Palio – Siena

Today is the first of two palios held in Siena, Italy. A palio is horse race held twice a year. July 2nd and August 16th. 10 horses with their riders riding them bareback in their local colors. 10 of 17 “districts” are represented at ill palio in a race tree times around the piazza del campo. This normally do not last more than 90 sec.

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Here seen with all their flags. Different flag for different part of the city

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Before the race there is a spectaculare pageant, the corteo storico which I got to experience. Which includes flag wavers and drummers in medevial costumes. They parade through the streets with the horse and following the crowds from each districs singing loud songs. Much like at a soccer game.

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Here are the houses of tortuga and panthera. You can really feel the dedicatons from each district. A serious matter.

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Backyard traveling

You really needn’t go long to explore your “own backyard”. For me a quick trip to the beach 10 minutes away is a new discovery every time.

But since we had the day of monday and I was babysitting in urgent need of an activity. A short day trip to Stavanger felt good and have been on my want to do list for a while now. We have had such a pretty weekend here and there is nothing prettier than old town Stavanger bathing in sunshine.

 

Old town Stavanger and Breia water

Old town Stavanger and Breia water

Old town Stavanger and the harbor

Old town Stavanger and the harbor

The old Town of Stavanger is located west of the harbor containing 173 wooden white painted houses. Mostly erected in the 17-and 1800th. To me this is the most beautiful part of Stavanger and I love to stroll down the narrow brick laid roads. This area contains a few galleries and even has it´s own small bicycle store, selling different cool stuff for your city bike. This part of Stavanger is one of the city´s biggest tourist attraction. And in cruise season you will find the streets buzzing with tourist. Best to take it all in when not so crowded.

This area was firstly intended for the fishermen and dockworkers but now it is quite expensive to live in one of these little houses. And yes this is a habitable neighborhood and not a museum. These days it is a well kept area with charming rose bushes and little gardens. If you ever visit Stavanger be sure to visit this beautiful part of town.

Old stavanger

old stavanger

øvre strandgate

øvre strandgate

Next week I´ll take a new visit and hope for just as good weather (weather in Norway can be a little unpredictable) as Champagne lunch and shopping with the girls are one the agenda.

 

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Paris – Wining and dining

As I sat at home today enjoying my french lunch, it suddenly hit me – I still haven´t written anything about my Parisian take on the kitchen.

My french lunch today and if you think that the latte has an image of a kangaroo - thats exactly what I was going for...

My french lunch today and if you think that the latte has an image of a kangaroo – that’s exactly what I was going for…

 

Travelling, wining and dining are for me synonymous. You can’t do one thing without the other. And some of the travel experience is enjoying some good food together with some good drinks. First thing that came into my mind when thinking about the french cuisine was of course Crepes, frogs leg, snails and Disney´s Ratatouille…

Out of these I only did the Crepes! None the less – my food experience let me to some really great places, heres a recommendations:

Le Bon Bock

Claiming to be the oldest restaurant in Montmartre. It is situated at the base of Sacré-Cæur and was our first choice of dinner our first night in Paris. We stumbled upon this restaurant a little by chance.

Duck with mashed potato

Duck with mashed potato

Chickenbreast in white sauce

Chickenbreast in white sauce

Cheese platter desert

Cheese platter desert

I found the atmosphere in this little restaurant absolutely adorable. It claims to have the same interior since 1879 – and it makes you feel like you step back in time. Gas lamps on the walls, a piano with a big variety of Absinthe to offer.  And it is no doubt a popular place. We heard several scandinavian come and go while eating there.

I even had to try Absinthe in the variety of an Absinthe sorbet just because – it was absinthe, and it felt very Paris like to do so. I guess I got sucked into the atmosphere. Not recommended – I did not like it very much and it was nothing like a sorbet – more like a alcohol infused over freezed ice-cream.

The rest of the meal was an absolute delight. We were very lucky to get in as we just stumbled upon it and went in by chance – you would probably do wise to book in advance just to be sure to get in.

The restaurant has its own Absinthe menu for desert

The restaurant has its own Absinthe menu for desert

dark and intimate decorated. Truly an amazing atmosphere

dark and intimate decorated. Truly an amazing atmosphere

 

If you wish to visit this lovely establishment, and i recommend that you do. You will find LE BON BOCK at:2 Rue Dancourt, 75018 Paris (Montmartre region) Dinner is served between 1800 – 0000.

Paris done in a day

Can it be done, you ask. And the answer is definitely YES.

one day in Paris

Firstly – don’t enter any of the big tourist traps. Paris is equal to long lines. All the big tourist attractions have long lines to them and if your not early enough you will end up spending a whopping 2 hours just waiting to get in to any of them. This is not well spent time.

Paris has so much to offer besides the main attraction. Should you avoid them? No. But you don’t have to enter them to experience them.

Take the Eiffel tower for instance.  A towering 324 man made latticework structure – and France´s most Iconic one. This year it celebrates its 125th years since first constructed. The Eiffel tower dominates this part of the south seine. Many of the better photo ops are shot around this area. You can’t simply miss this view, and it is breathtaking. Around 7 million people visit this structure each year – no wonder there is a long line. Take time to enjoy the surrounding park instead. Great for just relaxing or maybe even a picnic. This way you get to enjoy the sight of this wonderful tower and it is less crowded.

