Welcome to Bretagne

Hi people!

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Back to reality… I had a very good week end, even though it was pretty much storming all along. But I always say there are only two places in the world where I agree to some heavy wind and pouring rain, that is: New Zealand and Bretagne. In fact, if I love liying at the beach all day, I prefer Bretagne with a big fat storm, maybe it comes from my past love for sailing. The skies are ever so fantastic over the wrecked coastline. Just in case, maybe I should mention that Bretagne is the little ‘arm’ of land that you see on the west coast of France. We’ve been going to Quiberon every summer since I was a very little girl, and I like to say that I am totally bretonne at heart. Quiberon is what we call a presqu’ile, literally meaning ‘almost an isle’. Only a narrow piece of land links Quiberon to the continent. It is popular for summer vacation among French people.

The weather was actully not too bad on our first day, we even had a nice morning with a bright blue sky. We went to the beach so my parents could have a dip, went shopping in the afternoon and had a nice mojito on the sand to finish the day. This week end was all about sea food and booze, as always with mom and dad, and let me tell you, we had a feast of both!

Happy days really. Here are some photos, I’ll have a few more to share later in the week.

Cheers!

M.

 

PS Happy 30st wedding anniversary to my beloved parents! 30 years together, with two personalities so absolutly opposite, leaves me in awe.

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Travel Theme: Sweet

My definition of sweet only relates to food. I love to bake, because it always turn out so pretty and I love to eat what I bake just because I’m such a sweet tooth with no self control.

I like to think that when you travel, the things you remember the most will be the things your eat. How many times did I say ‘Oh, do you remember when we ate that declicious *** , where were we?’. And then, comes back the memory of the place and the time and all the stories that goes along with it.

  • I went to London this January, to visit my brother. We went to Notting Hill market before I left, Sunday morning, and all I can remember of that trip is the snow, the cold and the amazing donuts and muffins stalls…

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  • When my parents and brother came to visit in Melbourne, we found the cuttest wee store, called Little Cupcakes in one of Melbourne’s little lane near Flinder’s street. Everything in that tiny tiny store was perfect, exactly the type of place I would like to own someday. For me, it was like we had taken everything that was Melbourne and we had put it in a single place.

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  • Stangely enough what I remember about my first trip to Ireland 5 years ago is, of course the beauty of the landscapes and the beers, but also the food… The dessert and sweets more particularly and probably that is why I love English  (and Irish) culture so much, because of the tea tradition… The afternoon tea with a little sweet on the side…

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Cheers!

M.

This post is part of the Travel Theme, chosen each week on Where is my backpack?

 

You have bewitched me, body and soul

Hello!

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I am going away tomorrow for a long week end at the beach, therefore I’ll finish early the week as usual with a bit of Australia.

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I still remember how I seen Fremantle for the first time, how I felt and what I thought. It was such a sunny day, 25°C in the middle of winter, everybody was out and about, taking coffees on the side walk or walking lazily enjoying the sun. Of course, I loved it at first sight… I thought I’d be so happy here and I had taken the good decision. It wasn’t even half a day before G decided to come by, we walked along the beach, we watched the most amazing sunset, staring at the water because ‘water so dark, it has to be water for sharks’. The truth is, the rain started to fall the next day, and Freo in the rain I learnt to hate it. The rainy days only ever meant his departure and that must be why from the start I was unable to bear them.

I had booked a hostel, completly randomly, and even when I try really hard to remember why I picked this one I absolutly can’t come up with any answers. Pirate’s backpackers, wow what an adventure! I was hired as a cleaner on the first day I arrived, which is why I deciced I had to stick to it. The first few days were hard. Pirates, it is dirty, and it is NOISY. I had decided for a girl’s room, and this one was right on the balcony, on top of the courtyard… I became so sleep deprived, I switched room in the first week, and ended up sharing a room with 5 guys, and this for three full months. How much I loved this place I can’t describe but I cried my heart out when I left. If I close my eyes, I can still see it, I wake up in the morning, top bunk, it is a bright sunny day, I go on the balcony to have a read, or I go to have breakfast and everybody is still asleep. The rats and the cockcroach it is all gone and all that is left are the memories of the crazy parties, the quiet night watching movies, the chicken pasta, the mad travelling people and the hilarious Irish men.

