Dream on

Hello Friday!

Finishing May on a beach vibe what do you think? One of my favorite places in Australia was Byron Bay. In New South Wales, a few hours under Brisbane, it remained on top of my list of favorite places in Oz till I met Western Australia.

Byron Bay is a very trendy place, it attracts all the surfers and hippies of this planet, and the combination of the two, adding the beauty of the place gives you a paradise of peace and love. We drove down there from Brisbane with my brother, we spent the afternoon lying on the beach and swimming in the most perfect temperature-wise water (the waves were probably bigger than me). I’m not even exagerating when I will say our hearts broke when we left…

I was so exited to have the opportunity to see Byron Bay as I was an ardent follower of Home & Away. What do you mean you’ve never heard of it?? Probably the most famous Australian TV soap, it is set in Byron Bay. I love it, everything about it is so Aussie, the accents, the landscape, the surfer gangs, always at the beach, the girls are gorgeous and the guys are covered in tatts. All of that topped up why the maximum drama imaginable, what more do you want? I’ve watched it as much as I could even more after I went to Byron Bay, and shame on me, but I wouldn’t mind having the chance to see it again!

Anyway, Byron is all about surfing, but you can also go for great walks, up to the lighthouse for example. There are a few different beaches you can choose from. At least, give it a week, if not more!

Well, that’s all for today, but I hope you enjoy this pics, full of sunshine and sand!

Cheers,

M.

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Being a tourist in your own city, part II

Hello,

The rain has returned to us, but that won’t stop me from showing you my sunniest photos oh no!

My favorite part of Salamanca is, if you follow me you probably have noticed, the old city. Wandering on the paved streets, admiring the architecture, the storks flying all over my head, with a slight breeze to keep me from being too hot (rarely happens). I can’t get enough of Calle Compania, my favorite of them all, and Rua Mayor.

IMG_20130307_161721Salamanca boasts two cathedrals and today, and as I already talked about the Catedral Vieja, today I want to introduce you to the Catedral Nueva y el Convento San Esteban.

To enter, you will have to pay a fee, something like 2€ for students, and that gives you access to the Convent and the cathedral. There is also a wee museum inside, which explains the fee, however, it was closed when we went, because ‘it’s morning’. It did not stop them from charging us, but anyway, that is Spain, I stopped questionning long ago!

I love the fact that they put magnifying mirrors on the ground so you can have a proper look at all the details on the ceilings. The staircase is once again, gorgeous. You can go upstairs in the church, to have the best view possible on the whole thing. I find that immense golden/wooden thing behind the altar quite extraordinary, for I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, except in La Iglesia Clerecia. Any idea what it is?

One funny fact about Salamanca, is that you have hidden characters carved on the walls of the monuments, amoung the usual monstrous characters… The Catedral Vieja holds an astronaut, and the old Uni has a frog hidden on one of its outside. It is a must do when you come to Salamanca, the frog on the uni is one of the symbols of the city. The legend says whoever can see it will be ensured luck on his next exams… My first exam being Saturday, I pray that the wee frog won’t forget me! Can you see it? (click on the pic to make it appear full screen)

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Well, that is all for today. I think I have now given you all of my insights on the cultural Salamanca, you can go and see some of the previous posts if you are interested by what the rest of the city offers.

xx,

M.

Recipe of the week

Hello!

labelbox_20130526_124959 I discovered Thumbprint cookies a little while ago, and the idea had been in my head ever since. I thought it would taste great if I would use a shortbread type of cookie, with raspberry jam in the middle.

