Travel Inspiration #6

Europe is once again engulfed in a heat wave, which is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Northern coasts of Europe that are usually neglected for their hotter sexier southern relatives.

My favourite is Cornwall! The British coast is the perfect solution for a quick weekend getaway and the perfect opportunity to escape the heat and cool-off.

A couple of years ago my girlfriends and I headed down to Padstow and Rock in Cornwall and enjoyed the beautiful coast and beaches, the great surfing opportunities and, most importantly of all, great British culinary traditions! The beaches are endless and beautiful. Perfect for long walks and surfing. Then there are an endless number of tea shops, pubs and chic cafes that offer delicious tea, scones and clotted cream. I couldn’t get enough! For something savoury in between, there is always the famous British classic Fish ‘n’ Chips. We tried Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips and loved it!

The combination makes for the perfect weekend getaway. So escape the heat and explore Cornwall!

Beach in Cornwall

Beautiful, long, sandy beaches perfect to escape the heat

Cornwall

The perfect sea side village!

Travel Inspiration #5

The island of Palma de Mallorca is one of my favourite places in the world! You should go and see it too!

There are hundreds of beautiful places to visit and see, especially if you travel beyond the mass tourist spots Mallorca has become known for. There are beautiful landscapes, roaming sheep, olive trees. There are the mountains, the oranges and the views. There are white sandy beaches, clear blue water perfect for swimming and boat trips, local harbours and fishermen.

SeaView_Mallorca

IMG_2637

There is bustling Palma, with delicious  restaurants, great tapas bars and chic stores. There are the harbours, glitzy and quaint. There’s culture, museums and monasteries.

PalmaView_Mallorca

IMG_2635

You get it, Mallorca has it all. And now’s the perfect time to go. The weather is warming up and the throngs of tourists have yet to arrive.

Hotels that are perfect for a long weekend are the La Residencia in Deja, tucked away in the mountains, north of Palma, and the La Reserva Rotana a luxurious country finca hotel near Manacor. If you want to stay in Palma, try the chic and cool Sant Francesc. If you are staying longer, consider renting a finca with friends and soaking up island life.

Mallorca also has great restaurants. A family tradition of ours is going to Hostal d’Algaida, where you can enjoy some of the tastiest local cuisine and wine in a 400+ year old building. Note that the restaurant may change slightly and offer a different menu, as the two sisters, who own and run the place, are entwined in a longstanding feud that has resulted in two separate alternating restaurants! But don’t worry both restaurants are fantastic! In Porto Colom there is the elegant and very fancy (and very pricey) Restaurante Colon. The beautiful setting, tasteful interiors and delicious food make this place perfect for a lunch and glass of wine. It’s neighbouring restaurants are less pricey and serve some great local cuisine. Otherwise, have a break on one of the many town squares and enjoy a cortado and a fantastic Ensaïmada de Mallorca. For my favourite restaurants in Palma have a look here.

Travel to this beautiful island and enjoy!

Travel Inspiration #4

Cote_d'Azur

The beautiful Cap Ferrat bathed in perfect sunshine

Since spring is still a while away and most of us can’t go to the Maldives for a quick sunny getaway, I suggest you treat yourself to a long weekend in the South of France instead. I went over New Years with a group of friends and loved it. I hadn’t been down to the Cote d’Azur in years and remembered it as overrun, crowded and everyone engaged in a hectic who’s who.

However, during the off season you get to enjoy the balmy weather and the striking beautiful coast all by yourself. The weather is perfect to go for long walks along the Cap Ferrat and up in the mountains, sit outside and enjoy the sun. The restaurants are not overbooked and you can enjoy the fantastic food.

The food is truly fantastic and I would suggest trying the lovely La Petite Maison in Nice, where the menu is to die for! For a divine French lunch outside try La Mere Germaine in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Otherwise, enjoy a drink at Le Bar Americain at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco.

To enjoy village life visit the village of Èze. Then head up to the beautiful Le Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Laghet, where people have come to pray and give thanks since hundreds of years.

And don’t miss the fantastic Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, where the couple Maeght, in collaboration with architect Josep Lluis Sert and artists Joan Miro and Georges Braque, built the beautiful complex that now houses their extensive and stunning private collection.

Enjoy and let me know what you discover!

Travel Inspiration #3

Ibn Tulun Mosque with the Citadel in the background

Ibn Tulun Mosque with the Citadel in the background

My newest Travel Inspiration is Cairo. I spent the last six months living here and I can honestly say you have to see Cairo at least once! It is huge and loud and absolutely awesome!

