Breakfast

Porto ~ Portugal

As I’m writing and looking into perspective, I feel very fortunate to travel again and do my job as a professional tennis player. When I’m now abroad it feels like I’m given an opportunity to seize all the wonders of live which is enhancing my life experience in all magical ways. Therefore I’m in awe when I see what this beautiful city has to offer and digesting all the ancient monuments with a history greater than time. As I walk through these old, narrow streets of cobblestone, it is as time has stand still and I’m brought back into the town’s past. Although its architecture, tram tracks and atmosphere might be giving you nostalgia, there is a new breath of modern life hanging in the air. If you look closely you’ll sense it by the small healthy cafés standing out which crosses the line of history, traditionalism and conservatism. They will take you to the future of a healthy eating lifestyle that is becoming more common and sought after around the world.

I went on a hungry stomach with great determination towards my target to eat a delicious breakfast. Destination: Nola kitchen. I must admit it wasn’t the cleverest choice to look at the menu when being so eager to eat it all. But in the end my choice landed at the egg bowl. A nutritious bowl of black rice, sautéed kale, grilled corn, poached eggs, oven roasted sweet potatoes and delicious tahini sauce with it.

The egg bowl

However, that bowl still made me hungry for more and so I ordered their summer edition pancakes. With the sun shining towards my face it felt like the perfect choice as chocolate pancakes would be heavy to digest on a warm summer’s day in Porto.

Summer edition pancakes

These healthy pancakes were definitely a new experience to me. They tasted not like normal pancakes if being honest, but with the coconut yoghurt, maple sirup, berries and crunch of pistachios, it balanced it out and so I ended up finishing it all up somehow!

Wanderlust
The square you need to visit
The beautiful facade of the church
Monuments of ancient history
In love with the blue tiles!
During a hitting session on center court before the tournament

With love & care, Melanie x

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

Àguilas ~ Spain

At this time of the year the carnival celebration is also big in Spain! And here they go all in with parade, dancing and costumes too. It’s really fun to see how everyone participates, from family, to teenagers, to old people! Make sure not missing it while it’s happening during weekends in February.

Also this hidden Mediterranean village has a lot to offer. I loved walking at the beach promenade and strolling in the narrow neighborhoods. There is a fortress on top of the hill, which leads to a breathtaking view at the top overlooking the ocean and the place.

On the picture above you will see a the restaurant which is at the top of the hill too! It looks amazing to sit down there and enjoy the view while eating:)

Absolutely love this neighborhood! My favorite color is turquoise and I couldn’t stop taking pictures haha.

You realize now that it’s a paradise right!

Hoping this could be a travel inspiration for 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

Monastir ~ Tunisia

Two weeks ago I was in Tunisia, and since they have been influenced by French cuisine because of the earlier colonization, I had to order a crepe! It brings childhood memories, from summer vacations spent in south of France. I would order the crepe in French at my best effort; une crêpe de chocolat s’il vous plaît.

I was impressed by how well they made it. Filled with Nutella, bananas on top, and crunchy nuts, it tasted heavenly. A perfect escape for me and a real treat.

I realize it’s important to treat yourself with something you crave and allow it without feeling guilty or feeling bad after. Life is about balance, and if it makes you happy, don’t worry!

With love and care, Melanie.

Travel

Svartskog Kolonial ~ Norway

I’m back and have been absent due to lack of motivation to write, because I’m not sure if somebody out there is reading my blog posts. If you are, I’m hoping the content is something for you and that you like my blog.

I was on a quick visit home, and it felt like “there’s no place like home”. It’s an attachment to memories, places, family and friends. It reconnects me, makes me centered again and refuels my soul with a fresh spirit, ready again to take on the world.

While home, I visited this beautiful, charming café in Svartskog, about 20/30 minutes outside Oslo city. It’s definitely an escape from all the buzz, noice and stress a city life can cause you. Here it feels like you are taking a small road trip to the mountains, surrounded by nature and quietness. There are people who live here, their houses in traditional Norwegian housebuilding style of wood, looking similar to cabins, and others in white color, Victorian style. It’s a nice walk through the neighborhood and into the woods, leading the way to the water side.

The café is a golden spot. It’s original, real and true to its personality. It has a charm inside and out, with an old, but cool sofa inviting you to relax outside the café’s door, you get it, very inviting right? And so when you step inside, it’s like coming inside a home, it’s so cozy. You get a feeling of being taken good care of, and that they define by the food, interior and spirit. It’s small, but that makes it more personal, you feel more connected through the place and the food they serve.

They serve Norwegian pastries and baking goods at mastery level, and I dare to say they make the world’s best waffel the Norwegian way. Order it with the famous brown cheese called “brunost”. Other pastries to make sure you get your hands over is the cinnamon roll and “skolebolle”; it’s a baked sweet dough with powdered sugar icing, coconut flakes topped and in the middle of it egg cream! I’m already getting water in my mouth by writing all these deliciousness this café serves.

It’s a place for everyone, for those who want to escape from the city life in Oslo or for the tourists who wants to experience the Norwegian woods and real, authentic Norwegian baking.

Travel

Dough & Oil ~ Shrewsbury

Pure deliciousness. This restaurant amazes me in so many ways. It’s cool, fun, original and serves amazing food. The first step you enter inside, you will get what I mean. Sitting by pink neon lights, colorful interior, art works on the wall, you will immediately feel the happy vibes and you will be even more happy when you taste the first bite of your pizza/bagel.

I love that they have a red thread throughout their whole restaurant, even their menu is fun and playful with their inventive name picked dishes. On the picture is the Alaskan bagel with salmon and cream cheese, and by its side the fun guy pizza!

They truly stand by their name, they are one of the best in my opinion when it comes to the dough and oil game hehe. One pizza that really stands out is their version of the duck confit pizza. When you’re about to eat it, the oil is dripping endlessly from the pizza slice.. Although it sounds gross, it’s somehow amazingly delicious. It has so much flavor, more flavor in a pizza I have ever tried! So don’t get scared by hearing duck on pizza or that it’s a oily mess while you eat. I definitely recommend you to try it if you are in Shrewsbury. Or even just make the trip to the town to just have the pizza, it’s so worth it!

Oh and they even serve pancakes….

For more details:

https://www.doughandoil.com

Their location:

18 castle St, Shrewsbury SY1 2AZ, Britain

https://maps.google.no/maps?oe=UTF-8&hl=nb-no&client=safari&um=1&ie=UTF-8&fb=1&gl=uk&entry=s&sa=X&ftid=0x487a9e590c8c1107:0xf044ad494e0176b5&gmm=CgIgAQ%3D%3D