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Bruges 

Around Wednesday of last week, we decided we needed to go to Bruges for a night. Keep in mind, Bruges is a 2.5 hour drive for us, so it’s super close and actually a bit of a shame that we hadn’t yet gone. It’s always interesting in Europe how a 2 hour drive can take you to what feels like another world. I love that, and one day if I leave Europe, I will certainly miss it. So, anyway, we decided to make the trek and now I can state with certainty that I love that city and I will be tempted to go once a month.

How would I describe Bruges? It’s obviously medieval. It’s obviously picturesque. You can, obviously drink amazing beer to your heart’s content. There is something else though. The city exudes a slower pace and a warmth of the people. I always try to get a feeling for a place when we travel. I don’t want to just see the tourists sites (actually I tend to avoid them) but I want to understand what daily existence is like there and I want to attempt to connect to the history and the past that lingers in the present. Maybe it’s Europe that creates that desire or maybe it’s the actor in me. Cobblestone streets, old stone buildings proudly standing the test of time, pubs, richly decorated rooms, people lazily riding bikes to and fro, and old fashioned stores create a connection to the past that I so desperately want to soak up. If only Bruges would not allow cars, I dare say it could be perfect. I loved finding an abandoned street, looking up at the rooftops and hearing horse hooves approaching with a carriage behind. I wish I could experience those streets 1 or 200 years ago.


Our first day was rainy and cold, which is annoying but also ads a certain amount of romance.🙂

Anyway, Bruges maintains the magic of a time gone by and once you escape the hordes of tourists, it’s really just lovely. We went for one night, staying at Hotel de Orangeries, but when on Sunday we woke to perfect blue skies and warm weather (a novelty in this part of the world) we knew we couldn’t leave and checked into another hotel, Van Cleef, that I had on my radar. I’m SO happy we stayed as Day 2 was just perfect!!! We started the day at Hotel de Orangerie with some of the best croissants I’ve ever tasted and it just got better from there.

We are big boutique hotel people and always on a mission to find the best. I’ll do a review on those later as I’m starting a “hotel review” section. We really were able to relax (which can be hard for Dragan and me) drink and eat good food, walk off everything and take in Bruges. Dragan and I travel the same as we prefer just to get lost wandering around, stumbling into random things and experiences, rather than following an itinerary or seeing “the sights”. We drank beer along the canals watching the swans lazily swimming past, we sat on terraces and read our books, we stopped into antique stores to listen to the owners describe the city in their words, we enjoyed watching proper dance classes on a square, we laughed through the rain on Saturday, we stopped to pet dogs and speak to their owners, we walked until the big canal ended just to see what was there only to discover windmills and water that became so GREEN the further out we walked. It was hard to leave on Monday but it makes it easier knowing we can go back anytime.


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the photos. My blog site is actually The Cobblestone Road so please follow me there where I will be posting from now on!

Also, follow my Instagram for daily pics of travel, beauty and style!!! Sarah Eggar

XOXO

Sarah

Spinalonga- The Island of the Lepers


I was surprised after arriving in Elounda, Crete to discover that right across the water, there was a beautiful island with a turbulent past. I first spotted the island from our room, seeing old ruin looking buildings on an island in the middle of the sea, and upon asking the hotel staff, discovered the island is called Spinalonga and was one the main leper colony in Greece from 1903-1957. What?!?! That’s like something straight out of Biblical times. 


I never really thought about leprosy. I heard about it, really, in sermons or in Bible studies. It’s such an OLD ailment. I imagined the disease in a time when people were shunned and had to go around crying, “unclean, unclean”. I didn’t know it was around in the 1900’s or that it is STILL around, only now, luckily there is treatment. 

So, from the moment I discovered what the island was, I imagined only incredible suffering, and I wondered how alone he people felt there, exiled to that island. 

In fact, the more I questioned and researched, the more I discovered how wrong I was. Even though suffering was prevalent, the intersting thing about the island is that they had homes, cafes, churches and streets and even a school for the children. 


