Thursday, December 31, 2015

That was 2015


2015 has been quite a year! With half a pregnancy to go, then a newborn in my arms and right now the cutest baby ever at home, this year sounded like lots of hard work. Luckily, everything went smoother than I ever thought and in fact, the whole year had gone in a breeze. Last day of the year today!

Despite the long days and nights with BabyGirl, we have managed to do some nice travelling, both around here and a bit further away. I haven't been a very active blogger this year, though, and I haven't written about many of the trips I've taken this year, so I thought it would be a good idea to round up this year with a summary post. You can find below the list of places I have visited this year.


KARLSRUHE (Germany)


KONSTANZ (Germany)


INSEL MAINAU (Germany)


SPLÜGEN (Switzerland)


MÁLAGA (Spain)


LUNGERNSEE (Switzerland)


TENERIFE (Spain)


LUGANO (Switzerland)


BELLINZONA (Switzerland)


SÉLESTAT (France)




Not bad for these brand-new parents! 2015 has been quite a year and I'm hoping that 2016 will be at least this good. I don't think I'll be blogging regularly any time soon because I have been busy with some other endeavours - mostly writing short stories - but I will update you around here every now and then. Until the next time then. 

Have a good and happy 2016

Monday, September 7, 2015

Flying with baby - tips for an uncomplicated flight



'Never had such a relatively uneventful flight had quite such an impact.'

I read that sentence on this post by mummytravels and I couldn't agree more. The first flight with a baby of your own is bound to be remembered forever, even if nothing memorable happens along.

I was on my own with BabyGirl for this very remarkable milestone, BabyGirl's first flight, and I started freaking out as soon as I booked the tickets. Was it the right decision? Will she cope fine with flying? Will her ears hurt? Will she cry non-stop and make this flight a nightmare for me and every other passenger? After all, BabyGirl hadn't asked to be put on an iron-bird to cross the skies and land some 3000 Km away from home in Andalusia.

Thankfully everything went very smoothly and BabyGirl passed this test with flying colours. We said goodbye to Boyfriend on the security check and from then on it was only the two of us. We passed the security check without any hassle, we waited for the boarding to start, sat in the plane, took off, flew and landed without any problem.

I tried and forced a paci on BabyGirl's mouth for take-off and landing to prevent her ears from aching but paci or no paci she seemed to do just fine and slept most of the time. She woke up roughly at her feeding times, pooped a bit a lot and went back to slumberland. During our flight back she did poop a second time when we were about to landing and just when we were supposed to be fastening our seat-belts we were locked in a toilet, me desperately trying to put BabyGirl in some clean clothes and BabyGirl half-naked crying because it was too cold for a baby in there. Luckily, the plane descended and landed smoothly.

I'm sure not every flight will be as easy as this first one but preparation is definitely key to success. So here are some tips to help make the flying experience a pleasant one.


Food: definitely an essential. If you are breastfeeding you don't have anything to worry about, as everything you need you are taking with you. And if not, not much to worry either as there are no liquid restrictions for babies. 

Toys: babies still don't play that much at this stage but it is always a good idea to bring a favourite toy  (and some more) to keep a baby entertained in case sleeping doesn't come easy.

Pacifier: v. important thing. Baby's ears can hurt during take off and landing due to the changes in air pressure and sucking on something will take some pressure off his or her little ears. If baby takes no paci, then bottle or breast will have to do - I personally find the idea of breastfeeding while take off/landing rather weird, what if the plane moves more than usual and baby bites way too much?!

Warm clothes and blanket: you know how it goes, always dress baby by layers. And more than ever when travelling, as you never know what the weather will be like when you arrive at your destination and much air co will be on the plane. So always better to take too much than too little.

Diapers and wet wipes: with all those changes in air pressure and altitude, baby's bowels seem to be working overtime up there. So never skimp on these, you can never have too many changing supplies.

Bib, hand towels, muslin cloths: even if you're a pro at feeding your baby, chances are that being cramped in a tiny space, the different surroundings and changes in temperature will make your baby a bit fussy and food and spillovers can end anywhere from your baby's face to your clothes.

Spare clothes: a body for baby and a t-shirt for you. See below, in such a tiny space it is easier than ever for baby to spit over both of you. Or you might find yourself in a poopy mess when you least expect it.

Patience and sense of humour: ditto. You never know when you'll find yourself in a poopy mess. 





Is there something I forgot? Some more advice to give?
Please let me know in your comments.

Have a lovely week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 2015 - The Long Days With BabyGirl



"The days are long, but the years are short"
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project


I read this book called The Happiness Project back in June after BabyGirl was born and this quote really resonated with me at the moment and it is now proving more and more meaningful as days go by.




