Day trip to Ciudad Rodrigo

Hello!

_IGP9445The day before I left Spain, I finally had the chance to pay a visit to Ciudad Rodrigo, a village on the west side of Spain, some 90 km from Salamanca. I had heard of it from quite a lot of people, and indeed it is quite a beautiful place! Very much like Salamanca but with a very village feel, and probably that’s what would have happened to Salamanca if they did not have this amazing university.

We arrived late morning, to an empty village, only a few old people sipping a beer and gossiping in the ‘Plaza Mayor’. To be honest, it seemed like a giant nursing home, however, a very lovely one. The temperature was already appraoching the thirties, we strolled along the paved streets, admiring the storks and old architecture. The cathedral is simply huge and I am always so impressed that even the smallest villages in Spain boast an enormous cathedral – among other churches, monasteries and convent.

Ciudad Rodrigo is very tipical of Castilla y Leon. They say this is the poorest region of Spain, and I believe it. Cities are deserted by young people, there is no activity at all, wether you’re driving on the roads or visiting the places. No cars, no trucks, no farming, just nothing. Thank god for the beautiful architecture and the tourists coming accross the area or all of these places would be wiped out of the map.

That’s all for today, I hope you enjoy the pictures, and be sure to give Ciudad Rodrigo a try if you have the chance, it is lovely!

Cheers,

M.

Recipe of the week

Hello!

labelbox_20130623_123847So very exited to have a proper kitchen I’ve been baking all week. However, it seems everyone around me is on a “diet”, and that includes my 90 years old grandma! I think we French people have a very wrong relationship with our body weight…

Anyway, I think oatmeal cookies enter into the category of ‘healthy baking’ no? At least I thought so, but they still contain butter and sugar, the only good thing about them is probably the oat… But they are DELICIOUS! I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen cooking blog (link here), I cut the ingredients in half (and still got about 15 cookies) and replaced the raisins by chocolate (hem… probably nothing healthy left in these ones…).

And if everyone was on a diet, they were gone within two days!

Cheers everyone, I hope you had a great week end!

Cheers,

M.

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Happy first day of summer!

Hello!

IMGP7366To celebrate this first day of summer, let’s take a walk down the beach, shall we? What about Surfers Paradise, feeling tempted? Yes, there is actually a place called Surfers Paradise… A small city on the Gold Coast, in Queensland Australia.

We spent three days there, last December, at the beginning of summer actually. Very famous for backpackers, we had chosen it as it was my last week in Oz, and I needed to take as much beach/ocean/summer as possible before I headed back to rainy Europe… We stayed at Sleeping Inn Surfers, a backpacker’s hostel a little off from the beach side, it has a beautiful pool, and a girls only building. I liked the place, it was quiet and relaxing, definitly recommending it.

Surfers Paradise is a very very touristy place, you’ll find huge trendy stores such as Roxy or Rip Curl but also all the luxury brands. Fancy cars and muscular shirtless guys are all over the place. Ice cream shops, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, you have it all.

C. and I had this great plan to go to the beach, take a surfing lesson, maybe go to Sea World, all our time had to be filled up. Of course, we messed up the dates and she arrived one day later than we thought. Then we were so exhausted from travelling all night that we crashed on the beach, fell asleep and burnt every inch of our skin. It was a very very windy couple of days so… surfing did not seem like the appropriate thing to do…

It was in the end a great relaxing couple of days. Look at this beach, isn’t it gorgeous? Looooove it!

Have a great week end everyone, I will keep my eyes stuck to these fotos and avoid any look to the window, the rain and greyness surrounding me…

Cheers!

M.

Hasta luego Espana…

Hello!

20130613_204109I am still so unused to my new life, living with my parents again, for the first time in 6 years bothers me more than I thought it would.