I had a couple different jobs when I was in Freo. I did some gardening for a lovely old man in South Fremantle. I also did some cleaning jobs for an old witch, and of course, cleaning at the hostel. Never in the world would I have imagined myself doing all that, to be entirely honest I had never cleaned anything in my life before that day!! It is quite a common thing for backpackers, take a cleaning job in a hostel for free accomodation. The thing was, at Pirates, they were paying you at the hour, which allowed me to have enough money to survive entirely on that salary. And no kidding! The job was hell! Pirates is one of these hostels with no rules, alcohol can be drank anywhere in the building at any time of the day and night. Parties go on every night, and for everyone that enter the place with the intention of only staying one night, either flee from the first morning, or end up staying for an indefinite period of time. The things I’ve seen during these few months of work, I won’t dare to tell, but let me tell you, I learnt life!!

So what to do in Freo? Because let’s not forget it is a very small town… 30 minutes train from the Perth CBD, 4 dollars each way, you’d better keep busy at home!

Well, for such a small town, Freo has quite a number of breweries, the best being Monk, Sail and Anchor – in which we spent many hours sipping a fresh gin and tonic – and the iconic Little Creatures. I absolutly love this place, it is the craziest place I got to see in Oz. Simply huge, wether you want a meal, a pizza or just to sip a beer in the sun, they have it all. It is an absolute MUST DO of Freo! You can as well take a tour of the brewery, that ends which a free beer tasting. Do not forget to try the kangaroo dish.

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You can of course, enjoy the beach. White sand and blue water, what more to say? Beware of the sharks they are not a joke. A great white shark had been spotted one morning last winter, it was a very hot and sunny day I remember, on the shores of Fremantle.

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Have a walk or a run, everything is so beautiful:

And for course, have a romantic sunset watch, for I believe they are the most gorgeous I have gotten to see…

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That is all for today, I hope you enjoyed the little tour. There is so much I would like to say about Fremantle, but I believe this post is already big enough.

Have a great week end everyone!

M.

I love them summer days

Hello!

How was your week end? As far as I am concerned, very hot couple of days, just like I love them!

I have been baking all week, it’s always such a fight to prepare stuff around here, trying to preserve a bit of dough from my voracious brother or to hide all the necessary ingredients from my greedy Dad…

Here is a bit of what was my week like, tipical summertime week in the neighborhood!

  • Some wine:

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  • Some quality time in the garden:

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  • Some baking:
Fresh cherries from the garden

Fresh cherries from the garden

To make a delicious cherry pie

To make a delicious cherry pie

Lime panna cotta with a coat of red berries

Lime panna cotta with a coat of red berries

  • Some more wine:

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  • My babies:

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Some have it hard

Some have it hard

  • Not to forget, the fresh fruits:

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Cheers!

M.

 

 

 

 

Experience extraodinary

Hi!

IMGP4251As promised, a proper post on Western Australia, and obviously I cannot but start with Perth, where it all began. My idea was, as I was freezing my ass in Melbourne I had to go where the sunshine and heat were… My whole time in Melbourne I kept saying my next step would be Brisbane and it is only when I went to buy the plane ticket that I suddenly decided for Perth… The day I flew, Perth was experiencing their ‘worst storm in a hundred years’ I quote. For some reason, it keeps happening to me!! The plane took forever to land and I arrived at the darkest hours…

I did not have a great impression about Perth, and I haven’t really changed my mind as I got to know the city a bit better. I first went down to a hostel on William St (in Northbridge), a place called Brittania on Williams. I do not know why I picked it, but I absolutly hated it! I tried a few hostels in Perth and all of them where: expensive AND dirty. This one, the room had no windows, no air conditioning, the kitchen was dirty, creepy old men were running around the place trying to catch a young girl in their nets and the legend of the bed bugs finally reached my ears… I stayed I think four nights, and my heart broke as I left! I met the craziest of Irish man, my roomie for these few days, and he became my best friend – to say the least – for the next few months. Travelling is all about the people you find along your way… This hostel has the advantage to be located in Northbridge, the backpacking place… You need to get past the hookers and strip clubs because it is definitly the best neighborhood of Perth. All the vintage shops, edgy pubs or restaurants are there. Have a beer at the Monkey Brass, a huge pub on William St that you can’t miss. I loved it!

As for Perth, it is a very small city, small city center with lots of shops and pubs. The main attractions to the city for me are:

  • the beautiful King’s Park: simply huge, this park is located in the heart of the city, with lots of playgrounds and astonishing views on Perth or the Swan River. Be sure to stay till sunset to have a loof of the city lights.

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  • the beaches: Cottesloe, Scarborough or city beach. My absolute favorite being Cottesloe, beautiful place, we used to go there on Sunday afternoons to play some beach volley. There is a lovely running path to follow the coast as well, and if I remember well, a golf club. You can go surfing there, but beware of sharks they have killed a few people on that very beach.

