Bordeaux

Visiting Bordeaux during the off-peak season might sound controversial. After all, what does one do in the world’s wine capital if not drink wine and visit vineyards? Turns out, there’s plenty to do, see, eat and drink at any time of the year in this vibrant French city.

For starters, half the city is Unesco-listed. That makes it the world’s largest urban World Heritage Site. From stunning buildings to instagrammable cobblestone streets, Bordeaux is a sight for sore eyes. It’s charming, historic and romantic. We even stayed in a former castle right in the middle of the city centre.

Bordeaux Bordeaux Bordeaux BordeauxThen there’s obviously the wine. But more recently, a new wave of chefs is putting Bordeaux on France’s culinary map. For a city its size, Bordeaux’s gastronomic offering is impressive. Continue reading

Month in Toronto 

I came back home in the middle of February. I was told that Toronto was having a mild winter. Then I arrived and the city gave me a warm welcome of -30C weather and back-to-back snowstorms.

Toronto CN Tower Toronto downtown Toronto sign skatingWeather is never an excuse when you’re in Toronto. If you ever find yourself in my hometown in the winter months, just throw on some layers and start eating your way through the neighbourhoods. Continue reading

Chicago

Last minute trips end up being some of the best ones. Which is big of me to admit because trip-planning is half the fun for me. Notes, spreadsheets, Google Docs – I go the whole nine yards prepping for a trip.

But, this trip to Chicago was as sudden as it was fun.

michigan avenue chicago ChicagoTurns out that I am heading back to London after all (ignore everything I said in my last blog post). So, my best friend and I decided to use my last weekend in North America to visit our girlfriend in Chicago. We filled up the gas tank, drove across the border and followed the I-94 all the way to Chi-Town.

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Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival, featuring thousands of artists, performers, actors and comedians from around the world. But for me, Fringe was just another excuse to go back to Edinburgh this year.

Edinburgh Edinburgh EdinburghIf I had only three words to describe Edinburgh, I’d pick charming, beautiful and historic. There is so much to see and do in this lovely city, but the best part of going back for a second visit is that you’ve already checked off all the touristy items. Continue reading

Stockholm

Stockholm StockholmI went to visit my lovely friend Samanta in Stockholm this June. We met three years ago when she was visiting Toronto, and I’ve  been promising her a visit since. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I didn’t make it to Stockholm until this summer. It’s especially noteworthy how long it’s taken me to get to the Swedish capital considering I used to live in Denmark.

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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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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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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