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Local Experiences

April 15, 2011

One thing that’s super important to me when traveling is experiencing life as a local. Increasingly, I could care less about the tourism “must sees” and would rather find the stuff that no one sees.

Last night I met a friend from college for dinner at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena. The dinner for three quickly turned to dinner for 8 and I found myself at a table full of wine industry professionals. I loved hearing them talk about winemaking, they were all so passionate about it. It didn’t hurt that we were passing around exquisite bottles of wine and dining on duck burgers and campfire pie.

At Robert Mondavi Winery, the risers under that amazing cheese platter are made from old wine boxes.

Likewise, in Paris, my favorite parts of our weekend trip were the unexpected local surprises. A carnival (complete with people on stilts) passing by our dinner table on a little street in Paris…. Visiting Lapin Agile, an old school cabaret – though the show was entirely in french, things like happiness and fun seem to translate.

Repurposed cooking utensils in a Parisian bistro

While walking through the Latin Quarter, we came upon a hat store,  A La Recherche de Jane on Rue Dauphine. We were greeted and shown dozens of hats by the owner, Evelyne. She was having as much fun as we trying on everything from elaborate fancy dress spectacular hats to perfectly cut panama hats. At one point, Evelyne decided my hair would look better up for one particular style. And voila… my hair was twisted into the most perfect chignon.

I hold those types of travel memories close, the ones that few people share but those who do know how authentic and special the moment was.

Me: a faux french girl in her perfectly french hat

Happy Weekend, my friends!

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