5 Cities I’d Love To Return To

5 Cities I'd Love To Return To

I am a creature of habit. The idea behind Dan and I’s lifestyle when we took off to travel the world didn’t really match up with my personality, because I am definitely the kind of person who trusts what I know. In some ways, I think that’s why I describe the whole decision as a ‘leap of faith’ and also why we chose to do this the slow way, by being serial expats.

This appreciation for the familiar is also why I like to visit places I have already visited. Sure, I could use that money/time to explore somewhere new, but once I love a place, I really love it. Obviously we want to explore as many places we can (particularly around Europe at the moment), but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my old favourites from where we’ve been so far. Today, I want to share with you 5 cities I’d love to return to.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

I have boldly stated many times that Athens has been my favourite European city so far. There is something very raw about Athens that made me feel like a really connected with it as a city, not to mention that it was one of the first cities I went to after leaving England to travel. I would love to return to Athens for a weekend of exploring the city, enjoying the sun and maybe even hitting up a waterpark!

Paris, France

Paris, France
With one of my best friends from England, Hannah, at the Eiffel Tower.

My confidence was pretty much rock bottom when I hit France. I was the biggest (weight wise) I had ever been and suddenly I was surrounded by gorgeous, thin women and a bunch of delicious bakeries. To say that by the time I left France I had lost 40lbs feels like a huge achieve for me, but I feel like my weight loss goals meant that my priorities were not as I wish they had been during my time in Paris. If I could go back now, I would spend more time tasting delicious foods and I would definitely try more wine!

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam will always be very dear to me as it’s the first place we travelled to. We had little to no idea what we were doing, where we would live or how things would work out, which made it all the more exciting. Amsterdam is a city that I know like the back of my hand and it feels a little like a home away from home, so my trips there now are always very comfortable. I have places I love to frequent and most importantly, it reminds me of how far I have come since that first trip there.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

We only got to spend 2 (very short) hours in Brussels when passing through earlier on this year, so all it did was give me a taste of possible experiences and things to see/do if we had been there for longer. Not only that, but I only got to visit ONE chocolate shop and try ONE waffle, I mean, isn’t that outrageously unfair? I definitely need to go back to taste more of these delicious treats!

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Berlin feels like “my city”. If Dan and I were going to relocate in Germany right now, we would 110% be relocating to Berlin. The city has an atmosphere that I fell in love with as soon as we arrived and we both loved how versatile it is as a city. It’s a big city with plenty of culture (including the German culture that we love) and has a lot of creative design influence, something Dan and I are both huge fans of. I intend to visit Berlin as much as possible over the next year and hope that if we do stay in Germany long term that we may end up there in a few years. Watch this space!

This post is part of a collaboration hosted by Booked.net called Top Destinations to Go There. These guys are giving away a free iPhone 6 to one lucky blogger and all they have to do is share a post like mine, then nominate 5 other bloggers to take part too! I’m nominating Kaelene, Yalanda, Amanda, Sammy and Sara.

Remember guys, it’s not all about the prize, I am dying to know what places you would all revisit and why!

10 of the Coolest Restaurants in Europe

One of my favourite things to do is eat. Another one of my favourite things to do is explore cool and interesting places when I am in a new city. So what better way to combine those two loves than by exploring 10 of the coolest restaurants in Europe?!

Restaurant Bevanda (Opatija, Croatia)

bevanda croatia

If you’re looking to try the best of the best when it comes to Croatian wine, not to mention eating a meal with fresh ingredients straight out of the sea, you should make Bevanda a must when you visit Croatia. Just imagine fine dining whilst looking out across the sea, I mean, how could you not?!

For reservation info, check out Bevanda’s website.

Gymkhana (London, England)

gymkhana london

It isn’t just the interior of Gymkhana that convinced me to put it on my top 10 list, but the type of cuisine it offers too. I love Indian food, so finding a place that uses seasonal British ingredients to serve it, along with a huge menu to choose from and, well, I’m sold!

To make a reservation, check out Gymkhana’s website.

La Terrazza dell’Eden (Rome, Italy)

La-Terrazza-dell'Eden

A fantastic city view? Check. An award winning Mediterranean menu? Check. Italian wine? Check. I can’t think of a better way to admire Rome and experience Italy for the evening than spending some time at La Terrazza dell’Eden. The name may be a tongue twister, but it’s worth it for the experience ;).

