Chefchaouen- The Blue Pearl of Morocco

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Chefchaouen 

 

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Chefchaouen, Medina 

 

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View from Salon Bleu in Tanger

We flew into Tangier, a port city on the Straight of Gibraltar. You only need an afternoon here to walk through the Medina (old city) and petit/grand Socca. Do not fall prey to the men who will offer to lead you to your hostel or hotel, as they expect payment. The next day we took a 3 hour shuttle to Chefchaouen or Chaouen, known for it’s blue-washed buildings situated in the Rif Mountains. It is one of most unique and stunning places I have ever visited. It is rumored that Jewish refugees introduced the blue walls to symbolize the sky and the heavens. Now, people also believe that the walls are painted blue to repel mosquitos. Regardless of the reason, this blue city is not to be missed!

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Local paint in Chefchaouen

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On the outer edge of the Medina in Chefchaouen

Now, on to the food! Moroccan cuisine is characterized by ras-el-hanout, a typical North African spice, which is a blend of around 30 spices including cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and cardamom. You must try tagine, a signature Moroccan dish consisting of meat and vegetables cooked in Moroccan spices and served over couscous. Afterwards, enjoy the traditional Moroccan mint tea, made by boiling water with mint leaves and adding a generous amount of sugar. Tip: ask for the sugar on the side. The dishes are also served with bread and olives. The bread is cooked in a wood-fired oven giving it a crunchy outer layer and doughy inside.

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Snack Assada

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Beldi Bab Ssour

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Fresh Moroccan Bread!

Highlights:

Medina (old town): You can spend a whole day getting lost in the maze-like medina, where we stayed. The dazzling blue walls are lined with vendors selling patterned blankets, jewelry, and pastries.

Outa el Hamma Square: Main square where most restaurants and hotels are located. There is always something going on from religious processions to people dancing on the street.

Spanish Mosque: The Spanish Mosque is located about 20 minutes (by foot) outside of the medina and offers beautiful views of the city.

Cascades d’Akchour: A beautiful waterfall hike about 45 minutes from Chefchaouen.

Where to eat:

All the restaurants have a similar menu, but here are the ones I recommend:

Beldi Bab Ssour (Chefchaouen, Medina): A local spot that gets very crowded. It is around 3-4 euros for a main dish. We sat a communal table and met a local artist who gave us recommendations on what to order. The tagine is excellent.

Restaurant Aladdin (Chefchaouen, Medina): Located in the main square and a bit more expensive. The atmosphere and décor alone are enough to eat here. The rooms are lined with with colorful tapestries and patterned cushions. You feel like you walked into another world. Plus they have two outdoor terraces with panoramic views of Chefchaouen. However, the food was mediocre. I recommend going for mint tea or appetizers to enjoy the ambiance.

Snack Assada (Chefchaouen, Medina): Another cheap local spot that offers outdoor rooftop seating.

Restaurant Al Kasbah (Chefchaouen, Medina): Another delicious restaurant off of the main square. They have colorful tables and chairs on the street that are surrounded by plants. You feel like you are eating in the jungle.

Salon Bleu (Tanger, Medina): A beautiful restaurant that has a rooftop terrace with unbeatable views of the city. I recommend going at dusk and watching the sunset. It was our most expensive meal of the weekend, although still affordable—we paid 15 euros for an appetizer, main course, dessert, and mint tea.

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Homemade local pastries in Chefchaouen

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Al Kasbah

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Salon Bleu

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Drinking fresh juice in Chefchaouen!

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Lisbon & Porto

As soon as I stepped off the Baixa-Chiado metro stop in the heart of the city, I loved Lisboa. I was greeted with sunshine and street performers playing music. Lisbon is the European San Francisco sharing the trolley cars, hills, 25 de Abril bridge (constructed by the same company that built the Bay Bridge), warm weather, and relaxed atmosphere. There is even a lookout point, where locals and tourists go to enjoy a drink with a view, that reminds me of Dolores Park. I felt right at home. I spent my days meandering the stone streets and enjoying lots of pasteis de natas. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful city!

