.: Day 2 – Saint Emilion :.

As a wine lover I was really looking forward to explore Saint Emilion and visit the different châteaux, so for our weekend away in Bordeaux I had to ensure I would visit Saint Emilion. From Bordeaux is really easy to get there, just take the train from the main station, it takes around 45m to get there. Trouble is there are not that many trains available, so you better check online what is the schedule that will work for you.

Even though in the end I couldn’t drink, I still wanted to make my visit. It was a shame it was so cloudy and rainy later on.

It’s a shame also that most of the stores were closed, except for a few wine places. I would have enjoyed just exploring the region goods. More than half of the restaurants were closed as well.

You remember when I’ve said that the Caneles were disappointing to me? Well, not the Saint Emilion Macaroons! They were absolutely delicious! So much better than the macaroons! The flavour of almond, ahh so good. I should have bought boxes of them. I’m in love now, seriously!

We went for one of the only opened restaurants in the area: Le Bouchon and decided for the menu of the day, a warm soup and chicken with tomato sauce. It felt like food I would have at home and not necessarily at the restaurant, but was happy with that

As we left the restaurant it started to rain quite a lot and to be fair I was feeling so exhausted, so we’ve decided to take the train back rather than wait extra 2h30 for the next available one.

I think because of the combination of: me not drinking and feeling tired, low season and everything closed plus the weather we didn’t took the most out of it. I’m looking forward to be back at the high season (around September) to make the most of the vineyards

Here’s an inspired recipe

For dinner, I wanted to visit Le Chien de Pavlov as recommended by our host, but it was already fully booked! But they’ve recommended us their brand new restaurant Potato Head, also by chef Mary et Maxime. Again love the name! Was really excited to try out french fusion food.

Loved the space immediately

For starters we went for the potato risotto

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By looking into it, you have no idea on how good it’s going to taste, but oh boy, after the first bite I could feel all the flavours. Really good.

For the main I went for the iberian Pork with sweet potato (I love sweet potato)

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Again really lush! Loved the apple on the top. Perfectly cooked.

For dessert we went for the chocolaty one, and again quite a big portion

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Loved the whole meal and the whole experience. Service was really friendly and I would be back in a blink of the eye. I dare say, the best meal of the year so far!

Have a lovely Easter Break 🙂

.: Day 1 in Bordeaux :.

It feels it was ages ago now, but I didn’t had the energy to edit the photos from that weekend (oh life lately!). Bordeaux was our sister weekend away and now I wonder why didn’t we do it ages ago? It was brilliant to have some time together.

After checkin in the house and as I had some time left while my sister didn’t arrive from her flight, I went on a mission to get a nice lunch. I bumped into Le Petit Commerce, a favourite by the locals by it’s fresh fish. Considering I’ve arrived quite late, around 14h, it was still quite crowded. I had to wait a little bit for a sit, but it was so worth it.

I’ve decided for the day’s offer, fish soup. Ohh it was so marvellous! Even the bread was absolutely tasty. I had no idea I was craving for fish this badly.

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Then, in the table next to me, they’ve ordered cafe gourmand, which is pretty much coffee served with petits fours. Delicious!

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I left the restaurant feeling loads better than I was after my nap in the house. Ready to explore the city.

I loved the colours immediately, it felt like Paris meets Bath.

My sister eventually arrived and we’ve continued exploring the city

I wish I could buy all of these!

Don’t you just love the colours? Then we went to explore the famous canneles. Well I have to say this was a disappointment. They were not as good as I would expect them to be. It felt like biting a piece of rubber to be fair.

We went for a quick shower at the house before heading over for dinner. For dinner we’ve decided L’Entrecote. I knew about l’entrecote from the branch in London, so I knew I was going to love it. My sister was in love with the sauce as well. Being L’Entrecote, it means waiting a while. I think we’ve waited around 45m and we were one of the first in the queue.

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So good! I managed to finish it all, which was an improvement considering my previous month. Really worth a visit 🙂

Next stop: St-Emilion!

Btw, Feliz dia do Pai (Father’s day in Portugal)

.: AirBnB Bordeaux :.

Last weekend me and my sister went for a weekend away in Bordeaux. We’ve decided that, rather than give something each other for Christmas it would be a nicer idea to do a weekend away. We still bought something to each other so we would have something to unwrap and also the idea of doing a weekend just for the 2 of us sounded really tempting. It’s been almost 10 years since we’ve done something like this.

