While I was visiting Singapore during the New Year I had to opportunity to experience some incredible foods. After reading Crazy Rich Asians before my trip, my expectations for Southeast Asian food was very high. After I ate my way through both Thailand and Singapore I was not disappointed one bit or bite. From the fresh produce, the Singapore Slings, tons of noodles, all the hawker stall restaurants and delish sweet treats, it was hard to pick my favorite food. One thing that definitely stood out to me on my palate and during my reading of Crazy Rich Asians were the pineapple tarts. These simple and yet sweetly satisfying treats were so memorable to my trip that I ate several during my stay and even brought some home with me.
After being back in the States, I tried to savor every pineapple tart I had and make them last as long as I could. My pineapple tart souvenirs lasted probably a good month before my supply ran empty. Thankfully my tastebuds remembered every bite, so I could recreate this delicious dish for myself and share with you. Instead of making tarts I decided to create a pie form. This pineapple pie was easier to make than tarts, but still had all the flavors I remembered in Singapore. I also thought that a pineapple pie would add a little western flare to the southeast Asian treat.
You can find the complete recipe and video below. Give this scrumptious and original tropical treat a try and let me know what what you think. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
2 cups All- purpose flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp of salt
¼ cup of melted coconut oil, cooled to room temp.
¼ cup of cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes *
2 tbsp. of unsalted butter *for vegan pie, use vegan butter
For the crust:
In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Add in coconut oil and butter to the flour and pulse the processor until mixture is texture of course wet sand. Next slowly add vodka and water until the dough comes together in a ball and peels off the side of the bowl. Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly knead dough into a smooth disc. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, make the pineapple filling. In a large saucepan, stir together fresh and dried pineapple, brown sugar and water on low heat. Slowly cook down pineapple filling for about one hour until liquid is reduced by half and sticks to the back of the spoon. Once pineapple filling is thickened, add rum (optional), vanilla, salt and melted butter. Cook for an additional five minutes until sauce re-thickens and sticks to back of the spoon. Use an immersion blender and coarsely chop mixture. Take the filling off the heat and allow it cool completely to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375F. Take dough out of the refrigerator. Let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes. Divide dough in half. Roll first half of dough out into a 10″ diameter circle about 1/8″ thick. Place the dough in a 9″ pie pan. Spread pineapple filing evenly into the pie dish. Roll out the second half of dough and gently place it on top of the pineapple filling. Seal up edges of pie dough. Cut slits into middle of pie to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg wash (or vegan milk) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, optional. Bake pie for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Allow pie to cool to room temperature. Cut into pie and top with ice cream or whipped cream. Devour and enjoy!!
There is something about Southeast Asia. The last time I explored this region of the world, I had the mindset for change and enlightenment after a very stressful season in my life. I took some time exploring the city of Hong Kong, basking on the beaches of Thailand and embracing all the botanics of Singapore. Not only did I feel super revived getting lost in this part of the world, but I felt a new sense of peace upon my return to the States.
Last year when I decided on my annual year-end trip, I had Bali on my mind for the same reason. This yearly end trip I was planning was going to be the last one of my thirties. I knew I wanted this trip to be the catalyst of stepping into a higher level of life and new decade.
I did my research and arranged an incredible, peaceful and bountiful Bali trip. My Bali trip was an incredible and much needed retreat tailored to my liking. I was able to accomplish everything I wanted and needed for this trip. I relaxed, retreated, treated, adventured and ate my way through this amazing island paradise. See all the information I collected from my trip as well as a fabulous Bali travel itinerary below.
I hope you have Bali on your travel to-do list because it’s definitely a must see location!
Transportation: Scooters are the number one and best way to get around Bali. You can definitely travel by car, but it may take longer due to traffic, especially in the more populated cities. If you’re going to be staying in a particular part of Bali for a few days rent a scooter for the best deal and fastest way to travel. If you’re not going to rent a scooter. I recommend downloading the Grab app., which is like Uber/ Lyft for Southeast Asia. I used the Grab app. when I was in Thailand as well. The app. is pretty reliable and the most economical way to get around Bali. If you want an even more reliable mode transportation I suggest booking a driver for the duration of your trip. Almost everyone in Bali drives or knows someone who drivers for a fee. I used a few drivers to get me to the less popular points in my travel, when I didn’t want to depend on an app. (See photos for driver information.) Make sure you have cash on hand for your driver.