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My favorite lookout point with view of the 25 de Abril bridge

Highlights:

Free walking tour (with donation): My favorite fact I learned on the tour is that J.K Rowling lived in Lisbon! The inspiration for her character Salazar Slytherin came from a past Portuguese dictator who was assassinated near her apartment.

Village Under Ground: This is the hipster area characterized by retro themed double-decker buses underneath the 25 de Abril bridge that have been converted into cafes and co-working spaces.

Book stores: The streets are lined with small book stores, and in fact the oldest book store in the world, Bertrand, resides in Lisbon.

Lookout point: This is the lookout point that reminds me of Dolores Park. It is across from Museu de Farmacia off of rue Marechal Saldanha. Everyone basks in the sunlight and enjoys beers that they bought at a nearby convenience store.

Sintra: I took a perfect day trip to Sintra, located about 1-2 hours by train from Rossio station. It is a picturesque Portuguese town where the Portuguese monarchs lived in the 20th century. It is filled with lush green hills and pastel-colored houses. My three favorite sites are Quinta da Regaleira (large estate/park with the famous initiation well that you enter through a cave), Pena Palace (the colorful palace at the top of the hill), and Castelo dos Mouros (medieval castle). The castles and parks are a bit too far to walk between but you can take an overpriced (5 euro per person) tuk-tuk ride. I recommend taking at least one to Pacio da Pena at the top. From there, you can follow a trail down back to the city.

Barrio Alto: A trendy area filled with cute shops and cafés that is very Marina-esque—there is even a juice shop.

Azulejos tiles: Cannot be missed as they are all over the city.

Pink Street: This is where most of the bars and night life takes place.

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Pena Palace at Sintra

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Me walking up to Pena Palace

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Initiation Well

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Village Under Ground

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What to eat:

Pasteis de nata: Rich custard pastries. The custards grew in popularity because women used the egg whites for bleach and were left with excess yolks. Their solution was to make pastries, and lots of them.

Petiscos tapas: A typical one is Moelas– chicken gizzards with traditional sauce. Yum!

Bacalhau: Cod fish. Cod is a staple component to many Portuguese dishes and is often served with roasted potatoes. The fried cod cakes (Pasteis de Bacalhau) are popular too.

Sardines: Another specialty from the region.

Ginja: Traditional cherry liquor that you sip. To me it tastes like cough syrup but many people enjoy it.

Bicas: espresso!!

Where to eat:

Cervejaria Ramiro (Seafood)  The seafood restaurant recommended by Anthony Bourdain. It is very touristy and the queue is always long. We waited at least an hour. They offer champagne (don’t be fooled though—it’s not Moët) and charcuterie plates in a nice outdoor terrace while you wait.

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Pasteis de Belem (Pasteis de nata) A 40 minute bus ride from the city center but these are supposedly the best in Lisbon. I found the ones from the little shops in town were equally as tasty.

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Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau  (Cod pastry) The popular cod pastry that you should at least try once while you are in Lisbon. It is often served with a glass of port wine.

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TimeOut Market (All types of cuisine) It is over-priced and touristy but cool to check out if you have the time. Not a highlight.

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O Cantinho (Locals, traditional) Pan-fried sardines and roasted potatoes.

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Nicolau Cafe (Healthy) A marina-esque cafe offering soups, salads, smoothies, and toasts. I opted for the soup of the day (slit pea), avo toast, and a coconut latte. I heard their pancakes and french toast are also good.

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Artis (Portuguese tapas) I recommend the roasted octopus and moelas (chicken gizzards).

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Santini (Ice Cream) Best ice cream in Lisbon. I got roasted apple and mascarpone.

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Chapito (Nice, traditional) Restaurant with view. Needs reservations.

