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9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-029-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-01 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-03 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-04 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-05 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-06 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-07 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-08 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-09 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-10 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-11 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-12 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-13 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-14 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-15 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-16 9-10-11-de-quelle-planete-es-tu-17After our dreamy lunch at Abri, Anne and I strolled eastward. The winter days have some sunshine, which makes for great stroll weather. We embarked with bellies full and headed aimlessly in the direction of the canal over good conversation.

We zigzaged past the canal and ultimately followed the route of the line 2 metro line, one of the areas of Paris to discover more of. We strolled along the avenue stopping at windows filled with Algerian pastries and admired the street art while soaking up some winter sunbeams. Before we knew it we had arrived on the street of Paris’s new cookie shop, Scoop Me A Cookie, and other fabulous places like Le Perchoir or the Edith Piaf museum. What a rad neighborhood, right next to La Fine Mousse, too.

Holybelly
19 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010
Tél: 09 73 60 13 64
Métro: Jacques Bonsergent (5)

Scoop Me A Cookie
5/7 rue Crespin du Gast, 75011
Tél: 06 86 12 41 56
Métro: Ménilmontant (2)

Greece - De quelle planete es tu -4A few years ago, my best girlfriends from Uni and I went to Mykonos for Spring Break.

It was our last Spring Break all together before some of the girls moved across the oceans. For our last hurrah, we were off to the land of feta and mini churches. When I think about this trip I feel like it was yesterday. I miss these girls.

We were, and still are, adventurous souls, and wandered the pastures of the island and danced the night away in clubs that were close to empty. We wandered paths through the white Greek buildings and got lost between mindwills. Our season was slightly off, but having the island to ourselves made the trip even more exciting.

Greece - De quelle planete es tu -11Greece - De quelle planete es tu -2 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -3Greece - De quelle planete es tu -5 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -6Greece - De quelle planete es tu -8 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -9Mykonos-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-33 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -12 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -13Mykonos-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-30 Mykonos-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-Greece - De quelle planete es tu -14 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -15 Greece - De quelle planete es tu -16Greece - De quelle planete es tu -7If you’d like to know more about our trip to Mykonos and where we stayed and all, please click here.

Kerstbierfestival-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-38Living in Europe is magical because everything is so close together. Hopping in a car for a few hours can take you across borders. Ana Clara and I recently decided to tempt our honies into a weekend getaway to a Christmas beer festival in Essen. No, not in Germany, in Essen, Belgium. And no, I hadn’t heard of the town either beforehand, which made the adventure that much more fun.

Essen is located right on the border of Holland and Belgium. Literally. For this jolly occasion, our hotel was actually in Roosendaal, Holland, whereas the festival was in Essen, Belgium. I must say that driving back and forth passing the radiant blue EU sign with the country surrounded by a circle of stars was pretty invigorating.

The Kerstbierfestival is an annual Christmas beer festival in Belgium. The festival had 180+ beers in bottles and on tap to try. It was a passionate atmosphere, filled with jolly beer lovers from around the world. Right after I walked in a spotted a guy (now friend) in a Broncos sweatshirt, I thus immediately asked him if he was from Colorado, almost as if it was a reflex or something. Turns out he met his wife (who is from Wyoming) in Colorado. Long story short, we ended up chatting with these cool cats for the rest of the night. I think to myself at times like these how wonderful it is to just be somewhere, meet people and share conversation. As we crossed off beers in our little pamphlets snacking on delicious cheese platteres paired with various beers, the time flew.

Our weekend Belgian beer adventure also included stops in Kortrijk, Brasschaat and in the Essen ‘burbs at a magical beer shop. More details on the sleep/grub spots in the below. Oh, Belgium…

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Yes, all of that beer in boxes was in our trunk on the way home. Oops. We got carried away at the ABC shop in Essen, where Belgian beer was as cheap as can be.

KORTRIJK:
Give Paul’s Boutique a whirl for lunch. The barmaid at Le Bar Des Amis suggested this place to us, and boy were we glad she did! What a find. The burger joint features an unforgettable menu with a longer list of veggie burgers than that of normal ones.

ROOSENDAAL:
We stayed at the Hotel Central, that was suggested on the Kerstbierfestival website. It was way nicer than any hotel in Paris I had been to on my budget (or other places in France for that matter), so I was thrilled. What made it at the top of my list was the buffet breakfast included. Not only buffet, but delicious eggs and bottomless freshly squeezed OJ. Plus, the Dutch know just what to do with their gouda, and it it always at the breakfast table. After a long Saturday involving ridiculous amounts of beer, a hearty breakfast was exactly what we needed.

BRASSCHAAT:
I will admit, when looking at the map and choosing a place to stop through on our way back to France, Brasschaat stuck out. We popped through this magical town all decked out for the holidays and had a coffee at De Kroon. The restaurant had incredible decoration – so tasteful – but unfortunately we had to keep heading southwest, so a coffee had to do.

Check out Ana Clara’s documentation of the weekend here.

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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.