Archive for February, 2011

Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 1 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 2 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 3 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 4 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 5 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 6 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 7 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 8 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 9 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 10 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 11 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 12 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 13 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 14 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 15 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 16 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 17 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 18 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 19 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 20 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 21 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 22 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 23 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 24 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 25 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 26 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 27 Cairo - De quelle planète es-tu? 28

Cairo, Cairo, Cairo…. where shall I begin? This adventure is probably my favorite to share.

This time last year, Caro and I decided to embark for a week in Cairo, Egypt. Luckily, a friend of a friend shared the city with us- as he showed us all of the local gigs that I honestly felt I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Upon arrival, we taxied to our hotel on Zamalak, the island in the Nile (sort of like Ile de la Cité, in Paris) to settle in and start our wandering.

We went with no real plans, and just high hopes of stumbling upon treasures in the souqs and doing the traditional horseride around the Giza pyramids. Boy were we in for a treat! Our first night we were picked up by some friends for a boat ride on the Nile, which was absolutely stunning and the perfect time to see the city lights of Cairo with some Sakara & Stella Egyptian beers.

The next day we decided to walk up to the city centre, which was quite the spectacle: to white girls with big Nikon cameras and Ray Bans ready to go! Little did we realize it’s almost nothing to taxi around, and it saves from some of the whistling, ha! As we snapped photos of graffiti, buildings, and storefronts, we discovered Downtown Cairo and Tahrir Square as well as the Cairo Museum, where many of the mummies are stored (you can’t bring your camera inside…literally… not even in your bag so heads up- but they provide free lockers just in case you do have one!) We then wandered back for a rest before roaming Zamalek a bit and our temporary little neighborhood. We had a glass of Omar Khayyam red wine at L’Aubergine, a cute hole-in-the-wall restaurant nearby.

The days flew by, and we managed to go back and forth from Khan Khalili- the famous souqs to find treasures. You can get lost in there, and you find many just about anything: bags, leather goods, jewelry, antiques… on and on and one. One of the best jewelers that our friend Omar took us to was in the depths at Mohamed Amin, where we found beautiful silver rings for really cheap (oh yeah, did I mentioned everything in Cairo is dirt cheap??)

We were also exposed in Khan Khalili to the varieties of Egyptian Cuisine such as stuffed pigeon (which you can try locally with some green tea & hookah at a café/resto called “Fishary” in the Khan Khalili Souqs, ….if you can find it :) ). However, the MUST TRY Egyptian meals remain to be: Koshari (the national dish they say, which is a mixture of lentils, macaroni and rice with lovely sauces and such… it is divine), Baba Ghanouj (mashed eggplant with seasonings), Ful Medames (mashed fava beans and olive oil, mixed with parsley, garlic, and lemon juice) and of course loads of pita bread with a lovely glass of the famous Egyptian lemonade.

A note on the traditional sightseeing & must-see’s:

To start off, naturally: the Giza Pyrimids. We were spoiled to go with our new friends who are locals, because they definitely hassled the homeboys and Giza to give us good prices and not rip us off— plus, they are a bit of a drive over from central Cairo (some hotels offer shuttles or day trips- definitely take advantage, it’s easy to get ripped off on taxi rides to Giza). We took the horse ride around the Giza pyramids with a young Bedouin boy who also so nicely took photos of us pretending to hold the pyramids and all that jazz. I mean, we couldn’t got here and NOT do that.

Back in the center, the view from the top (above) is from the Cairo Tower, which only costs a few bucks to go up to the top, on the south end of the Zamalek island. The views are breathtaking, even when a bit hazy. In terms of mosques, my favorite in Cairo is Mosque Ibn Tulun, which was beautiful, and they were quite nice about letting us in even without headscarves as long as we took off our shoes. Although there are many beautiful small ones that you pass by walking and roaming around. Mosque Aqmar, Abu Dahab, and the Mosque of Muhammed Ali are all worth a peek. Cairo is a mystery and a beautiful maze…no matter how dirty or deserted it may seem, everything has a beauty to it.

