My best friend was in Brussels last weekend, so I thought to talk about this beautiful city this week.
On the northern border with France, just an hour and a half by train from Paris, it’s a perfect getaway with these beautiful Spring days.
After Madrid, Athens and Paris, let's discover together this other European city.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium with nearly 180,000 inhabitants, but it’s also the headquarters of the European Union.
Rich in history dating back to the Roman period, this city has preserved many buildings and remains of all ages, giving it a nostalgic and timeless charm.
Walking around the different areas of the city, you’ll travel through time, discovering the countless artistic and architectural vestiges: the Brussels Stock Exchange, the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula, the Royal Conservatory, The Fountain of Minerva, the Palace of Justice, the Porte de Hal, the European Quarter, the Museums of the Far East ...
But also, the royal district with the Royal Palace of Brussels, the Brussels Park, the Mont des Arts, the Parliament, because as a reminder Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. And if you wish to see the residence of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, you’ll have to go to the Royal Castle of Laeken which is in the North of the city.
For a panoramic view, nothing better than the Atomium, built in 1958 with 102 metres high.
Brussels is also full of atypical museums such as the MOOF Museum, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and the Magritte Museum.
Many festivals are held all year, don’t hesitate to check in advance.
Just like Montreal, which I mentioned in a previous article (Montreal Canada), Brussels is full of culinary specialities.
My favourites are:
Let's continue the visit not far from the Grand-Place of Brussels, with the most famous attraction: the Manneken-Pis.
Small bronze statue of 55.5 centimetres dating from 1619, and whose name means little man who pisses. It’s disguised throughout the year and it has no less than 1,000 different costumes (costumes that you can see at the Museum of the City of Brussels), so there is little chance that you see him dressed the same when you visit.
But it has its female equivalent too, Jeanneke-Pis much less famous and yet it is padlocked. This bronze statue of 55cm was created in 1985 and it's at Impasse de la Fidélité in Brussels.
And for those who wish to immerse themselves further, a video at the end of the article.
Have a good week!
Love & Chocolate,
It was the International Day of Happiness on March 20th, so I hope you are happy! And for those who seek some advice, read again my article Happiness.
Me, if there is anything that fills me with joy, it’s shoes hahaha.
I already told you about my passion for shoes, and the ones I wore for my solo wedding in Santorini in my article Shoes Forever.
So, you aren’t surprised that today I’ll tell you about one of the most renowned designers: Manolo Blahnik.
His shoes are all handmade in Italy and require 50 different steps.
Manuel Blahnik Rodríguez, a 76 years old Spanish stylist, was born and raised in the Canary Islands, in Santa Cruz de la Palma, before studying in Switzerland and Paris, then settling in England .
The Art of Shoes (El arte del zapato) in association with Vogue Spain, at the Museum of Decorative Arts of Madrid, traced its career, its major creations and its various collaborations, with 212 shoes and 80 original drawings from the personal collection from Manolo Blahnik.
I attended a lot of exhibitions in Madrid last year, as I already mentioned several times on the blog:
He’s also very inspired by nature, corals, flowers, fruits. The model Ivy drew attention in 1973, green sandals created for the fashion show of the English designer Ossie Clark. Shortly after, Manolo Blahnik opened his first store in London.
There’s a word that transpires in all these creations, this is elegance. No wonder he's one of my favourite designers.
And when shoes become jewels ...
It’s therefore not surprising that he collaborated with Sofia Coppola for her movie Marie Antoinette. And yes, the beautiful shoes of the Queen, it's him! You’ll find the video at the end of the article.
Feel free to change shoes to get off to a good start! 😉
Have a good week!
Love & Shoes,
Where were you a year ago?
Me, I was in Crete and I officially put online my blog (Article Why a Blog? )!
I was visiting friends between two attempts to freeze my eggs in Madrid (Article Gift from Science).
If you had asked me where I would be in March 2019, I would have been unable to answer, and I certainly wouldn’t have told you in Crete. Even though I spent a lot of time in Spain last year (Articles Rainy Day in Madrid & Las Palmas), I never really left Crete because I keep coming back ...
So many things happened ever since. We can accomplish a lot in 12 months. Be proud of what you have undertaken and have confidence in the future, we’re going to continue to grow up together.
Where will I be in March 2020? No idea! Keep following my adventures to find out.
Meanwhile, the subject of this week was obvious: Crete for a new episode.
As a reminder I've already talked about Heraklion, Rethymno and their surroundings.
I told you in the previous episode that I'd talk about Greek mythology.
Long before the Gods of Olympus, Cronos and Rhea, both children of Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth), ruled the Universe. They had five children: Hestia, Demeter, Hera (that I’ll talk more in a future article), Hades and Poseidon. All eaten by their father Cronos, because his parents said that one day, he would be dethroned by one of his children.
Then Zeus was born, but while Cronos was about to swallow him too, Rhea exchanged the child for a big stone wrapped in a blanket. Cronos didn’t notice and Rhea went to hide the child in an underground cave, safe from the world and his father, on the island of Crete.
Diktaean cave is located at 1,025 metres altitude, not far from Psychro above the Lasithi plateau.
We have to climb 800 metres of slope on a stony path to reach the entrance of the cave. All along, the view overlooking the Lasithi plateau is beautiful and soothing. And for those who prefer, donkeys are available for ascent.
Once at the top, you just have to go down the innumerable stairs that takes us to 800 metres deep with a small lake. Legend says that Zeus was bathing here ...
And as I was going to visit a mythical place, I wore my favourite t-shirt with the hope of seeing a unicorn!!
Then we go up all the stairs and we go down the hill ...
Zeus may have been hidden in another cave on the slopes of Mount Ida, still in Crete, but I haven't visited it yet.
