All posts tagged: Europe

A Gastronomic Weekend in Lyon, France

On my quick trip to France, I was enticed to come to Lyon by its gastronomic reputation even among my non-foodie friends. The best way to explore this charming city is with a local guide, and I just happen to have one in the family. My cousin, NT, planned our never-ending walk around town to explore Lyon in 1.5 days, which turned out to be much-needed exercise from all the delicious food that we ate. In this post, I will share our walking and eating tour of this charming and unassuming city. Day 1: Dinner at Restaurant M After arriving from Aix-en-Provence in the late afternoon, I only had enough time for dinner. NT introduced me to her favorite low-key restaurant in Lyon, Restaurant M. This is a contemporary French restaurant helmed by Julien Gautier, from Léon de Lyon – a 2 Michelin star restaurant. With a Michelin pedigree, the price was shockingly cheap. The menu is only 39 euros for entrée, plat and dessert. The atmosphere is of your neighborhood bistro and the restaurant …

Spring Road Tripping to Normandy and Brittany in France (Mont St. Michel, Cancale, St. Malo, Dinan and Giverny)

Shoulder season is one of the best times to visit Europe and late spring is the perfect season to see the French country side. Hotel prices are still reasonable and most attractions are open and are not overrun with tourists. The highways in France are easy to navigate and with all the technological options, gone are the days of getting hopelessly lost and confused on the road. My cousin and I decided to do a 4-day road trip to visit towns in the western part of France as it is one area we have yet to explore. Our destinations for this trip were Paris to Mont St. Michel, Cancale, St. Malo, Dinan and Giverny on our return to the city. Day 1: Paris to Mont St. Michel Mont St. Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a small island off the coast of Normandy that is topped with a medieval Benedictine monastery. Over hundreds of years, the ramparts were built around the island to keep the English forces out, which was followed by other buildings …

Review: Geranium (3 Michelin Stars) in Copenhagen, Denmark

As soon as I booked my flight to Copenhagen, I was ready to splurge on a gastronomic experience. At the top of my list was Noma and, unfortunately, it was closed during my visit. A good friend recommended Geranium, the only three Michelin star restaurant in Denmark. It was one of the best meals that she had eaten and that was good enough for me. I managed to book a reservation for our group of six for lunch and eagerly anticipated the feast. The cuisine at Geranium is modern Nordic with international influences. Lunch and dinner set menu at Geranium costs 2,000 DKK per person (approximately $320) and requires a deposit of 750 DKK per person (approximately $120). I also selected the juice pairing, which was something I had not seen before. With tip and tax, the meal came out to approximately $400 per person. It was a very expensive meal…but the inventiveness of the cuisine and the experience were worth every penny. Upon entering Geranium, the interiors projected a cool Nordic vibe with its …

5 Days in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I did not have the opportunity until recently. My goal was to really explore Barcelona at a leisurely pace. My friend came on this adventure with me and we settled on a Tuesday to Sunday itinerary. In this post, I will highlight our trip to Barcelona and what we learned from it. Day 1: Tuesday (Arriving in the afternoon) We arrived in Barcelona in the early afternoon and both of us took separate taxis from the airport as we were in different terminals. Prior to this trip, my friend and I were warned to be cautious of taxis and pickpockets in Barcelona. I did not truly believe that Barcelona was an unsafe city as it is an international European destination.  Unfortunately, the following taxi incident shook my faith in the city. After getting dropped off a block away from my destination, my taxi driver grabbed a 50 euro bill out of my hand and drove off after I disputed the fare. The fare …

Weekend Unexplored: 4 Days in Southern France (Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence, Lourmarin, Bonnieux and Cassis)

Provence has always been on my list of places to visit in Europe. I had an opportunity to visit Europe again this year and made it a priority to visit this charming region. My sister and I choose to visit the region in early May before the tourist crowds descend onto the area. Luckily my good friend grew up in the region and planned my trip for me. There is nothing better than having a local show you the best of their home region! Friday-Saturday: Provence/ Marseilles Sunday: Aix-en-Provence, Lourmarin and Bonnieux Monday: Cassis Arrived Friday My sister and I flew into the Marseilles International Airport Friday morning to uncharacteristically rainy and windy weather. Marseilles Airport is very small and the car rental lot is right next to the airport. We rented a small automatic car from Hertz prior to arriving in Provence and the whole process to pick up the car took over an hour and a half. Things move very slowly in southern France. We were advised to book our car months in …

Weekend Unexplored: Sintra, Portugal

During our stay in Lisbon, locals insisted that we must visit Sintra before we left Portugal. Since we were staying in Cascai, we added Sintra to our itinerary. Both locations are within one hour drive from Lisbon and have a completely different taste of Portugal from what we’ve experienced in Lisbon. In this post, we will recount our experience  and the recommendations that we received from the locals. Sintra is a small town on the Estoril Coast of Portugal and located only 28km away from Lisbon. Sintra is a 25 minute drive from the airport and 45 minutes train ride from Lisbon. This small town could easily fit into a fantasy land with its palaces dotting along the hills and peeping out under the thick forest. There are many fantastic castles and estates located within this small town that are listed below: Pena Palace – This palace is a cross between Gaudi’s creation in Barcelona and Disneyland. It was built in the mid-19th century on the site of the former monastery by the king consort, Dom …

Weekend Unexplored: Lisbon, Portugal

I recently had an opportunity to visit Portugal for a long weekend this past May. Portugal, over the years, has steadily become a travel destination for those that have visited other major parts of Europe and are open to explore smaller capitals. Lisbon is an easy destination to get to, especially with the increase in low cost carriers that service it. I had the weekend planned for good weather; unfortunately, I arrived into Lisbon on Saturday morning to torrential rain. I rearranged my schedule accordingly and had a good first visit to Lisbon despite the weather. These are the highlights of my 1.5 days in Lisbon. Day 1 (Saturday): Arrived in Lisbon to pouring rain Lisbon International Airport is a small international airport so it was not difficult to get out of the arrival terminal. My sister met me there and found a Starbucks right at Arrivals  (outside of customs) with free Wi-Fi to wait for me. This is also a great spot if you need to meet up with other folks flying in from other …