I’ve also decided that it would be finally the time to use AirBnB. I guess the reason why I was so behind in the game is that I end up booking big chain hotels to use the points, or then trying to find a cosy B&B like the one we had in North Wales. But I was keen on trying AirBnB this time. After doing a quick search I fell in love with the stone apartments in the centre of Bordeaux. This is how I found Antoine’s

The bed area

The decor is perfect for the style of the apartment. Absolutely beautiful!

Now let’s talk about location – I couldn’t ask it to be any better than it was

Yap that’s right, in the historical centre in the middle of all nice restaurants and bars. It was just perfect!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Antoine as he was waiting for me at the apartment and he gave me really good tips of which restaurants to try in the area and what to see and do.

Something I found really surprising was that, not only I can leave the review of my stay, but I get one back as a guest as well! This is really useful information for anyone renting out flats! Good idea guys!

So overall quite pleased with my AirBnB experience, which I’ll definitely be repeating again in Japan 🙂

Have you used AirBnB before? Any experience you would like to share?

.: Copenhagen Part 2 :.

It feels it was ages ago! But I have to admit I didn’t had the chance to go back to all the photos (you can see Part 1 here). Our trip to Copenhagen back in April was quite a relaxed one. It was also the first time both of us were keen on not just exploring the city but take as many photos as we could, which meant going out night and watching the sunset and the nightfall even if it was freezing outside

On our last day we went to Nyhavn (we had to go there!) because it’s so colourful. This is where I don’t care it’s a tourist attraction and everyone goes there. Well if it’s beautiful why shouldn’t I?

We’ve continue walking along the river in direction of the “Little Mermaid”

Little Mermaid itself is boring. There’s a lot of people taking photos there, but there is a nice park around which is worth a visit (fortunately I had already lowered my expectations)

Loved the military houses, all of them so colourful, quite a lovely place

Then back in the city for some lunch and more photos

After a while I was craving for coffee so we had a stop over.

Finally we’ve decided to go to the Tivoli Gardens which are located in front of the main train station (and close to our hotel). Don’t let the name full you, it’s actually more a fun park than it is a garden. There are quite a lot of restaurants around. I couldn’t resist an ice cream (even with the cold), after all ice cream is good all seasons.

Trying to do a creative selfie, and failed ahhahaha

And suddenly it felt I was in UK 🙂

Then I’ve spent a good 30m trying to take a decent photo of the roller-coaster but it was all quite unfocused. It had to be a click on the precise moment in time. It looks funny even if it’s technically crap

Then after going for some drinks in the lounge it was time to go outside and try some nocturnal photos. Did I say it was freezing?

Although I like to photograph lockers, I find this whole concept of lockers in the bridge a bit silly and a disrespect to the landmark itself.

Lockers aside, as the sun was going down the cold was getting it’s mark, but the colours were so beautiful around us we had to stay longer.

Shooting bokeh

Did I say I’m rubbish in long exposures? Well I am! Just can’t get them sharp enough

So decided to do more bokeh’s instead

After this point both my hands (even if covered by gloves) and feet felt like ice age, so we went back to the hotel for a warm dinner and more wine in the lounge.

Next morning it was time to get back to London. Such a lovely long weekend away 🙂

.: White Houses – Alentejo, Portugal :.

For those of you that are following me for a while you will know that one of my favourite regions in the world is Alentejo, Portugal! Before I left Portugal back in 2010, I used to wake up early in the morning and explore a different corner of Alentejo.

.: The Food :.

Carne de Porco Alentejana

Amejoas a bolhao pato

Arroz de Marisco – seafood rice

.: The wine :.

Alentejo is one of the most wine regions in Portugal, I guess second to “Douro”, the birthplace of Port wine. But for an honest wine to drink among friends I can’t resist Alentejo wine. Unpretentious, dry and strong

Adega de Borba

Antão Vaz da Peceguina Branco

Esporao reserva

One of my favourite

Monte Velho

.: The landscape :.

I would say this is the best part of it all. After the amazing food and wines, it’s a gorgeous natural landscape

There’s also the coast! Imagine Rhossili Bay, Wales, but even more unique!

.: An experience @ Alentejo :.

It’s all about turning off your phone – but leaving your camera on for some amazing photos – shutting down and just relax!

