Long time no see. How are you? How has your summer been so far?
I’ve had a great time. Isn’t summer just simply the best time of year? Anyways, we’re back in the US and settling in again.
And then there was August 1st.
A day that I normally don’t care much about. Surprisingly this time around I thought about it a lot. And as it seems, if you’re a Swiss living abroad you think about August 1st more than you would if you were back home (at least I think so).
So what do you do? You attend all sorts of August 1st related events. Yes. AND they all mainly revolve around food as they usually do (which is totally fine with me) so we went to an August 1st brunch at the Swiss bakery here in town (see my post about finding that bakery here).
And it was glorious. Birchermüesli, Weggli, Croissants, Wähen, Röschti, cheeses…the list goes on.
We were talking with some fellow Swiss friends at the brunch about what the holiday meant to them and they said that August 1st was mainly a holiday they spent with family and that they associated it with time spent outside (as the weather is usually really good round this time of year). What does it mean to you? I’d love to know! I felt still connected to Switzerland even though I wasn’t there.
Have a great week and see you back tomorrow with another say Swiss themed post!
It’s when you take a flight of 1 hours 15 minutes that you realize what advantages it brings of living in Europe. City trips might be the greatest thing there is to take advantage of a weekend and see a new place without traveling for hours. This time we went on to discover Prague.
I’m sharing my favorite finds in terms of food and adventures (mainly food though to be honest) in this post. If you’re interested in that, keep on reading. Also, big thank you to our great little travel group! You are the best!
Or should I say watching? There’s a YouTube channel that a dear Czech friend (hi Marketa!) recommended to me a few weeks ago and it is brilliant. It’s called Honest Guide and it actually does what you’d expect from the name, it tells you things how they are, because he doesn’t want you to fall into tourist traps. Great! I obviously watched almost all of the videos and this was one of my favorites as he collaborated with Taste of Prague, which are a duo who are doing food tours and just do an overall amazing job at promoting good places. Needless to say that we followed all of their recommendations religiously (thanks Schueli and Evelyne for sharing).
So let’s get you inspired by some (mostly not light) Czech food, because after all you don’t go to Prague to loose weight, right?
But First, Coffee
My favorite was Original Café by far. Despite its very centric location it’s a super quiet and relaxing little oasis far from the huge tourist masses with lovely staff and delicious lemonades and coffee. Try it!
Bakeshop is a very cute little shop with lots of delicious treats and coffee on offer (the salted caramel brownies were….delicious!).
My absolute favorite must have been Eska. Very modern vibe and atmosphere with really really great food, I guess at any time of the day (even though we went for a veeeeery late brunch at 4pm)!
Pretty much the opposite of that with a more traditional and oldschool vibe but serving delicious food and patisserie as well, is Café Savoy.
We had a lovely dinner at Bottega Linka, fine Italian food. Highly recommend! If you’re more into typical Czech pub comfort food head on out to Lokál, which is an experience for itself!
Apparently they love markets around here and we were super happy to find out that there was one on Saturday morning (more info here) on the riverside. It was hands down one of my favorite things to do as you get to see you many different foods and stalls and other things (like beautiful ceramics and other products). Had the best galette crêpe I’ve ever had I think (go get one if you’re ever there) and bought the most adorable little mug and cup.
Beer and Everything Else
Well, where to begin?
Prague without beer? Not an option.
There’s beer EVERYWHERE, no kidding. And coming from a city where it’s not allowed to drink outside it was a nice change, not gonna lie. My favorite two places by far to have a beer outside were Letna Beer Garden, where in midst of a nice little hill park you have a great view over the city and can sit under the shade of the trees. Really beautiful! For a change of scenery and when you’re more into water, you can sit on the riverside on Kampa Island (thanks dear Ondrej for the tip!) and enjoy the view of the boats and pedalos.
The only place you will not get served a beer is Parlour. You actually go in, have a seat and explain to a very nice guy what you like in cocktails (he will roast you until he gets the information he needs). They will then create a drink based on your inputs. It’s a great hidden away little place that I really liked. If you’re into cocktails I’d say go there!
time for a flashback to a weekend in April that we spent in lovely Burlington, Vermont. Anyone ever thought of visiting this state up north? If you haven’t yet, do it, it’s a beautiful beautiful place! Hope you’ll enjoy the photos and little tips for a weekend’s visit.
