Sightseeing

Simeon

Simeon, a Frankfurt-born hip-hop artist, has started rapping in his early years at school and for many years, not even his friends and people close to him knew of his skills.

Back then, rapping was a way for Simeon to cope with emotional chaos and today he produces rap-music with a deeper meaning, packed with emotional aspects. His texts are inspired by personal experiences and his perspective of his surrounding and the world – sometimes in a critical way.

Every now and then, Simeon performs on stage and, wow, we are glad to have seen him perform…so powerful. His teammates on stage are DJ Steez and Philip Kressin. Great show…thank you guys!

Simeon – Hip-Hop Artist
Local in Frankfurt, Germany
www.simeonmusik.com
https://soundcloud.com/simeonmusik


TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO? 
→ I’m a Frankfurt born and raised singer of Swiss-Bulgarian heritage. I make German rap music and after releasing a few singles and an EP, I am excited to release my debut album “Alles auf Null” this fall.

WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
→ Music – of course – but I also love good food and drinks and the company of nice people.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO YOUR PROFESSION? 
→ I actually started by writing lyrics back when I was still in school. It took me a few years to transform my writing into music. I always dreamed of making music but I was very shy about it to begin with. I am also very critical about my work, so it took me quite a while to create music I was comfortable to put out.

DESCRIBE IN THREE WORDS, WHAT MAKES YOUR HOMETOWN SPECIAL
Big but small


Nantes | France

A CITY IN CULTURAL CHANGE

→ Creative, innovative, versatile, dynamic, young, modern…this wonderful city along the Loire-Delta – only 60km from the Atlantic Ocean – surprises in many ways. Actually, the future of Nantes did not look good at all with the fall of the shipyard industry in the 80’s and the consequent regional economic crisis and high unemployment rate. But Nantes managed the cultural change and these days many students, creative people and artists from all over the world call Nantes their home. We actually learn from a local, that Nantes and Bordeaux are the two current cities where young French people want to be.

In the early evening, we arrive at our Hotel “Oceana” in the middle of the city center at “Place Graslin”, where public cars are restricted. We don’t waste time and go straight to discover the city and walk through the lively streets with small restaurants, cafes, boutiques and bars. Very close to the hotel is the shopping mall “Pommeraye-Passage”, an architectural masterpiece from the 19th century, with beautifully decorated galleries over three floors – it counts as one of the nicest shopping malls in Europe, which we can now certainly confirm. Later in the evening we decide to have dinner right around the corner of the hotel at the restaurant “My Resto”; and we can only recommend this place for good fusion food.

Open air art

We start the next day with a typical French breakfast – Croissants, Pain au Chocolate and Coffee – at the traditional brasserie and restaurant “La Cigale”. This elegant art-nouverau-style brasserie from 1895, with beautiful wooden and ceramic art covering the walls and ceilings, is a landmark of the city and a place that everyone should visit. We start to explore Nantes with a visit to the city district “Bouffay” and the imposing city castle “Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne” from the 15th and 18th century. The historic museum gives a good impression of the beginnings of the city all the way until today’s metropolitan city and its uncomfortable past around slavery, the driver of the economic wealth in the 18th century.

The lovely park “Jardin des Plantes” is very close to the castle and is one of the 4 biggest botanic gardens in France. With 10.000 exotic and domestic plants and many little surprises like giggling mushrooms in a bed of flowers or an oversized park bench, make this city park a small gem and a must see for all visitors.

Art installation "Nymphe", Nantes France

Art installation “Nymphe”, Nantes France

A short visit to the former cookie factory LU “Le Lieu Unique”, which today offers plenty of space for the creative, art exhibitions and shows, a book store, bar and restaurant and even an oriental Hammam. My personal highlight: after nightfall, projectors show the image of young woman – “Nymphe” or “Sirene” – on the surface of the water in the adjacent canals…purely ingenious, fascinating and somehow magical.

“Le Grand Éléphant” – The trademark of Nantes

Most of the following day we spend in the city district “Ile de Nantes”, the old harbor and industrial area of Nantes that has developed into a dynamic, cultural and creative center of the city. A number of bars, cafes and exhibition areas have established along the quayside. A large recreational area was created for the young and the old to spend their day and the large old cranes remind of the shipbuilding days. We explore the rather large area with bicycles, which can be rented at automated stations at many places around the whole city. A real highlight is the encounter of a huge mechanical elephant that slowly walks around the area, escorted by an excited audience on its side. Many other mechanical wooden and metal sculptures, that were created with the inspiration of the novels by Jules Verne, can be seen at the museum “Machines de L’Ile” and at the fascinating carousel “Carrousel des Mondes Marins” is certainly worth a visit. People can actually ride or fly on some of the machines including the elephant. I have the pleasure of riding on a giant ant and Jan joins the fun on a huge spider.

