Illustrated Travel Journal
Since, as an illustrator, I can execute my customers’ projects regardless of location, I have been working from abroad from time to time since March 2023.
Together with my partner Christoph I’ve been working remotely from different cities in Europe for the past months. I regularly document my impressions of the cities we live in in my sketchbook. If you’re interested in sketchbook illustrations, short travel reports and recommendations, you've come to the right place!
Saturday, July 29
If I could simply take one place from Porto with me to Hamburg, it would definitely be the “Protest Kitchen” café. This wonderful restaurant was just a few meters away from our Airbnb and we discovered it because we noticed the yellow-painted facade of the house with the catchy slogan “Average vibe, ordinary food, drinkable coffee”.
Tuesday, July 25
There are countless bars and restaurants in Porto - a very special bar is the “Capela Incomum”. The name translates as “unusual chapel”. The bar was named like that because it is actually located in a small chapel from the 16th century.
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal
Friday, July 21
Porto has many different parks spread throughout the city. We often visited the great park “Jardins do Palácio de Cristal” because it was particularly close to our apartment.
Wednesday, July 19
Luckily, the street where our Airbnb in Porto was located had lots of great coffee places with very good coffee, breakfast and lunch. One of our favorite cafés was “Early”.
Generosa Pão e Pizza
Monday, July 17
Just a few streets away from our apartment in Porto, there was a small side street that always smelled of freshly baked bread and pizza. At this point in July we hadn’t been to Germany for a few weeks now and so we particularly missed good sourdough bread. After a few days we finally discovered where that great smell of bread came from: a tiny little bakery at the end of the street. In the small shop there was a narrow brick counter with a few sourdough bread loaves and a tray of steaming hot pizza.
Saturday, July 15
As always, we spent our days in Porto working during the day and walking around the city in the afternoon/evening. A really unique shop that we discovered in Porto is the “Ó! Gallery” — a small art gallery that sells both originals and many high-quality art prints.
Pastéis de Nata
Thursday, July 13
Of course, a pastel de nata was a must on our first day in Portugal! The typical pastry made from puff pastry and homemade custard can now sometimes be found in bakeries in Hamburg, but of course it tastes best in its country of origin, Portugal.
Houses in Porto
Monday, July 10
On Monday morning we went to the airport in Rome very early because we were on our way to our new home for the next month: the city of Porto in Portugal. Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal and, with around 250,000 inhabitants, is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Christoph and I had heard from many of our friends how beautiful it was there and decided to spend a month in Porto and, as always, work from there.
Matera & RomeJuly 2023
Betto e Mary
Sunday, July 9
One reason why we love staying in Italy is of course the amazing Italian food! Since I knew before we traveled to Rome that Rome is one of the most touristy cities in the world, I did my research and found out about some good, authentic restaurants in Rome. After my online research, I had a small list of restaurant recommendations in Rome from Italians. On the first day it turned out that one of the recommended restaurants was just a few streets away from our hotel, which really was a big coincidence since our hotel was a bit away from the city center in a residential area. It was precisely this location that made the restaurant a real insider tip, as not many tourists found their way there.
Saturday, July 8
Before Christoph and I left Italy after almost a month, we wanted to visit Italy’s capital Rome for our last weekend in the country. We booked tickets for an express train that took us from Matera or Bari to Rome in just a few hours. Christoph and I had both been to Rome before, but our visits to Rome had been many years ago, so we were happy to be in the city again. Unfortunately, there was a heat warning and temperatures of up to 38 degrees for exactly the weekend we would be in Rome. But because we only had this one weekend in Rome before our flight to the next country on Monday morning, we had no choice but to use the time we had despite the heat and explored the city.
Friday, July 7
After living and working in the small village of Grottole in southern Italy for three weeks, we also wanted to spend some time at the nearest, larger city of Matera.