Check out the Dorchester Collection website for more information.

Via Graça (Lisbon, Portugal)

Via Graca Portugal

These guys encourage you to “eat with your eyes”, but I’m sure it sounds a lot more impressive in Portuguese! You can pre-order from the menu before you arrive or feel inspired on the evening, whatever helps you to spend more time enjoying the views whilst you wait for some delicious, traditional Portuguese cuisine.

To make a reservation, check out Via Graça’s website.

Apicius (Paris, France)

apicius paris france

I feel like it’s just the general rule in Paris that everything has to be grand and amazing, right? Apicius is no exception. For some typical (and according to previous diners, melt-in-your-mouth-incredible) French food, Apicius is the place to be, especially when you combine it with chandeliers from every ceiling and an impressive garden to walk off your diner afterwards!

For reservation info, check out Apicius’ website.

Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)

azurmendi

According to previous diners, you are handed a glass of white wine in the lobby before you even see the menu (or your table!) at Azurmendi. Following this is a tour around the vegetable gardens and a walk through the open kitchen, before entering the dining area and being taken to your seat. At this point, you begin your selection from various set menus of Spanish cuisine and take in the views from the hilltop restaurant. Divine.

To make a reservation, check out Azurmendi’s website.

ABaC (Barcelona, Spain)

ABaC Barcelona

Most people who dine at ABaC describe their experience as “luxurious”, “first class” or “perfect”. From the food to the service, there doesn’t seem to be anything you can fault, and with a impressive looking restaurant like this, how could you ask for anything more?! ABaC offer two fixed price menus and in all honesty, I would have no idea which one to choose!

Check out ABaC’s website for reservation info.

Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

steirereck austria

Steirereck is located in the centre of Vienna’s city park, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the city. The chef is rumoured to be “pushing the boundaries of Austrian cuisine”, which is already fantastic, but if you take a look at their menu you can see for yourself how incredible the dishes sound. I’m definitely willing to help push the boundaries!

For reservation info, check out Steirereck’s website.

Spindler & Klatt (Berlin, Germany)

spindler klatt berlin

These guys serve my favourite type of cuisine, Pan-Asian-European. Not only that, but the restaurant transforms into a club in what they describe as “just a few steps” and they promise to make your evening unforgettable. I don’t know about you, but I am there, especially in the summer when they open up their terrace for great views of the city!

To make a reservation, check out Spindler & Klatt’s website.

2 weeks later: I quit smoking

i quit smoking

At 1am this morning, it marked two weeks since I quit smoking. I can’t believe I am saying that, nor how awesome I feel for having made this huge lifestyle change. To a non-smoker it probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it is a huge adjustment for me.

I won’t lie and say my cravings are entirely gone. Dan and I have both found at odd times we crave a cigarette because it feels like ‘the time to have one’. This is pretty hard to explain, but it’s all to do with regular smoking habits. I would always light up as soon as I left any building I couldn’t smoke inside, after dinner, after my morning coffee, on returning from a journey out somewhere, I suppose cigarettes became my conclusion for a lot of things. However, I am happy to report it’s been getting easier and easier every day.

I love that my clothes (and I!) don’t smell like cigarettes anymore. I’m fascinated by how strong the smell of cigarette smoke is and that smokers do not have a pleasant aroma. I’m almost repulsed by the smell of second hand smoke at this point, whereas the first week it smelt kind of beautiful (#addictionproblems). I don’t get to the checkout and realise I have to add 30 euro to the bill because I need cigarettes. I’m not standing outside in the cold of November, puffing away and feeling sorry for myself.

Dan and I both thought we wouldn’t be able to do this and don’t get me wrong, we’ve both suffered from quitting. The fighting during the first week was unbearable, especially as we had the added stress of counting down to moving day (we get the keys this Friday for our first real apartment in Frankfurt!), but now we’ve both settled back down to normality again and all is right in the Jordan nest.

At this point, there is no going back. I am so happy and proud to say that we are both non-smokers now, that we quit cold turkey and ultimately, that we proved nothing is in control of our health more than we are.

Now I’m off to do a 10km run and test out what these lungs are really made of ;).