I Crave a Different Kind of Buzz

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Want to know what my favorite part of our trip to Paris and Brussels was? The grocery store. I know, I know — there’s the Eiffel Tower in all it’s lacy steel glory and the breathtaking architecture of the Grand Place. We walked the banks of the Seine, wandered the galleries at the Pompidou, and toured a brewery that has been in operation since 1900. Amazing things all– but not my favorite. Nope, my favorite was

the Monoprix around the corner form our Paris apartment and a little local market in Brussels.

What I really crave when I travel, is the experience of living somewhere else for a while.  Sure I want to see the sites, but I also want to see what it is like to get up and make breakfast in a very tiny, very old French apartment with a kitchen in a closet. I want to make a pot of coffee in the afternoon in a sunsplashed Brussels home off a quiet square (that becomes less quiet when the club on the corner opens on Friday night). I want to learn the daily rhythm of a place. Which is typically very different from the vacationer’s staccato pace of this landmark, to this museum, to this park and then that other landmark.

So feel free to ask me about the view from Montmartre (spectacular) or the Manneken Pis (far smaller than I imagined), but want to get me really excited? Ask about buying salad greens in Paris or cooking eggs for breakfast in Brussels.

*We used Airbnb to find our home away from home on this trip. If you crave the local experience when you travel, I really believe this is the way to go. On top of the fact that you can book an apartment (with a kitchen, etc.), our hosts’ recommendations for local dining/entertainment were spot on. If you want to give it a try, you can book through this link and get $25 in travel credit.

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There are more, non-kitchen related vacation photos on my Facebook page!

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2 thoughts on “I Crave a Different Kind of Buzz

  1. Not shocking at all! What a culture puts in its mouth, as well as where they purchase it and how they prepare it, is truly fundamental. When I went to Japan I was fascinated by how grocery stores were arranged, by the things that were just not there, the things that were readily available, the tiny portions, and so on. Fast food is pumpkin sandwich, squid balls, steaming ramen. Dinner is two hours and too many courses to recall, meticulously prepared and punctuated with tea and sake. If haven’t eaten there, you haven’t gone there. Cooking it on location? Even more intimate!

    • Pumpkin sandwich and squid balls both make me extremely curious (and, of course, make me want to go to Japan)! You are so, so right about the link between food and culture. I think that really is at the root of why I enjoyed the grocery store. I also really loved the street food – crepes and pain au chocolat in Paris and waffles and fries in Brussels. Thanks for reading and leaving your insight!

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