England Trip

Travel

Here it is, I’m back in England for a week!

I visited a few places where I had never been before. 

The Channel Sea

DSC09056

Leeds Castle

DSC09088

DSC09165

DSC09163

DSC09166

 

DSC09170

DSC09179

DSC09182

 

Cambridge

 

DSC09205

DSC09206

DSC09214

DSC09216

DSC09217

DSC09308

DSC09333

 

London

DSC09349

DSC09350

DSC09352

Advertisements

Cold – Froid – Kälte in Germany

Travel
Last week we decided to travel a bit to discover more of my boyfriend’s amazing country! We started by visiting Frankfurt, and had a reservation for a traditional restaurant, Paulaner, which is famous for its beer!DSC07741

DSC07790

DSC07719

And after a stop in Mainz where we went to the artsy Stijl Design Market…

DSC07823

…we drove to a beautiful ski station near the Titisee lake in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany. 

DSC07951

DSC07923

DSC08369

And because we need strength to fight the cold… 

DSC08067

Here it is, I hope you enjoyed this tiny post about my most recent adventures!
And as always, any thought of yours is very welcome!

 

Let’s Save Paris.

Travel
P1140423
The recent Paris tragedy has hurt many souls around the world. This post is a reminder that Paris IS and WILL STAY a great city worth visiting. To this extent, my purpose is to share with you my favorite places in the city, and hopefully make you want to explore them. 

To stay creative: La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Le Palais de Tokyo, le Centre Pompidou (Contemporary Art)…
To walk around: Le Jardin des Tuileries (where you can get Mövenpick ice cream in the summer). It’s perfect for some reading time or for chatting with friends.There is also fun fair in the summer, and a Christmas market in the winter time.
DSC04302I also like le Marais because it’s very artsy, you can find original cafés & restaurants.
Le Musée Rodin where you can see the sculpture of Le Penseur (the Thinker).P1140464
La Place des Vosges: Just to sit on a bench or on the grass and enjoy.
DSC04513
To shop: The long street called Rue Rivoli (There are famous stores and some smaller ones)
To brunch: Any restaurant Place St Catherine or Le Paradis du Fruit @ La Bastille. 
To eat: La Cidrerie du Marais (You can choose which ingredients you want to put in your crepe and it’s not expensive).
DSC04530
To have tea: Le Mandarin Oriental without hesitation. Great service, although a little expensive.
DSC04254
To have a picnic : Parc de Buttes-Chaumont (There’s a lake, a waterfall..)
To work in a café: La Favorite: It’s calm and you have big glass-windows to people-watch and get inspired!
To have a drink: the 7th Terrass Hotel, and the barge (Le Marcounet) on the Seine.
DSC04195
To work out: The Freeness Studio (4 floors, unlimited plan 24/7, collective classes & machines, sauna & smoothies)
DSC03782
What are your favorite spots in Paris? Please feel free to write them down so that we keep the city alive!