In case you're wondering, the book is ok. The Happiness Project is a quick read with some good advice and a handful of inspiring quotes. The only minus point - and it is a big minus - is the author. She is not a very skilled writer and seems a rather shallow and irritating person. Like the kind of person who cannot be bothered to listen to her own daughters but one day decides to start laughing at their jokes just for the sake of keeping up with her happiness project resolutions, not because she thinks they are funny, witty, or anything like that. You get the idea. Who knows, maybe one day you meet in her in real life and she is a lovely lady but she didn't portrait herself like that at all in her book.


Anyway, I digress.


Days can be really long, especially with a baby at home. I remember the first weeks after BabyGirl was born and each single day would be an endless loop of diaper changing, feedings and rocking to sleep. I would collapse in bed at 9:30 pm the latest only to be woken up four hours later for the next feeding session. And I was really lucky because BabyGirl was a great eater and sleeper and gave me some four hours breaks since the beginning! And now three months have passed since those first exhausting weeks.

Yes, the days are long but time flies now and the last three months have gone in a whirl. I remember when I would put BabyGirl on my chest to help her sleep, her head on my cleavage and her feet on my hips. Nowadays her feet have long surpassed my hips and whenever she moves her head bumps on my chin (well, I'm only 5'2''). I remember how BabyGirl used to spend the evenings crying inconsolably, feeling overwhelmed after a long day of novelty. Oh, and I remember the funny faces she pulled whenever her bowels made a move, her lips pouting and her eyes wide open. Funnily enough, that was favourite face.

But the years are short and the long exhausting days are now gone and have been replacing by the long tiring days, which are a bit more manageable. The sleeping bond has been replaced by playing time together, the endless crying by a myriad of cooing sounds and the funny faces by smiles and laughters. The years are short but every long day is a learning adventure with BabyGirl and I love spending every single minute of them watching out for her new tricks.



So, baby or no baby around, I hope you are making the most of every long day you have.
Do you agree with this quote? 


Have a meaningful September!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award


One morning a week ago I was enjoying a steamy cup of tea while going through my blog reading list and I was delighted when I found out that Arni of Travel Gourmande had nominated me for this Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. It is always nice to be acknowledged by fellow bloggers and even better when the recognition comes from someone as dear as Arni, who I count as a friend, though we've never met in real life. Thanks again for the nomination!



So, without further ado, here are the answers to the questionnaire of the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award.


1. What is the story behind your blog?

I moved abroad for the first time in 2007 and I have done quite some nice trips around Europe ever since. I have never journaled and I had all my travel photos scattered around many folders in several USB sticks and hard drives. I had always liked the idea of travel blogging and thought it would be a great idea to start my own online travel journal to hold all my memories and photos together. And so in 2012 I started Away from Tenerife. I was living in the Netherlands back then, I am currently in Switzerland and have lived in Ireland in between.


2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

London! I have always had a thing for the English capital and I would love to spent sometime there. If I didn't like it in London I would move back to Maastricht (the Netherlands). I lived there for two years and loved my simple but lovely time there.


3. What is the best piece of travel advice you've received?

Make the most of your breakfast. A hearty morning meal will see you through the most hectic sightseeing days. Thanks mam and dad for teaching me so.


4. Where did you have your best meal ever?

It has to be Ireland. I was very fond of the fish and chips I could eat there and I loved the hearty Irish breakfasts. Oh, and the scones, don't get me started on that. But the best proper meal I had was at a seaside restaurant in Howth. I went there with some friends on a chilly winter evening and feasted on a crab toast and some carrot soup and closed the meal with the most delicious Eton Mess ever.


5. What is your most memorable holiday or trip?

I once went with Boyfriend and some friends of him to Leukerbad, in the Swiss canton of Valais. We skipped all winter sports activities and went directly to soak up in some thermal waters. It wasn't even winter but it started to snow and there we were, in an outdoor swimming pool with 38°C water with breathtaking views of the Alps while snowflakes drifted from the sky and melted on our faces. Travel or no travel, that's probably the most heavenly experience I've ever had.


6. What is the one thing you cannot live without when travelling?

My camera. I just love to take pics of everything!


7. Is there some souvenir you always take home from your travels?

A postcard. I can be as uncomplicated as that.


8. Who's your go-to travel buddy? Or do you prefer to travel solo?

Though our interests can be quite different, Boyfriend is definitely my favourite travel companion. Yes, he likes his morning lie in and I can't do without my morning breakfast; he likes to rest and I like to go out and take a hundred photos but we always find a compromise that will suit us both. And now I'm hoping that BabyGirl will be a keen traveller like her mammy!


9. Are you a spontaneous traveller or do you prefer to plan everything in advance?

I like planning - I'm definitely missing the Spanish gene of spontaneity. I like doing my research and planning accordingly. That being said, there is always room for improvisation if the ideal plan doesn't quite live up to reality. Or if hunger strikes.


