Bastard Cafe – Copenhagen Denmark

By far and away one of our favourite finds in Copenhagen was a spot we had long since researched, Bastard Cafe. Tucked away on an unsuspecting street, it is the kind of location you are unlikely to come across unless you are ‘in the know’. Fortunately the Lonely Planet guide had explained exactly what this place was and how to find it.

Although at our first attempt we were successful at locating it, we were unsuccessful in getting a table! We had totally underestimated it’s popularity on a wintery Sunday afternoon. Every table and nook was full of groups of friends, couples and families drinking and chatting excitedly and no one was leaving. It is hard to explain, but it just felt cool. We booked a table for the next afternoon.

Essentially, this place is a cafe dedicated to playing board games and hosts the biggest collection of games you have ever seen. They cover the walls, are shelved in the roof beams and stacked on tables. There are card games, board games, English games, Danish games, American games and so much more. There is even a whole section dedicated to Monopolies from all over the world.

There is also food, coffee and a bar. What more could one want on a rainy winter’s day? It is the coolest place to hang out and evidently a true Danish experience. Our booking was for three hours…… we stayed for six (as it would seem, most patrons do)!

Although predominantly inhabited by groups of friends in their 20-30s, our group ranging from 12-62 years had a blast discovering new games. We also enjoyed chatting to the ‘games gurus’ who were very impressive in their knowledge of games and spot on with recommendations for our group.

But, our favourite game was one I happened to walk past as it sat (unbeknown to me) on the repairs table (torn box). Wits and Wagers literally provided hours of all age fun guessing answers and betting on the likelihood ourselves or our fellow players were closest to the correct answer. We are still trying to locate a copy so we can add it to our collection at home.

An afternoon highly recommended, but be warned, it is definitely worth booking. Although you have to pay to reserve a table, you each get a free drink and access to all of the games on site. It is worth the small fee.

At the end of the day, we had full tummies, happy kids and merry adults (a few beers consumed). We were however left with one unanswered question…… Why is it called Bastard cafe?!


Racquets – Val Thorens – France

Those who know me (and those who have read my Mt Buller blogs) know I am not really built for skiing. I have tried in New Zealand, I have tried in Australia and I have tried in Japan. I have tried over a span of 25 years. No-one could say I haven’t given it a good crack. However, when my family affectionately call me ‘Bambi on Ice’ and I have hit ‘middle age’, I have decided it might be time to admit defeat and hang up the skis.

As the rest of the family love skiing and snow boarding, time in the French Alps was always on the agenda for this trip. I could not deny them. I decided on this visit to the mountains, I would have to find something else to do.

After a couple of false starts trying to book a group tour snowshoeing (apparently it isn’t that popular) I was feeling a little despondent. This morning, I decided to ask our reception for some advice. After a hilarious three way conversation of broken English and French, the activities organiser exclaimed ‘Ahhh I give you Racquets!’

My new friends the ‘racquets’

From there, it was a quick trip to tourist information for a map and directions to a track. The lovely lady assured me I could not get lost (my biggest fear) and I was off on my solo adventure.

My goal was to reach a stone cottage on the Montagnettes path. Reaching the actual walking path turned out to be the hardest part. Once I had climbed through town and located the path, I was rewarded with a well marked track skirting along the edge of the mountains looking straight down into the valley of Val Thorens. Although the weather wasn’t too clear for photos, I jotted down some notes:

It’s so quiet. Peace. My head feels so clear.

Only sound is a squeak from my left ski pole as it plunges into the fresh snow.

Far off in the distance I can hear the odd cheer from a skier enjoying their best life.

Here come the dogs…..

And as I had a rest on a beautifully positioned bench, I was joined by a couple of dogs out for a walk with their owners. One, a husky, bounded up to me to say hello….. or bonjour I guess! After a quick head rub he proceeded to run excitedly through the lumps of fresh snow in front of me, literally hurtling himself into mounds. Clearly, he absolutely loves where he lives!

My husky friend

I did make it to the stone cottage without getting lost. I did also fall flat on my butt twice, but that is okay, it was worth it. I think I might have found my mountain ‘thing’! I am a snowshoer (not sure if that is an actual word)! I can’t wait to try another track tomorrow.