A few facts about Vermont: The state in the northeastern part of the country is the second least populous. Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup and is generally known for their farming products such as cheese and milk. It was also ranked as the safest state in the country in 2016. And it has been/still is Bernie Sanders territory. A good place, isn’t it?
There are so many places to visit in Vermont be it summer or winter time. Whether you’re into hiking or skiing there is something for everyone. It’s truly a nice change to the city life seeing all those picturesque small villages, farmland and mountain. One of our personal highlights was biking along Lake Champlain, it’s the best thing you can do on a sunny day I think. There are bike rentals everywhere, we were lucky enough that our hotel gave bikes away for free rental.
The food and drinks
After all that biking we were STARVING. But fear not, Burlington has got you covered. There are a multitude of restaurants and craft breweries awaiting you. We opted for American Flatbread, which was recommended to us as a local’s favorite and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, hands down one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Probably being super hungry/hangry might have influenced me in that judgement. As for beers just try what they will suggest to you, they actually have a brewery (Zero Gravity) that’s part of the American Flatbread restaurant and it was really really good as well. Overall a place I’d highly recommend you go.
For coffee and breakfast breaks I’d suggest you go visit Monarch and the Milkweed. It’s a beautiful little café (right next to American Flatbread actually) where they have a small but nice menu on offer with a beautiful pastries collection as well.
And no culinary Vermont experience would be complete without having tried Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They have a big shop on the main street of the city and it’s just dreamy. Really tasty ice cream. If you’re a hardcore ice cream aficionado you can take a guided tour in their factory close by (more info here).
We stayed at the Hotel Vermont, which is located right next to the lakeside and the city centre. It was a truly nice experience sleeping there for a night, as they try and work with local brands when it comes to decorating their rooms (can you spot that cute flannel sheet?) and products by local producers. The brunch at their Juniper Café, which is open to the public as well, is an absolute gem. Had great pancakes and egg benedicts there. And tried an Earl Grey Latte for the first time, was delicious!
Have you ever visited Vermont? Have a great Tuesday!
Living across the ocean means having to get on a plane every once in a while, which I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of (flying over water in the darkness of the night kind of freaks me out a little bit much). Still, I thought I’d share my travel essentials with you today as I’ve been getting quite a bit of training in that department.
Before the flight
I pack up all of my stuff the day before (so that I will definitely not forget anything). I’ll always get a backpack as a carry on so that I have my hands free to hold ticket and passports in the airport. My backpack will contain:
Laptop, phone, chargers and adapters
Purse, passport, visa documents (important papers in general)
Lavender essential oil (sniffing on it will calm and relax you)
Headphones (ditch those terrible headphones they give you on the plane and replace them with nicer ones, it will be a gamechanger)
Extra pair of socks (to keep those feet cosy and warm)
Scarf (this is something I’ll pack without fail, it’s just practical to have when it gets super cold on the plane or you want a bit of a cosy type of cushion)
An emergency energy bar in case I get hungry before the food arrives
During the flight
Even though I read everywhere how you shouldn’t drink alcohol on a plane I can’t help it. I love having a prosecco or white wine (or even a gin and tonic if I’m feeling extra fancy). It kind of calms me down and has become a plane ritual for me.
During a long-haul flight I’ll try and do a few of my friend Adrienne’s moves, which helps me not to feel super stiff and uncomfortable. Plus they’re not mega embarrassing to do in front of your fellow co-passengers. Bonus! Check her out below:
I always go make-up free for a long-haul flight and will use the face mist they provide in the toilet. It’s really refreshing and does wonders to your skin, which gets super dry onboard.
When it comes to food I will usually pre-order a vegetarian meal, which is nice because you’ll sometimes get served first on the plane (I always fly SWISS btw). Plus, SWISS gets their vegetarian meals from a very well-know restaurant in Zurich, which I love. Win win!
In regards to entertainment on board I am definitely a movies person. And as embarrassing that sounds, I will usually check the program before getting on the plane so I can get started with my program right away. The three movies I had watched on my last flight to Zurich were Moonlight (again, brilliant), Lion (emotional) and Manchester by the Sea (oh my god, mega emotional. I had told you how I cried a lot during this movie and felt bad for the girl next to me, who must have thought that I am really weird).
After the flight
Well this is boring but after a long-haul flight I’ll usually will want to shower right away and moisturize my skin generously, maybe also do a face mask.
I’d love to know what your travel essentials or rituals are before getting on board of a plane! Have a great day everyone.
my dear friends visited two weeks ago and after a couple of days spent in Boston we thought it’d be interesting to leave the state and go discover other places. One of them was Providence, RI.