Mashi Moshkil* in Morocco

Travel
DSC05939
Last week I was in Morocco with my boyfriend so I decided to share our adventures.
Day 1:
We took a bus from Paris (Porte Maillot) to the airport (Beauvais). Right away we started arguing about the “level of spontaneity” we should adopt. I initially craved for a very adventurous trip but couldn’t help myself… In order to enjoy a stress-free holiday, I needed to make sure we had all the reservations settled: hotels and bus tickets from one city to another.
Upon our arrival at the airport we changed money, took a taxi and arrived at our hotel. It was so calm, the man at the desk was so attentive, it was just what we needed!
DSC04746
Day 2:
We woke up at 9 o’clock, decided to walk to the main square (Jamaa El Fna). It took us 40 minutes. On our way we saw the Hotel de Ville, the Agriculture Ministry, the Koutoubia Mosque.
On this place you can find stalls and souks. Souks are composed of never-ending streets and people on each side selling traditional items (clothes, food, accessories).. We ate tajines and drank freshly pressed orange juice at Les Terasses de l’Alhambra, with a view on Jamaa El Fna. We had fruit juice at a café close by.
Then we walked in the direction of Bahia Palace. It is a palace name means “brilliance” that reflects Islamic and Moroccan architectural style.
DSC04957
DSC04939
We then went to the ruined palace of El Badi (the “incomparable”). Inside El Badi Palace we found the Museum of Photography where we saw an exposition of Daido Moriyama, a japanese photographer who aims at illustrating the gradual destruction of traditional values. We found a nice café to drink a smoothie and a mint tea, and went to a sky-bar (Le Salama) to wait for the sun to set on the red city of Marrakech. We enjoyed the happy hours deal (get 1 buy 1 free).
DSC05346
We finally had dinner at a restaurant accessible through the souks. On our way back to the hotel, we walked around Jamaa El Fna lit-up, filled with its snake charmers, monkeys etc.
Day 3:
We went to the Palmeraie to ride a camel. The man who was giving us the tour was really nice, he told us he lived in the desert.
DSC05432
After this, we went to the Majorelle Garden, visited the Berber Museum and saw the Yves Saint Laurent memorial. The café inside was really nice so we decided to stop there for a while.
DSC05655
We stopped at a bakery so that I could buy plenty of moroccan pastries and then left for Taghazout.
Day 4:
After waking up at 8, we had breakfast on our terrace (we were renting a studio through Airbnb).
DSC05836
We visited the small village, stopped at a café near the beach, and then rented 2 surfboards and 2 wetsuits for 7 euros a day each! So you can guess what we did all day…
DSC05984
DSC06021
We then watched the sunset from our terrace, had a candlelit dinner near the beach (we had grilled fish).
DSC06156
Day 5:
We woke up early enough to watch the sunrise, sitting on rocks near the beach. 
DSC06079We left for Marrakech, where we booked a room in a beautiful riad (Dar Mchicha). A huge banana tree was growing inside the livingroom, it was surreal! Our host suggested the restaurant Chez Fatima Berbere nearby, it was really good. We had a royal couscous and vegetarian briouats.
Day 6:
Our host was perfect, he woke up a 5 in the morning to serve us breakfast and helped us get a taxi to the train station. We had to commute all day to get to Chefchaouen.
DSC05775
Day 7:
We walked around the city, shopped a little. It was raining so I cried and cried and cried. After turning down a million offers for weed, we found this cute shop where a man and his father worked. The latter was curving bronze and other metals by hand. I bought a tea pot (and later came back to buy a cute Aladin lamp and a mirror). They had a proverb saying “people in a hurry are almost dead”. I’ll try to live by that and not be carried away by my speedy Parisian life. After meeting a Berber who suggested a small restaurant with tasty food, we followed his advice and had a Harira (Moroccan soup) and ate a tajine there.DSC06511
There was the Achoura celebration, so we saw the fun fair. We ate at Casa Aladin which has probably the best rooftop of the city. However you shouldn’t have high expectations about their food, as it is not great.
DSC06601
We went out with our host to the only bar in the city: Oum Rabia. We had moroccan red wine and beer. They served us tapas the whole night for free!
Day 8:
DSC06677It was sunny! We went to the Kasbah garden, up the towers to have a view of the city. Yes, we crave for these. There was a museum about the Berbere lifestyle. We ate on the terrace of Morisco It was really good and we couldn’t finish our plates (that doesn’t happen very often with us).
DSC06806
We walked to the mosque on top of a mountain to see the sunset and ate at Paloma, which has a very well decorated interior that compensates for the food which was alright.
DSC07024
We left the next day for Tangier, with a stop at Casablanca.
Mashi Moshkil*= No problem