The stone cottage


Paris with teenagers – France

Most would agree that certain compensations need to be made when travelling with teenagers. Spending hours in museums is not their idea of fun. As this was mine and Mr Travel Bee’s third visit to the city, we were happy to oblige in finding some of the more fun, less history focused activities.

First up we choose Le Canards de Paris for our unusual tour. This amphibious bus combined both a bus tour of the city with a river cruise. The guide was engaging and humorous as he expertly switched between languages, explaining where we were and a little history about the buildings (but not too much to bore the kids).

The sun was shining and Paris showed us all of its beauty as we learnt quirky facts and met our fellow travellers. As is often the way in this small world, the people sat next to us were from Perth!

If I had one criticism, it would be that the river cruise section of this trip was not in the centre of Paris. Presumably this was due to lack of access to the river in the tourist areas. It did mean we got the see a bit more of the outskirts of Paris including PSG’s stadium which pleased the football contingent.

View of Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower

Next, we chose a two day self directed/metro tour of the sights we didn’t see on the bus/boat. Once we worked out how to buy a ticket, the Metro was an easy and quick way to get around. Our tour included the Sacré-Cœur, the view from Montparnasse Tower, the Louvre and a walk in the Tuileries, the view from Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame.

I found it quite sad to see the beautiful Notre Dame in it’s current state of disrepair following the fire of 2019. It was very different to when I visited 20 years ago. However, they do appear to be getting on with repairs and there is a large display encircling the church explaining about the fire damage and the restoration work. Let’s hope it can one day be enjoyed as it was.

The only recognisable side of Notre Dame. The back is covered in scaffolding, cranes and tarpaulins.
Arc de Triomphe

We also chose to do a food tour of Le Marais but that deserves a whole blog to itself….


Le Marais – Paris, France

We are at the stage of our travels where fatigue is starting to set in. The 13,000 steps per day is taking it’s toll. My head is so full of potential blog material but each night when I try, I am too tired to write (I have many partially written posts). But, tonight I had to write this quick post before I forget the details.

We have discovered an area of Paris that I had previously not visited, Le Marais. Today is Sunday, and as we passed through this area I couldn’t help but notice a difference to yesterday.

Today, the local Parisians had joined the throngs of tourists and were out enjoying the dry, crisp winters day. In every park or square there were families with balls or games, the shops were full and the cafes bursting with couples and families chatting and drinking.

La Marais

As we walked shoulder to shoulder down one tiny street, two women dressed in jeans, scarfs and jackets (just like everyone else) sung beautiful opera to passers-by. I was dive-bombed by a pigeon and almost tripped over a fluffy white dog invisible in the crowd. In this moment, I realised this was a snippet of true Paris.

This city is not just about picture perfect tourist sights. It is about people and their social connections. The Parisians are busy, passionate people who seem to love their food, their people and ……. Pomeranians! As for the pigeons…. they are everywhere and completely insane.

I will catch up on my blogs at some point. It may well be once I am home or as the rest of the family hit the ski slopes next week. I need to take some time to tell you about all we have seen and eaten! Rest assured it has been incredible!

A sneak peak at the amazing food of Le Marais


Terrible Pastries – Copenhagen Denmark

While in Copenhagen; Miss 12, Uncle Travel Bee and I enrolled ourselves on a Danish pastry cooking class on a rainy winter’s morning. Having read some reviews on Tripadvisor I selected Terrible Pastry School. One could easily be deterred by the name, but this would be a mistake! This school is anything but terrible. Named after its French owner and pastry chef Frédéric Terrible, the course was three and a half hours of pure joy, as were the pastries we produced!

Ready to bake

Greeted with a strong cup of coffee, Frédéric split participants into pairs and introduced himself with a quick rundown on his career as a pastry chef and teacher. Given we were a group of three, this meant Uncle Travel Bee was paired with a fellow would-be pastry chef from Italy. One of my favourite things about participating in this kind of class is meeting other travellers and this was no exception. Allessio turned out to be an interesting and light-hearted fellow who worked for the UN.

In a clever play on time, we were given pre-made pastry (by Frédéric) and instructed on how to measure, cut, fold and roll four different pastries. Miss 12 was in her element and took control of our table while Allessio poked fun at us for being the ‘model’ students. While these were proving, we doubled back and learnt how to make the pastry. Frédéric was relaxed, entertaining and fun as he expertly guided us. It was obvious he was highly skilled and we were all in awe as he whipped up the vanilla custard for our filling while chatting away to us (if only it was that easy).

