Travel

Valencia

The beautiful cathedral

It’s surreal with the corona virus situation where Spain experiences a complete lock down and isolation. I visited Valencia 2 weeks ago, when first cases had just been explored there. As I walked down the streets, I noticed an alertness and afraid of being exposed. But still it didn’t stop me from exploring this beautiful cathedral. Neither could I help myself eating delicious food. My worries were long gone.

Churros! Couldn’t miss that when I had just arrived Spain
Dulce de leche everybody

This place was just heaven on earth! I mean look all the desserts displayed on the counter, how could you possibly choose just one thing? I told myself I have to come back one day and keep trying everything haha. It was a difficult choice, but the winner in the end; the banana bread.

Looking back, it makes me reflect on how privileged we are to travel around the globe, what a freedom we have. Being in quarantine makes me appreciate the traveling even more, in addition to move and go wherever we want to. My advice is to use the quarantine time to charge batteries and being grateful for have lived the way we do. It’s time to take care of our health and the world, and things will fall into place, they always do. With a little faith and trust, stay calm.

With love & care, Melanie

Ps: another café worth visiting with cool vibes, healthy food and yummy cakes, cookies and milkshakes: rawcoco!

Travel

Santiago de Chile

From my hotel room I was waking up in awe as the sun shimmered through the curtains and you saw the mountain silhouettes in distance through the dusty window.

This week I started to do a detox yoga in the morning which helps your digestive systems, exits toxics in your body and releases tensions and emotions stored that no longer serves you. It’s such an awesome way to start the day, I can really feel my digestive tract working better, I start moving my body and feel ready for the day and what it brings!

While living in Santiago city, I stayed at Hotel Rugendas. A beautiful hotel in a quiet, clean and green neighborhood outside center. I was here during the political manifestations and protests, when it was some issues with safety and convenience. However, in this part of the city you couldn’t notice it. It felt like a different world far from the reality you experienced from tv sendings. This is a wealthy and rich area, a modern zone with tall glass buildings, bank offices and helicopter roofs. Despite the modernness and daunting atmosphere by the mighty architecture, it keeps a grounded and natural feeling of greenery, with planted trees where you’ll walk by orange trees, bushes, a small park and small hidden cafe spots like one I will mention more about later.

Here you see the beautiful sunset over plaza Perú.

Colina

A resort on the country side hidden behind the mountains and 30 minutes away from the hectic city.

Here everything is taken with care, the grass so green, plants cut perfect and in a harmonic composition. It’s quite the contrary when driving to the place from the city and witnessing on the way mostly dead trees covering the landscape. It makes me sad because it’s a problem of water supply and care of a potential agriculture. However, the climate here is very dry, there aren’t many lakes or rivers to spot.

The sunsets overshadowing the mountain tops are breathtaking with colors of light pink and turquoise. Here I was so lucky and fortunate to eat my dinner after a long day at work. What is also to note are the cozy lighting hanging on threads over your head.

The center court. Hoping to come back next year and play here again!

Ciro’s restaurante

So I did some google research about the restaurant and wasn’t convinced. But that was very different when I took my first bite of the best vegan lasagne I’ve eaten so far. I was so happy when I saw they had vegan options in the menu, I’ve had a belief that it’s really difficult to be vegan on travels, but reality is different as the world is changing. The consumers are asking more of it and also it’s becoming “trendy”. However, I’m eating this way because I’ve noticed I recover quicker and thrive from this healthy lifestyle. Honestly, you will be surprised about how a vegan lasagne can be so good, even tasting better than a normal one, at least that’s what my tastebuds have agreed on! Oh and because when you are eating a plant based diet you need to eat more than usual, so I shared cooked potatoes and quinoa salad on the side, but the lasagne was really filling my tummy up!

Cafetin ~ a hidden café treasure

The coziest café you’ll find at plaza Perú, hidden behind the Main Street and close to the quiet neighborhood houses in the background. You’ll escape to a different place, with only good vibes, leaving you fulfilled and harmonized. Surrounded by small plant pots hanging from the ceiling, a simple interior which makes it not extravagant but rather making you feel at home and more relaxed, even more relaxed as the chilled music is played behind. Oh and cannot forget either the cute light bulbs hanging on wires over you, plus a warm blue color of paint on the wall behind you. It’s truly an environment and space beyond its location, it’s like time stops for a moment. And almost as a time machine taking you to a different space, filled with magic and joy.

