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/WANDER

BARBADOS : My 30th birthday trip and tips !

Caroline Perrineau

Here it is ! Finally ! It has been already a month+ i came back from Barbados but i am still feeling the bliss of this memorable trip. My mind is definitely still a bit there and writing this post is extending a bit more my trip...

I will give you here my honest opinion of the places i have visited or stayed.

I booked this trip early March seeing my 30th birthday approaching and willing to treat myself with a well due/deserved trip rather than with any expensive thing i could have think of. I feed myself from traveling and there is nothing i enjoyed more than hoping on an airplane to a faraway destination.

I started my trip on the South coast, as i wanted to split my 10 days between the bustling/happening Barbados and the more remote, quiet part of it on the East coast.

WHERE TO STAY

1- Anne's Airbnb (South coast)

I made the choice as i started my trip alone, to book an Airbnb, and i made the right choice ! It was the BEST Airbnb experience i ever had ! I booked this place. It is located 10 minutes walk away from the beach and is in a safe area (not that actually i found any places really dangerous but as a solo traveler you should always be careful). It is a quiet neighborhood were most British "expats" live. The house is pretty and has a big garden around. But more important, Anne (and her two dogs !) is the best host ! This 70 years old lady will make you feel like you're part of the family.

Places around...

To visit:

Beaches ! I did several but my favorites were Worthing beach and Dover beach.

To eat:

Castaway - my favorite restaurant accessible by foot from the Airbnb. It is on the sea side and offers fresh salads and so on.

2 - Sea-U Guesthouse (East coast)

This was definitely the right choice ! Nestled on the top of a hill on the east coast ie the surfer coast (you won't be able to swim there), this place is very charming. It is in an old two levels wooden house, and mix perfectly well with the surrounding environment and the monkey families it hosts ! This place offers great contrast with the bustling west coast.

Places around ...

To Eat:

There is not much choice but those 3 places were great!

De Garage - the most simple, basic one, yet it has some charm. Get a Banks there and start talking to the regular clients coming there. It will be a memory of a lifetime.

Dina's - it is a little joint located on the seaside right in front of the Mushroom rock (see picture above). It is delicious though definitely overpriced and Dina wasn't in a good mood when i visited.

Atlantis - the restaurant of the hotel is quite nice, the place is friendly and offers concerts once a month. It is well known for its brunch on Sundays.

To visit:

Well there is not much to do around but maybe go take picture of the Mushroom rock, and drive along the east coast. It is beautiful, wild and still very much preserved from tourism.

WHAT TO DO

SPEND A DAY AT COBBLER'S COVE HOTEL

I would STRONGLY recommend to spend a day a Cobbler's cove hotel on the West coast and stay on the beach nearby. Cobbler's cove is one of those super duper charming boutique hotel with few rooms, only elegant guests and awesome service. It offers great food and cocktails. Go go go!

VISIT BRIDGETOWN

Bridgetown is not the most charming city but it has some authentic vibe going on. One day i was done and over with suntanning on a beach i decided to take my good camera and wandered in the city center to capture the local atmosphere. It was well worth it.

RENT A CAR AND EXPLORE THE ISLAND

Renting a car is the best way to explore the island and visit a church, a rum factory, a cave and another beach... in a day, or two. :)

Saint Nicholas Abbey : it is a plantation house, museum and rum distillery. The house was built in 1658 and offers a glimpse of what Barbados was in the colonial times.

St. John's Parish Church : it offers great view of the surrounding valley. I would not mind being buried in the tropics !

Animal Flower Cave: located under the cliffs on the Northern coats, it is the island's lone accessible sea cave. Guides will help you walk through the cave and eventually will allow you swim in one the the natural pool. A fun experience though it remains quite touristy.

Crane resort: this place is huuuuge. Half resort, half private compound, it has a direct access to the sea. Sea there is quite rough, nonetheless you still can enjoy a good swim while sipping coconut water on your sunbed ! A great half day get away from the crowd though keeping the comfort of a luxurious place with also many pools around. Just say you're coming for lunch and they will let you get in for free. Simply stay a bit longer than planned after. But shhh i haven't told you this. ;)

If you have any additonnal places to recommend please share it down here !

