This was actually my second time visiting Bruges, but really my first experience of enjoying the sightseeing. I’ve slightly remembered the first time I went there, as it was only for couple hours in the evening, so I basically didn’t see anything.
I didn’t expect that Bruges has a lot attractive views and lovely architecture. It reminds me of Lille, France, only this one has canal ways.
Make sure you wear sneakers when you visit this town. The pathway made from old cobblestones, and you will do lots of walking. Normally, I’m kind of person that hate walking, yet I’ve really enjoyed walking trough the small streets and taking pictures of the city. If you are a beer person, you will be very happy. Bruges has bars in every single street (I might be exaggerated a bit), but I mean really, I’ve never seen too many bars and restaurants like every 10 m I’ve walked! 🙂
The Jacobs Hotel Brugge is housed in one of the typical stepped-gable buildings that give Bruges its fairy-tale atmosphere, and is near the Langerei, one of the picturesque canals that once transported cargo for the medieval textile industry. (source: click here)
Inspired by the movie The Holiday , I decided to travel alone to some cities I’ve never been before, so I would not feel kind of alone during the Christmas – NYE holiday. Sounds sad, but when your family is living in another continent of the world – spending the holiday and bumping at friend’s house or friend family’s christmas party is kind of tradition for me for 8 years already.
So I booked the train passes for two countries for 5 days journeys from Eurail (PS. This is only eligible if you do not have EU nationalities, and if you have EU nationalities you need to buy your passes from Interrail).
My first stop was Grenoble, France.
Is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps. It took only 4h to get to Grenoble from Paris Gare de Lyon with TGV.
If there’s one place I always come back to, over and over again, it’s Bastille Hill. I’ve been dreaming to visit this landmark since a long time. The Bastille, an ancient series of fortifications on the mountainside, overlooks Grenoble on the northern side and is visible from many points in the city. The Bastille is one of Grenoble’s most visited tourist attractions and provides a good vantage point over both the town below and the surrounding mountains (source: wikipedia). To get to the Bastille hill, you need to take Grenoble-Bastille cable car, or well-known as “Les Bulles” (the bubbles) as it mostly looks like a transparent egg-shaped cable car.
My second stop was Milan, Italy
I actually only had one day out in Milan, well I kind of booked the train tickets at the last minute during the holiday season. So, I didn’t have much choice only to spend whole day in Milan. Here I’ve gathered a few of places that I’ve visited in one day.
It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. Extensively rebuilt by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905, it now houses several of the city’s museums and art collections. (Source : wikipedia)
Is the main city square of Milan. It is named after, and dominated by, the Milan Cathedral (the Duomo). The piazza includes some of the most important buildings of Milan (and Italy in general), as well some of the most prestigious commercial activities, and it is by far the foremost tourist attraction of the city.
If you like historical buildings, this is the perfect place to visit.. What I did was standing in the middle of the city square and look all the stunning buildings surround you.. it was really breathtaking.
Honestly, I would not recommend you to visit Piazza del Duomo & the Cathedral during the holiday. Well, I was hardly enjoyed the walking and sight seeing in this area as it was too crowded and too many people did the same thing (read: taking pictures).
Last time I went to Italy, I tried deep-fried seafood, it was really delicious, and it made me promise to myself, if one day I take another trip to Italy, I will eat the same dishes. So, I did! I went to the local pizzeria, not really far from the landmark Castello Sforzesco di Milano. I ordered Gran Fritto Misto, it was mix deep-fried seafood with fried courgette (zuccini).
Address: Piazzale Baiamonti, 2 20154 Milano Italia
I found this place by chance in the Chinatown, as I supposed to go to Korean restaurant that permanently closed. It’s a very fine fusion japanese restaurant with reasonable price. I ordered different kind of dishes and everything tasted amazing.
Last stop before going back home – Paris, France
For some people spending NYE is very important, for some people might be not. But me, I like spending quality time with my closest friends, like most of French people do.
