Estes Park Farmers Market + Small Town Cinnamon Rolls

Another day, another Colorado recap that’s comin’ at ya a month late!

In real time, today was my FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF WORK. It consisted of a four hour department meeting and then more lecture prepping.  Thrilling? Nah…but, I’m still convinced this is my dream job.

Back to mountain land. When we were out in Colorado, we took a couple days to visit our family friends who live in Estes Park, CO.  A couple hours outside Denver.  Estes Park is an ADORABLE mountain town and the gateway to many trails and roads with beautiful views throughout the Rocky Mountains.

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Luckily, we were there on a weekend so we were able to experience the Estes Park Farmers Market.  For a small town, it had many vendors and lots of unique things to buy!

We first started off with this delicious cinnamon twist for breakfast…

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And picked up some veggies for dinner.  It was all you could fit into a huge bag for $10!

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There were beautiful Colorado peaches (no surprise there)

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But my favorite stop was this gourmet dip vendor!  Y’all know dips are my go-to appetizer and I cannot get enough of them!  We bought like, eight, obviously.

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After the Farmer’s Market, we decided to poke around the shops in downtown.  My favorite was Inkwell and Brew, a coffee shop/paper and book store.

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They had so many fun gifts and cards! I found this great quote on a card and bought it for my office.

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We spent the afternoon up in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to describe the scenery!

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The next morning, we made a 20 minute drive to Glen Haven for their famous 3-dollar cinnamon rolls!

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The owner was a total grump, but this cute general store in the middle of nowhere makes a darn good cinnamon roll.

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We devoured ours in an instant!  Estes Park was definitely a highlight of the trip and was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Now, if they could just ship those cinnamon rolls…

 

4 “Can’t Miss” Eats in Denver

Let’s backtrack to July, when this lil’ blog became a travel blog while I recapped my Europe trip. What didn’t make the blog back in July that was a mere 10 hours after returning from Europe, I was on another plane with my parents back to Denver, CO to visit my sister who was interning out there!

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We had a lot of mountain time, family time, and FOOD time! Denver is seriously one of my favorite cities to eat in because there are so many amazing restaurants.  We rarely ever repeat because we are always wanting to try something new.  Here are a few of our favorite eats from our trip last month!

Voodoo Doughnuts

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While Voodoo started in Portland, I was SUPER pumped to see they had expanded to Denver!  They have all kinds of wacky doughnuts with hilariously innappropriate names.  My favorite is the “Dirty Ol’ Bastard” which is a doughnut with chocolate, peanut butter, and oreo.  They also have fruit loop topped doughnuts, grape koolaid doughnuts, and an Arnold Palmer flavored one!

Brava Wood-Fired Pizza

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I loved this place for so many reasons.  First of all, it’s located OUTSIDE– as in, the oven, the bar, and all of the seating it on this cute outdoor patio downtown on the 16th St. Mall.  The pizza is delicious and HUGE, a great deal for the price!

Smores Shaketini from 5280 Burger Bar

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I’ll just go ahead and call this the best drink I’ve ever had.  A martini + ice cream… + S’MORES?! Come onnnn!  All three of my favorite things in one drink just seemed to good to be true, but this was oh so amazing.  The burgers at this place were nothing to write home about, but this shaketini is legendary in my book.

Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s

Although we didn’t eat any food here, Hamburger Mary’s is a very unique restaurant in the heart of Denver.  Every Tuesday they have bingo hosted by Drag Queens.  I joined my sister and her friends and it was absolutely a riot.

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As a bonus, my sister won a round!

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Disclaimer: If you are offended easily, don’t go.  I thought it was completely hilarious and fun, but I know some people might not appreciate the humor.

 

…..And now I’m extremely hungry and missing Colorado like crazy.  Happy Thursday!

Now you tell me…what is the best drink you’ve ever had? Favorite spot to eat in Denver, CO?

Disclaimer: We paid for all of these meals on our own and received no compensation.  As always, all opinions are my own!

 

One month in a blog post

I’ve tried to blog for the past week, but every time I’ve sat down to do it, I haven’t really known what to say.   I have a million Colorado pictures from our family vacay from July I want to share, and to say the past month with finishing my PhD and moving to start a new chapter in my life has been a whirlwind is an understatement.   So, we will start here at a glimpse of what I have been up to uprooting myself over the last month!

The Last Few Days in Madtown

Here’s what moving week looked like…

My room was cleaner than it had EVER BEEN.  Like, you could see the floor.

