My Paris - Montmartre and Le Marais

I have finally found my Paris. It took me almost four visits, but now that I have found it I just want to stay. For me traveling is much about feelings, not so much about sights. It’s about feeling the place, see the real life there or at least as close as I can get being just a visitor for a few days.

The first two times I visited Paris I liked it, it was great to finally see the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Notre Dame and so on. But I didn’t see the amazingness, it didn’t go straight to my top list. But now it has. Two years ago I stayed in Montmartre and started to get the right feeling and now I have spent almost a week there. And I will be back. Let me tell you why.

Montmartre is...

Cute cafes, nice restaurants, good, but not the average shopping, narrow streets and local shops filled with cheese, ham, fish, flowers an all you can wish for. Montmartre is also the area where Sacre Coeur is located. The church looks amazing and so is the view from the area. You should eat your lunch and drink a bottle of french vine on the stairs ones. Even though Montmartre has both Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge you can easily avoid tourists and it's is easy connected to the rest of Paris with the Metro.

Montmartre gives me the feeling of being in a big city and a small village at the same time. You can feel the local life and really live the Paris way there. 

Some of my favourite places in Montmartre

  • Le Relais Montmartre - cute, well driven, very french hotel with great staff. I have stayed there two times and will be back.
  • Un Zebre - cool and cozy restaurant. Also good for just drinking and a nice atmosphere. Try the duck.
  • Cafe les Deux Moulines - this is the cafe from the movie Amelie (if you have not seen it, do! At least before you go to Paris). Not as touristy as you would think though, a hangout for the locals as well. Nice for a coffee, dessert or as a bar, not the best place for dinner. But it’s a really nice place!
  • Se’bon - great restaurant. Eat dinner there, but you should book ahead, it’s very small.

But there is also Le Marais

Le Marais is a new part of Paris for me. It reminds me of West Village in New York with trendy shops and restaurants surrounded by historic buildings. The weather was really bad the day I visited so I don't have any recommendations. But I still got the good vibes of the area and will definitely explore it more next time. Just walking around imagening who used to live in those amazing buildings gives you a good feeling.

Paris - I can't wait until next time! Here are som pics from Montmartre and Le Marais.

That feeling

When you first arrive at a new destination. The first view on the way to your accomodation and when you walk out to the streets for the first time. I love it!

When I come to a big city I get this great feeling immideatly, even though I have been there before. I think it has to do with all the people I see, just belonging there. I really felt good when I arrived in Berlin, Germany this summer. 

It was the day after they won the world championship in football. People were happy, walking down the street laughing and drinking beer. It was warm outside, my hotel was really cool (Michelberger hotel) and the area it was in as well. It all just made me smile and wish I lived there. It must have been visible, my happiness, because the restaurant even gave me free drinks. 

Berlin - always so fun and relaxed at the same time. 

 

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Berlin sky line.

Traveling on your own

Sometimes I travel on my own. And I like it. I know people who want to travel on their own, but find it a bit scary and are afraid of getting bored and I know people who do travel alone but have not found the joy of it. So, I wrote down my tip on how to get "better" at traveling on your own.

I travel on my own, not because I have to, but because I want to. I like doing what I want. I also like traveling together with someone. But for me the target of the travel, the travel in itself is most important. I decide that first and then I find out if it fits to travel with someone or I will do it on my own.

My best advices: 

Make a plan for the travel, something to do
It is boring being somewhere where nothing happens. You should travel to a place where there is a great chance of meeting new people, where you can see and discover stuff or where you have a plan to do something else. I have been on my own in New York, maybe the easiest place to travel on your own. There is always something going on. I traveled on my own to a beach holiday in Goa, India. Not much happening there, but my plan was to do and learn more yoga, to relax and read plenty of books. It was great!

Be aware of how long it feels ok to be on your own
I have this limit for how long it feels ok to be on my own. Even though you meet other people it is not like being with your friends back home. Think about how long it feels ok for you just being on your own or with people you don’t know. Some people can travel like that for a year, some people think one week is enough. Try figuring out your limit before planning a long trip.

Get a hobby
And I do not mean learning Salsa so that you can dance the night away in Cuba (even though salsa is a great dance to know and can give you lots of fun in many countries). What I do mean is that it is great to have something to concentrate on where you are. I often have a photo project, the camera keeps me busy and even feels like a good friend. Another tip is to write a travel journal or a blog. Or just find things you plan to see, like all the vintage shops in Paris or all the strangest museums in Berlin. Learning more of the language in the country your are in is another tip, it helps you to meet new people as well.

Books, books, books
To bad if you do not like reading because when you travel alone a book is the perfect thing when waiting at airports, sitting on your own at the coffee shop or at your hotel in the evening. You need it so much more then when you are traveling with someone. My best tip is to read about the country you are in. I love travel guides (one of the areas where I still prefer paper books), but even better is books about the country you are in, about culture, food, history and maybe a story about someone traveling in the country or people living there. Then you learn even more about the country you are in and have entertainment at the same time. 

Find social spots
It actually takes some practice, but if you are dining on your own or are just looking for a place to grab a beer, you should look for places where you see people talking, maybe there is music, a relaxed mood, not the fancy restaurant. A place where it looks comfortable to read your book or easy to get to know people. When it comes to accommodation, a hostel is the best place if you want to meet people. 