Money: Bali is definitely a very affordable travel destination and your money stretches pretty far. The currency exchange rate is $1 = 15,132 IDP . I highly suggest cash on hand in the smaller cities and less traveled areas within Bali. Some drivers and food spots still only accept cash. In the larger cities debit/ credit cards are pretty much accepted everywhere.
Language: The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian, which has several dialects. In Bali because of its popularity with tourists, the majority of Bali people working in the travel industry speak English. You should have no problem getting around and being able to speak with the local community.
7 day Bali Itinerary
Day 1: Uluwatu
Bali Airport is located in Densapar, Bali which is located on the south side of the island. From there I used the Grab app. and headed further south to Uluwatu. The ride from the airport to my destination at Nyang Nyang Beach took about an hour via. car and cost approximately 120, 000 IDP. Uluwatu is known for some of the best beaches in Bali. As compared to other beaches in Bali, beaches in Uluwatu are less populated and perfect for surfing.
Nusa Penida is a must do on your trip in Bali. Nusa Penida is very picturesque. It has some of best beaches in Bali. There are also tons of water activities to do while you’re there. If you have more time on your trip. spend an extra day here just to relax on the beach and soak up some sun.
I had the opportunity to travel to the jungle of Bali after spending a day at the beach. I loved the contrast of the Bali terrain. I really enjoyed staying in a traditional and exceptional bamboo tree house. The jungle is surrounded by lush rice terraces and plenty of trees. My bamboo house in the sky allowed me to spend time in peace and quiet. I loved being able to view the mountains and the shores of Bali from the windows of my bamboo house. I can’t wait to return to this area of Bali for more serenity and connecting with nature.
Lodging: I stayed in the middle of the jungle in “The Bamboo Castle in the Sky.” The accommodations were very comforting and exceptional including the food. Check out more information on my Best Places to Stay in Bali post.
Things to do Kecamatan Sidemen:
Walk through rice terraces
White water rafting
ATV rides through the jungle
Day 6-7: Ubud
Ubud is pretty well known in regards to Bali Travel. Ubud is known its rice terraces, Bali Swing and Sacred Monkey Forrest. Ubud also has a lot of other activities to offer. There are tons of restaurants and shops to check out that appeal to a variety of tastes. Ubud also has museums, art galleries and of course day spas. When I return to Bali I plan on spending more time is Ubud. It’s a pretty walkable city and a great place to people watch as well.
Lodging: This was the last part of my Bali trek and I wanted comfort and elegance for the end of my journey. I decided to stay at Viceroy Bali, which was excellent! See more information on my stay on my Best Places to Stay in Bali post.
Things to do in Ubud:
Ubud rice terraces
Sacred Monkey Forest*
Temple of Lempuyang Luhur
Take a yoga class
Try a Balinese cooking class
Beach day clubs
Puri Lukisan Museum
Bukit Campuhan River Walk.
Karsa Day Spa (highly recommended). FYI You can take the Bukit Campuhan River Walk to the end and it leads you right to the spa.
*If you don’t have time or want to save time and money on your trip, skip the Sacred Monkey Forest. I had plenty of close encounters with monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple and in Nusa Penida.
For Day 8 in Bali:
If you have additional time to spend in Bali I would recommend a day tour to Lempuyang Temple “Gates of Heaven.” This temple is located approximately 2 hours east of Ubud. It is very highly recommended that you get to the temple as early as possible otherwise you will spend hours in line. My tour guide picked me up from my Ubud hotel at exactly 4AM for my tour. We arrived to the temple a few minutes after 6AM, which is when the temple opens. I was number 10 line to take pictures and had to only wait a few minutes to take pictures as compared to hours.
Canguu and Kuta are a bit popular and touristy so if you want to avoid crowds and traffic avoid these cities. Canguu is also known for its beach clubs and night life. Kuta has a water park and shopping centers if you want a little variety to your Bali trip.