Where to stay:
I kind of booked the hotel couple weeks before the holiday started, so this was the one I found that pretty affordable during NYE. It situated in 11th arrondissement of Paris and pretty calm area. The room was comfortable and modern for Parisian hotels, but the most important thing is they provide you free mineral water and kettle for tea/coffee for each room.
This takeaway restaurant just opened in 2017, and they serve authentic english fish & chips with mashy peas and tartare sauce. Apparently the owner had spent couple years in England and worked at the English pub, I think that’s the reason why they know how to cook a proper fish & chips. If you don’t really like fishes, they also have fried chicken & chips, and it tastes amazing.
Le Comptoir des Halles – Place du Vieux Marché, 76000 Rouen
This place is one of my favorite place to eat fresh oyster without going to a fancy restaurant. We also call the place “bar a huitres”, which literally means “oyster bar”. It is located inside the Vieux Marché, so it is very easy to find. I used to come here after rush hour, so the place was less busy and I can enjoy my oyster and a glass of white wine quitely.
Despite having seafood platter, you can also have lunch there, they have different kind of fish / seafood hot dishes, it all depends on what available on the season.
Hot dog Corner Rouen – 8 rue Croix Verte, 76000 Rouen
Funny things, I found this hot dog shop by mistake when I was at Kebab shop nearby. My favorite menu is the classic American with mustard and fried shallots. What make the hot dog tastes amazing is because the owner makes the bun by herself. Not only the hot dog, you need to taste their milkshakes. You can decide whether to eat your hot dog on the spot, in the restaurant, or take your menu home with you.
If you want to eat homemade hand-drown chinesse noodles, this is the best place in town. Price is affordable for a good quality.
Le Pied de Poule – 16 Rue Victor Hugo, 76000 Rouen
It is not very well located but finally I found not very fancy french restaurant in Rouen. Don’t be surprise if it looks pretty quite from the outside, I think it is simply because it is not located in popular area in Rouen. Yet, the food was delicious, the price was affordable, the decoration is also fine. I ordered the foie gras for starter, then mussels and chips for maincourse.
In the spirit of #throwbackthursday and how I finally proud living in Normandy :p , I will show you my sweet trip to Bagnoles de l’Orne in Lower Normandy. At first, I had no idea where the town is, I simply found the town when I was searching a weekend great deal on travelbird website. We visited the town in late autumn 2014. I was pretty worried that the town wasn’t that pretty as I expected, I did google before, but you know sometimes pictures did not tell the truth. Fortunately, it was beyond than I expected. Bagnoles de l’Orne was a little town with approximately 2502 habitants surrounded by Andaines forest.
What make me falling love with this town is “the lake” located in the middle of the town which is formed by River Vée, it is kinda remind me of Switzerland. Bagnoles de l’Orne was also well known as typical French bourgeoise residential area, it is filled with superb villas with polychrome façades, bow windows and unique roofing which was built during “the belle époque” quarter.
Well, I can tell you that Normandy has also a little paradise. 🙂
Dieppe is one of coastal town located in Upper Normandy which famous with their scallops and seafood. Two weeks ago we went to this town to taste some of Dieppe’s culinaire and visit the famous “Marché de Dieppe“(read: Dieppe’s market). The market is the lively Saturday morning in downtown Dieppe. A popular meeting place for supplies, including local farm products, and to meet. Marché de Dieppe is one of the biggest one within the region. You can find not only fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products from local farmer, but also takeaway food, flowers and clothes.
One of my colleague who grew up in Dieppe gave me a list of restaurant which qualified as Michelin restaurant, Restaurant “A la Marmite Dieppoise“. It’s pretty expensive, but quality cannot lie. They have some specialties from Dieppe, such as la marmite Dieppoise, a sort of seafood soup contains prawns, fillet de turbot, scallops, mussels, and lobster in sour cream. We also went to the famous patisserie “Divernet“, and it’s kinda hard not to taste their amazing patisseries.