YUCATAN & RIVIERA MAYA

Here i am just landed in Paris and eager to start writing this blog post so i can reminisce the good times and share them with you too !

It was one of of kind trip and could only recommend to visit this lovely region of Mexico. If you're looking for heat (lots!), sun (mostly), colors (everywhere) and generous people, then head to Mexico.

You will find here the places we stayed at and all the good addresses we found along the way.

TULUM

We started our mexican journey with the one and only Tulum ! Located south of Cancun, this town is well known for its surroundings: beaches, clear waters (supposedly, i will tell you more about this a bit further down below) and its bohemian feel. I did not really enjoy the town itself which sums up to a big avenue with traffic and tourist shops, but the hotels and shops along the beach are well worth visiting.

We stayed the first two nights at Papaya Playa Project. This charming hotel is quite conveniently located and not too far from the main road where you would find all eco chic shops and restaurants. We had to rent bikes to get around as walking would have been a mission. Within 10 mins though you reach the first places to eat and within 15 mins the cool chic resorts and places you see all over IG.

The hotel itself is really pretty and feel like one of those eco friendly resorts that flourish around. Trees have been preserved within the wooden constructions so even though you stay in an hotel with all comfort you need, it keeps a bit of jungle vibe. We stayed in a "Jungle experience Casita" where we had our own swimming pool ! Waaaa ?! It is the least to say that after our long trip we were delighted to find such a unique place. The Casita consists of a bedroom and a bathroom on the ground floor, a private pool and a small private roof top. The bedroom is big and has an open bathroom that we really enjoyed ! We would wake up to the sound of birds it was pure magic. They have a restaurant that does quite good food (though i found it was a bit pricey, but expect most of Tulum to be pricey). One of my favorite thing about this hotel was the music.. from late afternoon onward they had a DJ playing very good music. Sipping a Corona, dipping tortillas in guacamole while listening to the music and feeling the breeze in our hair was a treat ! (can you feel it too ? :) ).

One drawback you should take into account when visiting Tulum is that you might be coming at a time there is sargassum (a kind of seaweed) on the beach (even though it is unpredictable and chances are also you wont get it). It is a real environmental, economical issue for the region, you can read more about it here. If there are some, then forget about swimming in the sea, yet the hotel has two pools, one of them is hidden and gorgeous !

Unfortunately there are no yoga classes organized but plenty of spots to practice on your own.

Eat and drink around:

  • For breakfast: head to Raw Love Cafe. Amidst palm trees you'll enjoy the best of super foods and healthy delicious bowls and juices.
  • For lunch: Burrito Amor is THE place for cheap yet delicious burrito (vegetarian options available). Sadly its location on Tulum city center main road isn't so charming.
  • For diner: head to Casa Malca and Philosophia restaurant. It is so so yummy. Best diner i had during this trip. Other option is NÜ Tulum, which is very good too!
  • For drinks: amazing cocktails at Todos Santos Bar ! Wednesday is ladies night so it's free cocktails for ladies (but long long queue !). We also went to the bar of BeTulum... the whole place is gorgeous!

For one afternoon we headed to Sian Ka'an Biosphere reserve and it should be a MUST do (especially the funny float down a canal in the mangroves with a life jacket). For all details on how to get there on your own i recommend you follow instructions of this website.

As i mentioned on my Instagram...

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... I wish really that places like Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve to remain what it is, hotels to keep working on improving themselves and raise a bit more awareness to those traveling and also to local population.

Basically it is one of those places that makes you understand Tulum is going through complicated times and travelers should be aware of what is really going one here. I found this article interesting.

We then headed to Jashita Hotel a bit more north for three more nights. It is located in another area than the central Tulum i mentioned earlier but it was for the best as there the sea was clean and there was no seaweed (the beach is located behind a coral reef). The style of this hotel is very different from Papaya as it reminds me more of those extra comfortable hotel where everything is made so you can feel like a pasha. It is a beautiful classic hotel where you can expect an older crowd than in Papaya. Less trendy but even more comfortable we loved this place. We had a room by the beach, it was extremely nice. The hotel has two pools, one located on the beach and one on top of a building. We enjoyed swimming both in the sea and in the pools ! The hotel offered some nice extras like free paddle boarding, snorkeling equipment, sangria, and has a great restaurant! The menu has both continental and mexican specialties which was great to alternate (we got easily fed up with the mexican food), and the homemade pastas were a plus ! The staff was extremely nice and helpful, especially when we needed to rent a car. Only downside is the unclear information they give about what is included and what is not. Sadly yoga classes given every morning are not included (count 25USD per person per class). So we ended with a hefty check of yoga that we did not expect to have !

On our way to the inland we wanted to discover what a cenote was, so we made our way to Two Eyes Cenote (Dos Ojos Cenote) but i must say i was quite disappointed, as it was filled with tourists and kids. I felt more in an attraction than in a quiet and sacred space. Beside this, take your googles with you because as soon as you dive in, you'll see how deep and beautiful the scenery is down under the water. This was a nice experience. The water is crystal clear so you spot even professional divers diving deep. It feels surreal.

VALLADOLID

After 5 days in Tulum we decided to explore more the inland. After renting our car (around 30EUR per day) we took the road to the charming town of Valladolid. On our way we stopped at Coba to visit one of the Coqui Coqui Hotel there. We got advised so many times to go see it that we had to ! And it is with no regret ! It seems like you get on the set of an Indiana Jones movie, yet it feels luxurious. The place is ideal to stop for a drink, or nibble and even buy one of their fragrances they sell at the reception (i got "Flor the Naranjo" for myself).