Happy New Year! Your girl is back in Los Angeles after spending the end of the 2022 season in paradise. Bali is worth all the hype and influence you see on social media. Throughout my many years of solo travel, I have seen some incredible places. This year alone put Colombia on my radar as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Bali definitely deserves a spot on the list as well. Not only is Bali aesthetically pleasing, but it offers such an array of wonderland to explore.
During my fete last month in Bali I was able to tour most of the different environments that make up the island. Besides the cities of Bali there are beautiful coasts, beaches, jungles, rice terraces and rivers which make Bali so lush. I tried to spend as much time as I could in the different areas I delved into, but my time was also limited. Towards the end of my trip I felt more at ease. I promised myself to return to Bali to get an opportunity to explore more and continue the amazement that Bali is.
Although my planning for and trip to Bali was shorter than I would have liked, I must say I really surprised myself at how well I was able to execute my itinerary. Bali was able to provide more than I could have hoped for in their lodging varieties. I literally started my trip on the beach falling asleep to the ocean and ended my trip in a posh hotel with a helipad. I soaked up and cherished every amenity of my trip and decided to pass on the joy!
Here are the best places to stay in Bali to have an unforgettable experience! Discover more information about my trip on Bali Travel Guide.
Nyang Nyang Beach is a famous beach located in south Bali. This beach is known for its beauty. It’s also known to surfers for it’s waves. This serene and exclusive location is located close to Uluwatu temple. I loved staying here laying in my hammock or basking in my personal pool and watching the ocean for hours. One of the most soothing experiences of my life.
The Blue Karma Hotel definitely offered me more than I was expecting when I opened the doors to my room. The pool inside my villa was mind-blowing. What I really wasn’t expecting, but truly appreciated was the 30 minute complimentary massage at the spa that was included with booking my room. After my trek from Nyang Nyang beach I upgraded that 30 minute massage to a full hour for a few more US dollars. The upgrade was totally worth it, as was my entire stay at Blue Karma Hotel.
I found this gem on happenstance scrolling through AirBnB. I knew before planning my trip that I surely wanted to stay somewhere in the Balinese jungle. After finding this place online I was even more excited for my trip. This “treehouse” was an amazing experience. I had a chance to watch the sun set and rise over the jungle and mountains of Bali. The indoor/ outdoor experience was even better during the rain, so incredible. When I return to Bali I plan to spend a few more nights in the seclusion of the bamboo castle.
I booked my Ubud stay at this Bali hotel after doing my Bali research on social media. Once I saw a picture of the private infinity pools overlooking the lush jungle of Bali, I was sold. This hotel was a top notch experience for sure; from the room, to the food, the staff and everything in between. I definitely took advantage of not only the infinity pool, but the complimentary shuttle to/ from Ubud city center. It was a very convenient perk that I enjoyed during my entire stay. I will definitely be returning to The Viceroy during my return Bali visit.
If you’ve read some of my previous travel posts, you know that I love to take advantage of a stopover or extended layover. For the the past few years during my annual excursion to Paris, I have been planning short stops in other countries in route. Not only is it a great way to break up all that travel time, but it also provides the advantage of two countries in one trip.
Last year on my return flight from Paris I was able to visit Copenhagen with an extended layover on SAS airlines. This year I decided that I wanted again to try and visit another uncharted country during my travels. Early on in the year I decided that I would take advantage of Turkish Airlines and visit the beautiful city of Istanbul. I had heard that the airline had a special tourism deal for those traveling with them, so I quickly booked my flight.
After booking my flight ticket, I spent more time researching Turkey and the city of Istanbul specifically. I wanted to try and see as much as possible during my 20 hour layover before visiting Paris. I learned from visiting the Turkish Airlines website that the airline had their own tourism company, Touristanbul.
Touristanbul, is a FREE all encompassing tour specifically destined for travelers with a few hours to spend in Istanbul. This tour picks you up/ drops you off from the airport. This FREE tour also includes an English speaking guide, a bus or walking tour through the best sites in Istanbul and a traditional Turkish meal!
