It felt really nice to have a short week. It did feel quite long at some point but I’m glad the weekend starts in just a few short hours. Do you have any plans for this weekend? Tonight we’re celebrating one of our friends’ 27th birthday. I can’t believe that exactly a year ago his girlfriend organised a pretty amazing surprise party! I’m sure we’ll have as much fun as we did last year. I cannot wait for tonight. On Sunday we’ll definitely be enjoying the good weather and hope to spend most of our day outside enjoying the sunshine.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy these beautiful spring days!
After a very long pause, 3 months to be exact, Travelling Flavours will officially be back on August 1st. But first, I’d like to explain why I took such a long break. There are several reasons. One of them was the lack of inspiration and motivation. I wasn’t feeling very inspired when it came to cooking, and simply could not bring myself up to making or trying out recipes. I’ve also started a new job and an intensive workout (insanity and getting back on track – running). I needed time to adjust to this new routing and I was simply too tired at the end of the day to dedicate anytime to my blog. I had too many things to do after work and could not get any inspiration nor motivation to work on Travelling Flavours.
However, beginning of July after spending a few evenings by the beach after work, I realised that I had to change my lifestyle routine. I’ve been determined to change things up and live a more relaxed life. Letting things go. Whenever my work day was over, I was thinking about my workout, the groceries that still needed to be done, what meal I was going to cook that night, laundry that had to be done and so forth. I wanted that to stop. I’m already busy and have a full head at work, and I certainly do not want that working life to impact my personal life. I’ve decided to take things more slowly and letting go off this routine that we all have. Do we really need to have a schedule too when coming home from work? Do we really need to stress out about doing groceries, cooking a meal, and going to bed early so that you have enough sleep? I’ve realised that this was not necessary. After those beach days after work, it felt relaxing. It felt like I was on a vacation. It really felt like time had stopped. Evenings were passing slower than usual, and it made me enjoy them more than those hectic evenings spent at home. Enjoying good company, the wonderful weather and good food was stress free. So my upcoming after work moto is just to let everything go. Being spontaneous. Being free. Enjoying those evenings and the nice weather (when it comes back) and not thinking about what needs to be done at home. It’s not a stress free life but it’s a less stressful life and that’s what makes it all more enjoyable! It won’t always be like that on the longterm but, but right now this is what I need.
Having explained all that, I will be dedicating more time to my blog. I just came back from an amazing two week vacation (Cascais, Lisbon and Marseille) and cannot wait to share with you what I’ve done, what I’ve seen and what I’ve eaten. Summer is still full on, and I’ll be sharing some wonderful summer recipes from dips, to salads and desserts. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I will!
Three weeks ago. That’s when we began our two week summer holidays. Our first stop was Cascais. We travelled from Brussels to Lisbon, before heading to Cascais by taxi. We stayed four full days in Cascais. My boyfriend booked three surfing lessons with a surfing school, and in the end ended up going a fourth time. Most of his sessions were in the morning, and about a 20-25 minute drive from Cascais, so I didn’t see him then. He had one afternoon session where we went by bike. Unfortunately, it was a very very windy day. I was wrapped up in our beach towels but was still able to take some photos of the beach and him surfing. It wasn’t his best day but it was great seeing him enjoying himself.
What did I do when he surfed in the morning? Pretty simple. The day following our arrival I was ill. A nasty flew. I slept really badly that night and needed some serious rest. When he was done, I joined him at the surf school and we walked around the city. We mostly enjoyed an afternoon by the beach and before diner had a delicious sangria. We tried a few places, but always ended up going to one in particular – Piriquita. Even though the service was not that great, they’re white sangria was simply delicious. I wrote down most of the ingredients, ok all the fruits, that were in it and hope to replicate this at home some time soon. We’d then mostly enjoyed a diner outside, and had a pretty amazing BBQ at the surfing school on Thursday evening. We met some really great people. Lots of Swedish, but Norwegians, French, Dutch and Belgians too. We had a great night out!