The food was beyond my expectations. The plan at first was to grab ice cream at an heladeria / ice cream shop. But it was closed.. Despite our disappointment, it led us to this café or hidden treasure I would say. Which turned out to be way better!!! It surprised us with the best desserts I’ve tasted, the most silky & creamy consistency ice cream with a delicious vanilla flavor, spooned artistically on top of the fudgy and rich chocolate brownie! And it keeps getting better, an incredible cake composition of chocolate fudge that melts on your tongue but with competition of the dulce de leche layers in between and glazed on top of the cake. The experience left me speechless and so happy hehe. Oh and order a chai latte with it and your evening is complete.

Address: Don Carlos 3185, Las Condes, Region Metropolitana, Chile.

Visit their website for more information:

https://www.cafetin.cl

With love & care,

Mel x

Travel

Caserta ~ Italy

Wanted to share this from May this year, hope it will you leave you feeling inspired and adventurous like it did to me!

Picture above is the facade of Reggia de Caserta. Behind this entrance you will discover its beauty. The palace is one of Europe’s largest palaces and has 1200 rooms, more than Versailles! In addition, it expands across 11 acres with beautiful gardens, pools and fountains. The fountain and pool chain is three kilometer long, where it meets end at the waterfall by the Diana and Actaeon fountain. It’s spectacular by the harmonized geometric structure and how the architect Luigi Vanvitelli, one of the greatest Italian architects of the 18th century, has kept the nature in focus.

Here you see the 3 km long passage of the fountains & pools aligned to the palace.

The Diana & Actaeon Fountain

t’s stunning to witness the natural beauty, here you see the waterfall from the forest running down to the fountain. What stunned me even more was seeing the pools full of life, there were fishes and sea turtles swimming around, algae and sea plants.

Watching ruins gives me chills and makes me wonder how it was back then. How the life was, how it looked like. Taking a walk through the English Garden leaves you more calm and reflected, for me it’s a meditative way of being in your own thoughts without distractions and just observing in present moment.

The grand staircase of honor as you walk into the rooms of the Palace.

Why can’t we have these extravagant lamps at our era anymore? One word, stunning!

There is so much thought behind all the details of this palace, I wonder how they were able to decide and execute it so elegant and effortlessly.

Marble and patterns in different colors and structure. You can find so much inspiration!

The ceilings just left me breathless every time I walked into a new room. It’s something about looking looking up at it than horizontal, which makes it more spectacular, leaving you with a glorifying feeling. It feels as you look up to something higher than yourself, to God or to the universe or whatever you believe in, it’s something abstract, something out of your reach, your control. It made me speechless.

Every room is unique, a bit different, it plays with creativity, and is a statement of limitless art form. Leaving the palace, it made me reflect that we are capable of so much once we put our minds into it. Just look at history, imagine the abundance of possibilities created. Be spectacular. Create your own spectacular life.

Walking through the small streets of Caserta

I stumbled upon this Italian residence which just left me speechless. Absolutely loved the interior and vibes, I felt like stepping into the door of Narnia hehe.

Eating pizza when in Napoli is a must! Wow, they truly stand up for their reputation, no doubt about that. I can witness that it is the best pizza I have tasted so far. The dough is unique, I assume fermented which allows it to not be chewy or losing texture and crisp after its no longer warm. I also want to add that because of that, for those (most of us) who get bloated after eating a pizza, normal, will not feel that after eating this one! I ordered Genovese, which is pesto base with pomodorini or cherry tomatoes, plus mozzarella topped, yum.

Eat this one at Via Romana restaurant if you want the same pizza I had;) Otherwise, don’t worry, there are plenty pizza restaurants everywhere, and they are not mediocre, they are all excellent, pfuuu hard life to choose right?

Next time if I come back I want to try the pizza at Tre Farine, Basilica & Pizzeria Decimo Scalia haha.

Oh and on the picture you see a book called #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, highly recommended, full of girl power!!

Martucci café

I walked passed this café, and had to take a look since it caught my eye. Yummy cakes, pastries and veggies were displayed at the food table. You couldn’t stop gazing and deciding what would you choose from all that deliciousness!! It took a lot of willpower to stay away from the sweets the first time haha. I went for the asparagus, broccoli, sautéed spinach and aubergine, so so good. But, when I visited it the second time, I just had to try their sweets before I was leaving Caserta. I tried a cannoli with Nutella chocolate cream filling inside, mmmmmm.