Spring in paris with the Eiffel tower towering.

Spring in paris with the Eiffel tower towering.

Map out what you really want to see and pack good walking shoes. If you are traveling with a spouse or a good friend you both may have different expectations of what you want to see. Me and Mr. grumpy always map out our wants in advance of a trip. You wouldn’t want to spend time in Paris arguing about what to see and do – that is just a big wast of time and effort – and Paris is after all all about the love. You should also decide if you wanna go by metro or by taxi. Metro is by far cheaper but more crowded and stressful. When we visited Paris we tried both. Mr. Grumpy did not take to the metro and the system very much so we had to switch to Taxi. And you get to see more of the city while driving the streets.

The best of Paris can be reached within a couple of hours. Do the hop on hop off busses and you see almost all the important sites within hours.  Don’t forget to take a walk along the seine. Especially on a sunny day. Buy some bread and cheese and have a picnic by the waterside.

a view of the tip of Ile st-Louis

a view of the tip of Ile st-Louis

If you really wanna do some shopping there are several areas to do this. You have the big and very long Champs-Élyseé with it´s designer boutiques. Big shopping centers such as Galleries Lafayette is located in Boulevard Hausmann. Want a more quiet shopping area try the Sorbonne Area

Highend shopping around Champés-Élyseé

Highend shopping around Champés-Élyseé

Arc de Thriomphe at the end of Champs-Elyseé

Arc de Thriomphe at the end of Champs-Elyseé

The busses do not take you up to the Montmatre area where the Sacre-Cæur is. This you have to do by your own. Take a taxi up to the church and walk down. You get an amazing city view from this hight. Enjoy a good lunch or dinner in the area. Worth exploring for a couple of hours.

Sacrè-Cæur always bring out the crowd

Sacrè-Cæur always bring out the crowd

city view

city view

 

Most importantly – don’t stress if you are not getting every little thing you want to get done. It takes time to fall in love with a city and you can always come back for more. ♥

L´amour

Reading up on my new destination

Reading up on my new destination

Finally got my booking done and can now proudly claim my new destination: Paris, France. It has been a want to go to city for years. Since neither me or my hubby have been here before (I finally get to practice my school french) I am in need of some advice. So if u have any good travel tips please comment. We are leaving on may 3rd, with a good month to plan.

Wining and dining at Marrakech

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Google morroccan food and you get endless hits. The most famous dish is probably couscous, on this recent trip I unfortunately did not get to taste this as it is a typical friday dish. A dish of celebration.

But the marroccans offer so much more as we got to experience first hand. If you want the true experience stay clear of the hotel buffet. You get a much more authentic taste if you just take the trip down to the square Djemaa el-Fna at sunset.  Fresh ingredients arrive every night to the small stalls and there are bigger tents for eating. Take the tour and pick your choice of food. Here you can get lots of varieties. Each stall has its own speciality such as snails in spicy stocks, lamb skewers, sausages, freshly squeezed orange juice and a big variety of nuts etc.

some of the stalls in Djemaa el-Fna

some of the stalls in Djemaa el-Fna

dates

dates

Picking out fresh nuts for a snack

Picking out fresh nuts for a snack

A word of advice if you choose to eat here is that although the food is fresh and prepared as you wait, plates and cutlery is washed in the same water all night. Choose the disposable plates.

This was the first time I got to experience the night market in Marrakech and I absolutely love it. When I first visited Morocco 15 years ago I only came here at daytime and it transform completely. The sounds, the shows, the smells – truly magical. Next time I visit I will surly pick these stalls over any hotel buffet.

We got the opportunity to lunch at the lovely Dar Moha. Moroccan cuisine interpreted by Marrakech´s famous chef Moha Fedal.

The courtyard offers fine dining around the lovely pool

The courtyard offers fine dining around the lovely pool

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geting waitered

geting waitered

a lovely tapas salad for appetizers

a lovely tapas salad for appetizers

a small selection of the lunch

a small selection of the lunch

To top it of we had some lovely moroccan white wine. I never knew they actually made wine here. Even if it is a muslim country most restaurants serve wine for their customers. Moroccan law does not prohibit the production of beer and alcohol, only their sale to muslim customers. Wine can be bought at the supermarket and at some restaurants especially if catered to tourists and visitors. Just remember it is not sold during islamic festivals including Ramadan.

Our last night in Marrakech was spent in the fashionable restaurant Bo-zin, just outside the center of Marrakech. Wow, a better feast may not be possible. The food was out of this world. The atmosphere, the decor, great food, good music and good company. What more to ask. The restaurant is modern and stylishly done. The food, a mix of asian and french.

apperizers

apperizers

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some outdoor cozy – neat in the heat

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outdoor couches to relax in

dinner

dinner

 

Enjoying the outdoors with a great fireplace

Enjoying the outdoors with a great fireplace