Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Dijon, France

When most people think about visiting France, the first thought is usually Paris. Why not?
Beyond Paris, it's worth noting that there are many other places to see in France.

I visited Dijon for the first time and found it to be a charming place. La porte Guillaume is a historic monument leading to into old Dijon/the city centre. The arc has a significance of freedom for the city and it is from as far back as the 18th century.
 Once you walk past the arc, this is the view.

 Further down is the rue des Forges. It is always buzzing with life. It is lined with restaurants and cafés that are always full as the food is great. Wandering around in this area makes you feel like you are back in old times. You get a proper sense of old Dijon with a bit of a modern touch to it.

It was lunch time so we settled in at a restaurant for lunch.
Escargots/snails...it was yummy

Foie gras, toast and salad

Boeuf bourguignon with potatoes, bread and carrots
Boeuf bourguignon/beef Burgundy is a beef stew braised in red wine, mostly red Burgundy. It is typical to the Burgundy/Bourguignon region in France. Dijon is in that region so this is a dish to try out there.
Cheese from the region :-)
Although my friend lives in Dijon, she had never tried typical dishes. My visit took her out of her comfort zone with food. Thankfully she was open to trying. And she enjoyed every dish.

God mother duties
I arrived the previous day and my friend and her daughter, my god daughter picked me up at the station. My god daughter came bearing flowers. It was so sweet. The last time I saw her, she was 3 months old but she has grown into this beautiful, talkative and active girl.

See how nicely they bloomed
 After lunch our wandering continued

La place de la libération is whereyou'll find the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and on the other side, there is a museum.
I hear that if you go inside the palace area and are happy to walk up 300 steps, you'll be rewarded with a great view of Djjon. On this day, there was no way we were going to do so with this lil lady so we went to the museum only.
She wanted to pose like me

Sun kissed

The museum

I love everything about this photo

My Nigerian flag follows me where I go. When I have the chance to use it, I do so gladly! Simi was so happy to use it.

Isn't she just stunning!

 Saint Bénigne cathedral is a UNESCO heritage site and it was built on the Béningus's burial site. He was a 2nd century evangelist and martyr.
 I've been inside a few cathedrals and I find that many of them are similar.

The entire length of this car was fascinating

Streets of Dijon

Monument Sadi Carnot, place de la République

We were getting tired so we had a break at Place de la République. My god daughter was in high spirits and wanted to play. We did a bit before we continued.

 Lke Kir is surrounded by a park. The park was quiet and nice. It is big and we came across people taking walks, cycling, jogging, lovers and there was a play area for children. The weather was glorious.

Street grafitti

Lake Kir from one end

People have started the love padlock thing here

Lake Kir from the other end

Friends from way back...
 I had my last dinner with the family before my departure. from dinner, they took me to the station. I hear my baby cried as I left.
These two

 Simi hadn't tried salmon before so I insisted that she had to. She loved it!
Steak haché, chips and salad for me


My departure point
I had only three days in Dijon but I was sure to make the best use of my time there. I had so many more places I would have liked to see on my list which I didn't see. I'll be back so there is no hurry.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Strasbourg, France

I visited Strasbourg in 2014 and was excited to go back this year. The last time I visited, I hardly documented my trip. We were so excited and all over the place. We woke up tired each day but kept moving. This time, I knew to take it easy as I was not going to have time to rest on my return.
I arrived on my birthday and my friend (Vivian) and her husband being the amazing people that they are, had their friends over to make my day.
Vivian knew my arrival time so she, her husband and their baby were at the train station to collect me. When her husband swooped me into a big hug saying happy birthday, I knew I was going to have a great day. She was so excited that her husband beat her to wishing me a happy birthday.
As we got home, seeing my photos on the door and the effort they had put into welcoming me warmed my heart.

As we walked in, the smell of food was everywhere, she was cooking up a storm while he gladly ran all the errands.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Not all Nigerians fit the stereotype

I visited the Nigerian High Commission in Dar es Salaam today to get a letter of introduction for the Tanzanian authorities for work. Going by stories I had heard of how bad Nigerian Embassy/HC staff could be, I went there with no expectations. 