But anyway, my last week in Spain was full of events and I think it’s time I share a little bit…

I finished my last exam on Tuesday and took a bus straight to Madrid to meet my bestie C. that I hadn’t seen for 6 months already. The weather was brilliant, 34° sunshine, couldn’t hope for anything better!! We had a crazy night and spend the next day paying for it… Got back to Salamanca on Thursday, and that’s when I learnt, the TERRIBLE news!!! I failed an exam. Never in my life it has happened to me. Did not see that one coming really, so I did what I never do: I went to the teacher to ask for help, get some extra work for some extra credit (this subject is the very last I need to pass to graduate, so be understanding I do not usually care that much!), or whatever he’d be willing to make me do… Well let me tell you: MISTAKE. Never in my life have I been screamed at like that, litterally humiliated in public. It’s all a good joke now when I think of it, but I was in such a rage afterwards, and eventually I still can’t graduate because of it…

Anyway, my point was a last post about my dear Salamanca. It was a heartbreak to leave it with such a beautiful sunshine, but hey, after leaving the Down Under there were no tears left to be shed. We spend the last three days sightseeing the region, eating tapas and drinking sangria. My dad drove down for the week end and he was like a kid, reunited with his old Salamanca, telling us all the stories of his mad student days here 😉

So this is my last batch of pictures of Salamanca: the Universidad Antigua. I will miss these old buildings for sure. But at least I hope that will give some of you the idea of visiting it…

Cheers!

M.

After the storm

Hello!!

Finally back home, on a definite basis for the first time in about two years… Feels very odd, but Vouvray decided to welcome me in a very special way…

We arrived late afternoon on Sunday, a very hot day, the very first one of the season. By the time we went to sleep, the sky was already bursting into lightning, one of these silent and dry storm. Somehow I found myself awake at 4 in the morning and decided to watch the storm. It was all so still, very hot. Then the wind started to blow and I knew it was coming. It started raining, and I could hear heavy hail falling every once in a while. The bedrooms are all upstairs, meaning under the roof, and within five minutes I was petrified on my bed, in the middle of the room wondering how long the roof would hold. The noise was horrifying, I had never heard anything that violent before and I have to admit I ran downstairs like a scared little girl to hide myself under a table or something… Everyone was already downstairs, my dad frantic about his car…

After what? 15 minutes, the hail stopped, the ground had piles and I mean PILES of hail, some of the drops being as big as golf balls. The window of my car was absolutly smashed into a million pieces, my dad’s brand new car covered in bumps, two windows of the house were smashed and the roof of our building accross the street had a million holes. All the neighbours were out on the street at 5 in the morning, trying to see what could be saved.

That’s when you realized how powerless you are when nature has decided otherwise. For us, being from a winemaker family and a wine region, hail it is our nightmare. It means the end of your season, the destruction of your vines. This kind of hail hasn’t been seen before around here, and we did not even get the slightest warning when half of France was on red warning for storms. When the light came out, we realized the vines were absolutly destroyed. It is heartbreaking to look at it, the branches are cut open, like open wounds, no grapes are left and by the look of the damages if we can get grapes out of them in three years it will be a miracle. And I’m not even talking about the poor little rabbits, painfully carrying their broken legs.

The weather was very hot yesterday, yet, the ice would not melt. 30° and the piles of ice are still there. Of course, today was raining and it was a race to cover the house so the inside stay dry.

I guess we have to be grateful that no one was physically hurt. But when your neighbours have lost everything, it is hard to see the bright side.

Better days will come…

xx

M.

Travel Theme: peaceful

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My last day on the South Island… Queenstown NZ. It was a sunny Sunday of beginning of summer, the city was buzzing with happy people taking the sunshine. Some were playing ball by the water, others were chilling in the park drinking beers. A group of people were having a Sunday afternoon party in the park, and the wind was carrying the music all around town. As we walked through the park , I couldn’t have felt happier. To me, it was perfectness if there is such a word, everything was right were it should have been, peace of heart at its best.

This post is part of the Travel Theme, if you’re interested go and check this blog Where is my backpack?

I am off for a post exam party week, so I’ll see you next week!

Cheers,

M.

Recipe of the week

Heya!

labelbox_20130604_144928That sweet time of the week again… I am very exited to the idea of finally be reunited with a proper kitchen, with actual kitchen appliances and a good oven. No because I love to bake, but creaming butter with my own hands is a wee bit tiring for my lazy fingers!

I have been craving cinnamon lately and obviously, Snickerdoodle cookies had to come on the menu eventually.

I found the recipe on Joy of baking’s blog, there is a video to go with it (link to recipe here), I divided the proportions in 2 because it seemed simply huge, and I still ended up with about 20 cookies. I put the batter in the fridge for about 2 hours, and they spread an awful lot during the cooking, so be sure to leave a good space in between them.

My roomie told me, and he is a sweet tooth, that these were the best cookies he’s had in his life. Meaning, they have a huge taste of sugar, so be prepared!

Cheers!

M.