Enjoy !

xx

C.

BERLIN !

Caroline Perrineau

"Hallo ! Ich habe Deutsch gestudiert aber i habe alles vergessen..."

Ok that's all i can say in German basically that i used to brag with some German words but i kind of lost it all.

So ! As part of my design project (my other hat) i got to travel to Berlin last weekend and it was super duper cool. It was a short trip for my first time in Berlin but i got to get a glimpse of the urban/crazy/cool Berlin side accordingly to my friend who took me around there ;). All in all i also managed to do one yoga class (first time in Germany) and wanted to share it with you here !

If i had to describe the city i would say it is urban/cool/very much impregnated by its history. This last aspect jumps to your eyes. Not only because you still have the Berlin wall, but also because you find bullets holes in building, piece of urban furniture designed during the communist era (see for example the green lights little character called Ampelmännchen or the purple Trabant i took in picture, both are beloved symbols of East Berlin) and talking with locals you realize how much the deportation represents a very hurtful chapter in Berliners mind and hearts. 

Districts are very different from each other ... some may make you think of Amsterdam, some other simply are a messy (dirty?) urban jungle. Some have social buildings, some other central Europe historical buildings. It is very interesting from a designer point of view to see so much diversity in one city.

As for yoga i picked a place that was nearby. Was not based on any kind of recommendation, simply going for the most practical option.

So here i was at Spirit Yoga (Mitte studio). They have three studios in town and have a quite various planning of classes. I went with my male friend to the late Sunday Vinyasa level 1-2 class with Alexandra K. Unfortunately the class could not be offered in English so my experience certainly was a bit biased. The class lasted 1h30 and was a bit too slow for me, a lot was being said and no speaking German myself it would be very easy for me to simply lose my attention and start to look around feeling frustrated. The level was more 1 than 2 in term of asana practice, and was more a hatha practice (long standing posture) than a vinyasa in my opinion. So it was not a big success on my side, but my friend who occasionally practice told me he loved all she said about breathing so he could feel how much his breathing had changed in an hour+. I am sure again i missed a lot on that part, and it truly was for sure a relaxing class. So i would advise anyone wishing to have a soft Sunday practice to go to that class. For more action try something else. Next time i am in town i will try something else and will let you know :)

The studio itself is very nice and has a nice offer : 3 classes for 25euros (for first timer). So if you are in town for few days this is ideal!

They have two shalas in Mitte studio (one upstairs with the big halo light in the middle as seen in the pic, and another downstairs with a beautiful wooden structure and big windows on sides).  They also have a little shop with yogis goodies : pants, books, etc. The vibe in the studio is nice and girl at the desk super friendly. That matters a lot to me ! I will be back next time to try more classes.

I got to try three places to eat (next to each others) i highly recommend !

Cocolo Ramen for the best out of Japan ramen (they have a vegetarian option). Truly is yummy. It is a small place and always packed to expect to queue a bit, but grab an Asahi and enjoy the wait, coz it is well WORTH it!

Factory Girl for an easy yummy brunch. That hot chocolate was one of a kind ! More milk than choco yet it was a good one. Few vegetarian/vegan option though.

Shiso Burger for a yummy veggie Burger

Truly awesome vegetarian Burger with marinated tofu, grilled eggplant, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion,mayonnaise and ketchup. I will try to make it at home ! My friend (who's big meat fan) loved it ! So a must try. Served with fresh made sweet potato fries. I also discovered the Fritz Spritz ! Does someone know where to find those in Paris ? It is like apple juice with bubbles. I love those !

I can't wait next time to discover the more fancy side of Berlin. Some parts looks futuristic and could fit in a James Bond movie for sure ! Until next time then !

Also if you have some good places to recommend let me know ! I will check those out next time i am around. Love to you all and happy Sunday :)

xx

C.

