

Stay tuned for the post about how we enjoyed Liverpool in many nurturing and healing ways!

Love and Light