Casanova (Pizza) Best pizza in Lisbon

Topo (Rooftop bar)

Park Bar (Rooftop bar)

Porto

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Porto is a small coastal town in the northern part of Portugal, around 3 hours by train from Lisbon. To me it is a mixture between Nice and Florence. The close proximity to the water gives it a laid-back and carefree atmosphere that I experienced in Nice. The cobble stone streets, colorful houses, and cafes along the Douro River create the romantic Italian feel. It is often cheaper to fly out of Porto than Lisbon so I recommend tagging it on before/after your trip.

Highlights:

Walking tour

Port wine tour: It is where port wine originated so there is no shortage of wine tastings.

Dom Luis I Bridge: Beautiful view of the city.

Livraria Lello: The bookstore that inspired J.K Rowling.

What to Eat: 

Broa Bread: Traditional bread made out of corn.

Francesinha: A sandwich consisting of sausage, steak, egg, ham, cheese, fries, and special sauce (each restaurant has their secret recipe).

Seafood

Traditional Vegetable soup

Port Wine

Where to Eat:

Café Majestic: Touristy and over-priced but it is nice to see and enjoy an expresso if you have time.

Bread and Breakfast: A cheap alternative to Cafe Majestic, located around the corner.

Casa Guedes: Pulled pork sandwich.

Café Santiago: Where you can try the famous Francesinha sandwich. I recommend splitting it with a friend.

Buraco: Cheap local food. A main entrée is around 5-6 euros.

Fish Fixe: A nice restaurant on the water but it is a bit more expensive.

Maus Habitos (Bad habits): A rooftop restaurant known for their pizzas and salads served in homemade pizza dough.

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Obrigado Portugal, for a wonderful week filled with delicious food!

Best coffee shops in Paris

Boot Café (Marais)

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Carrot Cake + Latte

Adorable little cafe in the Marais, extremely tiny though. There is only room for four tables. They serve gourmet coffee and baked goods.

La Caféothèque (4th arr)

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Go here to study or read. Lots of space and great coffee!

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

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Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Huguette Maison de Famille (6th arr)

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Coffee shop by the Jardin du Luxembourg. One of my favorite lattes in Paris is their Golden Latte avec curcuma, canelle, gingembre, et miel. So delicious! They also have a nice Matcha Latte.

Honor (Champs Élysées)

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Outdoor gourmet coffee shop off the streets of the Champs Élysées

Lily of the Valley (Marais)

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Pink grandma-style tea house in the heart of the Marais. They offer a vast assortment of tea (green, black, white, etc.) that you can also get to-go.

Coutume Café (6th arr)

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One of my favorite coffee shops in the 6th. They serve high-end coffee, delicious baked goods, and healthy breakfast items.

Le Peloton (Marais)

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A coffee shop founded by the owners of Bike About Tours. They offer artisan coffee, homemade snacks, and bike tours.

Best Healthy Cafés in Paris

Wild & the Moon (Marais)

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Acai Bowl

A vegan/vegetarian café using plant-based and sustainably grown ingredients. They offer juices, smoothies, soups, salads, vegetable bowls, and packaged snacks (kale chips, fruit bars, hummus, etc.). Located on rue Charlot in between chic art galleries and hand-crafted jewelry stores. Highly recommend.

Holybelly (10th arr)

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Holy Baked Beans + Champignons

Popular brunch and lunch spot with healthy vegan and vegetarian options. They change their menu monthly based on what is in season— exactly what I like to hear. Relaxed and casual atmosphere. They do not take reservations so be prepared to wait.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre)

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Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options. Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture.

La Guinguette d’Angèle (1st and 11th arr)

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Lunch Box (changes daily)

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Known for her beautiful and feminine plates decorated with flower petals and herbs, Angèle brings you gluten-free delicacies. Angèle is leading the way in the emerging Parisian health food movement. She has a small take-away shop in the 1er, a café or salon de thé in the 11è, and a catering service. She is also working on her second cook book and TV show on La Quotidienne. I am slightly biased because I work for Angèle, but I firmly support her philosophy of creating natural and healthy dishes.

