Barcelona – El Born/ La Ribera Districts

 

Two years ago when we were in Barcelona we learned that El Born/ La Ribera was transforming into the new happening district. Having stayed in this area we got to explore and found it to be one of our favorite spots to dine, wine and play! This past trip we stayed at the W Barcelona for the night on our way back from Mallorca and spent most of our time in El Born/ La Ribera after a hot lap through the Mercat de La Boqueria. Continue reading “Barcelona – El Born/ La Ribera Districts”

Tastes of Mallorca

Mallorcan cuisine is just as beautiful as the scenery. Its fresh, flavorful and carefully prepared. We enjoyed eating dinners out and snacking during the day at the hotel and Nikki Beach. Here is our Mallorcan Food Story! Continue reading “Tastes of Mallorca”

Mallorca

So why did we pick Mallorca – why not? Mallorca is part of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean known for its beach resorts and protected coves. The island sits off the coast of Spain (a 30 minute flight from Barcelona) and is a popular holiday destination for Europeans. Yes Europeans – not Americans…which makes it that much better! The island is actually bigger than we expected and has very different terrain. Flat land, mountains and fertile plains. If this place isn’t on your list of travel destinations…it will be after this post! (We hope!) Continue reading “Mallorca”

Day Trip to Cascais, Portugal

While in Lisbon, we decided to take a day trip to Cascais. Cascais is a small beach town that used to be the former residence of the royal family. It took about 40 minutes by train, from Cais do Sodre station and costs under €10 round-trip. Well worth it! The train ride reminded us of the train from Orange County, CA to San Diego, CA because you are traveling along the coast the entire journey. Continue reading “Day Trip to Cascais, Portugal”

Being a Tourist In Lisbon, Portugal

A glimpse of some neighborhoods of Lisbon:

Bairro Alto
This is a picturesque working class quarter dating from the 16th century that has traditionally been the city’s bohemian haunt of artists and writers. During the day, the streets are less crowded, but once night fall hits the Fado Houses are packed and restaurants filled with hungry people. Continue reading “Being a Tourist In Lisbon, Portugal”

Hallo Amsterdam

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LONDON -> AMS

From London to Amsterdam we go!. You can’t go around it, got to go through it….Yes indeed our train took us underneath the English Channel to France and then to Brussels  on EuroStar and then changed trains (Thalys) to get to our final destination.  (No need to book tickets separately…the EuroStar site does it for you.) The train ride was great – we enjoyed the countryside and our cabin company for a total ride of 4 hours.  The 21 minutes underneath the English Channel wasn’t a big deal…a couple ear pops and loss of cell phone reception and we made it to the other side! In typical T.W.O. fashion… we brought snacks for the train ride – sandwiches + salads + rosé!

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imageNew Years Eve

We arrived to Amsterdam on New Years Eve.  After checking in at our Airbnb apartment, we walked around before we got ready for the big night.  We stumbled upon a cheese shop and a bakery that sold oliebollens (delicious round doughnuts coated with icing sugar) and ‘appelflappen’ (tasty apple fritters). And they sure were good-good-good!!  After cruising a couple of The Nine Streets we headed home to get ready for our NYE out! We had dinner (will discuss in  Amsterdam Eats post) and then headed to a local pub where we watched the fireworks. Oh and ‘minor’ detail….Trigere did the NYE countdown for the entire audience present in the pub! haha.. IN ENGLISH!! Needless to say we danced the night away and had fun with our new Dutch Friends.

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Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a must see in Amsterdam….get your tickets before hand though.  The lines are long and not worth it if you don’t get your tickets HERE.  Arrive on time and you will be let in a side door where you can immediately start your tour.  It’s a very interesting tour about Anne and her family during 1925-1947.  Being in the same house that was their hideout was pretty incredible and unnerving at the same time.  This is a MUST see while in Amsterdam. Please note – there is no photography allowed in the museum.

