Eguisheim feels like home

The best part about travelling to see your friends is that you’re also travelling with locals. Getting to see the real face of any country instead of the version that has been accentuated with make-up is what any wanderer enjoys the most.

So when my friends mum suggested that we visit a typical village in Alsace I couldn’t say no! Cutesy villages surrounded by vineyards and rolling fields? I’m there!

On our way to Eguisheim we were all hoping to see those vineyards in their full glory (Eguisheim is part of the wine route) but the weather was being a little stubborn and we could barely even tell that their were villages on route due to the mist. Thankfully the clouds had lifted by the time we arrived so I did get a little taster of the scenery but I can only imagine what it must be like travelling through on a clear summer day.

Just like Strasbourg, Eguisheim had my heart from the moment I stood in front of the village map. This town has been so carefully protected which is something I admire so much – I’m all for progress but architecture will never be as charming as it once was and it’s only when I reached my twenties that I started to truly appreciate how important it is to protect our heritage and quite simply the character of a country.

We wandered the quiet paths, we took photos and we did of course taste some wine. Let me tell you; I’m no connoisseur but that wine was some of the best I have tasted and of course I had to buy a few bottles to take home!

I think I’ve also added another item to my bucket list: Follow the wine route in Alsace!

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Nature in Alsace

Do you prefer the sounds and scenes of nature or the bright lights of a big hustling city?

I think I’m somewhere in the middle.

I love to wander the countryside with nothing but the sounds of leaves rustling and the occasional bleating of a goat; or to get lost in a forest where you see no one except for maybe your own reflection in a puddle.

Although I didn’t get to spend a lot of time in France (a week is definitely not enough), I did get a little taster for that beautiful countryside that I had only heard of before this trip.

The saying that nature is the best antidepressent is pretty accurate, don’t you agree?

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This is affectionately known as Devils Fingers or Octopus Stinkhorn!

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So many new discoveries and memories were made on this short trip.

A whirlwind visit to Strasbourg

In November 2017 I had the amazing opportunity to visit Strasbourg while on a week long trip to see one of my best friends in France.

It was quite a spontaneous visit so we didn’t really do much research into where to go/what to see and in a lot of ways I really enjoyed travelling with no plans except to wander the beautiful cobbled streets in the cold.

The gothic Cathedral towers above the city almost cradling the small shops and restaurants sitting around it.

Strasbourg is so much more than I had expected. The medieval architecture of days gone by still remains in almost pristine condition despite a rich and turbulent history.

We discovered quiet paths, ambled along by the river Ill, explored the Cathedral both outside and inside (you must go inside if you visit), we ate amazing food and felt humbled by friendly people everywhere. We even squeezed in the Musée alsacien which I recommend if you want to dive into the history of the Alsace region.

Strasbourg, I’ll be back.

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A Walk around Birgu

Birgu111A few weeks back I spontaneously found myself heading to Birgu to explore the city by myself. I used to go off on adventures alone at every chance I could get however it has become something that I seldom do anymore, so I decided that this needed to change! As well as wanting to get some exercise and fresh air, the act of exploring at my own pace with nothing but my camera has always been something I revelled in.

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Birgu also goes by the italian name of Vittoriosa and makes up one of the three cities situated on the opposite side of Valletta. The city itself played an important role during The Siege of Malta and was the home to the Knights of St John who made it a capital city way back in 1530.

Today, it still holds onto its charm and is well worth spending a good few hours getting lost in the quaint alleyways (it’s easy to find your way back out though I promise!)

Birgu is a mini city of plentiful character and is kind of how I imagine and wish Malta was everywhere. At the same time it makes me appreciate these places so much more now that many parts of Malta have become urbanised.

To get here from Valletta, simply take bus number 2 or 3 from the bus terminus.

One thing I noted that it was impossible to find an atm to withdraw money which was a shame! I would have needed to take a 20 minute walk into a neighbouring city which normally  I wouldn’t mind but it was downhill and a scorching hot day so be sure to carry cash with you in case there are any artisan markets around (which there was on that day).

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Why we need to go back to New York

StreetsofnycNew York, New York!