UBUD: must dos in the yogis paradise

Caroline Perrineau

Ah i wish i was just coming back from Ubud telling you all about my recent adventures.. but hey na. Nonetheless i got to live there for a month, did my yoga teacher training and simply traveled around few times. Some of my yogis asked me tips for their travel to this dreamy place and i found it would be nice to share here with you too ! Enjoy and let me know any good place/tip you may have yourself !

Relax and dream in that little hotel: Aria Villa (website)

I discovered this place after a lengthy search on the www. I loved its modern look while still being nestled in some jungle. Also, i am a big interior design fan and just from the pics you could tell they put lots of efforts into this. It opened the year i got there (2014) and has only 8 villas. Each of them have a private pool overlooking the valley. It is superb though not tacky or bling bling.

I loved my stay there with my two other girlfriends. They have many nice attentions, like the welcome shoulder massage, or the daily homemade ice cream delivered to your door ! I love getting mine in the pool ;). They would also give you with your breakie a pair of binoculars to watch the surrounding birds... Those little things make the difference.

Their breakfast also is absolute yummy-ness (see the pic below to check by yourself :) ). Again delivered in your villa. Food is locally bought and organic for most of it. It is well prepared and offers both western and balinese options. I wanted to try every dishes !

I love that concept of the villa, cause you actually don't get the feeling of being in a hotel. It is like having your own villa with the perk of a boutique hotel service !

Price: 155-185EUR/night for 2 pax

Get robbed by a Monkey...

Ok i was not super excited by this little excursion in the Monkey Forest... the idea of using monkeys to attract tourist is not something i particularly like. Nonetheless, those monkeys are free to go around and are by no mean locked into some cages. The local authorities even say it is 'an important spot for research and conservation programs.' So here you go..

You feel simply they are totally used to be surrounded by tourists (maybe too used to it !). So they actually love chasing you ! Ha ha i guess what goes around, comes around ! Men being chased by monkeys ! Honestly some monkeys are harmless and don't give much attention to the ongoing circus. But some others are not here to make friends ! They would fearlessly jump on you to steal whatever you may have in your hairs (watch the sunglasses) or food in your hands (in our case the monkey got our guide book). Honestly if it is fun for the first 2 minutes it can turn into nightmare: we watch one woman get her purse stolen, taken high up in the trees by some monkey not willing to give her anything back. You can imagine the pain it can be if your passport, wallet, phone is in your bag...

Beyond the monkeys, there is around, some beautiful indonesian stone carved bridge, pounds, and temples. It has a bit of Tomb Raider feeling to it.. Except the hundreds of tourists you will meet there. Go early !

It is an "experience" you could go for if you're a monkey lover and have some adventurous blood.

Play the adventurer in the "jungle"

Simple yet very efficient, walk ! That's just what i love the most: wander and end up somewhere you did not expect to be. Maybe get a tour guide or a local if you're running out of time and don't want to spend hours your feet in the mud. But otherwise, head west of the city center, take a path in the paddy field and wander !

We encountered much "authentic" and beautiful landscapes that the one you can have in the city center, that has been completely filled with shops, restaurants and tourists attractions.

Listen and Watch a kecak show

This is a must! Though it is very touristic, it is beautiful to watch. It gathers hundreds of men chanting and swaying to the beat together around fire. There is a whole story of some mischievous monkey behind it but i have to say it was too complicated for me to follow ! Anyhow you don't need to understand, you simply watch and listen. It ends with a trance dance that is quite beautiful in the night.

Do a bit of shopping

I would highly recommend you to step into one of those shops selling local wooden arts. I found mine at Bali Art Family near the Monkey forest i loved where i bought a Balinese mask i still have in my home sweet home in Paris (see pic below). Other shops also sell those wicker baskets painted in beautiful colors that easily blends in some of our westerner interiors ;) .

I also found some wonderful candles in metal box (see pic) that smell beautifully well and oils to cover ourselves with ! My favorite of all i could not find anywhere but in Bali is the one from Cantika, with the Cempaka fragrance (see pic). To die for ! You can find this in small shops around town.

You will also find some great essential oil and body sprays at Blue Stone Botanicals.