The Alternative City of Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Travel
P1010504
Ever since I was in high school, all I wanted to do was to learn many languages and live abroad for a while. I decided to major in English and for my last year of Undergraduate studies, and to study in the USA. My application was sent through a program called ISEP and I got accepted at UNCA (University of North Carolina at Asheville)! I did not know what to expect at first, because this city was really different from what I imagined America to be. I had been to the USA twice, once to California and once to Louisville and NYC. So imagine my surprise when I arrived in this cute little town surrounded by forest, in the middle of the mountains! On my arrival I was picked up by the nicest student and I met the international coordinator who made sure from the beginning that I had everything I needed. It was late in the evening so I was shown to my dorm to unpack and sleep. The next morning a French girl knocked on my door to meet me and we went to have breakfast with the other international students. People from everywhere united in one room: that’s how it started, and that’s how it kept going for a whole semester (at the end of the semester, some had to go back home or pursue new adventures, it was heartbreaking). During this year abroad, I skyped a lot with my friends and family, although I tried to speak English as much as possible, keeping in mind that it was one of my first priorities! But I also sent emails to my parents, which ended up summarizing bits of my experiences from time to time. I wanted to start a blog then, or write in a journal but I had so much going on that the only writings I have left are those emails to my parents. Now I am so glad that we sometimes couldn’t skype! 
We saw a lot of things, and it will be hard for me to sum up all these experiences in one post, but there are some places I’ve seen and things I’ve done that I will never forget. I believe at least fifteen of them are worth mentioning here:P1000092
  • 1) Downtown Asheville.
Because it’s one of the easiest cities to walk around. In the USA I feel like it’s sometimes difficult to go places if you don’t have a car. Here you can talk a walk and visit the small artsy shops, galleries or have a drink in some of the hippies cafés…:) You can also see the various range of street art and performing artists. Or people that you would think are performing but are just living their lives not giving a F about what people think. Only that makes the Asheville experience worth it. I can’t even compare this city to anything else I know. Maybe Amsterdam or Nimbin in Australia, but I will have to check that hypothesis in the next few years!
P1010544 P1090902
  • 2) The parkway.
I should have started with this one. When you go up the mountain you can find many extraordinary places to… chill. 
P1010477 P1010660 1558728_10201431773061922_2003087799_n
  • 3) The shooting range.
I know I know, this is controversial. But as a French girl I was really happy to try this. I am not supporting having a gun in your house, but I understand people that do. Anyways, it was really fun experience, and it’s one I will long remember.
  • 4) Scandal.
Yep if you go to Asheville, you have to try this club. It is really fun and it makes you understand better all the spirit of Asheville and the uniqueness of its people.
  • 5) UNCA Basketball games, and seeing Michael Jordan.
I am not a huge fan of sports, especially watching it. But I have to say that I got a kick out of coming to the games. Once again, it’s all about the spirit!
P1010845 P1030100 P1030092
  • 6) Dupont State Forest and Pisgah National Forest:
We went on a camping trip weekend there in the fall, and the nature was absolutely beautiful. We saw Triple Falls among other things. I get why the Hunger Games were filmed on this location!P1020484
We also escalated one of the rocks (scary for me, but good-scary you know, and really worth it when you finally are at the top!).  
P1020524
  • 7) My classes at UNCA:
From Queer Literature to History of the South or Young Adult Literature, all I can say is that I chose to pick courses that displayed an alternative perspective on the world. And it was probably one of the best choices I made that year. Go out of your comfort zone, meet people that think differently than you, what more can you want from a study abroad experience?!
  • 8) The Biltmore Estate:
The kind of place that makes you feel classy just walking around the estate. We also had a wine degustation that was really enjoyable!
  • 9) The Fortune Teller:
We went to see that man with a friend, and it ended up not being really satisfactory and pretty vague, but it was fun! He told me that I would pass an exam “if I really wanted to”, and I did ! So maybe he was right after all!
P1120296
  • 10) Hypnotist:
It was one of the first days. A hypnotist came to the University, and he asked voluntary students to come and be hypnotized right in front of us! He made them do weird things like shouting or dancing a slow with a broom, and they clearly had no idea of what was happening! I usually am sceptic about this but I couldn’t deny it anymore, he definitely could do this!
  • 11) The 2012 elections.
Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney, it was such an incredible thing to be able to be in the USA at the time of the elections! And being in a Democrat city in a Republican state made it a unique experience.
  • 12) The Bus-café:
Sometimes you want to take a trip somewhere. Sometimes you want to sit down and drink coffee. Well Asheville decided you don’t have to choose, you can just do both! You also have café-libraries if you are a bookworm..!photo-1
  • 13) Prakash, my friend’s snake, & all of her kitties of course!
    Photo May 09, 7 51 25 PM
  • 14) The Arboretum.
We took a trip there and it was simply beautiful. Plants and flowers everywhere, as you can expect, but what I liked the most wasthis Asian section with Bonzaïs because it made up a relaxing atmosphere and you could just sit there and enjoy nature surrounding you. It was the spiritual side of Asheville showing up all around you.
P1020826P1020816
  • 15) Rosetta’s Kitchen.
Yes I admit it, it’s campus food, but I am not ashamed to say that I fell in love with their Tofu-Avocado sandwich. Plus it’s probably better than most restaurants, because it’s based on organic and natural food. In one word: Healthy!
And you? Have you ever been to Asheville? Tell me about your experience!

Sardinia!

Travel
Sardinia
We finally decided to go on our first romantic trip. When I say that he was part of the decision process, all I mean is that actually I decided everything. 😉 Anyways, we went to Sardina, and our hotel was in Alghero, a beautiful city along the west coast. It was quite hard to find information on this destination, so I hope this helps a little! The best advice I would give you is probably to avoid going in the summertime because the beaches can be crowded sometimes.
Here are 5 things we loved the most:
1 : Stintino Beach : We had to take a 4 hours bus from Alghero to get there, but it was really worth it! It was the highlight of our stay here. The crystal blue water, the rocks.. It was a beautiful setting. We bought a bottle of wine to drink on the beach but it was so hot we should have brought a cooler! Our attempt to cool the wine in the water was an epic fail.
2 : Maria Pia Beach : That beach is accessible after going through some pine trees, if you want to go for a slightly more natural and wild place. It is quite small but very nice!
3 : Food: The pizzas, homemade ice creams… We ate it all. It was delicious. I tried the Nutella pizza though, and I don’t regret it because I’ve always wanted to try it but I wouldn’t order it again. It was just so big and honestly not as well made as the salty ones.
4 : The drinks: The fresh fruit smoothies: Along the beach, you can find big oranges or lemon shaped fruit bars, and the drinks were just excellent!
The Ichnusa beer: the typical beer of Sardinia!
5 : The cute center of Alghero: It was simply amazing. Try to picture little shops and colorful streets. We had a great time just walking around and enjoying our time here. If you go towards the coast, you can catch the sunset. Isn’t it everything you want for your relaxing romantic holidays?!