Exploring the world one bite at a time

Month: October 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Nine London views not to be missed

London is a city so divers that everyone will find something to their liking. Up until now I’ve visited London four times and I’m sure I will return in the future, for an exhibition, a play, a festival, a stroll along the river Thames, some great local food and/or an evening chatting away in one of London’s pubs.

In this article I want to share with you the best places to admire panoramic views of the London city skyline. And yes, some of those views come at a hefty price tag, but even in London you’ll find places that offer you stunning views for free. This is my list:

1. The Shard

London’s highest sky scraper is truly a landmark building that dramatically altered London’s skyline. The Shard reaches for the sky and offers stunning 360 degrees views on London and its surroundings. On a clear day the view reaches as far as 64 kilometers (40 miles). The open-air Skydeck is London’s highest viewpoint and although the price for a ticket is quite high, I found it money well spent. You can buy some drinks and snacks at the sky deck or just admire the view as such. The View from the Shard also offers a weather guarantee, which means that in the event of bad weather you’ll be able to return for free. If you don’t like paying for a view, you can also go for lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants in the Shard. The view won’t be as spectacular as on the Skydeck, but the lower floors also offer great views and you can enjoy some lovely food with it.

Location: 32 London Bridge Street, London
Price: Starting from £25.95

2. Sky Garden

Sure, the “walkie talkie” (officially called 20 Fenchurch Street) has been a controversial building since it’s conception, but from the outside viewing terrace the Sky Garden offers superb views on the Thames, the Shard and the Tower of London for free. You do have the book a ticket for your visit, but the process is easy and fast. There is a cue, because all visitors need to go through security before entering the building, so make sure to come ten minutes earlier. There are several options to have lunch or dinner at one of the Sky Garden restaurants, if you like. You can also just have of coffee or a tea with some biscuits. The garden in itself didn’t really succeed in wowing me, but the views made up for that.

location: 20 Fenchurch Street, London
price: free

3. The Blavatnik building of Tate Modern

If you don’t like the hassle of booking tickets and go through security checks, just take the elevator to the 10th floor at Tate Modern’s new extension, step outside on the viewing terrace and be amazed. The view on the Millennium Bridge and Saint Paul’s Cathedral is absolutely stunning and totally free. There is a small bar on the viewing terrace. So you on a chilly day you can buy a cup of coffee or tea to warm yourself.

location: Tate Modern, Bankside, London
price: free

4. Vertigo 42

London’s highest champagne bar at the 42th floor of Tower 42 offers a nice selection of drinks and tapas. The bar itself has windows from floor to ceiling and all the seats are nearby a window, so every seat in the bar has great views on London. Drinks are expensive, but that’s to be expected with a view like that. Best to make reservations though.

location: Level 42, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London
price: free, but you’ll have to buy some drinks

5. St Paul’s Cathedral

No introduction needed, I guess. A simply stunning monument that really is worth the entrance fee. The dome is exceptional and the three galleries offer stunning views on London.

location: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London
price: £16

6. Tower bridge

A classic. Not extrtemely high, but such an iconic bridge surely can’t be missed and you’ll have the opportunity to visit the engine rooms! Since my last visit they added a Glass Floor 42 meters above the river Thames, so I guess I’ll have to go back to test out the strength of that floor. 😉 You can even take yoga classes on that floor!

location: Tower Bridge, London
price: £8,70

7. One New Change Shopping Mall Terrace

Saint Paul’s Cathedral really is a marvel and this terrace is the best place to get up close and personal with the magnificent dome. And yes, it won’t cost you a penny. Just take the glass elevator to the terrace and enjoy the view. On a nice day you can enjoy a beer or a cocktail on the terrace of Madison’s restaurant and and bar.

location: 1 New Change, London
price: free

8. Monument to the Great Fire of London

Ok, the view from the top of the monument, built to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City, really isn’t that great and it is hard taking pictures trough the security netting (to avoid somebody would jump down), but climbing the winding staircase with its 311 steps is an adventure in itself. The entrance fee is quite cheap and afterwards you are presented with a certificate that you succeeded in climbing all those stairs. Charming!

location: Fish St Hill, London
price: £4.50

9. Primrose Hill

This lovely green hill is only 65 meter (213 feet) high, but offers a great view of central London. In summer this is a popular place to have a picnic with friends.

location: Tate Modern, Bankside, London
price: free

Did I miss something? What is your favorite place to enjoy London views? Please let me know in the comments.

