culture, language, travel

My trip to Salamanca…

So first I should apologise for my unexplained absence from my blog for the past.. ooh I don’t even know. Let’s just say at least a month. It’s been full steam ahead since Christmas with my GCSEs coming up in a little under 3 months!! But I will TRY to post more often than I have been doing, so that we¬†can all be happy ūüôā

As the title probably suggests, last week (in the English half term), I went on a school trip to Salamanca, 200km from Madrid, in Spain. It is essentially a university town, hosting two universities. The town itself was established in 1134, so I suppose you could say it is quite old! It was beautiful and despite there being some stories that worry me, (we will never know what a wild party is until we write on walls with bull’s blood: my advice? Don’t) I still had an amazing time there. Therefore I would highly recommend¬†putting this picturesque town on your bucket list, for sure.

We arrived in Salamanca on Monday evening at about 7:30, after a lengthy 2 hour drive from Madrid airport. We were greeted by our host families, and my roommate and I had a 70 year old lady who lived by herself. At first, we were a bit scared if I’m honest, because we thought that, oh, maybe she is really strict! Or, oh, maybe she won’t talk to us very much! The point of this trip was to speak as much Spanish as possible, so that was a worrying possibility! When we first met her, she didn’t exactly discourage¬†our theories, but when we got to her¬†apartment and started talking we realised she was actually the sweetest person we could ever have hoped for.¬†Plus,¬†when we got home 15 minutes past our curfew one night, she¬†wasn’t mad, which was relieving. ūüôā So thank you to our amazing host, who was such a brilliant¬†cook, and without her I don’t think¬†the experience¬†would have been as good.

A¬†normal day for me in Salamanca: my roommate and I would set our alarms for quarter to 8, and not leave the warmth of our beds until at least 8:20. As you can imagine, we took at least half an hour to get ready, then had to eat breakfast quickly as we had to be at Mester for 9:30, and we would always leave the house late. Yes, we had to run the 7 minute walk a few times.¬†We would go to Mester, a language school, every morning for about 3 hours, where¬†we would have a grammar and conversation lesson, then have about an hour to explore before going home to have lunch. Lunch was the main meal of the day, so we would have an exquisitely made big meal, of various Spanish delicacies. At 4, we would meet our school at Mester for our afternoon activities, which included a walking tour of the town, with churros in an art d√©cor museum, a dance and cooking lesson, and even a tour of both the viejo y nuevo catedral. (Old and new cathedral, in case you didn’t get that) After the activities, we would go exploring the town, which included a massive trip to Carrefour one evening, as well as my roommate buying a pair of green fuzzy creepers for 6 euros, what a bargain! We didn’t fail to notice how cheap everything was, especially the delicious local food (we lived in the bakery alright!) After our large shopping trips, our curfew was 9:30, and we were so tired I think we were thankful to go home!

I had an amazing time in Salamanca, and though it was only February, even the weather was amazing! And to round off my great trip, I took some gorgeous (I think) photos. Have a look for yourself:

street

graffiti

churros

street 2

plaza mayor panorama

front of catedral

cathedral

stained glass window

view from cathedral

view of rooftops

Thank you to my school for organising this trip, and also to my superb host. An amazing first visit to Spain ūüôā

Thanks for reading guys, and if you liked this, please give me a follow! See you soon I hope!

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culture, travel

Australia day!

As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I am Australian. Well, I was born and raised in London, England, but my parents are Australian, and almost all of my family live there. So I guess I am also Australian. ūüôā

Australia Day is the day where my (technically speaking) country celebrates the day the Great British fleets landed at Port Jackson, which now forms a part of Sydney Harbour, on January 26 1788. I think that day was a great day in the history of Australia, and in my opinion is a great cause to be celebrated, despite some Indigenous Australians thinking it excludes them and their culture. I understand their point and I get that, because it was the day that other people came into their country and took it over. I understand that this could be quite a controversial topic, and I do not intend to offend anybody at all.

For the rest of the population, Australia day is celebrating the discovery of their country, and I think its important to value that. Unlike a country like Great Britain that has an extremely long history and to pinpoint its beginning date so to speak would probably be impossible, countries like Australia and the USA have a specific discovery day, and I think this is actually a cool thing. The day when their forefathers landed and established colonies and over time built cities and towns and farms, I think this is what should be celebrated.

