Last weekend I went to London for the first time in ten years, with the goal to reunite with some of my best friends from Norway, party like it was 1999 and work on my British accent. Despite my modest expectations I was pleasantly surprised to get introduced to two previously unknown sports: Chess boxing and Hula-hoop burlesque.

When trying to imagine what Chess-boxing could be my mind imagined all possible scenarios. Boxers hopping on a black and white checkers board? Animated chessmen remote controlled by computer nerds? Nah, nah, none of the above. Chess boxing is a hybrid sport that combines chess with boxing in alternating rounds. I don’t know much about either boxing or chess; but it’s December and I’m not the one to complain when I get to look at hot and intelligent (!) men without t-shirts for a couple of hours. Add an English Pint or 3, some post-match dance moves in the boxing ring and make a night out of it!


Now Hula-Hoop burlesque is no less exiting (well maybe a little less as no naked men are involved). Myself, I’ve always been very proud of is my hula-hoop talent, but the Santa-burlesque-hula-hoopers at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club have set the bar a little higher for my next (bedroom) performance. This club is retro-cool: Brigitte Bardot photos are projected on the wall, temp-tattoos are drawn on in a small booth and a very entertaining hula-hoop Christmas burlesque show made our night complete.


First new-year’s resolution: Must learn chess, preferably from a chess boxer who appreciates my hula-hoop skills.

Good plan!

Kathrine Opshaug Bakke Kathrine Opshaug Bakke, editor at Travelettes from 2009 to 2013, wrote this post. Originating from Norway, she has been living in Berlin, Lisbon, and Stockholm the past 6 years.

She loves cities with imperfect facades, photography, traveling by bike, vintage hunting, and everything that comes with cheese. Follow her visual diary at