Kristallwelten: The Swarovski Museum

On my weekend mountain retreat to the Austrian Alps, I decided I would do one fun thing for myself which was to visit Kristallwelten, the Swarovski Crystal World museum (and original site of the business).  Swarovski was founded in 1895 in the Austrian village of Wattens by Daniel Swarovski.  Wattens happened to be about 30 minutes away from where I was staying.

Exhibit by Arik Levy

Lamb411 Kristallwelten

Crystalline interpretations of famous buildings around the world. 

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I was not sure what to expect on this visit but I knew it would involve a lot of shiny and pretty objects.   The Swarovski Crystal Worlds is comprised of 14 underground chambers of crystal exhibits and art installations.  You enter the museum through a Giant’s head and proceed to walk through the caves of bling.  The museum was designed by the multimedia artist, André Heller, and the space does a beautiful job highlighting crystal through a variety of famous artists’ art, design and jewelry.

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It was a really cloudy day (and off season) so the lush green mountain backdrop I was hoping for was not quite there yet.


This is the Giant– When the weather is nice he turns into a fountain and water streams out of his mouth.


An extremely large and heavy chandelier made of crystal in the main entrance of the museum.

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A floor to ceiling wall of shimmering crystals.


Me in a reflective, crystal room.

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Where I would like to visit: Bonifacio

I am already dreaming of a summer vacation.  Part of my love of travel involves my love of brainstorming places to travel.  Regardless if I ever get there or not, a girl can dream can’t she?

Bonifacio, France is now being added to my list.  It is located on the southern tip of the island of Corsica on the Mediterranean sea and looks divine.  I could use some limestone cliffs overlooking turquoise water and sandy beaches right about now!

Corsica is known for a couple things:

01- The birthplace of Napolean which I read about in the Josephine Bonaparte trilogy by Sandra Gulland -excellent works of historical fiction if you’re looking for your next captivating read by the way-

02- Wild boar- never tried it, sounds interesting.

03- Charcuterie (cured meats)- can’t go wrong

04- Dairy- particularly the Corsican cheese which I’ve had the opportunity to try while visiting family in Paris.

Hotel Capu Biancu looks particularly relaxing…..



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Photo Source: Hotel Capu Biancu


It’s still early days to plan, but this one is up there-

Let’s see what else I come up with.


Outing: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

I’ve tried my best to cover as much of Copenhagen by foot as possible.  So far, I think I’ve done a decent job.  If you are scratching your head wondering why doesn’t she bike? Isn’t Copenhagen a biking city? Don’t 1/3 of all Copenhageners ride a bike to work?  The answer is yes but I prefer to take in the city on my two feet.  While biking is a faster, more efficient option of getting from point A to point B, you miss what’s going on.  The streetscape passes you by.  When you are biking, you are biking and have to pay attention to other bikers, cars and pedestrians.  This way, I take my time, pop in and out of places as it pleases me and really observe what is going on.

This weekend, I was craving an outing- something outside of the city but not too far.  I decided to pay the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art a visit to view their Pop Art exhibition which is on until June.

One (35 minute) train ride away and you find yourself in the small town of Humlebæk. The trip itself is quick and easy.  Once you step off the train, you feel like you are truly in the country- or in the forest (there are a lot of trees in the area).

We arrived just before lunch so eating was high on the priority list before we took in any Andy Warhol, Rauschenberg, or Roy Lichtenstein. The museum has a very nice cafe that serves sandwiches, coffee and tea, and pastries.  They also have a buffet but we were too early for that.

We settled on a vegetarian and salmon rugbrodsmadder (rye bread open face sandwich) for sustenance and grabbed a seat on the patio overlooking the museum’s sculpture garden, the Øresund strait and Sweden.   It was a bright and sunny day without a cloud in the sky.

Sandwich #1 Terrine of root vegetables, cabbage, cream of carrot- yes there are mini potato chips on top of my sandwich (for extra crunch?)


Sandwich #2 Smoked salmon from Daniel Letz, celery, pickles

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The patio of the Louisiana cafe


The sculpture garden and view of the water while we ate.

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Apparently the Louisiana Museum has undergone 7 extensions and renovations- here is a look at two of their buildings from the park in the centre of the building.


A bit of Pop Art- what a great exhibit.  I love seeing the works of Warhol, Lichtenstein, Hamilton, Eames, Panton and Sottsass.  Some of the pieces I recognized and have seen before at other modern art museums around Europe and others were new to me.

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Particularly the work of Verner Panton- this was a cool piece. You entered an enclosed space that was outfitted with warm coloured lights and mirrors to give it the feel that the room was going on forever.

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The museum itself is a stunning building (set of buildings).  The architects used a lot of wood, and glass so you feel like nature is around you at all times.  This is a picture of one of the long corridors that connect the buildings/exhibits.


