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Tales from my road trip: Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake

I just returned from a spectacular road trip through America’s West.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting photos and tales here:

Come on over and enjoy the trip with me. 🙂

Road Trip Day 1: Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake



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The Tiffany’s of Chocolate

Maybe you just need to use a Tiffany-blue color (with a little hint of green) to make things look exclusive, special, desirable? Or maybe you lay out your store like an exclusive jewellery store? Maybe you just make the most exquisite chocolate?

While in Brussels, we found this beautiful chocolate store, Patrick Roger Chocolate. The store looks just like an exclusive jewellery store including the blue colors and the blue lighting and doesn’t seem at all a chocolate cuisine store.  A large stone table is the center of the room with chocolates sitting only at the very far end lit up by beautiful lighting. Large pumpkins, which really are sculptures made out of chocolate give the room a fall flavor.

The chocolates are just a charm. They are a piece of art in itself. Best is if you check them out on the Roger Patrick chocolate cuisine page. No, really, go and look at it! It’s art.

We carefully select a few pieces. Thyme, jasmine, verbena and many other herbs are used to make this one of the finest chocolate. The price reminds you of a Tiffany’s store as well. So the question now becomes: when do you eat your finest chocolate? Maybe with one half marathon behind me and another coming up this weekend I deserve this after all!


Brussels Culture

A work event took me back to my home continent, but not quite home. We spent 4 days in Brussels, Belgium, and for the first 3 days this is all I saw of Brussels:

Our meeting room was on the 26th floor of a hotel (THE Hotel, in fact) and all I ever got to see was the view from this floor which – granted – wasn’t half bad.

But what I was missing (remember, I traveled here right after my NWM Half Marathon and was craving carbs) was Belgium beer, Belgium waffles and Belgium chocolates.

I got to have all of it on my last night in town.

A couple of colleagues and I decided to do the “tourist thing” and ventured to the Grand Place (or Grote Markt) for some quick exploration of chocolate, beer, waffles and, well, touristy stuff. We found the Tiffany’s of chocolate, but more on that later this week.

I like the Grand Place. It is a central market square in Brussels, full of tourist traps, but surrounded by typical European guildhalls. It’s beautiful (even in the rain and in the dark). We just went for a quick look as we haven’t really done anything other than work for the past 4 days. Well, actually, our Belgium colleagues took us to their office (which has been voted as the coolest office in Belgium!) for a beer-tasting and food-pairing and mix-and-mingling on my first evening in town. So, yes, we did a little more than just work.

It was dark and rainy, but I thought I should get a few photos of the Grand Place.

And of course, I did not forget about the most important sight in Brussels: Manneken Pis (or Little Man Pee), which is a statue of a boy peeing into a fountain. Now, you may think this is a bit crude. But this is Europe and the sculpture dates back to 1618, so it’s definitely culture and art! 🙂




We often forget to put things into perspective, the fight we had with a friend over something trivial, the complaint we had in the restaurant over the meat not being quite cooked the way we like it, the disappointment we felt over the supermarket not having our favorite brand of cereal… You all know them those silly things that we sometimes throw adult tantrums over.

Instead of being happy that we have friends who stay at our side in good and bad times. The fact that we have food on the table every day and never have to worry about it. And that we are lucky to have many choices.

Sometimes when we get upset we just need a little perspective.

The view of the Space Needle just showed me that – perspective can make something small or big. You chose where you stand.



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A day out – Box Hill, Surrey

Being more or less housebound with my broken foot, I love every opportunity that I get to get out. My friend took me out to Box Hill in Surrey. Despite me having lived close by in the past I have never actually been there, but I heard the views over the North Downs are beautiful. So off we went. I was crossing my fingers for a car park close to the viewing area as walking longer distances is not an option on 2 crutches. And we were rewarded with a car park and about a 100 meter walk to get the views. Perfect:

View from Box Hill over the North Downs

View from Box Hill over the North Downs

To our right was a beautiful view over Dorking which its picturesque church right in the middle of the town:

View from Box Hill over Dorking

View from Box Hill over Dorking

We didn’t have quite the great weather as it was promised to us, but nonetheless we got decent views and they had coffee up there in the visitor center also. What else does one need?

And so you can see I am still a happy non-runner. Yes, I did spent quite some time cleaning my crutches and boot afterwards, but it was well worth it!

Walking in the mud at bottom of Box Hill

Walking in the mud at bottom of Box Hill


Travel Theme: Walls #2

I really like the Walls travel theme, so I am on to post number two. As I was cleaning out another photo folder yesterday, I saw these pictures I took earlier this month in Camden and thought, they fit the theme perfectly.

I was walking around Camden High Street and Camden market with my brother earlier this month and took a number of photos of art objects hanging on house walls across Camden High Street.

The cat is my favorite, what’s yours?


Travel Theme: Walls

I have missed a couple of Ailsa’s travel themes recently, but this week I am back. I love this theme: Walls.

In December I took another walk around London’s Brick Lane. You should most certainly add Brick Lane to your agenda of any of your trips to London. It’s a beautiful area that has transformed tremendously in the past years. Don’t just go there for the weekend market, go during the week and enjoy the small local shops, boutiques and galleries. And of course don’t forget your camera to take photos of the amazing street art that you can find pretty much on any wall in this area.

Here is a small selection of the street art I found on walls in and around Brick Lane: