Category for Food

Lund and Copenhagen

June 24th – June 28th, 2016

It was a bit of an ordeal getting to Lund, Sweden, due to a broken train track combined with a holiday weekend. We waited 5ever in Malmö for the replacement bus that never showed. Finally a very nice Swedish girl offered to let us share her cab, since she was going to be getting reimbursed anyway, so we finally made it to Lund, many hours late.

We found Sarah, and then got ready to go to a Midsummer party at her friends’ place. Lund is a university town, so there are a lot of students, from all over the world. We ate, drank, played games, jumped on the trampoline until the sun finally started going down (2 AMish?) and then caught the bus (yay public services!) back to Sarah’s dorm. It wasn’t long until the sun was already starting to come up again (4 AMish)!

Sarah took us around on a walking tour of Lund. I especially liked the fancy clock in the cathedral. It gives all sorts of information about dates and astrological signs, and other things that we couldn’t figure out. It does a cuckoo clock thingy too but we weren’t there at the right time.

I couldn’t visit Sweden without having a smørrebrød!

It was fun hanging out with Sarah. We marathoned the entire latest season of Game of Thrones so Scott could catch up and Sarah could watch the last episode. We cooked weird meals with all the things she had left in her food supply since she was leaving in a week. We went to sweet Swedish parks with hammocks and outdoor gym equipment and parkour structures. I tried Kalles Kaviar, new types of candy and ciders. We did NOT try surströmming, sorry.

We did a day trip to Copenhagen one day.

We went to a very hip street food market that I had seen on TV. I had a salad wrap where the wrap was made out of egg. We went to the Danish National Museum which was really cool (and free!) but only had time to look at the viking and medieval stuff before it closed. I would want to go back some day because I think there is a whole floor dedicated to Lego!

We took the bus (free with intercity bus ticket!) to the mermaid statue because we are tourists. There were a lot of people there. It reminds me of the girl in a wetsuit statue in Vancouver, although apparently that artist doesn’t think they are similar.

Copenhagen was cool but everything was SO EXPENSIVE! I tried to get over it, because YOLO, but it wasn’t easy! I liked the very photogenic canals, and that there is an amusement park right in the city. They also have the healthiest 7-11 I have ever seen, so many salads!!

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Paris

June 13th – June 18th, 2016

June 13: Very long bus ride from Bayonne to Paris. I was fine, I just played on my iPad the whole time. But Scott was not feeling very well at all. After barely making it to the AirBnb he went straight to bed. I spent the evening figuring out our travel insurance and finding an English-speaking doctor.

June 14: We spent the whole day bringing Scott to the doctors and tests. I have to say… thank goodness he got sick in France and not in Spain because at least I could speak enough French to figure out all the instructions and stuff. Nothing came back too remarkable so the doctor just said not to have any fat or alcohol to avoid anything else happening until our trip was over. Poor Scott, in France and not allowed to have cheese or wine. :(

A brief stroll through the Louvre property in between appointments.

June 15: Scott was already feeling a little better, so we decided to do a bit of walking around the city. What a trooper! We walked along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, where they had the fan zone for the Euro. There were tons of groups of people everywhere dressed up in their countries colours. (That’s a giant soccer ball dangling off the tower.) We did one of those 1 hr river tours, and then walked up to the Arc de Triomph. I wanted to go up the Arc instead of the Eiffel because I wanted to be able to SEE the Eiffel Tower. The view was amazing! You can see everything!! I really liked how the panoramas turned out, flattening all the street spokes coming off the roundabout into a flat picture, it’s an interesting perspective.

June 16: Perhaps we walked a bit too much the day before, so this day we just stayed near our AirBnb in Montmartre. We took the little tourist train, which was actually great. Lots of info and cool things to look at, and in English!

This is MY favourite picture from the trip, I think. Poor Scott.

June 17: The night before I googled all the best food places in Paris and arranged them all into a big circuit by bus/metro/walking, also stopping by a few more Paris sights that we hadn’t seen yet.

The flakiest butteriest pain au chocolat of my life.

