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njebson′s Wishlist
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Norra Esplanaden, Helsingfors, Finland
At midnight in June and July, Helsinki glows. Here, AFAR's founders stroll the Esplanadi, a grassy park and cobblestone walkways bordered by two avenues in the heart of the city, after a dinner at Restaurant Gaijin (www.gaijin.fi). In the day,...
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Åstorgsgatan 1, 00500 Helsingfors, Finland
At Kotiharjun, you'll find the city's only remaining traditional wood-burning sauna. An old-fashioned urban retreat favored by Helsinki locals since 1928, Kotiharjun welcomes travelers without catering specifically to them. As tradition requires,...
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Südalinn, Tallinn, Estonia
The view of Tallinn from the Toompea Hill is a nice one. Tallinn is a quaint town. I enjoyed walking and biking around, and stopping occasionally for an A. Le Coq, an Estonian beer that I especially enjoyed. I met Kalev and Ulane, the partners...
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Tallinn, Estonia
Tallin's old town walls have stood for over 700 years, guarding a maze of streets and a fantastic cobblestone square that comes alive every lunchtime with the clatter of coffee cups and the mumble of meetings. You can take a walk along part of the...
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Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
The Great Market Hall in Budapest should be any visitors first stop in order to get acquainted to the people, goods and grub of Hungary. The market is one of those strange places that caters to both locals and tourists alike without losing its...
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Budapest, Gerlóczy u. 1, 1052 Hungary
A corkscrew staircase rises to a stained glass ceiling and leads to 19 rooms, some of which have clawfoot tubs. The adjoining cafe, where guidebook writer Andras Torok can frequently be found sipping espresso, serves breakfast, and treats in the...
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Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
It's an unforgettable experience: Getting up at the crack of dawn in mid-winter, walking through the large municipal park on the Pest side of town, checking in to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath (mostly with Hungarian pensioners because tourists...
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Budapest, Andrássy út 60, 1062 Hungary
My friend and I were walking around town when we noticed this very cool signage for the House of Terror. We weren't really enthusiastic about the subject so we opted to continue our walk and find another amazing cafe but I did snap a photo....
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Budapest, Károly krt. 5, 1075 Hungary
It's a fun experience to sign up for a boat tour at night in Budapest. Not only you got to enjoy the great buildings in golden light, but also you will enjoy a hungarian style buffet on boat. Even better if you tag along a symphony concert right...
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Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is one of the most beautiful magical places I have been. It reminds me of a less commercialized Paris or Barcelona
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Budapest, Vörösmarty tér, 1051 Hungary
Wandering around Budapest, I stumbled on a couple of Christmas fairs around the public squares. There are rows of booths were you can buy all manner of locally produced snacks and wares while enjoying music and merriment.
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Budapest, 1051 Hungary
There's no better way to connect with a culture than through food. It's a universal language, tangible and immediate. Street/market food is particularly insightful. I recently spent time in eastern Europe and was pleasantly surprised by the...
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Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
An edgy crowd gathers at Szimpla Kert, a wacky ruin pub in the old Jewish Quarter. On entering, you’ll be overwhelmed by the maze of rooms, where you might find recycled computer monitors, towering piles of books, hookah pipes, or live...
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Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9, 1073 Hungary
A glass-roofed atrium welcomes guests to a majestic hotel in the heart of the city. The common areas are decked out in marble and brocade, and chandeliers and bronze sculptures grace the 185 rooms. The historic New York Cafe, opened in 1894 and...
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Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary
Fisherman's Bastion was built in the late 1800s on Buda's Castle Hill not to provide protection, but rather as a lookout point—and this fairy-tale castle site, with its seven spired towers representing the seven tribe of Magyar (Hungarians)...
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Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Budapest, Hungary is brimming with art, culture and a touch of decadence. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Hungarian State Opera House on the luxurious Andrássy Way. If you don't have the time or money to take in a concert in this...
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Budapest, Dohány u. 2, 1074 Hungary
Dominating the intriguing Jewish quarter on the Pest side of the city, the Great Synagogue is a must-see for lovers of culture in general and Europe's Jewish history in particular. This is Europe's largest operating synagogue (the largest, in...