Zeus became an adult and wanted to free his brothers and sisters. Stories diverge but Cronos regurgitated all his children as well as the stone.
After many battles, Zeus became the King of Gods.
So, you have to be patient in life, everything comes at the perfect timing…
It is said that wisdom comes with age, but just like a tree, one must first have roots well planted to grow, flourish and resist storms.
This brings us to the charming little village of Krasi, still close to the Lasithi plateau, another very symbolic place in Crete since a huge plane tree sits in the middle. This tree is said to be over 2,000 years old and would be the oldest tree in Crete. It was declared a monument of nature in 2011.
No wonder that in the past, many artists came for inspiration here. Notably, Nikos Kazantzakis, a famous Greek writer (1883-1957), whose famous novel Zorba the Greek was adapted to the cinema
Hope you enjoyed this article.
I take this opportunity to wish my friend Emanouela a very happy birthday!
Χρόνια πολλά! φιλάκια πολλά!
Have a good week!
Love & Patience,
I hope everyone had a good Mardi Gras and enjoyed the festivities of your city or the surrounding area.
I'd like to share with you a carnival I enjoyed during my travels, Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria.
While last year my body struggled with European cold weather, after 10 years spent in tropical countries, I escaped to the Canary islands to warm up.
There, the carnival gives rise to several weeks of colourful festivities and music, including the parade of 'murgas' (in Spanish), carnival troupes composed of dancers and musicians. Atmosphere guaranteed!
I’ve watched the parade on the beach of Las Canteras in the heart of the city of Las Palmas.
Two kilometres of golden sand and pedestrian path sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Any reason is good to get there, whether to bask, surf or for a concert at the Auditorium.
Really there is worse as decor...
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria and has nearly 400,000 inhabitants.
The historic centre of Vegueta is absolutely charming, it takes us back in time, with its old buildings, museums and palm trees, hence the origin of its name because the city was built on the site of an ancient palm grove.
The surrounding area offers nice views and above all you can visit the coffee plantations, and you know my addiction for this delicious drink (Article Coffee Addict)!
I hope you enjoyed this little getaway. It made me feel good…
And to keep the mood, and because I wish I’ll go to the carnival of Venice one day, watch below the opening video of the carnival of Venice 2019!
Have a great weekend!
Love & Dream,
One of my friends has just had laser vision correction, so it reminded me of memories, and I congratulate her!!
I travel for lots of reasons and you’ve already read a lot about it, especially with the article My Favourite Animals.
However, the reason why I’ve been to Montreal is very different. In the past 2 years, I’ve been dedicated to accomplishing personal goals. Too many things that I left unfinished for lack of time or motivation.
The laser eye surgery to get rid of my myopia was on my list and it was done in 2017.
Friends advised me to go to a well-known clinic, Lasik MD which is everywhere in Canada including Montreal. I had never been to Canada before, and I really wanted to discover this country. With cheaper surgery rates than in Europe, the difference allowed me to pay a week's holiday there. I didn’t need more to make me cross an ocean...
From my first phone call for information, then to making appointments and tests, and finally to surgery, everything was perfect. The staff at Lasik MD Montreal was very friendly and professional, they almost made me forget that I was there for a laser procedure, especially when the surgeon hugged me after the surgery to tell me that everything had gone well.
An impeccable organisation thanks to a very accessible team, which allowed me to complete everything in four days! My preoperative consultation took place on Tuesday, the laser correction on Wednesday, a last check on Friday and on Saturday I could fly back to Europe. Hard to be more efficient.
I had already consulted before but like many people I was a bit afraid, and I kept postponing. I regret not having done it earlier, there was no fear to have, the operation only lasts a few minutes, and the world is so much more beautiful without eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Between us, I didn’t find the operation pleasant, let's be clear, it's a bit like going to the dentist, it doesn’t necessarily hurt but it's uncomfortable. The two hours that followed were painful for me, a burning sensation that prevented me from opening my eyes but that's it. I had no other inconvenience or complication. It’s definitely worth doing.
The next day, I saw life as I hadn’t seen it for 25 years, and I had already forgotten what I looked like with eyeglasses!
The icing on the cake was obviously to discover Montreal, a cosmopolitan city, vibrant and friendly, with a hundred festivals a year, many exhibitions and great museums ...
Remember, I already told you about this city for Jean-Paul Gaultier's exhibition and Barbie Exhibition.
I enjoyed my stay there, a cross between the United States and Europe, a mix of history and modernity, but where they speak both English and French. Montreal is part of the province of Quebec where French is the official language. It’s the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
Last week I told you that you couldn’t die of thirst in Santorini (Article Wine in Santorini), actually in Montreal either, given the number of bars, pubs and clubs in the city. But above all, you can’t starve!
I highly recommend trying poutine, a typical Québécois specialty prepared with French fries, cheese curds and a brown gravy. This is the classic recipe, but many restaurants have created more, such as La Banquise which now serves about 30 different recipes ...
The smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s, an institution in Montreal, created in 1928. Expect to queue in the street before to get a table.
Don’t forget pancakes and maple syrup!! Some shops offer maple syrup tasting, take the opportunity to discover the different kinds.
And many more, bagels, crêpes…
After so much food, a walk is recommended, again the choice is not lacking, whether in the beautiful park of Mount Royal or along the St. Lawrence River.
This city was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535, a mountain he named Mont-Royal, that's where Montreal comes from. It is now Canadian second biggest city after Toronto, with more than 1.7 million people.
Here time stops, we relax, we breathe and we enjoy!
Montreal was a wonderful experience, as much as one from a personal and cultural point of view. This city is full of energy, no wonder it was voted the best student city in the world in 2017.
Shortly after, I took the plane to realise an even bigger dream, the freezing of my eggs in Madrid.
Now your turn to make your dreams come true...
Have a good week!
Love & Dream,