Posts from the TRAVEL Category

This year I want to be about crossing things off my to do list. Visiting places I’ve said I’d visit for a little while (when feasible, obviously). We are so lucky in Europe to be so close to so many beautiful places. The more I think about it, my list for French towns and regions to visit is getting longer and longer. Neighbor countries are doable over a weekend, which is just fantastic if you can work it into your budget.

I’m happy to say that I’ve already planned trips for #1 to #3, but that the others are a couple of the close and far destinations that I’ve certainly got on my mind, amongst many many others on this humongously diverse earth. Thank goodness Pinterest is an infinite source for list lengthening.

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Travel is a bit of a weird thing, though. I was very lucky to travel heaps as a kid as my father lived in the Middle East. I’m so grateful for this. But I’ve noticed a “thing” in the work environment, in particular when my team was looking for an intern: some people put their travels on their CV. Literally a list of countries (sorry to any readers who do or have done this). To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. As freshly graduated twenty somethings, travel comes down to three things in my opinion. One, you have the means to travel heaps thanks do daddy and mommy. Two, your parents took your traveling a lot as it is a passion of theirs and they found it important so when you can you do it. Three, you decided to travel on your own or work really hard to save up and have the means to be able to take even small trips because you’re anxious to see the world and discover different cultures. Anyways. I know many people who are so passionate about traveling and who have worked hard to be able to afford to travel, and I know how I find it so important to go to different parts of the world if you are able to. But for some this remains a luxury. Bref, I just don’t think a list of countries visited shows much on a CV out of context (ie. study abroad, backpacking…). Whatever.

Discover my travel dreams board on Pinterest here.

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IMAGE SOURCES (FOUND VIA PINTEREST): 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

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When Louis and I were visiting my Uncle in Hawaii, we knew we’d have to climb a crater. It’s just one of those things, right? Right outside of Honolulu is Hawaii Kai, the home of the Koko Crater. We set ourselves to embark up the Koko Crater, which was our view when we woke up in the mornings. The West side has an abandoned set of railway tracks that were apparently used during World War II to transport supplies and personnel to the top of the crater, a lookout point.

You’ve got to be on your game as climbing those tracks is no easy task. It seems so simple when looking from afar and even still when you start, but once you start you realize how steep it gets, and how thirsty you get, you realize you were wrong. Not to mention there are active runners and joggers in fancy running gear hopping between the wood beams like it’s easy breezy. This was no slice of pie!

Once at the top of Pu’u Mai, the crater’s highest peak, you forget that the hike was tiring as fuck un the heat and that you shouldn’t have brought a big bag (I was that person). The view beyond Sandy Beach and Hanauma bay, the whole Eastern shoreline of Oahu all the way to Honolulu with the blue blue ocean as far as you can see you simply makes you realize how beautiful the world is and just how small we humans are. We wandered around the top for a little while, checking out the abandoned dollies, manmade cells and huge cement platforms that are left from World War II. The are wild flowers and dirt trails, obviously a lot of tourists, but a panoramic view that made my heart skip a few beats. We just sat and gazed off into the distance.

On a sidenote, going down was actually quite stressful with the railway beams just far enough apart to make it difficult and all those marathon-like runners literally running down next to us. That was our only work out while visiting Hawaii. There’s even a Yelp for this hike, ha!

istabul-turkey-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-21Istanbul had been on my bucket list for quite some time. The land where east meets west, in my mind it was a Mecca of sweets, coffee and other wonderful things. The Turkish pop music only made me want to go more, the culture that was always said to be so hospitable and full of life.

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My friend Olivia and her free spirit and craving for travel and the discovery of culture, moved to Istanbul late last year. Louis and I thus had been dreaming of stopping by, so we spontaneously booked some round trip tickets for a long weekend. A whopping 3 hour flight from Paris, we made it to the land of bling and baklava. We were welcomed by freshly folded Turkish towels in Olivia’s love shack, topped with soap sporting Louis’s last name, which we quickly learned is a soap brand and literally means “pure”. Cherry on top.

A few tips on these cliché but fantastic places: Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, beyond worth it. You could spend hours in both. Accept the tea they offer you in each stall and don’t be afraid to bargain your eye candy. Grab some freshly squeezed pomegranate juice on the street to boost your body. Buy some Turkish delights to bring back home for friends and family, nuts or olives do the trick as well. Wander around and find secret rooftop cafés where you can sit and chat with a local, enjoy a random pastry.

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On a side note, one of my favorite parts of the trip was strolling in the neighborhood market to make our own Turkish breakfast (did you see my video of the Turkish breakfast Olivia and Elif made in Paris? Well, there will be a version 2 coming up). If you whip out your best “merhaba” the vendors will give you a big smile.

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As for our Saturday night in Istanbul, we kicked off the evening at the lovely Akin Balik (in Beyoğlu, reservations recommended). If possible, bring a Turk with you to make sure what you order is spot on, but regardless, order heaps of mezze, some Raki and enjoy. The main fish we shared at our dreamy dinner were leverk and çupra… unfortunately I don’t have the translation (cough, Sedat). This restaurant has hanging lights, Turkish music, Efes and the works. It’s all outside on the seaside, and to allure despite the winter chills they heat the tables by burning coal at your feet — which is initially hot hot hot but then you realize it’s pretty fantastic. We then wandered to the Karaköy area, followed by taxying (why not) up to Taksim to check out a nameless mysterious and trendy cocktail bar ran by a American fellow off of Istiklal Street.

Our Sunday, and last day, was filled with sunshine and was perfect for our touristy excursions. We strolled around the breakthtaking Blue Mosque and  Hagia Sofia, visited the rainbow staircases and strolled through the trendy Galata neighborhood with coffee breaks at adorable cafés. We finished off the weekend with a stop by the Bosphorus Brewing Company, for some Turkish beer action. I’m not sure we could have had a better 3.5 days in Istanbul. There is still so much to see, and we certainly plan to go back.

Tips on playing tourist in the city: Don’t be afraid of the public transportation. The metro and trams in Istanbul are easy to navigate and can get you to and from major points of interest (you can buy individual tickets at all stations, so keep your lira coins!) Taxis are a good deal if you’re not going far, but try to know where you’re going, as can happen in any city, tourists can get taken on the long route. Wifi is everywhere, so don’t fret about being connected and looking up places to go while you’re out and about.

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Akin Balik – Traditional restaurant on the sea, perfect for a dinner out. Mezze/seafood. Reservations recommended.

Bosphorus Brewing Company - Brewery / Taproom / Restaurant

Café Galata - Café / Sweets

Constantinople – Hagia Sofia / Blue Mosque

Grand Bazaar - Turkish Marketplace

Karakoy Gulluoglu
– Baklava heaven

Kavalti Evi - Turkish Breakfast (Order menamen!)

Mavra - Café / Restaurant / Concept Store

Miss Pizza – Italian Restaurant / Pizzeria

Spice Market – Enough said

Unter – Restaurant / Bar (with music at night)

Velvet Café - Trendy Café / Snacks

 

Caen-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-12Every November, Louis and I go to celebrate birthdays with the family that I lived with when I was 16, where I caught onto French and fell in love with French culture. This marvelous family that I adore has since moved to Caen, and I was so excited to discover their new city and the sea on our little weekend getaway. On the sunny winter afternoon we drove up to the historical seaside, popping by the fish market to prepare for the lunch that followed.

On our way back to Paris, we spun through Pont Audemer, the town where I lived for a year with them, for a little dinner date before heading back to the city life.

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