Yoga in Mauritius

Total zen comes to you when you enter Mauritius and see the pristine beaches, smiling people, and tropical heat. But to make it even better there are some great yoga places to visit. I’ve checked a few in the North of the island and can share them with you.

Yogahouse, Mapou – in the setting of the grounds of Chateau de Labourdonnais there is a secluded block that provides a spacious yoga studio, a spa area, reception house and lush garden. The pop-up juice bar is there to support with fresh juices from 9am till 1pm. Yogahouse has an extensive schedule of yoga classes and has a wonderful ambience to enjoy classes during your break. I took Vinyasa and Hatha classes with Pauline and Nathalie and enjoyed it a lot.

yogahouse

Grand Baie Gym and Spa – this facility has a few yoga classes during the week. I visited them one day to check the schedule, but it turned out that the period I was there all teachers were on holidays. No luck for me, but the premises looked lovely so please check it out for me when you have a chance.

Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel, Anse la Raie – again on the West coast in the North I found this boutique hotel that provides morning yoga classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This five-star hotel created their mini cove with a small beach, and big garden full of palm trees. In this garden, under the palm trees is where the yoga classes take place. Joanna la Gesse is the teacher that gives a Hatha /Vinyasa class depending on the energy levels and the experience within the group. Starting at 8am it is a perfect way to wake up and prepare for the day.

yogacove

Shanti Maurice, St Felix-Riviere de Galets – coming from the North and flying from the South of the Island was a perfect excuse to pass by Shanti Maurice, spending the day in their resort and take a yoga class. The resort is lovely, the food is as well, and the private yoga class was an experience. Part of the day package for the resort I enjoyed a mix Hatha-Vinyasa class. They provide group classes as well, so check out their online schedule. Being close to the airport it was the perfect ending to a lovely break.

shanti

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Mauritius? Is that not just about beaches?

When visiting Mauritius you probably envisioned a tropical break with lots of beach. As the beaches on the Island are white and magical you won’t be disappointed. But there are a lot of other things to do. Let me guide you through.

Vortex – this place in the South of Mauritius is noted as one of the 13 places in the world which has an elevated source of Energy, and is perceived as a healing centre for body and soul. Through meditation at this location rebalancing of energy levels will happen and give you a positive effect. My friend with whom I was travelling came with this knowledge and we joined this sacred place for the afternoon. It was the first day of our holidays, and I’m not sure whether it was the Vortex or the fact that it was the start of a relaxed holiday, but it certainly felt good to take a minute and rethink intentions for this week.

vortex

Catamaran trip – we stayed in Grand Baie for the majority of the trip and used one day to do a trip to Ilot Gabriel, a small island in front of the coast. The trip on the boat was wonderful, floating the blue waters and soaking in the views. The little island had wonderfully white beaches and was a perfect spot for some snorkling to see beautifully colored fish. We went back to the bay area in the afternoon and spotted a giant turtle on our way back to top of this trip.

catamaran

Yoga – on this trip I found some nice yoga places. I really enjoy starting the day with an early yoga class before breakfast and before the rest of the world wakes up. I wrote a blog to inform you of the ones that I appreciated during this trip.

yogahouse

Horse riding – because I had yoga in the morning we decided to do a horse riding trip at 10am straight after. Not a good idea… Being there in mid summer, with temperatures above 30 degrees, it is pretty hot on a horse at this time of day. So when you do book one, don’t consider any time between 10 am and 5pm. Furthermore horse riding is a nice way to explore a bit of the island.

These are a few of the things I did, but in addition you can do kite surfing, visit the waterfalls, explore the botanical gardens in Pamplemousses, do a city trip to the capital of Port Louis and go diving. Yes, Mauritius is about amazing beaches, but if you’re there for a week there are some great other things to do as well.

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Street art in Mauritius

Being frequently in East London where street art turns that neighbourhood in an open air museum, I always keep that extra eye open for any form of visual street decoration when I travel. The same when I visited Mauritius in December. While I didn’t have the chance to explore the city of Port Louis where there are some nice pieces, I did run into some lovely ones when frequenting the beaches in the North.