Easy to reach via train or car from Boston, Providence is the capital of the smallest State of the United States and makes for a nice day trip destination. Home to the renowned creative institution that is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD for the insiders) and the ivy league school Brown University with its beautiful historic campus, the place boasts with young and creative people.
Last but not least, there’s an amazing A-M-A-Z-I-N-G doughnut place, in case you’re interested in things like that.
Let the photo show commence. Happy Wednesday friends!
Every good day starts with a substantial breakfast, at least in my books. So we went to the one and only option when in Providence, to Knead Doughnuts. They make three different types of doughnut dough. And OH. MY. All of them are very delicious. Try them!
Pretending to be a student at Brown University…
..unfortunately Emma Watson isn’t a student there anymore though. I would have liked to talk with her about the casting choices of the prince in Beauty and The Beast.
Major artsy cool kids alert
All those artsy and cool people at the RISD, too cool for school.
Overall, we’ve had a very nice day and were blessed with beautiful weather (really a blessing, if you live here you’ll know what I mean). What are your favorite day trip destinations where you live?
But. We went to just too many pretty places and who knows, if you ever come around to visiting the States, you’ll know where to go.
After the day we’d spent in Providence we opted for a second road trip, this time down along the coast with the goal of getting to the famous Cape Cod. Why is it famous? Well, it’s basically THE BEACH people. Who doesn’t like the beach.
Back to the Cape Cod.
The Cape is extending into the Atlantic from the southeastern corner of Massachusetts. Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during the summer months. You’ll find everything, from little fishing villages, towns in the forests, whale spotting on the coast. On the way to our end destination that was Provincetown, we’ve stopped in Plymouth to look at the famous rock the Pilgrims are said to have embarked on when first arriving in the States (VERY disappointing btw, don’t go if you’re thinking about it. It’s. A. SMALL. ROCK. ON. THE. GROUND.). We then made a quick stop in the beautiful little town of Sandwich, where we’ve explored the well-known boardwalk. Absolutely beautiful.
We’ve had lunch in a little café in the center of Provincetown and were so so super lucky to spot whales on a beach where we went to afterwards. HOW LUCKY ARE WE? Whales are my favorite animals! It was an overall unforgettable day!
I went to New York last week and was BLOWN AWAY. Yet again. Like everytime actually. This city is just so powerful in every possible way.
Overwhelming, huge, intense, never boring, exciting, multifaceted, a little intimidating, and the list goes on. How would you describe your experience in New York if you’ve ever visited before? I’d love to know in the comments below.
All of the adjectives listed above actually also apply to a specific field I want to cover today: The food. I once read that you could have dinner every day of your life at a restaurant in NYC and never nearly have seen everything. There are just SO many restaurants and places to get food. Crazy.
In order to help you out a little here (and for my own memory keeping) I thought I’d collect my favorite food spots in NYC, especially the ones I got to try during my last visit around.
Breakfast of dreams
I am a breakfast person. That’s what I am.
It’s a good thing actually. Except when I want to eat everything on a menu. It’s definitely the meal I feel I can eat the most. So.
If you’re into breakfast as much as me and find yourself in the Midtown area, definitely check out Penelope. It’s a beautiful place with a neighboorhoody feel to it and the most MOST delicious French Toast and pancakes ever. The omelettes and eggs were great, too, I was told. I wasn’t too interested in them though, my main focus clearly being on the French Toast and pancakes. Normal.
If you’re into the whole French bistro ambiance thing gone NYC style, you have to go for brunch at Balthazar.
Is it bad that I got to know about this place because of an actress (hey Mindy Kaling) that once posted a delicious photo of when she visited? The good thing is that it brought me there, right?
Anways, it’s a beautiful place in Soho where I’ve had the best Eggs Florentine of my life (ok, haven’t had that many so far but it was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S). My mouth is watering right now. Did I even tell you that I am trying out to go vegan for this and next week as a little experiment. Already missing those eggs. Not a good sign I guess. Anyways, I’m regressing. If you still want to get your sweet fix but the place is full (reservations highly recommended), fear not, I have a solution for you. They have a little tucked-away bakery (LOVELY) next to the restaurant where you can get the best orangy brioche and pain of chocolat. HEAVENLY.