Laduree was doing a pop up shop that sold all white macarons. It was fun trying to figure out the flavours. Mine came with coconut, marshmallow, rose petal, lemon verbena, orange blossom, and tonka. I also got some other macarons from Pierre Hermé: chocolate passion fruit, yogurt lime, yogurt rose lychee raspberry, and passionfruit rhubarb strawberry.

I also got a slice of chocolate log, some chocolate truffle samples, and a really overpriced éclair that had glitter in the icing, for snacks for the next week.

We went to La Grande Épicerie de Paris, which was the fanciest grocery store I have ever seen. It had 1000s of incredible products, like glass jars filled with super thick hot chocolate, every variety of curd, dozens of types of foie gras, so many types of cheese and butter, and everything else you can think of. If only we had infinite money…

I have a lot of regrat for not buying this truffle and grilled hazelnut mustard that came in a super cool geometric jar.

For dinner I had baguette with paté, and a glass of wine in a very traditional brasserie. Great foodie day (for me).

I LOVED Paris. I want to go back so bad, for like… a month. We saw so much cool stuff and we didn’t even go inside any of the museums or anything!

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Spanish Market Food Porn

Sorry that last one is so offal.

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Spanish Road Trip With Annukka

May 31st – June 4th, 2016

We met up with Annukka, Cassia’s mother-in-law, in Santiago de Compostela. I met her last year when we were all visiting Adelaide. She’s pretty much the nicest person ever. She was on a roadtrip around Galicia and had offered to not only let us stay with her in Santiago, but also drive us back to Elche, on the SE coast of Spain. It was awesome travelling with her because she knows so much stuff about Spain!

She took us to a restaurant in the market where you buy your own protein and then they cook it for you. We had to sign up as soon as the restaurant opened in the morning because it’s very small and they fill up every day. It was incredible. We had a feast of mussels, clams, steak, hamburger, goose barnacles, salad, bread, and Galician white wine. Everything was delicious, but I especially loved the goose barnacles.

(Wikipedia picture)

Goose barnacles are these crazy looking things that only grow in rough tidal waters. They’re about an inch or two long. They’re really famous (and expensive) in Galicia, Spain (although apparently they also grow in Tofino!). To eat them you have to pry open the claw-like end, and then try and rip through the thick leathery tube end. Then you are left with a small bit of meat that is kind of sweet like crab. Very cool.

We went into the Santiago de Compostela cathedral to see the tomb of St. James, which apparently they “lost” for 300 years, then “miraculously” “found” under the front steps of the cathedral right when the camino needed revitalization. I am skeptical. :P We also got to walk through a special holy door of forgiveness that is only open during holy years. 2016 wasn’t supposed to be a holy year but the pope decided last minute that it would be. So now we are extra guaranteed a nice trip to heaven. Woot!

We also wanted to see the botafumeiro, this enormous incense burner on a long rope that they used to swing before pilgrims mass to make the pilgrims not stink so much. But apparently now too many people would come to mass just to see it and then leave (exactly what we were planning on doing, haha), so now they wait until the end of mass to do it. We didn’t stay.

The next day we drove to Salamanca. Apparently under one of those shells there is treasure. And can you spot the astronaut in the carvings? Apparently one of the restorative masons was feeling a bit cheeky. There is also a monkey eating ice cream, but I couldn’t find it at the time and didn’t get it in the frame.

Speaking of ice cream.. new favourite ice cream flavour: Kinder Bueno. Rich chocolate ice cream with big chunks of Bueno. YUM.

We stopped lots of times on the way back to Elche the next day. Avila, Toledo and Consuegra. Annukka pointed out all the castles along the way.

Favourite breakfast at the moment: tostada con tomate (toasted baguette with grated tomato and olive oil)

One night Annukka made us senorito paella, and then didn’t even eat any because she doesn’t eat in the evenings! It was delicious. We are so spoiled.

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Camino de Santiago – Part 1

Real Talk: we only walked about half of the Camino de Santiago. 400 km out of 800 km. I had every intention of doing the whole thing, but when my feet got destroyed and every step felt like being stabbed in multiple places, we decided to take the shame-bus for a bit in the middle.

