Vete-Katten & Medelhavsmuseet | Stockholm, Sweden


On almost every blog and must see list for Stockholm, Vete-Katten would almost always be included. I figured if that many people though it was a place that had to be visited, then Markus and I had to go. On the day that we went to Vete-Katten, it was really rainy and gloomy so we didn’t do as much sightseeing and shopping as we planned. Luckily, we stumbled on a hidden gem, the Medelhavsmuseet and ended up spending most of our afternoon there!

I don’t know if it was because it was a rainy day, but Markus and I did not enjoy our visit to Vete-Katten. It’s terribly unfortunate because we were positive we would get the ultimate fika experience. Fika can be translated in many ways, like “coffee and cake break”, but it’s much more than that. It’s an important part of Swedish culture and means to take a break with family and friends and have something to eat. The dessert I was most excited to try at Vete-Katten was the princess cake, a traditional Swedish cake. The sweet dessert is made with alternating layers of jam, whipped cream, pastry cream and sponge cake and then covered with bright green marzipan.

Since it was breakfast we ordered a whole spread consisting of shrimp and chicken salad sandwiches, a slice of princess cake, a cardamom bun and coffee. Honestly, everything was just alright. Personally, I think we paid way too much money for things that could be found at any bakery. Markus and I ate a lot of pastries and buns on our Scandinavian trip and I remember all of my favorite ones and I can’t even recall what the bun from Vete-Katten tasted like. If we were ever in Stockholm again, unfortunately, I wouldn’t go go back.

After a bit of a disappointing breakfast at Vete-Katten, Markus and I walked around a bit looking for shops and things to see. We got tired of the rain and wanted to find a place that we could relax for a bit. As we were trying to figure out what to do, we came across the Medelhavsmuseet. Located in central Stockholm, the museum is focused on relics from the Mediterranean area and the Near East. We walked around the Greek, Assyrian and Egyptian areas. They even had a lovely little cafe on the second floor with a view of the museum below. The best part? The museum is free and has great wifi. Markus and I thought we would pop in to escape the rain, but ended up spending a few hours. It’s a nice little spot to escape the crowds and also soak up some culture.

Musée Océanographique de Monaco | Monaco


Musée Océanographique de Monaco is one of the most visited marine science museums in Europe as well as one of the oldest. It was founded by Prince Albert I in 1910, who wanted to have a palace dedicated exclusively to art and science. Markus found out that Jacques Cousteau was the director at the museum for 31 years. Markus has loved and admired Cousteau since he was a kid and watched his program on PBS.  So it was a given that we would visit. The actual building itself is quite stunning and picturesque and is situated high on a cliff that overlooks the Mediterranean.

Our favorite part of the museum was Oceanomania, "the biggest collection of marine world curiosities." The beautiful "Cabinet of Curiosities" is straight out of a Wes Anderson movie and unlike anything I've seen in real life. It's the sort of thing Markus and I thrive on. We love the old, weird and interesting. We spent a majority of our time at the museum scouring through the collection of skeletons and fossils, models, diving equipment and antique books.  After we finished exploring the museum, we headed up to the roof.  There we found breathtaking views of Monaco as well as the Mediterranean. There was also a surprisingly good restaurant on the roof where we ate appropriately ate a delicious seafood lunch of moules et frites and a seafood pasta. I'm so glad that Markus insisted that we visit Monaco and Musée Océanographique, because it ended up being one of the best memories from our trip!

National Portrait Gallery | London, England

To be honest, before this trip, I had no idea that the National Portrait Gallery existed. Which is so strange, because everyone knows I'm obsessed with portraits. We have eight vintage oil portraits in our apartment. It's our goal to have a wall very similar to the one above. In my free time, I'm constantly looking for vintage oil portraits and don't think I'll ever stop. So it made perfect sense that we stop by.

If I had to choose between The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, I would definitely pick the Portrait Gallery. It's not as busy and it's easier to spend time admiring any piece you want. There are so many different kinds of portraits and I was sad that we couldn't spend more time there. I'm so glad we went and it was perfect for me because it had heaps of portraits! 

Ghibli Museum | Mitaka, Japan

Back when Markus and I first started dating, he introduced me to the world of Hayao Miyazaki with Spirited Away. Afterwards, I watched every Miyazaki film I could get my hands on. Some I liked, better than others, but nothing was like Spirited Away. When I found out that we could visit a museum dedicated to Miyazaki's films and works, I planned a whole day around it.

One of the highlights of our Japan trip was the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. Unfortunately we were unable to take photos inside the museum, but we took heaps of photos outside. The museum was really interesting and enjoyable. We explored the grounds, saw exhibits of his concepts and even a mock-up of his office. It was incredible being able to step into the mind of a creative genius. Even though the museum is off the beaten path, it's definitely worth the trip and a great way to spend the day.

Kyoto International Manga Museum | Kyoto, Japan

As the wife of an amazing artist, it was a given that we would visit the Kyoto International Manga Museum. The museum consists of multiple rooms filled with shelves of manga. It was really exciting walking through and perusing manga through the ages. Unfortunately, we could not take photos of the actual museum and exhibits. Although, there was one area that we had free reign to take photos, the cafe. I may have gone a bit overboard, but the walls were covered in illustrations from visiting artists. It was incredible.

The highlight of the trip was when we had the resident artist sketch us in manga style. She was so cute and I couldn't resist taking a photo with her. I really loved the illustration and I think she perfectly captured Markus and I. Overall, the Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must-see for anyone who would enjoy an afternoon perusing manga from the past and the present.