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There were many, many goodbyes that I can’t recap them all due to the fact that I’ll ruin my keyboard from crying.  For the record, the tears shed that week were much less than I anticipated though. icon smile One month in a blog post

One last roomie dinner at our favorite spot, DLUX.  Em and I have celebrated almost every big life event here over the past 2 years, so it obviously made sense to end our roomie days there as well.

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I turned in my dissertation to the graduate school, meaning that I was OFFICIALLY Dr. Emily and DONE with graduate school.

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I played my last frisbee game with my incredible friends, followed by our traditional karaoke at the Great Dane afterwards.  They serenaded me with the “So Long, Farewell” song from Sound of Music.   Great choice, as I was laughing so hard I forgot to cry.

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I ate Babcock Dairy Store on campus every day the last week I was in lab….

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And soaked up one last pitcher at the terrace….

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And my favorite person in my lab awarded me with a Dundie. icon smile One month in a blog post

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The Actual Move

Part of getting a big girl professor job meant getting a moving expenses stipend WEEEEEE!  For the first time in my life, I had professional help moving and even though my stipend didn’t cover it all, it was worth EVERY PENNY.  I used Two Men and a Truck and had a great experience.

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It’s been hard to really get into the swing of things here in Minnesota, as wedding season has been in full blast the past few weekends!  No complaints here though, as there have been some great memories made…

Another college roomie tied the knot…

1228 1024x1024 One month in a blog post One of my neighbors growing up also got married and everyone was back!  I don’t think we’ve gotten a pic all together since I was probably 8.

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Minnesota Life

I am adjusting!

First things first….I have a WALK-IN CLOSET, FINALLY!  It is amazing but also eye opening, as there are about 3x as many clothes in this picture and they don’t all fit.  #shopaholic

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I kicked off minnesota life down at Target Field in style with Paul McCartney!  It was an incredible concert.

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It was a very special concert, as the tickets were my dad’s Father’s Day gift!  Our family loves Paul, so it was nice to actually attend a concert where we all liked the artist singing! haha  Also very special as my dad had a fabulous time. icon smile One month in a blog post

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And that’s it for now!

Now you tell me…where is the longest or biggest move you’ve ever made?

Did You Know? Friday Linkup — Surprising sources of High Fructose Corn Syrup

PHEW! Blogging on a Friday by the skin of my teeth! Still in the midst of finishing things up and getting moved this week and weekend, so internet and time has been limited!  However, the fact that it is August AND the first friday of the month (HOW CAN THIS BE?!) means that we must talk nutrition today!  Lucky for you all, I’ve still been reading up and have some great ideas for some posts in the future!

didyouknownutritionlinkupbutton Did You Know? Friday Linkup    Surprising sources of High Fructose Corn Syrup

One thing that seems to be a hot topic to everyone these days, is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  One day, scientists tell us that it causes obesity.  The next day, they say it doesn’t.  It is one of the most highly debatable topics in nutrition.  Why can’t we come to a conclusive answer?  In my opinion, HFCS hasn’t been around forever and scientists need time (like YEARS) to study people’s diets and habits to figure out if there’s a link.  Add in the caveat of human variability and the fact that obesity can stem from MANY different factors…you start to get my point…it is hard to pinpoint HFCS as the culprit.

Anyway, I’m not here to tell you if it’s terrible or not today, that’s another post for another day.  I certainly DO have an opinion on it (backed up by many, many lit searches and thoughtful grad school class discussions), but today I thought I would share with you a list of surprising foods that contain HFCS.  Over my last few years in grad school, I always took notes about certain foods that surprised me, so here we go.

Surprising Food Sources of High Fructose Corn Syrup:

1. Yogurt — I checked labels on my dannon AND yoplait yogurt throughout the past year and it was listed it on there!

2.  Ketchup.  Does this surprise anyone else?

3. Bread — And WHEAT bread even!  That dark caramel color of many “wheat” bread is usually some sugar type of coloring, not from using whole grains.  Pepperidge Farm even had HFCS as high as the 4th ingredient on a few of their breads.

4. Salad Dressing– I say this not because it’s necessarily surprising, but that I am so disappointed by food companies in salad dressing.  When I go to pick one out, I swear there are usually only a handful out of the HUNDREDS of salad dressings in the aisle that do not have HFCS or sugar as the first two ingredients!