Those with the disease were forced to abandon their lives and go live on the island, but I like to imagine they formed some sort of lives amidst their grief. I can’t imagine being able to look out and see your home though, (as you can see Elounda and Plaka) knowing you are not allowed back. I like to think there was some level of peace simply in the setting. The water is so lovely and clear. When you go to the Island to visit, you can even swim. 


Another intersting aspect is during WWII, when the Germans occupied Greece, only Spinalonga was left alone, so those living on the islands were given the blessing of not having to encounter the Nazis and the occupation. 

Many pictures were taken on our walk from the hotel to Plaka, which is the village directly across Spinalonga. There are so many churches on the walk framing the scenery. It’s all just so lovely and old, so it’s humbling, to say the least. The small Church in the second picture down is almost like a mailbox on the side of the road. I discovered they are actually erected on the road for people who have died in accidents there. 


 In fact, when we had dinner in Plaka, the presence of Spinalonga could not be escaped. 

Once the sun set, Spinalonga lit up as if to make itself known and its history remembered. 

I was utterly fascinated with this place. I hope you have, also, enjoyed getting a glimpse of Spinalonga. 

I can’t recommend visiting Crete enough. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram as well for more up to date photos! Sarah Eggar. 

XoXo, 

Sarah

Where Do I start

I’ve taken some time away from writing, to gather myself and my thoughts. I wonder at times, what I’m called to write about and how I continue to pursue that about which I am passionate. Honestly, the world has me wondering these things as everyday I wake up to some new horror and bad news sweeps through my Facebook newsfeed and the internet.I am in the bad habit of reaching for my phone when I wake up and immediately scrolling through Facebook. What a horrible way to start the day, first off! I went the U.S. for 3 weeks with the intention of writing in my blog just about everyday, but then I became worn down with the news coming in. First Christina Grimmie was shot in Orlando, then soon after, Islamic Terror reigned down in Orlando, and then only days later, my newsfeed was consumed with the devastating news of the toddler who was taken from his father’s arms by the ravishing jaws of an alligator. I felt it impossible to start my day well. I felt consumed by grief of the world every morning. It was affecting me. I can imagine and hope others feel the same. I worry that social media has almost made us immune to grief as we share in others’ tragedies from a distance, casting our unwanted opinions thoughtlessly and arguing with people we’ve never met.
I ask myself “what is social media doing to us all?” The truth is that accidents and tragedies and injustices have ALWAYS happened all over the world, at times worse than now and at times less than now. The great difference being that we now wake up to the horrific things daily on our phones. We are pulled into the lives of people we will never meet and I wonder what that is doing to us. The worst part for me is when I read an article, I make the stupid decision to read the comments and all my hope for humanity seem lost. It is so EASY to give our opinions and spew judgement or hate online. It feels anonymous. I hate it. The judgement towards parents suffering the unimaginable…….the sheer callousness towards those in the throws of grief…….the need for people on Facebook to seek attention through their unwanted and unneeded opinions……and the unwillingness to acknowledge the offenses given.
Along with these tragedies, there are the other big topics to read about. The US election, Brexit, Trump, Clinton, #blacklivesmatter, #alllivesmatter, LGBT activism and bias, Islamic Terrorism and the real threat we face, and so much more, are some of the things I read about each morning and throughout the day. Mostly, I’m dismayed by the opinions I read from friends and acquaintances stating opinions as fact and incredible bias against those who may not agree. ON BOTH SIDES. Positions and stands are being taken with righteous zeal. I read on a daily basis how those who would vote Trump are stupid, uninformed idiots who will cause the destruction of America. There are comparisons to Hitler even, which boggles my mind. I take offense because I know plenty of people voting that way. I read on a daily basis how those who would vote for Clinton are ignorant and corrupt and I take offense because I know plenty of people voting that way. I read from expats I know around the world during Brexit, which to ME seemed like a great thing, that anyone with that view is dumb and uninformed, and yet again I feel discouraged. Since when did we decide that those with a different opinion or belief system or worldview are less intelligent or “worldly” than us? Pulling up social media I witness how views which in the light of day may not be quite as extreme………online are given such weight.
I just am writing this because I wonder if social media does more to discourage and divide us than we think. I wonder if our opinions which may not even be solid, become fixed with what we read and see. Do we take the time to think things through and feel the world around us, or do we make snap judgements and form our minds around ideas we know nothing about, only because it is popular? Do we speak words that demean those who are our friends, that we would never utter to a face in front of us, because we feel shielded by a screen? Is hatred spewed in the name of “tolerance” and “intolerance” and what people believe those represent? Hatred towards difference is brewing and we need to take a step back. I know at times I read what friends or acquaintances write and I think, “what? how can they think that?”, but I won’t change their opinions with my opinion. Not on social media anyway. I can, we can, show love and kindness to those who see the world in a different light, and we should. I can, we can, stand up for our beliefs with love and kindness, with strength and humility. We don’t have to AGREE with someone to love them and we shouldn’t spew hatred and vitriol through a freaking computer, OR in our daily lives.
I don’t know, and I can only hope we begin to ask ourselves these questions. That we learn to understand WHY we believe what we believe and that we fight evil with good and to try to understand why others believe what they believe. May we learn discernment in our thoughts.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
XOXO
Sarah