Although my notes are not as thorough, all of these sights are must see on your trip to Cairo. Roaming around is half the fun, and if you know some Arabic, don’t be shy and speak with the people. Say ‘shoukran‘ (thank you) all the time, and they’ll love it as you walk in and say ‘marhaba‘ (hello)! Make friends. Drink some Stella and chill out by the Nile, or  in a bar with the locals.

It’s beautiful, in so many ways.

To Omar, Ziad, Mina & the boys: we miss you dearly! Can’t wait until next time.

This little place is hidden in the old mining town of Georgetown right off of I-70 in between the Denver/C-470 junction and the Eisenhower tunnel (on the way up to Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone & Loveland…) The precious town will catch your eye and right up by the “Hotel de Paris” is the little green house, The Happy Cooker.

With the living room/local feel you are comfy as ever- especially after a long day of tubing at the Copper Mountain Ski Resort! I personally am in love with their tomato & avocado eggs benedict. Perfection. Another gem is the breakfast platters with your choice of eggs, bacon/sausage and good ol’ taters.

It just is a must-see. Definitely pop by while antique shopping in the town on your way back from a hearty day of fresh winter powder- at least that’s what my family does every New Year’s Day!

The Happy Cooker
412 6th Street, Georgetown, Colorado
Tél: (303) 569-3166

Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :1 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :2 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :3 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :4 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :5 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :6 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :7 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :8 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :9 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :10 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :11 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :12 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :13 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :14 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :15 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :16 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :17 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :18 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :19 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :20 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :21 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :22 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :23 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :24 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :25 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :26 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :27 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :28 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :29 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :30 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :31 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :32 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :33 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :34 Vienna - De quelle planete es tu :35For a 3 day/2 night trip in Vienna, I got my fair share of sugary snacks and delicious beverages: their specialty.

Upon arrival at the Vienna International Airport, we hailed a taxi to go directly to our hotel (35€), but after later speculation we realized we could have taking a train/tram from the airport straight downtown for 10euro (remember for next time! It’s called the CAT). So we then disembarked directly to the recommended 1516 Brewing Company for a bite to eat and a refreshing local beer (the potatoes smothered in cheddar cheese was definitely hit my soft spot…) We then wandered aimlessly around City Park and Stephansplatz staring hopelessly at all the window displays filled with sweets. Since it was freezing, it was a good excuse to pop in different shops and taste things!  For dinner, we ate at a restaurant my Viennese pal had suggested: Rebhühn. This little hole in the wall place in Western Vienna offered traditional meals in a cute Austrian setting. It was thus time for our Wiener Schnitzel experience. However, when you go, try not to chow down on the salad and potatoes before the Wiener Schnitzel arrived, as then I had no condiments for my Wiener Schnitzel! I felt silly. And as it is the city of music, of course any place you go has the peaceful classical music playing in the background.

Day two we decided to start out with Prater, the oldest amusement park in Europe to take a spin on the Riesenrad (8,50€/person). While going around this vintage-style-with-cabins ferris wheel you get a view of all of Vienna, so hope for some sunshine! We then popped in the U-bahn (1,60€/ride, but you can get a 24-hour-pass for 5,70€) down to the Museumsquartier. The MQ reminded me sort of the Centre 104 in Paris, but more touristy (filled with Art Ateliers, museums, cafés and of course, the Photobooth). We had a light brunch snack in Café Leopold (great deco!), attached to the Leopold Museum as I proceeded to insist on finding one of the two old fashioned Photobooths in Vienna. Right behind the MQ is the equivalent to the Marais of Paris, smaller streets filled with trendy shops and cafés.