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imageVan Gogh Museum

Van Gogh …the post-Impressionist Dutch painter whose work was notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty who was a big part of 20th century art. While in Amsterdam we had to stop in the Van Gogh Museum which houses the most prestigious paintings and drawings from Vincent along with his artist friends.  Before you go, make sure to get your tickets HERE, so you avoid the long lines.  After visiting the museum you can take pictures in front of one of the three “I amsterdam” sign.  (Pictures were not allowed in this museum, expect for designated areas.)image

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VondelPark

The VondelPark is the Central Park of Amsterdam.  Its where people have picnics, take walks, ride bikes, run and kick a soccer ball around.  We enjoyed strolling around this park after a couple hours in the museum.  Take note of the lost and founds that are around the park…you never know what you are going to see hanging on them!

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Canal Walks

T.W.O. enjoyed walking around The Nine Streets popping into stores and pubs occasionally.  The Nine Streets is home to many restaurants, pubs, cafes and boutiques.  It was the area we stayed and would suggest staying here to any one….Jordaan region.   There is no place in this city that has a bad view.image

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Tot ziens,

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London Sites (Part 1)

T.W.O. traveled to Europe this past Holiday Season for 11 days.    On the itinerary… London, England and Amsterdam, Netherlands.  It was the perfect time to go since all the Christmas decorations were on display in both cities and we timed our visit perfectly with great weather.  It was cold, yes, but we couldn’t complain since we had many sunny days and hardly any rain.  In these next posts you will find out why we loved London and Amsterdam so much.  Thank you to all our family and friends who gave us recommendations and help make this trip a huge success!

LAX -> LHR

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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. It was one place we wanted to see from the outside since it’s so iconic with hopes to maybe see the Queen (or Kate!). haha!  We also planned our visit based on The Changing of the Guards.  It doesn’t happen every day – so before you go check the site.  The ceremony starts at 11:15am and we learned that you have to get there early for front row seats.  Unfortunately, we didn’t so we saw a lot of selfie sticks instead of the ceremony. We got some small glimpse of the March and made some friends with two nice Belgians guys and after 30 minutes we decided to beat the crowd and leave.  Got our pictures and headed towards the London Bridge.

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St. James Place
St James’s Place is a street in the St James’s district of London near Green Park.[1] It was first developed around 1694, the historian John Strype describing it in 1720 as a “good Street … which receiveth a fresh Air out of the Park; the Houses are well-built, and inhabited by Gentry …”[2][3] Henry Benjamin Wheatley wrote in 1870 that it was “one of the oddest built streets in London.

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London Bridge + Tower Bridge + Thames River Walk

We took a cab from Victoria Station since the District and Circle lines were closed for maintenance and we didn’t want to have to deal with the crowds getting on the Underground.  It was a fun experience! We traveled along the Thames River and were dropped off on the London Bridge. The London Bridge was the perfect place for photo ops of the Tower of London.  Highly suggest going here and then walking over to the Bourough Market.

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Borough Market 

Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce. It was the perfect place for T.W.O. to walk around – YES our cup of tea! We love strolling through these international markets exploring the produce, baked goods and the creations each vendor displays. What better place for a food bloggers paradise!  Make sure to check the times of the market on the website !

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Tower of London – Crown Jewels 

Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It the home of the Crown Jewels – – which was the first place we stopped.  Since we were there later in the day, the line for the Jewels was pretty long.  We suggest getting there before 10am to avoid lines.  Make sure to get a Beefeater tour of the Tower – great way to learn the history behind this historical landmark.  Also – get tickets online HERE to save time.

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Cheers to a fun day in London!!  VIDEO TRAILER HERE! More to come…

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Cheerio,T.W.O. signature

A San Francisco Treat

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T.W.O. spent a weekend in San Francisco with family this past weekend to celebrate the arrival of BP3.  We arrived on Friday and enjoyed a lovely meal at our favorite French restaurant, Gamine, located on Union Street in the Marina.  We were greeted by the owner, Stefan and sat at our favorite table.  The bistro style restaurant is the perfect cozy atmosphere for a cold SF Fall night. The chicken and lamb stew are amazing dishes and make sure to start with the French Onion Soup.  Warning – do not ask for ketchup…you will offend Stefan!