Café Oberkampf (11th arr)

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Green Eggs + Feta, Avo Toast, Ham Sandwich

One of my favorite affordable brunch spots in Paris. They offer delicious Shakshuka and Green Eggs + Feta (pictured above), as well as an assortment of toasts and sandwiches. Again, be prepared to wait on the weekends as the café only sits around ~15 people at a time. My friend and I were so eager to eat after waiting 40 minutes that we ordered 3 entrées between the two of us! No regrets.

Merci (3rd arr, Marais)

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Butternut Squash + Lentil Salad with citrus dressing, Lavender Scones

Merci is a combined home goods store and cafe. You have probably seen an Instagram photo of girls posing in front of the vintage mini car (painted either bright yellow or red) that is located in the courtyard. The walls are lined with books and it is common for customers to bring their well-groomed dogs. Enjoy a butternut squash and lentil salad along with lavender infused scones.

13- a Baker’s Dozen (6th arr)

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Delicious healthy dishes. They are known for their homemade biscuits and gourmet coffees (must try the mocha and pumpkin spice latte). It is owned by two charming women— one from Sweden and one from the US. The cafe is very small and cozy, off of the main street and tucked away in an alley. They also speak English here.

Season (Marais)

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Acai Bowl, Salmon Eggs Benedict, Pancakes with maple bacon

Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple. They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Lomi (18th arr)

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Salmon avo toast

Excellent drip coffee and salmon avocado toast. A great place to bring your laptop and get work done.

Ob-La-Di (Marais)

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Matcha Bowls + Drip Coffee

Small coffee shop with organic coffee and brunch items.

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

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Celery Soup + Beet Hummus Toast + Salad

Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Biglove Caffè (Marais)

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Part of the Ober Mamma Italian chain. Not the healthiest brunch items but everything is delicious. We ordered the brioche french toast and truffle eggs, along with a pistachio and chocolate latté.

Other:

Le Tricycle  (10th arr) 100% vegan

Nous (9th and 10th arr)

Pinson (Marais)

Miznon (Marais)

 

 

Gluten-Free Almond Breakfast Cake

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Serve for breakfast or as a healthy dessert. To make it more decadent add maple syrup or honey on top. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 lemon (juice + zest)

1 banana (mashed)

1/4th c honey

1/2 c sliced almonds

125 g almond flour

1 t nutmeg

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla

butter or coconut oil for greasing

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs, lemon juice and zest, banana, honey, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl combine the almond flour, 1/4th c sliced almonds, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  2. Combine the two mixtures and transfer the batter to a greased baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the sliced almonds on top.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Chestnut, Chickpea, and Veggie Coconut Soup

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This vegan/vegetarian friendly soup is simple and requires only two main ingredients—coconut milk and curry powder. The chestnuts and chickpeas are optional. I added them to give the soup some protein and texture. Alternatively you can add tofu. I used cauliflower, broccoli, and mushrooms but feel free to replace these with your favorite veggies. Eggplant and sweet potato are a nice touch. Top with cilantro or basil.

Ingredients:

1 c chickpeas (cooked)

½ c chestnuts

½ head cauliflower

½ head broccoli

2 c coconut milk

1 onion

1 t ginger

2 cloves garlic

1-2 T curry powder (depending on your spice preference)

½ t nutmeg

½ t cinnamon

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Top with chili flakes, cilantro, or basil

Directions:

  1. Roast the cauliflower, broccoli, chickpeas and chestnuts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of curry powder. Cook at 375 degrees for ~20 minutes. Remove from the oven when they begin to brown.
  2. Sauté the onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large pot over medium heat. Stir frequently so the onions do not burn. Once the onions are golden add the roasted vegetables and nuts.
  3. Once the vegetables are coated with the spices add the coconut milk. If the soup is too thick, add a ½ cup water or vegetable broth.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. Serve with chili flakes, cilantro, and/or basil.