Some examples below

Casas da Lupa

House on alentejo shore

Monte do Zambujeiro

For more inspirations and places to stay check here.

Looking forward to go! Tempted to go as well?

.: Bucket List – Albania Riviera :.

I had Albania on my wishlist for a long while and after seeing this post by Silvia from Heart My Backpack I want to go right now!

Amazing and unexplored beaches:

(Note all the photos below are credit to the original photographers)

Top 5 beaches in Albania

The Blue Eye – Saranda

Which places to visit

Sarandë

Dhermi, also known as the Albania riviera

 

How to get there?

As there is only 1 airport in the country, Tirania, there are 2 options really. Either fly to Tirania and then rent a car and drive all the way down, or, go via Corfu. Which I would say sounds like a very good option

Corfu

Why should you travel to Albania?

  • Do you like to explore places less explored?
  • Do you like the raw landscape?
  • Are you happy without any big chain hotels and resorts and a simple lifestyle?
  • Do you want to disconnect from the world and just enjoy the beach?

If you had yes to most of the questions above, then I would say Albania Riviera is the place to go! The hotels / apartments there are quite cheap, I wish we could say the same about the flights! But if you book in advance I’m sure you can get a pretty good deal.

Have you been in Albania? Any tips you want to share?

.: An evening in Copenhagen :.

After our stop by the hotel we were ready to go for dinner and another walk. Although I didn’t plan anything really for our weekend, I did planned where I wanted to go for dinner. My choice was Cofoco, which is part of a well known group.

They have a set menu whereby you choose 4 dishes and you can also apply the wine menu, but that didn’t felt worth it and the reviews of the wine weren’t great. Well, after all it’s quite an expensive country even for those of us living in London!

In terms of decor, it definitely feels we’re in a posh Ikea restaurant, everything with a very simple but elegant decoration.

Our starter was a cod-fish salad with almonds. Felt like a very interesting combination

After that it was soup time, I don’t even know how to describe it, except to say it’s clearly different from everything I’m used to

We had a meat dish which I forgot to photograph and then our dessert, which it would have been a lot better without the weird sauce they’ve put inside.

Overall a really nice experience. Neither less to say everyone was really lovely throughout the meal. After that we went for a walk and some drinks in our hotel.

Have you been in Copenhagen? What’s your favourite restaurant?

.: Road Trip in Italy :.

I love Italy. I seriously do! There’s something about Mediterranean countries and people: the love for good weather, good food and hospitality! I simply can’t resist good bread, olive oil, tomato and pasta.

Having been in only a few cities in Italy, it’s been on my wishlist for a long while now to do a road trip. I’ve done Rome, Venice (which really surprised me quite a lot!) & Milan (Disappointing!!!)

Day 1 – Genoa
I believe that Genoa gets really forgotten from a touristic point of view, but it has lots of potential and history as well. So looking forward to explore the city. I’m planning to fly via Genoa because it’s actually cheaper than say Florence.

For more information click here.

Day 2 & 3 (or maybe 4) – Cinque Terre

Ahhh, all these photos on the internet from Cinque Terre! It’s absolutely stunning

Monterosso

Vernazza

Corniglia

 

Manarola – The postcard everyone knows!

 

Riomaggiore

 

If you are planning to visit Cinque Terre I would recommend a visit to the official website, there’s a lot of useful information such as accommodation or how to travel around. The best way to get there and move between villages is by train.

Can’t hardly wait to go!!!

Day 4 – Pisa

A stop by Pisa is a must.

Day 4/5 – Florence – The Jewel of Italy

I think the pictures speak for itself right? So let’s speak about gastronomy then.

The pasta

 

The Wine – It’s Tuscany after all!

What are you waiting for?

 

 

.: Last day in Lisbon :.

Oh yes, I’m absolutely late with my Lisbon photos. I’ve been taking quite a lot of photos recently, which means it’s quite easy to get behind the editing and checking all of them. Finally managed to finish my Lisbon photos. It was such a good week!

For dinner we went to a place I was really looking forward to go, called Atalho Real. I  can’t recommend this place enough! From the friendly staff, to the place itself and finally the quality of the meat. So good! Seriously!

Delicious tender meat! so yummy!

For dessert we had carob brownie with strawberry ice-cream, delicious!

And then it was time to get back to UK. What an amazing week!

.: Another food day in Lisbon :.

On my last Friday in Lisbon I really had a great food day.