The art is not only inside the building. There is a sculpture park on the grounds of the Louisiana and when it is nice outside, like it was this past weekend, the grass is filled with people sunning themselves.  There were quite a number of kids attempting to roll down this hill without success.  Each attempt resulting in a vertical position.  It was fun to watch.

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Across the water, you are looking at Sweden- I was amazed by how clear and blue the water is.

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Before we called it a day, we headed down to the museum shop for a peak.  You can find plenty of Danish and Scandinavian design pieces as well as posters and a substantial collection of coffee table art and design books.

As we walked back to catch our train back to Copenhagen, we stopped by Brødsnedkeren, a great bakery that serves homemade waffle cones and ice cream.  We each got a cone for the train ride back.

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Starting the last week of April, my flat will be packed with visitors until the end of July.  I am sure I will be making a trip back to the Louisiana soon enough and look forward to my next visit.



Grød (porridge) Taste-Test

What a weekend!  I’ve been battling with a smoking issue in my flat where smoke from a downstairs convenience store seems to be filtering into my unit through an unidentified hole.  We had a carpenter come twice to seal our baseboards and I think the problem has now been solved.  To celebrate, my husband and I spent the afternoon hanging pictures on the wall.  We were sitting on the fence over finishing our decor due to the possibility of having to move.  We also took our first outing outside of Copenhagen- a visit to the Louisiana museum of art- (another post will follow with pictures later this week).

I am finally getting around to posting pictures from my Grod taste test.  The week before last, Lasse Andersen’s Grød, the all-day, sweet-savoury-porridge-only Nørrebro hotspot opened a second location in Torvehallerne market.  Grød is a special dining concept unique to Copenhagen.  It was started in 2011 as a porridge only establishment and has since developed a loyal following of porridge-heads in CPH (I am now one of them!).

Porridge in Copenhagen is not your standard flavourless mushy oat gruel.   Of course you can find  oatmeal in Copenhagen but here, porridge is typically dolled up and has been elevated to a respectable dish of admiration.  In fact, porridge is taken so seriously there was a city wide  Grød competition in February where 23 of Copenhagen’s chefs battled it out for the title of  best porridge in the city.

As I alluded to earlier, oats are not the star attraction in porridge as you  might find in North America.  Here, many other grains are thrown into the mix such as barley, rye, and spelt.   Porridge toppings are equally as important as the base grain. It is not surprising to add a dollop of Icelandic (or Danish) skyr, or some cream, whipped flavoured butter, chopped nuts, sliced fruit, liquorice powder and I am sure chocolate is also an option on some menus.  Porridge is a creative pursuit, which makes ordering it and tasting it around the city an adventure and a delight.



Lamb411 grød taste test

When I visited the new location in Torvehallerne market, I ordered a spelt based grød (porridge), with bananas, chopped nuts and liquorice sugar powder as a topping.


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It was a little bowlful of heaven.  The texture was just right.  This one take-away cup contained a creamy spelt porridge, crunchy nuts, sweet banana and melty liquorice sugar powder (not overpowering at all).  I was a bit hesitant to select that particular concoction because my love affair with liquorice has not developed to the Danish level of appreciation.  Together with the other ingredients it just worked.


I look forward to returning to the Torevehallerne location to sample more of Grød’s grød. They also have savoury options that resemble more of a risotto than a breakfast porridge.


If you find yourself en route to Copenhagen, a stop at either of Grød’s locations is a must.

No one does porridge like the Danes.


What I need: Alife Design

From my experience, being based in Europe means the amount of travel you do increases tenfold.  It means you can cover quite a bit of territory when it comes to short visits and vacations and you are able to do so more often.  In one hour you can land in 50 different cities (an understatement and an exaggeration)- in reality, you would be in more than 50 cities.   The increase in travel certainly puts some extra strain on luggage- I am starting to see this first hand.  Zippers seem to be the first to go followed by warn luggage corners and then bent frames.  I guess what I am saying is that my Toronto luggage has seen better days.

I also look at a lot of luggage while waiting for my own.  I never understand why some people plastic wrap their entire suitcase, only to have it cut open after (what a waste).  Then there are those people who think by putting a ribbon on their suitcase, will help theirs stand out from all the other suitcases with ribbons.  I am not sure that this strategy works but maybe offers peace of mind to the owner.

I am not investing in new luggage yet- that is a whole other beast of a topic that I have no patience to sift through but I did find an adorable design company called Alife based in Seoul that makes great travel accessories.

What a great name right?- Alife Design– This is the only time where you can say something cheesy like, I need “Alife.”  I couldn’t resist.

Some of Alife’s items that I love:

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Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Any favourite luggage brands out there with a bit of style and design?  Feel free to send me your tips as I embark on the task of “how to find better luggage and cute accessories” this summer.

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