Tag Archives: Spanish

Javea, 2013

My husband, daughter and I left Barcelona the next day for a road trip down south to Javea. Our Belgian friend Bill owned a holiday house there are we were to meet up with his parents and brother Ben with his partner and baby son.

The house was an authentic white washed villa on the hill of Balcon al Mar and was a great place to call home for the week.

We hit the beach straight away and went to Granadella beach. The white rocks contrasted beautifully with the blue water and it was everything a Spanish beach should be. The weather was nice, the sea sparkled and there was a sailing boat moored in the bay.

When we had had enough fun in the water and of sitting under the blue and white stripped umbrella on the beach, we went to the restaurant overlooking the beach for a tasty seafood lunch.

Unfortunately, my husband got an ear infection from swimming that day, so the rest our time in Javea was not to be the active beach holiday we envisioned, but was still a restful time.

I woke with my daughter most mornings with only the dog Coco and the BBC news channel for company. Sunrises were colourful, but late here. French lunches with the family were had on the outdoor balcony and afternoon drinks on the terrace by the pool.

My daughter liked the hammock in the garden and Baby Bjorn walks around the neighbourhood. We also tagged along on a few of the shorter dog walks into cactus laden plains.

My husband got enough energy together to head into Javea old town with us all one day. The streets were lined with balconied houses, old wooden doors and wall murals. The fort/church in the middle of the town was huge and there was both an indoor and outdoor market with colourful red Spanish dresses for little girls.

One day we also managed a driving tour of the surrounding area. The most beautiful sight was the lookout point at Cap de la Nau. It was ocean as far as the eye could see, punctuated by rugged cliffs and islands. We also saw the white washed lighthouse and went to the rock shelves of Calla Barraca Beach.

We visited the main beach at L’Arenal where the sandy beach was lined with palm trees and restaurants. We had a nice lunch and bought our daughter her first pair of sunglasses. On our last day we returned to a glass fronted restaurant for paella.

It was a fitting end to our Spanish beach holiday, before we drove back to Madrid for an overnight stay near the airport. The hotel was hard to find with all the surrounding ring roads around, but after a few double paid tolls, we made it in the end.

Related posts: Barcelona, 2013, It’s a Spanish Thing, Spain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona

It’s a Spanish thing

I love Spain.

I love the colour, the life and the fact that people mistake me for being Spanish.

Flamenco dancing spectaculars, drinking Sangria and late night starts.

Tasty tapas, seafood paella and crème Catalan.

Nobody worries too much about owning property- why buy when you can rent right in the middle of the city where you want to live.

Parc de la Citadella where the cool kids hang out, Otto Zutz nightclub where the tourists go to party and Zara for all your fashionable needs.

The iconic La Rambla, the smells and sounds of La Boqueria and the friendly waitress in our local bar.

I love Barcelona, especially Parc Guell, and every time I go back I discover a new side to the city.

The brilliance of Gaudi, the deck chairs on the curving beaches and the famous 4 Cats bar.

The Moorish delights of the Alhambra, so many fountains and gypsies living in cave houses.

I am fortunate enough to have some Spanish friends who have shown me parts of Spain that I would not have otherwise explored.

The views from Mount Tibidabo, the sad story of Punta De Sau and the tradition of Plaza de Torres de la Maestanza.

Busy Madrid, beautiful Granada and cultural Seville.

I like the streets and alleyways of the cities and the gothic architecture of the churches.

A summer retreat in Xabia, white washed Spanish style villa’s and tall cliffs crashing into deep blue sea.

The lovely language, the good looking ladies and the passionate people.

It’s not just a country, it’s a way of life.

Endless fun, long summers in the cold climate of Europe and a no worries attitude that suits my Australian ethos.

I look forward to returning to Espana and discovering more about this wonderful country.

Related posts: It’s a water thing, People vs Place, It’s a French thing, Europe, 2003, Spain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona, Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona

Argentina, 2005

My friend Phil and I visited La Boca with its well-known colourful buildings and statues. Both tango dancers and tourists were out and about in the Caminito.