5. Nutri Grain Cereal Bars-  I used to LOVE the apple cinnamon ones and practically lived on those in high school and college.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that one of our professors went on a rant in glass about how manufactured granola bars basically had no nutritional value that I actually started paying attention to this.

6. Barbeque Sauce. Similar to ketchup…  Surprised?

And that’s it for now!  Do you guys consciously look for HFCS?  What are some surprising foods with HFCS that you’ve seen?

Also, exciting news, for those of you who want MORE nutrition nerdiness in your life, we have a pinterest board!  Check it out!


10 Things I Love About Madison, WI

Sooo, it’s moving week.

Well, actually last week was moving week, but I’m back in Madtown finishing things up in lab and this is moving week for reals.  It is no secret that while I am very excited for my new life and job in Minnesoooota, I am really, really, REALLY going to miss Madison.  There have been tears (AKA me crying in Target…yep, Target).  And I’m sure just about everyone is sick of me whining about how much I’m going to miss this place…I promise, once I’m out of here I’ll be fine!  I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about why Madison means so much to me, and there is just so much to it.  So, instead of some sad “I’m gonna miss these things post”, I thought I would tell you some things about Madison that I love the most!  Here we go!

Ultimate Frisbee- MUFA (Madison Ultimate Frisbee Association) has got to be the largest organization in Madison.  It is a great sport for staying active and it is hands down the BEST way to meet other young people.  Honestly, it’s how I met my best friends here.  If you haven’t played before, totally fine!  Everyone (except  about 2 people out of about 800 that I’ve probably played against) is super nice and there are many different leagues.  Ultimately (zing!), this organization and the people who play the sport made a huge difference in my life in so many ways.

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The Terrace - Ha, man, I think THIS is what I’ll miss the most! I don’t know how any college campus can beat the terrace at UW- Madison in the summer– lake, beer, tons of space, and music.  Go, just go.

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City Bar Trivia - I usually don’t frequent City Bar on weekends, in fear of running into my students (undergrad bar), but on Monday nights this is the BEST trivia in Madison.  The owner writes his own and it is always keeping us guessing!

You can eat local, fresh veggies almost all year round. Besides the amazing farmers market downtown, there are dozens throughout the city that happen during the week.  There are also many CSA programs that make it really, really easy to eat healthier!

Winning Sports Teams– After living here, I can’t imagine not cheering on the Badgers and Packers every weekend.  Camp Randall is a very, very cool college football atmosphere and this town in general is crazy about ANY badger sports.  I’ve also never lived in a state where pro football is a way of life, and I’ll gladly rep a cheesehead anyday after becoming friends with so many die hard fans.

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Everyone is active.    I swear, everyone I know here is training for something.  Add in the lakes, sports and social clubs, ultimate frisbee, and miles of biking/walking trails– there is TRULY a way for everyone to be active. My favorite view of the city on one of the paths!

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People love winter. Kind of. Ok, maybe after last winter some people will NOT agree with me.  But expanding on the “everyone being active” thing, people here LOVE winter sports.  Many coworkers of mine are usually itching for that first snowfall to snowshoe or cross country ski.  The morale during winter here is more tolerable than when I lived in Iowa, that’s for sure.  Unless it was the winter that never ended, like last year.

The restaurant scene is unbeatable.   Sure, I became an “eat local” restaurant snob, but how CAN YOU NOT when your weekend dining options are The Old Fashioned, Coopers Tavern, and Merchant?!  This place made me a foodie by providing so many amazing places to experience food.  Why do I not have any money saved after grad school? Because I was too busy eating at so many cool places in this town– I still have so many to check out on my list! Iphone 7 5 14 467 e1406693703115 1024x1024 10 Things I Love About Madison, WI

The beer is unbeatable.   Let’s be honest, the only time I drank beer before I lived in Madison was probably during a game of flippy cup in college, and I hated it.  Now, I love a good beer!  Any town that can change my mind on beer in just a few short years must have something good going on.  #spottedcowforlife

You can bike anywhere.  Really, you can, trust me.

Concert on the Square.  Every Wednesday night, the Madison Orchestra puts on a free concert around capitol square.  You can bring your own blankets, food, alcohol, you name it!  The concerts are always themed– my favorite was ABBA!

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So that’s 11 things. icon smile 10 Things I Love About Madison, WI You get the point– I love this place and I feel so lucky I got to live here for four years!

Tell me…what’s your favorite city you’ve ever lived in?