10. Where are you traveling next?

Tenerife! Yep, I'm going home in three weeks!



That's the traveller me in a nutshell and now it's your turn! I am nominating the following bloggers but feel free to nominate yourself if you pass by and would like to answer these questions as well.

Sophie of Sophie in Clogs
Tania of Rowdy Fairy
Anda Alexandra of The Home Of The Twisted Red Ladybug


1. Why did you start blogging?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What is the best piece of travel advice you have ever received?
4. Where did you have your best meal ever?
5. What is your most memorable holiday or trip?
6. What is the one thing you cannot live without when travelling?
7. Is there a souvenir you always take home from your travels?
8. Who is your go-to travel buddy?
9. Are you a spontaneous traveller or do you prefer to plan everything in advance?
10. Where are you traveling next?


Have a lovely Tuesday!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

30 before 30: a recap


It's been a while since I turned 30 - mind you, I'm closer to 31 than 30 right now. But because I hadn't blogged yet about everything I did before turning 30, I kept postponing this recap post. I am finally done with the series of posts about all the new places I visited before hitting the big 3-0, so it is high time for a round up.

In April 2013, exactly 18 months before I turned 30, I decided to take up this challenge of visiting 30 new places before my 30th birthday. I wasn't too strict with myself and didn't set any tight set of rules. The only guideline would be to only include places I had never been to before. Like, never before. It didn't matter whether they were big cities or small villages, impressive national parks or underrated green areas, whether they were round the corner where I lived or in a new country waiting to be discovered.

So, ten months after turning 30, what happened to my 30 before 30 challenge?

Well, I didn't make it to 30 new places but I did see a good total of 19 cities and towns and visited (and lived) in a country I had never been before. Ireland, that's it. You can find the complete list below and read some about the places I visited during the last year and half of my twenties.

Bray (Ireland)
Breda (the Netherlands)
Colmar (France)
Delft (the Netherlands)
Domodossola (Italy)
Dublin (Ireland)
Dún Laoghaire (Ireland)
Eupen (Belgium)
Frankfurt-am-Main (Germany)
Greystones (Ireland)
Hasselt (Belgium)
Howth (Ireland)
Knokke-Heiss (Belgium)
Lago Maggiore (Italy/Switzerland)
Leiden (the Netherlands)
Locarno (Switzerland)
Maynooth (Ireland)
Meiringen (Switzerland)
Re (Italy)


I am more than happy that I took this challenge as a chance to explore my surroundings and discover some charming places and some more places which can be easily forgotten.

The absolute highlight would be Dublin. It was love at first sight and despite the cold and rainy days, I really enjoyed living there. And together with Dublin come the quiet coast towns not far from Dublin bay, including Dún Laoghaire and Howth.


A close second is Lago Maggiore. I was mesmerised by those misty views and this is a place I would love to explore in more detail.


And a great find was the city of Leiden in the Netherlands. There is obviously a reason why it is a must for most travel guides to the Netherlands and is because Leiden is a gem of a city. Somehow a lot like Amsterdam but lovelier if possible.



That was my 30 before 30 challenge and what am I up to now? Some people carry on with a 40 before 40 but I don't think I will do that. Even though I would have a big advantage on that one having a whole decade to travel and not only 18 months. With BabyGirl in our lives - and who knows when a sibling may come along - the carefree ears are over. But that does not mean that the travel years are over. I love traveling and it will probably remain a priority for me, only that most travel will involve either Tenerife or Malaga for a while now. And hopefully Ireland from time to time as well. After all, BabyGirl still has a 25% of Irishness on her gene pool.

I would love to visit at least one new country each year, though. I could make that my challenge but I don't think I will visit any new country this year (time is ticking already) and that wouldn't be a promising start. I think the main challenge from now on will be to figure out how to keep on traveling with a baby on board. I think that seeing the world with a baby on board is a whole new experience on its own. So forget about new countries and undiscovered cities, it is time to rediscover the world through a new pair of eyes. And I can't wait to start!


What's on your travel backlist? Any particular goals or challenges?

Have a lovely Sunday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Maynooth and the Royal Canal


Royal Canal Maynooth


When I was considering studying abroad for a year, Ireland was one of the few options I had. It was not fancy Dublin or Belfast. Not even Cork or Limerick. It was in Maynooth, a small university town only 25 Km away from Dublin. As much as I would have liked to live in Ireland back then and how easy it would have been to be an exchange student in an English-speaking country, I ended up in Belgium and not even in the French-speaking part of Belgium - you can read the whole story here. I had heard that Ireland was boring and expensive, two things you definitely don't want during a study exchange, and coming from an island I wasn't so keen on moving to another island.


