Author Archives: Jasmin

Sightseeing and great food in Montmartre

At the end of October I packed my little carry-on suitcase and went off to a one week trip to Paris and London. I really needed the break and was happy that my brother and an old friend of mine accompanied me. We took the TGV to Paris and arrived at noon on the last saturday of October. Because our Airb’n’b was conveniently located in Montmartre we choose to use the afternoon to explore that special part of the city.

entrance of the cemetry of MontmartreI know some of you might find it creepy but we started our tour by exploring the cemetery of Montmartre. You will find it in the west of the quarter. The entrance is at the end of the Avenue Rachel.

Make sure you take that entrance, before you end up walking around the whole cemetery like we did in search for another one. Because we thought – “there surely is more than one entrance”. Well, I tell you there isn’t 😉

cemetery Montmartregrave of Heinrich HeineSome very famous painters, writers and musicians are burried on that cemetery. But even if you don’t spot one of the famous graves, the variety of tombstones and decoration is quite unique. Within seconds the quiet and the calmness of the cemetery lets you forget that you are in the middle of the French capital.

After leaving the cemetery we headed up the hill towards Sacré Coeur passing the famous Place du Tertre. Make sure you don’t take the direct way. Just walk around, get lost and discover the narrow alleys and old streets of that quarter. But, do make sure not to miss the vineyard behind Musée de Montmartre.

vineyard of MontmartreFrom there we strolled through the narrow streets heading slowly towards the dome of Sacré Coeur. On our way I admired the pretty little houses and dreamed up a whole life of me living in one of them.

streets of Montmartre

 – What do you say? Dream house material? –

Finally we arrived at the breathtaking cathedral Sacré-Coeur.

Cathedral Sacré CoeurThe square in front of the cathedral is very crowded due to the view you get over the city. Because Montmartre is the only hill in Paris and so it is the only natural place for a good view over the town.

Do go into the cathedral. It is free and the interior is as beatiful as the outside of the church.

view up to Sacré CoeurWe continued our way down and followed the rue Abesse back to our flat, stopping here and there to admire the cute little shops and to buy ourselves some dinner.

Speaking of dinner, because we stayed in the middle of Montmartre we went out for dinner to a couple of pretty good restaurants. The food was such a treat so that I completely forgot to take pictures…

So, if you are looking for a good location for a nice french meal, you can’t go wrong with those:

Jeanne B.
A cute little roastery with local sourced food and a small well-arranged menu. The staff is very friendly and speaks English if your French is a bit rosty. They offer a deal for a three course menu on the evening for only 29 Euros.

Chez Toinette 
If you want traditional french food, go to Chez Toinette. We tried our first snails there and endulged in a delicious dug as a main and a heavenly creme brulée. It is a bit more pricy than Jeanne B. but worth every visit. Do book a table though because it fills up very quickly.

Le réciproque
This restaurant was extraordinary. The menu costs 35 Euros and you get close to Michelin star dinner for that. I was mind-blown by the price-performance ratio. I would have not expected such a treat for that amount of money. Again I would recommend to book a table. And don’t be put away by the french menu. The staff do speak English as well.

I can’t recommend those three restaurants enough. The food was delicious and the staff very friendly. In all three locations the waiter or waitress spoke English. On the top of that, they were also very helpful with the selection of wine.

I mean what would be a proper french dinner with a good glass of wine, right?

 

 

Gibraltar – one big rock, nice beaches and british food

I still owe you a report about my final destination of our roadtrip – Gibraltar. Let’s put it this way: I probably would have never considered visiting Gibraltar without my friend living there. However, spending a couple of days there I got to like this place.

Entering Gibraltar I felt like being transferred right back to England. Everything looks so British. One minute you have been in Spain and the next you are walking past a huge Morrisons offering everything I missed from my time in Leeds. Even the weather changed from clear and bright to foggy and windy within one day 😉

But let’s get started on what you should or can do when visiting Gibraltar.

1. The Rock and the Nature Reserve

Gibraltar from above

Take the cable car or walk up to the top of the massive rock dominating the city. From up there you have a great view of the city and can watch the monkeys chasing tourists or trying to steal stuff out of unoccupied bags.

Rock of Gibraltar

The day we went up the weather was extremely strange. I have never seen something like this before. On the one side of the rock there were heavy clouds which the wind blew over the edge like in the picture above. Doesn’t it look strange?

2. St. Michael’s Cave

After we took the cable car to get up, we decided to take our time and walk down to the city. On our way we passed St. Michael’s Cave – a very nice stalactite cave which is open for visitors. The cave is illuminated with colour-changing lights which is really nice to watch.

St. Michael's Cave Gibraltar

3. Beach

Before the weather turned all weird and british I had one day of sunshine which I used to explore the edges of the place and most importantly check out the beach.

beach in Gibraltar

This beautiful place lies on the opposite side of the rock. If you want to walk there, take the way via the airport – don’t try it the other way round. Trust me I tried an ended up being halfway around the rock when hitting a very long and dark tunnel with a sign – pedestrians not allowed!