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Budapest, Szentháromság tér 2, 1014 Hungary
On the Buda side of Budapest, just north of the castle, there are several interesting historical sites worth visiting. You can stroll along several cobblestones streets and explore the Mattias Church, the Fisherman's Bastion, and the National...
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Hotel Búðir - with its extraordinary location - is undoubtedly one of the most surreal places in the world. On the other hand - and striking a very ‘real’ note - it serves some of the best food in Iceland!
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Kirkjufell, Iceland
Ever dance with the Devil in the pale moon light? No? You should try it. You'll love it. If you can't find the Devil, try dancing with a sheep. There are plenty in Iceland. Vikings too - but it's tough to teach a Viking how to dance (citation...
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Tryggvagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Bæjarins beztu pylsur, which humbly translates as "the best hot dog in town," is a simple stand in central Reykjavík whose popularity over the decades has given it a kind of cult status. Almost everyone in the country has eaten...
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This dramatic two-tier waterfall, whose name translates as "Golden Falls," a reference to the shimmering mist that sometimes appears around the falls, is one of Iceland’s most famous—which is saying something in a country...
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Reykjavík, Iceland
We got to Reykjavik on a rainy night, and the first thing I saw and heard was a lot of people in the street partying and Cher's "Believe" blasting from some club, loud enough to hear it everywhere. I though then that this place was crazy, but then...
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Snaefellsnes, Iceland
Búðir is a small hamlet in Búðahraun lava fields in Staðarsveit, which is in the western region of Iceland, on the westernmost tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula where Hraunhafnará falls to the sea, the original old name of Búðir having been...
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Lækjargata 2a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Strolling through beautiful Reykjavik with my husband on a chilly January night, I loved to watch the people tucked away in the town's many restaurants, warm and cozy and enjoying a delicious dinner. One of the best restaurants we came across in...
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Rekagrandi 14, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
The Sun Voyager is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason. The Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress, and freedom. The sculpture is...
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Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and...
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47 Villiers St, London WC2N 6NE, UK
Cozy atmosphere and no electric lights, just candles in a cellar underground....
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London, UK
I had a 12-hour layover in London, strategically chosen around three things I wanted to accomplish - lunch with a friend @ Canteen Spitalfields, taking in the Damien Hirst exhibit at the Tate Modern, and Alternative London's free East End street...
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1 Leicester St, London WC2H 7BL, UK

Chef Fergus Henderson, best known for resurrecting Britain’s rural tradition of whole-hog (“nose-to-tail”) eating, isn’t one for embellishments. The seasonal menu at the ground-floor restaurant of his new St. John Hotel in London reads like a...

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8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK
Over the past two centuries, the covered market at Borough, not far from London Bridge, has become one of the country’s most famous foodie spots. From Wednesday to Saturday each week hundreds of traders gather to sell homemade breads,...
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14 Bacon St, Shadwell, London E1 6LF, UK
Victorian, Edwardian, and period pieces from the 1920s through the 1950s are the specialty of this vintage shop off Brick Lane. We love their lace, and they always have a cool selection of gloves and hats. There is a cute café upstairs where bands...
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27 S Sathorn Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand
The Metropolitan by Como is a luxury hotel with 171 large rooms and an impressive spa that includes yoga studios and an outdoor lap pool. At my restaurant, Nahm, I put subtle twists on authentic Thai dishes. You’ll find a whole page of curries. —...
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50/1 ถนน ราชดำเนิน ตำบล ศรีภูมิ อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่ เชียงใหม่ 50200, Thailand
Though Tamarind Village is located on one of Chiang Mai’s most touristy thoroughfares, you’d hardly guess it on arrival. A tranquil allée of arched bamboo meanders toward the romantic hotel, which sits beneath the 200-year-old...
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9/1 มาตา อพาร์ทเม้นท์ ถนน Hussadhisawee Soi 3, Tambon Chang Phueak, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Thailand isn’t necessarily known for its coffee, but Akha Ama is the exception. This is a very small coffee shop in Santhitham. It exclusively distributes coffee produced by the Akha people who live in the village of Mae Jan Tai in northern...
