10 reasons to go for a Sunday early morning run in Paris

Reason 1: The early bird/runner gets to view Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro sans tourists…

Reason 2: Ditto for the Louvre…

Reason 3: Just you, the love-locks on Pont des Arts and the serene river Seine…

Reason 4: Car-free Sundays on roads by the river Seine

Reason 5: Having the park (Jardin des Plantes) all to myself…

Reason 6: Getting to enjoy a splendid view of the Notre Dame…

Reason 7: I get to be reminded of just how beautiful Paris is…

Reason 8: Musée d’Orsay, ’nuff said…

Reason 9: No worries about finding a green chair to sit on at the Jardin des Tuileries…

Reason 10: It’s barely 11am and I’m done with my 26km run. The reward is having the  Eiffel Tower before my eyes…🙂 🙂 🙂

Fantasy Fridays: Edinburgh, Scotland

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays  🙂 A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

On this 4th installment, we head to Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland in August. Why August? If you, like us, are keen on soaking in a buzzing atmosphere of art performances, cultural shows, visual arts exhibitions, comedy shows and other wide-ranging events, while mingling with people from all around the world (from what we understand, the population of Edinburgh doubles from about close to 500,000 to more than a million every August) as well as experience Scottish cuisine, August is the time of the year to visit Edinburgh as the Edinburgh Festival takes stage.  The Edinburgh Festival is not just a festival but a general term for the various festivals taking place in Edinburgh in summer, especially during August. Think of it this way, the price of a flight ticket to Edinburgh gets you ‘admitted’ to the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and a whole load of side-events taking place in the city. Talk about getting your money’s worth 😉

We’re in the land of bagpipes, kilts and tartans 🙂

The Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline of the city…Walk to discover the city as well as the numerous free street performances…

Our advice would be to book tickets early for performances you would like to watch before they sell out. No worries if you arrive without tickets though…there are plenty of choices…

Always up for new experiences, we experienced a theatre performance played out through our headphones while guided to different locations in the city…

Solemn grey buildings can be found everywhere in Edinburgh…

Not forgetting the fact that the world-famous series of Harry Potter books were created in Edinburgh by author J.K. Rowling in the cafe, the Elephant House in Edinburgh.  The George Heriot’s School below is reputed to be the inspiration for the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter…

Take a break and pub crawl through Edinburgh to taste Scottish ales…

What took us by surprise was how much we enjoyed Scottish cuisine. For some strange reason, we had initially anticipated rather bland cuisine but alas, the Scottish larder of quality beef, lamb, seafood and shellfish etc impressed us both and left us wanting more. Three of the restaurants we tried and highly recommend are the Castle Terrace (1 Michelin star, affordable £24 3-course lunch menu), Fishers (Make the trip out to the Fishers restaurant in Leith, the port of Edinburgh. The food and surroundings of Leith are worth the 3 mile/5km trip) and the Dogs (check out the pictures below!)…

The Edinburgh Festival was certainly an unforgettable experience for us.

If you had to choose one festival to head to in summer in Europe, this should be it! 🙂

Fantasy Fridays: Bangkok, Thailand

We all love Fridays. After a long week of work, we wake up on Fridays with a cheerful heart, anticipating the end of the work week and the two precious days of the weekend. Lazing around, catching up on our readings, partying, visiting museums, brunch with friends… the precious 48 hours which we all wish would pass by ever so slowly. Fridays are also the start of weekend trips. The short get-aways which allow us to get out and away from where we live to explore and experience another culture, albeit within a very short timeframe.

We’ve decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays. A vacation every Friday! Well, not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo recap of a vacation we  have taken. Re-living our past holidays and all the related memories of each trip…that lost luggage, the beauty of nature, delectable/horrible cuisine, inspiring architecture, the people we meet etc etc… All that just whets our appetite for the next trip! Ahhhh…

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

So here we go, some photos from an earlier visit to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

The primary religion in Thailand is Buddhism.  About 95% of the population adheres to Buddhism.  This is the famous Reclining Buddha (46 metres long) at the Wat Pho temple.

Facing the statue, you’ll find 108 bowls and it is said that good luck and longevity will come to those who put a coin in each of the bowls….

Walking around Wat Pho, which is also the largest temple in Bangkok…

Tiny me at the feet of the 32m standing Buddha at the Wat Intharawihan Temple…

Freedom for 90 Thai Baht (around 2.30 EUR/2.85 USD/3.65 Singapore dollars)…

Taking a ride on Thai traditional “tuk-tuks” which are motorised rickshaws.  Remember to bargin before you get in…

A must visit destination in Bangkok, the Chatuchak weekend market. It’s one of the largest in the world with about 9000 stalls.  The official Thailand tourism website states that “It is just about impossible to go to Chatuchak Weekend Market and not buy anything“…

Always be on the lookout in the Chatuchak Market. Surprises await you at every corner.