I must say that I was quite impressed with my tour and short stay in Istanbul. I definitely made the right decision in my extended layover planning for this trip. Although I was able to see a great deal of Istanbul, I would love to return to spend more time truly getting to know that city (and all the cats). I also would like to see other cities in Turkey as well and eat more Turkish delights.
As someone who loves to travel and take advantage of multiple countries in one trip I try to pack as light as possible. That means NO CHECKED LUGGAGE!
Yes you can still be fashionable and pack everything in your carry-on. It’s all about strategy and packing the right way.
After all the international trips I have embarked on, I am very proud of my learned and perfected packing skills. The lighter the load the better, especially when you’re maneuvering in old cities with cobblestone and inconvenient underground public transportation. Yes, I still over pack at times, but everything needed or not, fits in my carry-on suitcase.
I have provided below some essential packing tips to help you stay fashionable and compact for your next trip.
After almost a decade (gasp!) of traveling to Paris I have become very familiar with the city. In my mind, I feel like an expert of the best city in the world. I have walked through Paris back, forth and all around enough to know it very well. Paris is absolutely filled with historical sites, monuments and an overall beautiful aesthetic. Everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower and its surrounding park grounds. The Eiffel Tower attracts the most tourists from all over the world. Millions of people, (approximately 7 million), visit this tourist spot each year making it one of busiest and most crowded places in the city.
After visiting Paris so many times, I try to avoid the tourist traps and do as the locals do. Paris is a picturesque wonderland, so I thought I would showcase some other beautiful places to see. These spots are less crowded and great places to get those pristine Paris pictures without having to visit the Eiffel tower.
See my Paris Photo Guide below. I even provide ALL the fashion details for each post.
Last year when I was on my annual trip to Paris, the House of Dior was in the midst of a huge renovation. The original Dior location in Paris, also known as 30 Avenue Montaigne, was closed and under construction. This location was founded as the House of Dior starting in 1946. Behind its doors, served the origination of modern fashion and elegance as it’s known today. Christian Dior decided on this particular location over 5 decades ago and it was time for a serious upgrade.
“It had to be 30 Avenue Montaigne. I will settle here and nowhere else!”
– Christian Dior
As many times as I’ve been to Paris and shopped numerous stores, I had never been to this particular and special Dior store. As an educated and historical fan of fashion, I always knew this exclusive location was exceptional. Not only did this location serve as the birthplace of Dior, but it also birthed other keen names in couture such as Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and John Galliano. YSL being one of my favorite designers, had motivated me enough to visit both museums in Paris and Marrakech. In the back of my mind I knew I was saving this location and the best for last.
This year I made a point to spend some time at 30 Avenue Montaigne. I knew that not only did this location house a new one-of-a-kind Dior boutique but also a new dedicated musée, La Galerie Dior. I decided to break up my shopping experience and the visit to the Dior museum in two trips. I didn’t want to feel too overwhelmed in one visit, so I gave myself plenty of time to enjoy both experiences. I went to the Dior boutique first thing in the morning when they opened at 10AM. The store was less crowded and I was able to shop and enjoy the overall atmosphere. As for the musée, La Galerie Dior, it sells out daily so make sure to book your tickets in advance! (Book tickets here).
I will honestly say that the House of Dior on 30 Avenue Montaigne did not disappoint me one ounce. The delay and anticipation in the renovation was well worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed the details in the design of the store and La Galerie Dior. I especially enjoyed being able to walk through the Christian Dior couture fashion timeline. Seeing 70 years of haute couture fashion kept my mouth agape the entire time. I can’t wait to return to Paris and experience 30 Avenue Montaigne all over again.
We all know what a bucket list is right? This figurative or possibly literal list is filled with items that are intended to complete by the end of a certain time period or lifetime. This list can include ideas that inspire learning a new task, daring to complete an adventurous assignment or traveling to new places. I, myself, don’t necessarily have a bucket list, but I do mentally keep a travel checklist.