Travel with a group
It was not my favourite, I like planning my own trips. But if you are afraid of traveling on your own because of safety or want to make sure that you get to know other people, traveling with a group is great. You just have to find the right company to travel with. Do some research to make sure there are people on your own age, many agencies have a pretty high average age on their travelers. I found one (Gadventures) where the average age is around 30 and they arrange tours with adventures and activities and I loved it. 

Travel and get lost
This advice is my favorite travel advice both when you travel alone and with someone. Throw away your map and walk in the opposite direction, you will definitely see things you did not expect. But use common sense, make sure you do not walk in to areas tourist should keep out from. 

Use common sense
You are more vulnerable when traveling on your own and especially if you are a girl. I swear to common sense: Do not go to areas you know are unsafe (do some research), skip the dark alleys, be sober enough to find your way home or to find a taxi etc.

Do what you feel like
The greatest reason for traveling on your own, you can do exactly what YOU want and I guarantee you will do stuff that you would not do traveling with someone else. 

Do you have another advice to share? Please do below!

Finally selfies is a cool thing to take, ypu do a lot of them traveling on your own.

Finally selfies is a cool thing to take, ypu do a lot of them traveling on your own.


Surf and yoga in beautiful Tipi Valley, Portugal

I can feel the stay at Tipi Valley in my whole body; the big smile on my face as I think back, the peace I feel in inside and the muscles hurting from much more physical activity then I normally have in five days, .

Earlier this summer I spent five days at Tipi Valley Surf & Yoga Eco Camp in the historic area of Aljezur in the south of Portugal. In Tipi Valley you sleep in tipi's (with beds), the electricity is from solar power, the (sometimes) warm water in the outdoor shower is heated in the sun, there is no phone reception or wifi and most of the vegetables and spices in the food are grown at the place. You can really lose yourself there!

A day at Tipi Valley (you can choose to stay for 5 or 7 days) was normally like this:

  • A sweet bell sound is waking me up around 7.45. Outside, tea and fruit is waiting and then it's time for yoga. Yoga is done outside under the cork trees with a beautiful view over the valley and you do your sun salutations as the sun rises. A great way to start the day.
  • After yoga, breakfast was ready and after breakfast David from the surf school was there to pick us up and drive us to the beach. David is a great guy, he also showed us around the area and we visited three different beaches during the stay.
  • Then we had surf instructions and surfing for about two hours with great instructors from Odeceixe surf school.
  • After surfing it was time for lunch, brought in a big casket we would find salads or sandwiches, fruit and more. The location was off course the beach. When we finished our lunch we could surf some more or just relax at the beach or in one of the cafes for 3 hours before David brought us back to Tipi Valley.
  • Back at Tipi Valley we had time to relax in one of the hammocks, have some tea and fruit, take a shower or just do whatever we wanted for some time until it was time for yoga again. The afternoon yoga was of the more restorative type and there was some meditation to.
  • And then dinner was waiting for us. Always amazing home cocked healthy food with lots of vegetables and spices. We would sit by the table enjoying the food until the sun set down in front of us.

It may feel like a busy and strict program, but it really wasn't. I did not even use a watch while I was there and the fact that everything was so planned and great food always brought to you, just made it feel very relaxing. I also really enjoyed the fact that I couldn't use my phone (except on the beach during the day). It all kind of felt like being at summer camp, with adults. 

I also appreciated that even though Tipi Valley is health focused and all, it wasn't like yoga retreats where you could not drink alcohol or coffee and it was not all vegetarian food. We bought wine for dinner some days and went to a bar in Aljezur one evening. It was all up to us, but to be done with respect for fellow travelers and the eco friendly environment.

The week I was there we were 6 people (from England, Ireland, the US and me from Norway, all traveling on our own), but the place had room for 12. You don't need to have any experience with surfing or yoga to go there (I had never even touched a surf board). However, I did find the yoga a bit to basic, I have done yoga for some years and I know that 'back to basic' was good for me but it would be nice if they did adjust it a bit more for those of us more experienced too. On the last day we did yoga and had breakfast at the beach. A really nice experience before heading home.

If you want to totally relax from your every day life and at the same time be physically active, do yoga and surf, eat healthy, live eco friendly and meet new people - then you should definitely check out Tipi Valley!

Obrigado Tipi Valley!

Yoga with a view.

Yoga with a view.

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Hammocks all around camp.

Hammocks all around camp.

Monte Clerigo, one of the beaches we visited.

Monte Clerigo, one of the beaches we visited.

Odeceixe, the beach where we spent most of the days.

Odeceixe, the beach where we spent most of the days.

James, Esther, Jennifer, Alex, me and Harriet. The great people I spent the week with. Thanks guys!

James, Esther, Jennifer, Alex, me and Harriet. The great people I spent the week with. Thanks guys!


Welcome to my blog

I have another blog. It is really about everything and nothing. Then it turned in to a travel blog. But it is in Norwegian and I want to write more about travel and I want it to be in English. So here you go!

 

Why Travel and Get Lost?

I believe that traveling is about seeing something new, to learn something, to experience. In order to do that you sometimes have to throw away your map and get lost. You have to look back, you have to see more then the tourist sights. Lose your self in the experience. But within reason, with respect and with common sense.

This blog will be about my travels, both coming and travels I have done, it will be about traveling, it will give you tip and smart travel stuff. Just another travel blog, but maybe with some new perspectives.