Photo Diary: Montenegro

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I love a good day trip. Luckily when I spent some time in Dubrovnik in 2015, I was able to take a few last minute jaunts to neighboring countries. Enter Montenegro.

If Norway and Italy had a baby, it would look like Montenegro. I was seriously surprised by the scenery in this rather small place. It’s no wonder that Russian tourists have been vacationing here for quite some time. I booked my day trip through Viator which included stops in Kotor and Budva, and a rather treacherous bus up a winding road (see views below). All in all I would highly recommend it if you have a spare day in the region – I am also told it’s normally much sunnier than this…

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Wine Tasting in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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As part of a recent trip to Croatia, I made a quick trip across the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina for a half-day wine tour with Taste Dubrovnik (link here). You’re probably thinking what I was thinking – “You can do a wine tour in Bosnia?” – yes, yes you can. The region doesn’t produce a significant amount of wine which is probably why you haven’t see a BOSNIA section at your local shop. What they do produce is a bit sweet for my tastes but very much worth the trip regardless of your palette.

Highlights of my tour included a quick stop at a farmers’ market in Trebinje to taste the local products (i.e. cheese matured in sheep’s skin), a tour of the Tvrdos Monastery (where monks have been making wine since the 15th century), and a fresh fish (literally, fish in pool next to table) lunch by the river. Below are some iPhone photos of the journey…

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Photo Diary: Brussels

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I recently spent a weekend wandering the streets of Brussels. It’s only a two-hour journey from London’s King’s Cross Station on the Eurostar, making it an easy getaway.

One of my primary reasons for going was because I wanted to say, “I’m eating mussels in Brussels,” which I did (a lot). Also, Beer. Waffles. Chocolate. Fries. What more do you want? I stayed at the Hotel Sofitel Brussels Le Louise – very central and across the street from an array of fancy designer shops. It was an easy walk to the main square, a.k.a. Grand Place, where you’ll find a selection of restaurants/bars to sit and enjoy the view with a brew.

Trying to find the cutest place to drink a beer or to eat the best frites in Brussels can be difficult, so let me help you…

  1. Beer: Go to Poechenellekelder (and yes, that is the real name). It describes itself as a “cozy cafe bar with a long beer menu” and it is exactly that. I would compare it to the inside of an atmospheric old ship. It’s also conveniently situated across from the famous statue of the little boy doing his business. If you’re familiar with Brussels, you know what I’m talking about. I would recommend ordering the Delirium Tremens – but just one!
  2. Frites: I searched high and low online for the best fries in Brussels beforehand. Luckily, I stumbled upon Friterie Tabora. Small and a little sketchy, they had surprisingly delicious fries and dipping sauces (let’s face it, it’s all about the dipping sauce).

The main old center of Brussels is fairly small; two days is probably just the right amount of time before you get too full and need to go home. If you’re keen to explore other areas, there is a very easy metro system that will take you out to the Castle of Laeken and Atomium. Photos below!

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Photo Diary: Grey Days in Paris

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Day Trip to Verona

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I spent several days in Venice earlier this year (AMAZING, photos here) and managed to sneak in a day trip to fair Verona.

This lovely Italian town is about an hour-long train journey from Venice, which has a very accessible train station right on the Grand Canal. Once you arrive in Verona it’s a short walk, or an even shorter taxi ride, to the town center.

I would suggest making a stop at the tourist center – they’ll hand over a map with the highlights of Romeo + Juliet’s hood. The tourist center is directly across the street from the Arena di Verona (can’t miss). From there I would recommend a few must do’s:

  1. Stroll down Via Giuseppe Mazzini (the main shopping street in Verona) to Piazza Erbe. Here you’ll find loads of cute cafés on the square for food or just an apertivo!
  2. DEFINITELY go to the top of the Torre dei Lamberti. It’s a tower just outside Piazza Erbe that offers an amazing view of Verona (photo above).
  3. Check out the bridges. Verona has seriously good bridge game. The Ponte Pietra was particularly pretty. You can admire the view from Terrazza Bar Al Ponte, it’s little bar with a patio right on the river’s edge. The Ponte di Castelvecchio is also a great spot for stroll across the river – it’s probably the most recognizable bridge in Verona. You’ll find it directly behind the Museo di Castelvecchio (nice to look at, but don’t go in if you’re pressed for time).
  4. Stop by Juliet’s balcony at Casa di Giulietta. You have to go here because you’re in Verona and it’s the thing you’re meant to do. It will be crowded, it will be smaller than you imagined, and you may be more impressed by the massive gum wall outside (I was!) – regardless, go and get a photo.

Verona’s center is fairly small; I felt one day strolling around was all I needed. If you find yourself there for a bit longer, you may want to check out day trips to Lake Garda and the Valpolicella vineyards. You’re in Italy so culture.pasta.wine.repeat.

(View from Torre dei Lamberti)
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Photo Diary: Budapest

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Photo Diary: Paris

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