I honestly want to travel the entire world like Jessica Nabongo, the first Black woman to travel to every country. Currently, my time and resources are limited, being a full time physician, so I prioritize which places I would like to visit sooner rather than later. Egypt has been at the top of my travel checklist for some time, so I was very excited at the opportunity to finally visit this ancient land. Once I was able to get the much needed time off for my African adventure, I booked my flight and got to planning.
Egypt encompasses so much rich history and culture, and I was determined to see as much as I could in the time allotted. I spent a little over a month researching where and what to see. My trip to Egypt was seven days full of adventure and ancient history. I was able to fly and travel by bus and train to 4 different cities in Egypt to see the most notable and distinguished sights in the world. I decided that for my trip I wanted to follow the flow of the Nile river since it served as the root of civilization and resources for Egypt. As I continued with my research I also learned that the further south one traveled down the Nile river the more Nubian the surrounding people.
I visited Egypt this past February and it was the perfect time to go. The heat was bearable and the tourist attractions where less crowded for the most part. I spent 2 days in Aswan, did a 1 day tour to Abu Simbel, spent 2 days in Luxor and ended my trip in Cairo. I had an amazing time being able to see so much on my solo trip. I thoroughly enjoyed my jammed packed Egyptian adventure, so I thought I would pass on my Egyptian information. Hopefully it will encourage you to visit Egypt as soon as you can and also not be afraid to see the world by yourself.
Check that off your bucket list. See my Egypt Travel Guide and itinerary below.
Day 1 Flight from Cairo to Aswan. 1.5 hour travel time. Flight cost was approximately $35/ one way.
Egypt Air and Nile Air are main airlines of Egypt.
Arabic is the official Language in Egypt.
Tea is the official drink of Egypt. I recommend drinking as much hibiscus tea as you can.
Drones are STRICTLY prohibited in Egypt so don’t even consider bringing it.
Your money goes a long way in Egypt, 1 Egyptian Pound, EGP= $0.0521
You do need a visa to visit Egypt. I recommend applying online before you visit. (CLICK HERE)
Aswan (Day 1 and 2)
I loved Aswan because it was less touristy than Luxor and Cairo. It is also more affordable than the bigger cities. The city is filled with Nubians as this is the area where ancient Egyptians still reside.
Where I stayed: Mango Tree House; This fabulous guest house is located on Elephantine Island. I actually had to take a ferry across the Nile river to get to the guest house, which was thrilling. The cost for the ferry was 5 Egyptian Pounds round trip. The guest house offers a wonderful breakfast in the morning. I highly recommend earplugs as sounds from the train station continue around the clock.
Things to do in Aswan:
Aswan Botanical Garden
Places to eat: Bob Marley Restaurant- This place is literally overlooking the Nile River so the view alone is worth it. The food is also tasty and VERY reasonably priced. I ordered the fish tagine, which came with fresh bread, salad, vegetable tagine, potatoes and rice for 15 Egyptian Pounds EGP. (See food video below). The staff are super friendly as well. I stayed here almost all day eating and reading a book on the Nile and I was greeted with a smile all day long.
Naser Cafe- Located close to the train station. This place is great for people watching. I recommend ordering the falafel sandwich and hibiscus drink (20 EGP). Sit outside and snack on these delish vittles while watching Egyptians pass by.
Day 3, Day Trip to Abu Simbel
I booked my day trip to Abu Simbel through Trip Advisor. There are several operating tours to take you to the site. It takes about 3 hours (one way) to get to Abu Simbel from Aswan but it is definitely worth the trip. I would surely devote some time out on your trip to visit. (Book your tour here).
There are not many transportation options to get from Aswan to Luxor. After doing a bit of research I decided on taking the train. I would suggest the same if you are crunched for time and want to see more of Egypt.
Helpful information about Egypt train system. 1. If you don’t speak Arabic I recommend purchasing your tickets online. There is not much assistance once you arrive to the train station.
2. You may only purchase your Egypt train ticket up to 10 days in advance online. (Make sure you print out your proof of purchase as this will be needed and checked to get on the trains and at different train stops. (PURCHASE Train tickets here)
Day 3/4 Train from Aswan to Luxor. 3.5 hour travel time. Train cost was approximately $20/ one way for first class.