Maynooth University


I had always been curious about how different things would have been if i had chosen to go Maynooth instead of Antwerp and while I was living in Dublin I had the chance to go there and take a look by myself. Maynooth, or Maigh Nuad as it is known in Irish, is a tiny town in County Kildare, almost bordering suburban Dublin. In fact, you only need to ride one of those yellow Dublin Bus buses and after some 50 minutes ride of suburbs, highway and passing by a couple tiny villages you'll be in tranquil Maynooth.

Small and calm, Maynooth is definitely one of those towns where there is only one main street and little else to see or do. Ok, there's a big university, some castle ruins and Carton House, a estate house dating from the 18th century where you either go for some spa relaxation or to practice your swing at any of the two golf courses within its gardens. Or maybe just to enjoy some high tea. 


Maynooth Castle

Maynooth

Maynooth


With not much to see, my day in Maynooth was a rather quiet one. The highlight of the trip was a stroll along the Royal Canal. It was a crisp autumn morning and after sitting for an hour in the bus, walking along the crystalline waters of the canal feeling the cool breeze on my face was really invigorating. I walked as much as I wanted back and forth and entertained myself spotting all different kind of ducks gliding along the canal.


Royal Canal Maynooth

Royal Canal Maynooth

Royal Canal Maynooth

Royal Canal Maynooth


On my way back to Dublin I though that choosing Antwerp over Maynooth for my study exchange was definitely a good decision. Maynooth was way too quiet for a year of partying studying and exploring. However, I'm sure it makes for a lovely base to explore the eastern part of Ireland and Carton House definitely tops my list of posh stays in Ireland if I ever go back for a decadent leisure trip.


Have you ever been to Maynooth or somewhere else in Co. Kildare? Any recommendations?

Have a lovely Wednesday!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 2015 - A Summer of Firsts


I took her in my arms, with my fingers on her nape to keep her head upright. I look at her and she looked back at me. Her eyes narrowed and the corners of her lips bent upwards, her cheeks rounded and her mouth opened. And there it was, BabyGirl's first smile ever! I gazed into her eyes, she gazed back in mine and continue smiling at me. 


Never had a smile been so beautiful to me. It melted my heart and even saw me shed a tear or two. 


Ever since BabyGirl made her big debut, she has been surprising us with new tricks everyday. She first grabbed our thumbs, then she began lifting her head when on tummy, she tries and stands on her feet when held upwards, she discovered her own two hands and how they fit in her mouth, and the list goes on. You can really say that everyday is like a discovery voyage for her. And for us as well!


July was also the month when I enjoyed the first holiday ever with BabyGirl. It was a total success and after four relaxing days in Malaga we have already book our first family holiday to Tenerife. It'll be only a week but I'm very looking forward to it.


And speaking of firsts, for the first time ever I'm in Switzerland on August 1st to celebrate the Swiss national fest. Tonight there will be impressive firework displays in almost every city and town in Switzerland - in Basel fireworks took place yesterday though - and during the day many people will be celebrating with BBQs all over the country. So, I think it's time to stop writing this post and enjoy some grillieren with friends.




Have a great August!




Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hiking in Switzerland: Of Waterfalls and Sherlock Holmes in Meiringen




This post is long overdue. It's already been more than a year since Boyfriend and I went hiking together here in Switzerland. But with so much going on in between, it definitely feels more like a lifetime than a year ago. Before I moved to Dublin last year in June, Boyfriend and I decided to make a daytrip to somewhere new for both of us in Switzerland. And inspired by the newest Sherlock Holmes films starring Robert Downey Jr as Mr Holmes and Jude Law as Dr Watson, we set off to follow Sherlock's last steps in Switzerland and investigate the site of his mysterious disappearance, the Reichenbach Falls.




Our quest took us to the otherwise uneventful village of Meiringen. Tucked among some of the highest peaks in Switzerland, Meiringen is a very tranquil town and if it wasn't for Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty's inconclusive adventure here, the number of tourists around would be nearing zero. Its main attraction is a tiny museum dedicated to Mr Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle located in the basement of a small church. The museum has a replica of Doyle's studio and that's the most interesting thing about it.

We started our day taking the Reichenbachfall funicular, more a train than a funicular which drives from Meiringen to a balcony where you can already admire the infamous waterfall. From there we  continued on foot, hiking through a green path surrounded by tall ancient trees that took us closer to the falls. We enjoyed beautiful views of the waterfall from several points along the way and reached the (fictitious) point from where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty jumped into the unknown. We carried on our hike downhill to finish at our starting point and then rested for a while in quiet Meiringen.









If you have seen the film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, you've probably been impressed by the mighty waterfalls that witness Holmes and Moriarty's last game. And have also been in awe of the magnificent location of the castle chosen for that fateful meeting of ambassadors. Well, sadly that place isn't in Switzerland and the real falls are a far cry from the beautiful cinema depiction. I don't know what they were like in the 19th century but if Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty were to take that final step together today, chances are that none of them would have survived.