Which happens to break my recap into two nice chunks. So here is Part 1.

May 10th – May 19th, 2016

St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, one of the most popular places to start the Camino de Santiago. We made the last train of the day there with literally 1 minute to spare. The train was only one car long, filled with nervous peregrinos. Some more interesting than others, ex. the guy who bought the wrong train ticket and was pronouncing it SAINT-JEEN-PIDE-DE-PORT, and the lady who already faceplanted immediately after getting off the train because her boot lace hooked onto her other boot. I hope their caminos improved from then on.

The first day of walking. The first stage of the Camino is probably the hardest one, because it’s climbing about 1400 metres of elevation, then a very steep downhill, over 25 km until the first big albergue. I knew that was going to be really hard for me, so I booked us beds in Orisson a few weeks ahead of time. That way you break the climb into 800 m/8 km and 600 m/17 km the next day. I’m so glad, because then it didn’t matter that we had a late start (due to waiting for the post office to open to mail some stuff to Santiago) and that I had to stop 800 times to catch my breath (and enjoy the amazing views). Orisson does a group dinner too where we met lots of nice people that we would continue to meet over the next couple weeks.

We crossed into Spain on day 2. We had to break out the ponchos over the next couple days, and there was still a bit of snow! The steep downhill sections were painful, but at least they are less tiring than uphill. Calves felt like rocks.

At this point you start to get used to the routine: wake up early, walk, breakfast, walk, lunch, walk, find an albergue. Shower, do laundry, rest. Group dinner. Early to bed. REPEAT!

If this wasn’t made out of such flimsy plastic it would have made the best walking stick ever.

Civilization! Pamplona is the first “big” city that you walk through. We went to Vodafone to get a SIM card and the sales guy was the nicest person ever. He wrote out recommendations for albergues and 2 great pinchos (tapas) bars. We went to one for lunch and the other for dinner and they were both really nice. We had things like cheese-filled crispy balls, crab dip, tuna casserole puff, and toasts with stuff on them. The one in the middle of the picture had a huge slab of goats cheese, tomato, walnuts, raisins and candied jamon slices. Wash that all down with a 2€ glass of vino tinto, if you please.

I started getting blisters on about Day 5. :( In retrospect, I should have just worn comfy Nike’s or sandals, instead of heavier hiking shoes.

We walked over some pretty epic bridges. I can’t believe some of them are like 1800 years old! That is amazing! Some of the small old towns were so so so cool.

Favourite foods at the moment:

  • Breakfast: fresh squeezed OJ, tortilla (Spanish omelette), croissants, cafe con leche
  • Lunch: bocadillos, especially a really fatty jamon, tomato and oil one we got at a bakery
  • Snacks: chorizo, Milke bars, bananas

Free wine fountain! Scott filled up his water bottle a bit for later and it was surprisingly good. Apparently the winery gives out 100 L/day for free. Pretty amazing.

So much walking. Through more beautiful landscape. We were doing about 18-25km/day at this point. Scott could have walked more for sure but I was having major problems with blisters. A Dutch couple told me how to thread a thread through them to drain them, which did help quite a bit. I needed a day off one day though, so I took the bus and Scott walked 30 km on his own.

More pinchos in Logroño. Another city, which was always awesome after a few days of towns with population 20. I found a store that sold Keen hiking sandals, which worked way better. It’s all about keeping your feet cool, I think. New shoes helped immensely, but I still needed to wait for my existing blisters to heal up a bit.

We walked a couple more days through Rioja country, after getting me new sandals, but the blisters were still painful so I was really slow. We started calculating how long it would take if we kept going at this rate, and thought about who we wanted to visit all around Europe afterwards, and then eventually came up with the difficult decision of skipping a bit of the walk.

I think Scott was a bit sad, because he was going fine up until then, but he also didn’t want me to be in so much pain. We figured that if we took the bus and just did a bit of light sightseeing in Burgos and Leon then my feet would have a bit of time to heal up and we could at least walk enough of the last part of the camino to get our compostelas. So that was that.

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