We also rented mountain bikes when we were there. On Saturday we went back to the beach where my boyfriend did his surfing lessons, before heading to the most Western point of Europe and then up to Sintra. We were quite disappointed by Sintra. It was full of tourists. There were way too many. And lots of traffic too, between coaches and cars. We were literally the only ones by bike. After looking around for a bit, we headed back to Cascais. We left for approximately 7 hours, and cycled 50 km, with lots of stops to enjoy the views! It felt great to be that active during our holidays. Even though, I must admit that sometimes I had to push my bike as it was too steep for me to cycle.
In Cascais, there are three places I’d recommend for lunch or diner. The first is Moules and Gin. The concept is really simple; muscles, muscles and more muscles with delicious small French fries. My boyfriend had moule a la mariniere and I had the ones with coriander. Accompanied with white win, delicious! If you want to go there, make sure to reserve. There are limited seats. The second place I’d recommend is O Pescador. I had some amazing grilled sardines and my boyfriend had sole. Everything was perfectly cooked. Amazing service by the waiters. It’s a little pricey but it was divine. The perfect restaurant to close off our vacation in Cascais. If you’re vegetarian, you should definitely go to House of Wonders. They have a beautiful cold buffet and two warm dishes. As we wanted to try both, we decided to share a plate of cold dishes and then tasted the two warm dishes. It was definitely more than enough for the two of us. It’s definitely a place to try, vegetarian or not!
Cascais is a great holiday destination for surfing, and is really not far away from Lisbon. Within 30 minutes you’re in the city. Cascais is a cozy little city with small streets and lots of places to eat. There are also some beautiful villas. Wow. We were amazed by how big some of those properties were. I’d say that the beaches were ok. Too packed for my own tasting, so we’d usually wait the end of the afternoon to go to the beach. As they are artificial beaches, they are quite small. I wouldn’t be able to stay there a full day with all those people. Apart from that, we had an amazing first week. Can’t wait to share our next stop, Lisbon!
After spending five days in Cascais, we headed off to Lisbon. We spent two and half days there, just enough time to explore quite a bit of the city. Even though Lisbon is a very steep city, we still walked everywhere we went. It’s the best way to get around small, narrow yet steep streets.
The first thing we did on our first day was go to Castelo de Sao Jorge. Before heading in, we had to get our daily dose of pasteis de nata. It was our vacation ritual, that is eating one everyday for breakfast with a fresh orange juice for me and a coffee for my boyfriend. Once that was done, we were off to the castle. It’s famous for Lisbon’s almost 360 degree view. It was stunning and we weren’t disappointed. It is definitely worth a go. We went there early in order to avoid all the tourists that arrived an hour after we did.We were able to enjoy the view without having too many people around us, and were able to take our time for pictures too.
After spending most of our morning there, we headed to Mercado da Ribeira for food. Before going on holidays, we had watched a documentary on Lisbon (it dated a few years back but was still pretty much relevant) and saw that food market. We knew we would find some delicious food there. The wonderful smell lead us directly to the food hall. There was plenty of food stands to choose from, and I was pretty amazed at how much seating area there was. Lots of high and low tables. We went there twice and it never took us long before finding a seat. We took a delicious plancha of ham and cheese and a glass of red wine to go with. These little pleasures in life make things so much more enjoyable! After that we headed back to our apartment. It was super warm and needed some coolness and rest before heading back out later in the afternoon.
Another tradition of ours on this Portuguese vacation, was drinking a nice glass of red or white sangria before going to diner. Its super refreshing, with lots of fruits. We found some beautiful small terraces near a cathedral. We usually took a liter and would switch between red and white sangria. Both are delicious but I do have a preference the white one, surprisingly! When in Lisbon, you must go to ‘the hole in the wall’ and have a small glass of ginginha! It’s a type of cherry brandy. We tried it and enjoyed it. We drank it slowly because it does contain quite a bit of alcohol. This too we saw in the Lisbon documentary. A quick note on our second night there, we had a pretty disastrous diner. We went to Cantinho do Avillez. The food was good, but the service was horrible. We weren’t well seated meaning that the waiters never looked in our direction. Our aperitif and starters came at the same time. When asking if they had some sweet wine, the waiter replied no, without giving us any other options. They even made a mistake on the bill of a couple that was sitting next to us, and there was no one showing you out of the restaurants. No thank you’s, no goodbye’s. Even though the food was excellent, it was too pricey and definitely not our kind of atmosphere. There are simply too many tables for the amount of staff hired.