Finding Beauty Amongst Grief-Crete




Today we arrived in Crete, Greece. We desperately need this trip as Dragan has been working crazy hours for the past 6 weeks and we have not had any quality time together; in fact we’ve had virtually no time together at all. The trip in itself has been slightly stressful as we weren’t fully prepared. We tend to take advantage of opportunities that often arise last minute and then we are in a full on flutter. But, now, we are here, in paradise. The Greek Islands are so special to me as the history is vivid, the people are warm, and the landscape is breathtaking. I never really thought I would come to places like this, and I feel very lucky. 

That being said, last night we were finishing packing, and we heard of the terror sweeping through Nice, in Dragan’s home country. Today we traveled with a heaviness in our hearts. I’m just so tired of hearing these news. I’m sad for what’s happening in our world. I’m scared of the evil we face and which we witness now far too regularly. 

I walked along the beach today, and I will write more about it tomorrow as there is much to say; but I wandered along the shores of this land whose civilization has battled good vs evil for thousands of years…… and I felt overcome. The world seems filled with grief, and at the same time it exudes such beauty. I wish we could all stop and see the beauty so our hearts could be filled with wonder and our minds with wisdom.

BEAUTY: 

BCBG, Louis Vuitton and the Color Orange in Geneva

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This past weekend was so rainy and chilly, and although we had a 4 day weekend, we stayed put and enjoyed some refreshing time at home. Saturday we headed into Geneva, as Dragan needed to stop in at Louis Vuitton. They have some AMAZING bags right now, and I’m showing you my favorite below BUT I’m also doing a price comparison to Michael Kors bags, which look similar, but will leave you more money in your pocket! Read more

Sperry Boat Shoes, Colors  and Rainy Days

IMG_5292 IMG_5265I think one of my most important wardrobe essentials are Sperry Boat shoes and Keds. You won’t see them too much in my posts, as I usually wear my more “put together” pieces, but they are probably my most WORN pieces. They are the shoes I just throw on when I need to run outside or go quickly to the store, or if it’s raining and I don’t want to have the hassle of rain boots, as evidenced the other day when I joined Dragan in Nyon for an afternoon Hot Cocoa. Read more

Preppy Stripes, Pops of Color & Picturesque Towns

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This weekend has been quite rainy and cold, so we have not done too much (I’m so ready for the cold to go away) but yesterday we spent a lovely afternoon along Lake Geneva in Nyon taking photos, sightseeing and sipping Rosé. Read more

Recipe for a Great Book Club

IMG_5014This week was actually rather busy for me, as I’m improving my Expat social calendar weekly. I started a Book Club here in my neighborhood and I hosted the first meeting. We read the book, “The Miniaturist”, and I have to admit it was not as good as I had hoped. It had everything to make it great, with a historical and lovely setting, a promise of mystery and intrigue, and promising complex characters, but it all fell short. To me, the book seemed like it touched on everything but fully developed little. Read more

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