Finally if you want to find some great yogi accessories (singing bowls, books, beads, etc.) i would highly recommend you to head to Namaste shop.

Eat plenty of organic, healthy, exotic food

If you want to buy some healthy snack or food souvenirs (i love this concept !) i would recommend two places:

  • Bali Buda : the yogi grocery of Ubud that has been around for so long ! You will find both fresh tempeh ( soybean in a cake, a bit like tofu), veggies and nuts, chips, chocolate. They also have some cosmetics. All natural, organic, and delicious ! One souvenir to get, their tote bag ! :)
  • Kou Cuisine for its sea salt and jams cooked up using the best of Bali's fruits, all in stylish packaging.

For lunches/dinner they are so many options to list ! On top of my head those come first:

  • Alchemy Bali: the temple of organic food you can take away some delicious salads and juices.
  • The Elephant: it used to be my canteen while i was doing my teacher training ! I love that place that is located a bit outside the bustling city center. Lots of locals go here.
  • Yellow Flower Cafe: simple, easy cafe on a little road. Best to observe the sunset. Near my favorite masseur !
  • Sari Organik
  • Juice Ja Cafe
  • Down to Earth cafe
  • Clear Cafe

Get a massage

I wished i wrote down the exact address of this precious place but i am sure it is possible to find it again. It is located on the west side of Ubud and if you ever wander up until the Yellow Flower cafe it is located 5 minutes walk away from it. It is one little shop where a masseur does on appointment massage of your choice. He was so so good ! Locals go there and i understand why ! It is far away from the hustle of the city and some tourists traps you could find. Ask Yellow Flower cafe waiters, hopefully they'll be able to point out to you the place. Heaven to be found there !

Do Yoga... duh of course !

The Shala Bali: my yogi heaven ! This is where i did my teacher training. They organize all year long some yoga retreats (1 week or so) that could be a great excuse for you to plan a trip in Bali. You should send them an email in advance to know what yoga event they are organizing. This place truly is beautiful, with its own little cafe/restaurant you can simply stop by. It is in the middle of the rice fields and is very quiet. LOVE IT.

I found this video of the place below. It represents in my opinion very well how the place looks and feels like !

Yoga Barn: it is THE yoga place in Ubud. I would recommend you to go not only for its great teachers, but also for its architecture and their cafe. This place is a must visit if not a must try if you are a yogi.

Radiantly Alive: i have not been taking a class here though i have heard from trustworthy sources that it has great classes. I love their yoga space too !

Rent a scooter or bike to wander around

I was scared first to ride a scooter around when you see how little road signs and road rules there are ... nonetheless renting a scooter really helps you feel like a local and discover new places. Depending on where your hotel is , rent either a scooter or a bike for the day or the week. Ridiculously cheap too!

Last but not least i created a map with all the places i mentioned above.

MADRID: Ola yoga ! Tapas, yoga, amigos and late night talk.

Caroline Perrineau

Uh sadly this was my last trip for a little while as Paris is calling me and i must stay. Anyhow how good it was !

Too many reasons not to go as two of my dear Shanghai friends ( i used to live there for 5 years), were there ! It has been the third time i was traveling to Madrid and what a great city. I always went there at this time of the year (september/october) and i feel it might be the best period: temperatures are neither hot or cold, it is still very lively and happening both in and out on the streets.

WeChat_1475937477.jpeg

I love the vibe in Spain: Spanish are so welcoming, plus the life is easy going... meaning there is no hurry ! Ha ha. Breakfast at 10am, lunch at 3pm and dinner at 10pm. I did not come back home feeling really rested (late night talk with the long time no see friends), neither in good shape (tapas oblige), but my mind was set on the positive mode for sure !

I got to wander in the streets of Madrid and tried out one yoga studio called Zentro Urban Yoga. My friend and I took the 7pm Vinyasa class of Beatriz Abramovich. I wish i could speak Spanish because the class was all in Spanish, but Beatriz was kind enough to greet us and get to know us before the practice, in English, asking us some basic questions about our practice etc (which is by the way always a great sign, and way to spot "responsible teacher" in my opinion ;) ). She's sweet and i got to learn some new movements ! So i was glad i did the class. Expect the Vinyasa class to be quite soft and slow if you are advanced practitioner. Class was full (20+ yogis).