Saturday was a beautiful day spent outside running around the city.  It wasn;t a complete day without a bridge run and a trip to Le Marais Bakery on Chestnut.  Later that evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner later that night with family and ended the weekend with a baby shower in Tiberon.  It was one weekend that goes in the books – simply the best!

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Happy Travels Ahead,
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Austin, TX

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At the beginning of May one of T.W.O. jumped on their saddle and headed to Austin, Texas for a friend’s wedding.  Having visited before, we knew that Austin was a great town, but after this trip we now know it’s an AMAZING city.  With different neighborhoods, shopping, great food, live music, outdoor activities and rooftops we can’t wait to go back!  Here are some of the highlights of one of T.W.O.’s  trip.

 

Austin

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Rainey Street

It’s a street filled with historic homes, many of the bungalow style, in downtown Austin, Texas. Rainey Street is positioned near Lady Bird Lake and Interstate 35 in the southeast corner of downtown. Our first stop – Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden.  Great outdoor area filled with picnic tables and great ambiance.

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Franklin Barbecue

The effort was there, but unfortunately we didn’t get to try this famous barbeque place.  We arrived around 11am and the line was already a two hour wait.  Two hours would have been worth it, but comes to find out a girl 10 people in front of us was holding a sign that said “Last person guaranteed food”.  Ummm….okay Franklin –  – you are going to have to wait till our next visit to Austin!  Off to another barbeque place that didn’t disappoint.

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The Ironworks BBQ

This little tin building is a historic site and a family owned and operated business that has been serving Real Texas Barbeque since 1978.  It’s a definite must stop when visiting Austin.  What did we order – beef ribs, brisket, corn on the cob, potato salad and a local beer.  The ribs were phenomenal –  – and you know that we like ribs! The meat just fell off the bone and had a great smoky flavor that wasn’t over powering.  The brisket was juicy, tender, meaty and went well with their homemade barbeque sauce.  I wouldn’t mind going back and having a brisket sandwich!  Do they deliver in California??

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South Congress

A neighborhood located on South Congress which is known for the shopping and its many eclectic small retailers, music, art venues, food trucks and restaurants.

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Hopdoddy Burger Bar, South Congress

On Sunday afternoon, while strolling down South Congress we stumbled upon this gem of a restaurant with a hour line.  Must be good, right?  Luckily we got the attention of the bartender who seated us before we had to wait the full hour –  – must have been our California IDs! Anyways, the menu was overwhelming and I say that because everything looked SOOO good.  It was so hard to choose what I wanted. From their burgers, to salads to vegetarian dishes and fries – – there is an option for everyone.  Ended up ordering The Goodnight (an angus beef, Tillamook cheddar, hickory bbq sauce, caramelized onions, sliced jalapenos and sassy sauce.  We got fries with queso which are highly recommended.  Word on the street CA is going to be getting one of these in Marina del Ray area –  – let’s hope!!

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The Wedding

The ultimate reason why one of T.W.O  were in Austin was for a wedding – – and besides all the sites seen and the food eaten, this was my favorite part.  It was amazing watching two people that are so in love get married in front of their friends in family at Stonehouse Villa outside of the city.  From the dancing to the food and mostly – the people that were there made for a special and memorable night.  Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Rorden!

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Keep Austin Weird,

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Salt Creek Beach

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Like most weekends, T.W.O. likes to stay active and find new trails.  This past weekend, T.W.O. ventured to Salt Creak Beach and ran the famous trail near the St. Regis and Ritz Carlton.  The golf course and ocean views were spectacular.  There is no doubt we will be running this trail again and will include a pit stop at the Monarch Cafe.

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Happy trails,

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