Travel

Cala Cortina ~ Spain

A true paradise with turquoise water and stone hills around the bay. It lies hidden behind the mountains, almost like a treasured place that is difficult to spot! Since it’s not too many tourists who knows about it, you’ll find it mostly occupied by the local Spanish people.

Next to the beach lies a Spanish authentic restaurant, offering you the special dishes from the area and gives you a taste of the sea and the Spanish food culture. You can order tapas like pulpo, marinera, tortilla de patatas, almendras and the list goes on.. I definitely recommend the tapas dishes I mentioned above. You will feel yourself blending into their culture and relaxed vibe:)

A very special dish from this area is “Caldero” – cooked rice in fish broth with herbs and spices, served with cold fish and aioli! It can remind you of a paella, but it’s so different. For sure it is filling, but you don’t want to stop eating it because it’s so good haha.

The Mediterranean Sea is so beautiful, spot the view at the top of the hill.

At the background you see the city of Cartagena, Cala Cortina lies 10 min away and here you also get to see old fortresses from back in the time where it was one of the important harbor cities in the world and needed protection from not getting conquered.

I love how the wild nature is present, it’s like escaping from the modern era we live in and sink into tranquility and meditation.

The water is crystal clear. As I was sitting at the rocks enjoying the view, I couldn’t stop gazing at the beautiful reflection of the sun hitting the sea water, making it shimmery and glittery✨

This was from a Saturday spent some weekends ago. I indeed recommend to escape to nature after a tough and stressful week at work or daily life, it truly makes you calmer and more rested for a new week ahead of you:)

Travel

Murcia ~ Spain

Here you see the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary. It’s absolutely stunning and more stunningly when you take a visit inside. There are so many details to look at, truly a masterpiece. I had my eyes on it while sitting down at the square and watching it when it was sunset. To see the different shades of sunlight striking it, was eye gazing, magical. I sat there at café Valor, eating churros around 5 pm, surrounded by locals who did the same, blending well with their culture and absolutely loving it.

Other plaza spots to enjoy than Plaza Catedral de Murcia are:

Plaza Santa Domingo

Plaza de las Flores

Murcia is small to be a big city, but I love that. And moreover, I love that you can feel and sense the Spanish culture in every corner. You get to see how locals live a relaxed lifestyle without stress despite living in a city. You don’t see people rushed, no you’ll find them sitting at the benches at the plazas or eating tapas. It feels more like a village with not much traffic or noice. This is what makes it so enjoyable spending time in this city, especially during weekend.

So, eager to feel the spirit of Murcia? I got it covered for you:) Here are my favorite things to do when in the city and best places to eat at!

Real Casino de Murcia

The inside interior is amazing!

Monasterio del Corpus Christi Augustinas Descalzas

This reminds me of a miniature version of Alhambra in Granada. Absolutely love the pool and the architecture.

Since the city is known for eating and drinking culture and not so much about attractions, that’s kind of not a downside for me because I love eating hehe. So here is the list:)

Restaurants / Tapasbar ~ Typical Spanish

* Navarros

* Salzillo

* Morata

* La Taverna

Cute café places

* El gallinero

* Cafélab ~ serves toast, coffee, lattes, teas

* Socolá ~ best brunch place in town although the only one haha. But still counts when they serve amazing food! More about the place in a new blog post.

Sweet tooth

* Baklava ~ serving delicious Turkish sweets

* Godis ~ serves amazing gofres / Belgian waffle

* Socolá ~ amazing pancakes and cakes!

Mercado de Correos

A food hall or food heaven, offering all kinds of foods and what an atmosphere there is to sit inside there.

I liked especially the ice cream of course..

After this guide of Murcia, I’m convinced you are as convinced as me, that you need to visit this city in Spain;)

Travel

Blending into the Catalonian community

Festa del Passatge Lluis Pellicer

Here I was, last Saturday, surrounded by a Catalan community, eating tapas! I absolutely loved it since I was not with a touristic crowd behind me. Coming here was a coincidence actually, because the night before I got an eye on this party having to pass a truck that was in the way of the walkway. As I saw a scene being set up behind it, I started getting curious. So I asked a woman organizing the party and she said I could join by buying a ticket! And so I did the day after, trying 4 different tapas with one drink included for 12,50€. It was such a nice experience. It was simple and small, where people gathered together in a narrow, short street crossing into Carrer de Muntaner.