Twosday (Colorado Family Vacation Edition)

Heyyo! Happy Twosday, where we talk about marvelous things and it is double the fun!  This week I’m highlighting some of my favorite parts of our family vacation a few weeks ago.  A mere 5 hours after returning from Europe, I was up an at ‘em again with the fam to head west and visit my sister Liz, who is living in Colorado for the summer working!  Here we go!

Two Mountain Pics

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Two Stores I Loved Near Estes Park

1) Glen Haven General Store—go there, deal with the grumpy owner, and get the amazing cinnamon rolls.  You will thank me later!

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2) InkWell In Estes Park.  A Super cute journal/paper/book/gift store that has something for everyone.

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Two “can’t miss” eats in Denver

1) VooDoo Donuts—deelish, outrageous donuts.  My favorite is the dirty old bastard (peanut butter and oreo).

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2) Brava-  fresh, wood oven  fired pizzas in downtown Denver.  Delicious and huge!

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Two pictures I can’t stop looking at from the Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens…

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Two Fun Things I Got To Experience With My Sister….

1) We saw The Avett Brothers in concert at Red Rocks.  That amphitheater is as close to heaven as you can get!

IMG 7112 1024x768 Twosday (Colorado Family Vacation Edition) IMG 4879 1024x768 Twosday (Colorado Family Vacation Edition) 2) Drag Queen Bingo @ Hamburger Marys.   This was hilarious and so fun!  My sis even won a round!

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Stay tuned for more Colorado and Denver Eats Recaps!

What about you?  What is your favorite thing about Colorado?

as always, twosdays is inspired by Then Heather Said.

12 Tips For a 12-Day Backpacking Trip in Europe

Happy Monday! We’re back to talking travel today, because it’s just too hard to include everything in those Europe recap posts!  While we were in Europe, my roommates and I would find ourselves making mental notes of things that were helpful during our trip, and I am sharing them with you today!   As always, if you have any specific questions about our backpacking trip to Europe, feel free to send them my way!

europetips 12 Tips For a 12 Day Backpacking Trip in Europe

1. Take no more than 5-6 outfits and just make sure you can mix and match your tops/bottoms.

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2. If you are under 30, take your student ID from college or grad school.  Im pretty sure this saved me about $150 throughout the trip at museums!  Some places have an age restriction, but I got into many places for a discounted price or free!

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3. Four is the perfect number for traveling.  Whether it was buying discounted train tickets around a table through renfe, booking private rooms in hostels, or sharing taxis– we found that four was the perfect number for splitting costs and keeping things affordable, as well as ease of travel.  Four is a small enough number where everyone’s voice gets heard and you get the knowledge/input that you may have missed if you were on your own.

 

4. If you fly budget airlines (Ryanair or Easyjet), read the fine print.

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And print those boarding passes out ahead of time, yo.

 

5. Utilize AirBNB.  If you are going to be in places for more than 24 hours, this may even be a cheaper option than a hostel.  Our locations for our apartments we chose through AirBNB were AWESOME and our hosts were gracious and patient with answering our questions as first timers. If you want information on where we stayed in Barcelona or Brussels, email me!

 

6. Be prepared to pay in euro.  While more and more places are accepting cards, many places (restaurants in particular), have a minimum to use them or only accept euro.   While we’re on the subject, do not exchange for euro at the airport. It’s a ripoff.  Find an ATM!

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7. Utilize public transportation when you can.  Many of the metro systems in the bigger cities have a “10 ride pass” for a discounted price and  multiple people can use one card/pass!

8. Download the “WordLens” App for your smartphone. This app is AWESOME and FREE.  You select a language conversion (example: Portuguese –> English), hold your phone up to the sign or menu you are trying to translate, and it translates into the language you select!!!

 

9. Things I brought that I wouldn’t bring again:

  • jean capris, “extra” tshirts (you only need like 2, max)

10. Things I’m glad I brought:

  • electrical outlet converter, travel size sunscreen, sleeping pills, kindle, all-in-one shampoo/conditioner, extra chapstick (with SPF!!)

11. Things I’m glad I didn’t bring:

  • towel (just rent one at your hostel if you need to, it’s better to pay 1 euro to rent than lug that thing around), more than two dresses, and makeup.

12. Less is more when it comes to packing. 

Seriously, it took all of my might not to bring more than two pairs of shoes and a few more dresses/skirts, but looking back I am SO GLAD I didn’t bring them.  The less you can get by with, the more organized and happy you will be!