On our second day, we headed off to Belem known for its famous pasteis de Belem. Of course we headed to THE place where they make those. Everyone was queuing up for some takeaway pasteis, but we decided to sit down and enjoy the experience. Wonderful service! And oh god, those pasteis were so so good. They definitely were the best we tasted since the beginning of our stay in Portugal. They weren’t too sweet. Just perfect top off with cinnamon! We definitely fell in love with this wonderful little pastry. We walked around the city and off to the tour. Because Belem is known for its pastry and tour, it was full of tourist. We didn’t even queue up to visit the tour. It was way too long, and standing in the sun, waiting, was not what we wanted. So we walked around for a bit, before heading back to Lisbon and enjoying a second lunch at the mercado.
On our last night in Lisbon, we had a wonderful diner and would highly recommend you going to Taberna Sal Grosso. Our friends Jordy and Carina went to Lisbon back in May, and told us to go there. We made sure to reserve, as it’s very limited in seats (about 7 tables). The menu is written on a blackboard on a wall. The choice of food is limited but the quality is top notch, simply excellent! It makes it really authentic and changes from the regular menu you receive once being seated. We started off with the fish soup. At first my boyfriend wasn’t really sure about it – “fish soup?” he thought. We gave it a try too. It was by far our favorite dish of the night. It was a little spicy, a bit creamy. It was simply fantastic. I’m not sure anyone can top this off it was that good. We also had some lovely fondant stew as well as pork cheeks if I’m not mistaken. We had plenty of food for the two of us. The chef and the service was excellent. We even spoke to some wonderful Portuguese people while we were there. A great way to end a wonderful day in Lisbon!
On our final morning in Lisbon, we decided to walk around and enjoyed some much needed water and coca-cola on a roof top terrace. We had been there on our first time and enjoyed the place so much we went back. They view wasn’t as great as our first night, thanks to a huge cruise ship. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful final morning in Lisbon!
If you’ve never been to Lisbon, I urge you to book your next spring and summer vacation there. It’s beautiful. You eat wonderfully and there are plenty of things to do. You want to go to the beach? Take the train and within 30 minutes you’ll be in Cascais where you can take surf lessons if you’d like. Lisbon is definitely one of those cities I will go back to. I’ve seen a bit of it, but would love to stay longer and discover more. It’s definitely one of my favorite European cities!
Our last summer vacation spot was spent in Marseille. One of our best friends, Maelle, currently lives there. It was the perfect time for us to reunite with her and our friend Aurelien. The last time we had a friends get together was back in September, when we visited her in Brussels and before that in August during her amazing wedding. We spent three full days in Marseille. On Thursday we walked around the city, visited the old port, and went up to Notre-Dame de la Garde. It’s the best spot to have a full of view Marseille. We did lots and lots of walking, and therefore had a pretty low-key evening back at her place.
Friday was lots of fun. If you are in Marseille, you must see les calanques. The best way to do that is by hiring kayaks and leaving from Cassis. And that’s exactly what we did. It was beautiful. We jumped of our kayaks and swam in the sea, before stopping in a calanques for lunch. We hired the kayaks for four hours, long enough for us to enjoy every moment of it. We spent the rest of the afternoon nearby Cassis. They all jumped off some cliffs, while I took some photos and videos. Yes, I was too scared for that, but had fun watching them!
After an intensive day of kayaking, we had a pretty low-key Saturday. We went to a park in the morning and did a little frisbee before having lunch at home. On Saturday evening, we went to Les Terrasses du Port where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Needless to say, we almost missed it. We had some cocktails and rosé, and enjoyed some good music. We finished off by eating some excellent kebab.
Between Cascais, Lisbon and Marseille, I must say that we had a wonderful holiday. Even though it has now been a month that we’re back, I still have some amazing memories and writing these pieces for my blog made me think back of those times. I can’t wait for our next holidays!