Category Archives: Europe

The Dubliners

The saying is, “When In Rome do as the Romans do”. Well the same goes for any city right? So we decided to take on that motto, “When in Dublin…”.   In our minds that meant hit the pubs, listen to live music – modern and folk, have a Sunday roast, brunch with beans on toast, all while exploring the beautiful city of Dublin. And that is what we did, very well I might add.  Dublin did not let us down, through rain and shine. This was our second visit and each time I become more and more fond of this city and the people.

We arrived on a rainy Friday evening rushing to our hotel, The Westin at College Green, and off to the O2 Arena to see Lady Gaga! My husband being the good sport he is, bought me tickets to the show, which he secretly enjoyed. This venue is a great place to see a show. We had standing tickets so we could experience all of the fun with the “Little Monsters”, which is how Lady Gaga refer to her fans.  So Little Monster 1 (me) and Little Monster 2 (my husband :)) enjoyed the music,  but this was only Part 1 of the music series that weekend.

Lady Gaga Live at O2 Arena
Lady Gaga Live at O2 Arena

Day 2 consisted of an early start so we could take full advantage of the beautiful sunny day. We started with a breakfast at Elephant & Castle. It might sound familiar as there is also one in New York City. Unfortunately we didn’t document our delicious breakfast but we chowed down on Huevos Rancheros, a creme brulee  oatmeal with berries and an omelet.  I’d highly recommend this place if you are looking for a good solid breakfast or brunch. Following our delicious meal our day continued on with exploring Dublin. We made our way through Grafton and Liffey Street, for some shopping and then off to the Dublin Castle.

Shopping on Grafton Street
Shopping on Grafton Street

On the way we found the non touristy areas and wandered through the narrow, cobblestone streets to find some great thrift and music shops,  little cafes and restaurants off the beaten path. After all of this walking we of course worked up another appetite so we stopped in at “Taste of Emila”. This great little spot served up boards of salumi and cheese. HEAVEN! What more do I need than salumi and cheese paired with a glass of vino, at an authentic Italian restaurant.

 

Taste of Emlia - Salumi
Taste of Emlia – Salumi

That evening we had Part 2 of the Music Series at Academy 2, to see a Pearl Jam cover band, Pearl Jem. Academy 2 was a small, intimate venue, with enough seating for us to sit back and listen to this cover band who sounded just like the real life Eddie Vedder.  I went back in time for a moment, to my sophomore year in high school, as I listened to Even Flow, Jeremy and Alive. Then I opened my eyes and thought, “No this time I am in Dublin”.  While I have fond memories of high school this moment was much better. So we had a great time at the show with no real plans for the rest of the evening. On our walk back through the Temple Bar area, bar being the key word, we stumbled across what we both thought to be one of the best parts of our trip, the Merchant Temple Bar. We saw a sign that read “Live Music” and thought lets check it out, more music, why not. That seemed to be the theme of the weekend anyway…

Merchants Arch Temple Bar - live music, amazing crowd
Merchants Arch Temple Bar – live music, amazing crowd

It was a little crowded so we made our way to the back of the bar and found a cozy spot which lead to a great little table offered to us by two Irishmen. Now I’m not sure what the best part about this bar was because there were so many things to choose from – the friendly locals, the pints of Guinness flowing or the awesome live music – Irish folk,  hairbands,  Pop; or all the people dancing and singing along having a fun time.

Merchant Arch Temple Bar
Merchant Arch Temple Bar

Needless to say we woke up on day 3 a little slow and in need of a good breakfast. We made our way to The Bakehouse for some Beans on Toast. What better way to start your morning after a night filled with Guinness. A cute place alongside Ha’penny Bridge. Their motto is to serve the traditional foods that their parents and grandparents were raised on. I feasted on Beans on Toast with mushrooms and a freshly squeezed orange juice. We enjoyed it so much that we went back the next day before our flight back to Copenhagen because we didn’t have enough the first time around. 

The Bakehouse Brunch
The Bakehouse Brunch

This time I had the Potato Farls with a side of baked beans and an orange juice. Delicious. Of course they have lighter and healthier options if that’s what you are looking for. 

After breakfast we were in dire need of a walk so it was time to do some more shopping before we headed to our final night of the Music Series Part 3, back at the O2 Arena to see One Republic. I didn’t have high expectation for this concert but surprisingly it ended up being my favorite. Sorry Little Monsters but this band sounds better live than they do on their album.

Needless to say our trip to Dublin was a fantastic one. Filled with good food, Guinness, music and shopping but most of all a beautiful city with wonderful people. Make your way to Dublin someday friends. You won’t be disappointed. I can promise you that.

O2 Arena
O2 Arena
The Temple Bar
The Temple Bar
College Green
College Green
Beans on Toast Crisps cause you can never have enough Beans on Toast
Beans on Toast Crisps cause you can never have enough Beans on Toast
The Bakehouse Menu
The Bakehouse Menu
Sunday Roast at O'Neills Bar and Restaurant
Sunday Roast at O’Neills Bar and Restaurant
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle

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Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Santorini: A Real Life Postcard

On this cold, rainy fall day my mind is wandering. It has wandered off on to the island of Santorini where I spent a week honeymooning with my husband. The island of Santorini  makes you feel like you’re walking into a postcard.  The white buildings beaming, the blue skies and waters that blend together can be seen for miles. There is nothing quite like it, giving you a sense of serenity while taking it all in.