After two amazing days in such an inspiring and exciting city, we must continue our journey. But we will return, as we have not nearly had enough of this great place.

→ Check out our next stop: Corsica & Sardinia

Porto & Douro Tal | Portugal

MYSTERIÖSE STADT MIT WELTOFFENEN BEWOHNERN

→ Unser nächster Stopp führt uns nach Porto! Wir haben großes Glück – das Wetter meint es gut mit uns und die Sonne lacht. Das ist in Porto leider nicht immer so. Oft versinkt diese alte Handelsstadt am Rio Douro im dichten Nebel und verleiht ihr einen ganz eigenen märchenhaft-mysteriösen Charme.

Wir checken ein im DesignPalacioFlats – ein erst kürzlich eröffnetes und ziemlich cooles Hotel mit gemütlichen Apartments in einem beeindruckendem Gebäude aus dem 13. Jahrhundert. Nach einer kurzen Verschnaufpause gehen wir unmittelbar auf Erkundungstour, schlendern durch die engen, gewundenen Gassen der Altstadt und bestaunen die dicht aneinander stehenden, uralten schiefen Häuser. Später am Abend treffen wir unsere Freunde Francisco und Nita zum Abendessen im Restaurant 5 Oceanos in der Hafengegend Matosinhos und genießen die wunderbare portugiesische Küche mit frischem Fisch und gutem Wein aus dem Douro Tal.

Auf Entdeckungstour durch Porto

Für den nächsten Tag steht Sightseeing auf dem Programm. Dank der großartigen Tipps unserer Freunde sind wir bestens gewappnet für Porto: wir besteigen den Kirchturm „Torre dos Clerigos“, von dem man eine fantastische Aussicht über ganz Porto hat, überqueren die von Gustav Eiffel entworfene Brücke „Ponte Luis I“, besichtigen die im 12. Jahrhundert erbaute Kathedrale „Sé do Porto“ und bestaunen die zauberhafte Buchhandlung „Livraria Lello & Irmao“, welche zu den schönsten Buchläden Europas und der Welt gehört. Einen kleinen Mittagsnack nehmen wir im „Mercearia Das Flores“, ein kleines portugiesisches Bistro mit leckeren lokalen Bio-Produkten. Für einen Nachmittagskaffee gehen wir in das sehr beeindruckende Kaffeehaus „Cafe Majestic“, welches bereits seit 1921 seine Gäste empfängt. Mit einer Führung und anschließender Portwein-Verköstigung gemeinsam mit unseren portugiesischen Freunden im Sandeman Weinkeller, lassen wir diesen ereignisreichen Tag voller neuer Eindrücke entspannt mit leckerem Portwein ausklingen.

Tag drei unseres Porto-Aufenthaltes lassen wir etwas relaxter angehen. Wir fahren zum örtlichen Stadtstrand und checken die Wellen. Leider nicht gut genug zum Surfen und so bleibt uns Zeit für einen ausgiebigen Strandspaziergang mit anschließendem Mittagessen im gemütlichen Beach Restaurant „Praia da Luz“. Wir genießen das leckere Essen und den unglaublich tollem Blick auf das Meer. Am Nachmittag wird’s wieder richtig spannend, denn ein weiteres EM-Fußballspiel steht an und wir fiebern mit beim letzten Gruppenspiel Portugal – Ungarn beim Public Viewing auf dem „Base Porto“ mitten in der Stadt. Nach einem nervenaufreibenden 3:3 Unentschieden feiern wir das Weiterkommen Portugals bei der Europameisterschaft 2016 und unseren letzten Abend mit unseren Freunden Francisco und Nita im hervorragenden Fischrestaurant „Ode Porto Winehouse“ in der Altstadt.