So, although its not actually Australia Day in Australia anymore, to all my awesome readers who are elsewhere and still celebrating, HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY MATE!

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culture, London, travel

London is my city…

Hey my amazing readers! Today I had the day off school, and my friends and I decided to go into London, because, why not? I LOVE MY CITY!

We met at the station and even though¬†I was late,¬†(of course) I¬†wasn’t last though! ūüôā We got on the London Kunderground (as we have begun to call it, because, as we finally realised today, it is not completely underground – fun fact ūüôā ) and went to Chinatown for lunch. My friend from Hong Kong basically ordered for us all, but I was disappointed because, although I speak Chinese, I can only speak (little bits of) mandarin and the restaurant was Cantonese. Ah well, it was still amazing seeing my friend ‘in her element’ in effect, and all of us watched her in awe. (so no, it wasn’t just weird me) I had never been to Chinatown before, so this was such an amazing experience for me. This is one of the many things I love about London. The fact there is practically a microscopic China (food-wise anyway) in the centre of London, is just, well, awesome. Now I can see the comments rolling in saying there are Chinatowns everywhere, and yes, I know. But what I’m trying to say is, its not just Chinatown. You walk two streets and you can get Italian. Walk further down that street and you can choose from probably upwards of¬†twenty different cuisines. This is what I love. The humongous range of cultures and nations represented, not only through the people living and visiting the city, but also through the medium of food. As well as living in what is practically known as the centre of the world, I get to try cuisines from loads and loads of different cultures and countries around the world. Who wouldn’t love this? Especially for¬†a person my age, this opportunity is brilliant and we can take advantage of this as much as we want. So if anyone is visiting/planning to visit London, definitely buy lots of different types of food!! (The markets also do delish street food, as well as the markets themselves! Another recommendation.)

One of my weaknesses is photo booths. Not that I have actually been in that many, but I love the whole concept of them. So, in Chinatown, imagine my excitement as we searched through this tardis-like cute Japanese shop for this photo booth, to finally stumble upon it, and finding out that you can decorate the pictures with cool backgrounds and foregrounds and cartoons and stars and¬†afros and… and… Sorry. You can see my excitement. In true Japanese style (according to my Japanese friend) the photo booth had all these cool things that no English photo booth has, so take note British photo booth makers! Things like this; you wouldn’t find them anywhere else (unless in East Asia, obviously!) which makes them all the more exciting! And the fact that we kind of went on an adventure to find it makes it even more… magical in a way? I know it sounds stupid, it is ONLY a photo booth, but the way we found it is such a brilliant way to find things that only you will know about. Which makes you seem pretty cool, for sure ūüôā Especially in London, sometimes the best way to find hidden treasures is to get a bit lost, and not have a clue where you’re going. You will probably find all the best things this way. I know I want to continue doing this!

A tradition lately amongst people my age: bubble tea. Normally from Bubbleology, but other places are just as cool, if not better. The recent phenomenon has spread like wildfire, with my personal favourite being passionfruit fruit tea with strawberry popping boba, hold the tapioca please. But there are plenty of options; milk tea, fruit tea, with or without tapioca, with or without jelly/popping boba, or the infamous mystery tea. Oooooooh. So there¬†is something (delicious!) for everyone basically. And this is coming from someone who can’t stand tea and accidentally ordered 0% sugar.

Covent Garden: the home of street artists. Also the home of classy, upmarket shops and restaurants. And public toilets that cost 50p to enter. Moral of the story: if you are not in the mood for spending copious amounts of money, maybe don’t come here? Unless you have an extremely high level of self-control. In which case, this is quite a necessity to visit I guess, if anything just to take a selfie with the floating building.

I hope this has given you a taster of why I love my city, London. I would love to hear what you are amazed by where you live, in London, or even your favourite holiday destination. And any of your fave (secret or not) places to¬†go to in London, I would love to know so I can scope them out, maybe even discovering a few more hideouts along the way ūüôā Thanks for reading, get commenting!! x

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