In the oven they go

After making our pastry, it was time for our pastries to hit the oven and within minutes there was a rich, delicious smell filling the kitchen. We were instructed to make ourselves another coffee or tea and then wait for the buzzer. You could feel the excited anticipation as we awaited our final product. They did not disappoint. When the ovens opened and the trays hit the bench, every single participant looked so proud and amazed at what they had produced with their own hand.


These pastries were mouth-watering, delectable, flaky parcels of deliciousness. Even after being pre-warned by Frédéric that the vanilla custard would be hot and not to burn your mouth, both Miss 12 and I could not wait and sure enough, scolded ourselves. But, in Miss 12’s words………… Mum that burn was worth it. Best pastry EVER tasted if we do say so ourselves!

The finished product

And then we took the rest home!!

You can imagine with limited time, it is difficult to make the most of two boxes of pastries. We ate as much as we could but in the end a box went to our favourite hotel receptionist and we treated a homeless man on the street (of which there are very few in Copenhagen).


Three countries in five hours – England to Denmark to Sweden

Here is where we begin the real exploration part of our trip and what better way to start, than with an exciting day crossing multiple borders. The Travel Bee family were joined for this leg by Mr Travel Bee’s sister and husband for four days of fun in Copenhagen.

It was an early start in England with a 6:45am flight from Heathrow but we knew this way we wouldn’t waste a single minute! Carrying only hand luggage, we disembarked our plane an hour and a half later and were greeted by the friendliest immigration officers ever and for the first time since Covid, we got an actual stamp in our passports (England is all electronic for Aussies)!!

With our travel companions having done quite a lot of research on the easiest ways to get around, we headed straight to the public transport ticket booths located inside terminal 3. Here we were able to purchase a ticket that covered the trains, buses, metro and ferries for the length of our trip. Another city with fantastic and easy to use transport. Next we grabbed a map and we were off.

We caught the train to our hotel, dropped our bags and then hunted out a second breakfast. Not knowing exactly where we were heading, we somehow ended up in the cafe of the Copenhagen Museum. A beautiful old building with plenty of character, good coffee and another friendly and helpful lady. By the time left, we had full tummies, were caffeinated up and could say thank you in Danish.

Second breakfast – simple but so good

From here we wandered back to the train station and got on a train headed for Sweden! You see, we had a plan……. At 3:15pm the Malmo RedHawks were playing Örebro HK at Malmo Arena. We were going to watch our first Ice Hockey match!

Copenhagen and Malmo are connected by the Øresund bridge a 16km road and rail link which actually consists of a bridge, artificial island and tunnel. The bridge is on two levels with the road on top and the train line running underneath. It is very clever and quite an engineering feat.

I have previously had the pleasure of crossing this bridge some 20 years ago by car on the upper level, so it was a little different being on the lower level. Just as it was 20 years ago, the day was dull and grey making it difficult to appreciate quite how spectacular the bridge actually is.

Within a mere thirty minutes we had transited from central Copenhagen to Sweden and with the help of yet another friendly Danish lady we disembarked the train right in front of Malmo Arena.

Malmo Arena in the rain

As it turns out, we could not have picked a better day to go. Firstly, inside the arena was dry and relatively warm. Secondly, for some reason unknown to us, it was a free game! All we had to do, was join the queue (much shorter than the Tower of London but similar weather) and at 1:45pm the gates opened. As we passed through the gate, we were given a ticket with a seat number. Easy and free!

Thirdly, Malmo won in extra time!!! By this stage we were fully fledged Malmo supporters two even kitted out in Malmo hats. We were munching on popcorn, cheering and clapping along like we had supported them forever. It turns out Malmo were bottom on the SHL (Swedish Hockey League) ladder. This was a much needed and very exciting win.

Warm up

The Travel Bee’s very much enjoyed their few hours in Sweden and were all quite bemused by the UFO building adjacent to the stadium. The Hyllie Water Tower stands tall and eerie in the grey mist. Housing 10 200 cubic metres of water this tower was designed in-keeping with the large number of UFO sightings in the area!!

Hyllie water tower

A very interesting and exciting day.