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15/3 ถนน นิมมานเหมินทร์ ตำบล สุเทพ อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่ Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Need a coffee break? Stop in to Doppio Ristr8tto on Nimmenhaemin Road in Chiang Mai for your daily dose of caffeine. Every cup comes adorned with a complimentary piece of art on top thanks to the talented barista (and owner) who just happens to be...
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วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ Tambon Su Thep, อ.เมือง Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
On every trip, I try to ride my motorbike up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a beautiful temple on the top of the mountain just outside of town. The view of the Chiang Mai valley is breathtaking on a clear day. I go to the shrine in the back of the...
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Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
I’m an early riser and I like to go to Talaat Meuang Mai at around 7 a.m. to see one of the most interesting and active wet markets in Thailand. You’ll find food vendors selling produce, meat, fish, poultry, and groceries. Look out for a stall...
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Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
I always go to SP Chicken for Issan-style food, which is the food of northeast Thailand. Go with a group of friends so you can order more and try everything. The chef here makes exemplary kai yang, roasted chicken. You’ll see it cooking slowly...
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Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Join throngs of locals on the five-minute ferry ride across Victoria Harbour between the Tsim Sha Tsui cruise pier in Kowloon, on the mainland side, and the Central Pier on Hong Kong Island (a slightly longer ride goes to Wan Chai on Hong Kong...
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International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West null, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The highest hotel in the world exists in Hong Kong at the newish ICC tower in Kowloon. The day that we stayed at the hotel, it was quite foggy, but added to the ambiance of the dark interiors of the suite. The fog cleared just enough to see down...
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Angkor Night Market St, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Packed with over 240 vendors selling hand-made Cambodian crafts, the night market of Siem Reap is hands-down one of the best places to pick up unique souvenirs. Established in 2007, and running well into the nighttime hours, the market holds an...
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St Petersburg, Russia
I visited St.Petersburg several times during 2010, it just turned out I was there for the celebration of Victory Day. The streets were overflowing with people, the young and the old, military and civilians, tourists and locals all together, and...
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Toompuiestee 37, 10133 Tallinn, Estonia
In the context of the bygone Soviet times, the market could be considered an entrepreneurial experiment of sorts. A far cry from the modern city centre, it's still very alive today and frequented by locals seeking better deals on food or clothes....
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Estonia, Väike-Karja 8, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia
If you are a proper beer drinker like me and enjoying causy pub atmospheres, Drink Bar is the right place for you. They have amazing selection of local and import beers. I also enjoyed their pub food pretty much. Amazing food which goes along with...
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Müürivahe 20, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia
Must Puudel is a popular café among locals and the perfect place to enjoy your morning over a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast. The interiors boast cool nostalgic details as well as design elements from the Soviet era. It’s definitely worth...
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Telliskivi 60a, 10412 Tallinn, Estonia
Despite the rundown look of Telliskivi area more and more hip places are opening up in the complex. Pudel (Bottle in Estonian) Bar is the newest addition to the mix with its picky attitude towards beer. And by picky we mean it in the best sense of...
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Pikk 39, 10133 Tallinn, Estonia
Hell Hunt is allegedly the oldest pub in Tallinn making it as traditional as a pub can be. They have a wide selection of beers, including house beer (and cider) and impressive menu for a pub, plus the food is good. In addition they have daily...
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Unionsgatan 29, 00170 Helsingfors, Finland
One of Helsinki's biggest tourist attractions is the Lutheran cathedral downtown. The plaza in front of the church features a statue of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. There are a number dining options in the area, but one of my favorites is...
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Sveaborg, 00190 Helsingfors, Finland
A popular excursion for both locals and visitors, Suomenlinna, a fortress built across a group of islands in Helsinki’s harbor, is just a short ferry or water-bus ride from the city center. Begun in 1748 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site,...
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Lutherinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
One of the most famous landmarks in Helsinki is located in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Walking around, you would never spot the church as there are none of the typical signs, like a spire or a cross, marking it. All you see is a large green...