Have you ever been to the Bernese Overland part of Switzerland? Been following Sherlock Holmes footsteps elsewhere? Or any other literary touristy trip?

Have a lovely Tuesday!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How baby-friendly is Spain really?


Spain is a great country to travel with children, everyone agrees on that. From guidebooks to mummy bloggers to parents themselves, all of them will praise the friendliness of the locals, the many outdoors activities available for children and the gorgeous weather that will delight families all year round - that depends on the destination, of course, Spain is a big country after all. But what about babies? Is it really that easy to travel to Spain with a little bundle in your arms? I had never thought about it until now.

I grew up in Tenerife and as a child I spent most of my holidays in the Spanish mainland. So whatever I was given, I would take as normal. And as a child you may cry or throw a tantrum if uncomfortable but you wouldn't try and analyse what could be improved to make things smoother for both children and parents. But things have changed now as I'm not the child anymore and I no longer live in Spain. Now I am responsible for a baby of my own and after my first holiday ever with BabyGirl in the south of Spain I have realised that as good as everything is, Spain could definitely do with a bit more of baby-friendliness.




Below is a list of the most inconvenient moments I found during my short stay in Malaga. Again, Spain is a big country and customs differs widely from the south to the north, so the situation might be drastically different depending on where you go. And as this is my first holiday with a baby I cannot compare to anything else, only to our tranquil life here in Switzerland. So maybe Spain is still scoring top of the list of baby-friendly holiday destinations and I just don't realise it yet.



PUBLIC TRANSPORT

A bus ride can be a very bumpy experience in Spain. Drivers are reckless, it is hot inside and people share the most intimates details of their lives out loud with everyone and anyone. Most Spanish people still prefer a private car over any means of public transport and I guess that's partly the reason why travelling with baby and buggy on a bus is not as easy as it is here in Basel. First you have to use the front door to get in, which is usually narrower and unlike in Switzerland where you can use any door. Not only are back doors wider but they usher you straight into the area for buggies and wheelchairs. Besides, help is scarce. Maybe because people are not used to seeing many people pushing buggies into a bus, maybe because it's too hot during the summer and people cannot be bothered or maybe I was just unlucky.


STREET PAVEMENT

Now, more than everything else on this list, this really depends on the place. But my (limited) experience tells me that too often the Spanish streets are not particularly baby-friendly. Or better said, buggy-friendly. They can be too steep, inconveniently cobbled or simply dotted with a hole here and another there because of ongoing maintenance works. Anyway, either some strong and skilled arms or a sling will see you through.


CHANGING FACILITIES

Having to change baby's nappy in town can be a tricky situation, especially if you don't have everything you might need with you. Changing facilities are not very widespread - you're more likely to find them at big shopping centres and similar - and not particularly up to date. Usually, they consist of a rigid changing table tucked in the ladies toilets. So no private room for you and your baby and very little comfort if any. Hopefully, this is more a case of me trying too few of them but I'm afraid that this is still the norm in most places.


BREASTFEEDING

If changing facilities can be hard to find, breastfeeding facilities are almost impossible. Spain has a long tradition of c-sections and bottle fed babies and though more and more people are favouring mother nature when it comes to baby matters, breastfeeding facilities are still out of the agenda. Your better bet is to look for the back tables of a cosy café and enjoy some morning snack or evening tapas while baby drinks his milk. Or be prepared to breastfeed in public and ready to get a few odd stares. 


NOISE

Oh my, is Spain noisy! Cars are always honking and somewhere not too far someone will be drilling some street to the core. Music is banging at every shop and bar and inside any house people talk way too loud and the tv is always on maximum volume. Yes, Spain is definitely noisy and babies will notice. And suffer it but then they get used to it. On our first day in Malaga I went with BabyGirl to a shopping centre for some window shopping and despite her being a great sleeper who does a five-hour stretch every morning, she found it impossible to stay in slumberland for longer than a half hour. There was loud music everywhere and it was cold every now and then because of the airco. Anyway, I dared doing the same on our second day and this time she slept peacefully most of the time. As I said, babies get used to (almost) everything. And quickly.


HIGH TEMPERATURES

Keeping up with babies getting used to almost everything when on holidays, heat and coldness are minor offenders under normal circumstances - no colds or sun strokes on sight. Summers can be terribly hot in Spain and babies will notice, sweat and demand food more often to quench their thirst. But they get used to it and live with it. It is usually grown-ups who suffer more under extreme weather and it is us grown-ups who can make babies fussy when we're uncomfortable. Hot or cold, babies (and children) will usually enjoy their holidays all the same.



In spite of every inconvenience I've listed above, I truly enjoyed my first holiday with BabyGirl and I wouldn't trade our holidays in Spain for anything (plans for flying to Tenerife later this summer are in the making). I think it may take a bit of practice to make a holiday with a baby a smooth sail so I'll just keep on trying. 