They effortlessly made this party so welcoming with a relaxed tone to it. It is completely different to the Norwegian culture I’m from, where everything has to be organized perfectly before it can be executed. That’s why I love traveling and experiencing other cultures because you get a wider perspective about life.

Further exploration ~ Catalonian art history

I had visited the museum once before but never entered inside. When I walked into the entrance I was prepared to pay the ticket for visiting, but by my surprise I got told that on Saturdays after 3 pm it’s free entrance! It was perfect timing! Although there were no audio guides available or tour guides, I still got a historical sense by witnessing the artworks by eye. Being inside, was like entering a palace with its majestic lamps and old interior. Furthermore, you feel like you are traveling back in time.

And so I did, by watching the art and crafts work of the Romanesque and Gothic period. Below there are two examples of medieval Gothic artworks. These artist have achieved spectacular details with their art pieces. The paintings, sculptures and woodcarving-works you find inside the museum, are in my eyes mind blowing. Looking at what these amazing artists have executed, makes me feel I can create anything I put my mind into too.

Virgin of the “Consellers”

Artist ~ Lluís Dalmau

Medieval Gothic art

Virgin of the Angels

Artist ~ Pere Serra

Medieval Gothic art

Travel

Feeling adventurous

But before you get on with your adventure, you need to start the day well by eating good food right? And so I did with eating a delicious brunch this Sunday at “Federal Café”. As you can see, I ordered poached eggs, with avocado, spinach and bacon, together with toasted rye bread, mmm. Oh, and when in Spain you can’t miss freshly pressed orange juice!!!

The café is located at Passatge de la Pau 11 in Barcelona. I must be honest, it was not easy to find, but that’s why the café lies in a quiet area, away from the tourists and the city traffic. You feel tranquility, and you forget you are in a busy city like Barcelona.

Next time when I come back, I want to try the French omelette with kale, mushrooms and ricotta, and their matcha brownie! It’s sounds really interesting, plus it’s gluten-free, I have a feeling it’s a good one…

I sat on a pillow at the window, it was such a cool spot to eat. You should try to get that spot too when you eat here;)

After a solid brunch, I was ready to take on my adventure, which was leading me to “La Donuteria”. Walking around can be such a good therapy, and strolling around the less busy streets of Barcelona was even better! I had longed for a donut, so I did some research and wanted to try out this place. It didn’t disappoint me at all…

They had so many interesting flavors that it got impossible to choose! I could easily have just ordered all of them, but reality stroke me to having one. After a tough decision, I chose “crema de chocolate y dulce de leche”, dulce de leche is typical Spanish so I wanted to try their take on an American donut. Oh my goodness that was good, too good to be true!

It was a perfect balance of sweet and savory. The coating was salted caramel, already by reading those words you can understand why it’s good;)

I wanted to try “crema de chocolate con mango”, which is dark chocolate with mango flavor, but they didn’t have more of it. However, it’s a good excuse to come back and try it next time! Other variants which were also strong candidates were white chocolate and raspberry flavor, vanilla and café latte, plus chocolate donut with matcha flavor. You can understand why I struggled in the first place.

La Donutería

Carrer del Parlament 20, 08015, Barcelona

http://ladonuteria.com

From there I took the bus D20 at stop Paral•lel – Marquès de Campo Sagrado to Creu Coberta – Plaça Espanya.

Barcelona amazes me, there is so much to do here and there are endless discoveries to take on. One I had long wanted to visit was the “Palau Nacional”. It’s Catalunya”s national art museum. Even though I didn’t get inside this time to see the 250 000 different artworks, you can’t always get it all done at once right? But for a first time, walking around this amazing building was more than good enough.

What better way is there to enjoy the donut on top of the Palau Nacional building! Eating with a view, and walking to the top after all those stairs, yup that was something! Ps: they have escalators on the way up there if you are too tired to walk all the stairs up! I did cheat a bit, I must be honest I was one of them who were too tired to walk all the stairs. After all, I was kinda happy they had escalators. But at the same time, it felt weird when looking at an old and historical building and taking the escalators! However, I got reminded by that we live in modern times now haha.