As I was randomly browsing trough Joy of Baking cooking blog, as I often do, there it was, my dream in action! Have you ever been on that blog? I personally love it, everything she makes turn out gorgeous and most of the time it is very simple and perfectly explained. The amount of kitchen appliances she finds in her kitchen amazes me! I love the fact that she makes videos as doing the recipes, that way she can tell us all the little tricks she uses along the way. She owns a huge dog, whom you can see crossing the kitchen or naturally opening the door to get out in pretty much every single video, and he is so oblivious of all that goes around I want to hug him! Sometimes, he stands next to the counter, licking his lips as she is preparing some delicacy…

I had my own recipe of shortbread, but I decided to try hers to see if it tasted different (link to the recipe here). Shortbread are one of my favorite cookies, which I discovered on my first trip in Scotland, and they are so easy to make. They looked absolutly perfect before I put them into the oven, and then, disaster, they completly dislocated!! I do not think it has anything to do with the recipe, I do not have an electrical mixer to  beat the butter and I must have failed something there. I only changed the nuts for coconut flakes as it was the only thing I had on hand and it was delicious. I used half of what she said on the recipe, and I must have had about 14 cookies.

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Being a tourist in your own city…

Hello!

_IGP9253How was your week end? As far as I’m concerned, 4 days of sunshine have reconciled me with Salamanca!

Which is why I felt like it was time I shared some of my tourist experience in the city… When you settle somewhere, even though you know when the end will be, ultimately you’ll wait for the very end to finally start visiting…

It took me the visit of a friend to finally do something: la Universidad Pontificia y la Iglesia Clerecia will be my main focus today. This university is the oldest of Europe, it is a very special, quiet place to visit. You need to pay a fee to get in, you’ll have a guide to explain it all along the way, but students are actually attending this school! You can also pay to go up in the church, and from there you’ll have a great view on Salamanca and the Catedral Vieja. The whole thing is, if I remember well, around 6 euros.

One interesting historical fact, if you look at the photos, there is one with names written on a wall. They are all over the university and they are the names of all the doctorates of the Universidad Pontificia since the beggining of times… In the old days, when a student would get his doctorate, a huge party would be organized on Plaza Mayor, ten bulls would be brought for a corrida, and the name of the newly graduate would be written on the wall with the blood of the bulls. The little sign you see on top of the names are the symbol of the university of Salamanca.

 

If you have the opportunity to go to Spain, take a day or two to visit Salamanca, it is worth it.

Cheers!

M.

 

Travel Theme: Pathways

Heya!

I am very exited today about this new travel theme because that gives me the opportunity to share with you a very special place: Tangariro National Park, New Zealand.

This must be one of the most fabulous place I got to see in my life! When I try to rank the places I’ve seen in terms of what was the most beautiful, Grand Canyon inevitably comes first, but I’m pretty sure now Tangariro is the second.

Just as always, there is a story that goes along… I went to Tangariro a first time in May 2012 when E. and I travelled NZ, and I don’t think we’ve ever been that exited in our lives about anything. For this mountain is none other that Mount Doom!! Yes we are Lord of the Rings dorks… The closest we got to the park the darkest the sky… By the time we arrived in National Park village, downpours of rain were falling on us. We asked everyone around, litteraly begged them to take us to the park the next day, no matter the rain, we would face it! They all laughed at us because the park was closed down as ‘the storm is coming’. No one dared to take us there, but hurricane or not, we would have done it! We left miserably the next day for no one was willing to help us…

The second time, it was December 2012, when my mam came to visit me. I flew up to Auckland, three days before we were due for Tangariro, and all of a sudden I decide to watch the news (I rarely do) and there it was: Tangariro has entered into eruption. WTF?? Really??! Let me tell you, I refused to listen to anyone telling me it was stupid to go down there, I took my mom with me, we booked a shuttle to the park, and by the time we arrived the weather was bloody GORGEOUS like I have rarely seen it in NZ!!

Long story short, Tangariro National Park is outside of this earth. You’ll have no clue where you are really, you could be on the moon for all I know. It is beauty itself, it is silence itself, it is the WILD. I love it, and all the tears were worth it!

Now, the few photos I have selected for this week:

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IMGP5808If you want to know more about Travel Theme go to see Where is my backpack?

Cheers!

M.

Be in love with your life, every minute of it

Hello!

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I have attended my last class today, the last class of my life!! It feels amazing, how much I came to hate sitting in the classroom listening to some nonsense in the past few years is quite unbelievable!