Anse la Raie – when you take the road that follows the coast line all the way up to the North, there is this abandoned building that became the canvas for a wonderful piece. You see this cartoon person floating in a hammock in the clouds, as if to lift you from the real world. It has some great colours and provides a perfect backdrop for any photo shoot if you would ask me.

cartoonmauritius

Grand Baie – in the commercial area of Grand Baie, in the North as well, the tattoo shop in Town has a vibrant red piece on their walls. It lures you in and gives you energy straight off that wall. In the adjacent street, a more modest visual, as like a sketch, can be detected on the first floor above a clothing store.

grandbaiestreetart

And then in that Grand Baie area when you visit one of the Marinas this building pops up with an amazing arty decoration on one of the balconies. It screams at you and at the same time it is a subtle interaction with the environment. I think it is the perfect decoration for this building amidst the boats surrounding it.

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Cap Malheureux – at one of the bays in the North you will find a shrine almost touching the waters. In addition to the worshipping sculptures the walls of this small building are decorated with religious paintings. Not sure whether I’m offending anyone by calling this street art, but the scene with the water in the back is beautiful. It highlights the different cultures and religions that you will find in Mauritius.

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Xmas in the sun

Ever considered a Xmas escape and enjoy it in the sun instead? I love my family, and we did have some nice Xmas celebrations, but they appreciate my thinking that we can spend great dinners together without it being Xmas. In addition we all sometimes need extra sunshine and vitamin D in December when living in the Northern part of Europe, don’t we? So where to go for a sunny Xmas escape?

India – I’ve got this love – hate relationship with India. I love the fact that you step right in a different world, with vibrant colours, entrepreneurial people, different spices, other culture, and all those things that makes it a bit magical. But my heart cries when I see the poverty, the struggle this huge country has for developing to a good standard of living for all, the lack of hygiene, and the caste system that provides an unnatural discrepancy on how people are respected. That said, I enjoyed a wonderful Xmas in Kerala (the South of India) with my sister a few years ago. Give it a try, and this might just be the first time that you have an amazing vegetarian Xmas dinner or see a holy cow walking on the beach with a Xmas hat.

xmas-india

Mexico – coming from travels from Guatemala and Belize I ended up in Mexico for Xmas. I was in Playa del Carmen which provided that tacky, over the top bling Xmas in the sun atmosphere. I remember we went to church to get in the Xmas mood which was a great experience. I probably wouldn’t recommend Playa del Carmen, but close-by you have Tulum which is a different vibe. A beach to die for, a bit more zen locations and of course that sun will guarantee Tulum as a great place to stay for Xmas.

Mauritius – living in London Mauritius is just a direct flight away. You step in the plane in the evening, and when you wake up you are in paradise. I went to the North of the island for the majority of my stay and Xmas. While in some countries they are pointing out where to find the white beaches, in Mauritius they are all white! The sand is like a white powder and with the sun on the Indian Ocean the most amazing aqua colours emerge. These ingredients make for some luxury hotels to pop up. And it wasn’t hard to find one that gave a perfect setting for a Xmas dinner against the backdrop of a movie like scenery.

xmas-mauritius

I know that Xmas lights in a palm tree or a Xmas tree are not the same, and sharing a Xmas meal with family reminiscing over past experiences and discussing future plans can be great, but sometimes I can’t resist and I need that sunny break. Let me know what recommendations you would have when I’m looking for a sunny Xmas next.

 

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Stockholm in a day

I have been to Stockholm a few times this year, and when I heard that snow had joined Stockholm a few weeks ago there was this urge to go again. Stockholm is lovely with snow. But my schedule was a bit different and I didn’t really have a chance. So time to reminisce and look back on how to spend a day in this beautiful city.

Photography museum – my favourite museum in Stockholm for sure is Fotografiska museum. This museum has wonderful exhibitions all year round and will never disappoint you. It is perfect to start your day and kick it off with cultural energy.

photostockholm

Stroll around Sodermalm – no it is not exactly like East London, but it is getting close. This area is the bohemian chic neighbourhood where you will find vintage shops (Scandinavian vintage!), the organic vibe in restaurants and bars, and that creative crowd. Spend a few hours here to get your presents for home and drink your soya latte while watching the locals.

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Go for a swim – at the end of the day, before you go for that well deserved drink, do like the locals and go for a swim in the archipelago. There are many islands where you will find a park that gives a nice entry for a swim. I did so when I was there over summer two years ago and I really enjoyed it.