We then arrived to our hotel in Valladolid, another Coqui Coqui hotel, the one that serves as Perfumeria (they have another one charming too in town). This place was INSANE. The "hotel" had only one room, and what a room. I felt under the charm and spell of this place. It probably was one of the most beautiful room i have ever stayed in. Everything in this place has been nicely renovated, keeping the atmosphere of the old times: the old cement tiles, the panelings, the garden... you step into a bubble of luxury and history. We were welcomed by a young lovely french lady that showed us around and gave us the keys of the store so at night time we could close our "home" when she was off work. Having the keys of this space felt very special, and Julien and I felt like king and queen. We had a little pool in front of our room, with cold running water, which was so refreshing after walking in the heat all day long. The room in itself was amazing: a bed worthy of a king, as the copper bath and chandeliers !

Valladolid in itself is very very charming. I think it was my favorite place... it felt authentic, cute, pretty, and happening. It is not trendy, it is not bohemian, but simply is what i can imagine a real town of the Yucatan Peninsula can be. Small shops, restaurant around, a central plaza and garden where locals would gather to eat their favorite thing the "marquesitas" (a rolled up crepe with usually with cheese or any kind of sugary fillings). The hotel borrowed us vintage bicycles (even the bikes are cool!) and allowed us within one day to have a good glimpse of the city. We even went to the local market, where grand mas sell their vegetables and fruits. Wherever i go, i love to visit local market, i believe they tell a lot about the country and its culture.

At night we got recommended to go to Casa Italia for diner and it was the right choice ! This place is heaven if you want to make a break in your diet with some italian food (pizzas are delish there). Expect to spot a bunny, a turtle and a buddha in the garden !

... on the way to MERIDA

After one night in Valladolid we wanted to discover the haciendas, so we went to Hotel Hacienda Ticum for 3 nights. The hotel is run by a very friendly french man, he immediately welcomed us as if we were good friends visiting. The place is located in the middle of nowhere so expect to spend some time at the pool or at the pool table ! But is nicely located on the road from Valladolid to Merida via Chichen Itza. So we found it was ideal to stay there. The place is really nice and has a friendly atmosphere. Our room was very comfortable, and had a private pool (even though we did not get to use it because the big one was better). The hacienda is simple with a mix of old buildings, and more recent ones and offer a nice oasis when commuting from one city to another.

One restaurant to try nearby is Pueblo Pibil, a true delicious and gorgeous restaurant, surprisingly located in the tiny little town of Tixkokob.

We visited Chichen Itza, one of the biggest Mayan city ruins of Yucatan, but again even though seeing a Mayan "pyramid" for the first time was impressive, the site was filled with tourists, making the overall experience a bit tiring. The heat added also to the overall negative feeling. Go early in the morning or don't go i would say.

We did another trip to Merida, the capital of Yucatan ! The day we went it was pouring rains but it was fun trip out of the countryside. I did not find Merida to be particularly attractive, but some parts were nice to hang at, to sip a coffee or a cocktail ! Lots of expats seem to be living here so expect to find few trendy places. I recommend to walk along Calle 60 up north from Plaza Grande and walk a bit along Paseo de Montejo.

My favorite addresses in Merida:

  • to shop: Kukul Boutique (they have one in Tulum too apparently), they have some gorgeous dresses, tops and shoes, but expect to pay a high price for these (around 100EUR)
  • to sip a cocktail: Casa Chica, such a nice ambience and decoration !
  • to sip a coffee: Mexi Boutique, cute and friendly coffee shop where you can buy some local delicacies.
  • to eat: Mercado 60, it is a big modern, hipster food court place where you'll find both asian and mexican food. It has music and lots of young people. Quite cheap.

HOLBOX

Last but not least on our last days we got to visit the Island of Holbox as we wanted to get few days lazying under the sun after driving all around Yucatan. We stayed at the cute and friendly Casa Las Tortugas Hotel. The trip was sadly too short i believe to get a full picture of this island, but we can tell there was lots of good vibrations here ! The sea truly is turquoise, the beach made of fine white sand and the overall atmosphere is very laid back. Less fashionable than Tulum, cheaper also, it was ,i found, the best choice for beach holiday in Mexico! We stayed in a cute room called Honey Moon (no engagement here but hey we'll take it !). It was small but well equipped with a nice shower and terrace. The nights get hot there though !

The hotel is a collection of colors, funny tiles, and beautiful beach items. It has a wonderful restaurant and team to serve you. Last but not least it has a shala to practice and there is a FREE yoga class given to guests every week days at 8 am ! What a treat ! I got to teach there my very first class in Mexico, i was so so happy ! I want to do more of those classes.

There we get to try two restaurants:

  • Mandarina, the one of the hotel, which serve exquisite food. Truly yum yum !
  • Luuma, the restaurant next door, managed by the same man than Mandarin, is more casual but food is also exquisite. It serves very good seafood platter for two.

I hope you get to visit these regions of Mexico one day as the people there were absolutely adorable and some scenery are gorgeous. The weather was just right when we got there (two first weeks of August), we had overcast days but it was actually relaxing as the heat would lower and overall there would be less tourists.

I hope this helps ! And feel free to ask me question down below.

xx.

C

This trip was partly organized in collaboration with hotels. As always, i speak freely about my experience.

BARBADOS : My 30th birthday trip and tips !

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 !

"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

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.

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.

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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

 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 !