I would love to hear read your opinions about this. Have you been to Spain with babies, toddlers or children? How did you find it? Holidays anywhere else? How did it go?
Thanks for sharing all your stories and advice.


Have a lovely Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An Introduction to Malaga (City + Province)

This post is slightly different from every other post in this blog. This post started as a real mail sent to someone who asked me for some tips to organise a vacation in Malaga. Malaga seemed to be a very popular destination at the time because I was asked for some holidays ideas two more times and again, this mail helped two more people to plan the perfect holiday in Malaga. And because summer after summer Malaga remains a top destination in Spain I decided to publish all this info at Away from Tenerife for everyone out there.

So if you're looking for some advice regarding Malaga as holiday destination and wondering what to do there, look no further than here. Every suggestion I give has been tried and tested, first by me and then by the original recipients of the mail. And we all have a happy holiday to remember - I'm actually packing and flying off to Malaga tomorrow. First holiday ever with BabyGirl!



* * *

Hi!
Here's some info regarding Málaga. The province is really nice with many interesting towns and villages to daytrip around.
First of all, Málaga city is a must-see, as it has some worthy sights and a couple of new museums, which are rather interesting. The Alcazaba is a former moorish palace and it has lovely yards and gardens that offers great views of the city and the port. Nearby is the Roman Theather which can also be visited (but I'm not sure about this). The port has been recently renovated and there's a new promenade called El Palmeral de las Sorpresas which has some cafés. The park is also nearby and so is the beach of the city, which is within walking distance. Some new museums are the Picasso Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. There are many churches - just like in most Spanish cities - and the Cathedral is right in the old town. Besides, shopping possibilities abound. Calle Larios and the adjacent streets are probably the most rewarding possibilities and they have all the high street retailers you will find anywhere else in Spain. Calle Larios is particulary charming with its marble floors and in summer some veils are laid over the street to create shades and keep it cool if possible. Casa Mira is a very famous ice-cream parlour and it can be found more or less in the middle of Calle Larios, they serve very good artesanal ice-creams.
For daytrips, Ronda is a very popular option visited by many tourists. It is a land-locked village and is famous because of its canyon and the bridges over it. Its bullring is also quite famous but I don't understand much about this.
Marbella is another nice option. It's always crowded and it's renowned for its famous visitors and high-end shopping. There are nice beaches in Marbella and the Puerto Banús neighbourhood is also cool to visit. Its harbour has many a luxurious yatch and the promenade is lined with restaurants, designer boutiques and top-range cars. It's a very photogenic place and there's also a nice beach at the other side of the harbour.
For more shopping, Marbella/Puerto Banús also offer great affordable options - more shopping malls and El Corte Inglés department stores - and there is a huge shopping center between Marbella and Ojén, called La Cañada, which has every most high-street shops, a cinema theatre, a big supermarket and many bars and restaurants.
Benahavís is a very popular town and is known as the 'kitchen of Andalusia' because of its good restaurants. It also makes for a nice (half)daytrip as it is a typical andalusian village with white houses and any restaurant will be a good option for a tasty meal.
Finally, Granada and Córdoba are also possible daytrips but maybe that's too far for a short stay.
Well, that's all I know, I hope that'll be enough. Happy holiday!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dublin with all five senses


"That book smells odd," my mother said while flicking through the pages of one of my cookbooks, "like musty or something".
"Yeah, Boyfriend would rather say that it smells of Ireland", I replied smiling to myself.

And just like that, Dublin was back on my mind. It is amazing how the most insignificant words can sometimes be so full of meaning for the appropriate person. And that meaningless conversation suddenly reminded me of that brief part of my life. Memories just kept pouring in and I knew I had to write about them before I forgot. So here is another post of my favourite kind, those which describe places I've been to with all five senses.



SIGHT

The centre of Dublin is filled with historical buildings and sites which are pure eye candy for architecture fans and history lovers. But if I have to choose my favourite view of Dublin, the image that fixed on my retina and will stay on my mind forever it will probably be that of the city bisected in two with the river in between. The Liffey rivers run through the whole city of Dublin and divides it in North Dublin and South Dublin. The river Liffey is crossed by many a bridge along the city centre, from Heuston Station to the very new ones in the Docklands development. O'Connell Bridge, right in the middle of the city probable offers the best views of Dublin, especially when looking in direction to the sea on an early summer morning.





