Written by Sheida

Stockholm has shown itself from its best side this weekend. 26 degrees, sunshine and a clear blue sky. And while one half of We are Nodes (Yasmin) is in Palma (stay tuned for an updated Palma-guide) I, Sheida, have enjoyed the Swedish summer in the archipelago.

The best place for a Swedish "fika"

Long summer luncheons by the sea are quite hard to beat, and one of our favourite places is Vaxholms Hembygdsgårds Café which is beautifully situated on a small peninsula. Here you will find all sorts of traditional Swedish dishes like cold-roasted salmon with dill stewed potatoes, smoked shrimps and the classic "shrimp sandwich" (in Swedish: räkmacka). Not to even mention the amazing desert buffet with cookies and pastries!This is the perfect spot for a rosé lunch or a after beach waffle + coffee (there's a little beach just next to the café if you want to go for a swim!) Well worth a visit!
Today's lunch: Chèvre Chaud with a cooling glass of lemonade, and lots and lots of shrimps with aioli.
... and the amazing desert buffet!
Adress: Trädgårdsgatan 19, 185 32 Vaxholm
Phone: 08-541 319 80
Open: Weekends in May, everyday from June 1- Middle of September
How to get here: You can easily take the ferry from Stockholm City in no less than 1 hour.

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This article is in collaboration with Luxury Retreats. Written by: Sheida

Picture via Luxury Retreats

The mysterious Great Blue Hole, the "Go Slow" lifestyle and the affordable yet oh-so-stunning Belize vacation rentals is just three of the reasons why the fairly unknown state Belize (formerly British Honduras) is high on the list of mine and Yasmin's top destinations to visit. Attention all Scandinavians: forget about Thailand, Bali or Mexico when booking your next tropical vacay and put Belize on your bucket list instead! We have listed three of the reasons why:

[✓] See one of the "most amazing places on earth": The Blue Hole of Belize

Picture via: chabilmarvillas.com

The mysterious Great Blue Hole is a submarine sinkhole located at the Lighthouse reef, east of Belize city's shoreline, and is said to be the most amazing out of all the "blue holes" in the world. It's on several "most amazing places on earth" top lists, is a UNESCO world heritage site and is without a doubt one of Belize's major attractions! Thousands of scuba divers from all around the world come to Belize for the soul purpose to dive in this 354 ft deep diving wonder! Since I'm not an expert on diving (and this clearly isn't anything for beginners!), I would much rather experience the Blue Hole from above. Helicopter tours are very expensive but I've made my research and found out that a more affordable option is to charter a flight with Tropic Air. They have an hourly rental fee around $410/hr USD (for two-three persons) and will also give you a great view of the Blue Hole. How cool

[✓] To live the "Go Slow" lifestyle

Lilian and her friend doing sunset yoga in Belize.

One of the reasons why we fell in love with Costa Rica (read our Costa Rica guide here) was because of the Pura Vida lifestyle – it was a trip focused on adventure, nature, well being and a chance to really de-stress from the hectic lifestyle back home. When I asked my friend Lilian (who backpacked in Central America a while ago) about her thoughts on Belize, she told me that Belize had a Jamaican vibe to it. Friendly, laid-back and very very chilled. The slogan of Caye Calker (the island that she visited) was actually "Go Slow" and everywhere spread across the island, signs with these words were put up to remember you about it. Lilian's Belize itinerary consisted of snorkeling and doing sunset yoga by the beach – and judging from the photos, it looked pretty amazing! We can't help but to think that if we liked Costa Rica, Belize would be a country in our taste as well.


[✓] Stay at a Luxury Villa – for the same price as your regular big city weekend hotel

Since both me and Yasmin prefer long term travelling and usually like to stay for a longer period in a city when we travel, finding a good place to rent is essential. Through the years we have become experts in finding the perfect apartments to rent that has made our travels unforgettable! Two months in Cannes with a private oasis in the middle of the city, a summer in Barcelona with a humungous roof top terrace overlooking Barrio Gótico, a dreamy studio in Marais, Paris with brick walls and the perfect adress – everything was easily fixed even before options like Airbnb were available! We Google translated our way through various Spanish and French forums where private persons rented out their homes and became skilled on finding the real treasures. We knew that the places where we stayed shaped our travels almost just as much as the people we met.
A travel trend that's just getting bigger and bigger is to rent a villa and live together with your travel company. Nowadays, people want to be able to easily arrange nice dinners, parties and pool hang-outs - preferably in privacy.


Upscale vacation rental site

Luxury Retreats is an upscale vacation rental site, which actually Airbnb just bought in February this year. Aside from creating massive wanderlust cravings through their Instagram account, this site can actually come handy when traveling in countries that still are relatively cheap for tourists to travel and live in, such as the countries in Central America. So, if you are a bunch of friends travelling together and split the cost, it actually doesn't cost more to live in these stunning retreats than the price/night at a middle class hotel in a big city like London or New York! Isn't that crazy when you think about it! Treat yourself to a few nights in luxury, it's worth it!

Example: The price for 3 nights in this dreamy beachfront oasis pictured below is $1900. When splitting between six persons it's "only" $316/person!
Caribbean Soul Villa, located in: Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America. What countries are on your bucket lists? 

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