Studio in itself is quite well designed, with light woods and bits of greens here and there. I like that style ! Funny note, the main yoga room floor is an old creaking wooden floor so expect your jumps to be a bit "loud" haha.

Beside yoga, i got to meet the lovely Alex, aka Lovely Pepa, Spain fashion blogger number 1 ! She is such a sweet person, we got to talk quite a lot and she has been kind enough to advise me in my own blog. I truly liked her for her generous attitude and inspirational story. She has come a long way to be there ! Side note: she looks as beautiful in reality as she does on her pics ! ;)

Finally i want to tell you about that little shop i discovered. It is a small hidden artisanal shop that makes two products (keep it simple) : mirrors or animal's natural fiber heads; better than a real head isnt ? It is totally the kind of shop made from passion and the desire to bring to consummers better products, respecting the environment. Javier is the owner and designer and is super nice. We got to chit chat and you could feel how passionate he is ! If you're looking for a nice piece of decoration for your home head there !

Zentro Urban Yoga

Claudio Coello 5
Madrid, 28004

More info here.

Javier S. Medina

Calle el Escorial, 28
Madrid, 28004

More info here.

AMSTERDAM: Post wedding yoga and healthy delights

Caroline Perrineau

 Post wedding mess... oupsie

Post wedding mess... oupsie

Numerous times have i been to this city and many times did i fell in love again and again with it ! I always found it is the kind of city i would happily move in as it offers the best of a city and of a small town. It has all the shops, food, entertainment i love and the cozy, relax atmosphere at the same time.

I went there this time to attend one of my dear Shanghai friend's wedding. Despite the fiesta and the little hungover, i got to motivate myself to go on the look for a yoga studio that would help me clean my sins.

So off i was on a sunny day to Delight Yoga studio in Prinseneiland district. I did not know Delight Yoga before but what a great surprise it was when i pushed their door ! The interior design of the space has been beautifully done, and the atmosphere just feel fine ! Neither snobby, nor too hippie, i loved the way it was. I would not sign up for a class unless i get that great first impression, the good vibrations.

I signed up for an Ashtanga class with Marilou van Hoek. It was a beautiful class, well led by this great teacher. Gentle and generous, she was wonderful. If you wish to know more about her there are some info (in dutch though) on the studio's website here. I have to say i am more and more in love with Ashtanga yoga and am seriously considering investing more time into Ashtanga workshops and trainings to deepen my series. Will let you know more about it !

I got to take some snaps of the place to share with you....

 SLA carrot juice

SLA carrot juice

On my way back i went to my friend's best friend organic salad shop called SLA for a quick refill in energies. I got myself a cold press juice made of carrot, ginger, mint, apple, and other goodies. It was yum and I was nicely surprised by the reasonable prices. Well, yeah, Paris is quite the worst in terms of food pricing, so hard to do worst. But hey, it made my afternoon. The place on this location is tiny but cool and not overcrowded.

Finally it was end of the day, refreshed and refilled with energies from meeting my dear friends and discovering bit more places i would eventually simply take some time to stop and enjoy the last precious moment of this wanderlust. Until next time 'Dam ! xx

 Taking a step back and observing the wonders of what is at your doorstep (or window !)

Taking a step back and observing the wonders of what is at your doorstep (or window !)

My addresses:

Delight Yoga: Prinseneiland 20G, 1013 LR Amsterdam

Website here.

SLA : Westerstraat 34, 1015 MK Amsterdam

Website here.

UPDATE 3/01/2017

For those looking for a place to stay in Dam, a friend of mine, Baiba (@baibasustere on Insta) recommended me this hotel: Hotel V Fizeaustraat. It looks super duper nice and i trust her tastes to find the nice, original places around Europe ;). It is around 100EUR per night. She said it is a bit outside city center but well worth it !