2016 Adventures: San Juan, Medellín, Cusco, Lima, Dublin, Strasbourg

The best way to experience another culture is through food and since this is a food blog after all, my descriptions will be largely characterized by the country’s cuisine. No trip is complete without trying the local dishes and specialties.

Puerto Rico (May)

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Mofongo at La Estacion

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Castrillo San Felipe del Morro

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El Yunque Rainforest

San Juan/ Fajardo

I went to Puerto Rico over Memorial Day weekend with my best friend from university. It was our last hoorah before she started law school (Harvard!) While we had blast and the island is very beautiful, I would prioritize visiting other Caribbean islands before Puerto Rico. It was not cheap as meals were ~ $10-15 and each day excursion was over $100. Although it was convenient to use our American dollars and cell phones, since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it made the experience feel less exotic and adventurous. Also the suffering economy was evident—the huge resorts and hotels were deserted. I’m sure the Zika scare did not help tourism either. Despite this, we had a great time eating mofongo and drinking pina coladas!

To Do

Old San Juan: Historic sites, cobblestone streets, cute shops and cafes

La Placita: Most lively neighborhood with restaurants and bars. This is where locals go out. During the weekends it turns into a huge street party.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro: A historic fort designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay. Beautiful views of the city.

El Yunque Rainforest tour ($130): Our tour included transportation from a nearby hotel, lunch at an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant, tour of the rain forest (a short 1 mile hike to Mima Falls), and a kayak tour of a bioluminescent bay (micro-organisms that light up when you touch the water). I recommend renting a car as it will save you time and money.

Culebra Island tour (~$100): We took a large shuttle to Fajardo, about an hour away, where we boarded a cruise boat that took us out to nearby islands. We had plenty of time to snorkel, eat, and drink. They provided unlimited food and piña coladas—although the food was only cold cut meat and bread. Once people had a couple piña coladas in their system they started to dance and dare each other to jump off the boat into the water. We had a good time. Watch our GoPro video here.

To Eat

Local dishes

  • Mofongo: Fried plantain in a form of a bowl topped with meat, veggies, and sauce.

Restaurants

  • La Estacion: Authentic Puerto Rican restaurant where we had lunch on our El Yunque Rainforest tour. Best Mofongo of the trip. Highlight of the tour!
  • El Jibarito: Casual local spot in old San Juan
  • Bombonera: Popular café in San Juan known for their baked goods
  • Barrachina: Best pina coladas
  • Boronia: on La Placita, live music, a little fancier and touristy than we hoped but the food was good
  • Choco Cortes: delicious chocolate and hot chocolate
  • Bogos: local spot with decent Mofongo

South America (August)

Colombia

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Bandeja Paisa

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Guatapé

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El Peñol

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Sorrento

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Crepes in Gautapé

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La Minorista (fried fish, coconut rice, salad, and plantains