Luxor (Day 4 and 5)
Luxor, although small in area has thee most ancient Egyptian artifacts and temples than the other major cities in Egyptian. You can technically see everything worth seeing in one full day with the right tour guide. Make sure your guide is credentialed in Egyptology to assure you get as much information and history as you can during your tour. I booked my guide through Trip Advisor. My tour and my guide were amazing. I had a personal driver and guide escort me around Luxor. My guide, Mohammed was the absolute best. Not only was he super knowledgeable and shared so much history, he also was a great photographer as well. Mohammed bought me tons of Egyptian snacks and water throughout the day. He also made a special stop to make sure I had the opportunity to taste some Egyptian cakes and sweets once he found out I was a baker. The only downside to the tour is that is did not include ticket prices to all the cultural stops. In total I spent around 1000 EGP (cash only) to see all the tombs, temples and etc. (Book your tour here).
Where I stayed: I used my airline miles and stayed at the Hilton Luxor right on the Nile River. My taxi ride from the airport to the hotel cost me around 100 EGP and took about 25 minutes. I loved this location because my room balcony, although tiny, was overlooking the Nile River. I was able to see the West Bank of Luxor from my room and watch the hot air balloons take off in the morning. You could also see the tombs lit up overnight, which was beautiful. Breakfast was included as well.
Things to see in Luxor:
Temple of Hatshepsut
Valley of the Kings
Tomb of King Tutankhamun
Temple of Medinat Habu
Tomb of Queen Nefertari
Avenue of Sphinxes
Cairo/ Giza (Day 6 and 7)
Day 6 Flight from Luxor to Cairo. 45 minute travel time. Flight cost was approximately $30/ one way.
Cairo/ Giza was the last leg of my Egyptian journey and I must say I’m glad I planned it this way. The saying goes “save the best for last” and it some ways it definitely applies and in others it does not. Cairo/ Giza is of course the land of the pyramids, but it was also my least favorite city in Egypt. Cairo itself is over populated, dirty and overpriced in my opinion. It took about an hour to get from the airport to my hotel in Giza and cost me 600 EGP after some bargaining. The taxi ride from the airport and the traffic was a terrifying escapade. That says a lot for someone who currently lives in LA. What I did enjoy about this city the most was arriving at my sanctuary hotel and being able to view the Pyramids of Giza from my balcony. That experience was incredible in itself. Also there is so much history to see and soak up in between these two cities. If you get the right personal tour guide you can see everything in one full day. I booked my personalized tour through TripAdvisor or AirBnB as I usually do, and I highly recommend the same. (Book your tour here).
Where I stayed: I stayed at the incredible Marriott Mena House. This fabulous world renowned hotel is located literally across the street from the Pyramids of Giza. I stayed in room 226 I think, which had a fantastic view of the pyramids from my balcony. This resort also has other great amenities such as multiple pools, a spa and the fitness center was pretty decent as well with up to date and modern equipment. This resort also has multiple restaurants on site. I ended up eating at the Indian restaurant two nights in a row because the food was really that good! If you’re going to come to Cairo I don’t suggest you stay anywhere else. This place is the ONLY option!
Things to see in Cairo/ Giza:
Pyramids of Giza
Muhammed Ali Mosque
Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
Pyramid of Djoser/ Saqqara
Other places to visit in Egypt if you have more time to spend: Sharm el-Sheik, Siwa salt lakes.
Egyptian Food: Ancient Egypt was located on the original spice route, so there is a great deal of influence from surrounding nations. Egyptian cuisine relies heavy on the rich soil surrounding the Nile as well, so there is a heavy portion of vegetables and grains. If you enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with a mixture of African, Indian, French and Chinese then you’ll definitely find Egyptian cuisine quite enjoyable. Everything that I tried in Egypt honestly taste superb because everything is so fresh. Make sure to try all the Egyptian sweets too. The cakes and pastries were amazing!
What other information would like to know about my trip to Egypt? Let me know in the comments below.