Anyway, this Friday I am taking you to Sydney! Be prepared for an awful lot of photos coming up, this city is just so bloody picturesque, I am not even telling you how many photos of the opera alone I have!

We spent three days in Sydney, but obviously it is not enough. Some of my friends ended up staying more than three months and haven’t even seen the beginning of it. It is simply huge, so break your trip into day trips. For instance we did:

-CBD, Sydney Harbour, the Rocks on Day 1

-Manly Beach Day 2

-Bondi Beach Day 3

Manly and Bondi are the backpacking spots. Surfing and partying, that’s also where you’ll find the cheap hostels. We booked a hotel in the CBD, so I can’t tell but I heard many times hostels in Sydney … they are what a normal person would call “challenging” and backpackers would just love it! One of my friends used to be night manager in a hostel in Manly, and the things he’s seen!

Anyway, not the point here, let me introduce you to some photos…

  • Day 1: CBD, Sydney Harbour, the Rocks:

We’ve all seen photos of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House but you have to go  there to truly experience the whole neighborhood feel… The bars, cafés, and restaurants, people everywhere, runners, trees and grass etc. Very turistic oh yes, but it is amazing! And I don’t normally like cities especially when they are packed with people.

You can do the Bridge climbing, my dreaaaaaam, or go visit the Opera, or just take a stroll around the harbour, from the Botanic Gardens to the Rocks. The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney, but probably one of the most trendy. Café, bars, pubs, restaurant you’ll find great quality there!

 

  • Day 2: Manly Beach

Manly, is a surfing point. The day we went, swimming was forbidden because of too much swell, and don’t even bother trying to get in the water anyway, the lifeguards will come and catch you. We followed the path on the right and found a lovely beach, sheltered from the wind for a nice swim. If you follow the walking track, you will get to the national park. Beautiful view on Manly, but if you are scared (or worse) of spiders or any kinda bugs, let me advise you to walk away be prepared. This walk turned into my personal nightmare!!

One more thing about Manly: it is packed with French people.

 

  • Day 3: Bondi Beach

Bondi is probably one of the most famous surfing beach of Australia. As you can see, the weather wasn’t quite as good that day, but we still decided to go for the walk to Coogee. Australians like to run it, with their little backpacks, but I hardly managed to get to the end and it’s only what… 8k? Up and downs with gorgeous view! We had a nice lunch in Bronte, then walked all the way back to the city.

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Cheers,

M.

 

Paseando por Salamanca…

Hello!

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The sun made an apperance today, and that’s just how I love Salamanca. I feel very disappointed, my semester here slowly coming to an end, that we never really got Spring. Salamanca in the rain is the saddest place I can imagine living in, in the sunshine only will it reveal its true beauty.

I went for a walk with E. a few days ago, we got lost obviously but we found that cute wee park, where people have covered the walls in love poems.

If I won’t miss my life here, I will miss Salamanca, and how the old buildings melt into the sky.

xx

M.

 

Click on the photos if you want to have them full size

Travel Theme: the Four Elements

Hello!

I very much like this theme, very different and challenging, just what I needed to get my mind off things…

The Fifth Elements used to be our absolute favorite movie with my lil brother, we watched it over and over again, rented the tapes so many times, then watched it every year on TV, and even if now our lives are apart, I still watch it every time it’s on TV and I’m sure he does too. We used to know all the words, and tell each other the lines over dinner, driving my parents nuts and I am sure THEY never watched the movie ever again…

Anyway, here is my share…Nothing to do at all with the movie thank god…

  • Earth:
The red dirt of the Australian bushlan

The red dirt of the Australian bushland

 

    Air:
The clouds in Salamanca, Spain

The clouds in Salamanca, Spain

 

  • Water:
Geyser in Maori land, NZ

Geyser in Maori land, NZ

  • Fire:
Sun is on Fire in Coral Bay, Aus

Sun is on Fire in Coral Bay, Aus

 

If you want to participate to the weekly Travel Theme, go and check Where is my backpack? to see how it works.

Cheers!

M.