Category Archives: Europe

Silly Hats and Green Guinness in Ireland

All Things Blarney in Eire

Every year the St Patrick’s Day celebrations are getting bigger and bigger. Where we live in London, there are two Irish pubs within walking distance and every year around the middle of March we can hear the merriment for days. Last year I thought to myself that if the jollity can spill over as far as England; imagine the high spirits in Ireland. So this year, we decided to spend the St Patrick’s Day (Paddy Day) week in Dublin. Continue reading Silly Hats and Green Guinness in Ireland

My Easter Trip to the Algarve to Try their Famous Food

One of the only nice things about being based in grey and dreary London is that it is easy to take short hops to countries in the European Union. Last year when winter just did not seem to want to budge in England, I decided to take a trip over the long Easter weekend to see if I could find any sun at all in Europe.

Portugal, here I come!

I decided to pay my native land’s neighbouring country a visit and booked flights to Portugal. I hadn’t been to Lisbon since I was in my teens and had never been to the Algarve. Somebody once told me that the only true contender against Spain’s magnificent cuisine is a ‘Cozinheiro Algarvio’. Compete against paella from Catalonia? I was not convinced. I decided to see what Albufeira had to offer. Continue reading My Easter Trip to the Algarve to Try their Famous Food

Cruising to Christmas in Europe

Christmas is celebrated by Christians in many different ways across the world, and even in many places by non-Christian folk. Most celebrations involve traditions like gift giving, carol singing, religious services and sharing special meals. I enjoy that time of the year because of the positive spirit around and naturally because of the seemingly endless supply of delicious food. While the joy shared in the festive season seems to be global, regardless of religious persuasion, I have always found Europe to be the most obviously (and joyously!) geared for celebrations. Over the last few years we have been taking one or two short breaks to European cities every December to experience how different parts of Europe transform during this time. Despite the great variety of traditions, you will find most European cities elaborately decorated and lit up, bustling with activity and heaving with food. This year we decided to explore several new cities and did this by going on a Viking River Christmas Market Cruise. Continue reading Cruising to Christmas in Europe

A Tourist on My Own Turf

I realised one day that I am like a foreigner in my own country. Although I have explored Africa from top to bottom, I hardly knew my Spain. A holiday at home was well overdue and I decided to explore Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona. Located a good seven hour drive away from Salamanca, where I am from, on the other side of Spain, I was sure I would have some fascinating experiences.

Home again

People ask me what I miss most about Spain. There are so many wonderful things about my country of origin that it’s hard to decide on just one. One of the first things that spring to mind though is definitely the coffee. Aaaaah, the coffee. It’s not just the taste of the brands that are available in Spain you won’t find in Starbucks or Costa Coffee. It is the way we drink coffee in Spain. There is at least one café on every block and it’s not uncommon to visit your favourite café several times a day. Coffee is not just a beverage to perk you up in the morning, it’s a social thing, enjoyed by family and friends old and new. Salamanca even has a few famous coffee houses like the Café Novelty. Of course I get to explore Café Novelty and the other coffee houses when I visit family, but while I was visiting Barcelona a world of new and aromatic coffee shops beckoned. Instead of my usual mosquitoes, wild animals and weird foods, this holiday would be about coffee, art, music and fine dining. Continue reading A Tourist on My Own Turf