I used to dread layovers. In my early travel years I used to think of layovers as a waste of time to my destination. Disembarking the plane just to wander around the airport aimlessly awaiting my next flight. After a few years and more travel knowledge, I have found a new appreciation for layovers. If I have a few hours in between flights I usually head to a lounge to eat, refresh and literally recharge my batteries. For an extended layover, I make my way outside of the airport to enjoy the fruits of the city.
I have learned over time to definitely take advantage of extended layovers. During some previous extended excursions I have been blessed to see Madrid, travel to Munich during Oktoberfest, visit Hong Kong and most recently, Copenhagen. During this past trip to Paris I actually booked my flight purposely to spend a night in Denmark. My overnight layover in Copenhagen was such a fabulous time. In the 14 hours allotted, I was able to get a good night rest, tour the city, swim and enjoy a wonderful traditional breakfast. I arrived back to the airport refreshed, well-fed and with plenty of time to catch my flight.
I encourage you during your next international trip to take advantage of that extended layover and explore a new city!
Please see some of my Copenhagen highlights below
I arrived at Denmark’s Kastrup Airport, which is located outside of Copenhagen. The good thing is public transportation is easily accessible at the airport. I took the Metro airport station for about 20 minutes to my stop to my hotel. The metro line was about a 5 minute walk from my hotel as well. For more information on Copenhagen’s public transportation click here.
I discovered this hotel after seeing the gorgeous pictures of the indoor pool on social media. After I discovered that Manon Les Suites Hotel was sustainable/ eco-conscious, I was hooked and my stay was booked. I am an advocate for Mother Nature and being as eco-friendly as possible. I try my best to consider and continue to reduce my carbon footprint even through my travels. This five start hotels has all the amenities needed to enjoy the ultimate experience:
Rooftop restaurant with breakfast buffet including unlimited mimosas.
Indoor pool and jungle
100% cotton robe and slippers in room
Full gym/ fitness center
This hotel, as I mentioned above, is walking distance from the Metro station. It’s also located a few minutes walk from the iconic Copenhagen lakes, Tivoli gardens and city center, Torvehallernes gourmet-food market, the lovely green inner-city parks, design shops, and restaurants. I highly recommend staying at Manon Les Suites during your stay in Copenhagen. I know I will be returning to spend more time in the luxurious indoor pool and enjoying the city.
Although I didn’t have much time to explore some the wonderful well known tourist spots above. I did enjoy waking up well rested and walking around the quiet peaceful city. As most of the city slept, I wandered around and made my way over to Nyhavn, Copenhagen. This waterfront district is known for its cobblestone streets lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. I recommend going in the AM if you want to get those perfect Instagram photos before it gets too crowded.
Paris in September has become my new favorite! Who am I kidding? After a two year hiatus from my absolute favorite city in the world, almost everything about Paris is my new favorite. The City of Love is now forever ingrained as my city to love. One day while I was casually strolling amongst all the Parisians and monuments I asked myself, “Why do you love this city so much?” There are so many answers that bubbled to the top of my head like a fresh bottle of champagne. Paris is all about people, culture, food and love! There are of course all the fabulous, fashionable locals, but the city is also one of most visited in the world. It provides a cornucopia of languages to listen to and immerse in. It also provides the perfect backdrop for my favorite activity, people-watching. Parisians seem to effortlessly incorporate people-watching into their daily routine and I live! Whether it be meeting up with friends, going out to eat or just being. Before I get ahead of myself and continue to obsess about Paris, I thought I would share the highlights of my latest trip so hopefully you can experience the Parisian magic for yourself!
Where I stayed: When I visit Paris I always stay at a hotel. Why? I just adore local, cute and quaint boutique hotels and admiring all the interior designs. I feel that is a part of the Parisian tourist experience. This time I decided to stay at La Maison Favart Hotel. The hospitality was wonderful! My stay also came with a complimentary continental breakfast including fresh pastries and coffee, all I need to start my day. The location was absolutely perfect! I mean my room was literally adjacent to the Opera Comique.
I had the opportunity to hear live opera from my room. The location is also amazing because it’s in the middle in the Opera district, which is known for its fabulous shopping. The biggest and baddest shopping store in Paris, Galeries Lafayette , is a short walking distance away. It made me regret not bringing an extra suitcase, but I will definitely be returning to stay at this magnificent hotel gem. The hotel also has spa, indoor pool and sauna which I thoroughly enjoyed one afternoon.