We wandered off the main drag and were told to get out in Spanish. Too busy taking photos and not knowing the language, I didn’t know what was going on. Fortunately Phil’s Spanish was good enough to realise that we were in a dangerous area and needed to vacate.

Walking along the Malecon in the Riachuelo port area, we saw Puente Nicolas Avellaneda and then visited the bright blue and yellow La Bombanera Stadium. Phil went back to watch a football game one night, but we were advised that it was too dangerous for women to attend.

As an alternative, we went to see Don Quichotte at the Teatro Colon and to a tango dancing lesson at Bar Sur which was lots of fun and felt very Argentinian!

Over breakfast at the hostel in Buenos Aires, I met Catherine from Washington DC. She was working in South America and was here on a short break to explore a different area of the country. I liked her independent travel attitude and we quickly made plans for some day trips.

We visited Evita’s grave at the famous Cemeterio de la Recoleta- a bit of a pilgrimage for locals and toursist alike. We were joined by an Australian couple on another day trip to the Feria des Mataderos for a great day out.

The Feria had real cowboys called gauchos and people were roasting meat on open grills. The square was filled with dancers in traditional brightly coloured costumes with a few llamas looking on. While there, we also went to the interesting Museo Crillo de Los Corrales.

My short time in South America was drawing to an end. So I decided that even if I had to go by myself, a trip to Iguazu Falls could not be missed. I opted for the quicker, but more expensive plane trip over the 13 hour overnight bus trip and stayed in the only hostel in town.

The next day, after a jeep ride through the Yacaratia trail where a guide explained the plant and animal wildlife of the forest, I got to the falls and was in awe. They were a reddish muddy colour from the natural stones in the area and so vast that I now understood why I could make them out from the plane on the way in.

I took a boat trip on the rapids of Rio Iguazu Superior and under San Martin waterfall which was amazing and went on the walkway over the top of the falls to  Devil’s Throat Canyon. Truly spectacular.

There was no denying the natural beauty of the Parc Nacional Iguazu, but there was also a Sheraton in the park and a casino in town. I hoped that the place would not become a victim of commercialisation and jeopardise this wonder of the world.

Related posts: Buenos Aires, 2005

The Fashion Files

As I have previously stated, I am not much of a consumer. I don’t keep up with fashion and prefer to wear the styles and colours that suit me. I detest the societal pressure to look model thin and the requisite downsizing of sizes that goes with it.

That being said, I am so excited about the new H&M store that is opening in Sydney’s Macquarie Centre this Thursday. I haven’t been this excited since…well, since the first Australian store opened in Melbourne and I went to that one- currently the biggest H&M in the world as the young helpful sales assistant informed me. My favourite section is the comfy casual Logg clothing that I recently found in the Orchard Rd store in Singapore.

I first discovered H&M when I travelled to England to visit my grandparents. I just found that the pants fitted me better in European clothing brand shops. I was also taken to Zara on Oxford St, purchased a black ruffled skirt and a love affair with Spanish clothing brands commenced. Every overseas trip since then has included a trip to Zara and H&M in Europe, Asia and the Americas wherever possible.

After purchasing a t-shirt with an underwater fish scene in Las Vegas, I found the sub-brand Trafaluc and it is now my favourite section in a Zara store. When Zara opened in Sydney I was ecstatic, but this enthusiasm quickly turned to disappointment as I realised that in the tradition of many fashion outlets in Australia, we were at least one year behind all the European fashion.

The same could be said of the Sydney Mango shop, which went one step further and held leftover stock from Europe as far as I could tell as I found the exact same pair of black high heels that I had bought the previous year in Belgium. They used to have a great shop on the Gold Coast, but have now closed this along with all their other shops except for the flagship store in Melbourne and now distribute through David Jones.

On a recent trip to Barcelona, I saw the Desigual label. Very pretty and colourful, but a little too young and hip for me!

Now if I could just take a mental picture of my wardrobe so that I don’t end up buying the EXACT same top twice that would be great.

Related posts: O-P-I- don’t mind if I do, Kicking goals