travelwithkay

Solo Female Travel & Lifestyle Blog

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The perfect way to spend a Sunday morning…

My answer? Food! There’s nothing better than going out for a bite to eat on a relaxing Sunday. Today, marks two weeks living in Calgary, Alberta and I’ve wasted no time trying out some of the favourite eateries here.

Nellie’s Cosmic Café – a neighbourhood favourite. So last Sunday I visited Nellie’s. A colourful, vintage diner. After being seated at a window booth, I was straight away greeted with a hot cup of coffee and a newspaper. Especially welcoming on a cold, winters day! I ordered the fresh blueberry pancakes. 

Nellie’s Cosmic Café

When my brunch arrived, I couldn’t help but think, ‘such typical American/Canadian portions!’ as I stared at the huge stack of fluffy pancakes. I generously poured maple syrup all over them and tucked in. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, they were delicious. Surprisingly, I almost finished them! I enjoyed looking at the colourful vintage posters around the diner too.

The vintage posters in Nellie’s
My fresh blueberry pancakes at Nellie’s

This Sunday I went to Galaxie Diner for brunch. It was quite different to Nellie’s. It had that ‘grubby’ diner look that you see in some movies and was very loud. But I liked it, it was so unpretentious. It’s apparently a real neighbourhood favourite and has been here for years. It had a great, retro vibe…with bright red leather booths and a vintage-looking long counter for the ‘solo diners’. I ordered the ‘Huevos Rancheros’. Amazing! 

Huevos Rancheros at Galaxie Diner

Nellie’s had a bit more of a quiet, peaceful feel – I sat there for a good few hours reading. Galaxie on the other hand, felt hectic and loud. Not the kind of place to read a book but delicious food and friendly service. Both great diners that I’ll be revisiting but for different reasons! 

‘One-way’ ticket: the UK to Calgary, Alberta

Hello to all my readers! Hope you’re all having a fabulous day. I apologize for the lack of posting for the last couple of months. No excuse other than the fact that life got in the way!

So it’s been almost two weeks that I’ve been living in Calgary! For those of you reading who don’t actually know me, I’ll take this as an opportunity to introduce myself again; I’m Kay. 25 year-old travel lover and pastry chef!

Wrapped up warm in the Canadian winter!

Calgary is a city situated in the western province of Alberta, Canada. Nearby is the city of Edmonton, Banff, the Canadian Rockies. Even though Calgary is not the capital of Alberta, it’s the biggest city with a population of over a million.

I was staying in a lovely, spacious self-catering 2 bedroom apartment (similar style to an ‘Air Bnb’). I felt I needed a bit of luxury for the first couple of weeks! Unfortunately, it was far too expensive to stay in for any longer than the initial two weeks so I have just moved in to an apartment downtown (west end) that I share with a lovely couple in their early 30’s.

I could have afforded to rent an apartment by myself but it would have been further away from the city centre and just in general, not a great location.

Instead I chose to pay a little more to rent a spacious room, with a private bathroom in a condo downtown. I’m incredibly lucky that I managed to find a place twice the size of an average apartment here in such a good location. The complex has a 24-hour ‘doorman’ and the amenities include a heated pool, sauna, fitness room and more!

My initial apartment
Hot coffee in this weather is a blessing!

I’ve done a lot of walking since I’ve been here, trying to learn my way around. Like many Canadian (and also American) cites, the streets are on a ‘grid’. So you have numbered streets one way and numbered avenues the other way. So for example, my apartment is located between 8th St SW and 8th Ave SW. Simple! Needless to say, it makes it so easy to learn your way around.

I went to check out the library two days ago. Named ‘Calgary Central Library’. It apparently cost around $250 million to build and it was built by an American-Norwegian architecture. It’s amazing! My only criticism would be that because it’s only a year old, it doesn’t have much character in comparison to older libraries!

Inside the library – very modern!
Library exterior

If you’re ever in Calgary, I would recommend visiting ‘Kawa Espresso Bar’. A lovely coffeehouse located in the South West (just off of 17th Ave). I went there on my first full day here and loved it. Friendly, welcoming staff and recommended some delicious sounding meals to me. The server very kindly let me pick something off the breakfast menu even though it was 3pm! I went for toasted sourdough topped with sliced avocado, poached eggs and tomato concasse…washed down with a cup of good, strong coffee.

My delicious brunch at Kawa!

A couple of days after I arrived, I went to visit ‘Lougheed House’. An historic home in Calgary, built in the late 1800’s! It’s located in the ‘Beltline’ district. Especially great to go and see if you don’t have a lot of time in Calgary, as it only takes around 30-40 mins to walk around the whole house. Senator James Alexander Lougheed built the mansion for his family.

Lougheed House
Lougheed House – the lounge area
Lougheed House – entrance hall

travelwithkay xo

Solvang: A Hidden Gem…

Solvang is a small village/town in Southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley and is part of California’s wine country. Many locals told us that a lot of people (including Californians) have never even heard of it!

As someone who is passionate about travel, I often read online travel blogs as well as travel and lifestyle magazines. I happened to read about Solvang in a travel magazine about a year ago and became obsessed with wanting to visit. I also wondered if Solvang would meet my high expectations. It did not disappoint. If possible, it was even more spectacular than I imagined!

Those who have heard of Solvang or are fortunate enough to have visited, will know that it’s known for its Danish-style architecture and many wineries. It’s listed as the Danish capital of America! There is also a copy of the famous Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen.

We stayed in a lovely hotel right in the centre of this quaint Danish village. After checking in, we took a short walk to ‘Paula’s Pancake House’. A top suggestion on Google, based on the positive reviews. Paula’s was tastefully decorated. It was an interesting mix between a Danish café/tea room and a vintage American diner. I ordered the Danish-style pancakes with sweet cinnamon apples. A delicious meal. If you’re ever in Solvang, I would recommend stopping by Paula’s!

After our brunch, we took a leisurely stroll around the village, stopping in a few interesting looking boutiques etc. There were also lots of bakeries selling traditional Danish cakes, pastries, biscuits and more!

We stopped at a local brewery to try out their craft beer. They had comfortable outdoor chairs with brightly coloured cushions. A relaxing afternoon break from the sun!

As I mentioned before, Solvang is known for its many wineries. So of course, we decided to do a wine tasting. We found a winery called ‘CrossHatch’ that happened to have a tasting room inside a windmill! We tasted 5 wines and learned that they only made just over a 100 cases of each type of wine that we tasted!

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by our hotel pool. In the evening, we headed out to a traditional Danish beer garden. Not to mention that it was far more pleasant than the real Denmark, as you’ve got the Californian heat! We ordered a bottle of local wine and a charcuterie board.

I’ll also mention that we regretted not staying longer than one night, it’s such a great little village that to properly explore everywhere, I would recommend staying for at least two nights.

I would also suggest a visit to ‘Quicksilver Ranch’ – a miniature horse ranch. One word: adorable! It’s no more than a ten minute drive from Solvang.

travelwithkay xo

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