Nacka beach and J Restaurant – this will give you a few things in one. You need a boat trip to get to Nacka beach, so tick that ‘waterview of Stockholm’ of the list. Fjaderholmarna Express runs every 30 minutes and gets you there in 20 minutes for a few krona a round trip. Nacka beach has a great terrace at J restaurant with fashionable locals – tick the box ‘meet some interesting Stockholm locals’. And J restaurant is part of the designer hotel on the island, which is the perfect place for a dinner when the sun sets, tick the box ‘eat in Stockholm design location’. You’ll be sure to enjoy a nice afternoon here before dinner.

nacka

Nightlife in Stockholm – I always say that Sweden has some of the most beautiful people in Europe. And when people go out, they often try to make even more of an effort. So enjoy a night out and make some new friends. I wrote a blog to give you some tips on where to go.

I know it’s winter now, and Stockholm will be covered in snow while the above is more focused on a summer stay. But if you skip the swimming, all of this program will still give you a memorable stay.

 

 

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4 hours in Amsterdam

If you have been in Amsterdam a few times, and the city just draws you in over and over again, what more would you want then an authentic nice neighbourhood to walk around. I have just the streets for you to enjoy canal views, pop in a cafe and get ideas by visiting boutique shops.

canals

Haarlemmerstraat – a few blocks from central station this street is transforming and now offers boutique shops that are different and new. You need to look beyond the tacky tourist shops and coffee shops that are still there, but you will be surprised. Go to &Klevering for your presents or household stuff. And Sukha is my haven of tranquility and new and different clothes and decorations. Bart’s – a local brand for hats – has a flagship store here also and is the place to go if you need a warm hat on a winter Amsterdam day.

sukha

If you are up for a break or you need a moment to check some emails Het Warenhuis is your spot. This corner building houses a restaurant with a quirky 70s decoration and the perfect vibe for you to take your breakfast coffee, lunch or afternoon cocktail.

Brouwersgracht – if you need to have that canal view, just around the corner you will have the Brouwersgracht, which is your perfect selfie spot with canal background. Or if you’re not about selfies it might be just what you need and take in the views of lovely facades of old warehouses reflecting in the water amongst the houseboats.

shopsadam

Westerstraat – and a bit more into the Jordaan – the Dutch name for this neighbourhood – you will find Westerstraat. You’ll feel like walking in your familiar neighbourhood without the overload of tourist. Go roam and find Marcel Wander’s Amsterdam brand store for Moooi. He is known for his groundbreaking furniture, decorating many houses and hotels. After these hours you probably feel like a drink and the only place that you need to make sure to check is Finch at the Noordermarkt. It is a classic and your cafe for tasting the Dutch bitterballen and hang out with the locals.

 

 

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Our villa in Formentera

Most of the times when I travel it is me and a friend. When I search for places to stay, I love the boutique hotels, something new and hip, and with an authentic vibe. No resorts, chain hotels, and preferably something with single digit number of rooms. That is sometimes a challenge with a limited budget…. But airbnb opened a new world to me and now I probably have double the options.

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When going to Formentera it was my friend – who holds pretty much the same criteria when searching for holiday stays – who looked for our accommodation. She found this amazing villa – Mi Cielo – that was rented out as a whole during peak season, but beyond from July and August they accepted smaller groups for their cottages. We had the cottage/room that was connected to the main villa, and during our stay the connecting door was kept locked.

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Monica was the owner and she had a lovely housekeeper Ellis who was our guiding angel during our stay. Ellis informed us of the best beaches, arranged yoga for us with Olga, had restaurant suggestions and was always at hand when we needed it.

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The villa had the most amazing swimming pool, which just lured you in. The furniture around the house gave you that total relaxation and holiday bliss. At the top of the house a dipping pool aka jacuzzi was built with a few more sun beds for if you needed to change scenery. As there were no occupants during our stay Ellis was happy to have us use the pool and wonder around the estate, which we did!

micielo4

We paid just over 500 euros for our 4 night stay, and felt like a million dollars. Renting out the full villa could house people, and you would need to address Monica to negotiat. If you’re up for it, I would heartedly recommend to check this out, as it is one of the best locations I have stayed.

micielo5

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