We were lucky enough to stay at the Ace Hotel in Midtown (beautiful hotel) but were even luckier to find out that there was a Stumptown Coffeebar inside the lobby. We obviously had coffee there EVERY DAY as it just was the perfect cup of coffee. I know I know by now you think, woman, relax, don’t get excited as much as that. But it was just so perfect. Please, do me a favor and go to one of the Stumptown places if you’re ever in New York. Ok? Thanks.
Light Lunch Fusion Style
We were walking lots everyday (we were visiting with my parents btw) and after having had good breakfast/brunches we’d rather keep lunches light or skip them after all only to have a little snack in the afternoon so that we could fully enjoy our dinners in the evenings.
A good place to have a light lunch however and that we all loved was Momofuku Nishi. It’s the one Momofuku restaurant that offers Asian cuisine with an Italian twist. Yup. Sounds interesting. Tastes delicious. Try it!
It’s Dinner Time
Oh Oh Oh. The dinners we had. Let me start with the first one.
It’s not a glamorous place, quite the contrary actually. But it’s such a good experience and such an iconic one, too. I’m talking about Katz’s Delicatessen. If you’ve ever been in New York but haven’t visited Katz’s, please do it next time you go and find yourself in the amazing LES. The atmosphere is just so much fun and the food is…well..nourishing! Not suited for vegans though might I add.
Jack’s Wife Freda: Beautiful little spot in West Village with small but delicious menu. GO!
Tacombi: I mean. Who doesn’t love Mexican food? No one, right? Tacombi is an oldie but goodie. I’ve almost always had at least one meal at Tacombi while being in New York. We went to the spot in Nolita and if you try to come a bit earlier than the big crowd (around 6.30 pm) you’ll easily get a table. Oh the food. Pure bliss.
Two other great places worth visiting are Egg Shop and The Butcher’s Daughter! Let me know if you have any other ‘must’ places in NYC, I’d love to hear!
Remember, how a few weeks back I had created an expat tag? Well, lots of lovely people did it and I thought it would be nice to feature their blogs and share some of my favorite answers with you. Also, lots of other people reacted so thanks to them too for sharing their stories even though they aren’t featured here (shout out to Christine!).
Check out Sarah’s blog Endless Distanceshere to read more about her experience as an American yoga teacher living in Plymouth (also, beautiful photos alert).
“Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand? I cannot bear the Plymouth accent. I really cannot. Growing up in the USA we all fell in love with the poshest of British accents (think Colin Firth) and were led to believe all Brits sound the same… this is NOT the case and my ears are now attuned enough that I can spot a Plymouthian accent from a mile away.”
Between England and Iowa: Follow a British Girl’s life in the Midwest of the States over here.
“What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home? Driving 3 hours to go to an airport. In the UK, that’d be like me driving to Manchester to get on a flight. Why would I do that when I have Stansted, Southend, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City, all less than 90 minutes away and all flying internationally?! Now, my nearest major international airport is Chicago O’hare (that’s the nearest airport that flies direct to the UK) and it’s 3 hours away. Those 3 hours of driving are a killer before and after a long haul flight.”
The Frenchy Way: Find out what the frenchy way of living in Santa Cruz is and check out this French girl’s blog here. It’s very interesting, lots of pretty photos too!
I had a hard time choosing an answer I liked most, there were too many, seriously (it might also been the beautiful French language or the Grizou GIF, not sure).
“Quel type de réactions obtenez-vous lorsque vous rencontrez de nouvelles personnes et leur dites d’où vous venez?Les réactions sont toutes très sympathiques. J’ai été très étonnée au début. Je pensais que les français avaient mauvaise réputation outre-atlantique. En fait, c’est le contraire, on a plutôt la côte !”
This one was funny, too:
“Quel est votre plat préféré, nourriture ou boisson dans votre nouveau pays?
Les ARTICHAUTS ! Vous entendez le cri du cœur là ? En soupe, en crème, en salade, frits… Californie = artichoke. D’ailleurs la capitale de l’artichaut se trouve à Castroville, à 40 minutes de chez nous. Les artichauts californiens, tu peux pas test !”
An Aussie in San Francisco: Check out this Australian’s adventures in beautiful San Francisco over here.
“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Americans tend to love Australians. I’m not sure why. I get a lot of “crikey”s and questions about deadly animals. Sometimes they just ask me which part of Australia I’m from and let me continue on my merry way. Other times I get a rendition of their best Aussie accents. To this day I get a visit from a colleague once a week to regale me with his awful accent. It’s British. The more I tell him that it’s British, the more he assaults me with it.”