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Verdeo Café

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Pueblito Paisa

Medellín

To Do

  • Parque Lleras: Most hotels/hostels are located around here. It is a touristy area with shops, restaurants, and bars.
  • Plaza Botero/ Parque Berrio: The Plaza is filled with Botero’s sculptures by the Parque Berrio metro station. Parque Berrio is across from the plaza and is filled with juice vendors and street performers.
  • Jardín Botánico: Botanical gardens. Pleasant to walk through if you have time but not a highlight of the trip.
  • Pueblito Paisa: Beautiful views of the city. Highly recommend!
  • Coffee tour: Best are in Sorrento. You can book coffee tours through the hostel. We went to San Cayetano in Fredonia.
  • Paragliding: We booked our ticket and cab through the hostel. You take a taxi 30 min outside of the city—find other people to split the cab with you. I recommend going early and on a nice day.
  • Guatapé/El Peñol: If you do one thing, go to Guatape! Breathtaking views. You can either go on your own (what we did) or book a tour. There are also combined tours that take you to Pablo Escobar’s house, where you go paint-balling. If you go on your own it’s a two-hour bus ride (give or take 30 minutes). El Peñol or the rock is the first stop then you take a tuk-tuk to the town Guatapé or you can walk (about 40 min). The town is filled with adorable colorful buildings and shops. I recommend staying there for 2 or 3 hours and getting lunch. We had homemade vegetable crepes made by a French woman who was traveling for a year and working at the café for the week. One of my favorite meals—see the photo above. If you want to go to Guatapé on your own I can send you specific and detailed instructions, as it can be confusing.
  • Parque Arvi: Cable cars to the a beautiful nature preserve. The cable cars give you great views of the city. Get lunch and go on a hike. We spent a whole day at Parque Arvi.
  • El Castillo Museo y Jardines: Gothic-style castle with beautiful gardens. You can take your lunch and picnic

To Eat

Local Dishes

  • Bandeja paisa: a signature dish from the region that includes spicy ground meat, pork cracklings, a fried egg, fried plantains, refried beans, avocado, rice, and a small side salad
  • Las chachas: corn pastry/bread with cheese on top, find it at street vendors
  • Spiralized green mango: served with salt and lime, ate this almost every day from street vendors
  • Pandebono: cheesy bread
  • Plantains with cheese
  • Arepas: served with almost every meal, their version of bread, made from corn
  • Ajiaco: traditional soup
  • Empanadas
  • Patacónes: fried plantain chips with guacamole
  • Aguardiente: typical Colombian alcohol made from anise. We were told to drink it with a slice of orange or lemon.

Restaurants

  • Hato Viejo: nicer traditional Colombian food, order the bandeja paisa
  • Hacinda: Typical Colombian food in downtown, the tour guide recommended it
  • Verdeo: Health/organic café by our hostel in Poblado with cute eclectic decorations. Each table had a different toy animal figurine on it. Looks like a café you’d find in Oakland. They serve a special everyday for 15 pesos (around $5) that includes salad, soup, a fresh juice, entrée, and dessert.
  • Centeno: By our hostel in Poblado, across from exito. This place is a hidden gem—we walked up stairs to a balcony where the chef and his wife were enjoying a glass of wine. When we arrived they jumped up and started our dinner. We were the only ones there and felt like we had a personal chef waiting on us. It was 16 pesos for juice, soup, salad, entrée, and tea. The restaurant had picnic-esque tables with flowers in mason jars. Very cute.
  • Fairytale restaurant by park in Poblado. I can’t remember the name but you sit on the ground or on wood stools. There are lights streamed through the trees and you feel like you’re in a fairy’s forest.

Peru

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Ollantaytambo

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Parque Central, Lima

Cusco/ Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town)

To Do

  • Machu Picchu: If you’re going to Machu Picchu I can send you detailed directions on getting there from Cusco.
  • San Blas: Charming area of Cusco with cobblestone streets and cute cafes.
  • Saksaywaman (pronounced like sexy woman): Incan ruins outside on the outskirts of Cusco.
  • Real City Walking Tour: There are a few tours everyday. My friend was not feeling well so I went on the tour on my own and was the only one who showed up. It happened to be the guide’s last day in Cusco— he was from Portland and traveling South America for a year. He gave me his own personal tour which included eating chocolate cake at his favorite bakery, playing drums at the neighborhood music store, and meeting locals at the market who greeted him with a hug and free juice.
  • Plaza de Armas: Main square in Cusco with lots of restaurants and bars.
  • Mercado de San Pedro: Local food market with juice vendors and cheap food.
  • Maras salt mines: We did not have time to go but you can take a day tour there on an ATV or take the bus.
  • Rainbow mountain: Beautiful day hike. We didn’t go but everyone highly recommends it.

