Posts and Articles


L’atelier de Torréfaction, Paris

November 5, 2020

L’atelier de Torréfaction is a coffee shop near Place de la Bastille in Paris.  We took the metro from our hotel to Place de la Bastille. We were exploring the area and came across a quaint looking lane – Cour Damoye. As we walked through the open metal gates our nasal passages were smiling all the way to the front doors of the coffee roaster with the bright red canisters, L’atelier de Torréfaction. Curiosity always gets the best of us and we are drawn to off the beaten path places like this. Our blog is called Cafes and Alleyways, and L’atelier de […]

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Amex Hilton Aspire

Keep or Cancel our American Express Hilton Aspire credit card?

September 11, 2020

The American Express Hilton Aspire card comes with a strong set of benefits.  This includes:  Diamond status with Hilton A $250 resort credit at select Hilton properties A $250 Airline credit An annual free night at Hilton Properties It also comes with a $450 fee.    We’ve had the card for over a year, and got great value for the $450 annual fee.  This card easily paid for itself during our trip to the Conrad Maldives in February of this year. This week the annual fee once again hit our account.  With travel on hold, we couldn’t justify paying $450.   So what to do? Options included: […]

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The Pie Hole, Los Angeles

September 8, 2020

On a hot Summer Saturday in Southern California we spent the afternoon in the City of Orange.  The old town area is blocked off for pedestrians.  One of our stops was the Pie Hole on the corner of Glassell and Maple avenue.  We tried the Mexican Chocolate Pie Hole, the Strawberry Lavender Pie Hole, and a slice of Earl Grey Pie.  The shop is located on Zirkle corner, former site of Wally’s Market. Here’s some pictures from our visit. 🥧 🍊

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Saving Our Trip to Paris – Why We Applied for an Air France Credit Card

September 7, 2020

As the saying goes, “Paris always a good idea”. We love visiting Paris and had a trip planned for May 2020.   The flight was booked with Air France Miles.  The trip was cancelled due to Covid 19. We called Air France, cancelled the flight, and the Air France miles were redeposited into our frequent flyer account. So far so good.  The problem is, these miles, along with our existing balance, resulted in over 300,000 Air France miles that were set to expire in May 2021.  This is over $3000 worth of travel that would evaporate unless we took action. Air France miles expire […]

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Canal de L'Ourcq Paris

Canal de L’Ourcq, Paris

September 4, 2020

We flew into Paris after spending a week in the South of France. The plan was to meet three of our adult children who were flying into to Paris from California.  We arrived in Paris a half-day early, checked into the hotel and headed up to the 19th Arrondissement to have lunch at the Paname Brewing Company.  We had met the owner on a previous trip to Paris and wanted to check it out. ⁣⁣The restaurant overlooks Canal de l’Ourcq and was busy on this Spring day in May.  After lunch we strolled along the walking path and made a stop at Le […]

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water Taxi venice italy

Water Taxi in Venice, Italy (Quick Video)

August 27, 2020

On a past trip to Venice we took a water taxi as we left for the train station.  We were picked up at the Hotel Gritti and had a memorable boat ride as we left towards our next destination: Firenze.  Here’s a quick video.

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Ordinary People Traveling to Extraordinary Places

cafes and alleyways about us

Our passion to travel takes us to cafes and alleyways around the world. From neighborhood cafes in Paris to a street market in London, we’ll take the road less traveled to hidden gems, new experiences and mouth watering eateries.

Whether it’s your first time abroad or you’re an accomplished traveler, we’ll share inspiration and tips for traveling the world.  Let’s pack our bags, grab our passports, relax in our seats…we’re now ready for take off!

 Mike  and   Maria

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