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Griboyedov channel embankment, 2Б, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
Late summer is the time to explore the 42 islands that make up St. Petersburg. Daylight stretches past 11 p.m., and a burgeoning arts and nightlife scene keeps locals on their toes well into the bright nights. On July 31, the party hits the port...
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Vyborgsky District, St Petersburg, Russia

By Nick Marmet

In a palace that dates back to 1820, the Four Seasons St. Petersburg opens this fall. Suites offer terraces that overlook St. Isaac’s Cathedral (by Auguste de Montferrand, the same architect who designed the palace). The hotel has a...

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Inzhenernaya St, 4, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
If you don’t know Andrei Rublev from Ilya Repin, the Russian Museum, above, (4 Inzhenernaya St.) provides a crash course in the country’s art history. For contemporary pieces, Loft Project Etagi (74 Ligovsky Prospekt) shows paintings, sculptures,...
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Theatre Square, 1, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000
What amazing ballet, wonderfully performed, beautifully costumed, in a special venue. It was a great treat.
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Palace Square, 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000
Affectionately called the "Venice of the North" by some of its citizens, this vantage point hints at why. St. Petersburg is a city full of canals. Look for the Japanese Embassy just due east of the Hermitage and you'll find this place.
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Theatre Square, 1, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000
One of the great things to do in St. Petersburg Russia is to spend an evening enjoying the opera at the historic Mariinsky Theater. They also have ballet and musical theater but we chose Boris Godunov (without Natasha- LOL) during the White Nights...
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Griboyedov channel embankment, 2Б, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
This is the most beautiful structure I've ever had the honor of stepping into. The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood (or, Church of the Resurrection) is a church in St. Petersburg, Russia. Named for Alexander II, a tsar that was murdered...
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Kutuzov embankment, 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
It's so easy to take the hydrofoil from its dock near the Hermitage museum to visit Peterhof Palace about 20 minutes north of St. Petersburg. The Grand Palace, surrounding buildings and gardens, is sometimes referred to as the "Russian...
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Kronshtadt, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Russian pies. Why in the world do people not talk more about these things. We unknowingly stepped into this wonderful smelling cafe and of course, ended up ordering almost every single type of pie they had to offer. Salmon, rabbit, egg with green...
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Red Square, 3, Moskva, Russia, 109012
Originally built at the bequest of Catherine the Great and used as a trading center, then a huge department store in the Soviet era, and now a big upscale shopping mall right across from the Kremlin and Lenin's Tomb in Red Square.
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Tverskoy Boulevard, 26А, Moskva, Russia, 125009
Chef Andrey Makhov of Cafe Pushkin recently contributed to AFAR, and opened his second location in New York. But if you are in Moscow, you will want to check the original out. Open 24 hours, with a great vibe. You may want to ask for Dmitri, a...
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Theatre Square, 1, Moskva, Russia, 125009
An unforgetable evening at one of the premier ballet houses in the world. If you are into ballet and art in general this is a must while in Moscow.
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Tverskoy Boulevard, 26А, Moskva, Russia, 125009
Can't have enough of it. And Cafe Pushkin delivers time and time again.
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Zamoskvorechye District, Moscow, Russia
Some of Moscow's subway stations are to be found in guide books. No wonder. In some of them you feel like inside a museum or palace.
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Voznesenskiy Pereulok, 7, Moskva, Russia, 125009
You will be hard pressed to believe this is a grocery store if you look up the walls and the ceiling. Not only you will get a great assortment of food and drinks here but you will be surrounded by art and artsy things (not sure how original or...
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155 West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP, UK
If there’s one thing I love more than coffee, it’s coffee and cake. Lovecrumbs, located in the West Port, a short stroll from the Grassmarket, does both brilliantly. The Edinburgh College of Art sits across the road, so the arty atmosphere is...
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Fort William, UK
What was expected to be the low point of a two day getaway at the foot of Ben Nevis turned out to be one of the more beautiful experiences of my life so far. The four hour train ride between Glasgow and Fort William takes you between snow-capped...