Monday, July 3
Grottole is located in Southern Italy in the Basilicata region. The village is surrounded by green hills, fields and olive groves. And never in my life have I seen so many fig trees as in Grottole.
Saturday, July 1
On this sketch you can see a central meeting point in the village of Grottole. The red brick house is the former town hall of the village. The village pharmacy is also located here in the building. The square in front of this striking brick building is an important place to meet up for many villagers.
Thursday, June 29
One thing that is very important to the “Wonder Grottole” project team is that tourists like us get to know real village life in Grottole and get to know the village community. In addition, you can book so-called “experiences” in the project – activities with individual people from the village. During our three week stay in Grottole we did three great tours: the wine tour with Silvio, the terracotta tour of our village with Rocco and the city tour of Grottole, where Michela told us a lot about the history of the village and about the everyday life of the people in Grottole today .
Tuesday, June 27
In addition to Angelo’s vegetable shop and Rosalia’s pop-up vegetable stand in front of her house, the small supermarket in the village was another important shop for us, where we often did our shopping.
Sunday, June 25
In the village of Grottole there are still many caves carved into the rocks. Originally, these caves were the first houses in which people used to live. These caves still exist today, but today they no longer serve as houses, but as a kind of cellar in which food and wine are stored and family celebrations are held.
Bar Trattoria Quaranta
Friday, June 23
Since there is a particularly large amount of fresh vegetables to buy in Grottole in summer, Christoph and I cooked a lot at home during our time in the village. Although the village is quite small, Grottole also has a few restaurants, of which “Bar Quaranta” was our favourite. So whenever we weren’t cooking we would go to Bar Quaranta for dinner.
Wednesday, June 21
Before we came to Grottole, Christoph and I were worried whether there would be any shopping facilities in such a small village. Since we came to Grottole by plane or public transport, we didn’t have a car and we had to be able to walk to the shops.
Houses in Grottole
Monday, June 19
Grottole has been inhabited since prehistoric times. As the Appian Way passes through Grottole, the village was once a hub of people and business from the north-south route. Today only about 2000 people live in the whole village. In the historic center of the village there are now just living about 300 people. At the same time, there are around 600 houses in the historic village center alone that have been abandoned.
Saturday, June 17
Although Grottole is quite a small village, there are a few restaurants, cafes and bars here. In our three weeks in Grottole we visited all of them at least once. But our favorite café was the “Barzoletta” – we always drank a good Italian espresso or cappuccino here in the mornings and in the evenings we got a Coke on ice for me and beer for Christoph.
Thursday, June 15
After having spent March and April this year in Athens and Budapest, Christoph and I decided to embark on a new, slightly bigger adventure in May. Working in our normal jobs remotely worked very well for us as long as we have a good internet connection. Since we liked our new everyday life in Athens and Budapest so much, we decided to continue pursuing this lifestyle and combine travelling and working. We sublet our apartment in Hamburg for a year, packed our bags and booked a one-way ticket to Italy.
Friday, May 5
For me, the most impressive thing about Budapest is the great architecture throughout the city. Everywhere you go you will find beautiful buildings. And not just as individual houses, but entire streets full of imposing buildings.
Thursday, May 4
On my first day in Budapest, when got off the bus from the airport and walked to my apartment in the city, I noticed the many Israeli restaurants everywhere. It wasn’t until the next day that I understood that our apartment was in the Jewish Quarter, just one street away from the largest synagogue in Europe. That explained the amount of Israeli cafés and why their menus sometimes were written entirely in Hebrew.
Pickles at the Central Market Hall
Wednesday, May 3
A popular sight of the city is the Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) in the IX. District. The building consists of a steel structure and is reminiscent of a basilica. The special architecture makes the market hall a real excursion highlight in the city. If you only come here to shop, you will find fresh vegetables, meat and sausages or one or two souvenirs from your holiday in Hungary such as paprika paste, duck liver or Hungarian liqueur.