 São João Fest, Porto

Am nächsten Tag wappnet sich die Stadt bereits für São João, das alljährlich stattfindende Johannesfest von Porto. Wie auch in Lissabon werden an jeder Ecke kleine Stände aufgebaut, an denen Sardinen und Fleisch gegrillt und verkauft wird. In Porto ist es allerdings Tradition, Freunde und Nachbarn mit einer Lauchstange am Kopf zu berühren, was dem Anderem Glück bringen soll. Aus der Lauchstange wurde irgendwann ein Plastikhammer mit Hupe und aus der Tradition ein Riesenspaß. Wir machen natürlich mit und hämmern uns gegenseitig was das Zeug hält Glück zu. In weiser Voraussicht und in guter Erinnerung an unser vergangenes San Antonio-Fest in Lissabon (s. a. unsere Beitrag zu Lissabon) verlassen wir diese wunderbare Stadt Porto am frühen Nachmittag und brechen auf ins Douro-Tal, Richtung Pinhao.

Das Douro-Tal – Heimat des portugiesischen Portweins

Da die Fahrt erst ab Peso da Regua richtig schön wird, wurde uns empfohlen, auf der Autobahn A 4 Richtung Vila Real die Abfahrt Cavalho de Rei zu nehmen und dann weiter auf der Landstraße entlang des Rio Douro, Richtung Pinhao zu fahren. Der Blick lohnt alle mal: satt-grüne Weinberge, unzählige Weingüter und stattliche Quintas liegen entlang unseres Weges und jede weitere Kurve die wir nehmen, bietet einen neuen atemberaubenden Blick auf das Douro-Tal.

Leider ist das uns empfohlene Hotel „Quinta do Vallado“ bereits ausgebucht und wir entscheiden uns spontan bei der „Quinta do Pego“ nach einem freien Zimmer zu fragen. Wir haben tatsächlich Glück! Die Quinta liegt ruhig und malerisch hoch oben auf einem Weinberg, umringt von grünen Weinstöcken und bietet einen atemberaubenden Blick auf das Douro-Tal. Der Empfang mit hauseigenen Portwein ist äußerst herzlich und das Abendessen ziemlich lecker. Wir fühlen uns wie Zuhause und genießen zwei ruhige und beschauliche Tage in diesem kleinen Paradies, bevor wir weiter in Richtung Spanien aufbrechen.

→ CHECK OUT OUR NEXT STOP:  Biarritz | France

→ Check out our next stop: Biarritz

Barcelona | Spain

THE CITY THAT SIMPLY HAS EVERYTHING TO OFFER

→ Art, culture, history, design, architecture, restaurants, bars, clubs… Barcelona has something to offer for any type of visitor.

We arrive in the evening and stay at the boutique hotel “H10 Cubik” – a pretty new and very stylish hotel in central location. The roof terrace with a pool, is the perfect place to relax in quiet atmosphere, as opposed to the vibrant city right outside the hotel – the view over Barcelona is amazing.

The next morning, we walk through the old-town of our favorite district “El Born”. There are numerous boutiques, galleries, cafés, restaurants and bars in the very old and small alleys and streets – a perfect place for a shopping-spree. I meet Sonia, the owner of the small boutique “Conpasion” and I find out that she loves surfing as much as we do. The chemistry between us is perfect and we spend a lot of time speaking about the Spanish way of living, the background of the Catalan independency-move and, of course, surfing.

We meet our local friend David in the evening for a drink and dinner in the city district “Gracia”, which is a bit less touristy with many bars and restaurants – a perfect place to go out in the evening. After a few drinks at the cocktail bar “Dos Rombos”, we have dinner that the restaurant “Taverna El Glop”, where they serve great traditional Catalan cuisine – this is where the locals go.

Sightseeing is mandatory

The next day we do some classic sightseeing including the hotspots “Sagrada Famila” and “Parque Güell”. Unfortunately, groups of tourists and long lines are inevitable, but the stunning buildings and architecture by Gaudi compensate for the exhausting tourist-program. In the evening, we get some real authentic tapas in the tapas bar “El Xampanyet” in El Born. We end the day with a drink on the roof terrace of our hotel.

After some exciting and inspiring days in Barcelona, we need a souvenir as a memory of an amazing time in a great city. Before we continue our travels, we have another walk through El Born and find the small gallery “Generos de Punta”. The artist Gaston Liberto is originally from Argentina, but has been living and working in Barcelona for many years now. His illustrations are inspired by the people and life in Barcelona and we find the perfect souvenir.

→ Check out our next stop: Andalusia

→ Check out our next stop: Andalusia