We stayed at the Petit Palace, the perfect honeymoon hotel. Located just a few kilometers outside of Thira and away from the 100s of tourists in July it is the perfect spot if you are looking for some quiet and beautiful scenery. It’s nearly impossible to get tired of the view. In fact, the hotel is located at the top of a hill where tourists stop throughout the day to take it all in, snap some photos and then go along their way, not bothering anyone at all.

The Petit Palace

The trek to get to the pool, reception and hotel entrance from our room. There was an elevator but I chose not to use it every time. It’s too bad our hotel didn’t have their own private Santorinian donkey.

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The pool where we spent most of our days.

IMG_6258  View from the pool, reception area

IMG_6292 The pool. Our happy place.

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This hotel offers a breakfast package which is well worth it. You order the evening before and breakfast is brought to your room the next morning and set up  on your patio. Lets just say I had my share of pasties and Greek yogurt and cheeses, the breakfast of champs.

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Perissa Beach

Black pebble beach, known to be volcanic pebbles.

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The Red Beach

The Red Beach is one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in Santorini. It is quite small and crowded so we decided to admire the red and black volcanic rocks and crystal clear waters from above.  IMG_6412

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Oia

Oia, the most famous village in Santorini,  is known for their world famous sunsets. This is why I had previously dedicated an entire post to sunsets only. It deserved that. This picturesque village is filled with charming houses in narrow streets, blue domed churches and sun filled verandas. Oia is known to be the quieter of the villages, however,  that is not the case before sunset. The narrow streets are jam packed with tourists making their way to the verandas overlooking the cliffs, getting a spot to see the beautiful sunsets.

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 Ammoudi, Oia’s small port, known for their famous taverns serving fresh seafood and fish
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A Santornini donkey

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Thira

Thira is the capital of Santorini. This is the busier of the villages, with an abundance of restaurants offering verndas to dine at, bars, cafes, shops, discos, and hotels with views of the Caldera and sea. If you are interested in being in the center of it all this is the place to stay.

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Efharisto
Thank you for visiting!

Santorini: You’ve seen one sunset, you’ve seen them all…

You’ve seen one sunset, you’ve seen them all…not quite. You never seem to get tired of seeing the sunsets in Thera and Oia.  Maybe it’s because the colors are painting the sky with pinks, purples, reds and orange hues, as the sun drowns out into the horizon or the caldera, and you know you have a limited number of days to see this beautiful act of nature. Oia is known for the some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world and 1000s of tourists a day flock to this picturesque town that is carved out on a cliff. This was apparent when we we couldn’t make our way down the narrow, crowded streets of Oia as the tour buses were  arriving and dropping off loads of people at 5:30pm for an 8:30pm sunset, to get the best spot. There is only one word that can be used for the views in Santorini and that is “breathtaking”. The endless sunsets, the caldera and the blue sea are unforgettable. I can honestly say that pictures don’t do it justice but you’ll get the idea.

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Thank you for visiting!

Obrigado Lisbon

Lisbon, you got me. I felt an excitement, like that of a child going to Disneyland for the first time, on our way to the airport for my first visit to beautiful Lisbon. It was everything I expected it to be. The old charm, colorful cityscape, narrow and curvy streets, the sunshine beating down on the city, the warm nights, the delicious food… and lets not forget the Golden Gate Bridge! I had no idea that there was a replica built across the world, Ponte 25 de Abril. The funny part about this is Daniel mentioned it on the flight, however, when I am on a plane its like putting a baby in a car for a quick ride around the block to get them to sleep, so I half remember this conversation. To my surprise I see this reddish orange structure and I suddenly feel like I am in San Francisco. On one end it even looks like the cars are driving into the hills of Marin, minus the cross on the top of the mountain. I felt right at home, until I turned around and saw the Rua Augusta Arch.

The city is much bigger than I had expected it to be with many hills,  another San Francisco trait. You can see so many spectacular views from the high points of the city as you are walking through. Should you have no desire to climb these steep hills there are trolleys throughout the city to take you around.  And again I realize another similarity to San Francisco. Maybe this is why I felt so comfortable in this city so far away from the place that I called home for 36 years.

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Portguese Ceramic Tiles, Azulejos

Azulejos are ceramic tiles used on the interior and exterior of churches, houses, restaurants, bars and even subway stations.  They are applied on walls, floors and even ceilings.  Not only were they used as decorative, ornament art, but it also served a purpose for temperature control.  These people were ahead of their time on the “going green” initiative.

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Ponte de 25 Abril

The Ponte de 25 Abril was built in 1966 by the American Bridge Company which constructed the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, but not the Golden Gate. It was originally named after the dictator Salazar, but then changed its name after the revolution of April 25, 1974, Ponte 25 Abril.

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Rua Augusta Arch

The Rua Augusta Arch is a historical site built to commemorate the  reconstruction of the city after the earthquake of 1755.  As you pass through the arch a vibrant pedestrian rode opens up with cafes, restaurants and shops.

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Rua Augusta Comercio Square

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Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations)

Since the 1998 World Expo this has become a commercial and residential area and is one of the newest areas of Lisbon.

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View from rooftop infinity pool at the EPIC Sana Lisboa Hotel. If you like to walk this is a great place to stay since you will be trekking up hills most of the way. The hotel itself is beautiful and modern with an amazing spa, an indoor pool with a relaxation area that can be used by all guests, and most importantly the rooftop infinity pool that you see here. The service is outstanding as the staff is as attentive as can be.

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Obrigado e bom dia!