Tuesday, May 2
When walking the streets of Budapest, there are mainly two different types of street food stalls that you come across again and again: First there is “Langos” (savory): Fried yeast dough topped with sour cream, garlic oil and grated cheese. The other food you’ll find everywhere is “Chimney Cake” (sweet): Sweet yeast dough wrapped around a tube, baked and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.
Dohány Street Synagogue
Sunday, April 30
We are currently spending two weeks in Budapest and our apartment is in the Jewish Quarter. At the heart of the neighborhood is the Dohany Street Synagogue – the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world.
Friday, April 28
As soon as I arrive in a new city, one of the most important things for me in the first few days is to find out where the best bakeries in town are. Since I love good bread and baked goods, I am happy to travel a long way to find a particularly great bakery. Luckily I found out on my first day in Budapest that one of the most acclaimed bakeries in the city was just down the street from our apartment.
Thursday, April 27
First time in Hungary – for me that means I have to try Hungarian cuisine! Here in Budapest, a modern European city, you will of course find restaurants from all over the world. Pizza, burgers, gyros or pho are certainly delicious here, but before I eat my way through the city’s international restaurants, I would like to try typical Hungarian dishes first. In our district of Budapest, “Gettó Gulyás” is the first address for this.
AthensMarch and April 2023
Thursday, April 6
I love markets of all kinds and how beautifully and carefully fruit, vegetables and other foods are set up and presented by the stall holders. One type of market I have mixed feelings about is fish markets. To all Hamburg residents who are now having a little heart attack while reading: I’m not talking about the Hamburg fish market, which is basically a farmer’s market, but rather the real, somewhat coarser fish markets in huge market halls.
The Tasty Corner
Wednesday, April 5
Christoph and I have seldom eaten the same dish as often in four weeks as gyros in Athens. You can actually find it on every corner here and it is super delicious!
Tinned Fish, Tzatziki & Olives
Tuesday, April 4
Anyone who has carefully read the texts on my previous travel sketchbook pages knows by now how aromatic, delicious and cheap the olives are here in Greece. Not only do we love the olives, but also various other products that we discovered in Greek supermarkets.
Monday, April 3
A detail in the cityscape of Athens that I particularly like is the amount of plants and trees. There are orange, lime and lemon trees everywhere, the blossoms of which make the streets of Athens smell good. Most apartment buildings in Athens have balconies, some of which are large, many of which are filled with beautiful plants.
Sunday, April 2
“Oxo Nou” is a restaurant in our Exarchia neighborhood specializing in Cretan dishes. Christoph had read about this restaurant in a travel blog about Exarchia, in which the (Athenian) author wrote that it was his daughter’s favorite restaurant and that he absolutely recommends it. So one evening we were walking the streets of our neighborhood and happened to come across the “Oxo Nou” restaurant.
Saturday, April 1
After we had already visited the great Acropolis Museum in detail a few days ago, we finally had time to visit the “real” Acropolis. Basically, the word “Acropolis” generally refers to a castle hill that belonged to an ancient Greek city. The Acropolis in Athens is now so famous that the word “Acropolis” usually means the mountain and the associated temple complexes in honor of the goddess Athena above Athens.
Friday, March 31
Christoph and I decided to work from Athens for a month because we simply wanted to get to know a city that was completely unknown to us. Since we both work during the week and only have time for big trips and activities on weekends, we wanted to stay in the same city for a full four weeks. So when we don’t have the energy to do something big after a long day at work, we usually just stroll around our neighborhood, get another can of coke at our local kiosk and admire the beautiful and interesting houses in the city.
Thursday, March 30
Since Christoph and I are not on vacation here in Athens, but work from Monday to Friday from our home office as usual in our jobs, we only have time for larger excursion in and around Athens on weekends. During the weekdays we like to go for a walk in the evening and explore the many small streets in our neighbourhood. We often find great cafes and restaurants that we really want to try.
