This was my second trip to Paris this year and I was doing my usual thing…eating. I truly believe if you don’t gain weight in Paris you aren’t doing it right. I was training for my half marathon while I was in Paris and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place; running and cheese/wine. Since I was a chaperone our adult free time was from 9 pm til 11 pm when we would do bed checks. This was our time to breath a little, drink some wine and enjoy some nice cheese, and chat. So as soon as we released the kids to free time at the hotel I would quickly change and then go for a 30 minute run. Instead of walking, stretching, and drinking water I would run straight back up to the adult group sweaty and gross and catch up for my missed time. Sure a morning run would also be an easy solution but I am the Queen of the snooze button so that really wasn’t an option.
(Fabulous lunch in Le Marais)
I also was able to do a few “first” in Paris this time. I went up the Arc de Triomphe and and then deep underground to the catacombs. I wasn’t impressed with the catacombs but that could be because I am a little bit claustrophobic. The Arc de Triomphe though was not a let down. I personally think the views are better than the Eiffel tower.
Oxford is a town that shouldn’t be missed when visiting England. You can spend the day bouncing around to one of the 38 colleges and see the beautiful different architecture of each one. You can also find many spots where Harry Potter was filmed or see the original rooms (example the great hall) that were replicated in a studio for filming. When you find yourself ready for a meal, and I mean ready because this one isn’t light, head over to Pieminister. It is located in the Covered Market that opened in 1774 and has different restaurants, meat shops, flower shops, and more. At Pieminister you will find pretty much any variation of a meat pie you can think of. I had the Moo and Blue which was steak and stilton with a side of mashed potatoes and mushy peas. The gravy was rich and the meat was tender. With each bite the finishing flavor was the stilton. The mushy peas were a good refreshing side because they were full of mint that helped lighten the meal. Like I said, this is a heavy but fabulous English meal.
London is a city that will always be calling to my heart. I have been a few times now and I love it. I feel comfortable there. When I go on my work tours I typically only see the usual tourist sites but this time I found two new places I haven’t been. One spot involves Buckingham Palace and though I’ve seen the palace a handful of times this is a different view. If you stand on the Blue Bridge that crosses the lake in St James’s Park you will get the view below. I will say my photo skills were lacking and this doesn’t do it justice because it was truly breathtaking.
The next spot is the Southbank Centre Market. This a street food market full of all different kinds of cuisine—doesn’t get much better than that. I got the curry dish pictured below and not pictured was my friends truffle duck confit burger with a side of duck fat fries topped with truffle mayonnaise. I finished the fries.
This past weekend camping was exactly what I needed after chaperoning teens around Europe for two weeks. Besides enjoying the fresh air and nature I really really enjoyed my naps; drink a beer then nap, get in a hammock and nap, eat lunch then nap. I also discovered why people love hammocks so much. They really are the most amazing thing ever. We had one in our backyard as a kid but these camping hammocks are even better.
The only annoying thing was the mosquitoes. We ended up moving camp about half way through the day to the beautiful spot you see in the photo above. It was an easy move and we packed up impressively fast. So fast that we actually left the cake at the old spot. We went back to find it and luckily though there were people now in our spot they had not eaten the cake. Crisis averted.
This year I decided to go with a classic flag cake for my 4th of July dessert. This is a Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. (I cut the recipe in half and used a pyrex glass pan instead of a sheet pan.) I am going camping so I hope this cake makes the trip! Happy 4th of July!
I started writing a series called Pole to Pole for EF’s blog Equator. Check out my first post!
Welcome to the Equator’s new series, Pole to Pole – Culture Unparalleled. While working with EF, and on my own, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some amazing places and witness just how beautiful our world can be. This series is all about highlighting special cultural moments or traditions that I’ve experienced while traveling through the northern and southern hemisphere. I hope you enjoy, and happy reading!
Head about two hours south of Florence and you’ll find the town of Assisi nestled in the Umbria region. Known as the birthplace of St. Francis, it’s also home to the Feast of Corpus Christi. This is the celebration of the belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
The past two days I have been in London and Paris. One more day here in Paris and then we head to Zurich. The kids I am chaperoning are amazing kids and hilarious!!
Steak and Stilton Pie in Oxford
Pastry in the Botanical Gardens in Paris
Last night I headed to London with work for my yearly summer trip; but this year the tour is different! My company gives away 16 scholarship trips to students and this year I am the chaperone for the tour. Since none of the students know each other and they are not coming with teachers and chaperone, like usual, myself and two other staff members met them in Boston to lead the way and guide them (laying down the law). Before crossing the Atlantic we had a day to explore the city and did a Duck Tour. It was awesome! Of course it was a cheesy activity but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This past weekend I went to Charleston to visit old friends. I lived there for about six months in 2012 and I was way over due for a weekend visit. We gave our young party selves a run for our old party selves money. But as would be expected we realized we couldn’t rally like we used to–a lot more sleeping is needed now. Most of the weekend was spent eating and drinking. One main thing that has changed since I lived there is they have befriended people with boats! Happy hour was spent on a boat sipping mojitos; this is a good improvement. Eating at places like Taco Mamacita (sloppy nachos are a must), Leon’s Oyster Shop, Edmund’s Oast, and finally Butcher & Bee. Our nights were spent at Warehouse, Bay Street Biergarten, and I’m semi ashamed to admit Taco Bell. Can’t wait for my next Charleston Reunion.
Then 2012 Now 2015
(Butcher & Bee lunch and Leon’s)
(Tavern and Table brunch)
I’ve started following this blog, Woks of Life, and I love it. I made the Inside Out Hong Kong Buns this past weekend and the recipe was spot on; a little labor intensive but still awesome.
I got up early on Saturday to make these and didn’t want to wake my roommate so did most of it in my bedroom. Also for the long kneading I just sat on the couch and watched TV—kind of relaxing.