HEARING

Dublin is a crowded city and traffic seems to be on a perpetual rush hour state. It is not difficult, though, to find a respite in some of the many parks of the city and relax not hearing anything. However, my favourite hearing experience is somehow traffic related. As you might already know, I had quite a long commuting and I spent nearly two hours riding a bus everyday. While this was rather tedious, I enjoyed it when the buses had that modern GPS system which announces the next stop and tells you to sit down, not to talk to the driver, etc. In Dublin, those announcements were made both in English and Irish and I always had fun trying to guess whatever was being said in Irish - sometimes I was lucky to also see it written on a screen. Sráid (street), ascuill (avenue), bóthar (road), coláiste (college) or aeglish (church) were some of the few Irish words I learnt. And all that thanks to Dublin buses.





SMELL

Boyfriend warned me about that. His family comes from the countryside and he had spent many summers in Ireland during his childhood. He told me that because Ireland had long used turf instead of coal, clothes washed with warm water usually had that smell, a rusty smell. And sometimes it was so. Even though I lived in Dublin and turf was probably a thing of the past, it is true that sometimes my clothes had a funny, musty smell, I'm not sure if because they had taken too long to dry inside or because of the water. And that smell lingered on. Just the other day I put on some jeans which I hadn't worn in a long time and even though they have already been washed outside Ireland I could still feel that smell. And Boyfriend confirmed it. "Oh yeah, you smell like Ireland and I like that. The smell of my summer holidays and I love it".





TOUCH

Chilly, rainy, windy. And cold. The weather of Ireland is probably not the best in Europe, unless you consider getting soaked up in a cool day to be the definition of good weather. I shouldn't complain much about this because I actually enjoyed a very good summer in Dublin and I cannot say that it rained that much. But if there's something I remember vividly is the freezing feeling I sometimes got when walking around Dublin. The wind would bow against my face and my ears and nose would freeze, especially when walking nearby the river. And if it rained, raindrops would just feel like ice on my skin. Rain and wind. Wind and rain. It was a diabolic combination for any patch of empty skin. Other than that, a good jacket or coat would usually keep the cold at bay.





TASTE

I have already dedicated a full post to the glorious Irish scones, so it would be like cheating if I came back again with a scone ode in here. However, I'm not moving far from a scone and I will tell you that if there's a flavour I will always link to my Dublin memories is that of tea. Irish blends are softer than English ones and with a dash of milk, a cup of tea is just the perfect drink to get through any day, no matter how cold or exhausting it is. And even on a warm day, a cuppa would still be my drink of choice. So I guess I'm off to put the kettle on ...




Have a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's been three years ...


Yes, it's already been three years since I started this little blog of mine and despite the blank months every now and then I'm more than happy that I've stuck to this space. A lot has happened in the last three years: I've moved countries twice, I've graduated with a MSc in econometrics, I've started and quit a couple a jobs and I've even had a baby. What a three years it's been! 

Sometimes I could not be bothered about blogging and sometimes I've been just lazy. Sometimes I've even thought of abandoning this blog, starting a new one or simply stopping blogging altogether. But when I look back now, I'm glad that I've taken the time to write about many of those special moments that have taken place in the last three years. And also to reminisce about some other things that had happened before I started Away from Tenerife.

Yes, it's been already three years of blogging at Away form Tenerife and despite my ups and downs I have enjoyed this journey. I like reading your comments and knowing that you find my stories interesting/funny/whatever; I like coming up with new ideas for upcoming posts and reflecting upon my past experiences to look for inspiration; and I like having a sort of journal that reminds me of my travels, special moments and the more ordinary everyday. I guess that in the end, I write as much for my pleasure as that of you, dear readers. And I guess that because of that, I will start focusing more on writing more personal stories and focusing more on keeping track of my so ordinary everyday. Well, let's see how this blogging journey continues. 


To these three years of blogging and the many more to come.


THANKS FOR READING!

And have a cool July, weather permitting!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

So it was a girl - the due update!


'A girl?!!!', I screamed in disbelief as I heard the midwife tell my boyfriend that I had just given birth to a baby girl. Thankfully, I was instructed to keep on pushing for the placenta to come out so I was prevented to continue yelling nonsense like, NO WAY!!! Are you sure it's a girl?! 


Well, I guess this is how the human mind works. I was so convinced that this baby was going to be a boy that I just couldn't believe my ears when I heard the word girl in the delivery room. Flash forward a month and we couldn't be any happier with our baby girl. She's both a good eater and a good sleeper - especially at night! - and she doesn't cry too often. Only in the evenings does she have a bit of a fussy hour. But other than that, she's passed her first month with flying colours :)

In case you're wondering, everything went very well and incredibly fast. I had thought of writing one of those birth story posts but it would probably be the shortest post in this blog. It would read something like this.

Woke up with mild cramp pain at midnight, timed it just for fun, spotted a pattern after some half and hour and called the hospital. Was told to take some paracetamol as I sounded too calm. Less than an hour later I was in real pain, my water broke, we rushed to the hospital and less than twenty minutes later a girl was born. 

End of the story. 