Any tips you having on backpacking vacations? Any other questions about traveling in Europe?

Easy Caprese Salad (for one)

Soooo, I can’t believe it’s Friday.  Let alone, I can’t believe I’ve been back in Wisconsin for almost a full week.

And while we’re on that topic, I can’t believe I’m moving away from this place in two weeks.  But that’s another story for another day.  Anyway, so y’all know I’ve been traveling for the past month, which means, I have had very few home cooked meals.  Which also means, I haven’t been eating well and it was time to get on track.

Solution: go to the grocery store, buy veggies, eat them. Right?

Ehhh, not so fast.  Remember, I’m a former veggie hater.  So while I’ve made progress and like many veggies now, I still have to work at trying to fit them in at all meals.  I LOVE the concept of salad, but I need more than veggies on my salad.  As I was walking through the grocery store (first time grocery shopping in a month = me doing the happy dance), I saw some fresh mozzarella.  And it hit me.  Caprese salad with crunchy (y’all know I’m a texture freak) bread cubes and mozzarella.  ALL MAH FAVORITE THINGS- cheese, bread, veggies.

So here we are.  This salad takes literally 5 minutes to put together and is easy to proportion for one serving, or easy to double!

Easy Caprese Salad (one serving):

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup toasted bread cubes or (7-8 “cubes”, depending on how big yours are)

1 roma tomato, cubed

1 clove garlic

3 basil leaves

1 handful romaine lettuce

2 tbsp. fresh mozzarella (or 3-4 slices of the fresh mozzarella log is what i use)

2 tbsp. balsamic and oil dressing

Directions

For bread cubes–I used Italian bread.  Cut into 1 inch cubes, place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

For salad- Cube tomatoes.  Mince garlic.  Chop basil into pieces the size of your desire.  Combine in a small bowl.

Spread tomato mixture on top of romaine lettuce, and top with mozzarella, balsamic dressing, and those beautiful bread cubes you just toasted.

THAT’S IT! Veggies with cheese and bread. icon smile Easy Caprese Salad (for one)

 

What about you?  What are some “must have” food combos you like?

Brussels, Belgium– Foodie Heaven in Europe (Recap #5)

We made it!  The last Eurotrip Recap!

In cased you missed it, here’s where we had been by now:

Barcelona

Madrid

Lisbon

Lagos

AND NOW ONTO BELGIUM!

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I was surprised at how much I loved  Brussels, Belgium, because I definitely heard mixed opinions.  Our time in Brussels was short, but delicious!  We arrived after a long travel day to catch overtime of the USA vs. Belgium game, only to see the good ol’ USA lose and hear the streets of Brussels erupt!

Here we go with our last stop on the trip!

Getting there: We were coming from Lagos, Portugal, to Brussels,  which is a little unusual. The closest and cheapest way to get to Brussels was to fly RyanAir from Faro (40 miles away from Lagos) into Brussels Chareloi Airport (Brussels South).  RyanAir is another budget airlines– so keep your bags small and print out your boarding passes ahead of time (otherwise you will pay 70 euro extra!).  Brussels Charleroi is an hour away from the center of Brussels, and there is an easy to find shuttle that takes you into the city.  You can buy your tickets online or at the airport.

Where we stayed: Another apartment from AirBNB.  Great location and price!  If you want details, let me know!

Getting around: We stayed pretty close to the center of the city (near De Brouckere Metro Station), so you can easily walk or metro to anywhere you need to go!  You can also take the train to nearby cities, which we did.

What We Did:

Grand Place- This is probably the most famous Brussels landmark and is the central city square.  It is beautiful!  There are many shops and restaurants around it, but we didn’t do much looking in the actual square.

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Place du Grand Sablon- We walked about a mile from the Grand Place and came upon this really pretty courtyard and church, known as the Place du Grand Sablon.  There are also a lot of good chocolate shops around this area, so it is the perfect place to rest and enjoy some delicious goodies! icon smile Brussels, Belgium   Foodie Heaven in Europe (Recap #5)

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Mannekin Pis - This famous statue of a little boy peeing is very close to the Grand Place on a corner, very easy to miss except for the crowds all around it!

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Chocolate Museum- Located right by the Grand Place.  Doesn’t take long to go through, but has interesting facts, history about chocolate and a demonstration free samples with your 5 euro admission!   A must see for you chocoholics like myself. icon smile Brussels, Belgium   Foodie Heaven in Europe (Recap #5)

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Bruges-  We took a 10 euro train ride to a nearby small city, Bruges, about an hour away.