Wednesday, March 29
Anyone who has ever booked a hotel or Airbnb in a foreign city knows how difficult it can be to judge distances and the coolness of different neighborhoods. If you’ve never been to a place yourself, you just don’t know what the best neighborhoods are. Since we chose our Airbnb based more on looks and feel-good factor than location in the city, we ended up in the “Exarchia” neighborhood more or less by accident.
Tuesday, March 28
One of the great things about our new everyday life in Athens is the delicious olives that are everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether they are green, brown, black or purple – all the varieties we’ve tried so far simply taste much more intense than we’re used to from Hamburg.
Monday, March 27
Since we wanted to spend a full four weeks in Athens, and also wanted to cook and do laundry, we rented a very nice Airbnb instead of a hotel. The great photos of the apartment convinced us online.
National Archaeological Museum
Sunday, March 26
Probably the most beautiful building in our district is the Archaeological Museum. The impressive row of large columns, the wide staircase to the entrance and the spacious forecourt of the Archaeological Museum can be seen from afar. The elongated building looks particularly great at night – then it is brightly lit and looks even more majestic than during the day.
Saturday, March 25
The Acropolis Museum is located at the foot of the Acropolis and opened in 2009. Only objects found on the Acropolis are exhibited in the museum. Through the glass facade of the museum building, visitors also have the perfect view of the Acropolis mountain above the city. Since its opening, the museum has won several architectural awards, which is one of the reasons Christoph and I wanted to see the building.
Friday, March 24
Anyone who read my post about “Black Salami Bakery” a few days ago now knows that I love good bread and baked goods and am therefore always on the lookout for great bakeries. As part of my internet research on special (sourdough) bakeries in Athens, I not only came across the “Black Salami Microbakery”, but also discovered the great “Kora Bakery”.
Thursday, March 23
Anyone who has been to Athens knows that Athens is the city of cats. Nowhere else in the world have I seen this many street cats.
Wednesday, March 22
Since Christoph and I quite spontaneously decided in March to travel to Athens and work from there, we didn’t have much time between booking and departure for travel preparations and research. One of the few internet searches I did beforehand related to great cafés in the city. One name that popped up in all the lists on the internet was “Le Greche”, which isn’t really a café, but a more upmarket ice cream shop.
Black Salami Microbakery
Tuesday, March 21
After almost a week here in Greece, where I really like it so far, there was one thing that I was missing more and more: German bread! All over Athens and also right in our neighborhood, there are a lot of bakeries that offer different kinds of bread, which also taste very good. Most of the time, however, it is a very light, somewhat softer yeast dough bread. Super tasty, but after a few days I just felt like eating heavy, crispy sourdough bread again.
Monday, March 20
Today’s picture was taken again in my favorite café “behold theman” in our Exarchia district. The colorful and alternative café never ceases to amaze me with its unique interior, the wonderful latte art on the cappuccinos and the bright yellow cups that they designed themselves.
Sunday, March 19
After we did a great guided tour of Athens on Saturday, we wanted to go to the sea on our first weekend here. The city center of Athens is not directly on the sea, but the coast is only a few kilometers away and very easy to reach. We arrived in the Athens suburb of Glyfada in less than an hour by subway and bus.
Saturday, March 18
One detail that probably surprised me the most about living in Athens is the large number of orange, tangerine and lime trees in the middle of the city. To my surprise, these trees are not only found in well-maintained parks in the city center, but also on the side of the road on almost every street!
Friday, March 17
During my first walk late in the evening on the first day in our district, Exarchia, one coffee shop in particular caught my eye: the “behold theman”. Although it was already closed that evening, I could guess the colorful and modern interior through the large glass facade and really wanted to go there.
Thursday, March 16
After a first day of arrival on Wednesday, when Christoph and I moved into our Airbnb and went shopping for groceries, we had our first real working day in Athens the next day. Since we both also work from home in Hamburg, the move from our desks in Hamburg to our Airbnb in Greece was not particularly difficult for us.