Les Saveurs de Yamada (Koen’s Birthday Dinner)

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Les Saveurs de Yamada

For Koen’s birthday, we decided to try Les Saveurs de Yamada, a Japanese restaurant specializing in Kaiseki Ryori. We had the pleasure of discovering kaiseki when we were in Kyoto in 2016 and were excited to discover we could experience it in Antwerp, as well!

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Hof Van Cleve

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Dinner at Hof Van Cleve!

Koen and I decided we really wanted to try eating at the best restaurants in Belgium, so of course Hof Van Cleve was at the top of our list – Number 50 Best Restaurant in the World 2017 and it has 3 Michelin stars.

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London with Mom

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Brunch with Mom

To celebrate my mom’s birthday early, we headed to London for the day! London may seem far away from Antwerp, but by train it’s actually only a 2 hour ride! This was my mom’s first time in London, so we did a full day of sight-seeing, ending on a high note with afternoon tea at Claridge’s.

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Beijing: Our Hotel

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Because I was so happy with our hotel in Beijing, I decided to make an entire post about the Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel! Our hotel is located in the hutongs: centuries-old, tree-lined alleyways that are the true heartbeat of this unique city and a real-life link to its fascinating past. We had so much fun exploring/accidentally exploring because we got very lost amonst all of the hutongs (there’s not Google Maps in China).

The location is perfect, the hotel is beautiful, and the staff is so nice and friendly.

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Mongolia: Visit with a Nomadic Family

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Our gers for the day

Our last day in Mongolia was my favorite day. I went to Mongolia hoping to experience the nomadic life and was able to in the end. We started the day very early, so we could be on time to see how the cows and yaks are milked before they set off wandering the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Inside the ger we were able to try yak milk tea, yak cream, and yak curd!

We were also so lucky that the weather changed during the night. Still a bit cold, but we had a blue sky and sunshine!

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Mongolia: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and Ariyabal Meditation Temple

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Entering Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

Although the snow and the cold temperatures made us cancel our trip into the mountains of northern Mongolia, we chose instead to explore Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and hike up to the Ariyabal Meditation Temple, where we crossed the “Bridge of Heaven” and climbed 108 stone stairs that lead to the main temple with 108 small stupas and 108 prayer wheels around the temple.

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Mongolia: National Museum of Mongolia & Khorkhog

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National Museum of Mongolia

Our guide suggested we visit the National Museum of Mongolia during our trip to Ulaanbaatar. This museum is responsible for preserving Mongolian cultural heritage as well as defining the guidelines for museums in the rest of the country. The museum has a wide scope of history, beginning in prehistory up into the present. The biggest highlights for me were the section on Mongolian traditional dress and the 1990 Mongolian Revolution.

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Moscow: Café Pushkin

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Caviar tasting at Café Pushkin

Café Pushkin is another restaurant recommend to me by a client from Moscow. I browsed the menu before heading to Moscow and knew we’d do the caviar tasting! We decided to go all out, trying other Russian classic dishes, as well. Such a beautiful café! If you want to treat yourself, I definitely recommend a visit to Café Pushkin!

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Japan: Shinjuku (Tokyo)

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Sipping sencha at the Park Hyatt in The Peak Lounge

One big recommendation from friends of ours was a visit to the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku for breakfast or tea. The restaurants are located high up and offer a beautiful view of Tokyo. We were too late for breakfast, so we enjoyed tea and a sweet chestnut cake in The Peak Lounge, which features a skylit bamboo garden as its centerpiece.

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