Cities I would love to visit

As you might know, dear reader, I’m always on the lookout for travel inspiration. So I have the habit of making lists of countries and places I would like to visit in the future. Strangely enough, those lists only seem to grow longer as time passes…

So I thought, let’s share with you a list of cities in Europe I would like to visit.


  1. Salzburg

Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  1. Mostar


  1. Plovdiv

Czech Republic:

  1. Cesky Krumlov


  1. Dubrovnik
  2. Pucisca


  1. Tartu


  1. Carcassonne
  2. Collioure
  3. Colmar
  4. Straatsburg


  1. Hamburg
  2. Heidelberg
  3. Freiburg
  4. Leipzig
  5. Meersburg
  6. München
  7. Rothenberg
  8. Wiesbaden


  1. Dublin


  1. Firenze
  2. Venice


  1. Valetta


  1. Torun


  1. Guimarães
  2. Porto


  1. Barentsburg
  2. Moscow
  3. St. Petersburg


  1. Bled
  2. Ljubjana


  1. Bilbao
  2. Cádiz
  3. Córdoba
  4. Ronda
  5. Segovia
  6. Toledo
  7. Valencia


  1. Göteborg


  1. Lugano
  2. Zürich


  1. Bath
  2. Cambridge
  3. Oxford

Please let me know in the comments if I forgot some hidden gem of a city really worth visiting.

Six ways to enjoy beer culture in Leuven

After my years as a student at the KU Leuven, I decided to stay for a while and enjoy the city and all it has to offer. Since Leuven is known as being the home town of the Stella Artois, beer has always been interwoven with the city’s history. Now I have to be honest with you, although I visited my fair share of breweries in Belgium, I do not really enjoy drinking beer. But thanks to my boyfriend who really loves beer, throughout the years I also got to know Leuven the beer city a bit better.

So here are my tips for beer lovers who want to learn more about beer culture in Leuven

  1. Once a year, on the last weekend of april, the Zythos Beer Festival draws people from all over the world to the tiny town of Leuven. The Zythos Beer Festival is the biggest festival of its kind in Europe and to be fair, the choice in different beers is quite impressive. I don’t find the surroundings (a big, dark industrial hall) to be very inviting, but each beer vendor does an effort to decorate his or her stand in a way that makes it nice and welcoming.
  2. Due to the success of the Zythos Beer Festival, this one weekend has been extended to a whole month. The month of April in Leuven is dedicated to the art of making and tasting beer. You’ll find restaurants that offer special menu’s with accompanying beers, beer tastings, beer walks, etc.
  3. If you just want to enjoy a nice beer, I can recommend two cafés with an impressive beer menu: M-café and Fiere Margriet. The owners of both bars are very knowledgeable on the subject of beer, so make sure to ask for suggestions.
  4.  You can go on a pub tasting tour or a beer- and foodparing tour. A great way to explore the Longest Bar in the World. You won’t be disappointed! Still not satisfied? Make sure to check out beerhop.be, which offers some beer experiences in the surroundings of Leuven.
  5. Of course, since Leuven is the home of the largest beer company in the world: InBev, you really have to join a guided tour of the Stella Artois brewery. The brewery is very modern (they recently modernized all of their brew kettles) and the guides are very good. At the end of the guided tour, you’ll get the opportunity to taste a perfectly poured Stella.
  6. Leuven has also some small breweries, brewery Domus being the most famous. The bar-restaurant serves their own home brewed beer, which you can enjoy with some typical local cuisine. Guided tours of the brewery are possible, but the tours require an advance booking of at least 8 people and a maximum of 30.

Feel free to add your own tips in the comments.

U Passa tempu: “Value for money”

We had a nice dinner on the lovely terrace of U Passa Tempu, in the historic center of Corte, while swallows were flying around in the evening sky. Food was nice, good value for money. I enjoyed my Filet St.-Pierre and my boyfriend’s pizza campagnarde was also good. For only 10 euros my boyfriend got a very large pizza. After the main course I couldn’t resist ordering an ice cream.

The service was good, but I have to add that the girl who served us clearly had a horrible day. She didn’t seem to enjoy her job at all and she wasn’t very friendly or helpful. Luckely the young, male waiter was the total opposite. He was lovely, charming and very funny. He also spoke excellent English. Too bad not every staff member was as enjoyable as this guy.

Definitely would have dinner here again.

restaurant U Passa Tempu
4 Rampe Sainte Croix
20250 Corte
+33 4 95 46 18 73

Visited July 2016. You can find my review about U Passa tempu also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 5/5, service 3/5, food 4/5.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: “Beautiful art in a gorgeous building”

To be honest, I visited this museum because I was mostly interested in the architecture of the building, but the islamic art presented was of a very high quality en very beautiful indeed. The museum offers clear explanations of the objects shown. The view from the terrace is also definitely worth the visit, plus I was very impressed by the beautiful decorated domes in the building.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Jalan Lembah
Kuala Lumpur 5048

Visited October 2013. You can find my review about Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia also on TripAdvisor.