And of course, Thai cuisine! Thai Sweet sticky rice with mango (Khao Neeo Mamuang) is one of my favourite desserts…

Thai street food.  Here’s a stall serving Pad Thai – stir fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tofu, bean sprouts accompanied by either prawns or chicken – for 40 Thai Baht (1 EUR!/1.25 USD/1.60 Singapore dollars!) per plate…

Street food isn’t exactly for the faint-hearted or weak stomachs…

Though I must say that hygiene standards aside, the food is delicious!

I love people-watching…Graceful Thai dancers practising their moves, including that of flexing their fingers backwards…

This struck me as on one side, a little Thai girl is dressed up in her pretty gown while beside her, her mum/sister washes the plates for their roadside stall…

I think that’s enough fantisizing for now. Until the next “vacation”…

🙂 🙂 🙂

The Best Crêpes in Paris

I don’t know from where/when/how, but somehow the idea of buying a freshly made crêpe from a crêpe stand on a Parisian street, biting into it as I stroll along the River Seine seemed very Parisian/French to me when I used to visit Paris as a tourist.

When we moved to Paris, one of the ‘goals’ I had was to find the best crêpe in Paris. I’ve since come to realise that it’s quite a mean feat considering the panoply of choices here.

From what I’ve tried and have been recommended to, Breizh café in the yuppy Marais district in the 3rd arrondissement, Le Crêperie Bretonne Fleurie in the 11th arrondissement and Ty Breizh in the 15th arrondissement are worth a visit.  Many also flock to the crêperies along Rue du Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement (though I must honestly say I’m a sceptic as I visited one of the supposed standout crêperie of the street, the Crêperie de Josselin and found the restaurant way too crowded, noisy and the dishes were almost literally plonked down on the table as the waiters hurriedly rushed from one table to the other. From another perspective, some may actually enjoy the buzz of the place so I guess it’s quite subjective…) What I would recommend is to get a crêpe from the crêpe stand just across the street from the Eiffel Tower, walk towards the Champ de Mars Park behind the Eiffel Tower, sit down enjoy your crêpe while you people-watch and admire the Eiffel Tower.

Though truth be told, I’ve stopped searching for the best crêpe. Not that I’ve given up but I’ve actually found the best crêpe ………….

BOLLY’S HOMEMADE CREPE!

The fact that it’s home-made means that I know what exactly goes in, am assured of the hygene standards, pay a fraction from what I have to cough up at a crêperie and most importantly, Bolly’s home-made crêpes are lip-smacking good!

One particular recipe is the crêpe with ham, cheese, mushrooms with home-made béchamel sauce…

The mouth-watering ensemble of ham, cheese, mushroom and home-made béchamel sauce

Bolly makes it look so easy…

And here’s the BollyChee homemade crêpe – a joint production since Bolly cooked while Chee took photos 😛

Getting Away from Getting Away

A staycation in Paris was what my system needed after the recent travels. No packing of suitcases, checking in online, rushing to the airport, crossing our fingers upon arrival that the taxi driver is an honest man, planning our itinerary in order to maximise our holiday, catching the flight back to Paris and once again crossing our fingers that our suitcases would actually appear on the luggage belt. Just me and Paris, accompanied by Bolly and girlfriends. What more can a gal ask for?

A visit to the Cinémathèque Française to view the re-creation of the world of eccentric film-maker Tim Burton and picking up a souvenir from the visit…

Life isn’t easy for the Pin Cushion Queen
When she sits on her throne, pins push through her spleen

The discovery of another good Chinese restaurant in Paris, Shan Goût in the 12th arrondissement…

Window-shopping for us girls. Love the French term for it, “lèche vitrine”, which literally means licking the shop window. Thereafter an afternoon at the movies…

Ending the leisure afternoon with a drink at one of the newest and hip addresses in Paris, Beef Club Ballroom (58, rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, 75001).  Followed by a mouth-watering burger at the Beef Club. I usually am wary of these hip new addresses but Beef Club did not disappoint…

How about visiting a museum after dinner? It was the annual Night of Museums which meant that museums were opened late till midnight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one with this idea.  The queue outside Louvre was (way too) long….

Sleeping in the following morning. Having breakfast and watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy = bliss…

The Grand Palais’ retrospective on famed photographer Helmut Newton beckoned…

All the calories consumed had to be burnt off with a 16km run. Post-run reward, quality Japanese cuisine at an affordable price @ Restaurant Zen…

A leisurely stroll around this beautiful city as the sun was setting…

Sometimes the simplest pleasures of life are just around us. No plane tickets needed to find bliss, maybe just a metro/subway ticket… 🙂