travel

Traveling the ch-easy way

When your life is packed in a suitcase, this means that one day you could be eating gelato at an Italian square, find yourself enjoying a fondue in Switzerland, or savoring a German beer (even though I’m not quite convinced that beer is something that you can actually savor?…) at a Brauerei, along with a Schnitzel and potato salad.

In my case, last week’s destination was dinner in Aix-en-Provence, France. Ha, fancy! 😉

Well, the truth is I was gonna be there for a few days, so didn’t exactly go just for dinner but I did land in the evening so it was the perfect time to go to the nearest supermarket to get fresh ingredients for dinner: lots and lots of cheese, salad, olives, Gruyère-flavored breadsticks, Tartare (a fresh cheese I hadn’t eaten in years!) and a nice bottle of red wine. YUM!

Cheese and salad dinner
Not the best pic but hunger struck before there was time to take a better one 😉 and I have do have a story about how I carried that cheese all throughout Provence during the road trip, but that’s for another time!

 

To make the most out of my time in France, I decided to wake up early and explore Aix while it is still waking up. I am definitely not a morning person, but I needed a change of routine and the morning always has a magical light that makes places even more charming.

Blue skies of Aix-en-Provence, France
Blue skies & picturesque provincial buildings
Early morning in Provence
Another early bird in the quiet streets of Aix-en-Provence

My favorite way to explore is to simply walk out of the door and let my feet decide the way. I follow the sunlight, walk past hidden squares, enjoy the buildings of small quiet streets. I take my time noticing all the tiny details and give myself the freedom to enjoy the city without timings or a specific destination (no “is it really that way, Google Maps?“).

Gourmet store in the center of Aix-en-Provence, France
Gourmet chocolate & cookies store in the city center
Small square in Aix-en-Provence
This seemingly innocent building used to be a brothel (read here)
Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour of Aix-en-Provence (built and rebuilt between the 12th and 19th centuries)

 

 

Every street had a charming store, a small square, a sunny spot. Big churches emerged out of narrow, sinuous streets. Every corner had (or perhaps I was just hungry!) a bakery with mouth-watering smells. And if the city invites you to taste its most delicious treats, it’d be rude not to, right?

Another surprise (because this time I did zero research on the place before going) was the fact that, while walking through the heart of the old town, I stumbled upon the farmer’s market in front of the City Hall, which is there every morning between 8 am – 12 pm.

Even though I am not a chef (I’m famous for two things: my brownies and chickpea curry), I simply love farmer’s markets. It makes me feel like in Julie & Julia or any other food-focused movie. Plus, as a “French edition“, this one had cheese, meats, bread, lavender, fresh veggies, and flowers. I wanted to bring everything back home with me to make a feast! I didn’t, though, because I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to eat it all, and there’s nothing worse than wasting food. Instead, I took pictures. 😉

church_aix_flower_market_city_center
Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and its flower market
Farmer's market
Perfect time to shop for some fresh produce from local farmers
Nuts and dried fruits stand at local farmers market
Yes, please!
Flowers at local farmers market
Pretty flowers everywhere!

Walking through the charming streets of Aix gave me not only a lot of picture-perfect spots but also allowed me to watch the French as they go about their day. It’s interesting how different people are and act in different countries.

Plus, this was also a chance to outline my priorities for the week and just process my thoughts. I came to one very simple (and perhaps obvious) conclusion: the same way there’s no right and wrong to travel, there’s also no right and wrong to decide what’s your path in life. Happy sketching out a plan for the whole day and checking out museums? That’s fine. Wandering through the streets without a clear plan other than finding every delicious piece of French food? That’s fine, too.

Door surrounded by ivy

Green door and plants
Side note: I have a thing for doors. I don’t know why but I always notice and photograph them.

As for life choices, whether you decide to backpack through Asia, become a pastry chef in a small French town or work at an office in a big city, that’s really up to you and you alone. The one thing that truly matters is to be happy with who you are and making the most of the place where you stand in life (and on the map). Accepting yourself, starting the day with a positive attitude and saying to yourself: “today is gonna be a good day”. That’s half of the work and it’ll carry you a long way, I tell you. That’s something I’ve been told as a teenager and had a hard time believing but the more I live, the more it becomes a personal truth.

And, in any case, take a lesson from the French. If all else fails…

86c5f26d595215602ca7ba6cf3be4b61
If credit is due somewhere, let me know! 😉

Until then, have a grate day! (Couldn’t help the cheesy pun. Oops, did it again!)

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4 thoughts on “Traveling the ch-easy way”

  1. Ohh my goodness you got so many beautiful pictures! What a gorgeous city! (And you’re a grate photographer 🙂 hahaha!) I absolutely love the way you travel! Not having a set plan and just exploring is something I would love to do one day, too. I find that there’s more beauty and wonderful experiences to be had when something is spontaneous or a surprise, not when you pretty well know what’s going to happen!

    Like

    1. Haha thank you for sharing my pun 😂 I’m guilty of making them all the time!

      And yes, I do love to travel like this. I mean, if I have a big trip planned then I’ll totally check out the must sees in the city, but other times it’s just awesome to explore it without really knowing what to expect.

      I hope you find that in your travels too. There are certainly cool places near you? 😉 happy travels!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol you’re welcome! I love puns, too 🙂 yes definitely, it’s a smart idea to have a basic itinerary, but exploring is a lot of fun, too! Thanks so much. Yes, there are many wonderful places; I just have to save up for a car, haha! You, too!

        Liked by 1 person

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