Happy ending. 


It's been already a month since that crazy night and and a busy month it's been. So time for blogging is rather scarce now. And before that, you may be wondering, as I haven't posted anything since March. Well, before I was just busy being pregnant, I guess. I decided to take a step back from life online and focus on enjoying my own company offline as much as I could before this baby required my attention 24/7. I went swimming more often, spent many an afternoon reading and listening to music, hopped over the border to Germany and ate rosinnenschneken to my heart's content. That kind of uninteresting stuff. Boyfriend and I also went for a weekend to Lake Constance and attended a weeding in the middle of the Swiss Alps (so beautiful!). But because these photos are way too wintery with a snowy background, I guess I won't be blogging them now. Or maybe I will, to cool off a bit when temperatures hit the 30°C threshold.

So that's everything that's been going on around here lately ... And I thought an update was in order to share our happy news and bring this blog back to life.


Thank you so much for keeping in touch and your nice words and wishes. 
Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Read the World {June 2015}

In January 2015 I decided to take up the worldly challenge of reading a book related to each and every country on Earth and I thought it would be a good idea of to keep track of my progress with a monthly entry on my blog. So come back the last Saturday of (almost) every month to see what I've been up to in the reading department.



US - Wild (Cheryl Strayed)





"It was my life - like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.
How wild it was, to let it be."


I finished reading Wild last month and it took me quite a while to get through the 300ish pages of the book. I have to admit that, though I wanted to like it I have mixed feelings about the story and its main character/author. The book was recommended by Katarina of Kate Goes Global (another great blogger from Tenerife who also started her expat journey in Switzerland and is currently planning to walk the Camino the Santiago - how cool is that?) and a bit discouraged by this review by Frankie of As The Bird Flies. Anyway, with the movie out last year, I wanted to know what the hype was all about.

Cheryl Strayed recounts her misadventures as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail on her own on summer. And as appealing an adventure it sounds, to leave everything behind to hike along the US west coast for two months, I wondered what kind of person would actually have the courage - or madness - to take over such an impressive journey. I found out as soon as I started reading Wild. Someone like Strayed, who came from a non-traditional family, had an unconventional childhood and adolescence and her most of her life choices until the PCT journey were totally unfortunate.

With the image of a rather weird and quite irresponsible Strayed painted in my mind I found it hard to empathise with her or find anything of interest in her pages. However, halfway through the book, as Strayed finally started to get herself together I also started to find some value in her words and experiences. I was finally able to understand her quest and enjoy her book. And I would even recommend it but beware, you may find Strayed unbearable for more than half of the journey.

Besides her thoughts on motherhood, which totally resonated with me due to my personal circumstances (thank you, hormones), I found her closing words, which I quoted above, very true. Yes, this is my life, so very close, so very present and so very belonging to me. And it is so wild to just let it be.


Have you read Wild? What are your thoughts on it?
Any book recommendation about the US?

Have a lovely weekend!


P.s. in case you're wondering what I've been up to in the last months I'll be back tomorrow with a quick update.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Karlsruhe Schloss


Karlsruhe Schloss


Karlsruhe isn't probably the most touristy city in Germany. Nor the most photogenic. It lacks the charm and sites of many other German cities with a longer and more rich history. But there is one exception to that, Karlsruhe Schloss. Or palace, if you prefer.

Right in the middle of the city centre, this elegant building is Karlsruhe's best attraction. The city radiates from this point and every principal street in the city centre converges in Karlsruhe Schloss (apparently Karlsruhe was used as model for the street grid of Washington DC). The palace was destroyed during WWII but it has been notably restored and its ample windows, neoclassical sculptures and sober gardens look every inch of the real thing.


Karlsruhe Schloss

Karlsruhe Schloss

Karlsruhe Schloss

Karlsruhe Schloss gardens

Karlsruhe Schloss gardens


Nowadays, the palace is home to the Badisches Landesmuseum, one of the main museums in Karlsruhe. Dedicated mostly to history and anthropology, the museum has a wide collection of historical artefacts that ranges from prehistoric tools to modern Japanese katana swords and kimonos. And everything in between: Greek statues, Roman coins and pottery, medieval furniture and tiles, modern clothes and home apparel, ... It actually makes me wonder how it is possible for some minor museums in lesser-known cities to assemble so many little treasures and put a complete exhibition together. 

Once inside the museum, it is possible to climb to the palace tower to enjoy some complete views of Karlsruhe. All it takes is finding the right door and having enough stamina to go up the 150 stairs or so to the most upper floor of the tower. The views weren't particularly spectacular but it was a good workout nevertheless. I guess a little sunshine and some spring foliage on the gardens would have made for a nicer view.


Karlsruhe Schloss gardens



Do you enjoy visiting castles and palaces? Any recommendation?

Have a lovely Wednesday!




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