My Theory on Blooming: Check out Claire’s thoughtful blog on her adventures as an American mom in South Africa here.
“Your favorite food or drink item in your new country? Granadilla – It’s a passionfruit which tastes both sour and sweet, and full of flavor. It’s good with yogurt, mixed in a drink, or made into a sweet dessert. My daughters even eat them right out of the skin. I’ve got a vine growing in our back garden. So, when they are in season…I don’t even have to pay for them!”
Expat The World: A sweet Spanish girl moves to Germany and tells you what it really is like, check it out here.
“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Usually people tend to tell me something in spanish; “hola”, “sangría” or “paella” are the most common words people say. Another usual thing is to ask me about the weather; “do you miss the sun?”. They get really surprised when I explain them that the sun does not always shine in Spain.”
Let’s talk about living abroad today. Everyone knows that you will miss your holidays with your family, having your friends around, eating your favorite childhood foods from your favorite grocery stores. But I thought I’d dig a little deeper than that.
What is amazing about living abroad
I am aware that living abroad for two years is an immense privilege so I take it for what it is: A gift. Usually, when you get a gift (unless you seriously lack of education) you say “thank you”, right? So what is there to be thankful for being an expat and living abroad?
Besides the obvious (cliché but true) stuff like that it widens your horizon, that it forces you to learn new things and be brave (make new friends, strive to master the nuances in a new language) what strikes me as the most important of all is this:
The confidence you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again from zero on and the knowledge that you can rely on yourself to build a life again. That is quite a reassuring and good feeling, right? It really is a new beginning, full of curiosity and excitement. You have to figure out how basic things work in your new country (from public transportation, applying for a job, how to be good at small talk, shop at grocery stores or how to post letters, the list is endless).
A thought I also like is that the mere act of living in another country, in another language, fundamentally changes you. It forces you to rediscover your own personality as you are in a new environment where you have to reposition yourself in (as opposed to your home country where it is pretty clear where you belong, who you are). For example, I feel more comfortable talking to strangers now (not in a bad way, don’t you worry) but in a more being open-minded towards people I don’t know way (it is just considered friendly behavior here and my Swiss shyness seems just dumb). I am already picturing myself back in Zurich talking to people on the streets just because I feel like I want to tell them something and they go like “who dat crazy lady?” (yes, I’ve referenced myself as a a lady, haha).
Being part of an expat* community
Of course we try and meet as many locals as we can. I try doing that by volunteering, where I get in touch with lots of Americans, which I sincerely enjoy. As an expat, however, there seems to be this magnetic power to get together with other expats. And we are no exception. So far, we got to meet lot (LOTS) of expats here. It is definitely a hub for people coming together from all over the planet.
I met lovely and super interesting people from Romania, Finland, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Iran, China, Israel, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Turkey, Haiti or Germany to name a few. Even though we couldn’t have more different backgrounds and home countries, there is one thing that unites us: The experience of leaving and starting a new life in a new country. And believe me that is enough to create a link.
Having major FOMO becomes a constant
Besides all of the lovely things starting a life in a new country entails, there is still one question always nagging you in the back of your mind that is “What am I missing at home?”. I think that we manage to keep up to date with everything going on at home pretty well, still one of my biggest fears is going home and finding out that I have missed too many things. Because, let’s be honest: Life goes on without us. I guess there is nothing you can do than trying to stay connected.
Visiting home is wonderful and strange at the same time
As much as I love visiting home I find it is strange at the same time. Except for family and friends (which are obviously great) basic stuff like our apartment or jobs aren’t there anymore. We live a life of a guest in our own home country if feels like.
Anyway, I like how this American experience has shaped me so far, I also love that I get to connect with so many different people at volunteering. This is definitely something I would like to keep up when I get back home to Switzerland (after eating mountains of cervelats and bread first).
BTW: We went to a Swiss Soirée** a couple of days ago (yes, that is what you do when you are a Swiss person living abroad) and you know what? IT WAS AMAZING. It’s crazy how food can catapult you home INSTANTLY even though it’s more than 6000 km away (unfortunately, they didn’t have cervelats at the soirée but they had Salsiz and Bündnerfleisch, WIN!).
*Disclaimer: Even though I am not particularly fond of the word “expat” as I don’t see how I am really different from a “regular” immigrant, I’ll still use it.
**I had a fancy alcoholic drink with a little white cross in it (see photo above) and it tasted FABULOUS.