July 11, 2018

Bucharest, Romania PT1

It took us 32 hours of travel from Washington DC, with an overnight layover in Doha, Qatar, to get to the capital of Romania, Bucharest. It was past noon of September 9, 2017 (although our body clocks was still probably hanging somewhere else) when we were stamped in at Henri Coandă International Airport (IATA code: OTP) in Otopeni.

Slightly disoriented, we were glad to find our pre-arranged transport waiting for us at the exit with a small placard bearing our name. With the exhaustion that comes with a long haul flight, we were not in any form to navigate this new city’s transport options. Out of the freezer that is the plane and airport and with our slept in travel clothes, the noonday sun beats forcefully down on us and we were glad to escape the heat at the back of the air-conditioned car.

For over half an hour, our driver sped and weaved in and out of traffic and we were soon deposited at our hotel right in the city center very close to Gara de Nord.

After a quick lunch of sandwiches and pasta at the hotel lobby and a hot bath, we were feeling more like ourselves but still chose to just laze away our first day luxuriating on the fluffy bed. Our stomachs demanded proper nourishment come night fall and we were rested enough so we stepped out with the intent to find our first meal and as a way of introduction to this new city.

The first meals as the first menus in a foreign country gets us excited! 
It's like cracking open a new book of delicious read.

That quick meal turned into hours long dinner and drinks with live traditional entertainment followed with waltzing at the most historical restaurant and beer museum in Bucharest.

It almost felt like stepping back in time of old world glam with the ornate Belle Epoque surrounding and this beautifully preserved establishment has been serving Romanian dishes since 1879.

TIP: Reservations recommended or walk in super early and maybe you'll get lucky to nab a table.

Full from a great traditional Bucovina meal of sausages, pork confit, polenta and slightly drunk from the mimosa, I was pulled to the dance floor of the historic Caru cu Bere to waltz & twirl my jet lag away.

To be welcomed with delicious dinner in a beautiful historic building followed with dancing are the kind of moments that reminds us why we take long tiring flights across continents.

February 6, 2018


To meticulously (at some point obsessively) research an itinerary but still retain that sense of wonder and awe ever after reading so much about a place. That is the magic of Essaouira and it is hauntingly beautiful. Even if I felt like I've read up enough about it prior to arrival, it still managed to sweep me off my feet.

From the Rif Mountains, we made our way down to the Atlantic Coast at the Port city of Essaouira, a tiny coastal town some 3 hours out of Marrakech and possibly our most favorite city in all of Morocco. Not that we liked any of the other places we've visited less.

With the morning's catch already in the markets, the fishermen are busy mending their nets while seagulls soar above occasionally diving for scraps.

I stood atop the citadel of Skala dela Kasbah looking out to the crashing waves of the Atlantic bracing for wind and chill. Also alert for possible bird poop bombs as hundreds of seagulls were flying overhead.

This 18th century fortified town was built according to military architecture hence the canon-lined ramparts and stone gates.  It's medina, once called Mogador which literally means 'small fortress' is a mixture of vibrant cultures enclosed in blue and white walls manned with the friendliest Moroccans.

We held off shopping as we crisscrossed the country but finally let Essaouira take our dirhams. It was hassle free and way cheaper than anywhere else in Morocco. No hard sell and going back and forth with the price not knowing if you got the better end of a deal than when bartering and haggling. I do enjoy that sport but sometimes even that could get too much compounded with the sensibility not to offend and the language barrier. 

Travel Tip: do your shopping in Essaouira, almost everything is a fraction of the cost of what you'd pay for stuff in other Maroc cities.

Sunset at Skala Du Port at the seaside town of Essaouira, on Morocco's Atlantic Coast.

As the town is small, we had so many opportunities to linger in cafes and squares. I love this Maroc way of life of sipping mint tea at every stop. This pot here is quite unique as it was tinged with saffron.

Bsaha (to health) as we raise our glasses to you, where ever you maybe!

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