Tatsu Japanese Cuisine: “Excellent Japanese cuisine”

We ate her twice during our stay. We were very impressed by the quality and authenticity of the food. The first time we took a course meal which was absolutely delicious. In the weekend, you can have an ‘all you can eat’ menu. You can choose from all kinds of different menu-items the ones you prefer and as much as you like. Definitely worth a visit!

A tip for management: the airco is set to a very low temperature. I had to put on an extra jacket to not be cold.

Japanese restaurant Tatsu
Intercontinental Hotel
165 Jalan Ampang
Kuala Lumpur 50450

Visited October 2013. You can find my review about Tatsu Japanese Cuisine also on TripAdvisor.

Obsession Of India: “Superb Indian food”

We were passing through Glasgow on a Saturday evening, so naturally most of the restaurants were fully booked. Since we had no reservations we just had to hope for the best. When entering Obsession of India we could see the restaurant was very busy, but decided to give it a try anyway.

I have to say the restaurant owner was very gracious and helpful. Clearly he could have sent us away, but instead he offered to make room for us in the back of the restaurant, on the condition that we had to finish our meal in an hour and a half. No problem for us, the smells emanating from all the lovely dishes around us was so mouth watering, that we were sure we could finish our meal in time.

We ordered chicken milky karahi, chicken shahi karahi, chicken smoke karahi and methi gosht with nan. The food arrived very quickly at our table and I must say I was very impressed with our dishes. Honestly some of the best Indian food I have had in my life (and I’ve tried a lot of Indian food). The dishes were lovely presented and very tasty.

Highly recommended if you like Indian food.

Indian restaurant Obsession Of India
25 High Street
Glasgow G1 1LX

Visited April 2017. You can find my review about Obsession Of India also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 5/5, service 5/5, food 5/5.

La Saga des Géants – Royal de Luxe

And now for something completely different, because this blog is all about experiences that are unforgettable. And boy, those Giants sure left their mark on Geneva this weekend. It was fortunate that two out of the three days of their visit, the weather was really nice. So people came out in droves to look at those enormous, yet endearing creatures. My personal favorite was the Grand-Ma Giant, who didn’t shy away of just taking a squat in the middle of the road and let it all flow. To the delight of all the children standing around me.

But what am I talking about? Here are some pictures and movies!

Hats off to Royal de Luxe which created such a marvelous and mythical spectacle.

Ardshiel Restaurant: “Lovely classic food”

Had a great dinner at Ardshiel Hotel. The food was rather classic, but clearly prepared with a lot of care. The turbot I ordered was perfectly cooked and I loved the fact that the vegetables were served separately so everybody on the table could pick what they liked. The crumble I had as dessert was really just the perfect way to end the meal. Very good!

The ambiance in the dining area is very nice. I loved the fact that the ceiling is decorated with whisky bottles, illuminated by blue lights. Gave a modern feel to the classic interior. It was a bit chilly where we originally sat, because the door to the kitchen area swung open lots of times. But not to worry, we just moved to another table, which was no problem at all for the staff, who were very friendly and accommodating.

The bar also offers an excellent whisky selection, which we were very happy to try. A really great evening!

Restaurant/hotel Ardshiel
Kilkerran Road
Campbeltown PA28 6JL
+44 1586 552133

Visited April 2017. You can find my review about Ardshiel Restaurant also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 4/5, food 4/5.

Yan’s Kitchen: “Great seafood!”

Yan’s Kitchen is a nice restaurant with big windows looking over the bay. The Chinese chef knows how to prepare seafood, so if you want to eat here, make sure you have reservations. I was so impressed by the grilled Islay hand-dived scallops that we came back to eat here for a second time. You also have to try the oysters, which are really good. My second visit, I ordered the catch of the day, and again, very, very good.

Really this place is a must visit if you like seafood. The best I had on Islay. The friendly atmosphere and the warm fireplace just add to the charm. No wonder I saw a rainbow on the first visit!

Restaurant Yan’s Kitchen
Main Street (Opposite the Islay Museum)
Port Charlotte
Isle of Islay
Argyll and Bute PA48 7UD
+44 1496 850230

Visited April 2017. You can find my review about Yan’s Kitchen also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 4/5, food 5/5.

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