What Every Potato was Meant to be: Frites at Maison Antoine

Waffles. Beer. Chocolate. Fries. There was no way I wasn’t going to love this place.

Belgium, a tiny country chock full of everyone’s favorite things and whose capital was less than two hours by train from Paris. For those doing the math, that meant that I could start my day with croissant and middle and end it with smorgasbord of carb-loaded goodness. Where do I sign up and why has it taken me this long to figure this out?! I blame you internet.

Half a day and one hostel check in later, we were in Brussels. Our first stop upon arrival was, of course, for waffles. The second, was for frites. (We are nothing if not dedicated to our craft.)

Any search for ‘best fries in Brussels’ will lead you to Maison Antoine, so that’s where our quest for the perfect fry began. Who were we to argue with the masses? We were but lowly peasants on a search for deep fried truth.

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The Essential Guide to See the Northern Lights in Iceland

Iceland: home of the Huldufólk, lava moss, puffin hunting, fermented shark, entrances to hell, delicious skyr, and vikings. It is the youngest country on Earth (geologically speaking) and has the world’s purest gene pool (all accidental incest aside). Let’s face it though, you could care less about Egil and the saga he rode in on. And maybe you’ll party it up through 24-hours of sunlight, feel morally uncomfortable as you stuff whale meat into your mouth, or get awkwardly naked at the Blue Lagoon with some native Íslanders. But in the end, despite all the good times and wonderful oddities to be found in Iceland there’s only one reason why you’re really going, and that’s to have your Eyjafjallajökull blown by the Northern Lights.

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The 13 Most Inspiring Travel Quotes to Get You Off Your Butt and Out the Door

Sometimes all it takes for my usual state of “Where to next?” to transform into “I just found a $150 round trip flight to Iceland and we leave tomorrow,” is a really inspiring travel story or photo or quote. Also included are those awesome Expedia commercials (like this one or this one) or finding my dirndl in the back of my closet, creased to death from sitting unused for too long. So basically, not much. When you’re always looking for any excuse to get on the road, you can find signs anywhere.

It also doesn’t exactly help when any search on Pinterest or Google will yield hundreds, thousands of wise words imploring you to pack a bag and set off on the journey of a lifetime. Turns out people have had a lot to say about the value of traveling since the beginning of time. So it’s no surprise that if you’re looking for a reason or you need a little push to take the plunge, chances are the things that will speak to you are out there.

Just for fun, I’ve compiled a list of my 13 favorite quotes at the moment that inspire me to do more and see more and which don’t do a thing to cure my incessant wanderlust. But read at your own risk. I cannot be held responsible for flights booked, hostels reserved or jobs quit, though I do fully support you in all of these endeavors.

Adventure is out there. See you on the way. Read More…

Traveling Back in Time in San Francisco

Dracula. Dinosaurs. Chocolate. Party Time.

One of those words is probably (read: definitely) enough for me to be interested in what you’re selling, never mind all of them together in one place. This magical place where dreams come true is none other than the Conservatory of Flowers. Didn’t see that one coming, eh?

But no, it’s true. Right there in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is the closest you’ll come to traveling back in time on your lunch hour. Seemingly stripped from the pages of a Wharton novel, the white washed Victorian style, glass paneled dome towers above gently sloping hills- expertly manicured and filled with perfect, color coordinated flowers. All you’re really missing is your top hat and cane.

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Absinthe, Artists and Apparitions à la Bar Marsella

A whole lot of the appeal of Bar Marsella in Barcelona is that walking through its doors is like taking a step back in time, into an old Belle Époque painting of some run down sordid place occupied by equally as sordid looking figures drinking alone.

So in other words, it’s wonderful.

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The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World

To earn (or self-impose) the title of most beautiful bookstore in the world is either quite the feat or you’ve got some major cojones.

After all, you’re in some serious company here: there’s the super-touristy-yet-still-super-charming-on-the-right-day Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, the famous Strand Bookstore in NYC and the art nouveau gem Livraria Lello e Iramo in Porto- the list goes on. Suffice to say, that’s saying a lot.

So, during out last trip to Venice we made a point to pay a visit to Libreria Acqua Alta and see if it truly lived up to all that hype.

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What I Know

There are a few things I know for sure.

I know, that if your favorite food is pizza and you move to Paris, your stomach will be sad.

I know, that going to Italy after a year of Frenchified Italian food is a dangerous, dangerous proposition- the very mention of which induces a panic among your skinny jeans, the likes of which have not been seen since you bought that birthday cake for up to 8 people knowing full well there were only 2 of you (and really, just one that liked chocolate sooo…)

I know, that you are not supposed to eat pizza when you go to Venice.

I know, that instead you should be drowning your face in their fresh off the boat seafood every chance you get.

I know, that if I travel to any part of Italy and you say, “No pizza for you,” the fiery death stare laser beams that shoot from my eyes will be your first and only warning that you have crossed a line from which you may not return.

I know, that once you realize this, you will aid me on my quest for the best pizza within the floating city limits.

I know, that that pizza comes from one of two places.

Crazy Pizza in Venice

I know, that the best slices come from Crazy Pizza, in spite of the fact that it’s superbly un-Italian name and generic outside appearance lend itself to the opposite impression.

I know, that the best pies come from Al Nono Risorto and that its in everyone’s best interest to follow that up with their mind-blowing tiramisu.

Al Nono Risort Pizza in Venice

I know, that consuming both of these things will only deepen your disappointment when you return to Paris and order up another margherita.

But I also know, it was totally worth it.

Chandler and Joey's Ceramic Dog on Friends - "I regret nothing"

Discovering the Unseen in Marrakech

It all happened quite quickly for us. Somewhere between trying to figure out when the cold overcast skies would open up over Paris and watching past episodes of The Daily Show we learned you could ride a camel in the Sahara. One inexpensive flight a few days later and we were crossing the tarmac of Menara Airport with the snow topped Atlas Mountains to our left and a very welcome sunset to our right. We had no idea what to expect from Marrakech, but so far it was off to a pretty a good start.

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The Essential Guide to Running of the Bulls and Not Dying at San Fermín

Summer is in full swing. The days are hot. The nights are slightly less hot. The smell of vacation is in the air.

For some this means going to the beach. For others this means backyard barbecues. For a select few, brave, awesome and stupid, this means trying to outrun a one-ton angry bull.

Welcome to Paradise Found Around’s Guide to Running of the Bulls.

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