It’s chilly and cold in January. I like to look back at some of the things I did when it was warmer. In the summer I spent a week in France. When we were staying in Nice, we took a day trip to the beautiful medieval town of Èze, in the Alpes-Maritimes. This popular spot is in a winding hillside with galleries, restaurants and shops tucked into nooks. Enjoy!
Tucked away in the Intercontinental Hotel in Montreal is the absinthe bar, Sarah B. In the plush private room (one of two that can be rented for special events) I’m about to have my first experience with the green fairy. Absinthe. Moulin Rouge and Amsterdam, but in Canada.
Once upon a time, absinthe used to be a banned substance, and there’s still a bit of mystery and illicitness that surrounds this drink.
After arriving from our cramped, overpriced hotel in Paris in May, this hotel was an airy piece of heaven. The Hotel Dalla Mora is owned by a pair of super nice brothers, (Alessandro & Francesco). To get to the hotel, you have to navigate the twisty streets and crazy bridges (why, why would you put so many steps on a bridge??) with your super large suitcase. But once you are there, it’s worth it.
This is the view from my bedroom of the hotel patio.
The bedroom was very clean, spacious and came to $135 for the night. Although the room was very simple, it was elegant with it’s wood paneling and sweet wardrobe that locked with an antique key. The bathroom was also very clean. The WiFi was free and had a strong connection.
Breakfast was included with the cost of the hotel. It was served in the hotel’s breakfast room, and was a typical Italian breakfast of coffee/tea, croissants, crackers and other small pastries.
Getting around was pretty simple, and once we got the layout of the city, it only took us about 10 minutes to walk from the hotel to the train station.
Nearby there are restaurants and some cute shops. (a leather store, glass bead store and a mask shop!)
Hotel Dalla Mora has a tiny canal behind it. It was very nice, but just note that the ferry buses do not go here. If you want to use the canal, you would have to call a water taxi and they are very expensive.
Hotel Dalla Mora is a 1 star hotel, but I give it 4 stars for comfort, cleanliness and service.
The Mosaic House is a hostel in Prague, and the nicest hostel that I have stayed in to date. It’s well designed, super affordable and basically feels like a hotel. I checked into a Classic Twin Room for $50. (You have to pay an extra 2 euros for a key card, but it’s a refundable deposit.) The room had two super comfy single beds, free WiFi, a mini fridge, an iPhone dock and a very modern and clean bathroom. The room was also nicely designed, with quirky features such as painted branches on the walls and an interesting curtain on the window.
Not only is it well designed, but it’s good for the environment too! This is the first hotel in the Czech Republic to use 100% electricity from renewable sources. The rooms have automatic lights and electric window shutters. The coolest thing is that the sink and shower ‘grey’ water is purified into ‘green’ water and recycled back to the building’s toilets. Awesome!
Chocolate on the pillow!
Branches in the closet…
We were on the third floor, which was very quiet. On the first two floors I think it would have been quite loud, because in the evening on the weekend it turns into a club/party area. You can choose to have breakfast in the cafe downstairs, or you can wander around to the many little cafes on the streets and grab something from there.
This hostel is located in the New Town district in Prague. It’s pretty central, and you can walk to the Old Town Square in about 10 minutes. You can stay in a more traditional hostel style room with bunks for up to 16 people or even book a private room with one bed.
I would stay here again in a heartbeat! If only all hostels could be this conscientious and stylish. Five stars!
120 00 Praha 2,
Ritter Sport chocolate is 250g square bar of chocolate divided into 16 pieces. The chocolate comes in unique flavours, such as Schoko-Duo (milk chocolate and white chocolate), Knusperflakes (chocolate with cornflakes!) and my favourite, Knusperkeks (milk chocolate with a biscuit inside). There are over 100 variations of delicious, delicious chocolate. While I was in Berlin, I heard that I could make my own chocolate at Ritter Sport, I was really excited! I headed there at noon on a Saturday morning. It was crazy busy.
The Ritter Sport store is part store, part cafe and part chocolate factory. The store is colourful, with hundreds of squares of chocolate lining the walls. Pick and choose from popular and unique flavours. You can buy over sized bars or tiny mini squares. Making your very own chocolate bar costs €3.90 and makes a great souvenir. You can choose from 25 ingredients, including roasted almonds, jelly bellies, crispy rice, chili…and more. They also have special limited ingredients. When I went in December, gingerbread could be added. A maximum of 3 ingredients can be chosen, and you have to select from milk or dark chocolate.
I waited in the line for about 30 minutes until it was my turn. The girl behind the counter filled a plastic mold with milk chocolate and measured out my chosen ingredients (almonds, gingerbread and crispy rice). The ingredients were added, and my chocolate bar was put in the chiller to set. You get a little ticket and have to come back to pick up your chocolate in about an hour. You can spend that hour exploring the store!
And that’s it! You and your tasty chocolate creation are ready to go.
RITTER SPORT COLORFUL CHOCOWORLD
Französische Strasse 24
The Lucia Christmas Market is in an old brewery in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin. It felt just like the Distillery District, so I felt like I was home (for a little.)! This market is more cozy than the Alexanderplatz or the It’s been called the most romantic market, and it’s based off of traditional Scandinavian markets.
One booth had an interesting “warming section” where they had furnaces and big (really big) fur coats set up for you to snuggle inside and get warm! It was really funny…and great to warm up in.
At this market I enjoyed mulled apple cider, these super delicious dough balls and freshly baked bread. I also bought wooden shapes soaked in essential oils (I’m using them to make my clothes smell nice in my drawers) and some traditional handmade Scandinavian ornaments.
My friend told me that this market has a Christkind that walks around in a pair of angel wings looking inquisitively about. Sadly, he wasn’t there when I visited. Check out some photos!