At the front desk someone was chatting so loudly across with a guard in Swahili, so they were both obviously Tanzanian. When a Nigerian staff came to attend to me in the waiting area which was in the same room/hall, I could barely hear him as these people were yelling. I looked up in shock wondering whether I was in a market place or an office. I told him I could not hear him and looked towards the front desk as if to say, ask him to keep his voice down but he made light of the situation by saying he is like a Nigerian now. I know we could be loud but in an office, this was not acceptable. And for someone who was sent from Nigeria to represent his country in another country to accept this, it shocked me a bit. I wondered if that was what he was taught from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

My first Safari in Kenya

Sometime in 2013, I went to Kenya for the first time. It was an exciting trip. The plan was to go on Safaris then end up on the coast.
I watched a film called 'The Ghost and the Darkness' recently and a flash of the Tsavo eaters story came back. I remembered that this was mentioned by Amani, our tour guide, at one of the parks but I don't know if I paid much attention to that story. This was a reminder that I hadn't written about my 2013 Kenya trip.

On the day we were to fly out of Abuja, we were sitting at the airport waiting for our flight when we saw the news of the West gate mall attack break. As frightening as it was, we were not going to change plans.

When we got to Nairobi, I stayed with my uncle and his family for 2 days in before leaving on Safaris.
It's been 5 years, my cousins are all grown up now

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Beaches and snorkeling in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Please read my previous post on how the trip started 😊

While I was looking for a hotel, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact that the owner has a private boat and the reviews I saw talked of how much it was a delight to have a private boat which would provide the flexibility the guests needed.
I mentioned this to the other ladies and everyone was happy with it + there was a variety of options of things to do. Snorkeling was top on the list, then an evening boat ride to watch the sun set.

This watch tower was in between our hotel and the turtle aquarium

Our amazing guides

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Finding spices, tortoises and doors in Zanzibar, Tanzania

There has been so much hype about Zanzibar, but at the same time, a few people weren't particularly thrilled. 
Being in the country, I knew I had to visit so I planned a trip with my sisters and three friends.
I seem to have written more on Tanzania than I have on any other country, here are some of the links. This was my first post then I did a bit in Kigoma. The next one will give you my general impressions and of course I went on a safari. Do check all the posts out when you have a chance.

We spent two days in Dar es Salaam catching up and me showing them the few places I know. Some of the places we went to were Cape town fish market, we all loved the food.

Cape town fish market overlooks the ocean

We watched the sun set, look at that sky line

Thursday, 13 September 2018

My 'what just happened?' moment

When last did you have one of those 'what just happened?' moments? The type that leaves you feeling cheated! That was exactly how I felt a week ago! I'll tell you all about it...

Each year, I try to make friends from different ages, different places and different walks of life. Older, younger, my age. We could easily lose touch with the way different generations think and feel like our way is the only way. So I keep friends from different ages, this helps me understand trends, new language, get wisdom, be crazy etc... This year I have not done very well with that.

Well, a young man followed me on instagram and started to send me messages asking to meet me. I didn't think anything was out of place. I looked through his profile and saw that he was indeed young. One of the days I had time for him, we had a brief chat...it was like I made a mistake. From then on, he wouldn't let me be. He was asking to meet as he wanted to be friends. Our lives are out there on social media anyway, and just about anybody can reach out to us. I told him I would let him know when next I would be in Dar es Salaam. I was in Dar a few times but my time there was always busy so I didn't have time to meet him.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

What would you like to be remembered for?

A friend and I were talking about how there is so much stress and toxiciy in different work environments. Also about how many people do not know how to set limits to when work should be done. It almost seems like long hours = productivity. I do not agree with this as I do not take for granted the role that rest and self care play in the human body. My approach is, if people are paid to work for a certain number of hours, they should pack in as much as they possibly can within those hours instead of spending unnecessarily long hours struggling.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Where is my ogbono soup?

If you live outside your home country, you would know the craving of food from home that comes every now and then.
I had one of those cravings over the weekend and cooked up a storm. I made different sauces, what we call soups in Nigeria. I made ogbono (irvingia) and egusi (melon) soups. With satisfaction I packed it all in bowls, each bowl enough for two servings, and put them away in the freezer. It has been four months since I had any of these delicacies.

My mother, bless her, by now is used to her children moving away from home every now and then. She is always ready to pack some Nigerian food stuff for us to move with. When she was doing her job, I kept telling her how the food she was packing was too much. She packed it anyway and packed my suitcase for me :-) On days when I have the craving for any of these food items, I am thankful for her wisdom. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Alone with your thoughts...

On days when doubt and uncertainty drown your thoughts, search those thoughts and choose to remember the areas of your strength.

When hope seems far and all you can do is wait, that is the time to draw on all the will power you can muster to keep going.

For every time you remember your shortcomings and want to dwell on them, cast your mind back to all your successes and cheer yourself on.

At the time when life's answers elude you, never forget that nobody has the manual on how to navigate this puzzle called life.

If loneliness creeps in, become your own best friend. Having to rely on others for your emotional well being may not be sustainable as each person has his/her own burden to carry.