Cairo has beautiful cultural treasures – such as the mind-blowing (!!) Egyptian Museum, the beautiful Ibn Tulun Mosque, the Salah el Din al Ayouby Citadel, the Wekalet el Ghouri and its dancing dervishes, the bustling Khan el Khalili market and the grand Pyramids! Then there are the more hedonistic facets of Cairo – restaurants that serve great local cuisine, pools and country clubs to escape the city and the heat, shisha cafes in downtown as well as the not-to-be-missed rooftop bars to enjoy the beautiful Nile and a beer. Plus, Cairo is cheap and won’t break the bank.

Sadly Cairo also had a darker side with endless traffic jams, poverty, horrid pollution, scathing heat waves during the summer and the ever-present dust. However, I recommend you go on an adventure and dive into the fascinating world that Cairo has to offer. Also, with spring coming up it’s the perfect time to visit.

Look out for next week’s post on where to eat deliciously well in Cairo.

My Travel Inspirations for 2015

2015 + MapI just started a new job in a new country. Based on previous experience this has translated into travel that revolves around returning home and visiting my boyfriend, family, and friends. As such, I have made it my goal to make at least one (or maybe even two!!) trips in 2015 whose sole purpose is travel and enjoyment!

Here are my top 3 destinations (aka my Wish List).

1. Iran. I really want to visit Iran! Our understanding of Iran is usually shaped by our knowledge of the 1979 revolution, the Islamic government, sanctions and current nuclear talks. However, whenever I meet anyone who has been to Iran, the picture that emerges is very different – a rich cultural heritage, overwhelming hospitality, culinary delights, breathtaking landscapes and welcoming people. Who doesn’t want to come along?

2. Jordan. I’ve never been, but I have always wanted to go to Jordan. Now that I’m so close, I am finally planning to visit Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Red Sea. Very excited! If you have any suggestions and recommendations, let me know.

3. Italy. Since my boyfriend moved to Italy I have visited rather frequently and fallen in love with the people, the land and the divine food and wine! I cannot wait to return in 2015! The hope is to go to Rome, because what could be more quintessentially Italian than Rome?!

Travel Inspiration #2

Travel_Inspiration_2

My Travel Inspiration #2 is Del Mar, California. A couple of years back, my boyfriend and I, along with our favourite friends Nic and Youmna (who you can see on the picture), spent the summer there and had an absolute blast!

We spent our days at the beach and the pool, swimming and wave boarding, eating delicious food, and simply having fun. I’d go back anytime!

You should go too! It has the ocean and surfing, beautiful landscapes, Del Mar and Solana Beach to stroll through, and San Diego just near by. You can even head down to Mexico or up to LA for an adventure!

It also has great food…which I must of course share. My favourite place was probably Zinc – a really chill place serving delicious oatmeal, scrambled eggs, french toast, Quiche and salads! I loved coming here for breakfast or a light lunch. The complete opposite was Pizza Port, which is where we satisfied our beer and pizza cravings! Also, the The Fish Market was great – I had some of the best ceviche ever there – and Shimbashi, a delicious Japanese place.

And for a bit of a road trip head out to Chino Farms, which sells some of the most beautiful and tasty vegetables I have ever seen and eaten.

Like I said Del Mar is worth visiting…it has it all..sun, beach and food 🙂

Travel Inspiration #1

There are many beautiful places around the world and I’ve decided to share some I’ve visited and hopefully inspire your next vacation.

North_Coast_EgyptMy first Travel Inspiration #1 is based on my recent weekend trip to the Egyptian North Coast. As mentioned before, I moved to Cairo in August and the city is hot in the summer! So my friends and I decided to escape the burning heat and headed up north to the Mediterranean coast. Having been to the Mediterranean countless times before I didn’t think much about it, and instead figured I’d been there and seen that.

However, I was very much in the wrong! The Egyptian Mediterranean coast is as turquoise and blue as you can imagine! It is crazy blue in fact! It felt like I’d travelled to the Caribbean!  I was so enthralled, I took pictures all day, trying to capture the striking blues – as can be seen above 🙂

The beaches were empty in comparison to what we are used to in Europe and the Sea was absolutely divine. I went for an early morning swim and the sea was calm and clear. It was truly beautiful. I returned to Cairo feeling fully rejuvenated!

So, the point is that Egypt’s North Coast is worth inspiring your next trip to Egypt, which shouldn’t be limited to the tourist resorts of Sharm el Sheikh or Dahab. Instead visit Cairo and take a few days to go up north. The unbelievable Mediterranean Sea will absolutely make it worth your while!