The Sandy Bay is the last of the three beaches but it is worth passing the others. When I visited back at the end of may it was very calm there. The water was cold but nice 🙂

Definitely one of my favourite places in Gibraltar.

coast of gibraltar

4. Europa Point

Trying to walk around the rock I also passed the Europa Point which you also can add to your list of sights. Being the most southern point in Gibraltar, you can see the African coast if the weather is clear.  Besides that you can also visit a military museum which I didn’t because of the nice, sunny weather that day.

Where to eat?

Gibraltar has a lot of british Pubs and restaurant chains like Wagamama. However if you keep your eyes open you can find some really nice places for local sea food or some spanish inspired food.

On our first evening we went to a restaurant in the so called Ocean Village – a nice area with lots of bars and restaurants. We went to El Faro where I ate some really nice grilled fish. Afterwards we headed to the massive yacht Sunborn for drinks at their terrace. If you are looking for a fancy location do go there.

On my last evening we headed towards town to a local fish restaurant – The Blue Anchor. My friend and I shared a platter full of seafood fresh from the water. Probably one of the best meals on my holidays.

Seafood at Gibraltar

Roadtrip from Málaga to Gibraltar – Castillo de Castellar de la Frontera

After one day in Málaga, me and my friend hired a car and started our trip to Gibraltar. Driving along the coast we first stopped in Marbella. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as good as we hoped so we just walked along the beach instead of actually going for a swim.

Beach at Marbella, Spainsea at Marbella

I can’t really tell if I liked Marbella because we didn’t see much more than the beach. However pasing huge hotels at the promenade, I would’nt choose Marbella over Málaga for a longer stay. But as I said I can’t judge properly.

What I can tell you is, that Marbella has a great restaurant for sushi. The Kyoto offers extraordinary sushi not far away from the beach. I know it is a bit strange to eat sushi in Spain when you can have tapas but my friend had serious cravings for sushi so we ended up enjoying a pretty good meal.

Sushi restaurant in MarbellaSushi at Marbella

After lunch we drove further following the coast. Some kilometres before Gibraltar we drove north to Castillo de Castellar –  a beautiful old castle with a small town around it.

Castillo de Castellar– Doesn’t this look stunning? –

We parked the car and got lost in the narrow streets of the small town.

castillo de castellarcastillo de castellarcastillo de castellarIt is a bit of a ride to get there but it is definitely worth the effort. You will not regret it, i promise.

castillo de castellarNext to the castle is a small lake where you can go for a swim or rent a canoe. Within the town you will find small cafés and some little shops. You can even stay in the castle which is a hotel now.

After a long stroll around we headed towards Gibraltar which we reached in the early evening. Perfectly timed for a nice dinner and an early night ;).

What to do in Málaga – Spain

Malaga in SpainAt the end of May I flew over to Málaga for a short trip into the sun. I was visiting a friend who is living in Gibraltar but because flight connections from Germany to Gibraltar are insanely expensive we agreed on meeting in Málaga.

I arrived quite early in the moring so we had plenty of time to explore. The city center is truly beautiful. The narrow streets with the typical spanish houses get you into an holiday mood immediately.

streets of Malaga

Malaga

I just love the tiny balconies and wooden blinds. I always imagine the locals drinking their morning cup of coffee right there in their morning gown watching the sun rise over the sea ;).

We stayed in the Picnic Dreams Boutique Hostel which I cannot recommend enough. The hotel is situated close to the main sights and has well furnished rooms. You even get the basic toiletries which is great for people flying in only with carry-on luggage. On top of the nice rooms the breakfast is delicious too. I tried the typical spanish breaky – toast with mashed tomatoes and olive oil – which was surprisingly good.

But back to our arrival. After having checked in to our rooms, we started to explore the city and went straight to one of the main museums in Málaga – the Picasso Museum.

Picasso Museum Malaga

Picasso was born in Malaga and spent his youth in the city. The museum draws a detailled picture of his artistic development showing some of his greatest work. I have to say I am a big art lover so I basically enjoy every art museum. However I really liked how the museum managed to give an indepth impression of Picasso’s art without beeing too large to take all in. So even my friend who wasn’t into his art as much as I was really enjoyed the visit.

Close to the museum you will find the cathedral which is worth a visit as well if you ask me.

cathedral Malagacathedral Malaga

From the center of the town you can easily walk to the sea. You either can walk on the sea promenade and have a drink or two in one of the bars and restaurants or you head to the beach for a dip.

The promenade offers some great art as well with the Centre Pompidou Málaga a small enclave of the famous museum in Paris. Besides that, you will find local artists exhibiting their work on the weekend at the promenade. So do go and check it out ;).

After we built up some stamina with ice cream and coffee we headed up to the old castle ruin overseeing the town.

castle Malaga

Doesn’t this look beautiful. I asure you it is worth the climb because the view is really nice up there. If you go all the way up, you can enter the castle and descend within the old ruin.

castle Malaga

Having been walking all day long, we built up quite an appetite. I guess there isn’t a place where you actually will eat badly in Spain, however if you are up for a treat go to “El tapeo de cervantes”. You won’t be sorry. The tapas are exceptionally good and the wine is great as well. If you want to make sure to get a table book ahead.

Nibbling away on some Tapas and wine really was a good start for my holidays in the south. If you are in the area go and visit Málaga. Its size is perfect for a long weekend or a stop-over to other places.

Have you been to Málaga before? How did you like it?