Lunch was in Sintra, in a traditional place called Apeadeiro. It’s really easy to find, in the city centre.
As soon as we’ve got in, we were welcomed by really friendly staff. In our table we had fresh cheese (ohhh I really missed this!) and some other starters

The bread was simply delicious! It was refilled a few times. For main I’ve decided to have the grilled squid.

Grilled squid – Half a portion

Yes, believe it or not, the photo above is half a portion and it was quite filling. Absolutely fresh and delicious! The boys had veal which was pretty good as well.

Still there was space for some pudding, chocolate mousse

To end our meal, we were served port wine (complimentary). I was impressed by the fact that they’ve left the bottle in our table, so we could have whatever we wanted. If this isn’t good service, trust based, then I don’t know what is!

Port Wine

Overall we left pretty amazed with the food quality, and the genuine honest good service. Can’t recommend enough! As soon as I’m back in Sintra, I will be back!

Dinner

For dinner, the plan was something really special. Both me and my sister went to fulfil a long awaited wish list: visit a Fado House in the heart of Lisbon! This was a kind gift from the Zomato team in Portugal. Thank you!!!

Cafe Luso is located in Bairro Alto, everyone’s favourite going-out area both tourists and locals alike. I find Bairro Alto quite a special place because all the classes mix here, poor and posh alike. There are really trendy restaurants and bars and somehow it all combines together.

Bairro in the evening

For years I wasn’t really a fan of Bairro Alto, simply because it’s always crowded. But I guess that once you live in London, crowds mean something different. And I have to admit it’s quite nice to have a drink (or more) outside while talking with friends in a nice warm evening.

I digress, apologies. Back to Cafe Luso. Let’s set up the mood properly.

I have to say thar Cafe Luso was mostly oriented for foreigners. The most traditional fado houses can be found in Alfama. Still I would recommend this experience to locals alike (it was a bit expensive though, 82€ for 2 people).

The space is quite big on the inside, the tables were filled with tourists, but it was a nice ambience. The “show” starts at 20h30, so we had been advised to arrive at 20h15, which is what we did.

The menu has a couple of options with pre-planned menus, which makes the choice a lot easier. I had the F which was octopus warm salad followed by a meat main.

The show includes not only Fado, but also “Marchas”, which is a Lisbon tradition in early June. If you are planning to visit Lisbon I would recommend you try to visit around early June so you can see it. All the city gets decorated with lots of colours and everyone eats and dances outside. Really good fun.

Marchas Populares de Lisboa

But the main part is all about the Fado. There were 3 main “fadistas” (People that sing Fado): a young lady (which was my favourite), a guy and a more traditional Fadista.

Marchas

So, we have a saying in Portugal which is Silence, we’ll be singing Fado. (Silencio que se vai cantar o Fado), which means a sign of respect for Fado. Because it’s so soulful, we get drawn to it and absorb every word. Maybe because of the drinks, some of the guys in the main tables were quite noisy.

Silencio que se vai cantar o fado

The food arrives as the show carries on. It’s served slowly so you can enjoy the show. So please don’t arrive starving, otherwise it may be a bit painful to wait for all the dishes to come.

Octopus warm salad

Main dish

Pudding was a brownie. Felt more like a chocolate cake than a brownie, but good anyway

We’ve decided to stay for the 2nd part of the show, which starts at around 22h20. They close the main room and the ambience becomes a lot cosier. The small tables get candles and the evening progresses on the more romantic side. Both me and my sister decided to have some liquors.

I really recommend the stay for the 2nd part of the show. I’ve really enjoyed it! We didn’t stayed for the end, but it was an amazing dinner. Quite an experience

Tip: If the “Fadista” sings really well, at the end of the song we say “Ah Fadista!”

After the Fado experience, we’ve both decided to go to a rooftop bar. Yes I know, I can’t resist them, can I? As we were so close, we’ve decided to visit Silk.

Silk is located in a gorgeous building called Espaco Chiado

And this is the bar:

(Photos above from google)

The view is really beautiful, but still it doesn’t beat “Rooftop Bar @ Hotel Mundial

I wanted a Portuguese gin, but they didn’t had any in stock. I was also upset that regardless of the gin everything would be served with cucumber. Not impressed with the drinks choice but the view is worth it.

So overall, it was an amazing day!!! Can’t hardly wait to be back!

Happy Easter! I’m travelling to Copenhagen for the weekend 🙂