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Next week, I will take you to my beautiful Fremantle, in the meantime, have a great week end!

Cheers,

M.

If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello

Hello!

I am starting my last serie of posts on Australia, as I have now reached the end of all my knowledge on that beloved country. Last but not least, Western Australia. I kept it for the end, for a few reasons, and most of all because it has been my absolute favorite Australian state. Also, probably because it is still such a deep memory, the good and the bad are still intertwined in a swirl of laughs, happiness and tears.

My brother is now living in Perth, he broke the news to me the very day I came home from 16 amazing months of travelling, through my mother, probably for fear of what I would say. If I like to think that family is sacred and that I should ONLY have been happy for him to have the opportunity to live the same life changing experience I had, it only broke my heart so deep I wasn’t too sure how to fix it. I can’t really say how much of what I felt as a betrayal conditioned the way I now consider my experience in Western Australia but it sure made it an open wound, a memory so dirty that I would only feel sick and enraged every time the word Australia would be brought up. Time has passed since then, and if I am able to have the best outlook possible on my experience in OZ, I still don’t know how to deal with the curiosity of my whole family around the new life my brother has given himself.

“He owes it all to himself, you have no right to be angry at him” that’s exactly how Mom put it. “He took lots of risks to go there, and live the life he wanted”. The only thing he did was live the dream of MY life exactly at the moment it was taken away from me.

But family is like that that you learn to forgive. Anything. C is always talking of the days when “we’ll be back there. Because we will. Won’t we?” Won’t we? Can we revive the happy days that we’ve had? What happens if the day we finally set our backpacks down there (because we will) none of what we remembers is there? One thing is sure, we won’t ever find what we used to have. And when I am asked now “If you have the chance to live in Oz again, where would it be?” the answer is not Fremantle anymore, for the fear of ruining the memory of what are the happiest days of my life is greater than the expectations of a lifetime of beach and sunshine.

I absolutly did not intend that post to go on like this, but I think that is an interesting subject, how do we react to a ‘coming home’ after what appears like a lifetime away?We always hear about the ‘cultural gap’ between our own culture and the one we enter into when we travel somewhere, but what about the cultural gap you feel when you come back after so many months away? How do you come to terms with it? I used to think then that I would NEVER come home, that my home was nowhere or everywhere but certainly not France, and it was so deeply rooted inside of me that I believe it is the only explanation to why I agreed to get on that plane that would take my back to the Old continent. The belief that I would go back, come home to the Down Under, far away from a country to which I stopped to belong. I see a lot of blogs around here of people travelling the world, I think what I want to know is how you deal with the coming back, leaving behind the exiting life of travelling, letting go of the backpacking community to come back to a normal routine of work, listening to the news everyday and worrying about the future.

I will make sure to prepare a proper post tomorrow about the amazing wilderness of WA, in the meantime, enjoy these few shots…

xx,

M.

Cottesloe Beach, Perth

Cottesloe Beach, Perth

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Fremantle

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Somewhere in Cape Range 

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Monkey Mia

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Monkey Mia

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Sunset in Broome

Travel Theme: Simplicity

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I never cared for beer much until I got to Freo. It became then the emblem of the life I had there. A simple life of fun and friends, of afternoons chilling in the sun and nights at the pub next door. I find it impossible nowadays to have a beer, to enjoy it as I used to for the pain of the memories overpass everything else.

My friends and family just won’t understand why I got so attached to this place, that little town surrounded by an ocean on one side and a desert on the other. Life was simple then, money matters and social status would never get a hold of us, I could be who I wanted… Cleaning the floors and drinking beers from the bottle, I have never felt more myself.

M.

This post is part of the Travel Theme proposed by Ailsa

La ruta de los Castillos

Hello!

When we drove back up from Salamanca, Dad insisted that we took the long road, through Castilla y Leon, so that we could have a look at the old Spanish castles.

First stop, Avila, an old city surrounded by the most perfect fortification I have ever seen:

Next stop, Coca. Yes, of course we drank a Coca Cola in front of Coca’s castle… For me, it looked as if someone had asked a 5 years old to draw a castle and then decided to build it. It is turned into a school if I understood well, so when you enter it it’s all brand new! Coca is a beautiful tiny little village, we had a picnic in front of the castle with our new cat friend.

Last stop of the day was Peinifiel, a castle on top of a hill. Brilliant view on the nothingness that is Castilla y Leon.

Saludos!

M.