Sounds and views from my hotel room
Covid Rules/ Regulations: As a physician let me go ahead and put my disclaimer in. This travel information is only for those who are vaccinated from COVID-19. I am all for making choices for your own body, but that also means being responsible and staying home as well. France is only allowing vaccinated travelers into the country unless there are emergent means for travel. You must show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival if you are NOT vaccinated. France has also implemented a health pass. This pass is required to enter all public places with the capacity over 50 persons, including museums, restaurants, pretty much everywhere except for shopping malls. There is an application online to receive your pass but it’s not guaranteed you will receive your pass prior to your arrival. I personally filled out the application one month before my arrival to Paris and received an email that my pass would not be available. There is an easier way to receive your health pass once you arrive. All you need to do is take your COVID vaccination card to the nearest pharmacie and for about 10 euros you can get your health pass certificate. The process took me all of 10 minutes, including walking to the pharmacy from my hotel.
Food– When it comes to Parisian food simplicity always works best for me. Pretty much everything you eat in France is going to taste good because of the freshness, less preservatives and European butter. I’m not one to make reservations for Michelin star restaraunts unless for a very special occasion. I have a tradition on my Parisian tours, where my first stop once I get settled in, is to the grocery store (see video).
I always take my travel shopping tote with me to the local Franprix or Monoprix and stock up on water, cheese, wine, chips, produce and sweets to stash in my hotel room for a quick snack. As the locals do, in the mornings I usually stop by a local boulangerie/ patisserie (bakery/ pastry store) for a fresh baguette for the day. In the afternoon if I’m not looking to eat at a local bistro or sit down restaurant I either go back to a boulangerie or grocery store for a quick sandwich or salad. See below for other food recommendations:
PAUL– chain boulangerie that has good salads and pastries
Hank Burger (see video)- vegan burger joint that is bomb
Cafe Du Centre (see video) – Great Nicoise salad and good spot for people watching.
Culture: Honestly every time I visit Paris I have absolutely no itinerary in mind. There may be a few places I want to check out, but I usually go where the spirit leads me. During this last visit the only places I knew that were a must see were the Arc de Triomphe and a day visit to Bordeaux.
I originally bought my tickets to Paris months earlier in the year. It truly was destiny for me to be there at the same time of the wrapped art exhibit of the Arc de Triomphe. I usually do see the Arc every time I visit just because of its location on the Champs- Elysees, but this was a once an a lifetime experience indeed. This visit I decided I wanted to visit the city of Bordeaux because the last time I visited Paris I did a tour to Champagne and had an amazing time. I love wine so why not visit the original locale and learn a little more. (I’ll be dropping my Bordeaux Travel Guide soon I promise!) Here are some things that I did during my last few trips that I recommend:
Musée Yves Saint Laurent (8th arr.) – one my absolute favorite museums in Paris. Fashion, Fashion Fashion! You actually get to see the inside of YSL’s office and studio.
Pretty much any museum in Paris.- (I’ll be dropping my favorite Paris museums guide in the near future.)
Transportation: Paris is a very walkable city, especially if you’re centrally located somewhere like the Opera district. I always bring very comfortable shoes and get my miles in. Walking is the absolute best way to view all the monuments and people watch in my opinion. It also helps me feel less guilty and burn off all those calories from the pastries, sweets and wine I usually consume. If you’re not into trekking the entire city like myself, Paris also has a great public transportation system. The Metro offers bus and train stops everywhere within the city and beyond. You can easily buy a day/ week pass and go everywhere you need to for 2 euros each way or more. There are also other options like a river cruise down the Seine river, Uber car/ scooters and there are also city bikes dispersed throughout the city.
*Bonus– For those of you wondering how I take such amazing photos on my solo adventures it’s all down to using my phone and this amazing selfie stick/tripod. This device is the absolute best since its compact (it fit in my Dior bag in my videos), it has a built in bluetooth camera shutter and phone holder. (Click here to purchase)