Our trip to NYC was jam packed, exhilarating and exhausting. Over the space of those 14 days we walked 190km only taking the subway once and a return train to New Jersey.

It’s impossible to see everything in two weeks. Hell, even a lifetime is a stretch! But we did get a taste of the apple and that just made us want to take another bite. Although we did LOADS (see this for a brief itinerary) there was so much more left to experience.

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Here’s what we’ll try to pack into our next trip (note that there is no if in that sentence!)

  • Ice skating in Central Park
  • Take a trip to the top of the One World Trade Center
  • Staten Island Ferry
  • Coney Island
  • Watch a game at Madison Square Garden
  • Watch another show on Broadway
  • View the skyline from a helicopter
  • Rockefeller Tour
  • Discover more vegan/veggie restaurants and food trucks
  • Spend more time in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village
  • Eat more pizza
  • Watch the world go by
  • Visit the Brooklyn Flea Market and find a bargain or two!
  • Visit more botanical gardens
  • Take the audio guided tour in Grand Central Station
  • Spend a full day in The Met
  • Listen to music in a jazz bar
  • See more street art
  • Fort Tryon Park
  • Museum of Bodies (if the exhibition is still ongoing)
  • See some abandoned subway stations

Ok so it seems like we may need another two weeks after all!

New York, we’re not finished with you yet.

New Yorkers, do you have any tips for getting off the beaten track in the city?

We’re off to Barcelona!

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T minus 24 hours until we go for a short city break to the city of Gaudi.

This will be our first time visiting Barcelona and with only three full days we have a lot to fit in. To be honest up until this very moment we haven’t planned a single thing that we’re going to be doing so I’m going to get my research cap on and start searching through my favourite blogs and on Pinterest for (p)inspiration!

If you’re interested in checking out our resources I’ll pop them below too.

The Tourist of Life talks about finding an undiscovered spot in Barcelona

Hand Luggage Only have a plethora of material to get through:

6 Must see Pieces of Architecture by Gaudi in Barcelona

A Local’s Guide to Barcelona: 27 Things You Really Need To Know About Visiting Barcelona

10 Things To Do And See In Barcelona, Spain

The Complete Guide To Visiting Barcelona

Pin the Map Project:

The Top 5 Things To Do in Barcelona

Travelettes:

How to Spend 48h in Barcelona

11 Things to do in Barcelona for free

Barcelona: The Perfect Weekend Getaway

10 Fun Things to do in Barcelona

 

If you have any tips then please do leave a comment!

xo

 

Saying “ciao” to Gozo’s Azure Window

“Azure window fell apparently” was the message I received from Lloyd as I sat anxiously waiting in the dentists reception to be seen last Wednesday.

In that moment I’m sure my heart skipped a beat as I tried to process that information.

It had to be a joke, surely? I opened the web browser of my phone and desperately searched “Azure Window Gozo” in Google but my signal was so low that the page just kept loading and loading without any return.

I informed my dad who was sitting next to me and was met with the same reaction. Blind shock and an empty feeling inside.

I’ve stood in front of the Azure Window in Dwejra, Gozo too many times to count. Each and every time I would take a picture, regardless of whether I had one already. Each and every time we were there it was with different people or different circumstances and so this is why I did.

We looked around the crowded room, clearly no one else had seen or heard the news by this point or it would have been like the Times of Malta comment section in there; a multitude of mostly frustrating opinions and debates. Whilst waiting for an x-ray of my mouth I finally found some signal to read the news article and this is what I saw:

Until seeing this, I hadn’t realised the extent of the loss. The entire structure had been swallowed by the raging seas.

In 2013 studies had shown that erosion was inevitable, but until something like this happens you don’t quite comprehend just how much of a loss it is.

I saw comments on Facebook about how pathetic it was that so many people were upset about the natural occurrence and to that I will just say yes; yes I’m saddened that a natural structure has collapsed and left us with no more photos left to take of its beauty. Yes i’m sad that I won’t be able to take any more friends and family to see the Azure Window again. Yes i’m sad because it is a loss to so many people. It may just be a rock formation but it was a wonderful one. If that makes me pathetic then so be it.

I feel so lucky to have stood in front of its beauty so many times over the years.

Ciao for now x

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Azure Window 1

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