We wandered down to Zollergasse and Café Europa for a Rotwein Gespritzt (red wine mixed with sparkling water). The buildlings in this area seemed particularly colorful at this time, with different buildings in different shades of pastel colors- quite the change from Paris! Afterwards we wandered back up towards Stephanplatz to go to the infamous Altmann & Kühne for chocolate and marzipan souvenirs. I had received a small pack from my Viennese friend when she was last home, and I was obsessed with the style from then on, so going in the actual store was a little piece of heaven. All the marzipans were brightly colored and put into the most beautifully decorated boxes of all different shapes and sizes. The marzipan set I bought will soon be devoured… We then wandered past beautiful monuments to the Teinfaltstrasse where the Kaufhaus Schiepek is located, filled with beads, jewelry and all sorts of kitsch goodies. On our way back to the metro we stumbled upon Café Central, where we enjoyed a glass of Zweigelt red wine to the background music of a local pianist (photo with the domed cielings). For dinner that night we went to the what-used-to-be-called Immervoll, now called Gasthaus Pöschl. This restaurant was traditional with an international twist, and was honestly delicious and had big portions!

Day three we had a few hours before our afternoon flight back to Paris. We hopped on the metro to head down to Schönbrunn Palace. Then we popped back up to the North Eastern part of the 1st district to see the Hundertwasserhaus and to have a pint of Ottakringer local beer before our departure.

From there our adventure in Vienna came to a halt.

Until next time, Wien, when it’s not freezing outside. I’ll miss your sweets…especially from Aida.

 

Tucked in between foreign markets and leather Moroccan bag sellers at the périphérique at the north end of Paris is the secret maze of treasures: Le Marché aux Puces.

 

 

You have to get off the métro at Porte de Clignancourt (line 4) and cross under the highway overpass- packed with vendors of just about anything you can imagine, and you’ll see a little entrance to the actual market on the left. Little shop vendors display their antiques, glassware, furniture, jewelry… just about everything, and it’s all worth a snapshot. (Heads up- be sure to go with cash- trying to find an ATM is quite the adventure, and plus, you probably don’t want to whip out your credit card just anywhere in this particular part of Paris…).

 

Above are photos of little treasures from Tombées du Camion- a little shop in the market which also exists in the city of Paris at Grands Boulevards or Abbesses, with the most random of all vintage things (baby doll heads?). There’s also what we called the keychain lady- and the purpose of our treck into the market. Her 1960′s keychains go for 1 euro, and there is just about every trinket you can think of – fruit, cans, cars, cheese, spaceships, dogs, people, and objects of just pure humor. This is basically the perfect to find someone a precious little gift.

 

The Moroccan bag vendor at the beginning of the market is always willing to lower his prices if you just chat with him a bit- in Arabic or French- and you can find beautiful colored leather backpacks or purses of just about any size.

This particular day we  made the mistake of going on a rainy day– but in the sunshine it’s the perfect opportunity to get out of your apartment a bit to stroll and mingle.

The flea market is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

It’s best to go in the morning or early afternoon, as a lot of the places close up in the mid-afternoon.

Metro: Porte de Clignancourt

List of things to do in my lifetime: Go to a Cat Show: Check.

I know what you’re probably all thinking… A Cat Show. Really? A CAT SHOW. And the answer is yes, I am completely serious. I went to a Cat Show, titled “Shadows and Light”. I’m not sure how something like this gets started but it was quite the experience. Nor am I sure of how Caro found this lovely event? (Explain? Random Google Search, you cat lover you…)

So, we headed down one fine Sunday to the south of Paris, near the town Antony, with our cameras charged and minds wandering as to what could possible happen at a cat show, or what kinds of kittens and their proud owners would be there. We aimlessly wandered and finally found where this Cat Show was being held (thanks to the help of GoogleMaps on my iPhone of course… oh dear, otherwise we would have been way lost). Bada bing bada boom! Cat lovers unite! Rooms filled with cages and puff balls in each one, with a back wall lined up with trophies that every cat owner/lover had their eyes on… I was hoping it would be a more local version of Best In Show, one of my favorite movies, but I must say it was the key to people watching of my weekend. And, they didn’t mind photos, on the contrary- they showed off their ball of fluff like it was a precious stone! I’ve never had a cat, but I must admit, I did learn quite a bit. The judges would hold the cats with such elegance, asking the owners questions about the kitty’s parents and such, so serious! This whole shi-bang was LEGIT.

And I will admit, I sort of liked cats after leaving this. Especially the ones with the flat faces. Awwwww!!!