To Eat

Local dishes

  • Lomo Saltado: A dish that consists with thin strips of beef, sautéed onions, rice, fries, and vegetables.
  • Pisco Sour: A typical drink from the region made from Pisco, lemon juice, and topped with egg white.

Restaurants

  • Green Point: Vegan restaurant in San Blas. They have a daily 3-course special that is ~$5. Everything is delicious. We were only in Cusco for three days and went there twice.
  • Chica: Traditional Peruvian food that is a pricier than other restaurants in the area, but it is worth splurging for the night. Absolutely delicious! They are known for their chocolate balloon dessert.

Lima (only need a day/night)

To Do

  • Miraflores: touristy area with good restaurants and bars
  • Barranco: next to Miraflores. We walked from our hostel in Miraflores and it took around 40 minutes. If you’re in the area then go to the Puente de los Suspiros or Bridge of Sighs – not very exciting but there is a nice view of the city.
  • Parque de la Reserve: impressive water show every night
  • Parque Central: Park in Miraflores with lots of cats wondering around, pretty funny to see

To Eat

Local dishes

  • Ceviche!
  • Papas a la huanciana: Peruvian potatoes covered with spicy cheese
  • Pollo a la Brasa: grilled chicken
  • Causa: Layered potato dish with a variety of meat and vegetable fillings. Very popular!

Restaurants

  • St. Roos: hole in the wall in Barranco
  • La Estancia: café/pastry shop in Miraflores
  • Madam Tusán: Chinese/Peruvian food (a popular combination in Lima)
  • La Lucha: causal sandwiches in Miraflores
  • Neuvo Mondo: artisanal beers in Miraflores
  • Raw Café Club: vegan restaurant in Miraflores
  • Punto Azul: seafood restaurant in Miraflores

Dublin (November)

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To Do

  • Guinness Factory tour
  • Walking tour (daily)
  • Trinity College
  • Temple Bar and Street: The bar itself is expensive and touristy but it is worth stepping in to enjoy the decorations and atmosphere.
  • Cliffs of Moher and Galway tour: I booked with Wild Rover. The tour departs at 7am and returns at 7pm. If you’re only in Ireland for the weekend it is a great way to see the extremely green and beautiful countryside. There are endless cows and châteaux. Beware they are strict about departure times. Don’t make the mistake I made and arrive a couple minutes late. Yes I was left at the Cliffs of Moher alone. The bus came back for me but they were not happy. Needless to say I did not make any friends on that tour—but seriously did the girl next to me not notice I was missing?!

To Eat

  • Pichet: Traditional Irish lunch
  • Vintage Kitchen: Irish lunch and dinner spot
  • Bobos Burgers: Ireland has delicious beef and butter because their (very happy) cows graze in the hundreds of acres of grass.
  • Kehoes Burgers
  • International food market: off of Temple Bar street
  • Yamamori: Great sushi and good lunch specials
  • Krust: Cronuts
  • Grogens: Best Guinness

Strasbourg (December)

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I went to Strasbourg, a small French city on the German border, with two friends for a night for the Marché de Noël. It is a university town so there are lots of students around. Although we went during Christmas time so it was very touristy. I’ve heard it’s beautiful to visit during spring and summer. It is a quant little town—you can walk the perimeter in about an hour. Highlights were the cathedral and the canals.

To Eat

Local Dishes

  • Tarte flambée
  • Choucroute
  • Kougelhopf
  • Bretzel
  • Vin Chaud
  • Grimbergen beer- I enjoyed the grimbergen ambrée

Restaurants

  • Pfifferbriader: Traditional food from the region, in the main square and a bit touristy
  • Meiselocker: Traditional food, off from the main square and cheaper
  • Chez Yvonne: We didn’t actually go here because it was already at capacity for the night. I have heard it is excellent.
  • Au Pont Saint-Martin: Delicious Choucroute. We ordered the Choucroute Royale, which was €20 each. We made the mistake thinking it was €20 total so we received enough food to feed five 6’3″ men.