The Bay Area

Time for some throwback Thursday. #TBT to this May when I was in San Francisco with my childhood sweethearts for our friend’s wedding. The five-day long wedding celebration may have been the reason for our visit to the Bay Area, but we definitely managed to find time to enjoy the NorCal lifestyle.

San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San FranciscoWith our base camp in Fremont, the BART became our trusty chauffeur, lugging us from East Bay to Alameda to the SF piers. Continue reading

Prague

Prague was the first European city I ever visited on my own. One summer, many years ago – when I was 18 – I did a travel writing course in Prague. It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be a hobbyist travel blogger without that trip. But then again, Prague will turn anyone into a travel blogger.

Prague PragueWhen my friend Shanelle told me that she’ll be visiting Prague on as a part of her annual European adventures, I decided to crash her trip. And Rema decided to crash ours.

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Brick Lane

I’ve been a proud East Londoner for just over a year now. There’s nowhere else in London I would rather live than this eclectic melting pot. Co-inhabited by British Bangladeshis, latte-sipping hipster, code-punching techies, serial entrepreneurs, and everyone in London who has a beard, it’s a great place to call home.

Boutique shops and brunch spots aside, E1 has a rich and diverse culture. Walking the streets is one thing, learning about them is another. So last weekend, I did an Alternative London walking tour to learn a bit more about the history of the area. And also to get schooled in the awesome street art that Brick Lane and the neighbouring streets boast of.

Brick Lane Brick Lane Brick LaneWe walked all around Liverpool Street, Spitalfields and Shoreditch on the tour, but the next day I strolled back to Brick Lane with my camera. This single street exemplifies the diversity of E1.

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Bratislava

Bratislava may be called “Prague’s ugly sister”, but it’s certainly funner of the two siblings.

When I booked a trip to the Slovakian capital, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by its natural beauty or historic architecture. My friends and I really just wanted to get out of London (and with Ryanair prices, a flight to Bratislava is equivalent of an expensive taxi ride on the weekend), and have a fun night out. I also selfishly wanted to up my country count. Long live the travel nerd in me!Bratislava Bratislava Bratislava Continue reading

Caravan King’s X

Birthdays and brunches are two of my favourite things that begin with the letter ‘b’. So for The Burgundy Book‘s birthday (another favour ‘b’ letter thing), we – Cat, Bjorn (and yet another fav ‘b’) and I – took her to brunch at Caravan King’s Cross.

The original Caravan is a much smaller space in Exmouth Market, but this industrial looking massive restaurant is located in Granary Square, a short walk from King’s X station. Perfect meeting spot if your friends are traveling in from different parts of London!

Prepare to wait for about an hour to get a spot here for weekend brunch. And you know what I am going to say next: it’s totally worth the wait! Also if you are with your best friends, the 40-minute wait flies back as you sip on some coffees, gossip at a hundred miles per hour, and unwrap birthday presents.

Caravan Kings Cross Caravan Kings Cross Caravan Kings Cross

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Viennese coffee houses

It’s no secret that I love a good cup of coffee.

It’s also no secret that when it comes to cafes, Vienna has a special league of its own – the Viennese coffee house.

The Viennese coffee house culture is listed as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” as per UNESCO. It’s a concept I recently became familiar with my friend Melissa went to Marrakech and told me that the markets were listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage. While the more well-known concept of World Heritage sites refers to tangible – or touchable – buildings, monuments, places etc., this particular categories refers to song, music, drama… overall vibes that you can’t replicate elsewhere in the world.

And surely, I’ve never been to a coffee joint quite like the Viennese coffee house. I liked them right away, and went to several during my trip to Vienna. They all have different decors, moods, menus, but what remains the same is the hushed banter, the elegant service, melange on the menu and delicious cakes served with silverware.

The first coffee house we went to – literally within two hours of arriving in Vienna – was Cafe Hawelka. It was on the very top of my list for all the historical significance it boasts of – opened by Leopold Hawelka (who passed away in 2011 at the age of 100) in 1939, the interior of the establishment has been fully preserved, from its marble table tops to elegant lace curtains.Cafe Hawelka Vienna Cafe Hawelka Vienna Cafe Hawelka Vienna Cafe Hawelka Vienna Cafe Hawelka ViennaI ordered my first Wiener Melange, literally translating to “Viennese blend.” It’s something I’d describe as a cross between a cappuccino and a latte. And I liked it!

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Vienna

Since my Mom’s visiting me from Canada, I decided to take a couple of days off work to hang out with her. But, considering how sacredly I treat my days off work, I couldn’t just spend them hanging out around London (no disrespect to London). If the point was just to spend quality time with Mamma Gill, why not do it in different city?

Vienna has been sitting on my bucket list for a while. Given everything I’d heard about it, it seemed like my the perfect city-escape for a super long weekend.

After spending four days in the Austrian capital, here’s my verdict: Vienna is a great city to go with your Mom. And I mean that in a good way.Vienna Vienna ViennaIt’s beautiful for starters, and completely unapologetic about it. The physical beautiful of Vienna’s buildings is borderline pompous. The imperial architecture oozes elegance, class, and a timeless beauty. I’ve never walked past so many buildings with picturesque facades in one day. Continue reading

Cambridge

One of the perks of having an international group of friends is that they are always keen to travel, even if it’s just a day trip. So when I floated the idea of visiting Cambridge one weekend, no one complained.

Six of us picked a random Saturday in January, got on to the train, and in less than two hours we were in picturesque Cambridge.

Cambridge Cambridge Cambridge Continue reading

Kopapa

Turkish eggs at Kopapa appear on one too many Best Brunch in London lists. So I was thrilled when Melissa scored a prime time reservation at the Covent Garden restaurant and asked me to join her.

The restaurant is located off Monmouth Street at the famous Seven Dials, a spot which continues to challenge my navigation skills to this day. But as soon as I made it there, I got trigger happy with my camera!

Kopapa Seven Dials Covent Garden Continue reading

Amanda in India

Guest post by Amanda Cupido

Sometimes the best plan is not to have one.

After Roop invited me to her brother’s wedding, I spent weeks preparing for my trip to India. Not only because I have an A-type personality, but because the process is intense. There were visa applications, money exchanges and tours to be booked. I was set to be in the country for two weeks.

The first week would be spent with Roop at a Punjabi wedding. The second week would have me in Delhi where I planned to meet up with a tour group and visit a slew of monuments including the Taj Mahal. Indian weddingBut little did I know, very few things would go according to plan. Continue reading

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