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There are lots of pretty canals to walk along to get to the city center,  In the center, there is a Basilica but also many pretty old buildings and churches.

 

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The restaurants here are very pricy! It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of Brussels, and Bruges is a gorgeous old town.

 

What we ate:

Ummm, everything in sight.  Brussels was my absolute favorite food place ever because they had all my favorite indulging, non-nutritionist loving foods.

Chocolate. Waffles. Frites (Fries). Beer. Doner. 

Chocolate-

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There are millions of shops throughout the city.  You can go high-end with Neahaus or Pierre Marcolini, but you can also get traditional Belgian chocolate for a little cheaper from Leonida’s. This is where we bought most of ours and it was just as good as the really expensive stuff!  Another fun shop that I bought chocolate from was Elisabeth.

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Waffles

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There are also waffle stands all over.  The waffles are AMAZING, but the stands will try to trick you by advertising “Waffles for 1 Euro!” and then charging you also for all your toppings!  I was told to just get the plain waffles, but I loved the ones with chocolate and banana!!

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Frites-  Guys, fries are my downfall.  In Belgium, they eat them not only with ketchup, but with mayo and millions of other sauces.  I’d highly suggest trying out new sauces!!!

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Beer –  Belgium is great for beer lovers!  There are shops with literally over 300 kinds of Belgian beers- flavored, blonde, dark– you name it!   I tried “sour beer” for the first time and really liked it!  We also went to this awesome bar, Delirium.

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Delirium is full of tourists, but it is over a block long and has over 2,000 beers! Iphone 7 5 14 1827 e1405089930888 768x1024 Brussels, Belgium   Foodie Heaven in Europe (Recap #5)

We went and had a hard time choosing just what to get!  They also have a separate absinthe and tequila bar!

Doner — I was in Doner Kebab heaven.  One place we went even put FRIES on my doner sandwich.  Seriously, if you go to Europe YOU MUST TRY THIS.

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The Beaches of Lagos (Eurotrip Recap #4)

Today’s recap will be short and sweet, because you can only say “THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH I’VE EVER BEEN TO” so many ways.  This was my favorite afternoon on our Europe trip.  We timed it perfectly– the halfway mark through our 12 day journey, just when we were dying for an afternoon of relaxation!    While in Lagos, I felt like I was living out the Travel Channel’s “Top Beautiful Beaches” show (if there is such a thing). So I’ll get right to it.

The Beaches:

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I felt like I was in a postcard the entire time.   The two beaches we went to, Praia Dona Ana and Praia Camila were beaches that looked like they were carved out of rock formations, as they were all over!  The water was also so clear and so blue.  The actual sandy beach wasn’t necessarily the “white pristine” beaches of Mexico, but the view was the most beautiful I have ever seen.

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The water was extremely cold, but we braved it and had fun swimming around!  June/July are busy seasons for the beaches, but we were still easily able to find spots to lay out and tan!

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Photo credit: Amy

Getting there: We took the EVA bus from Lisbon to Lagos.  Because I couldn’t understand the Portuguese website, we didn’t buy these tickets until we got to the hostel in Lisbon and had help from the staff there.  They then directed me to the english version of the website I couldn’t find before, and we purchased our tickets 24 hours ahead of time.  Super easy.  Bus tickets were 20 euro and travel time was about 4 hours.

Getting around: It’s a pretty small beach town.  There are taxis, but we just walked everywhere.

Where we stayed:  

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Dona Ana Garden.  The location was PERFECT for us, as we were literally a 5-10 minute walk from two of the best beaches there- Playa Ana and Playa Camila.  However, this was probably a 15 minute walk from the “downtown” area of Lagos, so it depends on your preference of what you want to be close to!  We booked our rooms online and paid a small down payment, but we were not told that when we paid the rest after our stay it had to be in EUROS, not cards.  This was my only complaint about the place, as we were never told this and the closest ATM was a 10 minute walk, almost making us miss our next bus. Other than that, this is a great place to stay!

What we ate: 

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We were only here for one night and stumbled upon a fun Aussie Bar called “The Green Room”…very similar to a local Chipotle!  Their mojito’s were strong and the burritos were huge.  Would definitely eat there again.

Bottom Line:  Go there.   If you visit Portugal, it’s a must.  I’ve been lucky to be on a lot of beach vacations in my life, and this one takes the cake.